Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tips, Tricks and Hints for Writers - More from The Storybook Intensive



At the SCBWI Storybook Intensive on June 10th, April Henry shared some tips, tricks and hints for all writers. Here are a few of my favorite inspirations I received from attending this workshop:

April said, “Show the reader” what you’re trying to describe. Now that might not seem like a great tip because we’ve all heard the old adage of “show - don’t tell” but here’s the bit that I found inspirational, “watch T.V. with the sound off.” This is something you can easily do that will help you “see” what is happening rather than hearing the plot unfold through dialogue and/or information being relayed.

Another great tip, I thought, was to “skip over things unless it moves the story forward”. That might sound like another bit of old information but we all get caught up in our words—I mean after all, we are writers ;D so it’s a good reminder to not be verbose because we’ll lose the reader’s attention if we waste time being word-wranglers.

One last great tip I want to share that April gifted us with, “If your characters have to swim to survive, send sharks after them.” The point is to keep adventure or at the very least interest in the forefront of the story.


Friday, June 16, 2017

April Henry and Christy Ottaviano at the SCBWI Storybook Intensive


I went to the SCBWI Storybook Intensive here in Portland, Oregon on June 10th and got to meet the AWE...mazing April Henry and the inspiring Christy Ottaviano (editor extraordinaire at MacMillan Books)

I wanted to share some of the wonderful tips, tricks and hints they shared with us at this workshop and . . . I will...but first, I wanted to share a short interview April was kind enough to give me.



QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS


April, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in third or fourth grade, I started writing stories. But as I got older, I decided that authors didn’t come from little logging towns in Southern Oregon.

How many hours a day do you devote to writing?

About four of solid writing, then an hour or two of business stuff, like answering fan mail or crafting Facebook posts. 

What’s more important to you when you write, character or plot?

Plot.

What is the hardest part of writing a story for you?

When a deadline creeps up and I have no idea how to have an exciting and satisfying and yet surprising ending. 

What did your family think of your writing career when you first started out?

Everyone was supportive, but I think only my mom really believed I would be published.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to do Brazilian jiujitsu.  I just got my third stripe!

What authors do you like to read?

I read widely.  I just read Wildman by JC Geiger, a first novel by an SCWBI member who lives in Eugene.  Next up The Scribe of Sienna, an adult book which I think has some time travel in it, by Melodie Winawar and Refugee, a middle grade book about three refugee children in three different time periods by Alan Gratz.

Do you have future projects in mind?

Next May, Run, Hide, Fight Back comes out.  It’s about a shooting that traps six teenagers at a shopping mall, and it’s basically Die Hard meets Breakfast Club.  And after that, it’s The Lonely Dead, about a girl who can talk to the dead. 

How many books have you written and how many of those have been published?

It’s got to be close to 30.  So far, 21 have been published, and three more are under contract. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book?




CountAll Her Bones is a companion novel to Girl, Stolen, which was about a blind girl who was accidentally kidnapped when a teenage boy stole her stepmother’s car.  The new book takes place about six months after the previous one, on the eve of the trial for the thief’s father (who decided to hold her for ransom).  For that book I spent a lot of time learning various martial arts that blind people could use to defend themselves.  The book has a great twist that was a surprise to me when I thought of it - that was really fun! 

(Tips, Tricks and Hints on Monday) 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Book Trailer: Irma the Inventor & the Vampire Spiders




I'm so excited to share my upcoming middle grade book  with all my friends and family!

I'm hoping Irma the Inventor will inspire other young girls to go into the Stem fields and create their own dreams.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Baking, Making and Creating - Play With Your Food

Let Them Eat Cake


Is there anyone out there who doesn't like cake?

If there is, I just don't understand . . . because I LOVE cake. And, I don't  just love to eat it. I love to make it and bake it and create it. To me, making a cake is a lot like playing with playdoh (and here's a quick homemade recipe).

Here are just a few photos of the cakes I've made (two of them my daughter-in-law was pitching in...a lot) but these are creations you can have fun making and eat them too ;D




So, if you want to make, bake and create here's a fun way to do it by creating a cake using . . . whatever frosting, fondant or  fancy foods you want to use. But when you're baking, remember the most important thing is to have fun because we really should all play with our food.



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

LEGO MANIAC

THE ART OF THE BRICK

We got up early on a Saturday morning to go spend the day at OMSI because we all wanted to see  The Art of the Brick  and see the works of the Brick Artist Nathan Sawaya



Plus, we wanted to learn all the Brick Vocabulary



And while we were there, we saw dinosaurs




Skeletons


and more Skeletons



until it made me want to SCREAM


But in the end it was all a  lot of fun.

Did you know LEGO is a Danish company and it is an abbreviation of "leg godt", which means "play well" and coincidentally, "Lego" is also a Latin verb which means, "I assemble".

And, if  you want to check out more about LEGOS and how they can help equip kids with the necessary skills to advance in the STEM fields, check out this site here.



Saturday, April 22, 2017

May the Forest Be with You...Happy Earth Day

Here's a link to fun Earth Day Activities :
http://bestlifemistake.blogspot.com/2013/04/earth-day-activities.html

Thursday, March 2, 2017

HELLO KITTY CAKE


Anyone who knows me, knows I love to bake, create and decorate ;D And if you have a little girl or just someone who loves to have fun cakes for a birthday, here's how I made this Little Kitty cake for a friend.

I started by frosting the cake with a butter cream frosting, which you can make with a cube of butter and some powdered sugar. It's simple.

Then, I rolled out the fondant and  laid it over the cake. (The frosting works as glue).

I pressed the fondant tight to the cake to make it show the form. Then I  started to decorate the eyes, nose and bow.


Oh and the whiskers...you can't forget the whiskers.

The little dash of pink added quite a lot...I  thought.
I cut away the excess and lined the edge with a pink ribbon of fondant.

It was a very simple design but turned out pretty cute. This is a cake anyone could make.

And, if you do make one, let me know. I'd  love to see pictures.



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Finding Fun in Hobbies






I have lots of hobbies. I love to read, write, bake, sew, knit and crochet and those are  just a few. I also love to run, play tennis and hike.

But, lately, I've been  focusing on  my knitting a  little more. I love  to visit yarn shops and walk around  and look at the beautiful colors and touch the textures  and fabrics. Plus,  I've been  looking at youtube videos on-line.

Here's one new site I just found that I'm enjoying:

Michele Wang's  website.

She lists patterns, shows designs and even has youtube videos where she shares monthly favorites.

I've spent some time finishing a few  projects I was working on. Mine aren't anything fancy. I just knit for fun. But I finished a scarf I was  working  on for my son.

I bought this beautiful, chunky, bluish-purple yarn at The Stitching  Post in Sisters Oregon, which is really famous for their  Quilting  Festival in July but they have some beautiful yarns too.

I started  the  project when I went to my niece's wedding in January and when we got back home I put it away. But I figured if I didn't finish it soon, the warm weather would roll in (I hope) and my son would never wear the scarf. So,  I pulled  the project out of the closet and went to work.

You can't  tell by the photo above, but this is a really lush wool, so soft and thick. Perfect for cold, wet, windy Portlandia days.