Friday, November 30, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

        A Time to Celebrate

Cel-e-brate - (verb)
1 - show happiness that something good or special has happened by doing such things as eating and drinking together, or playing music.
2 - to mark a special occasion or day by ceremonies or festivities.
3 - to perform a religious ceremony according to the prescribed forms.

It seems to me that the month of November is marked as a time to be thankful; while the month of December is a time to celebrate. As I pondered this idea in my mind I realized that I couldn't give a great definition for the word celebrate, so I checked on its meaning. As you can see from the definition for celebrate listed above, it is a verb - a way to show happiness when something good or special has happened. We are all aware of the wondrous events we celebrate during the holidays. But what about the things that are more common...the ones that we take for granted? And, are there other ways of celebrating that don't include food and drink?!

My mind took an imaginary bunny trail (as it so often does) as I mused about the things worthy of celebrating. As you can imagine, the list is endless. Here are a few everyday gifts that are near and dear to me that I'm hoping to celebrate this holiday season:

Family - In the midst of all the fun festivities I'm hoping to truly savor the time with my loved ones...and laugh a lot!
Friends - There are friends that have moved, or I've just lost track of, that I'm planning to reach out to at the holidays. And of course, have fun with our friends who live nearby!
Nature - I'm hoping to spend some quality time in the out of doors enjoying the beauty of nature. (Even if it does rain here in the Pacific Northwest!)
The Arts - Attending a Christmas concert, and then an art show (featuring the oil paintings of one of my girlfriends) will definitely be a way to celebrate the arts. One of our family holiday traditions is to visit The Grotto in Portland, Oregon for its Festival of Lights. The lights, music, food, farm animals, and puppet shows make it a yuletide favorite in our neck of the woods. Then, of course, I couldn't celebrate literature without reading another great book this season. (And continuing to work on my WIP!)
Faith - Last, but most importantly, is the time we spend remembering the reason for the season. Reaching out to folks in need is a tangible way for us to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

There are a multitude of gifts to celebrate this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Whimsical Word of the Week

Psithurism -

a low whispering sound, such as the rustle of leaves.

Example: The poplars' psithurism added to the peaceful feeling in the forest.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

The Great Unexpected
by Sharon Creech

Flap Copy Description:
I had big thoughts to match the big wind. I wondered if we find the people we need when we need them. I wondered if we attract our future by some sort of invisible force, or if we are drawn to it by a similar force. I felt I was turning a corner and that change was afoot.

In the little town of Blackbird Tree live two orphan girls: one Naomi Deane, brimming with curiosity, and her best friend, Lizzie Scatterding, who could talk the ears off a cornfield. Naomi has a knack for being around when trouble happens. For she knows all the peculiar people in town - like Crazy Cora and Witch Wiggins and Mr. Farley. But then, one day, a boy drops out of a tree. The strangely charming Finn boy. Then the Dingle Dangle man appears, asking all kinds of questions. Curious surprises are revealed - three locked trunks, a pair of rooks, a crooked bridge, and that boy. Soon Naomi and Lizzie find themselves zooming toward a future neither could ever have imagined. Meanwhile, on a grand estate across the ocean, an old lady whose heart has been deceived concocts a plan...

My Thoughts:
 The Great Unexpected is really not unexpected when you're speaking of a novel written by Newbery Medal winner, Sharon Creech. This middle grade story is magnificent! Although I've read a number of novels written by Ms. Creech, this is by far my favorite. While reading The Great Unexpected, I couldn't help thinking of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, and I even thought of Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens, at times. The deep character development in this richly entertaining story leads to a profound plot with the kinds of twists and turns every avid reader enjoys. I will say that the only thing that didn't grab me was the book's cover; for me it doesn't portray the mystery and magic the author captured so well. I would highly recommend this middle grade novel to readers from the ages of eight to eighty!

To learn more about the author - Sharon Creech - click here:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Whimsical Word of the Week

Peregrination -

a journey or voyage.

Example: The pilgrims set sail on a peregrination to the New World in 1607.


I'll be back on Monday, November 26th. Have a safe & happy holiday!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

Malcolm at Midnight
by W. H. Beck

Flap Copy Description:
When Malcolm (a smaller than average rat) arrives as the fifth grade pet at McKenna School, he revels in the attention, the Pop-Tart crumbs, and his new Comf-E-Cube. He also meets the Midnight Academy, a secret society of classroom pets that keeps  the nutters (kids) out of trouble. After all, everybody knows "a lot happens in a school when the teachers aren't looking."

