Prince Oleomargarine, Mark Twain’s new book for kids: a review

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain and Philip Stead, illus. by Erin Stead Genre: Middle Grade read-aloud picture book, 8 1/2 x 11-inch format, 152 pages Published 2017 by Doubleday Books for Young Readers Great news for Mark Twain fans! An unfinished children’s tale was found in 2011 in Twain’s papers–misfiled under recipes, […]

I am hopeful about my latest book!

As you know, my loyal fans, I’ve been working on learning the novel-writing craft for about twelve years. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and I’ve been able to bless others as an editor and publisher. But my own fiction work remains unpublished. That’s because the genre I choose to write in, aimed at […]

Ella Hough, full of promise

My great-aunt, Ella Hough, was an amazing artist. I know because I have her sketchbook. She was born in 1868 to Thomas Hough and his wife Jane. Thomas was a successful entrepreneur who immigrated in his early twenties from Yorkshire, England, in about 1865. He’d left his job operating an elevator in a textile mill […]

Update on editing and publishing

I notice I haven’t posted in eleven months. I’m not very focused on promoting myself, I guess.  But I have been a busy bee! I have a manuscript that is ready for publication, in my professional opinion and that of other professionals, but it’s not *exactly* what is most popular in the middle school-tween market […]

Editing Jane Austen!?!

A teen-aged Jane Austen wrote a novella that she never even titled, much less published herself. It’s been called Lady Susan, and now it’s been made into a movie, “Love and Friendship.” Austen is known for originating the romance novel. She really hit the sweet spot with readers ever since her brief career of 1811-1817.  […]

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, a review

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool Published 2010 by Delacorte Press, 351 pages Genre: Historical middle grade/tween fiction, Newbery Medal winner Twelve-year-old Abilene Tucker arrives in the dusty, underpopulated town of Manifest, Kansas, during the height of the Great Depression, sent there by her drifter father who for some reason thinks she needs to stop […]

Book Review: Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi

Crispin: The Cross of Lead, by Avi, Book 1 in the Crispin trilogy Published 2002 by Hyperion Books for Children, New York, 262 pages Genre: Historical drama for tweens This book won the Newbery Award when it was published, and more recently the author has published two sequels. It’s A.D. 1377 in rural England. A […]

Photography: Memes for Your Wall

              These are poster memes I made from photos I took on my road trip to national parks in the West this summer. You can order 11 x 14 medium-sized posters, and I will have them sent to you! Price: $25 each, unframed, including shipping to anywhere in the […]

Why is this car grinning?

Monster the car is grinning. He thinks he won. I’ve been fighting with this car ever since we got him, nearly ten years ago. Took him home, and our mechanic discovered somebody had put antifreeze where the brake fluid ought to be. The car had that cheesy grin then too. Well, we got the antifreeze […]

My mother, mom and opera singer

Jane Ruth Elder, my mother, grew up in Tacoma, Washington, during the Depression in the family of a teacher. In those days, teachers were paid little. It became apparent that her parents could not afford music lessons for her, even though that is what she wanted more than anything. How could she become a musician […]