Aside

My front porch post – © Tracy Campbell

What?

Let me finish.

This is my last blog post because…I’m moving!

Where?

To a self-hosted, WordPress blog. Actually, I’ve moved and you just didn’t know it.

Why?

Features were missing on WordPress.com that I wanted.

Like What?

Well…

  • I wanted a unique blog

Imagine a world where all blogs were the same. Boring! So that’s why my patient, tech savvy designer, Karen Behne implemented my quirky ideas to create a blog and a website that reflects my wacky style. (Don’t peek yet!)

Unfortunately, I can’t take you with me and that means I run the risk of losing many of you.

Now What?

You’ll have to sign up again. Perhaps, after you visit my new blog and website you will,—sign up that is! I can only hope. :)

If I’ve piqued your curiosity, you’ll just have to pop on over and check out my new blog. And on my website, you’ll find a project I’ve finally completed, and I have another project in the works–details to be revealed at a later date.

Now that I’ve spread my wings and I’m soaring, I leave you with my butchered rendition of So Long, Farewell from the Sound of Music.

So Long, Farewell

There’s a sad sort of clanging

From the tractor in our barn,

And a gray field mouse squeaks, too.

Peering out the window

From my cozy studio,

A furry Crested yaps

along with me to say,

So long, farewell,

Auf Widersehen,

Goodbye.

So long, farewell,

Adios, Adieu, Au revoir,

To you and you, and you!

I leave and sigh.

Oh no, I’m glad to go,

I must not tell a lie.

So long, farewell,

Auf Widersehen,

Good…bye!

Don’t forget to visit me at my new and improved blogging homeclick here

Thank you! :)

Please leave your comments on my new blog.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Terrol!

So Long, Farewell – This Is My Last Blog Post!

Do You Think Awards Are Important?

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When I receive an award I perform a happy dance.

This past week I was awarded, not one, but three blog awards.

First, I was honored with the “Inspiring Blog Award” and the “One Lovely Blog Award” courtesy of Stephanie Nickels. She is an editor at Christian Editing Services. Thanks, Stephanie!

For these two awards I was asked to share seven facts about myself. So here they are:

7 Facts Everyone Is Dying To Know :)

  • Writes for children, tweens, and teens
  • Draws and paints whimsical works of art
  • Avid reader
  • Rare breed dog owner
  • Motorcycle mamma
  • Antique lover (rooster, pineapple, and sheep collector)
  • And wife of a supportive, hard-working husband :)

The third,–another Liebster Award presented by Kittyb78. Thanks, Kitty!
Kitty blogs about writing, marketing, and publishing.

Pursuant to the Liebster Blog Award rules, Kitty provided eleven questions designed to “get to know me” outside of my blog.

What prompted you to set up a blog?

I attended Write Canada 2011 and was encouraged to start a blog then. Let me tell you though, the idea of exposing my words to the world made me almost puke. As we know, fear can prevent us from moving forward. So instead of allowing fear to grab hold, I kicked it to the curb, and plunged into blog sphere. That was 15 months ago.

What are our favorite hobbies and why?

My hobbies change depending on where life has taken me.

Indoor Activities

My Nana taught me to knit at the age of five. I learned to needlepoint, cross-stitch, quilt, weave baskets, (don’t even go there,—I’m a basket case some days), draw, paint, play the piano, and sing in the shower.

Outdoor Activities

I enjoyed water skiing as a kid. I downhill ski, ride on the back of a motorcycle, attend car shows, and I love anything adventurous. I’ve even held a boa,—so warm and cuddly.

When did you discover you liked to write, and why?

As a teen I kept a dairy, that is, until my mom discovered it in my underwear drawer. Wonder how that happened? I didn’t pursue writing seriously,—oh my, has it been 3 years already?

Why?

Good question. I like a challenge. No seriously, it’s another creative outlet that was waiting to emerge.

What are your biggest passions, and why?

My first passion is for God. Without spiritual guidance, I’d be nowhere. My other passions are listed in the second question.

How would you describe yourself in five words or less?

Easy-peasy. I’m a perfectionist, love to procrastinate, driven, motivated, and a cheerleader (not the high-school kind). I love to cheer others on.

What aspects of writing and reading do you enjoy the most, and why?

On Writing

To study my craft, and then apply what I’ve learned to become the best possible writer.

On Reading

I love getting lost in imaginary worlds.

What is your idea of a perfect romantic moment?

You’ll have to ask my hubby. :)

What is your favorite genre to read/write, and why?

I enjoy a good mystery. I love reading picture and chapter books, and young adult novels (no fantasy or vampire stories). I suppose that’s why I tend to write stories aimed at those genres.

What do you consider the weakest part of your writing?

Ugh! Did you have to bring that up? Where to place commas and trying to remember a million writing rules.

