The Loser List

If you enjoy the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, you may want to check out this one:

The Loser List by H.N. Kowitt  

My 12-year-old grabbed it from my library stack immediately, finishing it before I ever had a chance to even suggest interest.

His response? “You gotta read this one.  It’s funny.”  He even noted certain page numbers he wanted to discuss once I’d finished.

So yeah, this one’s a keeper.  Here’s the basic idea:

Danny’s trouble begins when he tries to scratch his name from the loser list that happens to be displayed in the girls’ bathroom.  Once caught, he’s thrown into detention with a group of scary guys–Axle, being the leader and scariest

His mighty Sharpie saves his skin befriending the “Skulls” as their personal tattoo artist. 

However, hanging with the Skulls does have its consequences.  Soon, Danny realizes there are worse things in life than being included on the loser list.

What’s up with the chickens?

The Red Wheelbarrow

Image by CEThompson via Flickr

My husband and I met in high school.  Just as now, back then I loved English class, great classic literature, and poetry.  He loved numbers–yuck.  Trying to persuade him to see the light, I would read beautiful phrases in hopes something would spark an interest.  But each time he’d only reply with–What’s up with the chickens and a wheelbarrow?

He missed the point entirely.  You see, William Carlos Williams stated it clearly in the poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” when he wrote–so much depends upon. . .

The point is not realism, but reality itself.  As writers, we must view the world as the protagonist–experiencing smells, sounds, and sights as only he can. 

For me, the smell of brewing coffee evokes comfort.  For someone else who feels trapped in a job running the register at a coffee shop counter, that same smell could evoke entirely different emotions.

Think about the current scene you’re writing.  Rather than just a description of the scene, how does your character experience the details?  Does seeing the lace curtain blowing over the opened window bring peace? fear? guilt? 

Our fictional world can only become believable through our character’s reality. 

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water
beside the white
chickens. —William Carlos Williams, 1923

A Day Apart

 My friends from the Write2Ignite Conference would like to share with us another opportunity for fellow writers.  This time it’s all about REVISIONS.

The Write 2 Ignite Conference presents:

A Day Apart

July 30, 2011

First Baptist Church of Indian Trail 

(off Hwy 74 near Charlotte, North Carolina)

A day set apart to revise and polish manuscripts with fellow writers and the Write2Ignite team.

The cost is $45 and includes: lunch, handouts, and other supplies.

For more information and an online registration form, check out  Write2Ignite

 

Blueberries: The Berry Best

Back to our favourite blueberry picking spot, ...

Image via Wikipedia

July is National Blueberry Month and for good reason.

1st–Blueberries are native to North America  produced in 35 states.

1st–July is peak season, keeping the prices for blueberries at their lowest.

2nd–Peak season also means plump, juicy, and peaking in nutritional value.

Known as a “superfood,” blueberries are among the highest in antioxidants, high in fiber,  and packed with vitamins to fight against cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other health-related issues.

Here’s a yummy low-fat recipe for a quick and easy blueberry shake:

Blueberry Yogurt Shake

1 banana

1 cup fresh/frozen blueberries–I like to use frozen for this one.

2 cups low-fat yogurt

1/2 cup orange juice

Blend together and you have a tasty breakfast that’s filling AND MORE than enough for another glass later.

For more great recipes, visit The US Highbush Blueberry Council.

2011 Christy Awards

Looking for a great summer read?  Choose from this year’s Christy Award winners.

The Christy Award is a prestigious award given to honor and promote excellence in Christian fiction.  Here are the winners for 2011:

Contemporary RomanceSworn to Protect by DiAnn Mills

Contemporary SeriesThe Reluctant Prophet by Nancy Rue*

Historical RomanceThe Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

SuspenseThe Bishop by Steven James

Contemporary StandaloneAlmost Heaven by Chris Fabry

VisionaryTo Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson

First NovelHeartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Young AdultMotorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book by Nancy Rue*

HistoricalWhile We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin

*Nancy Rue became the first author to ever win 2 Christy Awards in the same year.

Congratulations to all the winners!  Visit your local library or bookstore to find these great reads.

This Week’s Read Aloud

Here is my latest find from a trip to the library:

How to Teach a Slug to Read by Susan Pearson

I found myself chuckling with each turn of the page. 

Here’s why:

  • Illustrations –The personified slug images are hilarious–a must see to appreciate.  
  • Familiar–the story refers to some very familiar book titles we all remember reading–but of course in Slug style– example: The Poky Little Slug.
  • Great Teachable Moments–If you teach the early grades, this would be a great beginning-of-the-year read aloud to excite your students about learning.  The story really does go through the steps of learning to readAND  It’s also a great read for teaching point of view–after all, you’re teaching a slug to read here.  How’s that for a different perspective?

Visit your local library to find your next treasure.–Happy Reading!

Wandering

Yellow daffodils - floriade canberra

Image via Wikipedia

I keep a collection of poetry on my desk and pull from it often before I begin writing.  The tight text, rhythms, and strong sensory details aid my own creativity.  Here’s a favorite you may recall:

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,                A host, of golden daffodils;
 Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
 Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 Continuous as the stars that shine
 And twinkle on the milky way,
 They stretched in never-ending line
 Along the margin of a    bay                                
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
 A poet could not but be gay,
 In such a jocund company:
 I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
 What wealth the show to me had brought:

 For oft, when on my couch I lie
 In vacant or in pensive mood,                               
 They flash upon that inward eye
 Which is the bliss of solitude;
  And then my heart with pleasure fills,
  And dances with the daffodils. –William Wordsworth, 1804

Take time today to enjoy life’s beauty–inhale it, soak it in, and savor its sweetness.