Friday, October 28, 2011

Praise For Goodnight Moon

This is our family's personal copy. All four of my children loved this book, and now I'm enjoying  it all over again with my grand children.

This book review is brought to you by one of the newest readers on the planet earth:

Look at those beautiful blocks of color! Listen to the rhythm of the words. 

Future Novel Reader

And one more bonus just for babies:It's just as interesting when read upside down!

Thank you, Tristan Cooley! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Paintings For Ember and Tristan

my palette

Two years ago when my first grandchild was born, I decided to paint something especially for her -- to be hung in her bedroom. I wanted the subject matter to be something she wouldn't outgrow quickly, and include things she'd encounter during future walks around her neighborhood.

My painting for Ember Rose, Nov. 2009

My plan was to continue the tradition as each new grand baby came into my life. That happened almost exactly a year later, and I have been so busy playing with these two babies that I haven't finished the second painting... 

But...I have a goal to finish it before Nov. 1st when my novel-writing challenge begins. I thought it would be fun to share the painting-in-progress with you.

painting for Tristan
Here's what it looked like in June.

Here's what it looks like today.
The letters in his name will be painted over and around the  creatures.

I have lots of fun still ahead on this one. Every painting is a new experiment.

If I don't finish it before Nov. 1st, at least I will be close.

Happy Creating Everyone!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing month!  
I have no idea who "said so," but I do know that most writers know about it. In keeping with this month-long focus on writing novels, the people at NaNoWriMo are sponsoring a contest. 

I first learned about the contest last November from my friend, Emily. I wasn't ready to try it then, but this year I'm excited to say that I'm participating! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

This contest has been held every November since 2000, and participation just keeps growing. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days -- not a finished novel ready for publication, of course, but a first draft. Last year there were 200,500 participants and 37,500 winners.

For me this will mean writing 1,666.6 words a day for thirty days!!! I don't even know if I can do that, but I'm going to try. Participants are allowed to outline their novels before the contest begins, and I've been having fun doing that . 

The contest includes some special features geared to school age kids, so spread the word to any young writers you know. There's still time to join the challenge.The contest begins in 11 days. Happy writing!

Here are a few commonly asked questions (taken directly from the NaNoWriMo website):

Why bother writing a huge novel in 30 days? Why not just write a real novel later, when you have more time?

For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!

How do you win? Are there judges? What are the prizes?

You win NaNoWriMo by writing to your word-count goal by midnight on November 30. Every year, there are many, many winners. There are no "Best Novel" or "Quickest-Written Novel" awards given out. All winners will get an official "Winner" web badge and certificate, and bragging rights for the rest of their lives.

Do I have to start my novel from scratch on November 1?

This sounds like a silly rule, we know. But bringing a half-finished novel into NaNoWriMo won't be the same. You'll care about the characters and story too much to write with the anything-goes approach that makes NaNoWriMo such an adventure. Give yourself the gift of a new idea, and you'll tap into parts of imagination that are out of reach when working on pre-existing fiction.

I think some of my readers have participated in the past. How grueling was it? 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book Review: Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

Firsts are exciting. This week I read my first "Uncorrected Advance Proof," also known as an "Advanced Readers Copy." It means the book was privately released by its publisher before being released for mass distribution. 

Young adult author, Elana Johnson, offered this opportunity to some of her fellow blog readers, and I was thrilled to accept it! The goal is to generate support for debut author, Bethany Wiggins, and spread the word about her first novel, Shifting.

cover of uncorrected advance proof 

cover you will find at local Barnes & Noble

This is a captivating story! It's considered part of the newest genre of young adult books called, "teen paranormal romance," but don't let the genre name get in your way.

I read this book's 352 pages in four days in between all the other busyness of my life, and that's fast for me. It sucked me in early and kept me coming back. It provided me with an easy, alluring escape from my "regular" life, and that's one of the reasons I read novels. 

I enjoyed experiencing the growth of Maggie Mae, her relationships with Bridger and Mrs. C, and the mystery surrounding it all. The New Mexico setting and Navajo folklore added an unexpected and enriching cultural dimension. 

Everyone reading this advance proof was encouraged to write comments in the margins of the book. I had so much fun adding my comments to those who read it before me. We also had the option of writing a personal note to the author, Bethany Wiggins. It reminded me of signing yearbooks in high school -- something I loved to do.

In regards to the love story portion of the novel, one of the comments said it perfectly: "Thank you for keeping Maggie Mae and Bridger honorable." 

And thank you Bethany for the great entertainment!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tybee Island, Georgia -- Part Two

It took me longer than I expected to get to "Part Two," but here it is.

First, I thought you might enjoy a shot of my "island style" hairdo:

Now, I was on vacation and spending much of my time walking around sightseeing, playing in the ocean, and digging for shells, so it really didn't matter what my hair looked like. But I can assure you that if I lived in the humid air of Georgia and had to dress up in high heels and a business suit every day for work, my hair would still look like I just stepped off the beach (or stuck my finger in a light socket). 

Second, I took some fun photos of southern style food. 

Now... I know who Paula Deen is, but I have never seen her show, and I had no clue that Savannah, Georgia is her home as well as home to her famous restaurants and stores. Since one of my sisters is a Paula Deen fan, we paid those places a visit, and we ate deep fried pickles at Uncle Bubba's (Paula Deen's uncle, that is).

battered, deep fried pickles

The night of our family reunion, Cousin Steve (my mother's cousin) cooked dinner. Only one item on the menu -- Low Country Boil -- a common southern favorite, or maybe just island favorite?

 First he heated up the "boil" -- water seasoned with various spices -- and then added corn on the cob, red potatoes, andouille sausage, onions, and shrimp. He strained each item out as it was done cooking, and then added another batch. 

It looked like more food than we could possibly eat (10 lbs. of shrimp alone), but as with Chinese food, our stomachs just never seemed to get full.

It was simple, and tasty, and we kept coming back for more. In the end, all that was left were a few shrimp.

I must say that the food I enjoyed the most food while on Tybee Island were the "spuds" from Spanky's -- fresh potatoes, sliced, battered, and deep fried (of course) -- must be eaten with a pickle!

For better or worse, this restaurant was spitting distance from our condo. My sister and I had spuds almost every day.

Now I want to know if any of my readers have

1. been to Georgia ?
2. eaten low country boil ?
3. love Paula Deen ?
4. love fried pickles as much as I do?

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