Friday, November 16, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

Yuly Hoffens Elis receives my book donation at Xela Aid in San Martin, Guatemala
An Amazing Adventure!

My trip to Guatemala was beyond anything I ever could have imagined! There are many reasons for that, but the main reason was the Guatemalan people, for sure.

Prior to registering for this extraordinary trip (which was a collaboration between Art Ambassador for a Colorful World and Xela AID) we began sponsoring this little girl. Her name is Catarina. When we decided we wanted to pledge to support a child in Guatemala, Catarina's biography stood out to me because she stated she liked to read, and wanted to become a teacher so that she could provide for her family. The other factor in making our decision was that we were hoping to support a girl - since we have three awesome, grown sons already! To say that we hit it off with Catarina would be a gross understatement. She's absolutely wonderful in so many ways: Kind, considerate, appreciative, and so intelligent. We're honored she is in our lives.

Since Catarina likes to read, we gave her these two books in Spanish: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle and An Old Gray Cat, by Tono Malpica. (I bought the latter book in a tiny bookstore in Antigua, Guatemala.)

While Catarina loves to read, she discovered for the first time that she also loves to paint! My husband Michael, is so smitten with this lovely little girl - and so am I. We hope to return to Guatemala in 2019 to see her.

I was honored to be pictured with these women & little girl who live in San Martin.
The Mayan people are hesitant to be photographed, believing that a piece of their soul might be stolen. However, I was able to "visit" with these three for some time, while Michael painted nearby. They were actually anxious to be photographed!

All of the beauty, color, and love of the Guatemalan people filled my senses while I was there. I have completed an outline for a middle grade novel inspired by Catarina. The picture on the left is of me writing the very first sentences of the new book (albeit it the first draft), while sitting in the Xela AID center in San Martin, Guatemala.

I did more research for the proposed MG novel while we were at Lake Atitlan in Jaibalito, Guatemala. If you are interested in receiving updates to this current project, click the link, then scroll down that page to register to receive my author quarterly newsletters:  

Lake Atitlan - Jaibalito, Guatemala

There are so many positive things I took away from Guatemala, far more than I gave. (If you've ever done any volunteering, you know what I mean.) However, during this season of thanksgiving I'm reminded that not only do I have so much to be thankful for, but so do the people of Guatemala. Their dignity, work ethic, kindness, and love brought me to tears while I was there. Prior to actually meeting a person we all sometimes make negative prejudgments - I know I did about Guatemala. However, I now see that country as a hidden jewel among other more affluent nations. I was honored and blessed to meet so many extraordinary people while we were there. The Mayans of Guatemala, in there traditional colorful clothing, are the most stunning people. We're already planning to return to that beautiful country, with its deep valleys, soaring volcanic mountains, and historic cathedrals and architecture. Then, too, there is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Antigua! All in all, Guatemala truly is the Land of Eternal Spring.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

Embarking on an Art Adventure!

As I mentioned on Monday, I'll be travelling to Guatemala with the non-profit organization Art Ambassador for a Colorful World next week. The opening sentence of the organization's mission statement is something I whole-heartedly support: "We believe art has the power to change the world." While my husband is an oil painter and will contribute his talent, I plan to donate the books on the left to the school in the remote Guatemalan Highlands that educates the Mayan children living there. We are over-the-top excited for this trip!

I've also volunteered to promote literacy with the children and to work with ESL students (through an interpreter). In addition to those activities, I'll keep busy by: learning to weave a basket, taking loads of photos, hiking in the highlands, and writing and sketching in my journals. (Maybe Guatemala will even inspire me to write a new story!) This unique trip is an extraordinary opportunity to grow, and to give.

The organization Xela AID is the group that has partnered with Art Ambassador for a Colorful World to host the participating artists. They are committed to the people in central Guatemala and have worked there tirelessly for 25 years. Since they're so familiar with the Guatemalan Highlands we are confident we'll have a great experience.

Because we won't return from the trip until the middle of November, 
I'll be taking a break from blogging - but I promise to post a lengthy account of my trip, including several photographs, after I return! 

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Pasquinade - (n.)
a satire or lampoon, originally one displayed or delivered in a public place.
Example: The senator delivered a political pasquinade of his opponent at the rally.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Bibliophile's Corner

The Only Road
by Alexandra Diaz

Flap Copy Description:
Jaime is sitting on his bed drawing when he hears a scream. Instantly, he knows: Miguel, his cousin and best friend, is dead.

