Friday, April 17, 2020

A curious happening....

Today was one of those days that I had to push myself through work and then took a "quick" trip to Joanns. A quick trip these days involves a hour (plus) long wait outside because during this difficult time Joanns is only allowing 10 people inside at a time. Now there are good things and bad things that go with that rule -

The good:
* Short lines (inside anyway) at the cutting table, the registers and everywhere else including the little girls room.
* No kids screaming and having meltdowns. That's rather nice in a fabric store.

The not so good:
* L-O-N-G waits outside, after work when your feet ache and the rest of you do too.
* There's no "quick" trip to the fabric store. Ever.

Anyway, while I was shooting the breeze with the gal 6' away a man pulled up in a pickup and asked if we were making masks. We all kind of look at him like "huh"? He says again, "Are you making masks, getting supplies?" I answered, "Most of us". (Still a little clueless.) And he asks "are you donating them"? I answered "Some." He waved me over and hands me a $20 toward the cost of my masks. He asked me to use the money for supplies to donate more masks "because he doesn't know how to sew" and he'd like to pitch in some. I kind of wish I'd gotten his name. Or his phone number....

So, I used his $20 to get LOTS more interfacing (then I'd planned & could afford) and some cool patriotic fabric to make up some masks for the local Vet's Hospital about 2 blocks from my house. One of my former daycare moms works as a counselor and I told her she could either keep them for her office to use for home visits or donate them to the hospital itself. Use them where they could be used the most. I'll also through in some girlie type masks. ;)

Do you have a quarantine/isolation story? Please share your story in the comments or if you have one on your blog share the link for everyone =D

(A quick clarification - Nebraska is not a state on lockdown. I am a essential employee who is also making masks when I'm not working and they didn't have any interfacing or thread at work which I needed. Nebraska is just participating in the 6' apart rule and common sense lol. Anyway no lectures please.).

Thanks for reading! ~Tina

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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Chicken Pot Pie ~ Dairy Free & Easy to Make

I've been craving chicken. I'm usually eating fairly cheap since I'm not feeding a family or a daycare these days and make up something delicious such as a soup or stew on Sunday and eat on that the first half of the week and then I figure something else out the rest of the week (PBJ anyone?). Lately though I've been thinking about Mom's Chicken Pot Pie. YUM.

Today I tried a new pie crust for this recipe. I cannot make a pie crust worth a hill of beans and so usually I just buy a refrigerated pie crust. This time, I grabbed the WeWalka brand of refrigerated pie crust. This company prides itself on having no artificial colors or flavors, no high fructose corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils or bleached flour. The packaging said it was flaky & Lard Free. Sounds good to me! The pie crust came out light, didn't have that "off taste" that the pie crust I usually buy (whether frozen or refrigerated) has and rolled right off the parchment it was packaged on without being sticky or stuck together. I found it at HyVee for $3.29 by the canned biscuits. These specialty doughs also include pizza crust (these looked good), a bistro pizza crust, a flatbread and a puff pastry. Sign up for their newsletter for coupons & recipes (at bottom of their website).

Mom's Chicken Pot Pie
This is a family recipe that I've tweaked some. I've added sage to the recipe and mixed veggies. It's chock full of veggies. The original recipe was served at my Mom's restaurant many years ago and was a favorite of her diners. It's still one of my favorites and my daycare kiddos loved this.

Begin by poaching 2 chicken breast halves in water. When done poaching remove from the water and set aside to cool before cutting up or shredding. You will want about 1 1/2-2 cups of diced chicken when done. RESERVE 1/4 cup of broth for your roux.

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1" pieces or there about. Today I actually sliced mine up pretty small as my potatoes were small and then I just cooked them carefully so I didn't over cook them.
1/2 bag of mixed veggies, or carrots & peas.

Boil until just done. I usually cook the potatoes until softened, add the veggies and cook according to the package. Pour your veggies and water in a colander and let drain.

Pie Crust:
I used the WeWalka pie crust this time but have also made a crust from the Betty Crocker cookbook or bought a frozen deep dish piecrust. This makes a deep dish piecrust and you only need 1 crust. If you use a frozen one put it out to thaw about 20 minutes. If you use a refrigerated one like the one I used today set it out to warm up about 20 minutes approximately.

Note: I use Almond Milk due to a sensitivity to dairy. I've also used cows milk, oat milk, soy milk and coconut milk. I prefer a almond milk that's unsweetened and doesnt have vanilla in it. I find the alternative milks tend to thicken up faster than the cows milk.

