My short story titled "Stork Time" was published in the latest issue of Cricket Magazine.
"Stork Time" is about Costi, a boy living in an underprivileged village in the eastern Romanian judet (county) of Vaslui. Costi's brother Pavel is overdue home from Germany, where he went to do seasonal farm labor. Costi misses him a lot. Surely, surely, Pavel will come home before the storks leave the village for their autumn migration trip to Egypt.
I loved working with the editor to get the Romanian facts and illustrations right. You can see a short preview here, along with an illustration. The entire story is found in the October issue of Cricket.
I have a couple of new writing projects I'm excited to tell you about, one of which I hinted at a few months ago.
Ten Bible stories, including these titles: “Let My People Go,” “The Widow’s Oil,” “Jonah,” “Thank You, Jesus,” and more. The simple, yet compelling language combines with detailed and captivating illustrations to ensure children will remember these Bible stories for years to come. Suitable for reading aloud. Compiled and published by Theresa Boeckner and Judith Spence. Hardcover; 78 pages.
My other project has been years in the making: an anthology of over seventy-five short memoir pieces and a dozen poems about our time in Romania. Many of the stories were written while we lived in that country, and most of them focus on the things Romania taught us. The things we never want to forget. The things I think others might be able to learn from, too.
The book is now in the hands of my editor. Whew. What a freeing feeling. No more tweaking phrases or moving around commas until she's finished. It's her baby for a while.
I'm on the fence about a title. The one I chose years ago...well, I googled it and found out it's slang for something I want no association with. Tentative titles are Beyond Bucharest or possibly View from a White Horse. (That last one comes from a Romanian proverb I happened upon in an out-of-date tourist guide book and fell in love with.)
It's exhilarating to go public with the project. Almost as though, if I say it aloud here, it might actually happen someday. I'll keep you posted!
Yay! It's happening!
Full Moon, Half a Heart, the second book about spunky schoolgirl Celeste, is available on Amazon. Yes, you can find it right here.
I have a few details to work out--the book description looks a bit wonky, and I haven't set up the "look inside" feature yet--but the main deed has been done.
Double back flip! Triple cartwheel!
This book has been ages in coming.
Full Moon, Half a Heart started out approximately eight years ago as a mostly true account of my childhood. It has morphed into an almost completely fictionalized story about a Mennonite schoolgirl who faces big life changes and learns much needed lessons.
Of course I care about Growing Toward the Sun, but Full Moon, Half a Heart is my firstborn. It takes me back to a time when I thought math homework was tough stuff, a time when I thought life sounded like the recess bell and tasted like cherry chapstick.
When I read it, I feel about twenty-seven years younger and a lot more than twenty-seven pounds lighter. I ordered a proof copy to check for typos, and it's like having the ghost of my childhood, all my opinions and beliefs and fears and joys, lying on the nightstand.
So yes, I'm excited for kids to read it.
Watch this space for upcoming giveaways, the ebook publication, and other news about Full Moon, Half a Heart.
The theme of the January edition of Purpose magazine
is very fitting for New Years:
Whether it's a new diet, a new work routine, or a
new walk with God, we all have a chance for a new
beginning in 2019.
My article in the latest issue of Purpose is titled
"How I Ended up Near Siberia," and it covers the be-
inning of our seven years in Romania. Finding out we
were being sent to Eastern Europe - right next to Siberia, in my mind - was a bit of a blow, but it turned out to be the beginning of an amazing life experience.
Speaking of beginnings (or rather, not beginnings) my New Year's resolution for 2019 is simple: finish more, start less.
I have no trouble with starting. It's the finishing that's a problem, so there are countless half-done projects - both tangible and intangible - floating around my life.
I happened upon this article about taking action in the new year. Hopefully, 2019 is a year of action. The year of the finish. The year of tying things up with bows.
The beginning of happy endings, I guess you could say.
Fellow procrastinators and perfectionists, let's finish what we've started in 2019! And to the rest of you, go out and start something new.
My short memoir piece will be published in the June issue of Purpose magazine by Mennomedia. This issue's theme is Being Content, which immediately made me think of our adopted grandparents in Romania.
Grandpa Dumitru and Grandma Aurica have less than most of us, but paradoxically are more content than most of us, too. "The Lord Giveth" tells the story of how we met them in dire circumstances, but with their contentment shining through.
My short story "Gabriela's List" will appear in the January publication of Purpose magazine.
"Gabriela's List" is a creative non-fiction piece about one of my Romanian friends, a Christian girl with high (maybe too high!) ideals about marriage and a life's partner.
Purpose magazine, published by Mennomedia, is a monthly periodical that contains inspirational short stories, essays, and poetry.
I recently ordered a year's subscription as a Christmas gift for my grandma. It's available via phone or email at mennomedia.org.
My nonfiction story "Talking Hearts" will be published in the August 2017 issue of Purpose magazine. The August issue follows the theme of Staying Connected, which reminded me of all the times I've longed to communicate but couldn't.
"Talking Hearts" tells about a visit to Ukraine and an afternoon with a friend. She speaks Ukrainian and Russian; I speak English and Romanian. How can we communicate?
Purpose is a monthly periodical put out by MennoMedia. My nonfiction piece "Gabriela's List" will appear in the January 2018 issue.
My story "Easter With Baba Olena" was published in the last issue of Highlights. It's so exciting to see my writing in the magazine I've loved since I was a kid, and to know that hundreds of kids from all over are reading it.
I've had a wonderful experience with Highlights. The editor and her assistance sent lovely emails, and the edits they made really polished my little story. The illustrator did a great job, too. I especially like Baba's traditional Ukrainian blouse.
Best of all, my nephew and nieces were excited about their aunt's publication. They took their copies to school for their teachers to read aloud to the class. And that, of course, makes me pretty much a Famous Person.
Months ago, I found out about the yearly fiction contest over at Highlights for Children magazine. This year, the theme was "holidays".
It was a win-win. So I sat down and scribbled a little story, working around a lovely holiday--Easter--and weaving in culture from a favorite country--Ukraine.
And it won! "Easter with Baba Lena" won the Highlights for Children Yearly Fiction Contest!
I still don't believe it.
But here's the link to prove it. It's one of three winning stories.
One more thing:
I've grown up with the Bible verse about "pride goeth before a fall". Mama always said "don't brag on yourself." My German roots and Mennonite culture don't like making this announcement. But as a friend said, maybe my news can inspire others to work toward their dreams.
Sometimes dreams come true.
In my last post, I announced that my middle grade story would be published in Kids Book Review this month.
Well, it's up!