Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Another Teensy Movie, starring Blizzy!




We LOVE being in movies!



Deedy just made us some really short videos about our stories. Here's Tizzy's!
(Watch it full screen for the Full Effect.)





FINALLY! A NEW IZZY ELF BOOK IS ON THE WAY! (It's all about the pressure.)


Our author, Dorothea Jensen, whom we all call Deedy, reports that she recently returned from a visit with four of her grandboys. The two youngest, twins named Miles and Henry, have finally realized that (unlike their brothers and cousins) they didn't show up in any  Izzy Elf story. They immediately started asking why not.

Deedy has had a story in mind for them ever since they were born (5 YEARS AGO), but has been totally concentrating on Her Other Kind of Writing (which we will not mention here). She has not focused on getting this story down on the page, despite all our whining and whatnot.

The time is NOW, Deedy!

Obviously, this will not be done in time for this Christmas, but here's a little note to Shane, our illustrator, to be ready to started drawing pictures for Henry and Miles's story soon.


Miles and Henry, dressed as munchkins for a recent music video,
and soon to "star" in Bizzy, the Bossy Boots Elf




Friday, October 12, 2018

The Professor, the "Heroine", the Villain, and the Bookshop!

Here is a post from Deedy (Dorothea Jensen to you). We're happy to let her put this on our blog because she actually talks about us Izzies! (Finally.)

The Professor, the "Heroine", the Villain, and the Bookshop!

When I was a student at Carleton College in 1964, I took a Jane Austen seminar.  In the summer before school started, everyone in the class received a letter from the professor, Owen Jenkins. He instructed us to order a complete set of Jane Austen's novels from Blackwell's Bookshop in Oxford, England. 

I remember being thrilled at the opportunity to buy books from this venerable, respected, academic British bookstore. It seemed very exotic to do so. My Jane Austen books arrived, and I have them still.

I'd like to be able to report that I aced the seminar, but I didn't quite. One reason? Mr. Jenkins specialized in sarcasm, which terrified me and rendered me speechless. This had NEVER happened to me before.

The only positive comment I ever received from him was when I showed up early to class wearing my hair up  and a wool dress. He told me I looked like a Jane Austen heroine. Hmmm. Here's a picture of me at that time in that exact same getup, 54 years ago! Yikes. (Despite his odd compliment to me, I eventually named my "villain" in The Riddle of Penncroft Farm, Mr. Owens, after him. )


Anyway, when my husband and I went to Oxford many years later, we made a point of visiting Blackwell's, and it was as venerable as I had envisioned.



Anyway, imagine how thrilling it was for me to find the following on the Blackwell's website recently:



They also carried my Izzy Elf books, but for some reason did not display the cover art for those. No matter, my Izzies have made the big time, as far as I am concerned! I'm sure they are all delighted to find themselves available through such a venerable, respected, academic British bookshop! 

How I wish I could tell Mr. Jenkins!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Giveaway: Buss Audiobook!


Deedy (Dorothea Jensen to you) is giving away one Audible.com download of her audiobook of A Buss from Lafayette on June 16. (This is a nearly $20 value.) Rafflecopter is running this for her, and will be doing the random "drawing".

Click on the following link to sign up for a chance to win! (You sign in with your e-mail address, then click something like "join A Buss from Lafayette mailing list", then click enter.)

A Rafflecopter Audiobook Giveaway

We are lobbying for Deedy to start giving away audiobooks of our stories, too! 


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

George Washington Makes A Joke (Sort of): Part 2

More from Deedy about this guy named George.

* * *


In a recent blog post, I talked about the letter written by George Washington that we were privileged to read on a visit to the New Hampshire Historical Society a few weeks ago.  I was able to photograph this missive, and subsequently spent hours trying to puzzle out what Washington said. What with having some bits missing (note torn corner in the picture), and 18th century spelling idiosyncasies (such as a large F-like letter to represent double Ss) there were still a few words I couldn't make out. Then I looked around the internet and found the whole thing posted at the National Archives. Here is the link.

In any case, I found this letter to be quite revealing, not only of Washington's diplomatic skills, but also of a surprising sense of humor he put to use to mute the "dressing down" he is giving to Sullivan.

Remember that Sullivan had already sent out some pretty snorty letters about 1) D'Estaing and 2) the French in general complaining about  being left in the lurch at Rhode Island by our new allies. It was obvious that this letter was what Washington wrote to Sullivan at that point. I told Julien (the young Frenchman who is researching Lafayette's Farewell Tour route in New England) that in this letter Washington was telling Sullivan to "pipe down." (A bit tricky to explain that expression, but I think Julien got it.)

I don't usually think of Washington as being gifted in diplomacy, but please notice what he did in this letter. It is particularly impressive because Washington himself was probably very upset by the rift in the new alliance, which Sullivan had made even worse. As he says himself, "The disagreement between the army under your command and the fleet has given me very singular uneasiness." Nevertheless, Washington manages to give Sullivan a couple of "outs" before lowering the boom on his angry general.

