Three in a Row in September

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Imagine a whole long list under that To Do! Not necessarily for me, but whatever…

It’s just a flurry of activity this month, here at Cathy C. Hall’s!

But here’s the thing: if you don’t get to all three posts, you can always come back later in September to catch up  because this is probably going to be it for the month.

See, I have Juniorette Hall’s big wedding day in a few weeks and though I don’t have much left to do, I do have to show up and be sociable for a ridiculously lengthy amount of time. And oddly enough, it’s way easier to be sociable here than in say, real life. I mean, one has to fix one’s hair, put on something decent, stand around and chat (or sit and chat), and just in general be presentable and perhaps even charming. That can wear a body out, you know?

So. What was I saying? Oh! The reason we’re here today is my latest post at The Muffin, This Post Brought To You By the Letter C. 

You might want to read one C topic a week (there are three). That way, you can sort of spread the joy out over the next twenty days or so.

Well, joy might be stretching it. But come on, y’all. I’ve had to remember deodorant for a whole week. (Fingers crossed I can keep that streak going at least through the wedding.)

 

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The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper

Temple of the crystal timekeeper ingramspark cover (1)Fiona Ingram’s latest book in the middle grade series, The Chronicles of the Stone, follows the intrepid adventurers to Mexico and The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper. Adam, Justin, and Kim are searching now for the third stone of power, and as always, they must find the stone before the villainous Dr. Khalid can get his hands on it–and them. But there’s an added twist to this tale, a warlord who believes himself the incarnation of an Aztec god. And he’s right in the thick of this adventure!

And so in this third book, the Aztecs come into play along with the Mayans.  From the beginning, when our trio’s plane crashes into the forest, until the end and the life and death game-changing action, there’s a ton of history, religion, and culture to soak up!

Lucky Fiona Ingram to have a book release on a subject that everyone’s talking about now! I was watching a riveting public TV documentary series about Mexico and there on the screen was a cenote (a sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone) and I literally sat up from my usual half-reclining position of viewing. I’d just read all about a cenote in The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper! And next came Tezcatlipoca, the Aztec god, and the temple ruins deep in the forests. Hold on! I know all about Tezcatlipoca! And then came…hey! I see what you’re doing and it’s not going to work.

Read The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper for yourself!

 

The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper is available to purchase on Amazon.com. 

 

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Fiona Ingram is a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, she was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked her new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with her mother and two young nephews. They had a great time and she thought she’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, she had changed careers.

 

 

You can find Fiona at –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/secretofthesacredscarab/

Website: www.chroniclesofthestone.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FionaRobyn

Author Site: http://www.FionaIngram.com

 

The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper is a hefty read but there’s plenty of action to keep the story moving. If you want to sneak in that Social Studies unit on Mexico and the Aztecs and Mayans, especially for your reluctant guy readers, here’s the book to do it. And check out Fiona’s website for more information about the story, as well as additional resource material to download for free.

 

What You Never Knew About Mexico (And Fiona Ingram’s Latest Book!)

Temple of the crystal timekeeper ingramspark cover (1)I’m just going to put this out there first thing: I love fiction where I get a good story wrapped in history-come-alive or science-up-close or geography-made-interesting or…really, just about anything where I learn a lot and can show off later. (Yep, I’m the person who drops comments at gatherings like, “Well, actually, the Mayans were…”) So obviously, I’m a fan of Fiona Ingram‘s middle grade series’ The Chronicles of the Stone.  These books are just packed with fascinating facts interwoven into fun adventures.

Her latest book is all about the Mayans and Aztecs and Mexico and you know what? I think I’ll let Fiona take it from here:

Before I embarked on my children’s books series The Chronicles of the Stone, I had a list of favorite topics, historical subjects I enjoyed reading about or wanted to learn more about. Once I started the adventure series, this was the perfect opportunity to both indulge my list of favorites and create exciting adventures. I knew that somehow, some way my heroes would be swept into the ancient world of the Maya and the Aztecs. I learned so much about Mexico and its history that I hope you’ll read The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper and learn as much as I did about this amazing country and its history. In the meantime, here are 10 interesting facts you possibly did not know about Mexico, whose official name is the United Mexican States.

  1. The Olmec people, Mexico’s first complex society, emerged in the southeastern part of the country around 1200 BC. They were later followed by the Maya, the Toltec, and the Aztec peoples. Mexico’s ancient societies built great cities and huge pyramids, created remarkable works of art, and even studied the stars and planets to determine when to plant crops and hold ceremonies.
  2. The Maya civilization began around 2000 BC and was noted for its hieroglyphic script—the only known fully developed writing system of the pre-Columbian Americas—as well as for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system.
  3. FionaIngram.jpg (1)Despite the colonial invasion by the Spanish, the Maya people did not disappear. The largest group of modern Maya is found in the Yucatán region of Mexico. They speak both “Yucatec Maya” and Spanish and are generally integrated into Mexican culture. The Maya have continued to hold on to their unique way of life.
  4. The Aztec civilization was also highly developed socially, intellectually, and artistically and lasted from 1300 until 1521. Invaders led by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés overthrew the Aztecs by force and captured their capital, Tenochtitlan, in 1521, ending Mesoamerica’s last great native civilization.
  5. The world’s oldest team sport originated in Mexico! This ancient sport, the Mesoamerican ball game, has been around for over 3,500 years and could possibly claim the title of the world’s oldest and first team sport.
  6. Who invented chocolate? The history of chocolate begins in Mesoamerica. Fermented beverages made from chocolate date back to 1900 BC. The Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, and the seeds once had so much value that they were used as a form of currency.
  7. Size wise, Mexico is the 11th most populated country in the world with around 127 million people. Mexico is the 14th largest country by land area. There are 31 states in Mexico as well as the capital city (Mexico City).
  8. The northern part of Mexico is a desert. Like southern Arizona, this part of Mexico has saguaro cactus, scorpions and rattlesnakes. Water is scarce here. Southern Mexico is a tropical rainforest. Most people live in the middle of the country.
  9. The Mexican flag has 3 vertical stripes on it―green, red, and white. The green stands for hope, the white for purity, and the red for the blood of the Mexican people.
  10. Mexico is known for its flora and fauna and is one of the seventeen mega-diverse countries in the world. It is also considered to be second in the world of ecosystems. Mexico houses about thirty-four unaltered ecosystems and a number of parks and monuments. It also has seventeen sanctuaries and twenty-six areas for protected flora and fauna.