Before starting your roux, combine in a bowl:
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk (see above)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp sage

In a 4qt saucepan add the following in this order & by these steps.
2-3 Tab butter (don't use margarine please)
Melt & add 1/4 cup flour
Stir to form a roux (this is a thickened soft paste).

Pour the milk & broth mixture into your roux and stir till it thickens. Be sure to stir your sauce till it's thick. It will be quick with the alternative milks. Pour in the veggies/chicken and then add to your pie plate. This is a deep dish pot pie. Heads up:  A regular pie plate may not be deep enough for this pie. Top with your pie crust, flute the edges (my edges always look terrible) and pop in the oven at 350 for 1 hour. After 20 minutes start keeping an eye on your crust to make sure it doesn't burn. If it starts getting really dark take a piece of foil and cover your crust. You don't want to burn the crust.

Tip: This filling actually freezes up very nicely. When you want a pot pie then you'll just thaw the filling and grab the pie crust or make one and once the crust is warmed up top the pie and bake.

YUM! Enjoy ~ Tina "The Book Lady"

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Bible Study, Fear, Stress & Covid-19

Howdy everyone! It's 1:15 am and I am wide awake. Actually I went to bed around 930 thinking I'll read and instead I fell asleep. 10:30 pm and I was wide awake. That's how my nights roll when I go to bed before midnight. How about you?

This week has been interesting. Sort of. Friday I saw a friend briefly and without thinking I accepted a hug from her two kiddos. No one was coughing, sneezing, feverish, etc.... By Monday they were all sick. I called my Dr who had me call Methodist hotline and they decided I was "Low Exposure" and "Negative" likely and asked me to self monitor from home for a few days. Since I'm still working I called my boss, let her know what's happening and I've been home Tuesday and Wednesday and will likely be back at work very soon since I'm not showing any symptoms. I feel fine. A bit tired but that's normal Fibro stuff especially since I don't sleep like a normal person. We'll see how it goes. Please pray that nothing comes of this.

This week I also joined a online Bible Study called Faith Over Fear. While I'm not feeling like I'm fearful in this whole Covid-19 pandemic "thing" I am feeling stressed some and stress is my fibro trigger - it brings sleepless or lack of restful nights, higher pain levels and exhaustion.
My thoughts are that getting together with other women who are struggling whether from fear or stress (or other issues) it will help me focus on something else. Also, as my illness progresses and with the stress of my very physical job I'm not able to participate in church regularly and small groups with other women like I'd like to. This is the next best thing.

We would love for you to journey with us this month (for the next 100 days) as we direct our hearts and our minds on Faith! Click Here to join us - no book is needed although if you'd like to follow along with us you can purchase the book "100 Days of Faith over Fear" for $13 in the group. Just ask Shauna how to order it or click on the name of the book above. This is more than just a bible study but a chance to gather together online to fellowship and study what the Bible says about conquering fear by focusing on our faith in Christ. There will be scripture prompts, prayer request opportunities, readings, zoom gatherings and fellowship too!

100 Days of Faith over Fear
by Lisa Stilwell
With the Maker of heaven and earth by our side, we have nothing to fear! In this 100-day journey to a fearless life, you'll find space to reflect on God's strength, courage and unwavering love for you. With encouraging devotions, empowering Scriptures and heartfelt prayers, 100 Days of Faith over Fear will help you release your worries, cares and concerns to your all-powerful, almighty God.

Hope to see you there! ~ Tina "The Book Lady"

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Sunday, March 1, 2020

Read along with me:

Read Along with Me:
Willa's Grove 
by Laura Munson
Kindle: $8.69
Hardback: $26.99
About the book:
In this powerful and inspiring novel, three women, from coast to coast and in between, open their mailboxes to the same intriguing invitation. Although leading entirely different lives, each has found herself at a similar, jarring crossroads. Right when these women thought they’d be comfortably settling into middle age, their carefully curated futures have turned out to be dead ends. The sender of the invitation is Willa Silvester, who is reeling from the untimely death of her beloved husband and the reality that she must say goodbye to the small mountain town they founded together. Yet as Willa mourns her losses, an impossible question keeps staring her in the face: So now what?
Struggling to find the answer alone, fiercely independent Willa eventually calls a childhood friend who happens to be in her own world of hurt—and that’s where the idea sparks. They decide to host a weeklong interlude from life, and invite two other friends facing their own quandaries. Soon the four women converge at Willa’s Montana homestead, a place where they can learn from nature and one another as they contemplate their second acts together in the rugged wilderness of big sky country.
I thought it would be fun to invite others to read it too. You can find it on Amazon on Kindle or as a Hardback. Leave a comment if you'd like to read along with me & we'll find a way to connect. Maybe on FB?. =D 

An update on my foot pain saga....

