Showing posts from April, 2016

Friday Flash: Senior Sneak

In celebration of the final two days of the special sale price for Death By Ice Cream, I am offering a short story featuring JJ MacGregor and her friend Kitty, neatly solving another problem for Pismawallops Island high school. This would take place between the events of Death By Ice Cream and those of Death By Trombone.  998 words.   Senior Sneak “Anything interesting at school?” I juggled a gallon of milk and an overloaded hand-basket as I made the polite inquiry of my son’s principal. I expected Mr. Ammon to smile and give an equally polite and meaningless answer and get on with his shopping. Instead, he groaned. “What should there be, JJ? I’m sitting in the office doing paperwork when I should be teaching algebra and trigonometry, coping with everyone’s moods and issues and crises, not to mention that the seniors get insufferable this time of year. Apart from all that it’s just hunky-dory.” I mumbled something about, “let me know what we can do to help,” and tried to rest the corn

A to Z Highlights #4

Last of my A to Z highlights posts, unless I find some more blogs I just have to share in the last 4 days of the month. For everyone who has ever loved Dilbert or hated work, Words from Sonobe features daily horror stories (or maybe they aren't all horror, just the ones I read?) from work, with a touch of humor. I've been following My Life in Retirement for quite a while. This A to Z its about books and travel. And another in a similar category, A Septuagenarian's Ramblings . Some interesting snippets on writing from Thinky Thoughts...Mostly About Writing . I'll throw in here the second live-on-board blog that Jemima mentioned last week in my comments: S. V. Cambria . They sail where my brother likes to cruise; wonder if they've ever run into each other! The "V" post is lengthy, but some excellent advice about improving your photos. Paws 4 Puzzles offers a fun puzzle every day. Looks like the difficulty varies, but they aren't super simple. I'll

Middle Grade Monday and Kid Lit Blog Hop

It's been a while since I managed to hook up with the Kid Lit Blog Hop, but here I go. Click on the image above to see the links to other blogs covering books for children! And now for my review: Title: Replay Author: Sharon Creech Publisher: Harper Collins, 2009. 136 pages (per my Nook) Source: Library (digital services) Publisher's Summary:  With the backdrop of a large family and a theater as its frame, this is a story about twelve-year-old Leo, who has a talent for transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. That's why he's called "fog boy." He's always dreaming, always replaying things in his brain. As an actor in the school play, he is poised and ready for the curtain to open. But in the play that is his life, he is eager to discover what part will be his. With the universal theme of finding one's true identity, and set amid a loud, noisy, memorable family, Leo's story is one that all kids will relate to. And there's a full

Friday Flash: The Present Will Be Infernal

It was a random title draw at this week, but I confess I simply picked the title I liked best. For your reading pleasure, 997 words. The Present Will be Infernal That was what the prophecy said: “The present will be infernal.” My Da always added, “and the past and future don’t look so good either.” Most of our suffering was on account of the war. Anytime we managed to get some small crop, seemed like either an army came along and requisitioned the whole thing, or two armies came along and held a battle atop our fields, trampling them to mudholes. Corpses don’t make for good fertilizer, at least not right away. Our village always managed to just scrape by, but it wasn’t pretty. That explained Da’s take on past and present. As for the future—our village won’t have one. The armies took our young men. They’d always taken some, the ones who itched to get out, or who thought they wanted an adventure. But this time, King Tellert declared a muster, and claimed every male of f

A to Z Gems Post #3

Okay, round 3, and I'll see if I manage to get it right this time! I'm clicking on a lot of blogs in the middle of the A to Z list that haven't been posting. I'm hoping the list will get tidied up soon, but meanwhile, here are some I've found that were worth the visit: Life aboard a sailboat: Life Afloat Some good (short) poems (plus a nice punning blog title): The Write Side of the Bed Some hesitation about this one, as the blogger hasn't posted since K, but the pictures are lovely if you just want to go look at photos: Beth Cooper Photography Wendy's Waffle will take you on a tour...of London's tube stops! All in a Dad's Work --a parenting blog that seems to have it's head screwed on straight (or maybe I'm biased because he advocates going outside and getting dirty, a favorite around our house). And that's all I have time for tonight! Can't believe another Wednesday is rolling around already. ###### Still nearly two weeks to get De

Middle Grade Monday: Fireflies, by Bree Wolf

Okay, yeah, I'm a little late. Weekends happen :) Title: Fireflies Author: Bree Wolf Publisher: self. 2013, 152 pages Source : Smashwords free book. Note: this was a book-of-the-month read for my Goodreads Great Middle Grade Reads group. I'm not sure if the book is always free or if the author made it free for that event. Publisher's Summary: In the buzzing city of New York, 12-year-old Gabriel Scott retreats from his parents' constant arguing into a virtual world of adventure and companionship. Unfortunately, as summer comes along, his parents ship him off to Kenton Woods to stay with grandparents he hasn't seen in years. Trapped in a world of small town life, Gabriel suddenly finds himself cut off from the only friends he ever had when he discovers that his grandparents don't even own a computer. After sulking in the house for a few days, his grandfather drags him outside and Gabriel takes his first steps into the real world. Gathering all his courage

