Tag Archives: children

Carol’s Homework Assignment Post WIFYR 2

 Cinder: Book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer419rjQNqYhL

First chapter is 16 pages.

The first line: “The screw through Cinder’s ankle had rusted, …” Quite the attention getter. There’s enough information given between the back cover blurb, the inside flap blurb, and the cover itself for us to know that she’s a cyborg. We don’t know how much, but we can safely assume it’s at least the foot.

The first page focuses on her removing her foot. She struggles getting the rusted screw out, then fighting with the other hardware and, finally, just letting her foot dangle from her leg by its wires. We discover not only her foot but one hand as well is artificial.

Second page begins a detailed point of scene. She has a stall filled with used android and other odds and ends electronic and mechanical in nature. We also get a picture of the stall’s position with relation to other stalls in the crowded market square in New Beijing.

Third page, also finishes with her removing the foot completely.

Because of children playing Ring Around the Rosy, a recently revived game originating during ancient plague times, there’s a hint of a plague or some other widespread health issue.

We are introduced to Sacha the baker and her disdain for Cinder because of her differences from “real” humans. There’s inner dialogue from Cinder indicating a few of the vendors in her area are aware of her differences and are somewhat uncomfortable with it.

Prince Kaito arrives with a broken android. (No, not his tablet, but a walking, talking android, or it was before it broke.) Cinder recognizes the Crown Prince, and the handsomest man in all of New Beijing. We deal with her stammering and fan craziness for a page or so.

For the next five pages we are filled with all kinds of things that might be wrong with the android: it’s old, the problem isn’t readily apparent, how was it acting before it stopped completely, etc., etc., etc. Along with the troubleshooting Q&A, we get a glimpse of character development and some insight into Cinder’s abilities. Possible spoiler: There’s more to her cyborg-ness than just her foot.

Cinder’s android assistant shows up with Cinder’s replacement foot. Cinder makes excuses claiming it’s for another client. Her assistant, though android, is smitten with the prince as well.

When all the arrangements are made for Cinder to work on the android and get it ready for the prince to pick up in a few days, the prince departs.

Shortly after his departure a scream is heard across the way. Sacha the baker has the plague… End chapter.

Okay, four characters in eleven pages. There were other people milling about, a group of kids, but nobody with any real presence, they’re there for point of scene. Sacha is removed from the equation fairly fast, so, basically, we have three characters who, from all appearances, will be central to the story.

There was a lot of useful information and character development in the first chapter. Some of it was a little drawn out, but informative nevertheless. Some things I can definitely take and use.

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Spellbinder Saturday- Just in Time… again

Easy as A, B, C . . . from HAJust in Time 03

Cheri_Earl_Pub_Photo__Edited_Cheri Pray Earl & Carol Lynch Williams have done it again: number three in the Just in Time series—The Wizard of Menlo Park, New Jersey. And once again delightfully illustrated by Manelle Oliphant.

CarolHere we go again—George and Gracie have received their marching orders from their lost in time parents: Menlo Park, NJ. The year? 1879, near Thomas Edison’s lab. The item that needs to be returned? A copy of Little Women, autographed by Thomas Edison.

This third entry in the series has more twists and turns then the first two combined! Two time machines and two Crowes will do that.

We make more discoveries about the history of the time machine and how Crowe got involved in the whole lost in time adventure.

On this trip, it’s Gracie’s turn again to change shape. She shows up in 1879 as a beautiful parrot. A very talkative beautiful parrot.

It’s New Year’s Eve when the kids arrive and Edison is busy having his crew string his brand new light bulbs all along Menlo Park. His plan is to light up the area and let everyone see his latest invention. Crowe worked for Edison in Menlo Park in 1879. So there’s a young Crowe with a family and sick daughter, and an older Crowe who went traveling in time.

I don’t want to give anything away… well, yes, I do, but that just wouldn’t be right. If you enjoyed George and Gracie’s first two adventures in time, you’re going to love The Wizard of Menlo Park, New Jersey.

The other thing I enjoy about these books is the section on historical facts and curiosities about the state we visit. Readers can even learn a little history.

Available now at The King’s English Bookshop and other retail outlets.

See you next time for Tips on Tuesday

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Thinkin’ on Thursday: About What Memorial Day Means

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

Considering our most immediate “holiday” weekend, I’ve been thinking about books appropriate to our Memorial Day festivities. And, just in time, local writer, Fay Klingler, wrote a wonderful and warm account on her Facebook page about her father who had served during WWII. She also shared “A Mighty Girl’s photo” and their wonderful list of books for YA readers which would give YA readers today an idea about what their grandparents and great‑grandparents may have endured during that war. I loved her personal recollections of her father, and was fascinated by the long list of available books at the Mighty Girl’s site.

