Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Birds

This past week I went out to my strawberry patch to pick me some delicious strawberries. The plants should have been loaded--I usually fill a big bowl this time of the growing season, but each time I came away with a handful or two. It's the birds. They are devouring my berries and I'm not happy. So this week's Wednesday's word has got to be BIRDS.

Birds are for the birds.
They mark my plants with turds.
But even worse than that
on ripe berries they grow fat,
leaving two for me,
each the size of peas.
I could get mad and yell
and curse them all to Hell.
But do I really wish they'd go?
The answer I fear is, no.
I love to hear them sing
and watch them as they wing
across the sky in flight;
such a beautiful sound and sight.
I'll just share and share some more,
and buy my berries at the store.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Pie

Yesterday I made three pies, one for a critique group member's birthday, one for a picnic tonight, and one for my family. With all of those pies in front of my eyes, I just had to make this week's word: Pie.

Pies are fun to make and fun to eat.
They're fun to take when you need a treat.
You can fill them with fruit
or with pudding chocolaty and sweet,
or with carrots and potatoes
and savory meat.
But pies are also
like people we meet.
They can be flaky on the outside,
but within hold a treat.
So don't let people or pie
pass you by,
without peering inside
to see what resides.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Review: Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon

I love the title: Cinder and Ella. I felt it was quite clever. That is what drew me to this book--and the hope of hunkering down in my chair with a heartwarming remake of a cherished childhood fairytale. If you join me with a similar expectation with this book, you might be disappointed. But if you want to read a book that throws story structure to the wind and concentrates more on teaching a lesson, then perhaps this book is for you.

Cinder and Ella are the only two functioning souls of a disfuctional fariytale family. The father has followed the evil prince to the castle and is absent from the home. (His reasons and involvemnt in evil are never explained leaving me feeling cheated in that arena of the story). The mother is a one-demensional character who is ALWAYS at her spinning wheel and does not give her kids any attention. Two other sisters are selfish, demanding, and unlikeable. Cinder accepts a job at the castle, leaving Ella to take care of her jacked-up family by herself.

I started out with high hopes for the MC, Ella (At least I assumed she was the main character. The point of view shifts in the story became quite distracting at times). After her sister leaves for the castle, and has dumped the responsibility of the disfunctionaly family on her shoulders, Ella decides to leave because she is not appreciated. I at first saw this as a character with some backbone, ready to set off in the world and perhaps help her family in a round about way. But Ella's challenges didn't seem to help her grow, they were just there. Her romance with a kind knight came too easily. At the end of the book, she was the same Ella as at the first of the story and her disfunctional family was still disfunctional. Even though the prince was finally banished from the kingdom, her father never changed. At the end of the story I asked myself, "What was that all about?"

And then I turned the page. At the end of the book there were questions for disscussion, I guess for use in reading groups, etc. As I read down the list of questions it was obvious that the author's intent in writing this story was to be used as an object lesson rather than entertainment. So if you like to read books with an agenda to teach a lesson, you might enjoy this book. As for me, I was looking for a storytale-like story similar to the Goose Girl by Shannon Hales. Because of my expectation, I was dissapointed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Hoe

This week, as I weeded my garden I decided what I wanted this week's Wednesday's word to be: HOE.
I realize Ho could be a greeting from Santa Claus, or a shady lady of the night, but the hoe I want to talk about is a nifty tool that helps me keep my garden growing strong and beautiful. My hoe is not the typical row-digging hoe, but a small diamond-shaped blade at the end of a pole. It enables me to scape across the top of the soil, cutting down small weedlings before they have time to get established. It also lets me cut the weeds down just centimeters away from my established plants. You really should invest in one of these things if you are serious about gardening.
My thoughts about hoeing just beg for a poem.

