"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Playing with Words and Authors

I've had an extremely difficult time writing outside of academic requirements since this pandemic hit. The emotional whirlwind, learning curve on new teaching environments, and various other recent life changes have left me feeling too drained to share much through composing for pleasure alone.

In an effort to self motivate, I've been reading more, sharing with new authors, experimenting with word play, and looking into taking a few classes. I thought I would share a few I've come across and see what you thought.

1) When Opposites Repel - this fun with words list is created by Leigh Lundin and shared on the SleuthSayers blog - a gathering spot for an excellent group of mystery writers to share their ramblings, and a great store of thoughts for writers of ANY genre.

2) Words You Think Are Synonyms-But They're Not - by Barb Goffman another member of the same SleuthSayers blog. 

3) Master Class - I just register for a membership to this group. I thought hearing the voice of some of these great writers discussing craft might be a great motivator. Authors include Judy Blume, Billy Collins, James Patterson, David Mamet, Neil Gaiman, Dan Brown, Margaret Atwood, R.L. Stine, Malcolm Gladwell, David Sedaris, David Baldacci, and Joyce Carol Oates.

Are you still writing during this pandemic? How are you staying motivated? Have you visited SleuthSayers, or taken a Master Class?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Shakespeare Day 2020

Today is "National Talk Like Shakespeare Day". It's observed on April 23, in honor of the author's birthday. To learn more about this celebration, check out the official site at: http://www.talklikeshakespeare.org/

Folger Shakespeare Library also hosts a variety of events, activities, contests, and programs for both kids and adults.

About eight years ago, I shared my own interest in Shakespeare in an article with Southern Writer's Magazine. You can check that out here: For the Love of Shakespeare.

For other great reads, Shakespeare fans should check out:

25 Romances for Shakespeare Fans
English, Irish, and Scottish Poetry
All the World's a Stage: Great Drama

Are you a Shakespeare fan? Will you be celebrating today? What is your favorite Shakespearean creation?

Sunday, April 19, 2020

2020 National Library Week

It's the start of the annual National Library Week (April 19- 25, 2020) in America. This is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and library workers and to promote library use and support. From free access to books and online resources for families to library business centers that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries offer opportunity to all. 
The theme for National Library Week 2020, "Find your place at the library," was chosen some time ago, before any of us could imagine the emergence of a global pandemic that would force most libraries to temporarily close their physical spaces.  But you can still find your place at the library because libraries are open for business online, providing the virtual services and digital content their communities need more than ever. You can access ebooks, movies, music, video games, virtual storytimes and activities, and so much more — all from the the comfort of your home.
This year during National Library Week, let’s celebrate by showing our appreciation for the many innovative ways libraries, librarians and library workers are continuing to serve their communities during a time of crisis.
Olympic medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani, a.k.a. the ShibSibs, are National Library Week Honorary Chairs and want everyone to know that they think libraries are amazing!

Celebrations during National Library Week
Monday, April 20: State of America's Libraries Report released, including Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2019.
Tuesday, April 21: National Library Workers Day, a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers.
Wednesday, April 22: National Bookmobile Day, a day to recognize the contributions of our nation's bookmobiles and the dedicated professionals who make quality bookmobile outreach possible in their communities.
Thursday, April 23: Take Action for Libraries Day, a day to rally advocates to support libraries.
- First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and observed in libraries across the country each April. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate.
Most writers and readers adore their local libraries, and it's often an included vacation locale. However, many don't realize the full range of services a good library offers. For great examples, check out this article at The Write Life.
Do you plan to celebrate with any special events this year? What is your favorite aspect of libraries?

Monday, April 13, 2020

March Scribbler Box: Double Theme and Changes for April

I have received my twelfth and, for now at least, final box from Scribbler. You can learn about previous boxes, and why I subscribed by clicking the "Scribbler" link in the labels below.

I was pleasantly surprised  to find the box this month featured a DOUBLE theme: OPENINGS and HUMOR.

As always, the first thing you see upon opening the box is a writing exercise/contest postcard. Each month provides a new challenge for writers to practice. The deadline for this month is 4/15.

The "Curated Writerly Gifts" this month include a bookmark featuring one of the authors other books, a "Creating a Character" guide page, a lemon and coffee scented candle, and old-fashioned "Green Apple" hard candies that were quite good.

