Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

As any year 2009 came with many blessings and challenges, all to be learned from.

While going through difficult challenges the blessings tend to be overshadowed.

I hope for you all you have overcome or are working through your challenges and blessings abound as we enter 2010.

Take the time today and reflect on 2009 and remember the positives and let go of the negatives. Tell your loved ones you love them even though you believe they already know this. Nothing is more uplifting for an individual to be acknowledged with the three simple words, I Love You!

To each and everyone of my family members, friends, and new found friends from the writing community I love and cherish each and every one of you and look forward to a prosperous 2010.

God bless.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

A Christmas Prayer

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Loving Father,
Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift
and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing
which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning
make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds
with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven,
for Jesus' sake.


Friday, December 11, 2009

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

The history of the Underground Railroad is a fascinating and heart wrenching time in American History. Beyond the scope of children’s books about the Underground Railroad I’m going to begin offering up suggestions of blogs, websites, and museums you may find interesting in your quest to learn more about this critical time.

The first on my journey is the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center at: It is my hope to some day visit this captivating museum. In the meantime, I have immersed myself in their spellbinding website. Come along with me through cyberspace and learn about the past and unfortunate present day time issues of slavery.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Lord, so often times, as any other day

When we sit down to our meal and pray

We hurry along and make fast the blessing

Thanks, amen. Now please pass the dressing

We're slaves to the olfactory overload

We must rush our prayer before the food gets cold

But Lord, I'd like to take a few minute more

To really give thanks to what I'm thankful for

For my family, my health, a nice soft bed
My friends, my freedom, a roof over my head

I'm thankful right now to be surrounded by those

Whose lives touch me more than they'll ever possibly know

Thankful Lord, that You've blessed me beyond measure

Thankful that in my heart lives life's greatest treasure

That You, dear Jesus, reside in that place

And I'm ever so grateful for Your unending grace

So please, heavenly Father, bless this food You've provided

And bless each and every person invited


--Scott Wesemann

Friday, November 20, 2009

Book Review: Th Patchwork Path ~ A Quilt Map to Freedom by Bettye Stroud

Title: The Patchwork Path ~ A Quilt Map to Freedom

Written by: Bettye Stroud

Illustrator: Erin Susanne Bennett

Soft cover: 32 pages

Ages: 4-8

Publisher: Candlewick Press

ISBN: 978-07636-3519-0

Published: January 2005

Price: $16.99

The Patchwork Path ~ A Quilt Map to Freedom is a historical fictional account of 10-year-old Hannah and her father’s quest for freedom. The places and hidden passageways intertwined in Hannah’s story are actual locations, many still standing today.

Signs were everywhere to ensure the safe passage of slaves to freedom. Lanterns in windows and code words the most common. One of the most ingenious signs was the use of quilts. Quilt makers would make each square with a specific message. Only those familiar with them would understand the significance. To the untrained eye it looked like an ordinary quilt. Hannah’s mother knew the time would come that their own quilt would guide Hannah to safety. The quilting skills Hannah’s mother taught her prior to her death was instrumental in Hannah and her father’s safety, providing a connection to her mother even in death.

Children’s author, Bettye Stroud expertly brings to life of 10-year-old Hannah’s escape to freedom where you can feel the pounding of the rain on your back and the howl of the wind in your ears. There is no wonder The Patchwork Path ~ A Quilt Map to Freedom has been bestowed with multiple awards.

Visit the wonderful world of children’s author, Bettye Stroud at

Monday, November 16, 2009

Book Review: Barefoot ~ Escape on the Underground Railroad

Title: Barefoot ~ Escape on the Underground Railroad

Written by: Pamela Duncan Edwards

Illustrator: Henry Cole

Soft cover: 32 pages

Ages: 5-9

Publisher: Harper Collins Publisher
ISBN: 978-006-4435-192

Published: December 1998

Price: $6.99

Observing and understanding nature’s signs proved to be instrumental in a runaway slave’s quest for freedom. The weather did not always cooperate, especially when the moon would be hidden by clouds. The darkness blanketed the pathway to freedom. One could not panic. It was essential to remain calm and alert to the animal sounds, along with the common human signs to ensure safe passage.

