Update about writing & books; & remember: set your clocks ahead tonight!

Today I realized that I should say something about the contests I entered recently.

My 50 word story, Magic Rainbows, for Vivian Kirkfield’s #50 Precious Words challenge, did not place. There were 251 entries; 40 were chosen.

You already know my 214 word story, Valentine’s Day Surprises, for Susanna Hill’s Valentiny contest, did not place. There were 117 entries; 10 were chosen as winners and 18 received honourable mention.

I like my stories and felt they had promise, so, I admit, I was quite disappointed they didn’t make the cut when it was hard to put them out there in the first place. Once I got past those gloomy feelings I paid attention to the positive comments and urges to work on my stories to develop them further. I am going to give that a try. There could be picture books hidden in there. 

Right now I am involved in reading others’ stories (although I’m still writing) because Reading For Research Month is underway, and a book study (Writing Picture Books), both of which have required reading. I have been borrowing books from the library and keeping our lovely librarians busy. Look at the pile of books I have home right now, plus I have a smaller pile at Dad’s to bring home Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t that fabulous?  🙂  Including the ones not shown here I have 73 checked out, and 41 currently on hold to come to me when available. My list keeps growing in either direction because I keep asking for more books.

For the books I borrow I try to write a brief review on Goodreads where I again entered a reading challenge. I set my personal challenge at a total of 150 books to read, which I surpassed by one last year, and I know I can do it again this year with probably even more. Of course, most of them are picture books, but that’s my field of study right now. Picture books. And that’s what I most want to write. Picture books. So most of the books I borrow are … picture books.  🙂

On another note …  For those of you who have to change your clocks (early Sunday morning) …

set your clocks ahead one hour tonight!

Do you use the library much? On that other note, do you have trouble adjusting to the time changing by one hour?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

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Book Review: I Thought This was a Bear Book – by Tara Lazar

 

I Thought This Was a Bear Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book: I Thought This Was a Bear Book
Author: Tara Lazar
Illustrator: Benji Davies
Publisher: Aladdin
Date: August 2015
Genre: children's; picture book; pre-school - 2; age 4-7 yrs
Pages: 32; hardcover
Price: $17.99 (varies)
My rating: a fun, creative change-up of a familiar fairytale

Tara Lazar is a prolific children’s author with an imagination that is intriguing and humorous. I Thought This Was a Bear Book is her second of five books so far, with another one coming out this spring and one in 2018.

In I Thought This Was a Bear Book we meet the bear family – Papa, Mama, and Baby – out berry-picking. Overhead there is an alien spacecraft obviously in trouble and coming in for a landing. Only Baby seems to notice at first.

On those first two pages of the story the words are “Once upon a time there were three bears.” From then on those words are the only ones that are not conversation between the characters in the story, aside from onomatopoeia, such as WHOOSH and THUNK! Also, those two pages are illustrated by Benji Davies to look like the pages of an open book.

Look at what I mean; this is one page, not several.

i-thought-this-was-a-bear-book-page

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t that neat? 🙂

Apparently, the alien somehow fell out of his book and landed in theirs! Such a conundrum. He was quite bewildered and when face-to-face with the bear family he was indignant at being called a martian. “I am Prince Zilch from Planet Zero!” he informed them. They set out to try to find a way to send him back to his own book in time for him to save the planet from giant planet-eating numbers.  See what I mean about Tara’s amazing imagination? I would never have come up with an idea like that. 

This story is quite funny with the prince saying zark, zoot, zinder when he is feeling overwhelmed. A tour bus stops for tourists to take pictures of the bears and the alien, while Prince Zilch and the bears are trying to find a way to get him back to page 27 in his book. Goldilocks even makes her appearance, much to the bears’ dismay. 

There are many ideas they come up with, all the while Baby Bear is trying to get their attention so he can share his idea on how to help. Benji Davies‘ illustrations add so much to the story, some being really funny, and all bright and interesting. As you read you must pay attention to the extra activities going on in the story through the illustrations – just because it’s so much fun.

Tara even includes the reader in helping to solve the prince’s problem, making it an interactive book in that way. I Thought This Was a Bear Book is an entertaining read for which you might want to have a little extra time to enjoy and share with a young reader or pre-reader. There is so much entertainment in the story.

