Monthly Archives: October 2019

Cooking Up Halloween Decorations

I am pleased to share my entry for Susanna Leonard Hill’s 9th annual writing contest. The full details and rules can be found here: Halloweensie Contest – the fine print

This is a wonderful way to connect with other picture book writers and there are some amazing prizes, too. The basic rules are that the story must be 100 words or less not including the title, no illustrations or illustration notes, and must include the words potion, cobweb, and trick. 

Here’s my story.

Cooking up Halloween Decorations (96 words)

While Mama slept, Casey and I decorated for Halloween. 

Melt sugar, water, and corn syrup into spun sugar. 

Drizzle spirals on parchment paper. Drape from the doorframe. 

Spooky, delicious cobwebs. 

“Don’t eat them yet!” Casey warned.

Black whip licorice and jumbo gumdrops create perfect spiders. 

“Stop eating the licorice, Randy. We need eight legs for each spider.”

Hang them from the cobwebs.

Potion time!

Warm the milk.

Add chocolate. 

Stir. 

Taste. 

More chocolate. 

Stir. 

Taste. 

More chocolate. 

“Ready?”

“Yes, drink up.”

Mama appeared in the doorway framed by spiders.

Trick-or-Treat?”

“Treat!” We all shout.

******************************************************************

If you want to make your own candy web, check this out. spun sugar spider web

A Gentle Giant

The is no shortage of wild animals near where I live, but seeing this guy and his friends in one of the pastures always brightens my day. On a quick trip last week, I noticed him standing alone in the meadow, far from the crowd, and wanted to stop. But I had an errand that needed to be done. On my return trip, Imagine how happy I felt when this guy waited by the side of the road so I could get a better look. Or did he want a better look at me?

He was in the road, looking for the place in the fence where he’d crossed but wasn’t successful. When I stopped, he probably assumed I would help him so he came over to ask directions.

Ultimately, another passerby went to the house to let them know of an ‘escapee’ and his adventure came to an end.

Reflections on a School Visit

I’ve been meaning to share this for a week but I’ve been under the weather and had a few deadlines.

I love visiting schools to share ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON with children. It’s fun to watch them respond to the story and then talk about it afterwards. I also share a slide show with a bit about me when I was a child, my inspiration for writing the book, and some of my photography. The photo above is the skylight in the space where I did a recent presentation. In the book, Aliana uses a skylight to create the surprise at the end of the story so it was a magical feeling to read the book beneath one.

I was welcomed by a display case with information about me, ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON, and phases of the moon which is part of the story.

Connecting with children is the thing I miss most about teaching. I knew every day in the classroom I was changing lives and making a difference. It was both an honor and a responsibility. The feedback was immediate and also something I could see over time. They were also changing my life in the process. With writing, the impact on children is still there, but I may not even know about it except when I’m able to visit a school.

Written with gratitude for librarian Jolene Gutierrez, the teachers, and the children of Denver Academy.

Waning Gibbous Moon Magic

Two nights in a row as I’m driving home, the night sky suddenly reveals a magnificent moonrise.

At first glimpse it’s surreal – so bright and a magnificent shade of gold. This is an unfiltered shot from tonight.