About Me

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I am a children's writer from the Virgin Islands. Growing up there was like living inside a history book; an imagination stimulator. Consequently I've been writing for just about forever. I am a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and a member of SCBWI.

Blog Schedule

I post on Monday and Thursday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Lizard's Tail - Announcing....

Fall is in the air.

It's happening folks! A LIZARD'S TAIL is set to be released on October 20th.
***
From the moment he hatches, Marvin P. Tinkleberry knows he is destined for greatness. For one, he has a marvelous, well-groomed tail. For another he can puff out his throat pouch in the most spectacular way. Maybe the other lizards in his colony don’t take him seriously, but he knows the truth. It lives in the marrow of his bones; he’s going to be a hero.


When a feral cat threatens the lives of all who live at Stone Wall in the Garden by the Sea, Marvin knows it’s HIS destiny to get rid of the fearsome beast. Travelling Over the Hill to find help should be as easy as snapping up a sleeping moth. But it doesn’t take long for Marvin to see that the world beyond Stone Wall is not the same as his pampered life back at the garden. From the deadly Sucker Cactus Forest to deadly mongooses, danger lurks around every corner and Marvin will have to decide if he’s willing to be the hero he’s long bragged about being.




2014 BlogfestIf the date of October 20th seems familiar it's because it's the same date as Joy Campbell's blogfest, Who's Your Hero. What better way to celebrate?

If you haven't signed up for Joy's blogfest, what are you waiting for? Isn't it time you told EVERYone who YOUR hero is?








And... if you'd like to help me spread the word about Marvin, feel free to sign up. THANKS!



What news do you have? Are you signed up for Joy's blogfest? Are you enjoying the changing of the season?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pictures from the Netherlands, Part Three

I've been very distracted lately and didn't get my usual Thursday post done one time!

Okay, a few of you said you'd be interested in seeing more of what I saw while I was in the Netherlands, so here we go.

The Netherlands is second in the world when it comes to food production. SECOND! Guess who's first. That's right, the United States. As one might suspect, the Dutch use every square inch of available land for farms and gardens. They have a very long history of growing things. So this post is going to be all about farms and gardens.

In Leiden, I was able to visit the oldest botanical garden in the country. At more than 400 years old, they have plants from everywhere. People come from all over the world to study and learn about plants.





The buildings, on the right.


















A lovely Japanese garden and
a rather large tree...













The farm directly across the street from where I was staying in Culemborg.

Garden plots along a ditch. People who live in an apartment or those who want a larger garden than a typical backyard, can rent - for very little - a small plot of ground and grow whatever they want. You can see these garden plots everywhere. The brick wall to the right is a thousands years old!


Typical backyard along a ditch. Note the clothes line. 
Many, many people still hang out their clothes to dry.

Typical front yard. 

A larger home with gazebo. 

 Apartments with plants.



A park in Culemborg

The same park next to a farm with grazing sheep.

There are green spaces called zumps, which are wild and less cultivated, a place where people can go to feel closer to nature.



Cows graze in the zump. 

View of a farm. This picture was taken from a 900 year old dike. 
In the distance is a town concealed by trees.

Cows by the side of the road. The only thing between any livestock and roads
 is either a low fence or a ditch. All ditches have water in them.

Big and little horses. Behind them is a dike which gives you a bit of an idea of how tall they are.

In some places there are acres and acres of green houses. I took this picture from the train.

Decorative gardening.

Have you noticed anything missing, particularly when it comes to the long views? Take another look. What isn't there are power poles and wires. Most all of their electrical lines are underground. Where lines have to be above ground, they are kept within the same corridors as the big highways (what we would call the interstate) and the train lines.  

Just think what it would be like if all our towns and cities ran the electrical underground. Think of how open and clear the views would be!

Hope you enjoyed this latest installment. Happy gardening!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Underrated Treasures Blogfest


From Alex Cavanaugh, Ninja Extraordinaire, we have a fabulous new blogfest!


Underrated Treasures

Everyone has a favorite movie or band, TV show or book that no one else has ever heard about.
For whatever reason, they remain undiscovered and underrated.
Now is your chance to tell the world about this obscure treasure! 

On Monday, September 22, (that's today!)post about your favorite unknown –MOVIE – BAND/ARTIST – TV SHOW – BOOK

Post about one or all four – dealer’s choice! 



