Unusual Traveler

A Journal for those who do not take a shortcut

Latest Posts

SCBWI BookStop

This is an exciting time–a wonderful opportunity to share my beloved TWO-MOON JOURNEY with a whole new audience of teachers, librarians and friends. Take a look at my BOOKSTOP page–just click on the image below. And please let me know what you think. Feel free to share this with all your Facebook friends. I am […]

The Corn of Forgiveness

  Those of you who’ve read TWO-MOON JOURNEY know that the 13 ears of corn Simu-quah brings with her on their forced journey becomes truly significant for 3 reasons. Hint: One of those reasons has to do with a Native-American tradition that has mentions the Corn of Forgiveness. At my Book Launch party, each family […]

Two-Moon Journey, Making a Debut!

It’s happening, it’s really happening. My dear and precious book will be in the bookstores very soon. And I truly believe, if you read it, you will love it, or at least, you will find a part of your deep self touched and changed by the time the book ends.            […]

Two-Moon Journey, Coming Up Soon

Okay, so I know not all the world will see it, but I am eager for lots of folks to meet 11 year-old Simu-quah, Kinosha her cousin, and all the family. It’s a hard journey they are on, forced to leave their beautiful Twin Lakes village and march across 4 states to a new home they never wanted.

Writing in the San Juans: A New Start

Here I am in Friday Harbor, with 5 of my favorite friends: Judy Bodmer,Nancy White Carlstrom, Katherine Grace Bond, Janet Lee Carey, and Dawn Knight. Together we are mighty: the Diviners Writing Group. Each week on Tuesdays, we meet for an afternoon of reading and critiquing each other’s work.

Soaring with The Eagles

Wow! It's been a long time since I've posted a blog, though many of you have been following my adventures in Alaska via Facebook. I just arrived home from this amazing trip Thursday night, and my mind and heart are still filled with vast and startling images of Denali and Kenai Peninsula.

Two Moon Journey, Coming Soon!

This is an exciting year, writing-wise.  My historical fiction book, TWO MOON JOURNEY, is now under contract with IHS (Indiana Historical Society) Press, and will be coming out within the next year. I will keep you posted about this, a book that is dear to my heart. In the meantime, I continue to take great […]

Writing in the San Juans: A New Start

Here I am in Friday Harbor, with 5 of my favorite friends: Judy Bodmer,Nancy White Carlstrom, Katherine Grace Bond, Janet Lee Carey, and Dawn Knight. Together we are mighty: the Diviners Writing Group. Each week on Tuesdays, we meet for an afternoon of reading and critiquing each other’s work. We laugh together, cry together, and turn […]

Soaring with The Eagles

Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a blog, though many of you have been following my adventures in Alaska via Facebook. I just arrived home from this amazing trip Thursday night, and my mind and heart are still filled with vast and startling images of Denali and Kenai Peninsula. My overall favorite […]

Opening the Gift

Today is the Fourth Day of Christmas, and I am reflecting on all the lovely celebrations our family has had this past week. We started with my daughter Deb’s birthday on December 22cd, which we celebrated by attending the Nutcracker, the Pacific Northwest Ballet performance. This was a special gift since my 7-year-old grandson Weston […]

Hang On To the Leash!

Last night I saw a dog walking himself. Really. I was strolling along in our local park just before sunset when a Golden Lab trotted by me, one end of his leash properly attached to his collar, the other end neatly folded between his teeth. There was no master-type person in sight. I watched, transfixed, […]

Family Reunion

We did it! 40 of us came together in my Kirkland, Washington home this summer for a long-awaited family reunion. Children and grandchildren, sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews came from New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, California, and even from Berlin, Germany to celebrate. For me, a sun-lit moment occurred when my granddaughter, 2 year-old Anika […]

Snorkeling with Sea Turtles

Christmas music is playing, it’s cold and gray outside, and I am untangling Christmas lights. But my heart is still in Hawaii. So hard to believe a week ago today, I was standing barefoot in the sand on Wailea Beach in Maui, surveying a three-foot tall sand castle just completed by my grandkids Josh and […]

Gnomes in the Garden

One week ago Saturday, I stepped into a Story Garden. Immediately, like magic, roots grew down into the ground, connecting me to a rich substrata of writers, editors, agents, all with amazing stories to tell. As I wandered the Story Garden (known to some as the SCBWI Western Washington Writing and Illustrating for Children Conference) […]

pictureHOPE

I received a special picture in the mail yesterday.Entitled The Cat, it was drawn by my five-year-old grandson Weston, who lives in Santa Fe. Anything that Weston draws is special.But this picture has particular significance. Weston created this picture in response to his Daddy, who has already raised over $7000 for DWB (Doctors Without Borders) […]

Summer of the Family

Okay, I know this is heresy, but I am not writing this summer.This is my Summer of the Family.In exactly nine days, my beloved son Michael, his wife Christiane, and my almost year-old granddaughter Cecilia will arrive from Berlin, Germany to spend 5 weeks here with me in our home. While they are here, my […]

