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.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for...

Click HERE for a list of all
the participants!
For this, my 5th year doing the Challenge, it's the
A to Z of Anansi the spider.

T is for Trickster

What else? Tricksters can be found all over the world. They break the rules of the gods, of nature, and convention. Sometimes their tricks are malicious, as with the Norse god, Loki, but mostly their tricks end up with a positive result. They can be sly, foolish and humorous, thus making them very human.
Anansi is in good company. 
A few famous tricksters include:

Reynard the Fox: Germany

Br'er Rabbit: Southern United States
Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby
In this picture Brer Rabbit is confronting 
Tar Baby. There's a tar baby story 
in my book Anansi and Company.

Coyote: Native American
Coyoteinacanoe
Don Juan: Spain

Puss in Boots: Italy, France
Lechatbotte1
  
Bugs Bunny: United States
Hermes: Greece
Ivan the Fool: Russia
Maui: Polynesia
Morgan Le Fay: Wales

 Pan: Greece
Frontispiece to A Book of Myths

Puck: Celtic

Robin Hood: England
Robin Hood and Little John, by Louis Rhead 1912

Captain Jack Sparrow: Hollywood

Sinbad: Arabia
Arthur-Rackham-Sinbad
Uncle Tempa: Tibet

 Woody Woodpecker: United States
WoodyWoodpecker-PantryPanic1

Do you have a favorite trickster?

The answers to Monday's Riddles are:
1.) My father has a tree full of apples and not a man can count them. What are they?    Stars

2.) My mother put on a pot of food to boil; the top boil before the bottom. What is it?   A pipe and pipe tobacco

3.) I walk up a hill. I meet a man. I cut off he head. I poke out he eyes. I drink he blood. I eat he flesh. I throw away he bones. What am I?   A coconut


I didn't realize these riddles would be so hard. I thought at least one person would get one right. Alas... there is no winner. For those of you who actually gave it try, THANKS for playing. And I must be honest, I'm not good at riddles either.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for...

Click HERE for a list of all
the participants!
For this, my 5th year doing the Challenge, it's the
A to Z of Anansi the spider.

S is for Song (and Dance)

Anansi likes music. He  sings, plays a fiddle, and dances.

I can make the assumption that he likes music because it came with him from Africa and that it evolved, over time, to reflect the various islands where his stories were told.

In the Virgin Islands, Quelbe (pronounced quail-bay), is the official music. The bands are also called scratch bands. The traditional dance is the quadrille. It is a dance where the steps are called out, similar to square dancing. I can see Anansi taking part.

Here's a video of quadrille dancers, in traditional costumes, preforming during Carnival in St. Thomas, 2012. Just watching a minute or two will give you an idea of the flavor of this traditional music and dance.


And here's a Quelbe Festival that took place on St. Croix in 2012.

Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for...

Click HERE for a list of all
the participants!
For this, my 5th year doing the Challenge, it's the
A to Z of Anansi the spider.

R is for Riddles


In my book, Anansi and Company, I have included, after each story, a traditional riddle that comes directly from Martha Warren Beckwith's book, Jamaica Anansi Stories.

Some riddles have a European flavor to them as in this one:

My father have twenty-five white horses in a row, if one trot all trot, if one gallop all gallop, if one stop all stop, and one cannot go on without the other.

It's very similar to: Thirty white horses on a red hill. Now they champ, now they stamp, now they stand still.

The answer, of course, is TEETH.

But many of the riddles are decidedly West Indian: My father have a thing in his yard, run off cover up the whole ground. The answer is a pumpkin vine, or the squash I posted about under P.

Here are some riddles for you to try. I'll post the answers on Wednesday the 23rd under T.

As a bonus I'm offering a free e-copy for Kindle of Anansi and Company! All you have to do is answer one or all of the riddles. The more you answer correctly the more chances you have of winning. I'll put all the correct answers (along with your name) in a hat and draw a winner. So Give it a try!

If there is a winner, I will announce it on Wednesday!

1.) My father has a tree full of apples and not a man can count them. What are they?

2.) My mother put on a pot of food to boil; the top boil before the bottom. What is it?

