Friday, May 19, 2017

Life is a Balancing Act: Celebrate the Small Things

From family's Stereoview collection

Ha-ha. Kind of feel like the fellow above, getting ready for my next big act. I'm not balancing life perfectly but making headway nonetheless. How did life balance out for you this week? 

I finally added links for Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook on my blog (see sidebars), so feel good about that. FB gets smaller font for giving me such a bad time setting up an author page and blog link. Learning about marketing at Yvonne Ventresca's blog and other blogs. Some great tips and examples there!

  • Planted one remaining shrub to complete my barberry hedge.
  • Moved rather slow this week getting over a head cold that started last Friday, but it led to some relaxing baths soaking in Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt, labeled "Detoxify and Energize with Ginger and Clay." Never realized how softening this is to the skin. Love it :) Ever try this??

New from Evernight Teen

Lovely Scars by Cassandra Jamison

The Watched Girl (Escape series #2) by Rachel Rust

Crone by C.L. Marin (sequel to Maiden)


 Have a nice weekend everyone!!

"Come celebrate with us"
To join "Celebrate the Small Things, visit Lexa Cain's blog
Co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge
Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Exploring the New Hampshire Colony by Elizabeth Raum: Book Review

Exploring the New Hampshire Colony
Author: Elizabeth Raum 

Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Publisher:  Capstone Press,  2017
Ages:  8 to 11, Middle Grade
Pages: 48
New Hampshire was the third colony founded in North America.
In 1623, a group of businessmen were given a piece of land by the king of England to develop as a colony, stipulating that the rules of government be strictly under the king. In 1679, New Hampshire officially became a royal colony, which by then was known for its source of fish, animal furs, and lumber. 

Raum describes the exploration of the land beginning with (Englishman) Martin Pring in 1603. Pring met the native people in the area, the Abenaki and the Pennacook, who grew corn, beans and squash, and hunted fish and game. For a time the colonists traded peacefully with the Indians, but white diseases began destroying native populations and conflicts soon arose. 

Later, during King Williams War between England and France in 1689, the French enlisted the Indians to fight, who then attacked the colonists. Battles over land between the French and English lasted nearly seventy five years, but peace eventually came in 1763.  

Unfortunately, conflict reared its head again with outrage over the English Stamp Act and high taxes. With its repeal in 1766, the undercurrents of the Revolutionary War had begun. When war broke out in 1775, some 1200 New Hampshire militiamen fought in Boston’s Battle of Bunker Hill, but never on home soil. New Hampshire became the first colony to form its own state government, officially becoming America’s ninth state in 1788.

Raum further describes some of the important cities and pioneers in New Hampshire, which became an important supplier of lumber for the building of ships, boat masts, and furniture. Today New Hampshire is known as the “granite state” for its rocky soil. 

Help aids in Raum's book include mini bios, maps, illustrations, quotes, glossary, timeline and “Did You Know” and “Critical Thinking with Primary Sources” sidebars. A good introduction to New Hampshire's early history. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Time Went POOF - Celebrate the Small Things

What I wish I could be doing
 and wish I was that skinny again!
To be honest, I'm not sure where the time went this week. It just went POOF!
  • I've been gardening, which could account for some of the time drain. Planted geraniums, peppers, cabbage, marigold, basil and mint. Weeded some, but you'd never know to look at it. LOL. What a mess awaits me!
  • I had a busy week working on social media again and writing future blog posts, another time drain, although fun to do.  
  • Good news is I'm meeting other Evernight Teen authors and learning a lot about book promotion from Evernight's marketing person. A very nice group I might add. 
  • Had a dream with characters in a book I've been thinking about. The scene was vivid enough to write down. Don't you just love moments like that?  
  • Jumped on the treadmill yesterday. Happy about that. It had been awhile.
  • SADLY, just found out my mother broke her arm and actually popped it out of the socket at her shoulder. She's mending now and pumped up with morphine for the pain. I'll be traveling tomorrow to see her. Not a fun way for Mom to spend Mother's Day!! But we'll turn the occasion into something nice. I plan to type the book she has been handwriting and is so excited about. It's her first novel at 92!! 

Have a Nice Weekend!!
(And Happy Mother's Day :)

"Come celebrate with us"
To join "Celebrate the Small Things, visit Lexa Cain's blog
Co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge
Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Friday, May 5, 2017

Celebrate: Social Media, Flash Fiction, Future Cover Reveal

  • A packed week updating and learning social media. Set up Instagram (nice), but fought tooth and nail with Facebook setting up an author page separate from my personal page. It works about 50% of the time when I go to post (defaulting mostly to my personal account). A pain....
  • Joined some teen twitter and author sites. I'm not fond of Twitter but found this easy to do, so big YAY!
  • Set up an author page in Blogspot. Blogger is such a jewel. Click on page link to see and let me know what you think.
  • Need to seriously think about doing a Cover Reveal. June? I don't have any dates yet, but would anyone be interested in posting my new cover when the time comes?
  • Was among 20 volunteers asked to judge kids in grades 5-8 on public speaking. What fun! I also met the school's librarian who had learned I'd written a YA and did book reviews. She invited me to come back. Wow!
  • Hence, zero writing done on any book projects, so decided to try some Object Flash Fiction to keep the writing juices going...