February is finally over and so much has happened. I finally am feeling like I'm going to survive this job that I started last October. My pain is managed and I'm no longer crawling into the house. I'm still having some discomfort in my hips and the chiropractor and I both feel that maybe arthritis is setting in. I've had issues with periformis in my right hip especially but this pain is different. The whole hip feels tight and aches when I sit for more than 10-15 minutes (just long enough to drive home from work). But if thats all that I'm feeling I know that I will survive.

I believe a few things helped me get control of the pain:
1) I purchased a great pair of tennis shoes from Orthofeet. Their shoes come with a set of orthotic inserts, 2 sets of removable spacers to allow you to customize the fit to your foot & so much more! They're ergonomic and very comfortable. This summer I plan on getting a pair of their sandals. I had to quit wearing sandals because there wasn't enough support and my plantar fasciitis would act up all the time. Click here to order and get a 20% off discount.

2) My chiropractor has been helping me with the tight muscles in my calves using trigger point and myofascile release. These tight muscles were causing the severe foot pain that I was dealing with for so long and making it so hard to walk and sleep. After I got the foot pain in control then my calves started causing issues. Most of the pain in my legs and feet are gone (thank heavens). What a answer prayer that is!

3) For Christmas mom and dad gave me a Homedics foot massager that you can use heated or not. The nights my feet hurt so much I would use the massager and it seemed to work many of the knots and pain out of my feet and I haven't been having the severe pain at night that was keeping me awake. The one that the link goes to is similar to the one mom/dad gave me.

4) For the possible arthritis issue I started taking a Herbal Joint Care supplement from Swanson to see if that would help with the deep joint discomfort I've been dealing with. I think it's helping but I've only been taking it a couple months now so I'll update you in a month or two. It seems to have taken the edge off the discomfort so far.

There are just a few of the things I think that have helped me so much. I hope it helps some of you if you are dealing with foot & leg pain or are on your feet as much as I am.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Britfield and The Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart ~ Book Tour

By C.R. Stewart
Middle Grade/Juvenile Adventure Fiction
$16.26 (paperback)
$9.99 (kindle)
$12.99 (audio book)

Enter the World of Britfield: Adventure, Intrigue, Conspiracy, Mystery, and Suspense!
Tom has spent the majority of his life locked behind the cruel walls of Weatherly Orphanage, but when he learns that his parents might actually be alive, Tom is determined to find them. Together, with his best friend Sarah and armed with only the word “Britfield” as a clue to Tom’s mysterious past, the two make a daring escape. Now, they are on the run from a famous Scotland Yard detective and what appears to be half of the police officers in England! The hunt is on, but will Tom and Sarah be able to evade capture long enough to solve an even bigger conspiracy that could tear apart the country?

Multiple Award-Winning Britfield & the Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart, is the first book in a thrilling seven-part series based on family, friendship, loyalty, and courage that is written for pre-teens, Y/A, and readers of all ages. Britfield and its heroes, Tom and Sarah, take readers on an epic adventure as they travel across England. With its stimulating language and stunning historical and geographical asides, Britfield engages the reader from the very first pages and doesn’t let go until it reaches its exciting conclusion!

My thoughts:
It's been a while since I read a book. An actual book. That keeps me up at night till I finish it. I'm afraid it sucked me in.

Britfield and The Lost Crown has a winning story line and great characters that draw you in and makes it easy to connect with. I enjoy books that have some history in it, some maturity to the characters (ie - the girls aren't whiny, the boys aren't obnoxious and the adults in the book aren't condescending) and are fast paced. You'll find all this in this particular book.

You'll find this to be a fun read aloud for younger elementary kiddos and even my kindergartner said she thought the book sounded interesting (she's 6 and has been reading since 4 and began "reading" chapter books with us at around 18-24 months). There is quite a bit of violence but personally I didn't notice much in the way of unacceptable language (or at least no language that I can't just skip over while reading to her). There is a noticeable difference between the good and the bad guys in the story. The Grievouses and Speckle are nasty, cruel people and the good people like Professors Hainsworth as well as several other minor characters are the kind of people you'd like meet. This makes for a good teaching opportunity for discussing strangers, friends who aren't kind and finding people to help us when we need help. Some of the action parts are a bit over the top - but no more than the action scenes in a good Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book (yeah, that's dating me).

