Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Writing Successes for 2019

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution!

Sometimes I feel like I am spinning my writing wheels but going nowhere. Here is my list of SUCCESSES in my writing related-activities for 2019.

Angie’s Anti-Resolution Revolution:

1. I met my contracted deadlines and celebrated over 26 years of writing work-for-hire with an organization I adore.

2. I was awarded a writing residency at Holly House through Hypatia-in-the-Woods. I enjoyed a fabulous week to work on a picture book and Haiku.

3. I had a heart during #kidpit at the end of 2018. I received a rejection this year, but still…I tried!

4. Our critique group has increased to 4 active members and we’ve been really working hard.

5. I’ve been blogging more and supporting writers.

6. I had my first author interview and my first author/illustrator interview on my blog.

7. I read tons of picture books, chapter books, and YA books.

8. I participated in Storystorm and have a great list of picture book ideas.

9. I participated in ReFoReMo and studied great picture books.

10. I participated in 12 Days of Christmas last year. Thanks, Julie, for this year and last year!

11. I wrote 4 new picture book manuscripts.

12. I edited 12 different picture book manuscripts.

13. I participated in Multicultural Children’s Book Day for the first time.

14. I wrote and edited more this year.

15. I have editing opportunities to explore in 2020.

16. I connected more with other writers in the wonderful kidlit community.

 

How about you? What SUCCESSES did you have in 2019?

 


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First Birthday Photo Challenge

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There’s a 10 year challenge going around on Facebook right now, as well as a few other challenges for this and that. I posted last week about having my first birthday without my mom. I searched high and low and through every jump drive I own for my first birthday pictures. I was so sure I had scanned them.

Turns out, I was incorrect. Oops! Instead, I had taken pictures of the pictures-on my phone. Looking for something else, I found my one-year-old birthday photos. Well. I am 57 now. My data banks are too full and need defrag services to restore order.

This is me at my first birthday (circa November 1963).

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Did you catch that? I’m old enough to use “circa.” Don’t worry. Time flies, and soon you too will be able to use that special word. Check out the definition of circa. Anyone can use it.

Let’s start a different challenge. This is your first birthday photo challenge! Post a photo of you on your first birthday and tag me. Post your photo in the comments below or on any of the other links.

Let’s see all the cuteness! Thanks for playing along.

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Haiku Moment: fall explosion

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woods, stream, leaves, and fall

collide, put on nature shows-

such beauty explodes

 

fall explosion by Angie Quantrell

 

Photo Credit: Angie Quantrell, Hood Canal, Belfair State Park, WA state


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Need Stress Relief? Take a Weekend Trip

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What a week!

Our daughter ended up in the hospital due to cellulitis from a bug bite. As a result, we juggled child care, transportation, hospital runs, and assorted other duties while she received aggressive IV treatment to stop the infection (previous antibiotics did nothing to stop the infection from spreading).

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Every week is busy and we tend to go full speed. Writing, working, cooking, cleaning. But add one off-kilter event, such as a parent (our adult child) being hospitalized, and chaos rules the day.

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Good thing for me, I had a weekend away tucked in my hip pocket. Of course, I would have cancelled had my daughter not been released from her expensive spa treatment (that’s what we called her stay). Hooray, her bite improved, the high powered antibiotics did their job, and she went home in plenty of time for my retreat.

After handing off care of 3 grands to my daughter-in-love, I loaded the car with the important things (rubber stamps, food, clothes) and headed to Seattle to stay and play with my crafting partner. And boy did we pack in the fun.

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I was amazed at all we managed to fit into our weekend. We

~rubber stamped cards (36 total for me)

~took a ferry ride to Hood Canal

~relaxed at a cabin where we sipped hot tea, read a magazine, read the newspaper, and attempted a crossword puzzle

~completed a four-mile walk through the state park where we saw one spawning salmon and several done spawning and deceased fish, bald eagles, a seal, seagulls, gorgeous fall colors, and sparkling streams leading to Hood Canal

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~stopped at a craft market AND a thrift shop

~enjoyed a new apple crisp (with cheese!) recipe

~tasted creative and delicious meals

~talked much and solved world problems

~watched the Seattle Sounders win the national championship game

~walked to the University Village

~listened to a mystery on cassette

~kicked off the Christmas season with traditional music selections

~planned Christmas gifts and adventures

~traveled to Southcenter (a shopping area in Renton) where we perused Impress for more rubber stamping ideas and supplies, braved crowds and long lines at IKEA (plus I had coupons for a free birthday meal and stuff), and used coupons at JoAnn’s

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~slept in and snuggled kitties

I’m sure that’s not all we did, but the change of scenery and responsibilities refreshed my body and energy. I was sad when my weekend away came to an end and I had to reload the car and drive home.

What a wonderful way to recharge! Should you find yourself needing stress relief and relaxation, consider a weekend getaway. Choose a new or favorite destination, pack your bags, and hit the road. It will be worth all of your time and efforts.
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How do you relax? Where do you go to get away? What was your favorite weekend away?


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Book Report: Everything is Always Gonna be Alright, Durban Frankenshooze by Jamie McHone

Everything is Always Gonna be Alright, Durban Frankenshooze

Written by Jamie McHone

Illustrated by Walter Policelli

Mascot Books, November 5, 2019

 

Happy Book Birthday! Today is a special day for both Jamie and Walter as Everything is Always Gonna be Alright, Durban Frankenshooze is released to the world. Book birthdays are super important to book authors and illustrators. Cue the music, balloons, and confetti!

Chris Baker at Mascot Books sent me a review copy of Everything is Always Gonna be Alright, Durban Frankenshooze. I am happy to spread the word about this new release.

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Book Blurb:

Durban is a bird with giant sneakers and wings so small he can’t fly. He’s tired of being made fun of by all the other flying birds, so he sets off on a journey to find out who he really is. Along the way, he meets Maudry, a smart and sassy female bird, and Wainwright, a grumpy worm with a short temper. Together, the unusual trio goes through thick and thin to discover what it really means to be yourself.

This zany tale of Durban Frankenshooze and his friends will help children begin dialogues about diversity, acceptance, and appreciation of differences, all while building vital language skills.

Southwest Virginia native Jamie McHone is delighted to share her very first children’s book with young readers everywhere! Although McHone enjoys animals, she does not have birds in her home in Blacksburg, Virginia. Instead, she has Rottweilers!

To set up an interview, reading, signing, or for information regarding Everything is Always Gonna be Alright, Durban Frankenshooze, please contact Chris Baker at chris@mascotbooks.com.

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What I liked about this book:

~ The names are super creative and fit each character and the problems faced by the characters. Clever and fun!

~ The issue of feeling unlovable due to personal characteristics-be it tiny wings, huge feet, needing glasses, or having thick eyebrows-is universal to humans of any age. Young readers will discover how Durban, Maudry, and Wainwright form a unique friendship and head out to explore the world and solve their “challenges.” (Really, they have fun together and learn to enjoy life in spite of their perceived physical shortcomings.)

~The vocabulary is wide and varied. Readers will be exposed to different words, idioms, and sayings. Stopping to discuss new ideas and vocabulary will enrich the story and reading time.

~While the story is told in a longer format and might not work for a read-it-all-in-one-session, it would be easy to break the story into sections for multiple readings. Older readers will enjoy reading this as a chapter book.

~I love the friends aspect of this book. Despite their differences, all 3 main characters find commonalities and learn to enjoy time spent together. They also make new friends as they travel on their adventures.

 

For a fun read, check out Everything is Always Gonna be Alright, Durban Frankenshooze.

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Haiku Moment: fall passion

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colors scream intense

vibrant, exploding passion

swan song before cold

 

brilliant gemstone hues

garden offspring demand gaze,

dried promise for spring

 

hastily comes foe

winter breathes down our neck, quick!

capture fall passion

 

fall passion by Angie Quantrell

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Souvenirs of the long summer growing season. Just like that-blink-and cold winds usher in the end of heat and beginning of cold. Get out today and store fall beauty in your mind’s eye to save for the dark cold snowy white and gray days of winter.

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Mark those calendars! Coming on October 12, Universal Music Day: Swing by to meet and greet Vivian Kirkfield and learn about her new book birthday on January 14, 2020. Welcome, Making Their Voices Heard!

via Happy Book Birthday: RANDALL AND RANDALL Plus Giveaway

Happy happy book birthday to RANDALL AND RANDALL! A book birthday is a happy day indeed!

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Book Report: Pauses for the Vacationing Soul, A Sensory-Based Devotion Guide for the Beach

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Pauses for the Vacationing Soul, A Sensory-Based Devotion Guide for the Beach

Written by Cathy Baker

http://www.cathybaker.org, 2017

 

I was recently gifted Pauses for the Vacationing Soul, A Sensory-Based Devotion Guide for the Beach by the amazing Cathy Baker. Ok, by recently I mean…a bit ago. But I digress.

I started reading this adorable little devotional guide, again, a bit ago. Then I realized it would be the perfect special devotional guide to take with me on my week-long writing residency at Holly House (Hypatia-in-the-Woods). So I tucked it in my growing stack of things to take with me on my residency.

