Category Archives: kids

Writing Prompt Wednesday


Your prompt today is to use these words in a short story or poem – octopus, surrender, bright

Have fun! My story is below.

octopus

Tentacle Encounter

With a deep breath, I plunged into the bright blue ocean. The water felt cool against my skin, refreshing after the heat of the Caribbean sun. Goggles and snorkel tightly strapped to my head, I gazed at the beautiful corral and brightly coloured fish swimming in all directions away from me. Careful to swim slowly and keep the top of my snorkel above the water, I rounded an outcrop of rock to find a steep drop ahead. The pale seawater around me descended into a dark hole dropping into unknown depths. What lay within those dark waters? I had promised to keep to the shallows but the temptation was too much. Just a quick look would be all right, surely?

I surfaced to look toward the beach and locate my parents. They were lying on beach loungers, enjoying cocktails under the palm trees. Too busy to notice their son swimming beyond the corral reef, identified as his limit. Breathing in and out several times, I filled my lungs to bursting, having no idea how long I would have to swim downwards. Using strong strokes I descended quickly into the gloom. Shimmering lines of light highlighted more brightly adored fish and corral at first then it became darker and colder.

My lungs were beginning to complain when I saw a long tentacle grab a small fish. An octopus! Wow, now I did have to keep going. What if I could catch it? As I turned, an undulating mass rose from the rock ahead of me. It was changing colour from deep brown to pinkish beige as it swam upwards. Following closely, I anticipated its direction and quickly held three of its tentacles, swimming to the surface in a rush as my head was becoming dizzy. Gasping for air while holding my captive tightly, I did not have enough breath to call out to my Dad.

A tentacle wrapped around my arm while another found my throat and began to squeeze. That’s not good. I slid a hand between a couple of suckers and my neck and pushed with all my strength. For a small animal it sure was strong. I needed to grab all the tentacles then it would surely surrender. I only wanted to show Dad then I would let it go.

A couple of tentacles wrapped around my right thigh making treading water difficult. I just needed to get to the shallows then I could walk and shout to my Mum and Dad. A mouthful of water made me cough and swallow more. Spots burst in front of my eyes. I was sinking. Kicking as furiously as I could with my left leg I surfaced for a moment and gasped for air. I had to get this thing off me or I would be the one surrendering.

“All right, lad?”

It was a strangers voice behind me. I turned my head as far as I could to plead for help. The tentacle around my throat was too tight for me to speak now.

“Let’s get him off you, shall we?”

A slight nod from me was enough for the man to pull at the octopus and release my neck from its grip. Next he wrestled the tentacles around my leg and then I was free. The last I saw of that octopus was its tentacles flying through the air before plunging into the depths.

“Thank you so much. Thought I would drown.”

“Have to be careful out here, young man. Keep to the shallows and you should be all right.”

I held out my hand to the stranger. He smiled and gave it a firm shake.

“Lesson learned?”

“You bet. Thanks again.”

I didn’t relay my story to my parents until a few days later when we were on the flight home. I knew they would have forbidden me to go in the ocean otherwise. Although, I did heed the stranger’s advice and kept to the shallows for the rest of our stay.

I would love to read your story/poem – why not share in the comments?

 

Author Interview – Rick Lauber


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  Does writing energize or exhaust you?

This mostly depends of what I am writing. Subject matter or issues of personal interest can be energizing to work on while other subject matter can be more difficult.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Probably distractions of any kind. When I am writing, I like to sit down in my office chair and completely focus on the job at hand. Interruptions can disrupt my thought patterns and make it difficult to concentrate completely.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Not yet! I don’t feel a need to do so and feel this may not be in my best interests. I would prefer readers to recognize my name and/or associate it with my books.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I know a number of local authors – including Todd Babiak, Roberta Laurie, Mandy Eve-Barnett, Alison Neuman, Darla Woodley and Dorian Joyal. I am also a long-standing member of a local writer’s group. Knowing and associating with other writers / authors can be helpful (writers seem to be the only people who understand writers …), motivational, and inspirational. I would have to give credit to my writer’s group for helping me increase my self-confidence as a writer and to give me the push needed to write my first book.

