Friday, July 14, 2017

Babies and Writing Conferences: Do They Mix?

A few months ago, a war broke out in a Facebook group over one very heated question. Should writers be allowed to bring their babies and young children to conferences?

This is especially relevant since I write children's books. Banning children from a conference full of children's writers seems strange, to say the least. But if any of you have ever sat in church or a public performance with a crying baby in the audience, you know why they aren't customarily allowed.

Still, many moms believe it excludes those who are economically disadvantaged. In other words, if a single mom can't afford childcare for her infant/toddler, she misses out on an important career-building opportunity.

Other conference attendees passionately argue against children at conferences, comparing it to bringing a child to the office. It is, they say, a professional setting, not a daycare.

But there are some documented benefits of allowing children at business conferences, including the publicity that comes with being mom-friendly. Experts say it will attract more women for those conferences struggling to get better attendance numbers.

There is, of course, the option of providing childcare so moms can actually enjoy the sessions without the stress of keeping someone quiet. Some organizations even specialize in offering childcare services for conferences. Of course, that costs money...and many conferences have to weigh whether the investment is worth it for higher attendance numbers.

What do you think? Should conferences allow little ones or should it be an adults-only zone?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

My Favorite Children's Books: A Guest Post by Beverly Stowe McClure

Today, I welcome a good friend to my blog. Beverly Stowe McClure has a new book out today and to celebrate, she's sharing her eight favorite children's books. Be sure to scroll down after the guest post to read all about HER new book, Princess Breeze.

My Favorite Children's Books
by Beverly Stowe McClure

First, let me say that when I was a child I read very little, mostly only the books I needed for school. Then, when I became an adult and a teacher, I discovered what I’d been missing. Grown- ups can learn too. And I did. 

It’s hard to choose my favorite books because I like so many for various reasons. Here are a few, though, that come to mind, in no particular order.

The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

A Partner’s Promise, Fran Shaff

Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder

Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline

I Heart You, You Haunt Me, Lisa Schroeder

Miracle on 49th Street, Mike Lupica

As you can see, I like a variety, true-to-life and historical my favorites. These are not all of them by any means. And just recently I’ve read many more, some by dear friends, that I can add to the list. But we’ll stop now.


For months, Breeze Brannigan has heard nothing from Cam, the prince she met at school and who disappeared one night, without telling her goodbye. On the night, she graduates from middle school, however, he contacts her and invites her to visit Isla del Fuego, his home. Who could refuse such an invitation? 

Breeze along with her whole family and best friends, Amy and Allison, soon sail to the island, where she and Cam renew their friendship. But danger lurks; a legend comes to life; and Breeze finds herself in the middle of a battle that can have one winner.

Buy Links:


Most of the time, you’ll find Award-Winning Author Beverly Stowe McClure at her computer, typing stories young voices whisper in her ears. When she’s not writing, she’s snapping pictures of wildlife, flowers, and clouds. She’s affectionately known as the “Bug Lady.” She’s not telling why. To relax she plays the piano. Her fur babies don’t appreciate good music and hide when she tickles the ivories.

Beverly is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She also teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church.

Author Links:

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Introducing It Was Always You by Ashelyn Drake

Kelly Hashway is so prolific, there are two of her! Her alter ego, Ashelyn Drake, has a new book out and I can't wait to read it.


Aria Carmichael and Nate Dixon have the perfect friendship—completely ignoring the fact that they’ve been in love with each other for the better part of twelve years.

When a night filled with too many drinks lowers their inhibitions, they both question if they could take their relationship to a new level.

But a job opportunity threatens to put more than just physical distance between them. Will their romance end before it’s even truly begun?

Buy Links:


Ashelyn Drake is a romance author. While it’s rare for her not to have either a book in hand or her fingers flying across a laptop, she also enjoys spending time with her family. She believes you are never too old to enjoy a good swing set and there’s never a bad time for some dark chocolate. She also writes speculative fiction under the name Kelly Hashway.

Author Links:

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mystery Monday: Beaumont Children

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...

There aren't many mysteries that remain compelling over multiple decades. But the story of the missing Beaumont children is toward the top of the list. In 1966, these three children vanished and were never seen again.

Arnna, Grant, and Jane Beaumont

The quiet city of Adelaide, South Australia was the perfect place to raise children in the 1960s. In 1955, Grant ("Jimmy") Beaumont married Nancy Ellis and their first child, Jane, was born a year later. They had a second child, Arnna, in 1958, and a third, Grant, in 1962.

On Australia Day in 1966, the children wanted to go to Glenelg Beach, which was only a five-minute bus trip from their home. They set out that day in swim clothing, carrying one bag with beach towels. Their mom gave them money for lunch and their bus fares.

Grenelg Beach today

The children boarded the bus just after ten a.m. When they didn't return on the midday or two p.m. bus, their mom began to worry. A little after three p.m., their father headed to the beach to look for them.

An exhaustive search failed to locate the children. With the help of the police, they gathered information on sightings of the children. Several witnesses reported seeing the children playing with a tall, blond man who was described as tanned with a lean face. One witness reported seeing the man dressing one of the girls in a way that seemed "off." Around 12:15, they were spotted leaving the beach together.

A shopkeeper at a cake shop near the beach said the children purchased some pastries, along with a meat pie, with a one pound bank note. There were two odd things about that. One, the children didn't have that type of currency. Their mom had given them only six shillings. The other was that "meat pie" was not something any of the children would have normally ordered or eaten.

Police focused on the man last seen with the kids, whose composite sketch looked like this:

To this day, the mystery of what happened to the Beaumont children has never been solved. The primary suspects include:

  • Bevan Spencer von Einem, a convicted murderer who allegedly bragged that he'd abducted the three children and "conducted experiments" on them. One child died during these experiments and he killed the other two and disposed of the bodies, the informant said.
  • Arthur Stanley Brown, who died in 2002. At the time he was on trial for the murder of two young girls who disappeared in Queensland while walking to school in 1970.
  • James Ryan O'Neill, who told several people he was responsible. O'Neill was jailed in 1975 for the murder of a nine-year-old boy.
  • Derek Ernest Percy, who was jailed for the 1969 murder of Yvonne Tuohy. Authorities believe he may have murdered quite a few other children before being caught.

At this point, it's likely this is one mystery that will never be solved. What do you think happened to the Beaumont children?