A small metal blade at the end of a pole
eliminates most of the weeds my hands need to pull,
cutting them down before they grow tall,
giving my plants room to spread when they're small
and unable to fight weeds on their own;
something quite difficult even when full-grown.
Perhaps in our lives we should impliment a hoe,
cutting down the bad things before they take root and grow.
If we weed crap out while small and few
we'll have more strength to grow in all we do.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Book Review: I Don't Want to Kill You by Dan Wells

True to the form of his past two books, Dan Wells kept me on the edge of my seat with his new novel, I Don't Want to Kill You. John Wayne Cleaver, the pchycotic, messed teenager that you can't help but root for, again goes up against a demon knowing he must rid the world of this menace before it kills more people. But this time, instead of John stumbling upon the demons, he has invited one to come find him.

Dan has a way of drawing the reader in, keeping them turning the page and presenting an ending that ties up the story neatly and in a satisfying way. The more I have studied story and plot, the more I realize that Dan has utilized Larry Brooks' six core competencies to the fullest. In fact Dan had taught them once in a workshop I had attended at LTUE sometime ago, but they didn't really click with me until I recently read Larry Brooks' Story Engineering. Now, as I recognize competencies in Dan's keep-me-reading books, and I am currently trying to impliment them in my writing, I see how powerful of a tool they are. Good, entertaining writing is no accident. I takes effort and skill, and Dan has accomplished this once again in the book.

Though this book and it's prequels are classified in the horror genre, they are still mild enough, I feel, to be appropriate for teen readers--which is his target audience. My 15 year old daughter has read all of the books in this series and loved them. I would heartily recommend this book to those of you who like action with a mix of mystery and suspense.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Calories

With birthday cake and vacation , my diet has been inundated with fattening things this past week, so this week's word has got to be calories. This is not a new poem, but it fits what has impressed me this past week.

Cookies and cakes,

chocolates and cremes;

confections galor

collect in my dreams.

Though cheerful and calm

this culinary chant seems,

it chugs and it churns,

and to my conscience it screams

that my closet and clothes

contain no more room in their seams,

and celery and chard

should compose my calorie teams.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Several bloggers are particiapating in this bloghop as a way to promote and celebrate Alana Johnson's debut novel, Obsession. Because this book is about a girl who goes against the rules, we are supposed to share a story of a time that we broke the rules. To do this, the easiest thing for me is to dig up a story from when I was about the same age as the protaganist of Alana's book--those good old teenage years.

As a senior in high school, I was the studentbody secretary, so I could roam around the halls in the middle of class and get away with it--student council business. One time, me and another girl on the council got so bored in one of our classes, we skipped not only class, but school, trucking on over (literally, because I drove my dad's old beat-up Ford pickup) to a neighboring city and highschool to visist some boys we knew there. We told our friend to cover for us in the attendance office, telling whoever might ask, that we were on student council business.
I realize this sounds boring and anticlimatic, but hey, my life was kind of squeeky clean in high school, and then just plain boring as an adult.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Spread the News About an Awesome New Book

If you would like to have a chance to win a copy of Alana Johnson's debut novel Possession, click on this link and join the fun. She is a friend of mine and I would love to see her new book hit the NYT best sellers list. What goes around, comes around. If we aspiring authors all support each other, especially when someone has a new book coming out, when we find ourselves in that position, I'm confident there will be good souls around to help us too.
FYI: her book launch party is to be held at the Kings English Bookstore, next Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM. Drop by and show Alana your support.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Water

Today as I went walking along a nearby wooded walking path, the sound of the nearby creek inspired me for this week's Wednesday's Word: Water

Snow melts in the mountians, cascades its way down
to the feilds and flowers like a shimering gown.
It trickles a tune, like a flute as it flows
over pebbles and boulders, and green things it grows.
It sounds like a song sung to lull me to sleep,
to evoke emotion, make me wonder and weep.
How can something so simple as water in motion,
drown out the dribble of man-made commotion,
and paint a picture that life is glorious and grand?
I'm sure it has something to do with the Creator's hand.