Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Dh is improving. The house will get back to normal when I have time to clean it. I'm not ready to take down the tree yet. A few more days.
Happy reading and writing to all.
Monday, December 22, 2008
STORIES FOR CHILDREN MAGAZINE
BOOK: Rebel in Blue Jeans
AUTHOR: Beverly Stowe McClure
PUBLISHER: Twilight Times Books (2008)
SUGGESTED READING LEVEL: 10 and up
RATING: 4 stars
REVIEWED BY: Wayne Walker
Rebel Ferguson is a sixteen (almost seventeen) year old girl who lives with her father and mother on a ranch in the country near Whispering Springs, TX, along with various animals. Or did live with her father and mother. As the book opens, her mother, Liz, is leaving the family for her new boyfriend Bo, a drummer in a rock band. With the help of her neighbors and best friends, cousins Will and Sully Garrett, Rebel learns how to deal with her anger towards her mother, her disappointment with her father in not going after her mother, and the attentions of a handsome college guy named Rick who has a less than savory reputation. Will she ever come to terms with her mother's new life? And will she fall for the charm of Rick or find true love from a better source?
I will be honest. This book probably does not appeal to me as much as others have because it would likely fall into the category of "chick lit." It certainly has its sad aspects because the breakup of a home is always regrettable. However, there are situations that are beyond our control and we have to learn how to live with them, even if we do not like them. This, I think, is the main message of the book. The story is put together well and keeps the reader's interest. The language is not too bad--a few common euphemisms and childhood slang terms for bodily functions, but no outright cursing or profanity. Parents will want to know that there are references to drinking alcohol, taking drugs, kissing, other boy-girl and dating activities, and sexual talk ("make love" and going "all the way"). There is one scene where Rick tries to seduce Rebel, but she rejects him.
The book is listed for "10 and up," but on the back, there is a quote from Fran Shaff, romance and children's novelist, who said, "Rebel in Blue Jeans is a book teens will love," and author Beverly Stowe McClure is said to have written "two other novels for teens." I would tend to agree with the teen novel classification. Because of the subject matter, a lot of parents whom I know would be a little uncomfortable letting their children on the younger end of the suggested reading level have this book. But older teenagers, especially girls, might find it interesting and perhaps even come across something that would be helpful to them in reaching certain decisions. We may not always agree with all the choices that Rebel makes, but she learns some important lessons, and that is what matters. Therefore, my basic reaction to reading the book is a positive one.
Related websites: http://rebelinbluejeans.wordpress.com, http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com and http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com (author), www.twilighttimesbooks.com (publisher)
Here's the second one:
About the book:When her mother runs away with the drummer in a rock band, sixteen-year-old Rebel Ferguson decides to do whatever it takes to bring her home.
This was a fun story. I read it from start to finish in one sitting. It was hard to put down. The characters seemed like real people and the conflict was believeable. The only weakness was that sometimes the dialogue didn't seem to fit their ages, but it was still a great read so that didn't take away from the story. I truly enjoyed it. There was nothing in it that was off-color or offensive, either, yet it dealt with real life issues such as dealing with divorcing parents and the emotional conflict that results from that type of trauma on a teenager. The romantic element was fun, too. I'd recommend it to all young adults.
Posted by Michelle Sutton at 3:56 PM 0 comments
Labels: book review
Dec. 21, 2008
I'm Editor-in-chief for Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Sheaf House Marketing Director, a member of ACFW, an edgy fiction writer, a book reviewer, an avid blogger/alliance member, CWOW blog mistress, mother of two teenagers, wife, pet owner, social worker by trade, and follower of Jesus Christ.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Beverly Stowe McClure wrote a good book--considered a 'YA'--young adult book. Shucks. I haven't been that young in a while, but I still enjoyed the book. It deals with parents separating and other issues that arise in the lives of young people. I would whole-heartedly recommend it as reading material for both the parents and the teens of parents who must face the confusion caused by separations. While I can pray that this never happens to any of our children or grandchildren, the situation is handled realistically and with genuine understanding. When I hand this one over to the oldest grandson to read, we will get another viewpoint. He will recognize the 'good guys' in this story and probably grin at the 'boy humor' in many of the scenes.
I hope that Mrs. McClure continues to handle topics of this nature. Her books will definitely find a place on my book shelves and on my gift list. It was definitely worth my trip to Hastings today to meet her and purchase her book.
Nancy Dickerson (Your Hub)
Saturday, December 6, 2008
The signing went fine. The manager had made a beautiful sign with my book cover and info on it. They had a table covered in a lovely cloth and a small easel with my flyer on it. The coffee lady of Hard Rock Coffee Shop said I could have anything I wanted. I sold 5 books. I also talked to several "would be" writers who asked about my publisher and how hard was it to get published and things like that. I hope I didn't discourage them, but I was truthful.
The little kids loved my giveaways: horse head finger puppets and little dogs, as well as pencils and bookmarks. Not big sales, but meeting people who might buy next time made it a worthwhile afternoon. Let's see. I made about $1.00 an hour.
One book at a time.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
BOOKS WITH A HEART OPERATION SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!
We are excited to announce a brand-new Children's Books program connected with the national organization, OPERATION SUPPORT OUR TROOPS. Operation Support Our Troops helps those in the Air Force, the Army, the Navy and everyone who falls under the catagory of troops ;-)
Well~~~ The program is called BOOKS WITH A HEART. We are beginning it in the spirit of the Holiday Season, BUT the program will hopefully continue year round.The goal of the program is to send children's books to our deployed troops who are also Moms and Dads.They read the book aloud. They are recorded on a DVD, and the book is then sent back to their child with the DVD.
