I love people, nature, art, music and literature.
I advocate for kids and families, childhood literacy and for the protection of monarch butterflies and their threatened habitat in my books, my poetry and on my blog. My blog supports authors, features great books and poetry and provides tips for writers and readers as well. I am working on my first novel, planned for release FALL 2014. Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. I look forward to hearing from you. — Bette A. Stevens
- Amazing Matilda: A Monarch' Tale
- Bette A. Stevens
- bullying preventtion
- Childhood literacy
- children and families
- Children's Fiction
- DOG BONE SOUP debut novel by Bette A. Stevens
- Inspirational Fiction
- Look Inside at Amazon
- protection of monarch butterflies and their environment
- PURE TRASH: The Story
- Teaching Writing/Research
Many thanks to our amazing friend Sally Cronin for featuring MATILDA on her wonderful blog. Be sure to stop by and say “Hi.” You’ll find lots of great posts and meet new friends there. ~ Bette
Originally posted on Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life:
I thought that it was time to feature a children’s book in the Five Star Treatment and I was enchanted by the story behind award winning Amazing Matilda by Bette A Stevens and thought you might be too. Especially those of you with young children or grandchildren..
Inspire the Kids in Your Life to Meet Challenges with Patience and Persistence!
This inspirational tale of a monarch butterfly and her meadowland friends is the second children’s book written and illustrated by Bette A. Stevens. The story follows the life cycle of the threatened monarch butterfly.
Award-winning Picture Book Excellence in Children’s Literature
2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Children’s Literature 6+
TOP 10 GITTLE LIST 2013 Children’s Picture Books
About the Book
Unlike her meadowland friends, Matilda doesn’t want to leap onto ledges or bound across fields, she only wants to fly. At first, Matilda’s friends laugh at her because she doesn’t…
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Beautiful poem by Audrey Hepburn. ENJOY! ~ Bette A. Stevens
Originally posted on Maverick Mist:
The Beauty of a Woman
The beauty of a woman Is not in the clothes she wears,
The figure that she carries, Or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes,
Because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,
But true beauty in a woman Is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
The passion that she shows,
And the beauty of a woman
With passing years only grows.
Author: Audrey Hepburn
🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 DOG BONE SOUP! Thank you, Pamela.
Originally posted on Poetry by Pamela:
What a delightful story of a young boy growing up dirt poor. Dinner, many times, was dog bone soup. But the children still had fun. They made their own fun. They grew up together. So much I would like to say but don’t want to spoil the story for you.
This is an absolutely perfect book for a middle grade boy, but reads well for a grandmother as well. It illustrates that a good book can be entertaining without foul language or sex.
I fell in love with Shawn. As a grandmother, I think I would have wanted to take him and hold him and protect him from his own life. He is such a good boy who did so much to help his mum and family. This book also shows how much words can hurt a child. Children get made fun of because…
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Awesome advice from one of the greats! ~ Bette A. Stevens
Originally posted on Jen's Thoughts:
1. First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience. “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”
2. Don’t use passive voice. “Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe.”
3. Avoid adverbs. “The adverb is not your friend.”
4. Avoid adverbs, especially after “he said” and “she said.”
5. But don’t obsess over perfect grammar. “The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.”
6. The magic is in you. “I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.”
7. Read, read, read. ”If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time…
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Aldonzo—Prince, Fop or…Hero?
Annwyn’s Blood has its share of heroes and villains that you recognize as soon as you see them chew up the scenery. However, one character in particular developed to be far more than we imagined when we began this journey. Aldonzo, the pampered prince from Southern Gaul is not your typical heroic character. Yet, as the story develops, he finds strength within himself to carry on following some horrific events. The following is an excerpt from Annwyn’s Blood, highlighting this fish-out-of-water prince.
“Sail to port!”
