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I'm a children's book writer, a campground owner and a special education teacher's assistant. It makes for a very busy year with lots of writing inspiration.
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1. Writer’s Camp and Schmooze 2015

Every year, I look forward to hosting my writer’s group to a working weekend here at Poland Spring Campground.  Fall is the time when I transition from primarily working on campground “stuff” to digging into writing projects.  So meeting with other writers, sharing in their celebrations, hearing their struggles, brainstorming ideas and projects . . . it helps to motivate and inspire me.  Spur me forward.

This year, I’m especially excited to share photos of the weekend with my students, because the critique circle, and its rules, are something Shannon and I have used in the classroom  with great success.  Knowing “real writers” use this method to give feedback on their work, makes the students more willing to share and trust in the classroom circle, too.


Bottom of the circle, clockwise: Jeanne Bracken, Denise Ortakales, Mary Morton Cowan, Anna Jordan, Joyce Johnson, Nancy Cooper, Mona Pease, Meg Frazer Blakemore, Val Giogas, Andrea Tompa, Laura Hamor.

The authors and I worked hard, beginning at 8:30 with a “What’s New With You” whip around.  Joining us this Fall, was our visiting editor Andrea Tompa from Candlewick Press. Each author has 20 minutes of time and everyone contributes to the feedback. Once  again, I’m humbled and grateful for the in-person comments, support and loving-nudging that flew around the circle.


We have writers and illustrators, non-fiction and fiction, with picture book, middle grade, historical fiction, and Young Adult manuscripts in various stages.  Some of us are published, some are very close. The projects read this year were absolutely fascinating!

I’m most excited to bring back to the classroom, a picture book dummy from Laura. It’ll be a great tool, when we start our graphic novel unit.


We worked hard, breaking every so often for movement.  And of course, lunch.  By 2:30 we were onto a Q & A with Andrea about the industry.  And by 4:00, it was time to take a walk, kayak or read under the trees, before gathering again for supper.


Top: Laura, Anna, Denise, Nancy Middle: Mary, Val, Joyce Bottom: Meg, Mona, Me, Andrea, Jeanne

And this morning, those of us who stayed the night, met for coffee in the office and decided to go for a quick early morning kayak ride .  . .


In the rain, of course.


The rain passed.  Loons flew directly overhead, so close we heard their wings cutting through the air.  Still other loons called back and forth from area lakes, chorus style.  And eagle flew down the shoreline. The sun came out.  The wind picked up.  We headed back.

Now six of us are left here at the campground, working, writing, revising.  Inspired by each other to keep doing what we love.  Driven to put the perfect words, in the perfect order, to write the story we were meant to write.

And tomorrow, I’ll share all this with my students.

Then ask them to do the same.




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2. And Winner Of The Giveaway Is . . .

Today, I took all the names, of all the teachers and librarians who entered the contest, and brought them to my classroom.  Mrs. Shanning was nice enough to let me hijack some of our Writing Block time so our students could help me choose the winner of the Cooper and Packrat Classroom Package.

First, I explained what the contest was all about  – why a paperback is so important and why authors celebrate the release of it.  They enjoyed reading all the entries from teachers and librarians; laughing at the antics of monkeys and skunks, marveling over the descriptions of moose, fox and bear being seen up close and personal.

Then we took our Star Writer-of-the-day and gave her a Packrat-like  vest-of-many-pockets. Pockets on the outside. Pockets on the inside.  Pockets on the backs and sides.


Then we took all the folded up entries and shook them up in chest.


One by one, each of our nine students picked a random name, unknown to them, and put it in a pocket of the vest.


And Shannon too . . .


And the students gave a drum roll . ..


As the Star Writer, pulled a name from one of the pockets.


She unfolded it . . .

Aaaaaaand .  . .

The winner is . . . .


Lori Hannon-Theaker!!  Librarian Specialist at Perryville Elementary School!

From Islandport Press and I, Congratulations Lori!!

I truly enjoyed each and every story, telling them over and over again to anyone who’d listen. Thank you all so much for sharing!!


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3. Giveaway For Teachers and Librarians

In honor of wonderful educators everywhere, Islandport Press and I are running a  special contest for teachers and librarians!

