Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Love for Reading Starts Young

As many writers and readers my passion for reading began an an early age.  Today when I learned about the death of Jan Berenstain co-writer for The Berenstain Bears it saddened me to the core.  These books are some that would take to the back yard and hide in my reading spot so I could read them for hours.  My first copy of the book in the picture fell apart because I had read it so much.  Today I enjoy reading these to my kids as well as my daycare kids.  Children's book will never be the same-RIP Jan!  Thank you for giving me so many great stories over the years!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Road Trip Influences Take Two

Sorry for the late post guys!  Remember we have additional teenagers that live in our house.  This year we had three and now we are down to two.  It's been a crazy last couple of days due to this.

By now you should have created two characters and ten traits for each character.  What I want you to do is go down your list and put a mark by every other trait.  So ultimately you should have 5 traits selected for each character.  Now combine the selected traits in a new list.  What you will have is a whole new character.  That character will be more dimensional to your readers because you have created traits for them that you didn't even think about.

How did you do?  Anyone want to share the kind of characters you came up with?

Have a great weekend everyone!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Road Trip Influences

If you didn't know already a hockey mom spends a lot of time on the road.  This hockey mom is no exception to that rule as my kid's travel all over the Midwest looking for teams to defeat.  On our road trip this weekend I paid special attention to the drivers or passengers in the car sharing the road with us.  It always amazes me at the things you see on the road and I ofter wonder what stories the other car could tell me.

It made me think about a great exercise that I did at a conference once.  It is on the subject of character building.  As writers we often focus on the story instead of building our characters and when we are done at the end of the book we have a great story but the characters are flat.  So here's what we are going to do.  As you drive today pick two people that you noticed in the other cars.  Pay attention to what they are doing or wearing.   Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center of it.  Each column is for a different driver.  For each driver write down ten different characteristics.  Make half of them ones you know about them like they wear really big sunglasses and make the other half ones you make up as in snorts when they laugh.

Keep those for tomorrow's blog as we will need them for tomorrow's exercise.

Enjoy your Tuesday and keep writing!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Writing Work-outs are Coming!

After a long hockey weekend and the kids being out of school today we decided that our first post for this week would be on Tuesday!  I will give you a hint though...as you drive to work or school tomorrow take a couple glances at the people you are passing on the road.  Remember some of what they are doing or what they look like while driving.


Friday, February 17, 2012

And the Winners are IN!!!

We only had a few entries in our Friday challenge last week, but that is no problem at all!  Thank you for everyone who visited this week!  Look for more challenges to come as we will probably continue doing this once a month.  We decided to reward everyone that put there wonderful paragraphs out there!  Both contestants will receive the Barnes and Noble gift card.  Email me us your info at veronicabartondean@hotmail.com.

The winning paragraphs were:


“He was standing right there in the doorway when he told me he was going to fight the Nazis. I told him he was too young and to listen to his mother. I could hear her wailing from all the way back at the farmhouse. He just said he knew what he had to do. I wanted to scream at him that he was stupid and demand he get back to his chores, but how could I be angry with him for defending his country? For saying all the things I had said to my father when I was his age. He took my hand and shook it with such strength and conviction I almost believed he was invincible. I held on to the feeling for two years until the Army came to my door. They told me he had died a hero. All I could see was the image of my beautiful boy standing before me that day. So much a man but still so much the child I played catch with for hours after dark in the fields. I have not so much as set foot in that barn since.”

February Grace

I’ll never forget the sound of the rain, the way it pounded so heavily on the roof of abandoned barn. I’ll never forget how the wind raged through the spaces in the boards and made me shiver, or the feeling of his soaking wet hair against my cheek as he leaned in to whisper that I was beautiful. I’ll never forget that I was the Preacher’s daughter and he was the Schoolmaster’s son and we were never going to be forgiven for what we’d done that day if anyone found out. I’ll never forget how he looked at me, the love in his eyes that I’d never seen before in anyone else and still see there, to this day, even as our daughter reaches the age I was then. I will always remember that despite the Hell that fell down on us both, I have never regretted a single thing.

Next week we have picked some fun writing exercises for everyone to give a try!  Have a great weekend everyone!  As for us we are off to another fun-filled travel weekend of hockey!


