Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Expanded website/new blog URL

For several months, we've been working hard & creatively, I hope, to add cool features and engaging images & content to my newly expanded website, which is now "live." In the process, we moved my blog to: www.pennycolman.com/blog
You can also access my blog at my website at: www.pennycolman.com

Thank you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Pioneering Women War Correspondents"

Milena Jovanovich recently produced "Pioneering Women War Correspondents," a short documentary based on my book, Where the Action Was: Women War Correspondents in World War II. I narrate the video, which includes dramatic historic footage. You can watch it at:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony

This morning I found an email from Molly Murphy MacGregor, Executive Director and Cofounder of the National Women's History Project (www.nwhp.org) asking for a description of my "wonderful book"--Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship that Changed the World. After sending it to her, I thought I should also post it here, along with two quotes that are on the back cover:

"Failure is impossible."
Susan B. Anthony

In the Spring of 1851 two women met on a street corner in Seneca Falls, New York—Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a thirty-five year old mother of four boys, and Susan B. Anthony, a thirty-one year old, unmarried, former school teacher. Immediately drawn to each other, they formed an everlasting and legendary friendship. Together they challenged entrenched beliefs, customs, and laws that oppressed women and spearheaded the fight to gain legal rights, including the right to vote despite fierce opposition, daunting conditions, scandalous entanglements and betrayal by their friends and allies.
Weaving events, quotations, personalities, and commentary into a page-turning narrative, Penny Colman tells this compelling story and vividly portrays the friendship between Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, a friendship that changed history.

"It is fifty-one years since we first met and we have been busy through every one of them, stirring up the world to recognize the rights of women."

Susan B. Anthony

"Nothing that Susan could say or do could break my friendship with her, and I know nothing could uproot her affection for me."

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Monday, October 25, 2010

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony

Hurrah! Here's the cover of my forthcoming book: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship that Changed the World. It will be out in 2011.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Barnegat Bay: Goldenrod, Monarchs, and a Cloudless Sulphur

The Seaside Goldenrod is in bloom and the Monarch butterflies are migrating at the Jersey Shore. (I count nine in this photo.) Last weekend kayaking on Barnegat Bay, I spotted a Great Blue Heron, a Dunlin, Double-Crested Cormorants, Monarchs and smaller yellow butterflies. Wondering if a butterfly would land on my yellow kayak, I sat very still and very quiet . . . .and a yellow one did, probably a Cloudless Sulphur, just inches from my hand!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Women War Correspondents

Tonight the Newswomen's Club of New York is sponsoring an event, "War Correspondents, Reporting from the Frontline" with an impressive panel of women war correspondents: Edith M. Lederer, who began her career as a foreign correspondent in 1972, becoming the first woman assigned full-time to the AP staff reporting on the Vietnam War; Cami McCormick, a CBS news correspondent, who served nine tours embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq between 2003-2009, and was seriously injured in August 2009; and Gina Chon, who was based in Baghdad from 2007-2009 . Milena Jovanovitch, who had read and loved my book, Where the Action Was: Women War Correspondents in World War II, had contacted me this summer to be the expert in a short documentary she was making for the event. Tonight I get to see the result of the time I spent with her as she interviewed and filmed me. Recently Milena reported that the documentary also includes "great historical photos and archival video of wars, including World War I, a B-17 bombing run, Gen. MacArthur in Korea, along with other visuals such as copies of some of Sigrid Schultz's stories and the Life magazine with Margaret Bourke-White's B-17 photo shoot." I'm eager to see it and hear the panel!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Amazing coincidence

We were in Vermont on Sunday to bury my older brother Vin; an event that amazingly coincided with the first visit to the cemetery by a woman named Sue who had been close friends with my younger brother Jon, who had died at the age of 20 in 1966. It was a short friendship, a month or so in person & a year or so of writing letters, but one, she said with tears streaming down her face, that had "changed her life." Although I have no memory of writing to her about Jon's death, she said I did and she still has my letter; she also has all of Jon's letters.

When the service for Vin started, I motioned for Sue and Bill (her husband of eleven months) to join us. They stood slightly behind and off to the right of me in front of Jon's grave. It was quite amazing--beautiful, Linda said--to experience her quietly mourning for Jon, 44 years later.

