Exciting opportunity!

I began participating in Storyteller Academy to learn the details of creating children’s picture books. It’s been an amazing journey. Some of the specifics I’ve learned include how to create a book dummy, how to submit a query letter to an agent, how to develop interesting characters, etc. One of the best perks for me has been working with a critique group. They help me with improving my writing by asking questions and providing options that might not occur to me. All that to say Storyteller Academy is offering an exciting free offer to participate in a writing challenge. You can follow the link to read more about it! If you are interested in writing books, you won’t regret your time spent with Storyteller Academy.

Storyteller Academy Picture Book Challenge


Book Review

I could not put this book down. On the first night of a camping trip, an 11 year old boy is left to fend for himself. His mother has done this before so he rationally works through his options as he tries to get back to his home, two states away. He is broke, alone and scared. He doesn’t want to be found because authorities will take him away from his mother and place him in a home. As he makes his long journey toward home, his knowledge of elephants is interestingly woven in the story. Readers are provided with intimate details of Jack’s life with his mentally ill mother. He understands her behavior when she is not taking her medication and aptly describes the high as “spinning”. He feels responsible for her and often makes adjustments in his responses to her.

This book was awarded the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award in 2013.

It’s written for middle school age children. I’m debating if it would be an appropriate book for my nephew, age 12, to read. His reading level would match but I think the content might be too advanced for him because he seems a bit protected. It really depends on the child.


Realistic fiction, mental illness, middle grades

Blowing in the Wind

Time to mow

I love looking at the grasses growing on our hill farm. It looks messy and full of weeds but it provides wildlife habitat. We no longer grow crops on this plot. Several years ago we signed up 11 acres for a conservation program designed to control erosion, improve water quality and create habitat for grassland game bird species. Quail love the edges of the grasses and they are done nesting. So it’s time for us to manage the land and mow the grasses. We mowed around the Butterfly Milkweed, leaving it to attract butterflies and other pollinators.

Twice we planted acorns but the rodents ate it all. The walnut saplings we planted on the back 5 acres took root and have really grown. The trees overlap the rows, making good hiding spots for white tail deer.

Walnut grove

Upon reflection, I can not help but wonder how fast our lives are. To live and see grown trees that we have planted is truly a miracle.

Turns out you can go home again…

My sister recently bought the last house where my parents, 4 siblings and I lived when I got married and moved out. Even though the house had been remodeled, my first tour inside brought back a few memories: the enclosed porch where our freezer sat, the tree where my boyfriend parked his car, arguing with one sister as we did supper dishes, the window the St. Bernard jumped through because he was frightened by loud thunder…

I went back today to pick raspberries and green beans. I had not been in that house in 47 years. A few more memories surfaced: I remember the summer I was 13, I made a pallet under the shade of a tree to read my first long book, Gone With the Wind. I would read a few pages and cry about Scarlett’s poor timing. I remember the water flooding our back bedroom and ruining everything. I remember the path I would walk down to get away and think. Many memories came flooding back.

My sister and I picked green beans and berries as we were reminiscing about living there. When I went home I washed the berries and found I had enough for a batch of jam.

I’m a Winner! And book review.


Do you remember when you were young and had a special friend? And then another kid joined in and spoiled your good time? Grandma always said “three kids makes an unruly crowd” when three of us would spend the night with her. This book takes you back to those feelings. And helps you work through those thoughts to grow your friendship to a more sustainable level.

#picoftheweek2019 Photo Challenge


I chose the word Hidden because these wildflowers are not easy to find. I know where and when to look for them. But getting close enough for a great photo isn’t easy.

Iris fulva Copper Iris

I spied these beauties alongside the highway. According to MO Dept. of Conservation Field Guide, they are often found scattered in the Mississippi River lowlands of Southeast MO. That’s exactly where I found these. This spot just happened to have an access point for parking, but I wasn’t wearing water boots so I got as close as I dared with my suede boots.