Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Writers Wednesday

It's my pleasure to introduce Alethea Williams.  Alethea's Western historical, Walls for the Wind, was released this month from Whiskey Creek Press.
Here are a few of Alethea's thoughts on writing. 
Western history has been the great interest of my adult life. I've lived in Wyoming, Colorado, and Oregon. Although an amateur historian, I am happiest researching different times and places in the historical West. And while staying true to history, I try not to let the facts overwhelm my stories. Story always comes first in my novels, and plot arises from the relationships between my characters. I'm always open to reader response to my writing.

Check out this tempting synopsis and be sure to scroll down for an excerpt that Alethea has so generously shared.

Can an angel survive Hell on Wheels? When Kit Calhoun leaves New York City with a train car full of foundlings from the Immigrant Children’s Home, she has no clue she might end up as adoptive mother to four of them in rip-roaring Cheyenne, Wyoming. Kit has spent her life in the Children’s Home and now she rides the Orphan Trains, distributing homeless children to the young nation’s farmers as fast as the rails are laid.

The first time handsome Patrick Kelley spies Kit in Julesburg, Colorado Territory, he wants her. But circumstances, and a spectral-looking demented gambler as well as Kit’s certainty no one in his right mind would want her cobbled-together family, conspire to keep them apart. As Patrick and Kit and her brood ride Hell on Wheels into their destiny, they’re all forced to leave behind everything they knew and forge new lives in the raw American West.



Cheyenne, Dakota Territory, January 1868


Panic bloomed, threatening to choke Kit as she gasped for breath. Where could she be, the small girl brought all the way out to the wilds of Wyoming from New York City? So certain she could make the best decisions for the little golden-haired girl, Kit had gone against her own upbringing as well as the stern advice of those older and wiser in order to make this journey west. Now here was her little family plunked down in the raw boomtown of Cheyenne, and she had lost not only her own direction but also the child entrusted to her care.

Where could Hannah be? Where?

The streets slimy with melting snow and horse manure, Kit struggled to keep her footing as she ran frantically up one and down another, screaming Hannah’s name. Unable to think where to look next, at last she stood helplessly wringing her hands. Tears made slow, cold tracks down her face.

A door opened behind her, and a voice full of concern said, “Kit. As luck would have it, I was just coming to look for you.”

And wouldn’t you know it? The voice of the very man who seemed to turn up at every instance of her bad luck. Indeed, he might be the root cause of her ill luck ever since she left New York City. And to think he had once promised to be her salvation, did Patrick Kelley of the dancing Irish green eyes.

But what were his true intentions as he took hold of her arm? To save her? Or to be her final ruination, as she suspected?

“Let me go.” She tried to wrench her arm away. “Hannah is missing. She’s lost. I must find her!”

“Ah, leannĂ¡n, don’t take on so,” he said in a soft, cajoling voice. “Hannah is safe and sound. I have her.”

Kit’s bones suddenly felt soft, as if they had turned to mush, and her knees started to sag. Ah, God, and wasn’t her luck running true? Patrick Kelley, the very man! Of all the places in Cheyenne that Hannah might take refuge, of course it would turn out to be with saloon-keeper, and the means of the erosion of many a young woman’s morals, Patrick Kelley.

“Come inside, please, Kit,” he insisted, tugging her arm. Her feet were frozen inside boots soaked with street muck. She felt herself weakening toward him, the warmth and light of him, and of the place behind him, beckoning seductively to her.

She had come so far, all the while thinking she knew what she was doing. Most of a year had passed since setting out. She had followed a path on a journey of more than two thousand miles, a path of righteousness that she thought would answer all eventualities.

And then her path, and the paths of the children, crossed Patrick Kelley’s.

Now once more she must break down and choose between her lofty principles and a future tied to Patrick Kelley. And she found, to her utter consternation as she stared into eyes the color of shamrocks, she…still…couldn’t… decide.

Walls of the Wind is available through the following links:Whiskey Creek Press, Kindle & Nook.

