Monday, July 27, 2015

THE ABC'S OF READING & 'RITING: LETTER F









 One of the genres readers and writers enjoy is fantasy. What better way to indulge one's love of magical worlds and mythical beasts than to dip one's toes in the waters of another realm? To help celebrate the letter F this week, I thought I would tease you with the opening to my Young Adult fantasy story I'm writing entitled LUNDAR. Whether crossing time portals to forage for survival or fighting a dark lord to help secure the future of the waterfall city, the world and people of LUNADAR are what fantasy is all about!



Lunadar: Homeward Bound
By: Donna L Martin

             The setting sun bathes the deck in an unnatural light.  The men are restless.  They have been too long from land, too long from home and it weighs heavily upon their spirits.  This night will be a rough one with choppy seas and razor sharp tongues.  My hand is firm upon the railing and my body sways in rhythm to the waves.  My eyes peer into the fading light as if to see land just beyond the portal.  I will get no rest this night.

             Voices waft up from below, a harsh word muttered here and there as the men settle down in cramp quarters which reek of sweat and dirt from many days at sea withonly each other and the moonlight for company.   My body begs for rest but my mind races.  Crowded with the what-ifs and what-could-have-been of another life time.  Too late to change things.  The sea is my master and I follow wherever it leads me.  

             I struggle to stay awake.   Many depend on me to lead them through the rocky maze which lies before us.  But I am confident.  I know this path well, having traveled it many times.  Truth be told,  I could steer this ship through these waters with my eyes closed.  Every rock and shell is as familiar to me as the stars in the northern sky.

             The maze is done and once again we are on the open sea.  A solitary moon looms before me, the only other thing awake at this time of night.  Midnight hour. Witching hour.  A time when the portal opens between the here and now to stretch into the outer world.  My heart races as if mere wishing could make these sails quicken the journey.  At last we are homeward bound and another moon will not rise before we are once again in the arms of our loved ones.  All that stands between them and me is the moon. 

*********************






 
 
Blurb:Addie comes from a long line of readers or "story catchers" as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own the wiggly words play tricks on her. She tries different ways to make those words sit still but it will take a little faith for Addie to become the next STORY CATCHER.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Heidi Howarth





Title: The Littlest Lighthouse Keeper
Author: Heidi Howarth
Illustrator: Daniel Howarth
Publisher: QEB Publishing Inc
Ages: 4-8



Synopsis: 
Will Henry and his new friends be able to save the day when the lighthouse keeper goes out?

Why you should read it:
The youngest readers out there will enjoy meeting a little mouse named Henry who lives by the sea in a lighthouse. Everything is going great for Henry until the human goes away for the day and he is left all by himself when a storm approaches. With the help of some new friends, Henry discovers he has what it takes to become the littlest lighthouse keeper.


Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 4 out of 5...think about it.
 

**Rating scale**
 

 5 out of 5...grab it!

 4 out of 5...think about it.

 3 out of 5...take or leave it.

 2 out of 5...maybe not for you.

 1 out of 5...forget about it!


Blurb:Addie comes from a long line of readers or "story catchers" as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own the wiggly words play tricks on her. She tries different ways to make those words sit still but it will take a little faith for Addie to become the next STORY CATCHER.

Buy Links:
Amazon Kindle ¦ Paperback ¦ B&N ¦ Smashwords



JOIN THE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB!
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Bi-montly Newsletter full of mazes, puzzles, games, news, and other goodies
Reading Log for earning STORY CATCHER AWARD
 

Monday, July 20, 2015

THE ABC'S OF READING & 'RITING: LETTER E





Today's letter E is for ECLECTIC...

I've always been a voracious reader ever since my older sister, Janet, helped teach me how to read.  When it came time to teaching my own son how to read, I encouraged him to read a variety of different genres. A good read is a good read no matter whether it's a picture book, mystery, middle grade humor, or nonfiction. Here are some of my favorites I've read over the years...






A TALE OF TWO CITIES by Charles Dickens...The plight of the French peasantry demoralised by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution.





