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Results 1 - 15 of 15
1. More Flash Fiction

Flashy Fiction Prompt Photo

The Gleaning

Soon the pickers will come; their baskets covered and darkly empty. Who will survive this season’s harvest? How many can we get to safety in the caverns below? And how many will survive the terror of remaining below until the sky homes are again safe?

Our new leader perches, grasping his branch of authority so tightly his talons have sunken into the bark, almost heartwood deep. Families gather to hear his plans for leaving our sky homes for burrowed havens during this time of The Gleaning. Not even sky’s soft breath disturbs the silence holding our attention.

“This night will see us gone from these homes. Each parent pair holds responsibility for their young ones.”

Fledglings tuck up against parents’ sides, beneath sheltering wing power. Feet shuffle and scrape bark with restless talons. The scouts must have reported the pickers on their way to the forest.

Leader spreads wings to call order and flips them again to his back.

“Our fasting will begin at full dawn. The hardship of the season is upon us. Feed well before entering the burrows. It will be the last for a foot of moon rises.”

The sound of his last instruction faded. Leader departed to get his own charges on the ground and fed before dawn. Each small group moves forward to launch.

Fledglings balk, hesitating. They are shoved off for their first flight. For them the dark unknown rushes to meet them, not caring that this is new and frightening for these small feathered bodies. Moss hummocks and short leaf blades cushion their landings and bounces. One parent accompanies each new flyer and examines for injuries at the landing spot.

As soon as able-bodied fledglings are grounded, parents roam the sky homes looking for stragglers. Here and there weak calls come from homes, where those too weak or ill have been left behind. Their sacrifice will ensure that the fit will survive The Gleaning.

As the sun begins to streak the forest with its rays, the people begin to stuff last meals down their gullets. Many will be too weak and malnourished to hunt after The Gleaning. Designated caretakers go through the crowds before each burrow, marking the ones to watch for when the safety call comes from the watch patrol.

Thank the Great Winged One, the watch patrol will be gathering larger meals for that unearthing time. Calls from overhead alert those who need to hide. Young ones are pushed into burrow entrances, followed closely by adults. In moments only the patrol remains; covering entrances with harvested mosses t

1 Comments on More Flash Fiction, last added: 7/9/2012
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2. Grace and Generosity of Spirit—A Housewife’s Tale

My father’s next youngest sister epitomizes the term “generosity of spirit.” As a young woman she could have modeled for any top agency in the world, with raven hair, laughing eyes, full mouth, and alabaster skin, all in a tall lithesome frame. She had all of this and more.

With marriage to a kind and playful man came responsibilities of farm, home, and family. Two daughters, each unique and talented, kept her busy and focused. Bickering inside the family was unheard of.

By the time the first grandchild came along, this dark beauty had become a matron, happy in her authentic plantation-style house and space enough for the girls to have enough land of their own to build homes next to the big house. Any threatening clouds to her life were as yet unnoticed. Her life was moving along very well to all appearances.

Months rolled by, minor medical issues came into the household for her, but for the first grandchild, the issues were serious and potentially deadly. She dealt with her fears and uncertainty as she dealt with life in general. She faced them, head-on, one step at a time, and helped wherever she could.

The grandson never grew out of his early medical distress. The situation grew more complicated and disconcerting as time wore on. Soon another child entered the picture, and he, too, suffered from the same disabilities.

Soon, the younger daughter had begun building her own family, living on the other side of Mom and Dad. The brood had expanded with another son-in-law and three more grandkids. Over the years serious medical concerns stalked the branches of that family tree, bringing with them sorrows, fortitude, and making do for the family’s members.

My aunt moved ahead through it all, through her own medical troubles, with frequent hospitalizations, treatments, etc. She did what she’d always done. She took care of her family; cooking, cleaning, soothing feverish children, smiling, praying, and loving.

