Sunday, August 7, 2016

Week in Review: August 7, 2016

Last weekend we experienced sweltering heat and triple digit temperatures. Today, it is raining and 70 degrees. Ah... the bi-polar weather of the Midwest. I'm not complaining though. Either way, I can stay indoors to read, write, and catch up on the Summer Olympics.

I did manage to finish Lorraine Barrett's book, A Crafty Killing, this week.

I must confess, my expectations for this book were too unrealistic. I wanted to fall in love with this upstate New York village as much as Stoneham, New Hampshire - the fictional setting in her Booktown mystery series. I wanted each reading session to transport me on a literary vacation, where I could wander through the shops and chat with the proprietors. And where I would count down the hours until I could return again.

While the story held my interest enough to read each night before turning out the light, I never considered picking it up throughout the day. And while I enjoyed Victoria Square, with its quaint tea shop and artists' colony, I feel as though I can cross that off the bucket list and move on.

I think part of my lackluster review has to do with the protagonist, Katie Bonner. I found her personality to be too inconsistent. She has little patience for the reserved Detective in charge of the case, and she is judgmental of several artists based solely on first impression. And yet, she is kind and considerate to others.

All in all, I would rate the book 3 out of 5 stars. While I probably won't read another book in this series, I am most anxious to begin the second book in Ms. Barrett's Booktown series.

As I mentioned last week, Ellie's Paris Adventure (working title of MG novel) is about half complete and is now in the hands of beta readers.

My goal is to pitch the book at our local SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) conference in early November, and I want some public feedback to see if this is a viable storyline.

I sent the book to seven friends:

  • three of them are teachers and in constant contact with my target audience: 3rd-5th graders. 
  • two of them are parents of 3rd-5th graders - they are reading the book with their children so I can receive feedback from both
  • two are former students who are avid readers and writers. They have surpassed their high school teacher in wisdom and talent - and I value their literary expertise.
So far I have received feedback from three readers, and all of them offered complimentary praise as well as valuable suggestions for improvement. I am encouraged to keep on keeping on.

I'm getting back into the blogging groove, and I like it.

For now, the schedule is to post four times a week: Tuesdays will focus on travel or writing - Wednesdays on Photography - Saturdays on Totoro Family recipes - and Sundays will be a Weekly Review.

Here is a summary of this week's posts:

Today is National ______ Day:
 I also began a new feature on my Facebook "business" page.

This week's most popular post:
In an effort to encourage others to journal, I develop a list of daily prompts based on the theme: Today is National __________ Day.

I use the website,  Checkiday, to select the theme of the day. Sometimes I will add a personal photo to inspire memories, other days just 3-4 written prompts.

If interested, you can follow the series at Stepping Stones Publications.

This week's highlights include:
  • Monday, August 1: "Play Ball"
  • Tuesday, August 2: Coloring Book 
  • Wednesday, August 3: Watermelon 
  • Thursday, August 4: Chocolate Chip Cookie 
  • Friday, August 5: Oyster 
  • Saturday, August 6: Wiggle Your Toes
  • Sunday, August 7:Dolls

I know many of you are preparing for back-to-school events. This is the first year since pre-school I do not miss the anticipation of a new academic year. I suppose I've adjusted to retirement. However, this does not prevent me from shopping the sales and stocking up on notebooks, pens and pencils. It is truly my second Christmas.


  1. Four times a week? That's pretty good and ambitious. I am good if I get to once a week, which is usually the case, but look forward to seeing your posts four times a week.

    1. Well, the way I look at at Bryan... I'm really only writing one major post a week. The photograph on Wednesday - the recipe on Saturday - and the weekly review on Sunday "practically" write themselves :)

  2. I love how you plan things out so well. And, good job, getting your novel out there! Enjoy your retirement. I can see mine coming around the corner.

    Here's my first (what?!!) movie review.

    1. It took me a while to claim the retirement life, but now that I have... I LOVE IT!

  3. I like the idea of "Today is National ..... Day," especially August 4th :-)

    1. It's kinda fun to see all the "national" holidays - although some a bit of stretch.

  4. Oh, I am twitchy to get at the back to school supplies! Nothing quite like a the possibilities of a new notebook and pens!

    1. I am absolutely giddy this time of year :)

  5. We're still sweltering down here. The heat doesn't usually bother me but it sure has this summer.

    1. I really can't complain. The last two summers were very comfortable. We were due for a scorcher :)

  6. Good job on getting your book into the right hands of readers. It sounds like you are busy with your retirement days & loving it. Wonderful.


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