What A Weird School Year…

Did you all get some reading done this school year? I honestly found some comfort in the pages of a few middle grade books, and enjoyed sharing a few titles with students… both virtually and in person.

I am ready for a break from school and the strangeness for sure… but I have ideas brewing in the back of my head… book club ideas.

So enjoy the summer break and the time to read.

In the 2021 school year Pine Hollow will get a new after school book club!

Get ready Inklings… all you middle school students who love ink… both reading it and using it to share your stories.

The Inklings will be an after school club for readers and writers in our PHMS community. We will read and share stories, and play games, and write. We will talk books and stories and make crazy videos celebrating what we find in the pages of a good book!

Stay tuned….

We start in August!

Next Meetings

Hello Readers,

So, it has been quite a while since we last had a post, thanks to our spring break.  Well, we are back, but meetings will not start right away.  I, unfortunately have meetings over the next two Tuesdays, so Inklings will meet on May 10 and the 7th/8th Grade Chapter of Guys Read will meet May 17.

I have been coming up with next reads and reading challenges for both Inklings and Guys Read and I’m pretty excited about what we will finish this year with.

Inklings will be looking at Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman.  This gonzo short story will help us write a short story and then binge on cereal and milk on our last meeting.

Guys Read will finish our epic horror movie, which is nearly finished, and release it to the wide world.  I can’t wait for Donna Gephart to see our work, based on characters in her story, Death by Toilet Paper.  Once Guys Read is finished with their movie they will be looking at a collection of short stories called, Been There, Done That.  This will lead us to a final reading and writing project to finish out the year.

So keep reading and I will see you in a few weeks.

Read on,

Mr. H

Final Inklings Meetings…

May 10, 24

June 7, 21

7th/8th Grade Guys Read final meetings…

May 17, 31

June 14, 28


To The Dungeons

Hello Readers,

Today the Inklings will be heading down into the dungeons.  We have been talking about The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson and working on creating Dungeoneer inspired roll playing characters.  Now we are nearly ready to send our first four into the dungeons.

I am super excited to act as the Dungeon Master and see if these rogues, barbarians, druids and magelings can survive.


While the four Dungeoneers are working their way through my beautiful dungeon, the rest of the Inklings will be working with this Dungeoneer online game.  I will be asking about your experience with the online game and what sorts of treasure you can score, so do your best.

To the Dungeons….

Let the die fly….

Mr. H

Zero Charisma

Hello Readers,

Yesterday we finally were able to have an Inklings meeting, we have been waiting since December for this meeting.

So yesterday we introduced our new read, the wonderful Dungeoneers by John David Anderson.  The Dungeouneers is a great riff on the world of Dungeon and Dragons.  The story is funny, and full of magical adventure.  It is a perfect book for the Inklings to get into and do some excellent reading challenges with.

Now, let’s do a little sharing, I have to say that I have been a devoted sci-fi/fantasy devotee for most of my life.  I nearly killed my little brother with he chewed the feet of my Greedo action figure and he wouldn’t stand up anymore.  I had both D&D and a role playing Star Trek game, and a sizable collection of multi-sided dice.  It’s very safe to say that I was a nerd or geek or what ever you wanted to call me.  So as I was reading The Dungeoneers I immediately knew that the Inklings would dive fully into the world of role play adventures.

I didn’t want to just get into Dungeon and Dragons or some other stock game, I wanted to make it our own.  So I took some of the basics from The Dungeoneers to help me build the character sheet.

Everything on our character sheets were left up to chance.  We used dice to determine almost everything, and then used a D&D name generator to come up with our names and race.  It certainly lead to some crazy characters.

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How about Jartra, the half-ogre mage, with an intelligence of 9 and a charisma of 32, or Adolamin Beestinger a 1’4″ gnome mage?

We are going to have some great fun when we take these Dungeoneers into their first Dungeon in two weeks.

So why not build your own Dungeoneer character, just roll that 1D4 to see if you get to play the rogue, mage, barbarian or druid?  We play on March 2nd!

Dungeoneer Character Sheet (2)

Read on,

Mr. H

Rumor Launch

Hello Readers,

Yesterday was our final Inklings meeting for this calendar year.  We are actually going on a bit of a hiatus and won’t meet again until February 2.

For our final meeting of the year, we completed our final reading challenge for the great book, The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis.

We focused on the final battle between Serth and Fin and Merrill. So check out our introduction to the Rumor Launch reading challenge…

Finding Y shaped branches and creating sling shots was a lot of fun, but launching the rumors was epic.

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You might have noticed I have been having a lot of fun with the slo-mo function of my phone’s camera.

Enjoy a montage..

So we will see you next year for more fun with fantasy reading.


