Look What's Coming Down the River ...

Katie, Eliza Jane and I would like to give you, our River Royals readers, an early Christmas present. It's that time of the year, it's more important to give than receive, and we're just so excited about our new manuscript, River Royals Paddle the Potomac, that we want to scream it from the snow-covered rooftops. There's not any snow in Houston, but this book series is all about having fun with our imaginations. We believe.

I shared photos from our "research" trip to Washington, D.C. in our last blog post. It was an incredible week seeing first-hand the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, our nation's capitol, the Smithsonian, and awe-inspiring Arlington National Cemetery housing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and President Kennedy's grave. We left wanting to sing Lee Greenwood's song, "God Bless the U.S.A.," to strangers we met in the airport. The experience made us realize that, despite our different locales, cultures, climates, choice in music, whatever, we're all united as Americans. The same soldiers fought (and are fighting) for the freedom we all enjoy.

That's one of the main reasons we're so excited about our manuscript for River Royals Paddle the Potomac. This is not a regional story. It's a story with national appeal. It's a message that all Americans -- including children -- need to hear and celebrate. It's also a lot of fun.

So, without further ado, we'd like to share with you a snippet of River Royals Paddle the Potomac. To set the stage, after receiving her crown in River Royals Master the Mississippi, Eliza Jane wants to take her newly-acquired royalty status to Washington, D.C. to rule as Queen of America. If she could only find a Vice-King. Henry's too little. He can be a Lord. Completing a homework assignment on the Potomac River gives Eliza Jane the idea to canoe the river to find the perfect Vice-King. Along the way, she meets Martin Luther King, Jr. and presidents of the past, including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. We won't tell you if she establishes residency in the White House as Queen of America, but we'd love to share a part of the adventure where she encounters Civil War General, Stonewall Jackson, from the bow of her canoe . . .

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"Your highness, it appears we are heading into a stone wall!" Henry shouts from the bow.

"Batten down the hatches! There's rough sailing ahead," I call back. Then, I look. "Wait, Henry, lower the canon. We're in Frederick, Maryland. That's not a real stone wall. That's Stonewall Jackson. He was a Confederate general who marched through here during the Civil War."

I stand at attention and salute General Jackson. "Hello, Fine Sir, my name is Eliza Jane. Would you kindly introduce us to your grandmother?" I ask.

"Of course, my dear, but that's not my grandmother. That's Barbara Frietchie, the brave lady who rescued our country's flag."

"That's right," says Barbara Frietchie. "I told General Jackson's rascals, 'Shoot if you must, this old gray head, but spare your country's flag.'" She looks like she's 95, but she seems strong and brave.

"What did you do, General?" I ask.

"I told my soldiers to keep marching," he said.

"Girl Power!" I shout. "Ms. Frietchie, do you care to accompany us to our nation's capitol to serve as my Vice-Queen?" I ask. "We can have tea parties."

"I beg your pardon, Miss Eliza Jane. We don't have royalty in America. We already had a Tea Party and a Revolution so we would be free of kings and queens," says Ms. Frietchie.

"I beg your pardon, Ms. Frietchie, but America needs a queen," I respond. I try to curtsy, but the canoe gets too tippy. "Thank you both for your bravery," I say.

"Paddle on, Lord Henry," I command. "Let's head to Washington, D.C. I'm sure we can find my Vice-King in our nation's capitol."

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Have we piqued your interest? How about a couple more of the amazing Penny Weber's sketches?

Does Abraham Lincoln want to serve as Eliza Jane's Vice-King? How about Ronald Reagan or George Washington? We look forward to you finding out when River Royals Paddle the Potomac hits bookshelves.

Happy Holidays,
Sarah