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Archive for April, 2013

promophoto Thanks to author Dianne Lynn Gardner for stopping by and sharing what it takes to wrap up a fantasy trilogy. Enjoy!

The Process of Wrapping up a Trilogy by Dianne Lynn Gardner

When I wrote The Ian’s Realm Saga, I had planned the story to be a three-book story arc, with each book having it’s own mini story, but the real conflict not being resolved until the last book. The saga does take side trips with the short stories in the A Tale of the Four Wizards series. And there are more books to the series not yet written that take place in the Realm.

The last book to this trilogy, Rubies and Robbers just happened to be ready to draft in November. What great timing that turned out to be. I was able to write it during NaNoWriMo! The National Writer’s Challenge Month. Needless to say, I joined up and wrote like crazy and finished in 27 days with 50K words. And it really was an easy book to write. Of course, that was only a first draft and I finally finished the novel at over 62K words not too long ago.

Ever since I began writing the first book, Deception Peak, I saw the ending. I could not wait to write the ending, it was going to be so exciting. And for all the twists and turns that the story took through both Deception Peak and the second installment, The Dragon Shield, the ending never changed. It was firm in my mind and in my heart. You can imagine how excited I was to finally get to it!

I have a writing process that I learned from a book called Anatomy of Story by John Truby, which has helped me in plotting out my stories. It’s somewhat complicated, having 22 steps to follow. But it’s so thorough that by the time you have the steps charted, your novel just flows and makes sense in the end.

One of the most difficult things to do with a third book in a trilogy is making sure everything you’ve written so far gets resolved. That process entails going back and reading what you’ve written not just one or two times. At one point I had to have all three manuscripts opened and placed next to each other on my computer screen. I have to admit, I lost Ian’s Sword once and had to go back and look for it. Where the heck was the last place he put it? *laughs here. Losing something is not anything unusual in my household!

A third book in a trilogy also has to resolve the growth of the characters. Every event that happened in the series affected not just Ian, my main character, but his dad, the people he was living with, and the antagonists. They all grew in some way be it backwards or forwards. The third book is the conclusion of their growth. The growth of the characters tied in close to theme development, so I needed to make certain they were consistent, and final.

1-Rubiesfinal It’s my goal that when the reader finishes reading the last page of Rubies and Robbers, the story doesn’t end for them. I want to leave the reader with something to think about and perhaps something that might effect their life for the better. I honestly believe that this trilogy just might do that. We’ll see. I’ve yet to have many readers of the whole series. But time will tell.

Thanks, Vonnie, for having me on your blog!”

For more information about Dianne Lynn Gardner and her books, you can view her Publisher’s website: http://www.hydrapublications.com/shop/deception-peak/ or the official book blog: http://dragontargeseries.blogspot.com/or her website:http://gardnersart.comYou can also find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheIansRealmSaga?ref=ts&fref=ts , Twitter https://twitter.com/DianneGardner, and goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473931.Dianne_Lynn_Gardner

And you can view the Dragon Shield Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c2rm6mGBrM

If you’re interested in purchasing The Dragon Shield or Dianne’s other books, check http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Shield-Dianne-Lynn-Gardner/dp/0615760457 and Author Central on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Dianne-Lynn-Gardner/e/B0090LIYEO or smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260744

Thanks again to Dianne Lynn Gardner for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have an adventurous day! – Vonnie

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Readers and Writers Recipes: Crab Appetizers

This is a classic and yummy appetizer. Like last week’s Mock Boursin Cheese Spread, Crab Appetizers work well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, family get-together, or any other fun gathering. And the best part – you can make the Crab Appetizers ahead of time, and just cook them briefly when it’s time to eat.

Crab Appetizers

Ingredients:

1 cup margarine (softened)

2 5-ounce Kraft Old English Cheese Spread

2-teaspoons Miracle Whip Lite (or similar lo-cal mayonnaise)

1/4-teaspoon garlic powder

1-teaspoon seasoned salt

1-pound crab meat

12 English muffins, split

Directions to make:

1-Combine the margarine, cheese spread, Miracle Whip, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and crab meat.

2-Spread on the split English muffins. (You have 24 split English muffins).

3-Cut the split English muffins into quarters (there will be 96 quarters).

4-Spread in a single layer on cookie sheets and place in the freezer until cheese is firm.

5-Remove the cookies sheets from the freezer, lift Crab Appetizers from the sheets and place in plastic zipper freezer bags. Store in freezer until ready to use.

Directions to serve:

1-Preheat oven to 350º F and coat cookie sheets with a vegetable spray like Pam.

