Friday, March 20, 2020

Storyteller's Journey

Spring is in the Air!

After what felt like an extremely long winter (especially with the Covid-19 Pandemic), it's great to see the sunshine and the flowers appear. I'm looking forward to spending time in the outdoors, as well as catching up on my reading. Consequently, I'll be taking a break from Writ of Whimsy until early April. 

During the health crisis we're all dealing with, I encourage each of you to take a walk, read a book, or explore a possible new hobby. With a little bit of effort, the required social distancing will not only keep the majority of us healthy, but will also yield a newfound inspiration. May it also promote kindness, humility, and remind us of our need for one another. Stay connected to your loved ones, but stay home if possible.

I'm self-isolating, and have been for a week, with a cold & cough. Since I reside in Washington State, I'll admit I'm a bit frightened. Sadly, three people have died in our county. Please, take this pandemic seriously!

Click here to read my recent quarterly newsletter.

Wishing each of you a Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Whimsical Word of the Week

Whuffle - (v.)
to make a low snuffling or blowing sound.
Example: The elderly man seemed to whuffle as he shuffled with his walker.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Bibliophile's Corner

The Imaginaries
by Emily Winfield Martin

Goodreads Description:
Emily Winfield Martin, shares her "Imaginaries": paintings from over the last ten years, captioned with one sentence.
From mermaids and giant flowers to magical robes and mysterious characters, each image is given a one-line caption - the beginning of a story, or maybe the middle - you imagine the rest. The captions are hand-written on vintage scraps of paper, envelopes, postcards and more.

My Thoughts:
Whenever a writer creates a book in a unique format, I'm always curious. Ms. Martin's latest contribution is extraordinary! Her art is whimsical; the accompanying captions are illuminating, and the book will inspire imaginative souls of all sorts. I highly recommend The Imaginaries - Little Scraps of Larger Stories to readers of all ages!

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

Friday, March 13, 2020

Storyteller's Journey

Another Creative Collaboration!

While we were in Alaska in May of 2017, I spent a significant amount of time taking notes and doing research for another possible Lindstrom Wintertime Tale. Michael and I recently began working on another one of our illustrated short stories!

While I've completed the text for our tale set in the Alaskan Wilderness, Michael has been so busy that he only recently found time to begin working on the illustrations done in oil paints. This process is very time consuming, so I can't promise when our creation will be published and available.

Here is the initial sketch-in of his first painting. Every oil painter has his own way of creating a composition; this is how Michael begins. Since this illustration will also serve as the cover, we spent a lot of time discussing what would best represent our storybook. (We've yet to pin down a title.)

Here is the finished painting-illustration - I love it! Once it's photographed with a high-resolution camera, I'll send it to my talented cover designer/book formatter, Kriston. Having the book cover completed will allow me to use it for marketing while Michael completes the rest of the illustrations.

All of Michael's illustrations have a timeless, almost fairy-tale feeling to them. They work well with our Lindstrom Wintertime Tales since all of them take place decades ago. (This latest one is set in the 1920's.)

As I've mentioned on Writ of Whimsy before, I like the flexibility that working on multiple projects at once affords me. While I enjoy the freedom that publishing our Lindstrom Wintertime Tales provides, I also have a middle grade fantasy novel - Livvi Biddle - that I am submitting to agents, with the hope of being traditionally published.

As I mentioned last week, while a writer waits for a response from literary agents, she must continue to create! In fact, that's how our Lindstrom Wintertime Tales came to be. I felt like seeing any of my stories come to life was completely out of my control. However, when Michael and I embarked on creating and publishing illustrated short stories, I was able to better accept the outcome of my submissions to literary agents and keep on writing. For me, this approach works well.

Keep writing and honor your creativity!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Whimsical Word of the Week

Odious - (Adj.)
extremely unpleasant; repulsive.
Example: The university student displayed odious behavior at the fraternity party.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Bibliophile's Corner

The Girl who Speaks Bear
by Sophie Anderson

Goodreads Description:
Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, 12-year-old Yanka has always felt out of place in her small village. When she wakes up to find that her legs have become bear legs, she sets off into the forest to discover who she is, on a journey that takes her from icy rivers to smoldering mountains, with an ever-growing group of misfits alongside her. Interwoven with traditional stories of bears, princesses, and dragons, Yanka's journey is a gorgeously lyrical adventure from the best-selling author of The House with Chicken Legs.

My Thoughts:
The awareness of this whimsical fantasy novel for young readers came across my path on Twitter - I'm so glad it did! It features a cast of anthropomorphic animals, a shapeshifting protagonist, and a puzzling plot. My copy arrived from Great Britain, but I've learned that it was also recently released in the States. The talented storyteller, Sophie Anderson, has spun a middle grade tale not to be missed! I highly recommend The Girl who Speaks Bear to readers aged eight to twelve.

Click here to learn about the author, Sophie Anderson.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Storyteller's Journey

Public Domain Photo
Treasure Your Time

One of the challenges I've faced on my storyteller's journey has been maintaining my momentum as a writer - especially when I've sent out submissions for one of my projects.

The process of sending out query letters to literary agents is not only nerve-wracking, it requires a lot of patience. Then, if you receive a rejection, managing your disappointment is an additional challenge.

Early on in my writing career, I was not only sidelined with a rejection, I would sometimes even doubt my desire to be a published author. This is not an uncommon sentiment among many aspiring authors.

So what's a writer to do?

While each writer must find her own way, I firmly believe you must treasure your time. Don't allow yourself to waste your time. Here are the ways I manage my time while waiting to hear back from agents:

Keep writing! Whether it be a new project, or something completely different like journaling, keep writing. It's a perfect time to "cross-train your creativity" by penning a poem or a screenplay. (Click here to read one of my recent blog posts on this very subject.)

Catch up on your reading list. All writers are aware of the unanimous advice from literary professionals that a writer must read. Pick up a new book and crack the spine!

Research a new project. I absolutely love doing research. (I could blog on that subject alone!) Most writers have several story ideas bouncing around in their brains. Take your free time, and learn more about your possible new project.

Attend a writers' conference. Learning from professionals and networking with other writers is always a great way to maintain your momentum and inspiration. While certain times of the year have fewer events available, there are always podcasts, blog posts, and articles you can catch up on. Feed your creativity!

The belief in treasuring my time (by keeping busy), has given me the chance to create several stories for children in the last twelve years:

The Scandinavian Santa - Completed & Published (Independently)
The Tale of Willaby Creek - Completed & Published (Independently)
Journey to Snowdonia - Completed & Published (Independently)

Livvi Biddle and the Sibylline Scroll - Completed - submitting
Livvi Biddle Series outlined for additional books
The Whim of Winter - Completed text; illustrations incomplete
Cloud Mountain - Completed first draft of a MG novel
Untitled MG Novel - Work in progress

(Visit Writ of Whimsy next Friday to learn about my new project!)

In addition to writing-related activities, it's important to nurture your entire being. Here are a few ideas:

Exercise, garden, connect with friends, catch up with your family, get a massage, see a new movie, take a weekend trip, and on and on.

However, remember: Your time is a treasure. Keep writing!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Whimsical Word of the Week

Chanteuse - (n.)
a female singer of popular music.
Example: The chanteuse crooned old favorites from the forties. 

Monday, March 2, 2020

Bibliophile's Corner

Here in the Real World
by Sara Pennypacker

Goodreads Description:
Ware can't wait to spend summer "off in his own world" - dreaming of knights in the Middle Ages and generally being left alone. But then his parents sign him up for the dreaded Rec camp, where he must endure Meaningful Social Interaction and whatever activities so-called "normal" kids do.

On his first day Ware meets Jolene, a tough, secretive girl planting a garden in the rubble of an abandoned church next to the camp. Soon he starts skipping Rec, creating a castle-like space of his own in the church lot.

Jolene scoffs, calling him a dreamer - he doesn't live in the "real world" like she does. As different as Ware and Jolene are, though, they have one thing in common: for them, the lot is a refuge.

But when their sanctuary is threatened, Ware looks to the knights' Code of Chivalry: Thou shalt do battle against unfairness wherever faced with it. Thou shalt be always the champion of the Right and Good - and vows to save the lot.

But what does a hero look like in real life? And what can two misfit kids do?

My Thoughts:
The first middle grade novel I read that was penned by Sara Pennypacker was Pax; it was extraordinary. So when I learned of her most recent book, Here in the Real World, I was anxious to read it too. I loved it! Her character and plot development are phenomenal, and I appreciated the way she included aspects of art and nature. Since the story is set during the summer months, Here in the Real World would make a fantastic summer read for kids! I highly recommend it to readers aged eight to twelve, and to fans of Kate DiCamillo's books.

Click here to learn about the author Sara Pennypacker.