Writing and Reading THE ALABASTER BOX: An Invitation

Chapter 1: The Stokes Company

            “If it had been left up to Grace, they would have stayed home. But she didn’t get to choose. With land opening up in the West, her father and mother wanted go to California and start a medical school. So, sorry or not, she had to leave nearly everybody and everything she had ever known and loved in St. Louis, Missouri where she had lived her whole safe, comfortable life.”

This is the opening paragraph of The Alabaster Box.  Maybe you have a question for me. You may ask questions about the story or about writing the story. I’ll do my best to answer. You can also tell me what you liked and wanted more of as well as what didn’t work for you. You will see some comments below. You can enter your own comments or respond to somebody else’s comment. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will find the place to reply.

If you haven’t read the book, I hope this makes you curious enough to want to read it when it is published.






Author: Four Leaves and Tales

I like a good story. For a dozen years I taught elementary school. Story was always an important part of our school day whether I was teaching kindergarten or fifth grade. Later, I became a university professor and taught people who wanted to be teachers. Now I am retired and busy reading and writing stories. There's more about me in the About section of the blog.

4 thoughts on “Writing and Reading THE ALABASTER BOX: An Invitation”

  1. My 5th grade class and I are really enjoying the first few chapters of The Alabaster Box so far. The students first commented that they felt the story was going way too quickly, with several characters dying and very little time spent on this piece of the story…but we soon started to realize that this wasn’t the main focus of the story, as it further developed in Ch. 3.


    1. I’m glad they’re enjoying it. I think setting the context is risky–too slow or too fast. I’ll be interested to know if the fast pace made them want to put the book down or go on.
      I appreciate your feedback. So far they’re the only class reading it. I’ve had some individual children read it, but this is even better because you have readers with a variety of interests.
      Thanks again.


  2. We are still really enjoying the novel – they have been on the edge of their seats with some of the suspenseful parts! There were some mixed reactions/reviews at the point in the story where Grace meets Mr. Nichols and soon after, the whole magic piece is introduced…many of the students felt kind of blindsided by the fantasy turn of the story, whereas previously it had been a pretty straightforward historical fiction genre. These students felt that this shift to the magic was too abrupt and unexpected and that maybe there should’ve been some kind of clues earlier in the story. Some others thought that this abruptness was fine and they liked the way it was done.


    1. Thanks for the feedback. I’m wondering if you read the poem that I may include as an epigraph? Maybe I forgot to include it with the manuscript. It more or less hints at magic afoot. But then the story goes on as if everything were based on reality rather than magical realism. It appears almost by chance, but perhaps not by chance. The magical was there, but we didn’t know it until Grace is found.
      I suppose the important question is whether or not those who thought there was a turn-too-quick would have put the book down, left on their own. And, that said, how they have been able to engage with Mr. Nichols.


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