Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Feburary #IWSG: Happy Camper




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!



February 5 question - Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?
The awesome co-hosts for the February 5 posting of the IWSG are Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, and Tyrean Martinson!







I'm knee-deep in books because that's my job. Piles of kid lit surround me like a happy fort. Why do books make me smile like three snow days in a row? They transport me to other worlds or to similar ones with interesting characters and worthy villains. (Don't get me started on the bad guys. They are my favorite to write!)
Lover's Leap on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River overlooking Illinois. 

With this view just blocks from my home, it's easy to be inspired every day. 


I always begin a new story idea with an Instagram photo or a Pinterest board. Inspiration for me starts with pictures, whether my own personal snapshots or from others wandering the earth. I've even started following urban explorers on Youtube. They've taken me on countless adventures around the globe and have given me access to the most amazing places!! Talk about story ideas. Holy moly.

Hiking and getting lost equal one Happy Camper! However, I'd rather sleep in my own bed instead of the great outdoors. Camping really isn't my thang. 

New hiking partner! (Harper the Australian Shepherd:)
My son lets me borrow her anytime. She is becoming quite the urban explorer.
The Nature Preserve. This place is like no other. Bat caves, winding trails, a hidden lake.
Mark Twain's inspiration for his stories, no doubt! Fun fact: I live in this author's hometown!

I will make my rounds and visit blogs and comment later in the day or tomorrow. Have a great week. 


Get out there and GET LOST and TAKE A HIKE! And write some books.


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

January #IWSG: In a Galaxy Far, Far Away Called Seventh Grade






Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!




Remember, the question is optional!!!
January 8 question - What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?
My awesome co-hosts for the January 8 posting of the IWSG are T. Powell Coltrin, Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Tremp, Renee Scattergood, and J.H. Moncrieff!






Welcome back! School started yesterday. To see my students excited about library and about reading books makes me happy. I'm also giddy that I will be getting my hands on several new releases. Anyone reading Maureen Johnson's Truly, Devious series? The third and final book, The Hand on the Wall, enters the world in just two weeks! I love that the protag is trying to solve a current crime(s) and a cold case from years ago. Mysteries be my thang. Too much? Too hip? Moving right along. 

Today's question. My writing journey started long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. That galaxy was seventh grade. By then, I loved reading, so I tried writing short stories based on my beloved genre: mysteries. 

Jump to about five years ago. Taking a few college courses even though I had my Bachelor's degree, my English professor asked me why I wasn't writing any books. Good question. I looked into Children's Book Insider at the time, joined a critique group and Twitter, and the rest is history...in the making. 

I'm ready to tackle all the things this year. How about you? Back to work? Back to the books? Back to the Keurig for a refill? Back to bed? I'll visit blogs later in the day after a crazy filled day of school.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

December #IWSG: "What I Want, What I Really, Really Want."



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!


Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. 


December 4 question - Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

The awesome co-hosts for the December 4 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Beverly Stowe McClure, Nicki Elson, Fundy Blue, and Tyrean Martinson!




What I want is MORE TIME! If I were living the dream, my days would be filled with more writing time. On the other hand, I love being a school librarian. Reading hundreds of books a year has tightened my writing, twisted my plots (in a good way), and given me a better understanding of the children's book market.

Even though I'm not a publisher or an owner of a cozy book store, I am a buyer, seller, and lender of kid lit. Easy readers, chapter books, graphic novels, full-length novels fly across my desk. Librarians use Scholastic Book Fair and other avenues for obtaining books. We are the gateway to a child's mind. Okay, that sounded way creepier than I intended.

In a nut shell, we know what genres kids of various ages want to read. This is the advantage of reading more books over more writing time. I've included some fun kid lit data on my new website that is still under construction due to technical difficulites. I promise it's coming soon!

What do you want this Christmas? More writing time? More reading time? More coffee?



Wednesday, November 6, 2019

November #IWSG: I SOLEMNLY SWEAR THAT I AM UP TO NO GOOD



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your \
November 6 question - What's the strangest thing you've ever googled in researching a story?

The awesome co-hosts for the November 6 posting of the IWSG are Sadira Stone, Patricia Josephine, Lisa Buie-Collard, Erika Beebe, and C. Lee McKenzie!