As you can see, it was a gorgeous New England day. The headstones from left to right are: Vin, Dad, Jon.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Quirky epitaph

Since the mid-1990s, when I was writing and taking photographs for my book Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial (I took many of the 130 photos), I have had an eye out for quirky epitaphs. Two days ago, I found this one in a cemetery in Vermont. (click on it for a larger image)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Catching up

Wow! Thanks to everyone who came to hear Jon Colman (www.colmanmusic.com)perform yesterday at the DUMBOArts Festival in Brooklyn. What a setting--Buzzito's beside the East River with a spectacular view of Manhattan on a beautiful day. I'll post some terrific video when I figure out how to do that.

I'm sorry to get behind on my blog posts, although the reason is forward moving, i.e., the page proofs arrived for Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship that Changed the World. Since this is the last time I get to make corrections or changes, I went into total obsessive mode for a couple of week, surfacing only to teach my class at Teachers College & pick up Sophie for an overnight, actually two overnights. There were stray commas from the copy editing stage to delete, facts to triple check, photos that somehow could mixed up in the production process, and a missing source that drove me crazy until I finally tracked it down! Anyhow I just got a grateful email from my editor re my "thoughtful and thorough job." I also scheduled my first book signing; it's at the Gerrit Smith Estate Historic Site in Peterboro, NY on August 27, 2010. Gerrit was ECS's cousin, and the father of Elizabeth Smith Miller, ECS's lifelong friend who is credited with introducing Bloomers.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Save the Date

Come if you can to Jon Colman Acoustic Show at the Dumbo Arts Festival--Fulton Landing, Sept 26, 1-2 p.m. www.colmanmusic.com

Friday, September 03, 2010

Fun Time!

Wow! I turned 66 yesterday and had a fabulous celebration with my precious family! l-r: Linda, me, Katrin, Jonathan, Steve, Crystal, David, and, of course, Sophie! The band at Havana Central at the West End played a rousing salsa Happy Birthday accompanied by hearty singing, it seemed by most everyone in the restaurant & at the bar; in my youth I would have been under the table with embarrassment, but I'm so glad to be alive & loved that I went along with the fun of it all! (click to enlarge photo)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sophie's back

Finally got some Shore time this summer--3 overnights with Sophie: we rode a rollercoaster (her idea) & laughed and laughed, dribbled a basketball, crocheted bracelets, and saw the fox! Returned home tonight to find an email from my editor with news that my forthcoming book, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship that Changed the World has an official publication date--May 10, 2011!! Hip, hip, hurrah!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Women's Equality Day

90 years ago on August 26th, women finally won the right to vote when the 19th Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution. Established by Congress as Women's Equality Day, August 26th is a day to mark the long and fierce battle to win a right that in 2010 many people take for granted. The Territory of Wyoming granted women that right in 1869. In 1870, Louisa Gardner Swain, who lived in Laramie, was the first woman in Wyoming to cast her ballot. During our road trip to Yellowstone in May, Linda & I stopped in Laramie, to photograph this statue to Louise Swain.
Last year Sophie, Linda & I celebrated Women's Equality Day with a tour of Alva Belmont's mansion in Newport, RI, where Alva held suffrage fund raising events, much to the consternation of her conservative neighbors. This year we'll spend it at a barrier island off the coast of New Jersey, the home state of Alice Paul the fearless suffragist who was jailed & force fed as she led the final push to win the vote.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

wildlife spottings and a book

I was transfixed by an array of zinnias in a formal garden at the New Jersey State Botanical Garden (yes, there is such a place in Ringwood State Forest located in the relatively unpopulated northwest part of the state) when a large, dark shape edged into my line of vision.
"Pets aren't allowed here," I thought as my brain sorted through breeds to match the shape. Just as I settled on "Afghan Hound . . . ," I heard Linda gasp--"Bear!" It was about 20 feet away and oblivious to us--what a thrill. A day later, we were walking along the beach to the end of Barnegat Peninsula in Island Beach State Park (one of my all-time favorite walks) when we got a good long look at a black & white shore bird with a long bright orange bill that we had never seen before. "That's an Oystercatcher," I said, having no idea where I got that name, except perhaps from the gazillion of books I've read with Sophie about animals and nature.
Driving out of the park, Linda shouted "Fox!" And there it was, close enough to the car to reach out and pet, which of course we didn't!
On our way home, we stopped at the Ben Franklin store stuffed with everything from trinkets to towels to toys to books. Holding a copy of a book, Linda exclaimed, "It was an Oystercatcher!" And there it was illustrated by Barbara Patrizzi on the cover of her book O is for Oystercatcher: A Book of Seaside ABCs. Delighted that I had somehow from somewhere retrieved that name, I bought the book, which is a beautiful book published by Down the Shore Publishing, a reminder of what readers give up when they limit themselves to Kindles & Nooks (which I'm not against, but there is something so special about the look, the feel of a carefully, lovingly written, illustrated, produced book.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sophie aboard the Research Vessel Oceanic on Long Island Sound about to release a whelk after it had been examined, measured and catalogued. (See previous post)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sophie and Grammy Adventures

Thanks to those of you who have reminded me that it's been awhile since my last post. I've been juggling adventures with Sophie, who is now in Switzerland & two weeks in Crete with her European relatives until the end of August. Before she left, I took her on an activity-packed road trip, including, now that she is six, the "Whales Up Close" program at Mystic Aquarium with Kelly, a trainer, and a beluga whale named Keyla. First Kelly explained and with Keyla demonstrated training methods. We felt Keyla's melon (beluga whale's enlarged forehead where it produces a variety of vocalizations), gave her hand signals for different vocalizations, and patted her tongue (positive reinforcement, Kelly explained); from beginning to end it was an astonishing, amazing experience!
The following week, on a blistering hot day, we spent 2 1/2 hours on the Research Vessel Oceanic, a 40-foot trawler that does marine research on Long Island Sound. Sophie threw in a seine net, helped haul in a large net, sort through what the dredge brought up, catalogue all the marine life in the net and throw it--flounder, whelk, snails, crabs--back into the Sound. The crew/educators were terrific & the experience fascinating.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Terrific girls and Moms and women's history tour

Last Saturday I led a women's history tour in New York City with a terrific group of girls and their mothers! I had donated the tour as an item for the auction to raise money for Sophie's school and the Mom of a 7th grader made the winning bid. We met at Eleanor Roosevelt's statue at 72nd and Riverside Drive at noon on a very hot day. Three hours and several subway stops to visit sites, including Anna Hyatt Huntington's magnificent sculpture, Joan of Arc, and The Stanton, the apartment building where Elizabeth Cady Stanton died, we ended at 155th where this picture was taken by a willing dog walker. We're standing in front of the bronze doors at the American Academy of Arts and Letter, which are "Dedicated to the Memory of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and the Women Writers of America."

Monday, June 14, 2010

I met a wonderful group of women yesterday when I spoke at the
Emmanuel Cancer Foundation's event, "A Classical English Afternoon Tea with a Splash of Generosity." Established in 1983, ECF provides free, in-home support for New Jersey's pediatric cancer patients and their families. Yesterday's event was to honor the mothers of children who have cancer. In recognition of the EFC Moms, I presented "Celebrating Women, Especially Mothers," in which I highlighted historic women, including Abigail Adams, Sacajawea, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and their role as mothers. Rita Slatterly, an ECF volunteer who invited me to speak, took this picture. From l to r: Elsa Saucedo, an ECF Mom, me, Yanira Ceara, an ECF caseworker. The link to ECF is: www.emmanuelcancer.org.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Serendipitous Meeting and Churro Sheep

During our recent road trip through Wyoming, we serendipitously discovered Polly Hinds, a dynamic used bookseller & sheep rancher who introduced us to the Churro sheep. This morning I happened to hear an NPR piece on the Churro, "Sacred Sheep Revive Navajo Tradition, for Now." Here's my video of Polly & one of her Churros (the background noise is the sound of the Wyoming wind) & a link to the NPR piece
and the Navajo Sheep Project (the logo on Polly's Hat)www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127797442 Note: The NPR story left out a critical piece of the story: it was the Navajo women who hide & tended to the Churro sheep in the canyons for forty years. The NPR story appears to give all the credit for their recovery to the male professor.
Here's a link to a great story about how Polly & her partner & their adventures:

Celebrating Women

Despite being in the throes of a systemic case of poison ivy (& I have no idea how I got it 'cause I'm really careful considering how allergic I am to it!!??), today I'm giving a speech, "Celebrating Women, Especially Mothers!" at the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation Benefit's English Tea. The invitation said that hats are optional & given the splotches on my face, perhaps I should wear one with a very broad brim!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Road trip and manuscript update

