The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, November 20, 2017

Presentin', Progressin' and Back-of-the-Book Blurb #85

       Yes, I know. I'm way behind. I had a super busy end of week, along with a crazy weekend. I'm saying one apology for each of my readers... which means I only have to say "I'm sorry" 1.6 times.

     Thursday evening was full of prepping for a substitute (I took off on Friday), along with putting the finishing touches on a workshop handout and getting stuff ready for a writing marathon.

      The NCTE convention (National Council of Teachers of English) was in St. Louis. I was leading a writing marathon through Ferguson, Missouri--of great interest to people from out of town.






       We ended at Cathy's Kitchen, a Ferguson restaurant that is located right next to the Ferguson Police Department. Cathy Jenkins and her husband Jerome had stories to tell us over a delicious lunch.




      At the convention I did a bit of oohing and aahing. Jacqueline Woodson spoke to a huge convention room. It was so crowded and in such demand, teachers were sitting on the floor along the sides, just to hear her. By then, my former teaching partner and I had already done our presentation, so we could relax...






Okay, so maybe this is a better photo of her...

I also got to go to a workshop by Tom Romano. He's a rock star when it comes to multi genre writing.




     Today, it's back to work. However, as of 7:26 on Sunday evening, my NaNoWriMo word count was 16,179. Fortunately, I will have time to write tomorrow with my students. Since we have a short week (only two days), we're going to work on our NaNoWriMo during our literature classes as well as our composition classes...

      And now onto to a much-belated book blurb post...
        Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a coffee table book of fashion trends? Is it a photo collection of mentally-ill patients and their clothing choices? You decide.

        Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Blurbs are those enticing bits that prod you into buying the book. Sometimes they're on the back cover of the book. Sometimes they're on the inside front cover. What they always try to do is lure you into purchasing the book. 

          Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this writing challenge. She moved to Florida, and is too busy to host a weekly book blurb. Her first romance novel, Love Built to Last, just came out as an audio book.  She's quite busy these days. Not only is she a prolific writer, she also runs an editing business. (I hope someday I will have need to hire her.)
          
          Okay, back to book blurb stuff.
     
          Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is. And then, check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.

           Here's the book cover, along with my blurb:

Google Images



Henry the Thinker

“Are you ever going to come out?”
Bang! Bang! Bang! “How long are you going to be in there?”
With only one bathroom in the house, sometimes it was a race. If Eloise saw signs that Henry was getting up, with the intention of using the toilet, she’d fly out of her rocking chair and beat him to it… a slammed door signaling her victory.
Outwitting him was necessary. Henry thought the toilet was his throne. He read magazines while he crouched on the circular seat. He played video games on his tablet so long, his butt cheeks would go numb. Henry spent so much time in the bathroom, Eloise decided to honor him with a sculpture… which she had installed in their front yard, along with the sign:
This is my king on his throne.
          Will Henry be pleased? Or will he be pissed? (145 words)

Reviews

George Costanza: I think this book goes overboard. I mean, he's naked. I only recommend taking off the dress shirt and undershirt when preening in the bathroom after a toileting event, so I cannot recommend this book.

The Roto-Rooter Man: This guy looks like he lives on pizza and corn dogs... probably doesn't even know what vegetables look like. I advocate he either starts eating some roughage, or he'll have need of my services. I also advocate that everybody avoids this book.

The Bathroom in Room # 1 at the Bates Motel: If you read this book, something horrible will happen to you... something as horrible as what happened in me. Eeek eeek eeek!


And for those who'd like to work ahead (since, goodness knows, I rarely do), here is the photo for later this week:

Google Images








Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Something Rare... And Something Even Rarer

     

             Winslet (Winnie) never got to "dress up" for a holiday until she came to America. She got to around Halloween, and did a meet and greet at a dog bakery. (Whenever any of the dog cookies got knocked onto the floor, she was eager to help with the clean up.)




