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.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Writing Exercise November - a wee bit late

Well, it's been a couple of months and even though I wanted to post something, it never happened.
In September, I lost my father. It's been a lot to deal with and process and adjust to, as so many know and have been through. I did write a tribute to him and that involved multiple drafts to get it right.
Then I was busy doing a rewrite and finished that.
Now I'm doing Nanowrimo. Just doesn't seem like I'm getting anything posted. I would love to do some book reviews - takes more time and energy. BUT - I am here now and have a writing exercise instead.
I don't usually take all the words and put them in the first sentence. Sometimes that's a fun thing to do, using them all that way. It just worked out this time.

Writing exercise 11/3/16

Words: boot, innocent, mark, orange
An innocent man, chained to four other men, marked by orange clothes and muddy work boots, counted the days silently until the next parole hearing. A tear he hid from the others, dropped heavily to mix with the dirt and rain. No one would ever see that, helping him avoid a beating like the one he was still healing from.
Like his dangerous father always said, life is not fair.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Writing Exercise for August - Think Olympics!

Okay, it just wouldn't be the last day of the month without me posting my monthly something. Maybe I should aim for the first of the month. Ah, no matter, it all works out in whatever way it's supposed to, I guess.
And the words that popped up were so perfect to reflect Olympic sports. I chose one that you may recognize. Feel free to take the words and apply them to your own Olympic or non-Olympic sport! All in good fun.

Words: blinding, twisted, ceremonial, fumbling

With blinding speed, the top gymnast sprinted across the floor into an unparalleled tumbling run. Back flips, round offs, twisted high in the air, she stuck the landing to deafening applause. The Olympic arena erupted. She would win gold for sure. The ceremonial national anthem, country flag, medal and bouquet would surround and embrace her. She would make her parents and her country proud. It felt like the whole world was smiling.

Now was the time to focus on the last tumbling pass. There was no room for fumbling, for disappointment, for heartbreak. She tuned the audience out, never saw the cameras, one breath in and out, then another. In fifteen seconds it would all be over and she was ready. Her place in Olympic history was being written by her. Sticking the landing and hitting her last pose, she made her dreams come true.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Writing Exercises!

Here I am, once again, getting a post in just under the wire. My goal to post something every month should be easy, right?! I actually have books I'd love to write reviews for - where does the time go?
Anyway, at least I have a couple of writing exercises to enthrall you with. Hahaha.
Can't even believe it's August tomorrow. I've heard there are Halloween decorations in stores already. Really not ready for that.
So, let's ignore that and focus on having a fun writing experience instead. And they certainly don't have to be good, as you can see. 

Words: High, nonstop, tricky, float

So there once was a river, wide and not so deep. My and my cousins would float on our inner tubes from Wild Bird Point to Summer’s End Bend. We flew at high speed, nonstop, whooping and hollering. There were even a couple of tricky corners that made it all the more fun. That is until Marshall, the oldest boy cousin, rafted right in the man we never saw. The dead man.

Words: Mine, frog, voracious, reminiscent

Jacob and I raced our frogs every Saturday in front of old man Herman’s store. Hundreds of kids came with their frogs. Ouch, Jacob elbowed me. (Such a goody goody. Always-have-to-tell-the-truth Jacob.) Fine, okay, five other kids from school came to race too.
One particular race, a new kid brought a giant frog that made mine look like a ladybug. Okay, a cockroach. Happy? That’s bigger.
Anyway, a voracious race ensued reminiscent of the great frog race of July 4th.
What do you mean that’s not the right way to use voracious? Do you want to tell the story? I thought not.
As I was telling you, a tremendously exciting race took place that even made the newspaper. That part is true.
No one saw it coming, what that kid’s frog did to the rest of ours was just gruesome.

That, Jacob agrees with.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Book Review - FLICKERS by Arthur Slade (The Hunchback Assignments)

I'm so happy to post a review for this book. I hope everyone gets a chance to read it.

There is one word that can describe this cool, new book from Arthur Slade:
Unique, unique, unique, unique, unique, unique! Does that count as one word or six?!

And that’s saying a lot. The setting, the time period, the story and plot and the cover. Loved the art deco look. Once I opened it, I was instantly drawn into the characters’ lives. So well written. Throw in a little sci-fi and this novel appeals to everyone.

You’ve got twins with a curious past, old Hollywood, movie stars, glamour, parties, mysterious disappearances and very strange bugs. Plus true friendship.


From the publisher:
A movie scream so piercing, so chilling and so powerful, it will open up another dimension and summon something beyond all imagining...

Far from the isolated prairie ranch where they were born, orphaned twins Isabelle and Beatrice Thorn are living a glamorous 1920s Hollywood life as wards of Mr. Cecil, a mysterious and influential director. Isabelle is a silent film starlet, destined for greatness in the very first talking picture—a horror flick that will showcase her famous scream, often seen but never before heard by audiences. Meanwhile, Beatrice spends her days hidden away on the Cecil estate with her books and her insect collection, scarves covering her birthmarks and baldness. But Beatrice’s curiosity about Mr. Cecil, the death of her parents, the appearance of scorpion hornets—creatures that should not exist on this earth—and the unsettling fates of two people who visited his estate is getting the better of her, and she’s starting to realize the director has truly dark designs for this movie.

I wanted it to be longer, so that’s always a good sign. There was a really interesting addition at the end of the book that was also unique to the genre. I was going to say what it was but I don’t want to spoil it for readers. If you have read it, I'd love to hear what you thought!

And the fact that he lives in my hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan makes it even more cool!

You can read other reviews of Middle Grade novels at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Writing Exercise - May

Once again, just under the wire - getting something posted in May. I plan to have a couple of book reviews coming up in June.
But today, not only did I finish a rewrite but I did a writing exercise too! Feels good. It might only last a day or two until I get it back from my reader, but I'll take it and savor it.
Here is the exercise again used with the handy dandy random word selector.
I think this came about from two sources: I was watching an episode of Dr. Thorne (set in the British countryside 1855) and remembering Little House on the Prairie. Basically, inspired by Dr. Thorne and influenced by Little House. How? I have no idea.

Words: projection, empire, disrupt, examiner

            The examiner examined the exam.
            “That’s a horrible sentence, Daisy,” Darla said.
            “How about this one then? The projector projected the projection.” Daisy smiled.
            “Ha ha, very NOT funny.” Darla used the eraser on the blackboard. “If you’re not going to take our punishment seriously, I’ll write the sentences.” Darla snatched the chalk from Daisy’s white powdered fingers.
            “Be my guest.” Daisy sat down and pulled a book from her satchel.
            “If you hadn’t disrupted the class, we would be at Catherine’s party right now.”
Darla pouted and Daisy stuck her tongue out at her.
“The Darla Popularity Empire will not fall because you miss one silly party.”
“Daisy! It’s not silly. It’s very important to me. I would think as my sister, you would be my ally and it would be important to you too.” Darla sniffled.
“All right.” Daisy pulled Darla’s ringlet and let it spring back. “Go to your important party and I will finish writing on the board.
Darla turned with sheer glee. "Oh, Daisy, would you? I would be ever in your debt.” She dropped the chalk in Daisy’s palm.
“Yes, yes, now go.” Daisy began to write.
“Don’t forget I owe you one.” Darla was gone.
Daisy grinned slowly. “That’s what I’m counting on dear sister, that’s what I’m counting on.”

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Writing Exercise - April

Just making it under the wire here with a post for April. I am loving the random word maker. It's just so much fun. Well, for me, anyways! Join in, plenty of words to go around.

Words: watery, blush, knife, hands

           Maxwell stood too close. I didn’t have enough room to chop tomatoes. Red, watery seeds spilled onto the cutting board. But it looked too red.

          “You’re bleeding!” Maxwell said.

          “Oh, crap, I am.” I grabbed a white towel and held it against my finger.

          Maxwell took two steps back and fell into a chair. My knight in shining armor. He pointed with a shaky hand.

          “What? The knife?” I asked. He apparently had little motor function left and barely nodded. I washed the blood off the knife to appease him.

          The Home Ec teacher came over. “Max, what’s wrong?”

          Again with the pointing.

          “It’s a little wound,” I said.

          Maxwell shook his head.

          “Let me see.” The teacher took my hand and opened the towel. She gave it back to me and I reapplied pressure. “Not too bad. Why don’t you go see the nurse?”

          “I think a bandage will do,” I said.

          “Not you, Maxwell.”

          Maxwell’s blush rivaled the tomato and my blood.

          “Come on, I’ll take you.” I hoisted him with my non-bleeding hand, dropped him at the nurse with a kiss on the cheek and went back to make a suspiciously red lasagna.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


When I began ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T. COOK by Leslie Connor, I didn’t know what it was about. This made it more fun when I was immediately drawn in by Perry and his story. I still would have been intrigued had I known, but it was a nice and refreshing surprise to discover it on my own.


From the publisher:
From Leslie Connor, award-winning author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch, comes a soaring and heartfelt story about love, forgiveness, and how innocence makes us all rise up. All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook is a powerful story, perfect for fans of Wonder and When You Reach Me.

Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth—and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home.

When Perry moves to the “outside” world, he feels trapped. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. As he gets closer to the truth, he will discover that love makes people resilient no matter where they come from . . . but can he find a way to tell everyone what home truly means?

The story felt expertly plotted. The characters defined and developed. I rooted for Perry right from the start.

Being set in a prison for non-violent offenders, it’s a reminder that prisoners are people too, with families and difficult situations.

I was carried along and never had cause to break out of the story.

This book was an enjoyable read with characters I doubt you will forget.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Writing Exercises!

I can't even believe how long it's been since I posted anything! Gosh I hope I don't do that again!
Anyway, I was having fun with the random word selector and decided to do a couple of short writing exercises. I had done an exercise a couple of weeks ago but it was dreadful. (Can you tell I'm watching too much Downton Abbey?!) So I have two separate ones to post - to make up for January. I won't even attempt to make up for the last quarter of 2015. 
If the words strike your creative match, then have at it and have fun.

Exercise 1: Word prompt: Boots, chicken, nippy, work

Under my porch sits my boots. They’s for tromping around the farm. Gots me lots of work to do with them chickens. And shoveling all their poo. That’s why my boots sits outside, under my porch. Ma ain’t letting no boots with poo on ‘em in the house. It’s a rule. Not the number one rule, but it’s pretty close. The number one rule will curl your hair if it ain’t already curly.

Exercise 2: Word Prompt: Unadvised, quill, tap

Tap, tap, tap. Mr. Healdsburg’s quill made ink splotches on his parchment. Usually it’s scritching and scratching frantically. But today, it’s just tap, tap, tap. I wrote a note to Henry next to me asking if I should approach the schoolmaster. Henry said it would be unadvised. He overhead his sisters discussing Mr. Healdsburg and his date last night. Needless to say, it didn’t go well. That is our fault? He should not take his love life out on his students. Henry shook his head at me. Drat. Henry’s last note said there is a lot more he has to tell me. Now I have to wait for the end of lessons! Double drat.