Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Savvy ~ day 3

Ingrid uses a very distinct prose in her book Savvy. I think the best way to describe it is by saying the tone is 'matter-of-fact', and there are lots of similes and metaphors. To show you what I mean, here are some quotes I promised you:

"And although Gandpa had gone to bed as well, every now and then the ground would rumble and the floor would shake as though the earth below us had a bellyache."

"Miss Rosemary was well-known to us all. She smelled like Lysol and butterscotch..."

"Pink light filtered through the curtains of the house, filling the hallway between the bedrooms with the faint blush of morning."

"He looked at me screaming and plugging my ears and at the tears dripping like the kitchen tap down my cheeks..."

"Running away from the fact that I was growing up and life was changing as quick and sure and electrifying and and terrifying as Rockets sparks..."

Momma has a wonderful quote about life, too : "In most ways, Mibs, we Beaumonts are just like other people, we get born, and sometime later we die. And in between, we're happy and sad, we feel love and we feel fear, we eat and we sleep and we hurt like everyone else."

And now for the Tour Searching Tips.

If you want a review, try one of these blogs:
All About Children’s Books
Booking Mama
Cafe of Dreams
Dolce Bellezza
Looking Glass Reviews
Never Jam Today
Olive Tree
The 160 Acrewoods
Through a Child’s Eyes

Each of these blogs have interviews:
All About Children’s Books
Becky’s Book Reviews
Looking Glass Reviews
Never Jam Today

For some chats on Savvies, go to one of these:
Dolce Bellezza
Looking Glass Reviews
Maw Books Blog
Never Jam Today

For some quotes:
A Christian Worldview of Fiction
Dolce Bellezza
Through a Child’s Eyes

For some looks at morals, visit A Christian Worldview of Fiction or Booking Mama.

For a chance to win a copy, go to Dolce Bellezza or Maw Books Blog.

For thoughts on the book, visit Cafe of Dreams.

For some fun activities, go to Through a Child’s Eyes.

For information on the cover art, and the book trailer, take a look at The 160 Acre woods.

For a writing prompt, go to Through a Child’s Eyes.

For an inside look at Ingrid, and wishes to be more like her, visit Dolce Bellezza.

If I missed anything, just let me know and I'll update my list.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Savvy ~ day 2

Today will be a lot different than what I have done for tours before... hope you enjoy the change. Oh, and let me warn you that there a a LOT of links. :)

First of all, let me tell you some background about Savvy and I. Last semester in school I had an independent study class where I could pick the books I wanted to read, and write a review and a few reflections about that book. Take a wild guess and see if you can figure out what one of those books was? Yes. Savvy.

I had to write quite a few reflections and interpretations on the story, and I thought I would share some with you:

For my interpretation of the Angels mentioned in the story, read THIS.

For a few quick thoughts on the main character Mibs and how she changes a little, read THIS.

For thoughts on Fish as a perfect protective brother, read THIS - but be cautious, there are spoilers.

For the quick review I wrote for class, read THIS, and for the review I posted back in September, read THIS.

Next, I want to direct you to Ingrid's blog. I've spent some time there, and can say that it is amazing. Every week she posts some pictures of what kids say their savvies are, and even words of the week. So, if you want to know what 'to guddle' is, or what an eggcorn is, or what verbicide is (because even my spell check doesn't...), or what a flibbertigibbet is , you could Google them, or visit Ingrid's blog (I suggest the latter...)

Also, Ingrid's website is HERE. There are links to all kinds of places like:
What people are saying
The 'official website' - that has an awesome book trailer
There are even games! THIS is the Savvy road trip...
and THIS is the Savvy-O-Matic. I warn you, apparently my Savvy is the ability to erase minds... and my 12 y/o sister's is making trees grow... what's yours?

If you are not already 'linked out', look at the right sidebar for the other blogs participating in this tour... and have fun!

Come back tomorrow from some good quotes, and 'Tour Searching Tips'.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Savvy ~ day 1

This marks the beginning of the Savvy Tour. The author, to the left, is Ingrid Law. Today I give you an interview:

How long did it take you to write Savvy’?

The first draft of Savvy came very quickly—about four and a half months. I was working at the time and I’m a single mom, so I’m not even sure how it happened that fast. Once I found an agent and a publisher, I spent several more months in the revision and editing process. But start to finish, from the first sentence that popped into my head to the last line edit emailed back to my editor, the book took about nine months. I’m not sure I’ll ever achieve that kind of pace again!