This last riddle is one that was told to me by an elderly St. Thomian lady and is one she heard as a child.

3.) I walk up a hill. I meet a man. I cut off he head. I poke out he eyes. I drink he blood. I eat he flesh. I throw away he bones. What am I?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for...

Click HERE for a list of all
the participants!
For this, my 5th year doing the Challenge, it's the
A to Z of Anansi the spider.

Q is for Quilts - specifically,   Crazy Quilts.

Simply put, Anansi stories are a patchwork that cover everything from why mosquitoes buzz in our ears to Anansi doing his best to get out of working.

Crazy Quilt LACMA M.79.239.1

Because he is small and weak, Anansi has to get what he needs or wants through guile and tricks. And though sometimes his tricks back-fire on him, his actions can often set things in motion, causing a different effect or out-come than he anticipated.

Much like a crazy quilt. One never quite knows what the quilt will look like when it's finished. So too, the result of Anansi's behavior may surprise.

In the end you have something unique and individual.








Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for...

Click HERE for a list of all
the participants!
For this, my 5th year doing the Challenge, it's the

A to Z of Anansi the spider.


P is for Peas and Pumpkin




Papas y arvejas

When you hear/read the words peas and pumpkin I bet you picture these guys.
Pumpkin-Pie-Whole-Slice






When I hear/read peas and pumpkin I'm thinking pigeon peas (gondules) and a squash grown in the tropics that I've always known to be a Hubbard squash. But it isn't the Hubbard it's called calabaza (Cucurbita moschata). There's an article from the University of Puerto Rico about growing them HERE and it has some pictures.
Arroz con gandules
Rice and pigeon peas.

Pumpkins are a delicious staple and the vine grows well in the tropics. After all, it's a tropical squash.

Pigeon peas can be brown or green. The plants are hardy and thrive evenin the islands.

Both peas and pumpkin are added to many different dishes and are mentioned quite a bit in the Anansi stories.

But then they would be, because it's... FOOD!

Have you ever eaten gondules? 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for...

Click HERE for a list of all
the participants!
For this, my 5th year doing the Challenge, it's the
A to Z of Anansi the spider.

O is for Ocean

Rivers seem to be mentioned more often than the ocean in the Anansi stories. There are fish stories, one of which is included in my book, Anansi and Company, but the ocean itself, doesn't seem to play any roles.
Sir Francis Drake Passage, named after him because he sailed 
right through here. St. John, U. S. Virgin Island is on the right. 
Tortola, British VirginIsland is on the left. In the distant center in 
Virgin Gorda, BVI. Before they won their freedom from Denmark
 in 1848, many slaves on St. John swam or smuggled themselves 
across The Passage to Tortola where slavery had been 
abolished in 1833.




I could hazard a guess as to why. As beautiful as the ocean can be, it was a constant reminder to the slaves of the horrors of the Middle Passage. It was a barrier, both physical and psychological, which they could not get across.

This is only my thoughts on it. I could be wrong. But when something so obvious is rarely mentioned, one wonders why.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for...

Click HERE for a list of all
the participants!
For this, my 5th year doing the Challenge, it's the
A to Z of Anansi the spider.

N is for Names

Like the story Rumpelstiltskin, there are name guessing stories in the Caribbean. I included one in my book, Anansi and Company. It's called, "Miss Ophelia's Daughter," and happens to be my personal favorite.

Here's a list of some characters who appear both in my book and in the collection of Jamaican Anansi stories.

With some names, it's obvious who the characters are. Others, not so much.

Anansi
Ant
Beetle
Blinkie - firefly or lightening bug
But-But - butterfly
Cow
Crow
Dog
Duppy - a ghost or spirit
Guinea-hen
Monkey
Mosquito
Mygga1
Mrs. Anansi
Pig
Quit-Quit - possibly a bird, either a bananaquit (pictured below) or grassquit
Banaquit, StJohn2 RWD
Rabbit
Ram-Goat
Rat
Pacific rat
Sheep
Tacoomah, pronounced TUCK-a-man, is probably a spider but in different stories the name has been given to a dog, Anansi's son, and even to his wife.
Tiger