April 5, 2013
March 5, 2013
Matthew Whaley Elementary School in Williamsburg celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday with their annal book fair at Barnes and Noble. I’m shown here with Media Specialist Maud Ann Wilson. What an exciting and delightful event.
February 10, 2013
Librarians and Children: a great team!
Children from local schools participated Friday night in choosing this year’s Beacon of Freedom Award winner. The winning book was Steve Sheinkin’s THE NOTORIOUS BENEDICT ARNOLD. Congratulations Steve and to the students who did an excellent job selecting a winner. Of course the students wouldn’t shine without the support of their librarians and families.
February 8, 2013
I’ve been remiss. Over the years, I’ve received a lot of letters, cards, and emails from readers. And I’ve found they only write me if they like my books. In the past, I’ve not posted any of their letters. With her permission, I’m posting this comment from Ty’Reonna:
“You’re book was great I enjoyed reading it! Lili’s Gift inspired me to know that many young girls like me could not go on a great journey to find their father and have an amazing gift from god. That’s extraordinary! My favorite part was when she found her dad and they became a family again. Also when she went to go talk to the witch who didn’t turn out to be one, and what you explained on that part was the cover of the book where she held out her hand. The part that was sad was when her mom didn’t have enough money and Lili and Caleb had to be sent to the orphanage and she would always get in trouble with her gift. You’re book was out of this world I will continue to read more. Hope you can write more books for my family and we would be delighted to read them thanks for being a great author! I learned a lot about the civil war and Virginia.”
Thank you, Ty’Reonna!
January 20, 2013
This is Martin Luther King Weekend, and it is a pleasure to see so many African Americans visiting Colonial Williamsburg. Celebrate our history!
January 13, 2013
White Mane Kids, the publisher of five of my children’s novels, has just made BETWEEN THE LINES available in electronic form. Check it out on Smashwords.
January 13, 2013
Limelight Talent, a children’s theater group, in Petersburg, Virginia performed skits based on two of my books: DIVIDED LOYALTIES and BETWEEN THE LINES as part of the celebration of the Revolutionary War Battle of Petersburg.
I took a number of movies of the great performances of the cast members, but I unfortunately lost those somewhere in cyberspace.
The actors and actresses did a great job with my characters. I spent December 1 and 2 at the Centre Hill Mansion in Petersburg where the skits were performed. One young man asked me if I didn’t get tired seeing the same skits several times. I told him an author never gets tired of hearing their words repeated by someone else.
Thanks to the young actors and actresses. Well done! It was privilege to see you. Thanks for your hard work in bringing my characters to life,
August 28, 2012
I was signing books at Barnes and Nobles in Williamsburg when a lovely 4th grade teacher bought books to share with her class.
August 19, 2012
Today I was signing books and I met a delightful reader whose mom purchased all of my books for her !!! I hope to hear from this very special reader.
July 7, 2012
What a pleasure to meet Xavier and Sahara at my most recent book signing! Xavier reads to his little sister. I hope they enjoy LOTTIE’S COURAGE.
July 4, 2012
One of the great things about being a writer is meeting readers. This was very special. I met Sara and Hannah through their grandparents (children’s writers LOVE grandparents). These grandparents bought LOTTIE’S COURAGE years ago when it won the Beacon of Freedom Award. They gave it to their granddaughters who only now are old enough to enjoy reading it. When these girls visited Williamsburg, they wanted to meet me. So granddad took us all out to a lovely lunch where we had plenty of time to chat. I gave Sara and Hannah two of my more recents books and hope they will enjoy them as much as they did LOTTIE.
May 13, 2012
Fifth-grade students at Langley read LOTTIE’S COURAGE. Here are some of their comments:
“I loved it when Lottie escaped from slavery.”
“I liked the part when Lottie got back with her mommy”
“I liked the part when the boy helped the soldiers.”
“I liked it when Ned hung the boy not he fence.”
“I loved the book, its full of history.”
