My brain in cluttered and chaotic, and I don't function well in clutter of any nature:) All for good reasons, namely preparing for my oldest daughter's wedding in a few short weeks as well as a recent return to work. I am, therefore, taking a bit of a time out to focus on all that is most important in the next weeks to month. Thereafter, I will back and aim for more regular posting and interaction. Be well!
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Monday, September 11, 2023
Wednesday, August 9, 2023
Today, August 9th, is National Book Lovers Day. Put down your phones, laptops, ipads, or any other technological device and pick up a book. You don't have to tell me twice!
Hit your favorite book store or local library and enjoy some time just simply reading. Whether a novel, an autobiography, a chapter book or a picture book, find something to read and lose yourself in the story for a little while. What a terrific way, and day, to celebrate the written word!
Should you be so inclined, I would love to hear what you are reading.
Thursday, July 27, 2023
I've been working on the concept of de-cluttering this summer though more in terms of my closet, cupboards, basement piles, etc. I hadn't thought of the idea of clutter as it relates to writing until picking up this book.
Zinsser discusses the idea that, "the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components," and, in doing so, we must, "clear our heads of clutter. Clear thinking becomes clear writing."
While I know some writers edit as they go, I love the idea of free writing and knocking out a rough draft without too much editing along the way; however, I wholeheartedly agree with Zinsser that fluency does not necessarily mean good writing and, "the essence of writing is re-writing."
Writing is hard work, plain and simple. We must sit butt-in-chair and put in the work. For me, that typically means writing the first draft and then going back to edit, modify, and prune words in an effort to tighten and strengthen the story as, in Zinsser's words, "writing improves in direct ratio to the number of things we can keep out of it that shouldn't be there."
So de-clutter those stories. Prune the weeds. Every word counts.
Per Zinsser, "clutter is the enemy." He gives some concrete examples of using shorter rather than longer words in an effort to simplify (e.g., assistance/help). I have found this book quite helpful thus far and recommend you check it out if you haven't already.
He further says, "Examine every word you put on paper. You'll find a surprising number that don't serve any purpose."
As a picture book author, this is advice I will, and must, heed as every word counts and must drive the story forward.
Looking forward to pruning and weeding my words in the process. I'd love to hear your process for doing so should you want to share.
Tuesday, July 4, 2023
Enjoy your day and be safe.
God Bless America!
Thursday, June 1, 2023
I had the opportunity to read my newest picture book, ALPHABET ZOO, at our local public library at the request of the children’s librarian, Jean Patrick, who is a wonderful children’s author.
All the children present, as well as their parents, were very engaged and enjoyed learning about the animals in ANIMAL ZOO and seeing C.E. Dale’s colorful and fun illustrations. It is always so rewarding to speak and read to children and see the excitement on their faces as they listen and ask questions. While there wasn’t enough time to present the animal trivia quiz in the backmatter section of the book as I was one of three authors reading that morning, we did discuss a few of the most fun tidbits which kids and adults alike seemed to enjoy.
It was a great time and given it was just before Christmas, I sold several copies of ALPHABET ZOO as well as my previous books which was terrific. School and library visits are a wonderful place to interact with children and share my love of books and reading, and this visit was no exception.
Thank you, Ms. Jean, and the Mitchell Public Library! I am grateful for the opportunity as well as your kind words…per Ms. Patrick, “Larson was a joy to have at the library. Kids loved interacting with her about their favorite animals. I only wish we could have had more time to hear her talk about the fascinating animal trivia from the end of the book!”
In addition, below is a book review of ALPHABET ZOO, written by Jean Patrick for our local newspaper, the Mitchell Republic.
Young Living Book Review
May 6, 2023
By Jean Patrick
Republic Book Columnist
When it comes to kids, you can’t go wrong with a book about animals.
In “Alphabet Zoo,” by local author Karin Larson, readers are treated to concise, rhyming descriptions of zoo animals from A to Z.
At first, the alliterative couplets describe familiar animals.
For example, “C is for the cranky camel, who boasts a hump full of fat. D is for the dabbling duck, whose bill is broad and flat.”
But halfway through the book, Larson begins to introduce kids to unfamiliar animals.
For example, N is for the spike-billed nutcracker, U is for the wild urial, and X is for the x-ray tetra.
The stylized illustrations of C.E. Dale are simple and uncluttered, making them especially appealing to preschoolers and toddlers.
In each illustration, Dale emphasizes the eyes, giving young viewers the feeling that the critters are looking back at them.
However, the exception is the yak, whose shaggy bangs reach down to its nostrils.
Meanwhile, “Alphabet Zoo” has a component that may appeal to older readers.
Following the main part of the book, Larson includes a section of Animal Trivia where she poses 26 questions with only an alphabet letter to serve as the clue.
For example, for the letter "D", Larson asks: “What sleeps with one side of the brain at a time and one eye open to watch for predators?”
To find the answers, readers must flip to the end of the book. (The answer is a dolphin.)
“Alphabet Zoo” is a multi-layered book that joyfully boosts vocabulary, emphasizes rhyme, and reinforces the alphabet.
Larson, a speech/language pathologist from Mitchell, is also the author of “Bedtime Kisses” and “Little Bug.”
“Alphabet Zoo.” By Karin Larson. Illustrated by C.E. Dale. 4RV Publishing, 2022. 80 pp.
Monday, May 29, 2023
Today, we remember and honor those who have served and lost their lives in the process. Thank you! To you, and to your families, we are forever in your debt.
Thursday, May 25, 2023
I've never considered myself a creative being, quite the opposite in fact. I can't draw to save my life. Not even a decent stick person. I can't sing. I can't paint. I can't decorate or choose furnishings very well. But, I do love to write. Writing is my main creative outlet; however, even in that, I never felt particularly creative. I hear lines in my head and love the language, but I often struggle to build a story around the line/lines I hear and craft. Snippets of lines and starts of stories clutter my folders and desk until such time as something starts to stick and builds into a full and complete story.
I long ago gave up analyzing how creative, or not creative, I am and just work to do my best work each day. Yesterday, I picked up BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert and reviewed areas I had highlighted in times past. One such area that really hit home was as follows:
"A creative life is an amplified life. It's a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner--continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you--is a fine art, in and of itself...Because creative living is where Big Magic will always abide."
Wow! I love the idea of living an amplified life, a happy life. And an interesting life. Who doesn't? I had just never considered how "creativity" factored into this life of mine. I do know that writing brings me much happiness and certainly broadens my horizons and, therefore, expands my life. So, in essence, then, I am living a creative life even if I'm not the most creative person, so to speak. I will keep working and trying to create good stories and striving to not let fear dictate my thoughts or prevent my progress.
For, in Gilbert's words, "when courage dies, creativity dies with it."
Let's keep creating, shall we?
Monday, May 1, 2023
For any readers out there, please contact me should you notice anything odd on here. Apparently, someone accessed my account and posted something titled "Launch Day" which was then unpublished by Blogger as it violated their guidelines. I did not write or post this and am unsure how someone accessed my account to do so but will be monitoring closely. Should you see something that does not appear consistent with my posts, please reach out.
Thanks so much!
Thursday, March 2, 2023
Today, March 2, kicks off Read Across America week (along with National Reading Month throughout the month of March), beginning on the birthday of Dr. Seuss.
During this week, let us focus on encouraging and promoting the benefits and importance of reading, especially for our children who have at their disposal these days so much technology that, at times, negatively impacts reading a good ol' fashion book.
Today, and throughout the week, I commit to spending time reading. Will you?
What are your favorite go-to books, Dr. Seuss or otherwise? I'd love to hear and compare the favorites amongst all of us.
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
This day is dedicated to reading aloud which helps foster the tradition of reading as well as promote literacy which is so very important.
There are many places online to join the fun and hear stories read aloud; however, you can also cozy up at home and enjoy reading books of your choice. I will definitely be doing so!
What books will you pick to read today? I would love to hear how you are spending your World Read Aloud Day.
Sunday, January 1, 2023
To learn more, visit Tara's blog at https://taralazar.com/.