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 665
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. If She Hollers, He Will Come

IMG_9665

Just a couple days ago, I was lakeside, when suddenly, the female eagle cried out several times.  I looked up, down, and all around, but I couldn’t see anything more than a lone goose, swimming along in front of their island.

Then she stopped and looked up expectantly.

IMG_9667

And I saw him, in the distance. He circled and circled and circled the nest, eventually coming in for a landing.

IMG_9673 IMG_9674 IMG_9726

He stood watch while she ate and cared for the eaglets.

IMG_9752

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating . . . eagles are great parents!

Add a Comment
2. And The Winner Is . . .

Today was the day Mrs. Shanning and I had set aside for our students to vote.

Not for their favorite ice cream.

Not even for Class President!

But for something waaaaay more important . . .

to choose the winners of the Cooper and Packrat Book Trailer Contest!

Mrs. Shanning and I went over the expectations first, reminding our students of their own book trailer projects  and keynote presentations; the work, thoughtful creativity and time that goes into getting just the right images and messages across, without having too long a video.

And of course, it had to be original and fun!

Then we reviewed the rules about copyrighted material, making sure to ask permission if need be, listing sources, and making sure the entries had the author, illustrator and publisher’s name within them.

13007274_10209325515832723_1048035830196933585_n

Then we watched.

12961250_10209325514872699_5918647668881757847_o

Discussed.

12322925_10209325514472689_8685920956066103206_o

And watched again.

12993406_10209325516432738_4327743818407915942_n

Our students then voted. And I must say, many of them said it was a very, very hard decision. Each and every entry was amazing in its own way. Having made book trailers themselves, they knew the hard work and thoughtfulness that went into them.  Bravo!!!

Now . . .

 

Without further ado . ..

 

Here are our winners!

 

Drum Roll Please!!

 

 

 

Third Place -(There was a tie!)

Mrs. Richard’s Group 2 and Group 3

4th grade students at Rumford Elementary School

Rumford, Maine

3rd Prize: A wildlife calendar signed by the author (to each group)

 

 

Second Place

Mrs. Richard’s Group 1

4th grade students at Rumford Elementary School

Rumford, Maine.

2nd Prize: 1 copy of Mystery of the Missing Fox
and a wildlife calendar signed by the author

 

 

First Place

Mrs. Graffam’s 4th grade class

Hebron Station School, Hebron, Maine

1st Prize: A classroom set (15 copies) of Mystery of the Missing Fox
and a wildlife calendar signed by the author

 

Congratulations to all the winners from me, Mrs. Shanning, and our 7th and 8th grade students!

Now excuse me, as I go back to watch them all again!

 

Add a Comment
3. Backyard Fox Sighting

I was staring out my back window, sipping coffee, when an adult fox wandered through our campground maintenance area.  I set my coffee cup down so hard, liquid sloshed over the sides onto the table.

“Quick! I need my camera! Where’d I put it?” I cried, running from the campground desk to my writing closet and back again.

“I didn’t have it last,” my husband teased. He never has it, actually.

Eventually I found the camera, and sighed with relief to find the fox still there. Which in itself was a little surprising, because we don’t see them often and when we do, they’re passing through.

Turns out, this one was doing more than passing through.

IMG_9341

IMG_9343

It was collecting a cache.  Stored food – hidden days, weeks or even months before.

I slowly, slowly, slowly, opened my window, which was three stories up from the fox’s location.   It looked up, but when I stilled, it went right back to searching.

IMG_9414

 

IMG_9359

Eventually, it found its prize and pulled it from the earth.

IMG_9361 IMG_9376 IMG_9378

Then chomped on it for awhile.

IMG_9385 IMG_9398

I took photo after photo after photo!  It was gorgeous. And a learning experience for me.   I’d written about foxes and their caches in Mystery of the Missing Fox, but had never seen it first-hand.

More importantly, I believe its being so close to the house, is that perhaps the kits have been born.  My trail camera should show me in mid-April, when the first kit emerges from the den into the sunlight.

IMG_9402

Once the cache was eaten, this adult didn’t stay long.

IMG_9417

It continued on its way, back toward the den.

I’m so glad I saw it, when I did.

IMG_9422

Add a Comment
4. Nesting Eagles during Wind Storm

Our eagles seem to be doing well, in spite of the 50+ mph winds taking place today.

I sure hope she doesn’t get sea sick up there!

Add a Comment
5. Hebron Station School Visit

On Monday, I visited Hebron Station School, and as I walked in the front doors, I was met by this wall mural . . . and I knew I was in the right place.