She did all of this, and if she ever complained about her lot in life, I figure only God witnessed it. She has faced her days with gentle resolve to do the best she can, able to laugh at the foolishness and play of both human and animal, and using her indoor voice most of the time. Getting flustered never gets a task done, so she never bothered to use it.

I remember this lady from the time I was five or six years old. I’ve never known her to exhibit rage, prejudice, or ill-will. I’ve seen her cry, rock a sick child for hours in the middle of the night, and work until her fingers bent with arthritis. I know why her family is the way it is.

Those in her immediate family follow hers and my uncle’s example in their generosity and grace. There are no personal complaints about how life isn’t fair. They recognize that truth and work hard with what they have to make their situation—whatever that might be–the best it can be at that moment. They accept their roles in life, without blaming anyone for them.

Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? Always happiness and light, never raw emotion hanging on the clothesline for all to see, no enemies or troubles coming from the outside.

Like most things in this world, happiness is a relative emotion. These lucky people love and respect each other. They work as a team to make it in the world and to move forward as quickly as they can. Their happiness comes from trusting God and knowing that they are safe in the hands of one another. They support one another in all ways.

Sh

4 Comments on Grace and Generosity of Spirit—A Housewife’s Tale, last added: 2/24/2012
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3. So what do we think? The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag (Flavia de Luce)

The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag

 Bradley, Alan. (2010) The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag. (The Flavia de Luce Series) Bantam, division of Random House. ISBN 978-0385343459. Litland recommends ages 14-100!

 Publisher’s description:  Flavia de Luce, a dangerously smart eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders, thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey are over—until beloved puppeteer Rupert Porson has his own strings sizzled in an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. But who’d do such a thing, and why? Does the madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood know more than she’s letting on? What about Porson’s charming but erratic assistant? All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local constables can’t solve—without Flavia’s help. But in getting so close to who’s secretly pulling the strings of this dance of death, has our precocious heroine finally gotten in way over her head? (Bantam Books)

 Our thoughts:

 Flavia De Luce is back and in full force! Still precocious. Still brilliant. Still holding an unfortunate fascination with poisons…

 As with the first book of the series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, we begin with a seemingly urgent, if not sheer emergency, situation that once again turns out to be Flavia’s form of play.  We also see the depth of her sister’s cruelty as they emotionally badger their little sister, and Flavia’s immediate plan for the most cruel of poisoned deaths as revenge. Readers will find themselves chuckling throughout the book!

 And while the family does not present the best of role models (smile), our little heroine does demonstrate good character here and there as she progresses through this adventure. As explained in my first review on this series, the protagonist may be 11 but that doesn’t mean the book was written for 11-year olds :>) For readers who are parents, however (myself included), we shudder to wonder what might have happened if we had bought that chemistry kit for our own kids!

 Alas, the story has much more to it than mere chemistry. The author’s writing style is incredibly rich and entertaining, with too many amusing moments to even give example of here. From page 1 the reader is engaged and intrigued, and our imagination is easily transported into  the 1950’s Post WWII England village. In this edition of the series, we have more perspective of Flavia as filled in by what the neighbors know and think of her. Quite the manipulative character as she flits  around Bishop’s Lacy on her mother’s old bike, Flavia may think she goes unnoticed but begins to learn not all are fooled…

 The interesting treatment of perceptions around German prisoners of war from WWII add historical perspective, and Flavia’s critical view of villagers, such as the Vicar’s mean wife and their sad relationship, fill in character profiles with deep colors. Coupled with her attention to detail that helps her unveil the little white lies told by antagonists, not a word is wasted in this story.

 I admit to being enviou

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4. Ogres!

I am reading The Ogre of Oglefort by the late and very great Eva Ibbotson.  It is delightfully Ibbotson, with an orphan and a misfit princess and a whiny, sulky ogre, a hag a troll and talking animals.  Not one of these characters acts the way they would in a traditional fantasy - except for the orphan, of course.  Orphans have to be kind and clever and very brave in an Ibbotson novel.  As much fun as reading this novel is, it is sad as well because there will be no more crackpot fantasies from Ibbotson, or luminous hopeful adventures either.  Sigh. 