Caregivers

Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I am favouring the second route where I am building a body of work with connections between each book. My first book, Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians, opened the door to my writing my second book, The Successful Caregiver’s Guide. As a twice-chosen contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul, I have provided them with caregiving-related stories. I also continually freelance write about senior caregiving and other senior-related issues.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Probably hiring a lawyer to review my first book publishing contract. This was an area I knew very little about but I knew it would be important to have somebody more in the know to read through this contract, make sure that all the “I’s” were dotted and the “T’s” were crossed, and that this contract was fair for me.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Many years ago when I was much younger, I remember writing a letter to the Editor of the Edmonton Journal about my lost dog being found and returned. Unbeknownst to me, my mother kept a copy of that letter until she passed away. When sorting through Mom’s filing cabinet after she died, I came across this letter and was very surprised! The message that I learned here was that if I had impacted my mother so greatly with what I had written, I expect I would have impacted others as well. That theory has been repeatedly verified from my meeting with people at current book signing events … I routinely see nods of approval for my topic choice or hear high praise from those who have read my books.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Hmmm, I think I would choose an owl. My mother always liked owls and shared her appreciation with her children. I admire these birds for their grace and beauty.

sucess

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Perhaps surprising, but none! While I do know other writers with half-finished book projects saved on their computer’s desktop, the only thing I have saved is a related project I am currently working on!

What does literary success look like to you?

Publication of one’s written work and royalty cheques! Literary success also includes the positive feedback from readers (meaning that they have read your book and appreciated it at some level).

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

This depends on the book’s subject matter. With my own works, I drew from my own personal knowledge as a caregiver for both my own aging parents. Researching can also be done by other means … I have “google-searched” on-line (being mindful of both the source and the currency of the information provided), read associated material, and interviewed subject matter experts.

How many hours a day/week do you write?

Due to other working commitments, I often can write for only two to three hours per day a couple of days per week. I have been known to also write in the evenings and/or on weekends, but I usually only do that if I have a tight deadline and need to get something done in short order.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

After serving as a caregiver for both my own aging parents, this area has become very important to me. While I realize that the number of seniors in our country is ever-increasing and there will be a higher demand for the type of information I provide, I also gain immense satisfaction by helping others (who are prospective, new, and/or current caregivers).

How long have you been writing?

I have been casually writing for many years (as mentioned, I think it all began with that Letter to the Edmonton Journal’s Editor about my missing dog). I recall enjoying writing English essays in school and have worked a number of jobs where writing was involved (i.e.radio broadcasting and marketing). I finally stumbled across the Professional Writing program (offered through Grant MacEwan University) and decided to register for classes to see if writing was simply a casual interest or something I should take more seriously.

What inspires you?

Good writing, music, the great outdoors (gazing at a mountain peak, for example), a cleaner and more organized desk and working area, and participating in a writer’s group (where I can receive support and motivation from others).

How do you find or make time to write?

While I do have a secondary job outside of my own writing from home, I have arranged for this work to be part-time. As a result, I have a couple of days per week left mostly open for writing projects. My reduced regular paycheque provides me motivation to chase after freelance markets as well!

Caregiving seems like an odd book subject choice … why did you pick this area to write about?

Thanks for asking! I was a former co-caregiver for my own aging parents (Mom had Parkinson’s disease and Leukemia while Dad had Alzheimer’s disease). By helping and supporting both of them before they passed away, I learned a great deal about their health conditions, my own abilities, and how relevant caregiving has become in today’s society. As a means of coping with Mom and Dad’s decline, I began by writing newspaper and magazine articles about my own experiences, thoughts, and feelings. After my parents both died, I continued to write about this subject – feeling that it was both very valuable to other prospective, new, and current caregivers as well as therapeutic for me. Some years later, I spotted a book publisher’s call out for an author to write a book about caregiving. This got me thinking, “I have the related experience and could probably do this …”. I, very nervously, wrote up a pitch letter to introduce myself and the proposed book (as I saw it …). After some dithering on my part, I finally mustered up the courage to e-mail my letter to the publisher. It’s a good thing I did as I received a very enthusiastic “yes” on my proposal and then a book contract.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I am mostly writing in support of what I have written. This means I am continuing to write caregiving-related articles for newspapers, magazines, and on-line markets. While I am not always paid for these articles, I always have the opportunity to provide a concluding bio – this includes my own name, my book titles, and my author’s website. I feel that doing this is a great way to promote my own name and work.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Probably more similar writing. I always have my door open for other opportunities and am interested in a number of ideas: public speaking, collaborating with others, exhibiting opportunities at senior’s trade shows, and so on. Although book authoring can be an extensive job, I haven’t ruled out my writing another book (or more …)!

Share a link to your author website.

http://www.ricklauber.com

(I am also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CaregiversGuideForCanadians/ and Twitter at https://twitter.com/cdncaregiver).

Author Interview – Lorna Schultz Nicholson


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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

In all honesty, it does a bit of both.  I get so energized from the thinking, creating and writing.  But the mind is a funny thing and once I/we (my editor and me) are down to the nitty-gritty edits, it starts shifting towards my next project.  Ideas start popping up and I have to hold them down. This is often the time when I also wake up in the night and think…I made a mistake and then I lose sleep over that one mistake.  Often I get up in the night and make the change, then I can’t go back to sleep.  Does this make any sense?

But writing does give me charge.

