Eleven holiday stories from nine amazing authors! Winter Wonder brings you a confection of Christmas stories by an array of well-loved authors featuring characters drawn from their award-winning books. Eleven new stories spanning all ages from the young to the young at heart will whisk you away on a snowstorm of delight to worlds of fantasy, adventure, history, and even outer space with tales celebrating the magic of Christmas or the wonder of winter holidays. Fill your child's holiday reading with stories of adventure, myths - both Greek and Native American, science fiction, time-travel, a lyric poem, mystery, and even a bit of romance.
In early 2017, I asked some fellow children and teen authors to work with me on an anthology. My idea was to take characters from our current books and to put them into a short story with a Christmas theme. This proved harder than I imagined. What if the character’s fantasy world didn’t celebrate Christmas? What if the author wrote about ancient Greek myths? Absolutely no Christmas there. Despite all these issues, which we solved one by one with a lot of compromises, the stories started coming in. Each author created their own cover image. We added some little fun images like snowflakes, Hermes’ sandals, and roses—yes, roses. In the last days of production, we voted for which cover option we liked best—a vote repeated too many times to count before a consensus was achieved. Finally, Winter Wonder came to be! Eleven stories by nine authors! Everything—space aliens, time travel, an extrasensory mystery, fantasy, a Greek myth, horses, and Henry VIII’s court. Beginning with a rhyming story for the young ones, readers then move on to lots of middle grade options and then to stories for teens. We hope these will lead you to new authors to follow. Not only did we achieve a new anthology, but I made some new friends along the way.
Leah's Story tells of an African-American girl born on a rice plantation, who grows up serving her rich owners in Georgia. Her life, like so many others, could have ended there were it not for a bit of education and Emancipation, which gave her, and later her children, opportunities to fulfill their dreams. Told in journal form, taken down by the mysterious “Miss Elliott,” Leah’s personal history comes to life like the tiny birds she carves, revealing a lifetime of love and opportunity amidst a culture filled with hardship, pain, and loss.
The year 1861 found the Bulloch and Roosevelt families divided by allegiance. Now living in the North, the Bulloch women supported their Southern roots, while their northern husbands stayed true to the Union. The War created additional hardships, limiting the family’s correspondence, travel, and finances. With two sons fighting for the South and one dying back home in Georgia, the family letters tell of the ladies’ struggles to aid and comfort those they loved, all amidst a background of the Civil War.
In the last few years, many mothers have lived with constant thoughts of their child (children) off to serve in a war. 1n 1861, Martha Bulloch suffered just such a situation. Yet, she didn’t have a cell phone, the internet, instant news, etc. to keep her connected to her soldiers. Two sons and one stepson planned to fight for the Confederacy. Her oldest son already suffered from consumption - tuberculosis. Her youngest should have been finishing college. Her stepson, married with young children, would end up in Liverpool, England, building warships for the Confederacy. In the meantime, she and her daughters now lived in the north - amongst the enemy. Yet, they lived with “enemies” they loved and cherished. If you think this is just a fairy tale or the plot to a movie, you are totally wrong. This was Theodore Roosevelt’s grandmother. When my coauthor and I discovered these poignant family letters, we knew we had to share. We read, laughed, cried, and learned. We felt the pain of the Civil War quite intensely. We discovered children playing “run the blockade” and a mother’s fight to go south to be with her dying son. Join us on this true family journey.
"Between the Wedding and the War" continues the true saga of two families, the northern Roosevelts and the southern Bullochs. For seven years letters flowed between the Bulloch and Roosevelt families capturing a poignant time of upheaval foreshadowed by war. The letters tell of births, deaths, love, religion, and business and follow Martha Bulloch and two of her remaining unwed children North. While stories of family journeys convey the spirit of America’s expansion and growth, stories about the home front reveal two different cultures. In the midst of it all, a president is born. The first volume in this historic saga series is "Mittie & Thee: An 1853 Roosevelt Romance." It contains the letters exchanged by Mittie Bulloch in Georgia and Theodore Roosevelt in New York during their courtship and the planning of their December wedding. The third volume, "Divided Only by Distance & Allegiance" presents the war years' letters and journals.
In the middle of the 19th century, Theodore Roosevelt (Sr.) added a humorous postscript to a letter to his dear wife Mittie. It read: “Moth. Killed May 6th 55 and dedicated to the memory of his wife by Theo Roosevelt. Moth.” He included the moth in his letter! By the time Gwen and I read the letter in 2014, the moth had been lost or discarded during the archival process at the Houghton Library, Harvard. The loss of the moth didn’t disturb us too much, but reconfirmed Mittie’s often repeated warnings to her household staff and her husband about protecting their clothing and linens from moths. Seems Theo took to heart her warning. Sometimes, reading old letters and journals can reveal surprising details about people of the past. To illustrate the now missing moth, we added the engraved image of a moth at the bottom of the letter’s transcription in the book. #Roosevelt
North met South—an enduring love affair began—the birth of a President resulted. This 1853 story, told through one year of courtship letters between New York City’s Theodore Roosevelt (Senior) and Miss Mittie Bulloch of Georgia, echoes through time. Her heritage is one of patriotism, education, and Southern social standing. He is the fifth son of a wealthy New York City businessman of Dutch heritage. Their courtship, conducted mostly through letters, provides the reader with an intimate peek into their personal love story. Transcribed and presented just as written, these love letters tell the story not only of two young lovers but of the social mores of 1853. Huddleston and Koehler allow the letters to stand on their own, presenting only the necessary background to the story, a glimpse of antebellum life, and explanations of persons and events as needed.