For as long as I can remember, teachers and librarians have played a major role in my life by encouraging, nurturing, and gently pushing me out of my comfort zone to try new things. From my hometown librarian who recommended Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, to the sixth grade teacher who built a library of our stories and made us feel published, to a high school English teacher who encouraged me to proudly belt out a Bye Bye Birdie song on stage (even though I couldn’t sing a note to save my life), and so many more, these teachers and librarians will always be close to my heart.

In the past few years, I’ve met many more educators that I admire, some on-line and others in person at conferences and book signings for Cooper and Packrat. Also, as a teacher assistant at Whittier Middle School, I work with some brilliant educators and I’m learning so much. Times may have changed in the last *ahem* 35ish years, what with technology and all, but teachers and librarians haven’t. They still give daily to their classrooms and communities; monetarily, personally, and most of all, from the heart – seeing their students as people, not just a job.

In honor of all the educators from my past and present who give so freely, and with the help of my publisher Islandport Press, we’re giving away a Cooper and Packrat Package: a classroom set of 20 Mystery on Pine Lake paperbacks, a hardcover copy, and a half-hour Skype visit.

Cooper and Packrat cover

Entering the contest is simple, teachers and librarians only need leave a comment on this blog post, telling their name, school, and favorite wildlife encounter. Let Islandport and I know that you’ve spread the word about the contest on Facebook or Twitter, and we’ll enter your name twice.

Not an educator? Please tell your favorite teacher or librarian about it!

The deadline to enter is midnight, September 17th. I’ll ask one of my little campers to draw a name on the 18th , the release day for Cooper and Packrat’s first paperback, Mystery on Pine Lake!

 Thank you educators, for all you do! Islandport Press and I know firsthand, that kids everywhere appreciate you more than you know.

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4. Hummingbird Fever


I swear, I’ve taken over 800 pictures of Hummingbirds this summer.


There isn’t a lot of days off, when you run a campground, but I do find an hour here and there.  Not usually enough time to head out in the kayak to see the loons, eagles or heron. But time to sit in my little corner of the front yard.


From there, I have a front row seat to the Honeysuckle bush. And Hummingbirds love Honeysuckle.

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It’s fascinating to watch them flit here and there, to and fro.  Not a sound is made, but the branches of the bush dance below them from the sheer force of their flapping wings.


Sometimes, sitting quiet on the front lawn yields the best photos of all.

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5. Cooper and Packrat News

I just received exciting news! The paperback edition of Mystery on Pine Lake, will be released September 18th!!

Cooper and Packrat cover

Just in time for back to school!!

I’m going to have a contest for teachers and librarians surrounding the release date. Check back in September for the details.

Also in time for back to school, I’ve added a Teaching Guide for Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest.   Developed by Shannon Shanning, Maine’s 2013 Teacher Of The Year, it was tested in the classroom on her students.  We warned them they’d be guinea pigs . . . so they were honest with us about the lessons.  It was a great collaborative effort!

Shannon and I love to receive feedback, so please let us know if you use the guide.  You’ll find additional projects and ideas on my Pintrest Page, as well as on Twitter.

Have a great 2015-2016 School Year!!

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6. Mother and Chick

Sometimes, when I go out in the kayak, I’m intent on finding photo opportunities.  Sometimes, I’m looking for time to to let my mind wander in the quiet around me.

Sometimes I need to “be” one with nature, to clear my head and fill my soul. No thinking allowed – only observing all the marvelous sights and sounds around us. How green the leaves are, the sound the water makes as it laps at the shoreline, the  shapes of the clouds as they float past, the beads of water on a spider web built between two Water Bulrush.

It was on one of those days that I decided to snuggle my kayak up to the shoreline, and just be. I put my paddle down, raised my camera and waited. I saw little bugs dance across the water. A fish jumped up out to catch one, as birds flitted over to get one, too. And then I heard a commotion in the bushes a short way away.  I turned my camera on it and saw a female red-winged blackbird rise from between the leaves, a dragonfly in her mouth.


She hovered there, and at first I wasn’t sure why.


But I understood as soon as a chick rose up to follow her.


She led it on a merry chase to a nearby branch.


The chick hollered and hollered. But Mama bird didn’t go any closer.


Instead she showed off that dragonfly, then turned her head, almost as if to say, “How badly do you want it?”

