Monday, May 30, 2011

Bibliophile's Corner

Turtle in Paradise
by Jennifer L. Holm

Flap Copy description:
Life isn't like the movies, and eleven-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935, and jobs and money and sometimes dreams are scarce. So when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida, to stay with relatives she's never met.
     Florida's like nothing Turtle has ever seen. It's hot and strange, full of wild green peeping out between houses, ragtag boy cousins, and secret treasure. Before she knows what's happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she's spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways.

My thoughts:
Jennifer L. Holm has created a colorful and creative tale set in the Florida Keys in 1935. Her character descriptions and voice are brilliantly authentic. Seen through the eyes of eleven-year-old Turtle, the text is warm and wonderful, complete with references to entertainment icons of the period: Shirley Temple, Annie, and Flash Gordon. Turtle in Paradise won a 2011 Newbery Honor Award - this is Ms. Holm's third such award. This book would make an awesome summer read for all young readers.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Incredible Inspiration

"Lindey" 16 X 12  by Mitch Baird 

       Happy Birthday Michael!

My inspiration this week comes from my husband, Michael Lindstrom. He is the subject in this portrait; painted by his good friend, Mitch Baird. It is impossible for me to convey all the ways Michael inspires me - I will simply say he is the kindest, most creative soul I have ever known. His passion for art has been like fuel to my passion for writing. I hope you have an awesome day sweetheart!

Check out Mitch Baird's art:

Check out Michael's art:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Storyteller's Journey

My Friday posts usually include some tidbit I've been thinking about, or have recently learned, in regards to writing or publishing. Today's posting falls into that category as well - but in addition to that I'm doing a book review. The reason being that the book I'm reviewing caused me to have one of those rare ah-ha moments you don't soon forget.

Story Engineering
by Larry Brooks

Flap Copy description:
The vast majority of writers begin the storytelling process with only a partial understanding of where to begin. Some labor their entire lives without ever learning that successful stories are as dependent upon good engineering as they are artistry. But the truth is, unless you are a master of the form, function and criteria of successful storytelling, sitting down and pounding out a first draft without planning is an ineffective way to begin.

Story Engineering starts with the criteria and the architecture of storytelling - the engineering and design of a story - and uses it as the basis for narrative. The greatest potential of any story is found in the way six specific aspects of storytelling combine and empower each other on the page. When rendered artfully, they become a sum in excess of their parts...

My thoughts:
First let me say, I have read many books on the how-tos of writing. At one point I realized I needed to stop reading about writing, and start writing. I was hesitant to pick up yet another book that would just regurgitate information I'd already read. Boy, was I wrong! I'm so glad I picked up this book that was loaned to me by a MPCG member. Mr. Brooks writes in a style that is both informative and interesting. He also takes those elements of writing that we've all been taught and organizes them into a very understandable road map for successful writing. Along the way I had those moments when I felt good about my writing skills; and then I had moments where I couldn't believe how ignorant I'd been! One word of advice: Read the whole book; there's just as much great insight at the end of Story Engineering as throughout the whole text. Thanks so much Larry Brooks!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Potpourri of Poetry


Hidden deep in the soul is a wellspring -
holding kindness, wholeness, and balance.

Would we only tap into this wellspring -
bringing forth acceptance, compassion, and tolerance.                      V.L.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bibliophile's Corner

The Wanderer
by Sharon Creech

Flap Copy description:
Thirteen-year-old Sophie is the only girl amongst the surly crew of The Wanderer. They sail across the Atlantic toward England, the land of Bompie, her grandfather. The sea calls to Sophie - promising adventure and the chance to explore and discover. But the deep personal journey she takes brings her deeper into a forgotten past than she ever knew she could travel to.
     Sophie's thirteen-year-old cousin Cody isn't even sure why his father brought him along on this voyage. Everyone, including his dad, thinks he's nothing but a knuckleheaded doofus. But behind all the goofing off, he wonders if he has the strength to prove himself to the crew and to his father.
     Through Sophie's and Cody's travel logs, the amazing experiences of these six wanderers and their perilous journey unfold. Stories of the past and the daily challenges to survive at sea swirl together as The Wanderer sails toward its destination and its passengers search for their places in the world.

My thoughts:
Crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a forty-five foot sailboat, The Wanderer, is a metaphor for Sophie's life as she faces the memories of a painful past. As she approaches Europe, she also approaches the truth of her childhood. Sophie's soul searching causes her fellow crew members to take a hard look at the meaning of their own lives. This beautifully written narrative, by author Sharon Creech, is a 2001 Newbery Honor winner. I highly recommend this book for all young readers.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Incredible Inspiration

Lose yourself in nature and find peace.



Friday, May 20, 2011

Storyteller's Journey

     Although I have finished the first draft of my animal fantasy novel; I have been doing a major rewrite of the entire text for the last couple of months. My first draft lacked tension and was weak on some important stages in the Hero's Journey. I am on track to complete this revision by mid-late summer.
     My first attempt at writing children's literature was my storybook - The Scandinavian Santa. Although I have received positive feedback for this story; the word count is way too high for a picture book. One friend suggested it would make a good Christmas coffee table book since my husband's paintings/illustrations are so beautiful. (She's probably correct; I may try to market it that way next fall.) The person who did the major editing for The Scandinavian Santa was my own son, Kevin Zimmerman. His gift of good grammar and his ability to be objective, with his own mother, were invaluable. Although he is a C.P.A. his friends have used him often for their editing needs, and have told him he should write professionally. He recently has begun writing; and has also started his own blog - check it out:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bibliophile's Corner

by Alan Armstrong

Flap Copy description:
Bernie keeps a barn full of animals the rest of the world has no use for - two retired trotters, an overly enthusiastic rooster, some banty hens, and a Muscovy duck with clipped wings known as Lady. The Lady is pretty much the Law, and so, when the cat who calls himself Whittington shows up one day, it is to the Lady that he makes an appeal to secure a place in the barn. "Why don't you just take it?" she asks him. From the looks of him, he's one tough customer. "Because," the cat explains, "I want to be part of the talking."
     Bernie's orphaned grandkids, Abby and Ben, come to the barn to help feed the animals. Eight-year-old Ben, Abby says with "the worry of love," is not reading well. Whittington and the Lady decide that Abby should give Ben lessons in the barn.
     It is a balm for Ben when, having toughed out the daily reading tutorial, Whittington comes to tell, in tantalizing installments, the story handed down to him from his nameless forebear, Dick Whittington's cat. It is the legend of the lad born to poverty in rural England during the Black Death, who runs away to London, where he has heard the streets are paved with gold. In London he discovers a world of excitement and opportunity and, of course, the cat who brings him fortune and riches beyond his wildest imaginings.

My thoughts:
The author, Alan Armstrong, uses the cat, Whittington, to weave together his narrative between the life of Bernie's barn animals, and the life of Richard Whittington of London, England in the late 1300's. Although these two seemingly unrelated story lines take a while to mesh; when they do it's utter poetry. Mr. Armstrong is a gifted storyteller; his text is creative, unique, and heartwarming. This book falls under two categories: animal fantasy, and historical fiction - something for everyone!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Incredible Inspiration

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.

                       Jim Rohn

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sentimental Serendipity

  This Writer's Whimsical World!

These photos of my backyard were taken a couple of days ago - I just wanted to show all of you that Spring finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest! Our front yard is landscaped in a more traditional style, but I enjoy a quirky approach to my gardening in our backyard. This concrete rabbit planter always reminds me of Beatrix Potter's, Peter Rabbit.

Blue is my favorite color and I make use of it where ever I can in my garden. These perennials surprised me this year; I went out in the yard several weeks ago and was welcomed by these flowers that arrive every year with little or no maintenance. With our unusually cold and wet winter I didn't expect them so soon.

These wrought iron planter baskets add some interest to the bare fence. The ivy makes it through the winter, but I plant geraniums and bacopa to go with it every year.
Gardening is something I love to do - it's another way I find inspiration for my writing. What inspires you?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Storyteller's Journey

Since I am not a published author one might think that the mode of publication, whether independent or traditional, would not matter to me - to some extent that's true. However, speaking with writer friends it seems "the times they are a changing" as the saying goes. Only a few years ago authors were saying things like,"Well, I'd never lower my standards and be self-published." But, with the onset of e-books, apps, and people forming personal digital libraries statements like, "to be independently published is better than not being published at all," can be heard. With the recent book deal by Amanda Hocking, of seven figures, it seems the pendulum may now be swinging to an even more positive position for independent publishing. Authors like the idea of not having their work edited beyond any recognition of their original text. I have heard statements like,"I have sent out over a hundred queries-with no response!" and "I had an agent, but I still didn't get published!" I know for me, being the traditionalist that I am, I prefer to walk the straight and narrow of publishing - firmly holding an agent's hand! However, the future is in such a state of flux for all those in the world of books; that my journey as a storyteller may yet take some unexpected twists and turns - without a map, I may be in for a bumpy ride!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Whimsical Word of the Week


A mistake to be corrected,
especially an error in a printed book.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Potpourri of Poetry

             The Flower in Us All

Though rocks and weeds abide as well-
the blossom grows where the seed once fell.

There is beauty in the lonely places-
among all colors, sizes, and faces.

May we open our eyes and heed God's call-
and then to see the flower in us all.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Bibliophile's Corner

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
by Rodman Philbrick

Flap Copy description:
Although he is underage, Homer P. Figg's beloved older brother, Harold, is illegally sold into the Union Army by their ruthless guardian. Now Homer must run away from Pine Swamp, Maine, and his wretched home to find his brother and save him from the war, before it's too late.
     In a story filled with adventure, humor, and danger, award-winning novelist Rodman Philbrick tells of the turbulent, passionate times - from rural Maine to the Battle of Gettysburg - in the Civil War. Here is historical fiction at its most engaging, portraying the 1860's through the observant eyes of a backwoods boy willing to stretch the truth to his own advantage.
     A master of plot twists and vivid characters, Philbrick sweeps readers into the unpredictable events - both colorful and tragic - of this powerful turning point in American history.

My thoughts:
This historical fiction novel, The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, won a Newbery Honor Award in 2010. Rodman Philbrick's story includes colorful character development and voice, as well as a plot with unexpected twists and turns. The pace slows a bit in the middle of the text; but the finale - including the Battle of Gettysburg, complete with Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain - is truly wonderful! A great read for all ages, especially those with a love of history.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Incredible Inspiration

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.


Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Storyteller's Journey

Can fairy tales come true? Evidently millions, if not billions, of people around the world believe they can. Watching Prince William marry the commoner, Kate Middleton, had all the pomp and pageantry of the fairy tales of old.
     What does the royal wedding have to do with this writer? Only this: Watching the throngs of people flood the streets of London reminded me that we all long for something  magical in our lives. As a writer of middle grade fantasy it is my task to capture the reader's interest and give them a chance, if only for the duration of the story, to enter a make-believe world.  Leaving their ordinary life behind, for a small moment in time, live the extraordinary. The story I am working on contains no princesses, rather an ancient forest with whimsical, talking creatures. All you need to create your own enchanted world is to open the door of your imagination and your readers will thank you for it! (So far the only "readers" I have are those members of the MPCG, but they seem to be enjoying my text. ^_^)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Whimsical Word of the Week


1) Something that causes baseless fear or worry.

2) A false belief used to intimidate.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Potpourri of Poetry

Photo: Public Domain                                                          Poetry: V.L.
         Young at Heart

    To be young at heart and young in mind
    brings a flow of life to all mankind.

    Forgive at once, and thus forget -
    lest seeds of bitterness do collect.

    Embrace your future, embrace your life -
    and thus change the world with your light!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bibliophile's Corner

When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead

In 1979 a sixth grade girl, named Miranda, has her New York City life become extremely complicated. Her mother is preparing to be a contestant on The $20,000 Pyramid game show, her best friend, Sal, stops talking to her, and there is a strange, laughing homeless man on the neighborhood corner. In the midst of this complexity, her obsession for Madeleine L'Engle's book, A Wrinkle In Time, adds to the mystery. These strange, seemingly unrelated, aspects of her adolescent life culminate in a suspenseful and supernatural finale!

My thoughts:
The author, Rebecca Stead, has written a unique and edgy MG novel which takes place in the Manhattan inner city. When You Reach Me is seen through the eyes of Miranda, a sixth grade girl, as she writes down her thoughts and questions regarding her evolving adolescent life. Her relationships with her mother, her mother's boyfriend, and her own friends are written with a gut level authenticity. The pieces of the puzzle of her life come together in a whimsical, wonderful ending. This book won the 2010 Newbery Medal Award.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Incredible Inspiration

Flowers are heaven's masterpiece.

                       Dorothy Parker