What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Comments

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing Blog: RANDOM WRITING, Most Recent at Top
Results 1 - 25 of 655
Visit This Blog | Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
Blog Banner
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.
Statistics for RANDOM WRITING

Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 9
1. Maine To Kansas

At Whittier Middle School, I get to be a part of great things.  Recently, Mrs. Shanning’s class and I connected with Ms. Loy’s Kansas Classroom during a Skype visit.  We gave them all kinds of facts about Maine, as they were about to launch into Cooper and Packrat’s  Mystery on Pine Lake  adventure.

We sent some postcards and a calendar with Maine animals to help them connect to the story . . .

and our beautiful state.

 

IMG_0908

And this week, we’re connecting again!  Through www.edu.buncee.com, we’re making Virtual Valentine’s with a camping and nature theme!  Oh my goodness, they’re so much fun . . . I quickly became addicted.  You start with a background picture from their stock, or upload your own (I used my own photographs of the campground).  Then you add text, stickers, audio, and animation. Pretty cool!

Here are two of the Valentines we received from the class. Each student was assigned one of our students and vice versa.

iPhone Image E153C4

Check out the foxes!  And the tents!  Those campfires?  They flicker!  The hearts?  Float on the wind.

iPhone Image E153D5

Technology in education is amazing!  Our students have learned so much by connecting with the students in Kansas .  . . their small world is growing leaps and bounds!

Add a Comment
2. First Fox Sighting in 2016

I collected the SD cards from the trail cameras this past weekend.  I had my fingers crossed the whole way down and back, hoping for some fox footage.

And I got lucky.  There was only one video  and this is it . .. .

 

Add a Comment
3. Snowman and Friends Bloopers

I had a chuckle today, when this nuthatch showed up at the Snowman’s photo shoot.

IMG_5857

I thought he’d be great addition to the Snowman’s friends.  But, alas, he pecked on the poor guy’s head.

IMG_5861

He stomped his feet, kinda like, “Hellooooo?  Anybody in there?”

IMG_5864

Then he eyed Snowman’s little friend.

IMG_5863

Eventually, he saw the seed.

IMG_5866

But in his greediness, he slipped and fell!

IMG_5867

It scared him so much, he took to flight . . .

IMG_5868

and our poor friend, the snowman . . .

IMG_5869

just fell apart.

That nuthatch was NOT a very nice friend!

IMG_5870

Add a Comment
4. Snowman and Friends

 

 

 

Sometimes I like play in the snow, when I’m stuck in writing my manuscript.

It helps me think.

And this winter, I’ve taken to making little snowman friends for my bird friends.

IMG_5265

I think they get along famously.

IMG_5269 IMG_5274

The birds seem to like dinner anyway. Although they seem to think it’s take out.

IMG_5280

But they always come back to visit.

IMG_5529

And they bring new friends with them.

IMG_5613

IMG_5615

IMG_5602 IMG_5603

I’m sure I’ll be stuck more than once this winter.  It happens to all writers, especially in first drafts. Feeding the birds, watching and waiting for them to show up, is another way I clear my mind so I can think clearly and work out all the kinks and dead ends in my story.

But I have new friends to help me get unstuck now. This is going to be a fun winter with the camera!

Add a Comment
5. 2016 Eagle Nest Photos

Back on November 1st, I’d promised to keep you updated on our eagles as they got closer to nesting season.

Well, that time is here.

Yesterday, I donned my snowshoes to trek to the lake. The very first thing I do, is take a picture of the nest to compare.

Here’s the nest last April.  The nesting eagle had been quite upset at a juvenile eagle who’d been flying around the lake that day.

IMG_1452

IMG_1413

Here is what I saw yesterday . . .

IMG_5484

They’ve been adding a stick here and a branch there.

IMG_5485

Every year I worry about the weight.  The wildlife biologist who’d come to band the eagles a few years ago had said it weighed approximately 700 to 800 pounds!  Can you imagine!?

I saw no sign of the eagles that day, but they’ve been here.  These pictures prove it.

I’m looking forward to documenting our nesting pair this year!  To give you a timeline, they were sitting on eggs March 24th last year. I happened to be at the lake during one of their mating attempts a few weeks before that. And the eaglets were born a week before we opened the campground May 1st.  We still have a few weeks to go!

But it’s worth the wait.

