Weekend reading – What mountain are you on?

I wanted to share a book with you by David Brooks, “The Second Mountain: A Quest for a Moral Life.” I came across this book by accident, so glad I did. It’s very interesting, because it talks about life. How we climb one mountain for certain reasons, then life throws us a curve ball, we sink down into the valley, must recover and then start to climb the second mountain.

COVID has made us all sink into the valley. We need to climb a NEW mountain, forge a new path.

I’m not done with the book yet, but so far, I give it a thumbs up!

I am READY for that second mountain!

Great show… Oprah’s, “SuperSoul Sunday”

Have you ever watched, “SuperSoul Sunday?” Oprah Winfrey created this show, it is meant to touch the soul, make us think about life, how we treat others, encourage us to make a difference in this world of ours.

118952A6-80E2-4B7B-BA6F-73109584A9F5This Sunday she interviewed Bryan Stevenson. He’s a public interest lawyer dedicated to helping the poor, the condemned and incarcerated. He’s especially focused on saving the lives of children who are convicted.

He’s written a book called, “Just Mercy: The Story of Justice and Redemption,” which was turned into a film (2019). It’s a true story, I can’t tell you much about it, because I haven’t read it yet, but I just requested it from the library.

 

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Every Sunday, Oprah interviews someone for about 30-40 minutes. Last Sunday (5/31/20), Shaka Senghor was her guest.

Shaka Senghor spoke to us about his life in prison (19 years), his road to redemption and how reading books and writing helped him through solitary confinement. He’s an incredible motivational speaker, very well spoken and well read. It’s hard not to feel sad and think, if his childhood had been different, his path in life would have been different.

So, if you feel a bit low and need some inspiration, visit Oprah’s SuperSoul Facebook page, I promise — you won’t be disappointed. Every Sunday a new thought provoking interview.

Puzzle time… I found a table.

Remember, I told you, I wanted to make a puzzle, but I didn’t have a table BIG ENOUGH? For weeks now, I kept putting out to the Universe the table I wanted. I thought about the size, the cost (very little) and envisioned my puzzle on the table.

Well, a MIRACLE HAPPENED! My neighbor next door was moving, she had a small kitchen table that she was giving away. A little old, looks like something I might find in my grandmother’s house, but I LOVE IT. Perfect size.

So, I started my puzzle. Gee, it’s a big puzzle — a lot of fun.

While I was working away, I turned on this audio book, “Women of the Silk,” by Gail Tsukiyama. Really good book, so I am enriching my brain in two ways – wonderful!

SCBWI – Crystal Kite Award – I voted!

Are you a member of SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators)?

If yes, did you receive a message to VOTE for the Crystal Kite Award (#SCBWI20CK).

May 13 – LAST DAY TO VOTE!

What is the Crystal Kite Award?

The Crystal Kite Award is a peer-given award sponsored by SCBWI to recognize great books from regional divisions around the world.

View the 2019 Crystal Kite Award winners here.

GOOD LUCK to all the authors entered. So many wonderful children’s books!

 

COVID-19 –> Praying, donating… What can you do to help?

PrayingWe are in uncertain times. If you believe in God, prayers are needed.

For Easter, I spoke with friends who are in need of prayers for different reasons.

Let’s spread a message of HOPE and DETERMINATION to BEAT THIS!

I wish the media would understand that sharing POSITIVE messages instead of NEGATIVE ones constantly would bring us together, rather than divide us.

A SAD SITUATION TURNED POSITIVE  –> There is a company that makes caps/gowns for University students. So, sad, because students will not be wearing caps/gowns for graduation this year. On positive side, this company is making face masks for hospitals.

If we have a little more right now, we can donate or offer to help others in some way.

I challenge ALL of us to think about this today. What can WE DO to help?

AN EXAMPLE: Our small bookstores, trying to stay in business. I will order a book and donate this book to children in the hospital.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE: The other day, I received a message from my hairdresser. She said their team was doing fine, they understood that some of us might be sad, alone, fearful. They left their phone number, saying we were not alone, if we needed to talk… CALL.

There is ALWAYS something we can do!

Join STORYSTORM – Create 30 ideas for children’s books in the month of January

StorystormTara Lazar, children’s book author, came up with a great way to start every new year. It’s called, “STORYSTORM.” The concept is simple, it’s free and all that is required is that anyone who signs up for “STORYSTORM” comes up with 30 book ideas in 31 days.

Good news, this is stress free, because you are not held accountable for showing anyone your 30 ideas. You are the only one that knows if you did it or not. However, by signing up, you can join the discussions on Facebook, read posts by other authors, agents, editors, etc.

