Party Redux

Dear Kids and Other Readers,

I recently hosted a party. My house literally overflowed with an abundance of friends and neighbors. I am truly blessed to have these people in my life!

That event reminded me that I need to plan another celebration, this time, for February–my long-anticipated Book Launch Party! Such a party is where friends and new fans gather to meet and greet the newly published author, bring their copies of Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets for me to sign, and enjoy good company and some light refreshments.

I haven’t nailed down specifics yet, but it will likely be February 8 or 9, 2020. The actual date, time, and place will be announced in a few months.

So get a clue, Readers: Mark your calendars NOW for my Book Launch Party, and stay tuned for updates. Hope to see you there! I promise to bring lots of pens and cookies.


Swag and Bag

Dear Kids and Other Readers,

Now that the front cover of Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets is finished (yay!), my Cover Reveal date has been set for November 1, and I’ve hired two book promoters, it’s time for me to start planning and purchasing BOOK SWAG.

So what’s book swag, you ask? Book swag includes any useful, memorable object directly related to my book for giveaways. The purpose of book swag it to create buzz about my book, to help build readership, and to bag a long-lasting fan base. These giveaways can be rewards for purchasing my book online through my website or other markets, or just to say hi and thanks at book festivals, school visits, libraries, or book signings.

I’ve been busy collecting ideas for my particular book swag since it has to appeal to kids, ages 9-12. Some ideas so far include detective badges, buttons with the cover image, the Botanic Hill Detectives logo on stickers and/or t-shirts, carry-all bags, bookmarks, pens, pencils, notepads, key rings, magnets, mini flashlights, tiny magnifying glasses, bubbles, crayons, rubber cobras (the story is crawling with snakes!), piggy banks, temporary tattoos, postcards, and even book excerpts on necklaces.

Here’s where you come in:  What kind of book swag would appeal to you, kids, or readers who are still kids at heart? So get a clue and send me your book swag ideas by contacting me through this newsletter or via my website at I look forward to your ideas!


Hello, Readers,

I’ve been very busy since summer began hiring book promoters, making final revisions to Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets so the manuscript can go to the formatter, and having an official author photo taken. (I’m not really complaining. I’m lucky!)

Sometimes, when I get too caught up in the have-to-do’s, or if I’ve hit a brick wall, I glance at these three quotes near my writer’s desk. Today, I’m sharing them with you:

  1.  “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.”  –William Arthur Ward
  2.  “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”  –John Bingham, aka “The Penguin”
  3.  “The people I love the best/ Jump into work head first/ Without dallying in the shadows/ And swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight./ They seem to become natives of the elements,/ The black sleek heads of seals/ Bouncing like half-submerged balls/ . . . .”  –Marge Piercy, the first of four stanzas from her poem, “To Be of Use”

So get a clue, Readers: Do you have an inspirational quote or activity that propels you when you need a push in the right direction? If you’d like to share some of them with me, please contact me through this newsletter, or via my website at I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!

“Red, White, and a Blue Sedan”

Dear Kids and Other Readers,

Given that I’m posting this blog on my website on the Fourth of July, it seems timely that I finally share some excerpts from Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets. In Chapter 14, entitled, “Red, White, and a Blue Sedan,” the USA’s Independence Day is discussed. Well, mentioned. Okay, I’m stretching it, but any excuse to give you a peek at the mystery!

Here’s the backstory: The Botanic Hill detectives–Lanny, Lexi, Moki, and Rani–were ready for a break. After being hired by Mrs. Thornsley to find the ancient urn her late Egyptologist husband had been accused of stealing, the four detectives had been involved in a few close calls. Then, the night before, they’d had a sleepless yet boring stakeout at the Egyptian pond in Mrs. Thornsley’s backyard. The squad now decides to head to the beach, catching a lift from their tutor, Bruce Wilding, in his cool blue ’67 Mustang convertible:

Excerpt 1: “Hey, guys,” said Lanny, “it’s so muggy, and rain isn’t due for hours. Let’s postpone our visit to Mr. Bailey and head to Mango Beach instead.”

“Yeah, and it’d be fun to see how Boardwalk Boulevard’s been decorated for next week’s Fourth of July celebration,” said Rani. She popped a grape into her mouth from the fruit bowl.

They knew Bruce would be willing to go. The tutor came home just as Uncle Rocky finished packing the lunch basket. The four kids had already put on their swim gear and gotten their surfboards. After a long, hot morning in class at the local university, Bruce was very ready for a dip in the ocean himself.

The five soon arrived at Mango Beach. The boulevard shops were elaborately festooned with patriotic bunting and signs for the Fourth. Red, white, and blue flags and lights were strung from one palm tree to the next lining the beach. The group captured the last parking place close by and loaded themselves down with their beach gear and lunch basket. Soon, they found a sandy spot with a patch of blessed shade, courtesy of some sizable palm fronds that dipped toward the sand . . . .

[Time out: The four enjoy some surfing, then return to stretch out on their beach towels. While devouring their picnic lunch, Lanny leads a discussion about their prime suspects in the mystery. Soon their fun is interrupted. Next excerpt.]

Excerpt 2:  . . . . the rainstorm abruptly threatened to arrive ahead of schedule. The clouds had scared away the sun, wind noisily swooshed the palm fronds, and a few raindrops splashed the beachgoers. Bruce suggested they pack up fast and head to the car for home. But not before stopping at Moo Cow’s Dairy Town shop a few blocks away for their traditional, after-beach ice cream cones, Moki reminded him.  

As Bruce collected a few stray towels from their beach spot, the four detectives, with arms loaded, made it to the parking lot. They stopped to admire more palm tree holiday decorations when Lexi suddenly screamed. She swung her board at the others, knocking Rani and Lanny down and causing Moki to jump backward, away from her and the road. A speeding sedan roared by, missing them by inches, then zoomed out of the lot. Their beach gear was scattered everywhere. And so were they.

“That same blue car again!” Moki yelled . . . .

Was everyone all right? Who drove the blue car and why? What happened next? Watch for Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets to release on February 1, 2020, and you can find out!


Spotlight on Brightly

Dear Kids, Family Members, and Teachers,

Please check out this terrific website for kids’ books called Read Brightly. Log on at

So get a clue, Readers, and investigate these tabs on the site: The first is “Ages and Stages” where you can peruse reading lists for ages 0-13+. The second is “Popular Topics,” such as Animals, Beloved Characters and Classics, Books Boys Like, Books Girls Like, Educator Resources, Family and Friendship, Kid-approved Books, Parenting Advice, and more. Plus, there are interesting feature articles. Kids, get lost in books this summer. Happy, happy reading all summer!



Suspenseful Cover-up

Dear Readers of All Ages,

Drum roll, please–Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets now officially has a front cover! It’s stunning…but I can’t release it yet. Awww, shucks!

So get a clue, Readers, and watch on November 1st for the great Cover Reveal. Then, please weigh in with your comments.