It turns out I was correct. This little gem was just the right length and focus for my week near several beaches in the Shelton, Washington, area. I loved reading the entry for each morning and reflecting on God’s beauty, vacation (though I was on a residency), relaxing, and resting. I especially enjoyed Cathy’s inclusion of travel days and coming back to reality after vacation.

Cathy has a sweet spirit, which is very obvious when you read her book or her newsletters. I first discovered Cathy when I bumped into one of her posts. Her site has a picture of the cutest Tiny House on the Hill. My honey and I want to build a tiny house, so I latched right on to her site. Cathy and her husband are working on her writing studio/retreat tiny house. I’ve loved watching each step they take as they add to the tiny house. I can’t wait to see it when it’s finished.

If you are heading out for a week away, or are still looking forward to vacation, consider reading Pauses for the Vacationing Soul, A Sensory-Based Devotion Guide for the Beach by Cathy Baker. Check out her web site at CathyBaker.org.

Thank you, Cathy, for the gift of a book that added just the right touch to my writing residency. Be blessed!

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Book Report: Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn

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Caterpillar Summer

Written by Gillian McDunn

Illustrations by Alisa Colburn

Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2019

 

It’s summer, and Caterpillar Summer is the perfect read! Thank you to Gillian McDunn and Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles for this lovely copy. If you look just close enough in the above photo, you will see a friendly butterfly snacking while I consider this perfect summer read. A nod to the main character and her name of Cat(erpillar).

Amazon Blurb:

Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond–Cat is one of the few people who can keep Chicken happy. When he has a “meltdown” she’s the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She’s the one who knows what Chicken needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat has been the glue holding her family together.

But even the strongest glue sometimes struggles to hold. When a summer trip doesn’t go according to plan, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they never knew. For the first time in years, Cat has the opportunity to be a kid again, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken or strained relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another’s shoes.

Why I Love This Book:

~ The names! Cat and Chicken? Fun and interesting.

~ The unique way Gillian created a mother who is an author that writes stories about her children, aka, Caterpillar and Chicken. Each section opens with an illustrated page from a story written by Cat’s mother and several other Caterpillar and Chicken illustrations are interspersed throughout the book. Stories upon stories.

~ The characters are great. I love how Cat is a caring, responsible older sister who is just finishing 5th grade. I love the uniqueness of Chicken and how Cat knows how to take care of him. The harried, busy mom, the newly met grandparents, old friends and new friends, the bad guys-the characters are fun to get to know.

~ The setting is fabulous! Who wouldn’t want to spend a summer in a huge house at the beach? On an island? I would. Cat gets to stay in her mother’s old bedroom. I love the small town community where Cat’s grandparents live.

~ The intrigue. Why has Cat never met these grandparents? What happened to Dad? Why does life have to have so many changes? How can Cat take care of Chicken but also still be a kid and enjoy life? How can Cat get her mother and grandfather to talk?

~ Fishing. This is a big hook (!) for Cat’s hopes of getting her family to reconcile.

~ Friendship, forgiveness, and family.

~ Great writing! I found Caterpillar Summer easy to read and very enjoyable. I think upper elementary and early middle grade readers will love this summer tale.

Two thumbs up for Caterpillar Summer.

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Overwhelmed

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Curlers and all, love my mom! 

It’s been a while.

Life is sometimes overwhelming. After Mama died in May, days became chaotic, stressful, and anxiety-filled. Nights were often sleepless, filled with memories of 56 years with Mama or constantly making to-do lists. Grieving took a back seat to facing and surviving each day.

How was I to know that cooking beets would remind me of canning beets with my mom? I was always the beet peeler. Or that walking on the stepping stones she and dad made years ago with our names on top would take me right back to our Wapato home?  Or how my wedding anniversary would bring me to tears because my mama always remembered our big day? She painstakingly made my wedding dress and several bridesmaid dresses. I didn’t realize that, now, every time I drive to the apartment of my grands, I would have to pass the Cottage where she passed away. The memories keep her close to my heart, but that heart is full of aches and pains.

Each day is new to the process. All four of our parents have passed on to Heaven. They are having a great time. But that doesn’t stop me from missing them. We are now the oldest and the NEXT to go (in the natural order of things, not counting for surprises). And we both have the hope and faith that we will see them again when it’s our time to go.

“Any-who.” As my mother-in-law always said. “That’s life.”

But life takes it out of you sometimes.

I’m back. Slowly and steadily, taking one day at a time. Still missing Mama.

Life altering circumstances or situations do, well, alter your life. Have you had any life events that deeply impacted your life? How did you survive and continue on living your life?