Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Today I'm Posting Next Door at Elizabeth Varadan's Fourth Wish

My post today about a recent trip to an ancient castro is next door at my Fourth Wish Blog. You can read it HERE. Please do visit, and I'll be back at Victorian Scribbles later this week.


Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Mystery Anthology is Launched!

I'm not a member of the ISWG, but I'm a mystery fan, and the prospect of a collection of mystery short stories was too good to pass up. I've ordered my print copy that will be waiting for me when I get back from my vacation. Go visit the site HERE and grab a copy for yourself: It's in both print format and ebook format.

Add caption


















Here is the blurb: "The clock is ticking...
Can a dead child's cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?
Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.
Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting…"

Enjoy!


Are you a mystery fan? Do you belong to the ISWG? Do you like story collections? 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Back in Galicia, Spain!

   
Today I'm celebrating being back in Galicia Spain. It's hard to believe we left Sacramento two weeks ago, arriving on Saturday evening, April 14th (Spain time). Since arrival, we've had intermittent cold, warmth, bright sunny days, thunderstorms, sun again, wind . . .. Each day is an adventure in weather.

It's great to be back! We've been busy ever since, having lunches with friends, snacks with neighbors, visiting our closest neighbors Eva & Manolo often, walking to a nearby pueblo (about a mile or two away), going into Monforte de Lemos (the closest bigger town) to walk around and stop for a glass of wine at our favorite cafe-bar on the main plaza.

Above is a picture of our field that one of our neighbors, Miguel-Angel plants each year with potatoes. It was plowed like this last week with plans to plant on Monday, but a fierce thunderstorm struck on Sunday, so he had to wait until Wednesday. Here are some scenes from a walk we took to El Barrio, a small village that fringes the larger village of Tuiriz.

This is outside a small village
 called Santalla, taken from the road.
Nearing El Barrio. 
Somewhere along the way.







Meanwhile, below is a picture of the plaza in Monforte. It's like this all the time, filled with families enjoying coffee, lunch, beer or wine, pastries. Kids running about everywhere in glee. Babies being cooed over. And the rise and fall of voices in the beautiful Spanish language.
Outside a cafe-bar we like, Lienzo.

Because we have come here so often and for so long, we keep running into people we know in Monforte. It's almost like a homecoming. Our Spanish is decent enough that we can limp through conversations without too much trouble. In no way can I say we are fluent—we aren't by a long shot—but it's encouraging to at least understand most things and to be understood. (And the Spanish are encouraging. They patiently wait out our word searches.)

More pictures will be coming. Meanwhile, do you like to walk out in the country? In the park? What are some of your favorite walks?



Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog(You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate.)

Monday, April 9, 2018

Two Great Books by Steve Richardson

Today I want to share two wonderful books for children, both written by Steve Richardson. They are inspiring and uplifting picture story books/early chapter books, and each one is beautifully illustrated. Both are picture books for kids of any age, since the pictures tell each story visually. They are the kind of books that belong in libraries—public, school, and personal—because they beg to be read more than once. The first is Paisley Rabbit and the Treehouse Contest, which came out last month. The second is Billy's Mountain. (My neighbor read it to her two-year-old grandson, and he has been building mountains in her back garden ever since.) Without further ado:

Paisley Rabbit and the Treehouse Contest,
written by Steve Richardson, illustrated by Chris Dunn

When Jimmy Squirrel announces that his dad can build the biggest, best treehouse in the world, he stirs up competition among his friends—and not the best kind. Everyone says their dad can build bigger and better ones. Only Paisley Rabbit is silent, but she is the one to suggest a contest: Everyone will build a treehouse and then vote on the best one. 
            They all get to work on building their treehouses—except Paisley. She gets to work on research instead. Her main priority is her little brother, Davy, who needs a kidney transplant. She promises him she will have a special project for him and then plots out her master plan. 
            There is so much to like about this book. No spoilers here, but Paisley shows how vision, perseverance, caring for others, and working together can achieve much more than brash ego. Her ultimate treehouse benefits others in a way no one would have foreseen. This is an inspiring story with a strong female protagonist. The ending is both surprising and deeply satisfying.
            Chris Dunn's illustrations are gorgeous, with incredible details. Page by page, they tell the story as a feast for the eyes. This is a book for every home or school library, and it’s a layered story one will read again and again.


Billy's Mountain, written by Steve Richardson, illustrated by Herb Leonard

            For Billy, life on a Kansas Prairie has only offered an unchanging landscape of flat prairie. His favorite book shows snow-capped mountains, forests, waterfalls. One day an idea comes to him: he’ll build a mountain like the ones in his beloved book. It will bring all the wildlife in those pictures: bears, deer, elk, beavers. At first, Billy enlists the help of his friends, but the going is slow, and they give up after they’ve built a forty-foot hill. 