Honestly, don’t you just want to live here?

20160314_083916

Cindy Petherbridge, the District Elementary Librarian, met me and we set up my equipment for my talk with K through  6th grade. Having a little time to spare, she asked if I’d like to see the library. I think I may have done a little happy dance. I just LOVE peeking into libraries.

And it just so happens I love turtles, too!  Isn’t this one adorable?!!  Cindy said it was made by a local artist for their school.

I want one.

20160314_083851

As the Hebron Station students ate their breakfast, I talked to them about the inspiration behind Cooper and Packrat’s adventures.  We talked about camping, hiking, kayaking and how my photography is my research tool.

20160314_090044

We talked about the behavior I’ve seen first hand ~ of loons, eagles, foxes, turtles and the subject of Cooper’s fourth adventure – bears.

20160314_091136_001

They were an amazing audience with great connections and questions.  The ooooohed and aaaaahed at all the right moments.  I had so much fun answering their questions.

After my presentation, we talked to 4th, 5th and 6th graders about Cooper and Packrat’s  Book Trailer Contest (open to all teachers and librarians, BTW)  You can find out more about it here.  

As I was packing up my equipment, students wandered over to talk to me about the contest. I reminded each one, they had my permission to use any and all photos on my website for this project.  Some students talked to me about their own photographs, which would be even better!  What amazing ideas they shared!

Over the next few days, Cindy and her colleagues will use this opportunity to put together a Book Trailer Boot Camp to teach students about copyright issues and how to use copyright free images in their creative works.  Then the students will start brainstorming a plan . . . a script . . . and a book trailer.

I can’t wait to see what they create!

 

Add a Comment
6. Eagles On Eggs 2016

I think I may have witnessed our eagle laying an egg!!

The behavior was something I hadn’t seen before.  When I arrived, the female was sitting on the back edge of the nest facing me.

IMG_8802

As I watched, she turned.  Her body straightened. Then she cried out sharply, once, twice.

IMG_8840

She did this a couple of times.  I was too far away to see what might be happening, even with my camera. But I didn’t spy any predators, or the mate.

IMG_8848

Eventually, she turned back around to face me.

IMG_8860

She began picking at the nest, before slowly making her way into it  . . .

IMG_8818

IMG_8870

and sitting in the position I know so well.  On the eggs!

I went back an hour later and she was still sitting low on the nest.  The eggs are here!!

IMG_8886

Add a Comment
7. Cooper and Packrat’s Book Trailer Contest

From the time I was a student myself, and through the twenty five years my children have attended school, I’ve always admired teachers and librarians.  Working as an Ed Tech these last five years has only made me love them more.  They put so much of themselves into their classrooms, their lesson plans and their relationships with students and peers. They quite often work late, and go into their classrooms on the weekends because it’s quieter then and they can accomplish more. They chaperon dances because their students ask them to. Teachers and librarians wipe tears, advise on friendships and counsel on “dating”.  They create a writing club, coding club, guitar club, or sewing club, and give up their lunch time to oversee it . . . all because there seems to be an interest.

20160306_162311-1

Me on the left and my best friend Holly, in sewing club.

20160306_162323

Me on the left and Holly, learning to sew.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that impress me most, how they’ll personally buy books, paper, staples, or pencils for their room, because the budget has been frozen.  And no, pencils aren’t expensive.  Unless you go through 5 packs of 50 every three days.

More than anything, my author self enjoys meeting educators on their own turf, in their element, within their classrooms and libraries. I learn something new every time. Get inspired every time. Make new friends every time. And I always hope that I too, give back something every time.

But alas, the duties of my campground and my own teaching job, keep me from getting out into the educational world as much as I’d like.  Even finding time to post on Facebook and Twitter can be challenging, especially if I want to get some writing done!  I’m blessed to teach in a district which encourages me accept a few school visit invitations each year, and I take advantage of that. But I also don’t want to be away from my own students too often. They may be middle-schoolers, and they don’t often show it outright, but they miss me when I’m away.

Truth be told, I miss them, too.

So, I’m constantly searching for new and fun ways to connect with my readers and to support the educators who support them, without having to leave the classroom too often.  And if I can include my own students and  school in the process, it’s a win-win!

Recently, when Shannon introduced a book trailer project to our students, and we realized how much they were learning from the process, we had an ah-ha moment.  What if we created a contest using book trailers?  What if we tied it into the release of Cooper and Packrat’s third adventure?  What if our students were judges?