There's just one problem. Have you heard? Rats have a terrible reputation! So when the Academy assumes that Malcolm is a mouse, he doesn't exactly speak up. Then the Academy's leader, a glasses-wearing iguana named Aggy, disappears and the Academy smells a rat...a dirty rat fink, to be specific. Now Malcolm must use all of his ratty persistence to prove his innocence, get Aggy back under her heat lamp - and find out if it's possible to be a critter of valor and merit even if you're a rat.

My Thoughts:
Ms. Beck's debut novel - Malcolm at Midnight - is a delightful adventure story with anthropomorphic animals. The little main character, Malcolm, must stand up for himself and in the process learns the importance of being true to who he really is. This whimsical tale is full of twists and turns with loads of laughs; the wonderful character development really shines in this middle grade story. I would highly recommend Malcolm at Midnight to readers from the ages of eight to twelve.

To learn more about the author - W.H. Beck - click here:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

     Transformed by Twilight!

Several weeks ago my husband and I took a little trip to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State; visiting Forks and La Push were part of our weekend. It was amazing to see how much these two little communities have been transformed by Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books and movies. (Notice Bella Swan's truck on the left?)

As you enter the town of Forks, the effects from Twilight are everywhere. Here the merchant is attempting to appeal to both werewolves and vampires. The books of author Stephenie Meyer have infused this struggling town with new life.

If you're a fan of all things Edward, Bella, and Jacob - this is the place to be in Forks, Washington. Books, tee-shirts, posters, movies, trinkets, and much more for the Twilight Twi-hards!
There were shoppers from all over the world when we were there a few summers ago.

As you leave Forks and approach the Quileute Reservation, and the town of La Push, this is the sign that greets you. Make no bones about it - once you pass this sign you're in werewolf territory. Team Jacob signs are everywhere!

As you enter the community of La Push, this is one of the first signs that greets you. The Quileute Nation just wants you to know for sure where their sentiments lie when it comes to Bella Swan!

When we visited the area a few weeks ago, it was much quieter than our trip to the region a couple of years ago. However, this Jacob Black Vacation Rental is still popular - complete with the motorcycle to prove it! (I'm not sure if this model was used in the movie.)

Whether or not you're a fan of the Twilight books, there is no doubt that the author Stephenie Meyer has made a huge impact on these two small communities. Among the locals there is a mixed review; however, no one can deny the financial impact that the Twilight phenomenon has had on this hard-hit corner of our state.

In honor of today's release of Breaking Dawn - Part II, I have attached a link to the trailer:

Have you experienced visiting a town where a book has had an impact?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Whimsical Word of the Week

roman -

a novel dealing with the protagonist's character development from childhood to maturity.

Really? Why have I not heard this word?! ^_^

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
by Catherynne M. Valente

Flap Copy Description:
All is not well in fairyland...

September has longed to return to Fairlyland after her first adventure there. And when she finally does, she learns that its inhabitants have been losing their shadows - and their magic - to the world of Fairlyland-Below. This world has a new ruler: Halloween, the Hollow Queen, who is September's shadow. And Halloween has no intentions of giving Fairyland's shadows back.

My Thoughts:
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There is the sequel to Ms. Valente's award-winning novel, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making - both middle grade books are marvelous! In this second book of the Fairyland series we see the protagonist - September - take on a life labyrinth and come out victorious once again. The whimsical language, imaginative characters, and phenomenal plot all make this novel one not to miss! Due to the advanced vocabulary I would recommend this magnificent middle grade novel to readers from the ages of ten and up.

To learn more about the author - Catherynne M. Valente - click here:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

Royalty Free - Public Domain
The Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

I was tagged by Tanya Reimer to join The Next Big Thing Blog Hop - thanks, Tanya!!
If you'd like to play along add the working title for your WIP under comments. Join the fun!

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop:

Interview Questions:

1- What is the working title of your WIP?
Livvi Biddle ~ A Most Extraordinary Girl.

2- Where did the idea come from?
I actually had a similar experience to my MC when my beloved maternal grandmother passed away. Of course, as a writer, I let my imagination go well beyond that.

