All posts by janetmacreery

7 Reasons to Attend the Ignite Your Writing through Research Adult Workshop

Why join the Ignite Your Writing through Research adult workshop on Wednesday, December 6th from 5:30PM – 7:30 PM at the National Archives in Washington, DC?

  1. It’s FREE!!!
  2. Take a break from the stress of the holiday season and do something for yourself.
  3. Learn a new skill to help you with your hobby or burgeoning career.
  4. Move forward on that project you promised yourself you would finish.
  5. Spend time with people who enjoy the same things you do.
  6. Explore more of what the National Archives has to offer.
  7. I’ll be there! – (okay this one could go either way)

We will discuss why research is essential for all types of writing and engage in a hands-on activity designed to help you pull information from different record types and keep it organized for your writing project.

Space is limited, so sign up today!


A Little Wicked Named to BookWorks “Back to School Recommended Reading” List for 2017!

What an exciting day! I received word that A Little Wicked had been named to the “Back to School Recommended Reading” list by BookWorks, a fabulous organization dedicated to Indie authors and their craft. Find the lists for all age groups here!


Being named to a list like this is wonderful recognition for A Little Wicked but is also a great way to learn about other books recognized on the list. I am looking forward to a new reading list.

Thank you BookWorks!


Results from The Write Stuff Historical Fiction Survey

At the Write Stuff Literacy, Writing, and Research Festival at the National Archives in Washington, DC on July 8th, I asked the following:

  • Settings for A Little Wicked are based on where my Scottish and early-immigrant American ancestors lived.
  • If you were to write a historical novel based on your own heritage, where would you set it?
  • For example, maybe your family is Irish and you decide to set your story during the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1852. Or maybe your ancestors are from California during the time of the Gold Rush. – excerpt from A Little Wicked: A Curriculum Guide for Educators and Readers by Marcie Colleen

Many people answered the call and named the countries of their ancestors. The pie chart is a breakdown of their responses.


Thank you to all who participated!

Countries listed:

Choctaw Tribe (TN Region)

A Little Wicked Featured on YouTube

On Saturday, July 8, 2017, the Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore discussed A Little Wicked with Kitty Felde on the Book Club for Kids podcast. The episode was broadcast LIVE on YouTube from the National Archives in Washington, DC. NPR special correspondent Susan Stamberg served as celebrity reader. What a thrill to hear her read from the pages of A Little Wicked!

The entire experience was amazing! My sincere thanks to the readers who took their jobs seriously, read thoroughly, and asked great questions.

Special thanks to Amber Kraft at the National Archives for dreaming up the  two-day Write Stuff program and bringing it to life! Thank you also to all the staff, interns and volunteers who worked so hard on this event.

On July 18th, the FREE podcast will launch on the Book Club for Kids website. You can also find the 40+ episodes in the iTunes store, on Stitcher and on SoundCloud! Check them out!

Come to the Write Stuff! at the National Archives!

Come to the Write Stuff, a wonderful two-day program at the National Archives in Washington, DC about writing through research.

HIGHLIGHT: At 11 AM on Saturday, July 8th,  tune into the US National Archives YouTube channel  to see a taping of the Book Club for Kids podcast hosted by Kitty Felde! The Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore will be discussing A Little Wicked. NPR special correspondent Susan Stamberg will be the celebrity reader.


Friday, July 7th, We will gather in the McGowan Theater for a panel discussion with our authors and moderator, Kitty Felde. After a break for lunch, we take over parts of the building for breakout sessions on writing through research with one of our five guest authors and illustrators. Friday requires FREE registration.

On Saturday, July 8th, come by and meet several authors and illustrators, including me, and talk with us out how we use research in our writing. I’ll be presenting information about A Little Wicked, share a hands-on craft and will be one of the readers in the Boeing Learning Center! Stop by and I will sign your copy of A Little Wicked!

Can’t make it to DC? No problem! You can still participate via the web. On Friday, Kitty Felde will be hosting a writing webinar.  Don’t forget about watching the podcast taping on YouTube!

7 Reasons You Will Love Middle-Grade Historical Fiction

Good news! There may be a minimum age for reading middle-grade but there’s no maximum age.

Why will you love middle-grade historical fiction?

  1. Well-crafted novels – Charming characters and captivating settings are needed for quality historical fiction. Literature has standards, no matter the target age.
  2. Loads of action – Children are in front of screen an average of 5-7 hours per day (stat from Authors use action to grab and hold a middle-grader’s attention.
  3. Surprises – Who doesn’t love a good plot twist? Authors use this writing tool to keep readers guessing.
  4. Heart-wrenching scenes – A terrible accident leaving a character devastated or an unexpected kind gesture from an unexpected source. Childhood can be intense and confusing. Fictional childhoods are no different.
  5. Informative details – Historical fiction writers at all levels are serious about historic details.
  6. Fast-paced plots – Middle-grade novels keep the stakes high. Try to keep up!
  7. Smaller word counts – Smaller word-count plus fast-paced action makes most middle-grade historical fiction a quick read.  alittlewicked_williamsburgrl

Have a favorite middle-grade historical fiction novel? Please leave it in the comments.

When to Cheer for Tartan Day!

Tomorrow! We set aside April 6th as National Tartan Day to celebrate Scotland and those Scottish-Americans who have contributed greatly to the world.

Why April 6th? The date was chosen to honor the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320. In this declaration named after the abbey where the men sealed this remarkable document, Scottish nobility expressed their desire to be ruled as Scots, by a Scottish king, King Robert the Bruce at the time. These men made impressive statements that day, including that the will of the people should be considered above the will of a king. If the nobles believed the king was not serving them well, they reserved the right to oust him and appoint another. In 1320! Brave and thoughtful men indeed.

For as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.
From The Declaration of Arbroath 1320.


Abroath Abbey

There is reason to believe, although with no irrefutable proof, that the Declaration of Arbroath was one of the sources Thomas Jefferson consulted as he wrote the US Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia that hot summer of 1776. In fact, the Declaration of Arbroath is sometimes referred to as the Scottish Declaration of Independence. That is why this date was chosen for the American holiday that celebrates Scottish people, especially Scottish-Americans, and their many essential contributions to the world.

So on April 6th , this and every year, read the Declaration of Arbroath and think about how it my have influenced the Declaration of Independence.

Happy Tartan Day!

Fun Lesson Plan for Middle-Grade Historical Fiction

Use historical fiction in the classroom as a tool for honing writing skills. This plan is useful after the class has read a middle-grade historical fiction novel together.

♦ Objective: Broaden students’ understanding of character motivation

♦ Activity: Create and compare two Motivation Maps

  • Draw the outline of a person on the board or with an overhead projector. You can use craft paper and make it life size.
  • Ask students to write personality traits of the main character inside the outline, one at a time.
  • Ask students to write outside influences on the main character outside the outline, one at a time. Include influences specific to the time period.
  • Have students draw the outline of a person on their own large sheet of paper.
  • Have them copy all the outside influences from the class outline to their own.
  • Ask students to write their own personality traits inside the outline.

♦ Discussion: Ask students how they would react differently than the main character did to the outside influences and why.


Find more lesson plan ideas at Marcie Colleen’s website. Share your experiences in the comments.

Put Yourself on the A Little Wicked Reader Map!

Put Yourself on the A Little Wicked Reader Map! Follow these simple steps to add yourself!

  1. Click on the link to the map.
  2. If asked for a key, type in IREADIT! (no spaces) and click the “Unlock” button.
  3. In upper left of the page, hover over the “Additions” button.
  4. Choose Add Marker – Simple
  5. In the pop-up window add your FIRST NAME, NICKNAME, or simply put “Me!No last names or anything with personal identification!
  6. In Location, type in the name of your town or city. Do not enter anything in the other boxes.
  7. Choose a color for your marker and hit Submit!


Thank you for reading A Little Wicked!

If you haven’t read it yet, ask about it at your local library!