And knowing how valuable books are to educators, what if the winning classroom received a set of Mystery of the Missing Fox? 

I’ve created a special page for Cooper and Packrat’s Book Trailer Contest –  so we could keep all comments and FAQ in one place. Islandport Press, Shannon, and I hope you’ll enter for a chance to win a classroom set of Mystery of the Missing Fox. 

We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

 

 

Add a Comment
8. Buxton Elementary School Visit

 

I had such an amazing time with Buxton Elementary’s 3rd grade classes last Friday!  I was going to Skype with them for Read Aloud Week, but instead surprised them with an in-person visit. Hearing their gasp of surprise . . . Priceless!

20160304_122958 20160304_123018 20160304_123110 20160304_123243

I brought photos to show the inspiration behind the book . . . photos of the campground, loons, eagles, foxes and the animal I’ll weave into book four.

And then I read Chapter 1 of Mystery of the Missing Fox.

20160304_130603

Connecting with readers is one of the most important jobs I have.  I only wish I had more time to do it!

Add a Comment
9. Sanibel Island 2016

As we have, for many, many years, my family and I went to visit my in-laws on Sanibel Island, Florida for our winter break.  It’s a home away from home. I love the beaches.  The restaurants. The kayaking.

And the wildlife.

IMG_7552

This year, I got wind of a new place to hang out.  Bunche Beach, just over the Sanibel flyway, in North Fort Myers.

The place didn’t disappoint.  Pelicans dove for their food as pesky gulls tried to steal it.

IMG_7605 IMG_7608 IMG_7613 IMG_7631 IMG_7635 IMG_7636 IMG_7640

A large Great Blue Heron basked on the beach.

 

IMG_8459 IMG_8493a

IMG_8388 IMG_8443

IMG_8550

While taking a day cruise to Cabbage Key, I was able to see dolphins!  They follow the cruise boats daily, without the captain changing course at all. The louder we cheered and clapped, the higher they jumped and the more they rolled.

IMG_7957 IMG_8001

Even the little ones.

IMG_8002a

When our time came to an end on the beach, Dave and I folded up our chairs and picked up our bags. I turned to find this guy waddling out from the treeline behind us.

IMG_8723

I dropped my chair and raised my camera to get that one shot above. He scurried away so fast, I never got another.

Dave and I laughed.  I picked up my chair and we walked along the shoreline toward the entrance and parking lot. A few feet later, a gentleman called to us. “Hey!” he yelled. “Check your bag.”

I looked at my camera bag, but he was pointing to the bag Dave had. In it, we’d brought sunscreen, towels, and books.

The man came closer to show us pictures he’d taken on his phone. “When the two of you took a walk, it came out of the woods.”  The picture he showed us, was the raccoon standing on its hind legs, looking into our bag!  I wish I’d thought to ask him to e-mail me the picture. It was adorable.

That raccoon, has now inspired a subplot in Book 4.

You never know quite where inspiration will strike.

Add a Comment
10. Dr. Seuss Breakfast and Children’s Book Fair

I bought this super, cool Seuss t-shirt for two of the three events I have next week.

20160223_192747

One is on Saturday March 5th ~ a DR. SEUSS BREAKFAST & CHILDREN’S BOOK FAIR in Oxford, Maine, which is being held in honor of Read Across America Week.

I’m the guest author and will read from my books and my favorite Dr. Seuss books, throughout the event. Reading aloud is one of my very favorite things to do!! I’ll have my wildlife photos on display and my books for sale, too.

The best part though? Each child attending receives a new book! And they can bring outgrown books to swap for others. I absolutely love this!!

A huge thank you to the Norway-Paris Kiwanis Club, and the Norway Memorial Library for inviting me. I can’t wait!

Price: $6 for breakfast (Kids 12 and Under are Free)
(pancakes, French toast, eggs, sausage, hash browns and beverages)
Time: 8AM – 11AM
At The Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School dining room

FMI contact Mary Anna Palmer at 539-4800 or Diana Mclaughlin at 744-6006.

Oh, and the second Read Across America Event – I can’t talk about that one yet. It’s a surprise.  Shhhhhh!

 

Add a Comment
11. 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
12. 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
13. 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
14. 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
15. 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
16. 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
17. 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
18. 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
19. 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
20. 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
21. 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
22. 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
23. 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
24. Book Review

12319682_10153824040118417_1788957220_n

I love lakes too, dear Jonathan!

(reprinted with permission)

Add a Comment
25. 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

View Next 25 Posts