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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Wednesday Whittleings - Splash Down!



Wednesdays are my day to randomly babble. Sometimes about children's books, others about writing, and whatever else strikes my mind. Random thoughts...random whittleings.


I'm late this morning thanks to a very busy weekend. But then, Summer break and having the kids at home tends to do that. It's not just the kids which are keeping me on my toes. Book events add to the stress...uh.... fun!

Since I don't have a 'baby-sitter' and take the kids with me everywhere I go, we've been shaking things up to keep these events interesting. How? We make day trips out of them!

Saturday was a book signing in Ozark, MO....which meant a trip out for ice cream (who can say 'no' to ice cream?) and a trip to an old Mill...which turned out to be a bit of a bummer. The entire thing was under construction and behind a chain-linked fence :( 

But that doesn't ruin the fun! 

Tuesday was a book talk and rock painting in Mountain View, MO followed by Rocky Falls Shut-Ins....






The kids are now convinced that my book events are super fun to attend (with things like this afterwards)

Then, we went to see Avengers Endgame (yeah, we were late with this) and....
well...
honestly...
we were disappointed.

While we understand what Marvel was doing and wanted to give the entire thing 'deep meaning' and wrap it up with a sense of humanity and personal notes....  

Sorry. We don't want superheroes with personal notes. 

I mean, how fun is it to dream about being your favorite superhero when you watch him wrap things up like that? A superhero holds a special place in a child's heart. They are the impossible dream of strength come true! They stand for all which is right and the power Good has over Evil. And this movie....well, it destroys that mirage. 

When writing, I've been told not to undercut the 'power' of my own characters. While things can weaken them at times and while they do need to develop and learn, once we chop their feet out from under them without any chance of getting back up, we've killed them. The awe, which they inspire disappears with them. The sense of magic is gone. In Kidlit, this is not a good thing. Kids need to dream...to hold those heroes with them forever.

Reality bites. They know that too. Being able to believe in the impossible dream with these heroes is one of the wonders of being a child.

So for us, the move was a thumbs down. While the effects were top-notch and the fight scenes amazingly cool, the story line blew it.

And what's up with all women heroes now walking around with chips on their shoulders? I mean, I love strong women (go get them, girl!), but I'm slowly growing weary of this silly mold feminism is trying to push. Can't we as women be strong and kind and humble and be willing to ask for help when necessary and wise? Arrogance and 'get out of our way' is not a great trait in my opinion. For any gender.

OH, and while I'm on movies (I'm ranting today), we were excited about seeing the trailers (we're kind of strange in that way) and thought 'Cool! let's see what new movies are coming!' We were hit with Toy Story 4, the next Star Wars, and The Lion King. All remakes or continuations. Seriously? We're beginning to lose hope on the originality end of things too.

I mean, they could make an awesome kids/family movie out of Music Boxes. Just saying :)

To wrap up my whittleings...here's a couple pictures from our Memorial Day BBQ. We weren't going to do anything special, but then my oldest called and wanted to celebrate. So, we ended up having a wonderful day then too.




Hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day and are staying safe from the severe weather. And what are your thoughts on 'movies'?

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Wednesday Whittleings—Walking on the Wings of an Airplane


Wednesdays are my day to randomly babble. Sometimes about children's books, others about writing, and whatever else strikes my mind. Random thoughts...random whittleings.


'Walking on the wings of an airplane' describes this last week in so many ways.

In the sense of freedom...   My youngest two are officially on Summer vacation since Friday, and my oldest two finished up their last Semester tests at college last week. While the oldest ones will stay in their apartments and work during the next months (college is expensive), we still will have more opportunities to meet up with them. Summer fun can begin!

In the literal sense...    With the new found freedom, I was able to get all four kids together for a family trip to Saint Louis and the City Museum. Don't let the name fool you—this place has very little to do with a museum in the traditional sense. It's a several story, gigantic climbing and sliding playground with caves, shoots, slides, jungle knots and all sorts of things. One highlight is a small airplane mounted a couple stories in the air with twisty stairs leading up to it and bridges leading away from it. To get to one of these tight, skinny, very high pathways, one must walk across the wing to the very tip and then, climb down. Not something for those who have problems with heights.


