Lovely book by a talented friend

I first “met” Dow Phumiruk when she won a critique from my critique group, the Penguin Posse…we immediately knew that this was someone with incredible talent who would go far in the kid lit world. And we were right!

In just a few short years after the critique, Dow has won contests, got an agent, and had 2 books published…one as the illustrator (Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines) and now this book as the author, published by Sleeping Bear Press:


I am SO thrilled for Dow who is as lovely and generous as she is talented. And look! She sent this adorable goodies package for those of us who pre-ordered her book:


Mela and the Elephant is a heart-warming story about kindness (and we need more of that these days) set in exotic Thailand, making it a perfect read in so many ways. I hope you’ll get your own copy, as a gift for your favorite child, or borrow it at your local library!


The color of happiness

Is this not the most delicious color? Makes me think spring and avocados. Trying out a new pattern from Love of Knitting magazine.

What black hole did I disappear into?

I know I haven’t been posting regularly here but I have good excuses! No, not really.

I’ve been busy writing and revising but haven’t made much art. I’ve not been in the mood, thinking, “what’s the point?” I don’t have anything unique to say in art that isn’t better said by a whole bunch of other, more talented artists.

I only did this little watercolor because I needed a happy birthday piece for Facebook friends for the last week of February.

The feeling of uselessness will pass (and then I’ll feel that way about my writing…heh); I’ll be back to doodling soon, I think.

“Everything We Lose” premieres

I have been eagerly awaiting EVERYTHING WE LOSE, the latest novel by historical fiction author, and one of my talented critique partners, Annette Oppenlander ever since I first read the opening chapters a couple of years ago.


Everything We Lose, set against the heartbreaking backdrop of the American Civil War, follows the friendship between Adam, a poor farm boy whose father died fighting with the Union, and Tip, a similarly aged slave, and the hardships they endured. After a tragic event, Adam ends up joining the Union army and Tip is sold to a new, sadistic owner. Will Adam survive the cruel war? Will Tip find freedom? Will their friendship survive their circumstances? In addition, there is a larger supporting cast—family and comrades—that you will come to care about just as deeply.

To find out what happens to this pair of unlikely friends, be sure to read to the bottom of this post to find a special deal for the day!


So who is the brains behind this gripping story? You can find out more about Annette at her website but I’ve also asked her a few questions here.

Welcome, Annette!

You have had much success with your exciting Escape From The Past series which is historical fiction with science fiction elements. EVERYTHING WE LOSE (love that title, by the way), along with SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND, is, I guess, going back to your pure historical fiction roots that you established with your debut A DIFFERENT TRUTH. Would you say you enjoy pure historical fiction more, or blending it with some fantastical elements?

Hi Teresa,
Thank you so much for hosting me!

I admit that writing the Escape from the Past trilogy was a lot of fun because the time-travel element allowed for so much freedom: a computer nerd revisits the Middle Ages, brings his modern-day attitudes and knowledge to the past. Having said that, I think I will always enjoy the historical aspects of my stories. Writing historical novels requires a healthy amount of research into all aspects of a period. Even then, we’re never quite sure if what we write and how we envision things, is completely accurate. But recreating that historical era is what I love, whether it includes a fantastical time-travel element or not.

Related to the first question, will fans of Max get to see more books featuring the lovable geeky gamer?

I wish I could say you’ll see Max again. I loved that silly boy and the problems he got himself into. Right now no other Max stories are on the horizon. But that doesn’t mean I won’t one day resurrect Max and let him get in trouble again in a far away time.

I’m sad that we won’t get to follow Max on more adventures for now but I understand. What are you working on right now or what is in store for your readers next?

I took a few months off, prepping for the release of ‘Everything We Lose,’ but also to settle into Germany again. I was away for over 30 years and re-acclimating has been taking a lot of energy. Strangely, about two weeks ago I got this urge to write something new. So, to answer your question, my next story will be about my grandfather, Wilhelm, who at the end of WWII was taken prisoner by the Russians. Just when he thought the war was over and he could finally go home and rejoin his family, he was taken east and spent the next eight years crisscrossing Siberia surviving in gulags. In preparation, I’m super excited to study the old files, the German military archives will share with me. I’m also hard at work translating ‘Surviving the Fatherland’ into German.

SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND is an amazing and, sadly, timely novel given the current political clime in the U.S. I urge everyone to read it.

Thanks so much, Annette, for taking the time for this interview!

And now, as promised, here’s the deal du jour. Today only—February 18th—the Kindle version of EVERYTHING WE LOSE will be on sale for 99 cents! Grab your copy and get ready to stay up all night discovering the fate of Adam and Tip.