Battle of Hastings Anniversary

battle-of-hastings-coverThe Battle of Hastings raged 450 years ago this month, in which my 28th-great grandfather William the Conqueror invaded England and put an end to six centuries of Anglo-Saxon rule. I wrote a book about the kerfuffle as part of my “Great Battles” series for Abdo Publishing. You can check it out (literally!) at your school or public library.


Planet Earth II

Snow Leopard - Uley, Ladakh, India

Snow Leopard – Uley, Ladakh, India

The Planet Earth series were the first BlueRay disks I ever bought. Super excited for the sequel, 10 years later. Check out the trailer over on YouTube for a dose of awe. Link: Planet Earth II



Outward Bound

Roger BloughThe 858-foot Great Lakes freighter Roger Blough cruises past the breakwater and lighthouse at Two Harbors, MN, on its way to the misty waters of Lake Superior.


Bluegrass Starter Kit

billI love listening to music while I write. It sets the stage for me. Today I’m working on a children’s book about the state of Kentucky, so naturally I rolled out my bluegrass playlist. Right now I’m listening to the sweet music of Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass. If you want to sample the toe-tapping sounds of The Blue Grass Boys, check out “16 Gems” for his early work with banjo virtuoso Earl Scruggs, or “Anthology,” which is packed with 50 of Monroe’s later compositions. If you’re feeling down, this music will pick you right back up!


Happy Birthday, Beethoven!

karajanHappy 245th birthday, Ludwid Van! I discovered that on iTunes I have two version of the 9th Symphony (my very favorite–we played it in orchestra one year, in my cello-playing days, back when the world was young). One recording is by Tosconini, the other is Herbert Von Karajan’s 1962-63 seminal recording of the Berlin Philharmonic. So I play them back-to-back, to see if I can discern the difference. Holy cow! Toss out the Toscanini (even though I love saying that word–“Toscanini”). The Karajan-led piece is so rich, so gripping. It is a marvel.


My Spirit is a Roaring Sea

My spirit is a roaring seaThis is a wonderful little story by ZenPencils, with a great message. It’s also a good reminder for storytellers: let your hero figure out how to beat the bad guy alone, without outside help. It’s ever so much more satisfying.