My Projects – HistoricalTails

Category Archives for My Projects

Get to know Queen Victoria and her dog Dash

I've always been interested in Queen Victoria, my so-called namesake. My father said I had a “regal birth” (he's a doctor and I have no idea what that's supposed to mean) and so they named me Victoria. I've read many books about the queen and know that the love of her life was her first cousin, Prince Albert from Coburg (today's Germany). Their marriage was one of great love. When he died at the age of 42 from what was officially named as Typhoid (now they think he died of complications from Crohn's disease), she mourned for the rest of her life. She was crowned in 1837 and died in 1901 and was the longest reigning British monarch until the current Queen Elizabeth overtook that record.

As princess, Victoria was very lonely. She lived at Kensington Palace with her mother, Duchess of Kent and Strathearn and her mother's comptroller, Sir John Conroy. The two of them devised a plan to keep Victoria safe and well called the Kensington System. Victoria wasn't allowed outside the Palace and had to hold someone's hand while going up or down the stairs (so she wouldn't fall).

One day, Sir Conroy brought a young dog to the palace to give to the Duchess. Victoria took one look at the King Charles Spaniel named Dash and fell in love.

I'm pleased to announce my new book, “Dash and Victoria Find True Love.” Dash loves his Queen but when Prince Albert comes he must learn that his heart is big enough to love more than one person. This book will be launched in May, 2019 in honor of Queen Victoria's 200th birthday.

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What I learned at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Annual Summer Conference

I'm a member of SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and they held their annual Summer conference at the beginning of July. I was ready to learn at SCBWI conference! Driving to downtown Los Angeles early Friday morning is definitely not an easy go, but it gave me time to think about my goals for the conference. At last year’s conference my goal was to meet as many people I could and learn about publishing and marketing a book. They didn't have many workshops on self publishing but it was still a fun experience and I met some nice people. I also bought some great kids books in their on-site bookstore, which I devoured.

This year, my goal was to hone my craft. I had 3 variations of my 2nd manuscript on my computer and was procrastinating. I felt like I needed a little help. One of the workshops I attended was called, “Meet your character: How motivation drives the story,” taught by Kendra Levin. Now, my main character is a dog named Dash, but this dog belonged to Queen Victoria. He didn't like it when Prince Albert came along.

I was stuck in my story so I leaned into my chair, closed my eyes and did the meditation exercise Kendra led us through. Imagine you're in an elevator. The door closes and the elevator starts going down. Down, down down. Finally the door opens and you see your character walking towards you. What does your character say? What does your character want? He comes across some obstacles, so how does he solve them? So I wrote down what I envisioned Dash saying to me and came up with my big idea!

After the elevator doors opened, Dash came running with a swish swish of his fur. He looked like a mop cleaning the floor. He greeted me with a sloppy lick on my face as I kneeled down and scooped him up.

“I want to be love,” he said.

“You are loved, very much,” I replied.

“But Victoria loves Albert now. How can she love me as well?”

“We are capable of loving more than one at the same time,” I said, ” Victoria can love you and Albert because her heart is big enough for both!”

“I don't know how that's possible,” he said, “But I can try to figure it out.”

It was time for me to go, so I put Dash down and waved goodbye. I saw him walk away, mopping the floor clean as he walked. He turned around.

“I love you too,” he cried, “I guess it is possible to love more than one because I have a big heart!”

Dash loves Victoria and feels threatened by Victoria’s love for Albert. but he doesn’t know that a heart is big enough to love more than one person/thing. So Dash is jealous but slowly starts to realize that not only can Victoria love both he and Albert, he can love both Victoria and Albert. Voila! Now I just need to write it!

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Buzzy and Thomas are available on Amazon!

You can now buy a print or ebook version of our new book, “Buzzy and Thomas Move into the President's House.” Click here to buy on Amazon.

It’s 1801 and life is good for Buzzy, or so she thinks. Buzzy lives with Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, but her life turns upside down when Thomas tells her that they’re moving to the President’s House. Buzzy doesn’t want to move. What will she do?

This enjoyable early chapter reader for ages 4 – 8 teaches kids about President Jefferson, the new breed of dog he brought home from France and confronting issues about moving. Historical fiction at it’s best: learning from the pets of famous people in history.

Do you need a Christmas gift for a little one in your family? We have 5 FREE copies of the ebook available! Enter our contest for your chance to win. Click here to email us the answer to this question by December 16th:

Thomas Jefferson and Buzzy had many things in common. Please email us one of the things they had in common (Hint: they're mentioned in the book).

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3 Days to the Buzzy Launch!


buzzy launch
I decided to take a walk with the dogs this morning. I've got a lot to think about with the Buzzy launch happening on Friday. It was a crisp December morning in Los Angeles and my dog, Georgia wasn't being very cooperative in the photo. So, here's Ricky and I with our limited fall foliage.Buzzy launch

Back to the book. The Amazon Kindle version is available now and the print version will be available on Amazon on Friday. The print version is also available for book stores and libraries to purchase through Ingram Spark, a print on demand service that most traditional publishers use for their print material.

And now onto the HARD part, marketing! My next step is to get reviews written by qualified children's book reviewers. If you know someone, please pass on my information to them. But I'm ordering about 100 copies of the book so give to reviewers and donate to schools and libraries around my home.

Watch for my next update soon!

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Buzzy and Thomas book Video Trailer

We know you're going to LOVE Buzzy and Thomas as they move into the President's House.

If you would like to download Buzzy and Dickie coloring pages, please join our mailing list.

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Monticello: the Home of Thomas Jefferson

IMG_2140My first book, “Buzzy and Thomas Move into the President’s House,” will come out in October on Amazon in ebook and printed form. This early chapter reader is about Buzzy, Thomas Jefferson’s dog, moving into the White House with newly elected President Jefferson. But Buzzy loves living at Monticello and doesn’t want to move. What will she do?

To continue my research on Thomas Jefferson, I took a trip to Monticello.

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Northeast Portico

My docent led tour started at the Northeast portico, which then and today serves as the front door. Directly above the door is the “Great Clock.” The clock has a dual face, one on the outside of the door and another on the inside of the door. It also tracks the days of the week and was wound every Sunday. Mr. Jefferson designed this clock to serve the residents of the house and the workers in the field.

IMG_2136Still standing under the portico, I looked above me and saw the “Compass Rose”, a compass connected to the weather vane on the roof. Mr. Jefferson and his family could determine the wind direction without stepping outside! This was altogether different because they didn’t have cell phones to tell them the weather!

 

Inside Monticello

We were not allowed to take photos inside the house but I’d like to tell you about a couple of things that stood out for me. In the dining room, Jefferson had installed a revolving serving door, which connected to the stairs leading to the kitchen. The servants could place plated dishes on the shelves and turn the door into the dining room where Jefferson or another servant could grab the plates to serve. When no servants were present inside the dining room, Jefferson had complete privacy when entertaining if needed.

Jefferson had designed his bed in the same manner as he noticed in France, when he was ambassador for 7 years. The bed was placed sideways in an alcove, which gave the room more space. It seems logical now, but in those days, no one was doing that except the French!

Jefferson wrote many letters and in 1804, acquired a device called a “Polygraph” that could duplicate his letters while he wrote them. Invented by John Isaac Hawkins, the polygraph used the principles of the pantograph, a draftsman's tool for reducing and enlarging drawings. The writer's hand moves one pen whose action is duplicated by the second one, producing a copy strikingly like the original. Because of this device, we have copies of over 11,000 letters that Jefferson wrote!

Outside Monticello

IMG_2151Jefferson was known for many things, but not many people know that he loved his vegetable garden. It still stands today, with many plants that grew when he was alive. In the Monticello Café, I ate sautéed kale, from kale grown in his garden. He grew many kinds of lettuce, peas, beans and strawberries. He also planted sesame seeds, which he used to make his own salad dressing!IMG_2155

We toured the kitchen, stables and wine storeroom as well. While in France, Jefferson collected many kitchen utensils, which he brought back with him to Monticello. In 1809 and kitchen remodel was completed which included a bake oven, fireplace and stew stove. Jefferson is described as America’s “first distinguished viticulturist.” He believed the United States could “make as great a variety of wines as are IMG_2147made in Europe, not exactly of the same kinds, but doubtless as good.” His wine cellar was built directly beneath the dining room with bottle-sized dumbwaiters that rose into the cellar’s ceiling and into both sides of the mantelpiece in the dining room.

