Wednesday, December 28, 2016

fastest dog ever

Run, Turtle, run!

Our grandpuppy, Turtle, is staying with us this Christmas week. He's a happy fellow, an Australian Labradoodle who loves the snow and loves to run. And despite his name he's fast!

Monday, December 26, 2016

new Cabin Creek Mysteries fan

Jaden loves to read!
It's such fun to meet new readers.

This is 11-year-old Jaden with  The Legend of Skull Cliff. His mom sent this photo and said he loves the Cabin Creek Mysteries and is "gobbling up each book."

Well, I am thrilled.

I think kids who read and who hunger to learn, are going to help change our world for good.

Happy New Year everyone! May you find happiness and peace, and a good story to share.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Cabin Creek Mysteries, FREE pdf Teacher Guides

 Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from snowy Idaho!
Poppy eyeing a flock of geese
By popular request, I've finished study guides for the Cabin Creek Mysteries series here, and had a lot of fun doing so. Readers might like to make a diorama of Hidden Horse Ranch or cook Mr. Johnny's Flourless Birthday Cake. There're tidbits about myself, the origin of each mystery, and some truth behind the characters - human and dogs! May your readers experience the joy of stories.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

New teacher guides

Hello readers, parents, and teachers,
I'm very excited to announce that I'm making study guides for all my books. They're free and fun! I hope they can serve as a good start for branching out into your own discussions and thoughts, so I've included activities, writing and drawing prompts, a recipe, and some secrets about myself :)
Please feel free to download them here:
*  Bronte's Book Club
*  Jimmy Spoon and the Pony Express
*  Madame Mustache and the Boys of Bodie
*  Nugget: The Wildest, Most Heartbreakin'est Mining Camp in the West
*  Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary of Susanna Fairchild, 1849
*  Stalked: Danger and Fury on Ellis Island 1912
*  More to come!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Catherine of Russia, new edition

Hello everyone ! 
   I'm happy to announce that Catherine, the Great Journey is available in paperback and for Kindle. Set in Russia in 1743, it's the final title in Scholastic's Royal Diaries series, and tells of the drama and intrigue when Catherine was a teenager.
   This portrait [right] shows her at age 15, when she first arrived in Russia. Her nickname was Figchen, meaning Darling Sophie.
   My husband took this photo [below] when Catherine and Eleanor of Aquitaine arrived in the mail this morning. I'm always thrilled to hold new editions, and feel excited about meeting new readers.  

happy author :)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Eleanor of Aquitaine, new edition

Hello everyone!

I'm happy to announce a new edition of Eleanor, Crown Jewel of Aquitaine, France 1137 ! Originally published with Scholastic's Royal Diaries series, it's now available in paperback and on Kindle!

This beautiful crystal vase [PHOTO: right] was a gift from Eleanor to Louis VII when they married in 1137, making her queen of France at the age of 15. I took this photo at the Louvre in Paris, when researching her fascinating story with my boys and my mom. It is said to be the last remaining artifact having belonged to the royal couple.

Monday, May 30, 2016

a new reader for "Bronte's Book Club"

Happy 8th Birthday to Audrey! She has three little sisters, a dog, and now her first chapter book: Bronte's Book Club.
She's a second-generation friend because her mom read my stories when she was a girl. Very cool! I hope Audrey enjoys this one, so close to my heart:

When twelve-year old Bronte moves to a small California beach town, she tries to form a book club in order to make friends. It has a rocky start with jealousy, quarrels, and gossip. But as the girls discuss the historical novel Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, they see parallels in their lives and that of the main character, Karana, the Chumash Indian who had lived alone on San Nicholas Island during the mid-1800s. As they reflect on, and quote from the story they begin to discover true friendship. And of course, a good dog is involved!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Life's Small Pleasures: dog walk, coffee, & McD's fries

My husband and I walked in a beautiful park this morning in Meridian, Idaho, with ponds and fountains and a view of the mountains. When a tribe of tiny goslings waddled through the grass Poppy was so surprised, she forgot she was a bird dog-- fortunately! That would've been a mess.

On the way home, we snagged McDonald's coffee-to-go and, for me a decadent haul of crispy, salty fries.

Tomorrow starts a new week of writing and random stuff to juggle, but I hope to find lots of Small Pleasures. Mainly, I'll be giving Poppy lots of pets. It makes both of us happy! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

the Jedi Readers, a boys book club!

David, a Jedi reader!
This is so cool! A mom in the City of Falls Church, Virginia sent this photo of her seven-year-old son David reading The Clue at the Bottom of the Lake, #2 in the Cabin Creek Mysteries series. I'm honored and thrilled by Trish's wonderful letter:
     My 2nd grader, David, asked me to start a book club for him. I was delighted. David is not a big reader – so I jumped at the opportunity to set up a fun way for him (and his wonderful group of friends) to start reading together.  Our very first meeting was yesterday at our little park across the street under the Gazebo. 
     The weather was perfect for us – no clouds, wonderful sunshine, and in the 70’s. 
     Since David came up with the idea for the club – he was tasked to pick the first book. He asked his older brother Ben to help him out. Together they decided on the Cabin Creek Mysteries – Book One – The Secret of Robber’s Cave.  The boys LOVED the book.  Since David and I hosted the first gathering, I acted as ‘moderator’. I asked each child what their favorite part of the book was (and why), and which character they liked most (and why)….I asked them to try and use descriptive words when describing their favorite locations (i.e. was the cave dark, was it damp, were the walls slimy..etc). 
     The kids then picked a ‘club name’ – they came up with the Jedi Readers.  They’ll meet again in June.  Most are already going to start on ‘The Clue at the Bottom of the Lake’.   
     So the point of my email – to thank you. You have reached a group of very rowdy 2nd graders – and you have ‘caught them’ – started a love of reading.

Yay!! Thank you, Trish.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Young reader loves mysteries

Young readers warm my heart!

Katelin in Colorado just turned eight and is excited about birthday gifts from her great-grandparents [PHOTO, left]:  a sweet little jewelry box and a Cabin Creek Mystery: The Case of the Spying Drone.

Happy Birthday, Katie! I hope you have fun reading about Jeff, David, and Claire as they investigate the mysterious quadcopter.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

New Cabin Creek Mystery: The Case of the Spying Drone

Hello reading friends!
    I'm excited to announce #8 in the Cabin Creek Mystery series:
The Case of the Spying Drone, with illustrations by my son, Cody Rutty.
     Research was a blast, especially with my cousin, Scott Gregory, who gave me an expert tutorial [PHOTO, below]. On a blustery, gray day in Chico, California my uncle and I watched Scott's drone soar over the canyon of Upper Bidwell Park. From his computer screen our bird's-eye view showed us the volcanic cliffs dotted with manzanita and blooming Buckbrush, the creek far below.  It was beautiful and inspired several scenes in my story.
    And since many of you have written and asked to see more of Mr. Wellback, here he is! I hope you enjoy this next adventure:  
     During spring break, college student Ariel (from #3, The Legend of Skull Cliff), takes the cousins and family friend, Mr. Wellback, camping as her assistants: She has grant money to study wildlife with a drone. But when someone breaks into their tents and steals Claire's diary and David's sketchbook, the cousins feel they're being watched. And when a different drone hovers while they're fishing, the kids set out to investigate who is spying on them, and why?

paperback & e-book