Friday, October 31, 2014

Storyteller's Journey

Public Domain Photo
Reflections on Fear
Fear can take hold in the heart of an otherwise courageous soul. Whether it creeps in as a dark creature, the threat of danger, or just a feeling that causes tremors to trickle up and down your spine, fear can find you.

For me, it's usually something much more mundane. The fear of failure or the fear of rejection can buckle me at the knees and cause my bones to quake quicker than any horror movie I've ever seen. (Not that I like horror movies, they freak me out too!) You might be thinking to yourself: Failure and rejection are just part of the territory for an author. What is she doing being a writer? Believe me, I've asked myself that very question many times. Prior to pursuing a life as a full-time writer I had created a life for myself that I thought contained the least amount of risk for failure and rejection. But guess what...I experienced both dilemmas anyway. So when I set out on my storyteller's journey I was already aware that I was embarking on a path that would probably present the deadly duo of failure and rejection again. The thing is, somewhere along my journey as a writer I realized that I was developing an emotional muscle I'd never ever had. I also learned that I was not alone in my phobias; if not most, at least many writers share the same fears. I've tasted failure and rejection as a writer many times (duh!), but becoming a master weaver of whimsical tales for children is how I want to spend the rest of my life. However, the biggest reason I continue my storyteller's journey amidst fear-laden challenges is best conveyed by this quote:

      "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek."  
                                                                      Joseph Campbell

Public Domain Photo 
The fact that fear is the gatekeeper to anything worth having, is made spooky when we realize that almost without exception, the "scary monster" standing at the door to our dreams seems to always be the one that frightens us the most. That is one of the real mysteries of life.

   May you vanquish all the ghouls and goblins in your own life.
                                       Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Whimsical Word of the Week

Lycanthrope - (n.)

a werewolf.

The wise old professor was not only a werewolf, he was the leader of the lycanthropes.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bibliophile's Corner

Mercy Watson
Princess in Disguise

Amazon Description:
Can visions of treats entice a porcine wonder to wear her princess costume? Hold on for some Halloween havoc, Mercy Watson-style!

When the Watsons decide to zip their porcine wonder into a formfitting princess dress for Halloween — complete with tiara — they are certain that Mercy will be beautiful beyond compare. Mercy is equally certain she likes the sound of trick-or-TREATING and can picture those piles of buttered toast already. As for the Lincoln Sisters next door, how could they know that their cat would get into the act and lead them all on a Halloween "parade" of hysterical proportions? Kate DiCamillo’s beguiling pig is back in a tale full of treats, tricky turns, hijinks, and high humor.

My Thoughts:

When I looked for a book to feature for Halloween week, I knew I'd found a winner with Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson - Princess in Disguise. In this illustrated short story we are once again entertained with one of the funniest characters Ms. DiCamillo has ever concocted: the imprudent pig, Mercy Watson. Kate DiCamillo's use of fun and interesting animals in her numerous tales for children is something I love and admire. Suffice it to say, Mercy Watson - Princess in Disguise is the perfect Halloween read for any little ghoul or goblin in your life!

To learn more about Kate DiCamillo - multiple Newbery Medal winner and the current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature - click here:

Monday, October 20, 2014


Hello, book lovers. My friend and critique partner, Kriston Johnson, is promoting the event listed below. We'd love for you to participate!

Thank you for stopping by The Scandinavian Santa book blitz. This yuletide tale was written by Victoria Lindstrom, and illustrated by her husband, Michael Lindstrom. Be sure to check out the giveaway below!

Publication date: Sept 16th 2014
Published by: Deeds Publishing
Genre: Animal fantasy, Christmas.

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, Gunnar and Ludvig; 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.

Available to purchase from Amazon and Apple Ibooks.
You can add it to Goodreads.
Visit Victoria's website.

Victoria Lindstrom was born in Southern California and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. In 2014, her first book, The Scandinavian Santa, was published with artistic contributions by her husband, fine artist Michael Lindstrom. Prior to becoming a full time writer, Victoria earned a degree in Dental Hygiene from Clark College in Vancouver, WA. She and her husband live in Washington State where they are active advocates for the arts in their community.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 17, 2014

Storyteller's Journey

Public Domain Photo by Lilla Frerichs
Bend in the Road

When I began blogging over three years ago I was a novice writer who had only been seriously writing for a few years at the time.

