Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Carnival of Children's Literature

The monthly Carnival of Children's Literature is up.
Click on over and explore all the great books at the Yellow Brick Reads.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Poetry lessons from author/poet Nikki Grimes

Last week at Kindling Words West, we not only spent our days writing, we had an inspirational lesson in the morning to kick-start us. Our lecturer was the famous (and wonderful) Nikki Grimes.  To get just a taste of some of the things she taught us, here's what Lynne Kelly, one of the other writers there, had to say in her blog, Making Stuff Up and Writing It Down about our Found Poetry lesson.

I was one of the other writers who created a "found poem"from that snowstorm article as well.
Here's mine:

Freakish Halloween blizzard
Travel advisory
Trains running losing track
Bright Winter
Happy sledding: “Do it again”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Week after Kindling Words West Writing Retreat

Now that I've finally gone to Kindling Words West and have experienced a week-long writer's retreat, (last week) I'm all enthused about my writing, again.

But Monday I couldn't write, because I was involved as the representative writer in my granddaughter's middle school career day.  (yes, I almost lost my voice, again)
And Tuesday I couldn't write, because that same 13-year-old had several asthma attacks and I had to take her to the Dr., get medicine, get her to take it, etc., etc., etc.

So today is Wednesday, and I'm realizing that I need to send several pieces of writing to Vermont College of Fine Arts for the writing workshop that happens every day there.  (Luckily, I've already chosen to send two half-done picture books, so they're ready -- I just have to reformat them and remember to send them.)

Writing is on my mind and therefore I have a couple of more writer links for you who read my blog.

Firstly -- Do you outline before you write?  Or does the outline simply develop later? Carol Brendler discusses her own version of Outlining on the blog, Emu's Debuts.  She calls it, The Trouble with Outlines.

Secondly -- How about Trilogies?  Do you like them? (as a reader or a writer) How does a trilogy happen?  Janni Simner talks about her new trilogy and how it came to be on the blog, Through the Tollbooth.


Friday, May 17, 2013

What kind of Author talk do you like to hear?

When I visit schools or give talks to adults/ teens/ or children in other venues, I do NOT simply stand there and read from my book.

I  Talk.

I tell the story behind the story -- my adventures with writing and research.

This article by author Matthew Dicks suggests that there are four types of author appearances.
Which type do YOU like?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Showing Emotion in your Writing

Confused about the Objective Correlative?

What. i.s she. talking about?

Okay, to put is more simply -- how about discovering a better way to show emotion in your writing -- better than saying, He was sad. Or She was pleased.

Check out this Craft Talk Tuesday article by author, Carol Brendler, on the blog The Writing Barn.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Trip to Sequoia National Park

A couple of weeks ago I took three teens with me to explore the largest trees in the world -- here in California in Sequoia National Park.  For those of you who, like me, thought they were the same types of trees, the Sequoia and the Giant Redwood are not the same. Although they are related to the giant coastal redwoods (which are the Tallest trees), the Sequoia trees have more bulk in their trunk and live at high altitudes -- 6,000 to 8,000 feet.

Here's a letter I sent to my family:

Greetings from Sequoia National Park.

It did not take the predicted 6 hours to get here -- it was closer to 8 hours.
We went in and out of quite a few different temperature zones. The roads went from 12 lanes across down to a more normal (to us) 2 lane roads.

Closer to the park, we traveled for about an hour through huge orange groves -- with fallen oranges all over the ground under the trees.  The smell of oranges was wonderful. The girls wanted to get out of the car to gather oranges to eat, but all I could think of was juicy oranges dripping all over the inside of our car -- so I didn't stop.

During the drive we passed from Sea Level up to 8,000 feet.  The John Muir Lodge where we stayed is at 7,000 feet.  The road right by our lodge goes up to Panorama Point where we had a great view of the snow-covered high Serrias 13,000 feet high. (or more, I forget)

The girls went crazy when they started seeing snow and on Thursday, they got to play in piles of snow.
(temps on Thursday were in the 30s and 40s.)
The lodge is quite close to the General Grant tree and its grove of Sequoias.

Friday we traveled down General's Highway to the General Sherman tree -- the largest tree (by bulk) in the world. (pictured above)  Luckily, the sun shone all day and the temperatures got up to almost 60 degrees once we got down to lower altitudes.

Then we went further down the road to Moro peak.  The girls charged right up to the top, but I could only make it halfway.  Even so, I got more great pictures of the snow-covered high Serria Mountains.

Although we couldn't find the tunnel tree on the map, we stumbled onto it while we took the road to Moro.  Score!

Coming back, we took a side trip to Hume Lake.  By this time the girls were tired of sightseeing from inside a car, so they jumped out and ran down to the lake's edge to explore. They want to return here and spend more time at that lake. Today's trip took from 10:30 in the morning to 5:00 in the evening.

Unfortunately we had to leave on Saturday to come back home -- Spring vacation was almost over and they had to go back to school on Monday.

The driver (me) stopped more often on the return trip -- to stretch her legs and to let the girls run off excess energy and get snacks.  At one stop we suddenly discovered we were at a Micky D's right on the edge of Disneyland!  (Ah Ha!  Now I know how to get there from San Diego.)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Out and about San Diego - OR - When relatives come to visit

Saturday, we (the 13-year-old and I) had a lovely lunch with my sister plus my younger daughter and her husband (whose birthday it was) at the Hotel del Coronado.  My sister is staying there this week, along with her husband, who is attending a convention there.

The lunch was wonderful, delicious, relaxing and very enjoyable.

My sister, who lives in Ohio, was astonished at the masses of flowers in the area around the hotel, and showed us pictures of some huge groups of Bird of Paradise and other blooms she found in her walks near the hotel.

After the lunch, my sister and I sat around the pool talking while the 13-year-old swam. I kinda envied her being in the pool, but not enough to bother putting on a bathing suit and joining her.

Later, the two of us went on the hotel's beach and the 13-year-old clambered over the rock jetty there, where she explored the tide pools along with about 20 younger boys.  (no girls, for some strange reason) as the tide came in and began washing over the rocks. Exciting and fun. 

As I stood and watched, I had several thoughts.
1.  Considering the sea breeze, her dress was amazing -- It flapped and fluttered, but the breeze never lifted the skirt up to embarrass her.
2. Okay, why were only boys exploring the rocks and the tide pools?  Where were their sisters?
3. Later I realized that it had been only elementary school age boys there.  If any high school or older boys had seen the beautiful girl exploring the rocks, I bet they would have drifted over to "help" her.

Exiting the parking lot, we explored more of the island until we ran into the Naval base, then managed to find our way off the island and on to home.  

If you click on the link above, you'll see why, even though I live in the San Diego area, I'd love to spend a weekend at this resort.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

What is Narrative Nonfiction?

Have you wondered what "narrative nonfiction" is?
How is it different from the dry, boring textbooks you studied in school?

Life is not boring.  Life is an adventure.
Nonfiction is the story of life.
Biography is the story of one person's life - adventure.
History is the story of large groups of people all over the world.
Science is the story of how life came to be -- and is.
Nonfiction is everything Not Fiction.
Not made up -- real stuff.

All nonfiction is full of fascinating facts, just waiting to be discovered.

Click on over to see what award-winning author, Elizabeth Partridge,  has to say about writing narrative nonfiction.