Notes from the Edge of My Mind

Margaret McManis' blog

Another Bucket List Completed

May 122017

Since I became an author over ten years ago with the publication of my first book it has been a dream of mine to attend the Bologna Book Fair in Bologna, Italy. This book fair is the largest children's book fair in the world and after attending in April it is no exaggeration to believe the hype. There were 78 countries in attendance with over 1,800 children's book publishers manning the many booths. Countless speakers from around the world presented their books and media to a captivated audience.

Although I was attending as an author the media fair intrigued me even more and I was able to travel as an assistant to Richard Barrett of Richard Barrett Productions and see and experience some cutting edge technology. We were delighted to find software to help us prepare the e-book that will soon be on-line. Pubcoder is magical and will work wonders for our project.

The fair lasted four days from April 3-6 and we attended three days and then took in the sights of Bologna including some world class gelato along the way. It was truly an experience I will not soon forget.



Breastplate of Rightousness

May 092017

Now for an introduction to the chapter where all the excitement starts for the Relic Hunters. It begins on a pilgrimage to a holy shrine near you guessed it, Granada. Martin de Arce, Rodrigo's master and the lieutenant commander, is along as an escort for one of Queen Isabella's bishops as well as to provide protection for the pilgrims traveling to the shrine. They are nearing a river and a pass that has been a haven for Moorish ambushes. It is a beautiful day and the friends have learned much from the travelers, one who works as a physician, and another as a cobbler. But Rene is anxious about her uncle, a musician who is a friend of the bishop, a man she doesn't trust. Let's find out what happens to the friends and Martin, the Santiago Knight next.

Here is Chapter 34 from The Relic Hunters - Santiago Knight for your reading pleasure.

Granada, Spain and research for The Relic Hunters and the Santiago Knight.

May 092017

So our trip to Granada and Southern Spain has given me a lion's fountain overflowing with ideas for my third novel about the Relic Hunters. Describing the Alhambra has challenged many more able writers than myself down through the centuries. Images of the intricately molded facades surrounding the palace can be seen on many websites but to actually stand below them and gaze upwards into the starry ceiling is an experience that one will remember for a lifetime.

And let's not forget the sumptuous gardens that would make a Master Gardener envious. Yes, it was an adventure that will forge its way into my final novel about Rodrigo, Rene, Farid and Anne, but today I am eager to post a short section of the story leading up to one of the most exciting scenes in the novel. Working with an artist who is designing an action filled cover I began to realize how important images and exciting scenes are to a novel for young readers. The artist loved my battle scene and the sketches are going along well. I will be posting the cover here and on Author's Den along with the accompanying chapter in the future.

Stay tuned.


Finding Ima Hogg's travel journals was a historical goldmine.

Jun 222016

Last month I traveled to Austin for two reasons. First to continue my research on Ima Hogg and second to witness the Franklin Graham Decision America tour. Both were very successful adventures.

What I wanted to talk about today is the discovery of 18 of Ima Hogg's travel journals and the surprising facts that have given me even more information to fill in the blanks on my research to write about her travels around the world.

The first journal that interested me tremendously was the one where she writes of her adventures aboard the troop ship Arizona as it takes her and Governor Hogg to witness the annexation of Hawaii in 1898. After their arrival on Honolulu she and a friend named Kate are introduced to the king and queen of the island paradise. Later she writes on page 7 that 'if I could live any other place besides Texas, it would be Hawaii.'

I can only imagine how spectacular the island was one hundred fifty years ago when Ima viewed the tropical paradise and rode horses around the volcano.

My first MG historical novel in the 'Dear Texas' series is about Ima Hogg and her adventures with the famous Mollie Bailey circus. The family circus famous throughout the Southwest traveled to small Texas towns regaling country folks with their own brand of family entertainment. A few old timers in Montgomery even remember seeing the circus train coming down the tracks into town and Mollie Bailey welcoming citizens to her well appointed train car. Articles about her show appeared years ago in the Montgomery County News with details of her generosity and kindness to Civil War veterans and her adventures as a Civil War spy.

My second book in the series will follow Ima Hogg to Hawaii aboard the troop ship Arizona. The final book in the series about Ima will follow the plucky heroine all the way to Versailles to view the gardens where she will foil the plans of a couple of tulip thieves and begin to make plans for her own famous Bayou Bend Gardens in Houston.

The 'Dear Texas' series will include along with Ima Hogg, a series concerning the life of Birda Bailey, the daughter of Mollie Bailey and her many amazing circus adventures. The last Texas heroine in the series will be Cynthia Ann Parker, the mother of Quanah Parker.

I am hoping with this series young readers will come to understand that each of these young ladies had their own special brand of gumption and impacted our Texas heritage in a positive way.


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