IMG_5489

Add a Comment
6. Gorgeous Cardinals

And here are the cardinal pictures I’d taken at Cindy’s house during the writing retreat. You should have seen me! Sitting *under* a high top table, camera sticking out a slightly open window, while Mona and Cynthia typed away (Cindy directly over me!)

But you see, Wildlife photography is a big part of my writing process. Not only does it give  me the hands-on research I need in the manuscript, but when I get stuck, really stuck, sitting quietly with the camera in the woods or in this case, under a table!) is a way to move away from the words, quiet my mind, and to really listen to what my main character has to say.

IMG_5326 IMG_5327 IMG_5331 IMG_5351 IMG_5352 IMG_5369 IMG_5372

Add a Comment
7. Snowy Owl Photos

So imagine this – it’s a gray, gray Saturday. But I’m lucky enough to be sitting inside a warm, sunshiny colored room, writing away with friends, Cindy and Mona. Around three o’clock, we all sat back and commented on what a great session it was. I personally added about 2300 words to my first draft!  I was satisfied.  I’d done what I’d come to do, gaining momentum on the first draft of a new story . .. . aaaaand gotten some face-to-face time with two of my favorite writers.

Noticing that I’d brought my camera with the big lens with me (I never go anywhere without it), Cindy asked if I wanted to go find the Snowy Owl.

“Nah,” I replied, looking out the window.  “It’s gray. It’s spitting rain. I’m not experienced enough to have had much luck with gray day photography -”

“Let’s go,” Mona said, jumping up. “I love gray day photography!”   Her enthusiasm is always so catchy!  The next thing I know, we’re all piling in the car and driving to the spot where Cindy and her daughter had spied the beautiful raptor a couple weeks before.

Now, I have a confession to make.  Whenever I encounter wildlife, or a beautiful setting unexpectedly, I get teary.  The first time I saw triplet eaglets . . . my first loon chick . .. fox kits . . . a gorgeous full moon rising up through a purple sunset sky . . . .

Very geeky of me, I know, but I do.

This time was no exception. As we neared the location, Mona gasped and said, “Look!”

My eyes filled, to see this magnificent creature fluffing up and preening at the top of a light post.

IMG_5390

We slowly and quietly got out of the car and the Snowy Owl glanced our way with it’s yellow eyes.

IMG_5391a

Another photographer came to introduce himself to us and told us how he’d come and found this Snowy Owl perched in the middle of the field. Right before we’d arrived, it had flown toward him to perch on the light post in the middle of the parking lot.

I’d like to think it knew we were coming.  Okay, that’s impossible, I know.  But the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We spent close to an hour standing there, ooohing and aaaahing. I snapped photo after photo, hoping I’d be able to capture it’s beauty.

IMG_5436 IMG_5468 IMG_5422 IMG_5399

I’m so glad I have friends who are willing to push me to try . . . not letting me listen to my own doubts. This Snowy Owl was a wonder to behold.

And as it turns out, I did get some pretty good photos. Gray day and all.

Add a Comment
8. Bear Research for Cooper’s 4th Adventure

Last October, before the Gray Wildlife Park could close, I called and arranged for a Photographer’s Pass.  This, they assured me, would allow me behind the scenes to see the black bears, up close and personal.

I wasn’t exactly prepared for how “up close and personal” it was!

And I was thrilled!

IMG_3202

Red sniffing a piece of apple, one of his favorite treats

The Black Bears have an amazing habitat, where viewers stand up high to look down on them as they wander, sleep, or even take a swim. The bears, in fact all the animals at the park, were injured or were raised to be human dependent and can no longer be released back into the wild. Instead, the game wardens care for them, and in return, the animals help to educate the public on wildlife awareness and conservation.

IMG_3229

When the apples are gone, he licks the hand of Jade.

By getting the behind the scenes pass, I hoped I’d really be able to see them, hear their footsteps and their snuffling . . . .

. . . or watch them try to open a gate, hoping for one more piece of apple!

IMG_3204

Look at the size of that paw!

Jade was a fabulous guide, listening to my reasons for being in the park, letting me ask questions and even helping me brainstorm a scene in Book 4!   Below, she’s trying to get Red to stand up, so I could “feel” the sheer size of him.

IMG_3213

Here are Red (Left) and Susie (Right) together. They are both Black Bears, although Red’s fur does have a reddish tint to it. (Hence his name!)

IMG_3216

Some might mistake him for a grizzly because of that tint to his fur, but Black Bears have a white muzzle. Which gives him away.