As usual, this box also came with an inside look at the publishing process for ONE of this months author's, and an exclusive invitation to chat with a publishing professional: Jane Dystel, agent and president of Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret LLC as well as the collectible 'Writing Passport' with each of the author's discussing one of this months themes - Darynda Jones on OPENINGS and David Sosnowski on HUMOR.

This months box included a copy of FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT by Darynda Jones and the new release novel BUZZ KILL by David Sosnowski. I've never read a book by either author, and I'm looking forward to both of these as the descriptions are very interesting:

First Grave on the Right (the first in a 13 book series) is the smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper.
Charley sees dead people. That's right, she sees dead people. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light." But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e., murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.
This is a thrilling debut novel from Darynda Jones, an exciting newcomer to the world of paranormal romantic suspense.
First Grave on the Right is the winner of the 2012 Rita Award for Best First Book.

“Along with the almost satirical rendering of the world, the lovely writing, and engaging plot, the characters of George and Pandora are brilliant.” —Booklist
Pandora Lynch lives in Alaska with her single dad, an online therapist for Silicon Valley’s brightest and squirreliest. Homeschooled by computer and a self-taught hacker, Pandora is about to enter high school to learn how to be normal. That’s the plan at least.
NorCal runaway George Jedson is a hacker too—one who leaves the systems he attacks working better than before. After being scooped up by a social media giant, will George go legit—or pull off the biggest hack ever? Not even his therapist knows for sure, but maybe the headshrinker’s daughter…
After meeting in cyberspace, the two young hackers combine their passions to conceive a brainchild named BUZZ. Can this baby AI learn to behave, or will it be like its parents and think outside the box?
With a hilarious and deeply empathetic narrative voice, this elegiac and unapologetically irreverent novel is both humorous and tragic without ever taking itself too seriously.

Scribbler made a few changes for April. So, if you're curious about this box, here is a cheaper chance to try it out - if you don't mind digital:

Due to the That Which Shall Not Be Named, we are offering an entirely digital Scribbler box for the first time ever! Hooray! 🎉 Each virtual box will include a digital Writing Passport with an introduction from Scribbler and an exclusive essay from a bestselling author on pulling readers' HEARTSTRINGS. This box will also include a digital Publishing Process Inside Look, an invitation to an online live chat with one of the most powerful literary agents in the industry, and a fun Writing Contest that's exclusive to the box. Our April Scribbler Box will hit your inbox on April 21 along with a buy link to an ebook that complements the included teaching materials. We'll be running book discussions with the Scribbler founders, so while the book isn't required to enjoy the box, it sure will sweeten the experience (and keep a hungry author fed!). See you April 21st for a month of learning and online fun! 

The company hopes to return to shipping their regular style boxes in May. To learn more about this monthly box service: https://www.goscribbler.com/

Do you subscribe to any boxing services? Have you heard of SCRIBBLER? Are you tempted to join?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Easter Inspiration and Writing

As I mentioned in my last post, I haven't been doing much writing lately. A combination of a lack of time, stress, and unrest in my family has made chasing the muse exceedingly difficult lately.

I hope to change that this week, and take a little more time during this holy week to remember to be thankful and purposeful in everything I do. I pray you all enjoy a happy and healthy Easter holiday. If you're struggling during this time, one song that has been particularly meaningful in our home lately has been God's Not Dead by the NEWSBOYS:

For a little Easter writing inspiration, check out my post from last year 4 Easter Inspired Prompts, or this list that I just came across: Easter Journal Prompts.

Do you celebrate Easter? How are you celebrating this season? Have you tried writing anything Easter inspired, or similar to the above prompts? Do you want to share anything that you have felt pulling at your heart lately?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

IWSG: How are Things in Your World?

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

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?

MY ANSWER: We're doing pretty good here. Our schools are all at home and online at least until May. As a teacher, that means my days are balanced between teaching my own students online (both high school and college) and my own kids who are in seventh and fifth grade. It keeps us busy which also means I haven't really been writing. We currently have all of the essentials, internet access to keep in touch with family and friends, and so far - our continued good health. Praise God! The situation is still surreal, but we are hoping and praying for some sense of normalcy to return before too long.

How about you? How are you handling this pandemic? Are you getting any writing done?