Friday Flash: The Intelligence of Pegasus

Well, here it is again--another week, another rush to finish my story in time to revise it for you! Chuck Wendig gave us two lists of words or phrases this week, to be randomly selected and turned into a title. Being a bit lazy, instead of opening my random number generator, I asked my son for two numbers between one and 20. His choices gave me "Pegasus" and "Intelligence." As is often the case when starting from the title, it gives the idea and then the story moves on so the fit is no longer perfect. But a tale's a tale for all that. I hearby give you, in 1001 words... The Intelligence of Pegasus  “We’re operating blind, that’s the hell of it!” The captain glanced at the hills that prevented his scouts from watching the enemy. “So you’ll let me go up?” The young lieutenant was practically panting with eagerness to show what he could do with his new-fangled machine. Captain Carmichael-Jones caressed horse that looked over his shoulder, and scowled at the mess of

A to Z Gems Post #2

Here's the second collection of interesting A to Z blogs and posts. Your short-cut to blogging wonderfulness! Pempi's Palace --Tales from the life of a teacher. Trina's North Germany -- just some ramblings and observations about life in North Germany Linda Q. Lampert -- a selection of random ramblings, sparked by prompts that require a lot of imagination to fit to A to Z :) And this was supposed to have gone up yesterday, and with more than 3 blogs. I'll add in here, in case any of my followers don't already know her, Jemima Pett . And, on a totally more serious note, and nothing to do with A to Z, this is the blog of a group of scientists headed to the Greenland ice sheet next week. They are in their 4th year, I think, of doing research on the melt rates and other issues on the ice sheet. CIRES FirnCover team. I'll do better next week. Really.

Non-Fiction Review: Glory in a Camel's Eye

  Two covers, because the image of the one I read--on the left--is so small. Plus, I think the other  cover is nicer :) Title: Glory in a Camel's Eye: A Perilous Trek Through the Greatest African Desert Author: Jeffrey Tayler Publisher: Houghton Mifflen Harcourt, 2003. 245 pages. Source: Library Publisher's Summary:  Hailed by Bill Bryson and the New York Times Book Review as an emerging master of travel writing, Tayler penetrates one of the most forbidding regions on Earth. Journeying along routes little altered since the Middle Ages, he uses his linguistic and observational gifts to illuminate a venerable, enigmatic culture of nomads and mystics. Though no stranger to privation (having journeyed across Siberia and up the Congo for his earlier books), Tayler is unprepared for the physical challenges that await him in a Sahara dessicated by eight years of unprecedented drought. He travels across a landscape of nightmares - charred earth, blinding sky, choking gales,

Friday Flash: Here Be Dragons

This week Chuck Wendig is back on the job, and he gave us a pretty simple and open-ended challenge: write about a dragon . He then suggested that we think outside the box, maybe do something other than the obvious fantasy story. There's another kind of dragon most of us meet sooner or later. Young Georgie conquers one sort in this story. Chuck gave us 2000 words; I used right around 1000 of them. You are welcome to the rest. Saint Georgie and the Dragon Lady The residents of Oakblossom Lane all knew her, and they were all scared of her. There were two or three cranky old guys who sat on their front porches and hollered, “get off my lawn!’ but they were scared of her too. The children mocked the old guys. They didn’t mock Mrs. DuMont. “Mom says she’s ruled this street since Adam was a pup.” “I don’t know any dogs named Adam. And anyway, dogs aren't very old, so that's not such a big deal.” Georgie fixed Alec with a disdainful sneer. “Don’t you know anything? Adam was the fir

A to Z sharing post #1

I was debating how to do this--add a few links at the end of my regular posts, or do a special post once a week or something. I'll probably do both. My A to Z Challenge is--not to blog daily, but to visit daily and to share any and all blogs I found interesting. Here's my list so far: Shell's Tales and Sails --blogging about women aviators--what a fantastic topic, and well done. Inconspicuous Contemplation --a brand-new blogger with the nerve to make the first day of A to Z his (her?) first post. Star Lit Stories --bits of flash fiction around animals (and some less-than-typical animals). Screaming Willow --a brave and open sharing of the writer's battle with eating disorders. I of course failed right at the start, because I spent 3 days camping and hiking with my son, who is on spring break this week. So this post, which was going to go on Tuesday, is coming today, and with fewer blogs than I'd hoped! But here's best wishes to all the A to Z bloggers!

IWSG: On writing race

First Wednesday, and time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Purpose:  To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Last month I attended a conference on race in our schools, run by the California Association of African American Superintendents and Administrators. While there, I naturally gravitated toward the book sale display by Ashay by the Bay Books . Chatting there with the woman running the booth, it naturally came up that I write. And I had to admit I don't think  have persons of color in my books (I don't really describe characters much at all, so there is some wiggle-room there, but the reality is, no, I don't). And she asked me straight out why not. I had to answer with equal honesty: I don't write about people of color because I'm afraid of getting it wrong. Whi

Middle-grade Monday: The Boy on the Porch, by Sharon Creech (audiobook review)

  Title: The Boy on the Porch Author: Sharon Creech; read by Heather Henderson Publisher: Harper Audio, 2013. (Hardcover 160 pages) Source:  Library (digital media) Publisher's Summary: When John and Marta found the boy on the porch, they were curious, naturally, as to why he was there and they hadn't expected him to stay, not at first, but he did stay, day after day, until it seemed as if he belonged, running and smiling and laughing his silent laugh, tapping and patting on every surface as he made his music, and painting with water, with paint, with mud those swirly swirls and swings and trees... I'll add: the book is set in an unspecified time and place, but it is very rural, and the general feel is maybe 1950s, with cars and trucks around, but not many telephones, and a more casual attitude toward fostering than we have today. My Review: This is a poignant little story, written in an unusual but effective style. It's heartwarming to watch a family forged out o