About my Dad.  They sent him home yesterday, not only because his fever had broken, but because his white blood cell count is very low.  I guess they think he won't see as many people at home as at the hospital.  The family has been warned off and we will keep our distance until his white blood cells rally.  Still, I heave another deep deep sigh.  Welcome me, world of people who have struggled with ill and aging parents.  I have joined your ranks. 

I am so grateful for the whiny ogre and his lumpy, misshapen friends.  A good book is as wonderful as a vacation.

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5. And In Conclusion...

The conclusion to the debut story of Small World Protection Agency is now available from Trestle Press!



Josh and Madison are two elementary school students that have been recruited by a secret organization known as the Small World Global Protection Agency.

In the first issue, they headed to Australia to investigate a record producer that seemed to have some unusual plans. In the conclusion, Down Under Thunder, the junior agents confront the producer with the fate of the world in the balance.

Having the stories in this two-part format helps to not overload our young readers, but it also heightens the suspense. In my grandparents' days, they used to see cliffhanger serials in the cinemas and bookstores. Small World Global Protection Agency brings back that thrill to a new audience.

Also, at the end of Down Under Thunder is a set of questions, or Points to Ponder. This is a great opportunity for parents and teachers to interact with the kids who loved the story.


Both issues are ONLY 99 Cents each on Kindle or Nook! Click the title to get them now!

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6. Tantrums and Grandparent Woes

 

Do you remember throwing a temper tantrum as a child? If so, where were you and who calmed you down? Do you remember the reason for the tantrum?

I have one memory of such an event and there’s very little to it. I was at my father’s parents’ house. I stood facing my grandpa, who was trying in vain to placate me. My young five/six year old self was having nothing to do with placation.

My parents had promised to be home soon and they hadn’t come yet. Were they dead and no one had told me? Where were they and why weren’t they here?

Neither Grandpa nor Granny could calm me down. I was furious, terrified that I’d never see my parents again, and I was headed for a complete meltdown. The end of my memory was where I kicked Grandpa in the shin as hard as I could and demanded he produce my parents “right now!”

My mother, many years later, told me that she and Dad had remained in town to visit other relatives while my little brother and I went back to my grandparents’ home. She said that they’d been delayed for a couple of hours because of friends and other relatives taking up their time.

It seems like a simple enough explanation, and one that probably would have worked on an older child who wasn’t terrified that her parents were lying dead somewhere along the road. I never bought it, she said. Their excuse was never accepted by me. I believed, though I didn’t want to, that they’d lied to me when they said they’d be home shortly.

Looking back on it now, from so many years into my own future, I can understand my fears and accusations. I quail to think of my striking out at that most gentle of men, my grandpa, even as I can fathom the depth of my feelings. I can’t remember if I ever apologized for my actions that evening.

There are some fears that take precedence over logic. Fear of abandonment is a child’s worst nightmare. Does a child ever outgrow that tendency to hang on so that the caregiver can’t disappear? Does that fear develop from a toddler’s misperception that a person/thing disappears when no longer in view?

I’m sure I don’t know the answer to that question. I doubt the experts do either. I do know that when I invest my trust and love in a person, I expect them to honor it and not throw me curve balls. I’ve always had that response in relationships, whether within the family or those outside of it.

Perhaps Grandpa’s mistake in dealing with me and my fears was actually two-fold. He tried to speak to me in a reasonable tone and manner, and he didn’t know where my parents were and admitted it to me. Grandpa’s are, after all, supposed to be all-knowing, all seeing, and above all else, always right!

If I ever threw another tantrum, I don’t recall it. Thank God! The recollection of this one has haunted me for enough years already.


4 Comments on Tantrums and Grandparent Woes, last added: 2/15/2012
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7. Dealing with Parents

When you write kids’ books, there’s often a parent component. Duh. Kids have parents. So what?