Everyone in Jaime’s small town in Guatemala knows someone who has been killed by the Alphas, a powerful gang that’s known for violence and drug trafficking. Anyone who refuses to work for them is hurt or killed—like Miguel. With Miguel gone, Jaime fears that he is next. There’s only one choice: accompanied by his cousin Ángela, Jaime must flee his home to live with his older brother in New Mexico.
Inspired by true events, The Only Road is an individual story of a boy who feels that leaving his home and risking everything is his only chance for a better life.

My Thoughts:
When my husband and I began planning a trip to Guatemala (scheduled for October 29th - November 13th), I immediately started searching for a middle grade novel that was set in that Central American country. I couldn't have discovered a more remarkable - or relevant - story than The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz! The extraordinary book tells a tale of sacrifice, courage and danger as a young boy and his cousin leave Guatemala after being threatened by their town's resident gang, The Alphas. While the book takes the reader on the children's journey through Mexico and finally into the U.S., the culture and condition of Guatemala is felt with every turn of a page. In 2017 The Only Road was a Pura Belpre Honor book. This middle grade novel is a must-read for young readers, especially in light of the struggle our country currently faces regarding immigration reform. No matter who you are, you'll see the subject of immigration in a whole new light. I highly recommend The Only Road to readers aged eight to twelve!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Champions of Creativity

Ursula K. Le Guin

This Sunday would have been the eighty-ninth birthday of the iconic author, Ursula Le Guin. I was lucky enough to hear her speak at the Wordstock Book Festival in November of 2015, in Portland, Oregon.

Since Ms. Le Guin and her husband, Charles, moved to Portland, Oregon in 1958, her legion of Pacific Northwest fans consider her their own. However, the truth is, Ursula had a colorful tapestry of places where she resided and experienced life. She was born on October 21, 1929 in Berkeley, California. Her father was an anthropologist and her mother a writer. Consequently, she grew up in an intellectual environment that included family friends that included: scientists, writers, Native Americans, and college students. Ursula had stated that her dynamic childhood was something for which she was extremely grateful. She wrote her first fantasy story at the tender age of nine!

After graduating from Berkeley High School, she studied at Radcliffe, Columbia, and then won a Fulbright grant to continue her education in France. From 1951 to 1961 she wrote five novels - all of which were rejected by publishers! During that time she also wrote poetry and short stories, some of those stories were published. It wasn't until 1964 that she had the first story of her Earthsea fantasy series published: "The Word of Unbinding." She went on to write and publish numerous fantasy works, becoming an iconic fantasy children's book author.

When she was asked about what had influenced her writing, she responded: "Once I learned to read, I read everything. I read all the famous fantasies - Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows, and Kipling....this stuff is so beautiful, and so strange, and I want to do something like that."

Indeed she did just that.

Ms. Le Guin's literary works often blended fantasy with science fiction, but she always bristled at being pigeon-holed into any one genre. She was a tough-minded feminist whose works often included themes of environmentalism and anarchism. She wrote numerous titles during her long life, not only for children, but for adults as well. Ursula won numerous awards during her illustrious career - too many to mention.

Ursula Le Guin died on January 22, 2018, in Portland, Oregon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Naif - (n.)
a naïve or ingenuous person.
(adj.) naïve or ingenuous.
Example: The newspaper reporter was nothing more than a naif regarding his account of the story.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Bibliophile's Corner

When You Grow Up to Vote
by Eleanor Roosevelt
with Michelle Markel
Illustrated by Grace Lin

Flap Copy Description:
In the voice of one of the most iconic and beloved political figures of the twentieth century comes a book on citizenship for the future voters of the twenty-first century. Eleanor Roosevelt published the original edition of When You Grow Up to Vote in 1932, the same year her husband was elected president. The new edition has updated information and back matter as well as fresh, bold art from award-winning artist Grace Lin. Beginning with government workers like, firefighters and garbage collectors, and moving up through local government to the national stage, this book explains that the people in government work for the voter.
Fresh, contemporary, and even fun, When You Grow Up to Vote is the book parents and teachers need to talk to children about how our government is designed to work.

My Thoughts:
Reading the words of our nation's most extraordinary First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, was extremely inspirational. When You Grow Up to Vote was a reminder that our most sacred duty as U.S. citizens is to VOTE! What a wonderful way to educate children about the local, state, and federal positions that they will be called upon to vote on one day. The lovely artwork by Grace Lin perfectly illustrates the book; it is contemporary and classic at the same time. I highly recommend this unique book to readers aged eight to twelve!

Click here to read a biography about Eleanor Roosevelt.
Click here to learn more about the illustrator, Grace Lin.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

Public Domain Photo
A Writer's Up & Down Life

Last Friday I discussed the importance of just "jumping in" at some point along your storyteller's journey. That being said, there is no way to avoid the "ups and downs" that come with being a writer.

So what's a scribe to do??

In this post I'll share some techniques to deal with a writer's up & down life; much of which I learned the hard way along my rocky road as a writer. Here are just a few:

* The first thing I learned was that no one escapes the ups and downs - they're both exciting and excruciating.

* The journey is best shared as you experience it with friends.

* Have other interests besides writing. I love gardening, reading, traveling, and spending time with my family & friends.

* Understand you've signed up for a marathon, not a sprint. It will take a long time to realize your goals.

* Take an occasional break from writing, or at least from social networking. (I always take a summer break from blogging, but I continue working on my current project.)

* Keep your eyes on a goal. Whether it's reaching a daily word count, finishing a manuscript, or participating in NaNoWriMo - make sure the goal is attainable. While gaining agent representation is a great goal, it's so important that you have goals that are more in your control. Meeting some smaller goals will be a powerful fuel for your journey.

*Finally, have fun! Like a roller coaster ride, your journey can be exhilarating or traumatic. Be courageous and embrace the experience.

Treading my storyteller's path has taught me so much about life!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Maw - (n.)
the jaws or throat of a voracious animal.
Example: The peasant man peered down the maw of the monster just before he stabbed, and killed it.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Bibliophile's Corner

They Say Blue
by Jillian Tamaki

Flap Copy Description:
Caldecott and Printz Honor-winning illustrator Jillian Tamaki brings us a poetic exploration of colour and nature from a young child’s point of view. They Say Blue follows a young girl as she contemplates colours in the known and the unknown, in the immediate world and the world beyond what she can see. The sea looks blue, yet water cupped in her hands is as clear as glass. Is a blue whale blue? She doesn’t know — she hasn’t seen one.

My Thoughts:
Ms. Tamaki has created a colorful masterpiece of a picture book! The text and illustrations are both exquisite. One of the elements of They Say Blue that I most admire is the movement and rhythm of the story. The book felt like a wonderful waterfall I was traveling upon. It's not surprising that the art of Jillian Tamaki, a 2015 Caldecott Honor winner, is simply spectacular. 
I highly recommend They Say Blue for children aged three to seven!

Click here to learn about author/illustrator, Jillian Tamaki.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

Public Domain Photo
Jumping In!

Each month we host a get-together for a small group of artists in our home. Last month we happened to land upon the topic of how important it is to just "jump in" as an artist.

Since that meeting I've mused about what jumping in has meant to me as a writer. For every creative (professional) endeavor, one must have a great working knowledge of the craft. But, might it be possible to get so caught up in the rules that a writer fails to ever just jump in?

I believe so.

It's much easier to continue to study one's craft, than to ever just jump in. Fear is an obstacle that must be overcome before we can ever grow into our potential. On the flip side, impatience can sometimes be a writer's obstacle. If she doesn't want to take the time necessary to learn her craft, she might jump in prematurely, setting her career back.

I've been both impatient and fearful at different times along my journey.

How does one determine if it's time to jump in? Each writer must answer that question for herself. A  storyteller's journey is as unique as each writer. A good rule: Be professional every step along the way.

Jumping in was the key to my progress. After taking two college writing courses from an excellent author, I decided that no matter what, I, too, was going to be a published author. I began making choices like a published author. Here is a list of some of my choices:

* I set aside writing time that was non-negotiable
* I began attending as many writer events as possible
* I read loads of books on the craft of writing
* I began blogging regularly
* I began networking on social media sites regularly
* I have friendships with other writers
* I had a professional website created
* I purchased business cards
* I hired a professional editor
* I regularly attend a writers' critique group
* I send out quarterly newsletters
* I ultimately independently published three books
* I've had my own book signing events.

For me, I came to a "brick wall" and felt that to continue learning, I needed to keep moving forward. But to move forward, the next step was to publish my book independently. So, I jumped in.

When I jumped in, I was quickly overwhelmed. However, I also soon learned how to swim the waters of the publishing industry. Acquiring book formatting/a book cover/ISBN numbers, communicating with a major printing company, and scheduling book events, are just a few of the experiences that I am now confident I can do. (Also, since I'm an introvert, I believe that having my own book events was invaluable to my growth as an author.) Along the way, I also "learned the lingo" of the KidLit world. (Like all professions, we have our own language!)