1) First of all, he states that he has not heard from Sullivan since August 23, but says that Sullivan's messages must have gone astray.

2) Secondly, Washington says this of the French: "In our conduct towards them we should remember that they are a people old in war, very strict in military etiquette, and apt to take fire when others scarcely seem warmed." As you can see by the emboldened text, Washington makes a small joke implying that the French are overly touchy. In other words, he is suggesting that the French are so easily enraged that perhaps it is not completely Sullivan's fault that they are angry or offended.

Then, however, Washington goes on to make it clear that Sullivan must keep his mouth shut and do everything he can to keep the news of the "misunderstanding" between the French and Americans quiet.

"It is of the greatest importance, also, that the minds of the soldiers and the people should know nothing of the misunderstanding, or if it has reached them that ways may be used to stop its progress and prevent its effects."

How thrilling it was to read the actual words written by Washington, and to see his diplomacy (and possibly his sense of humor) at work!



From George Washington to Major General John Sullivan, 1 September 1778


To Major General John Sullivan






Head Quarters White plains 1st Septr 1778.
Dear sir.
I have not received any letter from you since the 23d [August] which I attribute to some mishap of the messengers with whom they were sent. I was anxious to learn the determination and designs of the council of officers, that so I might be prepared for eventual measures—The success or misfortune of your army will have great influence in directing the movements and fortune of this.

The disagreement between the army under your command and the fleet has given me very singular uneasiness. The Continent at large is concerned in our cordiality, and it should be kept up by all possible means that are consistent with our honor and policy. First impressions, you know, are generally longest remembered, and will serve to fix in a great degree our national character among the French. In our conduct towards them we should remember that they are a people old in war, very strict in military etiquette, and apt to take fire when others scarcely seem warmed. Permit me to reco⟨mmend⟩ in the most particular manner, ⟨ the ⟩ cultivation of harmony and go⟨od⟩ agreement, and your endeavours to ⟨des⟩troy that ill humour which may ⟨have⟩ got into the officers. It is of the greatest importance, also that the minds of the soldiers and the people should know nothing of the misunderstanding, or if it has reached them that ways may be used to stop its progress and prevent its effects.

I have received from Congress the inclosed by which you will perceive their opinion with regard to keeping secret the protest of the General Officers I need add nothing on this subject.
I have one thing however more to say—I make no doubt but you will do all in your power to forward the repairs of the french fleet, and in rendering it fit for service, by your recommendations for that purpose to those who can be immediately instrumental. I am Dr Sir your most Obt hble servt
Go: Washington

George Washington Makes a Joke (Sort of): Part 1

Another message from Deedy: not an elf in sight!

Julien holding the letter from George Washington
In my peregrinations with Julien Incher, the young Frenchman who is tracing the 1824-5 New England trail of General Lafayette, we made a stop at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord, NH. Librarian Sara Galligan was kind enough to allow us to look at the documents in the society's collection that pertain to New Hampshire's own Revolutionary General, John Sullivan.

One of these documents was an actual letter written by GW to Sullivan on September 1, 1778. Because I knew a little of what this epistle related to, I found it to be absolutely fascinating. I will explain this in my next few posts.

First of all, here is what I wrote about the situation in A Buss from Lafayette. Please keep in mind that the principal American commander referred to in this excerpt who was greatly offended was General Sullivan. As a result, he wrote a number of VERY angry letters complaining about the French.
 

 * * *

“Did Grandfather see the celebration at Valley Forge when the French alliance was announced?” queried Joss eagerly. “It sounds as if it was very exciting!”

“He did indeed,” Prissy said. “But when everyone was cheering at Valley Forge, they little suspected how difficult it would be for the French and American military leaders to work together. They were a little like you two: supposedly on the same side, but as prickly as porcupines!”

Joss and I exchanged a glance.

Prissy said that although the French government had been sending us secret loans and supplies since 1776, the first overt aid they sent over was a fleet of warships in July, 1778. This French fleet was ordered to blockade Rhode Island to help the American commander, General Sullivan, dislodge the British there. D’Estaing, the French admiral, may have been rather offended at this, because no one had consulted with him beforehand about the planned venture.

“Therefore, after initially assisting the Continentals in their attack,” our stepmother said, sounding more and more like a schoolmarm, “D’Estaing and his fleet sailed away towards New York. He did seek to engage a British naval squadron after he left, but his departure left the American forces in Rhode Island to face the enemy without French support.”

Joss snorted. “I am sure we Americans did not like that!”

Our stepmother explained that before D’Estaing encountered the British squadron, he ran into a storm that damaged his fleet. Afterwards—again without consulting the Americans—the French admiral had sailed off to Boston to make repairs to his ships, which further offended our commanders. “I doubt the alliance would have worked in the end if not for Lafayette,” she concluded.    

“He smoothed down everyone’s ‘quills?’” I asked.

“Yes, Lafayette hurried to Boston to smooth things over.                                                         -A Buss from Lafayette, © 2016  by Dorothea Jensen