I chose to call my main post/meme of the week Storyteller's Journey to signify I would be blogging about my experiences as a writer, and not necessarily my abilities as an aspiring author. In retrospect, I'm really glad I had the foresight to do that since even though I've now had a book published, there is still so much to learn, and so many ways I can improve. I've discovered that consistent blogging helps me to stay disciplined, which for me, is a big part of being a writer. Writ of Whimsy has become a journal not only of my life as a writer, but in some ways, my personal life as well. The word storyteller seems to span the experience of writer and author alike. It also reminds me of the reason I began this journey in the first place: my passion for creating whimsical tales for young readers - but also, my own lifelong love of children's books, and the stories and poems they contain.

That being said, my storyteller's journey is at a bend in the road. Adding the new role of "published author" to  "writer in the trenches" is already presenting challenges to an introvert like me. The need to speak publicly, sign books, and promote The Scandinavian Santa, are all social activities. While I truly love people, I also require large amounts of time in my creative cave not only to write, but to recharge my soul. Consequently, finding a balance between writing and marketing will be an ongoing process. Finding that balance is only one of the many new challenges that are crossing my path right now. Therefore, in the coming weeks I'll post about the numerous other challenges I'm sure I'll encounter as a newly-published author.

My posts in Writ of Whimsy will continue to reflect my experience as a writer, but now, also as a published author. If I had to pick one thing that I've learned so far with regard to marketing, it would be the importance of having a great online presence prior to publication. While we've all heard that advice numerous times, now that I'm published I see why it's so often recommended. Once my book was released on September 16th, I immediately began marketing it. Our local library, bookstores in the area, and individuals in the Kidlit world, looked not only at my book, but at my website. The reason I know that is because they told me! I've received several invitations for book signings and/or author visits. In nearly every case, the contact person has mentioned my website - (my web designer is Since I have decent Facebook and Twitter accounts, they, too, have proven to be beneficial in getting the word out about my book. (Since The Scandinavian Santa is a holiday tale, I have no time to waste!)

While obtaining agent representation and/or publication may be somewhat out of a writer's control, there are numerous other things we can do to prepare for life as a published author ahead of time. Gaining a great online presence is just one of the many things a writer can work on prior to that time. (Obviously an aspiring author would never want to neglect writing and reading!)

And, since I'm talking about a writer's online presence, be sure and check out Writ of Whimsy next week. My friend and critique partner, Kriston Johnson, has organized a book blitz with other bloggers for The Scandinavian Santa with lots of opportunities to win prizes.

As always, thanks to my blogging buddies. Happy writing!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Whimsical Word of the Week

Dilettantism - (n.)

a lack of the level of skill associated with an expert or professional.

Example: The talented artist was wrongly accused of dilettantism since he'd not attended art school.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Bibliophile's Corner

The Night Gardener
by Jonathan Auxier

Flap Copy Description:
The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its inhabitants are not quite what they seem. Soon, the children are confronted by a mysterious stranger - and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives.

My Thoughts:
If you're looking for a creepy Victorian ghost story to read before Halloween, The Night Gardener just might be the book for you. I was delighted to discover this well-written upper middle grade novel with shades of Stefan Bachmann, Charles Dickens, and even Edgar Allan Poe. Since the protagonist of Mr. Auxier's novel is a storyteller, it was no surprise that the author is himself a master bard. I'm anxiously awaiting the next novel by Jonathan Auxier and I highly recommend The Night Gardener to readers from the ages of eight to eighty.

To learn more about the super-talented author, click here:

Friday, October 10, 2014

Storyteller's Journey

Great-grandfather Peter Swanson
A Door to the Past

When I set out to write my children's book, The Scandinavian Santa, I was inspired by the stories I remembered hearing from my mother about Peter Swanson - her maternal grandfather, my great-grandfather, who immigrated to the United States from Norway.

However, like many Americans, my family tree has branches that originate from a number of places. My mother is Norwegian and Welsh, while my father is French and Italian. I have always identified most with my French-Italian heritage - I suppose since my family name, Cardon, is French. Another reason is that although my Norwegian grandmother lived only a few miles away when I was growing up, most of my other Norwegian relatives lived hours away in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. I had lost contact with those family members in my early twenties. Consequently, when I began to write the first draft of my yuletide tale, I realized very quickly that even though I was one quarter Norwegian, my knowledge of the Scandinavian culture was limited. I needed to do major research to make my short story, set in the land of Northern Lights, rich with believable details.

After the release of The Scandinavian Santa on September 16th, I decided to take a day trip to Poulsbo, Washington - known as "Little Norway." The small community was the place that my great-grandfather had settled when he came to the States. I knew that I probably still had relatives in the area, but I had not been in touch with any of them in over thirty years! My mother informed me that my cousin Jill still lived there. That was great news, since Jill and I had birthdays just two months apart, and had once been close when we were very young girls. I also wanted to contact a wonderful independent bookstore in Poulsbo - Liberty Bay Books - since they feature a section of Scandinavian books in their shop.

So I nervously contacted Jill and we set up a luncheon date. We would meet after I had spoken to the owner of Liberty Bay Books. Little did I know that meeting with Jill would have such a dramatic effect upon me.

Victoria (L) and Jill (R)
When we met at J J's Fish House in Poulsbo, she was already seated in a booth waiting for me. I recognized Jill immediately, even though I had not seen her for decades. The last time I can recall actually visiting her, was when I was twelve years old.
(I did attend her wedding years later, but only to extend my congratulations.) Life had taken twists and turns for both of us, and strangely, our lives had taken similar paths. We'd both been married, divorced, and then married to the love of our lives. We both have children who we are extremely proud of, and we both love to travel.

The time went by much too quickly, but in the short time we had that afternoon, we laughed, and cried, and shared memories. I had not only reconnected to my Norwegian side of the family, I had reconnected to a very special cousin. I could lament the time I've lost not maintaining a relationship with Jill, but we both agreed: life has its own perfect timing.

Jill and I are now contemplating a pilgrimage to Froyo, Norway - the village that was once home to our great-grandfather, Peter Swanson.

As writers, we know that writing a story can often open a door to another world for our readers. However, I never ever would have imagined that writing a book would open a door to my very own past.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Whimsical Word of the Week

Vagary - (n.)
an unexpected and inexplicable change in a situation or in someone's behavior.
Example: When her husband returned from the war the woman had to adjust to the vagary in his personality.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bibliophile's Corner

Frank Einstein
and the Antimatter Motor
written by Jon Scieszka and
illustrated by Brian Biggs

Amazon Description:
Frank Einstein loves figuring out how the world works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination, and definitely unusual. After an uneventful experiment in his garage-lab, a lightning storm and flash of electricity bring Frank's inventions - the robots Klink and Klank - to life! Not exactly the ideal lab partners, the wisecracking Klink and the overly expressive Klank nonetheless help Frank attempt to perfect his Antimatter Motor...until Frank's archnemesis, T. Edison, steals Klink and Klank for his evil doomsday plan!

My Thoughts:
Mr. Scieszka has created a fun and zany middle grade novel where science and robotics take center stage. As I read this hilarious book - with awesome illustrations by Brian Biggs - it reminded me of the 1999 movie, Inspector Gadget, starring Matthew Broderick. This well-written and extraordinary story contains enough scientific terms to satisfy the most committed nerd, while being so entertaining it will entice even the most reluctant of readers. I would highly recommend Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor to readers from the ages of eight to twelve.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Storyteller's Journey

The Bliss of Beautiful Books

During the process of collaborating with the publisher of The Scandinavian Santa, I discovered that the look of my book was just as important as its story. I know most authors are super excited to see their cover, as was I, but it went beyond that. I wanted the quality of the paper to be just so, I wanted the fonts & colors of my book to be just so, and on and on.

I've always enjoyed having books displayed in nearly every room of our home. I use them like an interior decorator would use expensive sculptures. One thing I've discovered is that some of the most beautiful books I own, came not from a bookstore, but from a museum or specialty shop. Museums treat an entire book like a piece of art, and rightfully so. Specialty shops sometimes carry beautiful gems not found in chain bookstores.

The Race of the Birkebeiners, by Lise Lunge-Larsen was illustrated by Mary Azarian. I found this book in a small Scandinavian specialty shop, and fell in love with it. The story is a retelling of a Norwegian event from the eleventh century. However, I'll admit, I purchased it because the entire book is just so beautiful! It also would be considered a comp book for my children's book: The Scandinavian Santa. This book sits in our dining room.

The Barefoot Book of CLASSIC POEMS was compiled and illustrated by Jackie Morris - I purchased it at the Portland Art Museum. This is one of my very favorite books for a number of reasons: 1- It's a children's book,
2- The illustrations are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen,
3- It's a book of poems. This book sits next to Lise Lunge-Larsen's book in our dining room. I pick it up and peruse through it at least once a week; it is that extraordinary! The first poem in this beautiful book expresses a lovely truth:

                                                      A Book

                                     There is no frigate like a book
                                     To take us lands away,
                                     Nor any coursers like a page
                                     Of prancing poetry,
                                     This traverse may the poorest take
                                     Without oppress of toll;
                                     How frugal is the chariot
                                     That bears a human soul!
                                                                              Emily Dickinson

Children's books have the unique ability to blend fine art with literature in a way that can create an extraordinary object that is not only lovely, but inspiring. The bliss of beautiful books.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Whimsical Word of the Week

Ineffable - (adj.)

utterly indescribable; too sacred to speak of.
Example: The widow felt ineffable compassion and support from her friends after the death of her husband.