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The little one wouldn’t budge, so she eventually scooted down the branch to give it the dragonfly, it so desperately craved.

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I know, that with its mother’s patient teaching, it won’t be long before the little one is grabbing dragonflies of its own.


And perhaps on my next moment of “being”, the bird I see snatching dragonflies from the air, will be this little one.

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7. Me! Me! Me!

While kayaking last week, I was amused to watch these baby Tree Swallows fight over supper . . .  IMG_8965 IMG_8973 IMG_8974 IMG_8975 IMG_8976 IMG_8977 IMG_8978 IMG_8982

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8. Eagles On the Run!



I’ve often seen birds harass the eagles, driving them from trees and even away from their own eaglets.

But on Friday, I managed to catch a series of photos of it!

I was watching the eaglets , and talking with one of our campers when the eagle swooped into view.  It was being chased by small birds who were screaming their frustration.

By the time I’d unpacked my camera, the eagle landed with its eaglets. I’m not sure if it had something for them to eat or not. Regardless, the little, tenacious birds kept swooping and pecking like pesky mosquitoes until the eagle took to the skies again, its tiny bullies in hot pursuit.


I was quite a ways from all the action, but when I zoom in on my photos, it almost looks as if the smaller bird has landed on the poor eagle’s head!



And then pecks at it!



A second bird took to the chase and this one, I’m pretty sure, is a Downy or Hairy Woodpecker.



That poor eagle!  It swooped.  It dove.  It did every move it could to shake the pesky, determined pair.



This is the last shot I caught, before the three of them went around the corner and out of sight.  I’m sure that eagle ended up with quite a headache!


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9. The Little Loon Chick Update

I only kayaked out to to see the loon chick three times in two weeks.  This was on purpose, because I didn’t want to disturb the family too many times.  But I DID want to check on them to see how the chick was doing, since we hadn’t had a chick in two years.


I have an advantage with my 500mm lens.  Since I can be further away and still get great photos, the adults aren’t forced or frightened into hiding the chick from my watchful gaze. I was able to witness the parents bring tiny minnows to their little one, dunking the fish several times until the chick took notice and accepted it.


One adult always stayed close by, even when they made quick dives for more food. If they resurfaced more than a few feet from the chick, they’d hoot softly until their little one was close by again.


My very favorite moments, the ones that brought tears to my eyes, were when the chick climbed up on the back of an adult and hid under a wing.   One time, I didn’t even know the chick was there, until the second adult surfaced nearby and softly hooted, coaxing it out.


I’m so sad to report, that sometime between my Wednesday night visit (last week) and my Sunday visit, the chick disappeared.


The adult loons were still diving together, hooting softly to each other.  But the distances they traveled between dives told me there was no chick in tow.

One of the adults seemed to hang out quite a bit by the original nesting site. Perhaps they will re-nest, but in my experience, it’s late in the season, as the chicks need a lot of time to grow and to learn to fly.


I feel very fortunate to have witnessed this chick’s short, but adorable life. I learned a lot about the interactions between chicks and adult loons. I also grew attached. Very attached. I wish I could have documented this chick through several weeks, until it flew to the coast for the winter months. But alas, it’s not meant to be.

I can always hope for next year.



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10. Loon Chick!

For the last two years, the loons on our lake have lost their eggs after sitting on them for weeks.  This year, they picked an amazing nesting spot, in the shadows and under a fallen branch.


I’ve had my fingers crossed for weeks now!  Four to be exact.  And this weekend I got to witness the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.  A loon chick!



One of my lake neighbors told me the loons were off the nest, and had one chick in tow.  I  think I was afraid to believe it until I saw it with my own eyes.




Now I’m crossing my fingers again for this little one to grow up.  Chicks can be prey to pike, snapping turtles, foxes and eagles.




This pair was very protective, as they should be.  Whenever a boater came too close, they called out loud and long.  They do the same when the eagle flies overhead, too.  Giving them plenty of room, ensures they won’t panic and swim too far from their little one, leaving it unprotected.

The adult loons have only twelve weeks to teach the chicks all they know, before heading to the coast ahead of their little ones.   Chicks from the surrounding area will gather together before following a few weeks later.


