My Joaquin Murrieta stories are now published in a Kindle e-book with a paperback coming shortly! Hidden gold, bloody bandits, vengeful miners, mad ghosts, shipwrecks, rattlesnakes— all these and more are to be found in these tales about Joaquin Murrieta. This book is set in Central Californian locations — what is now Pinnacles National Park, the Santa Lucia Mountains, Jolon, Old Mission San Antonio de Padua, San Francisco, among others — and blends 19th Century historical characters and events into the action as I’ve intentionally aligned its content with California Social Studies Standards. Its readability is above 90% on the Flesch scale and varies between a 2.3 and 2.9 in grade level, so most young people should be comfortable reading the stories on their own.
“One Stone”, a very brief Civil War story based on actual events, was published recently in the Barely South Review. It offers a glimpse into both the end of slavery and the fighting around Atlanta. I thank the editors for including it.
May I add that those who object to the teaching of anything critical of slavery or systemic racism are those who would like to put them in place again. Our Civil War promised liberty for all. Keeping this promise is a process and knowledge of what happened then is crucial to it. I hope my story adds to our shared understanding of those events.
Old friend and raconteur Ed McKean used to amuse my sons (and numerous other young ones) with his campfire story “Pull My Finger”. I won’t go into details, but it was always a hit. Thinking back on those happy times while worrying about fires, smoke and climate disaster, prompted me to use his story’s title for one of my own. Originally published in the 2019 On Loss: An Anthology, Ab Terra’s editors graciously included it in their Issue 4: Climate and Environment. Scroll down a bit to find my story. Here’s the link:
Pete Noyes, retired newspaper and TV reporter, wrote a great book about his experiences in L.A. during the sixties and seventies. It’s called “The Real L.A. Confidential”. I befriended Pete through mutual friend Ed Foley. “Last Date” fictionalizes one of Pete’s more shocking investigations. Originally published in 2014 by Every Day Fiction, I’m happy to tell you that it’s just been republished on the Spillwords site: https://spillwords.com/last-date/
The centuries long struggle for racial justice and equality continues. I am honored to have two stories about this struggle included in the Saturday Writers’ new anthology, “Duck Plucking Time” and “Sockdologizer”.
Some decades ago, I recall sharing a campfire with an old friend. Campfire talk led us to recalling childhood experiences, his in a Jim Crow borderland state, mine in deep South Alabama. This conversation eventually sparked a fictional exploration of our shared history – “Duck Plucking Time”.
Historian Jim Bishop did a stellar job of detailing the traumatic events surrounding Lincoln’s assassination in his book The Day Lincoln was Shot.
I saw a chance to employ his work in a fictional treatment of those events. By creating characters, adding dialog and basing my story on Mr. Bishop’s sequence of events I hoped to pull young readers into the history by putting them next to the characters, both historical and fictional. “Sockdologizer” is the result. It won first place in the Saturday Writers contest for youth fiction.
Please view the teaching materials I’ve prepared for Sockdologizer on TPT. I’ve made both scripts for the story and classroom activities:
Mothers cope, though I’m worried about us all. We’re headed for a vast collapse if we can’t learn to live on our planet without destroying it. Friday Flash Fiction published a new story of mine, one that may amuse and, hopefully, alarm.
WELCOME!I've dedicated my life to literacy and literature for young people. I'm sixty-three and don't intend to change my focus now. I hope that this site will contribute to both! I hope it will be of use to kids, parents and teachers who love to read.
For Kids: I want to know what you think of my story! Writing can be pretty lonely and authors like to hear from readers. Ask me questions about Chaos Gate and I'll do my best to answer them as quickly as I can.
For Parents: I want to know what you think of my story! I'd also like to know how this website can best help you, what activities here are most effective and what you would like to see me include in the future.
For Teachers: I know how hard you folks work. I'm offering you effective, interesting activities to accompany Chaos Gate, whether you're reading it aloud to your class, using it in small groups, or simply have one or two students reading it on their own. I have (or soon will!) comprehension questions, vocabulary activities and word find puzzles in pdf format for every chapter. Check them out and take what suits you best.
Robert's story "Joaquin's Gold" just won the
2010 Art Affair Western Short Story Contest. The story brings legendary bandit Joaquin Murrieta back to Central California during the 1880's in a search for hidden treasure. Robert hopes to produce a book including all of his Joaquin Murrieta stories. Stay tuned.