Wednesday, February 22, 2017

MEME AND SPOTLIGHT

Welcome Wednesday. I hope good things are happening in your life. Today, I'd like to share some thoughts with you. We'll start with this lovely quote.

 
You may  like this too, or not, but most everyone that knows me is aware of how much I love butterflies.  The Children's Literary Classics Awards designed a meme for me using my quote. See it below. Isn't it neat.
 
 
If you've read my YA novel Under a Purple Moon, you'll recognize the meme. The CLC also spotlighted me. If you need a laugh today, this ought to do it.



WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY?
 
When I was teaching fifth-grade, we read Newbery honor books. Seeing how much my students enjoyed the stories, what great reports they did, sometimes even dressing like the main character, I started wondering what it would be like to write stories young people loved. So, I took a writing course and discovered that writing a novel was even better than reading one. That was almost 20 years ago, and I'm still writing.
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
 
A ballerina or an opera singer.
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?
 
One day, a girl (I hear voices a lot) whispered in my ear that her mother criticized everything she did and all she wanted was her mother and father to love her. So, Eden's story was born, the story of a broken family and their struggles to find that elusive word: love.
 
You can read the rest of the spotlight here.
 
 
 
 
Watch for more news about UNDER A PURPLE MOON soon.
 
 
 
Happy Reading.
 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Amazing Animals and Where to Find Out About Them

The Earth has many amazing animals. I usually mention this during my "Human, Alien or Monster" sessions at young writer conferences when the 'Where do you come up with that?" question surfaces. Among the many books I bring to show as a resource is Prehistoric Life so I can display examples (via doc cam) of what lived on Earth billions of years ago.

When you know what once existed (or still exists), you have a point to start from when designing your own fantasy creature or alien lifeform.

In the days before computers I used to rely heavily on books to learn about various birds and animals. Magazines and journals like National Geographic, Science and Discover were also useful for information and photographs. I used to be able to count on nature programs on PBS and the Science Channel for additional inspiration, but now there's only the few shows like Nature and Earth (BBC).

The internet has provided quite a few new resources, ranging from formerly book-based guides like online encyclopedias and identification guides like The Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds to general science websites like IFL Science. But usually all those are good if you already know what you are looking for. Sometimes you are instead looking for that flash of inspiration, that moment of serendipity when you see something new and can say, "Oh! I can use that! Well, maybe not that, but something like that...."

I have several friends on Facebook who share marvelous videos such as Marching Dinosaurs (which, at five minutes long might be too long to share at a young writers session, but I really want to!) and the latest scientific discovery or dinosaur dig. (I love #13 of the "Top Thirteen Fossil Stories of 2016".)

There are Facebook pages as well, such as Earth Archives, The Raptor Center, and News From Science.

I'm not on Twitter, so I just discovered two Twitter sources that I wanted to share. I'll definitely be looking more at them for inspiration. Bird per Hour and Strange Animals.

What are some resources you use, either for inspiration or to learn more?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

GIVEAWAY AND BIRDS

I'm posting this from my other blog, https://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com because I'm so excited I want to tell everyone my good news.

It's here. The audio book for UNDER A PURPLE MOON. Thank you, L. Diane Wolfe, my publisher, for the audio edition of the novel. This is my first audio book, and I want to share my happiness with you, dear friends, so I'm giving away two audio copies.

Silver Award Winner in the 2016 Children's Literary Classics, teen category
 
Under a Purple Moon is a book about friendship, and in particular, about one young girl who comes to accept her own self-worth. Author Beverly Stowe McClure has done a splendid job depicting the wide and varied range of emotions experienced by Eden and her friends. Under a Purple Moon is a book which young readers will find to be very relatable.
CLC Reviews
Here's how the giveaway will work

 1.  Leave a comment on this blog saying whether you like audio books or not.

2.  Follow me on twitter.

3.  Follow me on my Amazon Page.

You earn one point for each thing you do. You can do one or two or three or none. Tell me in your comment how many points you've earned, and that's it. I'm giving away two audio copies. The giveaway will run through Jan. 31. Winners will be announced a few days later.

I'll write everyone's name that enters on strips of paper, one strip for each entry, put them in a basket, and my cat Patches will draw the winners. Don't laugh she's done it before.  If she's too tired, I'll use a random drawing.
Good luck.


It's winter where I live! Cold wind! Snow! Ice! Wait a second!
Right now, as I'm typing this, the temperature is 70 degrees.
A few rays of sunlight are breaking through the clouds.
Also a few drops of rain are falling from time to time.
This is winter? I'm not complaining, I love it.
The birds do too. Here are some recent visitors to my yard.
 
Cardinal
 
 
One afternoon, I looked outside and saw four cardinals in the yard. Knowing me, you can guess what I did. Yep, I got my camera and slipped quietly out the door. Three of the birds flew away. This little guy stayed so I could take his picture. Some people say that seeing a cardinal at a particular time in their life is a comforting signal from a deceased loved one. Whether this is factual or not, there is no doubt of the blessing received with a glimpse of a creature's beauty. Seven states have named the Cardinal their official bird.
 
Cardinals do not migrate. If you provide them cover and food, they will remain permanent residents. Their favorite food is black oil sunflower seeds.
 
Woodpecker
 
 
I'm not sure what kind of woodpecker this is, but he was outside my writing room window one day. A second bird was in the tree too, but they were moving so fast, eating insects in the tree, that I couldn't keep up with them. Was lucky to get this shot. It's dark because the day was cloudy, and if the flash comes on through the window, there's just a blur.

Have any birds visited  you lately?

Don't forget to leave a comment for the giveaway.
 
Have a great week. Hope your weather is nice.
 
Happy Reading!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Food and Towels!

Morning, all!

Two of the most fun things about Disney Cruises are the food and towels!

Food is a given. Not only does it taste good, but they make pretty too. And every night when you return to your stateroom, a neat towel figure has been placed on your bed to amuse.


Mmmm yummy creme brulee!


Cheesecake!



A crab?


A bunny! So adorable!


Couldn't you just frame this one? :)


A frog!


I think it's a monkey or orangutan. What do you think?


A lovely elephant!


One night at dinner, they did the napkins like little suits. Adorable!


A ghostly pirate, perhaps? Or creature from the deep?


Funky, isn't it?


Pluto relaxing while his master's away?


Aren't they all just adorable? Which is your favorite? I can't choose!

Have a great Friday!










Friday, December 30, 2016

Wrapping Up the Old Year, Planning for the New Year

The week in between Christmas and New Years is often a mixture of events, last minute things, and utter chaos.

For some of us, the excitement of the Doctor Who Christmas Special is starting to die down while the expectation of the Sherlock New Years Special is starting to rev up. For others, it's a time to travel, visiting family and friends plus a dash of anxiety about the weather and traffic.

It can also be a good time for introspection.

I've posted in the past that the day after New Years is usually my time to get my records in order for income tax time. It's also my time to update my webpage for what conventions and other appearances (young writers conferences, signings, and such) that I have scheduled so far in the next year, as well as think about what conventions I usually attend that maybe I should skip.

It's probably not news that conventions to small press authors are a means of promotion. (There are posts in this blog about it as well as book signings and other means.) Authors with traditional publishers have many ways of getting the word out about their books, established long ago by those publishing houses. Small presses have their own ways as well, and one of them is counting on their authors to promote themselves. Interviews in local newspapers, in blog posts, on podcasts are all good ways of getting the word about about yourself and your books. So are appearances at conventions. Participating on panels and having your book for sale at a dealer or an author table or a book signing is a plus on your promotion side. But when sales are down at a convention or the programming committee makes odd scheduling decisions, it's time to re-evaluate that convention.

And it's also time to consider which convention would work for a possible book launch party. Yes, the good news is that I've signed contracts with Zumaya Publications to re-release The Crystal Throne, Talking to Trees and a new expanded version of Agents & Adepts (now tentatively Agents, Adepts & Apprentices) with 22 stories (previously 16). Gloria Oliver and Christine Norris are also Zumaya authors so I know I'll be in good company. Expect to see blog posts about the new covers and publication release dates in 2017.

And now back to sorting receipts and rewatching the Sherlock trailer. And preparing for a young writers conference next week.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

BOOKS AND STOCKINGS AND HATS AND CATS

I'm cross posting this from my other blog at https://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

Now that Thanksgiving is over and we survived the crazy shoppers and we've had our naps, it's time to start thinking about, yes, you got it, Christmas.

How about a hatful of books for the young readers you know.
 
 
 
Or maybe a stocking full for those cold snowy days to keep the kids entertained.
 
 
 
For more
 
 Visit me at AMAZON  BARNES  & NOBLE
 
 
and see what you like. Books make great gifts for older readers too.
 
Or, if you'd like a signed paperback of any of my books email me at Beverlysmcclure (at) aol (dot) com. Free shipping too, my gift to you.
 
Now I'll stop advertising. I think all the ads I read this past weekend have gone to my head.
 
It's taken awhile to write this because Tiger keeps interrupting me to play ball. Then Patches gets jealous and gives him her look that says she's gonna get him when he's not looking. Cats are so sweet.
 
 
Tiger wants to know who that kitty in the mirror is.
 
