The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Ribbons... and Back-of-the-Book Blurb # 97

This week all the sweating (sometimes literally) and toiling and collaborating and printing and rubber-cementing collided. All of the kids' science fair project boards are finished and are now on display. 

One of my 8th graders was thrilled he only got a 3rd place ribbon, because that meant his project would not have to be lugged to the local, city-wide science fair. I know. A middle-schooler who's reluctant to shine in the academic limelight? How odd she said, sarcastically.

 One of the 5th graders, on the other hand, was thrilled with his 2nd place ribbon. His mom came to check out the projects, and he proudly showed off his work.

Last year I only worked with the 6th-8th graders. This year I'm working with the 4th-8th graders. The work I did with the 4th-5th grade teacher this year was not as seamless as I would have liked. Next year, we'll begin our expository writing early--way earlier than the official science fair project work. The students will choose a general topic and then will do the research and writing work so that when they begin their science fair project, the hard part (for most of them) will already be finished.

Lessons learned... always a good thing.

And now onto back-of-the-book blurb business. 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. If you'd like to read my review of The Write Man, Lisa's most recent novel, you read it here.  Lisa nudged me into reading her first romance novel... and then I gladly read two more of her books, which is monumental, because I despise romance novels. However, Lisa Ricard Claro's writing is so engaging, she hooks me. To follow Sally Field's example, I like her... I really, really like her (and her writing).
          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:

Darryl's Dollies

       Some snarked about Darryl's clothing. He dressed in polyester dress pants, a ruffly tux shirt and high-top tennis shoes--wherever he went.
        Some townies talked more about his behavior. Darryl's mouth's always moving. He never stopped talking. Newcomers erroneously thought there was one of those blue tooth devices hooked around his ear and that he was talking on the phone to somebody. Not so. Darryl's best audience was Darryl himself.
        But if people were invited to Darryl's for dinner, it was the dolls that did them in. 
        They were everywhere. Many were perched on shelves, standing ramrod straight, permanently awestruck--eyes wide open--with happy smiles plastered on their porcelain faces. Dolls seated in miniature rocking chairs. Dolls lined up like soldiers along the walls, standing at attention on the floor.
         What's with all the dolls? Are they memorializing Darryl's mom? 
         Darryl's neighbors plan an intervention to get to the bottom of things... (150 words)


And since I'm trying to get back into posting twice a week, here is the photo that will be the cover for the basis for the next back-of-the-book blurb:

Monday, March 19, 2018

St. Patrick's Day, Six Word Memoir and More

photo by Austin Steele
This dog looks confident enough to pull off the beads, the
bandana and the beanie, don't you think?

photo by Austin Steele

Every year a huge St. Patrick's Day Parade goes through my school's neighborhood. This year, I was enjoying the parade from friends' house. They had a room porch and most importantly, a bathroom.

These are photos taken by Post Dispatch photographer Austin Steele.

photo by Austin Steele
This is the crowd in front of my school.

The parade inspired my six-word memoir this week:

Green seas...and rivers of beer-pee.
(I counted the hyphenated words as one word. Arrest me.)

And now onto the "more" part.

Lisa Ricard Claro nominated me (along with other bloggers) for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Here are the grueling requirements:

1. Thank the writer who nominated me. Thanks, Lisa.

2. Answer the questions. (Read the answers below if you need bathroom reading material.)

3. Nominate other bloggers for the award. (See the list at the end of this post.)

4. Write the same number of questions for the blogger who nominated me. (That means 11, guys.)

5. Notify the bloggers I nominated. (I'll send them an email.)

Now, here are Lisa's questions and my answers:

What do you most enjoy about writing/blogging?
As far as blogging, I love being able to connect with people all over the country and the world. One of the writers in my accountability group is living in England (I think). I have a blogging friend who lives in India. Getting to know these people via their writing is delightful.

As far as writing, I love being able to vent through my writing. I also enjoy taking a rough piece and polishing it up until it's kind of pretty and shiny.

Where is the coolest place you've ever traveled to?
I love France (my favorite place is a small village outside of Pau, at the base of the Pyrenees) but the coolest place I've traveled to is the ground. I've been skydiving three times, and looking up and seeing the sky and looking down and also seeing the sky is beyond cool. It's scary and fabulous and energizing.

Describe your favorite snack.
Anything that's both sweet and salty is a great snack, but since I'm trying to stay away from the sugar demon, I'd choose salt and pepper pistachios--the unshelled ones.

What's the best movie you've seen lately?
That's a tough one. I saw The Greatest Show on Earth recently, and I loved it. I saw The Shape of Water a week or so ago, and was enthralled. A couple of months ago, I saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and had a wonderful discussion after the credits stopped running. 

I can't choose. Sorry.

What's your favorite season, and why?
Fall is my favorite season. The trees change color (take that, Lisa! Those palm trees never change, do they? ;) and there's a special crispness and smell when autumn arrives.

Do you believe in ghosts?
I've never seen a ghost, but my husband has experienced something, so who knows. I do know we only use 10% of our brain's capabilities, so people reappearing after they're dead, well... I wouldn't say it couldn't ever happen. 

What advice do you give but don't take yourself?
Reach for the stars. I've had a writing idea for close to 20 years--a screenplay based on one of my favorite books. However, it seems so impossible (to get permission, for one) so the idea has just gotten dusty.

If you had to choose one color, what would it be?
Green would be my color.

When was the last time you laughed?
My husband (frequently) dances around, imitating Channing Tatum or Jason Momoa. Each time we laugh together. (I might laugh a little louder than he does, but it is a hilarious moment we share.)

Do you prefer a tablet or an actual book while reading?
When I travel on a long trip, and I can bring it, I love to take a tablet. However, I fall asleep with a book in my hands most nights, and what I have as my bathroom reading are books, so actual paper and binding books are what I prefer most of the time.

If you could have one wish granted, do you know what it would be?
I'm going back and forth between a couple of possibilities, so no, I'm not sure which one it would be.

Here are my nominees:

Val the Victorian
Donna Volkenannt
Lynn Obermoeller

Here are the questions for my nominees:

1. What was your first singer/movie star crush?
2. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be, and why?

3. What was the riskiest thing you ever did?
4. What great TV show or movie have you seen recently?
5. If you had a theme song (like Ally McBeal did), what would it be?
6. If you could have dinner with five famous people--either living or dead--who would be sitting at the six-top with you?
7. What would make up your favorite meal? In other words, what dishes/foods would be on the table for your favorite breakfast/lunch or dinner?
8. What book have you read recently that you would recommend?
9. If you had to "travel" to another era to live, which one would you not choose, and why?
10. Describe a "brush with greatness" you had.
11. What do you most enjoy about writing/blogging?

            Enjoy the rest of your week.