Today’s story is under 100 words for Susanna Hill’s 6th Annual Halloweensie Contest that starts today and runs through Halloween night. The main rules are the story has to contain (in some form) these three words: ghost, moon and spider AND be 100 words or less.
In addition to these three words, I have incorporated both Learner’s Word of the Day and dictionary.com Word of the Day for today (Oct. 27, 2016) I also gave myself one hour to write it and edit it as per my usual Word of the Day guidelines.
delectation – noun
gourd – noun
any one of several types of fruits that have a hard shell and that are used for decoration and not for eating
a narrow opening or crack in a hard surface and especially in rock
“I feel so naked without it,” Terrence said to his best friend Trent.
“You look fine without it,” said Trent.
“But I need it, it protects me. You wouldn’t go anywhere without yours and you know it.”
Trent kicked the ground, shuffling his feet. “You’re right, I wouldn’t.”
Terrence covered himself with large leaves he found.
Trent laughed. “You look better without the leaves.”
Terrence squinched his eyes and curled his mouth. “Fine.” He dropped the leaves.
“We need to retrace your footsteps,” Trent said. “Start from the beginning.”
Terrence led Trent back to his home under the mud bog. Trent scratched around the mud. Terrence breezed through the brush. “Not here,” he called out.
A shadow passed above them. Chills crept over Terrence.
They traipsed to the rock quarry next. Terrence kicked rocks out of his way while Trent noses around the big rock. “Not here,” he said.
Sweat dripped off of Terrence, his skin becoming pinkish.
“We have to find your shell fast. You’re going to fry right up and the buzzards will eat you all gone.”
Terrence trembled at the thought. He led Trent to the other side of the rock quarry where the sun was almost hiding.
A testudinal object poked out from the crevice in the quarry.
“Look Terrence!” Trent pointed.
CRAW! CRAW! A shadow circled above them, then disappeared.
“Run!” Trent called.
Terrence used all of his might pushing his stubby legs as fast as they could go.
The shadow became two.
Terrence pushed on.
Terrence ducked. “Almost there,” he chanted over and over.
Trent chucked a rock at the buzzards.
He ducked into his shell as the buzzards dove toward him.
Trent peeked out from his shell, fearful for his friend.
Terrence lunged forward.
The testudinal object was indeed his shell. He pulled and prodded. Swoooosh! and pulled some more. The shell flew into the air…kerplunk… hit a buzzard and landed perfectly on Terrence, covering his body once more.
CRAW! CRAW! Screamed the buzzards, one rubbing it’s head.
Terrence ducked into his shell and hid in the crevice between a rock and a hard place, known as the quarry.
When the buzzards bagged out, Terrence ambled over to his friend.
“Good thing they’re gone, they almost had themselves fried tortoise for lunch.”
“And chicken soup if they had caught me,” Trent said as he shivered.
“You were brave Trent, not a chicken,” said Terrence.
“I guess so. But you’re the one who gave one buzzard a goose egg.”
Terrence laughed. “Yeah. Buzzards love to eat tortoise eggs so I bet they love goose eggs too!”
Together they laughed and laughed all the way to the mud bog where they filled up on leaves for lunch and nestled into the mud for a nap.
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
sorely – adverb
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.
As the 15th anniversary of that horrible day in 2001, we really should celebrate it as a holiday.
How can such a horrific event be a holiday? Holidays are meant for celebrations.
Many cultures believe that when a person dies, the living should celebrate the deceased persons life on earth and their passing on to a better place. This may be done with a gathering or feast where memories are shared, stories told and people unite. There are tears but those tears are not only for grief but also for joy in remembering.
9/11 should be the same but on a national scale: a noted holiday like D-Day.
This is how we can celebrate:
First, honor all who lost their lives that day by remembering how they died and giving a moment of silence to pay respect. Second, celebrate the memories of them by retelling their stories. And third, celebrate how our citizens came together to help one another and realize we are all humans, period. No ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or difference of appearance mattered then and should not matter now in how we treat each other.
We cititzens, we’re all the same, equal because of what we are: Americans. (As it should be.) Therefore, we celebrate each other’s uniqueness.
