Monday, July 31, 2017

Book Blurbs


Right on time! As long as the last day of the month is the deadline. I'm posting some short book blurbs. I don't want to call them true reviews since they are short and basically what I thought about the books. One middle grade and three young adult. I really must write the blurbs closer to when I read the books! But if it's anything like my writing exercises getting done on time, well, this will just have to do. 

Baby Mouse – Tales from the Locker: Lights, Camera, Middle School! by Jennifer L. Holm  (Author), Matthew Holm (Illustrator)

I read the earlier Baby Mouse books and enjoyed them so much. This is a logical step and highlights many middle school problems: friends, fitting in, the dreaded cafeteria seating dilemma, younger siblings and trying to succeed. It’s an easy read and very accessible to lower middle grade readers. The ending felt abrupt to me; it suited the story but I wanted more. That’s a good thing because there will be future books in this new series!



No Good Deed by Goldy Moldavsky

The main character, Gregor, is a geek going to a save-the-world type of camp with all the other nerdy do-gooders. But it soon becomes a cutthroat situation when a coveted position is presented as a prize. At first, Gregor annoyed me and I wasn’t sure I’d stick with the book. With the intro of the antagonist celebrity girl he doesn’t care for, Ashley, their interactions really propelled the story.


One hilarious aspect is the fact that everyone is called by their “cause” instead of a name. Gregor is called Children because he wants to Feed the Children. A few are called by their names, but only the few (still geeky) cool kids.


I ended up being carried along and enjoying the weird relationship that develops between Gregor and Ashley – each defeating the labels attached to them. Maybe they can all end up seeing each other past their causes. 
 
It’s a fun, different, odd twist on the ever popular summer camp story.


Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

This is a period piece with magic and European society. It might have taken me a little bit of time to get into this world, but once I was in, I was hooked. It was fun to be in this environment of gypsies, balls and gowns, and magic spells. Throw in the one person who can break magical spells and you have a nice twist with plenty of plot, character and love interest. I know I’ll be reading book 2.


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Scythe by Neal Shusterman

What I liked about this book was all the twists. The writer didn’t feel constricted to take one storyline all the way through – it was okay to mix it up and change it and that made it fun and interesting. I liked the main characters, Citra and Rowan, and their sponsors, Scythe Faraday and Scythe Curie. I did have a hard time reading the mass killing/gleaning scenes because they were too real. There is a really good antagonist in Scythe Goddard.

I found it hard to believe this could be a series until I was further in and along for the ride.

Very interesting concept and well written and plotted. A thoroughly engaging and strange read. The cover captivates with its two faces – the two main characters manipulated against the other. Felt a bit like The Hunger Games type of cleverness.

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Writing Exercise so close to the end of June

I really thought I'd get the post up in June on the 30th. Well, this is the next best thing. 
July 1st - Canada Day!

I wanted to do one sentence with all the words but that didn't work out so I did a short blurb instead.
Take a crack at it yourself, it's fun.

Words: model, dismissal, nervous, doll

The nervous doll modeled the new dress her human brought her. The lace and full, pale pink skirt gave the doll goosebumps. She twirled and smiled, ignoring the dismissal from the other dolls when they turned their backs on her.
Nothing could dim the love that glowed inside the doll.
When the other dolls get their home made frocks, thought the doll, they will understand.
Unfortunately, that was a bit far from the truth.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Writing Exercise - May!

It seems deadlines work for me. Or maybe they don't since I'm always doing this on the last possible day. At any rate, I have an exercise that makes me want to keep writing. That's the point, right?! Maybe I will. Maybe you will too.
Next month I hope to have a couple of book reviews. More than likely on June 30th. We do what we can.

The random words today are: blooper, drowsy, mirror, halfway

In the drowsy morning, Louisa stood before her mirror, long, dark hair hanging halfway across her face, slicing her in two. She felt she looked like a blooper from the TV show America's Worst Bloopers. To be truthful, her whole life felt like a blooper on auto loop.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dad!