"Aunt Mil's Elephant"

   The new elephant was obvious. It was the only one without layers of dust. Aunt Mil had found a spot on the window sill squeezed in next to a dozen or so more in various shapes and sizes. The black ceramic giant stared back at Marcie in defiance, as if to say it had every right to remain. 
   "I know you kids think I should stop, but I couldn't resist. I found it at Pat's Antiques," Aunt Mil said. 
   Marcie sighed as her eyes circled around her aunt's tiny living room and down the hall. There had to be a hundred or more elephants in the home. It was a miracle she'd found any space at all. 
    Aunt Mil slowly got up and hobbled off toward the kitchen to make some tea, insisting she was fine when Marcie offered to help. "Now just stay put and enjoy the view," she said over her shoulder.
   Marcie swallowed the words churning inside she had come to say. Moving Aunt Mil to the community home wouldn't be easy. They could wait one more day. The time would come soon enough.   

Have a Wonderful Weekend! 

"Come celebrate with us"
To join "Celebrate the Small Things, visit Lexa Cain's blog
Co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge
Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

IWSG - Cool Research

I was happy to see a topic on what to write about at the IWSG site. Have loved this group from the beginning, but I dropped out last year when I found myself fumbling for something to say.

So onto the research topic.....first some background. I have been researching and writing nonfiction for quite a few years, most of it free on my blog, but some research was published (or simply paid for) by an educational publisher dating back to around 2005. Working with Greenhaven Press, I was given a single website to access research online. Think of it as a vast online encyclopedia. 

The rest was done in the archives of two university libraries. Personally, I loved getting my hands on archival material and finding dusty primary sources on the shelves. Source pages were then copied and sent to the publisher with my edits, as I was downsizing articles for high school students. It was tedious, but I really enjoyed the process. 

Fast forward to today. Resources are available all over the internet. You can even access scholarly articles using Google Scholar (for a fee of course). For the recent A-Z Challenge, I found books online that opened its pages to the topic I was googling. It was the equivalent of finding my topic in the index of a book at the library, turning to the page, and then using the copy printer. Amazing. The internet has become a worthy online library. You do have to check your facts though. Outlandish claims require outlandish proof if you get my drift.

So onto the question: what is the weirdest and coolest thing I've ever had to research? I'm not sure that this qualifies as weird, but the results were pretty cool. I was researching rare jewels online. I had no idea what a large ruby stolen one hundred years ago from Thai royalty might be worth today. But it was important to know, because it's a back story in the novel I'm about to have published. 

I found some great sites estimating value, but the pictures could have been better. I kept searching. Next thing I know, I received in the mail a beautiful folder from New York containing glossy photos of jewels, along with the dealer's business card. I had not requested this, but I must have set off alarms somewhere as a potential buyer. 

If the gems displayed were fake, you could have fooled me. One unnamed jewel looked like a diamond (33 carats) and there was jewelry I'm sure only the 1% wealthy could afford to buy. No prices of course. The 161 carat diamond necklace was gorgeous and one piece (231 carats) had rare white diamonds and emeralds. No rubies though. Another search online confirmed my ruby was indeed rare and costly. The research changed my story to a ruby stolen from a piece of jewelry, which made solving the mystery all the more fun for my characters.

I had saved the folder and pulled it out for this post. When you find something that good, you hang onto the paper. Sometimes the internet isn't enough. Anyway, thought this was kind of cool. Research is one of my favorite things to do, but it does chew up time and can be a detour, so I have to watch not spending too much time. 

Those of you who know me (and haven't heard my news) may have wondered what the heck I've been writing, other than my blog all these years, but I'm proud to say my novel is about to be published with Evernight Teen this July!! The working title is The Shells of Mersing, which could change in the editing process.

I'm both psyched and scared. I wrote somewhere online today that I wish I could clone myself during the review process. I dread it. I guess this is normal, but I'd love to hear how true this has been (or not) for you, and if you have any sage advice. 

What weird or cool thing have 
you researched? 

**Click IWSG to join**
The awesome co-hosts for the May 3 posting of the IWSG will be Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Z for Zoologist, Phythias: Female Scientists Before Our Time

And so, we come to the end of the A to Z, to one of the least documented of the women in this series, Phythias the Elder, the first wife of Aristotle. Born sometime around 344 BC, Phythias was the niece and adopted daughter of King Hermias of Atarneus, an ancient Greek city in Asia Minor near the island of Lesbos. Today this would be on the west coast of Turkey.

King Hermias’s rule extended from Atarneus to the city of Assos, where Aristotle had opened an academy. In addition to being a great philosopher, Aristotle was a practicing botanist, zoologist and marine biologist. He and Hermias became friends, which is how Aristotle met and eventually married eighteen-year-old Phythias. Aristotle was thirty-seven.

The two honeymooned on the island of Lesbos in the port city of Mytilene on the Agean Sea. Apparently, Phythias was a budding embryologist, biologist and zoologist. The honeymooners spent time collecting living specimens of every sort. Although sources are sketchy and some doubtful, one source claims that Phythias was Aristotle’s “assistant” in research. She had her own collection of manuscripts and some claim she was the first female marine zoologist. As coauthor (uncredited) she collaborated with Aristotle on two works for an encyclopedia of animals: History of Animals and On the Parts of Animals and On the Generation of Animals.

Phythias and Aristotle had one daughter, Phythias the Younger. After only ten years of marriage Phythias died around 326 BC, leaving Aristotle to raise a daughter alone. He then remarried and had a son, but his love for Phythias lasted a lifetime. When he died in his sixties, he requested their bones be buried together, as had also been requested by Phythias. 

 Source:;;  Anthony Kenny. A New History of Western Philosophy, Vol. 5, 2007.
Elisabeth Brooke. Women Healers: Portraits of Herbalists, Physicians, and Midwives, 1995 p. 12.
Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie, Joy Dorothy Harvey. The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: L-Z, 2000.;