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Thursday, January 21st 2010

9:25 AM


In preparation for my upcoming book tour to Kansas in April, I have started a blog - www.orphantrainbook.blogspot.com where interested readers can follow along with the preparations leading up to the book tour as well as feedback from the road.  The blog will also have a bi-monthly column which will feature the story of a different orphan train rider.  I hope you'll come along for the ride!



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Thursday, October 1st 2009

5:54 AM

Happy Fall 2009!

Just a quick note to update what's been going on with my books....The contract with William Rotko has expired so the screen and stage rights are back in my hands.  Disappointing but hey, at least, "Hollywood Called!" 

Focusing now on marketing/publicity as well as booking school and community visits.  I am very excited to be headed to Kansas in the spring for a two week book tour sponsored by the Salina Arts & Humanites Commission.  Many thanks to Sara Gault for her enthusiasm in getting the ball rolling on that exciting trip! 

I have six presentations lined up for October and will be manning a booth at the First Annual Self Publishing Book Expo in NYC the first weekend of November.  Not sure what to expect there but.....nothing ventured, nothing gained as Oliver would say! 

I am continuing to review books for PODBRAM as time allows; currently reading a memoir about a NYC gambler in the 1930's. 

Also thanks to Stephanie Chupein, my new Baltimore Representive, for her promotional efforts on my behalf!

Enjoy the fall weather!

......Donna Aviles

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Friday, May 8th 2009

10:43 AM

Spring Is In The Air!

Happy Spring!  April and May have been especially busy for me with presentations.  May alone has eleven school presentations, three community organization presentations and my first book club appearance!  June, July and August should see a bit of a slow down with schools not in session but I hope to break into more Chester Co. Schools in the Fall.  No word from Bill Rotko on the screenplay so I've decided to put that out of my mind.  If it is meant to be, something will come of it - it's out of my hands. 

In the meantime, all three books are selling well.  I developed a presentation on the Great Depression which will highlight my third book, PEANUT BUTTER FOR CUPCAKES.  I also put together two different PowerPoint presentations on the orphan train movement that I can use with larger groups. 

I will post again with new updates as they arise.  Have a Great Summer!

-Donna Aviles


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Thursday, January 15th 2009

12:22 PM


Happy New Year everyone!  My apologies for taking so long since my last posting.  The fall was very hectic with several home improvement projects and before I knew it, Christmas was closing in!  And here it is the 15th of January already - how did that happen?!

Book sales and other activities have been keeping me busy as well.  Four authors from the Independent Authors Guild hosted a booth in Sept. at the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival.  We sold enough books to break even on the rather expensive booth, but more importantly, several good contacts were made for school presentations and book club appearances.  In early December, Dianne K. Salerni (author of HIGH SPIRITS) and I hosted a book at the Country Christmas event at Avon Grove Intermediate School.  Sales were brisk and again, several contacts were made.

Speaking of which, I had several presentations in the fall including two at Wilmington University where I have been invited back four times now.  Last week I enjoyed speaking to the Presbyterian Mens Club in W. Grove where I was treated to a delicious breakfast and invited back in May for the Women's luncheon.  I am looking forward to speaking to the students at The Tatnall School later this month and have also booked Pope John Paul II school, Brandywine Springs School and Wilmington Christian School.  In June, I will have my first book club discussion at Skyline Book Club. 

The contract with screenwriter William Rotko has been extended due to the writer's strike that took place in late 2007 so there is still hope that he will be successful in selling the project to a studio.  In the meantime, be sure and check out the premiere of Bill Rotko's new series on A&E entitled THE BEAST.  The first episode is tonight, Jan. 15th at 10pm.  Initial reviews are excellent and I am sure it will be a hit!

In December, PEANUT BUTTER FOR CUPCAKES received an outstanding review from READERVIEWS.  You can read it on my website and also on Amazon.com.

My best to all and I promise to update again soon!


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Sunday, July 13th 2008

3:56 PM


PEANUT BUTTER FOR CUPCAKES, A TRUE STORY FROM THE GREAT DEPRESSION, was released on July 7th.  This is the story of Oliver and his six children and begins in 1930 after the tragic death of his wife, Estella.  Initial reviews have been remarkable and my first booksigning this past weekend was a great success with 55 books sold! 

Many thanks to ANGELA O'SHAUGHNESSY who writes for the Hockessin Community News for her outstanding front page article about the book's release.  So many people have commented on how well done the article was and it certainly was instrumental in bringing in the crowd at BOOKS and BEYOND CAFE on Saturday!

Additionally, Prue Osborne from the Kennett Paper came by to interview my father, Ben Nordmark, and myself this past week for an article that will appear in the paper on July 17th.

Next up - the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival the first weekend in September.  I will be one of five authors from the INDEPENDENT AUTHORS GUILD selling and signing books on both the 6th and 7th from 11:00 am-5:00 pm.  Hope to see you there!

-Donna Aviles



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Tuesday, April 8th 2008

7:02 AM


Happy Spring!  Warmer weather brought renewed energies and the first draft of PEANUT BUTTER FOR CUPCAKES is nearing completion.  Still lots of editing and proofing to be done, not to mention cover design and layout but a good first step none the less!

I recently received word that my application to participate in this year's MUSHROOM FESTIVAL in Kennett Square has been accepted so you will find me the weekend of September 8th manning a booth - along with four other independent authors - on the streets of Kennett.  This is a huge event, attracting more than 100,000 people over the course of the two days and should be lots of fun!

On April 13th at 2:00 pm, I will be speaking at the newly renovated Hockessin Library as the first speaker in their month long series on MEMOIRS.  This is open to the public however registration is required.