SILAS MARNER by George Eliot...A gentle linen weaver is accused of a heinous crime. Exiling himself, he becomes a recluse, only to find redemption in his love for an abandoned child who mysteriously appears one day in his isolated cottage.





MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE by Marguerite Henry...Set in the island town of Chincoteague,Virginia, the book tells the story of the Beebe family and their efforts to raise a filly born to a wild horse.






A DIFFERENT CLASS BOYHOOD by JP Rambling...From humble beginnings in a small coal-mining community, where life was largely idyllic, Joel is thrust into the alien environment of a plush boys' boarding school and things begin to unravel.




CHASING LINCOLN'S KILLER by James Swanson... Based on rare archival material, obscure trial manuscripts, and interviews with relatives of the conspirators and the man hunters, this book is a fast-paced thriller about the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth.







DON'T FORGET TO WRITE by Pam Hobbs...In June 1940, 10-year-old Pam Hobbs and her sister Iris took the long journey from their council home in Leigh-on-Sea to faraway rural Derbyshire during England's countrywide Operation Pied Piper in an attempt to save the children from Hitler's bombs.






THE THREE NINJA PIGS by Corey Rosen Schwartz...Why does this wolf think he can come to town and blow all the houses down? These three little pigs just aren't going to take it from that bully anymore! The first starts aikido lessons---he'll make mincemeat out of that wolf! His brother learns a little jujitsu--he'll chop that guy to pieces!







HAMPIRE by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
On the farm, the critters knew,
At night while they were sleeping,
Past barn and pens,
Past lambs and hens,
A HAMPIRE went out creeping.




THE MONSTORE by Tara Lazar...The Monstore is a one-stop shop for all your monsterly needs in this enormously funny story that's full of friendly, kooky creatures.



I'm heavily into picture books these days...reading an average of 300-400 books a year...along with all the other books I read, but so far my all time favorite book is...




THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein...The book follows the life of a female apple tree and a boy who are able to communicate with each other; the tree addresses the human as "Boy" his entire life. In his childhood, the boy enjoys playing with the tree, climbing her trunk, swinging from her branches, and eating her apples. However, as time passes he starts to make requests of the tree.


How about you? What are some of your favorite reads over the years? Do you have an all time favorite? Share with me in the comments below...





 
 
Blurb:Addie comes from a long line of readers or "story catchers" as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own the wiggly words play tricks on her. She tries different ways to make those words sit still but it will take a little faith for Addie to become the next STORY CATCHER.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Robin Caroll





Title: Samantha Sanderson Off The Record


Author: Robin Carroll 

 
Publisher: Zonderkidz Publishing  
 
Ages: 9-11



Synopsis:
Sometimes decisions are almost impossible to make. When the school's grades are tampered with, Samantha Sanderson must enlist her best friend Makayla's help in hacking the system to discover the virus that was used and who committed the crime. But when the lead suspect is her new found friend, Felicia, Sam must choose whether to stick by her friend at all cost or report the story as she sees it.

Why maybe you should read it:
Middle school can be a challenging journey at best but for most kids, it's a maze of dealing with rising hormones, peer pressure, and all sorts of daily distractions. All Samantha wants to be is a good investigative reporter, but tough choices threaten to get in her way when the "evidence" involving grade tampering at her school points to a new friend being the culprit.

Older elementary school age kids will be able to relate to Samantha and might even find themselves struggling with some of the same challenges. The bonds of friendship are tested and Samantha discovers the type of person she wants to become in SAMANTHA SANDERSON OFF THE RECORD.  A good addition to any home library.
 
Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 4 out of 5...think about it.


**Rating scale**


 5 out of 5...grab it!


 4 out of 5...think about it.


 3 out of 5...take it or leave it.


 2 out of 5...maybe not for you.


 1 out of 5...forget about it!

 
 
(Disclaimer: Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers http://booklookbloggers.com book 
review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the 
Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx 03/16cfr255 03.html ("Guides Concerning the use of 
Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.")

