Showing posts from June, 2020

Middle Grade Monday: Ghost, by Jason Reynolds

Title: Ghost (Track #1) Author: Jason Reynolds. Read by Guy Locknard Publication Info: Simon & Schuster audio, 2016. Hardback by Atheneum, 2016. 192 pages Source: Library digital resources Publisher's Blurb (from Goodreads): Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves. Ghost has a crazy natural talent, but no formal training. If he can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all starting with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the s

Writer's Wednesday: #AmWriting

I am writing. At this point about 200 words at a sitting, once or twice in a day, and my story is growing. It's not a very good story; continuity is about what you'd expect. But that's not the point. I'm writing, and for 5 or 10 minutes at a time I am losing myself in the story, struggling to visualize a truly alien alien. I have also made notes on two more chapters of Death By Donut, which brings me close to the end. I'm making notes on a part of the book I think will need a complete rewrite, but at least I'm getting clear on what I have and what will need to be kept, moved elsewhere, or otherwise modified. I have also done routine maintenance on the blog, adding links to my posts from 2020 on the appropriate pages in the header. I'm still eying the mess those long lists are and thinking about organizing them--you know, reviews alphabetical by author, that sort of thing. The truth is, that's about a likely to happen as me color-coordinating my sock dra

Middle Grade Monday: The Other Half of My Heart (audiobook review)

I'm not doing too well at reading real books right now. Mostly if it's words on paper (or e-ink), I'm re-reading comfortable old books. But I'm listening to a wider range of books. The Great Middle Grade Reads group on Goodreads was nominating books by Black authors for our July read, and I ended up adding most of the nominees to my TBR list. I've been listening to the ones that I can find at the library. The first was The Other Half of My Heart, by Sundee T. Frazier.   Title: The Other Half of My Heart Author: Sundee T. Frazier Publication Info: Listening Library, 2011. Hardback published 2010 by Delacourt Books for Young Readers, 304 pages Source: Library digital resources   Publisher's Blurb: When Minerva and Keira King were born, they made headlines: Keira is black like Mama, but Minni is white like Daddy. Together the family might look like part of a chessboard row, but they are first and foremost the close-knit Kings. Then Grandmother Johnson calls, t

Walking in the park

I am fortunate to live in a town with one of the best "city parks" anywhere. Bidwell Park offers tranquil walks along the creek in town, and "real" hikes in the upper park, up Chico Creek's scenic volcanic canyon. I've been spending a lot of time through the COVID lockdown hiking and biking the park, and occasionally stop for a photo or two. Here's a sampling of photos from both the lower and upper parks. In April, it was still green and lush, especially in the lower park. Water and reflections are a great source of tranquility. I'm particularly fond of the abstractions formed as water moves smoothly over and past obstructions. The upper park is better for wildflowers, especially in April.   I sometimes take my cheap, heavy mountain bike (bought for hauling groceries, not biking trails!) into the upper park. It's a great workout, riding a heavy bike up very rough trails and roads. The best is when thunderstorms come down from the mountains. Storm

WEP--Flash Fiction with a theme

Today is the Write, Edit, Publish flash fiction challenge. The June theme is... I'm not participating this month, but I'll encourage my readers to head on over to the sign-up list and check out the stories. The WEP authors always have some inventive takes on the prompts!

Middle Grade Monday: Voyagers

I have begun reading Voyagers: The Third Ghost , and I'm excited about the stories--the ones I've read so far are great! Voyagers  is the 2019 IWSG short-story anthology, and of course I'm extra excited because my story, "A World of Trouble," is in there. This isn't a review, but there have been some reviews, and posts about and by the authors, that I want to share now that I'm reading the book and thinking about it! From the authors: Reviews o

Photo Friday: Antarctica #6

I have struggled a bit with looking at and selecting photos to continue sharing with you all. Not because I don't want to share them--I do. Photos are meant to be shared. It's just kind of hard right now to look at that other life. But I decided I could do it, with less commentary, but remembering the good times. It helps in a way that on most of these outings Dave and I were in separate groups. (For those who wonder, it's because I got ready much faster, and once dressed for outdoors in Antarctica, staying in the ship wasn't an option!) This was Day 4 along the Antarctic Peninsula, where we spent the morning doing both a landing and a zodiac cruise at Portal Point. This was a whales, seals, and snow morning! I was in the group that landed first, then cruised, and it started snowing shortly after we landed. By the time the zodiac cruise ended, it was raining, and the weather worsened enough we didn't have an afternoon outing. I'll just share the photos with mini

Writer's Update

Just a quick note today to say it's working: I have progressed from forcing myself to write a sentence a day, however hard, to writing multiple paragraphs. As a result, my story for the 2020 IWSG Anthology contest is now up to over 1200 words. Many of those words, I have no doubt, will need to be removed again. But the point is that the words are coming, the story is taking shape both in my mind and on the page, and I can even lose myself in that other world for a time. Encouraged by that progress, I've resumed editing on my novel in a small way, though that's much more sporadic. I'm not doing the heavy lifting: I'm making notes of what I have and what needs to be changed and rewritten. I'm not trying yet to actually rewrite it. Baby steps. What is most encouraging is simply that I can work on these projects, even if only for a short time each day. It gives me hope that I can once again start enjoying creating new worlds and losing myself in them. Thanks again

Book Blast: Bad Fairy, by Elaine Kaye

Title:   Bad Fairy Series:  A Bad Fairy Adventure (Book One) Author:  Elaine Kaye Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press, 2020. 66 pages Genre:  Fantasy Middle Grade Age Range:  8-12 
 Publisher's Blurb: Thistle Greenbud is not a bad fairy. She simply doesn't like rules, and it's just her luck that her homework is to create a new rule for the fairy handbook. But first, she has more important things to do. Like figure out how to get back at Dusty and Moss for playing tricks on her. Before she can carry out her plan, though, disaster strikes and she finds herself working alongside the very fairies she wanted revenge on. Can they work together and trust each other, or will things go from bad to worse? BUY LINKS: Amazon  /  Barnes & Noble EXCERPT: As we watch the boys, the wind picks up, making the fern lay flat, exposing us. We gasp and make a dash for the closest tree. Behind it, we huddle together. “Boogles! A branch just hit me,” Weedy says. The sky turns black. Wind swirls du

IWSG June Post

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! Posting:   The first Wednesday of every month is officially   Insecure Writer’s Support Group   day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!   Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! If it links to Google+, be sure to change it as Google+ is going away in January. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back. Let’s rock the neur

Middle Grade Monday: Talking Leaves, by Joseph Bruchac (audio book)

Title: Talking Leaves Author: Joseph Bruchac. Read by the author Publication Info: 2016, Random House Audio. Original 2016 by Dial Books, 256 pages Source: Library digital resources Publisher's Blurb: Thirteen-year-old Uwohali has not seen his father, Sequoyah, for many years. So when Sequoyah returns to the village, Uwohali is eager to reconnect. But Sequoyah’s new obsession with making strange markings causes friends and neighbors in their tribe to wonder whether he is crazy, or worse—practicing witchcraft. What they don’t know, and what Uwohali discovers, is that Sequoyah is a genius and his strange markings are actually an alphabet representing the sounds of the Cherokee language.  The story of one of the most important figures in Native American history is brought to life for middle grade readers. 
 My Review:   This is both a story of a boy coming of age and learning to understand his father, and a story of something very important in Native American history. As with