Friday, November 27, 2009

Counting My "Writerly" Blessings

It would be easy to moan about all the things that I hoped to accomplish this year that didn't quite materialize. Instead here's my top ten "writerly" blessings.

1. Children's Magazines - Without the guidance of editors like Patty McIntyre, Marileta Robinson and Deborah Vetter, I would have never been published.

2. Florida SCBWI - Through my local chapter, I've connected with a critique group and learned to write a novel. (Thank you Joyce Sweeney!)

3. National SCBWI - For the first time, I attended the national conference in Los Angeles. I enjoyed seeing old friends and made some new ones too.

4. Sue Alexander New Voices Award - I was nominated this year, and it's the first time I've ever received that kind of recognition for my writing.

5. Highlights Foundation Workshops - I attended a week-long retreat hosted by Carolyn Yoder. All I can say is if you ever have the chance, run, don't walk to apply.

6. Novels - My picture book manuscripts weren't selling. This led me to try writing a novel. I completed my first novel this year and am deeply immersed in a second one.

7. Friends - Cynthia Chapman Willis and Jeannine Norris are the best writing buddies a girl could wish for. They cheer at my successes and commiserate when I fail.

8. Social Networking - I've connected with other writers through Facebook and my classmates from high school too.

9. Tutoring - I volunteer as a writing tutor on Tuesday nights and I've received more blessings from Romello than I could possibly give back to him.

10. Family - I've saved the most important for last. Thanks to my husband and son for understanding about my writing! You guys are the best.

What about you? What "writerly" blessings came your way this year?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Entertainer and the Dybbuk by Sid Fleischman

I enjoy reading authors who build a wonderful story with minimum words. Author Sid Fleischman has that uncanny ability to make every word count.

In this story, Avrom Amos was killed by the Nazis before his bar mitzvah. He becomes a Jewish ghost and decides to possess the body of a young ventriloquist named Freddie.

Sid Fleischman doesn't shy away from the horrors of the Holocaust, but he presents the facts in a unique and clever way...through the mouth of a ventiloquist's dummy.

THE ENTERTAINER AND THE DYBBUK is fast-paced, with a satisfying ending. Fans of historical fiction will love this book.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

INTO THE WILD by Sarah Beth Durst

The traditional fairytale characters have escaped from their stories and are living in Northboro Massachusetts. Their forest (aka "the wild") is being contained underneath Julie's bed.

The characters live in dread of being sucked back into their stories, and living the same tale over and over. But when "the Wild" escapes and takes over the town, it's up to Julie to save the day.

INTO THE WILD has some clever plot devices. I enjoyed how the author blends fairytales with real life landmarks in Massachusetts. I was also intrigued by how she melds the fairytale characters into present day, (e.g. Rapunzel runnning a hair salon).

Though I prefer more romance in the fantasy books that I read, I still enjoyed this book. There's a sequel called OUT OF THE WILD, and the author has a new book called ICE published by Simon and Schuster.

Have you read any of the books by Sarah Beth Durst? Which was your favorite?