“I like your books. They are amazing.”
“I couldn’t stop reading.”
“It’s a great book.”
“My favorite part of the story was everything.”
“I love everything about the book it’s giving me courage to write a book myself.
No wonder I love going to Langley. I was invited to see a presentation by Langley students. Check out these short clips on youtube.
May 1, 2012
On last Saturday I drove to Richmond to attend a meeting of the Mid-Atlantic branch of the children’s book writers and illustrators. Literary Agent Molly Jaffa from Folio Literary Management gave the attendees an insight into some of the things an agent can do for a writer. She has helped Lana Krumwiede to make her first book a better book. It sounded like the ideal author-agent relationship. I left wondering if today that kind of partnership wasn’t rare.
I was fascinated by the presentation of Hazel Buys whose picture Olaf’s Door is available on iTunes. Buys seems to be taking advantage of the new technology. I was a little disappointed there wasn’t more time given to the ebook revolution.
April 8, 2012
My newest book is now available from White Mane Kids. Check it out!
March 4, 2012
Until the new book is available about April 1, I’m offering my ebook THE TIME MAGUS for $.99. It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Smashwords. My hope is that you’ll love THE TIME MAGUS so much you’ll want to buy the new book.
February 20, 2012
It was a pleasure to meet Elizabeth, an eager reader, who was in Williamsburg visiting her grandparents. Keep reading, Elizabeth!
January 29, 2012
It’s a very long process to write a book and get it published. But I am almost there with my new middle grade novel. It will be out in March from White Mane Kids.
Between the Lines is an historical novel for children between the ages of eight and thirteen. The story begins in Williamsburg, Virginia. Cassie is a mixed-race child who is a slave. During the Revolutionary War, the British Army offered freedom to slaves who joined their cause. Cassie escaped to the British only to be put out between the battle lines during the Battle of Yorktown, the decisive battle of the war.
I have seen sketches for the cover and I am looking forward to holding the book in my hands.
September 18, 2011
September 4, 2011
Fortunately our house was undamaged, but others nearby were not so lucky. We have just had power restored after six days. We are glad we invested in a generator after Hurricane Isabel.
During the worst of the storm we could hear the thunk of trees going down all around us. It was scary.
August 26, 2011
The animals can the Camino are sometimes real and sometimes legendary.
This wolf-like creature terrorized south central France between 1764 and 1767. There were over 200 attacks and more than 100 people died.
This is a happier story. Cats were outlawed in France, but one little girl hid her cat. After the cats were gone, mice and rats overran the area. And the little girl’s cat saved the day.
August 19, 2011
August 14, 2011
Modern day pilgrims who hike the ancient pilgrimage route, The Camino de Santiago, across France and through Northern Spain, encounter not only other pilgrims but a variety of animals. Fortunately, most of them are friendly.
August 7, 2011
Part of the fun of being a writer is to meet other writers. Friday night I met Maggie Stiefvater who was in Williamsburg as part of a book tour. Her latest book Forever, is the third volume of a young adult trilogy. The first two volumes, Shiver and Linger, have been wildly successful. Maggie Stiefvater gave an engaging talk and I got a signed copy of her newest book.
The next day I met Penny Clifford for lunch. Penny is another writer and long-time friend. She brought me a French copy of her young adult novel, The Shalimar Code. Check out Penny’s website:
That evening I signed books at Colonial Williamsburg and as always it was great fun to meet readers and their families.
Today I’m back to my own writing and household chores.
July 16, 2011
It is always great to meet kids who like to read.
July 8, 2011
The Camino de Santiago is a medieval pilgrimage route that starts in France and end in Santiago, Spain. More than a 100,000 walkers undertake what at times is a very difficult journey. Pilgrims carry everything they need in backpacks and stay at pilgrim dormitories called albergues or refugios. Sometimes these places offer food for walkers and local restaurants provide special pilgrim menus. My husband and I have walked the route four different. This year was the first time we saw any kids on the Camino.
Here Juan has been reunited with his mom and brother Javier and of course. his proud granddad. Juan and his family live in Pamplona, Spain.
Nine-year-old Joan is on the right and her sister Marianne is five. They are walking all the way to Santiago with their mom. This day Joan has a blister. But the kids say they are enjoying the trek.
Nine-year-old Carla was walking with her Mom and Dad and an older brother and sister. Carla likes the time in the dormitory best when she is NOT walking. Her family walked from Pamplona to Burgos, about 120K ( almost 75 miles). Carla reported that her 12-year-old sister refused to come because her makeup might run. She stayed with her grandmother in Ireland.
What a pleasure it was for me to meet such great kids on the Camino. WELL DONE, KIDS!
April 27, 2011
April 22, 2011
April 20, 2011
It’s always exciting to meet avid readers.
This reader couldn’t wait to begin reading LOTTIE’S COURAGE. How rewarding for me to see someone enjoying my books!
April 17, 2011
Life is good in Williamsburg in April!
April 16, 2011
Colonial Williamsburg is lovely in April. Enjoy!
March 21, 2011
2. Why did you have MacAllister die in the story? We really liked this character. I liked MacAllister, too. The only crime in our U.S. Constitution for which there is a death sentence is treason. During the Revolutionary War it was hard to know who was a loyalist and who was a patriot. You can imagine, then, that treason would be taken VERY seriously. And the punishment was hanging. If he was discovered and “let off” the book wouldn’t be accurate. Also, I think it is important to remember what a high price the patriots paid for our freedom.
3. Is there going to be a Divided Loyalties II? Will you add new characters in a sequel or focus on Teddy? I haven’t thought about a sequel to Divided Loyalties. Perhaps you can tell me what should happen in the sequel. What problems would Teddy face after the war was over? Josh would have problems, too, but his would be very different because of his race. What do you think would make a good story? I like Teddy and Josh and I think they should be in a sequel.
4. Why did you add Ears to the story? Lots of kids love pets and when I can, I try to include one in my stories. They are a part of life today and in times past.
5. Do you ever go back and reread Divided Loyalties? It took me a long time to get all the errors out of Divided Loyalties. Usually books go through two galley proofs. Galley proofs are copies of the book from the publisher the author must correct and check and recheck making sure everything is correct. Divided Loyalties went through THREE galley proofs. Actually, I’m afraid to read it again. Afraid, I might find an error I missed. Sometimes I read a selection of one of my books when I visit schools so that readers can hear the author’s voice. What part of the book would you like to hear me read?
6. What is your favorite book that you have written? I don’t have a favorite book. The characters become like my children. And most moms with more than one kid will tell you that they love them all the same.
7. Where did you get the idea for the plot of Divided Loyalties? The book is based on an incident that actually happened and I found out about it when I was researching my nonfiction book Marching in Timeon the Colonial Williamsburg Fife and Drum Corps. Is that why Teddy lives in Virginia where you live? My son was a fifer in the corps and his best friend was an African-American boy. So, I dreamed up the book while watching my son march through the streets of Colonial Williamsburg.
8. Why did Teddy’s mom have to die? I had a hard time with Teddy’s mom dying. I wrote about it and I felt so bad I took it out of the book. Then I thought about it. I try to be accurate with my books and in the eighteenth-century life expectancy (the overall time a person could be expected to live) was only 35-40 years. Today life expectancy in the US is 78 years. So, it was very likely in the eighteeth century for a kid to lose one or both of his parents before he/she was grown. As a result I returned to the way I had written about Teddy’s mom’s death at first in the hopes that some readers would ask the very question you’ve asked and learn how difficult life could be in times past.
March 13, 2011
It’s always a treat to visit Langley Elementary School. The fifth graders have read Lottie’s Courage and they had wonderful questions and seemed to really enjoy the book.