3- What genre does it fall under?
Middle grade fantasy. (Sorry YA writers! ^_^)

4- Which actor(s) would you choose to play your character(s) in a movie rendition?
That's a tough one since my protagonist is an eleven-year-old! Probably someone similar to Emma Watson when she played Hermione Granger in the early Harry Potter movies.

5- What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
While Livvi grieves the loss of her mum odd occurrences begin to happen in the old mansion; her quest to find the answers to the mystery brings about magical consequences!

6- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agent? HaHa! I love the optimism here! I would definitely prefer to have my work represented by an agent, but self-publishing is not out of the question.

7- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
A little over three weeks. I wrote it a year ago... while participating in NaNoWriMo!

8- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Wow, another tough question that I have frequently pondered. The only current book that comes to mind is Storybound, by Marissa Burt.(Her MG novel is also a fantasy and features a female MC.)However, the classic book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has the magic and mystery I am going for. (Wouldn't that be nice! ^_^)

9- Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Wow, no one has ever asked me that question. It probably came from having three boys and no girls; a latent desire to enter the world of a little girl again!

10- What else about your book might pique the reader's interest? Probably the fact that there is a magic locket in the story, a bit of time travel, and that my book could be the first in a series.

Tag 5 writers to celebrate with - go check out their worlds!
Ruth Schiffmann
Kriston Johnson
S.P. Bowers
Loree Huebner
Linda Jackson

*Use this format for your post.
*Answer the ten questions about your WIP.
*Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

I'd love to hear about the whimsical world you're writing about!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Whimsical Word of the Week

Gaudiloquent -

speaking with joy or happiness.

Example: The politician gushed gaudiloquently after winning the election.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

A Hero For WondLa
by Tony DiTerlizzi

Flap Copy Description:
"Don't be afraid. I'm  here to bring you back home."
     The boy pilot of a battered airship flies twelve-year-old Eva Nine to the human city, New Attica. Eva is certain that this will be the perfect start to a new life with her good friend, The Caerulean alien named Rovender Kitt - especially after the loss of her robotic caretaker, Muthr. However, like many things on planet Orbana, appearances can be deceiving.
     Eva encounters many new people in New Attica, including a long-lost relative she was unaware of. And she uncovers the secrets of the Sanctuaries, the HRP, and the history of her planet's past. But then new questions arise, and the delicate spirit of life is threatened once again. Was coming to New Attica the right decision?

My Thoughts:
Tony DiTerlizzi's, A Hero For WondLa, is the sequel to his highly-acclaimed novel, The Search For WondLa. In this second book of the trilogy, the protagonist, Eva, continues to transform from a lonely, insecure girl to a confident, young woman. The imaginative science fiction plot in the futuristic world of Orbana, is full of twists and turns and has complex and compassionate characters. I can't wait for the release of the third book in this super series! I would highly recommend this upper middle grade novel to readers from the ages of ten and up.

To check out Mr. DiTerlizzi's wonderful website, click here:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

The Domino Effect

I spend much more time than I should contemplating story structure. Like most aspiring authors, I have read numerous books on the craft of writing. However, even though my brain is full of "how-to" tips on writing a successful novel, I still have those ah-ha moments.

After finishing another revision for my W.I.P. I was painfully aware that I had not taken my story across the finish line. "What is it?" I thought. I realized that my story felt disjointed and lacked continuity, so I took a closer look at my scenes. I decided to use 3X5 cards and record every scene in my story. I asked myself the following questions:

What is the mission of the scene?
What is the desire of the protagonist in the scene?
What information is learned in the scene that is important to the main plot?
What is the scene's climax?
(Plus several more pertinent questions gleaned from various sources.)

The last question I asked myself was the clincher:
What change occurs at the end of the scene to propel the story to the next scene? Although I am very aware of the need to end each scene with momentum; on several scenes I had failed. Then I had a picture in my mind of dominoes. An ah-ha moment: If just one domino fails to fall, the chain reaction (that is so enticing to watch) will be broken. The Domino Effect applied to my story! I realized that with a number of my scenes losing momentum, the flow of my story, and its pace, had faltered.

           (Shown below are my fifty-eight "domino" note cards with information on both sides.)


As frustrating as this revelation was, it came at a great time: Tomorrow I'll be attending Getting It Right! - Revision Intensive Workshop taught by the accomplished author, Suzanne Morgan Williams.

As I put more muscle on my manuscript it's requiring that my own writing muscles be flexed in the process!