Lazar only does this in January. Last January, I found out about it, but it was at the end of the month, so I missed the boat. This year though, I am right on time.

Let the story ideas BEGIN…

It’s November. Did you join National Writing Novel Month (NaNoWriMo)?

Fellow blogger JoHawk encouraged me to give NaNoWriMo a try, so I joined today. That is the good news. The bad news is that I am already 5,000 words behind schedule!

NaNoWriMo is a free online creative writing program that you join in the month of November to basically push yourself to write your novel. Everyone who joins is attempting to write 50,000 words for a novel. That means 1,666 words a day.

The reason NaNoWriMo is popular is because they have forums where you meet fellow writers. You can connect with buddies, so you encourage each other on a daily basis. They also give advice on character development, plots, endings and more.

It is a bit of a competition. I don’t know much about this as I just joined, but I’ve read that you can upload your novel on a daily basis and/or at the end. Then the novels are judged  and they reveal a winner.

NaNoWriMo has been offering this program for 20 years. There is definitely excitement in trying to push ourselves to a new level. Reach goals, finally finish our novels and make dreams come true.

Ok, I’ve got to go, I am already behind on my word count.

Here is my first sentence, “Isabella’s fiancé proposed. She should have been happy, but the ring was a fake.”

To be continued…

Summer reading -> new books, put away winter books that failed me…

Books on NightstandI have had three books on my nightstand, none of them held my attention. Every night I picked one up, read a few sentences, closed the book, sighed and turned off the light.

I like variety. I can have a few books going at a time. These were all good choices, the issue with each book was a slow writing style. Right now, my mind is on overload, so if I have 15 minutes to read before I go to sleep, I need a faster paced writing style. A story that keeps my interest.

I felt like Marie Kondo (the Japanese expert on tidying up your house). Talk to each book, wish them well and give them away.

That was very liberating!

With a cup of Tazo – Zen tea in hand, I got comfortable at my desk and began my book search. I logged into Facebook to review the “Historical Fiction Book Lovers” site.

SUCCESS – I found an interesting book by Amy Tan, “Saving Fish from Drowning.” The book had mixed reviews, because it was quite different from her previous books, i.e. The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God’s Wife.

For me, I liked it immediately. Tan starts the story with news clippings of 11 Americans who disappeared while traveling the Burma Road from China to Myanmar. It appears to be a true story, so I searched Google to find out what happened to these 11 Americans. Turns out, Tan made this story up, this left me curious.

I found a second book by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books). His books take place in Barcelona. First time I’ve heard of him. This book seemed very interesting with action, intrigue, rare book dealers – not boring.

Now, I might complain of too much reading and lack of sleep!

What’s on your nightstand?

Puzzles, brain teasers, word mazes, crosswords, and more…

Puzzle book 1I was looking at books, nothing in particular just “seeing” what was out there. As it was Sunday, I saw some people doing the crossword puzzle in the newspaper. I’m not good at crossword puzzles, I never seem to know the answers to the cryptic clues they give. Out of 50, I might get five right, which is very disappointing. I always give up.

Maybe, because I was thinking of crosswords, when I went to the books in the sale isle, I came across this “Puzzle Collection” book. Normally, I would give it a glance, nothing more. I saw the dreaded crossword picture on the front cover, but the words “puzzle collection,” caught my attention. I love puzzles. Both the physical ones you put together and the ones where you have to use your mind. So, I slowly took a peek in the book hoping it was more than word mazes, crosswords and sudoku.

I was not disappointed. In fact, as I was flipping through it, I got excited. The book had all sorts of interesting challenges. Lately, I have long boring train rides, this book would keep me busy.

Take a look, this was a fun one, “INTERNATIONAL SPY TRAVELER?!” I was on board with that. I felt like I was becoming “James Bond’s” travel agent.

Puzzle book 2

Then there was this one.

Puzzle Book 3

I have to say, “I was hooked!” Had to get this book. Better than crosswords, for me anyhow.

THEN I thought, I’ll get so engrossed in a puzzle that I will miss my stop to go home! If I took Amtrak, I could end up in San Francisco or New York. The book was worth the risk!

It’s good to challenge our minds.

Prince charming is there… we just need to kiss a few toads first.

chocolate frog

Have you ever seen a BIG chocolate frog? When my friend sent this, I immediately thought of fairy tales we read as children that say, “We need to kiss a few toads, before me meet our Prince.” So, the big question would be, “How many, on an average, toads must we truly kiss to meet our Prince?”

I go to my mathematical friend, Edmark at “Learn Fun Facts,” in Hong Kong for this one.

Edmark, any research on this?

Help us out, give us hope (smile).