Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Solivagant (adj.)
wandering alone.
Example: The life of a writer is a solivagant journey.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Bibliophile's Corner

Mary's Monster
Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein
by Lita Judge

Flap Copy Description:
A young adult biography of Frankenstein's profound young author, Mary Shelley, coinciding with the 200th anniversary of its publication, told through free verse and 300+ full-bleed illustrations.

Mary Shelley first began penning Frankenstein as part of a dare to write a ghost story, but the seeds of that story were planted long before that night. Mary, just nineteen years old at the time, had been living on her own for three years and had already lost a baby days after birth. She was deeply in love with famed poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, a mad man who both enthralled and terrified her, and her relationship with him was rife with scandal and ridicule. But rather than let it crush her, Mary fueled her grief, pain, and passion into a book that the world has still not forgotten 200 years later.

Dark, intense, and beautiful, this free-verse novel with over 300 pages of gorgeous black-and-white watercolor illustrations is a unique and unforgettable depiction of one of the greatest authors of all time.

My Thoughts:
Ms. Judge has created a dark and painful vision of author Mary Shelley in the recently released Mary's Monster. Readers of young adult novels will be swept up by the art and language in this beautiful book; it is surprisingly relevant in today's turbulent times. This intense and heartbreaking story is a testament to the strength and perseverance of the iconic author's life. I highly recommend Mary's Monster to readers aged twelve and up.

Click here to learn about the amazing author, Lita Judge.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

Quote by author/scholar Okakura Kakuzo
A Whisper of Spring

Every year, about this time, most denizens of the Pacific Northwest get a bit tired of the dreary weather. Last week we had a few sunny days, so I ventured out to my soggy backyard.

It's always a pleasant surprise to see a new sprout from a perennial plant - like a whisper of spring to come.
As I deadheaded a few blossoms I'd missed last fall, it occurred to me that new life is better able to blossom after the old life has fallen away. Are there old beliefs, habits, or grievances that are holding back new life in my creativity?
I thought of a few and vowed to myself to work on letting go of those this year.

As I wandered across the yard to a flower box I was surprised to see a tiny alyssum blossom. While we've had a mild winter (until just recently), the delicate flower usually doesn't bloom until May! 

It occurred to me again the multitude of  metaphors we use that are derived from nature - like early, or late, bloomer. Here's a great quote:

Hope you're having a wonderful winter, with even a whisper of spring!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Apricity (n.)
the warmth of the sun in winter.
Example: Any apricity on the mountain slopes was appreciated by the skiers.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Bibliophile's Corner

The Librarian of Auschwitz
by Antonio Iturbe

Flap Copy Description:
Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

My Thoughts:
This recently released novel was written by Antonio Iturbe and translated by Lilit Thwaites. It is not only a well-written historical fiction, but a must-read for those interested in the Holocaust. The poignant plot and detailed character development draw you in to this riveting story. I found myself thinking of Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel as I learned about the life of Dita Kraus in The Librarian of Auschwitz. I highly recommend this YA novel to readers aged twelve and up.

Click here to learn about the author Antonio Iturbe.
Click here to read an article about Holocaust survivor, Dita Kraus.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

A Creative Collaboration!

Since I recently completed a revision of our next book, it was time to begin the arduous task of creating the illustrations. (I'm the designer of the art, while Michael is the talented oil painter!)

Once we had finalized the still life arrangement, Michael began the first of twenty oil paintings necessary to complete our next Lindstrom Wintertime Tale - The Whim of Winter.

Here is the almost-complete painting. (Michael just informed me he wants to work on the wool tartan scarf.) We need to complete two illustrations a month to be on schedule to begin formatting next January!

From time to time throughout this year I'll post an update on the progress of our collaboration for The Whim of Winter!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Ardor (n.)
enthusiasm or passion.
Example: The couple's trip to Paris only enhanced the ardor on their anniversary.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Bibliophile's Corner

by Matt de la Peña ~ illustrated by Loren Long

Flap Copy Description:
"In the beginning there is light
and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed
and the sound of their voices is love.
A cab driver plays love softly on his radio
while you bounce in back with the bumps of the city
and everything smells new, and it smells like life."

In this heartfelt celebration of love, Matt de la Peña and illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that's soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.

My Thoughts:
Love is a powerful picture book revealing the different faces, and places, where a child might find love. The diversity depicted by Loren Long's beautiful illustrations, as well as the text, is a refreshing message to add to the current discussion in the world of children's books. Matt de la Peña, once again, reveals his passionate heart through his extraordinary storytelling style. I highly recommend Love to readers of all ages!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

A Few Words About Love

At this time of year (at least in the States) our hearts and minds turn toward love, especially on Valentine's Day. However, due to the current state of our country with its unrest and divisiveness, it's a good time to remind ourselves about the need for not only love, but kindness.

No matter what your perspective during these turbulent times, most people would at least agree that we all need to be a bit kinder to one another. We also need to stand up for what is right. Sometimes being loving and kind seems to be at odds with raising our voices for justice. So what's a person to do? I've tussled with this dilemma myself; I believe it's a very personal issue that we each must resolve in our own way. Not every one will march. Not every one will pen their opinions. Not every one will run for office. However, we can each do something that suits our passion & personality. If nothing else, we can each choose to be kinder to the people we come in contact with each day.

As writers of books for children and young adults, it's important that we pen words that not only inspire, inform, and entertain, but that we create stories that encourage and empower our young readers as well.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Whimsical Word of the Week

Faodail (n.)
a lucky find.
Example: The family photograph was a faodail for the woman since it had been lost for years.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Bibliophile's Corner

The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh
by Kathryn Aalto

Flap Copy Description:
Delve into the home of the world’s most beloved bear! The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh explores the magical landscapes where Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their friends live and play. The Hundred Acre Wood—the setting for Winnie-the-Pooh’s adventures—was inspired by Ashdown Forest, a wildlife haven that spans more than 6,000 acres in southeast England. In the pages of this enchanting book you can visit the ancient black walnut tree on the edge of the forest that became Pooh’s house, go deep into the pine trees to find Poohsticks Bridge, and climb up to the top of the enchanted Galleons Lap, where Pooh says goodbye to Christopher Robin. You will discover how Milne's childhood connection with nature and his role as a father influenced his famous stories, and how his close collaboration with illustrator E. H. Shepard brought those stories to life. This charming book also serves as a guide to the plants, animals, and places of the remarkable Ashdown Forest, whether you are visiting in person or from the comfort of your favorite armchair. In a delightful narrative, enriched with Shepard’s original illustrations, hundreds of color photographs, and Milne’s own words, you will rediscover your favorite characters and the magical place they called home.

My Thoughts:
This book by Kathryn Aalto is both informative and inspiring! If you're a fan of Winnie-the-Pooh, and/or the English countryside, it's a must-read. Since I'm an author who is inspired by settings to write my own stories, seeing the surroundings that inspired A.A. Milne was amazing. When I learned that the author, who now lives in Great Britain, lived and worked in Washington State for many years (my home state), I had one of those moments where you really wish you could meet the author. Needless to say, I highly recommend this beautiful & collectible book to readers of all ages!

Click here to learn more about the author, Kathryn Aalto.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Storyteller's Journey

Celebrating My 7th Blogiversary!

When I launched this blog the first Friday of February 2011 I had no idea it would still be up and running seven years later - but I am so thankful and happy it is! I've posted numerous writerly tips over the years that I hope have been helpful. Writ of Whimsy has also been my weekly journal, a great platform for my work, and a place where I've met online friends.

Thanks so much to those extraordinary writers who have supported me with their friendship and comments! Wishing each of you all the best!

In honor of my blogiversary I've donated to Reading Is Fundamental.
(RIF is a wonderful organization - click on the link to learn more!)