Where did you get your inspiration for ‘Savvy’?

At first, I wanted to write a book about magical kids without ever using the word magic. I also wanted that ‘magic’ to reflect a sense of Americana, with echoes of a tall-tale voice blended with a super-powered family tree. But really, the ‘savvy’ abilities of the characters in the book are reflections of each one’s own experiences and their own transformation from childhood to teen, and into the adult he or she is going to become. Growing up, things can often feel overwhelming and out of control—just like a new savvy. Likewise, everyone has talents and abilities that make them special, or things that they are working hard to get better at. These ideas are the real heart of the book.

How did you come up with the names for the characters?

Some of the names just popped straight into my head without any thought. Like Fish and Grandpa Bomba. Others, like Grandma Dollop and Mibs, took a little more thought—though, for different reasons. Basically, the names of the characters from the ‘savvy’ family tree are often unusual or reflect something about the character or their abilities. While the more every-day characters tend to have more every-day names. Mibs needed a name all her own, to stand out even from her family.

The process of naming characters has a magic all its own. Fish can’t go near water… but that didn’t even occur to me until later. Some might think Grandpa Bomba’s stories about creating the state of Idaho are “bombastic”—high-flown or inflated—but, like ‘Fish,’ I didn’t think it through that far. The name ‘Samson’ happened to be used in a song I was listening to a lot at that time. I liked the song and its mood so much, it inspired me to use the name. I could go on and on… I love names.

How long have you been writing in general?

I’ve been imagining stories since I was a kid. But I didn’t start writing them down until I could type. Before that happened, my handwriting simply couldn’t keep up with my ideas. I wrote my first novel-length story about eighteen years ago, but I didn’t begin to take my writing seriously until a few years ago.

Do you listen to music while you write? What kind?

Songs and music have always inspired story ideas and help me imagine characters and scenes, like “Samson” and “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor, both of which I listened to while writing Savvy. For my new book, I like the song “Torn Asunder” by Far Too Jones.

However, if I listen to music when I’m actually sitting and writing, it can’t have words or even shift in mood too dramatically. I can, however, use music as a tool to bring my mind into a creative space. It’s kind of Pavlovian, really. If I’ve played a piece of music on a loop for long enough while writing, if I later find myself struggling to find a creative spark, sometimes simply listening to that music again will help me. Certain soundtrack pieces really work well. Lately, a few of the things I’ve been looping are: “Tristan” from the Stardust soundtrack, “Rachel’s Song” from the Blade Runner soundtrack, and “Nothing Else Matters” performed by Apocalyptica (it’s a cello version of a Metallica song, actually). But those are just a few.

What is the fist thing you do when you get a new story idea?

The first thing I do is try to write down as many details about the idea as I can before it gets away. Ideas can be so slippery! Then I let myself imagine it for a while. I let myself form mental images and feelings around the idea without writing.

What are some of your favorite books?

Two of my recent favorites have been A Crooked Kind of Perfect, by Linda Urban, and Red Glass, by Laura Resau. I’m a big fan of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonrider books, Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series, and the novels of Diana Wynne Jones—those last were some of my favorites growing up. I’ve always loved fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, and adventures. But I also love books with a deep connection to the heart.

Who influenced you the most to write, and how?

Probably my daughter and her father… Her father first, because he is a writer and encouraged me to start writing when I still felt shy and silly about it, and he has never ceased in his encouragement over the years. And my daughter because she has always loved (and still loves) to hear stories. Aren’t the words: “Tell me a story…” the best inspiration ever?

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you, and why?

1) My family. (Can I count them as one “thing?”) Because I’m not sure I could live without them.

2) My friends. Same reason.

3) My agent. Because he’d find a way to answer all my questions, reassure me when I get nervous, and help sell the book I’ll write about my experiences on the island afterward.

Or a bottle of aspirin, SPF100 sunscreen, and mosquito netting.

Thank you so much for the terrific questions and for having me on your blog!

Friday, April 24, 2009

This Week

Here are some interesting things that have happened since last friday... I choose only a few from the lists on this page.

April 17th

1492 - Christopher Columbus signed a contract with Spain to find a passage to Asia and the Indies.

1704 - John Campbell published what would eventually become the first successful American newspaper. It was known as the Boston "News-Letter."

