I'll be teaching my class from home until further notice. Maybe that will mean spare time in the afternoons. Maybe that will mean I'm busier than ever. Who knows. At any rate, if I have any extra minutes I plan to spend them doing some of my favorite things: reading, writing, or cooking.
The latter hobby may suffer from a sheer lack of grocery store access. I may not be able to go to the library, but I have full bookshelves and a full Kindle e-reader. Writing? Anywhere, anytime, almost no supplies needed.
During spring break, I've been revisiting a few of my favorite classic short stories, many of which I first discovered in my beloved 7th and 8th grade ABeka readers.
For those of you stuck at home, I've included links to a few of my favorites. (Maybe now is the time for cheery, happy stories, but I happen to love imperfect endings. Sad stories, twist endings, stories with a side of creepy...) So here goes:
"The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant
"Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
"The Green Door" by O Henry
"The Lady or the Tiger" by Frank Stockton
"The Dinner Party" by Mona Gardner
"The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell
"Miss Hinch" by Henry Sydnor Harrison
"The Man with the Twisted Lip" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
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!
We're one-tenth of the way through the school term (no, it wasn't me who counted!) and I've done enough reading to bring on an occasional bout of eye-twitching Of course, that's a lot of textbook and worksheet reading and not necessarily much leisurely coffee-and-a-novel reading, but I'm glad my job supports my favorite habit in any way at all.
And every day after noon break, I read aloud to my students for twenty to thirty minutes, my absolute favorite part of the day. This year we read The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare first, and we're almost finished with The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. Next, we might take a break from my favorite historical fiction and try a Three Investigators mystery, or some other light read.
As for writing...I haven't been doing much since school started, but I have a new project in the works that I'll share about soon.
In other bookish news, both of my books are now available at the Boji Stone Cafe and Bookstore in Chillicothe, Missouri, and at the Sunrise Catfish Farm giftshop in DeRidder, Louisiana.
October is my favorite month, so I wish you all a happy one!
No matter how slow and lazy summer promises to be, it's always a sham. School lets out, I blink twice, and I'm getting ready for another term.
Last week our local church hosted a teachers' preparatory class for new teachers. I'm not new (seven years and counting!) but since I live in the area, I got to eavesdrop on the classes and lectures. By the end of three nine-to-nine o'clock days, I read over my scribbled notes, yawned, and decided I felt more inspired.
I was excited to see that my book, Full Moon, Half a Heart, was not only featured on Home School Book Review Blog, but it also made Book of the Month. Here's what blogger Wayne Walker says about his mission:
I am a minister and homeschooling father. After a bad experience with an inappropriate book, I began previewing the books that our boys read and posting my reviews on an e-mail list. This led to doing children’s book reviews for several different magazines and websites, and ultimately to this weblog.
I'm especially excited about this, because I grew up near Newton. The book is set in nearby Reno County, but while writing the opening scenes of Growing Toward the Sun, I imagined the old Alco store on the edge of Newton. The store is gone now, but in my memory, it's still new and shiny and means an exciting shopping day with Grandma.
Happy Summer (or what's left of it)!
To you readers who prefer to read on your tablet, e-reader, or phone: the ebook version of Full Moon, Half a Heart is up on Amazon and ready for download.
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.
My local writers' guild met Tuesday, after what seemed like a long time and a lot of cancelled meetings. When we parted ways, we all pledged to write every day for the next two weeks, be it ever so little.
Since February, I've also been part of a writers' accountability group via email. Making monthly goals and knowing I'll have to report back on how well (or poorly!) I met them has been surprisingly effective. It also helps if I make my writing goals specific. (And realistic!)
As I announced last month, tomorrow I'll be manning a table at the local authors' expo at the Livingston County Library, hiding behind a stack of copies of Growing Toward the Sun. My friend Betty Mooney Plymell, author of Dreaming of Missouri, will attend as well. If you're in the area, stop by to say hi. (And to make me feel less awkward!)
I had hoped to have Full Moon, Half a Heart available for the expo, but it's not going to happen. My copy editor did send the final edits, I made revisions and ordered a proof, and several long-suffering people read it for typos. As soon as my cover artist sends me the completed paperback cover, book two will be available for purchase. Of course, I will update you here.
A couple of years ago, my niece and I visited the first local authors' expo at nearby Livingston County Library. Over a dozen authors took part, and I ended up purchasing several children's books that day, including Mary Rose and the Secret Horses by Connie Dow and Not Now, Razzle by Shelly Long.
My niece enjoyed her new books and I loved meeting the various authors. One kind gentleman even donated a copy of his book, North Missouri Mountain Biking, Hiking, and GPS Trail Guide, for my school's library.
Now the library is planning their second local authors' event, and my local writers' guild has been invited to participate.
I'm excited (and terrified!) to announce that I've registered to take my own book (books?) this year. Each author will have a table in the second-floor courtroom where they will have the opportunity to display and sell their books.
(I've never done anything like this. Hopefully a couple of people from my writers' guild will join me, or maybe I'll take a niece or two along for support!)
The event is scheduled for Saturday, April 27, from 10am to 12 pm at Livingston County Library. It is free and open to the public. See you there!
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.