I got thank-you notes from many students and even a gift! What a pleasure to meet such great students and see Mrs. Stohler again, one of the fifth-grade teachers who loves history and instills that love in her students. I’ve been invited to attend their Civil War Fair in May! It should be great fun.
This year I videoed my talk. But I haven’t yet been able to figure out how to edit the material to a size that will fit on this website. I’m still learning….
March 4, 2011
Some visitors to Colonial Williamburg are very knowledge about colonial life and customs. It’s always a pleasure to meet them. The young man shown in this photograph has taught himself to fife and he will appear next year in The War of 1812 electronic field trip created by Colonial Williamsburg. I was delighted to learn he had read my historical novel, Divided Loyalties, and found an historical error in the book. In one instance, I mentioned “socks” when the correct word was “stockings.” Since two experts connected with Colonial Williamsburg read the manuscript and we thought we’d gotten out all the errors, I was both humbled and delighted to learn a reader had spotted an error. It is very difficult to get all the “bugs” out of a manuscript and I work very hard to do so. It is gratifying to know someone is paying attention and cares about the details.
February 15, 2011
Otis and I hosted a potluck dinner at our local pool for people who have walked the Camino de Santiago, or those who are intending to walk, the medieval pilgrim route tot he shrine of St. James in Santiago, Spain.
Ron’s tortilla (Spanish potato omelet) was also a treat.
We had plenty to eat.
We shared memories.
We reconnected with old friends and made new ones.
January 16, 2011
I have only recently delved into the rich and exciting world of podcasts. I’ve been reviewing my French on Coffee Break French, listening to a History of the World in 100 Objects, and the Secret History of Art. I’ve explored a couple of writing podcasts, New Yorker shortstory podcasts, and even a Rick Steves podcast on pilgrimages.
For those of you with MP3 players, go to iTunes and select podcasts. That will take you to categories. You will find a podcast about almost anything you are interested in. Enjoy!
December 31, 2010
This Christmas I was delighted to get a BIG box in the mail from Mary one of my readers in Pennsylvania with not only a gift for me, but also one for my coming grandchild. How very nice of her and her mom. They MADE these gifts!!!
Mary has also read my first e-book and written me a great review on Amazon:
I am blessed!
December 20, 2010
All the colonial houses are expertly and artistically decorated.
There is always something going on in the historic area. Today it was a humorous version of Scrooge. I made a short movie of part of the performance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOvOKzkSPv8
December 14, 2010
December 9, 2010
Sixth-grade student members of the Wildcat Cafe read Divided Loyalties this year and had great questioned when I visited yesterday.
December 6, 2010
It was Lili’s big day!
I was invited to Centre Hill Museum (built in 1823) in Petersburg, Virginia http://www.petersburg-va.org/tourism/cntrhill.htm to attend a series of skits based on my two Petersburg books for kids. What a thrill for me to see real children from Limelight Talent http://limelighttalent.org/ bring my characters to life.
The historic Centre Hill Mansion was a wonderful setting for my Civil War stories and it was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Two different actresses, Heather Talley and Sydney Welton, brought Lili, the heroine of Lili’s Gift to life and I was delighted to see children playing Fiona, Caleb, Miss Hodgkiss, Mr. Stroop, Mr. Undertow, Matron, Mary, Aunt Edna, and the children’s grandmother Willow.
After these wonderful performances, an actor, Stuart Nicholson read an excerpt from Anybody’s Hero.
The wonderful skits were followed by a delightful version of Dicken’s The Christmas Carol. Matthew MacLaughlin played Scrooge and three-year-old grandson Victor MacLaughlin was a touching Tiny Tim.
Kudos to Limelight Talent, Maria MacLaughlin who composed the Lili skits, and to Laura Willoughby, Curator of Collections for the Petersburg Museums. Well done!
To see excerpts from the skits:
November 28, 2010
Going to the beach at Thanksgiving is always a treat. It’s great to see kids having fun.
As always, the scenery was spectacular!
Even at night, the beach captiviated us!
November 23, 2010
My newest book, an ebook, has just been published on Kindle and SmashWords. The Magus is a prototype of an advanced computer that goes back in time to 1937. The book costs $2.99 and the first 50 pages are free on SmashWords. Check it out! http://amzn.to/ft8qxV http://bit.ly/gdlqBL
November 20, 2010
November 15, 2010
I was very fortunate today to talk with 300 sixth graders. What a great audience! What good questions!
It’s always fun to meet readers!
November 7, 2010
October 25, 2010
The kids were great listeners!
October 22, 2010
It is always a joy to meet readers. These sisters from Indiana came to Williamsburg in full costume. Don’t they look grand?
The kids below are from Texas. They were full of enthusiasm not only for my books, but for the prospect of reading books electronically. Readers often ask me which of my books is my favorite, and I honestly can’t tell them. Because once I create the books, the characters become like my children. The same is true for my readers. Once I meet them I am quite convinced that each is very special.
October 11, 2010
Garrett, visiting from South Carolina is an avid reader who loves history!
Ian from North Carolina is also a history buff. How nice to meet readers!
October 6, 2010
Virginia Author Phyllis Haislip to Partner with Petersburg’s Limelight Talent to Bring Civil War Stories to Life
Limelight Talent will present historical skits based on two of Phyllis Haislip’s books Lili’s Gift: A Civil War Healer’s Story and Anybody’s Hero: The Battle of Old Men and Young Boys on Saturday December 4 and Sunday December 5 at Petersburg’s Centre Hill Museum. While both books are written for elementary and middle school age levels, the stories appeal to those of all ages. Lili’s Gift tells the tale of a twelve year old girl and her brother who journey from Philadelphia to Petersburg in search of their father, a Civil War soldier. Anybody’s Hero tells of two boys’ search for answers to some of Petersburg’s mysteries that coincide with their participation in the June 9, 1864 Battle of Old Men and Young Boys.
Both books complement history and reading lesson plans for 4th to 8th graders. Lilli’s Gift includes lesson activities and both volumes feature glossaries of Civil War terminology. The volumes serve as great classroom resources as well as appealing to avid young readers.
A performance of excerpts from Anybody’s Hero will take place from 2:00 – 3:00 on Saturday December 4 and Sunday December 5. Performances of excerpts from Lili’s Gift will take place every hour on the hour from 10:00 until 1:00 on the same days. Mrs. Haislip will be signing books from 1:00 to 3:00 on both days. In addition to the performances, children’s activities will be offered at the museum on both days.
Both Lili’s Gift and Anybody’s Hero are available for purchase from Centre Hill Museum’s gift shop. The retail price is $8.95 plus tax. Centre Hill Museum is located at 1 Centre Hill Ave. in Petersburg. For more information call (804) 733-2401.
September 27, 2010
Members of the Cherokee Nation visited Williamsburg this last weekend. It’s great living here. So much history! And many great photo opportunities.
September 21, 2010
I have learned the skits based on my books, Andybody’s Hero and Lili’s Gift, will both be performed the same day with a repeat of the skits on the following day. I can hardly wait until December when children will bring my characters to life.
September 17, 2010
I learned today that a children’s theater group in Petersburg, Virginia will perform skits based on two of my books on December 4 and 5. The Saturday performance will be based on Lili’s Gift, my most recent book. The Sunday performance will be based on another of my books, Anybody’s Hero. Both books are set in Civil War Petersburg. What a thrill!
September 15, 2010
Many home schooled children are visiting Williamsburg this week. I met lots of nice families. And I even got a hug and a kiss today from D.J., shown here in her colonial costume. Life is good!
September 6, 2010
After Hurricane Earl brought us some rain, the air was crystal clear and it was great weather for a walk in the college woods.
Who is this little guy trying to hide?
July 11, 2010
This picture was taken at Dodger Stadium. We got to watch the Cubs play the Dodgers. It was a great game, but unfortunately the Cubs lost 3 to 2. LA was cold. We wore sweaters and jackets over them at the game.
