Monday, April 30, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

Storybound
by Marissa Burt

Flap Copy description:
When Una Fairchild stumbles upon a mysterious book buried deep in the basement of her school library, she thinks nothing of the cover and diving in. But instead of paging through a regular novel, Una suddenly finds herself Written In to the land of Story - a world filled with Heroes and Villains and fairy-tale characters.
But not everything in story is as magical as it seems. Una must figure out why she has been Written In - and fast - before anyone else discovers her secret. Together with her new friend Peter and a talking cat named Sam, Una digs deep into Story's shadowy past. She quickly realizes that she is tied to the world in ways she never could have imagined - and it might be up to her to save it.

My thoughts:
Newly released - Storybound, is the charming and surprising debut fantasy by Marissa Burt. The author slowly and methodically reveals the world of the protagonist, twelve-year-old Una; while deceptively setting up the reader for a puzzle of a plot that becomes a more complex fantasy than one would first expect. The sequel to this well-written, and extremely entertaining novel will be released in April 2013 - Story's End. Congratulations to the Pacific Northwest writer, Marissa Burt, on a fantastic debut novel! I would highly recommend this book to readers from the ages of 8 -12. Since Storybound contains many older characters, it would also be a great high-low book for ages up to fourteen.

To learn more about the talented author, Marissa Burt - click here:
http://www.marissaburt.com/bio.html

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Incredible Inspiration

Interstate Bridge over the Columbia River

Your problem is to bridge the gap which exists between where you are now and the goal you intend to reach.


Earl Nightingale

Friday, April 27, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

 Inspiration for My Journey

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to attend a book signing for YA author - Kimberly Derting. The Last Echo, the third installment of her Body Finder Series was featured; as well as The Pledge, the first book in her dystopian series.


Kimberly Derting
It was wonderful to meet Kimberly and ask her questions. What occurred to me was just how normal she comes across. She is married, has three children, and lives in Washington State. Those are all things that apply to me too. I realized one BIG difference between Ms. Derting and myself...
she has made her dream come true.

Listening to her share her approach to writing, and the amount of work she has put into her craft, was very insightful. When I purchased my copy of The Pledge she not only signed her name, but wrote: Be Heard. Thank you Kimberly Derting for a special evening of encouragement, humor, and inspiration!

Do you attend other authors' book signings?
Can you share any positive insights you have gleaned from your experience(s)?


Monday, April 23, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

Inside Out & Back Again
by Thanhha Lai

Flap Copy description:
No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.

For all the ten years of her life, Ha has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by...and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.
But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Ha and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Ha discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape...and the strength of her very own family.

My thoughts:
Inside Out & Back Again is a beautifully written story about a young girl's life in Vietnam that changes drastically forever. The gifted author, Thanhha Lai, skillfully draws the reader into the dreams, challenges, and triumphs of the main character, Ha, with writing that can only be described as pure poetry. This 2012 Newbery Honor Award winning book is an insightful look into the experience of war through the eyes of a child. It is also extremely enlightening as to how difficult it would be to assimilate into a different country with its strange customs and unfamiliar culture.
I would highly recommend this middle grade novel to readers from the ages of 8 - 12, and to adults who enjoy a poetic style of writing.

To learn more about the inspiring author, Thanhha Lai - click here: http://www.harpercollins.com/author/microsite/about.aspx?authorid=36544

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Incredible Inspiration

Read the folklore masters. Go to galleries. Walk in the woods. That's what you need to be an artist or storyteller.


Terri Windling


Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

  Reflections Along the Way

When I first set out on my storyteller's journey I decided to inform my family and friends, right from the start. I received a mixed review of support, surprise, and skepticism. I purposely made it known that I was planning to write, with the hope of being published someday. My reason for making my plans public, rather than keeping them private, was because I know myself - I do better under pressure!
What I have discovered in the last four years is that I have gained respect from many, but also some negative remarks from a few. However, the people who matter to me the most on this adventure, have proven to be a source of great encouragement..including my blogging buddies!

Are your family and friends aware of your writer goals?
If so, when did you share your intentions with them?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

Wonderstruck
by Brian Selznick

Flap Copy description:
Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.

Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories - Ben's told in words, Rose's in pictures - weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder...

My thoughts:
Brian Selznick, author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, has created another marvelous middle grade graphic novel in Wonderstruck. The gifted storyteller is a master at creating magical worlds for the young reader to enjoy - both with his whimsical writing, and his beautiful black and white illustrations. He has a wonderful way of weaving multiple storylines together, culminating in a surprising finale. The genre of graphic novel is misleading in the case of both of Mr. Selznick's MG novels - they are truly works of art.
I would highly recommend this book to readers from the ages of eight to eighty!

To learn more about this gifted author, click here: http://theinventionofhugocabret.com/about_brian_bio.htm

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Incredible Inspiration



Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.

Michael Caine

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sentimental Serendipity


Earlier this week, writer & blogger Brandi Boddie tagged me to answer eleven fun questions, and then pass the quiz on to eleven blogging buddies. Here we go!


1) Book or Movie, and why? Definitely book! I love the interesting details in a book that are usually not included in a film.

2) Real book, or e-book? Real book. I enjoy holding a book, and am a collector of books. It's fun to see my small library getting larger!

3) Funniest thing done in the last five years? Oh boy, I've never told anyone this! We are big Seattle Seahawk fans - whenever they score a touchdown, I do a silly dance! (Unfortunately, I haven't been doing a lot of dancing the last few years!)

4) How would your best friend describe you? She would probably use the word tenacious. (Hopefully not stubborn!) When I get something in my mind, it takes a lot for me to give up.

5) Do you put yourself into the books you read/write or the movies you watch? I don't knowingly put myself into my books - but my family and friends have said that they see me in my main characters.

6) Favorite car and why? It would probably be a Range Rover. It seems to be the perfect blend of rugged and regal. (However, I drive a ten-year-old Saab!)

7) Would your choice of party be a catered meal or a barbecue out back? Since we have barbecues quite frequently in the summer, I would say a catered meal. It's fun being pampered!

8) What's your favorite season and why? Autumn. I love the changing colors, football, and leaving summer clothing behind!

9) What specific lesson have you learned - spiritual, educational, occupational? Persevere - no matter what! One of my favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill: "Never, never, never, never give up!"

10) Besides writing, what's your favorite thing to do when you get some extra time?  My three favorite things to do: read, spend time in nature, and spending time with my husband and our three grown sons.

11) What's one place you can be found at least one time every week? Our community library. I volunteer there every Tuesday - it's a blast!

I'll be contacting eleven of my blogging buddies soon - thanks again, to Brandi Boddie!

I'd love to hear your answer to #9 - please feel free to share!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

     Reaching for My Dreams

Many times in my life I've been told, "You live in your own little world!" (That was even before I began writing as a vocation.)
I tend to have lofty dreams - some have come true, while others have not. What I have learned is that if you go for your dreams you will probably have a measure of both success - and failure. If you don't go for your dreams, you will only know mediocrity in your life. It's the setting of goals, and the reaching for them, that makes me feel alive. Yes, there will be disappointments, but there will also be wonderful achievements. However, the most important benefit to reaching for my goals comes prior to attaining them. It's the lessons that I've learned on my journey that will remain with me forever. Perseverance, discipline, patience, and a love for life are just a few of the nuggets of truth I've gathered along the way. This is not to say that I enjoy my failures, but  I have learned to see them through more philosophical eyes!

What lessons have you learned while reaching for your goals?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
Voices From A Medieval Village
by Laura Amy Schlitz

Flap Copy description:
Varlets, Vermin, Simpletons, Saints - in these pages, readers will meet them all. There's Hugo, the lord's nephew, forced to prove his manhood by hunting a wild boar, a beast whose tusks can "slice a man, groin to gorge." There's sharp-tongued Nelly, who supports her family by catching and selling live eels, and the peasant's daughter, Mogg, whose downtrodden mother teaches her how to save the family cow from a greedy landlord. There's also mud-slinging Barbary and her noble victim, Isobel; Giles, the talented beggar; Alice, the singing shepherdess; and more.

My thoughts:
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From A Medieval Village is a creative series of vignettes about life in the Middle Ages. Ms. Schlitz's unique book was beautifully illustrated by Robert Byrd; it was initially written as a play - it wound up being the 2008 Newbery Medal Award Winner! The appreciation the author has for the Middle Ages - coupled with her vast amount of research, made this book not only entertaining, but educational as well. I would highly recommend this book to readers from the ages of 8 - 12, and to middle school teachers as material for a whimsical play set in medieval England.
To learn more about the multi-talented author, Laura Amy Schlitz -
click here: http://thenightfairy.com/#laura

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Incredible Inspiration

The Grotto - Portland, Oregon


Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.


S.D. Gordon



Happy Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

         I Hear MG Characters!

One of the things that motivates me as a writer is to be so familiar with my characters that I seem to hear them. You heard me right - they speak to me! Obviously, I do not hear them audibly, but still, they make their wishes known to me. It must be similar to an actor getting "in character." As a writer, the more real my protagonist is to  me, the more I seem to know how she, or he, would naturally act and speak. What's more - if I get discouraged, the thought of my MC seems to pick me up.
At one of the recent meetings of the Magic Pen Critique Group this topic came up. It was surprising to me to discover that everyone agreed:
they feel as though their characters are real!

Have you had this experience - or are writers in the Pacific Northwest just weird? :-)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner


Breaking Stalin's Nose
by Eugene Yelchin

Flap Copy description:
The Ten-Year-Old Sasha Zaichik
has known the laws of the Soviet Young Pioneers since the age of six.

A Young Pioneer is devoted to
Comrade Stalin, the Communist
Party, and Communism.

A Young Pioneer is a reliable
comrade and always acts
according to his conscience.

A Young Pioneer has a right
to criticize shortcomings.

But now that it is finally time to join the Young Pioneers, the day Sasha has awaited for so long, everything seems to go awry. Is it possible that everything he knows about the Soviet government is a lie?

My thoughts:
Words like poignant and powerful are usually reserved for adult novels; however, they do describe this 2012 Newbery Honor Award winning book - Breaking Stalin's Nose. The author, Eugene Yelchin, was born and educated in the former Soviet Union. His own extraordinary personal experiences prior to immigrating to the United States have inspired a thought-provoking story - one that reminds us that sometimes "innocent people face persecution and death for making a choice about what they believe to be right." Eugene Yelchin.
I would definitely recommend this book to readers from the ages of 8 - 12.

To learn more about the author, Eugene Yelchin, click here: http://www.eugeneyelchinbooks.com/breakingstalinsnose/index.php

Sunday, April 1, 2012