So tangled in the tree! (My one son had trouble weaving around the limbs)


In the sense of soaring spirits...  Friday held a huge surprise on the writing end. Music Boxes appeared on the Barnes and Noble Kids Blog as second on their list of recommended spooky middle grade reads for campfire chills!  I was shocked, honored beyond belief and have been celebrating ever since. To think that the B&N blogger noticed Music Boxes and placed it among best-selling authors and from the big publishing houses is just... just...  

Well, to say that I'm blown away is an understatement.


 I'll be happy to have a day or two now with my feet back on the ground... or maybe, another walk on the wings would be fun!


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Wednesday Whittlings on Thursday!


Wednesdays are my day to randomly babble. Sometimes about children's books, others about writing, and whatever else strikes my mind. Random thoughts...random whittleings.


I've been horrible about posting on here the last months, and even this week, it's landed on Thursday instead.

This is another high-hectic time of year for our family. Kids are on their last week of school (yes, this is worse than when they actually get out...and we get to sleep in!) Everything on the farm is growing...growing...growing! Which means mowing...mowing...mowing! Vegetables need to be planted and some, like radishes and lettuce, are ready to be picked . Kitties are being born. Chicks are about to hatch. Wood is waiting to be split and more dead trees need to be cut down and chopped.

Life is in full-swing!

My older kids stopped by this week and decided I needed house plants to care for too.






I love them! And I sincerely hope I don't forget to water them.

And on the writing front...it's the same hip-hoppity-skip to whatever takes top priority at the moment. In other words, chaotic. It doesn't feel like I'm getting anything done on this end, but somehow, I must be:

—The co-authored fantasy is in its first round of rewrites. Yep, first draft is done! Actually, the first draft has sprouted into two books...a bit like some of my plants. There was simply too much plot for one book.

—The middle grade mystery is slow going, but I've started chapter two.

Music Boxes is a daily duty. Marketing never ends! I have several events lined up for this Summer and more in the making. If you want to see where I'll be and when, you can head on over to...   https://www.amazon.com/Tonja-Drecker/e/B07NTMHFV5


How is you Spring going? If you have kids, when are they out for Summer vacation? How's your writing going? Any special plans during the next weeks?




Wednesday, May 1, 2019

IWSG - Everything's growing!


It's IWSG time!

Every first Wednesday of the month, this group of writers come together to offer support, advice, encouragement or simply to let out frustrations and woes. Writing is a tough journey, and we don't have to go it alone.

Thanks goes to the brain behind this group, Alex J. Cavanaugh! If you want to join in or find out more (because there is so much more to this group) then head on over here.

Special thanks goes to this month's co-hosts:  Lee Lowery, Juneta Key, Yvonne Ventresca, and T. Powell Coltrin! 



Spring is here! While everything is turning green and flowers are blooming and jackets have hit the storage bin for the next months and days are getting longer and...

Work on the farm is exploding!!!  As a writer, a part of me mourns the passing of winter.  Those long hours of writing poof into dust as real-life work sets in. And the worst of it?  While the cows are calving and barn cats nurse their new kittens and my old hen sits on her nest hoping her eggs will hatch (she does this every year and every year gives up after about two weeks...silly hen), my plot bunnies decide to multiply too! Spring sets off my muse, and I think part of it is my muse's snarky humor to remind me that my writing time has been cut down drastically during the next months.

But I trick him!

I jot down the better ideas into a folder...which by the way, is a stuffed cave with so many ideas they'll never all see the light of day and are doomed to collect cobwebs and dust. One or two 'lucky' bunnies will get to hop around in my head the next months (yes, brush hogging up and down the field and up and down the field leaves LOTS of time for hopping), and maybe...just maybe, they'll turn into a real, full fledged, fuzzy story and gain my full attention come winter again.

Do you have seasons of writing too? When do your plot bunnies multiply?

Need a barn kitty?????? (I have too many!!!!!)

Plot kittens? Hmmmm.....

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

IWSG - In the Search of Pixie Dust


It's IWSG time!

Every first Wednesday of the month, this group of writers come together to offer support, advice, encouragement or simply to let out frustrations and woes. Writing is a tough journey, and we don't have to go it alone.

Thanks goes to the brain behind this group, Alex J. Cavanaugh! If you want to join in or find out more (because there is so much more to this group) then head on over here.

Special thanks goes to this month's co-hosts: J.H. Moncrieff, Natalie Aguirre, Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken.



I still haven't caught up with life thanks to a very busy March, and it doesn't appear that things will slow down soon...especially with Spring now here on the farm.