In addition to the loving the ballgame, we especially enjoyed the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena and the Huntington Library. Even though the Huntington is a library, it is also a series of fantastic gardens.
THE BEST PART OF ALL WAS SEEING OUR SON AND DAUGHTER-IN-LAW.
June 25, 2010
A reader brought me this bookmark yesterday while I was signing books at Colonial Williamsburg. What a thoughtful, ideal gift for a writer! Many thanks Alexandra.
May 24, 2010
Steve Seinkein, the 2009 winner of the Beacon of Freedom Award, with his award-winning book Two Miserable Presidents. The book is about Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis and the kids who chose the winner loved the humor and compelling stories about the Civil War. The kids learned lots of things that never appear in textbooks, but brought history alive for them. Check out Steve Sheinkein’s books.
May 20, 2010
It’s always a pleasure to meet kids who have enjoyed one of my books!
I got wonderful thank you letters from Mrs. Tatum’s class.
I signed books for the whole class.
I got hugs!
Kids made great posters and I signed each of them, too!
May 15, 2010
May 13, 2010
Windsor Middle School has a great program to encourage reading. It is the Wildcat Book Cafe. Readers get to discuss books over lunch.
May 10, 2010
Kids at Windsor Middle School have been reading Lottie’s Courage. I’ll be meeting with them on Wednesday of this week. I was delighted to read their posting about the book on line at: http://www.wmsbookcafe.blogspot.com
April 21, 2010
Stanley visited James Fort and
the Native American village.
Stanley had fun in Williamsburg.
Colonial people welcomed him warmly.
And he met two lovely girls and their dolls.
and the Governor’s Palace.
Stanley even got o sit with Mr. Thomas Jefferson who was writing the Declaration of Independence.
April 16, 2010
April 13, 2010
April 3, 2010
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April 2, 2010
March 28, 2010
March 25, 2010
March 11, 2010
March 6, 2010
March 3, 2010
We are having yet another snowy day in Williamsburg. Usually we see only one or two flakes all winter, but this year we have gotten one snowstorm after another. My amaryllis plant hasn’t minded the snow, producing four huge, gorgeous bunches of blossom. I’m not much of a horticulturist, but I gather that usually you can expect only one blossom from the plant. I hope this splash of red cheers you on a dark day.
February 10, 2010
February 3, 2010
January 23, 2010
January 18, 2010
Torchlight by Carol Otis Hunter. (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 2006) The book revolves around an incident in 1854 (The summary wrong on back of cover) Fifth grader Charlotte befriends an Irish girl, Maggie in Westfield MA amid strong anti-Irish feelings. The story is told from Charlotte’s point of view and language reflects the period. Good historical research. Gentle humor throughout the book graces what could be a dreary topic. Highly recommend.
January 15, 2010
December 28, 2009
December 6, 2009
Author Suzanne Adair and her family visited Colonial Williamsburg this weekend. Check out her books at: www.suzanneadair.com
December 1, 2009
November 27, 2009
November 19, 2009
Last week we had a convergence of Hurricane Ida and a Northeaster(a severe storm that usually brings lots of rain, wind, and high tides) in Virginia. It is being called Nor-Ida.
November 13, 2009
November 12, 2009
Yesterday when I arrived at Crittenden Middle School, I saw something VERY interesting going on. I had to explore.
I learned that these young women have been learning to knit since school began this fall. They are making scarves for themselves and for charity. They’ll next learn how to make hats.
I learned all about their project from Sabrina Carnesi, Media Specialist, who is teaching them this life skill. What beautiful yarns! What a great project!
November 11, 2009
Students were eager to share what they saw.
This was the easy part. I next asked students to relate what they saw to something in their lives, promising to publish the “gems” I found on my website. As I look over what the students have written I’m impressed.
