We’ve spent the last 48 hours bracing for the ice storm. I bought plenty of groceries to hunker down for the long weekend. I prepared a Thanksgiving dinner on Friday so we could eat leftovers the remaining days, just in case we lost power.
As is typical with Kansas weather, the storm took a slightly different route. We were completely dry on Friday. Totally dry on Saturday. And barely a glaze on the road surface this morning. By this afternoon, temperatures will rise and all will turn to rain.
But I’m not complaining. Friday night’s dinner (with wine tasting) was delightful, and the dreary forecast provided the perfect excuse to stay inside to read and write for four straight days!
My Reading Week:
2017 is a good reading year so far, and I truly hope to keep this up. I have completed four books, am currently reading two more, and have a couple more waiting in line.
My first book of the year was To Capture What We Cannot See by Beatrice Colin. Starting the year with a Paris book is about as perfect as it gets. I enjoyed the evolving relationship between Caitriona Wallace, a young widowed chaperone to two wealthy teens, and Emile Nouguier, one of the architects of the Eiffel Tower. I liked the conflict created by social mores and class distinctions. But what I truly loved was witnessing the Iron Lady come to life. I will visit Paris in March, and I know I will not look at her the same way again.
The other books I read are research for my writing projects. Two are picture books that are similar to my MG historical fiction novel about the Impressionists.
- The Come Look with Me series by Gladys S Blizzard is a delightful way to introduce art appreciation to children. I like this series because it is quite similar to what I envision for a non-fiction companion piece for my novel. The author includes a full-page color photograph of the painting… a brief biography of the artist… and then several questions for children to ponder while “studying” the art. LOVELY!
- Pooch on the Loose: A Christmas Adventure by Steven Kroll is a clever way to introduce children to the sights and sounds of New York City. I like this book because in my novel I attempt to introduce the middle grade student to Paris by way of a runaway puppy. It’s nice to know my idea is not completely far fetched.
The final book is inspiration for a new MG historical fiction idea: the Totoro immigration story from Naples, Italy to New York City. I’m not sure what search term lead me to Steven Kroll’s When I Dream of America, but the timing was absolutely perfect. My recent visit to the Tenement Museum helped me to envision the setting of this story on the lower east side at the turn of the 20th century. And while I wasn’t keen on his primary storyline conflict, I thoroughly enjoyed the family dynamics and the description of life in that neighborhood.
So… I plan to read more historical fiction immigrant stories over the next few months – all in the name of research. I recently started When We Were Strangers by Pamela Schoenewaldt, and am already drawn into the village of Opi and Irma’s desire to leave its confines for the promise of the American Dream.
I’ve heard The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani is another must read in this genre.
Do you have any recommendations?
My Writing Week:
LOTS of good stuff going on in 2017!
- I sent my MG novel, Ellie’s Paris Adventure, to an agent from the fall SCBWI convention, and I’m waiting patiently for him to reply. In the meantime, I’m putting the project on hold for a short while. I have several decisions to consider: do I want to revise before sending to other agents? do I want to self-publish as is? do I want to rewrite as a non-fiction piece? I’m still in-love with the project, but it needs to settle for a while.
- As I alluded to above… I have another idea for a MG historical fiction piece: Cora’s Voyage to America. This one takes me out of the world of art and into the world of immigration. My husband’s family is 100% Italian – both parents were first generation American. And his grandmother (a good family friend – no blood relation) was also first generation. I am researching her side of the family to try and discover her past. What I don’t learn from research, I will fill-in with fiction. My children adored Cora, and this will be my attempt to honor her memory for generations to come.
- I’ve been teaching a journaling class for about two years now, and I’ve finally decided to put that content into a book. So… this is my public announcement that on May 1, 2017 my Journaling Towards Wholeness book will be available to purchase (eek!!). I plan to take part in the A-Z Challenge in April again this year – focusing on journaling. Then I plan to release the book (hopefully kindle version as well as paperback) immediately afterwards. I will keep you posted.
Do you journal? Do you desire to journal but hesitate to start? If so, I’d love to hear any questions you may have, obstacles you see, or routines you follow. I strive to write a book that will help others begin the journaling habit in order to improve their physical, emotional, and spiritual health.