We're back from our road trip from Denver, Colorado, (where I was born many years ago) to Yellowstone. We left NJ with the trees in full leaf, which is why we were surprised to find a snow/ice scraper in the trunk of our rental car! Then we arrived in Yellowstone; snow was piled high beside the mountain roads, and snow squalls blew in & out during our drives & walks, including one with a cold wind & "ice balls," as Linda called them when we were at the West Thumb Geyser Basin (photo). Needless to say, we were glad to have the scraper.
So, did I finish checking the copyedited manuscript of my forthcoming book, Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship that Changed History, that arrived the day before we left? (See previous post.) Yes, by working many hours, including some in the Denver airport (photo).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Connections, ECS/SBA

My dear, dear friend Annie Unverzagt & I were roommates in graduate school 44 years ago! We went on to have flip-flop life trajectories: I had children first, then a career; she had a career and then children. We kept in touch via Christmas cards until a couple of year ago when we reconnected in person. What a special treat!! She was in NYC for a few days & today we ignored the chilly rain to see the engaging exhibit, "Emily Dickinson's Garden: The Poetry of Flowers," at the New York Botanical Garden.
After a stimulating, joyous day of catching up, I arrived home to discover the copyedited manuscript of my forthcoming book, Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship that Changed History, waiting for me with a letter from editor saying she needs it back ASAP. Since Linda & I leaving early tomorrow morning & traveling until the 26th, guess what's coming with us in the red bag--to quote Linda, "What's a vacation without a manuscript."

Monday, May 17, 2010


There's a wonderful path along the Hudson River that runs about a mile between the Englewood Boat Basin and Ross Dock Park, which in just north of the George Washington Bridge. Yesterday when Linda & I were walking there, we detected a light, fresh, sort-of-like honeysuckle-but-not-so-sweet fragrance (describing smells is an interesting writing challenge!?) in the air. We followed our noses to these loose clusters of white flowers cascading from branches that poked here and there through a tangle of trees, vines, & bushes. Checking my favorite tree guide: New York City Trees, written & illustrated by Edward Sibley Barnard, I discovered we had found Yellowwood trees, which, according to Barnard, only grow naturally in the southern Appalachian Mountains of TN and adjacent states, and in portions of Missouri and Arkansas. Pioneers used the bark of the roots to make a yellow dye. I returned this morning with my camera so I could post this picture.

Sophie's School

Stephanie Leung, Sophie's wonderful first grade teacher, emailed me photographs she took during my recent author visit to P.S. 334 in New York City. Sophie & her classmates are already serious and skilled writers. I had fun showing them my PowerPoint (with zooming words, etc.)and answering their interesting questions about my job.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Author Visit

Last week I made a return author visit to Marie Russell's 6th grade classes at P.S. 174 in Rego Park, NY. Last semester Marie, who is a highly skilled & creative teacher, used my book Where the Action Was: Women War Correspondents in World War II, as a class read aloud. In December, I went to the school to talk to her terrific students. They were just as terrific the second time I visited! Good luck to all of them as they graduate and go to middle school next fall!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nonfiction Rocks!

Last night I wrapped up my teaching career as a Distinguished Lecturer at Queens College, the City University of New York. I was delightedly surprised when Christine Schachter arrived at my Nonfiction Literature class with this very cool & delicious cake. David J. Jansen took the photo. Thank you to my former and current students who have made my years at Queens so stimulating, rewarding, and fun!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Speaking and 3 Springs

I'm back from speaking at the 3rd Annual Nonfiction Institute at the University of Maine. In my mind, I think it's about a five hour drive, except that's just to the border, the University is another 3 hours north! Sophie was hoping I'd see a moose, but I didn't, although I did see periodic warning signs to watch out for moose along the Maine Turnpike. I've been making the trip for a number of years, and, as always, I stopped in Wells, Maine, to walk through the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and indulge in two nearby establishments--one the Maine Diner where I thoroughly enjoyed a hearty helping of Indian Pudding (mixture of molasses & corn meal topped with vanilla ice cream, which I've loved since I was a kid). The other at Douglas H. Harding Used Book Store where I bought a bunch of books. I did that going on Thursday and returning on Saturday. The weather was gorgeous and Spring was in the early stages, which was cool because my first sight of Spring this year was when I went to Washington & Baltimore in March, then it unfolded in New Jersey, and now it's emerging in Maine. Having three Springs this year reminded me of Edwin Way Teale's book, North with the Spring: A Naturalist's Record, that I read many years ago. Teale and his wife Nellie started on a long road trip in the Florida Everglades and headed north to follow the arrival of Spring.
The pictures are: the marker to Rachel Carson with a view of the salt marshes and estuary and ocean in the distance and me talking about making the writing/reading connection.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Author Visit