“The woman holding the red and white quilt reminded me of my warm, soft comfortable cowboy blanket. It was my favorite quilt to sleep and bundle up with. Whenever I go over to my dad’s house, I love to sleep on the couch with my blanket.”
“This is a picture I can relate to. It is a statute on a building and it is silver. In New York there is one building that looks like it.”
STAY TUNED, MORE TO COME SOON
November 10, 2009
For more than year I’ve been an e-mailing with a reader from Pennsylvania. Mary is an avid reader and writer, and she often sends me her stories to read.
A Colonial Williamsburg interpreter shows them a colonial doll in the Wythe House.
October 18, 2009
Avi is one of kids’ favorite authors. He has written 70 books and won many awards including the prestigious Newbery Medal. He came to Williamsburg this weekend to receive the Beacon of Freedom Award for his novel Iron Thunder.
The Beacon of Freedom Award is a child-chosen award supported by a generous donation from the Disabled American Veterans. Local kids read five or six books chosen by a committee and vote on their favorite. So kids, if you haven’t read Avi, please make it a priority to do so. You can visit his website at: http://www.avi-writer.com/
Friday evening at the award presentation, Avi spoke at the Williamsburg Regional Library. He had valuable things to share with kids and other writers.
As a student, Avi was a lousy writer. Kids, there is hope for you even if you find writing challenging.
Avi stressed that each of his books goes through as many as 60 or 70 revisions. He explained that if you see something that looks easy, for example like someone playing tennis well, it is the result of lots of hard work. It is the same with writing.
A student asked Avi what was the favorite book he had written. He replied that is is always the book he is working on. He has to believe that it is his best work. There is a lesson here for us all. You must believe in what you write and strive to make it your best work.
Being able to go to dinner with Avi was very special. Not only is he a good writer, but I found him to be lively and likable, humble and humorous, knowledgeable and kind.
I was delighted to learn that he, like yours truly, can’t spell and relies on spell check.
October 14, 2009
Not everyone carried a pack! My husband, Otis, seen below is the second-oldest pilgrim we met. He has just turned 75. We heard rumors of older pilgrims, but we didn’t meet any. His pack weighed 25 pounds.
August 21, 2009
We’ve been getting ready for our third pilgrimage. We leave next week for Paris and we will walk over the Pyrenees (Mountains between France and Spain) starting on September 1, my birthday. We’ll walk 30 days, ending our trek at Leon, Spain where we began our first pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in 2007.
Pilgrims have been wearing scallop shells to identify them as pilgrims for over 1200 years. The pilgrim shells my husband and I wear are five-million year-old Virginia fossils, named for Thomas Jefferson.
My son and daughter-in-law sent me pants for my birthday. The pants, shown above, are blue and white with tiny scallop shells embroidered on them.
Sometimes my riches amaze me.
August 14, 2009
On my recent trip to New Hampshire, I attended a concert held in a traditional New England bandstand. Many years ago it was common for small towns to have a bandstand, usually in the center of the town for summer concerts.
For more than 20 years, every week in the summer, my friend and former colleague Angela Robinson has arranged free public concerts in the small town of Henniker.
The concerts were so successful that the “town” decided that they needed a bandstand. Angela Robinson was not pleased with the proposed location of the bandstand and complained loudly to everyone in town. Then she found out that it was NOT the town building the bandstand. Her husband was building it in her honor.
So when I visited my friend I planned my visit so that I could attend one of “her” concerts. It was very special.
August 9, 2009
When I was a kid when someone was beaten badly at a game, we said he or she was “skunked.”
Recently, we stopped for ice cream at an ice cream store near our neighborhood. And to my great surprise, i saw two skunks traipsing around the tables behind the store. They were quite tame and very beautiful and they obviously liked ice cream since they were foraging for bits of cone or dropped ice cream.
I couldn’t help but feel that the poor critters had been “skunked” that is, in this case their habitat destroyed by a new housing development. They were beaten and doing their best to survive in spite of it.
