Sunday, November 11, 2018

Happy Veteran's Day


Today is the day to honor and thank all those who have served and continue to do so. Thank you for your service and God Bless you and your families!

Monday, November 5, 2018

New Book Review


TITLE: MERRY MYRRH: THE CHRISTMAS BAT
AUTHOR: Regan W.H. Macaulay
ILLUSTRATOR: Alex Zgud
PUBLISHER: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
PUBLISHED: July 2018
Hardcover ISBN: 9781616339371
Softcover ISBN: 9781616339357
eBook ISBN: 9781616339364

Year after year, a tradition is built. Two barn bats, Mr. and Mrs. Raft, visit a farmhouse to see the Christmas decorations through the window, especially the Nativity. When their young son hears of this annual Christmas adventure, he wants to join the fun and see the figure for whom he was named, the gift of the Magi. But his parents do not think Myrrh is old enough yet, so he sets off to explore with the help of his friend, Sensa Squirrel.

MERRY MYRRH: THE CHRISTMAS BAT is a sweet adventure story of a young bat experiencing the wonder of his first Christmas.  The kindness shown him by the farmhouse family is a good lesson for all children in treating others the way we want to be treated ourselves, even a “Christmas Bat.” 

Alex Zgud’s illustrations are beautiful and engaging, and the colorful Christmas scenes bring this story to life and warm one’s heart.

Macaulay also includes an informational paragraph on bats which kids will enjoy. Recommended for Kindergarten-2ndgrade children, ages 4-7.

Learn more about Ms. Macaulay at  https://reganwhmacaulay.weebly.com/.

**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review. This review consists only of my truthful opinions, not influenced in any way by the author or publisher.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Comfort Zone



Lists are my comfort zone.  Sometimes I make lists within my lists.  Often actually.  In the days before I discovered planners, my brother-in-law picked on me for the weekly lists I made on yellow legal pads like the image above.  I kept myself very organized this way.  I am a pencil and paper person by nature, so I prefer planners to online tools. If any of you have a suggestion for a planner that works well for writers, I would love to hear it. But back to my point...

Have you ever had so much to do that you get overwhelmed and simply do nothing at all? Or nothing of importance on your TTD list anyway?

I'm finally getting further in reading Vinita Hampton Wright's SIMPLE ACTS OF MOVING FORWARD (so I am getting some things completed!). The beginning lines of the first chapter stopped me. They fit me to a T! Wright says, "There's so much to do that I don't know where to start. I think of everything I'm responsible for and everything I'd like to accomplish, and I panic--and sometimes I cope by doing nothing at all."

Bam, yep, that is me. In a nutshell. And it isn't just writing or writing-related tasks but more just the combination of all...life happenings, work responsibilities, things I NEED to get finished and things I WANT to do. I try to keep my lists manageable and reasonable whether it is daily lists, weekly lists or just the overall collage of things hanging over my head that need to get finished soon.  And. I. Love. Lists! I love to make them. I love to cross items off my lists and see the end in sight and the re-shaping of the upcoming week's target goals. I can feel accomplished as I see this shift in my TTD list. As Wright says, "Lists are good for dreaming, for prioritizing, for helping the mind make order out of a situation that has become overwhelming."

My list is a way to navigate my time to be most efficient, and I find I am getting better at keeping it useful to stay on track and keep order in my day. And on the worst of days, lists do help, as Wright says, "regain some control over a mind gone berserk with clutter and worry." Berserk certainly seems like the perfect word somedays:)

Do you use handwritten lists? Online tools? None or all of the above? I am always interested in the best ways to stay organized should you feel inclined to share what works for you.

   

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Fractured



My fractured brain leads to fractured thoughts which results in fractured stories with fractured lines all strung together.  So how best to weave the lines into stories and determine which have the most merit and which darlings need to be killed? And when to pursue those ideas which are out of my typical genre?

These are the questions with which I am wrestling right now. I've had quite a few ideas though not all have been developed into a rough draft. And those that have do not all seem worth additional time at this point though often keep pulling me back for some reason. I also have a poster board of notes for a novel that has continued to draw me back intermittently and seems to be hollering at me now to dive in deeper. In order to do so, I need to figure out Scrivner as I haven't had much luck with that but think it will help me organize immensely going forward.

Either way, my thoughts seem to branch in a million directions as of late, and I'm not sure which path is best to follow at any given time.  I try to keep at least one PB WIP in the editing process (though right now there are three I am actively TRYING to finish editing) as well as develop one new rough draft a month per my 12 x 12 membership. Some months I've been successful at writing a new draft and others, not so much; however, therein lies additional fractures as I seem to be spreading myself too thin in many areas to the point I am not making much headway on some of the necessary things like reading, marketing and balancing all with home and work. I believe this is why I sometimes get drawn back to the novel and think it is time to focus on that one thing for a time. Even though my brain "fractures" are a result of good things and increased overall writing, it can sometimes hinder my progress when I get overwhelmed and don't know which to tackle first.

So, how do you figure out which ideas have merit? Which are reaching the time to let go or put on the back burner? And when it is okay to totally change stride and tackle something completely new and out of your comfort zone?

I would love to hear your advice and tips on what works for you to stay more focused and less fractured in order to be your most productive self.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Book Review: Mixter Twizzle's Breakfast


TITLE: MIXTER TWIZZLE’S BREAKFAST
AUTHOR: Regan W.H. Macaulay
ILLUSTRATOR: Wei Lu
PUBLISHER: Mirror World Publishing
PUBLISHED: September 1, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-987976-49-6

Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast, written by Regan W.H. Macaulay and illustrated by Wei Lu, is the story of Mixter Twizzle, a mischievous creature living below the chicken coop at Riverdale Farm. His devilish escapades render him an outcast on the farm. But is this lonely life enough for Mixter? Kids and parents alike will enjoy following Mixter’s antics around the farm as he stirs up trouble.

Ms. Macaulay’s creative use of language and alliteration in her story telling make this a fun read. MIXTER TWIZZLE’S BREAKFAST allows kids to learn the benefits of treating others well without preaching the lesson and is highly recommended for readers ages 4-7.

Ms. Lu’s beautifully bright and animate illustrations really bring Mixter Twizzle and his story to life.

Learn more about Ms. Macaulay at  https://reganwhmacaulay.weebly.com/.

**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review. This review consists only of my truthful opinions, not influenced in any way by the author or publisher.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Step By Step


While traveling for vacation, I finally had some time to start reading SIMPLE ACTS OF MOVING FORWARD by Vinita Hampton Wright which I've posted about previously. The premise of this book is all about taking steps in the right direction. As Wright says, "One simple act is a step in the right direction."

I know for myself I often get overwhelmed with the totality of all and, therefore, lose sight of the single, small steps I could take in the right direction. Once overwhelmed, it is easy to let it build until such time as it becomes more tolerable to do the distasteful--clean a toilet, pull weeds, etc.--than starting to dig out of the rut. And here enters the "stuck" mind which impacts the creative process as a whole. BIG PROBLEM!

Per Madeleine L'Engle, "Creativity opens us to revelation, and when our high creativity is lowered...so is our capacity to see angels, to walk on water, to talk to unicorns." And, as we all know, this is a must as writers when creating worlds where readers can and want to live.

In the intro of her book, Wright says, "The only way to get unstuck is to take a step. It can be a big or little step, and you usually have a choice of directions. But it's an action with purpose behind it, and no one else can do it for you."

So, step by step, one step at a time, I will work on this mission to unstick myself--my mind--and re-claim my creativity. When I stumble and backtrack, I will press on rather than letting my stumble become a fall. More to come...

If you have words of wisdom on the most productive steps that work for you, please do feel free to share!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Vacation


Wishing you all a wonderful and productive week. I will be enjoying some family time on the shores of a beautiful Minnesota lake listening to the loons and watching the sunsets. Until next week...