Friday, 11 July 2014

Finding Your Child Voice In Writing

Finding Your Child Voice

When writing children literature, finding your own child voice is the only way to create realistic characters, believable dialogue, and succinct narrative that will grab your reader’s attention and keep them involved in your story.

Students often ask me: So how does a writer find their child voice?

My answer to students is this: Before you can find your child voice, you must think like a child. To think like a child you must play like a child, even if it is only in your mind.

Seems like a relatively simple thing to do, right?  But as adults, we often let go of (or lose completely) our childlike attitudes and behaviors; tuck them away, in a memory box.

So, open the box. Remember. Put on a costume and dance around the room, go to a park and cruise down the slide, visit a classroom, read children’s literature, or hang out with some kids and just observe. Soon enough, your own childhood memories will come flooding back about what it was like to be that age: what was important, what wasn’t important, how you acted and how you talked, what the world sounded like, felt like, and tasted like.  

Once your own inner child is awakened, you will be able to immerse yourself into your child character’s head with more freedom; with more pizzazz.

Another exercise I have my students do to get into child-mode thinking is to look at things, people, situations and emotions; write down all the different ways to express it with originality. Then, break the sentences down again and again until the emotions and situations are expressed simply, with the innocence of a child’s heart.

 Here are some examples of my child voice that I’ve used in my own stories:

Excited:  He felt as if a herd of jumping bugs were doing cartwheels in his stomach.

Sad: My heart fell sideways and stayed lying down all day.

Descriptive dialogue: "I know grandma can fly. She has that flabby, flapping skin under her arms that turns into her after-dark wings."

Descriptive narrative: The wind pricked him, jabbed at him, finally becoming so mean with all its yelling and howling that he decided the wind just wasn’t worth playing with any longer.

So if find yourself dancing and twirling around the kitchen, doing cartwheels across the yard, or finger painting like a four-year-old, and somebody comes along to tell you that you are acting immature, take it as a compliment and start writing.




Illustration by Samantha Kickingbir
Copyright Diane Mae Robinson, 2014

For more information about my dragon books for children: http://www.dragonsbook.com

Friday, 27 June 2014

Chocolate = Books=Yummy

My friend, C.L. Murphy, asked me awhile ago to participate in the Chocolate Blog Challenge. C.L. is the author of the wonderful e-book series,The Adventures of Lovable Lobo and blog posts here: http://lovablelobo.wordpress.com/

So, thinking about chocolate, which I am totally addicted to and books, which I am absolutely addicted to, brought me to thinking about some really cool books, as I am eating chocolate in order to think wisely.

My book comparisons are all children book writers who I know and admire.

Sir Nathan and the Troublesome Task by Mark Simon Smith, bk. 2.


Trouble has darkened the colorful land of Mariskatania and it is up to the Hero, Sir Nathan, to save the day. There are stories of a terrible, awful, frightening beast roaming the countryside and Sir Nathan must hunt down this creature and return what has been stolen from Queen Gobbledeegook.
 These books are hilarious and so much fun: the silliness, the smiting, the dastardly situations, the humor, the unique characters, especially Sir Nathan  and when he has 'lengthy screaming fits about the dastardly tricks of evil and how it sneaks about, ruining everything'.


My comparison to chocolate is to the Double Dipped Oreo Cookies Tin (for special occasions): all the fun of twisting off the tops and licking the middle of regular Oreo cookies, but with much more intrigue in the middle, on top, and all around.



The Adventures of Tomato and Pea Book 1: A Bad Idea 
by Erik Weibel

 Super-hero/O.L.E. agent Tomato wins an all-inclusive space cruise for himself and three
companions, and asks his best friends: Pea, his sidekick; Skew, a cook; and Poppy Lobster, a mailman aboard the S.S. Poofy.  Unbeknown to Tomato , his nemesis, Wintergreen,  has set the whole thing up with the intention of sending Tomato and his gang into a black hole from which they can never return.
This is a wonderful adventure written by an eleven-year-old who is also a book reviewer at http://thiskidreviewsbooks.com/  Who better to write a middle grade book than someone who reads a bazillion middle grade books?    





My comparison to Erik's book is to Chocolate Covered Popcorn--when watching or reading something entertaining, popcorn is a must. If it's very entertaining, then chocolate is required to top off that popcorn.







The Faeries of Birchover Wood--The Bad, #1, by Ian S. Rutter




Back in the days when the King of England           

fought along side such great beasts to defeat
the Bad, a magical pact was formed so that
if at any time the Bad was to find a way to
escape from the tree, then the spirits of the
myths, legends and folklore would come back 
and fight side by side to protect the innocent.
It was their duty. Their solemn vow. It was 
now that time to fulfill that promise.




This book reminds me of Chocolate Truffles: ganache centre (chocolate, caramel, nuts, almonds, berries, nougart, fudge, liqueur etc.) coated in chocolate, icing sugar, cocoa powder or chopped hazelnuts, almonds or coconut.  You get the picture, a lot of good stuff in each bite.



              Elven Jewel, # 1, by Kasper Beaumont

The story is a fantasy adventure about good versus evil. Four halflings,  
along with their bond fairies, set out to save their land, Reloria, from the evil Vergais (large, scaly creatures). There are also dwarfs, elves, knights and a dragon that team up with the halflings on their adventures to return the stolen Elven Jewel and, in turn, save their homeland.





 The comparison here is to Milk Chocolate Almonds: there's just no way you're going to have a few--eating the whole bag is a necessity, just like turning every page of this book.
 


The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #3:  Lobo Finds Bigfoot, by C. L. Murphy


There’s something in the forest that smells very different to Lobo in his third adventure.  What could it be?  He discovers Squatchy, a little Bigfoot!  Squatchy leads Lobo and Roxy, to a clearing in the forest where they witness the Squatchy Stomp.  Stomp along to the beat just like the Bigfoots do!  Find Squatchy when he hides in the trees and learn the secret Bigfoot signal!  BELIEVE!




                   
 
  This book reminds me of Ghiradelli Hot Chocolate with peppermint sticks: warm, smooth chocolate with adventurous peppermint. Totally satisfying.


The last part of the Chocolate Blog Challenge was to find three bloggers to carry on the challenge. Well, that part didn't work out so well as all my blogger friends said "No" in one way or another. Here's what they said:  "I'm busy that week studying flora in Peru."; "That's weird you asked since I'm on a diet."; "I'm scared."; "Ny cat ate the "N" key on ny laptop."; "Oh, what is to become of men and mice?" Huh?

So I've decided to just send you to some of my friends blogs to see what they are up to.




Join The Writer's Choice Newsletter: http://www.creativewritinginstitute.com/


For more information on my dragon books for children/adventure kids books: http://www.dragonsbook.com


                                                             

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Book Review. Little Miss History Travels to Mount Rushmore.

http://amzn.to/1svHU9L
LITTLE MISS HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE
by Barbara Ann Mojica

Illustrations by Victor Ramon Mojica
Publisher: CreateSpace, 2nd edition, August 26, 2013
34 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1492262985
ISBN-10: 1492262986


From the back cover: "LITTLE MISS HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE" is the first in a series of books using the Little Miss HISTORY character as a guide. She looks like a wannabe park ranger with pig tails and hiking boots three sizes too big. The aim of these books is to whet a child's appetite to learn more about history and encourage them to visit the landmarks featured in the series.  

About the story: History, as her parents call her for short, takes the reader on a trip to Mount Rushmore with very interesting--and probably some little known facts--about how the president's faces were carved, when they were carved, how many workers worked on the carvings, the cost of the project, the official name and Native American name for Mount Rushmore, and the mountain's link to the Native Americans in history.

What I thought: If my history lessons were this interesting when I was a kid, I would have loved learning history. This is an excellent history book with an adventurous main character that talks to kids (and obviously adults--me) in a fun way about history facts. I think this series is an amazing idea, and kids will absolutely love this book and will want to read the other Little Miss History books. Kudos to the author for making history fun. 

The illustrations are bold and colorful, and absolutely delightful.

http://amzn.to/1kZahDG

http://amzn.to/1lfmM2N

About the Author

Barbara Ann Mojica is an historian and retired educator living in New York State. She holds a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in History. Barbara spent more than 40 years teaching in NYC and holds New York State teacher certifications in Elementary, Special Education, and Administration. She also spent several years as a Special Education Administrator and principal of a special education preschool for developmentally delayed children. Barbara, although retired from teaching, is staying busy: along with her forthcoming series of Little Miss History travel books she writes historical pieces for The Columbia Insider, Pat Fisher and Ed Pollack Editors, under the banner “Passages”. Marrying her love of history and teaching, Barbara hopes her Little Miss History character will inspire children to learn about historical people, and visit landmarks such as the one covered in this book.
Visit Barbara's website: WWW.LittleMissHISTORY.com


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artists Awards

                  
After nearly 200 applications and two levels of adjudication coordinated by The Banff Centre, eight outstanding artists emerged as  2014 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award recipients. 