My hope is that this anniversary marks a new beginning; that we remember we are people, Americans. And by Americans I mean a melting pot [remember SchoolHouse Rock!] of humans who care for one another as humans should. By American, I mean our differences (gender, looks, ethnicity, religion, skin color, sexual orientation, etc.) do not define us but are a part of what makes each of us American. Those characteristics individually help make each of us unique and special. What should define us as a person is how we treat each other and all other living beings. Period.
Remember the events that happened September 11, 2001. Pay respect to those who lost their lives. Honor them by not repeating such hateful disregard for human life and celebrate the unity shown that day and the days, months, years that followed by helping one another as ‘We the People’ of America can and should.
Bless you all. Together, we CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
I subscribed to the newsletter and from that point on, I read and studied every post and still do. @carriebrowntx
Starting over with a new career in late 2012, I knew I needed to start catching up on picture books and young adult books before I started writing books again. (I had written quite a few years ago but shelved them after they received so many rejections.) So from late 2012 through 2013 I read and read and read and wrote an occasional story just for fun.
In 2014 I got serious. I took a few online writing classes to hone some skills and then followed picture book author, Jamie A. Swenson’s advice to join SCBWI. Jamie is one of our children’s librarians at our public library which is how I met her. She also told me if I want to succeed in this business, I need to be aware of what’s out there and read, read, read. I had that part down.
So I joined SCBWI and went to my first SCBWI function in my home region of Wisconsin WI-SCBWI and met so many wonderful people in the kidlit community. SCBWI is a must to be a part of if you are serious about writing kidlit.
Also in 2014, I discovered various writing groups on Facebook. I checked them out and in 2015 joined several including PiBoIdMo. PiBoIdMo is writing down 30 picture book ideas in a month, one for every day of the month. This gives writers and illustrators opportunities to create ideas to work on throughout the year. I was all in coming up with not just 30 ideas but 36 total. Of those 36, I have eleven of them in various stages of revisions. PiBoIdMo offers so much more than just coming up with ideas so look into it. November is less than 2 months away.
Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge @JulieFHedlund was recommended to me by author Tara Lazar while I participated in PiBoIdMo. Tara is the founder of PiBoIdMo. She had sent me the link to 12 x 12 http://12x12challenge.com/ and ReFoReMo (the link from the beginning).
12×12 was the exact opportunity I was looking for to make my 36 ideas from PiBoIdMo shine. I started that in January and as March got closer I got excited for ReFoReMo which worked well with my 12 x 12 goals.
I found that just reading picture books wasn’t enough for writing good picture books. I needed to understand what secret to success each book held and not it’s selling success but what about the book made me like it or not. I measure a books success by readers enjoyment of the book. Yes, sales are great and necessary but the ultimate high is when a reader loves your book.
March 2016 brings me to ReFoReMo. I dove into the recommended reading list and the rest is history. What I gained from participating can be seen here:
The above article features me as a participant edited by Kirsti Call @kirsticall who is co-founder of ReFoReMo along with Carrie Charley Brown.
There are so many fantastic opportunities to be involved in your kidlit writing career if you choose to do so. These four are my top ones so far for getting me as far into my writing career as I am. I have confidence that I will have a long and rewarding career writing picture books and young adult books.
Oh, by the way, besides having talent, kidlit writers MUST HAVE PATIENCE! If you do not have patience then a career in writing any book is out of the question.
To many, the above is what Labor Day weekend means to them: no work, just playful fun times full of celebrations and relaxation. But many of the Millenial generations and younger have no idea why they are celebrating or why they may have off of work.
The United States Department of Labor defines this time as: ‘Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.’ https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history
WOW! The US government did that for the workers of America!
Not so fast. The US Government conceded into making it a national holiday to end strikes of National Unions that were fighting for workers rights and safety. In fact, thousands of union workers lost life and/or limb in those strikes and fights. Employers were keen to make as much money as they could by short changing their workers who worked long and tedious hours for next to little money while the owners and managers sat fat in money at the expense of their employees health and well being. Unions also fought for 40 hours a week work schedule instead of the 60+ work week that were so common in the factories.
Upton Sinclair was a muckraker in the early 1900’s who exposed government and business corruption. THE JUNGLE is a vivid account of such actions that pushed Labor Day awareness into action.
John Steinbeck’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH is another great read showing workers struggles.
A newer book written by Kate Alcott exposes the backbreaking conditions of the Mill Girls from the mid 1900’s is THE DARING LADIES OF LOWELL.
Not everyone wants to read a book about though the above titles are engrossing. If you want to know more about this labor movement but don’t want to read, here are some great movies to watch and eat a bag popcorn while relaxing. (Of course some of these titles may be hard to come by)
‘ (1993) – A film about the AFSCME Memphis Sanitation workers strike in 1968, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I have been to the mountaintop” speech. Dr. King was assassinated the following day. ‘*
‘(2000) – Two Latina sisters work as cleaners in a downtown office building, and fight for the right to unionize.’ *
‘ (1979) – The story of Norma Rae (played by Sally Field), a southern textile worker employed in a factory with intolerable working conditions. This film won two Oscars and is considered a classic union film. ‘ *
‘SALT OF THE EARTH’ (1954) – The story of the New Mexico zinc miners strike that was taken over by the wives of the miners when they were prohibited from picketing. Most of the film crew was black listed in Hollywood in 1954 for producing this film.’ *
‘(1983) – The story of Karen Silkwood, a metallurgy worker at a plutonium processing plant who was purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant worker safety violations at the plant. Starring Meryl Streep, Cher & Kurt Russell.’*
‘ (1979) – Real-life drama of the tragic sweatshop fire in New York as seen through the eyes of four women who worked there. ‘ *
There you have it. If you are about this weekend and go anyplace where there are people to wait on you or serve you (and there are an abundance) please be courteous, gracious and kind. Thank them and tip well (if tipping is appropriate).
What will I be doing this weekend? Working of course. The weeds and outdoor chores beckon.
Happy Labor Day weekend!
p.s. If you happen to be pregnant and in labor this weekend, bless you.Many years ago on Labor Day, I was in labor from early morning until I had my little girl in the wee hours two days later.
As an author of picture books (and young adult) who is working on getting published, I take pride in reading what other authors and illustrators write. I do not illustrate my books as I leave that up to the professionals but I do imagine what the illustrations might look like as I write.
[As you can see above, I am best to leave the illustrating to the professionals and hone the story instead.]
Reading and researching are as much a part of writing as the writing itself.
To be exceptional or even good at at writing, one must READ, READ, READ. To be exceptional at illustrating picture books one must STUDY, STUDY, STUDY AND READ, READ, READ picture books as well. Research is key!
Since 2012, I have read over 2,500 picture books to learn what’s out there in the marketplace and learn who’s writing and illustrating them. (In 2014 I discovered Goodreads where I joined and started keeping track of all of the books I read which obviously does not have anything pre-October 2014)
But can I name the books, the authors, the illustrators, the publishers? Not off the top of my head. Too many to list and too many to remember. But if you are looking for specific authors, illustrators or publishers books, a good place to start is http://www.goodreads.com.
Which brings me to the point of this post. Since I do not illustrate, I am in awe of illustrators. And if the illustrator also writes their own story then WHAM! I am starstruck. Therefore, I can however give you a sampling of the author/illustrators whose books I recently enjoyed for both the writing and the illustrating.
Without further ado, by photo and in no specific order, here are some of my favorite books by Author/Illustrators:
Below is the list of author/illustrators in order of above book appearance in this post starting with the header photo.
All of this fuss about bees being endangered is just fluff right? Bees are mean, they sting and buzz too close. Who needs them? Let them all die.
NOOOOOOOO! The world needs bees.
Then why are so many people scared of them? Because they do not know better or because they are allergic to them.
Fact: Bees sting. Why? They sting to protect their home and themselves if they are frightened or threatened. They do not sting because they just want to.
Fact: Wasps are not bees and will sting just for the heck of it if they are annoyed and to hunt .
Fact: Bees are hairy or furry. Wasps are sleek and smooth.
Fact: Wasps kill other insects like caterpillars and spiders and eat them and feed them to their larvae. These carnivores eat beneficial insects (nature’s natural pesticide) which rid us of harmful insects that destroy crops and flowers.
Fact: Favorite colored flowers are yellow, blue and purple.
Fact: Bees are beneficial to humans. Why? Number one, they are the primary pollinator for many food sources that the world relies on. Number two, a species within this group of insects is the only insect that makes food that we humans can eat: HONEY! (aka: liquid gold) made by honeybees, naturally. [There are hundred of benefits of honey but that’s a blog for a different day]
Fact: The average honeybee makes 1 1/2 teaspoons of honey in their lifetime.