2-Put the desired number of still-frozen Crab Appetizers in a single layer on cookie sheets, place in the preheated oven, and bake until the cheesy topping is slightly browned and bubbly. (About 10 minutes, but watch closely so as not to burn). Put any unused Crab Appetizers back in the freezer for later use.

3-Remove cookies sheets from oven and place the appetizers on a serving dish. Serve immediately. Each batch makes 96 Crab Appetizers.

Notes:

1-These simple, make-ahead-of-time appetizers go quickly, so you might want to make 2 batches to have in the freezer. When company drops by, you can always pull out a few Crab Appetizers from the freezer to bake and serve your guests.

2-If you make too many and have left-overs after your party, these delightful Crab Appetizers can be warmed up the next day and served with soup for a tasty lunch.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from author, Diane Gardner.

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MikeAuthorPhoto9 Thanks to author J. Michael Squatrito, Jr. (my first male guest author), for stopping by and sharing what it takes to make a male fantasy hero. And you’ll notice at the end of the post, he’s looking for guest bloggers for his site.

The Making of the Male Fantasy Hero by J. Michael Squatrito, Jr.

Before I get started, I want to take the opportunity to thank Vonnie for letting me guest blog on her site as well as to be the first male adding content here! With that thought in mind, and no pressure of course, I figured it would be a good segue into the mind of the male author and in particular, the male fantasy hero. My Overlords books are firmly planted in the fantasy genre and the lead character, Harrison Cross, is a young, righteous warrior. He is the prototypical fantasy protagonist – blonde hair, blue eyes, six feet tall, muscular and fit, an accomplished warrior, etc. and he gets the girl in the end (and a beautiful one at that!). So, why should you care?

Harrison might appear to be your regular run of the mill fantasy hero on the outside, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. I personally hate seeing movies or reading books where things always fall neatly into place for the lead characters. Or anything that Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger star in! Though my books are fantasy fiction, I want to give them a dose of reality. Harrison might be talented, but he’s young and inexperienced. He makes mistakes. He gets his fellow adventurers into precarious situations due to his inability to realize when you need to fight or when you should walk away. He’s selfless and puts others ahead of himself. He’s fiercely loyal to his team members and to his love, Tara. And no one hurts his canine companion, Lance. Even though Lance is a dog, he never leaves him to suffer, even at the expense of his group.

Harrison is not the biggest of warriors, and many times he is beaten, hurt, over-matched, and imprisoned. Through all of his trials and tribulations, he never wavers from his goal to reunite humanity. These qualities, I feel, draw the reader to root for Harrison, to want him to succeed, to believe in him and his cause. And isn’t that what we all want in our heroes?

Overlords_book_1_final2 When creating Harrison, I had to make sure of many things, such as not making him a super hero, not letting him be too sensitive or too aggressive, not allowing him to win the heart of a beautiful maiden too easily – everything that would not happen in ‘real life.’ You see, male heroes have a lot to live up to. They need to think a certain way and they can’t be allowed to go overboard, but most importantly, they need to be admired by male and female readers alike. For the boys, the male hero must be strong and decisive, someone to rally around, and for the girls, someone they can trust and believe in and, if I’m lucky, someone they can fall in love with. I feel that I’ve accomplished all of that in creating Harrison, and I hope you read his story and agree with me.

You can learn more about me and my project at www.the-overlords.com and you can contact me directly at mike@the-overlords.com . As you can see, I’m looking for other authors to guest blog on my site (Vonnie’s going to post in May!) and if you’re interested, please contact me.

You can purchase my books and eBooks on my website or if you have Amazon and Barnes & Noble accounts, at the following: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=squatrito%20overlords or Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/squatrito-overlords?store=book&keyword=squatrito+overlords

And for authors-to-be or self-published authors looking to help spread the word about your books, I have a self-publishing consultancy called Self Publishing Insight that might be right for you. I have experts that provide services for editing, artwork, social media, self-promotion, eBooks, and much more. Let us help you!”

Thanks again to J. Michael Squatrito, Jr. for his guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a fantastic day! – Vonnie

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152 Long before recycling became common place, my family was carefully sorting our trash. Cardboard, paper, clear glass, colored glass, aluminum, etc. were separated in our garage, adding to the general disorder one finds in the garage of a family of five. Then, we’d transport the bags of recyclables to the local middle school and place it in the appropriate bins. But we didn’t mind.

We planted trees and native plants. We only cut down trees that had to be removed, even leaving some deadwood so the woodpeckers and other birds and animals could use the hollowed trunks for homes.

We planted a vegetable garden and used natural bug repellants, mulch, and fertilizer. We also planted sunflowers, black-eyed susans, and echinacea to not only enjoy their cheerful blooms, but to allow them to go to seed so the wildlife would have food. Coral bells, bee balm, hyssop, and other hummingbird and butterfly friendly plants were added to our flower beds. And at the end of the season, we left the spent vegetable garden for the wild animals to enjoy.

And with a well as our water source, we’ve always been conservative in our water usage.

Were those “be friendly to the Earth” lessons of long ago worth the effort? I believe they were. My children realize how precious our planet is, and are passing that belief on to their children.

Al Bernstein wrote: “We treat this world of ours as if we had a spare in the trunk.” I know there’s no spare, so I try to leave a small footprint on Mother Earth. This beautiful blue and green planet is a gift, and I celebrate Earth Day every day.

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Readers and Writers Recipes: Mock Boursin Cheese Spread

This is a tasty cheese spread with just the right amount of zip added by garlic and spices. Like last week’s Eggless Milkless Dark Chocolate Cake, Mock Boursin Cheese Spread works well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, family get-together, or any other fun gathering. All you add are crackers to spread the cheese on, or use it to fill fresh celery sticks.

Mock Boursin Cheese Spread

Ingredients:

16 ounces lo-cal cream cheese (softened)

1 cup margarine (softened)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4-teaspoon crushed basil

1/4-teaspoon thyme

1/4-teaspoon oregano

1/4-teaspoon marjoram

1/4-teaspoon dill

1/4-teaspoon black pepper

1/4-teaspoon salt

Directions:

1-Combine the cream cheese and margarine using a mixer.

2-Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until well-mixed.

3-Serve with crackers or fill celery sticks with the cheese spread.

4-Refrigerate any leftovers. (The spread can be frozen for later use).

Notes:

1-This recipe can be cut in half if you’re only making the cheese spread for one. By the way, Mock Boursin Cheese Spread on crackers and a bowl of soup make a delicious lunch.

2-You can also cover one half of a bagel with Mock Boursin Cheese Spread, add a couple of slices of lunch meat and some lettuce, and top it with the other half of the bagel. If you’re adventurous, you can also add mustard, tomatoes, etc. to make a great sandwich.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from fantasy author, J. Michael Squatrito, Jr.

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authorphoto Thanks to author Allison Merritt for stopping by and sharing how embarrassing moments can add spice to both life and a book’s narrative.

Embarrassing Moments by Allison Merritt

‘When I was a young teenager, my mom and dad took me with them to Walmart one day. My mom never used public restrooms, but we’d had a big lunch and she said she had to go. This was back before super centers and multi-stall bathrooms. My dad and I waited a couple aisles away. He looked at me and said, “You know what would be funny? Go jiggle the bathroom doorknob, knock as hard as you can and say in a deep voice, ‘Hurry up in there!’ Then run back here.”

Sounded like a good idea to me. I pounded on the door and said the magic words. Oddly, there was no response. Giggling, I hurried back to my dad’s side and we laughed together. We rounded an aisle and there was Mom! We didn’t stick around to find out who was in the bathroom.

Embarrassing moments are kind of like a garnish for life. They’re wonderful when you can look back on them and laugh. Which is why I like to sprinkle them through my writing and make my characters’ lives more interesting. In my newest novel, the heroine, Nora Frost, is a teacher a private girls’ school. She has a secret that she’s managed to hide from society—she can see the past, present and future by touching another person. But she’s very awkward and tries to overcome her “curse” by pretending to be normal. This is Nora’s embarrassing moment from The Turncoat’s Temptress:

Well aware that history was one of the least popular subjects in the school Nora nevertheless gave it another attempt.

She tapped the wall where the illustration mapped on a glass slide was thrown into sharp relief by the bright light of the projector. “As you can see the headwaters of the Tiber form here. The area has been called the cradle of civilization. Can anyone tell me the legend of how Rome came into being?”

Francie Draper’s hand shot up. Nora was speechless. In the two quarters she’d taught at Miss Slater’s School for Young Ladies, Francie had never raised her hand to answer a question.

Please, tell us what you know,” Nora said, managing a smile.

Miss Frost, I think your projector is about to—” Francie never finished her sentence. The machine burst into flame, cracking the glass. Panicked shrieks filled the room. Nora clapped her hands over her ears as the students rushed past her out the door, leaving her alone to handle the situation.

She snatched up the dust cover she’d discarded earlier and beat the flames with it. In less than a minute the danger had passed. She lowered herself into one of the chairs and waved a hand in front of her face to clear the air.