2. What is your writing Kryptonite?   I want to say my dog because he is always wanting to go for walks but then when I walk I get energized and my mind frees a bit and thoughts come through.  So that isn’t really true and I don’t want to blame him anyway, he’s too good a dog.  Well sometimes.  I know that coffee and chocolate are my reverse Kryptonite’s.  Maybe being with friends?

3. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I haven’t really thought about that.  Right now there is no need for me to do that.

4. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I have tons of author friends.  I dog walk with Karen Spafford-Fitz and Debby Waldman and I eat dessert or talk about eating dessert with Natasha Deen.  I get together with Sharon Jennings, Karen Bass and so many others when I’m in Toronto.  They all help me because they write such amazing books and reading their books makes me better.  And talking about plot problems, character problems or even publishing problems is really helpful. 

5. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I have done both.  I have written series. In fact the 4th book in my One-2-One series has just been released and all the characters are connected through their high school Best Buddies group.  But I have also written stand-alones and have one pitched as I’m writing this.  No confirmation but it is pitched.  I also take on the odd non-fiction project.  I’m currently writing a 40th anniversary Oilers book which has been a huge project as I interviewed so many people.  Just different work. 

6. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Years ago, I took a trip to the NWT and I paid out of my pocket but it was such a great trip and gave me insight into my characters and their landscape.  I went to Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk and it has stayed with me.  Years later I went back to the NWT with the TD book tour and loved it all over again.

7. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I loved to read as a child and my mother really encouraged us to read.  I remember reading Anne of Green Gables and I loved Anne so much. The scene with Matthew and the puffed sleeves has stayed with me for years.  I also loved Trixie Beldon and wanted to be in the Bob Whites of the Glen.

8. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

That is a super hard question because I don’t think any novel is under appreciated but I know what you are asking.  You know, I can’t answer this question if I’m honest.  I’m thinking and thinking and to me all the books I’ve read and loved are appreciated by me.  It’s a hard business and sometimes as a writer you wonder why your book doesn’t get this or that, why you don’t get foreign sales or front spots in Chapters, then you get an email from a reader who tells you how much it meant to them.  That means it was appreciated.

9. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Wow, you ask really amazing questions.   But they are hard.  I’ve never thought about this but once I went to a shaman and he said perhaps I was a deer in a past life.  So maybe a deer.  Because sometimes I need to slow my work down, and fill the holes.  I’m a fast worker and I like to get to the end so it would be helpful to slow down every now and again BUT deer can get moving too when they have to and can they jump! 

10. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Tons.  I have a few adult mysteries, an early reader, a middle grade reader and a couple of teen novels.  Boo hoo.  No one wanted them.  Oh, and I have a one-act play and a screenplay.

11. What does literary success look like to you?

This is something that keeps changing as I raise the bar for myself.  At first it was to get published. Then it was to get a second book published.  Then it was to try a non-fiction and a teen novel.  Now I want to maybe do a teen thriller, something completely different.  I would also love some foreign sales.  BUT…all that aside, what is important to literary success is the reader telling you they read your book and got something from your story.  I think in the end that will be my definition of literary success. 

12. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I do a lot of research.  How long I spend depends on the book and what I know or don’t know about the subject matter.  I can research for months before starting a novel. 

13. How many hours a day/week do you write?

This really depends on my travel schedule.  I travel a lot, and do a lot of author visits to schools and sometimes this disrupts the writing.  When I’m home, at my desk, I can work 4-5 hours on a new project before I have to answer emails and questions like I’m doing now.  Lol. 

14. How do you select the names of your characters?

Names just come to me.  Although once I wrote an entire novel knowing I didn’t like the one character’s name and when I finished it and was doing my second draft I changed it.  And the name worked. 

15. What was your hardest scene to write?

I wrote a bullying scene in a novel titled Born With (One-2-One series) and it was hard to write because I know that it was mimicking reality and that made me sad.  My character getting bullied was gay.

16. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I write in many different genres because I’m always trying to improve my writing and challenge myself.  For instance, I’m writing this Oilers project which is non-fiction and I’m almost nearing the end – woo hoo- and I can’t wait to write a middle grade novel I signed a contract with Orca.  Did I tell you I can’t wait to go back to fiction???  So exciting. 

17. How long have you been writing?

Since I was little.  I took a break in high school to play sports and be a jock and in university to get a science degree.  But I did write a lot when I was young.

18. What inspires you?  

Everything and anything.  My mother wrote poetry and loved books so she is a huge inspiration to me.

19. How do you find or make time to write?

I don’t believe in writer’s block.  I call it procrastination.  I just make time to write because I can’t not write.  Even when I wasn’t published and was getting rejected and wanted to quit.  I just couldn’t not write.