Who is your favorite super hero and why?

I don’t have one.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Lord willing,–a well-known, published author. Autographs anyone? :)

To pay-it-forward, my nominees go to the following writers and authors. They are in no particular order.

Clara Bowman-Jahn is a published author. Check out Stacy S. Jensen’s review for Clar’s new book. I purchased a PDF copy of Annie’s Special Day. Buy a copy. You won’t be disappointed.

Tina M. Cho is a prolific freelance writer and published author of 16 books.

Vivian Kirkfield is a teacher, and an author who writes picture book stories that help toddlers learn their colors, numbers and ABC’s. Buy a copy of her new book,–Show Me How!

Stacy S. Jensen is a published author and has a memoir-in-progress.

Susanna Leonard Hill is a published children’s author. She also provides fun and challenging writing contests.

Karen Lee is a fabulous artist, and a writer who attends my library writing group.

Belinda Burston is a gifted writer, and the fearless leader of my other writing group,– The Writer’s Nest

Laura Bennett is co-writing a book with her husband,—The Miracle of Us: Confessions of Two Online Daters.

Marcy Kennedy is a freelance editor and writing instructor. She writes fantasy, and is my mentor and editor. :)

Thank you for inspiring, encouraging, and motivating me to become a better writer, and a human being. Now it’s your turn to pay-it-forward.

Who inspires, encourages, and motivates you?

Enjoy the long weekend, everyone!

Week 8 – Summer Short & Sweet – Final Challenge – Have You Thrown a Hissy Fit Lately?

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“Do whatever you do intensely” – Robert Henri

Well, Susanna Leonard Hill, I thought Week 8 would be breeze, but I tripped and stumbled through your last challenge. Heather Newman’s painting made me gasp. One,–it’s lovely. And two,—a dragon, a castle, a knight, a damsel, and, and, and,–oh my! :)

Badge created by Loni Edwards

The last challenge was to write a piece based on Heather Newman’s lovely artwork, and Susanna’s tough criteria.

Artwork created by Heather Newman

1.  A pitch for a children’s story, any level (please specify PB (picture book), ER (early reader), CB (chapter book), MG (middle grade), or YA (young adult)) based on the picture, in the manner of Short & Sweet Week 6

2.  The first 50-100 words (more or less – whatever gets the creative juices flowing) of a children’s story, any level, (please specify PB, ER, CB, MG, YA) based on the picture.

3.  The last 50-100 words (again, more or less is fine – whatever works for you :)) of a children’s story, any level (please specify PB, ER, CB, MG, YA) based on the picture.

4.  Choose a character (there are at least 10 possibilities!) from the picture and introduce us to him or her – who he/she is, where he/she came from, how he/she got into this situation – a character sketch of sorts.

5.  Choose a character and give us a one paragraph synopsis of the story told by the picture from his/her point of view.

6.  The title of the story told by this picture – give us a good one! (Again please specify level).

7.  A poem following the rules from Short & Sweet Week 3 based in some way on this picture.

I persevered and crossed the finish line. Phew!

#6 – The title

Hot-headed Harold And His Hissy Fits (PB)

#1 – The picture book pitch

When a hot-headed lad finds his older sister locked in a tower, he has a hissy fit. Now Harold must steal the golden key from the ornery hag’s raven, slay the dragon, and rescue distressed Rampina before the dark knight claims her for his bride.

Thank you, Susanna. The challenges were fun, intriguing, and tough. I look forward to participating in future ones.

What challenges have you overcome in the last eight weeks?

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Week 7 – Summer Short & Sweet Challenge – A Birthday Present

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Fall is in the air. Adios, hot and hazy summer days. But I’m thankful for photos to remind me of sweet memories spent with my hubby’s family. A perfect lead into Susanna Leonard Hill’s, Summer Short & Sweet Challenge.

Badge created by Loni at http://www.loniedwards.com

I’m in the home stretch. One more week before I say adios, Susanna. Sorry, still no sweets to munch on while you read Susanna’s rules.

“We’re taking a field trip! It can be anywhere you want – and anything that fits into what you’re already doing – no special outings necessary. Going out with your kids to the beach, the zoo, a museum, the playground, the library? Going shopping at the grocery store? Washing the car? You don’t even need to leave the house – the kitchen or the back porch will be just fine!

Your challenge today is to describe a setting – any setting that tickles your fancy. In 50-100 words (more or less if you like, that’s just a ball park) make us feel like we’re there. Take a careful look at your surroundings – whatever they are. What does it look like? sound like? smell like? feel like? taste like?

BUT – here’s the trick. You can’t use the actual word of the place! So if you’re describing the kitchen, you can’t use the word kitchen. We have to be able to guess!