Barefoot’s journey though the darkness guided by unusual assistance will have your heart pounding and your mouth dry in anticipation of the two sides of the scale, freedom or capture. Which shall prevail? Immerse yourself in Barefoot ~ Escape on the Underground Railroad and you will soon find out.

The expert flow of this unique story of the Underground Railroad paired with the mesmerizing illustrations will leave you breathless.

Visit the enchanting world of author, Pamela Duncan Edwards at  

Visit the colorful world of illustrator, Henry Cole at

Friday, November 6, 2009

Secret Signs - An Escape Through the Underground Railroad

Title: Secret Signs – An Escape Through the Underground Railroad

Written & Illustrated by: Anita Riggio

Soft cover: 32 pages

Ages: 4-8

Publisher: Boyds Mills Press

ISBN: 978-1590780725

Published: November 2002

Price: $9.95

The success of the Underground Railroad depended on many people. Children and adults placed themselves and families in harms way to ensure the safe passage of slaves to freedom. Code words were a main source of communication, but many don’t realize secret signs were also instrumental in communicating.

Come along on this inspiring journey of a young deaf boy named Luke, who did not allow his disability thwart him in using his artistic abilities to show the way to safe houses and routes along the Underground Railroad.

The author and illustrator, Anita Riggio provides an adventurous story coupled with beautiful illustrations to bring this very important part of history alive.

Learn more about the author & illustrator, Anita Riggio at:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Book Reviews - The Underground Railroad

Due to unforeseen circumstances the schedule for my next three book reviews had to be adjusted.

In an effort to spread more information about The Underground Railroad I will be featuring children's book reviews based on this historical time period.

Secret Signs ~ An Escape Through The Underground Railroad by Anita Riggio - November 6th

Barefoot ~ Escape on the Underground Railroad by Pamela Duncan Edwards - November 13th

The Patchwork Path ~ A Quilt Map to Freedom by Bettye Stroud - November 20th

Thank you for your understanding.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Book Review: If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine

Title: If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad

Written by: Ellen Levine

Illustrated by: Larry Johnson

Soft cover: 64 pages

Ages: 9-12

Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.

ISBN: 0-590-45156-1

Published: February 1993

Price: $5.99

Four million slaves in America in the year 1860? Is that possible? Unfortunately yes. Learn about this despairing time in American history. From the code words used to make the Underground Railroad a success, where a runaway would go for help, how long would a slave have to travel to freedom, what dangers did the slaves and conductors encounter?

The depth of organization, commitment, and traveling on the Underground Railroad were enormous. Come along for this expansive journey through the Underground Railroad and be mesmerized by what the people of this era endured to achieve freedom.

Learn more about author, Ellen Levine at:

Learn more about illustrator, Larry Johnson at:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Book Review: Bright Freedom's Song ~ A Story of the Underground Railroad

Title: Bright Freedom’s Song ~ A Story of the Underground Railroad

Written by: Gloria Houston

Soft cover: 166 pages

Ages: 12+

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 978-0152018123

Published: October 1998

Price: $17.00

Fourteen-year-old Bright is living in 1861 and is wise beyond her years. Forced to come to grips of the war fought to own slaves, Bright finds herself learning of her family’s secret. Can she be strong and carry on her family’s mission during her father’s illness? Learning the code words and procedures of the Underground Railroad, Bright embarks on a journey with Marcus, a former slave, to deliver bundles to safety. As so many who assisted in the Underground Railroad, Bright is well aware of the dire circumstances that will land on her if caught and disregards her own safety for her strong beliefs against slavery.

“Where you headed, my pretty lady? asked the soldier sneering. With a Negro in your wagon in the middle of the night? Be he slave? Or be he free?””

Will Bright and Marcus prevail?

Author, Gloria Houston brings to life the story of Bright and her bravery in her contributions to the Underground Railroad in such a manner you will find yourself cheering for Bright’s success.

To learn more about Gloria Houston visit:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Book Review: North by Light ~ A Story of the Underground Railroad by Katherine Ayres

Title: North by Night ~ A Story of the Underground Railroad

Written by: Katherine Ayres

Soft cover: 176 pages

Ages: 9 to 12

Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0-440-22747-X

Published: 1998

Price: $5.99

Transport back to the year 1851. Would you be able to reach deep within and summon up the courage to be a transporter on the Underground Railroad? Many people could not and did not in fear of the law. Sixteen-year-old, Lucinda Spencer does just that with no regard to her own safety. Lucinda’s personal recollections through diary entries and her courage will have you spellbound from the onset.

“Even as I work long hours to help the runaways, I do so with only half my mind, for the other half lingers at that bonfire. I can still feel the soft warmth of Jeremiah’s lips on mine. I touch my mouth again and again, to remember. What’s wrong with me? I consider myself in love with Jonathan Clark.”

The author expertly intertwines the everyday struggles of farm life and coming to terms with unforeseen relationships. Lucinda’s focus and heartfelt determination is inspiring. Come along for this fascinating journey of the Underground Railroad, one you will soon not forget.

To learn more about Katherine Ayres visit:  

Friday, September 25, 2009

Children's Book Reviews based on The Underground Railroad

In an effort to spread more information about The Underground Railroad I will be featuring children's book reviews based on this historical time period.

Book Review Schedule:
North by Night by Katherine Ayres - October 9th
Bright Freedom's Song by Gloria Houston - October 16th

If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine - October 23rd

Secret Signs ~ An Escape Through The Underground Railroad by Anita Riggio - October 30th

Barefoot ~ Escape on the Underground Railroad by Pamela Duncan Edwards - November 6th

The Patchwork Path ~ A Quilt Map to Freedom by Bettye Stroud - November 13th

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Importance of Book Titles

I've learned titles are as important as the writing. If a title doesn't grab a consumer immediately, they may never pick up your book and read the jacketflap let alone purchase your book.
Brainstorming many different title options is very important. You may not even come up with a title until your manuscript is complete. Whether you use key phrases or research from a particular time period you are writing about, ideas should start to flow as to what would be the "best" title for your manuscript.
How I went about determining the title for my first story book:
Since The Golden Pathway is a historical fiction novel based on The Underground Railroad, I researched the meaning and code words used for The Underground Railroad and learned the following:
"The Underground Railroad used many different code words to get slaves to freedom. The people that helped the slaves along the railroad were called “conductors.” The slaves were considered passengers or cargo and were called “freight” or “packages.” White folks that did not believe in slavery were called Quakers. The Underground Railroad was considered the golden path to freedom.
Hence: The Golden Pathway was born.
How do you determine your manuscript title? Do you approach it differently if a short story, non-fiction article, or novel?
I look forward to hearing about your appproach.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Golden Pathway ~ Synopsis

The Golden Pathway ~ Synopsis
David lives on a farm in the mid-1700’s and is on a quest to free Jenkins, a black slave owned by his Pa. Pa is a cruel man and badgers David for his weaknesses. Using Pa’s negative outlook to his advantage, David uncovers courage from deep within to keep his promise to Jenkins and leads him to eventual freedom down the golden pathway.
Be sure to check back for the publication date.
Thank you.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Coming Soon...The Golden Pathway by Donna M. McDine

My road to publication has been an exciting ride to say the least.

My award winning short story, "The Golden Pathway," placed 12th in the 77th Writer’s Digest Writing Competition in the category of Children’s/Young Adults. Within the same year (2008) I met publisher, Lynda Burch of Guardian Angel Publishing at the 2008 Muse Online Writers Conference and I took the next step in my writing career and submitted said entry for consideration to Guardian Angel Publishing. After editing rounds and much to my pure delight, Ms. Burch accepted The Golden Pathway.

K.C. Snider has certainly done a phenomenal job in illustrating the book cover! The talents of Ms. Snider brought my story to life. I can hardly wait for the story illustrations.

More on the synopsis and publication date to follow.

Thank you for your interest. I look forward to staying in touch.