Get Rid of Adults

One recommendation for dealing with parents is to get rid of them. Send them out of town for work; get rid of at least one parent through death, divorce or neglect; stick them in the background and barely mention them. There’s good reason to suggest getting rid of parents. After all, a main character MUST solve his/her own problems and a well-meaning parent could ruin your story.

Family Stories

MotherChildBut what if this is a family story? As I said last week, I’m reading through Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence, a book about the Briggs-Meyers types of personalities and Chapter 8 was an amazing revelation. It’s about Parenting!

Personality Type as a Child. It goes through an explanation of how a basic personality type would be played out as a child. An Idealist Child (NF, including INFT, INFP, ENFT, ENFP) would be soulful, emotional and self-examining.

Personality Type as a Parent. Likewise, the parenting style of the different types is explained. An Artisan Parent (SP, including ISPN, ESPN, ISPT, ESPT) has a hands-off style, letting kids learn lessons on their own.

Combination of Parent-Child. What happens when one personality style is in charge of another, like in the parent-child relationship? They might clash, or they might bring out the best in each other. For example an Artisan Parent (SP) and an Idealist (NF) kid is explained like this:

Although they can have some trouble understanding each other, Artisan parents can be valuable models for their Idealist children. NF kids tend to get lost in abstraction and a self-absorbed search for meanings and portents , and the SP’s warm embrace of immediacy can be an important lesson for them. p.277

You may not want to be so strict in figuring out what personality type the parents and kids actually are (though it does help with character development). But it’s interesting reading through the different types of interaction between kids/parents. Of course, this is the “nature” part of the equation and you’ll want to add the “nurture” part through your story.

Personally, I try to get rid of parents. I agree that’s best. But sometimes–often, for me–the story is partly ABOUT that parent-child relationship. Especially for middle grade novels, parents and a kid’s relationship to them is extremely important. In those cases, this is a good resource for figuring out where the conflicts might lie and how to exploit the conflict for an exciting story.

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8. Showcase #3

Recently, I was invited to join the group Writers of the South (USA). It is a small, but enthusiastic group of authors in every type of genre. The group is aimed at supporting and promoting authors in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee.

As we grow, we plan to take several opportunities to showcase the varied and talented people in the group. We will hit it hard over the next couple of days, hopefully gaining some new exposure and introducing you to writings you might not have found otherwise. Looking at the group, there is something for everyone, so be sure to check these posts every day.  The plan is to do this again in a few months.

Today, the spotlight shines on Corine A. Belle (aka Sandy Theriot)

Corine says, "Welcome To My Legend! I am an apiring author who loves to write YA in the supernatural/romance/thriller/humor. I welcome negative and postive feedback. It will be taken seriously and without prejudice. Thank you so much for your support!!!"

Sandy has been writing from personal experiences since she was a teen. More recently, her work has taken a turn with inspiration from Stephanie Meyers' Twilight Saga. Check out her YA supernatural writing at the link above!

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9. The Authors of ONE: De Miller

The next installment of One will be coming your way from Trestle Press very soon, so I wanted to give you an opportunity to meet the next author.





De Miller is a former newspaper reporter, photographer and editor now living in the little central Florida town of Mount Dora. He became a born again Christian on July 13, 2008. He and his wife, Sue, have four children and 17 grandchildren and a great grandchild on the way. Through the years, he served as a reporter, photographer and relief desk editor for The Star and then as a reporter, photographer, Associate Editor and finally Managing Editor of the Kansas City Kansan, the daily newspaper on the Kansas side of Kansas City. Following some 15 years in the newspaper business, he became the Public Information officer for the Wyandotte County Commissioners for eight years. He entered private business, owning and operating several businesses in Kansas City. Also during his post-government years he operated his own Public Relations firm and so

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10. Greater Than the Sum

I have really been enjoying myself working on the "One" series. Thanks to Giovanni, I have had the opportunity to explore my own thoughts, but also work with my father as a writer.

