Monday, November 30, 2015

The Classics - Opening Lines: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
"Once on a dark winter's day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted and the shop windows blazed with gas as they do at night, an odd-looking little girl sat in a cab with her father and was driven rather slowly through the big thoroughfares." 
(Published 1905) 

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?

Sharon M. Himsl

Writer/Author. Blogging since 2011. 
Published with Evernight Teen: 
~~The Shells of Mersing

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving: Memories Flood my Heart

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope all of you are tucked in nice and cozy somewhere, enjoying a special time with family and friends today. Memories flood my heart and mind this time of year and I can't help but reflect back. In America, this is the best holiday ever.

My memories grow and change with each passing year. Here are some of my favorites:

Sharing a Thanksgiving meal with international students, those that Vince and I met at the university in our jobs. How I loved the surprise on their faces and the gratefulness they always expressed. Harue and Akino from Japan; Federico, Corine, Pablo and Jose Juan, from Uruguay; Jose Angel and Daniela from Mexico; and many, many more who wandered in to share our table. I'm afraid I do not remember all your names. 

A snowy Thanksgiving morning. Vince was on the road, driving to Spokane to pick up our son. He had flown in from Oregon, where he had taken his first job after graduating from college. He was so excited to be home again. I filled the house with praise-filled music and scrumptious scents that wafted from the oven as the turkey roasted, pies baked, and pots boiled on the stove. How I cherish that memory. 

There is my first Thanksgiving meal as a newlywed in Biloxi, Mississippi. Not bad, as I recall, but no matter. We were thankful, oh so thankful to be alive. Vince and I had survived Hurricane Camille in August. The storm had killed over a 100 in our area alone.

So many more memories. Too many to count, I'm afraid. There are those of my childhood, when relatives gathered from all over the Tacoma area. The women and girls crowded in Mom's tiny kitchen to make a meal for ten or more. How did we ever do it, Mom? Your meals were pure perfection. 

And still, the tradition continues. With family far and wide, we will spend it with Vince's sister and husband this year. My apple pie is already in the oven baking. Sweet potatoes are boiling in a pot on the stove for the candied sweet potatoes, the family likes. 

Blessings to all of you, and if you are alone this holiday, my heart goes out to you in friendship. Huge hug to you! This is one time I would hate to be alone. God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Classics - Opening Lines: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne "The year 1866 was signalised by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and puzzling phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten." (Published 1870)

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? 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Dead Upon a Time by Elizabeth Paulson: Book Review

Dead Upon a Time
Author: Elizabeth Paulson
Publisher: Scholastic Press, 2015
Age: 12 up, Young Adult
Pages: 211


Once upon a time there was a young woman named Kate Wood, who took food baskets to Nan (her grandmother) in the woods, fought off wolves, and like Nan, was “uncommon.” Shunned by the Shepherd Grove villagers because of her family’s magical powers, Kate is desperate for help when Nan disappears. Her one clue is the strange tapestry that Nan left behind, with terrible scenes of suffering stitched into the fabric showing children imprisoned in cell blocks. 

Children have been disappearing from Shepherd Grove for some time now. Kate goes to her childhood friend Jack (also “uncommon”), who has been hiding in the woods ever since the ‘giant killing’ fiasco. He agrees to help, but they are captured a short time later by Constable Sterling of the village and taken to King Wilhelm for questioning, where they learn that Princess Ella has also disappeared. Kate convinces King Wilhelm that she and Jack can find Ella along with Nan. Privately, she suspects his evil new wife, Queen Cecilia. Adding to her suspicions, Kate finds a tapestry similar to Nan’s in Ella’s belongings, with the words “you’re next” inscribed at the top. 

Also, stitched in both tapestries is a trail of vines that leads to a brick fortress, which Kate and Jack find and follow in the forest. Arriving at the fortress, they meet Nan’s evil twin, Catarina. She has been luring Nan and Kate all along and needs “uncommon blood” to maintain her evil state and beauty. Kate offers her life in exchange for Ella, the children, and Jack (also captured), who are then released. To Kate's surprise, Constable Sterling arrives unexpectedly (they had long since ditched him). 

An enchantment spell is lifted revealing his true identity, Kate’s long lost father. Catarina is quickly defeated and imprisoned. Kate happily takes up residence with her father and Nan. Jack is content to stay in the woods and most of the children happily live with Ella and the king. Their families and evil Queen Cecilia remain a mystery, but that’s another story. A bit too fairy tale-ish for me, but I'm sure some will love this rather dark tale.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Classics - CLOSING LINES: The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

"And this is the story of how the lieutenant lost his arm. When he reached home, his sisters, his mother, his wife, sobbed for a long time at the sight of the flat sleeve. "Oh, well," he said, standing shamefaced amid these tears. " I don't suppose it matters so much as all that." (Published 1895)

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?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015: Honoring the Brave and Strong

Image result for free patriotic poems for veterans day Thinking of my family and friends, and others I'll never know, who have served in the U.S. military in the past and serve today, defending democracy and protecting the people of America, the country of my birth.

Thank you!! 

To my grandfather Paul (Army) who served during World War I
and World War II.

To my Uncle Mervin (Army), Uncle Jim (Navy), and father Robert (Navy) who served during World War II.

Special thanks to my Uncle Russ (Army), who was captured during World War II and spent the duration in a German prison camp.

To my Uncle Art (Army) who served during the Korean War.

To my husband Vince (Air Force) who served during the 
Vietnam War. 

To my friend's brother Alan (Army), who served during the Vietnam War and lost his life.
To niece Jammie and husband Kevin, and niece Jessica for your past and present service in the Air Force today. God bless you!

Thank you!!

Image result for free patriotic poems for veterans day


Monday, November 9, 2015

The Classics - CLOSING LINES: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Image result for great gatsby book original cover 
"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." 

(Published 1925)

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?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

IWSG-November: Holding Steady

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 all writers in every phase of their work, from writing to marketing. Click here to join, and for information, writing tips, and more.

Co-hosts for November are Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson!


I'm holding steady, awaiting replies on my novel, and darn it, I am getting the standard form letter reject from agents, but not all have been negative. For instance, one was interested in "future projects." Now that's motivation to finish all those projects I've started. I'm currently working on two--one fiction, one nonfiction.

I must say that all replies have been polite, which I appreciate a lot. One benefit of email correspondence is that agents (and publishers) can spend time writing the nicest reject ever. Seriously, I have been impressed. Years back I remember when the standard postcard reply was one of several boxes checked. It was impersonal and discouraging.

So . . . here's another perspective:

A huge distraction to all this has been Fall gardening. With over half an acre, we have a lot of bare land yet to fill. Off the top of my head, I've planted somewhere around 25 shrubs starting in October. I'm going to take credit for doing most of the work too! My husband has had a full plate this past month, but I don't mind. Gardening has always been a creative outlet for me. A garden grows one plant at a time, in much the same way the plot (the soil) and characters (the plants) of a story grow. Some fail and some perform in extraordinary ways. All it takes is water, TLC, fertilizer and time.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Classics - Opening Lines: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum"Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife. Their house was small, for the lumber to build it had to be carried by wagon many miles." (Published 1899) 

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?

About Me

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You could call me an eternal optimist, but I'm really just a dreamer. l believe in dream fulfillment, because 'sometimes' dreams come true. This is a blog about my journey as a writer and things that inspire and motivate me.