Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Escaladeur - (n.)
mountaineer; a mountain climber.
Example: The eclectic group of hikers included an escaladeur from France.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

Some Kind of Happiness
by Claire Legrand

Amazon Description:
• Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
• Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
• Never having met said grandparents.
• Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)

Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real--and holds more mysteries than she'd ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.

With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.

My Thoughts:
Some Kind of Happiness is yet another magnificent middle grade novel by Claire Legrand! One of the things I love about Ms. Legrand's books is their ability to convey strong messages, while keeping the reader on the edge of her seat anxiously turning the pages. She used an alternate POV in the fantasy world of Everwood as a unique way to craft her story. I loved it! In addition to that, this MG  novel gently addresses issues of divorce, family secrets, and mental illness. I highly recommend Some Kind of Happiness to readers aged eight to eighty!

Click here to learn more about the author, Claire Legrand.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

My son and daughter-in-law: David & Jessica
Finding Balance

For the last five weeks my son & daughter-in-law have lived with us while they readjusted to being back in the Pacific Northwest. In two weeks they move into a quaint little house a few miles east of us.

It's been 15 years since my son, David, lived at home full-time. In the last several weeks I've felt like I've been able to get reacquainted with my son...the adult version. I am so, so proud of both of them!

One thing I didn't expect to encounter was just how much I've changed since those days 15 years ago. It wasn't just the fact that at that time I was working full-time as a dental hygienist, I was also a full-time mom. My identity, at that time, was wrapped up in being the best parent I could be, which meant lots of music recitals, sporting events, and awards assemblies to attend. If you're a parent of a school aged child you know what I mean. Your life is full of your child's activities. In fact, I'd say that during those days I rarely made myself a priority.

Since 2002 my life has changed in numerous ways, ways that I have mentioned here on Writ of Whimsy before. When I became a full-time writer my life took a 180 degree turn! What I'm now learning (since my life is full of writing, book events, art events, etc.) is that I must WORK to make time for my family. It's a task I'm embracing, one that David and Jessica have helped me with immensely - just by being the cool people that they are! It's been another lesson in BALANCE.

Whether you're a single person, a partnered person with no children, or a partnered person with children, it's so important to work at making your family a priority. If that is easy for you, then don't forget to work at making yourself a priority. It's always about BALANCE in your life.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Litterateur - (n.)
a person who is interested in and knowledgeable about literature.
Example: An author who wants to be taken seriously, should also be a litterateur.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

Beyond the Bright Sea
by Lauren Wolk

Amazon Description:
Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift on a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow's only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.

Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn't until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.

My Thoughts:
Beyond the Bright Sea is a beautiful middle grade story set in the Elizabeth Islands off the coast of Massachusetts in 1925. It includes a wonderfully written and well-crafted plot, complex & salty characters, and the talented voice of award-winning author, Lauren Wolk - a master storyteller. You can almost smell the sea and taste the lobster! (Ms. Wolk won a Newbery Honor for her novel, Wolf Hollow.) I highly recommend Beyond the Bright Sea to readers aged eight and up!

Click here to learn more about author Lauren Wolk.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

Photo Credit: Public Domain
The Story Behind the Story

Along my storyteller's path I've labored to create magical characters, mysterious plots, and charming settings. One thing I never anticipated was the twists and turns my own story as a writer would take. If I had, I'm not sure that I would have so unwarily proceeded! My own character development has transformed, my emotions have ridden a roller coaster, and I've visited places that I never would have otherwise. I never dreamt that my life would change so much!

But, those unexpected experiences have brought to my life insights, wisdom, friendship, joy, knowledge, confidence, and on and on.

We're taught as writers to place as many challenges in the path of our protagonists as we can. Since most of us grow close to our characters, sometimes we cringe at having to do that - even though we know it's a necessary part of creating a complex and viable story. Maybe one way to understand & implement tension is to experience our own troubles.

Learning lessons from life's challenges is something I've discussed on Writ of Whimsy before. While we'd probably all agree with that idea, when challenges come to my door I'm not thinking of learning lessons. Dealing with the pain of the situation takes a lot of effort just to get by.