The child then watches the DVD recording of their Dad or Mom reading their book to them, as they hold the book in their hands, and turn the pages. It is fantastic! It puts Storytime back as a reality. Why? Because even though the reality is that parent and child are separated by space. . .With Storytime- they are together in time!
Please consider supporting this endeavor.
Send a copy of a children's book that you have written or that you purchase for donation to:
Books With A Heart Operation Support Our Troops
98 Chestnut Road
Ridgefield, Connecticut 06877
email contact is firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you do send a book, please leave a comment below, so we can keep track of how many books are being sent from our Live Journal posters. Thank you!
Megan Hostler and Margaret O'Hair*****
AND PLEASE consider posting this in your blog to reach your blog friends. We're all for books, all about books, and there is nothing better than a book being a friend for a child. YOU can help make this happen!***
Just cut and paste all the text, including this, and inspire others to pass it on.
Happy Holidays, and Thank you! for helping, BOOKS WITH A HEART!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Editor: Laughing hysterically, pounding hand on desk, and shrieking, "Ha, ha, ha! Texans can't spell. Ha. ha. ha." She wads the paper into a round ball, aims, and hurls it into the trash. Basket.
Me: Hitting head against the wall.
Can I blame it on my trifocals?
Have a great weekend everyone. And use your spell check. Or is that spell chcek?
Monday, November 3, 2008
Tuesday, November 4th
An excerpt..."Are you passionate about books? Do you have a talent for easily capturing the essence of a book after having read it? Do you often feel the desire to share your thoughts about a book with readers? If you answered "Yes" to these questions, then book reviewing can be one of the most satisfying, rewarding activities you'll ever undertake. In fact, book reviewing can become addictive."
To learn more about Mayra and her latest book, visit on November 4th to read more of Mayra's guest post. Mayra is happy to answer any questions you may have.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Friday night I went to the fund raiser for the library, as I mentioned in my last post. It was a dance for the middle school students, grades six, seven, and eight. I ended up selling drinks and candy, which meant I didn't get to see much of the dance, since they were in different rooms. I could hear the music great. They had hired a local band and they were good. Reports from the dance floor (which was a gymnasium) were that the kids mostly stood around in little groups, moving to the beat of the music. I'm not sure how much dancing went on, but remember the age group. The kids seemed to have a good time. They drank a lot of sodas and ate a bunch of candy. Occasionally, the boys had to be corralled from rough housing.
One thing I and the other volunteers noticed though was how polite the kids were. They said, "Thank you" and called us "Ma'am." They were really sweet. Over a hundred kids showed up. I haven't heard a total, but Friends of the Library raised quite a bit of money, which for a small town library is always welcome. It was good.
Saturday was the Ho Hum. The Paranormal Convention was interesting. We heard weird voices and saw unusual pictues and looked at the equipment the paranormal teams use. But no one was interested in a fictional ghost story. People kept asking if this was "my" ghost. I guess I should have said she was, but I told the truth. My sales were sad, but I did meet some very nice people. It was a good weekend.
Now it's back to writing and reading and blogging and all that good stuff.
Happy writing to you.
Friday, October 24, 2008
So it's Friday again. Short week. It will be a short weekend too. Tonight I'm working at a fund raiser for our local Friends of the Library. We've just started it and this is our first attempt to raise money. We'll see how it goes. I'm not sure what we're doing. Will find out when I get there. (Can you tell I'm not in charge?)
Saturday, I'm signing copies of Listen to the Ghost at a Paranormal Conference. Speakers from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and I'm not sure where else will be there. It should be fun. Who knows? I might even meet a ghost or two, not counting the one in my story. They're also collecting cans of food for families of soldiers deployed to Iraq and giving away prizes, like an overnight stay at a haunted hotel in nearby Archer City.
Have a great weekend.
Happy reading and writing.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Debut Free Newsletter – “Write What Inspires You!” by Donna M. McDine
Coming off the inspiration of The 2008 Muse Online Conference, I am embarking on the maiden voyage of my debut FREE newsletter, “Write What Inspires You!” to be published December 2008 and monthly thereafter.
Each issue will contain:
Author, Editor and Illustrator Interviews
Proclaim Your Successes
Reflections or Dreams
Additional categories may be added.
The December 2008 issue is booked with exciting submissions, except for the category Proclaim Your Successes. Go ahead and submit your news to be included in the debut issue.
If you would like to contribute or be an interview subject for future issues please contact Donna McDine at email@example.com and pitch your idea.
To subscribe to the FREE “Write What Inspires You!” Newsletter, send an email to Donna McDine at: firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate Free Newsletter in the subject line
Visit Donna at www.donnamcdine.com and opt-in at the top of her home page.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Here’s to your inspiration!
Friday, October 10, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The first draft can have misspelled words.
The first draft can have no periods or commas or capital letters.
The first draft can be jumbled, with run on sentences, fragments.
The first draft can be just thoughts, ideas, even nonsense.
But I have to get the first draft down.
So I keep telling myself this when I'm stressing over a sentence, trying to make it perfect.
This is the first draft.
Many more will come.
(And don't show it to anyone.)
Friday, September 19, 2008
Does your child have a monster under his/her bed? Does your monster have a child over his bed? If so, or even if they don’t, you must read Trockle, the delightful story of one young boy’s monster, and the monster’s boy. One look at the illustrations and you’ll fall in love with Trockle, the way I have. It is my pleasure to interview Holly Jahangiri, the author, and Jordan M. Vinyard, the artist about their new picture book.
Hello, Holly and Jordan. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions.
Beverly: Let's begin by learning a bit about each of you. How did you get started writing or illustrating and anything else you'd like your fans to know?
