Writer's Wednesday: How's Your NaNo?

It's November 28. The month is almost over, and I hope all of you have had a good one. If you've been participating in NaNoWriMo, whether as a "traditionalist" who's pounding out 50,000 words (or more), or a "rebel" who's been writing short stories or  revising something or trying to finish a book started years ago, here's to meeting your goals in the next two days! And what about the Ninja Librarian? Well, in once sense, I met the goal: I've written nearly 60,000 words, and have a beginning, middle and end to the novel. But I don't have what I'd call a complete draft, and not just because it's about 20,000 words short of the target length. There are a lot of holes to fill in and red herrings to fry before I can call it a draft. So I've been working since Saturday to identify the missing bits and start filling them in, to give myself a complete draft to work with when I start editing in a few months. So here's what kills m

MIddle Grade Monday: Mandrake's Plot, by Helen Laycock

Oops! Missed my posting time again! Well, I can only promise... that it will get worse :D   Title: Mandrake's Plot Author: Helen Laycock Publication Info: 2014, 198 pages. Source: Downloaded on a "free day" for members of the GMGR Goodreads group Publisher’s Blurb: Evie and Mia meet on a train on their way to St. Agatha's Boarding School for Young Ladies. Dropped at a deserted station, with no one to meet them, they trek through the pelting rain and darkness for miles until they find a sign to St. Agatha's which points to an unlikely overgrown track leading up a mountain path. A foreboding place, St. Agatha's School is surrounded by a sea of mist, and overlooks a loch. Coming face to face with the grotesque caretaker, Mandrake, is not the only thing to unsettle them. What is the significance of the strange rings worn by Miss Blackthorn, the head teacher - and why does everyone behave so oddly? The girls stumble across a forgotten burial chamber. Ins

#Fi50: My Family is so Weird

I failed to do the heads-up this month, but feel free to link your own Fi50 post at any time! Fiction in 50 is a regular feature in the last week of every month and I invite any interested composers of mini-narrative to join in!      What is #Fi50? In the words of founder Bruce Gargoyle, "Fiction in 50: think of it as the anti-NaNoWriMo experience!" Pack a beginning, middle and end of story into 50 words or less (bonus points for hitting exactly 50 words). The rules for participation are simple : 1. Create a piece of fictional writing in 50 words or less, ideally using the prompt as title or theme or inspiration. That’s it!  But for those who wish to challenge themselves further, here’s an additional rule: 2. Post your piece of flash fiction on your blog or (for those poor blog-less souls) add it as a comment on the Ninja Librarian’s post for everyone to enjoy.  And for those thrill-seekers who really like to go the extra mile (ie: perfectionists): 3. Add the nifty li

Photo Friday: Minuteman National Historical Park

Last week I had a couple of days to kill in the Boston area, and since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to check out Concord and the Minuteman National Historical Park. This had the advantage of also offering me a chance to check out the home--and grave--of Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), the author of Little Women and about 30 other books. Alcott's home isn't part of the park, but since it's right next door, it might as well be. I'll start with Louisa, for the literary side of this blog :) At the far left, you can see the "Hillside Chapel," built by Bronson Alcott and used for one of his schools. I believe it is once again being used for educational programs. The Alcott family, as many of my readers may know, did a lot of moving around when Louisa was young. They kept returning to the Concord area, however, and in 1858 moved into Orchard House (the tour guide there implied that Emerson may have bought the house for them; I suspect that may be true, as Bro

Cozy Mystery Spotlight: Killalot

Note: This was meant to be a review, but I failed to get the book read (too busy with the own writing this month). But I love the series—I’ve read and reviewed at least two others in the series, and thought both were top-notch. So even though I only read the first few chapters so far, I’m willing to give this a recommendation. Killalot (An Ivy Meadows Mystery)   Cozy Mystery 6th in Series   Henery Press (November 15, 2018) Hardcover: 282 pages   ISBN-10: 1635114330   ISBN-13: 978-1635114331   Paperback: 282 pages ISBN-10: 1635114306   ISBN-13: 978-1635114300   Digital ASIN: B07H3CH4RH     Publisher's Blurb: A jouster, a playwright, and a detective walk into a faire…but it’s no joke when one ends up dead. Actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows is thrilled when she learns that the famous playwright behind Hello Dolly Madison is in Arizona. Not so much when she realizes he’s a suspect in the murder of a Renaissance faire jouster. As is her friend Riley. And about a thousand other peop

Picture Book Review: Pea Soup Disaster, by Elaine Kaye

I don't review picture books very often, but I won this in a giveaway, and it's awfully cute, so here it is.   Title: Pea Soup Disaster: A Gregory Green Adventure Author: Elaine Kaye Publication Info: 2018; 25 pages Source: I won this in a giveaway Publisher’s Blurb: Gregory Green loves his mom’s pea soup, but when he eats it at school, all of his friends make fun of how it looks. He doesn’t think it looks like bugs, and it tastes good! Then at recess, his friends run from him, screaming, “He’s a monster!” Gregory doesn’t know why his friends are being mean until he sees his skin is green. The teasing gets worse until an unlikely friend comes to the rescue—his teddy bear, Sammy. Sammy usually only comes to life for Gregory and his family, but Sammy has an important lesson to teach Gregory and his classmates. **For kids ages 5-8** My Review: This is a simple, cute story to help children understand how much bullying hurts--and how important it is to stand up to it. All r

Friday Flash: Pismawallops PTA Christmas revisited

I'm neck deep in NaNo, so no new stories right now. But this one I wrote last year is now finding its way into the new novel (bits and pieces of it, anyway). So this week and next I'll share the two-part story. Sorry about making a jump on the season, but you know those holiday bazaars have to be done early! A Pismawallops PTA Christmas “JJ, we need another table for the baked goods!” “JJ, the tree won’t light up!” “JJ, the—” I tuned out the last voice. Arne Hancock always had a crisis for me to fix. I dispatched two kids to get the table Patty Reilly needed for the brownies, and went to help Kitty Padgett with the lights that didn’t light. Kitty’s the PTA president, so she was getting her own share of people demanding instant fixes. “It’s plugged in?” I asked. Kitty gave that the eye-roll it deserved, so I added, “In an outlet that actually works?” The Pismawallops High gym needed some upgrades, no question. “I tried three outlets,” Kitty said. “It’s got to be a burned out bul