To learn more about Alethea, visit the some of these locations

Twitter: @ActuallyAlethea https://twitter.com/actuallyalethea

The Romance Reviews author page: http://www.theromancereviews.com/ActuallyAlethea

Monday, April 14, 2014

Nonfiction Monday

For other Nonfiction Monday posts click HERE.
For Nonfiction Monday  --  "From Marbles To Video Games: how toys have changed" by Jennifer Boothroyd.
Boothroyd compares past and present through the use of popular toys and explains how toys changed to make the transition to modern day. Archival black and white photos juxtaposed with modern color images enhance the comparison. The language of the text is simple enough for young readers. Back matter consisting of Names to Know, Glossary, and Further Reading provide opportunities for additional exploration of the topic.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted by Today's Little Ditty.
For Poetry Friday -- "Locomotion" by Jacqueline Woodson.

Lonnie -- orphaned in a fire, separated from his little sister when she's adopted, and put into foster care -- doesn't know what to do with his loss and grief. Then his fifth grade teacher introduces him to poetry and gradually Lonnie begins to find himself through the power of words. 
Woodson's writing gives the clear, authentic ring of truth to Lonnie's verses as he tells his story in a mix of poetic styles that voice his fears, his thoughts and his dreams.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted today by The Poem Farm.
For Poetry Friday -- "Earthshake; Poems From The Ground Up" by Lisa Westberg Peters with pictures by Cathie Felstead.
Peters lets geology inspire her 22 verses in this collection that is intended as entertainment rather than science lessons.  Nevertheless, sparkling bits of information sprinkle the poetic creations. Peters shares her passion for a wide range of geological topics -- from the power of volcanoes and continental drift to the delicate crystals hidden in the heart of a geode or the story in a fossil clam.
Felstead's imaginative art work varies from poem to poem capturing the essence of the verse and hinting at the geology underlying the words.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Nonfiction Monday

For Nonfiction Monday  --  "The Crossing: How George Washington Saved theAmerican Revolution" by Jim Murphy.

Murphy's narrative reads like a powerful suspense story as he follows Washington from his 1775 appointment to command the army through the Battle of Princeton in 1777. "He had never commanded more than 5,000 men, did not know how to position artillery, or maneuver cavalry and had no engineering skills in building defensive positions." Never-the-less, John Adams spoke in favor of Washington and the Continental Congress voted unanimously in Washington's favor.

Washington is portrayed not as a larger-than-than-life hero, but rather as a man beset with self-doubt whose early military disasters led colonists to lose confidence and almost resulted in his being replaced. Faced with the challenge of turning farmers and shop-keepers into a disciplined fighting force, Washington persevered, learned from his mistakes, became such a skilled strategist that he was nicknamed the "Old Fox" and successfully defeated the most powerful military in the world.

Murphy's narrative utilizes quotes and is enriched with maps and reproductions of art. He makes a point of offering a thoughtful discussion of Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware,  pointing out for example that the painting was intended as a symbolic rather than a factual depiction. A timeline, websites, and bibliography complete the book.
You'll find other Nonfiction Monday posts HERE.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted today by A Year of Reading.

For Poetry Friday -- "Animal Snackers"  by Betsy Lewin.
Lewin's revised book invites young readers to discover the menu preferences of twelve animals ranging from gorilla and platypus to ostrich and koala. Each four-line verse offers a whimsical description of eating habits that is both humorous and accurate. The simplicity of language makes the poetry appealing for young readers.  A page of Animal Facts provides an interesting detail and the locality of each animal. This new version of an old favorite is filled with delightful watercolors and is worth a look.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Nonfiction Monday

For Nonfiction Monday  --  "Migrating With The Humpback Whale" by Thessaly Catt.

K-3 readers will discover the watery world of the Humpback whale in Catt's attractive, photo-illustrated book that provides details about the Humpbacks life. Ten chapters include Flippers and Flukes, Finding Food and Staying Warm, Splashing and Singing, and Mothers and Calves. Maps detail the migratory journey and keywords, bolded in the text, are defined in the glossary. An Index and Websites complete the book.

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer