Monday, December 21, 2015

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop

     To finish off the year, I'm participating in the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop sponsored by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Bookhounds. There are almost 100 participating blogs giving away gift cards, books, and other goodies. Here, I'm offering a $10 gift card to Amazon (US residents only). Good luck!
     I'd also like to offer my wishes to everyone as 2015 comes to a close for a prosperous and peaceful 2016! 

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

My 2015 Favorite Book = A Giveaway for Readers

     Adult author Alice Hoffman's Nightbird won the Best of 2015 nod from me. I absolutely adored this book. Hoffman's penchant for magic realism shines in this novel for middle readers, and left me hoping she'll write again for this age group. One of the best take aways from the book: a recipe for Pink Apple Pie, which I tried and loved. The winner of this book will have to let me know if the results for the pie were as yummy as mine!
     Enter my GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a PAPERBACK COPY of Hoffman's wonderful story.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Hosted by Bookhounds and I Am A Reader

Check Out Other Participating Blogs HERE!

Ends  12/18/15. Open only to those who can legally enter and to anyone with a US mailing address. The winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Monday, November 30, 2015

What's Happening at Here's the Story

     What's been happening at Here's the Story? Short answer: A LOT!
     My blogging is way down this year, but it's been a busy twelve months. Many non-writing related activities have seized my time: my daughter's wedding; a challenging long-term substitute teaching job, and a college graduation. On the writing front, I didn't finish NaNoWriMo but fleshed out the story at almost 30,000 words. I taught seven community ed writing classes for youth and adults this year, and developed a new youth writing class for next summer. And finally, my newest novel will be out in February (just got a peek at the new cover last night -EXCITING!)  Hopefully in the next few weeks, I'll be getting the final edits back and then nailing down a release date. And sometime soon you'll see the cover which I love, love, LOVE! Can't wait to share it. 
     This coming Friday be sure to stop by at Mother Daughter Book Reviews where I'll be giving tips on how to encourage young readers to write. 
      Enjoy a blessed holiday season!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Within the Pages: The Travel Book by Lonely Planet Kids

Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be coordinating a Blog Tour for the new titles recently released by Lonely Planet Kids (an imprint from Lonely Planet, the world’s leading travel publisher), from October 15 to 31, 2015.

     When the kids were young, our family used to prepare for weeks before a big trip. There would be guide books, maps, and websites to pour over. Everyone listed their top three sites to visit and we would plan our itinerary from those choices. My favorite resource to use for vacation planning were the guide books by Lonely Planet.
     The people behind the books get what adventure means. The not-all-too-common locales their guides focus on encourage travelers to visit the obscure. If it weren't for those guides, we wouldn't have discovered the Cape Fear Serpentarium in Wilmington, NC, William Faulkner's home in Oxford, MS, or the 200-year-old Catfish Hotel along the banks of the Tennessee River. We owe the Lonely Planet people miles of thanks for the adventures they pointed us toward.
     Of course I wasn't surprised by what I found within the pages of their new kid-centric The Travel Book (Lonely Planet Kids, 2015). The vibrant info-graphics and lively text will captivate young audiences who like to explore the world beyond their own backyard.
     Each page features a different country, and a color-coded fact card in the top corner lets readers know at a glance what continent they're visiting. A country's population, landmass, and little-known trivia are featured on the cards. Likewise, a combination of photographs, illustrations and text boxes lend a scrapbook feel to the rest of each page. For instance, Venezuela boasts Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world; the largest rodent on Earth (capybaras), and an ice cream parlor in the small town of Merida that serves the most flavors on the planet — 860 in all! Care for macaroni and cheese ice cream cone, anyone?
     With 208 countries within the covers, this book has enough entertainment value to keep backseat travelers engrossed for miles. How many 'Are we there yet?' inquiries is that worth?

Title: Lonely Planet Kids – The Travel Book: A journey through every country in the world | Publication Date: September, 2015 | Publisher: Lonely Planet Kids | Pages: 212 | Recommended Ages: 8+
Description: Where can you climb a giant tower of sticky buns? What is a bokikokiko? Discover the answer to these questions and hundreds more with Lonely Planet Kids The Travel Book: A Journey through Every Country in the World the new, kid-friendly (ages 8+) version of Lonely Planet’s best-selling The Travel Book. In Lonely Planet Kids The Travel Book, every country from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe gets a dedicated page spread packed with amazing facts on animals, culture, sports, food and much more, bringing the world to life with eye-popping photography and illustrations.
Also, here's a series of 1-minute videos highlighting what you might find on each continent.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 15, 2015

October Calls for a Spooktacular Giveaway


I Am A Reader once again sponsors this TREAT of a giveaway hop.
 You'll have to perform a few TRICKS to be eligible to win a prize here.
And don't forget to visit the other blogs — there's 200+ participating! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bare Bones

Chase the rocky path
 Raw and barren.
Stumbling through passages
In an endless
 Bland landscape.
On its windswept ridges, 
Feel the raggedness on your face?
 Under your feet?
In your soul? 
A rough draft

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Not-So-Amusing Writing Slump

   Actually that title is not quite accurate. A writing slump implies I'm at a loss for ideas, stuck, running on empty or in circles. On the contrary, I have a ready-for-editing manuscript, a rough draft, and an outline and first chapter of new story that beg for attention. For the past few months, I've pretty much disappeared from social media, I've been actively reading news, blogs, and posts, but not sharing my own. Writing time has been very limited since March because of a short-term job assignment and our daughter's upcoming wedding, so what little writing time I have has become exactly that - WRITING time. No Facebook diversions, tweeting, posting to the blog.  The slump can be seen in the decreased blog traffic and my activity on other sites, but creative output is very much alive. I've missed the interaction with my writer friends, but sometimes it's necessary to step away.
     I've been spending loads of time prepping for an October workshop in Austin at The Writing Barn.
Authors Matt de la Pena and Margo Rabb will be exploring narrative and character depth over four intense days. I'm so excited to finally have found time to get down there for one of the WB workshops; I hear they're fantastic. In the meantime, I've been slowly (wish I were a faster reader!) working my way through their novels - I WILL SAVE YOU and WISH YOU WERE HERE by de la Pena, and CURES FOR HEARTBREAK by Rabb.
     Hope your writing time has been fruitful, and your summer filled with new experiences to feed your muse.
                                                                                                    ~ Dawn

Monday, May 11, 2015

Celebrate Children's Book Week with a Giveaway


    Visit Mother Daughter Book Reviews for an exciting giveaway 
Featuring a Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition 7 Tablet and $50 cash.