You can find I Thought This Was a Bear Book by Tara Lazar on my BUY THE BOOK page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Without Proof – by Janet Sketchley

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Book: Without Proof: a Redemption's Edge novel
Author: Janet Sketchley
Publisher: Janet Sketchley
Genre: Christian suspense
Date: October 10, 2015
Pages: 308
Price: paperback, $12.99
My rating: a suspenseful story of hope

I won this book from the author and, very late, I’m posting my honest review.

Without Proof is book three of a trilogy by Canadian author Janet Sketchley. Even though it is the third in the series, the author gives enough information so that the first two books are not necessary for the reader to easily follow and enjoy the storyline. This novel can stand on its own. (I read and reviewed the first book, Heaven’s Prey, HERE, if you would like to check it out.) I haven’t read book two, Secrets and Lies, but would like to purchase it and find time to read it later.

In Without Proof a young woman, Amy, is recovering from serious injuries she suffered in a plane crash two years before. Her fiancé, Gilles, did not survive it, so she is left alone and grieving. Her fiancé’s Aunt Bay takes her in, and his best friend, Michael, helps out however he can. Michael also has an art business, so Amy helps manage it while struggling with her memories, physical pain, and emotions, including her growing feelings for Michael.

Janet Sketchley’s writing style is easy to read and enjoy. She pulls the reader right into the story, meaning that once into the story the reader doesn’t want to leave until the end. In this novel, there is suspense and enough going on to keep the reader interested in trying to figure out who is doing what to whom. Someone leads Amy to believe the plane was sabotaged, and in trying to find out the truth Amy places herself in danger. There are threats, break-ins, mysterious people, and enough drama to keep the pages turning in anticipation. And, of course, there are surprises – events that occur to keep up the level of suspense.

God is front and center in Aunt Bay’s life, and yet Amy isn’t sure how God fits in her own life or even if He does. Without Proof is written without profanity, is not preachy or “religious” – although there is a hopeful message – and is a story that leaves the reader satisfied. In the back of the book, there are even discussion questions that are great for a study group or a book club.

Without Proof was a finalist is the Word Awards (Suspense Category).

You can find Without Proof by Janet Sketchley on my BUY THE BOOK page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Short film: Post-It (R)

I had posted a funny short film called Piper for you to watch this morning, and then it won an Academy award. Unfortunately, when my post went live this morning the film was no longer available. I apologize for that. In its place I’m posting another video which is called Post-It®. I hope you enjoy it.

Has anyone helped you out of a negative place? Or have you found a great way to encourage people?

Thanks for watching and … Creative Musings!  🙂

My entry in Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 Precious Words writing challenge

A couple of weeks ago Vivian Kirkfield, children’s author, mentioned her writing challenge would be starting again soon. She set it up last year for the first time and the response was so positive, and fun, she’s doing it again. If you want to enter, you have from March 2-6 to visit her website and post a link to your story on your blog or website, or if you have neither of those you can post your story on her site. GO HERE to read all about it and take part in her 50 Precious Words writing challenge.

I’m posting her guidelines here, underneath which you will find my entry. (If you are going to enter Vivian’s writing challenge, do not post your entry here, post it either on your own site or hers.)

#50 PRECIOUS WORDS WRITING CHALLENGE GUIDELINES (as found on Vivian Kirkfield’s site)

1. Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total word count of the story is 50 or less.

2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.

3. Title is not included in the word count.

Okay, you can count the words in my entry – exactly 50 unique words, not including the title:

Magic Rainbows

Curious eyes spy bands of colour

carried on summer breeze,

sparkling in sunshine,

floating down to magically disappear.

Another,

then more.

Furry little face pokes through grasses;

children are playing.

Poof!

Swirly rainbow globe bobs nearby.

Twitchy wet nose sniffs close,

closer,

touching the pretty thing.

POP!

Tiny soapy shower.

© Lynn A. Davidson


Let me know what you think and if you are taking the challenge, too.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: The Very Fairy Princess: Sparkles in the Snow – by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton

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Book: The Very Fairy Princess: 
        Sparkles in the Snow
Authors: Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton
Illustrator: Christine Davenier
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Date: October 15, 2013
Genre: children's picture book
Pages: 32
Price: $18 - $20
My rating: delightful story that will encourage young readers

The Very Fairy Princess: Sparkles in the Snow was written by mother-daughter team, the famous Julie Andrews and her accomplished daughter Emma Walton Hamilton.

