A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Families’ Category

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Tina Lost in a Crowd (Children’s Picture Book) by Miriam Hurdle – Book Release Tour


Welcome to DAY 2: “Tina Lost in a Crowd” by my author friend Miriam Hurdle 

Author Miriam Hurdle has just released her first children's picture book (Tina Lost in a Crowd)

 

The Making of Tina Lost in a Crowd, Part 2

The Story Behind the Story Tina Lost in a Crowd

The story of Tina Lost in a Crowd is partly based on fact. When my daughter Mercy was eight years old, my sister Yolanda, her husband Patrick, and their son Enoch, who was Mercy’s age, came from Hong Kong to visit us. We took them on tours in northern and southern California. One activity was going to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. I drove the five of us to Rowland Heights Regional Park, then we took the Park & Ride bus to the Hollywood Bowl.

The sky was dark with bright stars when the concert started. Mercy and Enoch swayed side to side when they listened to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and smiled at each other. During the intermission, Patrick left his seat to buy some popcorn. Mercy and Enoch wanted to use the restroom. Yolanda and I urged them to catch up with Patrick.

Later, when Patrick came back without them, I panicked. Imagine losing 8-year-old kids in a crowd of 18,000 people. How would I find them? Yolanda and Patrick stayed in their seats while I followed the descending steps between the sections of seats to where I thought they could had gone.

What happened next became one of my most favorite memories. This story is based on this unforgettable moment.

 

 

Blurb

Tina invited her friend Erica to attend a popular Tchaikovsky’s Spectacular concert on a summer evening with her parents. During the intermission, her dad left the seat to buy some snacks. Tina and Erica followed him wanting to use the restroom. The shoving crowd pushed them away, and they lost sight of him. It would be impossible to fight through the 18,000 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. What would the girls do?

This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults could have discussions with the children about the situations to help them develop problem-solving skills.

BUY THE BOOK

Book Review

Whether shopping, vacationing or attending a crowded event, families with young children are sure to benefit from Hurdle’s picture book. The illustrations complement the story beautifully. When Tina and her friend Erica find themselves lost at a concert, these young girls know just what to do—stay where they are and wait for an adult to come find them. TINA LOST IN A CROWD is not only a story that young children will enjoy, it teaches safe practices and inspires them to be responsible. This book also provides a springboard for adults (parents/grandparents/teachers) to talk with the children about the book. They’ll be inspired to plan time together keeping a child’s interests in mind.  Whether planning for summer vacation, a family weekend away or trip to the market, Tina’s story will encourage parents to provide high-interest, quality time for their families.  –Bette A. Stevens, author of award-winning children’s book AMAZING MATILDA and other books for children and adults.

About the Author

Miriam Hurdle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She published four children’s books at twenty-six years old. Her poetry collection received the Solo “Medalist Winner” for the New Apple Summer eBook Award and achieved bestseller status on Amazon.

Miriam writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and children’s books. She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California, and the visits to her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters in Oregon. When not writing, she engages in blogging, gardening, photography, and traveling.

Follow Miriam & find out more about her books

Thanks so much for stopping by to check out Miriam’s new picture book. I highly recommend Tina Lost in a Crowd for families with young children. ~ Bette A. Stevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Happy Birthday, #Maine! + #WritingChallenge


Celebrating #Maine through Poetry

Maine officially celebrates its 201st Birthday on March 15, 2021! Find out more about “The Pine Tree State” and help us celebrate through another year with a haiku of your own. #WritingChallenge

Did you know?

Maine (nicknamed The Pine Tree State) remained a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony when America declared its independence from Britain on July 4, 1776. At that time Maine was not one of America’s original thirteen colonies because it had never been granted a royal charter from Great Britain. It would be decades after the American Revolution and the signing of The Declaration of Independence (summarizing the colonists’ motivation for seeking independence) before Maine gained official statehood.

The Eastern white pine tree helped fuel the region’s economy in an era when shipbuilding and lumbering reigned supreme. The value of those pines actually provided a spark for the American Revolution. Massachusetts didn’t want to lose any of those pine profits it gained after the war, while Mainers struggled for political and economic independence. Maine officially celebrates its Bicentennial on March 15, 2020.

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
–Bette A. Stevens

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit from Poetry

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

Why Haiku…

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine to offer readers a collection of story poems and photo snapshots of the unique land I know and love.

I invite you to join me as I celebrate #Maine2020 during 2020 & 2021 by submitting one of your favorite photos taken in “The Pine Tree State” and writing a haiku too! I’ll be publishing submissions here on my blog throughout 2020. Simply email me at bettestevens@tds.net SUBJECT: “Maine Bicentennial Haiku.”

How to Write Haiku…

A Peek Inside the Collection

~Excerpts from “Spring Awakenings”~

March shakes the remnants
Of sleep from wintery boughs
White confetti swirls

Granite boulders rise
Above the winter mantle
Midway the meltdown

Dark mask shrouds the land
Soaking downpour foreshadows
Season’s renewal

Rivers spill over
While ice jams—slowly melting
Weep upon their beds

Pot holes irk drivers
As roadways turn to washboards
Kids giggle in back

Hills and vales exult
Rivers and streams sing arias
Mud season arrives

Verdant shimmering
Emerald fields bursting forth
Souls rise from slumber

Sunbeams composing
Springtime melodies, humming
Tapping to the tunes

About the Author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board. Find out more about the author and her books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

Contact the author at DBS Publishing to order author-signed copies of her books or to schedule a Poetry Event tailored to meet the needs and interests of your school, community group, company or organization, or simply to find out more.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing from you. (Comment Section Below)

“Happy reading & writing poetry!” 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Celebrating Maine! + #WritingChallenge


The Maine Bicentennial Continues…

Maine officially marked its 200th birthday a year ago—March 15, 2020. A Covid Pandemic may have slowed us down a bit, but in Maine we’ve always got plenty to celebrate.  (Photo of Frenchman Bay taken by author Bette A. Stevens from Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park in Maine.) Happy 201st Birthday, Maine!

Did you know?

Maine (nicknamed The Pine Tree State) remained a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony when America declared its independence from Britain on July 4, 1776. It would be decades after the American Revolution and the signing of The Declaration of Independence before Maine gained official statehood in 1820.

Acadia National Park

Home to some of the most stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife on the Eastern Seaboard, Acadia National Park is open to explore year-round. Whether you’re interested in visiting Acadia National Park for fall foliage, winter skiing, spring fishing or summer hikes, it’s the perfect outdoor playground. Visit https://visitmaine.com/things-to-do/parks-natural-attractions/acadia-national-park to learn more about Maine’s only national park. Maine is a perfect place to spend a vacation—one you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Check Maine.gov before visiting for the latest health and safety guidelines in place.

Maine is the easternmost state in the contiguous United States, and the northernmost east of the Great Lakes. It is known for its jagged, rocky coastline; low, rolling mountains; heavily forested interior; and picturesque waterways, as well as its seafood cuisine and its four distinct seasons. 

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit from Poetry

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

Why Haiku…

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons. The collection offers readers story poems (150) and photo snapshots (49 original) + fun facts and symbols of the unique land I know and love. Writing haiku is a great way to celebrate the people, places and things that enrich our lives and inspire us every day. I invite you to give it a try!

How to Write Haiku…

 

A Peek Inside the Collection

~Excerpts from MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons “Spring Awakenings”~

March shakes the remnants
Of sleep from wintery boughs
White confetti swirls

Verdant shimmering
Emerald fields bursting forth
Souls rise from slumber

Windowsill seedlings
Watching and waiting, waiting…
Longing for fresh air

From the Master’s hand
Lily of the Valley shouts
Rejuvenation

Dandelion greens,
Fiddleheads along brook sides
Nature’s elixirs

 

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
–Bette A. Stevens

About the Author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board.

Find MY MAINE and all of Bette’s books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

 

Contact the author at DBS Publishing to order author-signed copies of her books or to schedule a Poetry Event tailored to meet the needs and interests of your school, community group, company or organization, or simply to find out more.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing from you. (Comment Section Below)

 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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New Release from Toni Pike – BRODY CODY AND THE HAUNTED VACATION HOUSE – Book 2 in the Brody Cody Series for children aged 6-9


I’m delighted to have Toni Pike with us today. You’ll find out more about my talented author friend from Australia and get a peek into her latest children’s book. Check out this awesome teaser—Brody Cody’s second book is sure to be pleaser…

“Brody Cody loves his new stepmother but is surprised to hear that she is expecting a baby. To celebrate, his parents take Brody and his friends away for a week to a very spooky house in the Blue Mountains, owned by the elderly and even spookier Mr Sludge.” ~ Amazon blurb

Welcome back, Toni. ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author 

Meet Toni Pike

Thank you so much, Bette, for inviting me to your wonderful blog to talk about my new release, the second book in the Brody Cody Series. It’s called BRODY CODY AND THE HAUNTED VACATION HOUSE, another funny adventure for children aged 6-9. I had so much fun writing the first book that I couldn’t wait to send Brody off on another escapade.

It’s a chapter book for children to read by themselves – or for reading aloud. In this second adventure, Brody is dismayed to learn that he’s going to have a little brother or sister. When his parents take his friends with them on a trip to the Blue Mountains, it turns out to be much less relaxing than they expected. When spooky things start to happen, the children suspect that their vacation house is haunted. The Blue Mountains, by the way, is a beautiful area of stunning scenery very close to Sydney, and it’s a wonderful place to visit.

I’m a multi-genre author with several fast-moving thrillers: DESOLATION BLUFF, DEAD DRY HEART and The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series. I’ve also written two non-fiction books: THE ONE WAY DIET, a guide to losing weight, and HAPPY TRAVELS 101, a short book of travel tips.

I live in Canberra, the capital of Australia. With very tight border controls and restricted travel since the start of the pandemic, we’ve fared quite well here. Travelling is one of my main passions, but at the moment only limited travel within Australia is allowed. My main focus has been writing, and spending as much time as possible with family and friends.

About BRODY CODY AND THE HAUNTED VACATION HOUSE – Book 2 in The Brody Cody Series.

Brody Cody loves his new stepmother but is surprised to hear that she is expecting a baby. To celebrate, his parents take Brody and his friends away for a week to a very spooky house in the Blue Mountains, owned by the elderly and even spookier Mr Sludge.

Very strange things start to happen, and the friends soon become convinced that the house is haunted. They love scary stories and know all about ghosts, but will they be able to solve the mystery?

A hilarious adventure for children aged 6-9.

It would be best to read the series in order. In the first book, Brody’s life take a surprising turn when his father gets married.

About BRODY CODY AND THE STEPMOTHER FROM OUTER SPACE – Book 1 in The Brody Cody Series.

Brody Cody is almost eight years old and definitely, absolutely, positively does NOT want a mother. His mother died when he was a baby but life with his dad is just perfect.

Brody is horrified when his father goes away to a publishing conference and returns with a wife, Pandora Smith, who is a children’s author. His life spirals out of control as he is forced to eat healthy food, do his homework and help with some chores.

Even worse, he and his friends suspect that his new stepmother might be an alien from outer space.

Find out more about Toni Pike and her books

Thanks so much for stopping by to meet Toni Pike and learn more about her books. Toni and I would love to hear from you (comments below). Happy Reading! ~Bette A. Stevens

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🎄Happy Holidays — Three (3) books Only 99¢/p each through New Year’s Day!🎉


Wishing everyone “A Very Merry Christmas” and “A Happy & Healthy New Year!”  ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

🎄Celebrating the holidays🎉 and still looking for a special gift for a friend or family member?

Three of my eBooks are on sale for only 99¢ each through New Year’s Day 2021. I invite you to check them out at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

NOTE: You can also purchase any of these as paperbacks and download the eBook versions for FREE (Kindle Matchbook) anytime.

About the books

AGES 10–Adult/Novel & Short Story/Historical Fiction

DOG BONE SOUP

“Adventures and misadventures to the likes of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry.” Frank Scozzari

  • Whether or not you grew up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find Dog Bone Soup (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. Dog Bone Soup is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive at a time when others were living The American Dream. This family drama and the emotional world of the characters are timeless and relatable. Dog Bone Soup (2017 Top Finalist KCT International Literary Award) 

PURE TRASH (Short story prequel to the novel Dog Bone Soup)

“A great book for young adults, parents, guardians, mentors, and educators to read. Strongly recommended!” Yoong 

AGES 4–11/ Parents/Grandparents/ Award-Winning Children’s Picture Book

“If you loved P.D. Eastman’s incomparable book, ‘Are You My Mother’ about a baby bird’s search for its mother, you must read this book.” Jacqui Murray

If you read to children, you’re sure to want a copy of AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarch’s Tale (Award-winning Picture Book/Purple Dragonfly Book Award & Gittle List 2013) by Maine author/illustrator on your bookshelf. Follow Matilda, a monarch butterfly (through metamorphosis) from the time she emerges from her egg on a milkweed leaf until she realizes her dream to fly. Challenges and adventure at every turn, this story teaches children that patience and hard work really do pay off.

Find all of Bette’s Books and take a “Look Inside” on YOUR AMAZON

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Celebrating The Pine Tree State—Christmas Poem & Artwork by Local Mainers


In honor of the State of Maine’s Bicentennial (official birthday March 15, 2020), I’ll be posting articles about Maine history, events, people, and places that include poetry and photographs throughout 2020 and 2021. Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas and a New Year 2021 filled with the Peace, Love, Joy and Hope found in God’s greatest gift—the Christ Child. ~ Bette A. Stevens 

Isaiah 9: 6

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” 

Maine

NOTE CARD COVER: Artwork Created By 7-year-old Bentley Lang (2017)

Did you know?

  • The Pine Tree State‘s pristine lakes and ponds total 6,000 (Maine.gov).

Last December (2019) I received a phone call that made my day! A local resident had checked out my latest book—My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons, from our local library and called to tell me how much she enjoyed reading it. Now that’s a great way for an author to begin her day…but, the wonder didn’t end on that lovely note. In fact, it blossomed into an extended conversation with the caller, Irene White, a fellow nature lover and gardener. Irene lives on Great Moose Pond, just a few miles from our farmstead in Hartland, Maine.

“I loved your book so much that I wrote a poem, not a haiku, but a poem nevertheless. My Christmas poem was inspired by a sweet card created by a seven-year-old boy named Bentley Lane in 2017.  I enjoyed Bentley’s artwork so much that I purchased several cards from his mother’s craft table at the local Christmas fair in town.” ~Irene White

Silently we all say “thanks”

Poem by Irene White (2019)

It’s a frosty morning
and Christmas is in the air.
So put on your tall boots
and your warm wooly coat.
Hat and mittens too,
and grab the trusty saw.
Warm up the truck 
and head for the woods.
Up there be a stand,
it’s thick and green.
The tracks abound,
this way and that.
The rabbit hopped this way,
and the deer circled round.
But look over there,
the perfect tree.
Push forward, pull back,
again and again.
Until the final cut,
and she’s yours!
Now load it up
and head for home.
Shake off the snow
and bring her in.
All the kids shout, “Yeh”
and the dog gives a leap!
We get ready to string the lights,
and silently we all say, “Thanks.”

Discover how reading and writing poetry benefits everyone from kids to corporate executives at this link on Bette’s blog. Whether you’re a resident Mainer or from away, I invite you to come celebrate Maine. I would love to hear from you if you have a favorite tidbit (i.e. poem/photograph/very short story) to share with us about your love for the The Pine Tree State.

About Bette A. Stevens

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. Stevens’s books include The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!; Amazing Matilda, Children’s Picture Book (Ages 4-11) 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award and Gittle List; Pure Trash (MG/YA/Adult) Short Story; Dog Bone Soup (MG/YA/Adult) Coming of age Novel (2017 KCT International Literary Award Top Finalist 2017); and My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry and Photography Collection) 2019.

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Celebrate the Seasons through Poetry


Celebrating My Maine

Maine—The Way Life Should Be…

Find out more at  https://www.theodysseyonline.com/10-reasons-why-maine-the-way-life-should

Did you know?

Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, the state of New Hampshire to the west, the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine’s long rocky Atlantic Coast is known for its frigid waters and an ample fishery—most famed for the Maine lobster. Maine has 3,478 miles of coastline.

Nicknamed The Pine Tree State), Maine was initially a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In fact, it was decades after the American Revolution before Maine gained official statehood. The Eastern white pine tree helped fuel the region’s economy in an era when shipbuilding and lumbering reigned supreme. The economic value of those pines actually provided a spark for the American Revolution. Massachusetts didn’t want to lose any of those pine profits it gained after the war, while Mainers struggled for political and economic independence. Maine officially celebrated its Bicentennial on March 15, 2020. Due to the 2020 Pandemic, The Pine Tree State will continue to celebrate its bicentennial through 2021! 

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
–Bette A. Stevens

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit from Poetry

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

Why Haiku…

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine to offer readers a collection of story poems and photo snapshots of the unique land I know and love.

I invite you to join me as I celebrate #Maine2020 by submitting one of your favorite photos taken in “The Pine Tree State” and writing a haiku too! I’ll be publishing submissions here on my blog throughout 2020. Simply email me at bettestevens@tds.net SUBJECT: “Maine Bicentennial Haiku.”

How to Write Haiku…

 

A Peek Inside the Collection

~Excerpts from Winter Tales~

Frozen polar winds
Wave the ice crystal scepter
Dawn’s magic appears

Silvery branches
Unveil the old, old folktale
A spellbound story

Pine cones and tassels
Mirrored in moonlight upon
White weighted branches

Chickadees dozing
Nestling, captive to pine boughs
Till dawn sets them free

Shovels and snow plows
Storm’s rook ravings unraveled
Till the next arrives

Soups, stews and chowders
Stories told round the table
Favored winter fare

Silently—Snowfalls
Reign over field and forest
Supremely sovereign

Winter white gemstones
Glistening across meadows
Perfect snowshoe day

About the Author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board. Find out more about the author and her books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

“Happy reading and writing… May the bounty and beauty of each new season inspire you!” 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Get away from it all without leaving home—MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons by Bette A. Stevens


MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection) by Bette A. Stevens. 150 haiku poems, 49 of the author’s original photographs + interesting facts and symbols from The Pine Tree State. 

My Maine…

Staycation in “Vacationland” (One of The Pine Tree State’s nicknames). No need to leave your comfy lounge chair. No matter the season, MY MAINE is a collection of poems and photographs to soothe the soul. Put up your feet, sit back and relax. Let MY MAINE take you away…

Did you know?

In the early 20th century, lumber, textiles and other industries began to leave the state, and the government doubled down on stimulating tourism. In the 1960s, the state adopted a new nickname on its license plates and highway signs: “Vacationland.”

Every year, thousands of visitors from all over the world flock to the Pine Tree State to enjoy scenic vistas, outdoor activities and the unhurried pace of life. But a visit to Maine is more than just lobsters and lighthouses. USA Today

MY MAINE

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry!”

~ Bette A. Stevens

 

Summer Songs

Excerpts from MY MAINE Haiku through the Seasons (Summer Songs) by Bette A. Stevens

Pristine forest lands
Rockbound footpaths appealing
Seek your solace here

Lady slippers chant
Madrigalian ballads
Timeless tales reborn

Moose shielding twin calves
Wades tranquil mountain waters
Head raised, ears twitching

Swallows consuming
Millions of swarming creatures
Ouch, ouch—they missed some

Loons at lakeshore wail
Campers bewitched by the sound
Sacred summer songs

Waves play taps on shore
Tall pines salute by moonlight
Waking stars stand guard

Lighthouses stand tall
Regaling stories of ghosts
From a bygone age

Books by Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

Hubby and I are enjoying a great “Staycation” right here at the farmstead. Confined by the 2020 pandemic restrictions, we’re playing it close to home and enjoying the magic of Maine moment by moment. Wishing everyone a blessed and beautiful end of summer and hope you’ve enjoyed a bit of a virtual Maine summer respite with us. ~Bette A. Stevens

[Visit Bette’s Blog]

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Welcome to Day 8 of the “SIR CHOCOLATE AND THE ICE CREAM RAINBOW FAIRIES” Blog Tour! @bakeandwrite @4WillsPub #RRBC


Welcome to part 8 of the fondant cat parade

 

I am delighted to introduce you to Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies story and cookbook. This is Day 8 of the tour. Check out all the stops on this tour to learn more about author Robbie Cheadle’s awesome cooking and writing. Don’t forget to check out and enter Robie’s fabulous giveaway too. Welcome, Robbie! ~Bette A. Stevens 

 

GIVEAWAY:  (7 winners) Each will win a copy of her Sir Chocolate Story and Cookbooks. For your chance to win, please leave a comment below!

 

The fondant cat parade tells the story in limericks of Dinah the Kitten, daughter of Daddy Grey and Mommy Cat, who likes to sleep and escape to Wonderland in her dreams. While in Wonderland, Dinah meets a variety of brightly coloured and fun fantasy kittens. The fondant cat parade illustrates some of the wonderful fondant art that appears in all the Sir Chocolate books.

Today, you will learn about Rascal the Kitten.

Look out for part 9 of the fondant cat parade tomorrow when you will meet Pinky Lee the Kitten. You can download the full illustrative PDF of the fondant cat parade here: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/dinah-in-wonderland-fondant-cat-parade/.

How to make oat cookies

Ingredients

250 grams softened butter

500 ml white sugar

15 ml golden syrup

45 ml boiling water

10 ml vanilla essence

1 000 ml self-raising flour

1 000 ml oats

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 374 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Soften the butter and place in a mixing bowl. Cream the butter and sugar until they are well blended. Melt 15 ml golden syrup in 45 ml of boiling water and add the 10 ml vanilla essence. Add to the butter mixture. Add the self-raising flour and mix and then the oats and mix again until all the ingredients are combined.
  • Roll the mixture into large balls and flatten using your hands. Place on a prepared baking tin and bake for +- 15 minutes until golden brown.

BOOK BLURB

Join Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet on a fun adventure to discover why the milkshake rain is pale and white.

Contains five recipes that children can make under adult supervision

 

 

AUTHOR BIO

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with seven published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre under Robbie Cheadle;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley under Robbie Cheadle;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre under Robbie Cheadle; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth under Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Robbie Cheadle

Roberta Eaton Cheadle

AMAZON OR OTHER PURCHASE LINKS

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site. If you’d like to schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE. Thanks for supporting this author and her work!

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Aside

#RRBC #RWISA #RWISARiseUp – Jan Sikes with a #Mother’sDay post (+ a great giveaway)


I’m delighted to welcome Jan Sikes back to 4writersandreaders to share a #Mother’sDay piece she’s written for the  2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! 

 

DEPRESSION SOUP 

by Jan Sikes

 

She stood in a line her head bowed low

There was nowhere to run, no place to go

With clothes that were ragged

And shoes that were worn

There were millions just like her

She wasn’t alone

America’s Great Depression had stolen their homes

Took its toll on their bodies

Tried to squash their souls

But she squared her shoulders, raised her eyes

Fierce determination replaced her sighs

She’d fight to survive, that much was true

Although many times, she’d be sad and blue

Someday there would be plenty

But for now, she was caught in a loop

She held out her bowl

For another serving

Of Depression Soup

 

Born in Missouri in 1917, my mom, Marian Edith Clark, learned about hardships at a young age.

Her mother, my grandmother, Sarah Jane, was sickly. The household chores fell on my mom’s shoulders when she was still a child. She shared memories of having to stand on a box so she could reach the stove to cook their meals.

My mom blue eyes sparkled, and her smile could light up a midnight sky. She started school in Treece, Kansas. Her family were migrant workers. Anytime they found an abandoned house, even if it was spooky, they moved in. Eventually, they landed in Pitcher, Oklahoma, where her father found a job in the iron and ore mines. She was in the ninth grade when he had an accident in the mines, and she had to quit school to help make a living for the family.

Her father became a bootlegger in Oklahoma. He would often get caught and wind up in jail for six months at a time, leaving the family to fend for themselves.

They eventually moved to Arkansas, where they had kinfolk who were sharecroppers. They picked cotton, and in Mom’s words, “Nearly starved to death.”

When she was around fourteen, her dad took the family to the Texas cotton fields. The whole family could pick, and they would make twenty-five cents for every hundred pounds of cotton.

We found this story written in a journal after Mom passed away.

“My last school was in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, population around 2,000. We lived two miles out in the country. I went to a two-room school. A man and his wife were both teachers. He taught in one room and her in the other. The man teacher went crazy and tried to kill his wife. When she got away, she came to our house. I’ll never forget how bloody her head was. When the police found him, he had crawled up under their house. So, they put him in a mental hospital.”

The Great Depression hit America in 1929, wiping out any semblance of a prospering economy. It was during that catastrophic era that my mom and dad met in Sayre, Oklahoma. At the time, she was babysitting for one of Dad’s sisters, and living in a government migrant camp with her family.

She was only seventeen, but they fell head-over-heels in love and decided to marry.

Mom had no shoes to wear for the ceremony, and a woman next to them in the camp loaned her a pair of shoes.

On April 14, 1934, they said their wedding vows in a preacher’s living room and began life together.

There were no pictures, no fanfare, no parties, and no honeymoon.

They spent their first night as newlyweds, sharing a bed with some of my dad’s younger brothers and sisters.

Their first home was an old farmhouse with nothing in it but a wood stove, a bed, and a table. Mom had no broom to sweep the floors, and when snakes crawled across, they left trails in the dirt.

Through the years, she shared many harrowing stories of how they survived as transients. They stayed within their family group and moved from the strawberry fields in Missouri, to potato fields in Kansas, to cotton fields in Texas. Often, they had no shelter from the elements, sleeping outdoors under a shade tree. Other times, they managed to have a tent or share a tent with other family members.

Mom and Dad’s life together, began under this umbrella of hopeless poverty.

Hunger was a constant companion. My mom had an older brother who often would go out at night and steal a chicken or watermelon.

Enmeshed in daily survival, they could see no future.

Sometime around late 1934, they moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas not knowing it was in the middle of an epidemic. They were lucky enough to find housing in a WPA camp. My dad got a job digging graves for fifty cents a week, plus a small amount of food. A man working with him warned him to stay clear of the hospital; that no one came out alive.

However, the hospital laundry was the only place Mom found work. Automation wasn’t yet widespread, and especially not in Arkansas, so all of the washing had to be done by hand on rub boards.

A large scowling woman marched up and down behind the workers with a blackjack in hand. If she thought they weren’t working hard enough or fast enough, she’d whack them across the shoulders.

During this time, my mom fell ill with Scarlet Fever and they quarantined her. They kept her in a room under lock and key. My worried dad climbed to her window with food. It became apparent that they had to get out of there, or Mom would die. One night when all was quiet, she tied bedsheets together and lowered herself from the two-story window to the ground, where Dad waited.

They caught a ride to Oklahoma on the back of a flatbed truck, and Mom eventually recovered. They never went back to Fort Smith, Arkansas.

As the years passed, much of my dad’s family migrated to California, the land of milk and honey. But Mom and Dad didn’t go with them due to my grandmother’s failing health, and a younger sister who was inseparable from my mom. They all stuck together. My grandmother passed away in 1942 in Roswell, New Mexico. Pictures show a large goiter on her throat. She died long before I was born.

Mom gave birth to my siblings with help from family and friends. I was the only one to arrive in a hospital setting.

By 1951, the year I was born, Mom and Dad had settled in Hobbs, New Mexico, and purchased a lot on Avenue A. They stretched their tent and immediately started building a house. They put down roots and said goodbye to the transient life they’d known.

Like everything else in their lives, they built our house themselves. A place not too far from Hobbs, The Caprock, had an abundance of large flat rocks. Every day Dad wasn’t working, he’d head up and bring back a load of rocks to cover the sides of the house. That house withstood many storms, and still stands today.

When I was around twelve, I distinctly remember watching Mom climb up and down a ladder with bundles of shingles to roof the house. And she did this alone.

I believe I can declare with all certainty that no two people worked harder than my mom and dad.

Mom was a fantastic cook, having learned from necessity at a young age. She had a sweet tooth and loved to bake. Her specialty was pies. She could make a peach cobbler that would melt in your mouth.

She never measured anything. She’d throw in a handful of this and a pinch of that, and it turned out perfectly every time.

Mom was not a worrier. Her philosophy was, “If I can’t fix it, there’s no need to waste time worrying about it.”

I’ve strived to adopt that same philosophy.

She lived by these seven wisdoms:

  1. Count your blessings every day.
  2. Don’t whine or throw a fit if things don’t go your way.
  3. Take whatever trials God sees fit to give you and make the best of it. Never sit down and give up.
  4. Believe in yourself and your dreams, and they’ll come true.
  5. Love life and live for God.
  6. Hard work never killed anyone. Try your best and don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t turn out the way you first thought.
  7. Treat everyone with dignity and respect.

I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with my mom, as you know if you’ve read my books. But I never forgot her teachings, her strength, and her determination. And for the last thirty years of her life, we were close.

She was the best grandmother my two little girls ever could have hoped for. She adored them as much as they loved her.

I watch my daughters now and see them practice some of Mom’s ways with their own children, and it makes me happy.

So, here’s to my mom – the strongest woman I ever knew.

Contact Jan Sikes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page! Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well. Thank you, and good luck!

 

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