Category Archives: #amwriting

Ort: A Perfect Mouseful

[dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster Learner’s Word of the Day selections; photo credit-Merriam-Webster Learner’s Word of the Day]

ort – noun

[awrt]

  1.   Usually, orts. a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal.

 

mischievous – adjective

[mis-chuh-vuh s]

  1.   causing or tending to cause annoyance or minor harm or damage

2.   showing a playful desire to cause trouble

      3.   intended to harm someone or someone’s reputation

 

Cat was angry at Mouse. Mouse was laughing at Cat because Mouse had just won his third game against Cat. Cat slunk off to figure out how to beat Mouse at Mouse’s games.

I have to slow down Mouse or trip him up somehow, Cat thought. Visions of glue, tape and food danced in his head. With the glue, Mouse was begging for help reaching out to be pulled from the glob of glue gumming up his paws. Cat shuddered at the thought. No glue.

Tape took over, tacking Mouse to it who was desperately trying to escape. Tape won’t work either. I don’t want to hurt my friend. 

While Cat was contemplating his next move, Mouse was mulling over how to help Cat win a game. A mischievous idea formed quickly.

Mouse made a maze in the middle of the yard. To help Cat win, he made Cat smiley faces on each turn leading the way out. Whoever got to the end of the maze first would win.

Tap, tap, tap.

Cat whirled around, surprised to see Mouse.

“I don’t want to play anymore of your games. I think we should play one of mine,” Cat said.

“Sure, but can we play one of yours after this last game of mine? I worked really hard at creating it,” Mouse said.

Cat’s whiskers twitched. “What’s the game?”

“I built a maze in the yard. Whoever gets to the end first wins and can choose the next three games to play.”

Cat shook his head. “Since you made the maze, you know how to go through it. That’s not fair.”

Mouse sighed. “You have a point, Cat. I will wear a blindfold to even us out.”

Cat thought about this. “We should each choose a winning treat for the other to place at the end of the maze. Whoever makes it through the maze and finishes their treat first, wins.”

“Deal.”

Together they scoured the house for the perfect treat.

Mouse found part of a tuna sandwich and carried it out.

Cat scoured the kitchen but there were no orts about, not even one crumb. All he could find was a small pink glob under the table. It was a little big for Mouse to eat but Cat planned on winning.

Treats in place, Cat and Mouse took their spots at the beginning of the maze. Cat was haunched in start position while Mouse was blindfolded and ready to go.

“Go!” Cat shouted.

Cat darted away turning this way that, into a dead end. “Drat!” He looked for Mouse. No Mouse around. He listened for Mouse. He could hear scurrying ahead of him.

Mouse twitched his nose letting him guide him to the end. He bumped into wall after wall but the strawberry smell was getting stronger.

Cat turned right, then followed straight. He turned left and left again into another dead end. He sat down and pouted. Doggone Mouse! He’s going to win. As a tear rolled into his whiskers, he noticed a smiley cat picture on the opposite wall. Oh sure, rub it in Mouse! 

Cat ran to the picture and scratched it out. He sulked through the maze scratching out each Cat Smiley he found. He was so busy looking for these smiling Cats, he didn’t realize what he had done.

I. Smell. Tuna! Cat’s nose twitched and his tail swished. He followed his nose right to the end of the maze. Mouse was already there, chewing and chewing.

Cat’s ears drooped. Mouse had won again.

“You won Mouse. But I’m going to enjoy this sandwich anyways.” He took a bite, then another.

Mouse said nothing but kept chewing away.

Cat finished his sandwich. “This was a great treat Mouse. Thank you.” Cat licked his paws.

Mouse just chewed.

“I said, ‘Thank you’ Mouse.” Cat stared at Mouse.

Mouse inhaled deeply.

As he breathed out, a bubble formed and grew and grew. Then…

POP!

Cat jumped straight into the air.

Mouse’s mouth still full he muttered, “Clever cat, giving me this ort. Not supposed to swallow gum. I lost.”

Cat blushed. “Mischievous mouse. Drawing those Smiley Cat faces to tease me. If I had seen those sooner I would have…Hey!”

“Won sooner,” Mouse said still chewing.

“You said a mouseful.” Cat laughed.

The next three games were Cat’s choice and he lost all but one.

 

THE END

If you enjoyed this story, take the challenge and write your own story in 60 minutes and edit it. The idea is to #justkeepwriting #justkeepwriting.

 

 

 

 

 

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Rex’s Big Words

Wow! I have not done a Word of the Day story on here in months.

