Category Archives: Uncategorized

Illustrator Wendy Martin Comes Full Circle with THE STORY CIRCLE (plus a giveaway!) — Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

Let me introduce you to one of the hardest working illustrators in kidlit. I have known Wendy Martin for years, and during that time she has been drawing everything in sight and refining her style. Her diverse range spans from mandala coloring books to art nouveau maidens to the bright watercolors of her illustrative picture book debut, THE STORY […]

via Illustrator Wendy Martin Comes Full Circle with THE STORY CIRCLE (plus a giveaway!) — Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)


The Beauty of Glimmers

Writer’s retreats are beautiful things, my friends. Especially those put on by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. This weekend I attended the SCBWI Orange County S…

Source: The Beauty of Glimmers

So You’ve Graduated…Congratulations!!!!!

jimjams – noun


( used with a plural verb) Slang.
1.  extreme nervousness; jitters.
tassel – noun, verb
[tasuh l]
1.   a decoration made of a bunch of strings fastened at one end
2.   a flower or group of flowers at the top of a cornstalk
3.   (used with object) to furnish or adorn with tassels.
4.   (used with object) to form into a tassel or tassels.
5.   (used with object) to remove the tassel from (growing corn) in order to improve the crop.
6.   (used without object) (of corn) to put forth tassels (often followed by out).
So you’ve graduated. You’ve turned that tassel to the other side. Congratulations on a new phase in your life. congrats grad (photo credit:
If you’re a college graduate, you know everything you need to know about living on your own independently. Right? Probably not. Well, you’re not alone. Though I can tell you, your school years were your easiest part of your life in the grand scope of things.
If you graduated kindergarten, fifth or eighth grade, you now move on to  higher education within your school system but you get to make more of your own choices.
Maybe you graduated high school. That is fantastic!  You have two options really, get a job and get an early start into independent adult life or go to college, technical school, etc. and learn a career or trade. All are great options so make your choice based on you, not what everyone else thinks you should do.
technical school(photo credit:
Turning that tassel is when the jimjams set in. Especially if you are a college graduate. Plenty of college students pay for their own college education, living expenses, etc. and understand the financial burden of doing such. They also know the extreme importance of how far a dollar stretches. They too have a chunk of financial debt to pay for that new found knowledge that is supposed to land them a great job for the independent adult world. College students who paid little to none of their education but took out loans and had parents help  offset the cost are the ones who are in for more of a shell shock upon college graduation.
graduation ride(photo credit:
Their ride into the post college world is often anxiety ridden. These college grads did not do internships to get a taste of the working world or work steady jobs in college to help pay part of their bills. In fact, these grads were done a disservice by their parents helping them out so much. These grads now have to ‘adult up’ in a hurry like their ‘high school graduate’ counterparts did when they chose to enter the workforce following high school graduation.
The new world is daunting, especially if the graduate did not make plans during college to get themselves a job in their field post graduation. There is help for you though to figure it out. Maybe you don’t want to rely on your parents to do your thinking for you anymore so you can flex your independence.
Well, now you have to find a job. Can you move back home to your parents or crash with friends until you find a job? If so, then immediately start sending out job applications and resumes to every place close to where you’re living. Then apply for temp jobs or any job you can do and work that until you land a job in the field of work you want to get into. The pro of this is it gets you making money that you can save for when you move out on your own finally and also to start paying for those bills you’re parents have been paying for you to help you out. After all, you are out of school now and the only reason you went to college in the first place was to get an education to get you a decent paying job when you became independent. Your parents would like to retire someday and paying for their grown kids bills will not allow them to do that. (Your parents could then become your financial burden later on if they cannot continue to save for retirement because they’ve helped you out too long)
Next, once you have applied for your dream jobs, follow up with them if you do not hear anything from them in a week. Do not be a pest but do be persistent. This let’s the employer know you are a serious contender and willing and wanting to work.
If you have aspirations to live somewhere else, then do your research online and find jobs in that area and apply. Follow through. Make sure you have saved enough money to move there when you land the job. This takes planning so research that too and listen to parents on this one if they have advice to give. Their advice is free. Most everything else in life is not. You don’t have to take their advice but chances are they have been there, done that and have wisdom to back them up. (someday you will be the wise parent)
Every one has a dream and every one should go after that dream. Use your wits and knowledge to land that dream and make it happen. It lands on you. No one else is responsible for making your dream come true. It’s all you!
promised land (photo credit:
Once you have landed a job you like, pay your bills and save up enough money to move out. You may have to get a roommate and that’s just fine. That cuts your living expenses so you can save money for your retirement. Yes, I said retirement.
Here are more websites on gaining independence that can help you should you seek it:
If you are unsure, ask someone who can actually help. Talk to trusted people. (Every one has an opinion so don’t ask every one. )
You now have more tools in place to help you succeed so embrace your jimjams now that you’ve turned that tassel and be who you were meant to be. You can do it! You have it in you. But YOU have to take charge and make it happen. Congratulations Graduate now grab your place in the world!  earth (photo credit:

