Archives for category: Nancy Drew Anthology


We asked the 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) to send photos featuring the book in their home environments. Author Paul Fericano provided this photo where he’s holding his copy of the Nancy Drew Anthology on a very foggy day in the city of his birth, San Francisco. Behind him are the historic Seal Rocks formation islands just offshore the Pacific Ocean and at the north end of Ocean Beach. Paul contributed the poem “My Prom Date with Nancy Drew,” featured below, to the 212-page anthology.

My Prom Date with Nancy Drew

Ever since you can remember
he comes through the front door
hat in hand both arms outstretched
greets you the same way every night
solve any mysteries lately?
Then laughs big and broad
and musses your hair
and lifts you on his knee
the one with shrapnel from the war
limping and dragging his shadow
like Chester in Gunsmoke
and prompting all his friends to ask
how’s Mr. Dillon?

It’s strange to think of this now
eager and anxious
ringing your doorbell
corsage in a pink box under arm
meeting him for the first time
standing with pipe in one hand
newspaper in the other
studying me in my white sport coat
my polished wingtips
asking which Hardy are you? Frank or Joe?
And me with a dumb quizzical look
in the glow of a yellow porch light
wondering what to say
And you standing next to him
hair up shimmering in blue formal
rolling your eyes and smiling

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Fericano is a poet, satirist, social activist and co-founder of the parody news syndicate, Yossarian Universal News Service (1980). His work has appeared in numerous publications since 1970, including The Wormwood Review, New York Quarterly, The Realist, Mother Jones, Saturday Night Live, Charlie Hebdo (Paris), Punch (London) and Krokodil (Moscow). He is the author of several books and chapbooks of poetry, including Loading the Revolver with Real Bullets (Second Coming Press, 1977), Sinatra, Sinatra (Poor Souls Press, 1982), and The Hollywood Catechism (Silver Birch Press, 2015), a National Book Award nominee. Since 2003, he’s been the director of SafeNet, a reconciliation group for clergy abuse survivors with a focus on the healing process, and writes a column on this issue, “A Room With A Pew” (

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We asked the 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) to send photos featuring the book in their home environments. Author Luisa Kay Reyes provided this portrait of herself and the collection at the Heritage Park in Prattville, Alabama. She stands before a cast iron, three-tiered fountain completed in 1989 that serves as a focal point in the park. Luisa contributed the limerick “Nancy Drew . . .” featured below, to the 212-page anthology.

Nancy Drew . . .

Since Mildred Wirt Benson could write
Some plots full of daring and might
The syndicate thought
She was just what they sought
To bring their new series to light!

Miss Mildred made Nancy quite bold
But still from the feminine fold
Her brave little sleuth
Could outwit the uncouth
And the Drew girl’s adventures soon sold!

With logic Miss Drew hunts for clues
In clocks and in attics or shoes
The criminal set
Know they now have to fret
As Nancy, they just can’t confuse!

A local collegian named Ned
On several adventures is led
By Nancy who dares
To explore the thief’s lairs
So none of the perps get ahead!

Though many a decade has passed
Since Mildred’s first story was cast
The adage holds true
That regardless who’s who
With Nancy we all have a blast!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Luisa Kay Reyes is a second-generation Nancy Drew reader.  Her mother, Kay Rodabaugh Reyes, had special permission from the librarian to check out more than the maximum allowed for young children, so she could read all of the Nancy Drew mysteries she wanted  when growing up. Luisa continued that tradition of checking out piles and piles of Nancy Drew mysteries from the library when she was little. She still dreams of finding a secret passage in an old mansion someday. In the meantime, she has had poems featured in the  anthologies published by the Stark County District Library, in the zine for Nancy Drew sleuths, and  a poetry anthology published by the Florence Poet’s Society.  Recently, her poem “A Christmas Poem” was declared a first-place winner by the Sixteenth Annual Stark County District Library Poetry Contest.  In 2007, she received Honorable Mention in the Alabama Meter Readers International Limerick Contest and First Place in the Florence Poet’s Society Limerick Contest. Her work has appeared in Set Sail For Poetry, I Spy Poetry, A Kaleidoscope of Poetry, and the How Sweet It Is anthologies published by the Stark County District Library.