1810 - Pineapple cheese was patented by Lewis M. Norton.

1917 - A bill in Congress to establish Daylight Saving Time was defeated. It was passed a couple of months later.

1964 - Jerrie Mock became first woman to fly an airplane solo around the world.

1964 - The Ford Motor Company unveiled its new Mustang model.

April 18th

1775 - American revolutionaries Paul Revere, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott rode though the towns of Massachusetts giving the warning that "the British are coming."

1877 - Charles Cros wrote a paper that described the process of recording and reproducing sound. In France, Cros is regarded as the inventor of the phonograph. In the U.S., Thomas Edison gets the credit.

1924 - Simon and Schuster, Inc. published the first "Crossword Puzzle Book."

1934 - The first Laundromat opened in Fort Worth, TX.

1949 - The Republic of Ireland was established.

1955 - Albert Einstein died.

1984 - Daredevils Mike MacCarthy and Amanda Tucker made a sky dive from the Eiffel Tower. The jump ended safely.

April 19th

1764 - The English Parliament banned the American colonies from printing paper money.

1775 - The American Revolution began as fighting broke out at Lexington, MA.

1782 - The Netherlands recognized the new United States.

1861 - Thaddeus S. C. Lowe sailed 900 miles in nine hours in a hot air balloon.

1939 - Connecticut approved the Bill of Rights for the U.S. Constitution after 148 years.

1987 - The last California condor known to be in the wild was captured and placed in a breeding program at the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

April 20th

1832 - Hot Springs National Park was established by an act of the U.S. Congress. It was the first national park in the U.S.

1865 - Safety matches were first advertised.

1879 - First mobile home (horse drawn) was used in a journey from London to Cyprus.

1953 - The Boston marathon was won by Keizo Yamada with a record time of 2:18:51.

1989 - Scientist announced the successful testing of high-definition TV.

1992 - The worlds largest fair, Expo '92, opened in Seville, Spain.

Napoleon III 1808 - Emperor of France

Adolf Hitler 1889 - German leader during World War II

April 21st

753 BC - Today is the traditional date of the foundation of Rome.

1689 - William III and Mary II were crowned joint king and queen of England, Scotland and Ireland.

1789 - John Adams was sworn in as the first U.S. Vice President.

1856 - The Mississippi River was crossed by a rail train for the first time (between Davenport, IA, and Rock Island, IL).

1987 - Special occasion stamps were offered for the first time by the U.S. Postal Service. "Happy Birthday" and "Get Well" were among the first to be offered.

Elizabeth II (Elisabeth Mary) 1926 - Queen of the United Kingdom

April 22nd

1864 - The U.S. Congress mandated that all coins minted as U.S. currency bear the inscription "In God We Trust".

1952 - An atomic test conducted in Nevada was the first nuclear explosion shown on live network television.

1970 - The first "Earth Day" was observed by millions of Americans.

Queen Isabella I (Spain) 1451

April 23rd

1900 - The word "hillbilly" was first used in print in an article in the "New York Journal." It was spelled "Hill-Billie".

1964 - Ken Johnson of the Houston Astros threw the first no-hitter for a loss. The game was lost 1-0 to the Cincinnati Reds due to two errors.

1988 - A U.S. federal law took effect that banned smoking on flights that were under two hours.

1999 - In Washington, DC, the heads of state and government of the 19 NATO nations celebrated the organization's 50th anniversary.

2003 - U.S. President Bush signed legislation that authorized the design change of the 5-cent coin (nickel) for release in 2004. It was the first change to the coin in 65 years. The change, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase, was planned to run for only two years before returning to the previous design.

William Shakespeare 1564 - Poet, playwright ("Julius Caesar", "Romeo and Juliet", "MacBeth"), believed to have been born on April 23 based on his baptism on April 26, 1616

Shirley (Jane) Temple Black 1928 - Child actress ("Little Miss Marker", "Heidi", "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm")

April 24th

1800 - The Library of Congress was established with a $5,000 allocation.

1889 - The Edison General Electric Company was organized.

1953 - Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

1962 - MIT sent a TV signal by satellite for the first time.

1967 - The newest Greek regime banned miniskirts.

2000 - ABC-TV aired the TV movie "The Three Stooges."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I'm sitting here in the writing center at school. I'm a tutor here, every G day second hour. The window was open earlier, and I have goose bumps still; even though the window has been shut for a good hour, and I am wearing long sleeves.

I remembered my CD player today, so I am listening to my Switchfoot CD... 'Dare you to move' is playing now... And yes, in case you are rereading that line, I did say 'CD player'. I do not have an Ipod and must cope with a CD player. But hey, at least I am able to listen to music. I could just be sitting here in silence, hearing only the noise the keys of the computer make as I type.

I just finished writing up another draft of a scholarship essay. I had over 600 words... the max called for was 500... so I scrapped everything except the first sentence and most of the closing paragraph. I like this draft a lot better, though.

Working on that draft was a priority for this class... but I didn't want to do it. On the table next to me, taunting me, is a half read copy of Dandelion Fire. Sadly, I made the 'right' choice and worked on scholarships over reading...

It is uncommonly quiet in the writing center right now... plenty of time to relax and think...

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Solution

Finally getting back to my vocabulary... This one is actually funny in a way, because there is a toddler using words much to big for her to have learned :) and I'm pretty sure I misused many words.

The mother looked at her daughter with askance, not sure how the child should be punished.

"Please, mother, attenuate my punishment, be benign. Do not cavil me because I am a charlatan person. It was just a white lie..."

"Daughter, we must decimate your lying for it is already becoming a habit. There must be a foible, something that will make you forgo lying. Yet for some reason you seem fraught with them..." She inured her jaw, trying to think of some solution, and then her face became luminous.

"I have come up with a solution," she told her toddler. "From now on your words must be obsequious to the truth." She was not obtuse with this command, but remained firm. Her foot oscillated while she waited for her daughter''s response.

"I am penitent, mother. I agree with you peremptory rule, it is not something one can rebuff... but it seems something is missing from it..." the child seemed confused.

"Well," her mother thought carefully, trying to think of a way to enforce this rule. "I will reconnoiter with your teachers about your bad habit, and if, when I speak with them every so often, I find you have not made a shambles of this but continue to tell the truth, you will be rewarded with sporadic prizes."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bible Blurb

Luke 24:1-6a

1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen!

Happy Easter, everybody!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dandelion Fire

I have an internship at my town's library, so I go every other school day to help out the children's librarian. When I was there yesterday I saw that she had a copy of Dandelion Fire on her desk... I told her about reading the first one, and realizing when I got to the end of the book that it was not the end of the story; more books were to be written and published. Well, I was a bit impatient waiting for the next one to come out soI could borrow it from the library. I told her how excited I was about finally getting to read it. She proceded to ask me if I wanted her to just check it out for me right then... I was so excited! So last night, when I finnaly got to start reading right before bed, I read the first 80 some pages and then forced myself to shut the book and get some shut eye... it was hard, but I succeded, and I cannot wait to finish the rest!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Alright, this post is VERY long. I read Frankenstein in school this semester, and instead of writing an entirely new review of the book, I decided just to copy paste parts of my final review (ok, most of it :) ) of it onto my blog. Have fun reading!

...There were elements that I liked and disliked, but overall I was not impressed; I prefer the good old days when books actually made me happy, and when they had happy endings. Life has enough depressing features; I prefer to not be reminded of them in the literature that I read. Shelly’s novel was rather sad and disheartening, but I was expecting that. I had heard many things about the novel, and was familiar with many allusions to it, but none of that was enough to prepare me for the novel that Mary Shelly wrote. Frankenstein is a daunting piece of literature that surpassed my original assumptions, has important morals painted into it, and would be recommended with careful discretion.

If I had to pick one word to describe the book it would be 'intimidating', the main reason being that the language is so profuse and pompous it is hard to concentrate on what exactly is going on. Shelly used such large words that it took me out of the story to figure out how to say them and what they meant. If I were to rewrite her novel, I would reduce the amount of academically challenging words. It is not that I disliked the storyline, or I hated all the characters, I just could not grow to love them as would have been possible if the story had been written at a level closer to my own.... As a whole, I did not like the style of writing, but the story line and message were very interesting.

...One of the author’s goals was to make the reader feel sorry and sympathy for the creature, despite its labels of ‘monster’ and ‘murderer’. Shelly was very creative in how she did this; she let the monster close the story with words of regret, accusations, remorse, and apology. She does not give the last words to Waldon, one of the books many protagonists, as one may have expected. Rather than letting Walton stir up emotions against the monster, the creature, the alleged antagonist, gets to plead for the reader’s favor and acceptance once more.

