Friday, July 8, 2016

What Sparks Your Writing?

While touring the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, I was surprised by a painting by Pablo Picasso. Who knew Picasso had a sense of humor? Imagine the story behind this image. Imagine the stories that can come from this image. Endless . . .

This summer, have you come across a painting, picture, phrase or people that sparked a story?

Have a great writing day!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Writing on Vacation in New York City

Taken from the 86 floor of the Empire State Building.
For my 100th post, I want to share my writing life away from my laptop. On Wednesday, June 8th at 3:20 a.m., my family was packed and ready to drive to Indianapolis Airport for our 6 a.m. flight. (I'll save you from reading about the revolt my body lodged against me during the previous hours.) My husband, two teenage boys and I went on a five day vacation to New York City. I should also mention that our idea of a vacation is to cover as much ground as possible and see everything! So on virtually no sleep, we landed in NYC at 8 a.m. were ready to run.
Our hotel was located in the Flower District. After breakfast, we walked through a tunnel of flowers and plants to the metro station. In addition to the vivid colors, I felt the mist from a shop keeper's hose, heard muffled cars and taxis, and smelled the roses.

Here are a few highlights that may show up in my future stories.

Intrepid Museum Sea, Air & Space
Our veteran tour guide shared his experiences through several wars onboard the Intrepid. 
Plus the Space Shuttle Pavilion shows amazing adventures in space.

Time Square
42nd Street is the ultimate melting pot. So many interesting characters (I mean people) to watch. 
Plus my older son and I laughed through the Broadway play SOMETHING ROTTEN! 

Governors Island
Taking the ferry to Governors Island is a quick trek into the past. The large homes that stood vacant for years now serve as exhibit spaces for artists work during the summer. Plus an annual jazz party was in full swing. 
Great setting for a historical mystery!

Statue of Liberty
She remains a symbol of peace and diversity.

National September 11 Memorial and Museum
Enjoy your summer and create memories that fuel your writing!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Picture Book review of ARE WE THERE YET?

The first half of 2016 has been filled with a variety of insightful and theatrically designed picture books. But I guarantee that Dan Santat's latest creation takes page turns to a whole new level!


written & illustrated by Dan Santat
Pub by Little, Brown & Company 2016

A family car ride becomes boring, so boring that "a boy feels time go backward--into the time of pirates! Of princesses! Of dinosaurs! The boy was just trying to get to his grandmother's birthday party, but instead he's traveling through Ancient Egypt and rubbing shoulders with Ben Franklin. When time flies, who knows where--or when--he'll end up."

The story begins by inviting readers to come along to Grandma's birthday party. Turning the page, readers are now inside the family's car. Through the boy's voice the whole story is encapsulated on the first spread.
The care trip to visit Grandma is always exciting!
But after the first hour,
it can feel like an eternity.

The most amazing part of this story is the way readers interact with this book. Pages don't always flip from left to right. And the story doesn't continue in the same direction either. As a writer, I'm intrigued by these time changing page turns.

This book will appeal to those who enjoyed OH NO! NOT AGAIN! (or how I built a time machine to save history) (or at least my history grade) by MacBarnett and Dan Santat.



Friday, April 22, 2016

PB Review: Harlem's Historic Neighborhood Sugar Hill

During the month of April, I have been inspired to write with rhythm and rhyme. Angie Karcher’s Rhyming Picture Book Month (#RhyPiBoMo) is a wealth of information. Thanks to the authors, agents and editors who shared their experience and tips. If you haven't followed Angie's blog, then pull up a chair, pour a cup of coffee and click HERE.
RhyPiBoMo 2016 Calendar

This week I focused on the author and poet, Carole Boston Weatherford, who "mines the past for family stories, fading traditions, and forgotten struggles." Many of her books show stories of African-American historical figures and events. Several of her picture books rhyme, like the one I'm reviewing.

Harlem's Historic Neighborhood Sugar Hill

written by Carole Boston Weatherford
illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Published by Albert Whitman & Company, 2014

Book Review
Take a walk through Harlem’s Sugar Hill and meet all the amazing people who made this neighborhood legendary. With upbeat rhyming, read-aloud text, Sugar Hill celebrates the Harlem neighborhood that successful African Americans first called home during the 1920s. 

The back matter includes brief biographies of jazz greats Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis; artists Aaron Douglas and Faith Ringgold; entertainers Lena Horne and the Nicholas Brothers; writer Zora Neale Hurston; civil rights leader W. E. B. DuBois and lawyer Thurgood Marshall.

The story begins - 

Sugar Hill, Sugar Hill where life is sweet
And the "A" TRAIN stops for the black elite.

My favorite line - 
Where lovely LENA takes Sunday strolls 
that shoot racist notions full of holes.

Watch Carole Boston Weatherford talk about her writing life 
and stories on Reading Rockets.