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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....
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.....