Pat DeLong recently published her second book, "The Amethyst Crystal." In addition she added to and made improvements in her first one, "Life and Times of Billy 'the Kid,' the Amazing Life of an Ordinary Kid."
In early December she visited the East Penn and Franklin Elementary schools and parts of each book were read to the students. Her sister Jill, a former East Penn teacher, accompanied her to the school and did the reading.
But DeLong was not looking for a career as an author though she did some writing.. In fact, it was art that interested her beginning while she was still attending North Catasauqua Elementary School. At Northampton Community College she earned a degree in commercial art.
She has a series of paintings of race horses, has done murals and the artwork at Becky's Drive In, Berlinsville, where she works. After living in Lehigh Township for 23 years she now lives in Palmerton with Jill in the house once owned by her grandparents.
In the past 10 years she has spent more of her time writing. The first children's book she wrote is about a boy, Billy, doing ordinary things.
Jill was a teacher at East Penn Elementary. "I would have my class read chapter books. We took chapters of Billy the Kid and made plays."
The fourth-grade students rehearsed for three months twice a week. It was such a neat project and is what she misses most in retirement.
A chapter tells of the time Billy's class visited the old jail museum in Jim Thorpe. He and some friends wandered away from the class. They saw the handprint on the wall made when one of the Molly Maguires, miners accused of killing mine owners, said it would remain to prove his innocence.
Another story was about the mansion on the hill outside Palmerton. Billy heard it was to be torn down so he and some friends visited it.
Other chapters are about cheating, bullying, the death of a friend, a fire at another friend's house, being home alone, spending time with his father, a visit to Becky's Drive In and having a new girl in the neighborhood who wants to play sports with the boys. There are 39 chapters with each one being a story in itself.
The chapter about the boy who died was based on a friend who died at age 6.
"The Amethyst Crystal" was running around DeLong's head for years. In her school days she wrote short science fiction stories. Crystal is an adventure science fiction story. Three teenagers travel through time looking for pieces of the amethyst crystal which had been broken and dispersed throughout the world. This book has a sketch book in the final pages rather than pictures throughout.
She bought a crystal on ebay and was wearing it when she visited the schools. It is also the design for the cover artwork of the book.
"If you like mysteries this is a good book for you," said DeLong. It is suitable for intermediate readers.
After her reading, she asked if the students liked the book. They replied, "It's good."
Earlier she wrote an episode of "Star Trek" which was not accepted. She is a member of the USS Aleutian Star Trek Club.
"Billy" is dedicated to her father, W.L. "Bill" DeLong, who urged her to write.
They are available at lulu.com and Amazon and can be read on a Kindle.