And that's why my search for the magical jar of pixie dust has been on high swing.

Where is it? This is a question I've been asking for years. And it fits so well with this month's question...

Is that magical fate?


If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? 

This is a no-brainer for me. The first chapter. Always and definitely.

For some reason, it's those first words and that beginning scene which have me rewriting and rewriting and rewriting dozens and dozens of times. Perhaps even hundreds. I want to grab the reader right away and have them caring about the characters and diving into the world from the very first page. But which words are perfect? Which moment will draw the reader in? How should the characters make their first appearance? I have no problem writing the first draft of that very first chapter when my plot bunnies start hopping around (They tend to get overly excited). But I always come back and rework it. Over and over again.

And again.

And again.

See why I need to find that pixie dust?

Plus, pixie dust is great to sprinkle on the house for renovations and housework and gardening and...

So, my search goes on!


What about you? Which part of writing would you use your wish for? Or are you looking for that jar of pixie dust too?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

IWSG - Villains and Music Boxes


t's IWSG time!

Every first Wednesday of the month, this group of writers come together to offer support, advice, encouragement or simply to let out frustrations and woes. Writing is a tough journey, and we don't have to go it alone.

Thanks goes to the brain behind this group, Alex J. Cavanaugh! If you want to join in or find out more (because there is so much more to this group) then head on over here.

Special thanks goes to this month's co-hosts:

Fundy Blue, Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!


Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

I love this month's question because it's something I've never thought about before, and it makes such an interesting point. The idea of writing from the villain's point of view...well, it's done but not often. I've never considered writing a story from this direction, but then, I write the stories as the characters come to me. Maybe a villain is waiting in the dark corners of my mind. After seeing this question, I'll be keeping my eye out for them to step out and say something.


****

In my writing life:

I have been working on a new WIP with another writer, a co-authored project, and am enjoying it tremendously. But I haven't been getting to it as much as I'd like these last days because....


MUSIC BOXES came out yesterday!!!

I've been partying all week...

Oh....and as far as 'villains' go, the one in this story captured my heart in a wicked way!


Print ISBN 9781939844569 $12.95, 6x9 trade paperback, 158 pages
eBook ISBN 9781939844576 $3.99 EBook available in all formats

Juvenile Fiction: Girls & Women - Fantasy & Magic - Performing Arts/Dance



Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay's biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights.
When she meets Madame Destinée, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can't believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right...
One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame Destinée’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself.

Amazon / iTunes / Barnes & Nobel / Kobo / BAM / Goodreads


I have my 'party' post up here with a few from the amazing review snippets it's received so far (I'm so excited about the amazing amount of kind words!) Go ahead and join in because who doesn't love a fun celebration?


There's a giveaway too!

The giveaway will run from midnight (EST) on the night of February 21st, 2019 until midnight (EST) on the night of March 15th,  2019. Entries will be made through the Rafflecopter. One winner will receive a music box (the one found in the book video:https://youtu.be/ww_RY4IVg3w) with the author’s golden signature on the bottom as well as swag (US addresses only). The second winner will receive an Amazon GC of $10 (US). The second winner must be in possession of a qualifying US Amazon account.

The contest is open to U.S. residents only, ages eighteen and over. No purchase is required for entry. All winners must claim their prize 48 hours after notification. Winners will be announced on www.tonjadrecker.blogspot.com on Saturday, March 16th 2019 by 10:00am (EST). All addresses and personal information will be used only for prize allocation. Sponsor, Tonja Drecker, assumes no responsibility or liability of any kind. Please email all questions to tonjadrecker@gmail.com.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


So what about you? Are you a villain observer or do you stick to the hero/heroine side of things?


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Happy Book Birthday to Music Boxes!!!

It's release day for my debut novel!!!



via GIPHY

And it's time to celebrate!!!
For any of you who don't know what novel I'm speaking of
(and you really should considering how much I've been screaming it
out the world the last months...)

Here it is...



MUSIC BOXES
Middle Grade Magical Realism 
Modern Fairy Tale
For ages 9 to 12 
(But I think EVERYONE should read it because...well, I'm the author!)


“I only desire your talent...”


Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay's biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights.
When she meets Madame Destinée, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can't believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right...
One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame Destinée’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself.




Every celebration needs...



via GIPHY

Since I can't provide cake...which is a real bummer... 
how about...


