Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, SoCS, Special Occasions, Spotlight Saturday, This Day In Literature, Writing

September Streams and Dreams Come True, #SoCS

SoCS

September almost qualifies for this week’s prompt, but not quite. So, instead, I will write about how my September is going, so far.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

***

I am watching only the fourth episode of the new Late Show with Stephen Colbert. His guest is writer and author Stephen King. I am listening to these two brilliant guys, Stephen speaking with Stephen, as they discuss writing. I am left to contemplate writing: Stephen’s and my own.

Now, what makes me think I should even bother with the contemplation of my name and his in the same sentence?

This week I can finally refer to myself as an author.

I have read many things about writer VS. author. What makes someone a writer? What makes them, me an author? When is it okay to call myself the first or the second?

King has written dozens of books. His newest book of short stories is being released in November. What an astounding catalog of writing the man has produced. He writes. He is an author.

My first short story to be published is out now, in print. It was finally placed in my hands just the other day.

I will never forget the feeling. I wonder how that feeling has changed, for Mr. King, from the first time to all these stories and years later.

I contemplate what being a writer means to me. It means that I write. I don’t just talk about it, but I put my money (words) where my mouth is/are.

I can string sentences together, words, correctly spelled…you get my drift.

It doesn’t yet feel natural to me, fiction that is. Writing comes very naturally. All so uncomfortable, unnatural, even though it feels, at the same time, like I’ve been doing it all my life.

I contemplate with confusion.

I hold the book in my hands, flip through the pages, turning to where I perceive my words to be, as I’ve been told how many pages in, my story can be found. I can’t see my own writing. I am told it is there, but any book could be handed to me, anyone telling me the words are mine. I would never know if it were true or not.

So it’s only there when I believe them, when I believe it and let the reality wash over my heart and my mind.

I don’t know, can’t possibly stop contemplating what it must be like to have the kind of creative and artistic success that Stephen King has had.

I don’t know how many more times I will experience my own publication, as I did in the month of September, in the year 2015, but I will never forget this week. Never, as long as I live.

***

September and this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, inspired by:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/09/11/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-1215/

Linda’s blog and the writing prompt, “temp”.

Standard
Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, TGIF

Mamarazzi Cover Reveal

img_8272pcpv-2015-08-14-02-59.jpg
mamarazzicover-2015-08-14-02-59.jpg

Welcome to another instalment of Fiction Friday.

Last year I had a friend of mine, whom I’d met through Facebook (Author Brooke Williams) here to celebrate a book release.

Well, she’s back again this summer. Check it out.

***

Release Date: September 11, 2015 from

Prism Book Group

Pre-Order

HERE

Join the Sept. 15th Release Day Party on Facebook HERE

Enjoy giveaways with a dozen different authors!

Danica Bennett isn’t sure what she hates more…her job or the fact that she’s good at it.  As one of the many Hollywood paparazzi, she lives her life incognito and sneaks around trying to get the best shot of the latest star.  When she is mistaken for an extra on a new, up and coming TV show, her own star rises and she becomes the one being photographed.  Add that to the fact that she’s falling for her co-star, Eliot Lane, and Danica is in a whole heap of trouble.

Add (Mamarazzi) to your Goodreads list

HERE

About the Author:

Brooke Williams writes in a sleep-deprived state while her daughters nap. Her romantic comedy is best read in the same state. Brooke has twelve years of radio in her background, both behind the scenes and on the air. She was also a television traffic reporter for a short time despite the fact that she could care less about hair and make-up. Today, Brooke stays at home with her daughters and works as a freelance writer for a variety of companies. When she isn’t working for paying clients, she makes things up, which results in books like “Accept this Dandelion.” 

Brooke is also the author of

“Accept this Dandelion,”

“Wrong Place, Right Time,”

“Someone Always Loved You,”

“Beyond the Bars.”

She plans to continue the Dandelion story into a series and looks forward to her first children’s book release “Baby Sheep Gets a Haircut” in June 2016. Brooke and her husband Sean have been married since 2002 and have two beautiful daughters, Kaelyn (5) and Sadie (nearly 2).
 

Connect with Brooke:

Facebook

Website

Blog

***

Note: Stay tuned for an upcoming guest post from Brooke, here on Her Headache, next month.

