Friday, October 6, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things: You Can Always Find Something

When life gets you down, find something to smile about. Try a happy memory that makes you reflect and gives you pause. I often head for the baked goods, perhaps not the healthiest diet-wise, but I enjoy baking cookies on a cold autumn afternoon. I did this a lot as a girl for my family, and also as a young mother. Nothing better than fresh baked molasses cookies and a cold glass of milk. Store bought just doesn't cut it!

How about warm socks on a cold Autumn morning? I'm thinking of those cozy Norwegian slippers I sometimes got for Christmas under the tree as a girl, but I like the stripe ones on the left too. Boy, do they ever warm the toes.
Maybe it's a taste of homemade jam that the neighbor brought over or you made yourself. I was given a box of plums and made plum jam. 
It could be a funny line from a favorite movie.
I still quote lines from Bill Murray's 'Groundhog Day'.  Oh, no, did I do that same thing again? Will I ever learn? "It's Groundhog Day!"


Could it be a good book you gave yourself permission to read? When you really should be doing something else? I say, go for it! I like the orange tabby purring at this young boy's side. Animals have a special gift. They know how to make us slow down in life. Best blood pressure medicine of all! 

 How about one of #Evernight Teen's awesome books? If you read one, be sure to give a review. It's the kindest support you can give an author.

I'm reading Kate Larkindale's book, An Unstill Life by Evernight Teen. What are you reading?

And don't forget to vote for C. Lee Mckenzie's book, Double Negative, up for the Reader's Choice award for Young Adult. You can vote here: 🙂

There is is always something to celebrate, so if you haven't found the time this week, make time now. I guarantee you'll feel a whole lot better. "You can never have too much happy."

Author of THE SHELLS OF MERSING - Evernight Teen

"Come celebrate with us" 
To join "Celebrate the Small Things, visit Lexa Cain's blog
Co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG: Seasonal Inspiration and Not-so-Inspirational Other

We painted the garden shed last week and I can't stop staring at it. The blue doors make such a difference, don't you think? We almost chose boring brown. 

I don't have much to say this month writing-wise, other than I'm still writing and making progress on the new novel, a sequel to my recently published one. I wrote a preliminary first chapter and had fun playing with a humorous scene, but mostly worked on the outline, which is slow going. Received my first royalty check on the sale of The Shells of Mersing and didn't run out to celebrate. To be fair, the not-so-Inspirational check reflected only one week's worth of e-book sales, not print, but my husband and I quickly did a retake on the new garage we thought we might build. Ha--ha... It was enough to buy a giant Snickers bar, we joked. Royalty checks are due out again this October, so keeping my fingers crossed but expectations more in keeping. Very excited though that the book is at our local Barnes & Noble on a local author's shelf for Young Adult. I haven't checked to verify this (we live one hour away), but was told they ordered two copies in. Maybe that will qualify me for a box of Snickers!

Those are the Umptanums in the background. Never mind we lost most of July and August to thick un-breathable fire smoke and couldn't enjoy the outdoors. 'Mother nature' has made a glorious comeback and memory of that smoke has already begun to fade.  

In answer to the month's question....Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters either by accident or on purpose?.... No, not really. I feel strongly about not sharing family information that could embarrass or cause harm. When I started writing I think there were family members that worried I might reveal some of the family skeletons. My granddaughter would really like me to use her name, however, which I will if I can come up with the right character. She's such a neat kid 👩 

Time to get the pumpkins ready and find some sales on candy for Halloween. We usually go through six bags or more, but I don't mind. The kids have a ball, and with all the negativity in the world right now and the terrible shooting in Las Vegas, I'm all for making the world a little brighter and whimsical for them whenever I can.

So 'hi' to all the writers 
and readers out there. 
Wishing you a fruitful 
and glorious autumn. 


The awesome co-hosts for the October 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken,Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz: Book Review

Finding Perfect
Author: Elly Swartz
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2016
Ages: 8 to 12, Middle Grade

For twelve-year-old Molly Nathans, life was perfect once. Mom and Dad were happy and not separated. Her friend Hannah’s family wasn’t planning to move far away and her other friend Bridget wasn’t obsessed with collecting obituaries after a family member died. Molly doesn’t think there is anything wrong with striving for perfection. If she wants to arrange her glass animal figurines perfectly, so many inches apart, it’s one thing she can control in her otherwise imperfect world. Of most importance, she wants to fix her parent’s marriage. Mom moved out and took a job in another city, leaving Dad to care for Molly and her siblings, Ian and Kate. Her old sister Kate is just plain mad, convinced that Mom has left for good. Ian, the younger of the three, misses Mom and cries a lot. 

Molly convinces herself that she can fix her parent’s marriage by winning the Poetry Slam at school. Mom would then feel compelled to return home for the awards ceremony and see the error of her ways. As the poetry candidates are narrowed down, it becomes clear Molly will win. But also clear is Molly’s strange behavior of late. For instance, instead of washing her hands just once, she repeats the process again and again, and her glass figurines are never, ever, in the right position. Most bizarre is her compulsion to count numbers in her head. Added to this strange behavior, Molly believes that if she doesn’t perform these acts, something terrible will happen to Ian. 

By the time her friends and Dad (and eventually, Mom) begin questioning her behavior, Molly has learned online she has a mental condition called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Ignoring Molly’s attempt to hide her symptoms, family and friends intervene. They learn that others in Molly’s family have been OCD, and Mom and Dad learn the importance of tending to the needs of their family. The author does a great job creating a believable story about a real disorder that often begins in childhood. A book I would recommend.

Check out new Goodreads REVIEW