July 31, 2009
We are again training for another pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. This year we’ll start in France and go over the Pyrenees to Leon, Spain where we started our first pilgrimage in 2007.
The picture is of my husband, Otis, crossing a stream on the 14.36 miles hike we took on Tuesday around Charlottesville, VA on our 30th wedding anniversary. We both carried nearly 20 lbs. in our packs. After our hike, we joined friends for dinner at the Boar’s Head Inn.
July 24, 2009
Will the fake tomatoes and the brown paper bags foil the wiley squirrels? Will the Haislips ever have any tomatoes? Stay tuned!!!!
July 21, 2009
One of the real joys of being a writer is meeting readers. Today I met Christopher from New Orleans. He and his family are visiting Williamsburg from New Orleans. I look forward to hearing from Christopher after he has read Divided Loyalties.
July 12, 2009
A new housing development adjoining our neighborhood has destroyed the habitats of many animals. The builders clear cut the area and the woods disappeared. As a result, we have had an invasion of critters. My flowers have never looked worse. Hungry rabbits have eaten things they never touched before, dahlias and even marigolds.
We have two fenced vegetable plots. But the fences haven’t kept out the squirrels. They got our first ripe tomatoes. So we have placed an animal-friendly trap in the garden. We’ve caught three squirrels and relocated them. Now I’ve covered nearly ripe tomatoes with brown paper lunch bags. So far the score is squirrels four tomatoes, Haislips one tomato.
Our trash bin was overturned the other morning and we suspect a raccoon.
We have a wildlife camera which we have set up in the yard. It is activated by motion. Our string beans, growing up the side of one of our gardens, have been ravaged by deer.
July 8, 2009
Writing is all about having readers enjoy what you have written. Today I got this email and I was thrilled!
Ms. Haislip, I am the girl who stood in front of your signing table in the Williamsburg Visitors Center and read half of the book,Divided Loyalties, before deciding to buy it. As soon as I got back home from Williamsburg I read your book. It was awesome! I’m usually not that interested in history, but I love your book. It summed up the whole idea of the struggles that people where going through at that time with the war and was appealing to me since it was not just a history textbook type of thing, but a fun story about a boy and his family. I can’t wait to read more of your books soon!
July 1, 2009
My newest book is called Lili’s Gift, and it’s about two kids that become orphans during the Civil War. And I’ve felt a bit like the book is an orphan, too since I haven’t heard from many readers about it. As a result, I was delighted to get this email today:
Hello, My name is Anna Lee and I am now in 7th grade. I just read one of your books: Lily’s gift. It was excellent!This book was one of the best books I have ever read. You really combined fiction and history together and created an adventurous story. I am so glad I read your book. Thank you so much, Anna Lee
What a nice note!
June 9, 2009
Each student got a signed copy of Lili’s Gift, my latest book.
It’s always fun to go to Rawls Byrd!!!!
June 6, 2009
The Dodger game was great fun, especially since the Dodgers came from behind to win.
Photographs inside the Mission thank the firefighters for their efforts during the recent fire.
We went to see the La Brea Tar Pits where prehistoric animals had become trapped and their fossils preserved. The museum was full of kids and these two girls were playing a hand game.
Huntington Library is a terrific place to visit. I particularly was interested in seeing a famous manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. When I first went to the British Museum in London, I wanted to see Magna Carta. Can you guess I have spent many years in love with Medieval and renaissance history?
The Aquarium in Long Beach was filled with amazing things to see.
It is never supposed to rain in Southern California, but we actually had a rainy morning, and the next day the sky was unusually clear. We went to the Getty Museum where we had spectacular views of Los Angeles and also enjoyed the art collection, flowers, and architecture. Here is a view of downtown Los Angeles as seen from the Getty Museum.
June 3, 2009
The old West is very much in evidence in Williams, Arizona where we stayed on our way to the Grand Canyon.
The couple, wearing crowns, are displayed to the gathered families and friends.