Holly: My mom used to make up writing prompts and pin them to a corkboard in my room. One day, it might be a picture. Another day, a newspaper headline or a word on an index card. It was something to do; my mother had no tolerance for a child whining, "I'm bored!" In middle school, I wrote a long essay. My teacher, Mrs. Thorsten, liked it – she scribbled notes in the margins, but it wasn't the critique I remember, it was the fact that someone - a busy adult, a teacher, someone outside the family who didn't have to read it, let alone like it, liked it. I learned to love the red pen. My teacher took time to critique every one of them. The ability to communicate my thoughts and ideas to someone else, to form pictures in their minds using nothing but words - that was heady, powerful stuff. I was hooked. It wasn't until years later that I really saw writing as a viable career option, though - I had this picture of starving artists and writers, and I knew that I would never be happy in a cold-water flat eating rice and beans. Fortunately, I landed a job as a technical writer, and that allows me to write fiction and keep a roof over my head.
Jordan: Art has always been a big part of my life. I have been a studio artist for a few years now including painting and drawing. Illustration came into play when one of my professors saw a posting by 4RVPublishing and suggested that I give it a shot. Needless to say, I was hired to do Trockle, and it worked out wonderfully.
B: What was the inspiration for Trockle, your new picture book, Holly? And give us your process on illustrating the story, Jordan?
H: One night, my son, William, decided there was a monster under his bed. Now, we all know how hard it is to sleep with monsters under the bed...right? Right. So, I got out the Febree--er, Monster Repellent--and started spraying. It smelled good, but it didn't have much effect at all on the monster under the bed. I think he may have sneezed, once or twice, but that might've just been the old box springs creaking. So what's a mom to do? It's pointless to argue with a child who's certain there are monsters under the bed - absolutely pointless. And William was just starting to read, at the time, so realizing that it was going to be a long, probably sleepless night - with the light on, to boot - I went off and wrote him a story. I figured he could at least be practicing his reading skills. About halfway in, the monster - who told me his name was Trockle - demanded equal time. He wasn't too happy about that big, funny looking monster--er, boy--OVER the bed. I could empathize with Trockle's mom (and I so envy her her dust-bunny slippers!) so I had to write their side of the story, too.
J: The illustration process actual came quite naturally to me. I’m an extremely meticulous worker concerning my art. I have always had to think about concept and technique. With a children’s book it is a matter of getting into the author’s head. I wanted it to become an accurate representation of her work, as well as really connect with the readers. I would go to any lengths to achieve this. I studied gestures, thought about color according to the mood of the particular scene. There is really a lot of process involved, and it is multifaceted.
B: What is your schedule like when working on a new story? Do you work mornings, evenings? How long does it take you to finish a manuscript or to complete the illustrations?
H: It's a juggling act, between work, family, other things I want to do (I really don't have many "hobbies" besides writing, but I delight in finding other creative ways to waste time and put off housecleaning), and writing. But if the characters start knocking on my brain, I write - and when it's good, when it flows, it's almost like taking dictation. I just watch and write what they show me and tell me. I've written whole stories in twenty, thirty minutes. Some take hours. Some take days. A few are languishing at the back of a desk drawer, unfinished.
J: My schedule has been pretty intense this last year. I have had several exhibitions, I paint murals all over the state, plus the illustration. As far as a consistent schedule, there isn’t one. I am working constantly at all hours.
Completing an illustration can take as much time as a day to a week. The cover is by far the most time consuming. Also, before I even get to the actual and finalized illustration I may do anywhere from 3 to 20 sketches just for one scene.
B: Tell us about your forthcoming projects.
H: I've finished a second children's book - the working title is A Puppy, Not a Guppy - which is scheduled to come out with 4RV Publishing next year. Jordan has promised to do the illustrations for that one, as well. And I'm mulling ideas for a young adult novel.
J: I am currently working on Prarie Dog Cowboy. It has a wonderful historical content, which is really exciting to me. After that I will begin working on Spider in Our Mailbox der. On top of the illustrations I am working on a drawing for a show, working on two murals, and other commissioned paintings. It is a very hectic schedule these days, but I love every second of it.
B: Now for some fun stuff. What kind of music do you listen to?
H: Oldies. Strange, eclectic stuff. Some of my favorites: Transfusion, by Nervous Norvus. The Mummy, by Bobby McFadden and Dor. ("Dor" was actually Rod McKuen.) New Math, by Tom Lehrer. Just about anything from 1957 to 1962, then 1974 through the mid-1980s. Or Tchaikovsky - anything by Tchaikovsky. Ballet music. Any soundtrack by Maurice Jarre, John Williams, or Hans Zimmer. Bond - have you heard Bond? My daughter played violin for eight years and loved Bond. One of the first things she bought with her own money was an electric violin.
J: Music! Oh Goodness! I love anything from Buddy Rich to Nirvana, soul to grunge. Many of my good friends have made comments as to my strange and eclectic tastes.
B: Do you have a favorite TV show or shows? A favorite movie?
H: My favorite TV shows - IF I watch TV at all - are CSI, Criminal Minds, Law & Order. Favorite movie? The Sound of Music.
J: I’m not much of a television person. As far as movies, I actually really like animated films. My favorite is Triplets of Bellville by a french artist named Sylvain Chomet.
B: Do you have words of advice for aspiring writers and illustrators?
H: Find a balance between letting your mind and creativity loose - no rules, no structure, no inner critic - and learning how to use the tools of your chosen trade. You wouldn't buy a cabinet from a carpenter who couldn't be bothered to learn how to properly use a saw or miter a corner. Why should readers buy a book from someone who thinks spelling, grammar, and punctuation are irrelevant? It's all part of the package - don't mess up a beautiful idea by wrapping it in shoddy packaging, but don't pay such close attention to the packaging that you smother the ideas in it. If you want to sell your work, develop a professional - caring - attitude towards it.
