Showing posts from January, 2020

Middle Grade Monday: Twerp (audio book)

Title: Twerp Author: Mark Goldblatt, read by Everette Plen Publication Info: 2013, Listening Library. Hardcover 2013, Random House Source: Library digital resources Publisher's Blurb: It's not like I meant for him to get hurt. . . . Julian Twerski isn't a bully. He's just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade--blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he's still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can't bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear. Inspired by Mark Goldblatt's own childhood growing u

Writer's Wednesday: Editing

This week, since I'm not really in a different place than for my last "Writer's Wednesday" post, I thought I'd share some thoughts on that first edit. The NaNo people have been sending out a lot of stuff on that topic, and I've even looked at some. Go take a look if you can--some of what they say is pretty basic, some is possibly helpful. Every time I hit this point in a novel (i.e., the first draft is done and has steeped for however long I allow it), I find myself re-inventing the editorial process. The reason, of course, is that editing is hard, and there's no magic formula. But I have found a few things that seem to be good places to start. In my list below, "you" really means "me." Your results may vary. 1. Create a detailed outline. No, not before you write. An outline, scene-by-scene, of what you actually wrote. This time, I started adding location and time to the header for each scene, and halfway through, I realized I needed t

Cozy Mystery Review & Author Interview: Dead Week

Dead Week (A Cassandra Sato Mystery) Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series Setting – Nebraska Publisher: Emerald Prairie Press (December 7, 2019) Paperback: 322 pages ISBN-10: 1733742425 ISBN-13: 978-1733742429 Digital ASIN: B07ZHN2SMS Publisher's Blurb: Will Dead Week kill Cassandra’s career? VP of Student Affairs Cassandra Sato has a desk full of problems and it’s not even Thanksgiving break. A student’s injury and a deaf advocacy project brings national media attention to underfunded Morton College. Cassandra’s new boss talks to her dead husband. Cassandra’s mentor thinks he’s a superhero in a senior citizen’s body. And Cassandra, recently moved from Hawai’i, can’t crack the code of what to wear during November in Nebraska. Is there more to the Vietnam-era story of a student’s death? Cassandra’s search for the long-buried truth stirs up the wrath of those who want to keep the past forgotten. My Review: Cassandra Sato is back, and so is chaos and disruption at little Morton Colleg

Writer's Wednesday: Looking Ahead to 2020

The future is approaching at light speed... Last Wednesday for the IWSG I did my review of 2019 accomplishments and failures. This week, it's time to set some goals for 2020! The first challenge: decide if I want to set aspirational goals or realistic ones (solution: set both, but know the difference!). So my realistic goals: 1. Revise, edit, polish, and publish Pismawallops PTA #5, Death By Donut. The draft from November/December is open on my laptop, and I've begun the first stage (notes). 2. Write a flash for each of the six WEP posts. Even if I'm traveling. 3. At least one blog post/week, even when traveling. Ideally, I'd manage one review and one flash per month. I've already missed that one, but we can start from here, right? 4. Find at least one local event to sell books. I think that's it for goals that I have really no excuse for missing. My aspirational goals: 1. Submit one story/month for publication, minimum. Can average this, and can use the same st

Middle-grade Monday: Dragons in the Waters, by Madeleine L'Engle

Title: Dragons in the Waters Author: Madeleine L'Engle Publication Info: Dell paperback, 1982, 330 pages. Original Farrar, Strous, Girroux, 1976 Source: personal collection Publisher's Blurb: A thirteen-year-old boy's trip to Venezuela with his cousin culminates in murder and the discovery of an unexpected bond with an Indian tribe, dating from the days of Simon Bolivar. A stolen heirloom painting…a shipboard murder…Can Simon and the O'Keefe clan unravel the mystery? Thirteen-year-old Simon Renier has no idea when he boards the M.S. Orion with his cousin Forsyth Phair that the journey will take him not only to Venezuela, but into his past as well. His original plan…to return a family heirloom, a portrait of Simon Bolivar, to its rightful place&—is sidetracked when cousin Forsyth is found murdered. Then, when the portrait is stolen, all passengers and crew become suspect. Simon's newfound friends, Poly and Charles O'Keefe, and their scientist father

IWSG: Year End Review

Yeah, okay, so maybe I should have done the review before the year ended, but here it is! It's also IWSG day, and I'll answer the IWSG question below. Writing: The first thing I have to say, because otherwise I'll feel a little discouraged about progress, is that we spent a little over half the year traveling. I don't get much writer-work done when traveling (despite the photo above, where I'm writing under non-optimal circs. That's my journal, which is usually as much as I manage). So some things changed: my blogging became less frequent and much more erratic, and I wrote very few pieces of flash fiction for the blog, but posted more photos. On the other hand, I managed to write, submit, and get accepted (eventually), two short stories, one in the IWSG Anthology (take a look below at the lovely cover). I'm rather proud that I was able to do major revisions of the Pismawallops PTA mystery I drafted in November and December 2018 during our quiet times in Chri

Middle Grade Monday: Nowhere Boy (audio book)

  Title: Nowhere Boy Author: Katherine Marsh Publication Info: 2018, Listening Library. Hardback published 2018, Roaring Brook Press, 368 pages. Source: Library digital resources Publisher's Blurb: Fourteen-year-old Ahmed is stuck in a city that wants nothing to do with him. Newly arrived in Brussels, Belgium, Ahmed fled a life of uncertainty and suffering in Aleppo, Syria, only to lose his father on the perilous journey to the shores of Europe. Now Ahmed’s struggling to get by on his own, but with no one left to trust and nowhere to go, he’s starting to lose hope. Then he meets Max, a thirteen-year-old American boy from Washington, D.C. Lonely and homesick, Max is struggling at his new school and just can’t seem to do anything right. But with one startling discovery, Max and Ahmed’s lives collide and a friendship begins to grow. Together, Max and Ahmed will defy the odds, learning from each other what it means to be brave and how hope can change your destiny. Set again