Tantalizing Tidbits from the Feast

Our Western Washington SCBWI conference is two weeks in the past now, and still some of the wonderful snippets of wisdom and tantalizing tips stick in my mind, and continue to to nourish me. I’ll not forget Nina Laden (ROMEOW AND DROOLIET) reminding us, “If you don’t make mistakes, you may not make anything.” And […]

A papier mache Pig

I’m back from Santa Fe, after a joyous visit with my four-year-old grandson Weston.Our main project while I was there? A papier mache pig.Weston always has a list of projects for us to do when I arrive, and the Pig Project was the one on top. We started with a pink balloon, fully inflated, and […]

On my Way to Santa Fe

I’m so glad that writing opportunities come in bursts at unexpected moments.I’m on my way to Santa Fe for an 8 day catch-up with my four-year old grandson Weston — the one who knows the meaning of onomatopoeia. (Okay, look it up, it’s a fun word all writers should know!) Weston is my soul mate–loves […]

A Felucca Ride–and discovering Treasure

Okay, I promised tidbits about my recent four country trip. First stop: Egypt. We (my sis and I, and our tour group of 84 others) started out in Cairo. On day one, eleven of us took a rollicking ride on the Nile River in a felucca, which is an Egyptian sail boat. We rocked and […]

Four Countries in Twelve Days, Oh My!

And the traveling continues, most unexpectedly! Thanks to a lovely gift from my sis Kathy, I found myself March 10th, hopscotching to Rome and landing in Cairo for a twelve day pilgrimage of the Holy Land. I responded as a writer–I journalled every night when we came back to home base on our cruise ship, […]

Epiphany

I love this time of year! In our church year, we call January 6th Epiphany, the time when the magi arrived bearing gifts for the Child Jesus. But also, symbolically the time when the wider world (symbolized by those three wise men) came to know about this newborn King. The Epiphany was an Aha! moment […]

Ringing out the Old Year

Three hours to go before 2009, and I am determined to do one more post to my Blog for 2008.This is my commitment to blog more often in this coming year. Blogging (for me) is a means of noticing some specific event of my life, searching out the meaning of that in a bigger way, […]

A Berlin Baby and Other Joys

I’m back! It’s been an amazing few months: An end-of-summer trip to Berlin, Germany to hold my brand new grandbaby Cecilia, who of course, is strikingly beautiful, and coos in both German and English. You may suspect I’m stretching it just a bit, since Cecilia is just two months old now, but that’s how it […]

Celebrations on the Journey

Pictured here, Holly Cupala, Katherine Grace Bond, Janet Lee Carey,our celebrated author,Molly Blaisdell, Judy Bodmer, and myself, PeggyNot pictured: Justina Chen Headley, and Dawn Knight The trials of the writing journey can sometimes discourage us, and then how thankful I am for my writing group, the Diviners. We meet each Wednesday afternoon to read and […]

Catching Air

My almost-ten year-old grandson Jordan attended skateboard camp this week, and I, as his chauffeur learned right along with him and I also learned how expensive should your first skateboard be. It was pretty cool, if a bit unnerving to watch Jordan zip up and down ramps and half pipes, trying out new tricks. The […]

Singing to the Birds

I saw a woman singing to the birds this weekend. She was standing under a gigantic willow tree in my favorite Juanita Bay Park, and chirping and trilling at two birds perched high up in the branches. She eagerly identified the two birds for me–a dusky flycatcher, and a common yellow-throat. “You just missed a […]

Mazatlan Musings

Here I am back from Mazatlan, and it was truly as wonderful as I’d hoped. Iguanas (BIG ONES) on the sidewalks and in the trees, walks on the beach, checking out the flamingos with my grandson Weston, and just relaxing and pondering by the pool as we ate shrimp fajitas. (Mazatlan is the shrimp capital […]

Heading for Mazatlan

Okay, so I know I said I wasn’t going on so many trips this year, that I was staying here at home in rainy Seattle and write, write, writing. And I have been, for the last two months, faithfully plugging away on Finding Nonna, like I committed to in this very blog. I’m actually starting […]

Springing into Spring

Okay, so I know it’s not really spring, but this morning the sun is peeking out, and I saw a yellow crocus, my first one, while out walking. Not only that, I’m eagerly springing back into a rewrite I’ve put off for a long time, a novel called Finding Nonna. (In one version, it was […]

A January Surprise

Oh wonder! Oh Joy! I have the Starbird Ridge Snowflake in my possession–a gift from my sneaky Sis Nancy and her husband Mike. I so wanted it as a memory of my four years Starbird Ridge fiction series with Pockets Magazine. And once my dear family found out about the Robert’s Snow auction to benefit […]

Four Calling Birds

It’s the fourth day of Christmas (yes, I do count the 12 days–that’s the only way I get my cards and cookies done during the season.) So today we celebrate four calling birds, and I’m pondering–what are the Four Calling Birds for me for this coming year? In my mind I see a white dove […]

Home for Christmas

I’m home again! Since I last blogged, I’ve spent ten days in Maui (with 3 grandkids, nine, three, and one-year) as well as 11 days with my 3 year-old grandson Weston in Santa Fe, New Mexico. And now I arrive home to our Pacific Northwest gray drizzle–but my heart is singing! There are Christmas lights […]

The Snowflake has Arrived!

Yippee and double yippee! Our Snowflake is finally posted on the Robert’s Snow website. Anni just emailed to tell me and we are both thrilled that it is finally up. If you’d like to take a look, go to www.robertssnow.com, click on View 2007 Snowflakes, click on Auction 1, November 19-23, and scan down. Anni’s […]

Robert’s Snow!

This blog is a bit longer than usual but with good reason! Something wonderful is happening all over the United States now through December 7, and I have the joy of being part of it, thanks to Anni Matsick, my illustrator for our Starbird Ridge story series that has been running in Pockets Magazine (www.pockets.org) […]

Walking in the Rain

The last day of September–how did that happen? It’s pouring rain here in Seattle–so nicely seasonal, I have to smile. My grandson Jordan (age 9) and I just walked down our hill and back up with umbrellas and lots of good cheer. I’m guessing not too many folks would be wildly excited about an hour-long […]

Stretching Our Horizons

I’m writing this week about an Inuit girl, Buniq, stepsister of Sammy in my Starbird Ridge series. I’ve discovered a wonderful word: silatujuq. It’s the Inuit word for one who is wise, and it translates literally, Endowed with a Large Sky. Isn’t that great? I think of a visit we made to Montana a few […]

Dreams In the Night

This whole thing of finding ideas for our stories can be a challenge. There are ideas everywhere, of course, but which ones will have staying power? Which ones will hook into our hearts in a way that we’ll have the energy to finish that story we started with such eagerness. In my next few blogs […]

Down in the Valley

Yesterday, we made a family trip to Rattlesnake Lake. The crew wanted to hike to the top of Rattlesnake Ledge. Part of me wanted to get to the top too, even though that sheer cliff drop at the top made my hands clammy to look at it. As it turned out, I wound up hiking […]

Santa Fe Musings

Wow! I’m not doing so well with this blogging thing, despite all my good intentions. But here we go again. I’m just back from a wonderful 11 day visit with my daughter and son-in-law in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and with my exceedingly brilliant 2 1/2 year-old grandson, Weston. I know all grandmas think their […]

Putting it All Together–Life and Writing

I find myself always searching for ways to integrate all the many parts of my life: my family–those dear grandkids whom I never get enough time with; my writing, ditto, my church sharing group, those ordinary business-y things like grocery shopping and paying the bills, a time for solitude, journaling and prayer. Not necessarily in […]

Starting Over

Those of you who’ve been checking in have noticed it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a blog entry. There’s a good reason.On October 23rd, just ten days after my last posting, my beloved husband of 42 years entered the hospital, seriously ill. He died November 24th, the day after Thanksgiving.This blog is not […]

A Party to Remember

October 13, 2006 Wow! Last night at Parkplace Books was an evening to remember. Over 150 of you attended–the store was packed! Sandor Boldishar brought his homemade sausage sandwiches (Seattle Times featured him yesterday, holding up a rack of his freshly made sausages.) He and his wife Christine brought trays of Beigli as well, a […]

Party Time!

September 12, 2006 Wow! It’s great fun when old books get new life. This coming month (October) marks the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. And that means that all over the U.S. there are celebrations and commemorations going on as the Hungarian people remember an event that shook the entire world. It just […]

Half-Full Moon. Half Cupful of Wisdom

August 2 A beautiful perfect half-moon as I walked a few minutes ago, and the faint fragrance of wild roses, remembrances of long ago summer evenings. Tonight it’s cool, even a little breezy, but I’m still thinking of a red-hot evening two weeks ago, when I got to listen to Katherine Grace Bond read from […]

Sounds from my friend’s heart

July 21, 2006 We’re sizzling here, in more ways than one! It’s 90 degrees in our house right now, and we Northwesterners wilt once we hit 80. (I know, no sympathy from the rest of the country, where many of you have temps well over 100 degrees today. ) But the REAL sizzle, the wonderful […]

The Write Weather

June 26, 2006 It’s hot, hot, hot outside, but I am comfortably cool! I’m downstairs, hunkered next to the computer, with the tiniest breeze wafting through my office window. It’s the right time to write! Okay, I admit it, when our young adult son zoomed by an hour ago to pick up his swim shorts […]

And A Little Child Shall Lead You

June 15 I’ve just spent a lovely week with my daughter Deb and our 19 month old grandson, Weston, visiting from Santa Fe. Weston is learning to talk, and it’s amazing what he does with his somewhat limited vocabulary. He tells entire stories with just four words. “Ball?” he says to me. Ever the compliant […]

Recurring Sounds!

A Sound from My Heart May 30, 2006 As I write, whether it’s a short story for my Pockets series, or a chapter for my current novel, Two Moon Journey, I find recurring themes weaving in and out, some big, some small. (My writing group accuses me of putting chocolate chip cookies in almost every […]

Ideas–Sounds from my Heart

May 26, 2006 As a writer of stories for children, I often have the opportunity to go into classrooms and talk to kids about writing. “Where do you get your ideas?” they all ask. From things that really happen, from my own childhood, from watching you, I tell them. But what I often think about, […]