Wednesday, February 3, 2016

IWSG: Organizing My Life

The Insecure Writers Support Group meets online every first Wednesday of the month. Founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh, IWSG was created to support and encourage writers in every phase of their work, from writing to marketing. Click here to join, and for information, writing tips and more. 

Co-hosts this month are Allison Gammons, Tamara Narayan, Eva E. Solar, Rachel Pattison, and Ann V. Friend!


I recently purchased Scrivener, a software program for writers that I've known about for some time now. The tutorial is quite involved, but after spending two days going over all this software has to offer, I'm glad I made the purchase. I was a little put off by the terminology at first. The Table of Contents is called the Binder. The writing space is called the Editor and the research area is called the Inspector. But once I understood the layout and the three root folders--Draft, Research and Trash, I knew Scrivener would work for me. I like that you can easily move chapters around, create character and setting sheets, create an outline and synopsis as you flesh out the plot. There's a cork board when you need a visual breakdown. There are ways to track themes, plot points, etc. I worried that setting things up would be tedious or feel too confining, but so far it's been fun to use.  

Hubby and I purchased new Smart Phones and with the purchase received a nice Tablet. We needed the phones. Our old phones worked okay for online searches or email, but the phone service was horrible. We are so remote here (an hour from anything major). 

The Tablet has been fun. We're sharing it, but have separate sign-ons. No really, sharing works fine for us! Vince wanted it for his aviation apps and I wanted it for online communication, organization apps, and games. I haven't downloaded any games yet, but no doubt will. I like scrabble, crosswords, and solitaire best. 

I downloaded an app called ColorNotes and love it, a glorified set of sticky notes that you can design anyway you wish. I'm using it to track some of my goals for 2016. It's something you can play with relaxing in front of the TV at night. For instance, I wanted to track the number of books I read, not titles necessarily, but Types of books. Here's my list: The Classics, Books on Writing, Books by Other Bloggers, Books I Review, Book Club Books, and Other Books. I'm also tracking Writing projects and Cozy Comforts I make (I joined a group that makes blankets for the needy).     

"Meercat"
So I guess you could say, I've been organizing my life this month :)   

Found a quote on plotting and writing outlines by Ray Bradbury I like: 

“Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations. Plot is observed after the fact rather than before. It cannot precede action. It is the chart that remains when an action is through." 

Isn't that great advice?

And something else I thought good: Think of outline as a  "living map." Things are bound to change and that's a good thing. >>>>You can read more at: How to Abandon Your Outline to Improve Your Story
// Writer Unboxed


Coming Soon! 
Also: Signed up for the A-Z April Challenge. Anyone else do this? It's a whirlwind month of reading other blogs and learning about a topic of interest, and I have to ask myself....Am I crazy? But it turns out, I really enjoy the challenge. The A-Z was my first introduction to the blog community and it changed the way I blog. This will be my fourth year and I hope to see some of you there. Click here to learn more and sign up if you like!

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Classics - CLOSING LINES: The Pilgrim's Progress by Paul Bunyan


"Shall it be my lot to go that way again, I may give those that desire it an account of what I here am silent about. Meantime, I bid my reader Adieu." 

(1855 edition; first Published 1678) 


I love the classics and plan to alternately share some "CLOSING lines" over the coming months. Comment if you wish, or read for inspiration. Writing styles were different then, or were they really? 

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Classics - Opening Lines: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

As narrated by Dr. Watson:

"In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the army. Having completed my studies there, I was duly attached to the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers as Assistant Surgeon."

(Published 1887) (This short novel introduced Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson)

I love the classics and plan to share some "opening lines" over the coming months. Comment if you like, or read for inspiration. Writing styles were different then, but were they really?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Book Review - Voices of the Civil Rights Movement by Lori Mortensen

Image result for Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: A Primary Source Exploration of the Struggle for Racial Equality“We Shall Overcome” (Series)
Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: A Primary Source Exploration of the Struggle for
Racial Equality
Author: Lori Mortensen
Publisher: Capstone Press, 2015
Ages 8 to 10, Nonfiction
Pages: 32

The voices of key Civil Rights activists come to life through documented primary sources in Mortensen’s Voices of the Civil Rights Movement. Readers learn the different points of view, and how participants in the movement actually felt. Photographs show the emotions on people’s faces, their actions and reactions, and elsewhere in quoted speech, the words they spoke. 


After slavery was abolished in 1865, “Jim Crow” laws quickly fell into place in the southern states, separating the black and white races. Hate groups and mob activity rose against African-Americans, threatening all who disobeyed. Blacks grew weary of being separate and not equal. In 1955, Rosa Parks of Montgomery, Alabama, said she “was tired of giving in.” Mortensen describes the bus boycott that resulted when Parks went to jail over a bus seat she refused to yield to a white rider. Leaders on both sides of the argument rose. 

Alabama Police Commissioner Clyde Sellers argued that the law had been broken, plain and simple. Black leader Martin Luther King Jr. initiated a nonviolent protest, in which blacks in Montgomery refused to ride on the bus line. The boycott gained national attention and protest spread throughout the south to other areas of concern, such as school segregation. Black leaders Thurgood Marshall and Daisy Bates spoke out, demanding more action, against objections by Governor Orval Faubus and George Wallace, who fought against racial integration. Freedom Riders made the news, like Jim Zwerg, a white Civil Rights worker who was beaten. 

The fight for freedom changed America, Mortensen writes. White prejudice continued to surface and more lives were lost, but southern viewpoints eventually changed. The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 and America's first African-American president was elected in 2008. A Glossary and Critical Thinking Using the Common Core section are included to generate classroom discussion. A good primary source for teachers to introduce, as well as for interested parents.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Independent Publisher Books Awards: 2015


The IPPY Awards. The Independent Publisher Book Awards were created in 1996 in recognition of independent authors and publishers. Since then there have been thousands of IPPY Awards, and the number is growing. Included are genres reviewed here, but there are plenty more at their site.


Fiction: Juvenile


GOLD: Jack the Castaway, by Lisa Doan; illustrated by Ivica Stevanovic (Darby Creek Publishing)

SILVER: Project Superhero, by E. Paul Zehr (ECW Press)

BRONZE: My Brother's Story, by Allen Johnson Jr. (Premium Press America)

Fiction: Young Adult

GOLD (tie):
-The Belief in Angels, by J. Dylan Yates (Chenery Press)
-Words and Their Meanings, by Kate Bassett (Flux Books / Llewellyn Worldwide)

SILVER (tie):

-Spirit Legacy: Book 1 of the Gateway Trilogy, by E.E. Holmes (Lily Faire Publishing)
-Spelled, by Kate St. Clair (Black Hill Press)

BRONZE: Melt, by Selene Castrovilla (Last Syllable Books)

Fiction (Multicultural): Young Adult

GOLD: The Clever Swallow, by Christopher Lee, illustrated by Yoom Thawilvejakul (Ammonite Films Publishing)

SILVER: Walking Two Worlds, by Joseph Bruchac (7th Generation)

BRONZE: The Parrot Matchmaker: An African Lovers Tale, by Felix Adeoti Oguntoye (Asalako Press)

Nonfiction: Young Adult and Juvenile

GOLD: Smile & Succeed for Teens, by Kirt Manecke (Solid Press, LLC)

SILVER: How to be a Space Explorer: Your Out-of-this-World Adventure, by Mark Brake / Lonely Planet Kids (Lonely Planet Pub)

BRONZE: The Electrifying Story of Multiple Sclerosis, by Vanita Oelschlager; illustrated by Joe Rossi (Vanita Books, LLC)

Nonfiction (Multicultural): Young Adult and Juvenile

GOLD: Amazing World Atlas: Bringing the World to Life, by Lonely Planet Kids (Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd)

SILVER: All About China, by Allison Branscombe (Tuttle Publishing)

BRONZE: Because I Am a Girl, by Rosemary McCarney with Jen Albaugh and Plan International (Second Story Press)

Picture Books: Children (7 and under)

GOLD: The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, by LeVar Burton and Susan Schaefer Bernardo; illustrated by Courtenay Fletcher (RR Kidz Inc)

SILVER: The Great Googly Moogly, by Courtney Dicmas (Child’s Play International Ltd.)

BRONZE (tie):

-The Night Before My Birthday Book, by Joni Rubinstein; illustrated by Juana -artinez-Neal (Three Hearts Presents LLC)
-Luna Luna, by Sam Ryan; illustrated by Hazel Mitchell (Mascot Books)

Picture Books: All Ages

GOLD (tie):
-Cyparissus, by Marta Sanmamed; illustrated by Sonja Wimmer; translated by Jon Brokenbrow (Cuento de Luz)
-T.L.C., by M.H. Clark (Compendium Inc.)

SILVER: Fred and the Monster, by Scott Sussman; illustrated by Yves Margarita (Octopus Ink Press)

BRONZE: The Coal Thief, by Alane Adams; illustrated by Lauren Gallegos (Rodina Press)