Standard
Blogging, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, RIP, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Summer Solstice

“Summer afternoon-summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
–Henry James

This week started off and ended with a number of holidays, occasions, and celebrations.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

Sunday: Father’s Day

For my amazing father.

Last June was the first opportunity, on my then relatively new blog, to let my own dad know what he meant to me and I did that by writing about a particularly meaningful memory from almost twenty years ago.

Father

I have recently, for TToT, explained the incredible things my father has done for me and I hope he always knows what he means to our whole family.

For the longest day of the year and for another summer to come around.

I pushed through last summer, though my heart really wasn’t in it, and I have good reason to believe this one will be vastly better then the last.

I am already trying new things, determined to live my life in different ways, and hopefully have more to add to these thankfuls in the weeks to come.

For National Aboriginal Day.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Aboriginal_Day

I consider myself lucky to live in a country full of all of the people who share it with me.

Monday: For the sweetest words in the whole world.

“I wuve you Keree.”

My nephew turns three this summer and he has begun saying these words to, not only his parents and his favourite toys and movies, but to his Auntie Kerry.

🙂

When he cuddles with me and I hear him tell me he loves me, I know how lucky I am that I get to see him, at least once a week.

I miss my other nephew and my niece. They don’t live that far away, but far enough that our contact is less frequent than I would like, but we always come back together as a family in the end.

Tuesday: My Heart Will Go On

For the unforgettable music of composer James Horner.

I was obsessed with all things Titanic in the eighth grade, with the release of the film just that Christmas. I was so excited when my parents gave me the soundtrack for my fourteenth birthday.

James Horner Dies In Plane Crash

That is not the part I’m thankful for, obviously.

😦

The world has lost a wonderful talent.

Thank you, James, for some beautiful music I will never forget.

Wednesday: For the incredible advances in medicine in recent years.

I am amazed, as I hold my nephew close, just what these advances have brought to our lives.

No matter what, we are lucky to have him, and we owe it all to these things, unheard-of only a few decades ago.

I dare anyone to look at the beautiful little boy I speak of and say one bad word on what some like to term, “playing God”.

Whatever is to thank, it is miraculous, what doctors can do.

For family dinners out.

We went to a place we’ve gone to for years. It was a common family dinner spot for my own family, for as far back as I can recall.

I am forever a child there, ordering my shirley temples, but my nephew only wanted the orange slice at the bottom of his glass.

Thursday: medical technology isn’t the only wonderful technology. There’s always the phone.

For the chance to reconnect with a friend. We ended up talking, on the phone, for over two hours.

She helped me tick an important item off of my bucket list last year.

And, who knows – we could embark on more adventures together in the future.

That is only some of what we talked about. She shared some important resources with me for the Canada Day blog post I’m working on about Aboriginal issues.

She is a ball of energy and enthusiasm. Speaking with her is like a tonic, getting me to look positively forward.

Friday: Supreme Court recognizes equal rights for all.

For the ruling that came down, in the US, giving all people the right to marry whomever they love.

The White House and other landmarks light up in rainbow colours.

I simply want all people to be treated equally and I hope what happened in my neighbouring country is a step in the right direction.

Saturday: Happy Birthday Helen Keller.

For the important role she has played in my life, ever since I was introduced to her in school as a young girl.

Helen Keller was born, on June 27th, 1880 in Alabama. She suddenly lost her sight and hearing, during a fever, as an infant.

She was lost and locked away in the darkness and the silence, until her teacher came into her life at age seven, and from there she was unstoppable. She learned how to speak with her hands. She went on to become a first in so many things.

She was a feminist, spokesperson for social issues, disability rights activist, and an author who traveled all over the world.

She lived life to the fullest, as much as she possibly could, and she has taught me a lot about perseverance and resilience.

I give Helen the last word for the week…
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”

Standard
Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Interviews, TGIF, Writing

Not My Interview With Robert Munsch

Hi Kerry:

Thank you for writing. I am sorry but Mr. Munsch is not available for
interviews. He had a stroke a couple of years ago and more recently a heart
attack. He is no longer visiting schools, touring or doing interviews. He
is concentrating on his over 200 unpublished stories.

I have copied below an interview he did. I hope it answers some of your
questions.

***

Lunch with Munsch

Canada’s most beloved children’s writer goes nuts with story-telling but
takes kids seriously

by Barb Williamson

Journal Staff Writer

Edmonton

When Robert Munsch tells a story, kids listen.

