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Upcoming: a guest post for my professor’s blog

I’m thrilled to write my first guest post for my old graduate school adviser, Frances Schoonmaker. She is a special mentor who challenged me to finish my dissertation before I burned out from the process. When I felt hopeless (which happened often), her guidance encouraged me to  persevere.

Dessert outing at Kitchenette with professor and study group after proposal defense in 2008
From left: Frances (professor), Youn Jung Suh, Wendy Pollock, Kate Spence, and me.

Dessert outing at Kitchenette with professor and study group after proposal defense in 2008

She’s written brilliant academic papers, but now she is channeling her creativity, research skills, and eloquent words into writing a historical fantasy, for middle-grade students and above grades. The first book in the trilogy is titled The Black Alabaster Box (The Last Crystal Trilogy Book 1).

The Black Alabaster Box (The Last Crystal Trilogy Book 1) by [Schoonmaker, Frances]

My guest post expands upon the different kinds of edible flower mentioned in her book.

Here’s a brief synopsis:

The setting is on the Santa Fe trail for families migrating west in covered wagons. Along their arduous journey, the beauty of wildflowers blooming throughout the unoccupied land is highlighted in her writing. Besides their colorful blooms, some edible wildflower supplemented and added taste to these travelers’ diets.

Grace Willis is the young main character who reluctantly leaves her home in St. Louis and journeys with her parents out west. Many are traveling to pursue dreams, like her parents wanting to open a hospital. Along the way she discovers happiness and friendship, except for some rowdy characters who wreak havoc on her nerves. All goes seemingly well until an outbreak of small pox affects their group.

This outbreak sets the stage for Grace’s many challenging experiences; tragedy, heartaches, personal danger, and uncertainty about her future and her parents after she gets kidnapped and taken into Oklahoma Territory.

During her time in captivity, she uses scouting skills to dare an escape. Those skills she learned from Mr. Payne, a retired Army scout and a friendly fellow traveler back at the camp. She learned which wildflowers were edible, how to stay hidden from “chasers,” and to travel undetected in the wild as the “chased” from her kidnappers.

This experience begins her involvement in the mystery and magic of the black alabaster box. Intriguing characters, new and old, surface and influence the future course of Grace’s life. But one constant companion is Old Shep, an extraordinary dog with a magical history. Through her various experiences, she learns that a child is capable of much bravery and tenacity.

I’ll stop here, because I may accidentally spoil the ending. But you can find out more about the book in her blog:

Four Leaves and Tales

Also, her book, The Black Alabaster Box (The Last Crystal Trilogy Book 1) is available at Amazon.

I hope you will enjoy reading and thanks everyone for your support!!


Writing and daydreaming have always been two of my favorite things to do. I've been an avid journal writer since junior high school. It was a way for me to survive the complex world of being a Korean-American female straddling two cultures. Journal writing continued through graduate school, but that luxury is now replaced with multitasking to raise and homeschool two young kids. As the self-proclaimed domestic C.E.O. of our home, personal reflection occurs mostly in my subconscious dreams, during solo grocery shopping runs, or when my husband Chris takes the kids to Costco for an afternoon trip.

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