To you the reader, if you are not familiar with my Word of the Day posts, I take the word of the day entries from dictionary.com, Learners Dictionary or Merriam Webster  (I may use all or just one or two) and create a story for children which have to include the words I post below. I give myself one hour to write and edit the story before posting it. The reason behind only the one hour is to give writers the incentive to just write, as the hardest part of writing is getting started. My story will never be perfect when it is finished in this time frame, but it is not supposed to be and in this case, I went over by nine minutes to finish editing. Feel free to leave comments at the end. I hope you share this story with your child and spark a conversation or a writing project. Enjoy!

scapegrace – noun

[skeyp-greys]

  1.   a complete rogue or rascal; a habitually unscrupulous person; scamp.

 

kudos – noun

[koo-dohz, -dohs, -dos, kyoo-]
      1.   fame and renown resulting from an act or achievement : prestige
      2.   praise given for achievement
REX’S BIG WORDS

This story can be summed up with it’s end…

Kudos to Rex for keeping the light burning in Olympus Theatre. Her ongoing crusade to raise enough money to restore it and get it declared as a Historical Landmark will keep theatre alive and thriving for many years to come. To Rex! May you someday be on that stage, but not in a boxing ring on it!”

But if you always read the end first, you miss the fun and excitement of the beginning and the middle and end up wondering what happened. Like, why would Rex be in a boxing ring? This is how it all started

“We are finished for the day. Thank you for coming in to help us set up the fundraiser. That scapegrace, Pinche, has a fight on her hands,” said Mr. Torres, owner of the Olympus Theater which was in danger of being condemned and torn down by the city.

Lottie, Rob, Arnold, and I packed up our flyers, loaded our backpacks and met outside.

“We did good today,” I said.

“We did well,” Lottie corrected.

“We done did good,” Arnold snickered.

“Yup,” was all Rob said.

“Hey Rex, we need to divide up the town between us to hand out the flyers. Which section do you want?” Arnold asked.

“Makes the most sense to cover the areas around each of our schools, right? Grab as many people as you can to help distribute them.”

Lottie, Arnold, and Rob nodded in agreement.

“If you need more flyers, Mr. Torres said he would be at the Olympus tomorrow evening.”

Again, everyone nodded.

Rob hopped on his bike, Arnold took off walking and Lottie and I waited for our rides.

“See you all on Saturday,” I said.

Lottie waited until Rob and Arnold were out of sight.

“What happens if Mrs. Pinche gets her way?”

“We need to make sure that doesn’t happen,” I told her.

Our rides pulled up next to the curb.

“That scapegrace has no chance against us!” I said fist in the air.

“You and your big words Rex,” Lottie said rolling her eyes, playfully.

 

“Rebecca, your dinner is in the oven,” my Mom said the minute I walked in the door. She’s the only person I know who won’t use my nickname. Even my grandparents call me Rex.

“Thanks Mom. I have homework to do so I’ll eat it in my room,” I told her as she followed me into the kitchen.

“Good try Rebecca, you can eat at the counter or at the table but not in your room. What kind of homework?”

I fumbled with the hot pad and the plate of food in the oven.

“I have to write a one page paper about a local historical landmark or a place that should be saved and considered as one. I chose the Olympus Theatre.”

“That should be easy since you’ve been volunteering there for months now.”

“Hope so,” I said, mouth full of food.

 

Upstairs in my room, I gathered my resources. In my notebook, I wrote notes and points of interest. Next, I wrote my paper. I read it over twice, crossed out words and added words like my teacher told us to do and rewrote it neatly. Something was missing. My older brother Mike, is in ninth grade and in his paper for English, he had to write a closing statement. That’s what my paper was missing. I raced to his room.

“Hey Mike, what’s a closing statement for a paper?” I asked him.

He stared at me like I was an alien. “Since when do fifth grade papers need closing statements?”

I rolled my eyes, but not playfully. “Since right now,” I shot back.

Mike raised his eyebrows but told me anyway.

 

At school, I was the first to read my paper in class.

“In closing, the Olympus Theater has been a part of Pepper Grove for over a hundred years. Letting the Olympus get torn down is like letting your grandparents home get torn down with them in it. It is a historical landmark and needs your help. You can help me by handing out these fliers today after school.” I waved a handful of flyers around.

“Nicely done Rex. A little dramatic but nice,” Mr. Buckley said.

A hand shot up in the back of the class. Stephanie Pinche. Bully extraordinaire and only child of Mrs. Pinche.

“Go ahead Stephanie,” Mr. Buckley said.

“Who cares about that smelly old place. My mom says it’s a dump and unsafe and theater is dead. Everybody watches Netflix now or rents movies. Tear it down, a gas station will be a gold mine there.”

The room erupted in noise.

My face burned hot.

“Stephanie, Rex made a nice case for the Olympus and why it should be a historical landmark. You can read your paper next.” Mr. Buckley said.

I walked down the opposite row of Stephanie to avoid her.

 

After school five kids met up with me and we walked the neighborhood around school and handed out all flyers that I had. They agreed to tell their parents about how important the Olympus is and I promised them cookies if they brought their parents to the fundraiser on Saturday.

I stopped by the Olympus on my way home and picked up more.

“Yours are gone already Rex?” Mr. Torrres asked when he saw me.

“Yup. I need more. I recruited friends from school to help me hand them out.” I told him a big smile on my face.

“Well done. You are an activist already,” he said, his toothy grin hidden partially by his mustache.

 

The next day after school Stephanie chased me to my house.

“T-Rex, would you stop running so I can tell you something?” she hollered behind me.

I stopped and turned around. “What do you want?”

Out of breath, she huffed, “I can hand out some of your flyers if you need help.”

My eyes popped right out of my head. (not really)

When I popped them back in, I narrowed them at her. “I thought you said the Olympus should be torn down.”

“My mom wants to share them at the Historical Society committee meeting tomorrow night. She said it would be good to know more about it since you researched it and all.”

I didn’t quite buy her story but I gave her a few flyers.

“Thanks,” she said and left.

 

Thursday, Lottie, Rob, Arnold, and I met Mr. Torres at the Olympus and helped him clean the lobby. We scrubbed the counters, swept the floors, scrubbed the floors, cleaned the glass and shined up the staircase until the entire lobby sparkled. When we finished, we took the last of the flyers and headed home.

 

Friday morning, Stephanie grabbed my arm. “My mom loved the flyers. Said they helped her make her point at the meeting so you can have them back.” She handed them to and sneered. “Good luck saving that dump.”

When I opened a flyer, everything looked good.

 

On Saturday, people from all over Pepper Grove turned out at the Olympus Theater. Mr. Torres was strutting around, handing out cookies and coffee to the adults, while Rob, Arnold, Lottie, and me handed out cookies to the kids. The five kids from school were there along with their parents so I gave them extra cookies as I promised.

Mr. Torres walked onto the platform to give his speech. He glanced around then smiled and started. He answered questions and when no one had any more to ask, he held up his hand and shouted, “Can the Olympus be saved?”

The crowd replied, “Yes!” and waved their flyers.

Mrs. Pinche and Stephanie shouted, “NO! TEAR IT DOWN! IT’S UNSAFE FOR OUR CHILDREN AND THIS COMMUNITY.”

Mr. Torres dropped his hand.

Mrs. Pinche rushed onto the platform. She held up a flyer.

“Mr. Torres stated in the flyer, ‘Olympus Theater has served its community and in its current state of disrepair, I recommend it be torn down and the lot sold. To remember it in its glory days, I will donate photos and memorabilia of the Olympus to the library for all to enjoy.’”

People held up their flyers.

Mr. Torres grabbed the flyer from Mrs. Pinche’s hand. He scanned it and his face turned beet red.

The crowd started booing.

Lottie nudged me. “Do something Rex!”

Without thinking I ran up to the platform and shoved Mrs. Pinche away.

“The Olympus Theatre was home to the first performance…” I read from the flyer in my hand.

The crowd quieted. I read some more.

“We already heard this speech by Torres,” came a snotty voice from the front.

Stephanie sneered up at me. She started chanting, “Tear it down. Tear it down.”

Some older kids in the front joined her.

I watched Mr. Torres slump his shoulders forward.

Now adults joined in the chant.

“HEY! NO SCAPEGRACE IS GOING TO TEAR DOWN THIS HISTORICAL LANDMARK!” I shouted into the microphone, creating an ear-splitting ring.

The crowd covered their ears but stopped.

I recited my paper and ended with this, “Olympus Theater is a historical landmark and needs your help. Pepper Grove will lose its fame if the Olympus gets torn down. Instead, help us bring it back to its former glory. How many of your grandparents came to shows here when stars of their day took to the stage? How many of you performed here when you were in school? Does Pepper Grove need a gas station right in the heart of downtown?”

A buzz started in the crowd. People looked at each other.

“Open your flyers.”

People opened them.

“Does your flyer have a quote from Mr. Torres on the bottom of it?”

People checked and rechecked the flyers in their hands.

“No!”

“That’s because you have the original flyers, not the ones Mrs. Pinche copied and remade with her added fake quote.” I went on to explain about her and her gas station idea.

Finally, Mr. Torres, Mike, my parents, Rob, Lottie, and Arnold flooded the platform next to me. We held hands and raised them.

“Are we going to save the Olympus?” I asked fist pumping in the air.

A few people mumbled yes.

“ARE WE GOING TO SAVE THE OLYMPUS?” we shouted together.

“YES!!!”

“Is Mrs. Pinche going to build a gas station here instead?” I shouted.

“No!” the crowd replied.

“Save the Olympus, save the Olympus!” I chanted.

Soon everyone was chanting it.

Mr. Torres grabbed the donation box and held it over the side of the platform. People lined up and dropped money and checks into the box. Our town mayor pushed through the crowd, held up a fistful of fifty dollar bills and dropped them in.

The crowd cheered.

When the event was over, Rob, Lottie, Arnold, and I along with our families, sat in the lobby while Mr. Torres and his staff counted the money.

“We have enough money to start renovations.”

“Yay!” we cheered.

“And this was in the bottom of the donation box.” Mr. Torres held up a sealed envelope. He tore it open, read it and sucked in his breath.

He read it out loud,

‘Dear Mr. Torres,

Your request for consideration of the Olympus Theater to be a recognized Pepper Grove historical landmark has been approved. Attached is the documentation form for you to fill out and to mail to the state Historical Society. You will receive official paperwork from the state upon receipt of the completed form.

To help ensure the Olympus is ready for a public announcement of its inclusion into the Historical Society, we have set aside money to help offset restoration costs.

Congratulations.

Sincerely,

Pepper Grove Historical Society’

 

We cheered and whooped and hollered.

Mr. Torres gave each of us kids a big hug, and thanked us for our help.

Lottie whispered in my ear, “big words.” Then she held up my hand like a champion and said, “Kudos to Rex for keeping the light burning in Olympus Theatre. Her ongoing crusade to raise enough money to restore it and get it declared as a Historical Landmark will keep theatre alive and thriving for many years to come. To Rex! May you someday be on that stage, but not in a boxing ring on it!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CREATE THE PERFECT BOOKENDS

Bookends are not just for adults. Many children have book shelves in their rooms and a designated book case is not available, maybe create one using unique bookends. The best part is children can make their own as can adults and they will be unique to the creator.

From the photo above, you see just the black bottoms of standard metal bookends like seen in a library. But photos can be deceiving.

In my quest to find the perfect bookends to use in my office space, I came to the conclusion that I needed to make my own. The beautiful marble horse head beauties that I inherited, just did not hold up the books. They consistently toppled over, sending books to the floor in a riotous mess.

bookends-marble

For months, my husband and I scoured consignment shops, Goodwill and Salvation Army stores and flea markets to find the perfect bookends. We did find some unique ones but when we tested them out with a stress test none passed.

The inspiration hit me at our public library. I was a volunteer shelf reader for years and was in awe at how much strength metal bookends like these had, so I bought a pair.bookends-start

However, I didn’t want to leave them plain. How to bling them up? I have an arsenal of craft supplies and these ones were at the top of my list for jazzing up effect. bookend-craft-arsenal

I did a trial run of using the bookends as is to see how I liked them. The problem was that one end would not show at all except for the bottom which would show anyways. The exposed end would show a little more but only if I was away from my desk to look at it. An idea hit! Find used hardcover books to glue over them and hide the black ends! This was the first book I found at Goodwill. I loved the color of the binding and when thumbing through it found scribbles like this throughout. bookend-green-start-showing-scribble

Using the next photos, I will explain my process of creating the perfect bookends. Find two thin hardcover books large enough to cover the upright part of the metal book end. I found  this book as well and I loved the colors. It too had scribbling all over in the book making it an inexpensive find when I showed the cashier. $1.56 total for both books. bookend-yellow-start

I found the middle of each book, slid the bookend in between, making sure it was even and glued the bookend and pages together in the middle.

bookend-glue-bookend-in

Then glue the covers to the pages next to them…

bookend-green-cover-glue

and secure with rubber bands and clamps.

bookends-clamped

Once they have been clamped for at least two hours, remove the rubber bands and clamps to brush glue onto the page edges, then secure again with rubber bands and clamps.

bookends-gluing-pages

Repeat this process in one hour. Keep secured overnight.

Voilá! Two new perfect bookends! And here they are in use in their finished state.

bookend-at-an-angle-2

bookends-finished

Creating these perfect bookends for my desk also was another win-win for me as it forced me to clean up my desk area. clean-desk

If you or your child are ever in need of a gift for a book lover or a writer, or you just want some for your self, consider making a set of bookends. (Idea: A pair of unique bookends and a couple of books and you have the perfect book lovers gift!)

The possibilities are endless and the joy of using your own creativity to make them is priceless.

The metal bookends can be found at office supply stores and possibly discount department stores as well. Mine were bought at Office Max for under $6 total.

Here’s to you for reading this blog and hopefully being inspired to get creative.

Happy crafting!

For me it’s back to #justkeepwriting #justkeepwriting.

 

Save Me From the Words

[This is a short story using both Word of the Day selections from http://www.dictionary.com and http://www.learnersdictionary.com. My goal for these stories is to get the story out by writing and editing it in one hour] 

galore – adjective, adverb

[guhlawr, –lohr]

always used after a noun informal

: in large numbers or amounts

pumpkins-galore

logophobia – noun

[law-guhfoh-bee-uh, log-uh-]

an obsessive fear of words

logophobia

 

Words shouted at Lucy.

“Please.”

“Understand.”

Lucy wanted no part of them. Every time she misspelled a word, she was made fun of which was every day. Her wings were torn forcing her legs to carry her to the forest edge before the words had a chance to catch up.

“Whew! I think I lost them,” she said to the owl perched in the tree.

“Whooo?” was the owl’s reply.

“The words,” Lucy said. She trembled and shook. She peeked around the tree edge and was off again.

The words were relentless. They chased her through the woods.

“We”

“Can”

“Help.”

Leaves crackled, twigs snapped. Lucy raced on, her legs burning. For a meadow fairy, she was quick and agile.

“Wait.”

“For.”

“Us.”

Lucy ignored the words. Her heart thumped against her chest bursting to get out.

Above, the owl followed along, cruising over the treetops always aware of the action below.

A tree root rose up out of the ground. Lucy’s foot snagged it sending her face first into the soft earth.

The owl swooped down, extended her wing which Lucy happily took. She swung up on the owl’s back. Together they flew out of the forest and headed towards town. Below them, the words gave up the chase.

“You suffer from logophobia,” Owl said.

Lucy scrunched her eyes.

“You are afraid of words; they terrify you.” Owl explained.

Lucy nodded.

“Only a few words were chasing you and they said they wanted to help. They seemed genuine.”

“I don’t think so. At school there were words galore. I’m not a good speller. The words became angry when I spelled most of them wrong.” Lucy’s bottom lip quivered.

“And so they chased you?” Owl asked.

“Not then. They threw the chalkboard eraser at me and made me write each word until I got it correct.”

“That’s not very nice.”

“You’re telling me. Fairy school is not all it’s cracked up to be. Every fairy culture is gifted in different forms. Meadow fairies are not good spellers. We don’t have to be because we are of the meadow and talk to the meadow creatures and care for them. We use no spells so we don’t write words, just speak them. Other fairies have to learn words to communicate to the other worlds, this is their job.”

“I see,” said Owl.

“When the last eraser hit my wing, tearing it, I stomped out of school, swearing I was never going back. Then one word apologized and then another, but it was too late for me. Once outside, I could not fly so I took off running.”

They glided through the air until Owl perched a top of a tall boxy building.

“We’re here,” Owl said.

Lucy stared at the sky. Stars twinkled. Meteors flew across it. She wished she could fly like them.

Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong!

“Tis four o’clock. I shall take you down now,” said Owl.

Lucy  held on tight, her wings tucked in neatly.

“Off you go. What you need is in here. Every culture and every law can be found here. You just have to look hard and research and you will find your answers.”

Lucy stepped toward the large building with the wise owl statues lining the stairway to it.

“Do not be alarmed when you enter. Words abound in every corner. These words are here to help you. Though you may be terrified of them, give them a chance. If it becomes too overwhelming, ask a librarian for help as help is always available in this magical place.”

Lucy was skeptical.  She stepped back toward Owl.

Owl nudged her forward. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.

“Thank you Owl for rescuing me. I shall take your advice.”

“Remember dear fairy, overcoming obstacles is not easy and takes time.”

Lucy nodded and waved goodbye.

Inside, the words waited patiently.

They had their work cut out for them.

As did Lucy. This was just the beginning.

