Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Cover Reveal Shout-Out and a Mid-Week Smile

Check out TWO COVER REVEALS for THE SHELLS OF MERSING Thank you Tonja Drecker for the shout-out!!!  

And Author Page here

Below, just for fun, saw this cute video honoring the
works of William Shakespeare. Guaranteed to make you smile 😊

Published on Apr 21, 2016
This year, the whole world commemorates 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare and to mark this landmark anniversary, famous scenes from Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream have been immortalized in LEGO® bricks.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Family, Faucets & Chipped Pottery: Celebrate the Small Things

Pottery - Kota Bharu, Malaysia
(personal collection, s.himsl)
Celebrating .....
  • My biggest celebration this week was receiving a mock up of my novel's book cover. I love it!! But I'm saving it for a Big Cover Reveal, in the next week or so. Some of you saw it on FB, but I need to write up an official press release. I've been so busy this week. Why is it when things happen, good or bad, they all happen at once?
  • Spent six days with my mother, who recently fell and broke an arm. She's 92. A bit touch and go at times, but she's definitely on the mend. Also typed up her hand-written story, Forgotten Village. About 3000 words so far. She now has a typed copy to edit when she's feeling better. Pretty cool. My sister-in-law has been the main caregiver (she's an angel), as the family is doing this without the cost of a nursing home.  
  • Outside faucets back at home working again. So glad we hired someone to crawl under the house to check. He found lots of rabbit droppings, which could account for the funky odor we noticed in one of our closets. He's going to seal all of the outside entry points. I guess I should be happy he didn't find snake skins and rat droppings! Spiders yes, but those we can spray for.  
  • The Pacific Northwest was in its glory this week. On the west side, in the 70s, everything is blooming. Our place on the east side is warm and perfect for outdoor sitting. 

Some more Object Flash Fiction....

"Broken Pottery"

   Annie ran after her husband as he backed the truck down the driveway, waving her arms like a crazy woman. "Wait John, you took the wrong box."
    John stopped the truck and rolled down the window. "Crap, Annie. We have enough junk already." Grumbling inside, he stepped out of the truck. Ten minutes more and he would have made it to the Goodwill dumping station.
    Annie frowned. "You took the Malaysia box. I wanted this to go in the storage bin." She was already holding the box with the pottery they had purchased in Kota Bharu. The one piece with the chipped edge had once been perfect, but less than perfect made it all the more desirable.
    John gave a short, knowing nod. There was no debate. Malaysia had changed their lives, redefined everything they had valued in life up to that point. Marriage and raising children had nearly been the end of them. They had been close to a parting of the ways. The too young couple from Missoula with working class roots were about to prove the naysayers right. The marriage would fail. 

Then came the opportunity to work in Malaysia for a year, a strange twist of fate, a coming together of events, they never could have invented in their wildest dreams. They grabbed hold and went on an adventure. 

When they returned, they were grounded again as a couple, filled with dreams for the future. No, the Malaysia box with the chipped pottery would definitely stay. 

Wishing you a pleasant weekend! 

"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

Sharon M. Himsl

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

Friday, May 19, 2017

Life is a Balancing Act: Celebrate the Small Things

From family's Stereoview collection

Ha-ha. Kind of feel like the fellow above, getting ready for my next big act. I'm not balancing life perfectly but making headway nonetheless. How did life balance out for you this week? 

I finally added links for Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook on my blog (see sidebars), so feel good about that. FB gets smaller font for giving me such a bad time setting up an author page and blog link. Learning about marketing at Yvonne Ventresca's blog and other blogs. Some great tips and examples there!

  • Planted one remaining shrub to complete my barberry hedge.
  • Moved rather slow this week getting over a head cold that started last Friday, but it led to some relaxing baths soaking in Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt, labeled "Detoxify and Energize with Ginger and Clay." Never realized how softening this is to the skin. Love it :) Ever try this??

New from Evernight Teen

Lovely Scars by Cassandra Jamison

The Watched Girl (Escape series #2) by Rachel Rust

Crone by C.L. Marin (sequel to Maiden)


 Have a nice weekend everyone!!

"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

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Exploring the New Hampshire Colony by Elizabeth Raum: Book Review

Exploring the New Hampshire Colony
Author: Elizabeth Raum 

Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Publisher:  Capstone Press,  2017
Ages:  8 to 11, Middle Grade
Pages: 48
New Hampshire was the third colony founded in North America.
In 1623, a group of businessmen were given a piece of land by the king of England to develop as a colony, stipulating that the rules of government be strictly under the king. In 1679, New Hampshire officially became a royal colony, which by then was known for its source of fish, animal furs, and lumber. 

Raum describes the exploration of the land beginning with (Englishman) Martin Pring in 1603. Pring met the native people in the area, the Abenaki and the Pennacook, who grew corn, beans and squash, and hunted fish and game. For a time the colonists traded peacefully with the Indians, but white diseases began destroying native populations and conflicts soon arose. 

Later, during King Williams War between England and France in 1689, the French enlisted the Indians to fight, who then attacked the colonists. Battles over land between the French and English lasted nearly seventy five years, but peace eventually came in 1763.  

Unfortunately, conflict reared its head again with outrage over the English Stamp Act and high taxes. With its repeal in 1766, the undercurrents of the Revolutionary War had begun. When war broke out in 1775, some 1200 New Hampshire militiamen fought in Boston’s Battle of Bunker Hill, but never on home soil. New Hampshire became the first colony to form its own state government, officially becoming America’s ninth state in 1788.

Raum further describes some of the important cities and pioneers in New Hampshire, which became an important supplier of lumber for the building of ships, boat masts, and furniture. Today New Hampshire is known as the “granite state” for its rocky soil. 

Help aids in Raum's book include mini bios, maps, illustrations, quotes, glossary, timeline and “Did You Know” and “Critical Thinking with Primary Sources” sidebars. A good introduction to New Hampshire's early history. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Time Went POOF - Celebrate the Small Things

What I wish I could be doing
 and wish I was that skinny again!
To be honest, I'm not sure where the time went this week. It just went POOF!
  • I've been gardening, which could account for some of the time drain. Planted geraniums, peppers, cabbage, marigold, basil and mint. Weeded some, but you'd never know to look at it. LOL. What a mess awaits me!
  • I had a busy week working on social media again and writing future blog posts, another time drain, although fun to do.  
  • Good news is I'm meeting other Evernight Teen authors and learning a lot about book promotion from Evernight's marketing person. A very nice group I might add. 
  • Had a dream with characters in a book I've been thinking about. The scene was vivid enough to write down. Don't you just love moments like that?  
  • Jumped on the treadmill yesterday. Happy about that. It had been awhile.
  • SADLY, just found out my mother broke her arm and actually popped it out of the socket at her shoulder. She's mending now and pumped up with morphine for the pain. I'll be traveling tomorrow to see her. Not a fun way for Mom to spend Mother's Day!! But we'll turn the occasion into something nice. I plan to type the book she has been handwriting and is so excited about. It's her first novel at 92!! 

Have a Nice Weekend!!
(And Happy Mother's Day :)

"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

Sharon M. Himsl

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

Friday, May 5, 2017

Celebrate: Social Media, Flash Fiction, Future Cover Reveal

  • A packed week updating and learning social media. Set up Instagram (nice), but fought tooth and nail with Facebook setting up an author page separate from my personal page. It works about 50% of the time when I go to post (defaulting mostly to my personal account). A pain....
  • Joined some teen twitter and author sites. I'm not fond of Twitter but found this easy to do, so big YAY!
  • Set up an author page in Blogspot. Blogger is such a jewel. Click on page link to see and let me know what you think.
  • Need to seriously think about doing a Cover Reveal. June? I don't have any dates yet, but would anyone be interested in posting my new cover when the time comes?
  • Was among 20 volunteers asked to judge kids in grades 5-8 on public speaking. What fun! I also met the school's librarian who had learned I'd written a YA and did book reviews. She invited me to come back. Wow!
  • Hence, zero writing done on any book projects, so decided to try some Object Flash Fiction to keep the writing juices going...

"Aunt Mil's Elephant"

   The new elephant was obvious. It was the only one without layers of dust. Aunt Mil had found a spot on the window sill squeezed in next to a dozen or so more in various shapes and sizes. The black ceramic giant stared back at Marcie in defiance, as if to say it had every right to remain. 
   "I know you kids think I should stop, but I couldn't resist. I found it at Pat's Antiques," Aunt Mil said. 
   Marcie sighed as her eyes circled around her aunt's tiny living room and down the hall. There had to be a hundred or more elephants in the home. It was a miracle she'd found any space at all. 
    Aunt Mil slowly got up and hobbled off toward the kitchen to make some tea, insisting she was fine when Marcie offered to help. "Now just stay put and enjoy the view," she said over her shoulder.
   Marcie swallowed the words churning inside she had come to say. Moving Aunt Mil to the community home wouldn't be easy. They could wait one more day. The time would come soon enough.   

Have a Wonderful Weekend! 

"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

Sharon M. Himsl

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

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

IWSG - Cool Research

I was happy to see a topic on what to write about at the IWSG site. Have loved this group from the beginning, but I dropped out last year when I found myself fumbling for something to say.

So onto the research topic.....first some background. I have been researching and writing nonfiction for quite a few years, most of it free on my blog, but some research was published (or simply paid for) by an educational publisher dating back to around 2005. Working with Greenhaven Press, I was given a single website to access research online. Think of it as a vast online encyclopedia. 

The rest was done in the archives of two university libraries. Personally, I loved getting my hands on archival material and finding dusty primary sources on the shelves. Source pages were then copied and sent to the publisher with my edits, as I was downsizing articles for high school students. It was tedious, but I really enjoyed the process. 

Fast forward to today. Resources are available all over the internet. You can even access scholarly articles using Google Scholar (for a fee of course). For the recent A-Z Challenge, I found books online that opened its pages to the topic I was googling. It was the equivalent of finding my topic in the index of a book at the library, turning to the page, and then using the copy printer. Amazing. The internet has become a worthy online library. You do have to check your facts though. Outlandish claims require outlandish proof if you get my drift.

So onto the question: what is the weirdest and coolest thing I've ever had to research? I'm not sure that this qualifies as weird, but the results were pretty cool. I was researching rare jewels online. I had no idea what a large ruby stolen one hundred years ago from Thai royalty might be worth today. But it was important to know, because it's a back story in the novel I'm about to have published. 

I found some great sites estimating value, but the pictures could have been better. I kept searching. Next thing I know, I received in the mail a beautiful folder from New York containing glossy photos of jewels, along with the dealer's business card. I had not requested this, but I must have set off alarms somewhere as a potential buyer. 

If the gems displayed were fake, you could have fooled me. One unnamed jewel looked like a diamond (33 carats) and there was jewelry I'm sure only the 1% wealthy could afford to buy. No prices of course. The 161 carat diamond necklace was gorgeous and one piece (231 carats) had rare white diamonds and emeralds. No rubies though. Another search online confirmed my ruby was indeed rare and costly. The research changed my story to a ruby stolen from a piece of jewelry, which made solving the mystery all the more fun for my characters.

I had saved the folder and pulled it out for this post. When you find something that good, you hang onto the paper. Sometimes the internet isn't enough. Anyway, thought this was kind of cool. Research is one of my favorite things to do, but it does chew up time and can be a detour, so I have to watch not spending too much time. 

Those of you who know me (and haven't heard my news) may have wondered what the heck I've been writing, other than my blog all these years, but I'm proud to say my novel is about to be published with Evernight Teen this July!! The working title is The Shells of Mersing, which could change in the editing process.

I'm both psyched and scared. I wrote somewhere online today that I wish I could clone myself during the review process. I dread it. I guess this is normal, but I'd love to hear how true this has been (or not) for you, and if you have any sage advice. 

What weird or cool thing have 
you researched? 

**Click IWSG to join**
The awesome co-hosts for the May 3 posting of the IWSG will be Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone!

Sharon M. Himsl

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

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.