Saturday, November 19, 2016


Here is the cover of the book I've been working on with my son and his Chinese girlfriend? The Bookworm Bookmark project that was previously posted is included in this book, along with 9 other crafts (for a total of 10).

Friday, October 7, 2016


Once again, I have had the opportunity to write articles for the Amish Service Guide, published by Malachi Marketing, LLC. This year, I wrote two articles for the publication: "What Is an Ordnung?" and "Amish Benefit Auctions". You can read the articles by clicking on the above link or clicking on the photo to the right. This will take you to a page with a digital copy of the magazine.

While you're checking out my articles, be sure to take a good look through the magazine. You will see ads from numerous businesses in the Amish communities in Ohio. If you're ever in those areas, please do your best to support these businesses and these good people.


Monday, October 3, 2016


Several years ago, Children's Press published a series of 8 craft books written by me known as the "Mania" craft series since each title in the series contained the word Mania, as in Cardboard Tube Mania, Paper Cup Mania, etc. The books are now out of print, so I was looking for some way to revive them. 

My son started dating a wonderful girl from China. When she came to our house, I showed her one of my books. She thought it was great. She asked me if I would like to be able to sell my books in China. Of course I said, "Yes!" 

So, we collaborated, and turned one of the books into a book of 10 crafts that are written in both Chinese and English (She did the Chinese translations for me! My son did the illustrations!). We are planning on marketing the books in China sometime in the future (she has some contacts there). 

Things are ready for publication, yet, but I wanted to share one of the crafts with you, to show you what we're doing and to get some feedback on our work. Here are two pages that constitute one craft called BOOKWORM BOOKMARK. Please tell me what you think. Thanks!

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Two-time Newbery Honor winner, Patricia Reilly Giff, has written a simple and entertaining guide on the how to write fiction. She breaks the topic down into easy-to-understand steps, providing examples for each one.

The book is written for kids, kids who want to write but might not know how to put their ideas and thoughts into story form. Giff breaks down the process in these steps (these are chapter headings):
* First, You Take a Person
* Put Him In a Place
* Give Him a Problem
* Make Him Move - (action)
* Make Him Talk - (add dialogue)
* Juggling - (how to keep the action, dialogue and description all going at the same time)
* Make Him Worry about the Problem
* And the Problem Gets Worse and Worse - (keep adding obstacles)
And in the solve the problem
And Now... Begin on Page One (rewriting)

After each step, Giff shows kids how she did it in chapters titled Can You See How I Did It? Then, she encourages kids to do the same, by adding chapters titled Your Turn.

She finishes off the book with a couple of chapters about what do after you've finished your first book. She recommends that you do a lot more reading and then start writing another book!

Obviously, this book is written for kids. But, it wouldn't hurt adult writers to take a look at the book. Maybe they'll find some inspiration just by reading through the chapters.

BTW, the title comes from Giff's attempts to write while living with Rosie, her 70-pound golden retriever.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Prodigal Summer

Author Barbara Kingsolver tells the stories of three residents of Zebulon County in Kentucky: Deanna Wolfe, a wildlife biologist who works for the National Forestry Service and prefers to spend her time high on Walker Mountain, rather than in town; Lusa Maluf Landowski, a "city" girl who came from Lexington and married Cole Widener, a life-long member of Zebulon County; and Garnett Walker, another life-long resident of the county who has lived as a widower for the past eight years. Their lives are intertwined, although they don't all really realize it. Each has their own particular story to tell, but their stories are meshed with those of the other characters.

This is a love story (or stories, if you will). It's also a story about friendship, and trust and betrayal, and new beginnings, and so many other things. While telling her stories, Kingsolver seamlessly weaves in lots of information about insects, and cattle, and coyotes, and habitats, and evolution, and biology, as the characters are all educated people who share their knowledge with others. You can learn a lot about many subjects just from reading this book.

Kingsolver certainly has a way with words. Her language is lyrical and poetic and just plain fun to read. I want to write like her when I grow up!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Map of the Sky

Sometimes I get the feeling I keep reading the same book over and over again. The titles change, the characters' names change, the settings change, and even the authors change, but the themes and plots just seem to repeat themselves.

Not so this time. Author Felix J. Palma has spun a tale that is different from any other I've ever read. He's managed to combine history and science fiction into a story like no other. This one features real-life past author H. G. Wells, who wrote both THE TIME MACHINE and WAR OF THE WORLDS. Palma has combined the two stories, putting Wells front and center of the action, being involved in historical actions as well as fictional ones.

It's a story that mixes the idea of a Martian invasion with time travel. It should interest science fiction, as well as historical fiction buffs.

PS: It's the second book in a three-part series. I haven't read the first book, THE MAP OF TIME, so I want to do that now, and then read the last book of the series, THE MAP OF CHAOS.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


So, you think you know the story of GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS. Think again. It's not at all what you would expect.

Every once in a while a book comes along that leaves a lasting positive impression. THE COTTAGE IN THE WOODS is such a book. While its main theme is the story behind the story of Goldilocks and the bears (why Goldilocks was in their house, what happened to her after she was found in Baby Bear's bed, and what was really happening in the Enchanted Forest where the Bear family lived), the book is packed with so much more.

I was given the opportunity to read and review this book, and I'm glad I did. Before I started reading it, though, I thought it would just be a fluffed-up story of the three bears, entertaining but with no real substance. But, I was wrong. According to author Katherine Coville, there was much more going on in the house than what the reader learns in the children's fairy tale. 

For instance, the bears were called the Vaughn's. They had a young cub, named Teddy, who was looked after by Nurse. Ursula comes to the house to be Teddy's governess. She is the narrator of the story and she tells the tale from her perspective, making the story public many years after the fact. Not only does the reader learn the “real” story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (in addition to many other things, the reader learns Goldilocks is not the little blond-headed girl’s real name), the reader is taught lessons about love, jealousy, prejudice, justice and faith.

Coville tells a familiar tale with a lot of unexpected twists. She includes characters from other well-known fairy tales and nursery rhymes who live in the Enchanted Forest. She writes with wit, humor and a healthy dose of truth. As the blurb on the book says, “Filled with bold twists and turns, this is a beautiful coming-of-age story wrapped in a tale both well-loved and wholly unexpected.” 

I couldn't have said it better myself. Do yourself a favor and read the "real" story of Goldilocks and those three bears.