Monday, January 30, 2023

Bibliophile's Corner

Snow Birds
by Kirsten Hall
illustrated by Jenni Desmond

Flap Copy Description:
Snowflakes whirling, snow-flocks swirling, 
streaks of white twirl through the night...
You've heard of birds who migrate to warmer climates in the wintertime - but what about those who persevere through snowy weather and freezing temperatures?

My Thoughts:
Wintertime, and snowy weather in particular, is so inspirational to me. So, to read a picture book that deals with beautiful birds that have the tenacity and adaptability to survive in the harsh conditions of the winter months was so exciting. The text and illustrations are both stunning and seem to be perfectly partnered. At the back of the book there's even a glossary of each of the birds included. (The snowy owl is my favorite!)  I highly recommend Snow Birds to readers aged four and up!

Click here to learn about the author, Kirsten Hall.
Click here to lean about the illustrator, Jenni Desmond.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Storyteller's Journey

New working Livvi Biddle Image

Here's What Inspired My Story

It seems strange that twelve years have passed since I first put pen to paper with my idea for Livvi Biddle. Back in 2011, Barack Obama was our President, Prince William and Catherine Middleton were just getting married, and none of my four books had yet been published. So much has changed in the world since that era.

However, one thing hasn't changed in the world: The need for peace. If anything, it seems we need peace in the world now, more than ever. 

My protagonist's full name is Olivia Biddle. I chose her name because it means peace, and in my middle grade series, the arc of the fantasy saga bends toward Livvi becoming a peacemaker. This will be a big stretch for Livvi since her life, as the story unfolds, is anything but peaceful. (But that's what makes a captivating character arc, right?)

So, as I proceed on my path toward publication, I'll give you insights from time to time on my progress. This story has lived in my heart for a very long time; I'm anxious to see it in the form of a book very soon!
Livvi Biddle head shot is a customized Vecteezy image.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Whimsical Word of the Week

Seatherny - (n.)
The serenity one feels while listening to the chirping of birds.
Example: The birdwatcher not only loved the sight of a bird in flight, but the sense of seatherny she felt when she heard birdsong.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Bibliophile's Corner

Mushroom Rain
by Laura K. Zimmermann
illustrated by Jamie Green

Flap Copy Description:
Without warning, they appear, Mushrooms!
What can smell like bubble gum, glow neon green at night, be poisonous but still eaten by humans, and even help create rain? The answer is mushrooms!
From their hidden networks underground to the fruiting body above, mushrooms can do incredible things. But don't call them plants - mushrooms are fungi. They're more closely related to animals like you!

My Thoughts:
There is so much about Mushroom Rain that I loved! The first thing that obviously caught my eye was the enchanting cover art by Jamie Green. Her colorful illustrations are just beautiful. The lyrical text, by Laura Zimmermann, is so informative and presented in a way that helps young readers understand some rather complex concepts - all while being quite entertaining. Since I live in the rainy Pacific Northwest, I've always had mushrooms nearby; learning some information about these fungi that was new to me was fantastic. I highly recommend Mushroom Rain to readers aged five and up!

Click here to learn about the author, Laura K. Zimmermann.
Click here to learn about the illustrator, Jamie Green.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Storyteller's Journey

Simplicity - Part II

One thing that helps quiet my mind and settle my soul is to spend time amongst the towering timbers around our home. Sharing our property with a small herd of black-tailed deer is an added bonus. It's another example of living a simple life. There's so much majestic beauty just outside our door; sometimes I must remind myself that I'm not living in a dream. It makes it easy to place myself in my current fantasy novel.

My middle grade fantasy manuscript - LIVVI BIDDLE and THE SIBYLLINE SCROLL - is now in the capable hands of my talented editor; he assures me it will be complete by the end of the month. After that, I'll make one last final edit.

I have an appointment with my book formatter next week to begin working on cover design, fonts, etc. She's worked on three of my previous four books - Kriston's a whiz at Tattered Page Ink!

Lastly, my husband, fine artist Michael Lindstrom, will be working on the art portion of my cover; we plan to begin collaborating on that very soon. We know the subject matter, and that it will be created in oils, but finding the time for Michael is the challenge. We'll definitely work on the cover art before the end of February.

By keeping my life as simple as possible, I have more energy to create the kind of work that's meaningful to me. Wish me luck; it's a long path to publication in the fall!

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Whimsical Word of the Week

Aisling (N.)
a poetic or dramatic description or representation of a vision.
Example: The Celtic poet enjoyed creating aislings based on her lucid dreams.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Bibliophile's Corner

Beneath the Keep
by Erika Johansen

Flap Copy Description:
The Tearling, founded as a utopia, has collapsed and reverted to feudalism. As the gap between rich and poor widens and famine threatens the land, rumors of a prophecy begin to spread: a great hope, a True Queen who will ascend and save the kingdom.
But rumors will not help Lazarus, a boy on the verge of manhood, trapped in the clandestine underworld known as the Creche. Enlisted from his earliest days to kill without mercy, he has never seen sun or sky, not until a quest for vengeance propels him above-ground. There he finds a calling amid a royal court rife with intrigue and danger, where he meets Niya, Princess Elyssa's handmaid, who is not what she appears to be and whose true identity will spell death if revealed.
With a righteous rebellion gathering inside her kingdom, Princess Elyssa finds herself torn between duty to the throne and her growing loyalty to the Blue Horizon, a group of fierce idealists who promise radical change. Elyssa must choose quickly, for threats beset her on all sides, and the powers wielded by an uncanny seer and her shadowy master are preparing to decide the Princess's fate for her. It is only a matter of time before Lazarus, Niya, and Elyssa will be called into service of something greater than they have ever imagined: the fight for a better world.

My Thoughts:
I thoroughly enjoyed the Queen of the Tearling Trilogy by Erika Johansen, so when I learned a prequel to that series had been published, I quickly purchased it. I finally finished Beneath the Keep and it's superb! The dark, multi-layered novel is a tale of conspiracy and collusion and perfectly sets the stage that ultimately ushers in the reign of Queen Kelsea later in the series. If you're a fan of Tearling, Beneath the Keep is a must-read. I highly recommend this young adult novel to readers aged fourteen and up!

Click here to learn about the author, Erika Johansen.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Storyteller's Journey

Simplicity in 2023
Each year my husband and I make goals for the new year. Last year, in 2022, my goal was to unwind. This year, my goal is to maintain a simplicity in all aspects of my life.

My husband and I moved to our rural property to get away from the hubbub of the city and to commune better with nature. (We both find inspiration for our creativity by being outside.) However, when we first took possession of our new home. we had loads of work to do on our farmhouse fixer-upper; consequently, we rarely spent time in the out of doors. We were too busy making our newly named Fern Hill our home.

Last year we improved by getting out in nature more, but at times the peace we value seemed to elude us. So, this year, I'm endeavoring to spend my time with activities I value: Writing, reading walking, and spending time with family and friends. Activities I want to limit: Watching television and perusing on my social media sites.

Living in a quieter environment has really calmed my soul. But failing to quiet my mind can still rob me of the peace I so value. Choosing to walk a simpler path requires sacrifice and valuing the right things.

Nearly ten years ago, I posted here on Writ of Whimsy a brief bio of Tasha Tudor, the award-winning author and illustrator of children's books. Her simple life inspired me immensely! Click here to read it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Whimscial Word of the Week

Fika - (noun)
to meet up for coffee and something sweet.
Example: The writers' group scheduled a fika before they held their first meeting of the year.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Bibliophile's Corner

Do Your Best Every Day to Do Your Best Evey Day
by John Cena

Flap Copy Description:
Hope + effort = Making the impossible possible.
In this book of encouragements, John Cena urges you to be who you are, make the world a better place, and never stop striving. He wants you to find joy in all of your efforts and achievements, and take time to celebrate who you are and acknowledge what you have accomplished! 

As John will tell you, life is all about the journey and how you spend it - there is so much to be grateful for now, and there is so much ahead.

My Thoughts:
While browsing through a local bookstore with my holiday gift card, I came upon this simple, yet powerful, little book. As I perused its pages, I found it to include encouraging words partnered with beautiful illustrations by Susanna Harrison. It's the kind of book that would make a lovely gift for a young reader; however, I found it to be inspiring for me! I highly recommend Do Your Best Every Day to Do Your Best Every Day for children aged eight and up. Happy reading in 2023!

Friday, January 6, 2023

Storyteller's Journey

Begin January with Books!

Whew! What a holiday season. Between icy snow, gusty winds, and cancelled airline flights, our family's Christmas went a bit sideways. (We still have gifts for our son and daughter-in-law under our tree since we couldn't get together due to the weather; now, it's difficult to line up our schedules.) That being said, we still had a blessed holiday, albeit a bit different. This photo of my gifts shows you how much my family and friends know me!

For those of us living in the Pacific Northwest. with its lack of sunshine, one needs to find a favorite indoor activity during the winter months. Reading has always been one of my favorite pastimes - no matter what type of weather I'm dealing with outside my home. 

Receiving nine books for Christmas provides me with enough reading material for a good little while. I must say that three of my new titles are vintage children's books to add to my vintage book collection. A big thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Lindstrom (my in-laws) for perusing the shelves of an extraordinary bookshop in Boston to find the gems they gave me!

On December 27th we lost electricity to our home for over twenty hours. However, that didn't stop me from beginning to read AND THEN THERE WAS LIGHT Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle by Jon Meacham.

Thankfully, we had lanterns handy to help us deal with the darkness! What new book are you beginning to read this January?