California history

Sneak Peak – Yosemite Discovered

My New Year’s goal is to complete my current work in progress, Yosemite Discovered, and find an agent to market it. What is it about? Here’s a sneak preview:

When miners and Indians clash in the goldfields, more is discovered than just Yosemite Valley.

I recently created an audio file of what I’ve created to date so my husband can learn about what I’m doing behind closed doors! (He’s not a reader.) I then decided to upload chapter one of the audio for you, and also include the Pinterest images I’ve gathered that helped me visualize the story, turning the audio track into a video. You can view it on my Youtube Author Channel at https://youtu.be/vyvfY_X3bD8.

If you haven’t taken a look at my new webpage, you can see it at www.mariesontag.com. I’m especially excited about the progress tracker my Web designer created. It will keep you up to date with the progress of Yosemite Discovered. Since it’s still a WIP, it doesn’t have a cover design, so I posted a placeholder image on my webpage for now. You can see it by selecting the Web page’s Works in Progress tab. Here’s the image I created to begin chapter one’s video sneak preview!

What are some of your New Year’s goals?

Yosemite Discovered title for chap 1.jpg

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Categories: authors, book marketing, books, California history, gold rush, historical fiction, gold rush,, historical middle grade fiction, links, social media, social studies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New WIP – All That Glitters – With STEAM

I’m excited to move forward with my new middle grade historical fiction work in progress, tentatively titled, All That Glitters. Yesterday I visited Oak Hill Memorial Cemetery, the final resting place for several people from the Donner party, including Virginia Reed, who was thirteen when she came West with her mother, stepfather, and siblings.

In my middle grade historical fiction story, All That Glitters, the thirteen-year-old historical character, Virginia Reed, befriends my (fictional) thirteen-year-old character, Daniel, and his ten-year-old sister, Hannah, orphaned siblings who travel West with a guardian, Jim Savage, in 1846 (Jim is an historical figure). Jim, along with his wife and my two fictional characters, Daniel and Hannah, travel with the same wagon train as the Donner Party, but before reaching the Salt Flats they leave Fort Bridger sooner than the Donner party, so Jim and my fictional characters don’t get caught in the winter storms as do Virginia and the other families. My characters later meet up with Virginia after the Donner Party survivors reach California in the spring of 1847.

In the meantime, Jim and my fictional character, Daniel, fight in the Mexican-American War, discover gold, run trading posts, befriend Indians, then lead a battalion into Yosemite to rout out marauding Indians who attack trading posts and miners – miners who have trodden the Native Americans’ lands and killed their people. The Mariposa Battalion members become the first white settlers (historically true!) to set eyes on Yosemite as they attempt to take the Ahwahneechees to a reservation. Friendships, prejudices, revenge, forgiveness, justice and injustice abound as Daniel and Hannah try to find their way in this middle grade coming of age historical fiction novel.

bancroft-libraryI recently visited the Bancroft Library on the UC Berkeley campus which specializes in housing first and second-hand documents from the 1800’s in California, especially the California Gold Rush period, to help fill in some holes in the research I’ve conducted so far.

I am about one-third of the way through the manuscript and am excited to continue. A friend who now works as a STEAM TOSA teacher (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math focus, teacher-on-special-assignment) suggested I include STEAM ideas at the end of each chapter. This will make the book even more useful to 4th grade teachers who want to include STEAM activities when they discuss US westward migration as part of 4th grade social studies, and also very valuable to home-schooling parents. I visited my friend’s classroom yesterday to see a STEAM project she created for 4th grade students. She has them making covered wagons, using the engineering design process. Very exciting!! I’m hoping to collaborate more with her as the manuscript develops. Stay tuned!

#VirginiaReed
#GoldRush
#Yosemite
#MariposaBattalion

Categories: California history, Donner Party, gold rush, historical fiction, gold rush,, historical middle grade fiction, social studies, Virginia Reed | 1 Comment

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Basque Books and More Blog

The Center for Basque Studies Blog

That Ranch Life

A Donkumentary of City-Turned-Country Livin'

Blissful Scribbles

Musings through the journey of writing my first novel

ACFW - DFW CHAPTER a.k.a. DFW Ready Writers

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

Bay Area Writing Group

Northern California Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers

Letters to Noah

Spoken words are fleeting, but written words last beyond a lifetime.

Sontag Writing Dreams

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

marsha ottum owen

I make Children's Books

Under His Wings

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

Cathleen Armstrong

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

A Writer's Diary

Author, Educator, Consultant