Aldonzo didn’t dare look up from scrubbing the deck. Ever since the previous evening, when he had been dragged aboard this miserable tub, his stomach had been turning in continuous knots. But he didn’t dare vomit. He’d seen a very graphic example the previous evening of what could happen if he did.
There had been an old slave aboard who’d suffered badly at the hands of the pirates—battered and bruised, cursed and tormented constantly. The extent of the abuse had been obvious to Aldonzo from the moment he had laid eyes on the wretch. But in the midst of the evening mess the oldster suffered a fit of coughing that ended in a vomit of bright red blood splattered across the Captain’s plate.
Fearful that he suffered from consumption (not to mention outraged at the slave’s audacity to spit up on the captain’s food) the pirates killed him on the spot before he could infect any others in the crew. So Aldonzo fought down the waves of nausea that washed over him. There was no telling what the pirates might think he could have.
He held no illusions why he, alone out of the entire expedition, had been kept alive. All the others had been merely soldiers. Even Kien, stout, dependable Kien, had been nothing more than another trooper to them. Aldonzo, on the other hand, was different—he was ransom material. He was nobility, from a rich, landed family with ties in both Britain and Gaul. The pirates knew well they could expect a healthy reward for his safe return.
Ha, he thought bitterly. Qualify that ‘safe’ return to mean simply in one workable piece. They beat him thoroughly to find out who he might be, and, much to his disgust and shame, he told them. He’d always imagined that in such a situation he would be filled with iron-willed resolve to oppose his foe, who would have to kill him before anything of use could be revealed. Some hero, he thought ruefully. But he had never imagined reality to be so brutal.
His left hand throbbed in its rough bandage where they had severed his finger to remove his ring.
So it was that when the lookout reported the sail of another ship, Aldonzo just kept his head down, his right hand scrubbing despite the splinters and lye, his left cradled against his chest. He fervently hoped the ship approaching would be one of Cynric’s war vessels. But even that hope hung by a thread. The Anglan king possessed little by way of a navy and lacked sufficient skilled sailors to use even what he did have. And even if he had, they seldom ventured this far from land.
He kept at his work, removing the accumulated filth of regular neglect, working his way aft from the stem to the mast and listening to the shouts and orders around him. Yes, it was a trader’s vessel and, yes, it attempted to evade this vessel crawling with unkempt reavers. The other captain probably knew this ship for what it was even before it sailed into smelling distance. Slow and cumbersome, the merchant’s ship would be no match for the faster raiders’ vessel. All around Aldonzo, the brigands prepared themselves for yet another plunder, yet more death.
From his position by the helm, the first mate shouted orders, and the distance between the ships closed. Aldonzo glanced up. The other ship teemed with passengers—Saxon settlers in search of a new life in Britain.
The other sailors hustled women and children below the decks. The crew and male passengers strapped on leather-covered bucklers and hefted weapons, arming for the impending attack.
Aldonzo put his head back down and slowly crept across the deck to the starboard side, away from the other ship. Deck crew cursed and kicked him as they ran past whether he was in the way or not. Others heaved ropes up from the hold and tied on the grappling hooks. Then the brigands clustered so tightly on the port rail that the ship heeled from the weight.
Due to an unfavorable wind, the fleeing ship wallowed a bit, wind spilling from her sail, and the pirates cut through the waves to close the distance. Aldonzo’s stomach churned with apprehension. The helmsman appeared not to be as skilled as he had thought, taking an unfavorable approach, but it only prolonged the gut-wrenching anticipation of the inevitable, and Aldonzo’s innards had had about all they could take.
A great shout broke from the pirates as the grappling hooks sailed through the air to the other ship’s gunwales. Some caught, some didn’t. But enough held to allow the raiders to start hauling the ships together by hand.
The defenders wasted no time hacking at the ropes, but the pirates constantly pitched out more hooks as archers picked off the defenders. Steadily, the ships rocked closer together, and with a great crash and grinding they struck sides. Brigands poured over the bulwarks to the other deck. The Saxons made a fight of it, but Aldonzo, peeking over a coil of rope, clearly saw they would not be the victors of the brutal engagement.
