Treasure in Catclaw Canyon Cover Reveal

Today is cover reveal day for Treasure in Catclaw Canyon!

For all the middle grade kids who enjoyed The Legend of Sassafras House, 
book 2 in the series will be released soon.

Kale Flores doesn’t understand why his dad left or where he went. Most days Kale loves his dad, but other days he hates him for leaving. It’s been six years without a word. The one thing Kale wants most is for his dad to come home. An unexpected knock on the door raises Kale’s hopes that his dad will come back. Both Kale’s mom and his best friend, Jasmine, are skeptical. Kale wants to prove to them that his dad is not the deadbeat they think he is. It takes a treasure map of Catclaw Canyon to reveal the truth to everyone.



Free Teacher Guide

A teacher guide for The Legend of Sassafras House is now available. If you're a teacher or librarian of students in grades three through six, this guide is for you. Dreaming Big Publications has provided this guide as a FREE download. I hope you'll enjoy using the activities in your classroom when your students read The Legend of Sassafras House.



My Wise Visitor

Last weekend a great horned owl dropped in to visit at my house. These birds hunt at night, so a daytime sighting is rare. Strong winds circulated on the day of his appearance, so it's possible that this young owl was blown out of one of the tall trees nearby. He huddled on my back yard patio part of the day, but by evening he had moved to the front yard and was caught peeking in through a glass door. Just look at those eyes.

I don't know why he came. He didn't appear to be injured, but I was concerned for his well-being. After checking with a wildlife expert, I was advised to let him be. I was told it would be best to wait and see if his mother would come for him during the night. She must have done just that, because the next morning he was gone.

Perhaps he only stopped in to say hello. Maybe he wants to be a character in my next book. Whatever his reasons, I do hope he left behind some wisdom for me.



Counting Down the Days

At this time of year students tend to get restless and tired of the routine of school. The kids aren't the only ones to get weary. If you're a teacher, you may be counting down the days until summer break. It may seem that you must work extra hard to keep the students' attention. When each day seems longer than the last, those final weeks of school can be hard.

Maybe I can help. Since The Legend of Sassafras House was released last August, I've done presentations in a number of elementary and middle schools, and I'll be happy to visit your school. I'll promote literacy and give your students some pointers on the basics of writing fiction. This material is best suited for students in grades three through six. I'll speak to individual classrooms, grade levels, or large groups.

There aren't many weeks left in this school year, so let me know ASAP if you'd like your school added to my schedule.



Oklahoma School Visits

School visits are the best part of being a middle-grade author. I've visited a number of schools this year, and I have loved meeting new teachers, librarians, and students. This week I took The Legend of Sassafras House to Norman, Oklahoma.

One school I visited was Terra Verde Discovery School. This school is a teacher's dream. I saw a 5th grade classroom with its own loft library, accessed by a spiral staircase. There were garden plots and live animals on site. The campus has its own lake. The students themselves were the only thing more impressive than these amenities. They were attentive and respectful. Their manners were impeccable. Each and every student stood and identified himself before speaking. Wow, just wow. I didn't want to leave.

Also, I visited Washington Elementary School, a part of Norman Public Schools. This was the first school I've been to all year with a computerized check-in/check-out system for visitors. I was photographed and had to provide proof of identification. It was easy to see that the school system values the safety of their students. Washington Elementary was large and the buildings were beautiful and well-maintained. The students gave me a warm reception and displayed genuine interest in my presentation. I loved every minute of my time there.

Terra Verde Discovery School

Washington Elementary School



Focus on the Future

Fourth grade students at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School have been exploring careers. Their school counselor, Mrs. Jenny Brown, has invited a number of people from the community to talk to the students about their work. She wants to encourage the students to focus on the future.

I was honored to speak to the students today about writing. I shared with them my own journey on building a writing career. I also gave them some pointers on writing fiction. It was exciting to see this young generation thinking about their futures. I hope the remarks I made today will inspire a youngster to pursue his own writing career.

One of my favorite parts of school visits is the t-shirt drawing. 



School Visits in Springdale, AR

When mapping the route from my home to the city of Springdale, AR, I was baffled when my search revealed it was an 85 hour trip. How could this be? It's only 250 miles between the two cities across the top of the state.

The explanation turned out to be user error. Somehow, I had selected walking, instead of driving, as my means of travel. My next search showed a much quicker and easier 5 hour trip.

While in Springdale, I spoke to the Wolves at Westwood Elementary, the Mallards at Monitor Elementary, and the Tigers at Tyson Elementary. Students earned The Legend of Sassafras House swag for answering questions about the importance of literacy and the elements of fiction writing.

Along with the students, I met librarians, counselors, teachers, principals, secretaries, and security officers. The common thread woven throughout my visits was dedication and enthusiasm. Nary a discouraging word was heard anywhere.

If I get a chance to return to Springdale Public Schools, I won't let a mere 85 hour walk stop me.