Issue #2 • October 2017

Dear Reader,

October is here! And I am excited for one main reason: HALLOWEEN! My husband and I are the biggest fans of Halloween.

We've been characters from the movie/book Boxtrolls, dragon-tamers, and cave-people. One of our best years, I was a wind-up ballerina (you could actually wind up a key on my back and music would play), and my husband was Jabba the Hut.

Yes, he made this costume himself!

How does costume building connect with creative writing? Prop building is actually a great way to inspire stories. In the creative writing classes I teach, I often have my students create props for their characters, such as enchanted keys, magic medallions, even lunch boxes (for monsters).

I also create props for my own stories. For my book series Heartwood Hotel, my husband and I worked hard to create this miniature version of the hotel in the great oak tree. Although there were lots of late nights and glue-gun burnt fingers getting it ready for my book launch, it was definitely worth it.


And I'm not alone! Many other authors enjoy the prop-process including my friend and fellow author Lee Edward Fodi. (You can check out his blog here.) And... L. Frank Baum, one of my author-heroes! He loved props and seeing his worlds come to life on stage. There was a musical version of Wizard of Oz that he was involved in, and he also launched a traveling show called “Fairylogue and Radio Plays.”

Here's a snapshot of one of the casts...


(Slightly creepy, no?) Still, wonderful to know and see how much he enjoyed seeing his written world come to life.

In any case, these are some things that are top of my mind this month, especially as my husband and I plan our costumes for this Halloween, and I get ready to tour in the states and share Heartwood Hotel, both books and prop, with kids and bookstores.

Hope you, too, enjoy October and all the adventures it brings!


Extra Fun

Featured Activity - Application Letter!

Do you, or your students or kids, want to be part of the Heartwood Hotel staff? Do you want to eat seedcakes, and sweep floors with upside-down dandelion brooms?

This is your opportunity! Write an application letter to the famous forest hotel here.

Don't forget to check all boxes that apply to you, and email your letter to!