There were only a few experienced seamen on the Saxon ship; most of the rest were only farmers and had no sea legs. Their difficulty in keeping their feet on the pitching deck proved to be fatal. The Saxons briefly rallied near the afterdeck, but the stand was cut short when those pirates occupied with finishing off the Saxons in the fore completed their task and moved rearward to reinforce the aft contingent.
The entire battle lasted only minutes. Then the real killing began.
Mike has wanted to write since he was very young. His earliest memories are of carrying a battered old notebook around full of illustrations and stories. He would often transpose those ideas on his grandmother’s old typewriter. While in college, he was inspired by professors and visiting writers to BYU. Literary classics such as Song of Roland and Inferno were often in his backpack, along with Russian textbooks. Chapter 4 of Annwyn’s Blood was written during this time as a short story.
Mike works in Washington, DC since pursuing graduate studies in Russian History. He focuses in domestic policy issues. Recently, Mike has pursued an interest in writing screenplays for feature films with his first option being a medieval epic, Song of Roland. He continues to focus on a variety of script/movie projects, most recently a horror thriller, Feast of Saint Nicholas, and a political thriller, The Prince. Recently, he founded and launched Filibuster Filmworks with his partners to produce and develop feature films, television and other projects.
He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Lori and his wonderful children. He dreams of one day driving to Alaska in his old Defender with his kids and their dog, Marlin.
Award-winning picture book gets another ★★★★★
Originally posted on Year 'Round Thanksgiving Project:
I love children’s books and read quite a lot of them to children (4-6 yrs). This story of Matilda shows how a caterpillar develops and changes into a beautiful Monarch butterfly. It is done in a way that is just perfect for young children to understand. I think this book could serve as a great introduction to more learning about butterfly development and habitat. And what a perfect thing for children to learn so they can become advocates for the environment.
Five out of five stars
Wishing you all a magical week whatever your weather or season…
Winter is still ruling at ‘The Farmstead’ here in Central Maine, but spring is sure to have its way before long. Meanwhile, we’ll revel in the beauty of a fresh fallen snow.
— Bette A. Stevens
“When an adult can read a young person’s book and find it entertaining, adventurous and cool, you know you have found a treasure.”
— Sandra F. Geimer
Welcome, Kathleen. I’m so excited to have you as a guest author at 4writersandreaders today to share your writer’s journey and tell us more about your fantastic middle-grade fiction series, EMERSON’S ATTIC. I’ve just finished reading The Blue Velvet and I loved it.
First, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, author and now a blogger. I came to writing late in life after a long and varied working career. I was a math and science student so it never dawned on me that I would be interested in writing. I remember breaking into a cold sweat every time I entered my English class in high school.
I’m not one of those people who can say they were born to write. I was always a big reader but never thought about writing until I became a grandmother and decided I wanted to leave my grandchildren a legacy. I can’t leave them a million dollars but I can leave them a million words. After much thought, the light bulb came on and I realized I had been writing for the last 17 years. It was commercial writing, everything from inter-company memos to developing marketing materials. My favorite assignment was as managing editor for an in-house newspaper that required, writing, photography, and layout. If I liked business writing, surely I would like creative writing.
I always believed an author had to be possessed with the unquenchable thirst to write and to have something vital to say, I had neither. After weeks of thinking about what I would write, I saw a hat on television, not an inspiring or significant hat, just a woman’s hat. That was the spark that ignited me, finally! Old hat led to old trunk, trunk led to attic, attic led to memories and a story. And so, Emerson’s Attic was born. In my first book, Emerson’s Attic, The Blue Velvet, I wove a story about a time-traveling, 14-year-old with some of my real family history to share with our grandchildren when they were older.
My husband and I are empty-nesters with two beautiful daughters, two wonderful grandchildren and two Godchildren. We live in the mountains in Central Pennsylvania, five minutes from a beautiful lake and surrounded by beautiful forest. We’re greeted every day by wildlife of some sort; whitetail deer, wild turkey, a rare fox, and I’ve even had a too-close-for-comfort encounter with a very large black bear.
How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?
I have only been doing creative writing for about three years. My favorite genre is middle-grade; hence, my Emerson’s Attic series. That age was one of my favorite growing up and I find it very easy to write about. I have also completed an adult manuscript and am working very slowly on a second. The characters in the first adult novel invaded my brain and refused to be ignored. It’s a story about mature, smart women who are drawn into a 50-year-old mystery. I love these characters and loved writing the book. The second idea for an adult novel took me totally by surprise and I find this one a challenge with subject matter I never thought I would be interested in writing about.
Can you give us a brief synopsis of the EMERSON’S ATTIC series?
The Emerson’s Attic series is about a 14-year-old girl who unwillingly becomes a time traveler. The first book, The Blue Velvet, lays the groundwork with family history and takes “Emerson” back to Victorian England. She is guided through time by her grandfather in her dreams. There’s a purpose for her journey which she figures out only after she returns home.
In the second book, Smoke and Mirrors, Emerson’s best friend, Sarah, inadvertently joins her and they land in a 1905 Circus. When I did the research I was amazed at how interesting Circus trains were. There’s lots of fun and action in this book.
The third book takes Emerson to yet another location and a new adventure. I hope to keep writing this series until I can no longer hold a pen or more realistically, type!
What prompted you to write….
I wanted to leave something for our grandchildren that they will remember long after I’m gone.
Do you have a favorite line from the book?
Not really. I like Emerson’s thoughts and realizations as she adjusts to each new situation.
Who is your favorite character and why?
It has to be Emerson, the main character, because she is smart and brave. However, I really enjoy making up the other characters, each with their own distinct personality.
What was the hardest part about writing your book?
The last chapter was probably the hardest. I wanted to end it with a mystery that the reader had to figure out on their own, however, teacher friends and my editor said I needed to tie up loose ends because readers at this age would probably not get it. I resisted at first but once it was done I had to admit they were right.
Do you do anything besides write?
Yes, I still work part-time doing medical transcription (more time at the keyboard), I teach knitting, and coordinate a local charity project called Warm-Up America. I have tons of interests in addition to writing and find it hard to squeeze everything in.
How can our readers get copies of the EMERSON’S ATTIC series? Amazon.com or ask your favorite bookstore to order it.
What’s next for Kathleen Andrews Davis? More Emerson’s Attic, more blogging, and anything else that comes my way.
It’s been wonderful having you visit today, Kathleen. I can’t wait to read more of the Emerson’s Attic series.
~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author/Illustrator
I love art: Enjoy a winter watercolor scene from nutsfornature blog, one of the ‘homes’ of my talented New England artist and photographer friend Eunice Miller! ~ Bette A. Stevens
Learn more about author Jo Robinson and her book ‘African Me & Satellite TV’. I highly recommend it! ~ Bette A. Stevens
Originally posted on Ms M's Bookshelf:
I received a free copy of this ebook in an online giveaway. These are my honest views of this novel.
Jo Robinson’s novel, African Me and Satellite TV, is a most compelling and powerful novel, with a wide range of characters drawn with deep emotions, and a message some may find uncomfortable. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Jo’s main character, Suzette Hertzog, is caring, artistic, somewhat emotional, and extremely inhibited. She has lived with pushing down her abhorrence of the way whites treat blacks in Zimbabwe ever since she saw “her father punch their driver in the face. Her 10-year-old heart had frozen in her chest, and over the next few days of listening to her parent’s vicious racist rants over his suspected, but unproven, theft of five litres of fuel, and watching him sobbing, denying it, begging them not to make him go, she finally decided to stop looking.”
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