The following Saturday, April 19th, I will be selling and signing books at the READING WONDERLAND FESTIVAL held at the Pike Creek Christian School on Polly Drummund Hill Road in Newark, DE.  This event will include ten authors, the most famous of which is Herman Parrish, the author of the AMELIA BEDELIA series.  Each author will have their own booth and do a ten minute reading/presentation during the course of the day.

On Sunday May 4th I will be traveling to Monmouth CO. NJ to the speak at the county's Genealogical Society on the Orphan Train Movement.

On a more personal note, son #1 has accepted a teaching position in Memphis, TN so we will be spending our summer vacation along the Mississippi

Enjoy your day!

Donna Aviles


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Wednesday, February 27th 2008

12:46 PM


My visits to Wilmington Friends School and the Delaware Genealogical society were quite successful.  Amazingly, one of the teachers at the school was the great great grandson of Governor Brady of Alaska who was an orphan train rider!  Very cool.  This Saturday, March 1st, I will be at the Delaware Women's Conference in Author's Row selling and signing books along with two other authors.  I am looking forward to listening to and meeting the keynote speaker, Marianne Pearl author of A Mighty Heart.  On Monday, the 3rd of March I will be traveling with author Dianne Salerni (High Spirits) to the Penn Delco School District to participate in that district's reading event. 

The Hockessin Library has invited me to speak on April 13th where I will also have a book signing/sale.  This will be one of the first events in the newly renovated library that will be opening on April 5th.  I suspect that I have Barbara Miller to thank for that invite! 

-Donna Nordmark Aviles

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Saturday, January 19th 2008

4:13 PM


I have been invited to two more schools - Avon Grove Charter School in West Grove, Pa on January 30th and Wilmington Friends School on February 13th.  At both schools I will be speaking to the 4th graders.  I have also been invited to speak at the Monmouth Co. Genealogical Society in Asbury Park, NJ on May 4th - a great way to celebrate my 50th birthday!

The third, and final book in this series - with the original working title of 'Oliver's Children' - is approximately half way finished with the new title of "Peanut Butter for Cupcakes, A True Story From the Great Depression'.  Where did that title come from, you might ask?  You'll know by the time you're finished reading the book!

Drucilla Nordmark, my sister-in-law, is working on recording the first two books for an audiobook version of the stories.   She is trained in voice over work and has access to studios for recording.  I'll keep you posted on availability. 

And finally, no updates at this point from Bill Rotko, the screenwriter who has optioned the books for a possible movie.  With the Hollywood writers strike till going on, I don't suppose there's much he can legally do.  Hopefully that can all be resolved soon!

---Donna Nordmark Aviles


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Monday, December 24th 2007

11:19 AM


December has been a very busy month!  As Chairperson (for the 9th year now) of the Jesse Tree Project at St. Catherine of Siena here in Wilmington, we provided  Christmas gifts and food to 19 families - the last gifts were delivered today, Christmas Eve!

During the month, both the Centreville School and Delcastle High School ordered additional copies of the books, and I had three presentations to the 7th graders at Brandywine Springs Elem. School.  The topic of these presentations was Oral Histories and Personal Narratives.  Many students bought copies of the books as did some of the staff.  Many thanks to teacher Jean Hall for the invite and delicious lunch!

In January, I will be presenting to the 4th grade students at Avon Grove Charter School in Avon Grove, PA.  In February I will be at the Woodlawn Library in Wilmington speaking to the Delaware Genealogy Club on the History of the Orphan Trains, as well as how to research a rider.  This event is open to the public and will be on the 19th at 7:00 pm.  March 1st is the Delaware Women's Conference where I will have a table of books for sale and signing, and on April 19th I will be at the Pike Creek Christian School for their Book Fair.  I will post additional events as they are scheduled.

The 3rd book in this series, OLIVER'S CHILDREN, is underway.  I am on the 4th chapter, although I did not have much time to write during December.  January and February will find me hard at work with researching and writing!  Many thanks to my father Benjamin and his brothers Jim and Oliver for their contributions to this effort. 




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Friday, November 30th 2007

8:02 AM

Speaking Engagement Calender Updates!

I had three very successful and fun speaking engagements in November that kept me busy.  On the 9th I spoke to the West Grove RAP GROUP (Retired Active People).  I was treated to a nice lunch, then gave a presentation to about 80 people, followed by a book signing.  Many thanks to Peg Cook for inviting me to speak with such a wonderful group of people!

On November 20th I spent the morning at the Centreville School in Centreville, DE.  Marcia Szelewski, the school librarian had read the article in the News Journal and invited me to come and speak to both the middle school and upper school students.  She did a VERY successful presale of the books and read most of the first book during library with the students.  They were so attentive and had so many wonderful questions - I could have stayed all day!  Coincidently, one of the teachers I met turned out to be the cousin of Bill Rotko! (the screenwriter who has optioned my books) SMALL WORLD!  Thank you Marcia, and all the Centreville School family for such a warm welcome!

This past Tuesday, November 27th, I visited the life skills class at DELCASTLE HIGH SCHOOL here in Delaware.  This was an amazing group of students!  They have been reading FLY LITTLE BIRD, FLY! in class, going over each chapter carefully to make sure everyone fully understands what is going on in the story.  They really enjoyed hearing Oliver speak on the tapes about what it was like to ride the orphan train.  A second portion of the tape that I played for them was Oliver telling what it was like when he was sleeping in the Sod House and the rats dug through the walls and were crawling on his bed!  The teacher, Mrs. Lehm, will be using BEYOND THE ORPHAN TRAIN in the class after Christmas and lots of the students purchased the second book for themselves.  It was a great day in a very welcoming classroom!  Thanks so much to teacher Kathy Lehm for having me come in!

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