Today, I had fun doing an Author Visit with Sophie's first grade class at PS 334, The Anderson School in New York City. I showed a PowerPoint about how I write both fiction and nonfiction stories. The kids were delighted with the words I had animated to zoom & swish & asked great questions! Together we read a shape poem I wrote titled, "Who Writes?"
Tomorrow I drive to Maine where, on Friday, I'm speaking at the 3rd Annual Nonfiction Institute at the University of Maine, which means that I'd better sign off and pack!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sophie, butterfies, and tickets

Several friends recently reminded me that they check my blog to see what I am up to, in particular with Sophie. Last weekend she came for a two-night sleepover, which meant we could spend all day at the Bronx zoo. Today we spent a rainy day in a park at the foot of the Palisades, played inside games, reviewed new books, etc. About mid-afternoon her mother called to report that the Painted Lady Butterflies had emerged!!!! Of course, when I took Sophie home, she wanted me to come in and see them, but typical New York City--no parking!!! We drove around and around and around. Finally I saw a SUV parked but partially blocking a fire hydrant. There was enough room for me to park behind it, although I, too, would partially block the hydrant. Since the space was close to Sophie's apartment, I figured I could be in and out in ten minutes.
"Sophie, I'll park here, but I'll have to come right back because the car is too close to the fire hydrant and I might get a ticket."
"That's OK, Grammy, because a ticket is a good thing."
"It is?"
"Yes, because tickets teach you something."
"Not, to do that again."
Sophie dispensed her wisdom in such a calm voice that I resisted pontificating about not needing a ticket to learn a lesson, etc. And when she added, "Besides I liked tickets," I smiled because she's been making tickets for this and for that since she was very little. I just hustled up to her room, marveled at the butterflies, returned to my ticketless car and went out to dinner with Linda.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sophie and me with a bird in the tree

Sophie and I celebrated Spring Break with a road trip to Baltimore to explore the National Aquarium, tour historic ships, ride the water taxi, "hang out" in the Inner Harbor, etc. Note in the pictures--one in the aquarium's rain forest (note the Ibis)the other onboard the Lightship 116 'Chesapeake,'which had an exhibit of historic dog mascots, Sophie is wearing the beluga whale t-shirt I got her in Tadoussac, Quebec (see earlier post) last year.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


My web manager set up a new PennyColman YouTube Channel & is adding my eclectic mix of videos. You can check them out and/or subscribe at

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Women's History Month

What a day!! I'm just back from Washington, DC, where I had the amazing opportunity to attend a Women's History luncheon at the Capitol hosted by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in honor of
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The other woman in the first
picture is Representative Lynn Woolsey.
Here's a link to Ann Gerhart's article in Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/25/AR2010032504598.html

Monday, March 15, 2010

What a storm

What a wind & rain storm! Huge trees uprooted all over our town & surrounding area. We were without power for 36 hours, at least. On Friday, the night before it hit, we had Sophie and Linda's 18-month old granddaughter Francesca for a fun-filled sleepover! The next day, in a blustery downpour, we returned Sophie & Francesca to their respective parents; then we set out in an increasingly serious storm to met our friends Sue (the science educator in earlier posts, e.g., why cranberries float) and Moshe at the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden. Moshe took this picture of us--dripping wet, but happy--beside a Jade Vine. The theme was Cuba. (Click on picture for larger image.)

