Monday, April 27, 2015

COVER REVEAL!


I'm excited to share the cover reveal of The Tale of Willaby Creek by Victoria Lindstrom! This is a middle grade adventure fantasy that releases in June 2015.

About the Book:
A magical tale of amazing sacrifice...
When a violent windstorm strikes an enchanted rain forest many of the woodland creatures of Willaby Creek are stranded, injured, or lost forever to the frenzied force of the tempest. Basil, a black bear full of doubt and fear, becomes the unlikely leader to head the woodland creatures' rescue. He is joined by Daphne, a spunky blue dryad; Oliver, a wise horned owl; Elbert, a noble elk; and a host of other creatures that inhabit the enchanted rain forest.
Dangerous twists and turns in this animal adventure fantasy cause Basil to discover a courage, and a conviction, he never knew he had. The answers to the ancient mysteries in this magical tale emerge in an extraordinary finale under the tall timbers of the hidden hinterland.
 
About the Author:
VICTORIA LINDSTROM is a full-time writer, a voracious reader, and the author of the children's picture book, The Scandinavian Santa. She loves to wander through the woods, capture the beauty of Nature in photographs, and visit museums and fine art galleries. She and her husband, Michael, live near he shore of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.
You may visit Victoria at www.victorialindstrom.com

   Facebook - Twitter @AuthorLindstrom - Goodreads - Pinterest

Giveaway:
One hardcover copy of The Tale of Willaby Creek (US) and an ebook of The Tale of Willaby Creek (INT) - Ends May 19, 2015.
(Books will be delivered upon release, or shortly before.)
               Click to participate: a Rafflecopter giveaway

               This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Storyteller's Journey

   Anthropomorphic Animals

My earliest recollection of falling in love with anthropomorphic animals was when I first read Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. Truth be told, it wasn't just the well-written whimsical tale I so enjoyed, but also the beautiful illustrations that made the classic story come alive.

Most of you know that the stories I write feature either an animal protagonist, or at the very least, an animal secondary character.
Photo Credit: Wind in the Willows - Public Domain

I've pondered about why it is that I so gravitate to these non-human creatures; there are a number of different reasons I've discovered:

1- My love of nature extends to the amazing animals who inhabit it.
2- There is something whimsical and magical about an animal talking.
3- I find it easier to write about certain issues with these creatures.
4- The settings where animals live are so wonderful to write about.
5- I believe animal fantasy stories awaken the imaginations of readers.

Many of you know my animal fantasy novel, The Tale of Willaby Creek, will be released soon. Stop by Writ of Whimsy next week for the book's cover reveal featuring cover art by my husband, Michael Lindstrom!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Whimsical Word of the Week

Misoneism - (n.)
hatred or dislike of new things or change.
Example: The misoneism of the novel's main character provided an opportunity for the author to form an effective character arc.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Bibliophile's Corner

Nightbird
by Alice Hoffman

Flap Copy Description:
Just when you think you know what's going to happen next, the world surprises you.

This is especially true in Sidwell, a small town in the Berkshires. Rumor has it that Sidwell is home to a monster, and tales of sightings draw in as many tourists as do the town's famed Pink apples. Twig's mom owns the orchard and bakes irresistible pies. Because of a family secret, Twig has tried her best to be invisible, but when two girls named Julia and Agate move into Mourning Dove Cottage next door, everything changes. A witch lived there once, and Twig's mother has always forbidden her to step inside. But Julia might just be Twig's first true friend, and her ally in vanquishing an ancient curse.

My Thoughts:
The author, Alice Hoffman, revealed each morsel of her magical story a bit at a time, which made for a most enjoyable experience. Beautiful writing, a delightful protagonist, scrumptious settings, and a mysterious plot all made Nightbird one of my favorite middle grade novels this season. Ms. Hoffman is a master storyteller with many works of fiction to her credit. I highly recommend Nightbird to readers aged eight & up.

Click here to learn more about the bestselling author Alice Hoffman.

Friday, April 17, 2015

An Interview with Author Elizabeth Varadan

Today I'm thrilled to bring you an interview with Elizabeth Varadan - a dear online author friend. While Ms. Varadan has a variety of interests, today I'm hoping to learn more about how she came to write her soon-to-be released middle grade novel: Imogene and The Case of the Missing Pearls.
I recently read Ms. Varadan's novel; with Victorian London and Sherlock Holmes within the pages of a middle grade novel I was in heaven! Elizabeth has created a delightful story by blending the lives of a young, sheltered, but precocious girl, with that of the iconic, witty, Baker Street detective. Borrowing a quip from the super-sleuth himself, "Excellent!"


Before I bring you my interview with Elizabeth, here is a short summary of her book. It will be released on June 15, 2015.

In Imogene and The Case of the Missing Pearls, a day after Imogene's obnoxious step-cousins pay a visit, her mother's pearls go missing. When Sherlock Holmes is called in, Imogene, harboring a secret desire to become a detective, sees her chance to learn from the great Mr. Holmes.


VL Welcome to Writ of Whimsy, Elizabeth! It's an honor to interview you today; I'm anxious to learn more about your book. Before we start I just want to thank you for being such a great friend. It's been a pleasure getting to know you, even though it's only been via social networking.

EV Thanks for having me here today. It's a real pleasure to know you, too, Victoria. Isn't the Internet grand? I've enjoyed your blog for years, now.

VL So, Elizabeth, how long have you been writing?

EV Off and on, I've written ever since I was quite young - skits, stories, poems, all through elementary school and college. I only started taking it seriously, though, after I finished university. Still, I could only write in my spare time, especially once I started teaching, as that was a consuming passion for many years.

VL Is this your first novel?

EV It's my second completed novel. I self-published a middle grade fantasy novel a few years ago, and I have a cozy mystery and a middle grade historical novel both in the rewrite stages. I also have a completed collection of children's stories that is being submitted around.

VL What inspired you to write Imogene and The Case of the Missing Pearls?

EV A few years ago, during a visit to England, my brother and his wife took me to the Sherlock Holmes museum on Baker Street in London, which planted a seed. Some time later, in my favorite used book store, I came across a delightful book, Kitty and Mr. Kipling in Vermont, written by Lenore Blegvad and illustrated by her husband, Erick Blegvad. It's a story about a little girl who becomes friends with Rudyard Kipling when he and his family move next door. I was charmed by the idea and started to think, "Wouldn't it be fun to write about a little girl who becomes friends with Sherlock Holmes? What if she even helped him solve a case." The idea grew, and Imogene, who started out very young, grew older as I wrote - probably because I taught intermediate grades for several years, and 8-to-12-year-olds are imbedded in my psyche.

VL How much research was necessary to create this story?

EV Tons! I've always loved British authors, so some of the voice and mentality of the late Victorian/Edwardian eras were already in my head. But to track down necessary details--maps, neighborhoods, occupations, social roles, ship schedules, railroad time tables, educational practices--all of that required hours of research and lots of correspondence to museums, societies, etc., as well as to many blog sites. I re-read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories, again, as well as other fan novels, and Baring-Gould's The Annotated Sherlock Holmes. But I like research. My husband teases me that I only write stories that require research, and to some extent, that's true.

VL What is your current work in progress?

EV I actually have more than one. I usually do. It seems to be the way I work. I have both the middle grade historical novel with a ghost and the contemporary cozy, set in another country that are both in stages of revision. And I have a general outline for a sequel to Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls.

VL Elizabeth, do you have any advice for pre-published writers?

EV Don't get discouraged by rejection. We writers do want to be published, but rejection is a normal set of steps on the path to publication. Keep writing and perfecting your craft. And keep the joy of writing your priority. If publication is all you care about, you probably aren't a writer at heart. Writing should be your first love. If it is, in time, publication will follow.

Thanks so much for stopping by Writ of Whimsy today, Elizabeth!
We've really enjoyed learning more about you and your soon-to-be released novel, Imogene and The Case of the Missing Pearls.

For those of you in the Sacramento area, Elizabeth will be at
Time Tested Books, 1114  21st Street, Sacramento, CA 95811 on
April 29, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. for a pre-publication book signing.

Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls will be released on June 15th.
You may pre-order at these links:
Book Depository:
Click here to pre-order.
Amazon: Click here to pre-order.

Here are the online links where you can find Elizabeth Varadan:
Blog: Victorian Scribbles
Facebook: Elizabeth Varadan Author
Twitter: @4thWishVaradan
Amazon Author Page: Click here.
(The Sherlock Holmes Museum Elizabeth mentioned in her comments is shown on the left.)
Photo by Victoria Lindstrom

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Whimsical Word of the Week

Gloze - (v.)

to explain away; make excuses for.
Example: The young hoodlum's shenanigans were often forgiven due to his ability to gloze over them so well.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bibliophile's Corner

Witherwood - Reform School
by Obert Skye

Flap copy Description:
After a slight misunderstanding involving a horrible governess, oatmeal, and a jar of tadpoles, siblings Tobias and Charlotte Eggars find themselves abandoned by their father at the gates of a creepy reform school. Evil mysteries are afoot at Witherwood, where the grounds are patrolled by vicious creatures after dark and kids are locked in their rooms. Charlotte and Tobias soon realize that they are in terrible danger—especially because the head of Witherwood has perfected the art of mind control.

If only their amnesiac father would recover and remember that he has two missing children. If only Tobias and Charlotte could solve the dark mystery and free the kids at Witherwood—and ultimately save themselves.