Another goal of the story, or rather the moral, is that some things are just supposed to be left alone, and we incompetent humans will just show how foolish and ignorant we are by trying to seem smart. Shelly makes this very clear. Victor looses his family, his friends, his fortune, and his life over his ‘creation gone wrong’. The only good thing that comes out of it is that Waldon heeds Victor’s warnings and does not force his men into discovering the pass to the Arctic.

This story was not anything like what I had been expecting. The vocabulary was much more extensive than I had anticipated, resulting in a much harder read. Also I was not expecting it to be written as a frame story or as an explorer’s letters to his sister. I had also expected that Victor was an innocent character, and that his creation was a horrible, ruthless villain. Now, after reading the novel, I do not think so. Rather, I would argue that the monster was more of the victim; he had no choice in being created, he had to learn to fend for himself and to live without any outside help. If any child in our world was treated the way Victor treated his creation, it would be considered inhumane, and abusive. The real monster in the story is Victor. For some reason he thinks that it is within his rights to manipulate life and create it on his own. Then he abandons his creation in a very irresponsible way, and later wonders why all these horrible things are happening to him. Victor was the true monster, and because of how he treated his creation it behaved in a very similar matter- taking the matter of life into his own hands. The saying ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ accurately comes to mind.

I honestly did not know much about the story before we read it for school. I had thought it was about some old crazy scientist that sewed up a bunch of corpses together in a revengeful fashion to create a monster, and that this monster could only moan and it eventually became malicious, killing many people in the town and even his creator. Obviously, most of my assumptions were incorrect and half truths and that lead me to have a very interesting reading experience...

In recommending any book to people around me I try to be very careful. I would not recommend this story to my younger siblings because I think it would be too much for them; the plot and the writing style. On the other hand, I would have no problem recommending the book to an eager reader who does not mind reading very meticulously and who would be able to comprehend what goes on. I would recommend Mary Shelly’s novel to only a prepared reader who is up for a challenge.

The plot was intriguing, the writing style was different and compelling, the story took a few expected turns, and a few that were not expected. As a whole I did not mind it as much as I had originally thought I would. But my opinion on school books remains the same: I passionately hope that someday I will not have to search for books on my own to find some with happy endings.

Some news

I was listening to the raidio and I heard about this 69 year-old German woman who was in 3 different car accidnets in less than an hour. She was leaving the supermarket and accidentaly ran into three cars... then she stepped on the accelerator and crashed into a house. Then the ambulance came to take her to the hospital. Guess what happened? On the way to the hospital it got hit by a truck. Thank goodness no one was seriously hurt.

(read the story here)

I also heard about theses Easter sand sculputes in Ohio... the pictures are amazing! They used over 200 tons of sand... The website is here. Sorry I couldn't get any of the pictures here (they are so cool! You can see them by clicking on the website, they have them up on the front page) but I couldn't figure out how....

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Prince and the Pauper

*Mark Twain's real name was Samuel Clemens
*His novel was first published in 1882- 127 years ago
*He dedicates the book to his 'good mannered and agreeable children Susie and Clara Clemens'
*He quotes Shakespeare's the Merchant of Venice at the beginning of the book. This quote has to do with Mercy- something Edward VI learns
*The language was a little hard to get used to at times (lots of 'thee's and 'thou's) but the eloquence was altogether likable.
*My favorite character was Miles Hendon, I like the way he acted, thought, and the privilage the King gives him. Although he is not a main character, it is easy to say that the story could not go on with out him.

There were once two boys who were born at the same time and looked uncommonly alike, but they were born into completely different families. One was born a prince, and the other a pauper. By chance they meet one day, and end up living each other's lives. After a wild chain of events, and very interesting characters, will they realize that their own family and sstatus is what they prefer?

Much of the time that I read I was laughing, or at least smiling, at all of the close calls, near escapes, and problems that came up out of nowhere for each boy during their 260 page adventure. One thing I found funny was how the boys continually told the truth about who they were, but no one believed them.

I really enjoyed Mark Twain's classic. All I really knew about it was from the Micky Mouse version I had watched when I was younger, if you watch parts of it on youtube you will understand that I did not know what to expect. I am glad to report that I was happily surprised.

Now in closing, I leave you with a quote from the character Edward VI:
"The world is made wrong; kings shuld go to school to their onw laws at times, and so learn mercy."