Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Rubicund - (adj.)
having a ruddy complexion; high-colored.
Example: The forest ranger's face was rubicund - a result of spending endless hours in the mountain air.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

Finding Langston
by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Flap Copy Description:
When 11-year-old Langston's mother dies in 1946, he and his father leave rural Alabama for Chicago's brown belt as a part of what came to be known as the Great Migration. It's lonely in the small apartment with just the two of them, and at school Langston is bullied. But his new home has one fantastic thing. Unlike the whites-only library in Alabama, the local public library welcomes everyone. There, hiding out after school, Langston discovers another Langston, a poet whom he learns inspired his mother enough to name her only son after him. 

My Thoughts:
Picture book author Lesa Cline-Ransome's recently released debut middle grade novel is fantastic! The character development and voice in this beautiful book are exquisite. That being said, at 104 pages, the novel is short enough for even a reluctant reader. I highly recommend Finding Langston to readers aged eight to twelve - and to all fans of poetry. (The poetry of Langston Hughes in particular!)

Click here to learn about the author, Lesa Cline-Ransome.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Storytellers' Journey

Kidlit at the 2019 Academy Awards!

As far as I could conclude from my research on the 2019 Oscars, the nominees listed below are the movies that have a connection to books/comic books for children or young adults. (I should mention, I've only had the chance to see three of the films: Mary Poppins Returns, A Wrinkle in Time, and Black Panther - I loved them all!)

Mary Poppins Returns was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Original Score; Best Original Song; and Best Costume Design. 
*   *   *

Christopher Robin was nominated for one Academy Award: Best Visual Effects.
*   *   *

A Wrinkle in Time was nominated for one Academy Award: Best Costume Design.
*   *   *

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse was nominated for one Academy Award: Best Animated Feature. 
*   *   *

Ready Player One was nominated for one Academy Award: Best Visual Effects.
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Avengers - Infinity War was nominated for one Academy Award: Best Visual Effects.
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Last, but not least, is Black Panther. This extraordinary movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards! Best Picture; Best Costume Design; Best Sound Editing; Best Sound Mixing; Best Original Score; Best Original Song; and Best Production Design.
*   *   *
(If I missed any books for children/young adults that are connected to a nomination #booktofilm, my apologies to those authors & producers.) 

Wishing each of these feature films much luck this Sunday night at the Oscars! Congratulations to all the nominees!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Felicitations (n.)
words expressing praise for an achievement, or good wishes on a special occasion.
Example: The grandmother sent a note with felicitations to her grandson upon the good grades he'd received.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

Island War
by Patricia Reilly Giff

Flap Copy Description:
A boy and girl must survive on their own on a remote Japanese-occupied island during World War II. Fans of Hatchet and Julie of the Wolves will be riveted by the story of 11-year-old Izzy and 14-year-old Matt who are left alone on an Alaskan island when the Japanese army takes the rest of the Americans prisoner. Now that Izzy's ornithologist mother, Matt's father, and the other villages have been evacuated to camps in Japan, Izzy and Matt become the only Americans left on the island. They must rely on themselves to hide from the Japanese soldiers, keep their dog for giving them away, survive the harsh winter and Allied bombing raids.

My Thoughts:
The recently released Island War, by Patricia Reilly Giff, is a beautiful historical fiction novel for middle grade readers. Written in dual points of view, the two main characters start out as adversaries and end up best friends. It's one of those heartwarming, yet believable, stories that is relevant right now - on multiple levels. Ms. Giff's storytelling style perfectly brings the extraordinary setting, characters, and plot to life. I highly recommend Island War to readers aged eight to twelve!

Click here to learn about the award-winning author, Patricia Reilly Giff.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

Photo by Michael Lindstrom
Writing in Winter

This month's been historic for the Pacific Northwest: it's been seventy years since we've received so much snow. While our area didn't receive as much snow as Seattle, we did get more than usual.

While we were hunkered down last weekend, I was able to get in not only a good amount of reading, but a lot of writing, too. Normally I take the weekends off from writing, but the snow always inspires me.

That's why I've written two children's books set in winter:

The manuscript for my third installation of our Lindstrom Wintertime Tales - The Whim of Winter - is complete, but unfortunately, the illustrations are taking a while to finish. Right now, I'm hoping for a September 2020 release, but that date could change. (My husband, who is the illustrator of the books, is a full-time businessman and a gallery-represented artist; his plate is extremely full right now. Consequently, I'm currently working on a MG novel set in Guatemala.)

I've blogged before about how winter's snow inspires me; its silent beauty seems like the closest thing to magic in our real world. Creating a story set in winter gives you a head start on making a story magical - at least that's how I feel. It's as though the planet has put on a cloak of fairy-tale enchantment...that is rarely seen in SW Washington State!

This was the view from my window on the morning after we'd received snow overnight. Doesn't that bring The Chronicles of Narnia to mind?

Does snow inspire you to write or create?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Skew-whiff (adj.)
not straight; askew.
Example: The cottage that the carpenter built was a bit skew-whiff.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

Superheroes Are Everywhere
by Kamala Harris

Flap Copy Description:
Before Kamala Harris became a district attorney and a United States senator, she was a little girl who loved superheroes. And when she looked around, she was amazed to find them everywhere! In her family, among her friends, even down the street--there were superheroes wherever she looked. And those superheroes showed her that all you need to do to be a superhero is to be the best that you can be.

In this empowering and joyful picture-book memoir that speaks directly to kids, Kamala Harris takes readers through her life and shows them that the power to make the world a better place is inside all of us. And with fun and engaging art by Mechal Renee Roe, as well as a guide to being a superhero at the end, this book is sure to have kids taking up the superhero mantle (cape and mask optional).

My Thoughts:
Kamala Harris recently officially announced that she will be running for President of the United States in 2020. It's common for a candidate to release a book during a campaign, but Superheroes Are Everywhere is fantastic! In it she tells young readers that superheroes can be found in one's family, school, neighborhood, and, of course, in a circle of friends. Even the senator's own childhood heroes are featured. I highly recommend Superheroes Are Everywhere to all young readers.

Click here to learn more about Senator Kamala Harris.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

Public Domain Photo
Creative Cross Training

Our son Kevin is staying with us for a season, and since he's been here I've enjoyed: our occasional chats about writing; listening to his account of his time in Peru; and definitely the improv classes he's been teaching our family!

After my sons David and Kevin receive the word, "environment" from me, they attempt to create a skit. In this class Kevin was teaching us some principles of improv structure. (Yes, there is structure!)

What has dawned on me during these improv classes, is the importance of creative cross training. While every writer needs to master her craft, learning, or even just practicing, another creative endeavor is a great way to clear the cobwebs of your mind. As with participating in an exercise regime at a gym (which I'm still struggling to do!), using other muscles than the ones you're interesting in toning or building, creates better health and a more balanced approach.

When we engage in creative cross training, aspects of our writing come to light in a new way. The improv classes have revealed to me - in a different way - the importance of one scene leading to the next. There are other principles of writing that I've thought about as well, following the classes. However, it doesn't need to be improv classes.

I've also benefitted from a variety of different creative endeavors:

1- Playing my flute
2- Sewing
3- Gardening
4- Drawing
5- Painting
6- Writing Poetry; Journaling
7- Writing a newspaper article
8- Blogging! ^_^

The benefits from creative cross training are endless; here are a few:

1- It provides a break from your normal creativity.
2- It gives you a new/better perspective on your writing.
3- It gives you a "bigger," more enjoyable life.
4- It can broaden your friendships. 
5- It can give you unexpected networking opportunities.
6- It can give you new ideas to include in your story.
7- It can provide a new, unexpected passion/hobby.
8- It can revitalize your work; provide new creative fuel.

What creative cross training do you do?

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Squelch (v.)
a soft sucking sound made when pressure is applied to liquid or mud.
Example: The woman's rubber boots squelched as she walked through her garden.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

Queen of Air and Darkness
by Cassandra Clare

Flap Copy Description:
What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the blight that is destroying the race of warlocks.

Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.

My Thoughts:
Queen of Air and Darkness is the third book in Cassandra Clare's The Dark Artifices Series; like Books One and Two, it's fantastic! This lengthy young adult fantasy novel (880 pages) kept me enraptured from chapter to chapter. The vocabulary Ms. Clare always employs, is one of my favorite things about her style. In addition to that, her cast of characters always seem to come to life in a remarkable way. As usual, the imaginative and magical plot is totally unpredictable - making it a delicious young adult fantasy read. I highly recommend Queen of Air and Darkness to readers aged twelve and up!

Click here to learn about New York Times bestselling author Cassandra Clare.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

Celebrating my 8th Blogiversary!

As the months and years of blogging have elapsed, Writ of Whimsy has served different purposes at different times. In the beginning it was a way to connect with fellow writers. However, as blogging in general has gone from a fad, to a place to share personal and professional ideas, my blog now serves as a type of online journal for my storyteller's journey. It still keeps me writing, no matter what's going on; no matter what my mood.

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 the Poetry Foundation.

(The Poetry Foundation is a wonderful organization - click the link!)