Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wow: Apollo Space Program

Wow! A man who worked on the Apollo space program saw my book about the moon landing listed in his local newspaper and contacted me. It turns out he was an Engineering Psychologist and worked on the Abort Guidance System (to be used in case the Primary Guidance and Navigation System failed). I sent a copy of my book to a school he volunteers for, and he read it to the fifth grade students there. I'm honored.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

School Visit: St. Paul's, Onalaska

What a treat! I got to visit my own children's school, St. Paul's in Onalaska, Wisconsin, last week. The visit was extra-special, since we'll be moving to the other side of the state in a couple weeks. We'll miss everyone here so much, but it was great to have a chance to visit before we leave.




The little guy next to me (in the cowboy vest) is my very own kiddo, Titus.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tidbit Tuesday: Ada Lovelace

Woohoo! I always love the beginning of new projects, when I get to learn all kinds of new stuff! Lately, I've been researching some amazing women in science and math, including Ada Lovelace. Ever heard of her? Here are just a few things you should know about her:



  • Ada Lovelace is credited with creating the first computer program - more than 100 years before the first computer was ever built! Her program was designed for a computing machine called the Analytical Engine that was designed by Charles Babbage but never built.
  • Ada was the daughter of Lord Byron, a famous English poet. But her father left when Ada was only a month old. Ada's mother worried that she might turn out to be artistic like her father. So she decided to educate Ada in one of her favorite subjects - mathematics - instead.
  • When Ada published notes on the Analytical Engine, she used her initials instead of her name, since it was not considered proper for women to publish academic articles.
  • In the 1970s, the U.S. Department of Defense created a computer language named Ada, in her honor.
How about you? Tell me what you've learned today, and I'll enter you in a drawing to win a signed copy of one of my books!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Komodo Dragon Painting by Bhavna Misra

I was so excited to see this beautiful painting by the talented artist Bhavna Misra! It was inspired by one of the photos in my Komodo Dragons book.


Kids, have you made your own picture based on a photo from one of my books? If so, I'd love to publish it on my website. You can send it to me here, and I'll enter your name into a drawing for a free book! Don't forget, you can always send me your stories (fiction or nonfiction, too)!

Friday, June 19, 2015

These Kids Write: Zoe D.

Here are two more entries from Zoe D. First, some great facts about dolphins, one of my favorite animals!

Dolphins eat fish. A baby dolphin is called a calf. Dolphins are great swimmers by moving their tails up and down. Dolphins are mammals. Dolphins live in oceans in New York and Florida and California too. And dolphins get along with humans. Dolphins are afraid of killer whales and sharks and humans too. And they love you too.


And here is Zoe's piece about foxes.

Foxes eat mice. A baby fox is called a kit. A fox lives in Africa and South Africa too. Foxes can be pets too. They can be killed by coyotes. There are red fox and orange and arctic fox. And I love foxes forever and forever.


Thanks for some more great work, Zoe! Don't forget, kids, if you want to publish your own writing on my site (fiction or nonfiction), send it to me here. Be sure to let me know that you want it published. You can tell me a little about yourself, too, if you'd like. Plus, I'll enter you in a drawing to win a signed copy of one of my books.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tidbit Tuesday: Heart Transplants

You know I love to learn new things! So I've spent the last few days research heart transplants for a new project. Here's what I've found out:


  • More than 4,000 people are currently on the waiting list for a heart transplant.
  • The heart nerves are cut during the transplant surgery. As a result, a transplanted heart often beats faster than the patient's original heart.
  • Most heart transplant recipients have to take 20 or more drugs and supplements every day to keep his or her body from rejecting the heart or experiencing other complications.
Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What have you learned lately? Tell me in the comments, and you'll be entered into a drawing for a free signed copy of one of my books.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

These Kids Write: Hannah B. and Elijah B.

Wow! We now have two published young authors in the house! My daughter Hannah had a poem published in the May issue of Zoobooks:

Even though the bears may not roam
Near our city home
The birds and the bees
Fly over the trees
With the deer in the meadow
And the fish in the stream.



