Happy Birthday Mary C. Ryan - August 8
Mary C. Ryan has published nine novels for young readers. Her writing career began when she was a mom of six children. She would "stay up late and bang away at an old manual typewriter while the rest of the family slept." (m-c-ryan.com). She landed a job as a correspondent newspaper reporter and later sold her first freelance piece, a poem, to the Wall Street Journal for whopping $5! The "highlight of her career" was when her novel, Me Two, was made into a movie, The Other Me, by the Disney Channel (see the YouTube video below.) Mary moved into self-publishing with her novel The Secret in the West Woods. She chose to self-publish this book because, "I sensed right away that it would be just be an exercise in futility for me to peddle it to the big houses because it was regional. But, I love books that are set in areas I know and because The West Woods park was just beginning to be developed, I felt there would be a match." (Entropy Plaza). She also also self-published two Christmas books, Twitcher McGee and the Wonderful Tree and The Christmas Dragon and most recently an excellent eBook that I recommend, Helping Ray.
Geauga Park District).
The story, In the Secret the West Woods, begins with Danny and his new friend Regan stumbling upon a couple of mysterious artifacts, a coin and something that resembles an old juice can, while hiking near Ansel's Cave. One of these items becomes very important in unlocking the bizarre secret in The West Woods. On our hike I made a Nature Scavenger Hunt activity sheet to encourage my children to search for "natural" artifacts on our 1.6 mile hike. The Nature Scavenger Hunt is available for download. It includes two different versions of the activity -- one is focused on recording your observations by drawing pictures and the other focuses on writing down your observations.
|Click on the image to download.|
|Upon arriving at The West Woods, we were so excited to find that the park had a nature center.|
|My children enjoyed going through the exhibits before our hike.|
|We found Mary C. Ryan's The Secret in the West Woods in the gift shop.|
|We set out on the Ansel's Cave Trail Link with our hiking sticks in search of Ansel's Cave.|
|My children and I enjoyed visiting the location that inspired Mary C. Ryan to write her book. We also had a great hike, enjoyed the afternoon together, and successfully completed our Nature Scavenger Hunt.|
Birthdays were always celebrated in our house. No big parties or lavish gifts, but my mom made sure we had beautiful cakes every year. She was an expert at decorating them with flowers and script. They were always chocolate with 7 Minute Frosting. (If you've ever made that frosting, you'll know that it takes time and a great deal of love!) One of my favorite gifts, when I turned 12, was a record album -- 78 rpm -- of Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers. Roy was one of my heroes. I haunted movie houses if there were cowboy flicks up. My father despaired that I would ever grow out of that phase. Well, I still love horses, and when I took a train ride through Arizona's Verde Canyon a few years back, I felt like I was home. In recent years, I've tried to downplay birthdays as I feel it only encourages them.
Thank you Mary so much for sharing your birthday thoughts. We hope you have a wonderful birthday and see you at writing critique group!
Check out Mary C. Ryan's latest book Helping Ray - available from Smashwords for only $3.99. I really enjoyed this book. Ray is a great character with a supporting cast that really pulls you through the story and wanting to know more. Try out the first couple chapters online at Smashwords and I think you will want to read the whole book.
1. Mary C. Ryan's Website + book list
2. The Other Me - IMDb
3. Mary C. Ryan's Blog
4. More Birthday Thoughts from Mary