Nine years ago, a young man delivered about 30 boxes of research materials to Bulloch Hall, the antebellum house museum where I worked/volunteered as an historian and archaeologist. The home’s educational coordinator and I quickly discovered the random filing system of an historian in the first stages of dementia. Paperclips abounded! She had connected miscellaneous bits of paper with sometimes as many as 30 paper clips. We filled an entire two-quart bowl. We found birthday cards, the beginnings of a novel, the first few chapters of a nonfiction book, and copies of handwritten letters. The letters attracted our attention as they were written by the Bulloch women, mostly to each other, but some to husbands, brothers, and fiancés. We soon realized that the disorganized mess contained an historical treasure trove of information about the house and its one-time occupants. A trip to Harvard’s Houghton Library and years of work led to the 2015 publication of the first book to present the courtship letters between Mittie Bulloch and Theodore Roosevelt. My part consisted of putting the letters into the context. This year, 2017, Gwen and I finished the series, one book per year for three years. Not bad for nine years of work!
Greg’s time traveled twice before. In both adventures he met American Indians, some friendly and some not so friendly. Recently Greg’s learned his dad and several others are TTIs—time traveling individuals. Now an evil time traveler keeps threatening Greg’s family at their new home in North Dakota. Can Greg and Rose save his mother from the Pirate? Can a future President help? This fun-filled third installment in C.M. Huddleston’s Adventures in Time series provides middle-grade readers and readers of all ages with an accurate romp through history while entertaining with humorous escapades and time jumps to remember! Come join Greg and Rose as they jump into the American Revolution, the 1904 St. Louis’ Louisiana Purchase Exposition, and have even more encounters with American Indians.
If you haven’t noticed by now, I’ll make it plain - I love history. Always have and always will. When I am creating Greg and Rose’s adventures, I often include what I’m reading about at the time, the places I have lived or visited, and/or the people I admire. For example, in Greg’s Third Adventure in Time, Rose lives in Fredericksburg, Texas. I visited this little town several years ago and enjoyed its historical connections to Germany, where I had lived for six years. So when I needed a time-travel adventure for Rose, Fredericksburg came to mind. Greg and Rose also meet people I have studied or admire. I research and have written four history books about the Bulloch family of Roswell, Georgia. Why? Well, Mittie Bulloch was President Theodore Roosevelt’s mother. I often work for the historic house museum where she grew up. So I know a lot about Theodore Roosevelt’s childhood from reading letters written by the Bulloch women, his mother, grandmother, and aunts. Theodore Roosevelt’s early life made him into the man and President that he became. Having Rose and Greg meet Teddie seemed natural. You’ll need to read the book to find out why I didn’t call him Teddy. I guess the old saying “write what you know,” really is reflected in my stories.
It is a fact of life that there are two sexes, boys and girls. While a “girl” appeared in Greg’s First Adventure, Rose was only there at the end. In Greg’s Second, Rose only talks with Greg on Skype. By his third adventure, Greg needed a friend, who happened to be a girl, so Rose came to live with his family. Now, I don’t write wimpy girls - so Rose is strong-minded and even stronger-willed and can time travel. Well, of course! She can also tell a story, and according to her, she can do it better than Greg. So in Greg’s Third Adventure in Time, Rose writes parts here and there and even whole chapters about her time-travel adventures. She loves hats and cowboy boots, rides horses, and carries a loaded rifle. Other new characters come into Greg’s life in Greg’s Third Adventure. Some come because of Rose, and some because Greg finally introduces us to his father, Ken. The adventures continue, fun ensues, and time-travel becomes almost routine. Notice I said almost. Greg’s Third Adventure also introduces my first real antagonist - The Pirate. I won’t tell you more here. You’ll just have to read why he’s called that in the book. But writing a time-traveling bad guy is fun!
Greg’s first adventure in time travel happened quite by accident, and now he’s time jumped once again, right into 1778. Still not understanding how to get back to his own time, Greg travels farther into rural Kentucky and right into an Indian uprising. New friends, American heroes, and famous battles fill Greg’s days as the months pass. How will Greg get home? Will he survive an Indian siege? Enjoy a romp through history in this fast-moving story of our nation’s frontier during the American Revolution.
