Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday Salon: March 13, 2016

It's spring break here in Kansas City, and the weather is certainly cooperating: we are supposed to reach 80 degrees tomorrow! Of course, this is the Midwest, so I anticipate much cooler temps by the end of the week. No worries...I have indoor and outdoor activities planned, so I'm prepared no matter the weather.


I'm not sure where I discovered this new MG series, The Flashback Four, but I certainly enjoyed the first book, and I'm excited to read more in the future.

Dan Gutman is the author of another popular time travel series, the Baseball Card Adventures, which I will now read. He nails the middle grade voice which is a skill I need to improve.

The Flashback Four is a diverse group of twelve-year students who are called together by a wealthy business woman to participate in an "adventure of a lifetime"

21st Century technology plays a big part in the time-travel element of this story in which the students are asked to take a picture of Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg address.  My affinity for photography appreciats this story premise. I particularly enjoyed this thought-provoking quote:
... photography is a form of time travel, when you think about it. We snap a picture and we capture that moment in time. Forever. It becomes ours. With that photo, we bring the past to us... we step inside that memory. A photo allows all of us to travel through time.
I may never view photography the same again.

There are times when the author stops action to give us the historical context, a writing technique that is often frowned upon. I enjoyed the added information, however, and am encouraged some MG readers don't mind the educational aspect of literature as well.


Painting Inspiration for my WIP
Many of you were supportive of my Middle Grade historical mystery idea - thank you for the words of encouragement!

This week I focused on comparative books to discover common patterns I should try to incorporate. I re-read a couple of the Magic Tree House adventures, Ranger in Time (Rescue on the Oregon Trail) and The Mystery at the Eiffel Tower. And I did discover these stories have a certain cadence: a couple of chapters of high adventure followed by one chapter of rest. Both the characters and the reader need an opportunity to catch their breath before the next series of events.

While I have a few more comps to read, I know at this point I am procrastinating. It is time to distance myself from what is already published and begin to write my unique story. That's a little scary...

But it is spring break, and I have no excuse.

  • I anticipate outlining the novel will be a multi-step process. I will first decide where the dog will travel and how the children will track him.
  • Next, I will imagine what adventure can take place at each location. Which characters will take part - what conflict will arise and how will it be resolved.
  • I will also need to plan occasional rest periods.
  • And the educator in mean wants to include a bit of Parisian history and art appreciation without being pedantic or preachy.

Yep... I gotta lotta work to do!


I still have lots of prep work for the Blogging A-Z Challenge, but in the meantime I did manage to keep up my regular blogging routine.


The idea of focusing on fun (my 2016 Word of the Year) took a backseat while I healed from "the accident" Therapy is going well though, and I am about 90% back to normal. It is time to reintroduce FUN into my life.

I spent time this week organizing the craft room. It is now freshly dusted, vacuumed and in working order. I hope to spend some time scrapbooking last year's trip to Italy and then starting my 2011 trip to Paris. I'm in the mood for travel, can you tell?

I also hope to take advantage of the gorgeous spring weather and visit the local arboretum. I think the last photo safari I took was early December; I'm ready to get behind the camera again - to capture the beauty of nature and the miracle of spring renewal.


  1. Procrastinating that looks like research is such a problem for me and my writing!

    1. I'm glad I'm not alone, Joy. How do you push through the rationalizing and just write?

  2. So do you have another trip planned? Did I miss something? But even if not, at least you're having fun, even if going to the local arboretum.

    1. No, Bryan, no trip planned. I think that's why I want to scrapbook about past trips - I'm going through withdrawal :)

  3. I love the idea of going out to take photos during spring break. I might join you!

    Enjoy your time off. Good luck with outlining your novel. Don't know how you work, but sometimes I can plan things too much when it comes to writing....I seem to work better when I just write!

    1. I'd love to have company :) Too bad we live so far away from one another...

      Yes, a large part of my problem is that I over think things WAY too much! It is time to put the brain on hold and simply sit down and write.

  4. I'm so jealous of the spring breakers on the blogs this week. :) Enjoy your time and I hope you post some of you photos!!

    I have to balance the discipline of making myself sit down with which part of the project flows more fully. If the prose is stuttering, I work on character, If characters are elusive I play with the world. etc. It's all work and it's all a step to the end! :) It's like eating salad when you really really want a brownie. Eat a brownie and then get back to the salad!!

    1. LOVE the brownie/salad analogy!

      Right now I feel plot, characters, and prose are all elusive :) But I'm learning that if I sit down and journal through the block, I can usually find a place to start.

      Guess what I will be doing this afternoon....

  5. I'm glad the healing has progressed far enough that you are ready for fun again! It's been a long haul. Enjoy the time off this week :)

    1. I plan to... although I think I would enjoy it more on a Florida beach ;)

  6. Molly, so glad to hear that your almost back to normal. Getting out taking pics at the arboretum sounds like fun. And I'll be curious to hear your progress on your book. Your thoughts about it seem 'fun'! LOL

    Here's hoping that you get good weather this week and if it gets cold or rainy, you have your reorganized craft room to turn to. Good luck!!

    1. I never thought of describing my book idea as "fun" ... I LIKE it!!

      While I prefer sun to rain, I wouldn't mind if I 'had' to spend a day or two in the craft room :)

  7. Glad you are getting back to normal and that therapy is going well! I love the idea that photography is a bit like time travel. I never really thought about it, but yes, it is and it is usually fun to "go back in time" to revisit what's in those photographs. One photo project I'm working on personally is photographing my town and the places that have meaning for me, so that when I move in another 2 years (retiring down south), that I can keep a little bit of Connecticut with me.

    Enjoy your week!

    1. I just noticed that you live in Danbury --- I lived in Weston until 1990 and my husband is originally from Trumbull :) Small world!

      We also hope to retire south (Florida beach...) sometime in the not-too-near future.

      I hope you share some of your photo project on the blog; I'd love to see what the old stomping grounds look like now.


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