Friday, October 30, 2020

Storyteller's Journey

 Happy Halloween!

While my stories are usually not in the horror genre, I do enjoy writing ghosts, magic, and paranormal events into my children's books. Mysterious settings and characters have always intrigued me; this time of year seems to inspire my creativity even more. My favorite genres to write in are light fantasy and magical realism.

For some reason, I'm fascinated by pushing the realm of reality with magical realism, causing the reader to think: Could this possibly really occur? In some ways, I find that possibility even more frightening! 🎃

When you write, what are your favorite genres to work within?

By the way, tomorrow night there will be a rare Blue Moon visible from most places around the globe. Click here to learn more!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Whimsical Word of the Week

Mumpsimus - (n.)
a person who believes something because they've always believed it, even though it's wrong or makes no sense.
Example: The narrow-minded mother had always been a mumpsimus, especially when it came to politics.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Bibliophile's Corner

Scary Stories for Young Foxes 
by Christian McKay Heidicker 

Flap Copy Description:

The Haunted Season Has Arrived in the Antler Wood.

Seven little foxes in the twisted Antler Wood, listening to stories much later that they should.

The first flees the teacher with dark, gooey eyes.

The second from six sisters whose tongues tell lies.

The third escapes a woman who peels foxes' skins.

The fourth slinks away from the Golgathursh's grin.

The fifth wets the ground when he smells Mr. Scratch.

The sixth turns tail when the Paw finds its match...

The seventh little fox in the wood all alone, facing down a ghost beneath branches of bone.

One little fox stays the whole night through. But can she make it to the end? Better yet, can you?

My Thoughts:

Scary Stories for Young Foxes is the perfect little tome for this Halloween season! This collection of spinetingling original stories is sure to entertain middle grade readers, but beware: They're best read by the flames of a fire, on a dark & windy night - but not for the feint of heart. I highly recommend this book to fans of spooky tales of all sorts! 

Click here to learn about the author, Christian McKay Heidicker.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Storyteller's Journey

Famous Kids' Books to the Silver Screen 

Since the release of J.K. Rowling's first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in 2001, it seems as though Hollywood's screenwriters have looked to successful children's books as ready-made recipes for Hollywood hits. The success of The Twilight Series, by Stephenie Meyer, and The Hunger Games Series, by Suzanne Collins, only seemed to solidify that trend.

That being said, this tendency for Hollywood to go to the well of successful children's book authors is not new. The Walt Disney Company first hit gold (literally) with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (by the Grimm Brothers) in 1939 when Disney received an honorary Oscar, as well as seven "dwarf" statuettes from Shirley Temple.

Here is a list of some of my favorite children's book-to-film adaptations:

Beauty and the Beast - Author: Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve

The Wizard of Oz - Author: L. Frank Baum

Matilda - Author: Roald Dahl

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - Author: C.S. Lewis

Winnie the Pooh - Author: A. A. Milne

Mary Poppins - Author: Pamela Lyndon Travers

Alice in Wonderland - Author: Lewis Carroll

The Book Thief - Author: Markus Zusak

The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Author: Victor Hugo

Today marks the seventy-ninth anniversary of the release of the movie Dumbo, written by Helen Aberson-Mayer & produced by Walt Disney.

What are some of your favorite book-to-film adaptations?

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Whimsical Word of the Week

Wabi-sabi - (n.)
the discovery of beauty within the imperfections of life and art.
Example: In a world that seemed to be spinning of its axis, only the writers, artists, and other creative types could rest in wabi-sabi.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Bibliophile's Corner

Little Audrey's Daydream
The life of Audrey Hepburn

Written by Sean & Karin Hepburn Ferrer
Illustrated by Dominique Corbasson & Francois Avril

Goodreads Description:

Audrey Hepburn remains a beloved figure worldwide, but before she became a world-famous actress and humanitarian, she was a little girl with big dreams. Her extraordinary story unfolds during her childhood in Holland, where her happy life of ice skating and dancing changes with the harsh realities of World War II. She daydreams about who she will become when the war ends.

My Thoughts:

Like multitudes of cinephiles around the world, I am a huge fan of Audrey Hepburn. However, when I learned of her humanitarian efforts (years ago), I grew to admire and respect her even more. In this beautiful picture book penned by her son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, we see the remarkable arc of the silver screen star - from Holland to Hollywood. The delicate illustrations by legendary artists, Dominique Corbasson & Francois Avril, seem to perfectly reflect the personality of Audrey Hepburn. I highly recommend Little Audrey's Daydream to readers, and art lovers, of all ages!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Storyteller's Journey

The Need to Read

As deciduous leaves brighten, and flames flicker in our fireplaces, I'm reminded why fall is my favorite time of year. Additionally, curling up in a blanket with a good book & hot cup of coffee, is one of my all-time favorite things to do each autumn - and has been, for years.

That being said, my need to read has become even more important since the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic: it's an activity that doesn't put me or others in jeopardy of contracting Coronavirus. Now, since we're all spending more time indoors, being a bookworm (like me!) makes the isolation more easy to abide by, and also more tolerable.

My taste in books includes the Nancy Drew Series, the Harry Potter Series, and any well-written children's book. I love Historical Fiction set during World War II, as well as the popular Outlander Books - by Diana Gabaldon. I'm a big fan of all sorts of biographies, and enjoy perusing poetry. As a writer, reading a wide range of books is a good thing.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Whimsical Word of the Week

Abditory (n.)
a place into which you can disappear; a hiding place.
Example: The lonely young girl used the attic in her home as an abditory.


Monday, October 12, 2020

Bibliophile's Corner

The Forest of Stars
by Heather Kassner

Flap Copy Description:
Left all alone after her mother passes away, twelve-year-old Louisa LaRoche watches the sky for her father. Long ago, a powerful gust of wind swept through town, stealing him away on the wings of his untamed magic - the same magic that stirs within Louisa. As if she is made of hollow bones and too much air, her feet never quite touch the ground.
But for all her sky gazing, Louisa finds her fortune on the leaf-strewn street when she spots a gleaming black-and-gold invitation - a ticket to the Carnival Beneath the Stars. If her father fits in nowhere else, maybe she'll find him there, dazzling crowds alongside the other strange and wonderful feats. Only, soon after she arrives, a tightrope act ends disastrously - and suspiciously. As fate tugs Louisa closer to the stars, she must decide if she's willing to slip into the injured performer's role, despite the darkness plucking at the carnival's threads.

My Thoughts:
Author Heather Kassner's recent middle grade release, The Forest of Stars, is a mesmerizing fantasy full of mystery, magic, and shadows. The colorful cast of characters paint a story of friendship, love, and hope. I highly recommend The Forest of Stars to readers of all ages!

Click here to learn about the author, Heather Kassner.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Storyteller's Journey

Book Events in the Era of Covid-19

Last Saturday I held a book signing for my recently released children's book, THE NIGHT OF THE NORTH. It will be my only in-person event. Unfortunately, the pandemic has placed severe obstacles to connecting with the fans of our children's books.

Here are some suggestions on how to connect in a safe & secure way:

1- If you do hold an in-person event, require the wearing of masks, use a plexiglass vendor shield, maintain social distancing, and have hand sanitizer available. Make sure you use a venue that isn't in a cramped area. (My event was held amidst a courtyard outside an art gallery.)

2- Hold an online event via Zoom after using social media to advertise.

3- Use Twitter, Facebook, and/or your blog to hold a contest.

(Speaking of contests, click here to access my current contest!)

There are also online, group events that you can participate in to promote your children's books. Right now, I have a page on the SCBWI BookStop event. Click here to view my BookStop page!

It will take creativity to promote your book, but it's possible. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Whimsical Word of the Week

Apparatchik (n.)
an official in a large political organization.
Example: The apparatchik in the conservative group apparently had a change of heart, since he voted in a liberal fashion.


Monday, October 5, 2020

Bibliophile's Corner

Secrets of Our DNA
by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton

Flap Copy Description:
Earth is full of life! All living things - plants, animals, and human beings - grow. And the way you grow connects you with every creature on the planet. You do not have to think about growing because your body comes with instructions called DNA.
Discover the wonders of DNA in this fascinating new book from the creators of the award-winning Tiny Creatures and Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth.

My Thoughts:
This beautifully illustrated picture book is not only informative, it's inspiring. It brings to life the story of DNA in a fun and understandable way for a wide age range of young readers. I highly recommend GROW - Secrets of Our DNA to readers aged four to ten!

Click here to learn about the author, Nicola Davies.
Click here to learn about the illustrator, Emily Sutton.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Storyteller's Journey

The Tonic of Trees

Maybe it's due to the fact that I've lived in the Pacific Northwest since I was a toddler, but for whatever the reason, I find comfort and inspiration from all of our trees.

As a writer, the variety of forests in our area create a sense of enchantment in my everyday life, and also inspire the magic & mystery in the children's stories that I pen. (Many local authors feel this way!)

In this time of the Covid-19 Pandemic, it's important that we all maintain a sense of normalcy, as best we can, even though this year has been anything but normal. For me, that means spending time amongst the beauty of trees (as well as writing and reading regularly).

What activities are important for you to maintain right now?