Yep, I learned all that and lots more reading Fiona’s book. Come back on September 4th when I review The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper. And just maybe, you’ll find out what knowledgeable Mayan gems I’ve been showing off at gatherings!

College Confessions

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Present Day confession: I take books to the beach and never get around to reading ’em.

Here’s true confession number one: I was that college student that other college students despised. The one who ruined the curve for everybody else.

Yeah, I’d look around with the rest of the Bio class, grumbling under my breath about that jerk of a student who didn’t miss a single question on the mid-term, knowing that I was that jerk. One has to keep that sort of thing on the down low but here’s confession number two: I had a natural aptitude for memorization. Which unfortunately didn’t help me much when it came to the business classes I had to take.

Sadly, I didn’t know that my super power wouldn’t be much use. I waltzed into a 300 level business course of about 30 guys, thinking no worries. I had mad memory skills, plus I knew a couple of these guys (translation: had dated ’em or were dating ’em) and honestly, I wondered if they’d ever figure out how to run a washing machine much less pass a business class.

So we had to write up these cases. Well, writing was my jam! And we had to apply some kind of business principles to each case. A sort of What Would You Do in the business world. I listened to the lectures, I read the book, I wrote a scathingly brilliant paper.

So you can imagine my surprise when I saw a C on that paper. And across the aisle, on Jake’s (recall that I “knew” this guy) paper, was an A. And worse, Jake had maybe four sentences on his paper. Thus began my mission to show that professor what was what (or more specifically that I was an “A” student, thank you very much). Except (true confession number three) that try as I might, I could not get any better than a B+ on any case. While Jake sat over there, raking in the As with his pithy paragraphs of a case he wrote on the way to class.

Jake, the business major, just understood business, he said.

Maybe he did. Maybe Jake’s running a conglomerate now. Probably just buys new shirts when he needs something clean.

All this to say that I have rather negative feelings about business or anything business-related. But when I saw Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I thought business be damned (because I could just tell this was some sort of business book without even opening it. It just had that smell about it) because the subtitle read: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change.

Okay, then. I started reading it. And if you want to know how it inspired my latest WOW! post at the Muffin, take a look at “On Writing: From Dependence to Interdependence.” I’d give it at least a B+.

Picture-Book-A-Palooza

I’ve got some very busy writer friends! They’ve been writing and getting published and having book signings and I’ve been…hmmmm.

I wish I had something scathingly brilliant or outrageously adventurous here as a reason for not writing as much as I’d like to write, and not getting myself published (and therefore, not having book signings). But I think we all know what happens to me in the summer. And oh! I am planning Juniorette’s wedding that’s coming up next month, so there’s a good excuse.

Okay, I’m not really planning the wedding; Juniorette’s done most of the work. But I’ve had to think about wedding stuff  a lot and I think that counts for something. Anyway, the point today is picture books and all my friends who have books on the shelves in bookstores and libraries (or books you can order):

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Lisa Lowe Stauffer’s Two By Two is a board book adventure about a couple of mischievous monkeys on Noah’s Ark. And oh my goodness, I love the wordplay in this book and I know your little mischievous ones will, too! Lisa’s been busy with book signings, and she’ll be in my neck of the woods in October for a workshop!

 

 

indexTina M. Cho is celebrating a book birthday with her picture book, Rice From Heaven. I could say more about this book (and Tina) but she says it so much better here, at Tina’s Tidbits. Please go give it a read and then give her book a read, too! I can’t wait to get back to my hometown library and get this one. (Yep, Tina, your book is in the Gwinnett County Library system!) It really is a small world, after all!

 

And then there’s Heather L. Montgomery, whose two books are coming out in October, I think. But they’re available now: Bugs Don’t Hug AND Something Rotten, A Fresh Look At Roadkill. And every time I read these titles, I’m conflicted. I feel a little like “Come on, Heather! Ick!” but I also feel a little like “Oooh! I can’t wait to read about stinky roadkill and bugs!”

Yep, Heather knows how to make anything compelling! And I’m not the only one who thinks so–Heather is super busy right now on school visits and book expos and I don’t know what all. (But you can find out when you visit her website. You might even be able to get her for your school because seriously, Heather Montgomery can rock a school visit!)

Didn’t I tell you I had some busy friends? And I have some more friends who have been busy writing novels so stay tuned! Meanwhile, I’ve got a porch swing and salty breeze waiting for me to get busy with a wee bit of a nap because I’ve worked kinda hard on this blog post. Plus, I thought up something that Juniorette needs to do, wedding-wise. (She’ll thank me later, I’m sure.)