As some of you know, my dad died on September 1, 2016. Today, April 18, would have been his 85th birthday. So, as a celebration of his life, I'm posting photos, a poem I wrote for him and the eulogy I wrote. I know there's another poem somewhere but I couldn't find it.
He had a great sense of humor and a zest for life. We all loved him so much, and of course, still wish he was here. But, like I said in the eulogy, via Harry Potter, our loved ones never truly leave us. And I know we'll be with him again.
Another interesting fact, my sister was born on his birthday, how amazing is that?! A happy birthday to my sister Jan! She's in the batman photo :-) And please ignore all the formatting - apparently I need blog lessons!


Mountie pose


Mountie at desk
Dad and me





 





(Poem time)


It is Dad


It was Dad
Who decorated the outside of our house at Christmas as if it was a competition
and he won. 
Who staged the rooftop Santa and reindeer and the three foot high glowing candles.
 
It was Dad
Who lit the campfire and, when my marshmallows dripped, drooped and dropped into the flames, said it was okay.
Who ate the burnt ones that survived.


It was Dad
Who held on while I learned to ride my bike, the one with the banana seat.
Who snow skied with me between his legs until mine were sure enough.
Who, while I attempted to water-ski, gave encouragement no matter how many times I got dunked.
 
It was Dad
Who pulled me into the boat and wrapped me in a towel so I wouldn’t shiver.
Who gave me gave me his terry cloth beach jacket that smelled just like him.
Who smiled at me while driving the boat and I felt warm, dry and safe. 


It was Dad
Who delivered the Barbie condo and surprised me with stuffed animals from his trips.
Who bought my sister and I our own crazy roller-skates.
Who gave me a skateboard no matter how much or how little I played with it.


It was Dad
Who helped me understand what a credit card was for and that you had to pay on it - each month.
Who sometimes helped out with those payments.


It was Dad
Who supplied me with my gently or not so gently used cars and performed oil changes.
Who showed me how to fix a radiator and check fluids, especially because the cars would overheat.


It was Dad
Who attended my college graduation sitting for hours in the hot weather.
Who showed up to watch my bizarre plays.
Who happily drove to my wedding ceremony during El Nina.


It is Dad
Who laughs ‘til he cries as we reminisce about all the wacky times we’ve been though.
Who cherishes all those moments then.
Who treasures the times we have together now.
 
It is Dad




Bat Dad and Bat Jan


Dad & Desi - you're sitting in my spot


Smiling



Eye, eye, captain
Dad and me
Whipped cream - need I say more






Dad and siblings
 







Eulogy

Dad was the king of many things, not all things, but plenty.

Like, the King of Mischief: Once when Dad and his brother were kids, they took all their chickens and placed their heads under their wings which immobilized them. When their grandmother saw them the next morning, she thought she had dead chickens all over the yard. Of course they had to go and put chickens right.

And the King of Dancing: He loved dancing and taught us how to polka, spinning us around so fast - it was so much fun. Just last year at my nephew's high school graduation, Dad and my sister Jo-Anne were on the dance floor grooving to Uptown Funk. I definitely had to join them for the next song.

Teaching: He taught me how to play piano by ear, how to fish, how to water ski and cross-country, we painted fences, built sheds - although I was the only one reading directions. He loved training RCMP recruits and Air Cadets. He had a gift and he enjoyed sharing it, usually with many humorous anecdotes.

Humor: Dad would visit my husband and me during American Thanksgiving and we'd watch the movie Christmas Vacation every year. He would have tears in his eyes from laughing so hard. It was a tossup as to what was more fun to watch, Dad or the movie. I can see his face and hear his laughter and it still makes me smile. He even saw all the Harry Potter movies - how many grandpas have done that?

Personal injury: From singing his eyebrows while bbqing to slicing his finger because he sharpened his knives so often, Dad was no stranger to an ER room.

The outdoors: If he wasn't towing a boat, he was towing an airstream. I called him the Energizer Bunny, because nothing ever stopped him, not injury or bad weather or awnings flying off the trailer, he just kept going. Well, he did stop and pick up the awning, but really, it was hard to keep up with him!

He was definitely the King of Grilling: He loved cooking on any appliance, gadget, smoker, bbq. Sometimes there were injuries, but really good food!

Entertaining:  Dad loved throwing a dinner party, having guests, hosting just about anything. People who met him or knew him really liked him. He always had a story. Even if something didn't start out funny, he found a way to laugh at it and spin a good yarn. I always asked him to tell the one about the body in the back of the stolen truck.

 The King of Loving life: You could see it in everything he did and how he shared it with the people he loved. It was evident in traveling with him, doing yard work, housework, just about anything, he did it with enthusiasm.

Loving family: Dad treasured time spent with family and good friends. No matter how far away or for how long. Even just talking every Sunday on the phone. I hold that dear.

So you can see how much of an impact he had while here, being King of mischief, dancing, humor, King of the grill, loving his life and his family. There is a giant hole on earth because he is no longer with us in person. 

There's a quote from the Harry Potter films that we enjoyed: “The ones that love us, never truly leave us, you can always find them in here”. (hand on heart)


Friday, March 31, 2017

Limerick Time!

Even though St. Patrick's day has come and gone, it's still March, so we can get our Irish on and do a fun exercise with limericks! They look easy, don't they? Maybe easier than other forms of poetry, but still require work. You can feel it when it's not working and you think and think and try different words and phrases. Which is what I had to do multiple times with the first one, Pink Love. The second one came about faster. Like all things, the more you do it, the better and hopefully easier it gets?! One can try, at least. And I feel they need more work!  Maybe I can work on funnier ones next time.


Here's the pattern I used. I'll show it in words and symbols. Both work for me.
Lines 1, 2 & 5 are the same rhythm and rhyme (can be 7-10 syllables)
Lines 3 & 4 are the same (can be 5-7 syllables).




Da DUM da da DUM da da DUM for lines 1, 2, 5


Da DUM da da DUM for lines 3-4


Or I like to see it this way:


I / II / II /
I / II / II /


I / II /
I / II /


I / II / II /





Pink Love

A poet and singer named Pink

Her songs help you feel and to think

Include everyone

Born under the sun

Love all and be kind, that’s the link

 

Hope Knows

A pretty, young lady named Hope

Her boyfriend and she did elope

The parents were pissed

The family dissed

The couple held firm and said nope

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Writing ExerciseS - So Delinquent

Yup - last day of the month but I hope these exercises will make up for not posting in January. That's why I added the capital S because there is more than one! In fact, there are three. I added an extra one, just in case! Yes, I shake my head at myself.


I was just at LA Writer's Day on Saturday, Feb 25 (two days after my birthday) (yes, I love birthday hoopla), and in one of the breakout sessions by Pam Gruber, she had us do a writing exercise on world building. That's the first writing exercise. The other two are word prompts. All are so incredibly different from the other. You never know where your brain goes.


Glad to be posting something, finally, and I hope you join in wherever you are.




Breakout Session on world building. Prompt: a school

             The lone building, red with white trim, housed a steeple where the bell would ring to usher students in and send them home again.

            Wooden tables and benches, small in comparison to the teacher’s desk, were shiny from wear. Student trousers and books making their marks in the world and not the academic kind.

            Chalkboard erasers and dust lined the front of the room behind the teacher’s desk. The only globe in town sat in the corner as if it was being punished. The pencil sharpener on the wall near the front so teacher could keep watch on those avoiding their arithmetic assignments.

            The one thing that did not belong and stood out like a sore thumb was the single desk nobody would ever sit in again. It should have burned when the school first went up in flames two years ago.

    But it was the lone survivor.



Words: fame, troop, learn, tune
             My girl scout troop #725 was asked to perform on television! We screamed and jumped up and down holding hands. Fame was waiting for us!
            It was cookie time of year and to boost sales, our scout leader was determined to beat troop #722 because they were always outselling all of us in the area. She worked her magic and knew someone at the local station.
            Scout leader lined us up; shortest in front and tall girls in the second row. I was front and center. We were asked to sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider song on three.
            To say we were in tune would be a gigantic lie. And we do not lie. And apparently, we do not sing either.
            The look on our troop leader’s face was one I wished I caught on my phone. She paced back and forth in front of us, mumbling about how quickly could we learn to sing and could she use a recording instead and maybe other girls.
            So much for fame. Maybe she should have asked us if we could sing first.
            Hey, I can tap dance!

 
Words: hell, midnight, barrier, iron
             The dark of midnight created its own hell within my mind. Every shadow wanted to do me harm. Every sound another attack.
            Stuck beneath the barrier to the bridge, I longed to call out to someone passing by. Fear kept my mouth closed. The damp and cold settled in my joints. Each crouched movement screamed with pain.
            The iron grate held me in this prison like handcuffs. If I escaped, would he really hurt my family? Even if I didn’t escape, he may still do something unspeakable to those I loved.
  I had to try.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Writing Exercise - December!

I did it! I did a writing exercise before the last day of the month. A Christmas miracle?
At any rate, I was having a lot of fun with it and wanted to write more and crazier things but maybe later after I finish my latest WIP. It's fun letting first drafts fly.
Happy Holidays and I wish you health and happiness in the new year.




Words: Knit, feminist, hostility, mobile
 

            Grandma, Aunt Lou, Mom and Sister Mary sat in the living room knitting hats for homeless people. That was the cause of the month, which was better than last month’s, Llama’s with long necks. Four llamas got their own coat-matching scarves. (Insert eye roll here). I like it when they knit things for babies or kids in the hospital. The tiny clothes are just adorable. And super colorful. You have no idea.

            I sat behind them at the dining room table doing my homework, or at least pretending to, and listening to them.

            Grandma and Sister Mary were sisters and Aunt Lou and Mom were sisters. And isn’t that enough estrogen to float a dirigible. Believe me, it is.

            Sister Mary was a feminist first and a nun second. Don’t tell Mother Superior. Grandma couldn’t have cared less about that. She never learned to drive. Even after Grandpa died.

            This is how their conversation would go.

Grandma – Oh knock it off Mary.

Sister Mary – What? I’m just saying.

G – You’re always just saying.

SM – Better than what you say.

G – What, that it’s okay for a woman to cook and clean and volunteer.

SM – No, that a woman ONLY should do those things. Women do everything and should.

G – You dance on my last nerve Mare.

SM – You are my last nerve Grace.

            The conversation between Mom and Aunt Lou is different but oddly similar, with more hostility I’d say.

Mom – Pass that needle Lou.

Aunt Lou – Would it kill you to say please?

M – Pleeeeze Lou? (Insert eye roll here too).

AL – Don’t think I didn’t see that. Do you have a piano tied to your ass? You got two good legs and arms, get it yourself.

M – Haven’t you finished menopause Lou?

AL – Pot meet kettle.

            See what I mean?

            When I was a baby, these four ladies or women, knit little animals and made a blue, pink, yellow and green mobile for me. I’ve had it hanging in my room for as long as I can remember.

            And you know what? It symbolizes the best of these women who sang Christmas carols while preparing for my arrival. Sweaters, mitts, booties and hats. They even tried to knit a diaper cover. Not a big seller. But they loved doing it together and they loved each other. Hard to see that anymore.

            So as much as I love these women and all their quirks and faults, warts and farts, hearts and souls, foul language (yes, you, Sister Mary and Grandma) and fair weather, the knit baby mobile is the only thing I’m taking with me when I go live with my dad.

            Ssssh. They don’t know yet.