Most of us are aware of what Ann Frank, a young teenager, went through, but do our children or grandchildren know about her? You’ll find her own writings as well as Ann’s biography listed there.

Andrée Peel was referenced as one of 26 incredible women featured in the excellent book for ages 13 and up, Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue . For a recently released book about another WWII resistance fighter, British special agent Pearl Witherington, check out Code Name Pauline, for ages 12 and up.

For two highly recommended novels, both for ages 13 and up, about women resistance fighters of WWII, check out Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire .

For more stories for both children and teens about girls and women living through the WWII period, including numerous stories related to the Holocaust, visit their WWII / Holocaust section.

I was mesmerized just reading their extensive list of books. Some of them I knew and loved, others made me add several more to my TBR [To Be Read] list. Which ones intrigued you the most?

See you next for Spellbinder Saturday!

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Thinkin’ on Thursday: Privacy and Protection

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

Do you often include family and/or friends as characters in your fiction? Or do you write about them in non‑fiction essays, memoirs or what have you? If so, how young are the children you may include in such writings?

I saw some great advice in author Anna Quindlen’s interview (Still Life with Bread Crumbs) in Parade Magazine on April 20, 2014. After pointing out that she’d written a lot about family in her columns, she was asked how they feel about that. (I’ve often wondered that about the hilarious columnist Robert Kirby in the Salt Lake Tribune.)

Quindlen’s reply was that all of her children turned out to be writers of various kinds, so “it can’t have been too terrible having a writer mother.” She claimed to have mostly written about her kids before they learned to read. Smooth move, Mom!

As they got older she let them “vet” anything she was writing about them. She went on to say that they never shut her down. But she also clarified that was possibly because she edited her writing carefully, being sure to keep her eye on protecting them from “unnecessary exposure.” Wise move there, too.

Do you look out for the people in your life whom you choose to characterize in a story or article? Get their permission? Or disguise them so carefully that they’d never guess they were in your writing? It’s a great thing to think about, decide about, before you have hurt feelings, or even possible legal action against your work.

I loved Quindlen’s conclusion on the topic: “Columns come and go. Your kids are forever.” And so will your friends be, if you’re careful and judicious in how you “invade” their privacy!

See you next for Spellbinder Saturday!

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Spellbinder Saturday: A Rude Awakening

As easy as A, B, C . . . from HA

Children of the AfterChildren of the After: Awakening is the first book in a series by Jeremy Laszlo. Not, however the first book by this author. (Click his name for a complete listing.)

Awakening is definitely the beginning. Books two and three (Revelation and Evolution) are currently available. A fourth is rumored to be in the works.

Jumping to the end, let me say that if you get hooked on this series, you’re going to need to read them in order. I’ve only read this, the first one, none of the others. But I plan on continuing. I found Awakening good enough to move on to the next volume.

Back to the beginning. Three kids, Will, Samantha, and Jack are put into a safe room vault in their Chicago apartment. Their father put them there with instructions to 16-year-old Jack to take care of his brother and sister.

After several months, food is running out, essential life-support systems are failing, and their father hasn’t returned. Jack decides their only recourse is to leave the vault and find out what’s happened in the world. His dad knew something was about to put everything in the world in danger and wanted his kids safe. Their safety is now in jeopardy.

Opening the vault shows the world is no longer what they had left. Their apartment is destroyed; their apartment building is destroyed; Chicago is destroyed. Any building left standing, like theirs, is falling apart and burned.

They make their way out of their building and find Chicago a charred, broken landscape. No glass has been left unbroken. Food stuffs have been pilfered from any and all places they forage, yet there are no people to be seen. They appear to be the only people left alive in the city. Jack’s only option is to try to get them to their grandmother’s house outside Chicago. Usually an hour away by car, it’s a three or four day walk.

They face several perils in their journey. No spoilers, so all I can tell you is there are some surprises in store for any reader. Spellbinding… yep, that’s it.

The characters are fully developed and we get to know 16-year-old Jack, 14-year-old Samantha, and 7-year-old Will. They have distinct personalities and Laszlo manages to know how a seven-year-old thinks. (Having five children of his own probably helps.)

Give the first book a try. The Kindle editions are reasonably priced and the paperbacks are a good deal as well. Read them; you won’t be sorry.

See you next time for Tips on Tuesday.

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Thinkin’ on Thursday: Where ARE You?

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

The other day, one of the participants in a regional writing blog wrote in that he had just “pushed the button” and sent off a query to an agent. It sounded like he was still shaking. ;‑) He was congratulated by other readers of the blog, and said he thought, now that he’d sent the first one, “tomorrow,” when he sent out a whole bunch of queries to other agents, it would be much “easier”. That’s actually a good, big step toward publication.

What I’ve read is that, far too often, possibly in all our excitement, we readers make ourselves “hard to contact.”41ch8MfHfLL

If an agent wants to find YOU, how accessible have you made your email address? Do you keep it hidden for privacy reasons? According to Chuck Sambuchino, author of Create Your Writer Platform (available from Writer’s Digest Books), publicity for books is extremely valuable and often hard to come by. The last thing we should be doing is “hiding from editors, reviewers, etc.” Instead, we need to give ourselves the best chances for success.

Chuck suggests the following:

1. Create a website, even just a simple, free WordPress blog of just one page is a help — if you’re “Googled,” you’ll show up. Include a little info about you and your book, so they’ll know they have the right “John Doe.” Even Twitter will do if you’re on it often and respond quickly. If you have a crazy “ex” or boyfriend, and need to keep info off the internet, that is different, but don’t keep your info locked up for no reason. Remember, even your fans may want to reach you for interviews, information, etc.

2. Check your email daily — though, of course, you needn’t respond to everything. Just make sure there’s nothing “pressing.” Editors and agents have schedules, deadlines. And, like the rest of us, they may procrastinate too often. They may need your reply right away.

3. Trying to avoid spam? When posting your email site, spell things out, like JohnDoe(at)yahoo(dot)com. If you’re well known and have a big fan base, or write for children who contact you, add a note which tells readers you do read all emails, but cannot respond personally to all their messages. “Sorry.”

4. Chuck also says that only listing your publicist’s contact info on your site is not good enough. They may be quicker at returning emails, but they get sick, or too busy, may not work weekends. Include your own info, in case something is urgent.

One, two, three — go for it! But don’t get “lost” where editors, reviewers, fans can’t find you!

See you next on Spellbinder Saturday!

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Thinkin’ on Thursday: Your MC’s Intellectual, Psychological and Emotional Impact

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

Today, I’m thinking about the impact of minor characters on my Main Character (MC). And MC’s impact on others. How do characters inter‑relate? What do they glean from each other, both good and bad? What do they offer to each other?

I had lunch the other day with six of my former debate students from years and years ago. We’d gotten together a few times in the past, but had missed doing so for the last five years. In or near their 30’s now, two of them are working in law offices. Both are basically fulfilling the roles of paralegals, one having had some outside training, the other being taught by her company. One will finish her B.S. this year at the U of U, then begin applying for law school. The other, currently being “trained” by her work place, will get as much training as possible which is offered at her work, and will then go back to school. Both of them are the main support of their two children.

One of the others, having worked years ago with the Utah State Legislature, has a good, solid and responsible job, but also plans on returning to school, has one child and is currently separated from her husband.

Another quit a lucrative and responsible workplace for a “better job” recently: she has become a stay‑at‑home mom. Another, after an LDS mission, and a stint with the military has separated from his wife, works in a law‑involved field, but lives close to and sees his two children often.

What was I seeing from all of them? Shades and shadows of how their debating experience had influenced their interest in world‑wide affairs, their willingness to put themselves “out there” and live a challenging, sometimes difficult, but often rewarding, life. All, without exception, were actively engaged in their own lives. They were still looking forward, still planning “what comes next,” still curious, and still actively involved.

As writers, we need to be the same: curious, involved, active, with wide interests and involvement in the “job” at hand, whether at home, at work, in our writing, in our characters. Take a look at how all your characters — especially the main characters — are influenced by their friends, their enemies, their interests, the actions and reactions of the people around them.

When people are this involved in their own lives, they are influenced intellectually, psychologically and emotionally. All these aspects of your characters will make them feel real, sound real, act in authentic ways. Look at how your antagonist impacts your MC. In one story, that influence may be highly emotional. In another, it may be mostly psychological. Or it may be an intellectual impact. All three may even be evident in the same story, though not necessarily at the same time.

All of these will make your characters more “real.” Your readers will connect with these “real” human beings more quickly, more deeply . . . because readers are influenced in that way by THEIR friends . . . and seeming “enemies” . . . too.

See you next for Spellbinder Saturday!

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