Perhaps it’s the animation in his face or his booming voice or the way he
waves his arms wildly to illustrate a point.

Munsch has kids captivated.  At 54 he has sold over 30 million children’s
stories.  About 20,000 letters from fans reach him in Guelph, Ontario every
year.

Munsch made a stop in Edmonton last week on tour to promote his latest
book, Up, Up, Down, a story about a girl named Anna who loves to climb.

Set all expectations aside when sitting down for lunch with Munsch.  His
best-seller status has not turned him into a snob. What you see is who he
is, not who he pretends to be.  Mild-mannered and soft-spoken, Munsch is
surprisingly the exact opposite of his boisterous stage persona.

He smiles a lot.

Sitting down to lunch, he begs the waitress for black coffee and orders a
tropical fruit plate with two croissants.  It comes with banana bread.  No
complaints from Munsch.

Throughout the interview he is honest and direct, and most refreshing,
seemingly untouched by his success.

*What were you like as a kid?*

There were nine kids.  I was in the middle. There was no individuality.  And
I was a kind of very smiley nutcase.  The older kids had all the sane
family roles.  I guess I tried to be a clown.

*What intrigues you most about children?*

Kids are so new.  They’re so open-ended.  I can look at a kid and wonder
what they’ll be. The job of children is to be professionally appealing to
adults.  That’s how they get what they need.

*Tell me how Up, Up, Down came about.*

This is an old story that started in 1978 as just a finger play with
two-year-olds.  I gradually turned it into a book for older kids.

*What’s the best way to read to a child?*

People do it a lot of different ways and they’re all right.  But I have a
few general rules.  If the book isn’t working, say “The end” and get
another one.  Feel free to change the text.  That’s what I do when I tell
stories. Reading can be an interactive game.  It can be more than just
decoding the text.

*What do kids really want in stories?*

They want to be able to identify.  To kids there’s only one character in a
story and that’s themselves.

*Is there anything you won’t write?*

I won’t write stuff that kids don’t like.  A lot of kids’ books are
actually adult books in disguise.

*How do you define your success?*

I guess sales or recognition or something like that.  One of the nice
things about audiences of little children is they’re not impressed by my
reputation.  They don’t care.  Here’s a man who’s going to tell stories.  If
they like the stories they’ll be nice and if they don’t like the stories
they’ll be brats. Their impression is not filtered through some idea of
reputation, which it might be with adults.  They’re sort of like, what has
he done for me in the last five seconds?

*What’s the best thing about being a writer?*

Being able to construct my own life.  It gives me a lot of freedom.

*When people ask you how to become a writer, how do you answer that
question?*

When people say I want to be a writer, the first thing I say is get a
job.  First
get a job, make sure you’ve got a job to make money.  Adults will say,
“Well, I’ve decided to become a writer” and I’ll say “Well, what have you
written?”   They say, “Well I haven’t written anything yet but I’ve decided
to become a writer.” There’s something wrong with that.

*Do you still climb trees?*

I still climb trees.  I take my dog on walks out in the country.  There’s a
couple of really big white pine trees.  First I have to climb up a spruce
tree, go across at about 10 m up, then I climb a white pine tree so I get
really high and deathly scared because the tree is swaying in the wind.
Yes, I still climb.  I’m the only 54-year-old I know that still climbs
trees.

*What did you do before you wrote children’s stories?*

In high school I was a dweeb who just read.  I went off to study to be a
Catholic priest for seven years.  That didn’t work massively.  I left that
job, moved to Ontario, went into day care because I wanted a year off to
figure out what to do with my life.  I thought, “What could I do with a
degree in philosophy?” But I decided I liked day care.

*How did you become an author?*

I started telling stories in day care because it was just something I was
good at.  I actually started, and this is what I still do, I make up
stories in front of kids and see how they do.  In day care I was making up
one story new every day and then they’d ask for one old one.  So the kids
were a filter.  A lot of my first books were in my head in day care but I
didn’t know they were books.  I thought they were just stories.

*You have a reputation as an amazing storyteller.  Where does that talent
come from?*

I don’t know.  I used to think anybody could do it. Then I tried teaching
it to people and I found out they couldn’t do it.  I’m not sure where it
comes from.  Maybe a little bit that I’m a bit of an obsessive compulsive
manic depressive who goes nuts with stories.

*What’s your favourite colour?*

Black, because nobody else has the favourite colour black.