And my son Elijah had a second story published on the Zoobooks website in May:

Once there was a deer. She went to a stream to get a drink. She met an otter. The deer said that she was an otter. Then she met a fox. She said that she was a fox. Then she met a bird. She said that she was a bird. Then she got a drink and went back home. She went to an adult to ask what she was. The adult said she was a deer. "I thought I was an otter, a fox, and a bird. But I am a deer," she said.


According to Zoobooks, they receive more than 800 entries a month, so Hannah and Elijah both did a great job to get chosen! This writer mom couldn't be prouder!

If you want to publish your own writing on my site (fiction or nonfiction), send it to me here. Be sure to let me know that you want it published. You can tell me a little about yourself, too, if you'd like. Plus, I'll enter you in a drawing to win a signed copy of one of my books.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Author Visits: Ripon and Muskego, Wisconsin

Finished out the school year with two great visits. The first was to Ripon, Wisconsin, where I had a chance to talk to the first grade students of my mom's best friend (who has known me since I was a baby) before she retired. Another great group of kids! And I had a chance to read the nonfiction books they had written about animals. Some had even written books about the same animals I've written about!



We had to adjust the Muskego visit by a day due to a water pump problem that closed the school the day I was supposed to visit. Fortunately, we were visiting family, so it was easy to reschedule (and I spent the day off with my family at the park!). And the visit was worth the wait. The kids in Muskego were great - engaged and attentive, even though it was almost the last day of school!


   
   
I always love when kids stick around afterward to chat and ask more questions! Nothing better than talking books and writing with kids!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Author Visit: Holmen, Wisconsin

Wow! I had a great time visiting four elementary schools in Holmen, Wisconsin, last month. This visit was extra-special for me because Holmen is only a few miles from where I live. I told the kids to stop and say "hi" to me if they see me around, and what do you know--a few days later, we were out for my youngest daughter's birthday, and a student did! I felt like a rock star!

Best comment from students: "You inspired me." That's what it's all about!


Here I'm reading from my Centipedes book. If I look a little creeped out, it's because centipedes are not my favorite creatures. But I wrote it--and read it--for the kids!

One of my favorite parts is answering kids' questions: "Why did you become a writer?" (I love books, writing, reading, all of it!), "What's your favorite color?" (purple), and even "How old are you?" (35)

Friday, April 24, 2015

These Kids Write

Enjoyed a great week of author visits in Holmen, Wisconsin, and met some more young authors. Here's a story from one of them!

Today started kind of rushed. I woke up at about 5:45 when my sister’s alarm went off. So I woke up, got sweatpants on and then just went back to sleep.I slept for a while, but then I woke up around 6:45, but I thought it was around 8:00, because it was bright as can be outside! So I ran up to the living room and said to myself "Aww man, I missed the bus?" I finally get into the living room and my Nina says, "No, it's just six." "Oh thank goodness!" I sigh in relief. So I wait, play with my birthday toys, and eat breakfast, and then it is finally 7:43 and time for me to go to the bus stop. As I walk to the bus stop, I see a couple of birds so I make a gun with my hand and pretend to shoot them. Right when I cross the street to get to my bus stop, a car comes out of nowhere and almost hit me! So I wait a few minutes and the bus is finally here.

Keep them coming, kids! If you want to publish your own writing on my site (fiction or nonfiction), send it to me here. Plus, I'll enter you in a drawing to win a signed copy of one of my books.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

These Kids Write: Zoe D.

Time to feature another student author. Here is Zoe's nonfiction piece about dogs:

Dogs have pads on their foot and they eat dog food. Dogs play outside and dogs have sharp teeth and I love dogs and I have a dog at home.

Thanks, Zoe, for sharing your writing with the world!

Kids, if you want to publish your own writing on my site (fiction or nonfiction), send it to me here. Plus, I'll enter you in a drawing to win a signed copy of one of my books.