When you're a murder mystery writer (even for kids!), one must google the many facets of detective work and death. My recent google search led me to the definition of county coroner: an elected official who is responsible for the investigation of deaths...to determine cause and mode of death. 

Well, okay, then. On a lighter note, I dressed up as Hermione Granger for Halloween. And, yes, it snowed the morning of October 31st. I hope everyone has a fantastic November. And may the force be with you if you plan to participate in NaNo.






How about the craziest thing you've ever googled? I can't wait to hear everyone's responses!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

October #IWSG: Speedreading is my Super Power





October 2 optional question:
 It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?

The awesome co-hosts for the October 2 posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Mary Aalgaard, Madeline Mora-Summonte, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!




I can't imagine a world without reading. Just as I can't imagine a world without Octobers. Yet, we endured another grueling ninety-five degree day yesterday. Where is my sweater weather???? Meanwhile, in Montana... (No, thanks!)


selective focus photography of orange fruit
free image via Unsplash

As a school librarian, I inspire kids to read every day. Currently, I'm devouring three books a week. Speedreading is my super power! I have no regrets. 

Reading books helps a writer write well. Re-reading my favorite book several times inspires me to reach for my best writing. 

Okay, I won't take all day to say that reading is knowledge. I am a professional book worm who promotes reading for a living. 

My hubs is having carpal tunnel surgery today. Sorry, I am late posting. He had the left hand done last week. He feels amazing after having this procedure! Today will be the right hand. I will visit blogs and respond to comments later in the day. 

Hope you are experiencing sweater weather and not shoveling snow or getting sunburned. Keep writing and READING.



Wednesday, September 4, 2019

September #IWSG: Digging Deep into My Soul, er, Amazon Account




September 4 question - If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

The awesome co-hosts for the September 4 posting of the IWSG are Gwen Gardner,Doreen McGettigan, Tyrean Martinson, Chemist Ken, andCathrina Constantine!




What a great question for this month's post. To answer this, I must dig deep into my Amazon account. Where are the settings for my novels? What genre of books do I read most? What movies do I watch over and over?


My Pinterest novel research board is locked. I don't need the FBI on my doorstep.However, my other boards contain a few of my favorite things: intimidating mansions with beautiful architecture and a past, spine-tingling abandoned places, dark forests, ancient cemeterys, fog-filled haunted houses, and October landscapes. 

The one place I'd like to sit and write my next story is...

Drum roll, please.

Inside a Harry Potter movie (or book).


free image from Unsplash



I'd enjoy writing any place where mist rises from the river, shadows dance in the firelight, candles hang suspended in the room. England, Ireland, perhaps Scotland? Or Salem, Massachusetts. Hocus Pocus is also one of my favorite movies!! Please don't ask me how many times I've watched this epic classic.

What can I say? I love mysteries, and I love fantasy. I love stories about boarding schools and adventures. And most of all I love fall. I didn't mean to rhyme! 

How about you? I can't wait to hear everyone's top choice.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

#IWSG August: Surprise! School Starts Next Week


First Wed of Every Month



August 7 question - Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you'd forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?

The awesome co-hosts for the August 7 posting of the IWSG are Renee Scattergood, Sadira Stone, Jacqui Murray, Tamara Narayan, and LG Keltner!


I used to love when my kids went back to school. Now that I'm an elementary school librain, well, my sympathies are in full swing for the children. 

I met a lot of my writing goals this summer. My oldest son (computer science major) is helping me design a new website with Wix. I can't wait to share his amazing talent soon! 

To answer the above question, it's hard to stay positive in this tough writing world. Most surprises that come our way aren't good. I love when my writing takes me to another level--ususally after a long run, a round of editing, and a successful binge watching of Stranger Things.

One positive thing I'm looking forward to is FALL. My favorite time of the year. Story ideas flood my mind when the leaves begin to change. Hello, pumpkin spice! Hello, spooky tales. Hello, Hocus Pocus!

Haunted Hannibal Ghost Tours
It has begun.


Did you meet any goals this year? Any surprises this summer? Are you ready for the school year? Ready for fall? Ready to take the Haunted Hannibal Ghost Tour? 

Feburary #IWSG: Happy Camper

Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We discuss our fears, insecurities,...