The reading level for this book is about 3-6 grades or a Lexile rating of 700. Due to the length of this book younger children may find this a challenge but it may be to easy for a older child (definitely way to easy for teens to adults) as the verbiage isn't difficult and while there are some descriptive passages they are very short and would be to easy for a well read child who reads as heavily as I did at 5th grade.

Read the first chapter

I'm looking forward to continuing this series with book 2 in the Fall of 2020.

Similar books: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (action oriented but much more descriptive), Peter Pan & Lemonysnickets.


“A perfect mixture of fast-paced excitement, heart-stopping surprises, fascinating history, and endearing characters with historical references scattered along the way. Tom and Sarah’s devotion to each other provides an excellent backdrop to the many mishaps and dangers in which they find themselves. I could see this book being used in a classroom setting both as a
literature piece and as a geographical and historical resource. Stewart’s clever narrative draws you in and doesn’t let you go till the end!”
– Dawn Weaver, Reader’s Favorite Book Reviews5 Stars!

“Tom just barely escapes the evil orphanage with his friend Sara to follow the clues that his long-lost parents may still be alive! Could Tom really be the heir to the British throne? Such a thrilling book filled with so much awesome history about England, crazy mysteries, and truly amazing characters. It had me hooked every second of reading it! I can’t wait for the sequel.”
– Hannah, Age 13, Kids’ Book Buzz5 Stars!

“An intriguing first-in-series read that is sure to capture the attention of the middle grade and young adult crowds. Readers journey through English cities and countryside beautifully rendered in the narrative. The book also includes maps and intelligent background information about the setting and history with access to online illustrations and commentaries. Britfield weaves plot, texture, storytelling, and fascinating characters into a winning combination and enriching experience.”
Chanticleer Book Review5 Stars!

“As a middle school English teacher of 28 years and a multiple bestselling author for middle grade books, I can honestly say Britfield and the Lost Crown has all the right stuff. Intriguing characters, foreshadowing, and suspense will draw readers in deep and have them gasping for breath for the next chapter and the next.”
– Wayne Thomas Batson, bestselling author of The Door Within Trilogy

Book Trailer:

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Britfield and The Lost Crown ~ excerpt

By C.R. Stewart
Middle Grade/Juvenile Adventure Fiction
$16.26 (paperback)
$9.99 (kindle)
$12.99 (audio book)

Book Excerpt: 1


“Number forty-seven! Stop chattering to thirty-four and get back to work, immediately!” Speckle shouted from across the room.

“Yes sir . . . back to work . . . right away,” Tom replied instinctively, pretending to be a dutiful servant.

He knew too well that talking violated the sacred Weatherly Rule Book, a seventy-five-page document of laws and regulations all orphans had to memorize when they arrived. Any violation of these rules resulted in punishment, the penalties varying in length and severity. However, some rules were made to be broken; it was the orphans’ only way to survive here. They did what they were told and got away with what they could.

Just then Speckle closed his laptop, walked over to Tom, and slammed his stick on the table. Everyone froze at the loud crack; the room went silent.

“One more word out of you, and I’ll send you outside!” hollered Speckle, looking around for other violators. No one moved an inch.

Speckle, the new supervisor, had arrived nine months ago. Over six feet tall with wavy grey hair, he had a deep, scratchy voice and a grip like a vice. He also managed Brewster and Sludge, two henchmen who helped keep order and discipline. These burly yet feeble-minded bullies followed his every command.

Tom grabbed a large piece of lumber, walked over to a table saw and ran it through the blade with ease. He then placed the wood on a workbench and started sanding the rough edges.

Every morning at 6:00, each orphan marched straight to this work area, referred to as “The Factory” because it was managed like an industrial plant. Their jobs consisted of putting together an assortment of handcrafted items: the girls made wicker baskets, and the boys built wooden chairs and tables. All these objects were hauled off in a large truck and sold by Brewster and Sludge in the local villages.

Glancing around the room, Tom quickly made eye contact with Sarah, who smiled and made a silly face. He began to laugh but stopped when Speckle trudged over.

“Is something funny, Tom?” he snapped, ready to strike with his stick.

“Ah . . . no sir, nothing at —”

“Perhaps you’d like to stand outside in the cold for five or six hours! Would that be funny?” he thundered in a threatening manner.
“N-no, it wouldn’t.”