Author Visit: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Thanks Star Center, Central-Denison, and Eastview for a great week of visits! Keep reading! Keep writing!





Saturday, March 14, 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

These Kids Write: Elijah Bodden

I love how excited kids get about sharing their work. My seven-year-old son just had a short nonfiction piece he wrote published on the Zoobooks website, and he was ecstatic. "I'm a published author, mom!"

Well, I want to be a part of bringing that excitement to kids! So, kids, send me your work (fiction or nonfiction) by clicking here. I'll publish as many as I can on my site. Plus, I'll enter you into a drawing to win a signed copy of one of my books.

So, I'm going to start this feature with my son Elijah's work, first published on the Zoobooks website:

I am a camel. I can hold fat in my hump. Did you know I live in the desert? So I have to be good at finding food and water.

Thanks, Elijah, for sharing your writing with the world!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tidbit Tuesday: Crime Scene Investigation

Wow! I'm learning lots of interesting stuff researching crime scene science. Did you know: 


  1. Police can expose items to superglue fumes to find hidden (latent) fingerprints.
  2. Prints from the palms or the soles of the feet are as unique as fingerprints and can be used to positively identify suspects.

  3. Crime scene investigators need good observational and writing skills to document the scene of a crime. Such documentation can be crucial when a case goes to trial.

Interesting stuff, huh?

What have you learned today? Leave a comment about something new you've learned, and you'll be entered into a drawing for a free copy of one of my books (your choice!).* Be sure to include your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win!

*Drawing to be held May 29, 2015.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tips and Tricks Thursday: What do I write about?

So you're supposed to write something? First, you do a little happy dance (hey, you get to WRITE). 




Then you start to panic. What on earth are you supposed to write about?




The short answer: anything.

Does that make your head spin? I mean anything could mean something as big as the universe or as small as the dust bunnies under your bed. So, how do you pick a topic?

For starters, try these three tips:


  1. Make a list of the things that interest you: Basketball. Music. Art. Science. Space. Cars. Chocolate. If you pick a topic that doesn't interest you, it's going to be a chore to write about, and you probably already have enough chores.
  2. Okay, now think about what, specifically, you'd like to know about those topics. How does a car engine work? Could people ever live on the moon? Who discovered the deliciousness that is chocolate?
  3. Don't forget to consider your audience and your assignment. If you've been assigned to write about the Civil War, make sure that your topic has something to do with the Civil War. But that doesn't mean you can't tie it in with other topics that interest you. The role of music on the battlefield. The art of the Civil War. Wartime transportation. 


If you could write about anything, what would you choose to research? Why? Leave a comment with your idea of a perfect topic, and you'll be entered into a drawing for a free copy of one of my books (your choice!).* Be sure to include your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win!

*Drawing to be held May 29, 2015.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tidbit Tuesday: John F. Kennedy

One of my favorite parts of being an author is learning new things every day. Some of those things make it into my books, but, unfortunately, there isn't room for everything. So here's where I'll share with you the fun things I've learned recently that may or may not make the final cut.

Right now, I'm researching the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Of course, I already knew some things about that day, but since I wasn't born until 17 years later (uh-oh, now you can guess my age!), there are plenty of things I didn't know, like:


  1. Authors C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia) and Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) also died on November 22, 1963. Their deaths were barely noted by the media, which focused almost exclusively on coverage of the president's assassination.
  2. After her husband's death Jacqueline Kennedy arranged for the White House to look just as it had after Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Kennedy's casket was even placed on top of the same catafalque (platform) as Lincoln's had been.
  3. Although Kennedy's goal of sending a man to the moon by the end of the 1960s was meant to demonstrate American superiority over the Soviet Union, the president later began to explore the possibility of partnering with the Soviet Union on the venture. He died before plans could be made.
So, what have you learned today? Leave a comment about something new you've learned, and you'll be entered into a drawing for a free copy of one of my books (your choice!).* Be sure to include your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win!

*Drawing to be held May 29, 2015.