Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In Praise of Deer Creek Middle School

Today, at my son's school there was a shooting. It makes my heart so heavy to think that an adult would pull up to a middle school and open fire on children. It saddens me to a degree I find hard to put into words. I can only think, "why"?

I will say that the staff were above reproach in how well they handled this whole nightmare. They stuck with the evacuation plan. There was no extreme panic. Dr. Benke even tackled the rifle toting monster who was intent on killing our children. Bus drivers assisted him in holding the suspect until authorities arrived.

As a parent of a Deer Creek Middle School student, I want the staff to know how much they are appreciated; by both parents and students alike. We entrust our children to their care each and every day. In times like these, they've shown how seriously they take that task. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the staff at Deer Creek Middle School for their calm resolve, their heroism, and their caring for each and every student in their charge.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Everyone loves a giveway!

Steph Su is hosting a blogoversary giveaway. There are great titles to choose from. Go check it out on her site. http://bit.ly/baSQid
There's tons of great info on books too.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh, if I were a rich woman…

Occasionally, and believe me it’s not often, I allow myself to think about what I would do with a large sum of money, were I to stumble across one. Of course the boring, mundane things like pay off bills come first. I don’t need a new house, I like mine fine. I would probably do some travelling because that would be just too wonderful.

However, one thing I would do, without a doubt is go to my local bookstore and not have to worry about picking out one book or staying within my budget. I would love to be able to load my arms up and read to my heart’s content. Both my son and I have a love of books and we could easily drop quite a chunk of change in a bookstore.

So it’s not the hot sports car that I dream of or the latest fashions but books. *Sigh* But for now, I’ll keep making my reading lists and hope to make some headway through them. Nice to dream from time to time though.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Change Is Good...Right?

You know how as a writer, you're writing something, you love your little darling that you're creating and you spend time telling everyone, I'm writing a middle-grade novel, or I'm working on a YA paranormal romance? You nuture it, you love it, you bring it along until you're almost just sick of it...but you still adore it.

Then you find that it's not the genre you thought it was. For me, I was writing what I thought was a middle-grade novel. Come to find out, I've been advised that it would be better as a series of early chapter books. This is great advice for me though! Thankfully, I've learned early on not to be too attached to anything that I write. Changes are necessary. This is a change in a positive direction, at least I believe it is. I will be busy re-writing and polishing to better fit the mold of early chapter book.

Is it hard to let go of my idea of what I was writing? Maybe a bit, but change it good, right?! Has it ever been difficult for you to re-adjust your idea of the direction you were headed in or to re-make your little darling into something new?

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Olympics Begin

In honor of the winter Olympics starting tonight, I wanted to pose this question. What event did you want to participate in when you were a kid? It can be either a summer or winter event. This is all in fun.

I remember watching the Olympics when I was a kid. I think there was probably more than one event I wanted to participate in. I found all the athletes so impressive; still do actually. They're all so young, fit and beautiful. The pride in their faces when they won a medal. Witnessing the pain of their defeat if they lost and didn't medal.

The one event I remember thinking would be fun to participate in was the bobsled. For it to be the thrill filled ride it looks to be, I would have to be the person in front. As a kid, I thought it would be the ultimate sled ride. Like your neighborhood sled ride on steroids.

So, what event did you want to be a part of? What do you remember thinking, 'I want to do that'? Enjoy the Olympics and I hope it brings back pleasant memories.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Awesome Read in Al Capone Does My Shirts

I just finished reading Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko, a Newbery Honor book. It’s 1935 and Moose Flanagan is twelve. He and his family have just moved to Alcatraz, where his father will work as an electrician and guard. Moose’s sister, Natalie needs a special school, and the only way they can afford it, is to move to Alcatraz. Moose is less than pleased about the move, but soon meets and makes friends with other kids on the island. The warden’s daughter is always up to something and oftentimes, Moose gets dragged into her latest scheme. Famous prisoners of that age were housed in Alcatraz, namely Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly, and others; it purported to hold the ‘cream of the criminal crop’.

It becomes evident to the reader that Natalie has autism. This is in a day and age when most children were institutionalized. Moose’s devotion to Natalie is amazing. He’s forced at one point to give up the thing he loves most, baseball, and take on more responsibility where she’s concerned. He never takes his anger out on Natalie and displays a maturity not seen in many his age. Moose understands there’s no other choice, but is trying to deal with his resentment at his parents for making him do this. His parents are caught up in the fight to find services for a child that so many are willing to turn their back on. They struggle with reconciling their dreams of a typical child and their beliefs of what she’s capable of. Together the family reaches a happy resolution of reality with a hopeful future for all, including Natalie. Before long, everyone is pulling for Natalie, her friends, family and maybe even a criminal or two.