His Honour, Col. (Ret’d) the Honourable Donald S. Ethell,

Government House, Edmonton, Alberta
Lieutenant Governor of Alberta presented the medals, certificates and $10,000 awards at a private ceremony June 11, 2014 at Government House in Edmonton. Meet this years recipients here:
http://www.artsawards.ca/index.php/emerging-artists/ea-past-recipients/

The Lieutenant Governor Emerging Artist Award is given to eight outstanding artist (in all disciplines) every two years. I was one of the eight recipients of this honourable award in 2012:
http://www.artsawards.ca/index.php/emerging-artists/ea-past-recipients/  
The Honourable Donald S. Ethell, Lieutenant Governor
of Alberta presenting award to Diane Mae Robinson
2012


June 11, 2014, Government House, Edmonton, Alberta
I was invited to this years award ceremonies at Government House where I watched the new recipients receive their awards, drank champaign, snacked on hors de oeurves, and chatted with very insightful and creative people.

I was also given an opportunity to present the Honorable Donald S. Ethell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, with my 2nd book in my children's fantasy/adventure series, Sir Princess Petra's TalentIn 2012, when I won this award, I presented the Lieutenant Governor with book one, Sir Princess Petra.


2012 Emerging Artist Award Recipients, and members of the board.


June 11, 2014, Diane at Government House



For more information on my fantasy kids books: http://www.dragonsbook.com

Sunday, 8 June 2014

News Release






Button Images

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Award Winning Children's Book Author Diane Mae Robinson

        Announces New Reviews And Future Releases


Robinson’s multi-award winning books, ‘Sir Princess Petra', and the second book in the series,
'Sir Princess Petra's Talent', teach children valuable life lessons through engaging fiction. Both
 books have received rave reviews. Two more books are scheduled for future release
[June 4, 2014, St. Paul, Alberta, Canada] Award winning Canadian author Diane Robinson 's highly 
praised, multi-award winning children’s book, ‘Sir Princess Petra’, the first in the Pen Pieyu series, 
features surprising plot twists and turns, brilliant flashes of humor, zany characters and is rooted
 in timeless values that shine through the charismatic main character. It is written in the tradition 
of C. S. Lewis and is reminiscent of ‘Shrek’. Reviewers have labeled the award winning book a 
‘fantasy adventure that is sure to become a timeless classic.’

'Sir Princess Petra' took an Honorable Mention award in the 2013 Readers' Favorite International 
Awards for Children Grade K - 3rd. Robinson was honored with two major awards for the book. 
She was awarded the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artists Award for Children’s 
Book Author and took 2nd place in the Purple Dragonfly Book awards for Children’s Chapter Book.

The second book in the series, 'Sir Princess Petra's Talent' has already received a number of very
 favorable reviews. The book recently garnered 5 more 5 star reviews and even more praise from 
Midwest Book Review and Readers Favorite.

“Writing and creating this fantasy series has been a fun adventure,” stated Robinson. “Petra is a 
spunky character who teaches children about kindness, accepting others for who they are, 
and believing in yourself. My grammar book is written in the same essence as this series.”

Robinson is currently at work on the third book in the series, 'Sir Princess Petra's Mission'. She is 
also writing an easy-to-understand grammar book for elementary children, 'Grammar for Kids and
 Dragons'. The book deals with elementary grades grammar lessons in a humorous medieval tone.

While dragon books are one of the most popular segments of fantasy fiction and children’s books
 in today's marketplace, in these fantasy fiction books, Robinson uses the dragon books concept 
as the background to teaching young people traditional values. Ms. Robinson's highly praised 
work demonstrates that dragon books can be something much more than dragon books.

Diane Mae Robinson is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information 
below or by email at robinsond@mscnet.ca. More information, including reviews, information for 
teachers and librarians, a downloadable lesson plan and a special children’s section is available 
at her website. Both books are currently available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

About Diane Mae Robinson:

Diane Mae Robinson has a journalism diploma from the Schools of Montreal, and an advanced 
diploma from the Institute of Children's Literature in Connecticut. She is a writing instructor/tutor
 for the Children’s Writing Course at the Creative Writing Institute. She is also an artist, writing
 tutor and teaches acrylic and watercolor art to children. She lives with her husband, Allen, in a 
small hilltop castle near St. Paul, Alberta.  They have four dogs and three horses, along with a f
orest inhabited by gnomes, fairies, a princess, and a dragon. This magical forest is where Diane 
creates her characters and gets the inspiration for her stories.