I know we ALL deal with life's trials and tribulations; here are a few challenges I've dealt with since embarking on my storyteller's journey:

A wrist injury that ended my dental hygiene career.
Loss of substantial stock value, investments, 401K, etc.
The death of our two dogs - one in 2005 and the other in 2008
I gained several pounds due to a bout of deep depression.
The youngest of our three sons left home for college.
Multiple rejections - of all sorts. (Aren't those fun? Not.)
In the spring of '16 I injured my knee; in the fall of '16 I had surgery.
My sister sadly passed away on 11/7/16; I'm still dealing with grief.

We all have a story behind the story. It behooves us to learn from it - not only personally, but as writers. That way we make good use of everything (even the tough stuff) that we experience. ~ All the best.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Coruscate - (v.)
(of light) flash or sparkle.
Example: The face of the impish elf seemed to coruscate with enchantment.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

The Blue Songbird
by Vern Kousky

Flap Copy Description:
A little blue songbird longs to sing like her sisters. But whenever she tries, she cannot get the tune right. Her mother encourages her to leave home and find a song that only she can sing.
With courage and tenacity, she travels the world, seeking advice from a crane, an owl, and a mean-looking crow, and other birds, hoping they will lead her to her special song.

My Thoughts:
The Blue Songbird is super special! This book's tiny protagonist packs a punch as she goes on a journey to find her own song. Her story will speak to children of all ages with a desire to hit the right key in their own lives. I highly recommend this lyrically written and whimsically illustrated picture book to young readers from the ages of four and up.

Click here to learn about author/illustrator, Vern Kousky.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

Photo Credit: Public Domain
Story Super Structure

Whether you prefer to construct your story from a character-driven origin or a plot-driven origin, it's important that when the manuscript is complete that your novel is strong...on both counts. When I think about my favorite novels, they're all complex and balanced - I can't tell where the author began her journey when creating her wonderful tale.

So, how do we all accomplish this literary feat?

While I can not claim to have a corner on creating such a well-written novel, I have learned a technique (through trial & error!)  that I am attempting to implement all the time. It's a matter of weaving strong plot and character elements together. Since I am primarily a character-driven writer, here's how I attempt to "balance" my manuscripts:

In a nutshell, I begin with the Hero's Journey (which deals with the protagonist) when writing my first draft. When that is complete, I go through the draft & size it up with the Three-act Story Structure (which primarily deals with plot.) Usually lots of my scenes get moved!

As I mentioned above, I approach my stories as a character-driven writer, so the Hero's Journey has been familiar to me for quite some time. However, it was when I began to implement the Three-act Story Structure to my work that I felt my manuscripts began to feel more "balanced." Weaving the two together is not easy, but the result is well worth the effort. Since I needed to better understand the Three-act Story Structure, I drew a dummy sheet that I'm constantly referring to:

Are you a character-driven writer or a plot-driven writer?
Hope this helps!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Bluestocking - (n.)
an intellectual or literary woman.
Example: For the most part, to be called a bluestocking was an insult during the nineteenth century.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

A Girl Called Vincent
The Life of Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay
by Krystyna Poray Goddu

Flap Copy Description:
There was never anything calm about Vincent. Her sisters used to say that she had a bee chasing her. Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950), known as Vincent, was an acclaimed American poet who came to embody the modern, liberated woman of the Jazz Age. From the fiery energy of her youth to the excitement and acclaim of her early adulthood in New York and Paris, to the demands of living in the public eye, Vincent’s life was characterized by creativity, hard work, and passion. A Girl Called Vincent traces her incredible journey from a unique and talented girl to an international celebrity and Pulitzer Prize–winning poet.

            Raised in poverty in rural Maine, where she was often the sole caretaker of her two younger sisters, the rebellious, creative, red-haired Vincent always found time for writing, acting, singing, and playing piano. She became a sensation in young adulthood, bewitching audiences with her words, voice, and luminous appearance. She mixed with the literary figures of her time and broke many hearts. Her volumes of poetry were enormous bestsellers and audiences nationwide went wild when she recited her works onstage. In addition to poetry, Vincent’s body of work includes plays, translations, and an opera, and ranges from love sonnets to antiwar propaganda.

My Thoughts:
This biography on one of America's most beloved poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay, is scrumptious! Packed full of the details of her extraordinary life, the book also includes vintage photos and a timeline of the Pulitzer Prize winner's life. Evidence of extensive research appears on every page; readers will feel like they actually knew the iconic poet whose "candle burned at both ends." I highly recommend
A Girl Called Vincent to readers from the ages of eight to eighty!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

Photo Credit: Public Domain
Autumn Equinox!

While autumn brings to mind images of colorful leaves falling on crisp, cool days, there are numerous legends and myths connected to the autumn equinox, too.

Click here to learn about interesting Mabon Folklore & Traditions.

*     *     *      *     *

Autumn Spiced Cider is something our family always enjoys!

Happy Mabon!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Mabon - (n.)
a pagan holiday marking the arrival of the autumn equinox.
Example: The renaissance fair planned to celebrate Mabon with a variety of fun autumn events.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

She Persisted
by Chelsea Clinton & Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

Amazon Description:
Chelsea Clinton introduces tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted.

Throughout American history, there have always been women who have spoken out for what’s right, even when they have to fight to be heard. In early 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced in the Senate inspired a spontaneous celebration of women who persevered in the face of adversity. In this book, Chelsea Clinton celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all certainly persisted.

My Thoughts:
All through history women have had to deal with being told, "Be quiet, sit down." In this powerful picture book, readers are treated to thirteen women in American history who would not be quiet. The beautiful artwork by Alexandra Boiger brilliantly brings to life the words by Ms. Clinton. I highly recommend She Persisted to readers of all ages!

Click here to learn more about Chelsea Clinton.
Click here to learn more about Alexandra Boiger.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

What a Summer!

In the Pacific Northwest folks always "make the most" of the warm weather each summer. So, like everyone else, I've been super busy the last few months.

Since I'm just getting back in the groove with blogging, this is a super short post today. Great thoughts coming soon to Writ of Whimsy!

Click here to read my recent newsletter with highlights of my summer.

Wishing each of you a great harvest season ahead!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Mabinogion - (n.)
a collection of Welsh tales based on old Celtic legends of magic and mythology.
Example: The author read many books in the mabinogion before writing her children's book set in Wales.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

nine, ten:
A September 11 Story
by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Amazon Description:
Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day—until a plane struck the World Trade Center.

But right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will’s father is gone, too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Nadira has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school she’s getting funny looks because of the head scarf she wears. Amy is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has to fly to New York on business.

These four don’t know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined. Award-winning author Nora Raleigh Baskin weaves together their stories into an unforgettable novel about that seemingly perfect September day—the day our world changed forever.

My Thoughts:
This middle grade novel is a light and entertaining read with a powerful message. I loved the way the story of Nadira, a Muslim girl, was woven into the perspectives of three other young people during the days leading up to the horrendous events of September 11, 2001. Nora Raleigh Baskin brilliantly reveals how 9/11 had a far-reaching impact to people miles away from New York City, Washington D.C., and Shanksville, PA., to all corners of our country and even around the world. I highly recommend nine, ten to readers aged eight to twelve.

Click here to learn more about the author Nora Raleigh Baskin.

Click here to read about my visit to the 9/11 Memorial in NYC.

Never Forget.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

It's great to be back in the world of blogging, and I have great news: Journey to Snowdonia released earlier this week! (The full list of winners for the Rafflecopter Giveaway that ran all summer is posted below.)

If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area I'd also like to invite you to our launch party tomorrow, featuring swag & refreshments! 

Click here for the buy link!
       *     *     *     *     *

Here is the complete list of winners from my Rafflecopter Giveaway: 

Sarah Mayer - Winner of all three of my hardback titles, signed

James Robert - Winner of a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card

Alan Saxon - Winner of a signed copy of Journey to Snowdonia

Elis Brockway - Winner of a signed copy of The Scandinavian Santa

Gina Marie - Winner of a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card

Jeanna Massman Winner of a signed copy of The Tale of Willaby
Dan Dykstra - Winner of a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card

Thanks to all the participants! There were over 2400 contest entries!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

A Summertime Break!

Each summer I take a break from blogging, so this is my last post until autumn. I'll be busy with writer & book events, a few adventures, and then there is writing, of course!

Click here if you'd like to participate in the contest/giveaway for my upcoming "Wintertime Tale" Journey to Snowdonia. The winners will be announced in September - right after the book's release!

Click here if you'd like to view my Summertime Reading List.

Click here if you'd like to read my recent quarterly newsletter.

Have a sensational summer! I'll be back in September!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Duende (n.)
1- the mysterious power of art to deeply move a person.
2- a magical spirit.
The impressionist's hope was that his paintings would arouse a bit of duende in those who viewed them.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

Deep in the Woods
by Christopher Corr

Amazon Description:
In this retelling of the classic Russian folk tale Teremok, a little house in the woods is chosen as the perfect place to live by a little mouse. One day, there is a knock on the door. It’s a rabbit, and the mouse invites him to come and live in the little house. The next day, there is another knock, and an owl comes to live in the little house, too. Many more animals join until eventually, a bear knocks on the door. Trying to fit inside the little house, a bear climbs on to the roof and it crashes to the ground. Can he put everything right?

My Thoughts:
This seemingly simple picture book contains a little secret that all children could learn from. Its whimsical illustrations, and witty text, tell the tale of a large group of forest friends that decide to live together in a wooden house. Deep in the Woods reminds the reader that despite the differences in those around us, we can, and should, all learn to live together. I recommend this delightful picture book to all young readers!

Click here to learn more about the author/illustrator Christopher Corr.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

2017 Summer Reading List!

It's time once again for my annual Summer Reading List! Click on each MG title for my review as posted on Bibliophile's Corner.

These awesome middle grade novels are listed in random order:

The Girl Who Drank the Moon - by Kelly Barnhill

Thornghost - by Tone Almjhell

The Secret Keepers - by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Gallery - by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

The Inquisitor's Tale - by Adam Gidwitz

Where the Sea Turned to Silver - by Grace Lin

Wolf Hollow - by Lauren Wolk

Grayling's Song - Karen Cushman

The Poet's Dog - Patricia MacLachlan

Furthermore - Tahereh Mafi

Happy reading! Have a fantastic summer!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Lacuna (n.)
a blank space; a missing part.
Example: After the couple's break-up, the young man was left with a lacuna in his heart.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

That Neighbor Kid
by Daniel Miyares

Amazon Description:
There’s a new boy in the neighborhood, and he’s up to something very curious. His next door neighbor, a girl his age with two long braids, peeps around corners and watches as he scavenges wood from the fence between their houses, drags around a hammer and a bucket of nails, and reads a book about living in trees. When she finally works up the courage to say “hi,” she finds herself invited to help build the private getaway every child has dreamed of: a tree house. She also finds herself with a new best friend.

My Thoughts:
The beautiful illustrations by author/artist Mr. Miyares magically reveal the message of this heartfelt story. That Neighbor Kid needs but two words to convey a powerful tale of curiosity & friendship! While this is the first book I've encountered by Mr. Miyares, it is not his first creation. I look forward to perusing through his other children's books as well. I highly recommend That Neighbor Kid to readers aged four to seven.

Click here to learn more about author/illustrator Daniel Miyares.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

It's A Rafflecopter Giveaway!
Journey to Snowdonia is set to release in September. To get a "buzz" going for my book, I'm hosting a great Rafflecopter Giveaway: several of my books, plus Amazon gift cards!

(Click on the small arrows to view the other awesome prizes!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The winners will be announced on Friday, September 8, 2017!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Metanoia (n.)
the journey of changing one's mind, heart, self, or way of life.
Example: After the mother's children had all left home she embarked on a difficult metanoia.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

by Claire Legrand

Flap Copy Description:
Orphan. Thief. Witch.

Twelve-year-old Quicksilver dreams of becoming the greatest thief in the Star Lands. With her faithful dog and partner-in-crime Fox, she’s well on her way—even if that constantly lands them both in trouble. It’s a lonesome life, sleeping on rooftops and stealing food for dinner, but Quicksilver doesn’t mind. When you’re alone, no one can hurt you. Or abandon you.

But the seemingly peaceful Star Lands are full of danger. Witches still exist—although the powerful Wolf King and his seven wolves have been hunting them for years. Thankfully, his bloody work is almost complete. Soon the Star Lands will be safe, free of the witches and their dark magic.

Then one day a strange old woman and her scruffy dog arrive in Quicksilver’s town and perform extraordinary magic. Real magic—forbidden and dangerous. Magic Quicksilver is desperate to learn. With magic like that, she could steal anything her heart desires. She could even find her parents.

But the old woman is not what she seems, and soon Quicksilver has to decide—will she stay at home and remain a thief? Or will she embark upon the adventure of a lifetime and become a legend?

My Thoughts:
Over the past several years I've become a fan of the books by Claire Legrand. First I read Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, and I followed that novel up with The Year of Shadows. Both were brilliant! Now, in her recent middle grade fantasy novel, Foxheart, she treats the reader to the same excellent storytelling as in her former books. In fact, I would say this novel is even more complex and entertaining. (A good sign that an author is continuing to develop her craft!) I highly recommend Foxheart to readers from the ages of eight and up!

Click here to learn more about the author Claire Legrand.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

Make It Matter

As writers of fiction, we spend much, if not most, of our time considering such things as plot, setting, dialogue,  & strength of scenes - not to mention the issue of character development!

There are other elements to crafting a quality story, but one that is not stressed enough is the importance of a strong & meaningful theme.

Does my story matter? Is there an underlying message in my story that matters to me personally? Would it matter to my potential readers?

Writing "what we know" can also mean writing "what matters to us." What has deeply touched us in our lives? What has wounded us?

There is an endless list of experiences that may have touched us.
Here is a short list of examples:

Loss of a job, a dream, a friend, etc.
Raising a child with challenges
Dealing with a chronic medical condition
Lack of finances

Then there are the numerous stories we all see everyday in the news. War, famine, sickness, political strife, etc. There are also accounts of inspirational heroism and sacrifice. Stories that touch our hearts.

A great example of a story that was created by an author who was moved with compassion is the middle grade novel Wonder.

Ms. Palacio was moved to write her novel by this experience:

"Palacio wrote Wonder after an incident where she and her three-year-old son were waiting in line to buy ice cream. Her son noticed a girl with facial birth defects. Fearing he would react badly, Palacio attempted to remove her son from the situation so as not to upset the girl or her family but ended up worsening the situation. Natalie Merchant's song "Wonder" made her realize that the incident could teach society a valuable lesson. Palacio was inspired by Merchant's lyrics and she began writing." (Wikipedia)

As you can see the experience Ms. Palacio had with her son grabbed hold of her heart and wouldn't let go. Thankfully she was moved to write her inspirational novel that has touched so many in our society.

The important thing to remember as writers is to connect with our hearts and create a story from there. It is not enough to evaluate possible themes without being personally affected by them. Each of us is touched by a wide array of meaningful subjects everyday.

We all need to have the courage to create the story only we can write.

Make It Matter.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Coddiwomple (v.)
to travel purposefully towards a vague destination.
Example: The hiker slowly realized that he was lost as he coddiwompled around the woods.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

The Crows of Pearblossom
by Aldous Huxley
Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Flap Copy Description:
Written in 1944 by Aldous Huxley as a Christmas gift for his niece, The Crows of Pearblossom tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. Crow, who live in a cottonwood tree. The hungry Rattlesnake that lives at the bottom of the tree has a nasty habit of stealing Mrs. Crow's eggs before they can hatch, so Mr. Crow and his wise friend, Old Man Owl, devise a sneaky plan to trick him. 

My Thoughts:
When I learned that Aldous Huxley had written a children's book, I immediately ordered it. What a delightful discovery! While the story is a bit dark - not unlike some fairy tales of that era - the plot does not suffer unduly, and I found this beautiful book to be a rare find. The whimsical illustrations by Sophie Blackall perfectly illuminate the tale of the two anthropomorphic crows, as well as their friend, Old Man Owl. I highly recommend The Crows of Pearblossom to all young readers!

Click here to read the biography of Aldous Huxley.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

Marketing Your Book
Part III
Last Friday I discussed the different ways I've marketed my books after their publication. This week I'll share other fun and creative ways to market your books. (Some of these ideas involve a bit of financial investment, so I consider them optional.)

