“Spring Day”

“Spring Day”

There is nothing quite like the season of spring,

Where the flowers bloom and the birds sing.

You can feel the nice breeze on your face,

And smell the fragrance of a Queen Anne’s Lace.

Everything is waking up from a nice long sleep,

An annual promise that God always keeps.

Take some time if you can to have fun and play,

And I hope you enjoy this beautiful day!

If You Give an Author Some Inspiration…

Hi! It’s been a while, and I’m working on an update post for everyone. I want to share an event I went to where I had the honor of meeting an amazing author!

I went to the Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown in Johnstown, PA this past Sunday. Along with networking and doing some book browsing, I had the honor of meeting Laura Numeroff.

If you were a kid in the 1990’s or have a young child now, chances are that you might know her most famous book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Well, she has written a whole series of If You Give… books, along with other stories. While I love the series both as a child and as a teacher, one of my favorite of hers is Raising a Hero, which is about a puppy who will become a service dog. Although I do not have one, I think this story is very special.

Here are some pictures from the event, as I continue my story:

I loved this sign at Laura’s table! The event was sponsored by a local daycare center, The Learning Lamp. Along with my networking for my writing career, my mom was able to share her experience in daycare with some of the teachers!

The festival was inside this neat art gallery, and another building that used to be a brewery. There were so many people there!

Laura gave a presentation first, where she shared her writing experience, her life story, her love of animals, and much more! I was inspired by her reminder to “never give up!”

She greeted me in line with, “Let me guess, you love to read!” That started a conversation where I thanked her for writing the books that she did, inspiring me as a writer, and sharing a picture book that I’m working on, which she wants to read!

We follow each other on Twitter and often talk about favorite candy, so that inspired me to give her a care bag of candy! She loved it! And her favorite candy is Reese’s peanut butter eggs!

Before I left, she asked for a hug!

And I asked for a picture together, and we held up this literary classic!

Thank you Laura for your kindness and for inspiring me as a writer and as a new friend! I can’t wait to see you at my own book signing someday! If you give an author some inspiration, she’s going to write her own stories!

Inspiration for “Sunk”

Earlier this summer, I published a short story called “Sunk.” I wanted to share the inspiration behind it in this blog post. The quotations are from Nancy Lamb’s book The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories.

When I was growing up, my mother would tell my sister and me stories about her childhood.  She grew up in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, and she spent her summer days outdoors from morning until night with her four older brothers and the neighborhood kids.  They had all kinds of adventures in the woods that surrounded their homes, along with their regular hangout of Heckman’s Hill.

One summer day, my mother’s older brothers dared a neighborhood boy named Timmy to ride his bike down Heckman’s Hill.  Well, he accepted the dare, and his bike sank to the bottom of Glade Lake.  Her brothers were not as creative in ways to help Timmy retrieve it, but they were very creative in ways to help him make money to pay his parents back.

The only tough part was figuring out how to start the story.  Nancy Lamb discusses the idea of the “opening gambit” (37). My first idea to begin the story was having Tyler dare Peter to ride his bike down Heckman’s Hill.  While I liked it, it also did not seem right.  Next, I tried using the sentence: “I knew it was a mistake the moment it was over.”  But that did not seem right either.  Finally, I closed my eyes and pictured what would happen if I began the story as Peter’s bike was sinking into Crescent Lake.  That, according to Lamb, is a way to “uncover a problem” (37), so I began the story in medias res, or “in the middle of things” (“In Medias Res”).      After receiving valuable feedback, I decided to once again rewrite the beginning of the story, so I would not give away the climax in my opening.

This story, to me, has an image that I can feel and touch.  I have been to the top of Heckman’s Hill and rode a bike with the wind in my hair.  I have also walked in the footsteps that my mother and her brothers walked in to get to Glade Lake.  I even ventured out to the furthest part on the pier, where Timmy’s bike entered the water.  I even thought on a very clear day, that I could see the reflection of a silver Stingray bike at the bottom of the muggy lake!

“Oma” and its inspiration!

Hi, everyone! I apologize for not posting a recent blog entry. I’ve been busy with the start of the fall semester and with work and writing. I have a few pieces out on submission. And on August 18th, I published a short story called “Oma.” I wanted to share my inspiration behind it, as well as the link to read it:

“Oma”

I based Oma off of my great-aunt Dottie. Like Oma in the story, she is incredibly fearless. Each summer, she and her children and grandchildren vacation at the beach. She looks forward to parasailing each year, and there is a rotation of her copilot each year. Although I have never been parasailing, I was able to write it through watching videos that my relatives have posted on Facebook. A picture of Dottie wearing her favorite yellow shirt and pink sneakers also caught my eye, so the pink sneakers became a symbol and a part of Oma’s character.

I changed a lot of details and debated over the ending for a long time, and after I finished, I sent it to a few magazines. Three days after receiving it, Every Day Fiction accepted it.

Thank you so much for reading! I’ll be posting more soon!

Publication of “An Early Arrival”

I originally wrote this essay as a school assignment, and I kept it in my portfolio for possible publication someday.

