"A book is the best of friends, the same today and forever." ~ Martin Tupper

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hanging in There!

Have you ever started a project and discovered that you really didn’t want to finish it? Perhaps it was boring and couldn’t hold your interest, or maybe it seemed too difficult.  If so, you’re not alone. But before you give up, here's a a few people who decided to hang in there:

While painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo grumbled that he was a sculptor – not a painter, that he’d grown a goiter from the torture, and that his face had become “a fine floor for droppings”.  And he wasn’t even sure he would be paid for the job! Still, he did not give up. A little over four years later he completed the project that the entire world calls a ‘masterpiece’.

Gutzon Borglum, also a sculptor, and his son were hired to build a “Shrine of Democracy” by carving four faces into a granite mountain in South Dakota. This project took 14 years to complete, but today millions of people visit Mount Rushmore to see the 60 foot faces of four presidents representing the first 130 years of American history.

While he lay dying on a battlefield in France during WWII, Felix Lucero made a promise to devote the rest of his life to creating Christian art.  After returning to America, Lucero was homeless and living under a bridge across the Santa Cruz River when he kept his promise and began a project he worked on for the last 13 years of his life. The Garden of Gethsemane is nestled in a grove of majestic mesquites along the riverbank and remains one of the most tranquil tourist spots in town.

Still thinking about giving up? Nah, me neither.

Hang in There!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

It Started with a List

First, I’d make a list of what I wanted to get at the grocery store. So I wouldn’t forget a thing. Then I made a list of birthdays and special occasions, so I wouldn’t forget those either. Next, I wrote down everything I needed to do in one day. It felt wonderful to mark them off as I completed each task. Calendars became handy places to make note of special appointments, though lists were still very useful. By the time I needed a list to remind me of my many lists, I knew there had to be a better way!

And sure enough, someone (possibly the Franklin Institute,) invented the Day Planner. Little books of motivation so magical it’s easy to forget that you are actually the magician behind the trick! One single place to keep track of everything you want or need to remember or do, how did I ever live without it? 

These days you can buy little stickers that indicate tasks or celebrations. Some planners are elaborate and quite original.

Now they’re distributed to students as early as the Fourth Grade. What a great idea, though I bet I can name more than one mom who is more excited than the kids are ;-)  And to think it all started with a list.

What’s on your list or planner? Is it back to school time at your house?


 News Flash!  Stephanie Faris is on a Piper Morgan blog tour! She is positively everywhere and you can catch her at my other site: Pensive Pens Post  this coming Tuesday, August 16th
Am I ever glad I have a planner!

And, here's Stephanie!
 3 Books Every Children's Writer Should Read
by Stephanie Faris
By the time I wrote my first chapter book, I’d already published two middle grade novels. Still,
writing for six‐year‐olds is completely different from writing for writing for eleven‐ or twelveyear
olds. Although reading comprehension can vary from one child to the next, by the time a
child reaches fifth or sixth grade, books become much more sophisticated and wordy.
I remember standing in the library, staring at all of the kids’ books and wondering what chapter
book was the best example of the type of book I wanted to read. My agent mentioned Junie B.
Jones, a very successful series that came out in the 90s, when I wasn’t paying much attention to
children’s books. I picked up one, along with a stack of other random books I picked up. But all I
had to read was Junie to be inspired.
Whether you’re thinking about writing picture books, chapter books, or middle grade, it’s
important to immerse yourself in research first. Here are a few books I recommend reading. Oh,
and if you’d like to check out the Piper Morgan series while you’re at it, I’d be over‐the‐moon

Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine
Everyone needs a how‐to book and Writing Magic is considered one of the best. Author Gail
Carson Levine won the Newberry Honor award for her book Ella Enchanted. She provides tips
on coming up with ideas, developing characters, and getting published. She also includes
writing exercises to get you started.

Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park

 The first book in this long‐lasting series is all you’ll need to get hooked. Barbara Park captures a
six‐year‐old’s voice in a way I’ve never before seen. If a 40‐something‐year‐old woman can
enjoy the story, and even laugh out loud a few times, an author has done something special.
This book is perfectly exemplifies how a simple story of a girl taking a school bus to first grade
can turn into something incredible.

The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne

This seriesThis series is sheer brilliance. Two kids find a magic tree house in their backyard, climb in, and are immediately transported through history. They hang out with dinosaurs, witness the first
Olympics, help a mummy solve a puzzle… Here’s why it’s brilliant: schoolteachers and librarians
are always looking for ways to help children learn history in a fun, entertaining way. This series
is it.
Reading is an important way to get the inspiration we need to create stories. Whenever you
tackle a new genre, immerse yourself in books, especially the most popular ones. You’ll likely
find you soon have inspiration for the story you want to write.

And then there are these two gems!

The Blurbs:
When Piper Morgan has to move to a new town, she is sad to leave behind her friends, but excited for a new adventure. She is determined to have fun, be brave and find new friends.
In Piper Morgan Joins the Circus, Piper learns her mom’s new job will be with the Big Top Circus. She can’t wait to learn all about life under the big top, see all the cool animals, and meet the Little Explorers, the other kids who travel with the show. She’s even more excited to learn that she gets to be a part of the Little Explorers and help them end each show with a routine to get the audience on their feet and dancing along!

In Piper Morgan in Charge, Piper’s mom takes a job in the local elementary school principal’s office. Piper is excited for a new school and new friends—and is thrilled when she is made an “office helper.” But there is one girl who seems determined to prove she is a better helper—and she just so happens to be the principal’s daughter. Can Piper figure out how to handle being the new girl in town once more?

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive. 

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Thanks for coming, Stephanie!