Meet Marie



As a former CA middle-school teacher now living in TX, I’ve witnessed the enthusiasm generated by author visits. I also know the financial difficulties schools face to book author visits. As a result, I currently charge a reduced fee of $150 per presentation, and $40 for an additional presentation at the same school on the same day.

All presentations provide students with a hands-on experience of my authenticated ancient artifacts of a bronze dagger, alabaster jar, and silver coin. Online visits are $50 per classroom, if teachers provide pre-order forms to students at least two weeks before the event. (click here to download the student pre-order form).

I am currently scheduling schools and other venues for spring 2022.

Marie Sontag

Dr. Marie Sontag author visit







Teacher Comments

– Your presentation had a huge impact on our students. You have lots of fans at our school! Jean F., School Librarian

– The students truly enjoyed hearing from you and seeing your artifacts! It is evident that you have a passion for writing, research, and kids. You made a special connection with our students. I’m so thankful to finally have literature connected to social studies that kids truly enjoy. Shelly G., 6th grad social studies teacher


Student Comments

– I’m so excited to start the section of social studies that includes Mesopotamia and Egypt. Your book, The Bronze Dagger, changed my whole perspective of social studies. – Roni

– I thought The Bronze Dagger was very realistic. It was filled with many cliffhangers, so whenever our teacher read it to us, we were always so eager to find out what would happen next. – Alison

– Thank you for coming to our school. My favorite part was holding the dagger and jar. It felt like I was holding an important part of history in my hands! – Jayanti

Marie Sontag books on students desks














Halina Butler – Polish Girl Scout and survivor of the 1944 Warsaw Rising. She’s holding Dr. Sontag’s 4,000-year-old artifacts of a Mesopotamian bronze dagger, Egyptian alabaster jar, and Phoenician silver coin. Each relates to one of Dr. Sontag’s books in the Ancient Elements series. These artifacts always accompany Dr. Sontag to every presentation.

Dr. Sontag interviewed Halina Butler after meeting her at a Polish festival in California. When Halina saw Rising Hope at the book festival, she said, “I was there!”

Halina invited Dr. Sontag to her home for tea, and Dr. Sontag discovered that Halina had been a Polish Girl Scout during WWII. She later joined the Polish Underground Army’s Zoshka Battalion. This is the battalion the fictional and historical Scouts talked about in Rising Hope. This book is now in a revision process. While you wait for its new release, you can see a video of Halina’s interview and find out more about the Rising Hope (new title, Underground Scouts) here.

Ancient Mesopotamian artifacts



Marie Sontag brings history to life, one adventure at a time. Her middle grade and YA historical novels place fictional teens alongside historical figures as they face challenges similar to those faced by today’s youth.

With a BA in social science, a minor in music, an MA, and a Ph.D. in education, Dr. Sontag says teaching middle school for over 15 years has kept her young.

Born in Milwaukee, WI, and having lived forever in San Jose, CA, she currently makes her home in Texas where her favorite activities include attending concerts and musicals with her husband and playing with her incredibly talented grandchildren!

Publisher’s Bio:

Phone: 408/410-3462
Address: DFW area, TX. Email for details
Author Facebook Page
Author Trailer
YouTube Author Channel


The Bronze Dagger cover image


Ancient Elements Series
Book One: The Bronze Dagger
Twelve-year-old Samsuluna (Sam) needs to find his uncle. There’s only one problem. His uncle, the one who gave him his bronze dagger, lives 800 miles away. With Sam’s mother and brother dead, and his father—well, Sam wants to get as far away from his father as possible. He sets out from the Zagros Mountains and heads for Tyre. The stolen jewels hidden within the folds of his tunic should be more than enough to book passage on a caravan. But the secrets Sam keeps, the lies he tells, and the enemies he makes endanger not only his own life but also those of his new friends—especially when he violates Hammurabi’s Code. Will Sam ever reach his uncle? Will he ever discover the mystery behind the stolen jewels?
Teacher lesson plans can be found here.
Media-ready cover image  2.5mg
Book Trailer

Product Details
The Bronze Dagger (Ancient Elements Series, book 1)
Pages: 106 (paperback)
Genre: Middle-Grade Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sunbury Press
Publication Date: March 30, 2014
ISBN: 1620063492
Price: $9.99
Available Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Amazon Audible
Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Audiobook Apple Books,, (The Netherlands and Belgium) Kraina Książek  (Poland)
Links to ready-made lesson plans available for all books upon request –



Book Two: The Alabaster Jar

In book two of the Ancient Elements Series, Samsuluna (Sam), now fourteen, finds himself in Egypt with his adoptive family. While he and Balashi learn more about the healing arts in the House of Scrolls, Sam overhears the lector priest discuss a secret tomb with an administrative scribe. Sam convinces Amata to help him find and explore the tomb, leading to the discovery of stolen alabaster jars. But Sam and Amata’s pursuit to uncover the mystery behind the thefts leads to dire consequences. In The Alabaster Jar, kidnappings, assassination plots, and murders, as well as friendships with craftsmen, princes, and princesses, weave a tale of intrigue, deception, and self-sacrifice in this sequel to The Bronze Dagger.

Media-ready cover image

Product Details
The Alabaster Jar (Ancient Elements Series, book 2)
Pages: 124 (paperback)
Genre: Middle-Grade Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sunbury Press
Publication Date: September 4, 2015
ISBN: 1620066211
Price: $9.99
Available Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Amazon Audible
Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, (The Netherlands and Belgium), Kraina Książek  (Poland)
Links to ready-made lesson plans available for all books upon request –



Book Three: The Silver Coin
In book three of the Ancient Elements Series, Samsuluna (Sam), now fifteen, sails from Egypt to Phonecia to complete his quest to find his uncle. Fingering the remaining silver coin given to him by his adoptive father, Sam is joined on the journey by his Egyptian friend, Keret. When a storm blows their ship off course and Mycenaean pirates board to take them captive as slaves for the Greeks, all appears lost—until a Cretan ship under the authority of Princess Ari-adné rescues them. But how long will Ari-adné’s father, King Minos, a descendant of legendary King Minos-and-the-minotaur fame, insist that Sam and Keret remain on his island?

This conclusion to the Ancient Elements Series weaves the final stories of Sam, Amata, Sam’s father, his uncle, and Sam’s Babylonian friend Enlil into a cohesive journey through the middle-eastern kingdoms, delivering heart-stopping excitement as Sam embarks on his final adventure.
Media-ready cover image

Kirkus Reviews wrote of The Silver Coin, “Sontag’s Mediterranean world is a vivid one, and the story makes clear that even thousands of years ago, residents of the region were well-traveled and knowledgeable about their realm . . . individuals looking for curriculum-based fiction may find the book a valuable tool.”  As with all books in the Ancient Elements Series, free lesson plans are available.




Product Details
The Silver Coin
(Ancient Elements Series, book 3)
Pages: 140 (paperback)
Genre: Middle-Grade Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sunbury Press
Publication Date: September 19, 2016
ISBN: 1620067986
Price: $9.99
Available Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Amazon Audible
Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, (The Netherlands and Belgium),  Kraina Książek  (Poland)
Links to ready-made lesson plans available for all books upon request –



Whitcomb Discoveries Series
Book One:
California Trail Discovered
WordCrafts Press
MG Historical Fiction
All Daniel wants is to get back to Illinois to find out who murdered his parents. He doesn’t want to travel the Oregon Trail with his guardian, Jim. He doesn’t want twelve-year-old Virginia Reed, a member of the Donner Party, as a friend. And he certainly doesn’t want anything bad to happen to his little sister Hannah as they travel to California. Confronted by both good and bad Indians, good and bad whites, how will Daniel be able to protect Hannah on the long trek West? Will he ever discover the mystery behind his parents’ deaths? Will he ever find a real family again?
Media-ready cover image for CTD
Book Trailer

Product Details
California Trail Discovered
(The Whitcomb Discoveries, Book 1)
Pages: 148
Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction
Publisher: WordCrafts Press
Publication Date: October 14, 2020
ISBN: 1952474310
Price: $12.99
Available Formats: Paperback, Hardback, Kindle
Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Amazon Kindle, Kobo
This book includes links to S.T.E.A.M. lesson plans
Links to ready-made lesson plans available for all books upon request –


Whitcomb Discoveries Series
Book Two:
Yosemite Trail Discovered
WordCrafts Press
YA Historical Fiction
Sixteen-year-old Daniel (fictional character) works with his guardian, Jim Savage, (historical figure) in the California goldfields. Daniel saves every ounce of gold he earns from the meager salary Jim pays him to keep the man’s trading post ledgers. Once Daniel turns 18, he plans to go back to Illinois and find out who murdered his parents —until a renewed friendship with Virginia Reed, a former member of the Donner Party, blossoms. Will Daniel’s new interest in Virginia, a new interest in law, and desire for justice for the Indians alter his plans? When an Indian War breaks out in the goldfields and Jim forms a battalion to rout the marauding Ahwahneechee from Yosemite, will Daniel ride with him? The fate of his new Indian friends and the course of his life hang in the balance.
Media-ready cover image for YTD


Rising Hope Series
Book One:  Underground Scouts
WordCrafts Press
YA Historical Fiction
Tadzio and Magdalena weren’t prepared for their Polish Scoutmaster’s challenge. Not until their parents disappeared. Undercover Scouts tells the story of six teens who, through loss, find hope when their Scout troops join forces with the Underground Army during the 1944 Warsaw Rising. Against insurmountable odds, the Scouts work to push the Germans out of Warsaw before the Russians sweep in to “liberate” them. They hope to show the Allies they are willing to sacrifice their lives in order to retain their democracy. They don’t want the Allies to give them over to the Communists once the war is over. The story is told through the eyes of Tadzio and Magdalena, fictional characters, who experience the events s alongside historical Scouts, adding both realism and dramatic adventure to this historical novel.

Coming September 2022
Product Details
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publisher: WordCrafts Press
Publication Date:
Available Formats: Paperback, Hardback, Kindle
Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Amazon Kindle, Kobo
Media-ready cover image for Underground Scouts


and download links 


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Ancient Mesopotamian artifactsAncient Tales and Western Trails: Author Marie Sontag brings the past to life, one adventure at a time. Sharing a few of her character’s adventures from her middle-grade historical fiction series, Ancient Elements, this former middle school teacher also treats listeners to a hands-on experience with authenticated artifacts of a bronze dagger from the time of Hammurabi, an alabaster jar from ancient Egypt, and a Phoenician silver coin.

Her western trails series, The Whitcomb Discoveries, written for middle-grade and young adult readers, features both fictional and historical characters as they travel the Oregon and California Trails, eventually leading to their entry into Yosemite Valley.

How can these ancient tales and western trails impact today’s readers? Bringing the past to life through adventurous stories from another time and place opens minds to new perspectives as well as the realization that we’re not so different from others—whether we’re separated by time, distance, or culture. Dubbed a literary archeologist, Dr. Sontag helps young readers unearth facts and ideas from the past that have implications for the present and possibilities for the future.


To book author visits, contact


QR code to view Dr. Sontag’s social media links and resources


Dr. Sontag is a member of the following professional associations:
National Council for the Social Studies
Texas Council for the Social Studies
California Pioneers of Santa Clara County



Lena Nelson Dooley Interview 2021
Gail Kittleson Interview 2020
Stacy T. Simmons Interview 2020
Sara Turnquist Interview 2018
Susan G. Mathis Interview 2018
Rising Hope – Polish Review Journal 2016
Rising Hope – Sarmatian Review, Gale Academic OneFile 2015

Book Trailers:
The Bronze Dagger
The Alabaster Jar
California Trail Discovered
Yosemite Trail Discovered
Underground Scouts

Author Trailer


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Questions & Answers with Dr. Marie

  • What advice do you have for young authors?

    Write about things you’re interested in, get feedback on your writing from others of all ages, polish your writing, take classes on creative writing, join a writer’s group for young authors, such as the young inklings, look online for information for young authors and places you can enter a writing contest or submit work for publication. Here are a few suggestions:

  • How many words is the average book?

    The two categories of books for students ages 8-18 are middle grade fiction (ages 8-12) and young adult, ages 13-18. Middle grade books are usually 30,000-50,000 words. Young adult books are usually 50,000-75,000 words.

  • Do you recommend writing at a young age?

    Yes, I definitely recommend writing at a young age.

  • How did you get a publishing company?

    Usually, you have to write what is called a query letter to many publishers before you get one to publish your work. Most publishers are closed to queries and require you to find an agent who will submit your manuscript. For me, a friend owned a publishing company and she read The Bronze Dagger while I was still working on it, and had it published with her company. Then a slightly larger publishing company saw the book and bought it from her company so they could publish it. This company was the publisher I now work with, Sunbury Press.

  • Were there any special people who motivated you?

    My mom always supported me in my writing endeavors, especially when I was young. She always motivated me to pursue my dreams and to never give up. I’ve also been motivated by creative authors such as C.S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Madeleine L’Engle, and historical fiction author Bodie Thoene, especially her Zion Covenant Series.

  • How long does it take you to write a book?

    It depends on how much research I need to do, and on what else is going on in my life at the time. The Bronze Dagger took about five years to write because I was still teaching at the time and my boys were involved in a lot of activities. The Alabaster Jar took about two years, and The Silver Coin took about one year. Rising Hope took about three years.

  • What inspired you to write about these kinds of books?

    Honestly, the lack of good historical fiction books (good, in my mind, means adventurous yet as factual as possible, where important things about history can be learned in a fun way!) was and is my main motivation in writing my books.

  • Have a question? Send Dr. Marie a message