"My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my compositions concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer." ~ PSALM 45:1 (NKJV)


Our work is done on my picture book, X MEANS TEN ON THE FACE OF BIG BEN: A LONDON ALPHABET! Britta, my editor/​designer at Peas in a Pod, will now adapt it for Kindle Digital Publishing.

Last month, I published CATCHING THE TRADE WINDS: POETRY OF TIDE AND TIME, spurred on by this quote (which may or may be from Mark Twain): "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."

I am now proofing a collection of my late father's fiction, APPLE PIE ORDER: 42 TALES WITH A TWIST, should be out soon. Meanwhile I am plotting MADAME ARCHELON'S ART ROOM MYSTERIES, based on 7 years as an elementary art teacher. To hear readings from my kids' adventure stories at Independence (KS) Public Library on their "Podbean" broadcast, click on Quick Links in the right-hand column.

INKSMITH WRITERS is a chapter of KANSAS AUTHORS CLUB, meeting monthly for practical tips and encouragement. Writers of all genres, at all levels of experience, are invited to join us at 11:00 A.M. on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16 at Independence Public Library. Please note that this is a change from our usual time and venue.

KAC DISTRICT Fall Meeting will be 9:00 A.M. at Pizza Hut in Cherryvale, with buffet to follow. Award-winning author and attorney VINCE WHEELER from Wichita will speak about different ways to publish.
Join Craig, Tony, Kim and Fiona in their summertime hunt for Roman treasure on a British island! To order a signed copy of my 2nd novel ARROWHEAD'S LOST HOARD for $10.00, plus $2.00 S/​H, go to CONTACT page.

SECRET OF THE SEVENTH GATE, a Persian tale, is available on Amazon; or from Royal Fireworks Press, one of the Quick Links in the right-hand column. Both middle-grade mysteries may be purchased at: MAGNOLIA HEALTH & HOME in Independence, KS; PRAIRIE TEMPEST VINEYARD in Sedan, KS; ELLEN PLUMB'S CITY BOOKSTORE in Emporia, KS; or THE BRITISH EMPORIUM in Grapevine, TX.

Broke Spoke and Humby Umby
Camp Wattamigonnado Caper
Flip the Kipper (party games)
Gretchen and Butterscotch
How to Win the Homonym Wars
Isle of Wight Night Before Christmas
Legend of Pudding Lane (picture book)
Mirror Pond Mystery
N is For Needles (IOW alphabet)
Summer of the Seven Aunts
Taste of the World (memoir/​cookbook)
Uncle Pat's Amazing Apps (time travel)


Q: The main character in ARROWHEAD'S LOST HOARD is a 12-year-old boy. How did you decide whose viewpoint to use for this story?

A: My first book had a 13-year-old girl protagonist, so getting into a boy's head made a change for me. I hoped the adventure and conflict between Craig and Tony would pull in boy readers. They both have sisters, so girls will appreciate the book too.

Q: Is there really an Arrowhead Island in Britain?
A: No, but the setting is similar to my childhood home on the Isle of Wight, a short ferry ride from Portsmouth or Southampton. Arrowhead is smaller, and no visitors' cars are allowed.

Q: Is it still possible to find buried Roman treasure?
A: Yes. A valuable hoard was found in 2009, and another in 2010! You need a metal detector, the landowner's permission, and lots of patience.

Q: Your first children's novel, SECRET OF THE SEVENTH GATE, takes place in 1970s Iran. What gave you the idea of setting a story in that time and place?
A: When I worked in Iran, the Shah’s throne seemed secure and expatriates prospered. But in 1978, mobs demanded his overthrow. I wondered how American kids would cope with secret tapes, hostile calls, suspicious fires, and local residents acting strangely. Would their school, parents’ jobs, and friendships with Iranians survive?

Q: Did you do any special research?
A: Yes. I spent a year there, but needed to know more about the history of Iran. I read about 20 books, studied news magazines on microfilm, and talked to Brits & Americans who fled Iran during the revolution. I present all viewpoints, showing the unique qualities of this land and its people.

A: Mystery-loving kids aged 9-13 will enjoy figuring out what's going on in the kids' neighborhood. They'll find humor in the rehearsals for Ali Baba, and a car chase propels the story toward a rapid conclusion. Parents who lived in the Middle East, plus teachers looking for a curriculum tie-in, might be prompted to open up a discussion about the triumph of faith and friendship over fear and prejudice.

Q: How did you become a writer?
A: Growing up, I had an abundance of paper and pencils. My parents held a writing circle in our home, and teachers nurtured my love of words. Dad typed my manuscripts for publication, but it wasn't until the 1980s that I submitted regularly, after joining a writers' group in Texas. Put on your armadillo armor as protection from rejection slips! Each one feels like an arrow, but think of it as a red badge of courage.

Q: What else have you written?
A: I've had more than 60 poems, puzzles, articles, and stories printed in magazines. Two poetry collections came out in 2004 and 2006. I want to find homes for my picture books, ONZO AND THE LONG SLEEP and L IS FOR LONDON. My longer, ongoing project is a memoir titled BUGSY, SLUG, THE BEATLES AND ME.

Q: What advice would you give young writers?
A: Read. Look. Listen. Keep a journal. Get together with friends who write, and help each other make your work the best it can be. Enter contests. Send poems and stories to your favorite magazines. Hold on to your dream. There’s a place for us all out there!