20. What projects are you working on at the present?

I have my non-fiction Oilers book which will come out in the fall, and I’m currently doing photo captions for.  I will go back to my work as soon as I finish this questionnaire.  (Nice break.)  And I just had a teen novel A Time To Run: Stuart and Sam be launched, so I should do some media stuff and get my website updated.  I have a middle grade I’m going to write for Orca Currents in the spring and another hockey book in my Amazing Hockey Series.  

21. What do your plans for future projects include?

Not sure.  I’ve pitched a couple of teen novels and I’m playing around with a teen thriller.  Not sure where it will go.  It’s fun sometimes to play around. 

22. Share a link to your author website.

www.lornaschultznicholson.com  

lornasn on Instagram

Lorna Schultz Nicholson on facebook

Lornasn on twitter

Bio:  

 

Lorna Schultz Nicholson has published over thirty-six books, including picture books, middle grade fiction and non-fiction, adult non-fiction and YA fiction. (She is currently working on a 40th Anniversary Edmonton Oilers book.)  Many of her books have made the CCBC Best Books list, been Resource Links picks and been nominated for awards.  Her children’s books are about kids and their diversities and friendships and school and family life and emotions and feelings and… the ups and downs in life.  We all have those ups and downs, and we’re all different, which makes us all special.  Lorna lives in Edmonton with her hubbie and two dogs, a whiny Bichon Shih Tzu, and a naughty, hyper puppy she rescued from Mexico.   Well, he’s not a puppy anymore but she treats him like he is.  Over the years she has been a television co-host and reporter, radio host and reporter, theatre and murder mystery actor, fitness coordinator and rowing coach.  Now she is full-time writer. She travels to schools all across Canada to inspire children about her love of reading and writing, and she loves talking to adults about writing, and leading writing workshops.  She remembers her before-published days and wants to encourage writers to keep pursuing their dreams.  Being an author is a dream come true. 

 

Writing Prompt Wednesday


prompt

Today’s prompt is a slice of magic. This is your starting phrase.

                                  “Candies taste sweeter on the moon.”

Read my response before or after you write your own.

full-moon-2
Daisy looked at the old man with his long grey beard and screwed up her face at these silly words. She knew no one could live on the moon – her Daddy had told her all about it, when they’d watched a movie about astronauts going up in a space rocket. She remembered his words quite clearly.
“Now, Daisy, the moon is a huge rock, which orbits around the Earth. It is so cold that anything would freeze up there. And there is no air – nothing can breathe.”
Daisy had asked question after question about why and why and why – all were answered by her Daddy in his normal matter of fact way. As a scientist, Daisy knew he was right about everything.
“You are wrong Mr. Man; the moon can’t be lived on. There’s no air!”
“Well is that so young Daisy. I will have to tell my wife and children when I get back there.
“Where is there?” asked Daisy.
“Well the moon of course, my dear. I am The Man in the Moon you see and I can live without air as I am magical.”
Daisy’s mouth dropped open. The man faded into nothing but a pale blue cloud and rose into the sky.
As Daisy’s, mother shook her shoulder gently telling her,
“Breakfast time, darling.”

Daisy glimpsed a ribbon of pale blue touch the moon outside her window. She wondered if there was magic in the world even though her Daddy told her not.

Genres of Literature – Autobiography


autobio
Often written in narrative form an autobiography gives the history of a person’s life, written or told by that person.
The definition states: 
“he or she gives a vivid description of his or her childhood in their autobiography” Sub sections are memoirs, life story, or personal history.
It differentiates from the periodic self-reflective mode of journal or diary writing because it is a review of a life from a particular moment in time, rather than a diary entry, which although reflective moves through a series of moments in time. In other words an autobiography takes stock of the writers life by way of memory from the moment of the composition. A distinction on autobiography versus memoir is that a memoir is less focused on self and more on others.
The ‘life’ autobiography may focus on a subjective view of the person’s life, which in some cases can lead to misleading or incorrect information by way of the inability or unwillingness of the writer to recall memories accurately.
A ‘spiritual’ autobiography follows the writer’s journey towards God or other deity, which resulted from a conversion. It is a vehicle to endorse his or her new found religion.
A ‘fictional autobiography’ is a novel about a fictional character written as though the character were writing their own autobiography in first-person and reflecting on both internal and external experiences of their character.

An I-Novel is a Japanese literary genre used to describe a confessional type literature where the events related correspond to the author’s life. In many cases it exposed the darker side of society or the author’s own dark side.

A memoir differs from an autobiography as it focuses on more intimate memoirs, feelings and emotions, rather than the ‘life and times’ of a writer in a typical autobiography. For example, memoirs about politicians or military leaders glorify their public exploits.

Have you written or are you thinking of writing your autobiography?

Whose autobiography have you read that you enjoyed?

I still vividly remember reading The Dairy of A Young Girl (Anne Frank) at school. It is such a powerful and emotive book. Of course, I have read ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King several times (or more!)