Al Capone Does My Shirts was a wonderful read, crammed full of amazing things. Moose had so much personality and was a wonderful set of eyes to view this story through. It spoke to the importance of family and friends. How much love and belief in a person’s ability can spur them on. It gave a brief glimpse to the darker time, when many considered these children “disposable”, but the strength of one family who refused to go that route and their heart-breaking realization that time marches on. However, more than anything it’s a story of joy in the simple things and love for one another. It’s a story of triumph and acceptance. I can’t wait to read the sequel Al Capone Shines My Shoes!

Friday, February 5, 2010

What's In A Name? - To Title Chapters or Not

At the onset, let me say that titling chapters is purely a personal choice. When I was working on my first novel, I did not title the chapters. The little numbers looked so lonely up there by themselves. After awhile, I decided those little numbers needed their own names to keep them company.

In my second novel, Lane & Finn’s Big Book of Adventure the majority of chapters were named for the particular adventure my characters were experiencing. For example, “The Jelly Bean Juice Experiment”, “Fire Sticks”, or “Lemonade Frogs”. Only the opening and closing chapters varied. It was fun and assisted in heightening (a tiny bit) the anticipation of what was to follow in that chapter. My work in progress is a young adult novel. It’s been great fun naming the chapters as I go along. Being creative and interesting can be entertaining even in the most minor ways, such as titling of chapters.

In my opinion, giving chapters titles adds interest. It may give the reader a tiny sneak peek into what might happen. Or I may title the chapter after some item within it or a word or two that eludes to the emotional flavor. It’s a fun little game I play, that I’ve come to enjoy.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Over the Top

The always kind and highly talented TK Richardson passed this to me. I gladly take up the challenge and thank her immensely for passing it my way. Stop by her blog, My Writing Masquerade, and say hello if you never have.

Where is your cell phone? In front of the computer
Your hair? Brunette
Your mother? Smart and independent
Your father? Kind
Your favorite food? Are you kidding, I could never pick just one.
Your dream last night? I don’t believe I had one.
Your favorite drink? Diet Dr. Pepper
Your dream/goal? Published
What room are you in? bedroom
Your hobby? Reading and watching movies
Your fear? Dying before my son is grown.
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Able to travel abroad.
Where were you last night? home
Something that you aren’t? tall and thin
Muffins? Banana Nut
Wish list item? books, Kindle
Where did you grow up? Colorado
Last thing you did? Chatted on AQ, worked on Nigh
What are you wearing? T-Shirt and pants
Your TV? Evening News
Your pets? Cat and Dog
Friends? A few
Your life? blessed
Your mood? happy
Missing someone? no
Vehicle? Escort
Something you’re not wearing? Shoes
Your favorite store? Borders or The Tattered Cover
Your favorite color? Hot Pink, Purple or Red
When was the last time you laughed? today
Last time you cried? A few days ago
Your best friend? in another town
One place that I go to over and over? AQ and my blog
One person who emails me regularly? Shawna Weeks
Favorite place to eat? Café Jordano

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Who's In First, What's In Third? Tackling POV

So lately I've been giving point of view alot of thought. Predominately, I've written in first person. I find that easiest for me. While third may sound easy, it's a challenge.

I've also been told that most middle-grade (MG) and young-adult (YA) works are first person. My work-in-progress needs to be in third person. I have the main character banished to another planet and would like to be able to show what's happening in her absence as well as what's going on with her. It's time to expand my horizons; broaden my reach, so to speak and try something new with my writing. I'm thinking third person omniscient is the way for me to go.

I've been reading up about writing in different points of view. Here's an excellent, brief blog explaining different POV when writing for children, and their pros and cons. http://tpbweb.com/media/catalog/930.pdf
What are your views on different points of view? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Kids Are So Smart

So my son and I were cruisin’ around the other day. He just turned 13, the day before. That fact has nothing to do with this post, other than I can’t believe he’s already a teen. Wow! Anyway, back to my post. We stopped to get a smoothie. Mine had oranges in it, along with other tasty flavors.

I was sitting there, waiting for the arrival of our frozen delights, pondering something. I’ve wondered about this in the past, I just never thought to ask my kiddo. I said, “You know how orange flavored things actually taste like oranges? Why don’t grape flavored things taste like actual grapes?”

I just know those genius genes came from my side of the gene pool. He paused for one second and said, “Well, I think actual grapes have a bland flavor, so they make it taste a little different to make it more appealing with grape flavored items.” Now doesn’t that just make sense?

Granted, it wasn’t a huge life altering type of question, but I’m glad to have that small little question answered. If I get the answers to any more of life’s little mysteries, I’ll be sure to share them with you here.

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