Thought for the Day:
“There is no perfect time to write. There is only now.”
~ Barbara Kingsolver ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
So many things can derail our writing, and there are some good tools out there to help you stay on track. One that I used to use, got out of the habit, and am going to start using again is an app called Focus. It’s free, although they offer upgrades. I’ve never needed an upgrade. If you would like more ideas for staying productive, HERE is an article by Debra Eckerling for Writers on the Move.
Titles are, oh, so important. Anne R. Allen has a terrific post HERE with 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Book Title in the Internet Age.
Melissa Donovan at Writing Forward always has helpful posts. HERE she has one on How to Break Through a Fiction Writing Block.
I promised to keep you posted on my writing classes. I wish I had been more on top of things last week. I would have alerted you to six free intro classes offered last week by Storytellers Academy. They do this once in a while, and I will try to let you know next time. The classes were good, and they got me very excited about the year ahead. I have bought a membership in Storyteller Academy for this year, and this week I got a taste of what is to come. The first term I plan to take three classes — Rhyming Picture Books, Character Design (yes, I will be drawing or trying to), and Crafting Picture Book Stories. Each will have a live 1 to 1 1/2 hour class via Zoom each week for six weeks. Then there will be assignments and homework to do. I’m not sure if I will be able to actually complete 3 classes in a term, but I am going to give it a shot. If it’s too much, I will cut back to 2, and take the 3rd one later. I bought what’s called a Maker’s Pro membership which allows me to take any classes I want and also go through any recorded mini-classes they have available online, of which there are many. I have taken one of those in the past, and it was quite good and helpful. While their focus is picture books, they also have classes for middle-grade writers, so maybe I will take some of those as well as time goes on. There are three terms with six or seven classes offered each term. This should keep me busy! I will let you know how it goes. My first class starts on January 24.
Last week I offered a gently-read ARC of Cress Watercress by Gregory Maguire to one of you. This week’s winner is Danielle Hammelef. Congratulations to you, Danielle! I will get your book out to you soon. Thanks for always sharing my link. I really appreciate it, and this time getting those extra chances paid off!
I always keep my eyes open when I get review lists for books written for the younger middle-grade set. I find it fascinating to be able to bring kids from picture books to full-blown, often lengthy novels through shorter, well-crafted novels for that age. I also like that I can read them in an afternoon or two. My old eyes also like the extra white space and larger type. And the occasional illustration is nice too. When I find one that is a mystery, that is a bonus. So when I ran across Mystery on Magnolia Circle by Kate Klise on the list for the Seattle Book Review, I snapped it up. What a fun find! And isn’t that cover cute? I can’t resist those dogs! Here is the review I wrote for SBR.
Ivy is ten when she falls and breaks her leg just as summer is beginning. She has to wear a cast from her hip to her ankle and needs to use either a wheelchair or crutches for almost the entire summer break. Even her best friend Teddy can’t cheer her up. His beloved dog had just died, and he is so sad. When Ivy spots what might be a burglary from her window, summer gets more interesting. Teddy tells Ivy that a burglary took place in his building, and Ivy decides they need to solve the mystery. Things get even more interesting when they find out there has been another similar burglary in town, and Ivy has reason to believe one of her classmates might be involved.
Kate Klise has written a really fun and exciting book for the younger middle-grade set with this tip of the hat to Hitchcock’s Rear Window. The dialogue is believable and snappy, the characters are fully formed, and the story is compelling. Occasional cute illustrations by Celia Krampien will help young readers keep those pages turning. This is a well-written book that will help youngsters make the transition from chapter books to novels.
I have no giveaway this week since I will donate the nice hardback copy I received. Don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE. He always has links to several middle-grade reviews, and he writes reviews on his own blog two or three times a week. See you here soon!