Monday, October 31, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

Fairy Tale
by Stephen King

Flap Copy Description:
Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mother was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was seven, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself - and his dad. When Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.
Charlie starts doing odd jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Mr. Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Mr. Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world. 

My Thoughts:
Fairy Tale is the recently released novel by Stephen King - the perfect read for Halloween or any dark, foggy night! The teenage boy, Charlie, is the complex protagonist who unexpectedly finds himself in a tale of good and evil. This terrific tome is full of suspense and mystery, like all Stephen King books. I highly recommend Fairy Tale to readers aged sixteen and up. Happy Halloween!

Click here to read about an update about Fairy Tale.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Storyteller's Journey

The Mysterious & Spooky Northwest
I've lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of my life. The legends and myths connected with our corner of the country are well known.

Forests of towering trees, foggy mountaintops, and icy meandering rivers and streams provide a spooky backdrop for Sasquatch, spirit animals, and numerous Native American folk tales. When you add to that that in recent decades writers have found our extraordinary geography to be the perfect setting for their novels - like Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. Television has had an affinity for the Northwest for a long time, dating back to the 1990's when Twin Peaks was released.

Consequently, the media attention given to the Pacific Northwest with this eerie angle has become a part of our beloved region's identity. It must have had a subliminal effect on me, since the fantasy middle grade series I'm working on - Livvi Biddle - includes a fright of ghosts!

Wishing each of you a spooky and happy Halloween! 🎃 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Eldritch - (adj.)
weird, sinister, or ghostly.
Example: The eldritch howl of the autumn wind was like a witch's incantation that Halloween night.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

Mary McScary
by R.L. Stine and 
illustrated by Marc Brown

Flap Copy Description:
Meet Mary McScary! She doesn't say boo. She says BOOOOOOO!
Mary scares everyone. But can Mary scare her fearless cousin, Harry? Mary pulls out all her scariest tricks. But nothing quite works - until Mary has a very scary idea...
Beware of Mary McScary!

My Thoughts:
I chose to review Mary McScary this month since it's an appropriate picture book for Halloween. (And because its author is R.L. Stein!) What I love about this book is its precocious protagonist: Mary McScary. She's a bit over the top, but that's what makes this book so hilarious. In addition to the silly text in verse, the comical illustrations by Marc Brown are the perfect companion to the story. I highly recommend Mary McScary for young children aged three to seven!

Click here to learn about the author, R.L. Stein.
Click here to learn about the illustrator, Marc Brown.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Storyteller's Journey

Finding Solace
Sometimes the chaotic and complex state of our world weighs me down. It feels like I have no control over the craziness all around. It's at times like these that I turn to my time-tested ways to find solace.

- Spending time in the out of doors.
- Enjoying the company of my friends.
- Writing poetry.
- Reading great novels and biographies.
- Limiting the minutes that I watch news programs on T.V.
- Leaning on my faith; spirituality is important to me.
- Remaining true to myself. Continue doing my daily routine.

It's important to me to maintain a sense of peace in my own little life, with my friends and family. If I can't be a peacemaker in my corner of the world, why should I be surprised if I see a lack of peace in the wider world? We would all do well to find solace within ourselves, so we can spread peace to others. Maybe then our world could change.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Splendiferous - (adj.)
splendid, humorous
Example: The student loved to play splendiferous shenanigans at school.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

Book of Night
by Holly Black

Flap copy Description:
Charlie Hall has never found a lock she couldn't pick, a book she couldn't steal, or a bad decision she wouldn't make.
She spent half her life working for gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to peer into locked rooms, strangle people in their beds, or worse. Gloamists guard their secrets greedily, creating an underground economy if grimoires. And to rob their fellow magicians, they need Charlie Hall.
Now, she's trying to distance herself from past mistakes, but bartending at a local dive, she's still entirely too close to the corrupt underbelly of the Berkshires. Not to mention that her sister, Posey, is desperate for magic, and that Charlie's shadowless and possibly soulless boyfriend, Vince, has been hiding things from her. When a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie descends into a maelstrom of murder and lies.
Determined to survive, she's up against a cast of doppelgangers, mercurial billionaires, gloamists, and the people she loves most in the world - all trying to steal a secret that will give them a vast and terrible power.

My Thoughts:
Since October is the month for frightening fantasy stories, I decided to review the dark novel, Book of Night, by Holly Black - even though it's definitely for the young adult/adult audience. This tome is Ms. Black's adult debut, and she didn't disappoint! Her years of crafting fantasy books for children - aged eight to eighteen - served her well with this novel. If you're a fan of Neil Gaiman, and Cassandra Clare, you'll love Book of Night. I highly recommend it to readers aged sixteen and up.

Click here to learn about the award-winning author, Holly Black.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Storyteller's Journey

The Art of Friendship
As an introvert, I've had a small group of friends in my life, but they have known me well. As an author, I've spent my solitary life writing, reading, and gardening.

As the years have passed, one by one, I've realized that my most enjoyable times have been with my family...and my dear friends. 
Since moving to our rural property last year, seeing my friends has been more of a challenge. (It takes between 30 and 90 minutes to reach our home, depending on the location of each of my friends.)
Consequently, I've had to make a conscious effort and schedule time to see each of them. That has caused me to realize that we should all make a conscious effort to reach out to our friends. Friendship, after all, is like a garden: you get out of it what you put in. It's not just the harvest that is enjoyable, but the work it takes to reap that harvest. 
When I lived in the city, it seemed that seeing my friends sort of just happened naturally, with all the writer meetings, art shows, etc. Now, I must pick and choose the number of times I go into the city, due to the time it takes to travel that distance.

The intentionality of making time for my friends seems to be one ingredient to the art of friendship. After all, they're each worth it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Vellichor - (n.)
The pensive nostalgia of a used bookstore; the feeling evoked by the scent of old books.
Example: The bibliophile craved the sense of vellichor she experienced while strolling the aisles of the local bookshop. 

Monday, October 10, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

Knight Owl
by Christopher Denise

Flap Copy Description:
Since the day he hatched, Owl dreamed of becoming a real knight. He may not be the biggest or the strongest, but his sharp nocturnal instincts can help protect the castle, especially since may knights have recently gone missing. While holding guard during Knight Night Watch, Owl is faced with the ultimate trial - a frightening intruder. It's a daunting duel by any measure. But what Owl lacks in size, he makes up for in good ideas. 

My Thoughts:
Over the years picture books have become shorter; sometimes conveying an idea or a scene, rather than a story. Well, Knight Owl is one of those lovely exceptions that manages to tell a medieval tale with a limited number of words. I loved it! The enchanting illustrations and the imaginative text by Mr. Denise are sure to entertain all small children. The book even includes a somewhat hidden message: despite our limitations, we can follow our passion and achieve our dream if our whole heart is in it. I highly recommend Knight Owl to readers aged four to seven!

Click here to learn about the author/illustrator, Christopher Denise.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Storyteller's Journey

On a Common Path

For over a dozen years my husband Michael and I have been on a common path: we not only receive inspiration from Nature, but we also enjoy creating in the out of doors. While I love to write and read in a lovely setting, Michael is a plein air painter. We often marvel how it happened; we've decided it came to be while we owned a cabin in the woods in the Olympic National Forest. 
(We sold the lakeside cabin in 2012.)

After we sold our cabin, we dreamed of finding a home with property where Michael could find subjects to paint. A home that would be like a cottage in the woods. When we purchased our home last year it was a dream come true.

When we purchased the house at the 2.6 acre "Fern Hill" it was a real fixer upper. It's had new paint, a new roof, new gutters, and a makeover on its interior. 

While we don't actually own the rest of this lovely property, it's part of the Common Area only we and our neighbors can access. Since it includes thirty acres of creeks, ponds, fields, and woods, I call it "The Thirty Acre Wood."

Since October has been so warm, we're trying to enjoy our time in the last few days of sunshine - before the Pacific Northwest rains arrive!

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Isolophilia (n.)
strong affection for solitude, being alone.
Example: Most introverted writers naturally enjoy a sense of isolophilia.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

Frigg's Journey to Anasgar
by Deb Cushman

Back Cover Description:
Is there such a thing as too much adventure?
When dreams come true...
They may not be all you imagined!

Captured by ogres! Exhibited in a freak show! When Frigg dreamed of adventure, this was NOT what she expected. After trolls attack Frigg's colony, the young dwarf and her friends escape and embark on a perilous journey to find the legendary dwarf colony of Anasgar for help.
Blundering Bloodstones!
Can a dwarf, a faery, an elf, and a unicorn convince the defiant dwarves of Anasgar to help fight the trolls?
Or will her friends and family be enslaved forever?

My Thoughts:
This recently released middle grade novel is just the book for any young reader who enjoys fantasy stories! It's full of adventure, friendship, and humor, and its cast of magical creatures is sure to delight children page after page. I highly recommend Frigg's Journey to Anasgar to readers aged eight to twelve!

Click here to read my recent interview with the author, Deb Cushman.