But Billy is determined. He contacts a family friend who is also a reporter. The reporter writes an article about Billy’s dream. The story makes national news. The news reaches an old man who remembershisearly dreams. He, too has a determined spirit. He decides to work with Billy. And when young and old work together with determination—well, miracles can happen. 

The author takes time with the miracles that unfold in this book. Young readers will develop an understanding of ecology and wildlife while seeing, too, the result of collective effort and commitment. None of this is didactic or preachy. It’s easy to get involved in Billy’s plans and root for them, and it’s interesting to wait for what comes next.

Herb Leonard’s illustrations have the same, comfortable feel that drives the story. Kansas prairies, mountain meadows, snow caps and streams, Billy’s hopeful face as he thinks of his mountain—all these have a glow to them that make a reader feel they are in each scene.  

You can learn more about Paisley Rabbit and the Treehouse Contest HERE
You can learn more about Billy's Mountain HERE



How about you? Do you have favorite books that keep resonating with you because of both the wonderful story and the wonderful illustrations? Any titles, authors, or illustrates  to share?
            

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Entering Contests — At Last

                                                                        

These pictures may look familiar to you. This is how my desk usually looks when I        
 haven't tidied it up, and I seldom think to take a picture of it looking neat. This is how it looks again, because I've been insanely busy, and a mess doesn't seem to call for new photos.

Between this week and last, I have submitted 2 stories, 3 flash fictions, and 12 poems to contests. Yup. I'm celebrating that. And this is why I did it: I'm staring work on part two of an old book that bogged down when I got stuck. It's an MG novel, and you know how long a novel can take! Now I'm on fire with this WIP again, but I have learned from experience: 

When I work on a novel, everything else just sits in the filing cabinet: stories, flash fictions, poems. And they nag at me. Besides, my copy of Poets & Writers was giving me the accusing stare. I'm always interested in thumbing through the magazine's links for general submission deadlines — that I often don't do anything about — but this issue (March/April) is chock full of contests with  deadlines in March, April, and May. 

 So. I decided, get those little rascals out of the cabinet and into the cybersphere so they aren't hanging over my head, interfering with the present novel I want to work on in peace. It was a matter of clearing the slate. It isn't too late to get your own copy of Poets & Writers, even go to your local library, and check out deadlines you can still make. There's quite a few in April & May.

Now I can even clean house (way overdue, since I was doing research for the novel.) Yup, it's clearing out time in general.

How about you? Have you taken on any "clean sweep" type projects? Have you taken the plunge to submit to contests? What are you celebrating this week?

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog(You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Last Saturday's Art Show at University Art Supplies Store

I'm celebrating two days early or five days late, depending on how you look at it. Here are the art pieces from the South Natomas Community Center's Art Club Show. The reception was last Saturday, from 1:00pm to 3:00pm and students served punch and cookies. The timing was because in Sacramento, Second Saturday each month is when art receptions are held, although with adult artists receptions are in the evening, and munchies and wine are usually served.



















 I had to clamber around in the window to take these photos, so they aren't as tidy as I would wish. The pieces are mounted on a wallpaper trim background, then mounted again on a mat the has complementary coloring. These last 3 are different angles of the complete show.

The little tags hanging below each art piece are the artistic statements of the student artists. They are always so interesting to read.


Enjoy the show! And have a nice day.

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog(You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate.)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Celebrating a School Visit and a Program I Learned About

Add caption
So I'm celebrating a school visit today. This morning I had the pleasure of visiting Matsuyama Elementary
Add caption
School, here in Sacramento, to read Dragonella to three first grade classes. They all assembled in one room, and were so quiet and attentive when they came in. And they stayed that way for over 35 minutes, which is not typical for first graders.

It is always such a pleasure to read to children. You can see them getting drawn into another world. All those sweet faces. All those bright eyes. You can almost hear their thoughts clicking away. Afterwards, the questions these kids asked were just terrific.

I always love school visits, but today I learned about a program I hadn't heard about before — and that I think has a lot to do with how sharp these kids were: Their three wonderful teachers meet Fridays in a program called The Leader in Me. Hats off to the school for promoting this program. The program focuses on the concepts in Stephen Covey's acclaimed book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, but applies the habits to children. I think the whole school does it, with different lesson plans for each grade level.

These habits that make for successful living focus on character.  (There's an online site where you can learn more about The Leader in Me, HERE, where the concepts are called The 7 Habits of Happy Kids.) To wit: 1. Be proactive 2. Begin with the end in mind 3. Put first things first 4. Think win/win 5. Seek first to understand; then to be understood 6. Synergize 7. Sharpen the saw (balance)

These are the habit definitions in the adult book, too, but in this program each habit is broken down for young children to use and apply to their own lives. Apparently there are The Leader in Me schools around the globe, and I have to say, I am impressed.

I hope all of you are having a good Friday. What are you celebrating today? Do you know of other special programs for kids that have impressed you?

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog(You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate.)