. quickedit{display:none;}

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why do I Write?

Woohoo!  Summer's almost here.  This means enjoying the library reading program, beaching it, camp for the kids, and packing my senior for college :_(  I'm excited to announce he made the Blinn basketball team, so will continue doing what he loves most. Basketball.  So with a middle school basketball player and now a college ball player it looks like where gonna be busy next year.  The college is 3 1/2 hrs away so that won't be too long of a drive...

What's your library doing this summer? 
                                                          Fizz Boom Read!

I'm still moving along slowly with my first book, but planning it to be done this summer.  My Pixie is on her first library adventure, the books are coming to life like never before.  Pixie, a second grader is a lot like my little girl.   This is where my inspiration came from.  What inspires you when you write?  
People often ask me, what's the best thing about being a writer?  And I tell them because all the children look up to me literally.  No just kidding, here's what I got!  Feel free to send me your thoughts, via one of the social networks. 
I make something out of nothing.
Working for the other man, or women entails executing a task according to their instructions. I'm in no way putting this down, but my mind isn't one that would do this well.  (And thank goodness for those people out there that do.)
Just picture yourself at your laptop with nothing but your imagination.  And then you start producing something real from nothing.   Then the ideas and words just keep flowing, and the next thing you know you have become part of the story.  
And then your little one reads what you wrote over your shoulder and wants to know more.   That's when I know I'm doing something right.  This is what I love most. 
No, I don't write in my pajamas.
Being one's own boss it's your prerogative to dress as you please. I admit though, I'm not one of those that rolls out of bed, puts on the slippers, turns on the Keurig, and off to the computer I go.  I do what most moms do. Get self ready, make  lunches, wake up four sleeping kids, cook breakfast, try waking up kids again, feed dog, get the littlest one ready, threaten teens to get out of bed, and eventually run the morning taxi service to three different schools.  And now that it's only 8:00 it's time to get to the computer and start writing.  Occasionally, I'll sneak in a thirty minute to an hour rest.  But that's not in my pajamas, or in bed for that matter.  
No one tells me what to write.
You do things that interest you right?  It's the same with writing.  I get to write about whatever I want and take it wherever I want.  Going through college writing courses I wrote mostly teacher directed stories with few following my own course.  But now I can visit an underwater world, climb the highest mountain, and jump off using my jet pack all in a day.  Where else can I do all this?  In my world it's wonderful to have complete control over what and when I work.  Yes, I'm truly Blessed and couldn't stress enough the importance of having a career  that you are passionate about. 
Little Reader Romps
Naamah And The Ark At Night
By Bartoletti, Susan Campbell
I especially like how the author made Noah's wife, Naamah the star here.  This poetic picture book retells the Biblical tale of Noah's Ark beautifully showing Naamah fulfilling her role as a helpful wife and loving mother.  It's unique and soothing illustrations makes this a top "sleepy time read."
Clarice Bean Spells Trouble
By Child, Lauren
We're not done with this one yet , but so far find it to be an adorable conglomeration of the Ramona books and Charlie and Lola.  (Our favorite British characters.)  You'll quickly fall for Clarice Bean.  No she cannot spell, but she has a determined spirit and will do anything for her friends.  The writing does not feel pushed, but rather fun and carefree.  A great transition chapter book. 
The Emperor's New Clothes
By Davidson, Susanna
A comical tale depicting an Emperor needing a new splendid outfit for the royal procession.  He will do anything it takes to have something specially made, and  he finds the best clothes maker in town to do so.   Little does he know that he's being swindled down to his bare nakedness.  Adorably creative quirky old-aged tale. 
The English Roses
By Madonna

If I would have realized this was  written by Madonna, it would have stayed on the shelf. But not until after deeming it a good book did I see this. I far more enjoy her as a writer than a pop star.  And It's not even about flowers.  Here four best friends are jealous of a beautiful girl named Binah.  But with the help of a fairy godmother they learn to appreciate their lives a little more and become less judgmental of others.  It's not just about being beautiful on the outside, but being beautiful on the inside.  Surprisingly charming. 
Lana Ladybug's Garden Party
By Tollefson, Carolyn Cirullo
Lana Ladybug is getting ready to host a garden party.  She begins tiny preparations like setting up mushroom tables and pea chairs, and making colorful flower arrangements.  Oh, and she doesn't leave out her mouse friend, and provides him with a wedge of cheese.  And it's a good thing the mouse shows up.  Praying mantises don't make good party guests.  I found it read a bit choppy and compare it to a first grade take home reader.  The idea was cute but writing didn't deliver for me.  Although, my Little Reader loved the story and read through it twice. 
Remember on a previous post I told you we ordered praying mantises.  I did not realize what we were getting into. I thought we should order numerous egg casings so we could have more than one baby mantis  That was not the case.  Apparently these little eggs hatch up to hundreds of baby mantises.  We had three!  We were not expecting to become parents of a thousand mantises, and they were not the cutest bugs either.  These squirmy little things looked like worms hatching from an extra-terrestrial pod.  And then tuned into what you would want an exterminator to take care of.  All this to say, we let them go.  We have now done every mail order animal there is, except for jellyfish.  I bet you didn't even know you could order that right!  
Here's the first one starting to hatch!
The Cheshire Cat
By Deedy, Carmen Agra
He was the best of Toms, he was the worst of Toms.  Let me share with you a big cat secret.  (He doesn't eat mice and loves cheese.)  But can he fool Mr. Dickens by  pretending to catch the same mouse over and over again? Not telling...  You'll enjoy  reading about the mice society and the worlds' best cheese.  It's smooth writing and pencil drawings came together wonderfully bringing the characters to life.   
Read more »

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Writers, This Post’s for You

It’s fast and furious with my first book sitting under the eye of a scrutinous editor.  I do mean this in the best sense.  Instead of telling me what needs to be fixed, she has given it back to me with the same question.  Apparently there’s more than I realized.  I’m learning to answer my own questions and writing with a different eye now, and have Evelyn to thank.  There I was ready to move on to the illustrations and nope, it wasn’t finely tuned.  In fact it really wasn’t near ready!  I was also given writer exercises, with my favorite being go to the library and peruse the early chapter books and mysteries.  Yes, spending more hours at the library than I already do.  Life is good with this living and breathing books mamma.  
One bit of advice for those writing children’s books, don’t get caught up in how long the story should be.  The answer’s simple, as long as it needs to be with not a single word more or less.  Focus on the quality not quantity and then come back later to trim and expand it to meet the format of your particular genre.
I’m not saying size doesn’t matter at all, because it does. We ere only talking books here!  Having an estimated word count for some helps break things down in manageable tasks.  Just as long as you don’t let this constrict creativity.  It would be sufficed to say this advice works best with youth reads not so much for picture books.
It’s a good idea when planning or trimming to see where your word count compares with existing books on the market today.  If you want to become popular in a certain genre, there are patterns.  Use these to pace your stories.  Strong descriptive writing and dialogue goes along way for any age reader.  In an extensive search I’ve found general word counts for varying kinds of children’s books below: 
500-1000 words: Picture Books
1000-1800 words:  Non-fiction Picture Books
1,000-2,000 words: Picture Story Books
600-800 words:  Easy Readers
700-1,000 words:  Hi-Lo Books
6,000-10,000 words:  Chapter Books
15,000-25,000 words:  Mid-grade Novels
30,000-60,000 words:  Young Adult Novels 
If you’re still here, much appreciated! This post is mainly to help those in the biz of writing.  My romp has taken many twists and turns and I want to share with you the entire journey.  And this my friends is a part of the process ;-)  I know you will be overjoyed when my adorable adventurous second grader comes to life in the pages.
Enjoy these  inspiring writer quotes.

Last Note:  I’m beginning to accept, my little guy won’t be home with me forever.  Okay so he’s a 6 ft 3 basketball player, but he will always be my “little” boy.   As the college visits are under way he tried out for the Blinn College basketball team last weekend and now we are waiting to hear if he’s on the team.   Can not believe this summer my oldest kiddo is moving away from home.  Where have the days of snuggling and watching Zabumafu gone?  That was the talking lemur on the Kratts Brothers show.  (He's the one on your left, the other one is my 7th grader)
And what ever happened to the Upside Down Show with the two hysterical Australian guys?  It would be nice to see some of the old shows come back, as now everything has gone so multicultural.  And no thanks to the communist Dora The Explorer, Ni Hao-Kai-Lan was bumped.

Little Reader’s Easy Reads
The Kite Princess
By Bell, Juliet Clare
Do you have an aspiring princess in the house?  If so introduce them to Cinnamon Stitch.  A not your typical princess, as she’s a little tomboyish not wanting to be bothered with anything fancy.   Though her King and Queen parents do pressure Cinnamon to act like a proper princess, she just wants to be a typical kid.  And where does the kite come in?  Let’s just say she makes a beautiful kite that carries her to freedom.  I love it when authors nail the metaphorical part of things in their stories.  You’ll see what I mean after reading it ;-)
The instructions for making a kite made it even better.  But I found an super simple tutorial we are going to use to make our kite this afternoon.  I’ll share pictures when done and up in the air!  
By Mary Sullivan
Calling all dog lovers!  A whimsical look at how our four legged friends are obsessed with toy balls.  This book is a cartoon version of our Boggle pup.  And for those of you that don’t know what a Boggle is.  It’s a cross of a Beagle and a Boxer. 
Little Miss Muffet
By Trapani, Iza
The Illustrations take the cake in this well known nursery rhyme.  What a day for the Little Miss Muffet as she goes from one scary experience to the next.  Keeping the same beat, the author has added more verses capturing the multiple fears of this little girl.  Arachnophobia at it’s best!
The Fantastic Mr. Wani
By Usui, Kanako
Wani the crocodile is on a mission to be on time for the party.  But what should be a simple journey, turns about to be a series of mishaps.  Our favorite detour was the balloon popping crow… Kanako really knows how to pack imagination into a simple sweet story and can’t wait to see what she does next ;-) 
Little Reader’s Big Girl Reads - (Junior Fiction)
Three Tales of My Father's Dragon
By Ruth Stiles Gannett
A copulation of three books centered on the relationship of a boy named Elmer and his baby dragon named Boris.  This 1940,s classic is an adventure with pictures on almost every page and with its short chapters makes it great for those new to this reading level.  Very imaginative with names like Tangerina Island and also how better a way to trick dragons captures using pink lollipops and chewing gum.  It took us a while to get through this lengthy one, but worth every moment.  - Two weeks to be exact!
Airy Fairy: Magic Mischief!
By Ryan, Margaret
Airy Fairy is the lowest performing student at Gropplethorpes Academy For Good Girls. Her punishment is having to sit on the Christmas tree of a very unhappy family and use her magic spells to get things the way they should be.  Nope, it’s not going to be that easy with the mischievous Scary Fairy trying to mess things up for her.  Can Airy Fairy save the family and make it to the school Christmas party?  A delightfully written tale perfect for early chapter readers and the “scratchy” pictures work wonders.
   We are working through the series.
http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Music-Airy-Fairy-Books/dp/0764134272/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398956275&sr=1-1&keywords=Magic+Music%21+airy+fairy       http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Muddle-Airy-Fairy-Margaret/dp/0764131877/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398956352&sr=1-1&keywords=Magic+muddle+airy+fairy       http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Mistakes-Airy-Fairy-Margaret/dp/0764134264/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398956453&sr=1-1&keywords=Magic+mistakes+airy+fairy      http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Mess-Airy-Fairy-Margaret/dp/0764131885/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398956506&sr=1-1&keywords=Magic+mess+airy+fairy
Ell Ray Jakes Is Not A Chicken
By Warner, Sally
Third grader Ell Ray may be small in size, but not in heart.  Oh, and he is no chicken.  A light read where this one little boy takes bullying into his own hands, rather than his involving parents and other adults to work it out.  Great lesson teaching kids to take responsibility for often difficult situations. 
Little Reader liked the doodles, but that’s about it.  She didn’t want to continue after the first few pages, so I took it on by myself…  Probably a better choice for a 9 to 10 year old boy.  She’s all about the girly reads, but I try to slip a few of these in anyway! 
“Mom, I want to do your job when I grow up. 
You make stuff up and get to blow bubbles when you want.”  
Author - Little Reader

Read more »