With October only a few days away, we are about to release another installment, by Sudè Khanian. I have been fortunate to get to know her over the past several months and I am impressed. She has a unique view of the world that is inspiring.

You can follow "One" HEREhttp://www.facebook.com/MarkMillersOne for all of the latest news and releases.

We are working to put out one story a month, each by a different author. In November, look for Giovanni Gelati to tip his hat, followed by Melissa Studdard. Award-winning teen poet, Rachel Hunter will come along after that and we may have a retired Catholic priest as well.

Each of these authors is going to bring you something personal, and most likely emotional. They want to share their faith and beliefs with you.

Be sure to listen in to the G-Zone on BlogTalkRadio this Saturday (10/01) to hear the first three authors of "One" share their experiences with Giovanni!

Also, leave a comment below if you would like to read "Meant To Be", the first story of "One", for FREE!

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11. Something for the Kid in You

Trestle Press is bringing my new Young Reader series to eBooks soon! Here's what Small World Global Protection Agency is all about:



This new series is aimed at Young Readers anywhere from 3rd to 6th grade and will be available only in eBook from Trestle Press. The monthly short stories will be reminiscent of the adventure serials of the 1940’s with a contemporary setting. Each episode will feature two ten-year-olds, Josh and Madison, as they secretly work for the high-tech, international Global Protection Agency to keep the world safe. The short stories will come in a two-part “cliffhanger” style and expose readers to interesting facts and details of the countries Josh and Madison visit. At the end of each two-part story, there will also be Points to Ponder: five questions or discussion starters to keep parents involved with their young readers!

Miller is the author of The Empyrical Tales fantasy adventure series. Book I: The Fourth Queen and Book II: The Lost Queen are available now from Comfort Publishing and Book III: The Secret Queen is coming Spring 2012. From Trestle Press, Miller heads the spiritual anthology MarkMiller’s One and has worked with Giovanni Gelati in the Author’s Lab collaboration A Prince in Trenton, Seriously? Miller has also written the adaptation of the faith-based movie Daniel’s Lot, available from Trestle Press as well. He is a father of four with a background in elementary education and film.

Be ready for Issue #001-A: New Kids on the Rock!

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12. So what do we think? The Wild West: 365 days

 

 The Wild West: 365 days

 

 Wallis, Michael. (2011) The Wild West: 365 days. New York, NY: Abrams Press. ISBN 978-0810996892 All ages.

 Publisher’s description: The Wild West: 365 Days is a day-by-day adventure that tells the stories of pioneers and cowboys, gold rushes and saloon shoot-outs in America’s frontier. The lure of land rich in minerals, fertile for farming, and plentiful with buffalo bred an all-out obsession with heading westward. The Wild West: 365 Days takes the reader back to these booming frontier towns that became the stuff of American legend, breeding characters such as Butch Cassidy and Jesse James. Author Michael Wallis spins a colorful narrative, separating myth from fact, in 365 vignettes. The reader will learn the stories of Davy Crockett, Wild Bill Hickok, and Annie Oakley; travel to the O.K. Corral and Dodge City; ride with the Pony Express; and witness the invention of the Colt revolver. The images are drawn from Robert G. McCubbin’s extensive collection of Western memorabilia, encompassing rare books, photographs, ephemera, and artifacts, including Billy the Kid’s knife.

 Our thoughts:

 This is one of the neatest books I’ve seen in a long time. The entire family will love it. Keep it on the coffee table but don’t let it gather dust!

 Every page is a look back into history with a well-known cowboy, pioneer, outlaw, native American or other adventurer tale complete with numerous authentic art and photo reproductions. The book is worth owning just for the original pictures.  But there is more…an index of its contents for easy reference too! Not only is this fun for the family, it is excellent for the school or home classroom use too. A really fun way to study the 19th century too and also well received as a gift.  I highly recommend this captivating collection! See for yourself at the Litland.com Bookstore.

