Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I'm celebrating two things this week:

1. I'm celebrating our nephew's wedding, which takes place Friday - just two days from now. It's an Indian wedding that starts early in the day and goes on for quite awhile, and Thursday (tomorrow) I'll be on the plane to Pittsburgh, PA, where the wedding is taking place. I'm celebrating early, since I know I won't have time to post. I'll get to see a lot of relatives I haven't seen for awhile, and I'm looking forward to meeting the bride.

2. I'm celebrating being a guest on the wonderful Kirby Larson's Friend Friday post. Here is the link to her webpage:

She has a series of columns, one for Mondays, Tuesdays, etc. Fridays are always "Friendship Friday". If you click on it now, you'll get last Friday's guests, author LaurieAnn Thompson and illustrator Paul Schmid, who teamed up to write what looks like a charming picture book, My Dog Is Best. My post will be on the 26th, two days from now. Please do take a look Friday.

In the meantime, please go next door to my Fourth Wish Blog  to read about a wonderful Fado singer whom we met in Portugal when I was doing research for my next book.

Celebrate the Small Things is a nifty blog hop sponsored by Lexa Cain ,  Tonja Drecker of Kidbits Blog , and L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
Do have a look at these three great sites, and look into the links of others who are part of this blog hop. You'll meet some nice friends!

Friday, June 19, 2015

School Visit in Braga, Portugal

Wonderful students at Escola
Secundaria Maximinos
It's been such a busy time, that I'm opting out of the "Celebrating Small Things" blog hop for about two weeks to catch up on events in Portugal and Galicia. Then I'll get back to it, as I really enjoy all the friends I've met there.

Now that book events of the last week are winding down, I can get to a school visit in Braga that give me the opportunity to meet some of the wonderful students at Escola Secondaria Maximinos, a secondary school equivalent to our middle and high school levels in the United States. (Braga is divided into civil parishes, and Maximinos, where the school is located, is one of those parishes.)

The visit was arranged by Carla Pereira, a lovely person I met on a previous trip while doing research who has become a dear friend, and one of the teachers at the school. Carla had corresponded with me and asked if I would visit her daughter's school. Of course I said yes! The teacher who set up the event, Senhorita Carminda, arranged for us to meet in the library, which provided a warm and welcoming environment.

Carla, her 12-year old daughter,
Beatrix, and me.

Carla's daughter, Beatrix, is twelve, but the majority of students were between 13 and 15. Students from two 7th grade classes and two 8th grade classes met in the library, which hosts visitors and various programs. (You can learn more about the library programs HERE.)

A table had been set up at the front of the room, and what really amazed (and delighted) me was a screen that had a picture of my book cover! I had bought posters to pin up, but they were entirely unnecessary.

What to my wondering eyes did appear.

Senhorita Carminda, me, and a charming
supervisor from the school district. I'm
sorry I can't tell you her name. I met a lot
of people all at once. But she was warm
and welcoming, like all the staff. 

The students were a great audience: attentive, curious, serious, well-behaved. They understood English and asked interesting questions: everything from what made me come to Braga (another book I'm writing), what did I like about Braga (oh so much!), how long I had been writing (all my life), and a few other questions.

Following along. . . (you can see my
husband, Rajan, near the door.)

The students were pretty focused.

And attentive.
I really enjoyed their questions.

Some of the students told me they write, too. And -- impressive -- one young man is studying both Spanish and French, in addition to the English he already has been learning. Here are some
    pictures of these cool young

 Altogether, the visit took about 45 minutes, and the time went by very fast.

Before it was over, I was presented with a gift from the school - a pen with a wooden shaft in a beautifully crafted wooden box. And because they do things in such a special way, the box was wrapped in paper with a picture of my book cover!
The wrapping.

The special pen. My poetry pen. 
Even though I write my fiction on the computer, I write my poetry by hand, and this is now my poetry pen, which will always hold special memories for me of this lovely event. (I took these pictures when we got back to our house in Galicia.)

After the students went to their next class, we had some pictures taken with our hosts, two hard-working librarians who also teach classes. They set everything up for us and created this inviting and comfortable atmosphere.

Rajan, Senhorita Carminda, me,
supervisor, and 2 gracious librarians.

Senhorita Carminda, Beatrix, Carla,
me, and charming supervisor. 
But there was another surprise, too! I actually received this the day before when I walked over to Casa Stop to arrange with Carla the meeting time to go to the school. Casa Stop is a cool shop with a little bit of everything, including needlework. (I waited until we returned to Galicia to take this picture in our little dining area.) The embroidery work featured is a logo of the Sé Cathedral in Braga.

A beautiful apron and potholder, and a little "pocket" to keep them in. Of course, I wouldn't dream of cooking with them. I'm a cook who sometimes spills things. These are a gift I will treasure, along with my new poetry pen, and the memories attached to them - examples of the generosity and kindness so typical of Portuguese culture.

Thank you, Carla! Thank you Escola Secondaria Maximinos! 

Next week: A very special Fado singer. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Book Release - Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls

I have so many things to blog about, but:

Hip Hip Hooray,
Caloo Calay!
My book was just released today!

Here are the links: Imogene and The Case of The Missing Pearls is available from all good bookstores including The Strand Magazine, Amazon USA,Amazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository. In ebook format it is in Kindle and Kobo and will soon be on iTunes.

Meanwhile, please come back Friday for the first of several blogs about the trip to Portugal.

A school visit,
arranged by my friend, Carla

A fabulous Fadista, Maria da Luz

And, if you like historical novels, please go next door to my Fourth Wish Blog for a review of Nancy Herman's fine book about the Donner Party, told through thirteen-year-old Virginia'Reed's point of view.