Monday, May 28, 2012

Announcing new historical fiction series... and ideas

Gillian at Ft Nisqually, Memorial Day, 2012
P&R Publishing has created a new series/collection of my books, THE HEROES AND HISTORY SERIES; Hostage Lands and the soon-to-release Hand of Vengeance are the first two in this series.The H&H series is designed to be the place where other ideas I have for historical fiction will collect themselves together into what we hope will be an invaluable collection of books for anyone who loves history. New ideas include historical fiction on Wycliffe (1300s), Huss (1400s), Huguenots (1500s), and more...                                                                              ...and most recently (after a fun family visit to Fort Nisqually today), a 19th-century Pacific Northwest, Hudson Bay Company yarn set in the Puget Sound and Fort Nisqually (very near my home). There would be a Scots connection (my lens may be a young Scots voyager), as there were many Scots immigrants employed by the HBC. I guess it would be sort of a Bond version of Little House on the Prairie. Lots of beaver trapping, PNW trading musket shooting, horses, HMS Beaver steamer for the HBC, small boat sailing, coastal Indians, and frontier tensions between American and British settlers, the Pig War context, and the rising storm to the Civil War. I'm really, really warming to this idea.
Driving 'April' at the Rowen's

Friday, May 11, 2012

CHS Top HS Writing Contest Winners

Noelle and Tamala (11), Anne and Isabel (10)
English students at Covenant High School performed well in the regional writing contest (Our Own Words, now Expressions, sponsored by the Pierce County Arts Commission, the News Tribune, and the Pierce County Library Foundation) for 2012. There are nearly 1,000 students who enter this contest from a number of different schools in the region, public, private, and homeschool. By God's enabling grace, CHS had more winning writers and artists than any other high school in the region. We are grateful to God for all of the excellent writing submitted to this contest. The awards assembly and public reading of the winners will be held May 24, 2012 at Pacific Lutheran University. All CHS students and families are welcome to attend. Below are samples of the CHS winning entries:

Isabel Anderson (10), 3rd place, 9-10 Short Story:

 “I have something for you.” Jack’s grandmother handed him a ball of yarn. It felt cool and smooth in his hand. Not like yarn should. He looked quizzically up at her. “I want you to unwind it,” she continued, “and make it as tangled as you can.” 
     Easy. Jack thought as he pulled the ball apart. After a few minutes, he was done. A disordered mess of yarn littered the floor. 
     “Now I want you to untangle it,” his grandmother said, “and wind it back up.” 
     “But Grandma!” Jack protested. “That’s impossible! It would take years.” 
     She smiled sadly down at him. “Listen Jack. The ball of yarn represents your life. You’ve made a mess of things. You need to change.” Her voice wavered as a tear rolled down her cheek. 
         Jack awoke in a cold sweat. He rolled over and tried to go back to sleep, but couldn’t. He thought about his dream, and of his grandmother, who had suddenly died earlier this year. She had been his guardian, the only loving and caring person he had ever known.

Anne Gaspar (10), 2nd place, 9-10 Short Story:

The Accident
As I looked back at the gray shingled house with its homey wrap-around porch, I took a shuddering breath, determined not to cry. The house might look drab and dull to an outsider, but to me it never would be. This house held all of my precious childhood memories, and most importantly the memories of my parents. With this thought, I felt a warm drop land on my cheek. I turned away from the house, sighing, and faced the waiting social worker.
“Hi, Janie, I’m Tara.”
“Hi,” I replied, nervously, pushing my hair behind my ear.
“How are you? Sorry to rush you, but we better get going. We have to get to the airport on time.”
“I have my bags all packed and ready.”
“Good! Well get in the car and we’ll be on our way.”
            I hesitated, and then slid into the waiting car, giving a last look at my home. My life had changed so drastically since the accident. Usually I break down in tears when any little thing happened, from skinning my knee, to getting a bad score on a test. But now after...

Tamala Aown, (11), 3rd place 11-12 Short Story

Growing up as an attendee of Joy Bible Church, where welfare and tattoo are considered cuss words and starch is subconsciously considered a sacrament, dressing for Sunday morning service was largely an unattainable routine. My mother and I had it virtually mastered however; to the point where I would sleep in my beloved Calico dress the night before, giving myself a few extra, blessed moments of sleep. Twelve-year-olds do that kind of stuff, I would inform my mother, who would occasionally catch me in the act. She slept in her hair curlers.
“Let’s quiet our hearts and confess our sins,” the Reverend began, with the stereotypical prompt, the words dripped like honey, sickly sweet from his lips and rolled onto his well-trimmed beard, “Please kneel.”         
What he actually meant by all that phraseology was that the congregation had a brief moment to bend their knees and examine the attire of his neighbors in a two to three pew radius.
“Mommy, I want my hair braided like Rachel’s, with a large pink bow,” I said.
           “Hush Amelia, and confess your sins, I don’t even know... 

Noelle Oppenhuizen, (11), 1st place 11-12 Poetry:


No one looked, no one saw, no one seemed to see.

No one listened, no one heard, no one seemed to hear.

With tear stained cheeks he sat alone. He felt displaced and scared.

Still no one noticed, no one came, no one really cared.

With shoulders drooping, eyes downcast, his legs didn’t seem to move,

But rather stayed glued to his chair; the place he lived, but feared.

He was below “they” were above. He felt shamed and unwanted.

Others stood and walked away, leaving him behind and haunted.

At three feet tall he couldn’t meet the gaze of people’s eyes,

So gathered strength with all his might and wheeled himself around.

A war rose up within his soul. A fight for being “normal.”

With one deep breath, he could not stand, but screamed “Invisible!”

Tamala Aown, (11), 2nd place visual art: