Friday, December 17, 2021

Storyteller's Journey

Season's Greetings!

This year Christmastime will be extraordinary! We are not only spending the holidays in our new home in the woods, but all three of our sons will be with us during Christmas. (One will be traveling from the East Coast, while the other one is flying up from Arizona.) I'm so looking forward to reconnecting with all of them. As I do every December, I'll be taking a winter break from blogging; I'll be back on Writ of Whimsy sometime in January.

The title of the painting on the left is "Melting Snow," it was created by my husband, Michael Lindstrom. 

Click here to read my recent quarterly newsletter.

Wishing each of you the love, joy, and peace of the season!

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Whimsical Word of the Week

Krampus - (n.)
A Half-goat, half-demon that punishes misbehaving children at Christmastime.
Example: The children much preferred St. Nicholas over Krampus!

Monday, December 13, 2021

Bibliophile’s Corner

The Christmas Pig
By J.K. Rowling

Flap Copy Description:
Jack loves his childhood toy, Dur Pig. DP has always been there for him, through good and bad. Until one Christmas Eve, something terrible happens - DP is lost.
So Jack and the Christmas Pig (DP’s irritating replacement) embark on a breathtaking journey through the magical Land of the Lost. With the help of a talking lunchbox, a brave compass, and a winged thing called Hope, they set out to rescue the best friend Jack has ever known from the terrifying, toy-cruncher Loser...

My Thoughts:
When J.K. Rowling releases a new children’s book I always rush to read it. (I will not get into her beliefs or mine, this is a book review.) If you expect to read a Potteresque story within the pages of this book, you’ll be disappointed. But if you enjoyed the Toy Story movies, then this book is for you! As I expected from Ms. Rowling her writing is crisp, clean, and entertaining. While it seemed to take a while for me to be hooked, I could see why she spent extra time setting up the back story. I would recommend The Christmas Pig to avid readers between the ages of eight and twelve - especially this holiday season!

Friday, December 10, 2021

Storyteller's Journey

A Magical Ride!

As I reflect on the journey I've taken as a independently published author, it occurs to me that it's been a magical ride, not unlike the ride Santa Swanson took with his two flying polar bears in my debut book, The Scandinavian Santa.

(This image was painted by fine artist, Michael Lindstrom.)

While I still hope to gain traditional publication with one of my creations, it's been an unexpected and positive experience meeting so many wonderful writers, artists, readers, bookshop owners, teachers, and librarians. Some of them, I'd have never met had not I pursued the independent route of publishing. In addition to gaining new friends, my passion for writing literally led me to moving to a rural home that more represents my need for nature - which is one of the strongest sources of inspiration for my stories. We all make plans, but life always leads the way. Clearly, my path led me to taking more control of the reins with regard to my writing career. For right now, that suits me just fine.

Hope you and your family have the happiest of holiday seasons!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Whimsical Word of the Week

Hoarfrost - (n.)
A grayish-white crystalline deposit of frozen water formed in still weather on trees, vegetation, etc.
Example: If it wasn’t going to snow for the winter holidays, the writer was hoping for at least a hoarfrost. 

Monday, December 6, 2021

Bibliophile's Corner

The Christmas Owl
by Ellen Kalish and
Gideon Sterer
illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki

Flap Copy Description:
The story that captivated the country about a little owl who was found in the world's most famous Christmas tree.
When Little Owl's home is cut down by people saying it will make a beautiful Christmas tree, she's not sure she wants anything to do with Christmas, whatever that means. But then she is saved by a woman named Ellen, whose house is merrily decorated for the holiday and filled with birds who need someone to care for them. Surrounded by kindness and helpful new friends, Little Owl begins to wonder if Christmas might not be such a bad thing after all...

My Thoughts:
The story of the little owl nicknamed Rockefeller, is one I recall being in the news last year. (I even thought it would make a wonderful picture book!) I'm so glad the true story was co-authored by the woman who brought the saw-whet owl back to health at her Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York. While it is a fictionalized version of the true tale, it is none the less a heartwarming reminder of the importance to give new acquaintances in our lives the chance to earn our trust. The Christmas Owl should be in your child's library this holiday season!