Bookmark for my soon-to-be released children's book!
Bookmarks are a great item to include when a person purchases your book. You can also use them as swag for people who attend your book event, even if they do not choose to purchase one of your books.

Hand-made slate "amulets" make great swag.

Use your imagination to create an item that relates to your book. In Journey to Snowdonia the two children featured in my tale receive magical slate amulets from a mysterious woman in the woods. Some ideas to create or buy include: fairy wands, pencils, buttons, etc. An item that relates to your story is best!

                          Book trailer for my upcoming book: Journey to Snowdonia

Whether or not book trailers sell more books is something I cannot say. What I do know is that they create a fun and entertaining medium for young readers. I've received comments from parents & kids, stating how much they enjoy them - but they're definitely an optional item.

This is the third and final post regarding marketing. The points I've made during the past few weeks have been ideas that have worked for me. However, marketing is something that can be tailor made for each author. Your book, your personality, and your location, all contribute to the marketing style that will work for you. But whether you're published traditionally or independently, get ready to do a lot of work!

Good Luck!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Ignominious - (adj.)
deserving or causing public disgrace or shame.
Example: The Independent politician experienced an ignominious defeat.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

Monet Paints a Day
Written by Julie Danneberg - Illustrated by Caitlin Heimerl

Flap Copy Description:
In November 1885, impressionist painter Claude Monet vacationed in √Čtretat, France, where he spent his days outside, painting scenes of the seaside village. One morning he rose early and carried all of his supplies and half-finished paintings out to the cliffs and rocky beach, finally stopping to paint the arch called Manneporte. Eager to capture the scene before him, and aware that he must work quickly to catch the light, Monet became so engrossed in his work that he forgot to watch the incoming tide. Based on a true incident, MONET PAINTS A DAY introduces readers to the life and nature of this illustrious impressionist.

My Thoughts;
Since I love impressionist paintings - and admire those of Claude Monet in particular - Monet Paints a Day was a winner for me! Additionally, I've outlined a middle grade novel that includes the iconic French artist as a secondary character, so this little book served as a reference as well. Its text and paintings are meant to introduce children to Impressionism, and to Claude Monet - it succeeds on both counts. Beautiful water colors - done in Monet's color palette - transport the reader back to Normandy France where the "Father of Impressionism" lived, painted scenes, and spent most of his time. I highly recommend Monet Paints a Day to readers from the ages of eight to eighty!

Click here to learn more about the author, Julie Danneberg.
Click here to learn more about the artist, Caitlin Heimerl.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

Marketing Your Book
Part II
Last Friday I posted an introduction to "Marketing Your Book" prior to the release of your novel. Today I'll share different ways you can promote your book once it's been published. These techniques are those I've found to be valuable in marketing my own books.

After the release of your book make sure to continue to employ your online sites to promote your novel as was mentioned last week.

In addition to those online techniques, a number of other book events can be held, since you now have your books in hand:

*Book Launch Events - Can be held at a bookstores, libraries, etc.
*Readings of your book - At a local library, elementary school, etc.
*Book Events - Can be scheduled at all sorts of shops, galleries, etc.
*Festivals & Fairs - Many festivals & fairs can be possible venues for your book. (My biggest sales for The Scandinavian Santa have come from ScanFair in Portland, Oregon!)

Make sure to continue to network with your writer/author friends. Some of them might make great resources for book promotion opportunities.
Remember to return the favor when you can. While my friends are faithful to attend my book events, I always try to do the same for them.

Next Friday: Other fun and creative ways to promote your book!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Plaudits - (n.)
Example: The production company received plaudits for its groundbreaking cinematography.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

Princess Cora and the Crocodile
Written by Laura Amy Schlitz
Illustrated by Brian Floca

Flap Copy Description:
A Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Medalist join forces to give an over scheduled princess a day off and a wicked crocodile a day "on."

Princess Cora is sick of boring lessons. She's sick of running in circles around the dungeon gym. She's sick, sick, sick of taking three baths a day. And her parents won't let her have a dog. But when she writes to her fairy godmother for help, she doesn't expect help to come in the form of a crocodile, a crocodile who does not behave properly.

My Thoughts:
The beautiful writing of Ms. Schlitz is brilliantly brought to life by Mr. Floca's whimsical illustrations, making Princess Cora and the Crocodile a must-read for children! I loved how the princess executed her mischievous plan to change the hearts of her parents (and nanny) with a bit of help from a clever crocodile. I highly recommend this illustrated chapter book to readers from the ages of six to twelve!

Click here to learn more about author Laura Amy Schlitz.
Click here to learn more about illustrator Brian Floca.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

Marketing Your Book
Part I
As I've mentioned here on Writ of Whimsy before, my next children's book, Journey to Snowdonia, will be released in September. Since I'm in the early stages of marketing that book, I thought I'd blog about how I do the marketing for all of my books.

In this post I'll address the steps every author should be taking to promote her book(s). On the following two Fridays I'll post additional - and creative - techniques that I have employed to market my books.

As writers, we are each aware of the importance of creating our author platform. Facebook, Twitter, a blog, a website, are the most common ways to create an online presence, but there are other ways as well.

Hopefully your platform is in place before your debut book releases!

Beginning to tweet, post, or share only when your debut book releases is not a good idea. Having an online presence prior to your book's release allows your followers to become familiar with you & what you're interests are. Otherwise, your platform is really only a way to advertise your work. It sends a message that you're only interested in pushing your publication. Become acquainted with your friends/followers.

Prior to the release of your book there are a number of online techniques you can employ. Here are just a few effective possibilities:

*Cover Reveal - On your Facebook page(s), Twitter, Instagram, etc.

*Blog Tours - These are particularly successful if your books are YA.

*Contests/Giveaways - A great way to generate interest in your book.

If you're unsure on how to begin organizing these online events, there are numerous Book Promotion services you can employ. Be careful! Make sure to receive several recommendations before hiring a service.

Next Friday: Marketing your book once it's been released!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Oblate - (adj.)
(of a spheroid) flattened at the poles.
Example: The planet is not truly a sphere; it's has more of an oblate shape.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

We're All Wonders
Written & Illustrated by
R.J. Palacio

Flap Copy Description:
Auggie Knows He's Not An Ordinary Kid.
He does plenty of ordinary things. He feels ordinary. He just doesn't look ordinary.

Growing up as an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face isn't easy, but Auggie is a wonder. He and his trusty sidekick, Daisy, play ball, eat ice cream, and use their imaginations to soar through their days together. They know it's not just Auggie who's different. Everyone is different, and everyone is a wonder - if only they could see it.
Featuring the beloved hero from the worldwide bestselling sensation Wonder, this original adventure taps into every child's longing to be seen for who they truly are.

My Thoughts:
As with Ms. Palacio's other Wonder books, We're All Wonders is fantastic! This picture book brilliantly conveys to younger children the same message of kindness and tolerance as the previous books that inspired the "choose kind" movement across the county. Written with truth & compassion, and exquisitely illustrated, We're All Wonders is a keepsake in my house. (A great title to read to young guests.) I highly recommend this powerful little book to readers aged four to seven!

Click here to learn more about author R.J. Palacio.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

Photo Credit: Public Domain
Precocious Female Protagonists

Some of my favorite characters in children's books are precocious female protagonists. Here is a reminder of that word's definition:
Precocious (adj.)
(of a child) having developed certain abilities or proclivities at an earlier age than usual.

As a child, I always enjoyed spunky young girls in books because I could vicariously live their type of lives while reading. (My upbringing was extremely strict.) When I began to write my own MG novel I hoped to create a precocious female protagonist of my own. Here are a few iconic female characters that have offered me inspiration:

When I created my main character, Livvi Biddle, I imagined her as a quirky, precocious protagonist. However, as time has gone by I've realized (like so many writers) that the image I have of my protagonist has not been fully created upon the pages of my novel.

So, what can I do to more fully reveal my protagonist's personality?

As I revise my manuscript I'm attempting to improve these elements:

Dialogue - Does her vocabulary reflect a precocious young girl?
Humor - Do her words & behavior elicit a smile or a laugh?
Appearance - Does her appearance reflect a quirky girl?
Influence - Do the secondary characters notice her unusual behavior?
Effect - Does her behavior affect the plot?

The young Hermione Granger has also offered me inspiration.

Have you fully created your main character within your manuscript?