Read on,

Mr. H

Thief Stew

Hello Readers,

Earlier this week the Inklings got together for our fortnightly meeting and once again discussed The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis.

This time around we talked a little about Fin’s little Thief Stew prank.

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Why not take a look at how we did when we tried Thief Stew, with one of Ad and Tad’s little puke pills…

We have one more Inklings meeting before or winter break, and that will be our last time talking about The Map to Everywhere.  At that final meeting we will be recreating the final battle between the evil wizard, Serth and our heroes, Marrill and Fin.  Just so you know it will involve sling shots, acorn like things and a black robe.  Come back in a few weeks and see how it goes.

Read on,

Mr. H

Fin’s Squirrel Suit Challenge

Hello Readers,

Yesterday The Inklings met to continue to discuss The Map To Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis.

During this meeting we decided to focus on chapter nine and Fin’s escape from the Meressian ship and the guard called Bull Face.  We liked this scene because it really is a great example of the whole tone of this great novel.  It is full of action, wit, humor (Bull Face barfs right in the middle of the chase) and thrilling skydiving!

So we came up with a Reading Challenge based on Fin’s flying suit.  First we made models of Fin and his squirrel suit.

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Once we had the models built we went outside to see how well they flew.

And the winner was…

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Read On,

Mr. H

Toss-The Teeth

Hello Readers,

Our Inkling book club has just started attacking the wonderful fantasy novel The Map To Everywhere, by sort of local authors, Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis.

In our first meeting we talked about the Orphan Preserve and introduced one of my favorite parts of the Khaznot Quay, Ad and Tad’s Gourmet Pie-o-ria.  Now if you have read The Map To Everywhere you know that Ad and Tad’s is really just a front for a thieves’ den, where all sorts of nasties like to hang out.  In that first visit to Ad and Tad’s we see a few thugs playing a game called Toss-The-Teeth.

Kantsy Orphan Preserve

Toss The Teeth

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The authors give us no explanation of the the rules of the game, so we figured we would do them a favor and come up with said rules.

So take a look at our rough drafts ideas for Toss-The-Teeth…

Remember these are all just first attempts at creating a game of chance so they might be a little rough around the edges.

What game idea did you like the best?  Why not hit that comment button and let us know?  We are planning on working out the kinks, building game pieces (if needed) and writing out the rules at out next meeting.  Help us choose what game to develop.

Read on,

Mr. H


My Serafina and the Black Cloak Art Contest Entry

Hello Readers,

I know it has a been awhile since we last talked about the great story, Serafina and the Black Cloak, but I wanted to share my art contest entry.

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I love how the black glaze came out, I generally don’t use a black in my hobby pottery work, but it really works with the black cloak.  If I had to do it all over again I would use a red glaze for the inside of the cloak and have that red glaze run down off the lid and down the jar side.

That would capture the evil in the cloak for sure.

I hope some of you Inklings finished your art projects and can get them uploaded by the end of the contest.  The final day for uploads is November 15, 2015.

Read on,

Mr. H

NaNoWriMo is Coming

Hello Inkling Readers,

This post is mainly for you, but if you are a Guys Reader, please do not be scared away.

November is a wild ride under normal circumstances, you have the end of daylight saving time, election day, Veteran’s Day and then Thanksgiving.  Plus lovely autumn leaves and great crisp weather, at least in the south.  Now to add to that wild ride I propose NaNoWriMo!

For the last three years I have participated in NaNoWriMo and I plan to try again this year.

If you are interested I would love to hear some feedback from my first few attempts…

WIP 2012

WIP 2013

WIP 2014 1

WIP stands for writing in progress and just so you know the 2014 story is not quite finished.  I made it to the magic number of 50,000 words, but the story still needs a climax and resolution.

This year I will be breaking away from this trilogy and writing a stand alone story.  I have a few story ideas cooking and I would love to have you help me choose the story I will write.

  1. The Diet of Worms – Or How To Make A 8th Grade Super Group – The story of a group of 8th graders who start a rock band and become something of a big deal in their suburban town.
  2. Shadow Tails – The story of Macadamia “Mac” Bush a former secret service agent assigned to the president’s detail.  He saves the president’s life but looses a hand and is forced to retire.  He is pulled back into the Washington world to help find the kidnapped president.  By the way all of the main characters are animals, mostly squirrels.
  3. Velo City – Steam Punk story about an orphan who grows up in the shady underground world of a future/past city.  He is a steam pipe racer and conscripted into the royal marines to help break an alien blockade of the earth.

Do any of these ideas spark your interest?  What story would you like to read.  You tell me in the vote below and I will share my work as we move through the month.

I would love some of our Inklings to join me in writing a novel this month.  I have 50,000 words to write, but don’t worry the Young Writer Program allows you to choose your own word goal.

Write on,

Mr. H