My middle-grade novel, BINGO SUMMER, is on sale this week
 99 cents at Kindle

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Little Hiatus...

After repeatedly sitting down to post writing-related news, I've found myself too busy to finish even one post. For that reason, I'm finally admitting that the blog will have to take a backseat to other things at the moment. I hope to be back this summer after school is out, wedding planning is almost finished, and a new project is near completion. Until then, happy writing!
                                                                                                       ~ Dawn

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Five Ways to Get You Writing

Time: every writer's crutch at some time or another
     Who hasn't complained about not having enough time to write? Raise your hand if you've sacrificed a valuable afternoon of creative output for something else, thinking that you'll make up for it later. I'm as guilty as anyone of filling up the calendar, chipping away at the time I could spend writing. But I've also discovered that even when I'm not actively tapping away at the keyboard, most activities inspire my work and increase my output. Here are five ways, which sometimes feel like guilty pleasures, that boost your writing life more than you think:
  • Connecting with other book people in person. Sure we're online all the time, blogging, interacting on listserves, Tweeting and commenting on Facebook, but how often do we get face time with our critique partners, librarians, or maybe writers/poets at live readings? We are so often alone while we write that meeting people, especially like-minded people, gives us an encouraging boost. If you live in an area far from opportunities to meet people in-person, set up a Skype/Facetime date with a critique partner. And do take advantage of one-day workshops and writing conferences. If you've never attended an event with dozens or hundreds of book-loving people, you don't know what you're missing!
  • Try Something New. Even when you're not actively writing — surprise! — you actually are. Okay, so taking an extended weekend to shop the outlet mall in the next state over is not the best use of your non-writing time. And I'm not suggesting signing up for a month of community ed classes on creating with paper mache. But if it interests you, go for it, especially if one of your characters runs a homemade pinata business. Being serious now: the point is, new experiences open up the world for your characters, too, helping you to make them three-dimensional with passions and interests all their own.
  • Exercise. A healthy body equals a healthy mind. One of my favorite quotes is this: 'A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this world.' - John Locke, English philosopher. 
  • Goal-Setting. Are you making steady progress on your writing? Do you have off days (like everyone else)? By making weekly and monthly goals, you can see at a glance what you've accomplished. I set goals in three areas each month: reading (number of books), writing (by tracking word count), and business/social media (blog posting, contests, etc.). Then I break these goals down even further into weekly goals. If I don't make a mini-goal during the week, so what? I have three more weeks to pull it off. The pressure is minimal and tracking your accomplishments help keep the morale up. 
  • Help Someone Else. Remember when you were a beginning writer? You had endless questions about craft, goals, the industry? Guess what, someone else is at that point right this very minute. There's been several people who've helped me from the beginning. Early on, I promised myself that I'd return the favor to someone else someday. The pluses of mentoring someone is two-fold: someone benefits from your expertise and helping someone else can lift your spirits. 
Happy Writing!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Five: Book Favorites for February

Photo credit: Lina Skukauske

     We often hear that publishing is a subjective business. After visiting the Route 19 Writers blog earlier this week to answer questions about some of my favorite passages from my middle-grade novel, BINGO SUMMER, there was clearly a ring of truth to that notion. You can also see what parts of the book left impressions on reviewers Marcy Collier and Dave Amaditz on last Friday's (2/6) post. I purposefully didn't read Dave's and Marcy's post before I listed my personal favorites, even though their review came before mine. Interestingly, our posts didn't share any of the same scenes, further proof that every reader's experience is unique. Thanks, Dave and Marcy, for hosting me!
     I wish I were a faster reader. There are so many titles that I've recently added to The List, books that I will eventually buy or borrow, but which won't be read until I get through the books already waiting on my shelves. January award season kills what progress I've made in reducing the pile. Suddenly - POOF! - it's grown by a dozen books: BROWN GIRL DREAMING; EL DEAFO; Newbery winner CROSSOVER; Printz winners, I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN and GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE; and Sibert winner, THE RIGHT WORD, to name a handful that I've added in the past week.
What I'm reading now: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Up next: The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm

What's next on your To-Be-Read list?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

March (Writing) Madness Comes a Month Early

Goal: to make my writing as fun, challenging, and
intricately-woven as this student artwork
     February is only four days old but I'm already looking ahead to March. I've been busy putting together a writing workshop for the local Girl Scout council. Since I've never done an interactive workshop with more than 10 kids, and the minimum for this upcoming group is 50 (!!), I'm getting creative with how to manage the logistics. It's been fun, challenging work.
     Meanwhile, I have a manuscript almost ready for final editing. It's one I've worked on for several years, and has gone through some major transformations. I'm anxious, yet excited to get this out into the world. If all goes well, I'm expecting a fall release for THE UPSIDE OF DOWN, a contemporary YA. 
    Leaving you with today's favorite of craft-related posts: the inspirational Donald Maass on Writer Unboxed reflects on creating characters with different world views. 
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