Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Whimsical Word of the Week


Intercalation -

The insertion of a leap day, week or month into some calendar years to make the calendar follow the seasons or moon phases.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sentimental Serendipity



Yesterday I was blog tagged by Marcy, one of my blogging buddies! She asked that I answer the following questions:



1 -What is the first movie you went to
     without a chaperon? Romeo and Juliet

2 - Where did you go to college? (Or high school)
      Clark College -  Degree in Dental Hygiene

3 - What is your favorite spice?  Basil

4 - What is your favorite hair/eye combination?
      Brunette hair, with blue eyes.

5 - Do your initials spell anything? No. (VLL)

6 - What is your favorite animal? The Great Horned Owl

7 - What is the character trait you admire most in a person?
      Humor. (I'm not funny at all!)

8 - What are you afraid of losing when you get older?
      Seeing the world through the eyes of a child.

9 - What is your favorite character's name that you chose?  Basil

10 - Describe your favorite weather in a sentence - make us feel it!
        The bitter, winter wind whistled down the gorge.

11 - Describe your favorite dessert - how does it taste?
        I love warm apple pie - I think we all know what that tastes like!

Thanks to Marcy at mainewords for tagging me; now it's my turn to tag:

Kriston
Tina
Tanya

Check out these great bloggers listed above.
Hope you have fun with this game, ladies!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

Wildwood
by Colin Meloy

Flap Copy description:
Prue McKeel's life is ordinary. At least until her baby brother is abducted by a murder of crows. And then things get really weird. You see, on every map of Portland, Oregon, there is a big splotch of green on the edge of the city labeled "I.W." This stands for "Impassable Wilderness." No one's ever gone in - or at least returned to tell of it.
And this is where the crows take her brother.
So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend Curtis deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval, a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much bigger as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness.
A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

My thoughts:
Colin Meloy's debut novel, Wildwood, is a wonderful, whimsical tale set in a secret world inspired by Forest Park, in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Meloy's writing is imaginative and inventive; Carson Ellis' illustrations are exquisite. I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in The Wildwood Chronicles! I would highly recommend this novel to readers from the age of nine and up.

Check out the Wildwood website - there is a great video of Colin Meloy, and the illustrator, Carson Ellis:
http://www.wildwoodchronicles.com/

(Note: This upper MG fantasy/adventure does include battle scenes where anthropomorphic creatures and humans are killed. If your child is mature enough for the later Harry Potter books - they'll enjoy this whimsical tale!)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Incredible Inspiration


Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

Abraham Lincoln

Friday, February 24, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

    Eight Essential Elements

Since starting out on my storyteller's journey, some years back, I have met all kinds of wonderful writers. Those that write for personal pleasure, those hoping to be published, and those already published. What I've learned from observing these creative scribes is that there are a number of essential elements to becoming a gifted, and even a great writer. Everyone comes to his or her writer's desk from a different place. The trick is to not only know your strengths, but your weaknesses as well. It would be easy to write from our comfort zones, and then complain about our lack of success. However, those writers that I have seen get published, seem to be operating on "all eight cylinders!"
What that means is that if we operate on only six strengths, we might be able to get by - but how much better would it be to take an honest look at our weaknesses, and work on them? We would  have a much better chance at writing a quality manuscript - even if it doesn't get published, we would have the pride and satisfaction of having written something wonderful.
I believe that identifying, and conquering, my own weaknesses will get me that much closer to my goals as a writer.

Here are my Eight Essential Elements to succeeding as a Writer:
1 - Being inspired
2 - Having creativity
3 - Knowledge of the English language
4 - Natural writing ability
5 - Tenacity/Experience
6 - Discipline
7 - Writer's Platform
8 - Courage

There are an multitude of possible essential elements -
what would you add to this list?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

Liesl & Po
by Lauren Oliver

Flap Copy description:
Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice - until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.
The same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.
Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

My thoughts:
Liesl & Po is a magical journey into a whimsical world with a lonely little girl, two quirky ghosts, an alchemist's apprentice, and a gaggle of greedy adults. In the midst of this wonderfully, well-written tale, Ms. Oliver weaves ribbons of truth about friendship, generosity, loss, and grief - with the hope that something bright and beautiful will appear from life's darkest days. This book is one of the best MG novels I've read in a long time; it's no wonder - Lauren Oliver is the New York Times bestselling author of the Delirium Trilogy. I would highly recommend Liesl & Po to readers from the ages of 8 -12.
Check out this awesome author, and her books, by clicking here:
http://laurenoliverbooks.com/

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

  
    The Arts are Important!

Last year our wonderful city opened a state of the art four-story library -
I visit it at least once a week!
Now, our cultured community is looking to transform a military hospital, that was built over a century ago, into a center for the Arts - including a space for a museum and an art gallery.
While my husband and I continue to pursue our passions, of painting and writing, respectively, we have now been recruited into the effort for this wonderful project to benefit the culture of our community. (If you're familiar with the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia, that's the direction the community planners are hoping to go!)
To see this historical structure, slated to be reinvented - Click here: http://www.fortvan.org/pages/Post_Hospital

If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.  John F. Kennedy

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick

Flap Copy description:
Orphan, Clock Keeper, and Thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks - like the gears of the locks he keeps - with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the train station, Hugo's undercover life and his  most precious secret are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

My thoughts:
After delighting in the 3-D movie, Hugo, during the holidays, I knew I had to read the groundbreaking graphic novel as well. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is an innovative creation of graphic art, partnered with a unique and intriguing story set in Paris in the year 1931. The author, Brian Selznick, has written a novel with wonderful descriptions of Paris and its people, along with a very sympathetic character in Hugo.
I enjoyed this book even more than the blockbuster; it filled in the plot gaps that were left in the movie. Mr. Selznick won the Caldecott Medal in 2008 for his wonderful black and white illustrations. I would highly recommend this book to readers from the ages of eight to eighty!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Incredible Inspiration

Michael Lindstrom - Plein Air and Studio Painter
Congratulations, Michael!

When someone reaches a special goal in his or her life, it is worthy of mention - when that someone is your best friend and husband, it's cause for a celebration!
The first Friday of this month marked the debut of my husband's artwork on display at Art on the Boulevard, here in our hometown. What is so spectacular about this accomplishment is that Michael still works 50 - 60 hours a week at his business management position, with a daily commute time of at least ninety minutes. Needless to say, we have been burning the midnight oil for a long time! Watching Michael gaining gallery representation has fueled the fire for me to gain my own representation. One of my writer friends was sweet enough to attend the art show; when I told her how much I appreciated it, she said, "I wouldn't miss it, I've travelled along this journey with you guys - anyway it's inspiring to me." She's right. Michael, thanks for not only being my best friend, and sweetie, thanks for inspiring me on my own journey!
Check out Michael's blog here:
http://michaellindstromartist.blogspot.com/                                                                                
Art on the Boulevard carries many nationally recognized and award-winning artists. To visit this unique gallery, click here:
                                    http://www.artontheboulevard.org/

Friday, February 10, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

    Classic Book... to Cinema

While watching the Super Bowl last Sunday, I was taken with the number of advertised movie trailers; more than that, the number of movies that originated as classic books or novels. The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss; John Carter, by Edgar Rice Burroughs; and of course, Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins; are just a few of the movies soon to be released that found their beginnings in a children's book.
The growing trend of Hollywood to transform a classic book, or novel, into a cinematic blockbuster seems to be at a fever pitch. While the big-hitter, Disney, has long enjoyed a partnership with classic children's books - now, the mainstream movie market also looks to authors for a ready-made hero's journey. Most writers, myself included, would be ecstatic to see their passion-filled pages merely in print; the thought of our novels being viewed on the silver screen, is the stuff that only happens in our dreams! However, it occurs to me that the well-prepared writer should take the time to consider the remote possibility that a movie house could come calling. Therefore, finding great literary and legal representation should include a discussion of movie rights. I have read of more than one account of an author who regretted her lack of knowledge when it came time to sit around the negotiating table.

This topic is definitely not something I need to worry about any time soon! However, watching all those movie trailers took my mind down a delightful bunny trail. I remember thinking, after I'd  finished writing my first manuscript, that Vanessa Hudgens would be a great actress to portray my secondary character, Daphne the dryad! (^_^) Yeah, right.

Have you ever pondered what actor/actress might play your character?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

The Thief Lord
by Cornelia Funke

Flap Copy description:
Welcome to the magical underworld of Venice, Italy, where hidden canals and crumbling rooftops shelter runaways and children with incredible secrets....

Prosper and Bo are orphans on the run from their cruel aunt and uncle. The brothers decide to hide out in Venice, where they meet a mysterious thirteen-year-old boy who calls himself the "Thief Lord." Brilliant and charismatic, the Thief Lord leads a ring of street children who dabble in petty crimes. Prosper and Bo delight in being part of this colorful new family. But the Thief Lord has secrets of his won. And so the boys are thrust into circumstances that will lead them and readers, to a fantastic, spellbinding conclusion.

My thoughts:
The Thief Lord was written by the German author, Cornelia Funke, who also wrote the Inkworld trilogy. Ms Funke has a background in social work, dealing with deprived children - she has drawn upon that expertise in this adventure/fantasy for MG readers. While this novel is beautifully written, with wonderful character development; I found the plot somewhat weak. Still, the descriptions of the escapades by the street kids surviving in Venice, Italy, were delightful. I would recommend this book to readers from the ages of 8 - 12.

(Cornelia Funke is a multiple award-winning author - she has been called the J.K. Rowling of Germany. The amazing author presently resides in Los Angeles, CA.)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Incredible Inspiration


If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.


Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sentimental Serendipity

Welcome Friends!

Today we are celebrating
Writ of Whimsy's first birthday in Blogosphere! (Cheers erupt from hundreds of giddy guests!) To get the festivities started I'd like to acknowledge a few special scribes:

First up, is my talented writer pal, Kristine Birch - Tina to her friends. I met this lovely lady several years ago when we both attended a college creative writing course - I knew I liked her immediately. Her quiet, reserved manner was a shield hiding her wealth of knowledge - not only in literature - but in a plethora of other passions! Seriously, this gifted gal writes, blogs, cooks, bakes, sews, knits, gardens - and even did some of the minor remodeling on her idyllic home! In the midst of all that, she found the time to aid me in the design and creation of my original blog. For that reason I would like to pass on these two awards to my special friend:


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Next up is another special writer I befriended at the aforementioned college writing course, please welcome the gifted storyteller -
Kriston Johnson!
Kriston and I have been close writing pals for some time- through thick and thin. Her vibrant and youthful energy have both cheered me, and challenged me to go on. In her own life she finds time to write, blog, be a great wife and step mom, and work full-time at a job where she recently headed up a charity fund drive during the holidays. This faerie-friend is usually found peeking through a portal to an alternate world or hanging out with her numerous online pals.  Right now her YA manuscript is with an editor.
Kriston's blog recently had a major makeover - it is truly on fire!
In gratitude for being that friend who I know would go to Mordor with me-
I bestow on Kriston the following award:

* * * * * * * * * * * * 
My next featured friend hails from Saskatchewan Province in Canada. Please give a warm Yankee welcome to the amazing writer:
Tanya Reimer!
Although I have only met Tanya in Blogosphere, this wonderful blogging buddy wasted no time in making me feel welcome. In addition to her writing and editing, she stays busy as a wife, mother, and working as a community developer for a fantastic Fransakois community. This courageous crusader recently had to battle a health problem - but never missed a beat at being there for others. She seems to have a special intuition: every time she commented on my blog was a time I really needed some encouragement. In honor of that fact I bestow on Tanya the following award:
                                                         * * * * * * * * * * * *
My final friends are veterans in this blogging business, as well as in the writing world.
Please welcome these two super scribes and fellow friends:

Carol Riggs and Julie Musil!

Both of these ladies have informative and inspiring blogs with hundreds of happy followers. However, what sets them apart in my mind, is that they both took the time to reach out and befriend a newbie blogger.
I met Carol while attending the SCBWI Oregon Fall Retreat last year. It wasn't until the last morning that we had a chance to chat. This unassuming lady was very interested in my writing - never once did she mention all the manuscripts she'd written, critiques she'd done, or that she was represented by the wonderful agent - Kelly Sonnack of Andrea Brown Literary Agency. When I returned home I looked her up on her blog and discovered just how experienced a writer she really was, as well as being an amazing artist...and a wife and mother. It has been a blessing to get to know you better, Carol!
Our final guest is a great gal from sunny California. Julie is a published author, wife, mother of three sons, and is represented by the awesome agent -Karen Grencik, Co-Founder of Red Fox Literary. Although she is extremely busy, already has more followers on her blog than should be legal (^_^) she too, reached out and made me feel welcome in Blogosphere. Whenever I read her posts I feel like I'm listening to a kindred spirit - maybe it's because I also have three sons.
(In fact my eldest son recently moved to the California coast - when I get down that way I may have to look her up and "do lunch!")
Her generosity in sharing her wealth of knowledge has set the standard extremely high for the rest of us.
These two ladies already have so many awards that I decided to design a new one for them myself.
In honor of their high level of excellence as bloggers, writers, and for just being amazing women, I bestow on each of them the following award:

* * * * * * * * * *
(I have taken liberty at issuing these awards - clearly the only two I have received, that I issued, are those that I awarded Tina. Still, I hope my fellow bloggers will allow me this heartfelt indiscretion.)
In addition to the awards, these five fantastic ladies will also each receive a $10.00 gift card from either: Starbucks or Barnes and Noble.
This is just a small thank you gift to them for their kindness & support.

Listed below are the links to the wonderful blogs of these winners:
Julie Musil - Julie Musil - http://juliemusil.blogspot.com/
Carol Riggs - Artzicarol Ramblings - http://carolriggs.blogspot.com/
Tanya Reimer - Life's like that - http://www.tanyareimer.blogspot.com/
Kriston Johnson Words Escape Me http://kristonjohnson.blogspot.com/
Kristine Birch - Capable Garnet - http://capablegarnet.blogspot.com/

I would also like to mention so many more of you who have helped me, or befriended me, on this blogging journey - you know who you are. Thanks, ever so much!

As the winter sun fades, the writers of Wordlandia
enjoy a slice of cyber-cake, as well as a hefty helping of friendship!

Thanks for popping over to Writ of Whimsy's birthday party!
(This was so much fun - I think I'll do it again next year!)


Friday, February 3, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

      The Bliss of Blogging

When I started blogging - one year ago today - it was as a response to learning that I needed to start building my writer's platform. In fact, that is the same reason I joined Twitter and Facebook.
Being somewhat of a reclusive bookworm, I found a freedom on these social networks to come out of my shell. In some ways, this is irrational when you to stop to think about how many people cruise the Internet daily and are able to access our constant comments! Still, laboring behind my laptop , in isolation, allowed me to slowly, but surely develop an online presence - one I am always tweaking.
What I did not expect was how much I would enjoy networking with fellow writers - especially those writers who became my blogging buddies. Their friendship made blogging a blissful experience.
So...(drum roll, please!)...for that reason I am inviting all of you to my First Blog Birthday Party! It will be held tomorrow, Saturday, February 4th right here at Writ of Whimsy. There will be awards, gifts, balloons, and even a cyber-cake to celebrate this momentous occasion!
In addition to all the fun and fanfare, you will be treated to a bit of "tongue in cheek" with my featured friends! As silly as this all may sound, it really is my way of thanking all of you who made me feel welcome here in Blogosphere. Hope to see all of you party animals here tomorrow! ^_^