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Growing up a city girl, I would never dream my favorite writing topics are all rural. Nubian goats are an important part of my life. Living in the country is special and so very foreign to most people now. There are now three books on this theme.
The Hazel Whitmore series has two books out. I did update them as people asked about the recipes Hazel uses. Cooking was something girls were expected to learn when I was growing up. Now cooking seems alien and difficult. There will be a third book in the series. The draft is started.
Dora's Story lets a goat take center stage at least some of the time. She may be only a goat but she means something more to the people around her. She changes some of their lives along the way.
My life never seems to slow down. At present I am doing the rewrite for Capri Capers, a 1930s movie serial melodrama. Yes, there are goats. There are two sets of villains. There are lots of cliff hangers.
Also on the list for work this year are The Pumpkin Project, a botany book full of puzzles, pumpkin facts and trivia and more; the third Hazel Whitmore book; a picture book; and a couple of drafts, one involving road rallies and a new series on the Planet Autumn.
The website continues with its weekly country living and nature commentaries. This year's science projects are on chemistry.
My background includes a B.A. in zoology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and several years teaching high school science in Arkansas and Missouri. My classes included two levels of biology and general science, basic chemistry, physics, earth science and anatomy/physiology.
on March 26, 2014 :
In Broken Promises, the interestingly-named Hazel has been living a relatively comfortable life in New York City. She lives close enough to Central Park for daily visits, attends private school, and the family manages on her father’s income and investments. A reservist in the Marines, her father is unexpectedly called to active duty. Just before he ships out to Iraq, he rashly promises Hazel that he’ll be home in a year. It's a promise that couldn't realistically be kept, which everyone except Hazel seems to know.
When her father is killed in action, she is intensely angry. Despite their close relationship – or perhaps, because of it – her anger is directed almost solely at him and the broken promise. She refuses to talk about him or join her mother in mourning. Instead, she becomes focused on how to maintain her life as it's always been.
Hazel’s efforts to supplement her mother’s meager temporary income with babysitting can't stop the family's downward slide into financial crisis, particularly when they learn that there is little left from the investment accounts. She does what she can, learning to cook and taking on household tasks like shopping, in hopes that she won’t have to leave her school and her friends. But the reader knows long before Hazel does that nothing she can do can hold off the inevitable. All the familiar aspects of her life must change.
This is a first novel, for the writer and a series. The story is compelling, despite the occasional phrasing in the beginning. Once the author found her stride, the story flowed very smoothly. I occasionally raised my eyebrows at names and social media references that seemed a little anachronistic or unusual, but acknowledge that it’s been awhile since I’ve had interactions of any length with someone in middle school. It could be that I’m terribly out of touch with the world as experienced by adolescents of today. In any case, I am invested enough in Hazel’s story to want to follow it in the next book of the series, so I’ve added Old Promises to my reading list.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on May 13, 2013 :
A must read!!! Can't put this book down! Already looking forward to part 2 to Broken Promises!
(reviewed the day of purchase)