Monday, July 13, 2015

THE ABC'S OF READING & 'RITING: LETTER D





It's been five long years since I've become a professional writer and there are times I feel like I have just started on day one of this long journey to becoming a "master" of my craft.

I've read, I've studied, I've written every day and there are basics of my writing skills that I feel I've conquered and now I'm ready to take it to the next level.

But then I come across words from the literary world like these listed below and I begin to wonder if there are enough years left in MY lifetime to learn everything there is to learn about reading, writing, and publishing.  I knew what some of these words actually meant but not all of them.  

How about you? Whether reading for enjoyment or writing as a career choice, everyone should have a working knowledge of these words to help enrich their reading/writing experience:



Denouement: The final outcome of the main complication of a story or play. It usually occurs after the climax and reveals all the secrets and misunderstandings connected to the plot. (Most people don't like to be left hanging at the end of a story unless it's part of an ongoing series)


Determinism/deterministic: the quality of a narrative or character that leads only to a single conclusion. We know, for example, that certain characters are doomed to fail, whatever they do. (Just like poor ol' Charlie Brown from the Peanuts cartoon.)


Dialogue: The words spoken by the characters of a story. (Not just a way for information dumping but a genuine exchange/interaction between characters)

Diction: A writer’s choice of words, phrases, sentence structures, and figurative language, which combine to help create meaning. (Also helps create the author’s “voice”.)

Didactic: A work "designed to impart information, advice, or some doctrine of morality or philosophy." (Something most publishers do NOT want to see in their picture book manuscripts.)


Draft: A completed version of a writing which may be rewritten, revised, or polished. (Usually the first of MANY drafts from original to final manuscript)


Dystopia: A fictional world so oppressive that it might be a nightmare for someone from our society. Examples of dystopian fiction would be Orwell's 1984. Some post-apocalyptic worlds are dystopias, but the usual feature of most dystopian fiction and film is that some type of society, however awful, still exists. (Never really knew what THIS one meant until just now...;~)

You see, you don't have to be a writer to have a better understanding of what it is you are reading. But understanding what you are reading will DEFINITELY make you a better writer!

What do you think? Let me know in the comments...






Blurb:Addie comes from a long line of readers or "story catchers" as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own the wiggly words play tricks on her. She tries different ways to make those words sit still but it will take a little faith for Addie to become the next STORY CATCHER.

Buy Links:
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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Lisa McCourt






Title: Granny's Dragon
Author: Lisa McCourt
Illustrator: Cyd Moore
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Ages: 4-8



Synopsis: 
It's time for bed, and one little girl has a very big problem: there's a monster in her room. Luckily, Granny has a plan -- a very big plan. Monsters are no match for Granny's dragon!

Why you should read it:
I picked this book by it's cover and title. Granny's Dragon seemed like it would be a cool story about one tough Granny and one tough dragon. I was wrong. What I did discover in this story is one sweet grandmother who helps her granddaughter get over her fear of going to bed by inventing a powerful monster-fighting dragon to guard her against the creatures she thinks lurks behind her bedroom door. I liked some of the story line, like when Granny says she's going to make a delicious monster stew, but the overall story just seemed to be lacking some essential hook for me to connect with the story on a deeper level. Might appeal to the very young or the older child that is really struggling with bedtime issues.


Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 3 out of 5...take it or leave it.
 

**Rating scale**
 

 5 out of 5...grab it!

 4 out of 5...think about it.

 3 out of 5...take or leave it.

 2 out of 5...maybe not for you.

 1 out of 5...forget about it!
















Blurb:Addie comes from a long line of readers or "story catchers" as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own the wiggly words play tricks on her. She tries different ways to make those words sit still but it will take a little faith for Addie to become the next STORY CATCHER.

Buy Links:
Amazon Kindle ¦ Paperback ¦ B&N ¦ Smashwords



JOIN THE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB!
Membership includes:
 

Membership Certificate

Bi-montly Newsletter full of mazes, puzzles, games, news, and other goodies
Reading Log for earning STORY CATCHER AWARD