My Thoughts:
While middle grade novels featuring quirky, and even frightening, schools abound, Mr. Skye's Witherwood - Reform School just might be in a class of its own. Right from the very first chapter of this dark fantastical novel I was hooked by its creepy secondary characters and humorous dialogue. The mischievousness of the siblings, Tobias and Charlotte, might just be what helps them escape the mysterious school. However, readers won't discover if they do until the release of Book 2 in the series: Witherwood - Lost and Found. I highly recommend Witherwood - Reform School to readers aged nine & up.

Click here to learn more about the author, Obert Skye.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Storyteller's Journey

Pencil sketch by Victoria Lindstrom
 
 Connecting to Our Characters

Several weeks ago I posted a book review for a Christmas gift I'd received: The Writer's Brush, by Donald Friedman. In that post I mentioned that the beautiful book had inspired me to begin sketching from time to time; on the left is a pencil sketch of Oliver, a secondary character from my soon to be released middle grade fantasy novel,
The Tale of Willaby Creek.



The reason I'm sharing this photo with you is it reminded me of some wonderful advice I received from a dear writing friend years ago...about ways to connect with our characters. My creative writing teacher instructed us to tap into the personality of our protagonist in creative ways. Here's the artsy list from my mentor - plus a few of my own:

*Make a collage of your story, featuring your protagonist in it.
*Make a "Wanted" poster for your protagonist (or antagonist).
*Draw or paint your characters.
*Interview your main character.
*Write a poem about your protagonist.
*Visit a person (or creature) that's similar to your protagonist.
*Obviously, do research on your main character (if possible). At the very least, familiarize yourself with any hobbies or habits that the character actually has, or you want him/her/it to have.

At the time of the assignment I felt rather discombobulated. However, since that time (which was years ago) I've grown to appreciate my mentor's wise advice. Surrounding myself with images - in whatever form - of the characters in my work in progress inspires me so much. It's as though the collective cast of characters is cheering me on as I create their story. Maybe my muse(s) are my characters.

By the way, click here if you'd be interested in participating in the cover reveal for my soon to be released novel The Tale of Willaby Creek. CBB Book Promotions has scheduled the event for Monday4/27/15.

Be sure and stop by Writ of Whimsy next week when I'll be interviewing the author, Elizabeth Varadan! We'll be discussing her soon to be released novel Imogene and The Case of the Missing Pearls.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Whimsical Word of the Week

 
Lammergeier - (n.)

a giant vulture-like bird of prey.
Example: The dragon and the lammergeier fought for control of the forest.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Bibliophile's Corner

Mountain Dog
by Margarita Engle

Amazon Description:
When Tony’s mother is sent to jail, he is sent to stay with a great uncle he has never met in Sierra Nevada. It is a daunting move—Tony’s new world bears no semblance to his previous one. But slowly, against a remote and remarkable backdrop, the scars from Tony’s troubled past begin to heal.

With his TiĆ³ and a search-and-rescue dog named Gabe by his side, he learns how to track wild animals, is welcomed to the Cowboy Church, and makes new friends at the Mountain School. Most importantly though, it is through Gabe that Tony discovers unconditional love for the first time, in Mountain Dog by Margarita Engle.


My Thoughts:
This inspiring middle grade novel was written in verse by Margarita Engle - an author who has received multiple awards. Ms. Engle actually has ties to the search-and-rescue dog community since her husband trains SAR dogs. Her extensive knowledge of rescue organizations allowed her to include important details, making Mountain Dog read incredibly true. In addition to that, the great character development, beautiful prose, and setting description of the Sierra Nevadas, all made this novel a big winner for me. I highly recommend Mountain Dog to readers from the ages of eight to eighty.

Click here to learn more about the author, Margarita Engle.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Storyteller's Journey

A Sublime Setting

This is one of the many photographs I took on my trip to the Holy Land in May of 1988. Spending time at the Western Wall is a memory I will always cherish.


When I reflect on the stories I've been inspired to write, they all have at least one element in common: A sublime setting. (Jerusalem is the setting for the seventh book in my proposed Livvi Biddle series.)

I think the reason setting is so important to me as a writer is due to the fact that my writing is an extension of my years as a reader. As a child, books would whisk me away to mysterious places I could only dream of at that age. Even now, I'm sometimes inspired to write a story about a place I've not yet visited, as in the case of The Scandinavian Santa. (I've never been to any of the Nordic countries, but I hope to travel to a few next year.) Having a sublime setting in a novel also gives the writer a great source from which to create character traits for her protagonist, since certain subcultures are innate to certain locations. This all requires a good bit of research, and possibly even some travel, but that's one of the things I so enjoy about being an author. Novels have the opportunity to introduce our readers, and ourselves, to interesting and exotic countries with different peoples, customs, and history.

We writers can promote peace by including other cultures in our books.

                         Happy Easter! ~~ Happy Passover! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Whimsical Word of the Week

Coruscant - (adj.)
sparkling or glittering.

Example: The light from the coruscant fairy illuminated the entire corner of the enchanted forest.