 

 

 

 

 

SHOW DON’T TELL Isn’t Just for Writers

[photo credit: firstcovers.com]
Are you confident in your abilities at work or in your personal life or do you need to tell the world what you are great at? Then this little blurb may explain what’s behind the SHOW DON’T TELL rule for life in general and well, if you are a writer, you may want to read this too.
Telling something can always be a lie but showing it proves the truth. Such as someone like Bob who tells the world ” I am always on time.” Is Bob really or just saying that to make others believe it. What do Bob’s actions show? Bob actually is often late to work rushing in fifteen to thirty minutes after the shift starts.running-late
However, what if Bob was actually quite punctual? Bob could say, “I punch in at 7:58 every morning, two minutes before the shift starts,” to show it and be truthful or he could say nothing and continue to be prompt for everything, confident in his ability to be punctual which people notice and remember.punctual
[photo credit: hodgesherald.blogspot.com]
Telling shows a weakness in both proclamation and in writing. In both proclamations above, Bob feels the need to let everyone know he is punctual whether it is true or not. Only Bob knows why he has to broadcast this.
This works both ways. In this instance Mary tells everyone in the neighboring office, “I am the responsible one who plans everything and keeps everything flowing nice.” Mary is partially telling and partially showing, which is better. But…Mary is not responsible but relies on her co-workers to carry the weight of the work and follow through with orders. Her direct peers know this.
However, a different Mary tells the neighboring office this, “Bob has to carry the weight in our office. I’m not much help.” Mary is telling not showing. She is angry with Bob for being so lack in his skills and work ethics that she proclaims it is her hoping someone will disagree with her and tell her she is indeed a great help. By telling people she is not, it is contradictory to what her actions show.
When push comes to shove in work environments, for the most part, your actions speak volumes. But sometimes you do have to state your case to save your job, etc. and then you are best to show them with your words and not just tell. Showing your case with details gives the best choice for proving the truth. Telling offers nothing concrete.
pigeon-dont-tell-me-show-me
[photo credit: flickr.com]
In writing this is an example of weak writing versus strong writing or known as telling vs. showing:
The sun is shining.‘ or ‘Beams of sunlight lit up the field.
If I wrote, ‘The sun is shining,’ and later in the paragraph or scene I described a dreary day, the original sentence is a lie or a contradiction, thus showing weak plotting.
Point is, if you have to tell everyone how great you are something, it means you are trying to get others to believe something you yourself do not believe or feel inadequate about. Therefore, instead of touting to the world you are this or that, show them with your actions and let your actions speak for themselves; your actions are what everyone remembers.
‘SHOW DON’T TELL’ is a good rule to follow. Even if you are not a writer, you can apply the same rule to your life in both work and personal.
a-persons-actions
[photo credit: pinterest.com]
Want to know more about SHOW DON’T TELL? Check out these links:

GOODBYE SUMMER: No More Hide and Seek

Caption for the Learner’s Word of the Day Photo above: This dog is sorely in need of a bath.

[It’s been too long since I have written a ‘Word of the Day’ story. Therefore here is a reminder: for these stories, I give my self 60 minutes to write it and edit it before I post it, that’s it. These are lessons in getting the story out so they are not perfect but done as eloquently as possible in a short amount of time.]

overweening – adjective

[oh-ver-wee-ning]

  1.   presumptuously conceited, overconfident, or proud
  2.   exaggerated, excessive, or arrogant

 

sorely – adverb

[sawr-lee, sohr-]

  1.   very much
  2.   in a painful manner

 

Barkin paused in the garden, his paws scratching the dirt unearthing an earthworm. He sniffed the air and closed his eyes.

“Whatcha doing Barkin? Want to play hide and seek?” Digger asked his furry friend.

Barkin plopped onto the dirt, late summer flowers surrounding him. “I’m sorely going to miss you Digger,” he said to the earthworm.

Digger arched his slender body. “Where am I going?”

“Winter’s coming and we won’t be able to play anymore. You and the rest of the diggers will be frozen in the ground.” Barkin hangs his head.

Miner pokes her head out. “Aww Barkin, autumn is just starting. We have plenty of time to play before winter.”

Barkin perks up. “Really?”

“Really,” says Miner.

“But what about Robin? She’s leaving soon. There will be no more tug o’ war games to watch.”

“Thank goodness for that,” Digger says. “We lose too many team members when Robin brings her friends.”

“True.” Barkin nudges Miner and Digger. They giggle.

“You’re nose is cold and wet, like we are” they say.

Barkin licks his nose and licks their head. “I’m not slimy though.”

Digger and Miner burrow down in the dirt. Barkin watches them disappear and waits, watching where they reappear. This is his favorite game: hide and seek.

Someone is tickling his tummy. Barkin jumps up and looks down. “Hey, you got me that time.” Digger smiles and burrows back down again. Barkin creeps over to the Asters whose overweening bushiness  rules over the corner of the garden giving Cottontail and Chip the best hiding place.

He noses around under the Asters. Cottontail and Chip jump out. “Found us!” Barkin wags but just once.

Digger pokes his head up near the Mums. “No one found me!”

“Look for Miner,” he tells Cottontail and Chip. “We don’t have many times left to play hide and seek with them before winter comes.” Barkin sniffles.

“Can’t find me,” says a familiar voice. Barkin sniffs the dirt. Tickle, tickle on his nose.

“Achoo! Found you Miner,” Barkin says sniffling some more.

“Why are you sad Barkin?” Miner asks.

“Chip’s going to hibernate and you diggers are going to freeze to death when winter comes. Cottontail and I are going to be lonely all winter.”

“We don’t die when the earth freezes, we burrow down deep and curl up waiting for spring. In a sense we freeze but as the earth warms, we revive slowly. Then the snow melts and when the moisture reaches us, we dig our way to the topsoil.” Digger explains.

Barkin looks at Cottontail, grinning. “In that case,” he said nudging Cottontail, “you’re it!” and bounds away.

The friends play hide and seek until Barkin is called inside for dinner.

“Let’s play again tomorrow!” and they agree to do so.

 

How Do Earthworms Survive Winter?

http://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/4dmg/Soil/worms.htm

10 eye-opening tips to add impact to your storytelling — Nail Your Novel

(This is an article I am sharing that is not written by me. It offers fantastic tips for novel writers. – Traci)

When I work with a writer on their first serious novel manuscript, there are certain aspects they usually get right on instinct alone. There’s the content – a believable story world, characters with solid backgrounds and stuff to do. They usually write fluently too. But there are other, more hidden levels of craft that they […]

via 10 eye-opening tips to add impact to your storytelling — Nail Your Novel

 

Small Victory, Big Reward

Photo credit: libcom.org

victory – noun

[vik-tuh-ree, vik-tree]

  1.   success in defeating an opponent or enemy
  2.   the act of defeating an opponent or enemy

sweltering – adjective

[swel-ter-ing]

  1.   very hot

 

Monsters come in all sizes. This species is shiny, looks like coppery bronze basking in the sunshine. Oh, see that glint of emerald shining bright right above the coppery wings? In the sweltering month of July, they usually make their first appearance. The hotter the weather, the more they thrive.

japanese beetles

Yes, these little monsters climbing over each other are Japanese beetles. Their goal in life is to mate and (eat)destroy every living plant they find desirable.

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The above photo is what is left of two of my hollyhock plants. The photo below shows what the hollyhock leaf looks like before the monsters start chomping away and after they have devoured one leaf to lace.

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Hollyhocks are not their only food of choice. Here two are scrambling over one of my monarda (bee balm flowers).

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The bees are weary of these bronze and green ghouls. I do know that ferns are adored by Japanese Beetles and not long after they find ferns, the ferns look like brown lace. Here, the beetle has just found the fern and I have been fighting with them ever since.

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Since I do not approve of pesticides which harm the good bugs and the earthworms and birds, I use a safe method of killing the Japanese beetles. Water, dish soap and garlic. I pour water into a plastic container and stir in enough dish soap to give the water color and stir in about a teaspoon of crushed garlic. The dish soap must not be mixed in where it turns to bubbles. The reason is because the soap coats the beetles wings and they cannot fly. It also suffocates them. The garlic is to ward off other beetles which I think actually helps to a small degree.

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I use a spoon, child medicine dropper or old turkey baster to drop the soap mixture onto them or I pick the monsters off the plant and drop them into the soap mixture. Either way is effective. However, like most monsters they bite and if they get in your hair, they rat it and bite your scalp. so the trick is to be sneaky. You can use a spray bottle as well but the garlic needs to be strained out as it plugs up the sprayer. This is a short term method to eradicate them.

The long term method is to apply nature’s own Milky Spore which is a Bacillus popillae, a bacterium that kills grubs by multiplying inside the grubs, causing them to die. The milky spore needs to be applied in spring and fall for maximum effect for up to three years which then guarantees to keep your lawn free from them for ten years or more. For more about this product check out this link: http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/milky-spore-powder-p-2948.html

milky spore

Can you guess who will be buying this Nature’s wonder product this fall? You’re right and if you have these little monsters in your home, I suggest going the long term route to rid your yard and gardens of them. Besides garden flowers and veggies, they also destroy yards creating brown spots by eating grass roots.

With the soap water, I have a short term victory bug hunting in sweltering heat is not my idea of fun. With the milky spore applied I have long term victory and since it is applied in the coolness of autumn and spring, the work to apply it is well worth it.

 

 

 

LAY VS. LIE

Ever wonder what word to use in the case of lay or lie? Examples:  I lay in bed reading my book. I lie in bed reading my book. Which is it?

Editor and Story Consultant, Lara Willard explains the difference in straightforward detail. You can read it yourself on her blog at:

Lay vs. Lie

sara willard

Lie vs. Lay

Resource Wrangler

snuggery – noun (British)

[snuhguh-ree]

  1.   a snug place or position.
  2.   a comfortable or cozy room.

 

The perfect word came up as a Word of the Day selection from http://www.dictionary.com and that word is snuggery. While this is not my typical Word Of The Day story, this is a blog entry about resources for researching and writing.  So if you are a a children’s writer, find yourself a snuggery to sit in while you read this post.

My favorite part to writing anything (even during childhood) is researching the idea (s) first. I will read magazine articles, books, newspaper articles, brochures, pamphlets, etc. to get any snippet of information I find useful. Most of the public librarians know be by name there as I usually have fifty or more books checked out on any given week. Granted most of them are picture books but it wasn’t always that way.

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I have been writing stories for over twenty years; children’s stories, young adult stories, scary stories, ghostly stories, funny stories, romance stories, short stories, long stories, and campfires stories. Since 1990, I have submitted stories off and on to publishers and all have been rejected, with good reason. I had gotten out of the habit of researching, I just wrote and edited. Then as I had children, I wrote sporadically, occasionally submitting to publishers but again I had omitted the researching part. That is, until March 2012 when fate stepped in and I lost both of the jobs I was working. My kids were in college and last year of high school at the time. To say the least, I was devastated and on top of it, I was going in for shoulder surgery a month later. But fate had it all planned out.

Fate is quite the character using it’s special set of skills to nudge people into the path they are supposed to take when said people purposely set about to do the opposite. Now I’m not saying people are sabotaging themselves on purpose, I am saying they make choices purposely (whether to help out the family, illness, etc.) that keep them from their life journey so fate steps in to nudge or push them blatantly in the right direction.

Fate also has a sense of humor. Just because people told me I should write for a living and I would be published in no time does not mean, “Just write what you know, send it out and the publishing deals will come.” I knew that in my head but my heart bypassed my brain and I sent out a couple of submissions without doing much homework on the submitting process of the second decade in the new millennium WHICH HAD CHANGED.

Fate gave me the security I needed to stay at home and write once my shoulder healed but fate was not going to do all the work for me. I needed to put my back and brains into my work like I had every thing else in life. So I started going back to my public library and researching every aspect of writing for children. I checked out books and extended their time until I had to return them and then checked them out again. I had repeatedly checked out so many of the same books I started buying them so I had them when I needed them.

This brings me to the best part of my post in my opinion…the list via photos of my most used resource books for writing for children. I also write young adult but am concentrating on my picture books manuscripts first (four of which are polished and ready for submission).

Enjoy!

The Emotion Thesaurus writers digest sourcebook characters how to write dazzling dialogue Writer's Guide to character traits

write great dialogue childrens writers word book synonym finder dream language

*Yes a Dream Language Dictionary is in my resource pile of books. 😀

rhyming dictionary writing picture books crafting stories for children writing great books for young adults writing the paranormal novel disagreeable english editing your fiction create your writer platform

I have more resource books but these are the ones I reference most since I have read them. *You may think it odd I have a Dream Language Dictionary in the mix. This magical book has given me the perfect word, oddly enough, when I have been stumped. It also infuses creativity in me when I feel like being lazy.

To finish this up, the last book pictured here, ‘CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM’ written by Chuck Sambuchino, gave me something to work on when I needed a break from writing and researching. It is a fabulous resource to get you on your way for when you do get published. do not wait until you are published to create your writer platform, do it now.  I am not published yet but I am working on it and I will be. I have established my writer platform and have worked hard at it during my journey so far into this new career of mine.

My advice to you writer, even if you do not own these books, check them out from your local library, get a feel for them and if you want your own copy, then order it at your local independent bookstore or Amazon or my personal favorite, http://www.writersdigestshop.com/ . Then once you have your research resource books in hand, cuddle up with it in your favorite snuggery and take notes.

Good luck with all of your writing endeavors.

#justkeepwriting #justkeepwriting

Warmly,

Traci

@ChuckSambuchino @WritersDigest