Speckle lowered his gaze, closely examining Tom for any insincerity. Once again, the entire room went quiet.

Unconvinced by his answer, Speckle grabbed Tom’s arm, yanked him from his bench and dragged him outside. The door slammed behind them. The weather was frigid, a strong Yorkshire wind chilling the barren landscape. December was always a deadly time of the year.

“Don’t move!” ordered Speckle, his tone displaying a combination of contempt and indifference.

Tom nodded resentfully, his wiry twelve-year-old body shivering in the cold. Speckle angrily marched back inside, glaring at the other children as he hovered around their workstations. He randomly picked up an item, inspected it and tossed it back down. Every day he would find some flaw, tearing up a basket or smashing a chair. Speckle observed everything and missed nothing. No one dared to question him or make direct eye contact. But even Speckle could be outfoxed. The orphans feared his strengths and did whatever they could to exploit his weaknesses. Peering in from the window, his blue eyes glistening, and brown hair dampened by frost, Tom stood motionless. He’d been locked up at Weatherly for six

miserable years, and this was the year he planned to escape.


Located in Aysgarth, Yorkshire, in Northern England, Weatherly was about three hundred miles northwest of London. Although it was the 21st century, the orphanage looked medieval. The main building was an enormous sixteenth-century Elizabethan castle constructed from bluestone. Towering seven stories high, it had four massive turrets, one in each corner. The entire estate was enclosed by a twelve-foot high granite wall, with a massive wrought iron gate at the entrance. About fifteen years ago, the property was purchased by the Grievouses and turned into an orphanage, which the British government helped pay for as long as it was run privately. Although the Grievouses were supposed to provide each child with new clothing, healthy food, heated rooms, and schooling, they kept the money for themselves.

Like many of the other orphans, Tom didn’t know anything about his parents, who they were or what had happened to them. But he hoped to find out someday.


After missing lunch, Tom was let back inside. He cautiously walked over to a workbench and sat down by Patrick, number thirty-four.

Known as the teacher, Patrick, at sixteen, was the oldest and wisest orphan, with nine hard Weatherly years behind him. If anyone needed to know something, he was the best resource.

“Got the book?” whispered Tom, scanning the room for Speckle.

“Yeah . . . you ready for the mission?” asked Patrick assertively, his eyes intense and focused.

Tom gave him a confident nod. “Of course. I’ve been planning for it all week.” “Good. See if you can find anything by Dickens or Hardy — and no more Shakespeare,” he said adamantly, leaning in closer. “Now remember, be extra careful. They’ve moved Wind to the east side of the house.”

“Got it,” replied Tom, ready to carry out his perilous assignment.

Patrick carefully removed The Count of Monte Cristo from behind his jacket and skillfully handed it to Tom under the table. It was a flawless transition, and Tom hastily stuffed the book in his shirt.

Speckle turned, mumbled something under his breath and continued to pace the room, searching for any sign of disobedience.

Tom returned to his work and started building another chair, his heart racing with nervous excitement.

If the orphans ever had a spare moment, they loved to read — it was their only way of escaping into another world. They had a total of eight books in their library, which consisted of a small dusty storage closet in the cellar. They had read each one probably twenty times, including a dictionary, an encyclopedia, and the history of the British Empire. But with so few books, they needed to come up with a strategy to get more, so they invented an exchange system. Each month, one orphan sneaked out at night, ran across the field, outmaneuvered a vicious dog named Wind, and climbed in a small window at the Grievouses’ beautiful Victorian mansion located close by. They borrowed one of the books from a well-stocked shelf in the study and exchanged it for one of their own.

When the clock finally struck 7:00 p.m., the orphans diligently put away their tools and cleaned up their workstations.

They filed out of The Factory two-by-two and down a long dark corridor.

This was one of the brief moments they weren’t monitored or supervised by any

Deviants, a codeword the orphans used when describing authority figures.

Sarah ran up behind Tom and gave his shirt a swift tug. “So are you going tonight?” she whispered enthusiastically.

“I’ll head out in a few hours,” he replied nonchalantly, trying to mask his anxiety.

“You scared?” she inquired. “I’d be scared . . . especially of Wind.” “A little bit . . . but it’s got to be done, right?”

“Right,” she acknowledged, then hesitated for a second. “I wish I was going with you.”

“It’s always been a one-person mission — too risky for more.”

“Fine,” she said with a hint of disappointment.

“Although I wish you were coming,” he added earnestly.

Sarah smiled, then reached in her pocket and handed Tom a small golden


“What’s this for?” he wondered, examining the delicate object.