 
Doesn't Patches look like a terror? She does pick on Tiger.
She pretends like she just wants to sleep.
 
Happy Reading to You All!
 


Friday, November 4, 2016

Sherlock Holmes in High School

A guest post by my friend Tammy Garrison about her new YA book:

***********

As a kid, I picked up a hefty volume called The Boy’s Sherlock Holmes from a grade school that was closing, and was liquidating its library. It looked like something I would be interested in, despite being obviously labeled as being ‘for boys.’ But that was the way of most things I liked; Batman, Star Wars, hockey, you name it. I know now that this was not my experience alone, that girls and women felt alienated from geek culture, and before the Internet, there wasn’t an easy way for a teen of limited means to meet up with like minds.

I didn’t pick up this book just because it was ‘for boys.’ I had a genuine interest. I’d spent my fair share of Sundays watching old Rathbone movies, not to mention various cartoon incarnations of Sherlock Holmes that I had a fair idea of what I was getting myself into. But going back even further, my first and formative introduction to the world of Sherlock Holmes was a CBS movie of the week entitled The Return of Sherlock Holmes that aired when I was seven years old. It took place in the modern day, and Watson was a woman. It was an accessible gateway for a grade schooler who always had to be He-Man when we played after school.

The stories held my fickle attention from cover to cover, but there was really one thing missing from most of those tales: women. I was hardly a child feminist, in fact I had grown up in a confusing era where Barbie could be an astronaut, but women were still continually implied to be lesser than men, and the male experience to be superior to the things women were supposed to like and do and be.

Most girls just accepted that we’d never be Luke Skywalker, that regardless of how cool his lightsaber was, we’d be better off liking Princess Leia with her many hair and costume changes. I just barely managed to hold onto my dream of being Batman, regardless of my youthful crush on Tim Drake’s Robin, and the existence of Batgirl. I didn’t want to be the lesser spin-off character. I wanted to be The Main Guy. Since, y’know. Guys were more important than girls.

Everything comes back around again, and at a low point in my adult life, battling severe and debilitating mental health issues and the crushing self-esteem blow of unemployment, I sat down on a warm and sunny November 1st, at the start of National Novel Writing Month with only one goal in mind: to write the most self-soothing, self-serving thing I could possibly produce. If the world didn’t care about me, then I didn’t care about the world.

I decided to write not the story that I wanted to read, but the story that I had needed growing up, and still needed now: the story of a girl Sherlock Holmes, brilliant but alienated, surviving the ins and outs of high school with her best friend, a Watson who was athletic and smart, but maybe less noticeable than she thought she should be.

Over thirty days, I came up with a story that was exactly what I needed in high school to tell me that I was ok the way I was, that my interests weren’t wrong or weird and that, in fact, there is nothing lesser about girls and that they can do anything, even be self-involved detectives. It became a bit like shojo manga, but without the love interest, since one of my peeves is every young adult story needing to have some sort of romantic plot, preferably the dreaded triangle. It was all of the elements I wanted in a story involving one of my childhood heroes, and I was absolutely certain no one would ever read it.

It took me forever to edit it and get through two more drafts. Years, even. Due to this terrible fear that I was somehow wrong for writing it, and anyway, who would publish an alternate universe Sherlock Holmes story where Sherlock Holmes is a teenage girl in modern America?

Eventually you get sick of looking at a story. You want to murder it, or burn every copy and chastise yourself for ever wanting to write the thing. That is the point where you send it to others. After the usual rounds of reading, typo fixing and comments, I decided to pull the trigger and fire it off to MX Publishing, a house I was familiar with, due to the number of pastiches I had read over the years. Crazily enough, they also decided that shojo teenage Sherlock Holmes was something they wanted to add to their catalog.

And that, my friends, is how the story of an awkward girl who grew into an awkward adult who wrote the book she needed to read.

The Twisted Blackmailer: Watson & Holmes Book 1 is available directly from the publisher: http://www.mxpublishing.com/brand/Tammy+Garrison

Or from Amazon as a paperback and Kindle book: https://www.amazon.com/Twisted-Blackmailer-Watson-Holmes-Book/dp/1787050246

The e-book is available now, and the paperback is available December 9th.

From the back of the book:

Nothing's ever easy when Sherlock Holmes is involved. Joanna Watson needs sports and academic scholarships if she is going to make it all the way to med school. That means keeping out of trouble, and her school record squeaky clean. But upon befriending the mysterious New Girl, Joanna has her perfect record ruined, skips school for the first time in her life, and finds a blackmailer aiming a gun in her direction. All she knows is that she's going to get grounded... if they get out of this alive.

For more information
http://tammygarrison.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4050764.Tammy_Garrison