Friday, February 10, 2012

A Fantastic Friday Foto Challenge

I stumbled across this picture last weekend during our road trip to Minnesota.  My husband instantly fell in love with the dark barn as the climax of his last novel takes place in such a place as this.  It is inspiring today's fun and maybe even more Friday writing challenges to come!

Here are the details:
1.  Write a paragraph with describing the barn or an event taking place in the barn.  Remember this is 1 paragraph.
2.  There is a 200 word limit to your paragraph.  If you go over you are out!
3.  All entries should be posted in the comment section of this blog.  Do not email them to me.
4.  All entries most be received by noon on Monday.
5.  We will post our finalists on Wednesday for everyone to vote and announce the winners on Friday.
6.  The contestants need to be followers of this blog.  So if someone wants to enter they just need to follow.
7.  Spreading the word everywhere about the contest is okay, but please don't use social sights to promote people voting.
8.  The winner will receive a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card!

Have fun!  Spread the word!  See you next week!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kaiden or Look-a-like?

You may remember me posting that Kaiden has dived into the modeling world, but we are keeping him local with an agent out of Omaha.  This weekend we had the strangest thing happen to us.  Cloudy had a hockey tournament in Minnesota.  After one of the games Kaiden and I were playing around in the arcade area of the rink.  He ran over to one of the vending machines and started begging for a fuzzy mustache out of the machine.  First, what you need to know is that any rink rat probably has a number of bouncy balls and fuzzy mustaches in their personal collection of toys, so why we continue to pay for these things I will never know.  Second, as I was putting the money in the machine I had to do a double take at the picture on the front of it.  The little boy staring back at me with a goofy pirate costume and mustache on was a spitting image of Kaiden himself.  I was so flabbergasted by it that we never ended up purchasing a mustache. 

I went and got Thomas and showed him the machine.  He agreed that the kid on it looked an awful lot like our silly seven year old.  We snapped a few pictures of the machine itself and then had Kaiden pose with it as well.  After sending the pictures to a multitude of family members everyone believed that this had to be Kaiden.

There was still a couple things wrong with this situation.  One, Kaiden had never done a "pirate" photo shoot. However, the company he normally models for is well known for using photoshop.  They have even put teeth on a friend of ours who hadn't had front teeth for as long as we'd known her.  Second, the supplier for the mustaches was out of Maryland.  Remember I said we kept Kaiden local in Omaha.  Yesterday I called the customer service line for the machine and they said they are the actual manufacturers of the mustache.

Rather the young man on the machine is actually Kaiden or not we may never know.  It is a funny coincidence that we even saw the picture in the first place.  I'm opening it up to my followers to weigh in their opinions on the subject.  I'm posting some pictures of Kaiden and the machine for everyone to take a look!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ice Castles

For those of you who didn’t know-and I don’t know how you didn’t-my family is a huge hockey family.  My grandpa played, my sister, my brother, my cousins and so on it goes.  Needless to say one of the proudest moments in my life has been watching my two children learn how to skate.  Cloudya(11) learned from some of the finest members of the Topeka Scarecrows.  However, after she started her skating lessons at age three she wanted nothing more to do it with it.  She chose to pursue other opportunities which included dance and theater.  Basically she’s been a stage brat ever since.  She even works with an agent out of Chicago on a regular basis. 

Once we arrived in Omaha, it was Kaiden’s(7) turn, however his trip to the ice was postponed due to surgery.  Needless to say he hit the ice by the age of four instead of three.  He hasn’t left since.

So shortly after Kaiden started skating and playing guess who decides she wants to take some skating lessons…Cloudya!  So she takes the lessons and then they announce tryouts for the Omaha Lady Jr. Lancers.  We take her to tryouts and she manages to skate through it.  Knowing this wasn’t an audition that she could just bluff through she waited rather impatiently to hear something.  Finally, she found out she had made the team.

Later on in the year Cloudya announced that she wanted to drop some of her dance classes.  Although this was more because of issues she was having in class part of me wondered whether it was all because of hockey.  Last year if you asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up she would have said an actress and fashion designer.  This year when I asked her she said a Broadway star who also plays hockey! 

It’s been a fun season for the Lady Jr Lancers and I have enjoyed watching Cloudya develop her skill.  I can’t help but giggle when my ballerina gets aggressive with a boy hockey player or gets sent to the penalty box.  Most of all we spend the time being proud of the fact that she is carrying on a long line of players. 

I included some neat pics from a recent photo shoot.  Yes even hockey gear she still looks cool!