IMG_3387

Both bears were “bulked up”, having gained weight for their hibernation. I’m looking forward to seeing them in the Spring when they wake up.  I think a season pass might be in order this summer!

Add a Comment
9. Pileated Woodpecker

Today, I found this Pileated Woodpecker flitting from tree to tree, looking for the carpenter ants it loves.

Watch closely to see how it flicks its tongue to snap up those ants.

Add a Comment
10. Book Review

12319682_10153824040118417_1788957220_n

I love lakes too, dear Jonathan!

(reprinted with permission)

Add a Comment
11. Calendars, Notebooks, and Note Cards

I will be selling my wildlife calendars and notebooks through the Holiday Season for as long as supplies last.

In the past, I’ve used them for hostess and teacher gifts.  I’ve given the notebooks to kids with Storycubes or a writing prompt book.  Here are some pictures of the items I test printed.

IMG_4402

Notebooks with line pages $15.00

 

IMG_4407

IMG_4399

Desk Calendars 8″ x 3″ $12.00

IMG_4395

Wall Calendars 8×5″ x 11″ $17.00

IMG_4396

The photos in both style calendars are as follows:

IMG_0414

January

IMG_1515

February

IMG_3385

March

IMG_3540

April

IMG_2033

May

IMG_7710

June

IMG_2526a

July

IMG_4195

August

IMG_3282

September

IMG_1482

October

IMG_1694b

November

red feeder take2 (41)

December

I’m also ordering 5.5″ x 4″  notecards, blank inside, with the bear, hummingbird, fox, eagle, and loon with chick, photos.  The price for 10 (2 of each image) will be $15.00.  Envelopes included.

 

For shipping, add $3.50.

To place an order:

  1. Leave the Item(s), and number ordering in the comments below with your name only.
  2. Tally your total due, remember to include shipping.  For more than 5 items shipping may be more.
  3. I will reply to your comment when I’ve received payment and mailed your items, so you can expect delivery. Let me know if  you have any questions. And thank you for your orders!

 

 

Add a Comment
12. Eagle, Wings Open Wide

I almost left this as a wordless post – and let the pictures do the talking . . .

But this author doesn’t always know how to “do” wordless, loving instead to give the background on what I’ve witnessed ‘in the field’.

While kayaking last August, I saw in the distance an eagle on the edge of the lake, in the shadows. It appeared to be bathing. The splashing water is actually what caught my attention at first. Well, that, and an eaglet up above on a branch hollering down to it, probably looking for its next meal.

Bathing pictures are on my bucket list, so I slowly paddled forward, hoping to get close enough, but alas, it took to the air.

In my direction.

IMG_2273 IMG_2274 IMG_2275 IMG_2279 IMG_2280 IMG_2281 IMG_2283 IMG_2284 IMG_2285 IMG_2292

Landing on a branch, almost directly above my head, it spread its wings, and left them there! In the back of my mind, I realized I’d read about this while doing research for Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest, but it was a first for me to see it.

IMG_2317

I sat in my kayak, watching this photographic eagle for forty minutes!  Mostly, it stayed in that one pose. Eventually though, it began to preen . . . .

IMG_2331

IMG_2355 IMG_2358

IMG_2353

Before hanging its wings again.

IMG_2382

They’re so regal looking, aren’t they?

IMG_2435

Right now, in October, November, the eagle pair do still hang around the lake. Just last week, I wandered to the shoreline for sunrise photos, to find them adding branches to their nest!

IMG_2437

They will come and go for the next couple months, with me not seeing them for weeks at a time. But when I do, I’ll post photos here and on Facebook. In mid-January, I usually have to don my snowshoes to get to the edge of the lake to see them. In March, the pair stay closer together, near the nest, and I see them every time I trek down. If I’m lucky, I’ll even witness  them mating, which is  a sure sign we’ll be having chicks.

In April, we typically find one eagle sitting down in the nest, with just the tip of her white head showing. This means they’re on the eggs for the next 35 days.

During the very last week of April or first week of May, my campers and I point our cameras toward the nest, hoping for a sign of little gray chick heads bobbing up and down. They aren’t able to hold up their heads until they’re about two weeks old.  At this stage we’re looking to snap pictures of two or possibly even three, gray heads up all at the same time as proof of how many chicks we’ll be following that summer.

Click on the Eagle tag on the right, and you’ll see previous years posts showing their nesting.

Come back often this winter and I’ll keep you posted on this years chicks! I love sharing my findings with all of you.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.

 

Add a Comment
13. Missing Fox Cover Reveal

And now I present the cover for Mystery of the Missing Fox!

MysteryoftheMissingFoxWeb

Carl DiRocco has gone and done it again. This cover is absolutely perfect.

Here’s a blurb by Islandport ~

“The stakes have never been higher for Cooper Wilder. When an accident puts Cooper’s dad in the hospital, Cooper must shoulder some new responsibilities. But he’s distracted. First, he and his friends find a fox caught in an illegal trap on the campground’s land. Then kits start to go missing from the fox den. Who would want to catch foxes? And why? Cooper, Packrat, and Roy must protect the den, find the kits, and rule out Summer, the new girl who lives across the lake, as a suspect. Juggling new campground duties, feeling guilty over his father’s accident, and desperate to help the fox kits, Cooper must make some tough decisions about who–and what–should come first.”

Add a Comment
14. Literacy Breakfast at Albert S. Hall School in Waterville

Last Friday, I was honored to be the guest author at Albert S. Hall School’s Literacy Breakfast in Waterville, Maine.  My talk – the inspiration behind the series.  My hope –  that students would learn they could find inspiration too, just outside their front doors.

When I arrived at 7am, I was eager to meet Jen Allen, my contact for the event. We’d been chatting back and forth for months, in anticipation of my visit. She introduced me to Anne Smith, Librarian and Barbara Jordan, Principal.  I wish I’d thought to get a photo of the three of us, because I truly enjoyed meeting them.

As I entered the cafeteria to set up for my talk, this amazing collage greeted me

12171579_10205253455631617_1996028537_o

IMG_3189b

Each piece was created by the students with die-cut shapes as their base

IMG_3171

Packrat and his coat of many pockets

IMG_3172

Bathroom cleaning plays a big part in Mystery of Pine Lake

IMG_3173a

The dump truck doing the trash run. Love the trash bags!

IMG_3173b

Loons, eggs and Ant Island! :)

Look at all the little details! A lot of thought went into this!  And I couldn’t stop bragging about it all weekend long.

I wish I’d taken a photo of the food table, too.  If I hadn’t of had butterflies in my belly over having to talk to fifty families, I would have filled a plate myself.

Families slowly wandered in as I set up, and before I knew it the cafeteria was full and Barbara was introducing me.

IMG_3180

I showed photos of loons and foxes for books 1 and 3, but I was especially excited to show the inspiration behind Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest; our nesting eagles, geocaching, the Grafton Notch box canyon and my campground, too.

IMG_3183 IMG_3175

Because all fifty families who attended, received a free  hardcover copy along with a literacy folder that held among other things, a beautiful, empty writing journal.

IMG_3184

I was a little envious of that writing journal, truth be told.

Once I finished speaking, I was ushered in the “back door” to the library, to find a a line of students waiting for me to sign their books. Meeting each one individually, really warmed my heart.

006 IMG_3188 IMG_3187  IMG_3185

As I drove back to Whittier Middle School, to my own students, I reflected on the many positive interactions I’d had in my short hour and a half there. Above them all, was one I felt illustrated exactly what Jen, Barbara, Anne and the rest of the staff at Albert S. Hall School had worked so hard to accomplish.

I’d just finished signing the book of a 4th grade boy, when he looked down at it as if he didn’t quite know what to do next. Turning to another student, he asked, “Can I take it home?”
His friend said,  “Yeah. It’s yours.”
“It is?” he gazed down at it in wonder.
“Uh-huh.”
He smiled, turning that book over and over his hands. I don’t think I’ll ever forget his look.

Albert S. Hall School, you’re creating book lovers, one book at a time. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of that.

Add a Comment
15. Literacy Breakfast at Albert S. Hall School in Waterville

Last Friday, I was honored to be the guest author at Albert S. Hall School’s Literacy Breakfast in Waterville, Maine.  My talk – the inspiration behind the series.  My hope –  that students would learn they could find inspiration too, just outside their front doors.

When I arrived at 7am, I was eager to meet Jen Allen, my contact for the event. We’d been chatting back and forth for months, in anticipation of my visit. She introduced me to Anne Smith, Librarian and Barbara Jordan, Principal.  I wish I’d thought to get a photo of the three of us, because I truly enjoyed meeting them.