IMG_2158My visit to Monticello taught me a lot about our 3rd President and founding father. As I walked around the grass, flowers and gardens, I could envision my main character, Buzzy, running around, chasing a stick, lounging under a cherry tree and playing in the snow.

I hope you’ll love my new book and share it with friends and family. And if you’re ever near Richmond, Virginia, stop and visit Buzzy and Thomas’ home, Monticello.

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Books in the Making

As you may know, I'm a children's book writer. My first book, “Buzzy and Thomas move into the President's House,” will be published August/September. Thomas Jefferson is elected President and will be moving into the President's House (what they called the White House in 1801) and his dog, Buzzy will be moving with him. She loves her life at Monticello but also loves Thomas and wants to be with him. What will she do? “Buzzy and Thomas” is an early chapter reader for ages 5 – 8. I'll be posting images from the book as the months go on.

I'm also writing a middle grade novel about a 13 year old girl whose mother gets diagnosed with breast cancer. The story is about an athletic girl, Anna who has been learning Tae Kwon Do and wants to attempt the Black Belt test by the time she turns 13 years old. Her birthday is a month away and she has self doubts about whether she can pass the test. Then she learns that her mother has breast cancer and she loses all motivation to become a Black Belt. But, through self discovery and the spirit of Tae Kwon Do, Anna realizes that achieving her goal is important to her self esteem, as well as to her family and friends.  “Kicking Cancer” is a middle grade novel for ages 8 – 13 and projected to be published the Summer of 2017.

I have many more ideas for the Historical Tails series. I'm currently doing research on Helen Keller and her dog, Jumbo as well as Benjamin Franklin and his pet squirrel, Mungo. If you have an idea, please let me know by commenting below.

That's my update! If you'd like to receive periodic updates emails from me, please click on the subscribe button on the right side of the page. I also appreciate all likes and shares and any positive comments you may have!

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January 17, 1706: Benjamin Franklin’s birthday

Today is Benjamin Franklin's birthday. This founding father was a scientist as well and invented bifocals, an instrument called a “glass harmonica,” the Franklin stove and a lightening rod. Watch this video to learn more about this very accomplished man:

He also had a pet squirrel!

Will this be our next Historial Tail? Watch and see!

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I keep reminding myself, baby steps…

resolutionsI've been working very diligently on my manuscript, getting it ready for publication. I've never self published before so everything is new. I am constantly researching and then researching more. Every step of the way is slow and tedious but I am making progress. I have to remind myself, baby steps. Just in the first 14 days of this new year, I've done the following towards my goal:

  1. Sent the manuscript to a professional editor. Yay! Now, she reads it, makes notes and I revise. Then she reads it again, makes more notes and I revise. I hope to be finished with my manuscript by the end of January.
  2. Found an illustrator. Yay! I made a deal with an artist I really like. She's going to bring Buzzy and Thomas to life. I'm excited to work with her and see what she comes up with!
  3. In my research, I had found a painting of Thomas Jefferson in the oval office with Dickie, his Mockingbird flying around the room. So, I wrote to the White House Historical Association and obtained the right to publish this painting in my book! Once the book is published, I can also post the painting on this blog and various social media, but for now, it's hush hush.
  4. I bought 10 ISBN numbers! These numbers, along with a corresponding barcode are printed on the book and on each e-book. You need an ISBN number in order to sell a book in a store. I bought 10 numbers because that was the package deal, although I have other stories up my sleeve and when I publish those, I'll need the number.

So, that's it for now! I've accomplished a lot and look forward to more!

Do you have any intentions for 2016?

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Hello and Welcome!

IMG_1963Hello and welcome! I'm so happy you found my blog. Let me introduce myself. I'm a children's book writer specializing in historical fiction. I love that genre and have been reading it for many years. I'm combining my passion for historical fiction with writing for children, and through my blog, you'll learn about my projects as well as existing books that I will review. I'm a mother of 2, and I may write about parenting tips and info as well. I'm also currently researching a new middle grade book idea and will be posting updates on that. I can't wait to get to know you!

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