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Archive for May, 2016

Ivy’s best friend Annie lives world apart with Ivy in a trailer and Annie in a fancy house. Ivy’s family work hard to make ends meet and Annie’s family is well off, enough to send Annie to camp every summer, one far away. This time when Annie departs, the two don’t leave on good terms. Needing a way to be friends again, Ivy finds jobs so she can purchase a friendship bracelet. Her quest to find jobs taking care of animals makes it a summer of learning and discovery.

I know Rosemary Wells from her Max and Ruby picture books. I didn’t know she wrote for older readers too. This is one book I didn’t want to end. I wanted more of Ivy. Maybe, hopefully, there will be. I liked the character of Billy Joe Butler who’s an annoying boy whom you don’t know to love or dislike. Ivy’s a delight too. One of the things I really liked was that this was an uncomplicated story, just about friendship, losing it and finding it again, but it’s so rewarding to read.

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Cliff Hangers

Someone whose work I’ve been critiquing came up with an interesting dilemma.  He’s writing a contemporary novel about suicide and bullying. Recently his chapters started ending as cliff hangers. Some of the people critiquing his work pushed him into adding cliff hangers to make the book more exciting I suppose. I disagreed. For one, real life doesn’t end every day in a cliff hanger (and thank goodness for that). His is a real-life story with real-life problems, serious problems. The content of the story alone is enough to drive the story forward without the necessity of having each chapter end with something about to happen right around the corner. Of course if it fits, so be it, but not every chapter and he was planning to rearrange each previous chapters so they do end in suspense.

I’ve had readers tell me the same, that I needed cliff hanging endings on my chapters. If it fits, okay, and my story that’s being critiqued is an adventure, science fiction where they’d fit, but not all my stories are all this way and I won’t put them in if it won’t fit or I think cheapens the story. It kind makes me wonder if people are taking the same classes where the instructor is saying one’s story is no good unless it does have cliff endings. And yet, in the books I read, there are few with them. Food for thought.

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It’s not uncommon to dream of friends and family and pets, but sometimes I dream of my mascots, mascot rather since I’ve only had Pawnee Kitty guest star. That changed when I dreamt of Angus. In my dream he was walking across a sidewalk, his noodle legs moving just as I imaged they would, a slight bounce in his step as his knees bent. I’ve dreamt of Pawnee countless times, but only rarely did she move and when she did it’s never been as I managed her little legs churning as she zipped here and there.

In the dream of Angus he approached the curb where an Angus sized Mustang convertible sat. He approached it on the passenger side, but maybe it was the correct side him being Scottish. That’s when my dream ended, a pity because I would have loved to see him drive off, his puffy tam high on his head, strands of wool streaming backward by the wind.

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Arianne lives with her mother and brother, Robbie, on the family’s horse farm barely making ends meet. Her father is a famous musician who left after Robbie was born affected disabled due to a drug his mother used during pregnancy. The family’s life is turned topsy turvy when an old pony gives birth to a centaur.

Pretty much anything by Jane Yolen is good. She’s a master of fantasy. This children’s book is a riveting tale taking on centaurs in a believable way. I liked how Ms. Yolen covered the growth of the centaur from baby/colt to toddler to older child.It’s set in the mid 60’s when hundreds of thalidomide children were born, children born with no limbs or misshapen arms or legs due to a drug their mothers took to combat morning sickness.. This must be the first book I’ve read that tackles this issue. There were over 20,000 babies born with this condition and now few people know about it.

 

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The New House

When my sister moves away from Texas, next summer I think, we’ll be embarking on a new chapter in our lives. This will involve locating our forever town and moving in together to save costs. My sister’s goal is to have a house built. It will be small. It will be one-story. It will be for aging-in-place. That is, no stairs, wider doors, and conveniences for older persons. Serendipitously I stumbled on a book at the library on the subject and told my sister who went to town by ordering it and others like it for her home library. She’s since been creating a binder to put in all the information. Since she’s and engineering and works with builders she’s been pumping them with information. I tell her things I see Mama having trouble with and I went to a senior convention and builder’s show to scope out brochures. The senior expo wasn’t much help. Since I got some free food and pens it wasn’t a total washout I really loved the recreational show next door to it. At the builder’s show I asked about roofing (metal or regular), solar power, and green building. Not only will this house be small, but we want to make it cost effective and keep the energy bills low.

When it will be built or where, I don’t know. I’m looking forward to the adventure.

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