         Winslet (Winnie) never had a toy, even though she was three years old. When she came to America, she got two toys--an alligator-y thing and a dragon.
She was so proud of her two "babies." She would prance over to us and put one of them into our lap. Our job: squeeze the baby, make it squeak, and then she'd take it back.  Never did she even think of tearing either one of them up.




     
       Winslet (Winnie to us) never had the luxury of sleeping in a dog bed. She also didn't know what it was like to sleep in a safe place. Winnie went back and forth between Radar's bed whenever she wanted (he's an easygoing guy) and a folded-up quilt. Winnie went wherever she wanted... and that was fine with us.





      Winslet (always Winnie to us) would go out fifteen times a day to pee (if we let her) because it meant a treat for her when she came in. She'd never gotten a steady supply of treats before she came to St. Louis, never could depend on food and clean water, so when it was breakfast/lunch/dinner (she got fed three times a day) she danced. Literally, she'd dance. When we pulled the lid off the tub of dog chow, she'd stick her head into the tub and get a headstart. When we poured fresh water into the bowl, she'd stick her head under the stream of water to get some right away. You see, Winslet came from Turkey. She was a stray. Strays never know when their next meal or their next bowl of water is coming...




        Winslet (never again Winnie) had diarrhea the entire 6 weeks she was with us as a foster dog. She had a super-high white blood cell count. Going into a doggy hospital didn't help. She got released, and went to the vet this past Friday for a re-check with her blood. In the examining room, she began deteriorating before our very eyes. She couldn't use her right front leg. Then her back right leg started failing. She wouldn't blink when they poked their hands toward her eyes. She walked around like she was drunk--using the wall to help support herself and bumping into chairs.

       She went to a different doggy hospital Friday evening.* These doctors cared. They researched all weekend (during their time off), looking for the "zebra" that was killing Winnie. (They'd already eliminated all the usual suspects. They were looking for something rare... something that was hardly ever seen.)

       They think they found it. Protothecosis. It's untreatable... and on Monday evening it took Winnie.

        Before Winnie was euthanized, she had a McDonald's hamburger--another first for her. She was petted and kissed over and over... and hopefully wherever she is now, there is a food and water bowl that's always full, there are lots of stuffed "babies" ** for her to carry around in her mouth, there's people who lover her and there's no more pain.

      Winnie died from a rare disease. But a dog that can make a couple of people fall in love with her in just a few days... and then can break their heart in just weeks? That's even rarer. 


 * Heritage Veterinary Hospital in Creve Coeur, Missouri and AVS--in Bridgeton, Missouri--did a wonderful job trying to find a diagnosis. An autopsy will be done and samples will be sent to the veterinary college in Columbia. Perhaps vets will learn because of what Winnie went through.      


** Winnie was cremated with her dragon baby. If someone doesn't come into a life with a toy, at least they can leave with one...

       

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Winslet, Book Signing, Yes to NaNo and Back-of-the-Book Blurb # 84



          Winslet is in the doggy hospital... again. Chronic diarrhea continues. While we were in for a vet appointment for a recheck on her white blood cell count, she became quite unstable--right before our very eyes. Walking around like she was either drunk or she'd had a stroke (she's only 3), her left front and back leg were visibly weak/nonfunctioning. We rushed her to an emergency care facility. She'll be there at least for the weekend.

         Winslet, in case you're not one of my 1.3 readers, is a foster dog from Turkey. When we took her to the emergency place, one of the techs came in with a disposable gown and said, "I'll come back in my gear." Our rescue president and I wondered what she was talking about. Would she return decked out in SWAT boots and body armor? WITH? 

         She then came back in the same way she was before, in a disposable gown, and she had another tech with her (who was also wearing a disposable gown). She said, "I'm wearing this because we're from a foreign country." My eyes widened, full of questions. What country were the two of them from, and why did their country of origin necessitate a disposable gown? When she said, "We don't know what Winslet might have picked up in Turkey," I couldn't help it.