J: My only advice to other illustrators or any kind of artist for that matter would be to love every second of it, you are in essence recording your process and your life, and displaying that in your finished product.
B: Where might your fans learn more about you? Your Websites, blogs?
H: My personal Web site is at http://jahangiri.us. Trockle has his own, too: http://trockle.wordpress.com. And of course you should check out 4RV Publishing - not only for news of Trockle and upcoming books, but to learn about all the terrific new authors and books they're publishing! It's very exciting.
J: The best place to find more information about my work would be on the Independent Artist of Oklahoma website, 4RVPublishing website, Multiply and Myspace, and actually if you just google my name there are several sites that have my studio work and mural projects. I have been a part of several projects so my name is kind of floating around in cyberspace
B: Thank you again for sharing your journey to publication with us.
H: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be a guest on your blog and share with your readers.
· Hardcover: 30 pages
· Publisher: 4RV Publishing LLC (April 19, 2008)
· ISBN-10: 0979751322
· ISBN-13: 978-0979751325
For more, go to http://www.4rvpublishingllc.com
Friday, September 12, 2008
Second, the big scene in my current MG WIP ghost story that I've been working on for two weeks and couldn't get it right finally came together today. I think I like it. Now for the denoument and I can begin revisions. Yay!
Third, the publisher is working on my contract. I can't say who yet, but I've been waiting on this one a long time. More excitement.
Have a super weekend.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Querying for my YA contemporary "Life on Hold."
Trying to finish my MG paranormal story, which is stuck at the most important part and my characers are as clueless as I am as to what to do next.
So what have you been up to?
Friday, August 22, 2008
There are so many great blogs out there that it is difficult to pick just a few, but here are my choices for the Brillante Weblog award.
Nancy Sharp: http://www.myspace.com/netherscapelegend
Linda Jo Martin: http://www.lindajomartin.com/
Jennifer Porter: http://porterjennifer.wordpress.com/
Daniel Chase: http://lostinthefogbook.blogspot.com/
Rules for next recipients of the Brillante Weblog Premio are as follows:
1. The award may be displayed on a winner's blog.
2. Add a link to the person you received the award from.
3. Nominate up to seven other blogs.
4. Add their links to your blog.
5. Add a message to each person that you have passed the award on in the comments section of their blog.
Looking forward to seeing what other wonderful blogs we can visit.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
LOST IN THE FOG: MEMOIR OF A BASTARD
Rachel Van Meers as told to Daniel Chase
“You should never have been born. You’re nails in my coffin.”
In her memoir, Lost in the Fog: Memoir of a Bastard, Rachel Van Meers tells Daniel Chase what life was like for her as a child, born in a home for unwed mothers in Ghent, Belgium, 1930, to her present day life in the United States. Using Rachel’s own unique voice, Daniel relates her life with a tender story that will make the reader laugh, cry, and cheer for this unlikely heroine.
Considering her experiences with a mother who not only verbally abused her by saying things such as the opening statement, but sometimes even hitting her, and leaving Rachel mostly to her grandmother, a strict and religious woman, to raise, Rachel could well have become a bitter child and woman, yet her attitude remained positive, for the most part. She loved her mother, Helene, simply because she was Helene’s daughter. She loved her grandmother and adored her grandfather.
Rachel survived the advances of her stepfather and a child labor camp in Germany. Her health was bad and she sometimes wondered where she would live, but when she was older she worked hard at many different jobs to support herself. She believed in miracles and tells us of the miracles that occurred in her life. Rachel is an inspiration and a wonderful role model for young women, men too, to follow when faced with the cruelties that life sometimes brings.
This would make a great book for high school history classes, college courses, and for everyone who enjoys stories about history and war.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
What a great way to start the week. Donna McDine has awarded me the Brillante Weblog Premio - 2008 Award. I am truly honored. Donna is a wonderful friend who writes book reviews, interviews writers, and does so much more. Her blog Write What Inspires You contains inspiring and interesting information. Stop by and visit her sometimes. You'll be glad you did. Thanks, Donna, for this honor.
As recipient of the award I'm to nominate other inspiring blogs. So here are some of my choices. There are many more, but I wanted to share these with you.
Lea Schizas: http://thewritingjungle.blogspot.com/
Jennifer Gladen: http://jgladen.blogspot.com/
Mayra Calvani: http://mayrassecretbookcase.blogspot.com/
Rules for next recipients of the Brillante Weblog Premio are as follows:
1. The award may be displayed on a winner's blog.
2. Add a link to the person you received the award from.
3. Nominate up to seven other blogs.
4. Add their links to your blog.
5. Add a message to each person that you have passed the award on in the comments section of their blog.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Today my girls are away with friends and my husband is working. I've used this day to my advantage in several ways. Since we are under construction with our kitchen expansion/renovation I don't feel compelled to clean my house. And for many of you that know me, know that I love to keep a clean house.
To have the house to myself with no interruptions made it a great opportunity to catch up critiquing fellow writers' manuscripts from my critique groups, typing up the draft of a manuscript that I plan to submit to Pockets in conjunction with the Pockets Challenge posed by Lea Schizas at the Muse It Up Club. I look forward to fine-tuning the manuscript and submitting it to one of my critique groups for feedback, updating and inviting friends to JacketFlap, and blogging.
Also, at the encouragement of two fellow writer's I have finally written (actually typed) down my goals that I strive to meet and breaking them down into daily, weekly, and monthly time frames. I find immense satisfaction is checking off my accomplishments as I meet them. It gives me the extra re-enforcement to keep moving forward and that yes, even though an acceptance hasn't come in recently I am truly moving forward.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
A word about my girl here. I’ve been her owner since I was a kitten. She found me in an old barn somewhere and brought me home with her. Even though she’s a human, she’s very nice, feeds me my favorite food–tuna fish. She knows who runs the house, too. Me. I like a soft pillow to sleep on. She gives me the softest one in the house. I like my chin rubbed, but leave my tummy alone. She does the best chinny rub you’ve ever seen.
One thing she and I disagree about though, and I’m working on this to show her my side of the story. Why does she like smelly, noisy dogs? They scratch and slobber and yap so that a cat has little peace and quiet. And then there’s that annoying hawk. Its little beady eyes watch me, like I’m its dinner or something. It does provide some entertainment. I like to sit on top it its cage and tease it. Rebel says I shouldn’t do that, but a girl has to have some fun.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Title: The Wedding Planner’s Daughter
Written by: Coleen Murtagh Paratore
Soft cover: 200 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication: February 2005
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I’ve spread Vaseline on the windows around the suction cups that hold the feeder to the glass. That works for about two seconds before a brave, adventuresome ant finds a small path through the sticky mess and once again dines on sugar water. So I spread the Vaseline again, hoping to cover up that one tiny entrance. Ah! Good! It worked. For another two seconds. Then an ant, to prove that it’s smarter than I am, marches right through the barrier.
Okay, this clearly isn’t working, so I go on the Internet to see what other people do about the ant problem. I get conflicting advice. Use Vaseline or Vicks Vapor Rub. (Tried that, doesn’t work.) Don’t use Vaseline because the bird may rub against it and then can’t groom itself and might die. Oh! Great! Now I’m a bird killer. Other suggestions are bay leaves, terro liquid, and olive oil. None of them sound much better, and they’re all meant for feeders hanging under trees, which mine are not. There is an answer somewhere. I just haven’t found it yet. I will keep on, though, because I have to prove to those ants that I’m as smart as they are. Or until the ants’ tummies are so full they can’t drink another drop.
In the meantime, I see a parallel to my writing career and to life in general: persistence. Those little insects, barely bigger than a grain of sand, are persistent. They have a goal, and they will sacrifice anything to reach that goal. Now I don’t recommend being that drastic. I don’t want to end up drowned like most of the ants do. But if I want something badly enough I can set my goals and do everything possible (legally) to reach those goals. Think of the ants. They let nothing stand in their way. I should not let bumps in the road that steer me off course detour me, either. If my goals are worthwhile then give them my best efforts. I may not always succeed, but at least I’ve tried, and I can learn from each experience and choose another road to follow, one that perhaps is better than the previous one.
Who would have thought that those pesky ants could teach me a lesson? Persistence. They have it. I want it. At the moment the ants are winning.
By the way, if anyone has a good solution to keeping ants away from feeders, please let me know.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! by Laura Amy Schlitz and reviewed by Carma Dutra
Screwball by Keri Mikulski and reviewed by Suzanne Lieurance
The Rabbit and the Snowman by Sally O. Lee and reviewed by Donna M. McDine
Be sure to check back all week long to read more reviews.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Told by Lucky.
I was minding my own business one day, playing with my rubber ball, tossing it in the air, chasing it, just being a typical puppy, when my owner picked me up, put me in the car, and said we were going for a drive. I yapped my gratitude cause I love to ride in the car. Or I used to. That day was different though.
I stuck my nose out the window and snapped at the wind blowing in my face as the car zoomed along. Instead of going to the bank though, where the teller always gave me a milk bone which I loved, we drove way out in the country. There wasn’t a house in sight.
Mmm. I thought we were playing a new game, so I wagged my tail in excitement.
Then my owner pulled the car off the road, opened the door, and set me on the ground. I waited for him to get out of the car to see what the new game was. But he closed the door and drove away. I ran after him for a short distance, but my legs got tired and I had to stop. Nobody told me the middle of the road was a bad place to rest, but I soon found out.
This car zipped around the corner and before I could move I felt a horrible pain in my back and leg. I whined that I was hurt. But the car kept going. I couldn’t walk so I just lay there in the road. The sun was hot. I was thirsty. Another car went by, but didn’t stop.
Then the sky started to get dark. I heard some weird noises. I wanted my nice soft bed in my house. They’d come back for me now. I waited. But they didn’t come back. Then this pickup drove past, stopped, backed up. A girl got out, picked me up, and told the boy driving the pickup the vet’s office was closed, but she’d fix my leg. She said she thought it was broken, whatever that means.
They took me to her house, and Rebel–she told me that was her name and the boy called her Rebel–put a splint–another of her words on my leg–gave me something she said would make me feel better, along with some food that was pretty good even though I wasn’t too hungry. The boy, Will, left, but Rebel stayed with me all night, after calling her dad on a cell phone–she told me that’s how she talked to people who were somewhere else–and telling him where she was.
Her dad even came to her animal hospital and scratched my nose. I like him.
Anyhow, Rebel doesn’t know how I got on the highway, and I can’t talk people talk to tell her, but she gave me a home and a new name: Lucky. I like it, and I’m happy happy.
So now you know my story.
Next time we can get hold of Rebel’s diary, Cleo wants to write in it. Ha. You didn’t know animals could write did you. It’s hard since we don’t exactly have fingers like humans, but we’re pretty smart.
BBN (Rebel’s teaching me text messaging.)
Monday, July 14, 2008
My byline and synopsis of my article entitled, "5 Tips for Researching Children's Stories Market Potential," has been announced on the the CWFI website: http://www.cwfi-online.org/ for the July/August 2008 newsletter.
Visit CWFI today to learn about this organizational newsletter.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Lea Schizas has written another page turner. Once I started reading about Bubba and David, AKA Giganto, I couldn’t stop. Before I knew it I’d read the whole story. I’m so glad I did.
Bubba (yes, Bubba, not Bobby or Brendan) Jacobson, tough guy, smart mouth, sensitive heart, and David (Giganto) Montana, nice guy, picked on by bullies, big and clumsy, are the least likely of friends. But when they meet on the first day of ninth grade a remarkable friendship is formed.
This is Bubba’s first year at Pierson High, and he’s delighted to discover they have a soccer team. Questions arise, however, when Bubba and David try out for the team. Why does Mr. Ambrose, the gym teacher, tell Bubba not to push David (Giganto) into something he doesn’t want to do? What is the secret about the boy who died during a soccer scrimmage the previous year? Is David (Giganto) connected to the tragedy? And why is Jason, all-star athlete with an attitude, so determined David doesn’t make the team?
Ms. Schizas is a master at surprise endings. Just when you think you know all the answers, she changes the questions with an unexpected twist or two. I never saw this one coming.
Themes of bullies, soccer, friendship, and forgiveness are woven through this short story, making it one boys can relate to and will enjoy reading. I recommend it for reluctant readers, children who perhaps are facing their own bullies, and also for sports lovers and everyone who enjoys a fast-paced book with continuous action.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
For the week of June 23 to 28, I emailed five queries. Received 4 polite "no thanks."
So this week, back to the keyboard and the Internet in search of the "perfect" agent for my story.
Have a great week, everyone.
Happy reading and writing.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Another Friday has arrived. Where do the days go?
Okay, here's an update on my agent hunt. I sent three more email queries this week. One response to date, a polite "no." The email route certainly is quicker than snail mail. Cheaper, too. However, it leaves little time to hope this is the "right" agent for my manuscript. Later, I'll do snail mail queries, too. Oh, I wish I had an agent. Then I'd have more time to write and leave all this business stuff to her/him.
Other business: Rebel in Blue Jeans is a step closer to publication. I filled out a data sheet on the book. It now has back jacket cover. July 15 is possible. I need to get busy with promo for it.
I'm still waiting on another possibly sold manuscript.
The waiting, the waiting, the waiting.
Have a good weekend, all. May your dreams come true.
Happy reading and writing.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
An article I read in the newspaper sparked the idea for this story. (I'm not giving a title just yet-I am a bit superstitious) In February, 2006, I started work on characters, ideas, setting, and all the preliminary parts to writing a novel. I filled out character sheets, sometimes just a couple of things about each major character, and added to them as the story progressed. Interviewing my characters, asking them to tell me about themselves also helped me get acquainted with them.
Next I started writing. No outlines. I let the story grow organically. Many times I took detours and got lost. I'm terrible at reading road maps. But I listened to my characters and they pulled me back in the right direction. I wrote, revised, wrote, and revised some more. In January, 2008, after 6 revisions, I submitted the story to my critique group. They're awesome. Their comments caught those little details I missed, and also pointed out ways to take the characters deeper. Thanks, friends. You know who you are.
I revised again. Then on June 16, my heart pounding, I took the plunge and emailed agent query #1. It wasn't painless, let me tell you. It hurt a lot. What if great agent thinks it's awful? The story I've put two years of my life into? The characters who I know as well as I know my own children? But it's time to let them go. Like real life kids, they can't stay home forever, but must go out into the world and make their own way.
June 17, another e-query went out.
June 18, the third e-query was sent.
June 19, e-query #4 traveled the Internet.
June 20, I emailed # 5.
To date, three have responded with no thanks. But one ... and this has given me encouragement ... wrote the nicest note: ""I'm sure you'll have no trouble drumming up interest from agents."
More next week.
Happy reading and writing.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Kim is best known for her contributions to the writing world as the admin of Writers4Writers.com, a place created with the sole purpose of helping other writers find a place to nestle in and make friends. When the site grew large enough to make it on its own, Kim went solo and began her own ventures into the world as a writer.
Kim has since published a number of short stories at such places as Gryphonwood Press, Micro Horror, and Long Story Short. Recently, her first short story using the characters from her book, AVENGING ANGEL, came out at Mouthfull of Bullets. You can purchase your copy of the magazine at : http://www.mouthfullofbullets.com/.
In 2008, Kim will have three more shorts coming from MOB including another Shannon Wallace story.
Kim is a member of Sisters in Crime.
Look forward to the whole "Angel" series as you plan your book buying for the future as Kim has more adventures planned to come.
The above magazine is the cover of Winter 2007 issue where Kim's story can be found.
The Christmas Heist is now available at http://www.mouthfullofbullets.com
BLURB: SHANNON AND DWAYNE FIND MORE THAN JUST STOCKINGS AT THE LINGERIE COUNTER DURING CHRISTMAS
Avenging Angel is a novel set in a fictional town called South Lake, Mississippi. It is a combination of two towns around me. They both make up the northwestern corner of the state and believe me, it's growing.
My main character, Shannon Wallace, lives here as far as my poor brain will let her.
Visit Kim’s site to learn more about her writing adventures. http://www.mkimsmith.com
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
This week has started out of focus. I'm a very scheduled person, I guess because of all those years I was a teacher. When extra things come up now, it takes me awhile to get back in the normal routine. Monday, which is usually a writing day, was spent at our district retired teachers meeting. It was interesting, and the food was delicious, but now I must get back in the groove and write.
E-mailed one magazine submission this morning. Then worked on my mg wip. I'm stuck on this chapter. Will get it though. I'm still working on a synopsis for my YA story that I hope to mail later this month or in June. Why is the synopsis so hard to write? At least for me it is. Remind self: never give up.
I'm reading some awesome books. Will talk about them later.
Have a great week everyone.
Happy reading and writing.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
Ta Da! Drum roll please....
Katie has won a paperback copy of Listen to the Ghost
Cindy has won a paperback copy of Secrets I Have Kept.
If you'll e-mail where you'd like me to send your books, they'll be on their way.
beverlysmcclure @ aol . com
Leave out the spaces and you've got it. Please put book winner in the header. Thanks.
Oh, and don't despair if you were not a winner this time.
I'm keeping the names for later this summer or fall when Rebel in Blue Jeans comes out.
I'll be giving away copies and your names will be entered.
Have a great weekend everyone.
Your names are written on Post it notes, and Patches, my cat, will choose. Whichever papers she decides are good for eating will be the winners.
Good luck. And thanks, everyone, for your nice comments.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The nearby fields are looking great. The wheat grows taller every day. Which reminds me: How many times have you seen the heroine in a story described with lovely wheat-colored hair? When I read this description I have to laugh. Take a look at a wheat field this time of year. It's green, yes. A character with green hair must be from Mars. Or else she dyed her hair and it turned out green.
Yep. That can happen. I'm proof. When I was still teaching, I colored my hair one weekend. And it turned green. Not a bright green but a dark green. So when I went to school on Monday, my fifth-graders kept looking at me rather oddly. But the sweet little guys said nothing. I finally brought up the subject by having fun with it. Since our school colors were green and white, I said I wanted my hair to show my support of our football team. Kids painted their faces and streaked their hair. Why not the teacher? They probably thought I'd lost it, but were too polite to say so.
(I never used the ash tint coloring again.) But I digress.
Anyhow, as the wheat matures it does turn golden and by harvest time is a lighter beige. So a heroine with hair the color of ripe wheat would paint a beautiful description.
Have a great week.
Happy reading and writing.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
Also, my young adult contemporary novel, Rebel in Blue Jeans, Twilight Times Books, is scheduled for release around June 28, 2008.
Life is good.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
When others talk about the books they loved as a child, I'm blank. I have none. Fairy tales fascinated me though. Every Saturday morning I'd listen on the radio (we had no TV until I was in high school) to a program called "Let's Pretend". There I met Cinderella, Snow White, and other fantasy characters.The first novel I remember enjoying and not reading to write a book report on is Gone With the Wind. It's still my favorite.
Fast forward a few years. Today, a stack of books at least a foot high sit on my bedside table, waiting their turn for me to devour their contents. Another stack of magazines patiently wait in the den. The carpet waits to be vacuumed. The kitchen waits to be mopped. The furniture waits to be dusted and clothes wait to be washed. As for cooking--maybe I'll get around to it, after I've finished that book.
Thanks for strolling down memory lane with me today.
Happy reading to you all.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Jennifer's entire world changes with one car ride. Her father, Sam, comes home and promptly drags Jennifer out of the house and into his pickup. They drive on until they are run off the road and her father is taken against his will. Jennifer flees the scene and runs into a boy named Casey, a runaway in search of his absentee father. Now Jennifer finds herself in a land of confusion. Who took her father? Is he still alive? Is anyone who they say they are? And who should she trust?
SECRETS I HAVE KEPT is a good book for anyone, but is particularly suited to younger teens. The plot is well developed, perfectly paced and suspenseful with a sweet romance. While the dialogue is slightly melodramatic at times, the characters are realistic and they mature as the story progresses. As far as mysteries go, SECRETS I HAVE KEPT is a satisfying read and a great choice, especially for preteens.
Amanda Roberts for Romance Reviews Today
Trade paperback available at Amazon.com
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
My Publishers Weekly children's edtion arrived yesterday, too. Skimming through it I saw such great covers and now I have so many books I want to read. As if I didn't have them before.
In my shopping, I stopped by our Hastings and talked with the bookstore manager awhile. She is so sweet. And she loves kids books. I noticed they had moved the teen section to the FRONT OF THE STORE away from the children's section where it had been. Now people can see them easily. Of course I bought a couple of books. That's why we go to a bookstore, right? I also mentioned my forthcoming book which I hope to have a signing for, whenever.
Have a good Wednesday and rest of the week.
Happy reading and writing.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Listen to the Ghost is about a 17 year old girl, Jade, who is haunted by a young woman, Phoebe, in Jade’s grandparents’ Victorian home in Charleston, South Carolina. Four teenagers are staying in the house for the summer while the grandparents are gone. Jade is an artist and displays her work in the local art fair; she has brought her bestfriend Elaine along with her and Jade’s older brother is in charge.
Phoebe the ghost will be a restless wandering spirit for all eternity if Jade does not find the linking wedding rings lost on Phoebe’s wedding day. A day that ended in tragedy.
Jade is also recovering from a painful breakup, and McClure does a wonderful job of crafting a tender new love story as Jade falls for the fourth teenage house sitter, Matt, one of her older brother’s friends. To make the situation more complicated, the ex-boyfriend appears later in the story as an obsessed and dangerous stalker.
Listen to the Ghost is a fun romantic ghost story. The dialogue flows clear and natural and the characters all have depth to them. Jade is not only an artist but also an athlete. But I have to emphasize fun ghost story. If you are looking for scary or realistic in terms of common knowledge about how ghosts haunt and the experiences people have when haunted, you will be disappointed with the book. While there are elements of what is known to happen in a haunting — the cold sensation, footsteps, chime-like noises, the other elements are more comical than anything else – the ghost throws food, she appears as a pink cloud, she can take on human form and speak.
The story held me though because McClure does provide us with the interesting mystery of the linking rings and the marriage that never was because of the tragedy that unfolded. And while at times the characters speak and act as if they are significantly older, they are likable and interesting. I would do anything to have teenagers like these ones in my house; they clean up, get up early in the morning, and are amazingly responsible and level-headed. The ideal of what we all hope our teenagers would be when on their own.
I recommend the book for younger teenagers or those looking for a clean, safe teen paranormal romance. There is a lack of technology in the characters’ lives, no cell phones, home computers, lap tops, etc but it retains a contemporary feel to it. And it is well-written and well paced.
Beverly Stowe McClure is from Texas. She was an elementary school teacher for 22 years and mother to four sons. She is a great-grandmother.
Other published works:
Caves, Cannons and Crinolines- a civil war YA historical fiction available in trade paperback in 2008
Secrets I Have Kept – YA adventure story, available as e book or paperback
Rebel in Blue Jeans- YA fiction available as an e book from Twilight Times
I am very lucky to have Beverly in one of my critque groups and she is kind enough to answer some questions for me:
1) When did you start writing to get published?
I started writing around 1990 when I took a writing course from The Institute of Children’s Literature.
2) You won “Conservation Teacher of the Year” in 1988?
In Texas we have districts for Soil and Water Conversation. Each year the state holds contests for students. Older students write essays, while the younger children make posters on some form of conservation. The best posters win ribbons. The districts also select a Conservation Teacher of the Year. In 1998, our Wichita S.W.C.D. chose me. I felt honored and still have my engraved plaque.
3) How would you suggest someone begin writing to get published?
I think this would be up to each individual. What works for one person might not work for another. But for most everyone, I believe you should learn as much about writing as possible. Read books about how to write young adult or picture books or whatever your preference is. Read books for enjoyment: fiction, nonfiction, books for all ages. Read more books. See what keeps you turning the pages? Then write what’s in your heart. Write your story. Have it critiqued. Make it the best you can.
4) What advice would you give writers trying to break into magazines?
Read back issues of the magazines you’re interested in submitting to. Study their writers’ guidelines. Make sure your story or article is what they publish. Polish your short story. Make every word count because word limits are usually between 500 – 1000 words, maybe more or less, depending on the age of the readers of the magazine.
5) You said you’ve discovered many interesting ancestors in your genealogy research. Would you share with us about some of what you have found?
Well, a distant cousin I met in Tennessee informed me we were of royalty. (See my head swell.) She had traced our family back to King John, who signed the Magna Carta. Okay, that wasn’t so good since he was a very bad king. He tried to take the throne away from his brother, Richard 1 (Richard the Lionhearted), without success. But then Richard died, and John became the king. (My head shrunk a size.)
Then my cousin informed me we went back to Charlemagne. Now that was good, right? He was the first ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. He’s well known in history. However, I discovered that probably half the world descended from Charlemagne, since he lived so many generations ago. (Head is back to normal size now.)
The best things I discovered in genealogy were old photos of my grandfather and great-grandmother and other family members.
6) How were you able to cope with the loss of your son (and a granddaughter)?
My faith in God is strong, and I know that someday I’ll see our son and granddaughter again. This doesn’t mean it was easy. We grieved. Every time I saw a baby, I was sad and wondered why. I still don’t know why; God does.
7) Why do you think you hated reading and writing as a child and how did that impact you as a teacher?
To this day, I’m not certain why I hated to read and write. Books were not a priority in our home, but my sister read, so I guess that’s no excuse. I did love to listen to “fairy tales” on the radio. Yes, this was before TV. I loved to play the piano, and I loved music and being a majorette in the band. Maybe I just didn’t have time for reading and writing.
My love for reading started when I read Dr. Seuss to my sons. Who could not love his stories? Then my students and I read Newbery winners. Wow! Such great writing. I wanted my students to enjoy reading instead of being like I was at their age—clueless to the excitement found in a good book. So we read together and discovered the joy of reading.
8) You say it took 12 years to really get something published, what do you think held your writing back from being published during that time? What was the key to changing that around?
In truth, my writing was bad at first. But I kept at it and improved until one day I sold an article. The key was never giving up and working hard.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
At the tender age of eleven, Gus LeGarde has a lot to deal with. First, when Gus and his friends, Elsbeth and Siegfried, wreck their small boat, they manage to swim to shore, but as they make their way through the trees to Gus’s grandparents’ fishing camp where Gus and his family are spending the summer, they almost collide with a young girl. She’s bleeding and frightened and running from a drunken man. Who is the girl the man calls Sharon? Why is he after her? Gus worries about Sharon and wants to help her, so he tells the authorities, but they give little credit to the young boy.
Second, who is the mysterious woman staying in Cabin Fifteen? Everyone is hush, hush about her, and all Gus knows is that she is old, has a cat, and recently lost a family member. She also has “guardians” who live in the cabin next to her, which means she’s probably someone important.
Third, while authorities search for Sharon, valuable religious artifacts are stolen: a bell cast by Paul Revere and a rare marble statue of the Virgin Mary, along with other priceless objects. Is there a connection between Sharon’s disappearance and the theft of the artifacts?
When Gus and his friends get too close to the truth, their lives become endangered. Will they rescue the missing girl, or will their fate be the same as hers, whatever that might be? If you’re a child of the ’60s, you’ll remember the thirty-three rpm records, the movie “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the Beatles, and five-cent sodas. If you’re not a child of the ’60s, you’ll enjoy the twists and turns and surprises in this breathtaking mystery.
Beautiful imagery and touches of nostalgia make this a must read for all ages. You’ll be glad you read it.