Contact:

Diane Mae Robinson
http://www.dragonsbook.com
robinsond@mcsnet.ca


Teachers/Librarians page link:  http://www.dragonsbook.com/teachers-librarians.html
Lesson plan link: http://www.dragonsbook.com/Sir_Princess_Petra's_Lesson_Plan.pdf
- See more at: http://www.freepublicitygroup.com/release_diane_robinson_dragons_book_may_114.html#sthash.bfk3hTPY.dpuf

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Local Literary Arts Event

Multi-author autographing event set to go

 St. Paul, Alberta - In a gathering unlike any St. Paul has seen, six area authors will be introducing themselves and their books to the community at a group autographing session in the new St. Paul Value Drug Mart on Friday, 20 June 2014 from 1 – 3 pm and again in the evening from 6 - 7 pm.

A broad taste of books will be available to purchase from the authors.  Shannon Ouellette, writing as Shannon Raelynn, will be there with her romance, SEASCAPE. 

Diane Beveridge, writing as Diane Peeling, will present her brand new book of poetry, A JOURNEY IN WORDS: Discovering my Being.

Award winning author, Diane Mae Robinson, will be on hand with the two books in her children’s series: SIR PRINCESS PETRA and SIR PRINCESS PETRA’S TALENT. 



Learn a bit of local history from Ella Drobot with her semi-autobiographical anthology BEHIND THE KITCHEN STOVE and Nicholas Verbisky with his autobiographical EMBARRAS PORTAGE:  Before, and After.

Eileen Schuh will be promoting the first three novels in her young adult BackTracker series: THE TRAZ, THE TRAZ School Edition, FATAL ERROR and FIREWALLS as well as her adult science fiction novellas, SCHRODINGER’S CAT and DISPASSIONATE LIES.

“All the authors are very excited about this opportunity,” Schuh says, noting St. Paul and area businesses, organizations and individuals have been exceptionally supportive of her career. “We love writing and are really looking forward to sharing our words first hand and face-to-face with members of our community.”

As St. Paul doesn’t have a bookstore, the Value Drug Mart for years has supported area authors by stocking their books. Now, with an expansive new location, they’ve decided to further promote the literary arts in their community by sponsoring an autographing event for the authors behind the books on their shelves.

Hope Ainsworth, Store Front Manager for St. Paul Value Drug Mart, whose idea sparked the event says, “We are looking forward to showcasing talent that is in our own backyard and seeing many of you stop by to chat and meet the people behind the stories .”

Authors will also gladly grant interviews during the event.

For more on my fantasy kids books, visit my website at: http://www.dragonsbook.com 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Strange Facts About Words

Some strange facts about words


There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: "abstemious" and "facetious." 

There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

"Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt".

No word in the English language rhymes with month,orange, silver, or purple.

The sentence: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" 
uses every letter of the alphabet. 


                         *************************************

Heteronyms are words that are spelled the same as another, but having a different sound and meaning.


     - The dragon wound the cloth around the wound on his leg.


     - He could still lead the knights if he could get the thick lead door opened.

     - Upon arrival, the royal dove dove through the window.
   
     - The royal carpenter built the door to close to the window—it would not close.



Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning. 

  - The prince, even in his present state, was to present the present to the princess (the 1st and 3rd "present" are the homographs; the 2nd "present" as to the 1st and 3rd "present" are heteronyms). 
      
  - The kingdom’s gardener was summoned to produce lots of produce, or else.

  The princess did not object to the shinny object the dragon brought her.
  
  -  Some of the soldiers got in a row as they tried to straighten the row.

                   ********************************************

Then there's the odd word up. Look it up in the dictionary. It is a two-letter word with the most meanings of any two-letter word:

Upon waking up, the princess looked up in the sky. The cloud art brought to mind a topic she must bring up to the royal councilman--she must speak up. Who would be up for election? And who would write up the royal reports? 

As she pondered, she decided to polish up the silverware and warm up spaghetti. Later, she cleaned up the mess before opening up the royal library. Deciding it was time to get dressed up for the ceremonies, she wondered if she was up for it. The whole deal would take up a lot of her time, but if she did not give up, she might wind up with a new role.

"Hmmm, it's clouding up outside." She closed up the shutters and wrapped up in her shawl.

                 I am one mixed up writer.

copyright, Diane Mae Robinson, 2014


For information on my dragon books for children: http://www.dragonsbook.com