Hi everybody. It’s been a while since I’ve sent something out so I wanted to share a brief update as well as three middle grade books I’ve been reading that your kids (or you) might enjoy.

On the writing front, I’ve been working on a new series called Brother Wars, which builds off two of my short stories, Pitch Black Dark and Rapids Ahead, about the rivalry between ten-year-old Harry and his older brother Randy. I’m close to looking for beta readers open to writing early reviews, so if your family is interested, let me know.

I’m also in the final stages of my first attempt at a “grownup book” (PG-14ish Women’s Fiction / Contemporary Romance) called Harborwood, to be published under a pen name. If this genre is up your alley and you’d like to join my advance reader team for that book (and learn my pen name!), shoot me a note and I’d love to get you on board soon.

Finally, next up on the writing list is Book 6 in my Virginia Mysteries series. All indications point to it being set at Jamestown (much to the joy of several 4th grade teachers I’ve told recently!). My hope is to have it out in the fall, so stay tuned!

 

Flashback Four: The Lincoln Project, by Dan Gutman  This is the first in a new series by the author of dozens of books including the My Weird School, Baseball Card Adventure, and Genius Files series. What caught my attention is the history connection with a group of kids going back in time to the day that Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address. I’d been reading it with my second grader when we stopped at the historic Gettysburg battlefield on the way home from a trip to Pennsylvania. We had a great talk with a Union soldier re-enactor who shared lots of fun facts about his uniform and weapon. The second book in this series is coming out later this month and is set on the Titanic.

Serafina and the Black Cloak, by Robert Beatty This popular best-seller drew me in with its setting at the historic Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina. Since my books are also set against historical backdrops like The Jefferson, Maymont, and St. John’s Church, it was fun to read how another author does it, albeit with a greater fantasy element in the story. Our family is going to Ashville this month over spring break so I’m excited to learn more about the Biltmore. The second book in the series, Serafina and the Twisted Staff, is also available.

Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson  
I recently read an interview with Katherine Paterson celebrating the 40th anniversary of this amazing book. My teacher read this book to us in fourth grade, and it became one of the most influential books in my childhood. It brings back so many memories of exploring the woods behind my house as a boy, mapping out my own adventures and kingdoms that became my own Terabithia. While certainly a book with a lot of sadness, I learned that Katherine Paterson wrote the story as a way to cope with the grief from her son’s friend being killed by lightening. I don’t think it is a coincidence that my first book was about exploring and adventures in the woods.

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