Category Archives: Mostly About Reading

Sue Harrison: “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 23: Books, Books, Books!

Welcome back! Over the next several more months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison‘s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue.

** Note: Last year we took a break from WTTD in December, but this year Sue has prepared a special post which is up a week early to give you time to shop. Therefore, there is no post from Sue on December 25, the fourth Thursday of this month.

Now for the topic for month twenty-three:

********

“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 23:  Books, Books, Books!

To celebrate the busy, happy, and frantic holiday season, my 2014 Christmas card to you is a very short post about the question I’m asked most frequently by new writers.

The Question: What’s the one most important thing I can do to help develop my writing skills?

The Answer: Read!

booksSo, during this holiday season, which for me means a Christmas celebration and for many others means Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or even December birthdays, my suggestion is to give books — to others and to yourself! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Happy Birthday, and Happy New Year!

Strength to your pen!

Sue

 *Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you to come back January 22, 2015 for part 24!

PS: If you need some book suggestions please check out my BUY THE BOOK! page, and my BOOK REVIEWS page.

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The cut’s been made, please vote for your favourite story

It wasn’t until a friend sent me an email this evening saying she was sorry I didn’t make the finalists that I learned … my story, Blizzard Blessings, didn’t make the cut!  :(

Of course, I was quite disappointed, but I’ve had half an hour to let it settle in. It’s okay, mostly. Yes, I would have loved for mine to be one of the twelve stories chosen of the one hundred entries, but I knew it was going to be a hard decision to make. I didn’t envy Susanna and her helpers at all. I think I would have been more shocked than I am disappointed had I been in the twelve finalists.

I will be voting but I have it down to two stories and can’t decide between them yet. I’ll let it wait and read them again tomorrow before voting.

PLEASE GO HERE AND VOTE FOR THE STORY YOU LIKE THE BEST.   Thank you!

I haven’t given up on my little story, though.  There may be something good in store for it yet.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Great quotes about reading and writing books!

Here are some more wonderful quotes I thought you might enjoy about books … reading them and writing them. Some are funny, some are insightful, all are thought-provoking.

Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.  – Anonymous

A common quality I see of people who are successful is that they are voracious readers.  – Matt Mullenweg

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.  – Groucho Marx

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.  – Jane Austen

I spend a lot of time reading.  – Bill Gates

People who say they don’t have time to read simply don’t want to.  – Julie Rugg

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.  – George R. R. Martin

I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.    – J.K. Rowling

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.  – Ray Bradbury

Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life.  – Stephen King

A cliffhanger is when…  – Buffy Andrews

In science read the newest works, in literature read the oldest.  – Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

I thought to myself, why not write a bestseller. In the first place, more people read them, you make more money, and it doesn’t take any more time to write a bestseller than it does to write a book that nobody buys. –  George Burns (The Third Time Around)

I’d say that about 82 percent of what I write is bad, but don’t go by me; I’m as bad a judge as I am a writer. Look, if it were all good, you’d be paying twice as much for this book. So relax, read it, and if you don’t enjoy it, remember that you’re saving money.  – George Burns (The Third Time Around)

I read a book twice as fast as anybody else. First, I read the beginning, and then I read the ending, and then I start in the middle and read toward whatever end I like best. – Grace Allen

Never judge a book by its movie. – J. W. Eagan

Writing this book required an enormous amount of help from friends. To them goes the credit. I’ll take the money.  – P. J. O’Rourke (All the Trouble in the World)

 

Which do you like of the above quotes? Do you have any to share?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Book Review: Meet Franklin Bean (Franklin Bean Superhero series, book 1) – by Emmy Swain

Meet Franklin BeanBook: Meet Franklin Bean
Author/Publisher: Emmy Swain
Illustrator: Levi Whitworth
Date: 2011
Genre: children’s
Pages: 34
Price: Kindle $2.88; paperback $8.85
My Rating: An interesting, fun mystery for the young readers; addresses bullying and other life issues
 

This is a short chapter book with great illustrations by Levi Whitworth and is book one of a series by Emmy Swain.

Chapter titles are:

  1. Our New Home
  2. Franklin Meets Mom
  3. New Friends
  4. Restless Night
  5. Fisherman Saved
  6. Day Before School
  7. Where Are You?

Meet Franklin Bean is a story about a young boy, John, who has to relocate with his mother after she lost her job. He is nervous about moving to a smaller house in a different neighbourhood and having to change schools. Unfortunately, John meets up with bullies soon after moving and his misery increases until he finds a stray dog, Franklin Bean. But there’s something amazing about Franklin Bean – he can talk! John’s life begins to look and feel much better.

Franklin Bean has another amazing secret that – in this book – John hasn’t figured out yet.

Meet Franklin Bean has some applicable life lessons in it, but Emmy Swain presents them in a way that is fun without seeming as if it is teaching. This is a good story for very young readers and pre-readers.

You can find Meet Franklin Bean on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

Book Review: The Princess Within for Teens: discovering your royal inheritance – by Serita Ann Jakes

The Princess Within - for teensBook: The Princess Within – for Teens: Discovering Your Royal Inheritance
Author: Serita Ann Jakes
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Date: July 1, 2014
Genre: young adult (teen girls), christian help
Pages: 183
Price: $10.79 paperback
My Rating: not a completely satisfying read, but helpful in ways

 

I received the ARC of this book from Library Thing in exchange for my honest review.

