"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. " Matthew 7:7
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~OUT AND ABOUT~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My 3rd poetry chapbook, KALEIDOSCOPE, has been printed. X MEANS TEN ON THE FACE OF BIG BEN and other picture books are doing the rounds of publishers. I am also working my way through a directory of literary agents. My long-awaited sequel to SECRET OF THE SEVENTH GATE jogs toward the finish line. Challenged by fellow writer Cherilyn Hearn, I kept an A-Z blog, each post addressing one aspect of the work.
Research is fun! Persian poetry, memoirs by Iranian-Americans, Alice Through the Looking Glass: it's all grist to the mill. Who knows what gems (as author Marjorie Holmes puts it) might show up in RIDDLE OF THE SAMOVAR? Maps and pictures set the mood as I write, along with music: An Ancient Muse by Loreena McKennitt, Shine by Operatica, even a bit of country, give a backdrop to my story of characters resettling in Texas after their travels in Central Asia.
The PRAIRIE WRITERS assignment for this month is Relocation or Dislocation. (I've got plenty of experience to draw from there!) Our August meeting was at a restaurant, but we're not relocating after all, just changing the day and time.
THURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24: SEDAN BOOK CLUB will meet at 6:30pm at the public library, to discuss STRANGERS ON A TRAIN by Patricia Highsmith.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 14: The PRAIRIE WRITERS group will meet at 2:00pm at the INDEPENDENCE (KS) PUBLIC LIBRARY, for encouragement and sharing tips.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3: Book Launch for KALEIDOSCOPE: POEMS BY HAZEL SPIRE at MAGNOLIA Scents by Design, 106 N. Pennsylvania Ave, Independence, KS, 1:00pm-3:00pm. Join us for hot tea, sweet treats, door prizes, and readings from the new book.
ARROWHEAD'S LOST HOARD continues to gain readership with its theme of blended families. Join Craig, Tony, Kim and Fiona in their hunt for Roman treasure on a fictional British island. To order a signed copy for $10.00, plus $2.00 S/H, go to CONTACT page at top.
SECRET OF THE SEVENTH GATE, a Persian adventure, is available on Amazon; also from Royal Fireworks Press, one of the Quick Links in the right-hand column. To view the rest of this site, click on MY WORKS...BIO...and BLOG at top of page. Both middle-grade mysteries may be purchased at: MAGNOLIA HEALTH & HOME in Independence, KS; the BRITISH EMPORIUM in Grapevine, TX; and will soon be sold at RUTH'S CHRISTIAN BOOKSTORE in Bartlesville, OK.
My mother's autobiographical novel, RAINBOWS THROUGH THE RAIN, has been reprinted. My sister and I will distribute copies to any family or friends who express an interest.
TITLES UP MY SLEEVE FOR YOUNGER READERS:
1. Broke Spoke and Humby Umby
2. Gretchen and Butterscotch
3. Jake's Magic Skateboard
4. Legend of Pudding Lane
5. Madame Archelon's Art Room Mysteries
6. Madame Archelon's Art Tips and Tricks
7. Mevagissey and Friends
8. Moonshine Cave Mystery
9. Spellbound Pond
10. Summer of the Seven Aunts
11. Uncle Pat's Amazing Apps
INTERVIEW by FRIENDLY READERS critique group
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.
Q: Who would read SECRET OF THE SEVENTH GATE?
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!