Fact: A bee carries half her weight in pollen which rubs off on other plants as she flies to them.
Fact: Bees cannot fly in the rain and are slow flyers with top speeds up to 15 mph.
Fact: To make just one pound of honey, a colony of honeybees flies 55,000 miles and gathers pollen from 2 million flowers.
Fact: Humans rely on bees to pollinate 1/3 of all food grown that we eat.
Fact: Female bees do a ‘waggle dance’ to tell fellow bees the distance and direction of pollen and nectar rich plants.
albertdock.com Not the round dance, this dance: what-when-how.com
Fact: Large spiders will kill and eat bees. (Guess the spiders have it coming when wasps eat them).
Fact: Female bees have pollen baskets on their back legs to store it.
Fact: Only bees can make wax. We humans use their precious wax for cosmetic use, candles and so much more.
Fact: It’s the yellow jackets (wasp family) that people are most afraid of as they hang around picnic sites to eat sweet food and they will sting if swatted at because they are protecting their new found food source that humans provided them. (According to the yellow jackets)
Fact: Species of bees include: carpenter bees, alkali bees, bumblebees, mining bees, honeybees, leafcutter bees, mason bees, and sweatbees.
Fact: Bumblebees, alkali bees, mason bees and sweat bees are endangered almost to extinction.
Fact: Bumblebees are the primary pollinators for blueberries, cranberries and tomatoes.
Fact: 50, yes 50, species within the bumblebee genre are extinct now. Gone forever. No more. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero.
Fact: Bees need a balanced diet, just like humans, to survive and not get diseases.
Fact: Pollution, loss of habitat, pesticides, disease and parasites are responsible for the incredible loss of bees worldwide.
Fact: Many flower and vegetable seeds are sprayed and packed with insecticides which after planting and growing, the bees absorb and shorten their lifespans.
(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 […]
Visit any zoo or nature preserve and you may hear the comments above as visitors take in the lovable sights and sounds of animals.
But what if you cannot take your child to a zoo or a nature preserve? Money may be the issue or transportation or both. No matter.
A stroll in an area with trees will offer squirrels and birds and maybe bunnies below and insects galore. Just find a natural area that is not urban.
However, there is a way to introduce your children to animals without having to see them at a zoo or a nature preserve. Visit your local library. Books about animals, every animal you can think of, are abundant at the library.
Animals need the new generations to care about them to give them a voice for the future.
Good question. The answer is scary though.
Hundreds of animal species throughout the world are in real danger of becoming extinct. They are in fact on the endangered species list or worse, near extinction list and the cause is the adult humans who have decided to encroach on animals natural habitats for their own greed by building homes and high rises and more farmland. Also, in many cases, the animals are poached, also for greed. And last, the speeding up of climate change due in part to earth pollution. Therefore, the heart of the matter is that animals need more humans to care about them because THAT MATTERS to them and it should matter to all humans.
If we can get our children to love the animals as much as many animal advocates do and teach them about animals and the real need to keep them on earth in healthy habitats, then humanity will prevail and future generations will have animals to enjoy in their natural habitats.
There are many children’s authors who write about animals in both fiction and non-fiction stories. Three of my favorite #kidlit animal authors so far are Jim Arnosky, Janet Halfmann (a sample of Janet’s books is featured in this posts header photo) and Sandra Markle. In fact, I am working my way through all of their books to learn as much as possible about all of the animals they write about which is A LOT!
Both Janet Halfmann and Jim Arnosky write not only non-fiction stories about animals, they also write fiction picture books about them that offer facts on the animals at the end of their books.
The books above can be found in the picture book section. Or ask a librarian for help to find them. The books below are examples of Jim’s non-fiction books about animals.
These are a couple of Janet’s books that I read over and over.
As for Sandra Markle, many of her books are non-fiction picture books offering so many facts that your child will feel like he/she knows the animals best.
A couple of my favorites of hers are:
And those are just a tiny sample of wonderful books about animals you can find at the library. And if the library does not have a book title you want, you can always ask them to order it in to be checked out.
For more reading fun check out these author webpages: