WELCOME, READERS AND WRITERS!


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... The Word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. ~ JOHN 1:1, 14 (NIV)


OUT AND ABOUT


After bringing back manuscripts from England, I've been compiling collections of stories, by Dad as well as my brother Nigel. I finished text and sidebars for X MEANS TEN ON THE FACE OF BIG BEN - now working on illustrations. Next up: P for PIGEON and PORTRAIT GALLERY.

Here we are in the 2nd month of 2017! Looking forward to a fresh new year of writing adventures. In January, inspired by a visit to my childhood, home, I began drafting an ISLE OF WIGHT NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS and N IS FOR NEEDLES: AN ISLE OF WIGHT ALPHABET. The advantage of retirement is that I can jump from one project to another (including crafts) without time constraints.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8: PRAIRIE WRITERS will meet, 2:00 pm at INDEPENDENCE (KS) LIBRARY, for mutual support and marketing tips. Newcomers are invited to join us.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16: Book Club will meet, 6:30 pm at Sedan (KS) Library to discuss THE GIRL FROM VENICE by Martin Cruz Smith.

My 2nd novel, ARROWHEAD'S LOST HOARD, is gaining readership with its theme of blended families. Join Craig, Tony, Kim and Fiona in their hunt for Roman treasure on a British island. To order a signed copy 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; the BRITISH EMPORIUM in Grapevine, TX; and available soon at RUTH'S CHRISTIAN BOOKSTORE in Bartlesville, OK.

MORE TITLES UP MY SLEEVE:
A Teddy Bear Never Forgets
Broke Spoke and Humby Umby
Gretchen and Butterscotch
Flip the Kipper (party games)
Isle of Wight Night before Christmas
Jake's Magic Skateboard
Madame Archelon's Art Room Mysteries
Madame Archelon's Art Tips and Tricks
Mevagissey and Friends
Moonshine Cave Mystery
Scotty Takes the Train
Selection Box (poetry)
Summer of the Seven Aunts
The Legend of Pudding Lane
The Secret Life of Dolls
The Spellbound Pond
Turnabout: Mini Bible Bios for Kids
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!