*What’s your favourite food?*

Hot, hot, hot, hot, hot chicken wings or Indonesian coconut and lemongrass
soup.

*Favourite book?*

Of mine?  I Have To Go.  I also love The Cypresses Believe in God, by Jose
Maria Gironella.

*What kind of dreams do you have?*

I have a lot of dreams where I’ve lost something and I’m trying to find it
and I can’t.  It’s just sort of those panic sort of dreams.

*What are you most scared of?*

Getting burned.  Flames.  I love fires and I like to build fires but I’m
deathly afraid of getting burned.

*What do you find most comforting?*

Pancakes with real maple syrup.  That’s my big comfort food. I make my own
pancakes from scratch with real maple syrup and black coffee and the world
is just fine.

*Why do you write children’s stories?*

I don’t know.  Why are carpenters carpenters?  Because it’s something
they’re good at.  I’m good at this.  Why not do something I’m good at
instead of something I’m lousy at?

*Do you have children?*

I have three kids: Julie who was the kid in David’s Father AND Makeup Mess,
Andrew who is the kid in Andrew’s Loose Tooth; and Tyya who is the kid in
Something Good. All three of my kids are in the book Finding Christmas.

*And what kind of a father are you?*

I was lucky because I didn’t have a regular job by the time my kids were
growing up.  My kids just got used to the idea that daddy was always around
to play with or to come and talk.  I really liked having kids.

*Do you consider yourself a big kid?*

No, I just take kids seriously.  If you look at my books they’re mostly
about apparently trivial situations.  They’re everyday events in kids’
lives.

*What was your favourite book as a child?*

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss.  The little kid kept
getting in trouble no matter what he did. That seemed to be my role in my
family.

***

On this Fiction Friday I decided, if I couldn’t get an interview with the man himself, I’d at least share one done by someone who had.

🙂

I have sent email requests for interviews to three writers since I started this blog: Alice Munro, Jean Little, and Robert Munsch.

Thanks to:

Sharon Bruder, Assistant

I at least received a response back this time.

http://robertmunsch.com)

Looking forward to hearing more about some of the 200 previously unfinished stories, mentioned above.

Standard
Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, This Day In Literature, Throw-back Thursday

Happy Birthday Mr. Munsch

Okay, so if I can’t trace where my love of stories started, I am more than happy and willing to give the credit to Robert Munsch.

If you haven’t heard of him:

On this Throw-back Thursday I wanted to reflect on how much of an influence his stories had on my childhood.

Robert has a brilliant mind for telling stories to children, about children, in a way in which they want to sit still and listen. His raspy voice always could keep my attention and I knew it immediately when I heard it.

He perfected the art of telling a story in front of a group of kids, something which isn’t easy to do, through practice and repetition. It isn’t easy to be able to bring a story and its characters to life in a way that manages to keep the attention of a room of little people, who will lose interest very easily if not given a reason to listen up. At the same time though, he might have just the same affect on any adult who just so happens to be listening as well, bringing multiple generations together.

He would improvise, changing the names of the characters in a story he was telling to match one of the children in the audience. In a world where so many ugly stories surface in the media about the abuse and neglect of children, it’s such a breath of fresh air to know there are the ones who care and who have done all they could to make children happy.

His voice is his sound affect. He can tell a story with the goofiest tones. It is his instrument, being able to raise or lower it where needed. This makes stories fun for kids.

I am proud to call this author a part of Canadian literary culture. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has been responsible for getting an endless number of kids interested in reading and stories since he moved to this country all those years ago.

The same library I would go with my mother and siblings to borrow his books and stories on tape might be one in Ontario, Canada just like where he might be doing a reading for a group of rapt and attentive boys and girls.

From his story of a mud puddle that threw itself onto an unsuspecting little girl (a fear of mine, being a little girl that did not like to get dirty). To a princess wearing a burnt paper bag to face a fiery dragon.

From a train that ran through the living room. To a little boy who did not want to wear his ugly brown snowsuit.

Love You Forever is probably one of the top new baby gifts. It has a sweetness and an innocence all throughout that will make you want to cry, the moment you know what it’s like to hold a precious child in your arms. This is an instance where he has brought children and adults together, to show what a great story can do.

Robert must have had inspiration for the dozens of stories he’s come up with over the years, from a life well lived. It hasn’t always been easy for him, dealing with crippling mental illness. I would like to talk with him, to ask him for the inspiration for every one of his stories. I hope he knows how much his stories are gifts that make all who reads or hears them want to keep on reading and listening, that through all the dark times he must have faced, he has been a light to so many kids like myself.

Happy Seventieth Birthday Robert Munsch. Thank you for bringing my childhood to life with your tales of everyday mishaps with a sprinkling of the magic of what it’s like to be a kid thrown in for good measure.

Facts About Robert Munsch

Standard
Blogging, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, TToT

TToT: So Long and Thanks for the May Memories

Wow! May comes to a close, and what a May it was!

Not so sorry to see it go, honestly, as certain events have made it hard for me to be thankful at all.

However, as much trouble as I’ve found it to be sometimes, I still want to find

The Silver Linings,

where I can. That is why, even though I struggled a little bit this week, to find ten things I still had to try.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

Monday: For, although Monday mornings often receive a bad reputation, this week mine started out anything but.

I spoke to the author in charge, who informed me that the anthology of short stories (of which mine is included) is to be released on June 15th.

This surely started out my week on a positive note and (by announcing this on my Facebook timeline) I hoped to spread a bit of early Monday morning, start of the week cheer. Hoped my excitement might be contagious.

For spaghetti.

Normally I don’t always enjoy this most commonly known pasta, but I had a lovely family dinner.

My sister made it and I enjoyed each part: noodles (perfect consistency), just enough sauce and it tasted like the perfect flavour of tomato, and the meatballs were just right as well.

Tuesday: For music.

Specifically, music created by my brother and the title of this song, recently recorded by him, caught my attention:

https://m.soundcloud.com/brian-kijewski/decade-adrift

I am thankful for the way music brings people together and for the gift it has been in my younger brother’s life. This is evidence of his talent and his creativity and that makes me happy.

Wednesday: For thank you notes, but more specifically The Tonight Show’s Thank You Notes:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLykzf464sU9-IFE2ZBbUyfbi6_uNBQavD&v=teDXiuI9jSw

They make me smile. His delivery is so on point. He has been doing this bit for years. Ingenious idea, in my opinion and I thought it was perfect for Ten Things of Thankful.

Wow. Why is coming up with ten things to be thankful for such a challenge? It shouldn’t be this hard, should it?

😦

Can I list a few of these things twice?

Thursday: For one of my new favourite App’s for my iPhone.

Don’t you just hate it when you hear a song and you can’t place it? You can’t, for the life of you, remember who sings it or what it’s called.

Well…Shazam it!

Shazam lets you take a quick recording of any song that is playing. Then it immediately identifies it for you. You then have the choice to play a clip, the video, learn the lyrics to the song in question – all in one place.

For comedian Nick Offerman.

I found an interview with the Parks and Recreation actor, on a Canadian program:

Check it out here.

His outlook on life and surprisingly goofy giggle made my day.

Friday: For the chance to help others.

With my blog, I have the chance to not only share my own writing, but to hopefully help share other people’s writing too.

Happy Birthday! – Something Missing by Hazel F. Robinson

It feels good to help someone who has been helpful to me.

Saturday: For central air.

As the weather, in Canada where I live, as it’s still a mix bag of temperatures, I am only needing air conditioning on certain hotter days. I am still grateful to have it, on the muggiest of days, one of the good and lasting things that resulted from a partnership that is no longer.

Wait. I think this last one can count as two things. Can’t it?

Oh, okay. Here’s one more.

For the end of a particularly challenging month and the ushering in of the month of June tomorrow. I have high hopes for what next month has in store for me..

Standard
Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Special Occasions, TGIF, This Day In Literature

SOMETHING MISSING

Author Hazel F. Robinson has been supportive of me in the past few months and so I wanted to do something for her in return.

newcover-2015-05-29-07-59.jpg

Go check out “Something Missing”, currently on sale.

Available at the following links (both UK and US versions)::

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00YCJ3D7M/ref=redir_mdp_mobile_fh/181-5331324-1546753?ie=UTF8&redirectFromSS=1&pc_redir=T1&noEncodingTag=1&fp=1

http://www.amazon.com/Something-Missing-Book-True-Love-ebook/dp/B00K08ROEC

Now out from Little Bird Publishing House.

Check them out on Facebook.

Also, check her out on Facebook while there:

Hazel.F.Robinson books

Standard