Your Adventure Awaits

pumped – adjective, verb



excited and enthusiastic about something


  1.   to raise, drive, etc., with a pump.
  2.   to free from water or other liquid by means of a pump.
  3.   to operate or move by an up-and-down or back-and-forth action.
  4.   to supply with air, as an organ, by means of a pumplike device.
  5.   to drive, force, etc., as if from a pump.
  6.   to supply or inject as if by using a pump.
  7.   to work a pump; raise or move water, oil, etc., with a pump.
  8.   to move up and down like a pump handle.
  9.   to seek to elicit information from a person.

panjandrum – noun

[pan-jan-druh m]

  1.   a self-important or pretentious official.


Today’s post is not about the all new adventure of the world of politicians (or panjandrums as I like to call most of them) though that may be fun. No today  I am pumped to share with you my favorite place for adventure when I have no money to go too far: the Hedberg Public Library. I will visit any library, anywhere and find adventure.

Ahhh, you think I am just a bookworm maybe? True but I also enjoy the artwork featured by local artists as well as just one of the many features our library has to offer. In fact, this month one of the librarians, Helene Ramsdell, who is also a fabulous artist, has her work featured at our library. Here are a few samples of her work:

fox print helene ramsdell Filbert street animal prints

Artists are featured every month at our library. Therefore, not only is it a library but also an art gallery that changes monthly.

The library also offers classes in their computer lab, usually for free for any number of things. Programs for toddlers and young readers are offered weekly, story time during summer goes on, young adult programs are offered throughout the year and family programs, adult programs, author visits and so much more can be found at our library.

Besides books, you can check out toys at the library for your children, parenting material, DVD’s, Blu-Ray movies, magazines, CD’s, and audio books.library lion

If a title cannot be found at the library itself, they can use the Interlibrary Loan feature, WISCAT and even WorldCat to get in the material of your choice. Need something copied or printed, the library offers that too for a minimal fee. Don’t have time to peruse the shelves for your favorite book, request it online through their online catalog and pick it up when it arrives at the library within the allotted grace period.

If this isn’t enough to entice you to find your next adventure at the library, then check out these picture books about libraries. Not only are the stories unique, they offer a new perspective you and I may have overlooked.

a library book for bear wild about books

the lonely book Miss Dorothy

when the library lights go out the library doors

the library gingerbread man quiet theres a canary

the book boat's in waiting for biblioburro

I’m sure there are many more and these are all tried and true but that’s just my opinion. Go find your adventure at the library, until you absorb yourself in it you never know what awaits you.

What’s in your public library?

Happy reading!



Horrible Feelings!

Having a preteen daughter means that I’ve been having lots of conversations lately about FEELINGS. I find myself saying the following things on a regular basis… “It is totally normal to feel this w…

Source: Horrible Feelings!

Create Tension by Using Character Stand-ins — Read to Write Stories

For my money, one of the most intense scenes in any film is the moment in Ridley Scott’s Alien when a character goes into an air duct with the goal of pushing the Alien toward an air lock so it can be sucked out into space. (If you’ve seen the film, you know the scene; it’s everybody’s favorite.) […]

via Create Tension by Using Character Stand-ins — Read to Write Stories

Top Shelf in May: LAB GIRL by Hope Jahren — BookPeople’s Blog

This review comes from BookPeople Inventory Manager Jan Day Shaking off the dregs of winter, we’ve finally shed our coats and exposed our naked limbs to the sun, shining more on our upturned faces. Sunshine is never more welcome than in springtime. (We haven’t been crushed by those three-digit heat waves that will inevitably arrive within […]

via Top Shelf in May: LAB GIRL by Hope Jahren — BookPeople’s Blog

155 years ago today, Fort Sumter was fired upon– 10 Interesting facts — Bob Mayer

This was officially the beginning of the Civil War; in reality, that war was almost inevitable from the founding of the United States when the issue of slavery wasn’t dealt with. The Founding Fathers, while greatly revered, knew they were postponing an issue that later generations would have to solve with blood and generations in…

via 155 years ago today, Fort Sumter was fired upon– 10 Interesting facts — Bob Mayer

So Much to See and Do in St. Lou (is)

[all photos in this blog are the property of Traci and Kevin Bold (copyrighted) except for the top image which is from]

confluence – noun

[kon-floo-uh ns]

  1.   a flowing together of two or more streams, rivers, or the like:
    the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.
  2. their place of junction:
    St. Louis is at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.
  3. a body of water formed by the flowing together of two or more streams, rivers, or the like.
  4. a coming together of people or things; concourse.
  5. a crowd or throng; assemblage. 

ninnyhammer – noun


  1.   a fool or simpleton; ninny.

foolish – adjective


  1.   having or showing a lack of good sense or judgment
  2.   lacking forethought or caution.
  3.   trifling, insignificant, or paltry.



Actually St. Louis is going to wait. Along with my husband, we discovered a cool little town across the Mississippi River and just north from St. Louis. This little town is dubbed, ‘One of the most haunted towns in America’. For good reason too.


Alton sits on the east side near the Great Rivers confluence of the Mississippi River, Missouri River and the Illinois River. With numerous floodings since the beginning of Alton’s birth, and the fires and of course Ellis Island by Melvin Price Lock and Dam No. 26 hauntings are bound to happen. This little island housed the hospital for confederate POW’s between 1863 and 1865 who contracted mainly smallpox but other diseases as well. Close to two hundred soldiers died there and were buried. Locals told us that they do not go to the Island at night because of the hauntings. This little island is now a park and is a sanctuary for many birds.IMG_1900

Behind the bridge to St. Louis is a small island, Ellis Island, to which I refer. This is where the original lock and dam 26 was built.

Besides numerous haunted buildings and such in Alton there are many quaint antique shops (one of which is haunted) , good food such as Fast Eddie’s Bon-Air20160311_125815 (Fast Eddie’s is for the 21 and over crowd, sorry kiddos) and so much history.

For more on the hauntings:

Let’s get back to history. When two rivers converge into one bigger river only a few miles apart (confluence), areas surrounding that can become big targets for flooding, being ports for merchant barges and then of course great habitat for fish and animals and birds. (Not to mention mosquitoes.)

The Mississippi and Missouri River have seen their fare share of natural disasters and the Illinois River has seen some as well, but in this area, when they all flood, catastrophe happens. The Lock and dam system from the North Mississippi River to just below Alton, Il was built to help the barges through to the upper part of the Mississippi River which is actually a shallower river. These dams were not built to control the flooding.

The Melvin Price Locks and Dam (No.26) has seen it’s share of flooding since being moved to its’ current location. There is a marker on the side of the cement elevator (which is still out of order) from the water level the river got to in 1993. In fact, today there is still a lot of wood caught up in the holding area of the dams that has been there since that flood. IMG_1903

This mess of wood is now home to numerous wildlife species. Now when I saw this, I immediately thought of all the crafting people out there who would love to have this wood but I believe to try to retrieve it at whim would be foolish as this is a highly protected government facility.

Recently in late 2015 15″ of rain fell so sand bags were filled and brought in feeling that another 1993 flood was going to happen but thankfully, it did not. IMG_1898


The dam is attached to the National Great Rivers Museum which gives so much information about this area as well as the lock and dam. You can tour the dam to a certain point but then to try to go further, you would be a ninnyhammer to do so however you can visit the museum and then mark it off of your National Museum Passport if you have one.


In one of the holding areas past the first lock is a perfect spot to spy a blue heron.


He knows where to fish for his dinner. The picture below is the area of the dam where this heron is. IMG_1901

Alton and the surrounding area have so much more to offer and to see and do but that is for another time.

Stay tuned for more about the fun St. Louis has to offer.







Oooooo. Eyes widen.

Smooth milky fudge woos and waits.

Yes please! Are the words for a slice.

Mmmm! Taste buds revel in the richness.

Yummm! Tummy rumbles filled with gobbled goodness.

Ahhh. Heart flutters with fulfillment.

Fudge reigns.


Thank you Vivian Kirkfield for the inspiration to write this short short #kidlit story.


PPBF: Brave Girl PLUS 50 Precious Words Contest