GOODIES!!!

Pre-order/order your book (ecopy or print) before midnight (EST) on Friday night, March 8th, send a copy of your proof of purchase to  tonjadrecker@gmail.com along with an US mailing address, and you will receive an envelope with exclusive swag (bookmark, sticker, bracelet etc). 


And BOOK BUZZ!!!


If I don't celebrate the wonderful reviews which have been coming in now, then when???
(There are many more, so head on over to Goodreads to find them!)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41452109

"Deliciously creepy with a side of sinister, Drecker weaves an enticing story of talent, jealousy, and dark magic." 
Dianne K. Salerni, author of The Eighth Day series

"An enchanting mystery young readers will enjoy."
Kids Bookshelf

"...an enduring tale of friendship, magic, and the power of love. Five stars!"
Tamara Grantham, award-winning author

"...Music Boxes will enchant you."
P.K. Hzero, author

"The magical parts are enchanting, the exciting parts heart-pounding, and the poignant moments completely wrenching."
Ilana Waters, USA Today bestselling author

"...will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last spin of the music box."
S.A. Larsen, International award-winning author

"A powerful story with a compelling, mystical tale of adventure."
Reader's Favorite, 5-star review

And let's not forget...
PRIZES!!!


The giveaway will run from midnight (EST) on the night of February 21st, 2019 until midnight (EST) on the night of March 15th,  2019. Entries will be made through the Rafflecopter. One winner will receive a music box (the one found in the book video:https://youtu.be/ww_RY4IVg3w) with the author’s golden signature on the bottom as well as swag (US addresses only). The second winner will receive an Amazon GC of $10 (US). The second winner must be in possession of a qualifying US Amazon account.

The contest is open to U.S. residents only, ages eighteen and over. No purchase is required for entry. All winners must claim their prize 48 hours after notification. Winners will be announced on www.tonjadrecker.blogspot.com on Saturday, March 16th 2019 by 10:00am (EST). All addresses and personal information will be used only for prize allocation. Sponsor, Tonja Drecker, assumes no responsibility or liability of any kind. Please email all questions to tonjadrecker@gmail.com.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


And one last video for fun!!!




Joining it?
Leave a comment below and party with me!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Wednesday Whittleings - Pens, Calves, Wood and Chicken Alfredo!


Wednesdays are my day to randomly babble. Sometimes about childrens' books, others about writing, and usually about whatever strikes my mind. Random thoughts...random whittleings.


Ready for a heap of randomness! My mind is more tangled than a bowl of chicken fettuccine alfredo (that might be my latest craving adding its tidbits) with the book launch three weeks away. But since life doesn't center only around writing....  

No, it doesn't. There really is more than story telling, editing and marketing going on around here. 

Really. There is.


First and foremost... it's calving season!!!


My herd isn't that big, especially since it's little ole me taking care of them. This cutie was born Sunday morning. Another one was born yesterday in the wee hours. And judging by the utters on two other cows, I should have four by the end of the week.   (Tidbit: When cows get close to birthing, their utters lower and swell with milk...to the point it appears as if they will explode. It's hard to miss.) Our house overlooks our winter pasture, so I can gaze out and watch them prance around anytime. I do love it.

But super sweetness isn't the only thing going on...

Anybody else being hit with cold temperatures the last weeks? (Silly question!) Luckily, I made sure my wood pile was well packed this last Fall. I run one and, on really cold days, two wood burning stoves twenty-four hours a day. Yes, we do have regular heating, but we live in the middle of forests. So, it seems silly not to use that. It's not like wood chopping is high on the list right now. Only on warm days. But we had some of those last week.


That's my personal, little tractor—a 'her' tractor. My husband was kind enough to build/construct the entire shovel section onto it last winter. He actually lifted this trunk with it and drove it to the hay barn where I'll chop it into pieces. Oh, not by hand! I cheat and have an awesome splitter.


This is my husband's 'his' tractor. It only gets pulled out during hay season.


And then, my husband had a huge surprise for me. (This does get back to the writing end of things.) While visiting his family in Germany, he happened across this...


Can you guess what it is?

A glass pen! Now, this isn't a calligraphy pen (although I was sure it was at first). Rather, the glass is swirled with small trenches near the tip. When dipped in ink, it settles in the trenches. The point is very similar to a regular pen and rounded. As you write, the ink slowly descends onto the glass point. I was amazed at how smooth and long it writes! He wants me to use it at my book signings, but I'm so afraid it will break!


