Sunday, March 12, 2017

My Birthday Books and other Ramblings


My last post was early October, 2016. That month I attended a local chapter SCBWI conference where I received a written critique on my picture book and got a chance to share with some of the editors video of baby Ziggy, a harbor seal at PMMC. That's me, above holding Ziggy before getting bottle fed. Editor, Annie Berger of Sourcebooks, Fire/Jabberwocky loved the video, and she was the one who critiqued my PB, which is about a sea lion pup. She gave me some things to think about, and I was revising, again. So, it's been months since I've written; "efil" events can disrupt the flow. "Efil" is "life backwards☺.
I'm discovering inspiration again and part of that has been reading this incredible book, Silent Sparks the Wondrous World of Fireflies, by Sara Lewis. This author has been studying fireflies for decades and is a professor at Tufts University. I discovered this book on line and had the title written on a post-it "to buy" for months. I was pleased to stumble on a copy at a nearby Barnes & Noble where I snatched it up with my B-day gift card. It's a beautifully written book with incredible photos. Sara has a lyrical way of wording the science of these creatures which makes it a captivating read. Her love and devotion to these magical beetles shines through on every page.The perfect research book for me! When I've finished this book, I'll be diving back into revising my middle grade novel, a low fantasy-adventure about two boys and fireflies❤
Ever since I started writing children's books about seven years ago, I've always purchased a Dr. Seuss book on, or near my birthday. It started with The Lorax which was purchased at a Barnes & Noble where my first critique group use to meet. This last one, Your Favorite Seuss includes 13 original stories and illustrations, historical photos and bio on Seuss, along with personal commentary from those who new him and/or were inspired by him. When I asked the cashier if there were anymore copies, she said that the one I had didn't show as inventory; according to B&N system, none existed. I struck the Mother lode with Janet Schulman and Cathy Goldsmith's large hardcover compilation, copy written in 2004, Random House. Too big to hold, I enjoy reading it in the morning at the breakfast table with my green eggs and ham☺

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Dense Fog in the "Mists of Avalon"

I bought this book at The Bodi Tree, which was a magical bookstore on Melrose in West Hollywood. A cozy shop where you could sip on chai tea and browse through every metaphysical title out there. The Mists of Avalon sat on my shelf for twenty-two years before I blew off the dust and opened it. Eight-hundred and seventy six pages later, I can now claim, I've read this high fantasy novel. For those who are unfamiliar, it's a retelling of The Tales of King Arthur from a feminine perspective.
High fantasy is not my normal read, so it took me awhile, sorting the names. When you have a Morgaine and a Morgause in the first chapter and a Balin and a Balan who are step brothers, etc. I found myself re-reading parts to remember who's who.
Things I found Interesting: Emphasis on the Goddess and the importance of birthing a female heir as opposed to a male. The oppression of the Christianity during this time. How Christianity adopted many Pagan ways.Teachings of  Avalon on having more than one lifetime. Various expressions of sexuality.
Disappointment: The female characters. They all ended up being self-serving, jealous, scheming, greedy, power hungry and murderous. It would have been nice if  just one became enlightened on her journey. Morgaine at the end was far from it, claiming she was not a failure by justifying her deplorable actions by saying, "it was the work of the Goddess." Which is as good as "The Devil Made me Do It." Take responsibility for Goddess sake!! ; )
Loved/Hated:  Loved Kevin the Harper who became the Merlin, who embraced change and foresaw a way to integrate the new and the old. Wise and humble, he was the only enlightened one. I hated that he wasn't a female character. Loved  how conflicted Gwenhwfar was. Hated that she bailed on Lancelot. Loved the Lancelot character-multi-faceted, but hated that he became a priest.
Favorite Moments: Morgaine passing the Holy Grail (was unexpected)

I did enjoy reading this book, though I felt a hundred pages could have been cut out. I loved the descriptions of the various settings from Tintagel to Avalon to Camelot, and I have high regard for the language she used and all the research she did.
Unfortunately the dense fog surrounded her feminine perspective. Now is the time of the human perspective. Know thy self. The balance of the the male/female, Yin/Yang, God/Goddess within us all. If you decide to read this book, I highly recommend you finish it before googling the author, Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Been A Long Time, Been A Long Time, Been A Long...

I hope I'm not infringing on Led Zeppelin's song, LOL! I found out this morning that the court ruled in favor of  one of my Fav 70's rock bands that the lick in Stairway to Heaven was a Led Zeppelin original and not an infringement of  the song "Taurus" by the band, Spirit.
It has been a long time since I blogged and the magnolias are in bloom, again-not calla lilies ;). I upgraded to Iphone 6+ from the Iphone 4. It's way cool reading the newspaper on it, especially today. Along with Led's story there was the "Brexit", David Cameron's resignation speech, and...
Barnes and Noble Bookstores will be serving dinner in a cozy atmosphere with seating throughout the store. A place for bookworm dates and singles who want to read and people watch wilst sipping a glass of wine from a cushy chair. Nice, huh?

I've read some books from my list: Diviners and Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray. Appropriate subject matter for a fellow Pisces. I felt like I went through a time machine that dropped me in NY,1920's. Loved the characters and relationships; the graphically violent scenes-not so much, though well done. "We Looked Up" by Tommy Wallach was checked off my list. I wasn't hooked right away, maybe it was my PMS, but it ended up being a great read, but once again, the violence was a little much. What can I say? I rather read about romantic, steamy sex, than violence.

I've sailed on with revising my PB and making a book dummy. I'm going to play around with illustrating it. My YA and MG have been afloat, the tide will bring them in this weekend.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Waves in Motion

So, I did dive in, but not into my YA. Instead, I found myself revising my picture book about a sea lion pup. PB is so different from MG and YA that it felt like a wave out of nowhere-the perfect ride. This was a big reminder for me when I get blocked, to go to another manuscript and don't hesitate!
Note: the sea lion above was a patient at PMMC, and she was released. To identify her at the facility, animal care volunteers shaved her fur in the shape of letters.
Write On!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Dead in the Water

Dead in the water, in other words, Writers Block.  I haven't been motivated and I'm sure many of you can relate. So, I'm creating some movement by blogging. And I'm sorry to say, I've had to block all comments from being posted due to advertising. Comments made are merely to advertise their site and most have nothing to do with writing! I would never advertise my business on someone's blog unless asked to do so. There are so many ways to advertise, why infiltrate someone's blog?? Beyond annoying! Time to dive into my YA and may the luck of the leprechauns be with me.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Emerging into the New Year

I was lost at Cea for the past couple of months. So much was going on as the sun began to set on 2015. Training new volunteers for the gift shop I manage at Pacific Marine Mammal Center. I had a lot of ordering and merchandising to do along with marketing the gift shop for holiday shopping. Who can resist helping this little guy through a purchase?
I also was busy with my own business, Laguna Beach Massage, not to mention the writing. Highlights: Michelle Knudsen critiquing my middle grade novel, and going to La Jolla to see Brian Selznick's presentation and book signing of The Marvels. Michelle gave me a lot to work with, and Brian inspired me.
I emerge into the new year with an incredible week behind me that has set the course. Yoga, meditation, writing/revising, dancing, working and enjoying the people I love. Here's to sailing across uncharted waters in 2016!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Magical Summer Read

Whilst attending the SCBWI Summer conference, I picked up a copy of Michelle Knudsen's middle grade novel, The Dragon of Trelian. Meg is a young princess who often acts before thinking, like befriending a young dragon. (She reminded me of myself; befriending stray animals without thinking of the consequences.) Calen is a young mage apprentice who lives within the Trelian Castle with his Master, Serek, adviser to the king.
The fun begins a couple pages in when these unlikely two, meet. The push and pull dynamic of Meg and Calen's friendship, along with the engaging events they're faced with, kept me turning the pages. Calen's gift, to see colors when a spell is cast, and the ability to identify the type of spell from the colors, was brilliant. I loved Meg's psychic link to her dragon, Jakl, which was both a gift and a challenge. Both of these young protagonists struggle to be accepted by their elders, but find it in each other. Together, they take on the evil that's threatening their Kingdom.
Pick up a copy, along with the sequal The Princess of Trelian and discover how this beautifully woven story unfolds.