Sunday, June 28, 2020

Bad Fairy Book Release!

Title: Bad Fairy
Series: A Bad Fairy Adventure (Book One)
Author: Elaine Kaye
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Fantasy Middle Grade
Length: 66 pages
Age Range: 8-12

BLURB: Thistle Greenbud is not a bad fairy. She simply doesn't like rules, and it's just her luck that her homework is to create a new rule for the fairy handbook. But first, she has more important things to do. Like figure out how to get back at Dusty and Moss for playing tricks on her.
Before she can carry out her plan, though, disaster strikes and she finds herself working alongside the very fairies she wanted revenge on. Can they work together and trust each other, or will things go from bad to worse?


As we watch the boys, the wind picks up, making the fern lay flat, exposing us. We gasp and make a dash for the closest tree. Behind it, we huddle together.
“Boogles! A branch just hit me,” Weedy says.
The sky turns black. Wind swirls dust and leaves, and spits pebbles at us. This is not good. We have to get going now or else our payback will get blown away.
“Let’s go!” I scream and lead the group from behind the tree, but the wind makes it hard for us to move forward.
Rose and Lilly grab hands as they run, screaming, toward the creek. Lacey stumbles over a fallen twig, landing flat and hitting her face hard on the ground. When she doesn’t move, I race to her as sand and pine needles prick my skin.
I help Lacey to her feet. Luckily, she only has a few cuts on her face. A tiny bit of blood streaks down her forehead. She looks at me. Fear is bright in her eyes. She needs help. We all need help. I peer toward the creek. The boys are still there, frantically trying to lift the bag full of stones.
Shouting a warning and waving my arms, I hurry to the creek, trying to get their attention. Finally, Dusty sees me. He looks as if he’s been caught with his hand in the pixie jar.
I point to the sky and wave them to come our way. Rain starts to fall. Dusty pulls Moss from the creek. Fat drops of water pelt my head and wings as I wait for the boys to reach me.
“It must be a twisty!” Dusty screams. “We better find shelter.”

3 Signed Paperback Picture Books –
Pea Soup Disaster, Doctor Mom, The Missing Alphabet

Eligibility: International
Number of Winners: One
Giveaway Ends: July 1, 2020 12:00am Eastern Standard Time



Elaine Kaye is the author of A Gregory Green Adventure series. She first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup, thus inspiring the story Pea Soup DisasterBad Fairy is her middle grade debut and the first of A Bad Fairy Adventure series.
Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher’s assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home. She is a grandmother of three boys.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Character Worksheets and Foreshadowing Guest Post

If you are looking for a post on foreshadowing and symbolism, head over to the Insecure Writer's Support Group site to find it.

Do you use Character Worksheets for writing? 

As I'm tutoring this summer, I keep coming across tools I use to write.

I use both Character Worksheets in a binder and the Save the Cat! Writing Software equivalent within that program.

Here's a list of questions of areas I like on Character Worksheets. The most important/favorite ones are in bold.

1. Name: Age/age range:
2. Family:
3. Occupation/hobby:
4. What does this character look like?
5. Where does this character live? Is the character happy/unhappy there?
6. Is this character happy with life/surroundings/society/friends?
7. Does this character have any fun quirks?
8. What makes this character happy?
9. What makes this character sad/angry?
10. What are this character’s strengths?
11. What are this character’s weaknesses?
12. Write three adjectives to describe this character?
13. Does this character have any special abilities?
14. How could this character change/grow in the course of the story?
15. What does this character think he/she wants?
16. The most important question: What is this character’s heart’s desire?
Heart’s Desire: What the character wants/needs the most in the world. This is usually the heart of the story or dilemma.
For example, the character may think he/she wants to have the best place to live in the world like a mansion by the sea, but what the character really needs is a place to feel at home, a sense of belonging and family. In this story, the character might try to get the mansion by the sea and lose sight of a friend, then learn that they need that friend to have a sense of belonging. The end result of this story might be a reward (the character gets the friendship back and the mansion), or a partial reward (the character gets the friendship but not the mansion), or a punishment (the character loses the friend and the mansion).

For Antagonist Characters, I add these questions:
Why does this antagonist stand in the way of the main character? Is the antagonist a villain? Is the antagonist a friend of the character who thinks he/she knows what’s best for the character? Is the antagonist even human?

Do you use character worksheets or something like them to keep track of your characters?

Monday, June 8, 2020

Monday Motivation - Storytelling to Inspire Us and Story Maps


“Narrative imagining — story — is the fundamental instrument of thought. Rational capacities depend upon it. It is our chief means of looking into the future, or predicting, of planning, and of explaining.” --Mark Turner, cognitive scientist, linguist, and author

And, in a somewhat related article, check out: Cas Anvar - Art, Science, and Saving the World Through Space Exploration - Especially this quote which is actually Cas Anvar re-quoting Jeff Bezos: “The dreamers are essential to tell us what our future can be. And then, our job is to manifest it.  We need the inspiration that comes from the dreamers and storytellers.”