Monday, March 01, 2010

National Women's History Month

Happy March 1 & the beginning of National Women's History Month.
Check out the National Women's History Project at: www.nwhp.org
Also check out: Herstory Scrapbook at www.herstoryscrapbook.com

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Tonight I called Sophie to compare notes on the snowstorm & she asked if I had "done the thing with the cardboard," i.e., try to see a snow crystal (there's an earlier post about that). I had tried earlier but the snow was too wet; so, I tried again. By the light of the porch light, I think I saw one!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today is it, the actual day David and Stephen were born, eight minutes apart, forty years ago--and what a fabulous adventures we have all had together along the way!!!! Here's a picture from our celebration on Sunday at Sophie's, Jonathan's & Katrin's home in New York. Crystal, David's wife, and Sophie are presenting the cakes. Jonathan & Linda are in the pics also.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

catching up

At last!!! A few days ago, I sent to my editor everything that is needed to publish my forthcoming book about the friendship between Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony that changed history--revised manuscript, front matter and back matter, captions, jpgs, etc. etc.! What a job--interrupted by shoveling snow, teaching three classes, baking chocolate cookies to keep our energy up, etc.--but it's done! Special thank you to Denise Gilrane and Debbie Ganeles who read the manuscript and gave me feedback. Then there is Christine Schachter who undertook a last-minute close read and emailed me pages of indispensable comments, which ranged from typos to her responses to ECS & SBA--thank you, thank you!!!!!

I surfaced on Friday, the day before the "drop-dead" deadline for my essay in response to a chapter, "Nonfiction Literature for Children: Old Assumptions and New Directions," by Barbara Kiefer and Melissa Wilson for the Handbook of Research on Children's and Young Adult Literature, co-edited by Shelby Wolf, Patricia Enciso, Karen Coats, and Christine Jenkins, to be published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis in October 2010. Made it!!! Today we're gathering to celebrate my twins' 40th birthday!!!! Hip, hip, hurrah!!!!!!

Monday, February 08, 2010


Without realizing what we were saying, "Yes," to, Sophie and I had a terrific experience on Saturday.
We regularly go to the American Museum of Natural History, although not usually on a Saturday. This Saturday, however, there we were making our way through a crowd of adults and kids who were waiting to get into the Discovery Room. Everyone had tickets; we didn't, but as we got to the ticket-taker, I said, "We're members."
"Are you going to 'Meet the Scientist?'
Sophie looked at me, I at her, neither one of us knowing what that was, but, since it seemed like a "ticket" in, plus who wouldn't want to meet a scientist, I said "Yes."
We were directed up a flight of stair, through a narrow room with books and microscopes to a back room with a young woman standing in front of a screen with the word "Scorpiology."
That is how we happened to hear a scorpiologist tell us all about scorpions, including how to catch specimens (go out at night with an ultraviolet flashlight and long tweezers)!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Picture Research

As many of you know, I do my own picture research and photography for my books (my photographs range from many to a few in my various books). What with revisions, i.e., putting four chapters into two, plus the scope & complexity of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship that Changed History (how do you like version #3 of the title?), yesterday I decided to revert back to scissors-and-paper-cut-&-paste. The pink strips are chapter headings under which I've placed the images I've selected. Now I'm keying the images (each has a number) in the margin of the relevant page in my manuscript (in the blue notebook, lower right corner) to ensure balance, e.g. images spread, not clumped, which means I am also revising my selections. The process is intense, but engaging, even fun.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sophie & Stirring

Quick catch-up: I've been in the throes of revising and revising my manuscript, Stirring Up The World: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, A Biography of a Powerful Friendship (although today a new subtitle popped into my head, i.e. "A Biography of a Friendship that Changed History"). Worrying about getting my revisions mixed up, I decided to print each one on different color paper. The original is white, #2 is yellow, #3 revisions within #2 are beige. Late last night I started the final revision but couldn't print any pages because I didn't have a different color of paper! In the middle of a restless night, I decided to use blue (Elizabeth's favorite color.) First thing this morning, I got a package of blue paper. Later in the day, I picked up Sophie for our Sophie/Grammy time. During our chatting about our day, I told her about doing revisions and using different color paper.
"So, Sophie," I asked, "What color do you think I'm using for the final revision?"
"Blue," she replied.
"How did you guess that?"
"It's Elizabeth's favorite color."
"How did you know that?"
"I don't know. I just did."

