Monday, January 30, 2012


In my last post, I talked about how hard it was to get chunks of time to write in January.

It's about to get worse. I've been working with a damaged computer cord and duct tape for a bit. No one in town sells a cord that matches. I've ordered one on-line, but they could only tell me it would be here before February 12th. And I'm down to 30 minutes of battery life. *sigh*

I'll try to keep up on my iPod, but I'm really slow using it. So, my apologies if I don't get to visit your blogs for a few weeks. Hope to be back soon!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Life is full of interruptions. Some of them are good (butter tarts & family birthdays), others, not so much (marking tests & drawn out phone calls). Sometimes it seems as if life is conspiring against me - or more specifically against my writing. I bet you've had those moments as well.

For me, January has been FULL of interruptions. I didn't seem to get more than 20 minutes at a time for writing throughout the entire month.

I'm currently working on the ending of my wip. I've deleted 40 pages. Several times. I know what is going to happen - and I like the way the ending is going to play out, but I can't get it written. The time frames have been choppy - and the writing? Choppy as well.

I should be used to it. I often have times in my life where I only get small chunks of time. But for this ending I need to get some serious time in to create some flow. Hopefully February is a kinder month! I'm not counting on it though!

How do you deal with those short chunks of writing time?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays: The Name of this Book is Secret

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided to give middle grade books some well deserved attention. This week I've decided to play along!

The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

What a fun story! When the book orders come in to our classroom, I always do a quick introduction to each book that I've bought. Then I choose random names and they get to select the book they want from the pile of new books. Talk about excitement!

When I introduced this book, I read aloud the first 2 pages - the warning. The kids LOVED it. The kid who got to read it first was ecstatic! And he soon had kids clamouring to be the next one to read it.

The book is a fun-filled mystery and an adventure, with a touch of fantasy thrown in. The 2 main characters are so much fun. Cassandra - whose packback is filled with survival gear and who is ALWAYS ready for a disaster of any kind. Max Earnest who never stops talking and who tells joke after joke after joke. Too bad none of them are funny. The two reluctantly team up to solve a mystery and figure out if there's been a murder. All of it is centered around a mysterious box called The Symphony of Smells which once belonged to a dead magician.

There is a narrator to the story - he's the one who delivers the warning NOT to read the book - and his voice is fantastic. I'm not always a fan of narrators in stories, but this one most definitely works.

Do you like narrators in your stories?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weather or Not

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking weather - and whether or not I'm a good enough writer to include some of it. I hope you'll pop on over and join the discussion! Any hints are MORE than welcome :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's All Kid's Play!

A fabulous blog buddy of mine, Jean Oram, has set up a great website for anyone who has kids. It's called It's All Kid's Play and it's a TON of fun! With so many screens calling for kids' attention now, it's important to have a lot of activites that are easy, ready to go, and most of all fun.

That's where Jean comes in. Her site has 32 categories (not including jokes and book recommendations) of activities ranging from arts and crafts to sports, to challenges, to outdoor activities, to games, etc. This site is great for parents looking to cure their children's boredom blues, reconnect with some games, looking for party activities, or just looking for a way to bring more free play (unstructured, creative, child-directed play into their lives). Let's take a tour of a few of those sections...

Tricky Business: This has those goofy challenges kids (and grown up kids) love. For example, armpit farts, can't touch the floor games, catching stacked pennies off your elbow, lick your elbow (can't do that one), making salt/sugar crystals, etc. Tricky challenges are a great way to get kids back to the basics of playing. They challenge our thinking, the way we think the world works, test our boundaries and skills, and are a sure fire way to start the giggles!

 Car Rides: I feel this area of play is especially important these days as the family vehicle is one of the few places kids get to engage in free play these days. Families spend a lot of time in their vehicles commuting, driving to organized sports, etc., and it is a great place for families to reconnect and play. These days the majority of kids don't know how to entertain themselves in the vehicle without some sort of screen. On the car rides page I have a bunch of games that are great to help develop communication skills, visual skills, critical thinking skills, even math skills (and so much more). There is also a printable PDF with MORE games (than listed on the webpage) and a link to word games as well. There are so many things to do in the car! (Example games: I Spy, Round Up, How Long Will it Take?, License Plate games.)

Get out of the House: This section is great for families who are looking for something to do (heck, you don't even need to have kids for many of these!), planning a staycation, or planning an outing. This section includes many family friendly ideas on how to get everyone up, out, and moving. Spending time with your family increases individual resiliency whether you are 5 or 75. (Farmer's Market, go-carting, people watching, laser tag, go to the library, indoor wall climbing, etc.).

Those are fabulous! And those are only 3 of those 32 categories. You've got to check out the rest. I bet it'll make you want to play a game RIGHT NOW - whether you're a kid or not!

Jean and I originally met over at Agent Query Connect, where Jean is a super moderator for the site. If you haven't visited, it's an great place where writers at all stages of their careers hang out. Jean's blog is all about writing and you can also find Jean on twitter talking about writing as herself @jeanoram and representing her kids' site as @KidsPlay

What's your favourite kids' game?

Jean's got a Facebook page up and going - it looks great! Check it out too :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The White Assassin

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided to shine a spotlight and give some middle grade books the attention they deserve. This week, I'm playing along.

The White Assassin by Hilary Wagner

I thought this one would be a perfect choice for my first post of 2012. It's a fabulous MG book and if any of you are looking for a way to spend those gift cards, this is a great choice!

This is the 2nd book in Hilary's Nightshade Chronicles series. Nightshade City is the first book (which you'll love as well!).

I love the characters in this series. They are layered, complex individuals - whether they're rats, snakes or bats. Carn is probably my favourite - he put me through all kinds of emotions!! And the villain, Billycan, is much more complicated than you'd expect. The flashback scenes are powerful and pull you in directions you're not expecting, and not always prepared for. They're so well done!

It's a fabulous world of adventure and intrigue. Hilary ramps up the tension, so you just have to keep reading! As an added bonus, the book is dedicated to the fabulous Lenny Lee!

This is a perfect choice for anyone who loves adventures and mysteries. I know my students are going to love it too. They're going to be on Team Rat for sure! :)

Check out Shannon's blog for all the other participants in MMGM!

What's your favourite book with animals as main characters?