Geraldine is a little girl who believes in her heart that she is a fairy princess. She wears her tiara all the time and is cheerful and helpful (most of the time) because she has a SPARKLY feeling inside.

Gerry is excited because they are having a Winter Wonderland Festival at school. The best part is the concert when she gets to sing with the chorus.  She does everything she can to impress their music teacher so he will be persuaded  to select her as the one to sing the solo. When he announces that there is a professional singer coming to be the soloist Gerry is very disappointed.

The day of the concert is a snowy one – just right for a Winter Wonderland – and that cheers up the fairy princess. She and her family get ready to go to the school as she warms up her voice. When they finally arrive through the storm the music teacher, Mr. Higginbottom, tells them the storm has prevented the soloist from making it to the concert. He has to make a decision. That’s when Gerry discovers she’s forgotten her shoes! (She does something very creative, which, apparently, is something the author, Julie Andrews, did as a child to remedy a similar situation.)

Here are some of Geraldine’s rules of life as a fairy princess:

  • try to spread joy and wonder whenever and wherever you can
  • take a frown and turn it upside down
  • always be well prepared
  • always be happy to lend a hand in a crisis

The Very Fairy Princess: Sparkles in the Snow is entertaining, realistic, and funny in the right places. It’s easy to read and holds the reader’s attention. Children will be encouraged to believe in themselves and to have a positive attitude. (Personally, I believe this book is especially helpful to little girls who often feel insignificant.)

The illustrations by Christine Davenier are delightful and so precisely capture the heart of the story. Through the descriptive artwork the reader is given a rounded-out view of the story so that the main character is understood even better.

You can find The Very Fairy Princess: Sparkles in the Snow by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton on my BUY THE BOOK page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

Book Review: Forensic Science: In Pursuit of Justice – by L. E. Carmichael

forensic-science-in-pursuit-of-justice

 

 

 

 

 

Book: Forensic Science: in Pursuit of Justice
Author: L. E. Carmichael
Publisher: Abdo Publishing
Date: 2015
Genre: science; for grades 7-12, ages 12-17
Pages: 112; hardcover
Price: $35.00
My rating: Fascinating subject very well presented 
to understand

Forensic Science: in Pursuit of Justice is a book I purchased at the children’s book fair I attended in 2016. I had a lovely chat with the author, Lindsey Carmichael, and was quite impressed. She has a collection of books she’s written, for most she had to do serious research to cover the topic – and she loves the research. This book – one of a series – required much of that.

Although for many people the topic of forensic science is far from what they would like to read about, I find it fascinating. This book is put together so expertly that it will be appealing to many.

Forensic Science: in Pursuit of Justice focuses mainly on the ways science has become vital in solving many crimes. Fingerprinting, DNA testing, the insects found at different times on human remains that help to determine time of death – it all fascinates me – and this book does not disappoint in going into detail. The author has added side bars of information, for example, one that informs the reader that the same forensic techniques used to investigate crimes against people can be applied to investigate crimes against wildlife. Here are others …

forensic-science-1forensic-science-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the chapters:

  1. DNA Fingerprinting
  2. Bodies of Evidence
  3. Chemical Clues
  4. Firearms Analysis
  5. Written in Blood
  6. No More Mistaken Identity
  7. Never Without a Trace
  8. From Page to Screen
  9. The Future of Forensics
  • Timeline
  • Essential Facts
  • Glossary
  • Additional Resources
  • Source Notes
  • Index
  • About the Author

The author delves into the history of forensic science and describes its use in actual events, including previously unsolved crimes, missing persons cases, toxicology information, the CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) aspect, and so much more. The photography throughout this book is bold and effective, adding superb descriptive detail.

Lindsey Carmichael’s writing is easy to understand as she lays out a very complex subject in an organized, accurate way that is totally absorbing.

Forensic Science: in Pursuit of Justice could be the book that inspires a young person’s interest in this vital field. There is so much amazing information contained in this book, from the earliest days of recorded methods to present digital forensics. The timeline included at the back of the book starts with 44 BCE when the first recorded autopsy was performed on murder victim Julius Caesar! For readers of any age Forensic Science: in Pursuit of Justice will definitely answer questions regarding criminal investigation.

You can find Forensic Science: in Pursuit of Justice by L. E. Carmichael on my BUY THE BOOK page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