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Colman's New Album

Today is the release date of my singer/songwriter son's album, "Swallowed by the Sun COLMAN." Powerful and evocative, "Swallowed by the Sun COLMAN," will grab your heart and mind! Listen for yourself at: www.colmanmusic.com

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Endings & Beginnings

Last day of 2009: yesterday Sophie & I enjoyed our final Sophie/Grammy Day of 2009, happily Linda was free to join us. Today I'm back to doing picture research but just took a break to shovel snow, bake bread with these yummy ingredients--honey, butter, rough cut oatmeal, bananas, whole wheat flour, buttermilk and believe it or not a tablespoon of baking soda and baking powder, eggs, vanilla, pecans and raisins. Our evening New Year's tradition is to listen to the Classical Music Countdown on the radio--lots of Beethoven (Sophie & I are still going back & forth about the phenomenon of Beethoven the composer & Beethoven the dog)-- and make a puzzle; It's simple but heartfelt as we move from one year to the next.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Chilly, chilly day in my basement office where I'm immersed in selecting images for Sitrring Up The World: Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony, A Biography of a Powerful Friendship. Yes, I do all the picture research, including some photography for my books, an enormously time-consuming, intense activity. (There's more info about my process in the author's note in my books Adventurous Women: Eight True Stories About Women Who Made a Difference and Thanksgiving: The True Story.) Sophie just called: "Can we have a Grammie Day tomorrow?"
Of course, I said--Yes! So shiver, shiver--back to work because my editor wants all the images and captions on 1/4!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Books, Wildflower Seeds, Happy Holidays

So, the gifts are wrapped--books galore, including one I'm really excited about--The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder; in fact, I bought two copies--one for Sophie & one for Sue, my friend & science educator at NYU. I also tracked down a copy of the December 1934 (yup, 1934) "The National Geographic Magazine" that featured the article, "Half-Mile Down," by William Beebe, about his first descent in the Bathysphere, which he co-invented with Otis Barton. Recently Sophie & I had read a picture book biography about William Beebe that listed his article in the bibliography--yes, we check out all the front and back matter when we read together! Sophie expressed interest in it so I set off on a quest to buy it--hurrah for the Internet. I'll be interested to see if it engages her?!?!
My other cool gift, at least I think so, was to parcel out pieces from a puzzle (I'm a avid jigsaw puzzle maker) that are embedded with wildflower seeds!! Each person on my list is getting a baggie with puzzle pieces & a baggie of soil & instructions to soak the seeds overnight in water and plant in the soil in a pot (no, I didn't include a pot, hum) or wait until Spring then soak and plant outside.
Ooops, Linda just called down, "Should I be watching the pot that's on the stove?" Better get back to my cooking for tonight & tomorrow. . . . Happy Holidays to all!!!!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Author Visit at P.S. 174

Last week I visited with two classes of sixth grade students & their teacher Marie Russell at P.S. 174. The students had read my book, Where the Action Was: Women War Correspondents in World War II, so I brought in samples of the production process from revised manuscript pages to page proofs to the advanced readers copy that gets sent to reviewers. The students were lively, smart, fun & asked great questions!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Sophie's Birthday

Tomorrow is Sophie's 6th birthday. But, since it's a school day she had a sleep-over on Saturday. On Sunday, we gathered for a bowling-birthday party. Katrin just emailed these pictures: l-r: Katrin, me, Linda, Sophie, Sarah, David, Crystal(cupcake & cookie maker), Steve; bottom picture: l-r Sophie, Crystal, David, Jonathan, Steve, me, Linda, Sarah, Katrin). Tomorrow I'll join Sophie & her parents for dinner; as I have since she was born I'll continuing the tradition of making the cake in the shape Sophie requests--this year it's a star, vanilla on vanilla.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A modern postcard

"Greetings from the Seine," is the caption on this photo that Steve just sent via his iPhone to my email. He titled it "A modern postcard."
Note: Steve & Sarah celebrated Thanksgiving and Sarah's birthday in Paris."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Guest Blogger

Today I'm a guest blogger "Moonlight, Lace, Mayhew." The host Carrie Hinkel-Gill posted a Q & A that I had fun answering. Please, if you're so inclined, check it out and post your comments &/or
questions at: http://moonlightlacemayhem.blogspot.com/2009/11/starlight-saturday_28.html

Friday, November 27, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving!!! This year we gathered in New York City at Jonathan's, Katrin's, & Sophie's apartment. Katrin cooked a fabulous meal, e.g., check out the roasted vegetables on the plate in the foreground--beets, parsnips, turnips, fingerling potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes that Sophie selected when Linda & I took her grocery shopping at Fairway. (That's not to say she ate all of them, but we did!) Desserts were Katrin's spectacular chocolate mousse and apple crisp and Linda's delicious pumpkin pie. We played a new game. Here we are trying to figure out the rules, no easy task!