Usually books of this size I can eat up in no time; not so with this one. It took me far too long to read the whole book, and not because I am far beyond my teen years. I enjoy YA and MG and Picture books; my own writing centers around those genres, so that wasn’t the problem.

Serita Ann Jakes created a modern day Cinderella and used that as a jump off point for each chapter. That in itself was okay, but sometimes there was not much connection to the idea throughout the rest of the chapter.

The book begins with glowing letters of praise about the author from her two daughters. From there she sets up a hopeful scenario for the reader, beginning with a quiz of self-discovery and giving results to help the reader see herself as one of Disney’s princesses. Unfortunately, she didn’t follow through the same way with all the quizzes she created. In the same vein, she included short testimonies but it was puzzling to see where they were placed when a few didn’t have anything to do with the chapter they accompany.

Here are the chapter titles:

  1. Princess, why are you hiding?
  2. But everyone is invited!
  3. Parents just don’t understand?
  4. The power to choose
  5. Is that any way for a princess to act?
  6. We are family
  7. A word of truth
  8. Wash off those cinders!
  9. Dress the part
  10. Face those fears
  11. You fit right in
  12. In the powder room
  13. Where the boys are
  14. Where did the time go?
  15. Kick off your shoes
  16. Sweet dreams really do come true
  17. A prince is waiting for you

Reading those titles makes one think this is going to be such a great read! It is and it isn’t. Although the message is there it didn’t carry through smoothly with the idea presented at the beginning, as if the writing of this book was a little rushed. It felt as if the connection with God is interrupted time and again.

Although there are as a few other statements made that were amiss, there is one suggestion I was appalled to read, where the author presented a scenario about God and asked the teen reader to give her opinion. First of all it is a moot point which cannot possibly have an answer. It’s as if the author didn’t understand the holiness of God in even suggesting such a scenario could exist. It had no place in this book at all and didn’t add to it in any positive way to affirm the reader.

After reading The Princess Within for Teens, perhaps a young reader will come away with hope of her place in God and will not even notice the gaps in the presentation. Serita Jakes’ intent is to encourage her, to help her stand in the midst of the stresses and problems that each day may bring to her. If this is what the young reader is looking for, although it could use a little work, she will probably find The Princess Within for Teens to be a good beginning. The drawback is the subtitle of this book is Discovering Your Royal Inheritance and there was not much connection and teaching or encouragement in that aspect.

Serita Ann JakesThe Princess Within for Teens follows her adult edition of The Princess Within.

You can find The Princess Within for Teens on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

What have YOU read lately?

Hi All!

I’m sorry to say it’s another day – or maybe week – of no book review as I am having to take a little break. I really thought I would have one ready for today, but … have you ever found yourself in a place of being hardly able to even read a book? I don’t want reading and reviewing to become something I don’t enjoy anymore, so that’s a bit worrisome for me.

Since this is my week at home it’s my chance to try to get caught up in my own house a bit – if possible. My naturopath gave me capsules to help me sleep better so I will be more rested my next week with Dad, and to help me de-stress.  I’m hoping to get back to devouring books again very soon. :)

I do have some exciting news to share with you depending on how quickly I can get a post together about it. Of course, it is to do with BOOKS!  :)

In the meantime, what I would love is for YOU to share a sentence or two about the books YOU are reading this month, or this season, or tell us about your favourite book of all time. I am really interested in knowing what you are enjoying and if it’s something I would like for my own reading pleasure. Even if you have never left a comment it would be so nice to hear from you with your book thoughts. 

Would you do me the favour of sharing in the comments about your reading and help me out a little here, please?

Thank you for faithfully following my blog; I appreciate you so much.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

Book Review: Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone – by Darlene Foster

Amanda in Alberta, The Writing on the StoneBook: Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone
Author: Darlene Foster
Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
Date: July 6, 2014
Genre: middle grade fiction
Pages: 98
Price: paper $9.35; Kindle $3.88
My Rating: an adventure young readers will love
 

I received a copy of Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone from the author in exchange for my honest review.

If you haven’t met Amanda before, you’ll need to know she is a twelve-year-old, adventurous, travel-loving girl who seems to find mysteries wherever she goes. This time, in Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone, not even the one leaving home she still gets involved in a situation.

Amanda invited Leah, her friend from England, to vacation in Alberta, Canada. For Leah – as it was for Amanda when she visited Leah in England – so much seemed strange to what she was accustomed to at home.

Amanda’s parents are busy people but make time to take the girls to various interesting places, such as dinosaur museums, a cattle drive, and unique stores for shopping for “cowboy” attire. While they were at a rodeo, Amanda noticed a little stone drop out of a clown’s pocket, but she couldn’t get the man’s attention to tell him. When she picked up the stone she noticed unusual markings on it, so she slipped it into her own pocket. Things happen from then on to make Leah’s vacation one to remember! Cowboys argue over something, a surly bothersome man keeps following her, she is suspicious of ‘questionable’ people – and Amanda and Leah are involved in another sometimes dangerous adventure.

Darlene Foster‘s writing is suited to young readers. The Amanda series is fast-paced, action-filled, and written so that the young main characters are the real problem solvers but with adult involvement.

You can read my reviews of two books in Darlene Foster‘s Amanda series: Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask, and Amanda in England: The Missing Novel.

You can find Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)