Oh dear... so many possibilities!

Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972) Poster



Favorite underrated movie: It came out in 1972, and I still think it is one of the most beautiful films ever. Brother Sun, Sister Moon is about the early life of St. Francis. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli, the cinematography is spectacular and the music is by Donovan.






Favorite underrated band: The United States of America. Formed in 1967 it was one of the first experimental psychedelic rock bands that used electronic music and had a female vocalist.

Reality is only temporary...

Islandia.jpg

Favorite underrated book: I'm sure I've mentioned it before...
Islandia, by Austin Tappan Wright.

About Islandia:

"On his death, Austin Tappan Wright left the world a wholly unsuspected legacy. Among this distinguished legal scholar's papers were thousands of pages devoted to a staggering feat of literary creation - a detailed history of an imagined country complete with geography, genealogy, representations from its literature, language and culture. In a monumental labor of love Wright's wife and daughter culled from this material a thousand page novel, as detailed as J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. Islandia has similarly become a classic touchstone for those concerned with the creation of imaginary worlds.


Islandia occupies the southern portion of the Karain Continent, which lies in the Southern Hemisphere. Its civilization is an ancient one, protected from outside intervention by a natural fortress of towering mountains. To this isolated country - this alien, compelling and totally fascinating world - comes John Lang, the American consul. As the reader lives with Lang in Islandia, as he comes to know this magnetic land, its unique people and its strange customs, he may find himself experiencing a feeling of envy, a wish, that he be permitted to spend the rest of his days in Islandia."

Amen to that last sentence.

Favorite underrate TV show: I really can't think of one.

Thanks for stopping by! What about you? Do you have a favorite underrated book, movie, band or tv show?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Carol Kilgore's SECRETS OF HONOR Contest

I'm delighted to have Carol guest posting on my blog. Let's make her feel all warm and welcomed as we sit around a sip our favorite adult beverage!

Thanks for hosting me, Bish. It’s fun to be on the blog of another Texas writer.

Bish and I live fairly close to one another by Texas standards – an hour and a half or so, depending on traffic and how closely you adhere to the speed limit. Yet we've never met in person. Maybe one day we’ll remedy that, especially since we share a love of the beach and the ocean.

We tried to put our heads together to think of something unique for this post, but we weren't terribly successful. Plus we were each busy with other projects at the time as well. So I decided to riff off of one of Bish’s suggestions and write about tropical drinks.

Sadly, the characters in SECRETS OF HONOR drank mostly coffee and water, as they were working during most of the story. Even so, beer, wine, and a few drinks made appearances, too. And there was one scene in which iced tea was the star – yes, you’ll need to read that scene for yourself J

But what beach book blog post would be complete without saying something about the beach. So I looked up the recipe for Sex on the Beach – it sounds much less gritty than the real thing, but just as potent!

It’s also appropriate since in my original thinking about this story, I envisioned a yummy sex-on-the-beach scene – that didn't make the final cut. Wouldn't you know.

But there is a scene in a hotel bar in Corpus Christi. Surely someone there was drinking a Sex on the Beach.

But we can’t forget these other beachy drinks: Mojito – Margarita – Daiquiri – Pina Colada.

So after I wrote this I asked Kat Marengo and Dave Krizak what their favorite tropical drink was.

Kat said hers was a Margarita – because it goes with Mexican food.

Dave said he wasn't fond of umbrellas, but he’d choose a Mojito.

I know they really meant Sex on the Beach but didn't want to fess up J




CONTEST INFO

Monday through Friday this week, I’m visiting five different blogs to promote my just-released novel, SECRETS OF HONOR. You can visit my blog, http://www.underthetikihut.blogspot.com, to see where I am each day. On each blog, I’ll give away a $5 Amazon Gift Card.  Everyone who comments on my posts will be entered into a drawing for a $5 Amazon Gift Card for that blog. So there will be five separate contests, and it will be possible to win all five, for a total of $25. Although what are the odds of that? Don’t ask me – math isn’t my BFF!

Winners will be announced next Monday on my blog, and I’ll make an effort to contact the winners over the weekend prior to the announcement.



SECRETS OF HONOR

By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.

As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of her dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.

Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.

The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.

U.S. Links:

This thriller was so much fun to write. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.


AUTHOR BIO

Although Carol has deep Texas roots, she’s lived up and down the eastern seaboard and in other locations across the U.S. as a Coast Guard wife. She sees mystery and subterfuge everywhere. And she’s a sucker for a good love story—especially one with humor and mystery. Crime Fiction with a Kiss gives her the latitude to mix and match throughout the broad mystery and romance genres. Having flexibility makes her heart happy.

You can connect with Carol here:
Under the Tiki Hut blog:  http://www.underthetikihut.blogspot.com
Website with Monthly Contest: http://www.carolkilgore.net




Monday, September 15, 2014

Pictures of the Netherlands, Part Two

As promised, more pictures from the Netherlands. I've decided that brick is their national rock because they just don't have rocks like say, we do here in Texas which is a great place for a rock concert. Everything is made of brick, even most of the streets.
Inside the train station.
The Rijk Museum, home of
The Masters,
and I'm not talking golf.
Around Amsterdam.
Various canals in different cities.



The American Pilgrim Museum, is located in the oldest house in Leiden, built in the 1370. It is believed some pilgrims lived and preached in Leiden and left for America from its port. The people who own the building live up stairs. Down stairs are two small rooms which house the museum filled with artifacts.




 Everything inside the museum is touchable. Including being able to sit in a chair made in the 1200s and reading a prayer book printed in the 1600s.

At right is the hearth that was only discovered/uncovered in 1990s. It is the only known workable hearth from the era in the Netherlands.

They used peat because it didn't spark.









This modest, modern looking building in Leiden (left), is the home in which Rembrandt was born on July 15, 1606. On the right, the building with the steep peaked roof is where he went to school to learn Latin and had his first drawing lessons. The square in front of the school, through which he probably walked every day, was also the place where public executions were held.



Leiden's town hall.                                                                             One of the many churches.








There's much more, but I can't post about all of it without possibly boring you. For instance, the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands (over 400 years old), thousand year old brick walls, gardens, parks and zumps, World War II pillboxes, the Rijk Museum of Antiquities, a 400 year old orphanage, and driving on a 900 year old dike.

If you'd really like to see more, let me know. I'll squeeze it in somewhere!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pictures of The Netherlands, Part One

It's Patriot Day and remembering those who perished on 9/11 is important. 
A moment of silence would be most appropriate right now. 

***

So, did you figure out where I've been?

If you guessed The Netherlands, you'd be right! Below are just a few of the fabulous things I saw, places I went, things I did.



The Openair Museum:  Opened in 1918, here the Dutch have brought together historically significant windmills and buildings that were going to be lost, either through demolition or decay. Each structure was carefully dismantled and rebuilt on the site. The buildings trace the history of the Dutch and how they lived, from the poorest of sod homes, above, to a more elegant house below which sports a tile and thatch roof combo,

 to the fine examples of typical Amsterdam homes on the right.

During World War II the museum was used by Dutch refugees and The Resistance. But eventually the Germans did evacuate it and destroyed several buildings which have since been lovingly restored.

Of course there are plenty of windmills, all capable of being operated.



This one, on the left, is still used to show how grain is ground. They also demonstrate smithing, paper making and printing, and cheese making, to name a few.

As with every place you go in the Netherlands, this museum is also a working farm with gardens, pigs, chickens, cows, sheep and other farm animals.




The Kinderdijk (Child Dike or Child's Dike, "ij" is pronounced as a long i) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here are somewhere between 17 and 19 working water pumping mills, the first line of defense against rising water. All of the mills are tested at least once a year to make sure they are operational, though now three huge diesel engines turn three huge Archimedes screws instead.

Castle Loevestein, left, was built in the 1361 at the convergence of two rivers to protect the country and to demand fees from ships sailing the waters.                                                                                                                                               Castle De Haar, right, was built in the 1890s on the ruins of a much older castle.
The Rhine: The first time I crossed the Rhine I experienced an emotional rush that brought tears to my eyes. 

This particular area is the most trafficked stretch of river in the world.







Rotterdam, in the distance, is Europe's busiest port, and like The Hague (in Dutch Den Haag) was mostly destroyed during World War II. Out of the rubble new modern cities have emerged.
Come back Monday for pictures of Amsterdam, Leiden, and beautiful architecture!

Have you gone some place where you learned something completely new and different?