Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 - this is the year...

Writing Resolutions:

#5 Keep up my new blog on Christian grandparenting:

#4 Focus my writing for publication on Bible stories for children

#3 Take part in the May NaPiBoWriWe - creating 1 complete manuscript a day

#2 Work with Harold Underwood on a specific manuscript

#1 Enjoy the support and encouragement of The Best Critique Group in the Universe!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Stories

Well, there are several children's books I love getting out at Christmastime. Since I love all things Madeline, of course I love Madeline's Christmas and we always use Bemelman's phrase "ice-cold-in-the-morning-feet." On Christmas Eve by Margaret Wise Brown--the story conveys such magic through the eyes of the children, and the illustrations by Nancy Edwards Calder are just beautiful. The language may feel a bit dated as it is a few decades old, but The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore has been around for about 187 years and I just love it. I like picking up various copies and seeing how the different illustrators have interpreted the scenes.

I am also a fan of The Christmas Conversation Piece by Bret Nicholaus and Paul Lowrie. It's got 300 simple (and clean!) questions designed to elicit the reader's thoughts, feelings, and recollections about Christmas. Leave it out on your coffee table. Pick it up and open to any page, choose a question. It's a fun thing to do with friends or family but also just for yourself in a quiet moment or two of personal reflection. An appropriate example: "You're writing a new Christmas classic. What would be the setting--time and place--for your holiday story?"

As for songs, my favorite Christmas songs are "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" but only if sung by Judy Garland, no one else! It does make me cry though, more with each passing year. Movies? Miracle on 34th Street (the original with Maureen O'Hara), Elf, even the first Home Alone. I must watch Love Actually every year. I will watch It's a Wonderful Life, though I have such issues with it. Hence, I submit another Jimmy Stewart movie that takes place mostly at Christmastime but is definitely not the typical holiday fare: Bell, Book, and Candle--especially fun for members of the Write 6 who like to write about the supernatural.

Finally, when I think about Christmas books, I feel I have to include Louisa May Alcott's Little Women since the book opens with the sisters discussing Christmas plans and chapter two describes their actual Christmas. It just sticks in my head and gives a feel for the characters and the tone of the book, the time in which it took place. I need to re-read it. I think my blogmates would truly identify with Jo in a later chapter, vowing to never forgive Amy for throwing into the fire a book that Jo had been working on for years! I guess today Amy would have to erase Jo's hard drive.

A very happy and peaceful holiday to my fellow Peabodies and anyone else who reads us. I hope for reconnection in 2011--with my writing and with my wonderful critique group, but it's still looking like that's a little way off for me. Thanks for letting me have a few moments here to wax nostalgic in the midst of the craziness.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

17 Days 'Til Christmas

Congrats on the website and the renewed success of your book, Robin!

I wanted to take a quick moment to respond to your blog topic, but with a twist. I want to mention one that I have really enjoyed reading with my kids: Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson. It is a terrific story about a little mouse who sets up house in a Nativity scene by lugging all the statues out and pushing the baby out of the manger. Then he overhears the Christmas story being read by a father to his children and is moved to make room for the baby Jesus. It is a really nice story and a great way to remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

I think I will order the classic Baby Bible Christmas for my two-year-old niece and I am certain that as my kids get older, we will enjoy reading the Tannenbaum Tailors, written by my fellow blog mate.

As for writing, I am feverishly trying to finish a family history book for my father's Christmas gift. I collected much of the info before my kids were born, but never compiled it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

At last!

My web site is up!

Designed by Brian Currie

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Once up a time...

Holiday books - what ones did we read/hear as kids?

Well, back in the Stone Age we actually had Christmas stories read to us in school! Shocking, I know. We sang carols, too.

The opening to Little Women (Louisa May Alcott, 1869)- "Christmas won't be Christmas without Father."

Bird's Christmas Carol (Kate Douglas Wiggin, 1887) and Dog of Flanders(Marie Louise de la Ramée, 1872)- two guaranteed tear jerkers! The teachers for some reason LOVED those.

Hmmmm - those are so old they qualify as "literature."

Baby Bible Christmas Storybook continues to get lots of Blogosphere "press" and radio interviews. Can I get one of those publcists for my life?

OK Blog Buds - name some titles NOT 2 centuries old!