Friday, December 3, 2021

Storyteller’s Journey

My Patronus?

Right from a very young age I was drawn to deer. (The photo on the left shows me with my mom at the San Diego Zoo.) Even the first movie I can recall seeing was Bambi, by Walt Disney.

This photo was taken a few months after the onset of the Covid 19 Pandemic - the deer are standing in the front yard of the urban home we lived in at that time. The deer sighting that morning was extraordinary.

Even when we purchased our new home last summer, the deer were there waiting for me. Why do I mention this awesome connection with these beautiful animals? 

Recently I was inspired to loosely outline a new story idea featuring a stag. Right now the working title is THE STAG OF WINTERWOOD and would be a Lindstrom Wintertime Tale. (If you’re not familiar with those, they’re short stories that my artist husband has illustrated.)

It occurs to me that whether It’s a coincidence, or something the universe has orchestrated, I now half expect to see a deer at every turn. So, to be inspired to write a story about a stag totally falls under the heading of “write what you know.” As the story gains substance I’ll share more. For now I’m just wondering if my patronus is a deer!

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Whimsical Word of the Week

Halcyon - (adj.)

Denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful.
Example: The housewife had fond memories of the halcyon days of her childhood.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Bibliophile's Corner

Snow in the Garden
A First Book of Christmas
by Shirley Hughes

Flap Copy Description:
This classic collection of festive stories, poems and things to make and do is a joyful introduction to the wonder of Christmas.
From heart-warming tales of kindness to seasonal illustrations and easy to follow recipes and craft activities, there are so many ways to marvel in the magic of this special time of year.

My Thoughts:
Snow in the Garden crossed my path quite by accident; the lovely cover artwork caught my eye on a social media site, and I just had to have a copy. (Even though at the time it was only available in the U.K. Thank you, Book Depository, for your prompt delivery!) Little did I know that Shirley Hughes is a legendary author/illustrator in Great Britain. In the words of Philip Pullman, "Shirley Hughes is a national treasure." After reading the book, I totally agree. Her delightful illustrations and poetic text remind the reader - young or old - of the wonders of childhood. I highly recommend Snow in the Garden for children of all ages. Be sure to pick up a copy soon, as the whimsical stories, poems, and recipes will add to the joy of your child's holiday season!

Click here to learn about the award-winning author Shirley Hughes.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Storyteller’s Journey

Thanksgiving Thoughts

On this Thanksgiving Weekend here in the U.S., I’m reflecting on how it’s even more important to be thankful for blessings in our lives when there are challenges in our lives.

In recent weeks I’ve mentioned many times of the challenges this autumn season has presented to me.Today, I want to illuminate some of the positive aspects and people in my life that I’m so grateful for.

First, is my family. While that may seem like something to just include in a list of blessings, for me, I’ve never been more thankful for my loved ones than I am right now. Why? Because I am struggling and nearly every one of them has reached out in some way to comfort or help me. My husband, Michael, has been a wonder! While he is a full time businessman and a gallery-represented artist, he has also become the main cook and housekeeper while I’ve been on the mend. I am so grateful to him - and my family - for their sacrificial love.

Second, is my friends! While I’ve been unable to maintain in-person visits with my pals, they have kept me in the loop with messages of hope and humor. You know who you are; thanks ever so much! 

Third, is our new home. Being nestled in  a remote forest here in the Pacific Northwest has been like a healing balm to my soul. Looking out upon the tall timbers, is like receiving a hug from nature.

Fourth, is my ability to read and write. With my limited mobility right now, allowing my imagination to take me to another place and time has kept my spirits up. Whether reading a new book, or working on a new story, I’m so thankful for my curiosity and my passion to create.

While there are many more blessings I could mention, I’ll conclude with social media. What? Really? Yes! It’s at times when you’re unable to see people face to face that you realize just how lucky you are that you can still connect by way of social media. Thanks to all of you for your likes, comments, & messages! They are so appreciated. 😀 

Wishing each of you a lovely weekend with family and friends!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Whimsical Word of the Week

Blithesome - (adj.)
Having or showing a good mood or disposition.
Example: The blithesome siblings were even happier on Thanksgiving.

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2021

Bibliophile’s Corner

Midnight in Everwood
By M. A.Kuzniar

Flap Copy Description:
It was a rainy day that the magic came, and once magic has entered your life, you stay in its glittery clutch forever. 

Nottingham 1906

Marietta Stelle longs to be a ballerina but, as Christmas draws nearer, her dancing days are numbered - she must marry and take up her place in society in the New Year. But, when a mysterious toy maker, Dr. Drosselmeier, purchases a neighbouring townhouse, it heralds the arrival of magic and wonder in Marietta’s life.

After Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate theatrical set for her final ballet performance on Christmas Eve, Marietta discovers it carries magic all of its own - a magic darker than anyone could imagine. As the clock chimes midnight, Marietta finds herself transported from her family’s ballroom to a frozen sugar palace, silent with secrets, in a forest of snow-topped fir trees. She must find a way to return home before she’s trapped in Everwood’s enchanting grip forever.

My Thoughts:
I discovered Midnight in Everwood on the Twitter page of a literary agent based in London. Everything I read about the book intrigued me, so I ordered my hardback copy through Book Depository in the U.K. (since only paperback & eBook are available in the States right now.) I’m so glad I did; I will re-read this extraordinary novel every winter. I kept thinking of Ms. Kuzniar’s book as a cross between The Snow Queen and the The Nutcracker. Which only makes sense since it’s a reimagining of The Nutcracker, obviously amidst snow, magic, and wonder at Christmastime. I highly recommend adults read Midnight in Everwood this holiday season. Brava, M.A. Kuzniar!

Click here to learn about the author, M. A. Kuzniar.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Storyteller’s Journey

The Joy of Reading

One of the activities I most enjoy each fall and winter is finding a cozy corner and losing myself in a good book - with some hot beverage, of course! Right now, while I’m awaiting my knee surgery date, reading has been even more important to me. Since I still can’t operate a car due to my injury, reading provides the mechanism by which my mind can be transported to an intriguing location, if not my body.

I’m just beginning to read The Memory of Babel by Christelle Dabos; it’s the third book in The Mirror Visitor Series. These books by Ms. Dabos have won awards on both sides of the pond. I’ll be reviewing this third book in her series after the New Year.

Happy reading this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Whimsical Word of the Week

Ailyak - (n.)
The subtle act of doing everything calmly and without rushing, whilst enjoying the experience and life in general. Example: The author’s plan to rid her life of stress was to employ ailyak into her daily routine.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Bibliophile’s Corner

The Beatryce Prophecy

By Kate DiCamillo

Flap Copy Description:
There is one creature that the monks of the Chronicles of Sorrowing fear above all others: Answelica the goat. The monks fear her sharp teeth and her hard head and her wily ways. And so imagine Brother Edik’s terror when he goes to feed Answelica one morning and finds a child in the pen with the demon goat.

The child does not know where she came from. She does not know who her people are. She remembers one thing only: her name.


The king’s men, however, know who the child is, and they are searching for her.

My Thoughts:
Kate DiCamillo has done it again: she’s spun a story that is destined to be a classic. It’s not just the endearing protagonist, Beatryce, or her sidekick goat, Answelica. It’s the way that the  two-time Newbery  Medalist takes the reader on a journey to a place and time where magic and truth and kindness always win the day. I highly recommend The Beatryce Prophecy to readers of all ages.. 

Click here to learn about the author, Kate DiCamillo.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Storyteller’s Journey

This Writer’s Ups & Downs 

Last week I took a quick trip to Arizona with my husband. The main purpose of our time away was primarily to check up on my mother. She’d been dealing with an infection that had severely weakened her. Thankfully, she’d already been improving by the time we arrived there. That being said, it’s always nice to get away from the rainy weather of the Pacific Northwest for a bit, and warm up in a hotter climate.

It was an incredible relief to see my mom doing so well, and to see some of my other family members, too. However, little did I know what a high personal price I’d pay for that trip to Arizona. When we returned to Portland, OR, my knee gave out while we were exiting the shuttle bus at PDX; I tumbled out, severely injuring my right knee. I am now on crutches and scheduled for an MRI later this week. 

You never know what obstacle might next present itself!

These crutches have been unwrapped and are now my only mode of mobility around the house. While recently I lamented the need for weekly visits to the library due to no internet service at our home, I am now relying on the 5G hotspot on my iPhone and connecting with my iPad. I used this photo because our home is so messy that I couldn’t bear to post a current photo online. (It feels like we’re living in the chaos of a college dorm!)

Wish me luck with these new obstacles along my storyteller’s journey!

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Whimsical Word of the Week

Callithump (n.)
a noisy boisterous band or parade.
Example: The citizens of the Super Bowl-winning city had quite a calllithump after their team's victory.


Monday, November 8, 2021

Bibliophile's Corner

by Katherine Applegate

Flap Copy Description:
Willodeen adores creatures of all kinds, but her favorites are the most unlovable beasts in the land: strange beasts known as "screechers." The villagers of Perchance call them pests, even monsters, but Willodeen believes the animals serve a vital role in the complicated web of nature.
Lately, though, nature has seemed angry indeed. Perchance has been cursed with fires and mudslides, droughts and fevers, and even the  annual migration of hummingbears, a source of local pride and income, has dwindled. For as long as anyone can remember, the tiny animals have overwintered in shimmering bubble nests perched atop blue willow trees, drawing tourists from far and wide. This year, however, not a single hummingbear has returned to Perchance, and no one knows why.
When a handmade birthday gift brings unexpected magic to Willodeen and her new friend, Connor, she's determined to speak up for the animals she loves, and perhaps even uncover the answer to the mystery of the missing hummingbears.

My Thoughts:
There are a few books that I always make a point to read if I can: those written by authors who have received the Newbery Medal. I've found that even if a certain story isn't my cup of tea, the writing, the voice, and the structure of their books always provide something I can learn from. Katherine Applegate is one such gifted author. In Willodeen, she again reveals her love of nature and animals - as well as a concern for the planet. The fact that she's included these themes in an entertaining middle grade fantasy is all the more impressive. As usual, her cast of characters come straight from the heart. I highly recommend Willodeen to readers aged eight to twelve!

Click here to learn more about the author, Katherine Applegate.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Storyteller's Journey

The Long Road Home

In so many ways my soul feels as though it's coming home. It's not just coming home to the physical place I've always dreamed of, but coming home emotionally, intellectually, socially, and professionally. Maybe it's because I'm getting to the age that you really just don't care what people think anymore. There's so much freedom in arriving at that glorious destination. You also learn a lot about truth.

The truth about who your friends are.

The truth about your family.

The truth about yourself as a writer.

Because in the end, authenticity is one of the traits I most treasure in my friends, my family, and myself. If you can't be authentic with them, then you're a  prisoner to the whims of society. Batted about with every wind that blows your way. As a writer, authenticity may be even more essential. The one sure thing that can make our stories unique is the honesty we place on the page derived from our life experiences. We just need the courage to do that.

It feels incredible to be coming home.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Whimsical Word of the Week

Tacenda (n.)
things better left unsaid; matters to be passed over in silence.
Example: While many things are true, they are also unsavory. Most tawdry little tidbits should be left as tacenda.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Bibliophile's Corner

Little Witch Hazel
A Year in the Forest
by Phoebe Wahl

Flap Copy Description:
Little Witch Hazel is a tiny witch who lives in the forest, helping creatures big and small. She's an intrepid explorer, a hard worker and a kind friend.
In this four-story volume, Little Witch Hazel rescues an orphaned egg, goes sailing on a raft, solves the mystery of a haunted stump and makes house calls to fellow forest dwellers. But when Little Witch Hazel needs help herself, will she get it in time?

