Wednesday, October 15, 2008

and more....

and more pics from FHES....

Pics from Flint Hill

Flint Hill Elementary School Rocks!

Miss Mouse and I had a terrific visit at Flint Hill! Anne Nenninger-Media Specialist and Sal Rivera-Principal are A + to work with.

We began the day being interviewed by FHES's morning news team. The PowerPoint sessions regarding historical fiction and the Ethie shipwreck were fun. The students enjoyed seeing many of the artifacts I brought: 1919 newspaper articles, 1919 weather maps (think Perfect Storm), crew manifest, Captain's log, photographs of the ship before and after she wrecked, life ring, pictures of 18 month old baby saved in ship's mailbag, rock from shore ship wrecked on and more! There were many thoughtful questions from the students...wish we had more time.

The Mouse reported the highlight of her day was getting hugs and pats from all the kids! Slurp, slurp, drool...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Paparazzi Alert ! Miss Mouse to Visit School

The excitement mounts. Tomorrow, my Newf, The Mouse & I will visit one of my favorite Fairfax County schools, Flint Hill Elementary School, Vienna, Virginia.

A few years ago I visited with Teddy Bear, but, Miss Mouse insisted on going when she heard she would be interviewed on FHES's news program. She has promised to be good & not drool too much. She's trying to decide whether to wear the green drool bib or the red one. We'll see.

Anne Nenninger, the Media Specialist is a dream to work with as she's friendly, fun, efficient & organized. Can't wait to see her again.

Look out Flint Hill students, here we come!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Memorable First Lines

I was thinking about some of my favorite children's books & how their first line drew you in the story. Sometimes action, sometimes setting. Here are a few:

" Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.

Today, Monday, Wanda Petronski was not in her seat. But nobody, not even Peggy and Madeline, the girls who had started all the fun, noticed her absence.

A wild, ringing neigh shrilled up from the hold of the Spanish galleon. It was not the cry of an animal in hunger. It was a terrifying bugle. An alarm call.

I come from a family with a lot of dead people.

The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it.

Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tidewater dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego.

I remember the day the Aleut ship came to our island.

A column of smoke rose thin and straight from the cabin chimney. The smoke was blue where it left the red of the clay.
THE YEARLING Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Squire Trelawney,Doctor Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17__ and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow Inn, and the brown seaman, with the saber cut, first took up his lodging under our roof.
TREAURE ISLAND Robert Louis Stevenson

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Quirky Pony

Here is a picture of Lilac, the naughty, but lovable pony. She looks sweet, but if you look closely into her eyes...don't be fooled by the long, batting eyelashes... she's plotting her escape.

Shhhh. Don't Tell. I love research!

I really do, love research, that is. It's like a mystery, following the winding road of facts & myths. Sorting it all out & putting a story together. Meeting people, listening to their stories, visiting new places. FUN!

I've been gone the past few days researching info for my new book. The historian I met with gave me bundles of new, intriguing information. I have more people to contact & cannot wait to meet w/ them. What's so amazing, way back when...this event was TOP SECRET & CLASSIFIED. Really, really, really. How cool is that??? I've always loved spy stories..but, this isn't a spy story, but more like a revealed secret story.

There are so many important factors in a good book. I won't bore you with what you already know (characters, theme, structure, etc. etc.) BUT, the unforgettable books have the story. A remarkable story. A story you keep thinking about. Whether the story scares you, makes you cry, makes you laugh, makes you mad, makes you reach down in your soul, makes you open your heart, it should change you...the reader. That's why I love to read!

I'll post some pictures later from my trip. Maybe I'll post them & see if you can guess where they were taken.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Miss Mouse Visits School

Here's one of my Newfs, Miss Mouse visiting a school in Maryland. We both had a terrific time. I spoke about historical fiction & THE WRECK OF THE ETHIE. The Mouse held court receiving many ooohs & aaaaahs ( & hugs) from the children. The Media Specialist was organized, efficient & fun. I'll give the day an A+!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Heads up! I read a terrific new book, Chancey of the Maury River by Gigi Amateau. The author masterfully weaves abandonment, fear & neglect with hope, trust, growth , courage & unconditional love. This book grabs your heart & won't let go. Get out the hankies.

Warning: If you hate anthropomorphic books & think they are worse than head lice in a kindergarten, do not read this book. I repeat do not touch this book. You probably hated Black Beauty and Babe: The Gallant Pig. This is the best book to come along in a great while.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Oh yeah, it's a work in progress. My website & now this blog. I will try to post often. Really. No matter what you heard.
In case you don't know me, I wrote the award-winning children's book, "The Wreck of the Ethie" If you ever met me, you already knew that. DO NOT look @ my website for another week as it's being revamped. An amazing superstar who lives in Aspen is redesigning my site. I'm hoping it will be completed by ski season or...well, forget it. FYI, the amazing Aspen superstar is not Antonio Banderas or Melanie Griffith. No matter what I lead you to believe.
OK, if you did peek, the photo (from l to r) shows me & my first Newfoundland dog, Cubby. Soon...the excitement mounts... you'll see pictures of my other doggie muses...Teddy Bear (Mr. Ted) & Topmast Wreck of the Ethie ( Miss Mouse) Even the naughty pony, Lilac, quite possibly could make an appearance. It's hard to tell in our family who is the biggest troublemaker. Is it The Mouse or Miss Lilac? It is not Mr. Ted. He is almost perfect. He's a rescue Newf & I'll tell you his story later. Come on, I know you're interested.
I am one hour late feeding the mutts. Their internal clock rang alarms @ 5:00 pm sharp. Newfie noses have been poking me for exactly one hour & 23 minutes. Anyway, gtg, talk to you later. Hilary