For an extra challenge, describe it from a kid’s perspective – try to look at it through the eyes of the average five -year-old, the typical picture book age target. Places can look a lot different to a five-year-old than they do to an adult. Different features stand out, and kids’ react to things differently.

Although we don’t devote a lot of words to setting in picture books because that part of the job is done by the illustrator, it is helpful to you as a writer to envision your setting clearly. Certain select details will be necessary, depending on your story, and this is good practice in focusing on the details that really matter. If you write for older readers, setting description is very important to make your reader feel like they’re there – but you can’t ramble on indefinitely. MG and even YA readers are not going to have a lot of patience for long-winded descriptions. So this is a chance to practice picking out the part you really need to say.”

I hope you enjoy my entry.

Krystal peeked around the corner. A warm breeze flapped plastic tacked to two corners on the wooden window frame. She giggled at Poppa’s fake owl perched on the ledge.

A beam of sunlight poked through a hole in the plastic and shone down on yellow metal plastered with decals.

Krystal’s mouth formed a perfect ‘O’. “Poppa, is that really for me?” She slapped her cheeks.

Poppa beamed. “Yes, Krystal. You’re old enough.”

“I know. I’m five-years-old.”

Poppa cranked the key. Grey smoke billowed from the exhaust.

Krystal coughed and clamped her hands to her ears.

Poppa patted her back. “Hop on.”

Krystal grunted, swinging her left leg over the hard, black leather seat. She planted her running shoes on the sideboards and wiggled her backside. Her sweaty palms tingled, gripping rigid rubber.

She stared out at the open field. “Hurry, Poppa.”

Poppa strolled to her side and pointed out some very important instructions.

Krystal nodded, licking dust off parched lips. She hunched forward. Her tummy somersaulted, coaxing the noisy machine toward the overhead towering frame.

“Well?” Poppa asked. “What are you waiting for?”

The engine roared.

Her body jiggling, she bounced over hilly mounds. “Whee!” 

Poppa yelled, “Slow—” But his voice got lost in the wind.

She flew past giant sunflowers that smiled and waved.

Krystal threw back her head and belted out at the top of her lungs, “Happy Birthday to me!”

(225 words) Okay, I can’t stick to the word count.

Five-year-old Krystal driving her ATV

Krystal didn’t fly past sunflowers, but she did chug around the yard with Poppa gripping a rope to cut the engine should she dare takeoff.

And one last item. I’m sending love your way, my son. Happy 18th Birthday. I love you.

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Week 6 – Summer Short & Sweet Challenge – Have You Been Bullied?

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This week, Susanna Leonard Hill’s Week 6 challenge is to come up with a pitch for a picture book. I offered sweets in my first pitch.

Badge created by Loni at http://www.loniedwards.com

A writer needs to include three key elements for a successful pitch—character, conflict, and stakes.

Susanna’s definition is a:
“[Character] who [a unique, special, or defining characteristic of said character] wants/needs [goal] more than anything but can’t get it because of [obstacle(s)].

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write an awesome pitch (or 2 or 3) for a picture book. The fun part? It doesn’t have to be for a book you’ve written. Or even intend to write.

It can be a pitch for something you think up right here right now this very second! Or a pitch for a work-in-progress! Or a pitch for a bit of an idea you’ve been ruminating on since breakfast! Or a pitch for someone else’s published book – you take the story and boil it down into a pitch! Or take the idea from someone else’s published book, or a nursery rhyme, or a fairy tale, and change a detail of the plot, setting, character, POV etc. and make it into a new pitch idea! Anything goes!”

The challenge got me thinking about bullies.

Tracy Campbell - Whimsical Work of Art

Tracy Campbell – Whimsical Work of Art

Here are four scenarios:
Your boss threatens your job when you refuse to work weekends
Your ex-spouse threatens to keep your children from you
The new kid in class threatens to beat you up
The big, bad wolf threatens little red riding hood

Yes, bullies exist even in fiction. And no matter our age, we’ve all encountered a bully or two.

So here’s my first pitch on a fairy tale.

Timid, red riding hood needs to swallow her fear when the big, bad wolf breaks into her cottage, snatching her last batch of oatmeal cookies.

Here’s a second pitch from my middle grade novel.

Working Title: “Georgia Rose McLean and the Poisonous Paper Plane”

A new boy in class jams bubblegum into eight-year-old, impulsive, Georgie’s ponytail. When her hair-brained scheme for revenge backfires, she thinks she can never go home.

My pitch needs work. A pitch should be no more than 25 words. An ideal pitch is 12 to 17 words.

For more information on what makes up a good pitch, check out Janice Hardy’s blog post

To find out what some of the top fears and concerns parents may have about sending their children off to their first day of school, check out Positive Parental Participation’s blog post. 

Have you dealt with a bully? How did you handle the bully? Would you have handled it differently?

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