I recently attended a writing workshop. The presenter, a published author and professor of writing, talked about how she found “inspiration” in listening in on others’ conversations. I was THRILLED! I do that! I also use dreams and funny things that happen in my own family. A few years ago, my daughter called me and related a dream her husband had the previous night. I was laughing so hard I cried. Once off the phone I knew I had to use it. Ogres became American Indians; her husband became Greg, and his song and dance routine became “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” and a soft shoe with exploding golf balls. Oh, that’s all I’m telling you for now, but a dream gave Greg a great escape from five American Indians intent on taking his scalp!
Do you know that commercial where the older woman has all her pictures up on her wall and thinks that is how Facebook works? Her friend says, “That’s not how it works, that’s not how any of this works.” Well, ARCHAEOLOGY is not like Indiana Jones! The only time Indiana Jones does anything like real archaeology is when he digs for the Well of Souls in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I know because I was a registered professional archaeologist for more than twenty years. Writing about archaeology in my Adventures in Time series, means I write about real archaeology. I draw upon my own experiences and training. In each book, I try to impart a bit of real archaeology into the story. It might be part of the plot or even character development. Why, did I make Greg’s mother an archaeologist? Because I wanted my readers to realize how many opportunities in various fields are open to girls and boys. My own children lived with a mother whose profession made her “different” from other moms. She dug in the dirt, cleaned artifacts, researched ancient peoples, and went to conferences to give academic papers. Besides, there is not one archaeologist alive who doesn’t wish they could time-travel to learn about the cultures and people they study.
I am a proud Kentuckian, born and raised and once again living in this commonwealth where both sides of my family have lived for at least eight generations. I love Kentucky’ history and wanted to share it in Greg’s Second Adventure in Time. So once again, my keyboard clicked and Greg time-traveled. Greg had grown since his first experience. Yet again, he faced American Indians, only this time he would have friends. He would also understand a bit more about what he faced and how he time traveled. So I wrote about my childhood heroes, those men and women who settled this “dark and bloody ground” long before the land opened for settlement. I wrote about those who created homes and farms in a land constantly engaged in bloody Indian warfare while the colonies on the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountains fought for our country’s independence. I will admit to owning five biographies of Daniel Boone. I have read Oh, Kentucky! more times than I can count. I know about Simon Kenton, Jemima and Squire Boone, the history of Fort Harrod, and even my six times great-grandfather Tick-eye Miller who once saved a family from being captured by Indians. Greg experiences a time I can only read and write about. In some ways, I envy him so very much.
Archaeology, time travel, and a moose hunt combine to force 12-year-old Greg to face his fears and find his strengths. Greg explores a world that existed more than 3,000 years ago with his new Native American friend Hopelf. While Greg learns about Native American ways of life, how to hunt and fish, and just to survive, he is always searching for a way back home. This new book for young readers allows your child to travel in time with Greg to 1,000 B.C. Greg’s wild adventures will excite and enlighten all while telling a rousing story about a young boy’s intriguing encounter with Native Americans. Readers can also learn about Greg’s future adventures in time at www.cmhuddleston.com where they will find activities, contests, and sometimes short stories about Greg.
American Indian myths and stories, especially creation stories, have always fascinated me. Many years ago, I began collecting books containing these stories, knowing that many different tribes passed down similar stories. Without written language, American Indians told these stories over and over again so their children could learn to recite and remember them. Throughout the many centuries, stories evolved. Tribal elders adapted and changed stories to meet the needs of new sets of circumstances. Intellectually I understood how these stories came about and evolved. Yet, the stories, their characters, their ideas, their meanings, kept me reading and learning. When I first began writing "Greg’s First Adventure in Time," I knew I wanted to include at least one American Indian myth. Two chapters, Hopelf’s Story and Tallilopka, are my adaptations of two of these myths. Just like Hopelf tells the stories to Greg, I can imagine American Indian elders, for century after century, telling these stories at ceremonial fires. Like our Cinderella and the Ugly Duckling, children and adults listened and remembered.
Writing about a twelve-year-old boy and his first time travel experience meant delving into a world of imagination that I had long forgotten. Being an archaeologist, I knew how to write about a prehistoric America and Americans. Consequently, I daydreamed about how I might feel if I could time travel and meet some of those American Indians whose homes and burials I had excavated. How would I feel? What would I see and hear? How would a Native American react to the sudden appearance of a person different from them? Sometimes 20 plus years of intellectual experience gives you an edge in writing about a particular subject. On the other hand, being older simply makes it harder to remember those childhood feelings and experiences. Besides all that, Greg tells the story - it happened to him. He relates the story. How does he interpret what happens to him? Writing Greg’s story the first time (about 20 years ago) and the second time (in 2015) created two very different books. The first reads like an archaeological report - boring. The second version is about Greg - simply about his experience with time travel, his emotions, and growing up just a bit.
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