When my book, The Disappearing Rose, came out, my first guest appearance was on Penny Estelle’s blog, “Penny’s Tales”. It is therefore only fitting that the first guest on my blog should be – Penny Estelle! She’s here today to promote her latest Wickware Sagas book, Riches To Rags

Having enjoyed Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare, I am looking forward to reading this story, too. Like Billy, who got to hobnob with William Tell, the central character in Riches To Rags (Dylan Jones) gets transported to a period of history I’m interested in, the time of the Orphan Trains.

But I’ll let Penny tell you about it.

Good morning, Renee. First let me thank you for letting me stop by to give a shout out to you and your readers about Riches to Rags, Book 5 of the Wickware Sagas.

When I wrote Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare, I never figured this idea would be made into a series. Seventh graders in Miss Wickware’s history class get an assignment to do a short oral report on the historical subject they draw from a box. One lucky, or unlucky student finds him or herself back in time, nose to nose, with their picked subject.

The subjects in the Wickware Sagas include William Tell, Sybil Ludington, Molly Pitcher, Francis Scott Key and the Orphan Trains. I thought I knew all there was to know about Mr. William Tell and Mr. Francis Scott Key, but I was so wrong. Doing the research on these subjects was a real eye-opener. It was fun and really interesting. It makes me wonder why I hated history throughout my school years. I think it’s all in the presentation.

My stories have 21st Century kids doing a little time travel, meeting up with these legends.  There is humor, adventure, and of course sarcasm, but the actual history is fact-based. My hope is, at least with these five subjects, kids will learn some history and enjoy a few stories in the process. 

Riches To Rags is about the Orphan Trains. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I had no idea these things even existed. I wasn’t sure if I could write a lighthearted story, with any kind of humor, about a subject that is anything but lighthearted. Riches To Rags is what I came up with and I’m very proud of the outcome.

MuseItUp Publishing was the wonderful publishing company that picked up my stories for the Wickware Sagas. I have a Christmas Story coming out soon called The Unwanted Christmas Guest.

I also have several other middle grade stories out, Hike Up Devil’s Mountain and A Float Down the Canal. 

I also write under P. A. Estelle for the older crowd. At What Price?, Her Cracked Heart, and Dugan’s Creek.

Estelle (2)

Blurb: Dylan Jones, seventh grader at Langdon Middle School lives the good life. His family has money. He gets most everything he wants. Even so, everybody likes Dylan ’cause he is a happy go lucky kid.

Miss Wickware, his seventh grade history teacher, tells the class they will be studying the United States in the late 1800 for the next few weeks. Everybody will be expected to present an oral report on a subject that is drawn from a box. Dylan draws The Orphan Train.

A penniless Dylan finds himself at the train station in New York in 1875 and he is as scared and unsure as the children getting ready to ride the Orphan Train.

How will Dylan make it when money is nowhere to be found?


“Daddy, we don’t want to go with them. We want to stay with you.” His lips were quivering and his eyes filled with tears.

The man stood. “I done told you, since your mama died I can’t care for you. Now, you will do what I tell you.” He turned to walk away but the boy grabbed his arm.

“Daddy…” The man shoved the little boy, making him fall, landing hard on the cement. Both boy and baby were now crying and Dylan noticed not one person stopped to help.

“Hey,” Dylan yelled, “maybe you need to man up and go talk to the lady yourself. It takes a really brave man to push a little boy around.” Dylan’s face was purple with anger.

“This ain’t none of your concern, kid,” the man yelled over his shoulder as he practically ran through the door, escaping his kids screams.

“You can’t leave them here, you gutless wonder!” Dylan yelled, but their father was long gone. “People can’t just throw their kids away,” he muttered, picking up the screaming baby, afraid she would get stepped on.

“It happens all the time.”

Dylan turned to see a boy, a few years older than himself, leaning against the wall. He was dressed in dirty long pants and a shirt that seemed to have more holes than material.

                                                                 * * * *


  1. What a great idea for a series! And the excerpt is very compelling. Don’t you just love the endless possibilities of time travel?

  2. Renee, thanks so much for having me. You are such a gracious hostess!

  3. marsharwest · · Reply

    Wow, Penny, what a great excerpt! And I love the concept of this series. This is so not what I normally read, but going to have to check this one out. Continued good luck with these books.

  4. Heather G · · Reply

    Great post- love the idea you’re doing a history lesson while while entertaining!
    Heather G- Natasha’s Dream

  5. Hey all you that stopped by. I really appreciate it!

  6. Loved your post, Penny! And the excerpt left me wanting to find out more. Good luck with the series!

  7. Penny and Renee,

    Wonderful post. I love a series where you can learn something of history while getting to know new and interesting characters! Like you I wasn’t nearly so enamored with history as I am now that I’m researching all the time for stories:) Congratulations on the series!

    Cheers, Sara

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