The chicks  blackish-brownish coloring really make them blend into the colors of the water. Boaters should take caution on the lakes, giving loons a wide berth in case they have a chick in tow.

I have tons more photos to go through, I’ll post some more very soon! I’m hopeful my shots of them feeding are crisp and clear enough to catch the chick gobbling tiny fish.

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11. A Visit To Lake Region Book Club

Lake Region Book  Club (1)

Paula Boyce and I

Back on June 3rd, I visited Lake Region’s After School book club. Paula had contacted me to say they’d just finished reading Mystery of Pine Lake, and could I share the inspiration behind the series?

Could I?  It’s my favorite presentation to give!

The students were so excited to see my loon and eagle photos.  But I was more excited to hear their wildlife stories . . . the foxes, loons and eagles they’d seen. We all had great connections and stories to tell.  The time flew by so quickly!!

Lake Region Book  Club (2)

I signed all their hardcover books . . . as we nibbled on a special s’more trail mix made with a graham cracker cereal, chocolate chips, and mini-marshmallows. It was quite yummy!  I’ll have to remember that recipe for our Sunday Morning Storytime at the campground. I’m sure Maxwell Moose would love it.

Lake Region Book  Club (3)

I forgot to ask how many books they read in a year, but I do know they finished the graphic novel “Lies In the Dust” before starting Pine Lake.   Paula had heard about it through Shannon and I, as we taught it in our classroom.

Lake Region Book  Club (4)


Lake Region Book  Club (5)


Lake Region Book  Club (6)

One of the readers mentioned how Mystery of Pine Lake  was outside they’re normal reading comfort zone.  “I was a little worried when we started it.. But I really, really enjoyed it!”   That praise, and the student’s honesty, filled my heart.

Lake Region Book  Club (7) Lake Region Book  Club (8)

I shared my writing process with them too, mentioning how Book 3, Mystery of the Missing Fox, was with my editor at that very moment and I was waiting for my editorial notes.  “You still have to make changes and stuff? Even though it’s your third one?”

“Oh yes, yes I do.” I replied.  “It always takes a ton of rewrites to make a story better.”

He nodded solemnly, nibbling on the s’more trail mix. I swear I saw wheels turning in his head.


Lake Region Book  Club (9) Lake Region Book  Club (10) Lake Region Book  Club (11)

Many in the group were writers themselves, and I was able to hear about their current projects.  I really enjoyed spending time with this group of readers!

Lake Region Book  Club (12)

Thanks for having me Lake Region!

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12. The Eagles Have Been Busy

The adult eagles are on and off the nest, bringing food to their two eaglets.  They’re never very far away, keeping watch, keeping their little ones safe.


Look at the difference in the talons in these next two pictures. Aren’t they amazing?


So how do they manage to keep from harming their own chicks.  By curling them, when they walk on the nest themselves.


Feeding the eaglets is a full time job right now!


Every time I go lakeside, I can hear them crying for attention.


I bet the poor parents are tired!

The view from the back side of the nest isn’t as clear as from the front.


Especially since the eagles have done some rearranging and seem to be moving large sticks to that side as the eaglets get bigger.



Even after all these years, I still manage to record a new-to-me behavior!  They’re amazing creatures!  Graceful in flight. Great parents. Strong builders.

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I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to study them year round, and to use that research in Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest, as well as sharing my nature adventures with campers and readers all over New England.


I can’t wait to see what eagle adventures I witness this coming summer!

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13. 2015 Nesting Loons

Today, after teaching, and after starting a large order for the campground store, I grabbed my camera and headed to the lake.  No sooner had I pushed off shore, I spied a loon fishing halfway across the lake.

I drifted toward it, as I fiddled with my camera to get just the right settings for a slightly cloudy, slightly sunny day.  Suddenly, it popped up beside the kayak.


It stretched, and dove and stretched again.




And I must say, this is how I feel to finally feel the sun on my shoulders and the warm breezes on my face.



It took quite awhile, but I spied the nest, too.  Our loons have chosen a new nesting spot, and I must admit to being a bit relieved.


They haven’t had chicks in two years, and my fingers are crossed that this new nesting site will be a good one for them.

Only time will tell.

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14. Fox Kit Research

The manuscript for Mystery of the Missing Fox might be in my editors hands for review, bu that doesn’t mean the research stops.  Especially when it involves fox kits.