Well, someday became today! I am proud to share this personal story about my premature birth and the obstacles I overcame to become who I am today!

Hope you enjoy!

http://blindnewworld.org/blog/an-early-arrival/

Best of the Net nomination!!!

I am so excited to announce that “A Mother for Melvin” was nominated by Diverse Voices Quarterly for Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net anthology in the Fiction category! I will keep everyone posted regarding the final results!

http://www.diversevoicesquarterly.com/2016/09/2016-best-net-nominations/

Author Apparatuses I Use Part One: My Bullet Journal

Now that the semester is over for the summer, I’ve been working  hard at getting my professional writing career off the ground. I’ve submitted many stories and poems to different literary magazines, I created a professional author Facebook page, and I’m working on a portfolio. But I also have been thinking about the tools I use as a writer and I wanted to do a series on it! So here is Part One of Authoring Apparatuses I Use!

As many of you may know, I am an avid journal keeper. I have my old school notebooks from first through fifth grade, which were spiral bound notebooks. It wasn’t until fourth grade that I began keeping a journal at home. I even brought it to school like Harriet the Spy, but I didn’t get into trouble for it, and nobody read it. I often had a habit of stopping journals in the middle, which is why I have over 70 now.
Now though, I fell in love with a new type of journal that combines my love of to-do lists with regular journaling. It’s called the Bullet Journal!

My current bullet journal, a Moleskine from Target

I first learned about bullet journaling through Kate Messner’s blog entry in January of 2015 and I am still doing it today! Here is the official Bullet Journal website.

You can use any type of journal for it, along with any pen or pencil (I’m a pen freak). The official Bullet Journal notebook is a Leuchturm 1917, and it comes in a rainbow of colors and page types (dotted, lined/ruled, and plain). I used a ruled Leuchturm before, but I also use other journals. I tend to use one journal per month because I write a lot, so it helps that I have a huge blank journal collection! 🙂

To paraphrase a classic Reese’s  Peanut Butter Cup slogan, “there’s no wrong way to” keep a bullet journal. You can draw pictures or pretty up the pages with Washi tape (I don’t) or just keep it minimalist. You can journal in it or just keep your collections in it. You do you!

I am very proud to be a bullet journalist and belong to two bullet journaling groups on Facebook! Boho Berry (also known as Kara Benz) is my favorite bullet journal blogger! I love her positivity and kindness, as well as the big impact she’s had on bullet journaling! I borrow techniques from her a lot and put my own spin on them! I belong to her bullet journal tribe, and you can sign up Here! And I’m honored that she included my bullet journal page along with many beautiful others in her The Right Way to Bullet Journal video!

Screenshot Credit
I hope you enjoyed this post! Stay tuned for Part Two soon! 🙂

Happy Birthday, Judy Blume!

Today is the birthday of literary royalty!  Happy birthday, Judy Blume!  I was reflecting a lot about my love of Judy Blume books as a kid and now as an adult.  I consider them to be part of my rather large shelf of mentor texts.  I was waiting for the right time to share this, and I figure today is the day!

Thank You for Being a Friend: Judy Blume’s Colorful Characters

When I was eight years old, I met Fudge Hatcher and his brother Peter for the first time.  I had loved the television show and watched it over and over again with my sister and mom.  Then I got the entire four-book set (back in 1996, it included Otherwise Known as Shelia the Great, but Double Fudge was not written yet) at a school book fair.  I was hooked after I finished them, and wanted to read more of Judy Blume’s writing!

I met Sally J. Freedman and Shelia Tubman at age ten.  They felt like a part of me.  Like Sally, I was forever making up stories in my head about becoming a roller skating champion, a gymnast, and a swimmer, among other things.  And like Sheila, I was afraid of thunderstorms.  I still am today just like Judy Blume herself.

My mother talked to me when I was eleven about what my body would be going through as I started my period and went through puberty.  I was nervous about it, but Margaret Simon showed up just when I needed her.  She was feeling nervous too, but we got through it together with the turn of each page.

Other characters came and went as I grew up: Stephanie Hirsch, Rachel Robinson, Jill Brenner, and more.  In college, I picked up Summer Sisters and I met Caitlin Somers and Victoria “Vix” Leonard.  I enjoyed going on their summer adventures on Martha’s Vineyard and watching them grow up and go their separate ways, but they still remained true to each other.

Finally, as an adult, I got to meet a new set of characters in Judy’s newest book In the Unlikely Event.  My favorites are Miri Ammermann, her mother Rusty and Uncle Henry (I related to him because my dad is also a newspaper reporter for sporting events), and Christina Demetrious.

Thank you, Judy Blume, for creating so many colorful characters that have stayed with me throughout my life.  You will never know how much you have influenced my own writing career.

I feel very fortunate that I was able to meet you last year.  You squeezed my hand, and I felt like you were passing on good luck vibes to me.  I hope that you have a wonderful birthday and that all of your wishes come true!

  

One of my favorite Summer Sisters quotations!

  

Me with two of my favorite Judy Blume books!
 

Inspiring future generations one book at a time!