As I entered the cafeteria to set up for my talk, this amazing collage greeted me

12171579_10205253455631617_1996028537_o

IMG_3189b

Each piece was created by the students with die-cut shapes as their base

IMG_3171

Packrat and his coat of many pockets

IMG_3172

Bathroom cleaning plays a big part in Mystery of Pine Lake

IMG_3173a

The dump truck doing the trash run. Love the trash bags!

IMG_3173b

Loons, eggs and Ant Island! :)

Look at all the little details! A lot of thought went into this!  And I couldn’t stop bragging about it all weekend long.

I wish I’d taken a photo of the food table, too.  If I hadn’t of had butterflies in my belly over having to talk to fifty families, I would have filled a plate myself.

Families slowly wandered in as I set up, and before I knew it the cafeteria was full and Barbara was introducing me.

IMG_3180

I showed photos of loons and foxes for books 1 and 3, but I was especially excited to show the inspiration behind Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest; our nesting eagles, geocaching, the Grafton Notch box canyon and my campground, too.

IMG_3183 IMG_3175

Because all fifty families who attended, received a free  hardcover copy along with a literacy folder that held among other things, a beautiful, empty writing journal.

IMG_3184

I was a little envious of that writing journal, truth be told.

Once I finished speaking, I was ushered in the “back door” to the library, to find a a line of students waiting for me to sign their books. Meeting each one individually, really warmed my heart.

006 IMG_3188 IMG_3187  IMG_3185

As I drove back to Whittier Middle School, to my own students, I reflected on the many positive interactions I’d had in my short hour and a half there. Above them all, was one I felt illustrated exactly what Jen, Barbara, Anne and the rest of the staff at Albert S. Hall School had worked so hard to accomplish.

I’d just finished signing the book of a 4th grade boy, when he looked down at it as if he didn’t quite know what to do next. Turning to another student, he asked, “Can I take it home?”
His friend said,  “Yeah. It’s yours.”
“It is?” he gazed down at it in wonder.
“Uh-huh.”
He smiled, turning that book over and over his hands. I don’t think I’ll ever forget his look.

Albert S. Hall School, you’re creating book lovers, one book at a time. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of that.

Add a Comment
16. 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.

IMG_3157

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.

IMG_3158

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.

IMG_3159

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.

IMG_3160

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 .  . .

20150920_080309

In the rain, of course.

20150920_065450

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.

 

 

 

Add a Comment
17. 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.

IMG_3157

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.

IMG_3158

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.

IMG_3159

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.

IMG_3160

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 .  . .

20150920_080309

In the rain, of course.

20150920_065450

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.

 

 

 

Add a Comment
18. 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.

12028955_10207740882790997_1740070551_n

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

12007036_10207740883671019_2140488855_n

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

12048478_10207740885871074_1164793914_n

And Shannon too . . .

11998147_10207742096421337_2036612_n

And the students gave a drum roll . ..

12025478_10207742096781346_2120247489_n

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

12007291_10207740886871099_145815788_n

She unfolded it . . .

Aaaaaaand .  . .

The winner is . . . .

12026633_10207742098781396_290890877_n

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!!

 

Add a Comment
19. 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

Add a Comment
20. 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.

IMG_0067

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

IMG_0068

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

IMG_0069

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

IMG_0070

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

IMG_0071

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

IMG_0075 IMG_0077 IMG_0078 IMG_0079

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

IMG_0080 IMG_0081

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

IMG_0085

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

Add a Comment
21. 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!!

Add a Comment
22. Hummingbird Fever

IMG_3746

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

IMG_3772

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.

IMG_3789

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

IMG_3824 IMG_3830

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.

IMG_3840

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

Add a Comment
23. 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.

Add a Comment
24. 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.

12028955_10207740882790997_1740070551_n

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

12007036_10207740883671019_2140488855_n

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

12048478_10207740885871074_1164793914_n

And Shannon too . . .

11998147_10207742096421337_2036612_n

And the students gave a drum roll . ..

12025478_10207742096781346_2120247489_n

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

12007291_10207740886871099_145815788_n

She unfolded it . . .

Aaaaaaand .  . .

The winner is . . . .

12026633_10207742098781396_290890877_n

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!!

 

Add a Comment
25. 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.

Edited to make one little change:  The students in Shannon Shanning’s and my classroom, are very intrigued and excited by the paperback edition of Mystery on Pine Lake.  So I’ve asked them to take part in this Giveaway by pulling the winning name for this contest!  Look for a blog post tomorrow, highlighting the winner!

Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts