Monday, July 30, 2012
by Michael D. Beil
Flap Copy Description:
Twelve-year-old Nicholas Mettleson is not happy when he finds out he and his ten-year-old twin sisters will be spending the summer in Ohio with their father's uncle, whom they barely know. But after the long train ride from New York City, Nicholas finds small-town life in Deming, Ohio, hard to dislike. Uncle Nick and his dog, Pistol, are both great, and the tower room, with its view of the lake, is all his. Best of all: moored out front is a sailboat, Goblin, and Uncle Nick has already promised sailing lessons.
Soon Nicholas has made a friend, Charlie, the girl whose curveball he can't come close to hitting, and has become an expert sailor. But the excitement really starts when he and the twins discover a hidden compartment in the tower room that conceals an old reel of movie film a notebook labeled "The Seaweed Strangler," and a love letter from someone named Franny to their father, written long ago.
Add swimming, bike riding, an overnight sailing excursion that doesn't go as planned, and, uh, his sisters jabbering in fake British accents, and it's a summer Nicholas will never forget.
Summer at Forsaken Lake is a magnificent middle-grade novel released earlier this year. The author, Michael D. Beil, has written a lovely story that conjures up the long summer days of childhood, while entertaining the reader with the extraordinary experiences of the main character - Nicholas. The great character development, colorful dialogue, and super descriptions of sailing, make Summer at Forsaken Lake a great novel for the reader aged 8 - 12.
To learn more about the author, Michael C. Beil, click here: http://www.michaeldbeil.com/summer_at_forsaken_lake
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Friday, July 27, 2012
The Olympic Games have always been high on my list of television broadcasts to watch. Each and every Olympic Games that I have seen has awed and inspired me. Even some of the Games that occurred well before my time have amazed me - like the 1924 Summer Olympics held in Paris - made famous by the movie blockbuster, Chariots of Fire; or the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, where Jesse Owens won four gold medals in track and field under the glaring eyes of Adolph Hitler. More recently, in the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China, Michael Phelps swam to eight gold medals surpassing the record of swimming-great, Mark Spitz.
These are all off the chart performances that will long be remembered in Olympic history. But, what of the athletes who never win a medal? The accomplishment of making the Olympic Team and representing one's own country is an extraordinary experience that, for most of us, is beyond our comprehension. The years of dedication and discipline, while sometimes persevering through pain, make all of the Olympians champions in my mind. Even though my passion is focused on writing, not sports, these young athletes still fuel my fire to excel. Tonight, as the Parade of Athletes enter the Olympic Stadium in London - under the watchful eyes of Queen Elizabeth II, and millions of viewers around the world- they will stride in under the 2012 Olympic motto: Inspire a Generation. I would say to each and every athlete: you already have. Let the Games begin!
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
by D. A. Nelson
Flap Copy Description:
It's a magical world, if you know where to look...
For ten-year-old Morag, that magical world is no farther than the cellar of her cruel foster parents' home. That's where she's shocked to meet Aldiss, a talking rat, and his resourceful companion, Bertie the dodo bird.
Morag jumps at the chance to escape a life of drudgery and join them on their quest to save their homeland from an evil warlock named Devlish, who is intent on destroying it. But first, Bertie and Aldiss need to stop bickering long enough to free the only guide who know where to find Devlish: Shona, a dragon who's been turned to stone. Together, these four friends begin their journey to a mysterious island beyond the horizon, where danger and glory await - along with clues to the disappearance of Morag's parents, whose destiny seems somehow linked to her own.
While browsing through the children's section of our community library, I came upon this delightful book. The author, D.A. Nelson, hails from Scotland; her descriptions of the countryside, development of quirky anthropomorphic animal characters, and gift of storytelling are all another reminder of the continuing legacy of awesome authors coming out of the United Kingdom. I am a big fan of talking animal characters, so Ms. Nelson's book was a treat for me to read! I would highly recommend DarkIsle to readers from the ages of 8 -10.
To learn more about the author, D.A. Nelson - click here:
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
Looking for Literature
lit - er - a - ture: written works with artistic value: written works, e.g. fiction, poetry, drama, and criticism, that are recognized as having permanent artistic value.
Being around my husband, Michael, as he daily works on his lovely impressionistic paintings, I am constantly reminded that art is a creation. It is not a set of rules to fulfill that magically make the painter's creation art. Michael does not have a degree in fine art, and yet, he is represented by a well-established art gallery. He has friends who do have their M.F.A. - and have been painting for years - and still are not represented by a gallery. The director of Michael's art gallery told him that his paintings are fresh, and different, and that he just likes working with Michael. My husband maintains his own blog with this quote in the header: Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art. Leonardo da Vinci.
As I have been looking to improve the quality of my manuscript with colorful characters, better tension, and so on - I have remembered why I began writing in the first place: the love of a story.
I read books almost everyday that I love and enjoy; many of them contain a few adverbs, an occasional rambling, or other minor written misdemeanors. Sometimes those usually forbidden items actually add to my enjoyment. Why is that? I believe it's because I am seeing a bit of what the writer wanted to say, rather than what they thought they were supposed to say. It's just another reminder that as writer, I'm not only looking for a technically perfect text...I am looking, and hoping, for literature.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
by Anne Ursu
Flap Copy Description:
Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. They had been best friends since they were six, spending hot Minneapolis summers and cold Minneapolis winters together, dreaming of Hogwarts and Oz, superheroes and baseball. Now they are eleven, it was weird for a boy and a girl to be best friends. But they couldn't help it - Hazel and Jack fit, in that way you only read about in books. And they didn't fit anywhere else.
And then one day, Jack just stopped talking to Hazel. And while her mom tried to tell her that this sometimes happens to friends at this age, Hazel had read enough stories to know that it's never that simple. And it turns out she was right. Jack's heart had been frozen, and he was taken into the woods by a woman dressed in white to live in a palace made of ice. Now it's up to Hazel to venture into the woods after him.
Breadcrumbs was written by Anne Ursu, and is a wonderful middle grade adventure fantasy inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen story "The Snow Queen." Ms. Ursu has penned a well-written novel that reminds us of the beauty of our every day lives by thrusting her well-developed characters into a whimsical world of challenges and confusion; a place that causes the main character, Hazel, to realize she misses her life back home - even with its turbulent troubles. I would highly recommend Breadcrumbs to readers from the ages of eight to twelve.
To learn more about the author, Anne Ursu, click here: http://anneursu.com/about/about.html
Thanks to Theresa Milstein for recommending this book!
Check out Theresa's wonderful blog here:
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Earlier this week one of my good blogging buddies - Ruth Schiffmann - blessed me with three awards.
A big "thank-you" to Ruth!
To receive The Booker Award the blog must be at least 50% about books (reading or writing). And you must list your five favorite books.
My Five Favorite Books:
1- A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
2- Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
3- The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
4- Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
5- Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand
The Fabulous Blog Ribbon is also about Fives.
Five Fabulous Moments:
1- Meeting my sweetheart, now husband, Michael.
2- Holding each of my three sons after they were born.
3- Watching two of my three sons graduate from college.
(The third is a senior.)
4- Canoeing on Lake Quinault at sunset with my husband.
5- Meeting the wonderful writers at the SCBWI Oregon Retreat last year.
Five Things I Love:
1- The times our family can all be together.
2- Reading a good book, while drinking a cup of hot coffee.
3- Walking in the woods with only the evergreen trees to keep me
4- Going out to dinner with my husband.
5- A great surprise.
Five Things I Dislike:
1- A solicitor's call. (I just had one!)
2- When people are late without reason.
3- Cleaning house.
5- Balancing my checkbook.
For the Kreativ Blogger Award you must list seven random things about yourself.
Here are my somewhat surprising seven:
1- My hair is extremely frizzy. (Ever heard of Roseanna Roseanna Danna?)
2- I am a R.D.H. (Registered Dental Hygienist) I like writing better!
3- I was a high school cheerleader. (I know, hard to believe!)
4- I have visited the Holy Land.
5- I am impatient, but working on it.
6- I play the flute and the clarinet. (Not very well anymore!)
7- I still live in my hometown. (My parents and siblings have all moved -
do you think that means anything?) HeHe!
Here are the five blogging buddies that I am passing these awards on to:
1- Kriston Johnson
2- Christy Peterson
3- Loree Huebner
4- Sara Bowers
5- Linda Jackson
Thanks for visiting Writ of Whimsy - hope you're having a great summer!
Friday, July 13, 2012
Friday the 13th strikes fear in the superstitious, while others remain super skeptical.
With this disconcerting day upon us, I decided to stop and ponder the role that luck plays in my life as a writer.
Many things can impact our success as a writer: natural ability, education, experience, and, possibly luck. However, I believe that hard work is the quickest way for me to reach my goals. When I compare myself to others I will always come up short in some category. Rather than wasting time worrying about what I lack as a writer, or hoping for some lucky break, I have chosen to focus on the art of writing itself.
As a writer, and in life, I have found that the harder I work, the luckier
I become. Here is a remarkable quote that reiterates this belief:
Diligence is the mother of good luck. Benjamin Franklin
How do you feel about Friday the 13th? Did you see the movies?
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Monday, July 9, 2012
Discovers the World
by Candice Ransom
Flap Copy Description:
Eight-year-old Iva Honeycutt is sure that she's destined for greatness. And this summer Iva has big plans for he first great discovery: finding General Braddock's treasure, which was buried somewhere in her small town of Uncertain, Virginia, during the French and Indian War. And to make sure she's up to the task, she invents a new name for her discoverer self - Iva Honeysuckle.
Still, even a great discoverer can hit a few bumps along the road. Like Iva's bossy double-first cousin, Heaven. and her great-grandfather Ludwell's treasure map not being exactly crystal clear. And on top of it all, her supposedly trusty dog, Sweetlips, is falling asleep on the job.
Must Iva do everything on her own?
Candice Ransom is the author of more than one hundred books for children - the newly-released Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World is her latest. This amazing chapter book contains some of the best dialogue and character development that I've read in a long time. However, the plot seems a bit weak to me, but then I am more accustomed to reading MG and YA novels. Chapter books are usually meant for the younger MG reader, and it does relay a wonderful message regarding the importance of friendship. I would recommend Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World to readers up to the age of eight.
To learn more about the author, Candice Ransom, click here:
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Friday, July 6, 2012
Since embarking on my "storyteller's journey" I have experienced the exhilarating highs of creativity, inspiration, and productivity. However, I have also experienced the depressing lows of self-doubt, discouragement, and, of course, a few rejection letters! I have always attempted to be positive on my blog, but today I thought I'd post a few common "literary lamentations." The list below contains both the serious, and the humorous negative experiences that can befall a would-be writer:
1- You incur an aching back, a sore wrist, a splitting headache, or any other physical ailment that might legitimately postpone writing!
2- You have those friends and family members who just don't get it.
"I thought you said you were writing a book...when will it be published?"
Yikes! Don't they know it takes time to write a bestseller? :-)
3- You visit the bookstore only to find that your unique plot idea has just been published in another book. Even worse, the protagonist's first name is the same as your own main character's first name.
(I'm not making this up - it happened to a good friend of mine!)
4- Your neighbors ask if you've been sick - they state they haven't seen you for weeks, and that your yard is full of weeds!
5- Your spouse asks if he can book an appointment to spend time with you!
6- You look in the mirror and don't recognize the person staring back at you. You've abandoned make-up and hair care products a long time ago!
7- You realize that your desk's swivel chair is not providing the necessary exercise to maintain your desired weight!
8- You crave the attention of a literary agent so much that when you receive a cordial rejection letter...you frame it!
Only a few of these points pertain to me...okay, maybe the majority.
I'd love to hear one of your literary lamentations!
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Monday, July 2, 2012
by Jennifer E. Smith
Flap Copy Description:
Maybe it was only a storm.
But it certainly didn't feel that way.
What starts as an ordinary summer turns exciting and perilous for twins Ruby and Simon when strange occurrences begin happening on their farm - sudden gusts of wind, rainstorms, and even tornado warnings - that seem eerily timed to Simon's emotions.
Then a stranger arrives and tells the twins that Simon is a Storm Maker - part of a clandestine group of people entrusted with controlling and taming the weather - and that he is in great danger. Soon Simon and Ruby must race against the clock as they try to master Simon's powers in time to stop a rogue Storm Maker's treacherous - and potentially deadly - plans.
In this thrilling new adventure, loyalties can shift as quickly as the wind...and the ordinary can turn extraordianary in the blink of an eye.
The Storm Makers is the delightful debut MG novel by Jennifer E. Smith. Although this story takes a bit too long to "get going" once it does it's like a windstorm with lightning speed! Ms. Smith has created a colorful cast of characters with a unique and entertaining plot. Each chapter title page is illustrated with a barometer pointing to the mood of the chapter: windy, change, warning, etc. The author's father is a weather buff, so she comes by the subject matter naturally - this made for an informative and believable tale. I would recommend this newly-released middle grade novel to readers from the ages of 8 - 12.
To learn more about the author - Jennifer E. Smith - click here: