One more click…

I’m glad you stopped by, but you need to click one more time to go to my new website:

I hope you enjoy reading about my own adventures as a writer of books for kids. Let me know if you have any questions. I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. Don’t miss Mercy’s blog.

Posted in Uncategorized

Hello, Third Graders!

What’s better than a school full of third-graders who like to read mysteries?

Five schools of mystery-reading third-graders!

What a terrific time I had meeting the students, teachers, and administrators at Belville, Bolivia, Jessie Mae Monroe, Lincoln, and Southport Elementary Schools during my April visit to North Carolina. I got to share my books with a whole new audience of readers!

All of these schools are in Brunswick County—which also happens to be home to the Oak Island, Price’s Creek, and Bald Head Island lighthouses…sound familiar?

Next stop? May in Michigan!

Posted in Bald Head Island, Books, Lighthouses, M.C. Tillson, North Carolina, Third grade, Travels

“Can I take it home?”

“Can I put my name in it?” “Is it mine to keep?”

It’s not a scientific survey by any means, but with these and some of the other questions I got while handing out copies of The Clue at Copper Harbor to third graders in Flint, Michigan, I’m going to deem Phase I of “The Muffin Project” a success.welcomect1

After visiting with several third-grade classes (and doing a whole-school assembly at Freeman Elementary) I am delighted to report that readers all over Flint are looking for clues and solving riddles with Sam and Becky as they visit lighthouses on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In addition to meeting some very excited students at Eisenhower, Neithercut, and Freeman Elementary Schools, I also made two good friends—Mrs. Queita Ferrington and Mrs. Jacquie Richardson—who made me feel right at home.ctinflushing1

I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can go back to Flint and maybe visit the students at other elementary schools. In the meantime, I’ve already started Becky and Sam on a new adventure right here in northern California! I wonder what will happen next?

Stay tuned…

Posted in A&M Muffin Project, Books, Flint, Lighthouses, M.C. Tillson, Michigan, Third grade, Travels, Uncategorized, Upper Peninsula

The Third Grade Muffin Project

Have you ever started out to do one thing only to find yourself doing something altogether different?

procrastinatingI do that all the time. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes… Well, sometimes it’s just another way of procrastinating. But this time it turned into what I call the “Muffin Project.”moosemuffinbook

The thing is, the Muffin Project has nothing to do with real muffins and everything to do with books. One book in particular comes to mind. Do you know the book, If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond? (If not, you really should read it. I’m sure it’s in your library. If it’s not, please email me. Oh no! Here I go—procrastinating again.)

Anyway, according to the book, if you give a moose a muffin he’ll want another…and another. That’s the idea behind the Muffin Project.donatemoose3

All sorts of studies have been done* and are being done about how important it is for students to be competent readers by the end of third grade. To help just a little with that goal, I’m going to give a copy of The Clue at Copper Harbor to all the third graders I visit during this school year. (And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that there is a VERY cute moose in my book too. Oops, procrastinating again…sorry!) My first visit is to Flint, Michigan at the end of September and I’m very excited.

If you would like to help give a book to a third grader (or if you know someone who would), please visit A&M’s page at this link.  And have a great school year! (No procrastinating!)


* Start with “Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters,” a report issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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Posted in A&M Muffin Project, Books, Flint, M.C. Tillson, Michigan, Upper Peninsula

Up and Coming

So much has been going on that I’ve neglected my blog (and my readers) shamelessly. Well, that ends today…and we’ll hope that I can do better in the future. But, for right now, let me bring you up to date:


Green waves of grain in Montana’s  “Big Sky” country


The Rainbow Dam over the Missouri River in Great Falls, Montana

● My son graduated from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA and now has a job with AmeriCorps in Great Falls, Montana. So, at the end of July, Mercy, Sadie (my faithful Subaru), and I took a road trip to deliver Micah to his new home for the next year. More on this trip later, but just so you know, Montana is a bee-uuu-fi-ful place!

● Spent some time in Tahoe at my friend’s cabin. (She drove back from Montana with me so I could do it in one fell swoop instead of several days!) Mercy accidentally-on-purpose went swimming in Castle Creek. (She has more about that trip on her blog.)

● In August, I met family on Oak Island, North Carolina for our annual beach trip. I had lots of fun—especially with my too cute and too fun grand-nephew in charge—he’s two and a half! I even got to take the ferry for a quick visit to Bald Head Island. Back in Wilson, NC, I got to visit my first whirlygig park. It’s not quite finished, but it’s already amazing!

whirlygiga  whirlygigb  whirlygigc

● Right now, I’m finishing up my plans for a trip to Flint, Michigan to visit three elementary schools there and talk with them about my Michigan Lighthouse Adventures. It’s my first school visit this year and I’m very excited!

Whew! It’s been a busy summer!


The lighthouse at Point Bonita, California seems totally ready for a mystery!

My visit to Flint is also the first visit that I’m doing for A&M’s Muffin Project where we give all the third graders that I visit this school year a copy of The Clue at Copper Harbor! Oh, and I forgot to tell you that I’ve started my California Lighthouse Adventures with a new goal of making all three books available just months apart (instead of years)! I think the second book in the California series is going to be The Mystery at Point Bonita. (I’ll keep you posted on my progress.)

So that’s what has been happening with me. Whew! It’s been a busy summer! So how are you doing? I hope you are having a great “Back-to-School” season. Work hard and learn lots, but remember to take time to read!

Happy Fall!


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Posted in A&M Muffin Project, Bald Head Island, Books, California, Flint, Lighthouses, M.C. Tillson, Mercy, Michigan, Muffin Project, North Carolina, Travels, Uncategorized, Upper Peninsula

Strawberry Moon AND Summer Solstice!

Full Strawberry MoonDid you know that full moons have names?

I’ve always heard about Blue Moons and Harvest Moons (mainly because of the songs), but I never knew about the Hunter’s Moon or the Blood Moon or June’s Strawberry Moon until this year when June’s full moon (a.k.a. the Strawberry Moon or the Rose Moon or sometimes even the Honey Moon) occurs on the same days as the summer solstice.

In case you don’t know (or in case you knew, but have forgotten), the summer solstice is the day when the sun reaches it’s Northernmost point of the year. It’s literally the longest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

For our friends in Copper Harbor, that means about 15.5 hours of sunlight. Those of us at lower latitudes—like Santa Clara, California and Oak Island, North Carolina—will see about 14.5 hours which means it’s going to be a lot lighter, longer. (With any luck you’ll be able to stay out and play until it gets dark—long past your normal bedtime!)

As with a lot of things in our world, the names of the moons came from older civilizations. I found out that this month’s Strawberry Moon comes from the Algonquin tribes who used it to tell them when strawberry-picking season was at its best!

AwooooollI think knowing the names of the full moons is cool, so here’s a link to the rest of them. What is the name of the full moon for the month you were born? Mine’s the Wolf Moon!

Happy Summer!


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Posted in M.C. Tillson, Michigan, North Carolina, Upper Peninsula

Is this cool, or what?

Or maybe I should say, “Isn’t this COLD!”

Here are two winter-time pictures of the Copper Harbor Lighthouse. In the first picture, you can see Lake Superior in the background.

Kite Aerial Photography with Nathan Invincible: Lighthouses &emdash; Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Now take a look at this second picture. Doesn’t the lighthouse look like it’s in the middle of a snowy field? That’s what it looks like when the harbor freezes.

Kite Aerial Photography with Nathan Invincible: Lighthouses &emdash; Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Want to know another…er…cool thing? These pictures were taken by kite. That’s right, kite. The guy responsible for the pictures is Nathan Miller or (according to his website) Nathan Invincible. He puts a camera on a kite and then he flies the kite. Just as I was thinking about what to write this week, my friend Lloyd from Grandpa’s Barn sent me a link to a whole gallery of U.P. lighthouse pictures that Mr. Invincible and his kites have taken. What perfect timing!

And think about this: Mr. Invincible likes to take pictures of lighthouses. I like to write about lighthouses. Maybe the next time I get to the U.P. I’ll get a chance to meet him.

Stay warm!


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Posted in Lighthouses, M.C. Tillson, Michigan, Uncategorized, Upper Peninsula