Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Monday, January 16, 2017
by Jeannine Atkins
A novel in verse about three girls in three different time periods who grew up to become groundbreaking scientists.
Maria Merian was sure that caterpillars were not wicked things born from mud, as most people of her time believed. Through careful observation she discovered the truth about metamorphosis and documented her findings in gorgeous paintings of the life cycles of insects.
More than a century later, Mary Anning helped her father collect stone sea creatures from the cliffs in southwest England. To him they were merely a source of income, but to Mary they held a stronger fascination. Intrepid and patient, she eventually discovered fossils that would change people’s vision of the past.
Across the ocean, Maria Mitchell helped her mapmaker father in the whaling village of Nantucket. At night they explored the starry sky through his telescope. Maria longed to discover a new comet—and after years of studying the night sky, she finally did.
Finding Wonders makes you look at the world and see the magic in everything around you. It's a book that every child would enjoy and benefit from, but especially young girls. The fact that Ms. Atkins wrote her novel in verse, makes it all the more enchanting. I highly recommend Finding Wonders to readers aged eight to fourteen.
Click here to learn more about the author, Jeannine Atkins.
Friday, January 13, 2017
Over the holidays we finally completed the illustrations for my upcoming book: Journey to Snowdonia - it's set to be released in autumn.
While I say "we" it's really my husband, Michael Lindstrom, who is the artist. However, I am also involved since I ask him to create specific compositions. The photo shown above is a still life we set up to compose a painting that displayed two magical amulets and a vintage can of cinnamon. (The two main characters, who are siblings: Henry & Harriet, receive the amulets as a gift in the spice tin.) Since it's such a specific concept, we set up the still life with the appropriate objects so Michael would have something tangible to see while he painted.
Prior to setting up the still life, Michael had to drill holes in the slate tiles that would make our amulets. (Home Depot was a great resource. Since slate is a component in my Welsh holiday tale, the tiles were perfect.) I then added the red ribbon to create a necklace. (Red is the main color in this story's art.) Why he doesn't have his safety glasses on in this photo, I do not know!
I like the result so much that I may have him make more "amulets" to give away as swag. However, I couldn't assure the recipient that there is any magic in the amulet!
|8x10 oil on panel - Michael Lindstrom - Copyright 2017|
I am so grateful for having my husband, Michael, create the artwork for my books - it's such a blessing! I'm extremely busy right now working with the book's formatter, printer, and of course, its illustrator.
More updates on our next book, Journey to Snowdonia, soon!
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Monday, January 9, 2017
by Tone Almhjell
Something strange is happening to the woods and water around Niklas Summerhill’s home: Animals are dying, Niklas’s grandmother doesn’t seem like herself, and his uncle is suddenly lost in grief over his sister, Niklas’s mother, who died seven years ago. When Niklas discovers an ancient key, he and his talking lynx companion, Secret, leave home behind to travel to a different realm. But this realm, populated by animals, is in danger as well: A tribe of evil trolls is wreaking havoc, a mysterious enemy called the Sparrow King is bringing his wrath down upon the animals, and the Rosa Toraquata, the root that connects this realm to Niklas’s own, has developed a dark twist that is infecting the land. Can Niklas and Secret save the animal realm—and their own?
Thornghost is the wonderful companion book to Ms. Almhjell's debut fantasy novel, The Twistrose Key. I'm a big fan of middle grade novels that include talking animals, and when a book is well-written - like this one - well, I'm a happy reader. Thornghost is magical, mysterious, suspenseful, and heartwarming; it's an adventure tale about courage and friendship. I highly recommend this novel to readers of all ages!
Click here to learn more about the author, Tone Almhjell.
Friday, January 6, 2017
|Photo Credit: Public Domain|
Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day. ~Michael Josephson
While many Americans are frustrated, fearful, and even full of anger following the U.S. Presidential Election, 2017 was a tough year for me in another way, personally. As I've already mentioned here on Writ of Whimsy, my younger sister, Karla Snider, unexpectedly passed away in November. So while I, too, am upset by the election results, losing a loved one is an even more painful experience, to say the least.
So how can we all make the best of 2017?
For me, it comes back to a principle I learned years ago after a devastating life experience - faith. Now to those of you who do not adhere to any kind of religion, or philosophy, I'm not speaking of the "go to church" kind of faith. I'm speaking of something very different.
Over the holidays my husband and I happened to have an insightful conversation with our son, David, and his wife, Jessica. Somehow we got on the subject that our lives, and the life of our nation, experience seasons, just like the natural world. It would be ludicrous to believe that we'll always experience sunny weather - especially in the Pacific Northwest! So why do we think our lives should always be full of ease and happiness? We must have faith in each season.
Seasons are a part of every aspect of life, whether we like it or not. Understanding that concept is the key to staying afloat through the tough times. During the challenging times it's important to find the positive amidst the pain. Every season presents us with gifts.
Finding opportunities amidst the obstacles in life is not easy, but it's the only way we can continue to move forward. Otherwise, the first storm we encounter will submerge us in doubt and depression.
If you're particularly politically minded, the current state of our country might be causing you severe stress right now. But it's important to understand that we were all put on this planet for a purpose. If you're a writer, make your writing so shine that the readers of your books will be uplifted and inspired. If you're an activist, by all means, march; protest; stand up for human rights. But, be sure to be who you are.
This scripture from Ecclesiastes/Kohelet says it best:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
The thing is, it might be my time for one behavior, but for someone else, a time for a different behavior - or approach - to what we're experiencing. Let's support one another, and be at peace with one another this year - as much as is possible. Speak with kindness.
Look for opportunities amidst the obstacles - it is possible.
|Photo Credit: Power of Positivity|