I'm happy to announce the re-release of one of my historical adventures, The Waiting Light: Clementine's Story. Originally published under the title My Darlin' Clementine, it won the Idaho choice for the 2010 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Library of Congress.
When the rights reverted back to me, I updated the Author Note and tweaked the title. Then I refreshed the cover with Cody Rutty's photo of New Meadows, Idaho, which he took looking out from his studio. I think it's beautiful and reflects the novel's themes of hope, unconditional love, and redemption.
For ages 10 up, the story tells of sixteen-year-old Clementine Kidd, who dreams of becoming a doctor. Her hopes are complicated however, by the lawlessness of a mining town in 1866 Idaho Territory, prejudice against the Chinese, and the affections of handsome Boone Reno. When tragedy strikes, a chain of desperate events is unleashed. To save her family and follow her dreams, Clementine must take an unthinkable risk.
I hope you like this new edition, available in paperback and as an e-book. It's one of a trilogy set in mining camps of the American West. Next time I'll tell you about the re-release of Orphan Runaways: The Perilous Escape to Bodie ... stay tuned!
I'm thrilled to announce that my Prairie River series is back in print! It had been awhile since I read these four books, but last week as my family and I uploaded and proofed pages for Amazon's CreateSpace, I went over every line and every chapter. These wholesome stories follow the adventures of 14-year-old schoolteacher, Nessa Clemens, on the Kansas prairie of 1865. They were a joy to write! And now they're 6x9 paperbacks, easy to read and nice to hold. Readers have long asked me to continue the series, and so I'm working on #5, North from the Cherokee Trail. Meanwhile, for those of you who haven't yet met Nessa, here's her first adventure: A Journey of Faith. I hope you like these new editions!
Sometimes life feels like one giant experiment with Hope. You have children, and hope and pray they grow up to be wonderful adults. You move to a new town and hope for a new friend. There's the new job, a new neighbor, a new puppy.
Sometimes Hope is holding your breath as you try a new way of doing old things.
As many of you know, I've treaded out into the world of self-publishing after 30 children's books with traditional houses: Scholastic, Harcourt, Holiday House. I miss my editors and the camaraderie of teamwork. But in its place is a new freedom. Instead of waiting a minimum of two years while a monolithic bureaucracy draws up a contract and goes through the necessary editing process then escorts the book to stores, self-publishing can be swift. As hard and fast as an author wants to work, that's how soon you can reach readers. I like that part. Recently I published STALKED, a Young Adult thriller set in the NYC tenements of 1912, and meanwhile kept writing.
For several years children, teachers, and parents have been asking for a new adventure with the cousins Jeff, David, and Claire. So here it is friends, CABIN CREEK MYSTERIES #7: The Phantom of Hidden Horse Ranch, available in paperback and as an e-book. My son Cody did the interior drawings, and the cover is a photograph he took on a foggy morning in New Meadows, Idaho, where he has his studio. We hunched together over his computer experimenting with fonts and design then soon it was ready to pair with the edited manuscript. I love that part.
Fan letters are always fun, and I love it when kids tell me stuff. Such as why they're mad at a little brother or how it feels to move to a new school. They tell me the names of their pets, frogs included, and their favorite teachers, and they ask great questions about writing and stories, often wondering about my favorite book as a child. A question and comment in today's mail by a 4th-grader and her BFF was a first: "What kind of phone do you have? [We have] a Samsung Galaxy."
Are you kidding? Ten-year-olds with $200 cellphones? Don't get me started. Meanwhile, I'm just thrilled they took the time to write a real letter on notebook paper AND included self-addressed stamped envelopes. Now that's impressive!
P.S. to any middle-grade teachers in Oakland, California: if you have a 9-year old student who wrote me about The Secret of the Junkyard Shadow, please say hello and that his kind words mean a lot. I'm bummed to say I can't write him back because there was no return address!
As I look out our kitchen window, I'm torn. Our seashell wind chimes make me yearn for the beach and a warm breeze. Yet snow falling on the Christmas wreath my mom sent us is beautiful, too. Both bring good memories.
I'm excited that editing is nearly complete for The Phantom of Hidden Horse Ranch, #7 in the Cabin Creek Mystery series. I love writing these, especially because I'm reminded of when our boys were little and wouldn't go to bed. Bribes were easy. "Want to hear a Jeff and David story?" I'd ask, and zooom they were under their quilts. Snowy nights or summers with windows open, they were willing listeners. Thirty years later, I'm still thanking them.
Every year we try for a family photo, but someone either looks mad or is squinting or makes bunny ears behind his brother or fakes being the tallest by standing on tiptoes. Usually it resembles a police line-up.
But this fall during a rainy evening in Seattle, while our son's kitchen smelled of supper cooking, we captured "us." It's my favorite.