        I had to say, "Oh, so when you said, 'We're from a foreign country,' you meant she's from a foreign country." I hate when people use "we" and "we're" like that.) She tried to claim that was not what she said, but both of us heard it.

         If you're free and in the St Louis area, come to the U City Half Price Books store. From 11-3 there will be a few Chicken Soup writers (Linda O'Connell, Pat Wahler and myself) signing books. Bring a canned good in and enter a drawing for a $50 gift card.

        My NaNoWriMo word count is 9,347. That's probably a third of the way. I'm semi-pleased with how it's going so far. Hopefully, when I post next week, I'll have progressed a bit more.


 And now onto the business of the book blurb...

         Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a coffee table book of fashion trends? Is it a photo collection of mentally-ill patients and their clothing choices? You decide.

        Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Blurbs are those enticing bits that prod you into buying the book. Sometimes they're on the back cover of the book. Sometimes they're on the inside front cover. What they always try to do is lure you into purchasing the book. 

          Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this writing challenge. She moved to Florida, and is too busy to host a weekly book blurb. Her first romance novel, Love Built to Last, just came out as an audio book.  She's quite busy these days. She's busy trying to figure out how many hours a beach lover and writer can resist the beach as she toils away at her writing.
          
          Okay, back to book blurb stuff.
     
          Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is. And then, check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.

           Here's the book cover, along with my blurb:




Little Miss Dynamite


Little Imelda was a miniature keg of dynamite and she was a triple threat. She could sing, dance and act.
Mrs. Markohs tried to rein in her enthusiasm, but it was impossible. Whenever she saw an ad for a kids’ beauty pageant, this stage mom was frothing at the mouth to get Imelda’s application filled out.
Unfortunately, a monster was in the making. As Imelda racked up trophies and blue ribbons, she got more demanding.
“Use Evian water to make my koolaid, not that crap tap water!”
“Ugh. A brown paper sack? Put my lunch in a Birkin bag.”
“No ‘Super Cuts’ for me. Take me to get a $200 haircut.”
Even her mother can see Imelda is getting a bit unreasonable.
Will she be able to bring her daughter back to earth? Or, will Imelda continue with her monstrous and demanding lifestyle? (143 words)


And for those few who are considering playing along, here is the book cover for next week:





Monday, November 6, 2017

No to NaNo?

       NaNoWriMo is a daunting challenge. If you are victorious, you get at least 50,000 words down between November 1-30.

      It's a short month. Why couldn't the NaNo people choose a month with 31 days? Why couldn't they choose a month that doesn't involve a huge family holiday... one that involves lots of cooking and baking and eating and recovering? Why couldn't they have made it a two-month challenge?





      I don't know. All I know is I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year, but with some modifications.

      Here are a couple of excuses I've used over the years:
  • I'm writing nonfiction. I'm not writing fiction. I'm not writing a novel. 
       Pshaw. So you're writing your memoir. So you're writing nonfiction. Be a NaNo rebel. There are others like you. You might want to read this article to find out the different possibilities.

       I've done thinly-disguised memoir during NaNo. I've used it as a way to nudge me along when it comes to word count. You could try this too.


  • There's no way I can write 50,000 words in one month.
        I've failed at this several times. The times that I "won" resulted in hot messes that will never be sent off to an editor/publisher.

        Last year I got 25,000 words down. It was my best writing (in my opinion) and I hope that soon I will be ready to start shopping it around. I was happy with that amount of words because I envision it being a novel for middle-grade kids. Kids' books are not 70,000-90,000 words long.

        This year I have the same goal. If I can get close to 25,000 words, and it doesn't make me want to hurl, I'll be quite happy.

        Will I "win" NaNoWriMo if I do this? No. However, I will be closer to finishing a big project than if I'd never started NaNo...

        Currently, my word count is 3,722. Already waaay behind.

        Which is fine by me...







Saturday, November 4, 2017

Jokes, Anyone? and Back-of-the-Book Blurb #83

        Well, it's day three of NaNoWriMo. I've written all three days, but am already two-days' worth of words behind. By the end of today I should have written more than 4,8000 words. Instead, I have 1,788 words...

      ...which is okay, because I like the gauzy as cotton candy plan I've created. I'm writing a middle-grades novel. The main character: Nathan, an 8th grader who loves to pull pranks and tell jokes. When he finds out a teenager was lynched in 1955 all because of a joke, Nathan does some research... and gets immersed in a horrible historical moment.

       I began from a different perspective, but it didn't feel right. At all. So, today I switched, and the story's being told from Nathan's perspective... and it feels right.

      Will I be able to rack up 20-25,000 words by the end of November? Will I be able to write the story from beginning to end by November 30? Only time will tell. However, one thing I know for sure: I will have made more progress than if I hadn't even started NaNoWriMo.

      But I need your help. If you have a favorite joke or two--they need to be kid-friendly--I'd love to hear them. Pranks and jokes are going to pepper the story. One of my students was reading over my shoulder on Thursday, gave me a sly look and knowingly said, "That's an interesting story, Mrs. R," and then he laughed. However, Nathan doesn't know (yet) that he's the star of this WIP...

         And now onto the business of the book blurb...

         Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a coffee table book of fashion trends? Is it a photo collection of mentally-ill patients and their clothing choices? You decide.

        Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Blurbs are those enticing bits that prod you into buying the book. Sometimes they're on the back cover of the book. Sometimes they're on the inside front cover. What they always try to do is lure you into purchasing the book. 

          Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this writing challenge. She moved to Florida, and is too busy to host a weekly book blurb. Her first romance novel, Love Built to Last, just came out as an audio book.  She's quite busy these days. One thing she's been stuck with lately is using an electric cattle prod on me, since I'm late (almost always) with this Friday post (like I am late this week). Maybe some day soon, I can consistently post on a timely basis...
         
          Okay, back to book blurb stuff.
     
          Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is. And then, check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.

           Here's the book cover, along with my blurb:



The Power of Words

Adara was silent. Always. Being a woman, she knew her place. The men in her life spoke for her. They told her what she wanted. They gave her what she needed. They told her what she thought.

Her father. Her brother. They were the center of Adara’s universe. They were her universe. They eclipsed everything, to the point there was no room for Adara.

But when her application for a fellowship in London was accepted, Adara knew her world was going to change… forever. Her family was not happy, but they told her to contact her London cousins when she got settled… and they could take over for Adara’s father and brother.

However, Adara plans on disappearing. She isn’t going to let any of her family know of her new address.

Soon, she is going to be able to think her own thoughts and create her own universe… with words. (150 words)


And for those dozens of writers who play along each week (ha), here is the photo for next week, so you can work ahead:





Monday, October 30, 2017

What Terrifies You?

      I still remember watching the movie "The Birds" for the first time. I know I was not yet a teenager, and being afraid was delicious. It was fun squealing and covering my eyes... as long as it was done in a safe place. (After reading about how some of the scenes were filmed, I now think that Alfred Hitchcock was the scariest part of that movie. If you don't know what Tippi Hedren endured to get the movie filmed, check out this article.)



      Probably close to the same time, I read the book Rosemary's Baby, which had me on the edge of my seat.

       As an adult I've continued my love of being scared, of being creeped out. Mostly, it's been via ink on paper. "Silence of the Lambs" was scary-suspenseful at times. So was "Psycho." (I just saw the new version of "It" and was not scared in the least. Can anybody recommend a scary movie?)

       Here are some of my favorite scary books:

  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • The Fireman by Joe Hill (Stephen King's son)
  • NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (again, did you pick up on it? He's Stephen King's son)
    What scary books or movies can you add to this list? Terrified minds want to know...