Nursery Rhyme Themes

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A thought for the day and more….

I’m sorry to say that I don’t read poetry often.  However, recently I read  a poetry book written by an acquaintance.  Each poem was a take-off about a nursery rhyme or fairy tale character.  Did you ever wonder what might have happened to any of your favorite characters when they grew up?   I never did.

For example, what did Miss Muffitt do after she had eaten her curds and why.  Did she go off to school or shopping?  Another poem talked about Cinderella’s shoes.  Could you imagine that she started a shoe store .  Then there were a couple of other characters such as Pinocchio and Tom Tom the piper’s son who grew up to become politicians.   That actually didn’t surprise me.  I think I caught Pinocchio appearing once in a Geico commercial.

Something else that I learned was that poems don’t necessarily rhyme anymore.  21st Century poetry sometimes is long running prose that does say something, but may not have rhyming words in it.

That was the day too that I read that  people are more and more writing memoirs that contain fiction to help dress up their memory.  Is that legal?  Probably so unless someone can correct the writer.

After learning all of these interesting writing facts, I decided  I may be going crazy.  Or, maybe that is why my own writing has not been selling like hotcakes!    I can always find an excuse.


News by Opinion

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Do you watch news programs?  There are many today, and they are all beginning to look and sound the same.  A long time ago a news program would have one featured anchor (shall we say) and they would interview a person or two for several minutes.  Today we seem to get our news in 30 or 60 second bites. No one is usually permitted to go further into the topic or bring up history or background.

Our news also is given to us by “panels” of people giving their opinion –generally based on their political situation or past position or the author of a new book or a topic they have talked or written about in the past.  Then there are past government officials with past administrations.  Everyone has an opinion!

For example, a question could be “should the President have fired a missile?”   Then we bring in three, five, seven people to give their viewpoint.  Maybe one of those will be a Congressperson, or a former Congressperson or upon occasion, a man from the street\ will be brought in and permitted to  give his opinion.  Appearing on a news program seems to me to be how a someone such as a writer  or the manager of an institute or a college professor can become a Somebody.

I recall when I was working as a public relations person I had a list of employees or teachers that were experts (or knowledgeable) in certain topics.  When an event occurred I would whip out an email telling the local news folks that Mr. Someone  or Dr. Somebody  taught that topic or had a working background in that specific topic and was available for an interview. Economists were always a good fit.  It also helped that that particular person gained visibility with his/her peers.  You still see that form of interview on local news programs.  But for the most part, the national news has moved to the panel program format.

Joining me today is how it begins. If there are four persons, sometimes there is never enough time to get but one nod of the head or a sentence from all the folks. Thank you for joining us today.


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Reviews always make a writer/author feel good.  Ir’s a compliment you like to hear.  Recently an acquaintance of mine from the Perry Hall Book Club read my book “Escape to Freedom” and added a five star review to my Amazon listing. In fact, here it it.

Top Customer Reviews from Amazon

on April 7, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
A book that both adults and young people will enjoy. The adventure begins with a very determined fifteen-year old named Adrian Morgan. Adrian becomes an indentured servant in order to reach a new life n America. A hurricane interferes with her plans, but she eventually reaches shore in this new country. Fearing for her life, she realizes that she needs a partner to balances the skills needed for success. She find a that in Daniel Dunn another young indentured servant. Together they make their way west despite the many obstacles thrown in their path.
The author, Frances Altman, does a superb job of combining historical facts with many suspenseful adventures. This was a delightful read.
Thank you Mrs. White.  Again, follow down to February on the Archive and you may read an excerpt.  

Adding an Archive

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Just added an archive which I hope will help readers.  Readers where are you?

Anyway, you will find those excerpts from “Escape to Freedom” appear in the January and February archives.  or just scroll down and you will run into them.  As anyone can see, I am still learning the blog business.  Never too old to learn, they say.

Recently I was listening to a webinar from a group of editors.  They were discussing the usage of description words such as “he said” and “she pointed” and similar words that follow a quotation.  One editor said he never read those words and just skips over them.  Another editor said he never used “said” but usually used a description such as “he frowned” or he smiled, etc.

As a reader, what do you do when you come to “he said” in a book?   Personally, I like a little of both and then sometimes not at all.  Just let the dialogue run.

Telling Everybody!

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Getting the word out about my latest effort is not a fast task.  It is instead rather like a “whisper in the wind!”

If you are looking for excerpts from Escape to Freedom — keep scrolling down. There are two. 

Have you ever looked for books to read on a website called  .AuthorsDen?  It lists books that are available–thousands of them.  Of course, I’m working on my latest–Escape to Freedom–but there is also  Spirit Dog and Mister Umbrella Man  that needs pushing too. I have listed these two books for 3 to 5 grade readers with TeachingBooks.net.  This site is a resource site for At Home Teaching parents.  I have written Teacher’s Discussion guides for these two which I would be happy to share with interested parents.  And so you see, getting the word out leaves not so much time for writing.

Right now Escape to Freedom is listed on Goodreads and I am trying to give away a few copies, but must not be reading the instructions correctly.  So we will keep trying.

Wow!  It just dawned on me the other day that it is time to reissue my very  first book–Reggie the Goat.  Time really passes fast!   You will find Reggie listed on Amazon as a used book.  Also now reissued as an ebook on Nook with a new cover.  There are a couple of other titles on Amazon from the old days, but that publisher folded when the Bush administration cut the subsidy to school libraries.  So guess what might happen next?  Until another day!    





Where are the feature stories?

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What has happened to magazines?  Moons ago when I was doing interviews and writing feature stories the magazines used to have numerous feature stories about famous people. The cover usually contained a famous face and inside their story–about their home life and family, success and missed steps. Two of the magazines I recently received had lovely couches on the cover.  Another had Valentine cookies and another had a beautiful boutique of flowers.  People were never mentioned inside except when commenting that the interior decorations were put together by such and such interior decorator.

I remember even stealing a comment or two from one of those magazines. I was writing a story about putting together a mosaic and how Jane Mansfield had a pool shaped like a heart with mosaic at the bottom or maybe it was a piano shaped pool with a mosaic by another artist.  That reminds me that there aren’t many movie magazines around anymore either where you could tear out the pictures and stick them up on your bedroom wall.

Sports Illustrated, Time and GQ still have faces usually.  People, of course.  But Better Homes, Good Housekeeping. Woman’s  now talk about cosmetics, interior design, compare vegetables or nutrition, exercises–they almost all sound/read alike.  Now as an AARP person I receive many subscription invoices for ridiculous prices for these magazines. However, I am beyond the age of needing what they write about.  It does get perplexing!

Who likes to read?  For those people who like to read excerpts from new books, I have discovered AuthorDen.  This is something like a Goodreads.  And, I have found it to be more interesting than Facebook.   All of this is entertainment. 

Scroll on down and read an excerpt from my new book: “Escape to Freedom


An Empowered Girl

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As I wrote in a previous blog, when I first started outlining “Escape to Freedom” I previewed many books that were written about some pretty dreary illnesses and other dark topics.  Considering the weary tempo that has prevailed during the past year,  and continues to make many people uncomfortable and sort of spiritless,  I decided to write in another direction.  By the way have you noticed that western themes are now popping up on the BBC dramas? Another little fact you may not know is that a 15 year old well read girl could teach school simply by passing a test.  

So here’s another excerpt from “Escape to Freedom”  ISBN 13:9781537705507 Amazon.com under books   You’ll  see the cover there also

Setting the scene: Adrian and Danny have finally reached Pleasantville and Adrian is teaching school.

Adrian had walked only a few feet away from the school  when she began to have  second thoughts. Some of the children were already filing back into the school. A completely different thought sprang into her mind. It was Tuesday.  A strange cool feeling swept quickly across her shoulders. She dismissed it. The sun was warm and bright overhead. It promised to be a beautiful day!

That’s when she saw it.

Parked right in front of the new store was a two wheeled open buggy  drawn by a single horse. Adrian had seen a buggy like that before, in fact, Angus Peters had one like it, He had brought it over from England some years earlier, he had told her.

Standing beside the buggy was Mrs. Miller and her husband, the minister. They were talking to a   man seated in it. His back was turned toward Adrian. Mrs. Miller must have noticed her by the school because she abruptly raised her arm and beckoned for her to come on toward them.

Instead Adrian stopped dead in her tracks. There was something strangely familiar about the set of the man’s shoulders, even though she was looking at his back. She watched the three of them continue talking. Then the man turned slightly to the side and Adrian realized that he had seen her. Her body stiffened and her breath stopped.

It couldn’t be….but it was.  Angus Peters!

Adrian froze in her tracks.  She saw Angus flip the reins and turn the carriage toward her. It was only moments before the carriage was moving toward her, but it seemed like an hour. She didn’t move and for some strange reason wondered whether he would run over her. Abruptly the horse stopped. There was no need to run. Where would she go?

Yes, it certainly was Angus Peters all right, and he was sitting there unflustered and in control of the situation. He looked down at Adrian with a stern expression on his face and said her name.

“Adrian Morgan, I’m here to take you back.  Ezra Crump is paying a hefty reward to get you back. He said he bought your bond out of kindness.”

He pointed his finger at her accusingly. “You know you hurt his pride very badly. That was the wrong thing for you to do. Now he is angry at you and me both!”

Adrian stood as solid as a statue. She wanted to retort back but she found herself speechless.

Suddenly panic overcame her. She looked to the left and then to the right. She felt like a frightened squirrel that had just been caught in its tracks.  There was nowhere to go! She felt all of her emotions began to subside into a cold state of numbness.  She could only stare back at Angus.  Her mouth was dry and speechless.

“Where are your things, Adrian? We’ll get them together and start back.”

Angus Peters’ voice sounded as hard as metal. “Did you hear what I said?  I’m here to take you back!”

Without a word, Adrian pointed behind her at the school.  By this time the Millers had walked down to stand beside the buggy.

“Let me go with you, child,” spoke up Mrs. Miller.  From the pained expression on her face, Adrian guessed that Angus had already explained the problem to them.

Hearing her voice, Adrian’s mind suddenly spring back, alert and alive. Her head had stopped spinning and she was thinking calmly now.  What could she do? She looked up at Angus.  She didn’t want to beg, but she did anyway.  A vague plan was forming.  She couldn’t start running here in the street but maybe, just maybe there was another way.

“Mister Peters, these people have been good to me.  I can’t just leave the children sitting at their tables.  They won’t understand.  Please, Sir, I want to explain to them. Let me please do that much.”  Her voice was suddenly soft, barely above a whisper. She hoped that would help. She was fighting to keep from screaming but she could see his face ever so slightly begin to soften.  She knew that in his heart he was a good man. She was counting on that now.

“You can wait right outside the door. See the children have all gone back inside.  They’re waiting right there. They’re wondering what is happening. Please, Mister Peters, give me just a few minutes to tell them I’m leaving. To say goodbye.”

Angus Peters sat thoughtful for a few seconds, and then slowly nodded.  “All right, go ahead.”

He wound the reins around the side of the buggy and began to step down.

In that one moment panic sprang up again and rippled through Adrian’s body. Then a sliver of hope returned. On an impulse she turned and started running as fast as she could toward the schoolhouse door. It was standing open.

“Start singing!” she commanded as she ran past the children’s tables.  “Start singing.”

Adrian’s voice rang out in song!

“Are you sleeping, Brother John?  Brother John?

Morning bells are ringing!  Morning bells are ringing!”

They joined in with her.  All of their voices rising loudly together in a chorus.

“Ding, dang dong!  Ding, dang dong!”

Now her goal was to reach the last window in the building. It was open. When she reached it she kicked a bench under the window frame.  She grasped the window sill for balance, then stepped up on the bench   and boosted her body up until she was sitting in the window. With all her strength she pulled her legs up and over and out the window in one frightening motion.

Echoing in her ears she heard the children still chiming. Then one voice, a boy’s, yelled louder than all the others:

“Jump Miss Morgan!  Jump as far as you can!”

Adrian felt the wind lift her skirt as she sailed outward and then down. She knew she was falling but there was nothing she could do.

Was it seven feet?  Eight?   She felt the height and then the ground rushing up toward her. She saw clearly that she was tumbling downward right into the tall weeds and brush growing outside the window.  The bushy growth caught at her arms, stinging and scratching and slowing her descent.  But her mind was clear.

Ker thud!  Her feet crumbled under her. She felt a sharp pain streak sharply up her ankle. Panic again began taking over. She scrambled frantically to her feet and kept pushing forward. She ignored the pain. She was stumbling and sliding at the same time but somehow she kept her balance on the uneven ground.

“Ignore the pain,” she kept repeating to herself. Blindly she pushed forward.

I  hope you have enjoyed these few blogs about Adrian and Danny on their adventure. I would love to hear your thoughts.  Email be at fealtman@yahoo.com