Monday, February 29, 2016

The Classics - Opening Lines: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgens Burnett

"When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too." (Published 1911)

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, February 25, 2016

Celebrating Stephanie Faris's Cover Reveal: A Book My Granddaughter Would Like

I'm joining others this week in celebrating Stephanie Faris's new Piper Morgan Series and Cover reveal for Book 3 in the series:

Piper Morgan to the Rescue

When I first learned about Stephanie's character Piper, I thought of my spunky eight-year-old granddaughter Liza and her family's menagerie of pets. At one time I counted 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 birds, one frog, and a beta fish. Oh, and I probably missed a hamster somewhere in the mix.

Their household changes with the seasons, and some of their pets have been adopted too. Their home could easily be an animal shelter, because, like Piper, they love animals. I plan to share the series with Liza. The story is endearing, and isn't the cover a delight to the eye? I just love the bright colors.

Read Book Blurb Here...

Piper Morgan to the Rescue: Piper helps some four-legged friends find the perfect home in the third book of the brand-new Piper Morgan series.

Piper is super excited to help out at Bark Street, a local animal shelter in town. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by adorable puppies and dogs all day? And when Piper sees Taffy, the cutest dog she has ever seen, Piper is determined to find a way to bring Taffy home. But it won’t be easy—especially when she finds out someone else wants to make Taffy a part of their family, too!

Release Dates

--PIPER MORGAN JOINS THE CIRCUS (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, August 2016)
(Click on title if interested in an advanced reviewer copy. Stephanie is giving away a free copy through the 28th)
--PIPER MORGAN IN CHARGE (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, August 2016)


Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the upcoming Piper Morgan series. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.


I wanted to add that I appreciate Stephanie's professionalism. She made it easy to share her book series and cover reveal on my blog. She emailed me a Press kit, complete with Book jacket, Head shot, Blurb about her book/series, Bio, other Books published, and Links.  


Congratulations, Stephanie. Wishing you the best of success!!

On another note, this is Celebrate the Small Things Friday. I haven't been keeping up that much, but I still love the simplicity of this lovely blog hop. As I spent most of this week fighting a nasty cold, today I'm celebrating a clean bill of health. 

I've neglected my writing, but I did manage to finish our taxes (just need to mail) and especially enjoyed the sunshine today. It's in the 50s here and the warm air (when out of wind) feels glorious. 

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Celebrate the Small Things: To join, please visit Lexa's Blog for the rules. We post every Friday about something we are grateful for that week. It can be about writing, family, school, general life or whatever.

Sharon M. Himsl

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mississippi River by Paul Manning: Book Review

“River Adventures”(series)
Mississippi River
Author: Paul Manning
Publisher: Smart Apple Media, 2015
Ages: 8 to 11, Middle Grade
Pages: 32

Take a ride down the Mississippi River in this "river adventure" by Paul Manning, from its source at Lake Itasca in Minnesota to its destination the Gulf of Mexico. Learn the river’s early history, from its formation in the ice age 10,000-12,000 years ago and the prehistoric burial mounds built on its shores, to Native Americans like the Ojibwe who hunted the river’s wildlife 7,000-8,000 years ago.

Discover how more recent history transformed the upper Mississippi into a river highway for transport boats, and where the river widens beyond, for steamboats and barges, dating back to the days of the fur trappers and traders. St. Louis was the gateway city, which was a stop point for many pioneers traveling west in need of equipment and supplies.

The shores of the Mississippi are rich in nutrients too, for growing corn and wheat. Dams and locks further make the river a provider of hydroelectricity and a source of recreation. Today, cities like St. Paul and Minneapolis benefit greatly, especially in the transport of raw materials and goods. Close to “500 million tons” of cargo are transported yearly.

The river changes as it flows south through the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains, forming rapids, waterfalls, and a series of lakes. Changing yet again, the lower river is known for its wet climate and flooding, which was perfect for growing cotton in the past, and today is a source of oil for natural gas industries. Onward to the river’s outlet through the wetlands of New Orleans, which is a busy port and cultural hub, a levee is necessary to prevent flooding.

Manning includes maps, photos, a glossary, and a short quiz at the end. The Mississippi River is packed full of interesting details and a nice introduction for young readers.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Classics - CLOSING LINES: Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

"We need scarcely mention that her uncle was the illustrious Professor Hardwigg, corresponding member of all the scientific, geographical, mineralogical, and geological societies of the five parts of the globe.

End of the Voyage Extraordinaire."  

(Published 1871)

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, February 15, 2016

The Classics - CLOSING LINES: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Image result for age of innocence book jacket
"He sat for a long time on the bench in the thickening dusk, his eyes never turning from the balcony. At length a light shone through the windows, and a moment later a man-servant came out on the balcony, drew up the awnings, and closed the shutters.
At that, as if it had been the signal he waited for, Newland Archer got up slowly and walked back alone to his hotel."

(First Published 1920)  

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, February 8, 2016

Oddbods | 2016 Chinese New Year Compilation

Happy Chinese New Year! A Cute post by the Oddbods. Wish I could be with our California family to celebrate. Hubby and I flew down one year to visit and we were treated to Chinese "hot pot" at a restaurant in LA's famous China Town. Glad my daughter-in-law is fluent in Chinese. She placed the order and we ate like royalty. If you ever get a chance, don't miss it! It's a noisy treat (just like this video) and lots of fun for families.

The Classics - Opening Lines: Ivanhoe: A Romance by Sir Walter Scott

"In that pleasant district of merry England which is watered by the river Don, there extended in ancient times a large forest, covering the greater part of the beautiful hills and valleys which lie between Sheffield and the pleasant town of Doncaster. The remains of this extensive wood are still to be seen at the noble seats of Wentworth, of Warncliffe Park, and around Rotherham. Here haunted of yore the fabulous Dragon of Wantley; here were fought many of the most desperate battles during the Civil Wars of the Roses; and here also flourished in ancient times those bands of gallant outlaws, whose deeds have been rendered so popular in English song." (Published 1820)

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, 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).     

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? 

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.