And that's my whittleings for today! How about you? What are you up to this week? Keeping warm? Busy? Have anything special happen?

What are your whittleings?

Oh, and before I forget, here's the link to that super speedy, delicious and extremely easy recipe:
https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a53695/one-pot-chicken-alfredo-recipe/


I find that the super cheap Parmesan which comes in the plastic container works well...it melts better than that 'fake'...(I don't know if it's really fake, but the texture is anything but natural)...grated, cheese in the baggies in the cooling section.


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

IWSG - Creativity and Tagline Video!!!!


It's IWSG time!

Every first Wednesday of the month, this group of writers come together to offer support, advice, encouragement or simply to let out frustrations and woes. Writing is a tough journey, and we don't have to go it alone.

Thanks goes to the brain behind this group, Alex J. Cavanaugh! If you want to join in or find out more (because there is so much more to this group) then head on over here.

Special thanks goes to this month's co-hosts:

 Raimey Gallant,Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!



Hello, February! I have a feeling it's going to be very, very short. It's amazing how much has to get done before Music Boxes' release day (March 5th!), and I'm not sure I'm really staying on top of everything anymore. I keep telling myself that the first time is the worst, and every release after this will be a breeze. Right? (Just lie to me and tell me it's true.)

So, off to this month's question:
Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

Lately? Well, I'm making tons of bracelets (2000) as swag for school and bookstore events.

Usually, I sew and paint and garden and construct all sorts of things and glue and write music and...
It's a very long list. I don't like to sit still and love to try new things. Granted, writing has taken up much of my extra time, but I still like to work with my hands when I can.

What about you? What creative outlets do you have?

****

I'm adding this to the post because I just got it done and am super excited to show everyone!





*******

Today, I'm happy to shout-out the new box set from a writer friend...

From USA Today bestselling author Ilana Waters:
Now, on pre-order.
Coming February 8th!!! Only $1.99 for the first week (until February 15th)


Vampire. Witch. Hero. Monster.

Titus Aurelius is all of these things. Ever since he rose from the ashes of ancient Pompeii, this former Roman general has fought for survival.  

A few millennia later, bloodseeker Titus isn’t looking for trouble—just a quick meal. But when his path crosses the witch Abigail’s, that plan gets shot to Hades. They find out the Paranormal Investigation Agency (PIA) is plotting something monstrous—something that involves exploding gas mains, lethal bird-shifters, and sadistic vampire minions.

Will they uncover the PIA’s murderous secret before every supernatural in its path is destroyed?

And what is Titus and Abigail’s connection to the mage who, almost twenty years later, is exiled to a paranormal boarding school? Can this mage solve a mystery concerning a stolen potion and ghostly figure before students—including him—wind up dead?

Together for the first time, the Mage Tales Prequels: Books 0-II are action-packed, edge-of-your-seat suspense stories shot through with a megadose of snark. If you love authors like Kevin Hearne, Lev Grossman, and Ilona Andrews, give these a try! This box set contains one novella and two full-length novels:

When Darkness Falls
Blood and Magic
Mage Lessons




  
    “The literary equivalent of a blockbuster movie. Fast-paced with lots of actionhumor, and a bit of romance that should appeal to urban fantasy fans. Grab your bowl of popcorn and prepare to be entertained!” ~LaffingKat
     “I’m completely blown away and speechless!” ~Kristen Lewendon
     “A page-turner you'll remember!” ~R. Alexander
     Intrigue, battles, love, and all sorts of excitement and adventure.” ~Tonja Drecker
     “If you like witches and vampiresevil plots, plenty of action, and a bit of romance, this is for you.” ~Brad Friedlander
     “I sat down to read it, got sucked in, and wasn’t putting it down until I was done.” ~Amazon reviewer
     “If you want magic, mayhem, and mystery, then what are you waiting for? Click the buy button!” ~Amazon reviewer


And here she is...

I write urban fantasy for those who like it fast, funny, and fierce. If you're into cross-blended creatures (think witch-vampire hybrids and half-breed mages) and supernatural ass-kicking, I'm all over that. Ditto if your book turn-ons are equal parts creepy and action-packed (think ancient cities and crypts combined with beheadings and bombs).

Sign up for my newsletter here, and I'll give you a free book: http://tinyurl.com/zp7q9u8