The reason I say all this is that many of the *items in the list above are things that some writers would be afraid to do - like maintaining a website. I've heard so many writers say, "I've never had a book published. Why do I need a website?" (At least you need to obtain a domain name.) When you have your first book published, learning to navigate a website and other social media sites is not what you should be thinking about; it should be about marketing your book and starting another! There is so much work you can do prior to being published.

Jump in!

Remember: There's no substitute for writing on a daily basis.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Obstreperous - (adj.)
noisy and difficult to control.
Example: While the daycare worker claimed the children were obstreperous, all they needed was some kindness.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Bibliophile's Corner

Tiny, Perfect Things
by M.H. Clark
Illustrated by Madeline Kloepper

Flap Copy Description:
The whole world is a treasure waiting to be found. Open your eyes and see the wonderful things all around. This is the story of a child and a grandfather whose walk around the neighborhood leads to a day of shared wonder as they discover all sorts of tiny, perfect things together. With rhythmic storytelling and detailed and intricate illustrations, this is a book about how childlike curiosity can transform ordinary days into extraordinary adventures.

My Thoughts:
This recently released picture book features a lovely story with whimsical illustrations. (I love the artwork by Madeline Kloepper!)
Tiny, Perfect Things encourages children to not only see the wondrous things all around them - especially in nature - but to use their imagination and engage their curiosity to think about what they're seeing. I highly recommend it to readers aged three to seven!

Click here to read an interview with author, M. H. Clark.
Click here to learn more about the illustrator, Madeline Kloepper.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

A Fantastic Kick-off to Fall!

The first day of fall kicked off for me with the SCBWI Oregon Retreat in Silverton, Oregon. Lots of excited writers and illustrators gathered together for three power-packed days.

The participants received lots of great information - and inspiration - from a faculty of four awesome agents (L-R): Jill Corcoran; Christy Tugeau Ewers; Adria Goetz; and Jenna Pocius. (Ms. Corcoran has accepted a new position with the Smithsonian - beginning on 10/1/18.)

The retreat was held at the Oregon Garden; the 80-acre botanical garden includes a whimsical children's garden - so wonderful for kids! Below are a few images from that lovely little garden:

This blue door pays homage to the classic children's book by Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Secret Garden. (The door opens into a lovely secluded garden of its own!)

The Children's Garden even includes this hobbit door! While I didn't see either Bilbo, or Frodo Baggins, the door did bring J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit to mind.

The second day of the event I took a break with my critique partner, Kriston; we took a tram on a tour of the beautiful gardens. As we passed these two "clay people", the tour guide said, "And here we have Mr. and Mrs. Potts!" The quirky pair seemed to be saying, "Welcome to our little corner of the garden."

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Oregon Garden; spending time in the out of doors is one of my favorite things to do! L, Kriston - R, Victoria   Photo by Deb Cushman

While my visit to the Oregon Garden was wonderful, the main purpose for my visit to Silverton, Oregon was to attend the SCBWI Fall Retreat. I had a fantastic time! Learning from the four prominent literary agents - and making new friends - was extremely inspirational. Many thanks to the Oregon Regional Co-Advisors: Laura Byrd and Kimbra Kasch - and to Robyn Waters, Regional Illustrator Coordinator - for all the time and effort they put in to create such a successful SCBWI Fall Retreat! 🙂

Wishing everyone an awesome autumn season!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Cavil - (v.)
to make petty or unnecessary objections.
Example: The politician chose to cavil on and on during his filibuster.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Bibliophile's Corner

Hawk Rising
Maria Gianferrari
Illustrated by
Brian Floca

Flap Copy Description:
In the companion to Coyote Moon, follow a red-tailed hawk in his hunt to feed his family in this picture book, from Maria Gianferrari (Coyote Moon) and illustrated by Brian Floca. Complete with back matter containing more information about how hawks hunt, nest, and raise families, as well as further sources.

Early morning and a ruffle of feathers,

A shadow gliding through the backyard.

High above your house Father Hawk circles, sharp eyes searching for prey. From the front porch, you watch.


He dives after chipmunks, crows, sparrows, squirrels.


The sun sets low in the sky. What’s for dinner?

My Thoughts:
Since I love to watch the hawks & eagles near my home, I was anxious to read Hawk Rising by Ms. Gianferrari. I was not disappointed! This beautiful picture book - with exquisite illustrations by Brian Floca - will engage little children and encourage them to get out into nature. (One scene in the book shows Father Hawk grabbing a squirrel, and later carrying it away. Parents should read that portion prior to reading the book to their very young children to determine if it's appropriate.) I highly recommend Hawk Rising to readers aged five to seven.

Click here to learn about author, Maria Gianferrari.
Click here to learn about illustrator, Brian Floca.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

International Day of Peace

Each year on September 21st, the holiday dedicated to world peace is observed. Click here to learn more.

As writers of children's books we are constantly admonished to include themes in our stories that resonate with young readers. I've been working on a fantasy series for years in which the overarching theme is peace. I believe that the only way we can possibly attain a measure of peace in our world is to find peace in our individual lives. Thus, my MG character Livvi Biddle (whose first name means peace), must discover how to make peace with her own set of circumstances and in so doing, ultimately makes an impact on the world, ushering in an era of peace.

At this time in history where we find ourselves in what seems like constant chaos, it's more important than ever to work at finding peace in our own lives, and in our relationships. Happy World Peace Day!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Insuperable - (adj.)
(of a difficulty or obstacle) impossible to overcome.
Example: The babysitter found the task of keeping the children under control insuperable.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Bibliophile's Corner

Ocean Meets Sky
The Fan Brothers

Flap Copy Description:
It’s a good day for sailing.Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float.

Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself!

And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for.

My Thoughts:
A stunningly beautiful picture book by the Fan Brothers. The magical Ocean Meets Sky will inspire little ones to dream and imagine. A delightful wonder to add to your child's library; it's now in mine!

Click here to learn more about the talented Fan Brothers.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

The Columbia River Gorge from Hood River, Oregon
What a Summer!

The last three months for me included: A writer retreat; a book signing event; a backyard write-out; and hours in my creative studio working on my current project!

(The photo above is from a weekend trip I took with my husband, Michael.)

Click here to read my recent quarterly newsletter.

Hope you have a fantastic fall season, full of writing and reading!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Hegemony (n.)
leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group over others.
Example: The king was known for his malevolent hegemony over the simple subjects of his empire.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Bibliophile's Corner

Almost Autumn
by Marianne Kaurin

Flap Copy Description:
As Autumn approaches Ilse Stern is thinking about her infatuation with Hermann Rod, and whether his determination to be a painter will interfere with their romance -- but the reality of being Jewish in occupied Oslo is about to turn her whole world upside down, as the deportation of Norwegian Jews begins. 

My Thoughts:
This evocative young adult novel offers a riveting story set in Norway during World War II. It's a unique tale of historical fiction about the Holocaust; one of shadows and secrets, love and loss. The lyrical prose and character development by Ms. Kaurin are exquisite. I highly recommend Almost Autumn for readers aged twelve and up!

Click here to learn more about the author, Marianne Kaurin.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

It's Time for Summer Vacation!

Like most of you, I'm excited to spend some time outside in the sunshine this summer. So, I'll be taking my annual summer break from blogging. I'll be back on Writ of Whimsy in September. Have a sensational summer season!

Click here to view my recent quarterly newsletter.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Fernweh - (n.)
a longing to travel, missing a place you've never been.
Example: The writer's sense of ferweh caused her to spend the summer months traveling to remote locations.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Bibliophile's Corner

by Blexbolex

Goodreads Description:
Time moves slowly on vacation. And for someone who has spent a long time entertaining themselves and has had the garden, the kitchen, forest paths, the lake, and even Grandpa all to herself, it can be hard to invite another in on the fun. So when a young girl’s grandfather brings an elephant home to stay, she is not pleased at all. Nostalgic and often dreamlike, this wordless story is about interrupted solitude, learning to be together with another, and how the choices we make deeply affect our lives.

My Thoughts:
The art and simple messages in this extraordinarily beautiful book took me back to those carefree days of my childhood. This story needs no words to convey the joy of a young girl on her vacation. The need for a child to embrace her imagination while reading this work of art is what I love most about it. And, if your child loved Babar, then Vacation will surely resonate in her young heart since an elephant is a featured character. I highly recommend Vacation to readers of all ages!

Click here to learn more about the multi-talented artist, Blexbolex.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

My Annual Summer Reading List!
Once again it's time to feature my favorite novels for children that I've read since last autumn. Merely click on the title to read my review. Enjoy!

These ten fantastic books are listed in random order:

Beyond the Bright Sea - by Lauren Wolk

Refugee - by Alan Gratz

The War I Finally Won - by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The Wonderling - by Mira Bartok

The Librarian of Auschwitz - by Antonio Iturbe

The Whiz Mob - by Colin Meloy

Hello, Universe - by Erin Entrada Kelly

The Lifters - by Dave Eggers

Bronze and Sunflower - by Cao Wenxuan

Nevermoor ~ The Trials of Morrigan Crow - by Jessica Townsend

Grab one of these great novels and a glass of cold lemonade. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Whelve (v.)
to bury something deep; to hide.
Example: The warrior troll decided to whelve his treasure for safekeeping. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Bibliophile's Corner

The Wonderful Things You Will Be
by Emily Winfield Martin

Flap Copy Description:

Caring, bold, and clever.
What will you grow up to be?

This book is a celebration of possibilities and the love parents feel for their children...whoever and whatever they may become.

My Thoughts:
 I loved The Wonderful Things You Will Be. This picture book brought to mind some of the books I read to my three sons (who are all now adults) when they were little boys! The rhythmic rhymes and beautiful illustrations in Emily Winfield Martin's book convey the loving message that every child is loved...and special. I highly recommend it to children aged three to seven! (It would also make a great baby shower gift!)

Click here to learn about the author/illustrator Emily Winfield Martin.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

Cover art by Michael Lindstrom
The Book Giveaway Winners!

Last March I posted a Book Giveaway Contest featuring my book The Tale of Willaby Creek. Here's the list of the lucky winners:

* Marcie Mallory
* Za Vue
* Tim Young

I'll be sending a signed copy of my middle grade novel with a matching bookmark to each of these winners.
Congratulations! Thanks to everyone who participated!

Be sure to check out my blog next Friday, June 8th; my annual Summer Reading List will be posted here on Writ of Whimsy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Faileas (n.)
Example: The hiker savored the faileas of the towering trees in the tranquil lake.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Bibliophile's Corner

The World Is Round
by Gertrude Stein
Illustrated by Clement Hurd

Flap Copy Description:
Written in her unique prose style, Gertrude Stein's The World Is Round chronicles the adventures of a young girl named Rose—a whimsical tale that delights in wordplay and sound while exploring the ideas of personal identity and individuality. This stunning volume replicates the original 1939 edition to a T, including all of Clement Hurd's original blue-and-white art printed on the rose-pink paper that Stein insisted upon. Also featured here are two essays that provide an inside view to the making of the book. The first, a foreword by Clement Hurd's son, author and illustrator Thacher Hurd, includes previously unpublished photographs and sheds light on a creative family life in Vermont, where his father and mother, author Edith Thacher Hurd, often collaborated on children's books. The second essay, an afterword by Edith Thacher Hurd, takes readers behind the scenes of the making of The World Is Round, including the numerous letters exchanged between Hurd and Stein as well as images of Stein with the real-life Rose and her white poodle, Love.

My Thoughts:
While Gertrude Stein's book, The World Is Round, is categorized as a children's book, it's just as much for adults as for young readers - maybe even more. Ms. Stein's deep insights regarding identity were penned nearly eighty years ago and give the reader much to ponder. I loved the 75th anniversary edition which once again featured Clement Hurd's beautiful blue artwork on pink pages - like the original edition. I highly recommend The World Is Round to readers aged ten and up!

Click here to learn about the multi-talented poet/author, Gertrude Stein.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

Photo Credit: Public Domain
How Birds Inspire Me

In each of the three books I've written and had published a bird is prominently featured. In The Scandinavian Santa it was Lars, a golden eagle; in The Tale of Willaby Creek it was Oliver, a great horned owl; and in my most recent creation, Journey to Snowdonia, it was Gwendolyn, a shapeshifting European bullfinch.

So, why do birds inspire me?

Of course, one of the reasons is my lifetime dream of flying. (A desire I probably share with many people!) However, it's much more than that. The fact that birds have a sky-high view of the world is a feature that I believe gives them a quality of being wise. They see the big picture; they can make quick decisions made on the overall situation they're in.

Another reason that birds inspire me is that their ability to fly makes them seem almost magical; a feature that works quite well when writing a fantasy story for children, and why I always include them.

By the way, 2018 is being celebrated as The Year of the Bird since this year marks the centennial of the landmark conservation law the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Unfortunately, billions of birds are at risk due to the United States Department of Interior recently reinterpreting the MBTA, slashing safeguards for birds. Click here to learn more.

A seagull gazes out upon the Pacific Ocean on the Oregon Coast.

To those of you in the U.S., have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Obsequious - (adj.)
obedient or attentive to a servile degree.
Example: The tyrannical queen's castle was full of obsequious servants.