Then Linda & I took Sophie outside to run races up & down the sidewalk, or, I should say, Linda strolled, I raced twice, then appointed myself the timer for Sophie who loves to run! Once when she was getting too far ahead, I yelled, "STOP!" She did, as so did everyone else between her and me! (l to r: Sophie, Linda, me, Jonathan; click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Radio Interview Thanksgiving: The True Story

You can listen to a lively radio interview I did with Dov Hirsch, creator and host of Crop to Cuisine
at http://www.croptocuisine.org/Thanksgiving.htm There are three parts: "Thanksgiving the True Story by Penny Colman;" "Penny Colman on Sarah Josepha Hale," and "Penny Colman on Wamsutta and the National Day of Mourning."
Dov was great fun to talk with & here's an excerpt from his web site about Crop to Cuisine:
Produced in Boulder, Colorado, Crop To Cuisine reminds people that improving our communities and our world should be a pleasurable, affordable, and delicious experience. While the program is designed to educate the public about the problems of safety, sustainability, and the economics surrounding the food we eat, it's emphasis is to provide our listeners with easy and accessible solutions that can be seamlessly integrated into daily life.

Monday, November 09, 2009

At the Jersey Shore

On Friday, Sophie came for an overnight. After breakfast--(pancakes in whatever shape she wants; this time it was dolphins)--we took a day-trip to our Jersey Shore bungalow, located on a barrier island between the ocean & bay. Gorgeous day, as you can see. The first pic needs no explanation. However, here's the scoop re the second pic: occasionally at high tide, especially in the Fall, the water from the bay comes up through the storm sewer at the end of our driveway. Seeing it, Sophie spontaneously went into the house, returned with the bowl in which she placed alyssum blossoms & petals from the geranium that were still in bloom in the pot on the bulkhead and put them in the bowl, which she carried to the end of our driveway. Then she walked along the wall around the neighbor's flower garden, and sprinkled the flowers on the water. Linda told her it was a good idea 'cause the water was looking "kind of scuzzy."

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Congratulations Sarah!

Sarah Jones, my daughter-in-law, completed the New York City Marathon in under 4 hours, 20 minutes faster than she ran last year!!! She ran for Shoe4Africa, a nonprofit organization that is raising money to build the first public children's hospital in Kenya. Linda and I met up with Sarah & Steve at the corner of 67th & Central Park West--hip, hip, hurrah for Sarah!!!!!
(click on image for larger view)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sophie's New News

Sophie had "new news" on Thursday--"I read my first chapter book!"
"Fabulous! That's sooooo exciting!!! What was it about?"
With that question, I was introduced to Bella The Bunny Fairy, one of a long list of titles
in the Rainbow Magic Book Series, written, (according to Wikipedia, I should note since I knew absolutely nothing about this phenomenon until I check it).

In celebration, we went to two independent bookstores & bought several more titles, including Penny the Pony Fairy (my, oh, my!).
As we chatted, I learned that Friday was Character Dress-up Day, which, Sophie, explained meant she was suppose to go to school dressed like a character from her favorite book.
As a nonfiction writer & lover, I was delighted when she said she was going as Knut, the real polar bear in Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World. Today she told me she wore white clothes and pink socks. She was thrilled to report that she got to read part of book to her classmates.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sarah Jones

Check out this great video, "A Roving Run with Sarah Jones." Sarah is a Tony Award winning actor and playwright known for her compelling characters & she is my daughter-in-law.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Gorgeous day

Sunday was a gorgeous day & we took a long walk along the Hudson River. Our starting point was Ross Dock Park, located just north of the George Washington Bridge and at the foot of the Palisades Cliffs, which were saved in 1900 from destruction by the quarrying industry by tenacious members of the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs. The plaque, "Preserving the Palisades," in the first photo tells the story of the women's victory. The second photo explains why, I always stop to say, "Thank you, clubwomen!!!!!!!" (click on picture for a larger image)