There are five in all, from what I can tell.  I sit in the woods, 100 feet from the den.  And at first, they stare at me, trying to figure if I’m friend or foe.


When I don’t move closer or make any noise, they relax a bit.  But they always know exactly where I am.


Once they feel safe again, the research and fun starts, and I raise my camera.

At first, the kits approach their brothers and sisters very innocently.


They might even give a friendly hey-you-sleeping tap of the paw.


And the next thing you know, they’re nibbling each others ears!  Or feet. Or tail.




They roll around on the ground, no noise, no squeaks or growls that I can hear.  Which is good, since their mother isn’t in the area to protect them from predators.  (She was either out hunting, or watching me, watch her kits)




Just when one kit seems to be getting the best of their sibling, a third comes to the rescue!




When the play has wound down, the kits curl up together. No hard feelings on either side. That’s my cue to go.


I hope the best for this year’s litter.

Stay safe little ones.


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15. Hummingbird Obsession

Photographing Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds has become a bit of an obsession.  I sit on the front lawn by my honeysuckle bush for an hour here, and an hour there, hoping for the chance to snap a photo or two.

But they’re so darn quick!

At first I could only get photos of them sitting on a branch.



But then I graduated to some flight photos.  They still aren’t as clear as I’d like, but I’m hoping to learn as I go.


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Did you know these delicate creatures weigh less than a penny??

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Their hearts beat 600+ times per minute!  The normal beat for an average bird is 200!  For a human it’s 72.

And they need to feed every ten minutes or so to keep their energy level stabilized.

The way they feed, is by licking nectar three times per second. Try that with your next ice cream cone!


They’re fascinating in so many ways!


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16. Eaglet Update



I thought you might want an eaglet update.  They’re growing very quickly!


And holler?  Oh my, can they holler when they’re hungry!


The eagle parents are sticking closely to the nest these days. For some reason, the geese make them crazy; flapping their wings, throwing their heads back and giving the danger call until the geese move out of the area.


When the adult eagles move from side to side in the nest, the eaglets pull themselves across the nest after them, by using their wings and beak.

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These two little ones are big and strong. We’re going to have fun watching them grow this summer!

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17. Contest Winners!

Sorry it took so long to post the winners, but the campground store was hopping busy today!  After the long, long winter, it felt awesome to have so many campers and readers in the building.

First, I’d like to say how much I loved reading all the camping memories you posted.  Each one was unique and from the heart. Thank you for posting and playing.

I took all the names, wrote them on scraps of paper and tucked them randomly into the pockets of my coat. It doesn’t have as many pockets as Packrat’s, but there were eight to choose from.


Then I waited for just the right contest pickers to come into the office. Eventually, two young men arrived, one of them telling me how much he loved both my books, and how he’d bought one yesterday. “You did?” I exclaimed.  “I can sign it for you, if you do me a favor.”  I winked at him.

“Sure!” he said.

I explained the rules of the contest, and what I’d done with the names.  “I need you each to chose one,” I said.


The first young man chose a pocket from the right side of my  coat.



The second young man, chose one from the left side.




Linda Gray and Kim Campbell, you’ve each one a set of Cooper and Packrat books!  I’ll need to get your addresses to mail them. My e-mail address is on the contact page.


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18. COOPER AND PACKRAT~ Teacher & Librarian Appreciation Giveaway!

So very many reasons to celebrate this week ~

First off, it’s Teacher Appreciation week!    I’ve met many amazing educators the last few years.  I’m blessed to work in RSU16, a district in which the staff is not only knowledgeable, but welcoming and inspiring, too.  They’re cheerleaders in and out of the brick and mortar buildings we work in. As a teacher, and a parent, I’ve seen first-hand how they go above and beyond to make sure students get the education, time and attention they need.

I’ve also been privileged to meet incredible teachers and librarians outside my district while promoting and teaching Cooper and Packrat.   They have so many creative ideas when it comes to teaching literacy, and I’ve learned so much through my visits to their schools and literacy events, from their tweets and Facebook posts.  Thank you all!

This also happens to be  Children’s Book Week; the annual celebration of children’s books and reading. I was a little surprised to see Children’s Book Week was instituted in 1919, and is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. That’s 96 years, people! 96 years!!  BRAVO!

And, last but not least, my campground opened this week, too!

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We had a happy, energetic group of campers who raked our sites and roads in exchange for donuts and camping!  We couldn’t have had better weather for it, either. We’re off to a great start to the 2015 Season!!

For these reasons and more, I’ve decided it’s time for another Cooper and Packrat giveaway for teachers and librarians, in appreciation for all they do.

Cooper and Packrat cover MysteryoftheEaglesNestFinal

I have two sets of Cooper and Packrat, Books 1 and 2, to give away.  Teachers and librarians, all you have to do is leave your name, school and favorite summer memory from your childhood in the comments below by midnight, Friday, May 8th. If it’s a camping memory, your name will be entered twice! (Please don’t post on FB or Twitter, even though I’ll promote it there, as I’m afraid of missing someone’s entry)


And this Saturday, I’ll have my camp readers pull two names as winners.

Good luck!








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19. The Eagles Are Twitterpated!

Walk Dec 26  (32)

December 2014


March 2015

Can you see the diffference?  And today, there were even more branches on the nest!  Ice fisherman told me the eagles had added to it all morning long.

The eagles are getting ready to lay their eggs!

I’ve snowshoed down every day, hoping to see the tell-tale sign, of one eagle, nestled in the nest.  When she does, we’ll only see the very top of her white head. Last year, she was sitting on eggs March 8th.

Until then, the eagles continue to visit the nest and add to it.

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20. Where Have I Been? Here, There and Everywhere!

I’ve been fortunate to visit a few schools full of readers and writers over the last couple months.  And every visit was so special!

In February, I was able to meet Librarian Lynn Howker and the 4th, 5th and 6th grade students of Monmouth Middle School.

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We talked about descriptive language, and how fun it can be to build a boring, short sentence into a long, interesting one.  And we practiced how to find those descriptive words with Packrat’s Pocket Game.

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One student wears a coat/vest like Packrat’s, and they choose one of the many pockets it holds. While they look away, I show their peers the item in the pocket.  The challenge is for the peers to describe the item without staying its name, and for the student to guess what it is. It’s harder than it sounds!

Monmouth 2

Monmouth 1

On March 4th, I Skyped with two third grade classes in Buxton for World Read Aloud Day.

Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest was the book they chose.  One classroom asked for Chapter 1, as they were just about to start it.  The other had finished, and asked me to pick a favorite.  So of course, I had to choose a bathroom scene.  Afterward, I answered questions from the students. Always my favorite part!  And what fabulous questions they had!  I especially liked showing them the campground office, through my laptop, from my house office window.

I wish I had a photos, but alas, it’s hard to read, Skype and take a pic too.

Just last week, I visited with the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders from Mast Landing in Freeport.

Mast Landing School (4)

Mast Landing has such a pretty, two story library.  I could have spent a whole afternoon, lost in the stacks.

Mast Landing School (2) Mast Landing School (3)

My presentations were held under great art, of Maine treasures.

Mast Landing School (1)

It was such a special treat to have lunch with the Library Pages, a group of volunteer students who give their free time to help with the numerous Library tasks. They asked wonderful questions about writing, reading and what it felt like to be on the Maine Student Book Award list.

And there was ice cream!

Thank you to all the schools I’ve visited!  I hope you’re enjoying Cooper and Packrat’s adventures!


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21. Nesting Eagles 2015


Somewhere around March 24th, the eagle pair settled in on their eggs.


Look at that smile!

Each egg was laid three days apart and thirty-five days from then, chicks will be born.  Both adults take turns sitting on the nest, and they’ll turn the eggs approximately every two hours.

After the eggs are laid and the eagles start their long sit-in, or as I like to call it, a snuggle-in, I will always see one on the nest. They won’t leave those eggs alone. They’ll keep them warm and dry and safe to predators in the air, such as ravens. Or predators from down below, like raccoons.

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When I trudge to the lake now, through the 6 inches of snow which lays over most of the campground, I can count on seeing the one on the beautiful nest they built.

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Eyes to the sky though, I’m looking for the mate not on the nest. And if I’m lucky, I’ll witness something amazing like this . . .