“It’s for good luck. You’ll need it tonight.”

“I can’t take this.”

“Sure you can,” she said graciously. “Just keep it on you at all times.” “But it’s the only valuable thing you have.”

“There’s more to life than just objects, Tom,” she added philosophically. Sarah Wallace, age twelve, had arrived two years earlier from Edinburgh,

Scotland. Coming from a wealthy family, she had led a privileged life before her parents died in a suspicious automobile accident. She didn’t have any relatives, except for a greedy uncle who only wanted the money, so she was shipped around to a few places and finally ended up at Weatherly. She had long, sandy-blond hair, hypnotic hazel eyes and an infectious laugh.

Just as they reached the stairwell, Mrs. Grievous appeared from behind a wall and advanced toward Tom. A cold chill suddenly came over him.

“What — do — you — have — there?” she snapped, her dark sinister eyes honing in for the kill.

Tom quickly switched the locket to his other hand and slid it into his pocket. Sarah faded back and watched intently, hoping her prized possession wouldn’t be confiscated.

“Nothing. Nothing at all,” he replied in mock puzzlement. “By the way,” he interjected, quickly changing the subject, “I made two chairs in the workshop —”

“Open your fingers!” she demanded, grabbing his hands and yanking them forward.

They were empty.

“See . . . nothing,” he retorted, playing innocent like a seasoned actor.

“Hmm, well they’re filthy.” She gave his hands a slap and pushed him aside. “I’ve got my eye on you, forty-seven. One misstep and you’ve had it. Now get to bed!” “Yes, Mrs. Grievous,” he muttered coldly, wondering why this awful woman

was ever born.

Mrs. Grievous always seemed to appear whenever an orphan did something wrong. She had ghostly pale skin, kept her bright red hair compressed into a bun, and always wore grey flannel suits. Continually on edge, she had an explosive temper and made an unsettling clicking noise with her jaw. It was best to avoid her at all costs.

The children marched up the stairs and hastily retreated to their rooms. Speckle followed closely behind, making sure everyone was locked in and the lights were turned off. Standing by each door, he listened for any talking or movement. The orphans knew this, so they would wait about twenty minutes before they started exchanging stories and discussing the day.

There were fifty-six children at Weatherly, thirty boys and twenty-six girls, ages ranging from six to sixteen. If the number ever dropped below fifty-six, the facilities would be taken over by the government. The orphans hoped this would happen, because they couldn’t imagine anyone else allowing what went on there. As far as they were concerned, anything was better than the Grievouses.

The boys and girls were kept in separate rooms with the bunk beds spaced two feet apart. These cramped quarters had water-stained walls and plaster crumbling from the ceilings. When it rained, the roof leaked and flooded most of the castle. The summers were hot and humid. The winters were chilly and bleak, with the cold creeping in through loose stones and broken windows.

Their garments were tattered and sparse: the girls wore dark brown dresses, with their hair usually pulled back; the boys wore brown trousers, long sleeve shirts and at times, overalls. Their shabby attire felt more like prison uniforms than normal clothing. Most orphans hated these outfits more than the dilapidated rooms or horrible food.

After everyone was asleep, Tom patiently rested on his bottom bunk bed and watched the clock on the wall. The minutes slowly ticked away until it finally read 11:00 p.m., the perfect time to leave, for the Deviants were usually asleep by then.

Tom quietly slid off his wafer-thin mattress, got dressed, and snatched the book from under his pillow. As he tucked it in his shirt, the bedroom door slammed open. It was Speckle shining a flashlight directly in Tom’s face.

About the Author

Originally from Newport Beach, California, C. R. Stewart has twenty years of experience writing fiction, nonfiction, and movie screenplays. His areas of expertise also includes film and media production, global strategy, and international marketing.
“Britfield & The Lost Crown was conceived as an idea over 10 years ago while I was enduring a boring finance seminar. It started as a sketch of a hot air balloon with a young boy and girl trapped inside. From this simple drawing sprang the entire concept and story for Britfield.”

C.R. Stewart received a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature and European History from Brown University; did post- graduate work at Harvard University; earned an MBA from Boston College; and is pursuing a Master of Science in Advanced Management and a PhD in Strategy.
Now based in San Diego, C.R. Stewart is a strong supporter of education and the arts. He enjoys world travel, reading, riding, swimming, sailing, tennis, and is currently on a National School Book Tour with Britfield & The Lost Crown speaking to students on the importance of creativity!