My Thoughts:
Somehow I only recently discovered the whimsical work of Washington State author,  Phoebe Wahl - but I'm so glad I did! Her delightful illustrations, and wild and imaginative text, bring to mind fairy tales of a bygone era. It's no wonder that Ms. Wahl won the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for New Illustrator for her first book, Sonya's Chickens. I highly recommend Little Witch Hazel to children of all ages!

Click here to learn more about the author/illustrator, Phoebe Wahl.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Storyteller's Journey

The Autumn Moon & Forest Monsters

Since moving onto our wooded rural property, my sense of connection to nature has impacted my imagination greatly. Then too, it's not just my imagination. 

With screaming coyotes, screeching owls, and howling winds through the tall timbers, it doesn't take my imagination to believe there are dangers lurking not far from our home. While I've mentioned numerous times the black-tailed deer that make our property their home, there have also been reports of coyotes very near some of our neighbors' homes - as well as a bear! Thankfully, our sightings have been mostly deer, owls, squirrels, and other birds & small critters.

The exciting news is that I have a story for children banging around in my brain! It would be a short story, so probably become a Lindstrom Wintertime Tale. I won't mention any details, other than it features a deer. (No surprise there!) Other ideas have floated through my mind, but only the short story has taken any shape at all. However, who knows. With Halloween upon us, my eerie surroundings might just take my writing in an entirely different direction than it's ever gone before.

Have a safe and happy Halloween! 🎃

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Whimsical Word of the Week

Logolepsy (n.)

an obsession or fascination with words.
Example: Many authors have lived with the condition of logolepsy all of their lives.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Bibliophile's Corner

Change Sings
by Amanda Gorman 
illustrated by Loren Long

Flap Copy Description:
In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes - big and small - in the world, in their communities, and, most importantly, in themselves.

My Thoughts:
Like many, if not most, Americans, I recall the inauguration of President Joe Biden, not because of his speech, but because of Amanda Gorman's poem! So when I learned she'd written a book for children, I purchased it immediately. As you'd expect, it's wonderful on so many levels. Her poem is uplifting, inspirational, and seems to challenge everyone to do more in the world. The illustrations of Loren Long perfectly illuminate Ms. Gorman's text - and bring to mind images of the decade of change: the sixties. I highly recommend Change Sings to readers of all ages. Bravo, Amanda Gorman!

Click here to learn more about the poet, Amanda Gorman.
Click here to learn more about the illustrator, Loren Long

Friday, October 22, 2021

Storyteller's Journey

My Love of Libraries

On many occasions I've blogged about libraries; they're sacred chambers of creativity, and have been for me since I was a young child. However, it's only been in the last couple of months, that I find myself once again looking to my local library for support. 

Support, not of the emotional kind, but of the technical sort. I won't belabor the issue of me lacking internet service at our home. I've come to accept the situation. In large part due to the local library that I visit once a week. The librarians are ( as you'd expect) kind and efficient; they leave me alone unless I've needed assistance. What's sort of ironic, is the fact that for a short period of time I actually volunteered to work with children in this very branch of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library in Battle Ground, Washington. It was a heartwarming experience, as it always is when I work with children. I also recall attending an author presentation (in the very room where I am now sitting) featuring the hilarious Newbery Medalist, author Jack Gantos. 

It feels healthy, for some reason, that I'm now back at the place that has so many times offered me opportunities, information, and even inspiration. It's also a lesson in humility. I have a need, and the library is reaching out to me with a helping hand. In this age of internet, it behooves us all to remember that not all U.S. citizens have internet service - for a variety of reasons. 

Remember to thank your local librarians!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Whimsical Word of the Week

Abditory (n.)
a place into which you can disappear; a hiding place.
Example: When Anne Frank and her family first moved into the Secret Annex, they had no idea it would be their abditory for twenty-five months.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Bibliophile's Corner

The Edge of Strange Hollow
by Gabrielle K. Byrne

Flap Copy Description:

Poppy Sunshine isn't like everyone else in Strange Hollow. She's not afraid of the Grimwood, home to magical creatures like shape-shifters, faeries, witches, and even a three-headed dog.
Banned from the wood by her parents, Poppy longs to learn everything about it and imagines joining her mother and father as they hunt the forest's cursed magical objects. So when her only family disappears on a routine expedition, she and her friends must break every rule to save them. But Poppy soon discovers that things in the Grimwood are rarely what they seem...
And the monsters who took her parents may not be monsters at all.

My Thoughts:
If your child loves stories featuring magical creatures, then The Edge of Strange Hollow is one not to miss! This enchanting adventure seems to jump off the page, and no wonder with the master storytelling skills of Gabrielle K. Byrne. Like most great middle grade books, this one includes themes of family and friendship, while leading the reader into a world of fantasy. I highly recommend The Edge of Strange Hollow to readers aged eight and up.

Click here to learn about the author, Gabrielle K. Byrne.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Storyteller's Journey

Artwork: Public Domain
October Obstacles

Last week I discussed the unexpected joys I've experienced since moving to a rural area. As I sit here in my small community library (which I'm so grateful for!) I find myself feeling frustrated. After living in our new home for seven weeks now, we are still unable to obtain internet, TV, or even a landline telephone. Add to that, that I just finished up a week of being on call for jury duty; somehow it was my first time being summoned as a juror. I won't describe the experience since we're sworn to secrecy. Let's just say I won't be in the witness (or juror) protection program anytime soon.

These obstacles have reminded me of just how much of a creature of routine and ritual I really am. It feels like I'm the little engine that could...that has fallen off the tracks! Now, I'm the little engine that can't. In any event, I've been aware for a very long time how repelled I am by change. Even though there are personal blessings at our new home, as a writer, it's been tough. Had not life aligned the stars in a miraculous formation, I'd probably still be attached to the woodwork of our old home.

So how can I regroup and get my writing momentum back?

By placing one foot (or finger) in front of the other. My new normal may just well include the library as my office for a while. 

Another thought is that the journey is always more important than the destination. (Or daily wordcount.) That's why, years ago, I began calling my Friday posts, Storyteller's Journey. This, too, is part of that journey.

Living life, with all of it's unusual experiences is essential for a writer's relevance. If everything was always easy, what would we have to say? 

These obstacles have also reminded me of the importance of appreciating the little things in life: The autumn breeze through the trees around our property, the ever-present black-tailed deer that share our land, and on and on. However, this will be a laborious process of transformation: from being a city girl to becoming country gal.

What are your thoughts on regaining momentum when it's lost?

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Whimsical Word of the Week

Polypody (noun)
a genus of chiefly epiphytic ferns.
Example: The tiny woodland elf skipped and skittered from mushroom to  polypody.


Monday, October 11, 2021

Bibliophile's Corner

The Scarecrow
by Beth Ferry illustrated by 
The Fan Brothers

Flap Copy Description:
All the animals know not to mess with old Scarecrow. But when a small, scared crow falls from midair, Scarecrow does the strangest thing...
Bestselling author Beth Ferry and the widely acclaimed Fan Brothers present this tender and affectionate tale that reminds us of the comforting power of friendship and the joy of helping others.

My Thoughts:
Ms. Ferry has woven a wonderful tale of unexpected friendship; for as we all know, people - and scarecrows - are not always what they seem. This beautiful picture book was exquisitely illustrated by Terry Fan and Eric Fan. (I must admit, when I saw the words, The Fan Brothers on the cover, I knew I had to purchase it!) I highly recommend The Scarecrow. If you have a small child, this is the perfect book for autumn - or to read with the family leading into Thanksgiving. 

Click here to learn about the author, Beth Ferry.
Click here to learn about the illustrators, The Fan Brothers.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Storyteller's Journey

A New World

It wasn't a snap decision when my husband Michael and I decided to move to the rural backwoods of our county. However, even though we knew that the change would be challenging, we didn't realize all the joys that would also come our way. 

* The "quiet" that you hear is awe-inspiring. Just that one element of our new world is enough to calm the mind and inspire the soul.

* We both expected that the rural country would be full of crazy right-wing conservatives. (I hate to admit that, but it's true.) At least where we live, nothing could be further from the truth. While people are more independent, for the most part they are "middle-of-the-road" folks, as are we. It's been a reminder as to why it's best not to pre-judge.

* Learning to be more independent is invigorating. Whether it's the utility trailer we purchased to haul away our own yard debris, or staying warm next to the pellet stove in our country kitchen, living away from the hubbub of city life causes you to be more engaged in your personal day to day existence.

* We also figured that to enjoy a night out we'd need to return to the big city. Again, we were wrong! Vineyards, pubs, and restaurants are not only prevalent, but some are quite chic. Like the restaurant that is attached to its vineyard; where they have live music playing on the weekends - cool music too!

* I even recently met a fellow writer. While she doesn't write for children, we have so much in common. I'm sure I'll be spending time with the lovely lady again.

All in all, Michael and I are asking ourselves: "Why did we wait so long to make the move?" Probably because we're both firstborns and getting us to choose to change is a major feat.

While we are basking in these blessings, it's not all been positive. Next week I'll touch on a few of the unexpected challenges I've faced so far.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Whimsical Word of the Week

Lachrymose - (adj.)

tearful or given to weeping.
Example: The little child was distraught and  lachrymose.


Monday, October 4, 2021

Bibliophile's Corner

The Sisters of Straygarden Place
by Hayley Chewins

Flap Copy Description:
Seven years ago, the Ballastian sisters; parents left them in the magical Straygarden Place, a house surrounded by tall silver grass and floating trees, with a warning:

Do not leave the house.
Do not go into the grass.
Wait for us.
Sleep darkly.

The house has taken care of Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine - feeding them, clothing them, even keeping them company - while they have waited and grown up and played a guessing game:

Think of an animal, think of a place.
Think of a person, think of a face.

But when the eldest, fourteen-year-old Winnow, does the unthinkable and goes into the grass, everything twelve-year-old Mayhap thought she knew about her home, her family, and even herself starts to unravel.

My Thoughts:
Middle grade novels are some of my favorite books to read, and The Sisters of Straygarden Place was no exception! It's a magical tale, written in a poetic style, and set in an imaginative dark world full of secrets and mysteries. If you're a fan of fantasy books for young readers this one by Hayley Chewins is one not to miss!

Click here to learn about the author, Hayley Chewins.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Storyteller's Journey

Lessons from a Lengthy Summer

As I recently mentioned on this blog, my summer provided me with not only an education in home renovation, but offered insights to life in general.

These similarities between creating a home and creating a manuscript seemed to come to my mind: 

* "Cutting in" before applying paint to the large portions of a room, reminded me of the importance of doing thorough research and an outline before I begin a major writing project. 

* Sanding again and again on my hardwood floors until they were super smooth, reminded me of the importance of editing again and again until my story begins to really sing.

* When I chose the incorrect color for our master bedroom, I was tempted to just say, "oh well, I'll live with it." But I knew I wouldn't be happy with the room or myself, so I repainted it the correct color. That reminded me of that awful time when I'd completed a draft of a story only to realize it was awful, and just needed to be deleted.

Even the photo above is an example of needing to go the extra mile to achieve the result I wanted. While it looks like the birdbath and bench were just plopped into place, it took nearly an hour for my husband and I to get them level. All in all, what I realized this summer is that lessons I've learned as a writer, are really lessons about life. Persistence, perseverance, discipline, and a desire for excellence will serve a person well, no matter what their endeavor. Something to keep in mind.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Whimsical Word of the Week

Revivication - (n.)
renewal of life; restoration of life.
Example: September was always the start of a new beginning for the author - a season of revivication.


Monday, September 27, 2021

Bibliophile's Corner

Einstein - The Fantastic Journey of a Mouse Through Space and Time
by Torben Kuhlmann

Flap Copy Description:
Award-winning illustrator Torben Kuhlmann's brilliant new book bends time and imagination! Suppose Albert Einstein's famous theories first came into being through an encounter with a little mouse... 
When an inventive mouse misses the biggest cheese festival in the world, he's determined to turn back time.

My Thoughts:
Being an avid reader who loves books about Einstein, Torben Kuhlmann's picture book was a must read - it's extraordinary! Not only is the story imaginative - and the artwork timeless - the author incudes lots of fun facts about Einstein at the end of the beautiful picture book. I highly recommend Einstein - The Fantastic Journey of a Mouse Through Space and Time to all budding scientists!

Click here to learn about the author/illustrator Torben Kuhlmann.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Storyteller's Journey

Arrival of Autumn

Each September I'm brought back to #2 pencils, school bus rides, and football games. Even as an adult those events come to mind each fall, though it's been decades since those idyllic days. 

As an adult, I enjoy the falling leaves, crisp mornings, and even the rain that is so reliable here in the Pacific Northwest. There seems to be more time to read (and write) during the less hectic autumn months, though I'm just now getting settled into our new home - Fern Hill.

Click here to read my recent quarterly newsletter.

Wishing each of you a fantastic fall season full of reading and writing!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Whimsical Word of the Week

Susurrous - (adj.)
full of whispering or rustling sounds.
Example: The autumn wind wended through the trees leaving a susurrous whisper in its wake.
Hope you enjoy a lovely autumn season reading fantastic books!

Monday, September 20, 2021

Bibliophile's Corner

The Blue Hour
by Isabelle Simler

Goodreads Description:
A lovely and tranquil celebration of nature.
The sun has set, the day has ended, but the night hasn't quite arrived yet. This magical twilight is known as the blue hour. Everything in nature sky, water, flowers, birds, foxes comes together in a symphony of blue to celebrate the merging of night and day.

My Thoughts:
Since the color of blue is a passion of mine, when I see a children's book that features that color in some way, I always take a look. The Blue Hour did not disappoint! The lovely text addresses all sorts of creatures who can be seen at twilight, and who in some way represent the color blue - and  Ms. Simler's artwork is exquisite! This award-winning book would be a great addition to the library in your home.

Click here to learn about the author/illustrator, Isabelle Simler.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Storyteller's Journey

The Summer of '21

If you follow me at all, then you know that my summer was different than most: My husband and I spent the summer working on our "new" home set amidst the rural wooded foothills of our county in Washington State. 

That being said, we did find free time to occasionally explore the "Common Area" that the residents of our small community all share. This covered bridge acts as a meeting place for monthly get-togethers during the summer months. We were so happy to learn that our neighbors are also nature lovers.
(These surroundings have already sparked new story ideas in my mind; hopefully one of them will actually become a manuscript!)
I took this photo of the young doe from the front porch of our new home. Multiple deer have become regular visitors on our property, although we are always reminding ourselves that we are the real visitors in their woodland home!

However, most of my summer was spent holding the handle of a paint brush or sander. (I ended up painting seven rooms - yes, seven!) Here is our living room; the floor has since been sanded, stained, & lacquered.

You know you're a bibliophile when you make your formal dining room a library! Here's the color I painted my little library. This floor has also been completed. (We converted our family room/kitchen to country kitchen.)

Here, in a photo from early July, I'm painting our master bedroom. The smiley face is to remind me to maintain a positive attitude, since I initially chose a green much too dark for the room. (I had to repaint most of the bedroom!) I hope to never use the words: Kilz, cut-in, or Gator Tape again. That being said, I must admit that I learned some lessons that are already resonating in my writer life - I'll post about that soon!

In the weeks ahead, I'll get back on my regular writing and reading schedule. While we only moved in three weeks ago, I must get my literary juices going again. (Submissions to agents are coming too!)

Hope you had a fantastic summer & are inspired to create this autumn!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Whimsical Word of the Week

Collywobbles (n.)

intense nervousness, especially with stomach queasiness.
Example: The first day of school always gave the young student an episode of collywobbles.