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One eagle bringing sticks to the nest, adding on to the castle, so to speak.

Or a juvenile, soaring overhead, but not daring to come near.

A hawk looking for its next meal.

But what I’m most anxious for, is eaglets.

It won’t be long now.


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22. Switching Places

Yesterday, the weather turned glorious! Warm breezes blew over the still frozen lake, as birds chirped from every corner of the forest.

I took a long walk along the shoreline, camera slung around my neck, ready to shoot.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

I was just in time to watch the eagles switch places sitting on the eggs.





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And this time, the departing eagle flew right over my head!

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Only two or three minutes passed before the eagle left on the nest hunkered down for their watch over the little ones.

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Lately, there’s been a pair of seagulls who soar high overhead the small patch of open water on the lake.  The eagles don’t like this, not at all!  The one on the nest will call out, and the mate flies in to help protect the family.

Such good parents!

April vacation arrives soon. And with it, my walks will increase.  My notes from 2014 tell me that the eaglets were born right around April 18th, so you can bet I’ll be down at the lake as often as I can!

And I’ll keep you posted too.


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23. First Loon Sighting for 2015


Yesterday, as I walked the red-blazed trail through the campground and along the shoreline of Lower Range Pond, I looked out over the water and gasped!

My loons were back!


The ice had only been out for a day!  Somehow, they always manage to time it perfectly.



The pair called back and forth, location calls.  My eyes got teary hearing them, I hadn’t realized just how much I’d missed it.


Whenever their call rings out, people stop what they’re doing to turn toward the sound.


Hopefully, we’ll have a successful nesting season this year, as the last two years did not yield chicks. ( If you click on the Random Loon Tag on the right of this post, you’ll find the blog posts describing why.)


I should be revising, channeling fox kits for book three, as the Mystery of the Missing Fox  is due to my editor next month.  But the sun has just poked its way through the clouds and I cannot resist going down to the lake to find these gorgeous birds and to hear their call again.

The manuscript will be there when I get back.

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24. A Walk on the Eastern Prom

Today, my husband and I walked from the Eastern Prom (ME), to the Old Port along a bike/walk path.  Casco Bay was on one side of us, the Narrow Gauge Railway on the other. The sun shone down, the birds were singing, kids rode bikes, joggers passed by and the seagulls called out.

It was a glorious day!

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Mockingbird singing a happy song from a low branch as people passed by.

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Sailing school is in session!

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The Narrow Gauge Railway had quite a few passengers.

My husband geo-cached, but I could hear the call of the osprey.  So I searched high and low. Finally, I found them. They were quite a ways away, but I had my camera on me.

Check out this nest!  All the rope mixed in with the sticks.

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The one on the nest was hollering like crazy, and I soon figured out why.  Another osprey wanted the nest.

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They dove and danced in the air.

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Until one of them claimed the platform for themselves.

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Even so, the osprey who’d been kicked out, circled overhead for quite awhile, crying out to anyone who would listen.


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Lucky for me, it was almost over my head

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It looked to me, like he still wasn’t too happy about it.

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25. Uninvited Guest

As I walked to the lake yesterday (without boots!) I could hear the unmistakeable cry of an eagle.  I hurried, hoping to see the adults switch places on the nest.  Or maybe get a glimpse of them bringing food back.


But when I got there, the nesting eagle was alone.  Every couple of minutes, it threw back its head to give the squeaky, danger-in-the-area call.

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I kept waiting for the mate to fly in, as they usually do, to holler in duet against the danger.  For twenty minutes, I waited, with one eye on the sky.


The eagle continued to cry, even though I couldn’t see what had upset it so. The loons weren’t in the area.  Nor crows or seagulls.  The osprey didn’t appear to be hunting either.


Suddenly, I heard the flapping of a large wingspan.  Looking straight up, I realized a juvenile eaglet had been over my head, hidden in the branches of a big pine the whole time!  It flew down the shoreline, only to circle around and come back again.


I never did get a good picture of the juvenile, as he soared over the trees I was standing under. I would have kept camera-hunting him, but the black clouds had arrived to let loose a steady stream of big, fat raindrops.


I still have no proof of the eggs hatching, but this eagle did seem to be sitting a little higher on the nest.  I’ll check again tomorrow to see what I can see!

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