Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

 
The Scandinavian Santa
by Victoria Lindstrom

These are a few of the illustrations from the "dummy book" of my picture book/storybook. My husband - Michael Lindstrom - created the paintings. I thought that this was a great time to give you an update.
Since the word count is too high for today's publishing market, I know that this story is more of a personal project. However, I have received encouragement from both a literary agent and a publishing editor.

Currently, I am hoping to hear from another editor who was willing to receive unsolicited manuscripts from attendees of his workshop at the SCBWI Conference in Los Angeles, California, last summer.

The word count for this Christmas story is approximately 3,000 words. (Similar to The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams.) Many writer friends have encouraged me to shorten this story. However, the current version has particular significance for me; this tale was inspired by my great-grandfather who immigrated to the U.S. from Norway. The paintings illustrate the story in its present format. Knowing the recommended word count for picture books, I really consider this work to be a storybook. Today, unfortunately, they are rarely published. (At least not by debut authors!) My husband and I created this book in the sixteen page PB format hoping that maybe we could find our project a home. However, unless we receive a request for the full manuscript from the editor I mentioned, we are planning to self-publish this book in time for the holidays next year. Here is the  synopsis (in flap copy-style) of our storybook:

                                The Scandinavian Santa
   Written by Victoria Lindstrom ~ Paintings by Michael Lindstrom

          Journey to the enchanted land of Scandinavia, where nestled in the Nordic Forest lives Santa Swanson. Each winter, this nephew of St. Nicholas has his own Christmas Eve delivery to make, but what that is and to whom has long been hidden. With the help of two mischievous flying polar bears, Olaf and Sven; a rescued golden eagle, Lars; and a host of other whimsical creatures; Santa Swanson prepares for his annual sleigh ride down Viking Valley! Delight in this yuletide adventure complete with a fanciful ice skating party, a rustic holiday feast, and an unexpected reunion with Santa Swanson's famous uncle. In the midst of all this wonder, the forest friends learn a heartwarming secret from a Christmas angel revealing the magic of generosity.
Copyright - 2012 by Victoria Lindstrom ~ Copyright - 2012 by Michael Lindstrom

Wish me luck with publication of this project - whether it's traditionally published, or self-published!

I will be taking a bit of a blog break to catch up on my writing - and to enjoy the Christmas holiday with my family while our sons are in town.


I hope you and your family have a blessed and happy holiday season!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Whimsical Word of the Week

Phantasmagoria -

a series or group of strange or bizarre images seen as if in a dream or as created by the imagination.

Example: The scenes from the fantasy novel unfolded in a phatasmagoric fashion.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

The Peculiar
by Stefan Bachmann

Flap Copy Description:
Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged.

In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings - Peculiars - and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.

One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley - Bartholomew forget the rules and gets himself noticed.

First he's noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish...and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.

My Thoughts:
The Peculiar is a recently-released upper middle grade novel that has created quite a buzz! A gothic fantasy adventure full of magic, mystery, and even murder; it is set on the narrow cobblestone streets of steampunk England. The story features a host of faeries, goblins, automatons, and changeling children and is written in stellar style. The debut author - Stefan Bachmann - is a story himself. He began writing this novel when he was sixteen...two years ago! He is a musician, and lives with his family in Zurich, Switzerland, where he attends the Zurich Conservatory. This is an author to keep your eye on. I would recommend his novel - The Peculiar - to readers from the age of ten and up.

To learn more about the extraordinary author - Stefan Bachmann - click here: http://www.stefanbachmann.com/home.php

Friday, December 7, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

Yuletide Tales

Christmas and children's books go together like a a partridge in a pear tree! Earlier this week I  visited a bookstore and purchased my annual holiday children's book.

Who can't remember a teacher or relative reciting Clement Moore's "The Night Before Christmas" each December? A more recent classic is "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg.

Purchasing a children's holiday book with an accompanying toy of the main character is a wonderful way to encourage a child to read. "Madeline's Christmas" by Ludwig Bemelmans, is a great example.


Paddington was a favorite for my sons when they were young. Here, Michael Bond's bear is dressed for a Christmas Surprise. (Can you tell I enjoy using children's books to decorate for the holidays?)

The children's book I purchased this year is a special one."Nutcracker" by E.T.A. Hoffmann was illustrated by Maurice Sendak. This year we lost that legendary author/illustrator. I thought this gem was perfect.

Do you have a favorite children's book for the holidays?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Whimsical Word of the Week

Kickshaw -

a trinket or bauble; a culinary delicacy.

Example: The holiday party featured an array of delicious kickshaws.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bibliophile's Corner

Starry River of the Sky
by Grace Lin

Flap Copy Description:
The moon is missing in the remote Village of Clear Sky, but only a young boy named Rendi seems to have noticed! Rendi has run away from home and is now working as a chore boy at the village inn. He can't help but notice the village's peculiar inhabitants and their problems - where has the innkeeper's son gone? Why are Master Chao and Widow Yan always arguing? What is the crying sound Rendi keeps hearing? And how can crazy, old Mr. Shan not know whether his pet is a toad or a rabbit?

One day, a mysterious lady arrives at the inn with the gift of storytelling, and she slowly transforms the villagers and Rendi himself. As she tells more stories and the days pass by in the Village of Clear Sky, Rendi begins to realize that perhaps it is his own story that holds the answers to all those questions.

My Thoughts:
Newbery Honor winner Grace Lin is one of our country's most gifted author/illustrators. Her most recent novel - Starry River of the Sky - is a treasure trove of wonderful writing, beautiful illustrations, and marvelous Chinese folklore. The protagonist in the story - Rendi - learns a multitude of life lessons as he moves from being an angry, rebellious boy, to a kind and caring young man. I would highly recommend this middle grade novel to readers from the ages of eight to eighty!
To learn more about the author, Grace Lin, click here: http://gracelin.com/