Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Snuggery (n.)
a comfortable and cozy place.
Example: The teen's favorite snuggery was near the bay window of the house where she could view the snow outside.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

The Man Who Invented Christmas
by Les Standiford

Flap Copy Description:
Just before Christmas in 1843, a debt-ridden and dispirited Charles Dickens wrote a small book he hoped would keep his creditors at bay. His publisher turned it down, so Dickens used what little money he had to put out A Christmas Carol  himself. He worried it might be the end of his career as a novelist. The book immediately caused a sensation. And it breathed new life into a holiday that had fallen into disfavor, undermined by lingering Puritanism and the cold modernity of the Industrial Revolution. It was a harsh and dreary age, in desperate need of spiritual renewal, ready to embrace a book that ended with blessings for one and all.

My Thoughts:
What motivated me to purchase The Man Who Invented Christmas, was the fact that I'd seen the movie last year with my critique group. Knowing that screenwriters must leave so much out from what is in a book, I was curious. I'm so glad I picked up this little book; it's full to the brim with interesting tidbits, especially for writers! In addition to the origin of Dickens's inspiration for A Christmas Carol (his challenging childhood), Standiford's book delves into the issues of Christmas during the Victorian Era, as well as the world of publishing at that time. Did you know that Charles Dickens wrote his classic tale in six weeks? Or that the book was self-published? I found the path to publication of A Christmas Carol fascinating, as was the aftermath of the book's success. (Like Ebenezer Scrooge, Charles Dickens was full of joy and generosity the Christmas of 1843.) I highly recommend The Man Who Invented Christmas to all writers, and to fervid fans of Charles Dickens!

Click here to learn about the author, Les Standiford.

By the way, if you've not yet seen the movie, it's great too!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

Reflections on NaNoWriMo

If you've been reading my NaNoWriMo updates each Friday, then you already know how I approached the 50,000 word goal within the month of November: I'd pen most of my words the first three weeks of the month and leave a very small portion left to complete after Thanksgiving. That's just what I did. On Saturday, November 30th I wrote 884 words to reach a grand total of 50,028 words. While it's barely over the finish line, I did it!

During NaNoWriMo19, I realized a few things about myself as a writer:

1- Knowing that I can meet a deadline means a lot. (Hopefully, it will mean something to an agent, editor, or publisher, in the future!)

2- While I'm pleased with my accomplishment of succeeding at NaNoWriMo, it is apparent to me, that I'd never be able to maintain such a high daily wordcount. I usually aim for about 1,000 words a day, whereas I was aiming for 2,000+ words during the novel challenge.

3- Spending regular time with my friends & family is important to me. It was difficult to say "no" so many times during NaNoWriMo.

4- Maintaining my exercise regime was also tough during NaNoWriMo.

THE BIG PLUS: I completed the first draft of a novel! No small thing. For me, NaNoWriMo is probably not an annual event. However, when I feel I need to "catch up" with my writing, it's definitely the way to go. So far I've been successful at both NaNoWriMo attempts: in 2011 & 2019.

Congratulations to all the NaNoWriMo winners!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Masticate - (v.)
to use your teeth to chew and grind food.
Example: The dentist informed the patient that his oral pain was due to his habit of masticating chewing gum.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

The Shortest Day
by Susan Cooper
& Carson Ellis

Flap Copy Description:
So the shortest day came,
and the year died . . .

The opening words of Susan Cooper's iconic poem have brought a hush to audiences for over forty years of theater productions in celebration of the winter sostice and the Yuletide season.
The Shortest Day captures the magic behind the returning of seasonal light, the yearning for rituals that connect us with the generations that have gone before - and the hope for peace that we carry into the future.
Together, Newbery Medal-winning author Susan Cooper and Caldecott Honor winner Carson Ellis bring alive the drama of the season, uniting revelers in celebrating light, thankfulness, and festivity at a time of rebirth. Welcome Yule!

My Thoughts:
I had greatly anticipated the release of this glorious book; it surpassed all of my expectations! Being a fan (and author) of yuletide tales and Christmas books, I realized that this extraordinary picture book stands alone among most ordinary holiday books. Susan Cooper's poem seems to transcend time, and is beautifully brought to life by the breathtaking illustrations of Carson Ellis. If there is only one children's book you purchase this holiday season, make it The Shortest Day!

Click here to learn about poet/author, Susan Cooper.
Click here to learn about illustrator, Carson Ellis.

Welcome Yule!

Friday, November 29, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

My NaNoWriMo Update

When I registered for the 2019 NaNoWriMo, I knew from my past experience in 2011, that Thanksgiving week is the big hurdle just before the finish line. In fact, this week I only wrote 3065 words for a current total of 49,144 words. Knowing I had the last day of the month (tomorrow) to push over the 50,000 word goal, gave me a bit of breathing room. But after cooking our Thanksgiving dinner, & retiring after midnight, I feel like this R2D2 GIF!

Visit here on Friday, December 6th, for my NaNoWriMo Follow-up!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Ramfeezled - (adj.)
Example: The woman was ramfeezled after working all day on the Thanksgiving dinner for her family.