Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

View From the 5th Grade Trenches - November 2011 - Saving Redwind

I just finished reading SAVING REDWIND, A WALLPAPER ADVENTURE by Kris Yankee aloud to my class and we are HOOKED.

I'm always on the hunt for new middle grade "boy" books and SAVING REDWIND hits the bullseye. Both the boys and the girls in my class went crazy for this story.  

All eleven-year-old Nick Stevenson wants is an adventure like his dad's. Oh, and for the creepy ceiling in his bedroom to stop storming and spinning. When he's asked to save a world that exists inside his bedroom's wallpaper, Nick thinks he's found his very own adventure. But he has no idea it will involve talking rocks, dream stealing birds, and becoming friends with wizards. Can Nick save Redwind and his new friends before his mom calls him home for hockey practice?

Here are some questions and comments from the 5th Grade Trenches...

Why did you call the monsters Krogs? Maya
Where did you get the idea for SAVING REDWIND? Myles/Vanessa E./Clarissa/Tameem
How did you come up with the strange names? Ben
When will there be more Redwind adventures? (This was the #1 question)

The final battle was exciting. (This was the #1 comment)
I'm still pumped thinking about the ending. Mariah
Loved all the different character personalities. Cayze
It was heart warming. Megan
I loved the details. I felt like I was right there in Redwind. Katie
Loved the humor in the story. Skyeler

Thank you, Kris Yankee for taking us all through the wallpaper.

photo credit

This blog will resume its regular program schedule on Wednesday, December 7, 2011. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Teacher/Writer Interface

First of all, thank you all for your patience. I've been a crummy blogger lately. Two words... report cards. I'll be back to blog visitin' this week.
Do you ever find yourself grumbling about the way your "day job" interferes with your writing life? I know I do. Last week I had to smack myself upside the head and lay out all the ways teaching 5th grade, my day job, is actually a benefit to my writing. Here are some of the perks:

  • Exposure to AMAZING kid lit.  - From the Allie Finkle Books (Thank You, Meg Cabot) through Donald Zinkoff in LOSER (Thank you, Jerry Spinelli), I languish in delicious middle grade stories and a myriad of different voices.
  • Getting kids jazzed about books - I'm handing out the Hobbit like candy. I want them to read it before the movie comes out.
  • Interacting with our school librarian - We chat about trends and recommend titles to one another.
  • Daily living with a kid POV on the world - Yes, these people have a whole different mind set.
  • Discussing lit. with my fellow teachers - "Ah Ha" moments abound when we talk about the different approaches to kid/literature interaction.
  • Teaching grammar - Need I say more. Some days I get as much out of a lesson as the kids.
  • Critical Thinking and Literary Analysis - Practicing this on a daily basis using the solid gold writing of others shines up my own work.

How does your "day job" interface with your writing?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Do Take That Tone With Me...

Tone and voice are two important traits of writing that can sometime be illusive. One of the best ways I've found to give my T and V a shot in the arm is turning to the wit of others.

Ready for giggles and inspiration?

Hop over to Miss Cellania website. It is an ongoing party fraught with delicious posts sharing quotes, insults, and a plethora of other humorous posts that sing with voice and tone. 

Dive in for some entertaining research to find yummy personality shadings and tidbits to add to those NaNo characters, being born even as we speak, by enjoying the quick wit of some interesting folk.

Here’s a sneak peek from the WHEN INSULTS HAD CLASS post.

I never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure. – Clarence Darrow

I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.Mark Twain

I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend…if you have one.George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second…if there is oneWinston Churchill, in response

He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends. - Oscar Wilde

Hop over to Miss Cellania and search quotes and insults. Enjoy.

Where do you go for your cyberspace laughs?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

OPEN MINDS by Susan Kaye Quinn

Welcome to the launch party of the young adult novel, OPEN MINDS, the first installment of the Mindjacker Trilogy by Susan Kaye Quinn.

The most dynamic use of line in a composition is one that rapidly changes direction. OPEN MINDS grabbed me and took me on a ride filled with unexpected switchbacks, climbs, and straight drops.

I was taken by the world of OPEN MINDS that blends the familiar landscape of today’s life with controversial technological advances that may be waiting for us in the future. Susan Kaye Quinn keeps us rooted in the physical world we know, but projects a fascinating path for the evolution of the human mind. The story presents a hypothesis for where our brains may be headed which is both mesmerizing and terrifying at the same time.

Kira and her supporting cast sing with authentic teen voices. They navigate their ordeals with the perfect adolescent blend of arrogance, impulsivity, and insecurity.

Bravo, Susan for taking us on adventure where the stakes rise with every turn, and no thought has a safe place to hide.

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.
Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) by Susan Kaye Quinn is available in e-book (Amazon US (also UK, France and Germany), Barnes & Noble, Smashwords) and print (Amazon, Createspace, also autographed copies available from the author).

Susan Kaye Quinn is giving away an Open Books/Open Minds t-shirt, mug, and some fun wristbands to celebrate the Virtual Launch Party of Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)! (Check out the prizes here.)

Three ways to enter (you can have multiple entries):
1)      Leave a comment here or at the Virtual Launch Party post
2)      Tweet (with tag #keepingOPENMINDS)
Example: When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep. #keepingOPENMINDS @susankayequinn #SF #YA avail NOW
Example: Celebrate the launch of OPEN MINDS by @susankayequinn #keepingOPENMINDS #SciFi #paranormal #YA avail NOW

3)     Facebook (tag @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn)
Example: Celebrate the launch of paranormal/SF novel OPEN MINDS by @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn for a chance to win Open Books/Open Minds prizes!


Bethany Kaczmarek Open Minds
Joanna Marple (from France!) - 10/28
Adam Heine (from Thailand!) - 10/31
Heather McCorkle (Indie Elite Blog)
Heather McCorkle (her blog)
S.B. Stuart-Laing (from Glasgow Scotland!)

The Story of Open Minds (linked posts)