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We asked the 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) to send photos featuring the book in their home environments. Author Marion Tickner provided this portrait of herself and collection at the Camillus Erie Canal Park near her home in Syracuse, New York. Camillus Landing was the first enlargement of the Erie Canal — a canal constructed during the 1800s to create a  water route from New York City and the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes.  Marion contributed the story “Nancy Drew Lives On,” featured below, to the 212-page anthology.

Nancy Drew Lives On

I received my first Nancy Drew book from my aunt whose favorite author was Joseph Lincoln. At the time Nancy was sixteen years old and drove her own car. No sixteen-year-old that I knew drove a car, much less had her own. But after all, this was a story and anything can happen in a story. We just let our imaginations run away with us.

During my years of reading about Nancy’s adventures and misadventures, I never thought of looking for clues to solve the mystery before she did. I just let Nancy with Bess and George do the work.

One evening while watching a game show, possibly What’s My Line or To Tell The Truth, the contestants claimed to be Carolyn Keene. What really surprised me was that the real writer of a Nancy Drew book was a man. How can that be? Carolyn is a girl’s name. What I didn’t know at the time was that some series, including Nancy Drew, were written by ghostwriters. In other words, different writers wrote some of the books under the byline Carolyn Keene.

When I started working, I haunted the secondhand bookstores to add to my collection. Eventually I married and moved away from home, packing my books in boxes to be stashed away in my attic. By then I had other favorite authors that I read when I had time.

The years passed, and the first thing I did after I retired was to clean out the attic. Out came the box of Nancy Drew Mysteries. On sunny summer afternoons I relaxed in the shade of a maple tree with a glass of iced tea and read those books again, one at a time. After reading the whole collection, I passed them on to my niece who had three young daughters.

Now that Nancy Drew has again come to my attention, I checked out two library books, thinking I had one old book and one new. One thing I noticed in the “old book” was that Nancy is no longer sixteen, and is now eighteen. The story was fast-moving, and I remembered the plot from when I’d read it years before. In the new book, written for younger readers, Nancy is eight years old.

I have since learned that some of the earlier books have been brought up to date for today’s readers. In fact, some of the obsolete prose has been eliminated. Maybe that’s the reason it seemed to be fast-moving, something I need to remember when writing for children. Now I wish I had my original copy of The Mystery of the Tolling Bell to compare with the library book.

Nancy Drew lives on forever.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marion Tickner writes from her home in Syracuse, New York. She has worked with children in the church setting for many years, so it’s only natural that she would enjoy writing for them. She has been published in several children’s magazines, both print and online. Her stories also appear in several anthologies: Mistletoe Madness, edited by Miriam Hees, and Summer Shorts, edited by Madeline Smoot (both Blooming Tree Press); When God Steps In, edited by Bonnie Bruno; The Christmas Stocking and Treasure Box (Patchwork Path); books edited by Marie McGaha (Dancing With Bear Publishing): One Red Rose, Gingersnaps, and Candy Canes, and Blizzard Adventure (Kindle only); Nightlight—A Golden Light Anthology (Chamberton Publishing); and God Still Meets Needs, edited by Mark Littleton. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find her reading, knitting, or crocheting.

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We asked the 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) to send photos featuring the book in their home environments. Author Lisa Wiley provided this portrait of herself and collection near her home in Buffalo, New York — the buffalo statue at Williamsville South High School (Williamsville, NY), where both her sons attend. Lisa contributed the poem “Rereading Nancy Drew at 42,” featured below, to the 212-page anthology.

 Rereading Nancy Drew at 42

She’s the It Girl—
an American classic like Grace Kelly

capable of becoming princess
of a glamorous coastal country.

With just a trace of lipstick,
and maybe a pair of pearl earrings,

she never resorts to sailor language,
always stands up for her best friends,

never leaves a man behind even if he’s
dizzy from being clunked on the head

by a jewel thief. A little quirky,
she collects souvenir matchbooks,

stows an overnight bag in her car including
bathing suit for sleuthing in pleasant weather.

Raised by her housekeeper like Scout,
the kind of girl next door

I’d like my sons to meet
when the time is right—

resourceful, respectful, raincoat ready
to plug any leaking boat.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Wiley teaches creative writing, poetry, and composition at Erie Community College in Buffalo, New York. She is the author of two chapbooks—My Daughter Wears Her Evil Eye to School (The Writer’s Den, 2015) and Chamber Music (Finishing Line Press, 2013). Her poetry has appeared in The Healing Muse, Mom Egg Review, Rockhurst Review, Silver Birch Press, Third Wednesday, and Yale Journal for Humanities, among others. She serves as a judge for Poetry Out Loud.

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We asked the 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) to send photos featuring the book in their home environments. Author Phyllis Klein provided this portrait of herself and collection at the San Francisco Cable Car Turnaround.. Phyllis contributed the poem “Ode to Mildred Wirt,” featured below, to the 212-page anthology.

Ode to Mildred Wirt Benson

          First of twenty-eight to write Nancy Drew books
          under the Carolyn Keene pen name

So many characters to write
about in a 96-year life. Ghost
writer, snail in a shell.
Can you believe you created
one hundred thirty-five books
of heroines and girl-role models?

And on top of that
you were a jungle traveler,
canoer, air pilot.
All this and also Nancy Drew,
your achievement, girls’ rescue
from loneliness, inspiration,
spunky friend,
Nancy, with a flashlight,
intrepid, empowered.
Nancy on a staircase
with another mystery under foot.

Mildred, it took being 95
for you to get a special
Edgar Award from
the Mystery Writers
of America, when you could
finally be the butterfly you always
were. Free of the chrysalis,
Nancy’s rightful mother at last,
your blockbuster daughter
bringing you out into the family.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In the way of a true confession, I read Penny Nichols as a kid, not Nancy Drew. I was a voracious reader so It’s odd how my horizons were limited, and no reason comes to mind. Lucky for me, I discovered that Mildred Wirt Benson was the author of all the Penny Nichols books. That’s how I came to write my tribute poem to her. And another good thing is that I can discover Nancy now.  ¶ I live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area as a psychotherapist and poetry therapist. My office in San Francisco is right at the starting point for the Powell Street Cable car line. I highly recommend a ride. I’m sure Nancy and Penny would have loved to solve a mystery involving this city landmark.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Phyllis Klein believes in poetry. Her work has appeared in the Pharos of Alpha Omega Medical Society JournalQarrtsiluni online literary magazine, Silver Birch Press, New Verse NewsCrosswinds Poetry Journal, and othersand is forthcoming in Chiron Review. She is very interested in the conversation between poets and readers of poetry. She sees artistic dialogue as an intimate relationship-building process that fosters healing on many levels. Visit her at

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We asked the 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) to send photos featuring the book in their home environments. Author Stephanie R. Pearmain provided this portrait of herself and collection in  the cactus garden at the University of Arizona, Tucson (October 2016). Stephanie  contributed the poem “My Nancy Drew,” featured below, to the 212-page anthology.

My Nancy Drew
by Stephanie R. Pearmain

Burning beds
Colonial houses with ghosts, spiders’ webs, and secrets
Waiting to be discovered.

     A quest through dark, echoing library halls
     After an eclectic fieldtrip to a hole-in-the-wall bookshop
     To purchase the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Old clocks
That tick like whispers telling the secret of time
While it continues slipping away too silently to hear.

     Summer at the pool,
     The dewy smell of dawn at the beach
     And the promise of endless playful, sunny days.

A record player
Spinning eerie songs beneath a window pried open,
The scent of lilac sneaking in.

     The sound of vinyl
     And Dad’s footsteps upstairs,
     The crackling soundtrack of carefree, lazy days.

And piercing screams,
Cliffside caves and hidden stairs.

A maze of tunnel-like paths
Meandering through a childhood when hours still seemed like
Made up stories in a diary, kept in the safety of the locket
          that is my heart.

A bridge haunted by inevitable truths,
     The crumbling walls of childhood
          Reveal stolen gems and lost telegrams,

A trunk of treasured memories resurfacing
     Beneath a sun casting rays over the dark shadows,
          Giving rise to a woman who stands waving goodbye,

          hieroglyph etchings and a dusty old book
               with a beautifully faded yellow spine.

PHOTO: It’s the cactus garden at the university of Arizona.Tucson, October 2016

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie R. Pearmain received an MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hollins University and a BA in Religious Studies and History from the University of Arizona. She teaches courses in Children’s & Young Adult Literature and publishing at the University of Arizona and does freelance editing as well.  She has been a reader for the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, a reviewer for Children’s Literature Database (picture books through novels), and is currently a fiction reader for the online literary magazine YARN. Her children’s book, Animal BFFs, was published by Scholastic in 2012, and a personal essay was published in an anthology by Spruce Mountain Press the same year. She is founder of the new online children’s lit publication Tucson Tales.. Visit her at

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Chicago-area book lovers — join six authors who contributed their work to the Nancy Drew Anthology as they read from the collection on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 at Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore in Forest Park, Illinois. Readers include organizer Cynthia Todd Quam, along with Steve Bogdaniec, Jennifer Finstrom, Jessie Keary, Elizabeth Kerper, and Patrick T. Reardon, A big thank you to Century & Sleuths Bookstore — and owner Augie Aleksy — for hosting the event!

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, 7-10 p.m. (CST)

WHERE: Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore, 7419 Madison St., Forest Park, IL, 60130. 708-771-7243

WHAT: Readings from the Nancy Drew Anthology by six contributors —  Steve Bogdaniec, Jennifer Finstrom, Jessie Keary, Elizabeth Kerper, Cynthia Todd Quam, and  Patrick T. Reardon! Get your autographed copy at the event!


We asked the 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) to send photos featuring the book in their home environments. Author Tricia Marcella Cimera provided this portrait of herself and collection in front of the welcome sign in St. Charles, Illinois — a city about 40 miles west of Chicago known as “Pride of the Fox,” referring to the beautiful river that runs through the center of town. Tricia  contributed the poem “Nancy Herself,” featured below, to the 212-page anthology.

Nancy Herself

Years ago
in the dark ages, the early 1970s,
I lost a school library book.
I looked everywhere for it.
I retraced my steps,
reconstructed events,
deconstructed fruitless theories,
studied the facts carefully,
cast a narrowed eye on everyone,
just like a certain cool Girl Sleuth I loved.
I could not find that book—
checked out, never
to be checked back in.
Life was different back then for kids,
The School Librarian didn’t
give me a gold star, an atta-girl,
for making a solid spunky effort to find it.
I had to replace it, plus
I was labeled a loser
for daring to lose it.
I finally had to tell
my parents about my crime;
they lectured me
on carelessness for days, weeks, months.
The book?
The new Nancy Drew
mystery that mysteriously
disappeared, never to be found again
despite my best attempts
to crack the case.

The irony only just came to me
when I wrote this poem
in celebration of

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Marcella Cimera is a Midwestern poet with a worldview. Look for her work in these diverse places (some forthcoming): Anti-Heroin Chic, Buddhist Poetry Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Foliate Oak, Failed Haiku, I Am Not A Silent Poet, Mad SwirlSilver Birch Press, Yellow Chair ReviewWild Plum and elsewhere.  She has a micro collection of water-themed poems called The Sea and a River on the Origami Poems Project website. Tricia believes there’s no place like her own backyard and has traveled the world (including Graceland). She resides with her husband and family of animals in Illinois/in a town called St. Charles/by a river named Fox. Nancy Drew is one of her fave girl sleuths but Trixie Belden also holds a place in her heart.

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We asked the 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) to send photos featuring the book in their home environments. Author Michelle McMillan-Holifield provided this portrait of herself and the collection in front of the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Michelle contributed the prose poem “Quest of the Missing _______” (featured below)  to the 212-page anthology.

Quest of the Missing _____
by Michelle McMillan-Holifield

Nancy Drew #19 Quest of the Missing Map: First “adult” book I read completely by myself cover to cover, no help. Third grade. As I turned that last page, a sensation overcame me that I could not put into words at the time, but what I now recognize as satiety, accomplishment. I swung my pajamaed legs over the side of my bed and, book in hand, one eye lingering on those last few words, skipped through the house. Quest: my mother’s approval. I proclaimed my emphatic Guess what? and pirouetted, pliéd, as I leapt into her lap. She knew my success. My intellect never a mystery to this woman.
My mother read the first 18 Nancy Drews aloud to me. Her devotion stirs me. Makes me wish I could have children so I could devote my nights to reading aloud to them a few chapters a night, while their sweaty little heads rest on my shoulder. Embolden their sense of adventure. Look up words we don’t recognize. Do all women want children this badly or is it just the women who can’t have them? In all my medical records, the reason for my infertility eludes me.
There are no answers, Nancy. Not to this mystery. My body has been examined. The microscope, the magnifying glass, all manner of invasive instruments—they’ve all been sleuths on the case. And I wish I could call you in, turn the case over to you, present you with the evidence: ultrasounds highlighting oddities in my ovaries, calendars where I’ve mapped out my cycles and counted the days from one set of pills to the next, the + or – tests. All. Failed. You work out the symbols in my mysterious ultrasonic photographs, and I’ll nurse the fractures webbing inside my heart.
In sixth grade, my mother would not let me spend the night with a friend, so while she chatted with my friend’s mother, I slammed my elbow through her truck window. This was an accident on purpose. What I mean is I purposely elbowed the window, but I had no clue it was weak enough to shatter at my rage. I thought: I’m jinxed. I’m caught. I lied, cried, told my mother I slammed the door too hard. Never mind the large hole surrounded by a web of hairline fractures. Never mind the trail of blood down my arm that started at my elbow. My mother: on the case. I was questioned. I lied and lied then later signed my confession in a letter I left on the table as she slept. My savings account was confiscated. All one hundred and twenty three dollars.
Is it a sin I have not confessed? Has the blessing of children been confiscated? Did I curse myself somehow? I confess that in my twenties I claimed I did not want children. And I have confessed that confession before God, aloud, and begged forgiveness. I am an only child, my mother’s one chance to have grandchildren; I carry my guilt like a too-heavy purse I can’t seem to put down. That yoke (I put it on myself) is burdensome. I confess I am not as good a sleuth as my mother: I haven’t been able to glean from the nuance of her voice how she feels to have a daughter who is less. Childless, less than a woman. An unsuccess.
Nancy, you are motherless. Does it feel the same as this: broken, fractured, jinxed? You are missing a mother; I’m missing a child. Did you leave clues in a secret diary? Did you confess you missed what was missing so much you splayed your body face down on the bed and let your screams soak the sheets? I confess I miss curling up in my mother’s lap, laying my sweaty head on her shoulder as she read and read until all the mysteries were solved. Quest: questions answered. Quest: to conceive a child would be as simple as conceiving of a child. Quest: to be less childless.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Here I am  in front of the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. I’m the only author from Mississippi featured in the Nancy Drew Anthology, so I tried to capture a place that speaks of the state’s creative history. The Blues is an integral part of Mississippi and American musical history and Ground Zero Blues Club is owned in part by Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle McMillan-Holifield studied poetry at Delta State University in the Mississippi Delta. Her work has been included in or is forthcoming in Boxcar Poetry Review, First Class Lit, The Found Poetry Review, poemmemoirstory, A Quiet Courage, Red Savina Review, Vine Leaves, and Windhover, among others. She is an MFA Candidate at the University of Arkansas/Monticello.

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We asked the 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) to send photos featuring the book in their home environments. Author Anne Borne provided this portrait of herself and the collection from the ever-wonderful New York City. Anne contributed the story “It’s Not the Books, It’s the Library” (featured below)  to the 212-page anthology.

It’s Not the Books, It’s the Library
by Anne Born

It’s easy to identify the Nancy Drew and Dana Girls mysteries as my favorite children’s adventure stories. When I read those little books, I wanted to be the one with the answer, the one to solve the crime, the one to show the grownups that this teen could do it. These girls were resourceful and clever. What’s interesting to me now is that, for the life of me, I cannot recall a single episode, and I couldn’t name more than one title. I do not remember just exactly what these plucky heroines accomplished. What I do remember is my cousin Diane.

Diane was much older than me. She was a child of the 1940s whose father served in WWII. She spent countless hours with my grandparents and her aunt and uncle, laying a foundation of trust and love for all of the cousins to follow. We all knew that we were important, and we knew that our family had something special—and a good bit of that came from the first cousin on the scene: Diane.

I came to know Nancy Drew because Diane collected the books. As far as I can remember, it was a complete set. I could borrow them, read them one at a time or a couple at a go, and return them to her collection. But it was never about the plot of the books, it was that Diane could read and when she did, she did it up in style. I could take books out of the town public library certainly, and I did that nearly every week I was in school. But Diane had a library and that was exciting to me.

Because my family did not have a budget line for book buying or the means to get to bookstores very often, and because I spent so much time at the library, I have only a dozen or so books from my childhood. I do not have all the great pirate books that I loved. I don’t have the stories of Pompeii that I remember so clearly. And I don’t have the Nancy Drew books. I vowed that when I had my own children, I would buy them books instead of just taking them to the library. I wanted them to know what Diane must have known, that there is tremendous comfort in being in a library, but there is something so much more powerful in owning a library.

Diane left us a few years ago. She had a heart ailment that would take her from us way too soon. In writing this, I am sad she doesn’t know the lifelong impact her choice in teen fiction had on me. I want her to know that her collecting Nancy Drew and Dana Girl mysteries, and sharing them the way she did, instilled in me a love of libraries as well as a love of a great mystery story. My library has books about everything!

I’m reading my own copy of The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey now with my book club and even though it does not feature a boyfriend with a slick convertible or helpful aunts and uncles, it does remind me of the debt I owe to my cousin Diane. It’s great to have a library card, but it’s even better to have a library.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Born is the author of A Marshmallow on the Bus (2014), Prayer Beads on the Train (2015), and Waiting on a Platform (2016). She is the editor of the award-winning anthology of stories from The Late Orphan Project —  These Winter Months.  (2016). Anne is a regular contributor on The Broad Side, and her essay on Hillary Clinton’s religious faith was included in Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox  (2015), edited by Joanne Bamberger. Her work has been published in the Newtown Literary Journal and in “Me, as a Child,” “All About My Name,” and “My Prized Possession,” Poetry & Prose Series published by Silver Birch Press. Anne’s essay on her cousin’s collection of Nancy Drew novels was published in the Silver Birch Press Nancy Drew Anthology (2016). Her poetry has been featured in New York at Boundless Tales, Word Up Community Bookstore, and the Queens Council on the Arts. She has been a featured performer in several venues with Inspired Word NYC, at the New York Transit Museum, on Queens Public TV in “The World of Arts,” and with the International Women’s Salon on Salon Radio. Anne divides her time between New York and Michigan, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Follow Anne Born and The Late Orphan Project at The Backpack Press, and on TwitterRedbubbleWattpad, andInstagram @nilesite. Listen to her in the Bronx podcasts on Our Salon Radio.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is me at the subway station in my neighborhood, the beautiful South Bronx. Snapped by a girl walking by who saw me balancing my cell phone and the book. She says, “Wow! I love Nancy Drew!” So I gave her the book.