Posted tagged ‘American History’

Fantastic News!

April 7, 2022

April is poetry month. The following may not be poetry, but it makes my heart sing!

I’m thrilled to announce my newest book, THE BIG STINK: The Legen-dairy Tale of Colonel Thomas S. Meacham and His Enormous Cheese. (This is a working title.)

I’m a children’s book author. I had two early chapter books published years ago along with a variety of educational magazine articles and stories. Then, life got in the way and my writing was intermittent. In the last five years, I’ve been free of major commitments. I’ve used those years to commit to my writing.

I happened to see an unusual story of a huge cheese that was made and delivered to the president of the United States with considerable pomp and circumstance in 1836. It piqued my curiosity, and I began researching the story behind the story in 2019. When I felt I had enough information, I wrote a fictional picture book manuscript that was based on the incident. After many revisions, using comments and suggestions from my critique partners, I sent it to my agent. She liked it, and after more revisions suggested by my agent, she sent it to various publishing houses. The common response was that the editors liked the historical information in the story but didn’t like having a mouse as a narrator. I went back to the drawing board. Or I should say, I went back to the computer board. I turned the fictional story into a narrative nonfiction manuscript. I made sure my research and facts were accurate before sharing the manuscript with my critique partners and my agent. More revisions. The new version was sent out once again. There were more rejections, but Barb McNally and her team at Sleeping Bear Press liked what they saw. Through my agent, they made an offer in August of 2021. Lucky me!

The book is now in the works with talented Lesley Breen tackling the illustrations, and Barb McNally skillfully guiding me through the editorial part of the process. You’ll be hearing more from me as the publication date in Spring of 2023 gets closer. You can check out my website here. I hope readers will find THE BIG STINK a tasty slice of cheesy history.

CAPTURE THE FLAG

September 4, 2012

I’m always looking for great books to encourage my library students to read. I recently finished reading Capture the Flag written by Kate Messner. Mystery, history, and intrigue make this book a winner for my third through fifth graders.

The story begins with a gala reception taking place at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Three seventh grade students on winter break are in attendance. Anna, daughter of a senator, is a budding writer for her school newspaper in Vermont and is hoping to interview a senator who is running for president in the next election. José, whose mother worked on the restoration of the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner,” is more interested in reading his book than the goings-on at the gala. Then there’s Henry who is glued to his video game on his computer and could care less about the artifacts and history his Aunt Lucinda has been immersing him in all week long.

They three become unwitting accomplices when a freak snow storm leaves them stranded at a Washington, D.C. airport and they learn “The Star-Spangled Banner” flag has been stolen. Anna believes that the thieves are snowed in, too, and convinces José and Henry to help find who took the flag and return it to its rightful place.

Kate Messner does an excellent job ramping up the tension as events unfold. A man with a snake tattoo, a politician gone bad, a Secret Society, and a young boy and his dog all come into play. Readers are sure to get caught up in the action as Anna, José, and Henry cooperate with one another and use their talents and ingenuity to catch the thieves. Recovery of the flag and unexpected friendships make for a satisfying ending.

Check out Kate Messner’s website and blog here.

Best Mother’s Day Ever

May 8, 2012

Mother’s Day came early this year for two reasons. We’re in Boston helping our daughter, Beth, move (#10) into her new condo, and Boston has some of the finest restaurants around.

On Saturday evening after spending the day painting, packing, lifting, pushing, shoving, and grumbling at one another, we took a well-needed break. Beth decided we should celebrate the two Ms – Mother’s Day and Moving. She made reservations for dinner in the North End — a neighborhood known for its history and great Italian restaurants.

Luckily, Beth’s place is within walking distance of many Boston attractions. That’s a plus because parking on the streets is a rare commodity. We followed parts of the Freedom Trail, and just around the corner from Paul Revere’s House was our destination.

We stepped inside Mare Oyster Bar. It was cozy with seating for approximately forty-two diners and seating for twelve at the bar. The staff was friendly and very accommodating. For the first time that day, we were able to relax and have a decent conversation with one another.

Even though raw oysters are not on the top of my list of favorite foods, it’s a must to try at least one oyster. Duh … It’s an oyster bar! I will say my choice was delicious. Each of us chose a different entrée. Beth ordered the Truffle Crusted Tuna with grilled eggplant, wilted spinach, and sweet baby peppers. Tom ordered the Seafood Cannelloni filled with shrimp, scallops, and swordfish with a lobster cream sauce. I ordered the Pan Roasted Halibut with asparagus and morel mushrooms.

Maybe it was because we were ravenous after a day of hard labor, or maybe it was because we savor good food – especially when someone else is preparing it, but we all agreed upon one thing. Dinner was fabulous!

Afterward, we joined the locals and tourists milling around the narrow streets. Before heading home, we made one more stop. If you’re in the North End, you can’t leave without popping into Mike’s Pastry. We didn’t pop in because the line into the shop was half-way down the street. With a little know-how, Beth managed to make it quickly through the line. Pastries in hand, we were on our way home to enjoy them.

Chocolate Chip Cannolo and Pistachio Nut Macaroons

Whether helping our daughter move, celebrating a special occasion, dining at a fabulous restaurant, spending time together as a family beats all. This was the best early Mother’s Day ever!


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