Wednesday, July 1, 2020

July #IWSG: WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD BOOKS GONE?





July 1 question - There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

The awesome co-hosts for the July 1 posting of the IWSG are Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp, Liesbet, Tyrean Martinson, and Sandra Cox!




To answer the above question, I would love for the world of publishing to return to basic story telling. So many authors want a platform to spew their rhetoric or doctrine. I get sick of people trying to sell a message to the masses. In the last few decades I remember reading for fun. The top selling books were Harry Potter, the Alex Rider series, Lockwood & Co. For instance, Diary of a Wimpy Kid debuted thirteen years ago. Hands down, it's still the most checked out book in my library. Kids want to laugh, and they want to relate to the characters. 

The simplicity of reading for the pleasure of the page has fallen out of fashion. I'm not saying we can't have depth to our writing or a message to give to children. But when it becomes the obvious driving point behind the story, I roll my eyes. Why do I feel this is an uphill battle? Where have all the good books gone? This remains my whole reasoning for reading my favorite books over and over. Call me old school if you want. Not every book is a dud. I relentlessly hunt for good reads. It's my job! This is my opinion on the changes I'd like to see in the book industry. 

On a more positive note...I've been offered the head librarian position of another elementary school in addition to my current school librarian job. I'm honored that they trust me with twice the number of books and twice the kids. I will divide my time between the two schools and I couldn't be happier!! 

How's your summer going? Read any good books lately? Ready for school to start? Need a vacation? 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

June #IWSG: God Bless America






June 3 question - Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

The awesome co-hosts for the June 3 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, J.Q. Rose, and Natalie Aguirre!




Anyone else super busy this month? Lots of celebrations to keep my whole family hopping. Graduations, birthdays, my anniversary. 

I am so thankful I live in Missouri. We've been free for over a month now. People from every part of the country have flocked to America's Hometown to enjoy life once again. Life is pretty much back to normal. Can't say for the rest of the country. Lord help us. I choose to work in a low-income school with kids of all races. Please don't lump all white people into one category. God loves everyone and so should you. Rioting and looting is wrong. It's against the law and it's destroying lives. End of rant. 

A secret I've added to one of my stories pertains to my hair color. I hated red hair growing up. I tried to dye it, hide it, you name it. A character in one of my books has a unique hair color situation (not red) and it's a perfect picture of my childhood. My mom refused to let me dye my hair, and as a kid, I was stuck with it.  

How is everyone doing this month? Don't let the world get you down. I refuse to give in to fear and hate. God bless (help us inspite of ourselves) America!





Wednesday, May 6, 2020

#IWSG: MAY THE INSPIRATION BE WITH YOU






May 6 question - Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?

The awesome co-hosts for the May 6 posting of the IWSG are Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!




I write everyday when I'm not taking an intential break. The more often I sit down to hash out those outlines, the more I get into the zone. It's not a magical spell. I don't even count the number of words. I write by scenes or chapters. 

I do have one trick up my sleeve. When I'm stumped or when I struggle with plot or characters, I go running, walking, or hiking. It always jogs the creative juices. (See what I did there?) The puzzle pieces start to fit. 



Train Bridge on the Mississippi River
(notice the crane!)

How is everyone doing? Our state reopened on Monday. I'm super excited to get back into the world. Actually, my routine for the last two months has consisted of daily hikes in the great outdoors. I'm so grateful I live next to the beautiful Mississippi River where I find inspiration around every corner. 

What have you guys been up to? Writing? Taking a break? Reading books? Getting inspired? Cleaning? Organizing every room, drawer, and closet in your entire house? 

Guilty. 




Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April #IWSG: THE ODDS ARE IN OUR FAVOR

April 1 question - The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

The awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!


How in the world are you guys doing?? Normal life for me came to a screeching halt the day after the first day of my spring break. Did that make sense? Does anything make sense right now? 

It was a Thursday. We traveled to St. Louis for a day trip. We visited the zoo, the art museum, my favorite restaurant: Sugarfire Smokehouse. Whispers swirled of the virus already being in the city. Things would shut down in a day or two. It was surreal. Two days later St. Louis shut down followed by the rest of Missouri. Thankfully, we still have relatively low cases here in our town. 
Van Gogh's Starry Night on display in St. Louis
St. Louis Art Museum

My school has been closed for almost three weeks now. Being a teacher for many years, my routine of washing hands and disinfecting things is a way of life. I have, however, switched to a weekend schedule.I hope you have a routine!!

For me I get up and clean the house, work out, read to my kid (middle-grade murder mysteries, of course!), do art projects, write with my kid, take my son's puppy for a walk, watch a movie, get dinner ready. Keeping a routine will keep you going strong!
Puppy time!

My life hasn't changed too much. My two sons are taking their university classes online at home and still working on campus as essential employess. My oldest is graduating this year. Of course, they canceled graduation. We found out yesterday that they have rescheduled it for August. This news made me so happy!!!

My faith is in God and I'm grounded in his Word. People are freaking out. Stop freaking out. GET OUTSIDE! TAKE A HIKE. TAKE A WALK. MAKE A ROUTINE. I have three places I love to hike. Change it up. Get out everyday. It keeps you sane! Worrying can't change anything. Stay positive.

And yes, we are watching Hunger Games. Hope and prayers for everyone!

Currently, I'm reading the following three books (because librarians never stop reading):

The London Eye Mystery
Murder Most Unladylike (yes, I've read this a thousand times, but now I'm reading it to my daughter)
The Deadly Curse of Toco-Rey (one of Frank Peretti's Cooper Kids Adventure series!!)






Wednesday, March 4, 2020

IWSG: March Mayhem




March 4 question - Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?

The awesome co-hosts for the March 4 posting of the IWSG are Jacqui Murray, Lisa Buie-Collard, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence!



I'm under the weather today. My tooth is killing me! Waiting for the antibiotics to work before the dentist can do anything. I'm opting out this month. I'll be back in April. Happy Wednesday and happy writing!

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.  

July #IWSG: WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD BOOKS GONE?

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