In my teaching/tutoring life, I just started working with a new student. We're working with story maps, so I thought I would share some of the same information here:


Story maps are a useful tool for world building and story development.
With a story map, either hand-drawn or drawn with a map system, a writer can take time to consider:
  • Where a story is going to take place;
  • How important the setting is to the character's past, present, and future;
  • Why the character is on her/his journey;
  • Who the character will meet along the way;
  • and What will come at the end - a reward, a punishment, justice, hope?
  • In addition to these, a story map can help a writer consider whether or not the character will return to their starting point, both in physical location and in character development. If they return to the physical starting point, how will the changes in their character change how they interact with that place?
Story maps can be used for fantasy settings, realistic contemporary settings, historical settings, and futuristic settings.

Story maps can also be used for stories that don't go "very" far in physical location, but which have a depth of interior movement for the character, developing the character in strength or understanding, or showing the fall of a character from mildly good to mildly bad.

Story maps can include physical dilemmas for the character: mountains to climb, valleys to roam, city-scapes where treachery awaits at every corner, labyrinths, etc.

Story maps can also include "trigger" places for a character's interior journey: Uncle Art's old rocking chair, mother's jewelry box on her bedside stand, the kitchen table where all the card games were played, the window view of the dead orchard outside.

A story map can contain all of these with symbols or notes.

Can we use storytelling to imagine or inspire the future?

And, have you ever used a story map to help you develop a plot or remember to describe a place in your character's journey?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020



Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and all of the awesome co-hosts this month!


Given the events of the past week, I feel a need to revise this pre-written post, but I am struggling. 
I realize I have been ridiculously blessed by the way God created a multicultural, multi-racial extended family for me before I was born.  

I have experienced racism as a cousin, as a friend, as a neighbor - but the reality is, I'm Caucasian. My experiences - being called names, having trash thrown on my lawn, not getting mentored by the solo coach in high school because I wasn't "white enough" and getting put down by the hypocritically named Rainbow Girls (Masonic Lodge Teen Girl club with racist policies well into the 80s) - don't compare to the day to day reality of someone living in our country who isn't white.

One of my cousins was stopped in his own neighborhood because he was walking "suspiciously." What does walking suspiciously look like? Well, it appeared to have something to do with the color of his skin (not white) and nothing else.

We cannot allow ourselves to be blind to the reality of our nation and world. We need to stand up for equality and decency. 

Here is my statement. It might not have all the right words yet. I'm working on it.

We are all loved by God. Each and every person has the right to fair, equitable, and decent treatment in every place and situation.

OPTIONAL QUESTION: Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

Here's something I have never used in my writing:

On a dare at the age of six, I walked through glass and had to have a curved piece removed from my big toe, with a "quick" repair done with skin cut/peeled from my leg, and it was all done with no anesthesia because the nurse and doctor thought "it couldn't hurt that much." It took three-four people to hold me down while I screamed and fought them. I still have the scars. I never believe people when they say, "it won't hurt."

I don't like dares, but I know how powerful they can feel when you're the youngest kid, or the least popular kid, or you perceive yourself as the underdog in some way. And so many dares come with painful consequences. Maybe someday I will use that "truth" in my writing, with different circumstances involved.


This isn't a secret, but it is an overlooked reality.

Writing takes time and tenacity.

I've met talented writers who have never published or been published.
How is this possible?

They don't send anything out.

No publisher is going to show up at your door demanding your brilliant work if no one knows you write.

Write. Finish. Send it.

Even if you give up for a while, you can pick up your pen again. Write. Finish. Send. Repeat.

Even if you struggle with health issues, family stuff, and life, you can pick up your pen again. Write. Finish. Send it. Repeat.

Write. Finish. Send it. Repeat. 

I have this on my wall. 


The SpaceX and NASA joint launch made me cheer wildly with hope for humanity and the possibilities created when we are willing to work together.

I'm thankful for the IWSG newsletter shout-out for Walking with Jesus: Stories from One Hope Church. Fourteen Authors answered the call for faith stories from their real, walking-around, daily lives. Real people. Real life. Real Jesus.

Proceeds go to One Hope Church and OHC gives benevolence to Coffee Oasis (local outreach to homeless teens), Peace Lutheran Community Center (outreach to at-risk teens, and meals for homeless people), Global Seed Planters, and Go Missions International. Our Pastors are committed to making sure our benevolence is given at full capacity regardless of the rest of the church budget during COVID.

Found at: Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Smashwords     Kobo