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13. So what do we think? Wally the Cock-Eyed Cricket

  

Wally the Cockeyed Cricket

 

 Brown, Bea (2011) Wally the Cockeyed Cricket. Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61777-106-4.  Recommended age 8 and under.

 Publisher’s descriptionWhen Wally the Cockeyed Cricket finds himself trapped in Mrs. Grumpydee’s kitchen, he sings a sad song and Mrs. Grumpydee’s locks Wally in a jar. When the jar is knocked over and shatters, Wally the Cockeyed Cricket sings a different tune.

 Our thoughts:

 Read it—see it—listen to it! The great thing about books from Tate Publishing is that you do not need to choose between print and audio formats because books have a code that permits you to download the audio version on MP3 too! The print version has beautifully captivating illustrations. Yet the young man (ok, he sounds young to this old reviewer!) reading the audio does an excellent job at it. A great enhancement to teach reading to little ones :>)

 Of course, the most important reason to consider adding this book to your child’s bookshelf is because they will enjoy the story! As evidenced by its title, Wally looks a little different than most crickets. He doesn’t think anything of this difference and is happy as can be. Until, that is, he unfortunately wanders into Mrs. Grumpydee’s kitchen! Captured, bullied and made a public spectacle, Wally never loses courage or confidence. Helped with the aid of a complete stranger, he is rescued and makes a new friend. Virtues exhibited are courage, justice and friendship.  A feel-good story where the good guys win! Great parent-child sharing, Pre-3rd grade class or homeschool, bedtime reading, gift giving, therapy use, and family book club! Grab your copy at the Litland.com Bookstore.

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14. So what do we think? Abe’s Lucky Day

Abe’s Lucky Day

 

 Warren, Jill. (2011) Abe’s Lucky Day. Outskirts Press Inc. ISBN 978-1-4327-7305-2. Age 8 and under.

 Publisher’s description:  Any day can be a lucky day.  Abe is a homeless man who lives in the alley behind a bakery and winter is coming. What will happen on his lucky day that will change his life? 

Our thoughts:

 Introducing us to the varied faces of distress and homelessness, Abe’s Lucky Day reminds us that , while food, warm clothes and dry beds feel great, helping others feels even better. Illustrations permit the child to imagine themselves in the story, and so can feel the heartwarming rewards of selflessness…definitely good for your Litland.com family book club or a preschool classroom. Part luck and lots of kindness, Abe’s Lucky Day infuses a desire for kindness and generosity into its reader’s mind and heart, and is sure to strengthen bonds within the family reading it as well :>) Great for gift-giving, pick up your copy in our Litland.com Bookstore!

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15. Learn How to Shop for Free or Cheap

How to Shop for Free

Shopping Secrets for Smart Women Who Love to Get Something for Nothing
written by Kathy Spencer with Samantha Rose
DeCapo Press, 2010
non-fiction

A whole book about shopping and saving money? YES. And, let me warn you now. You might start to hyperventilate when you read this book. I’m just saying. You’ve been warned.

Get organized and start with coupons – and there are tons of coupon sites. Then, learn about combining and doubling, buy one / get one deals, using rebates and rain checks, buying coupons on eBay (yes, you read that right) and more. Then, what’s the difference between stockpiling and hoarding – and what should you stockpile?

I personally like her tips about awards programs – at places like CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Victoria’s Secret, the Body Shop, PetCo and more.  Or, you can save money by telling your neighbors about products like the Vocalpoint program from Procter and Gamble.

Well, I can’t give away the entire book of secrets so you’ll have to read it for yourself. I think you’ll make back the money you spend on the book pretty quickly once you get up to speed with some of the savings tips.

WIN a copy of How to Shop for Free! E-mail your name and address (to make book delivery faster) to deborah.mock@parenthood.com with “Shop for Free” in the subject line. We will randomly select one lucky winner to receive a copy of the book. Deadline for entry is midnight MST on January 31, 2011.


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