The projector was ancient, of course, something her cousin had dug out of storage when she started teaching. Rather than petition the headmistress—who was well known for her thrifty nature—for a new one, she’d assumed the old one would suffice. Wait until Miss Slater caught wind that Nora had nearly burned her precious school to the ground. She already had one foot in the proverbial grave as far as her teaching career went.

3TcT The sharp tap of heels on the gleaming wood floors signaled Miss Slater’s approach. “Drat,” she muttered. Nora shot to her feet as the woman stopped inside the doorway.

Miss Frost, your students have just informed me that you’ve developed a problem with your projector.”

There’s no longer a problem, Miss Slater,” she answered meekly.

The older woman’s eyebrows rose. “Your skirt is on fire, dear.”

Nora looked down at her hem, which fed a merry little flame. She beat the singed cover against it, cursing beneath her breath all the while. She raised her eyes to meet her employer’s bemused gaze…’

For more about Allison Merritt, her writing, and other books, visit her blog: http://havenovelwilledit.blogspot.com and Facebook page: http://facebook.com/authorallisonmerritt and follow her on twitter: http://twitter.com/allison_merritt

For a copy of The Turncoat’s Temptress: Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00C0ULRCS or Barnes &Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-turncoats-temptress-allison-merritt/1114917064?ean=2940016333915

Thanks again to author Allison Merritt for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more Guests, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have an embarrassment-free day! – Vonnie

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100 If you have friends (or children) with milk or egg allergies, this cake is a delicious and easy alternative to cakes loaded with eggs and dairy. It’s very chocolatey, so I usually use vanilla icing. If you decide to use chocolate icing – be prepared for a chocolate high! Like last week’s Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, Eggless Milkless Dark Chocolate Cake works well for a book club or readers’ group get-together or any other fun gathering. And you don’t have to have an allergy to love this cake!

Eggless, Milkless Dark Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup cocoa (unsweetened)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 stick margarine (1/2 cup) melted and slightly cooled

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons vinegar

2 cups cold water

Directions:

1-Preheat over to 375ºF.

2-Combine in large bowl: flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.

3-Add margarine, vanilla, vinegar, and cold water. Mix until well blended.

4-Pour batter into greased and floured pans. (See notes).

5-Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (See notes).

6-Cool, then frost as desired.

Notes:

1-This recipe makes a 2-layer cake using 9” diameter rounds or 8-9” square pans. Or you can make a sheet cake or bundt cake.

2-If you make a 2-layer cake or a sheet cake, 30 minutes baking time is usually enough. If you make a bundt cake, it might take slightly longer to bake. Check for doneness using either a cake tester or a toothpick to make sure the center of the cake isn’t still under-baked.

3-Remember, if you’re making this cake for someone with a milk allergy, use vegetable margarine and either soy or rice milk for making a “buttercream” icing with a box of powdered sugar.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from author, Allison Merritt.

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Thanks to speculative author, Jennifer Allis Provost, for stopping by and urging writers to step away from their computers and get out.

Yes, You Probably Do Need to Get Out More by Jennifer Allis Provost

Jennifer Allis Provost “As writers scan the internet for writing-related advice, they invariably come across the following, in one form or another: You need to get out there.

Writing is, by its very nature, a solitary endeavor. Yes, there are critique groups and beta readers and book clubs, but writing itself only takes one person. Not only is it easy to get lost in your own words, once your masterpiece is complete you need to sell it. And, if you have no publishing-related contacts, that is going to be pretty tough.

So, what’s a writer to do? How do you meet successful agents and authors and editors? How can you get your business cards in the hands of people that matter?

A good place to start is writing conferences. They typically offer craft workshops, discussions led by well-known authors, and maybe even pitch sessions. They are a great place to meet people, learn what’s happening in the industry, and get loads of advice.

Since I write speculative fiction, I forgo most writing conferences and attend genre conventions. Easter Weekend found me at Smith College’s Conbust, a smaller con close to home. I was on four panels: Fairies, The Publishing Industry, Urban Fantasy, and How to Get Published.

All of the panels went well, but the most extraordinary thing happened during the Publishing Industry panel. I was crashed by Bruce Coville and Tamora Pierce.

Bruce Coville and Tamora fricken Pierce!

They were concerned that I had to run the panel all by my lonesome, and offered their assistance. Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I quickly made room and we had a rollicking good discussion. Afterward, Tamora Pierce took one of my cards.

Tamora Pierce took one of my cards!

Jennifer Allis Provost Copper Girl So, the moral of the story is this: yes, you do need to get out there! If I wasn’t in the habit of attending conventions, I never would have had the opportunity to meet two such well-known authors, or give either of them my card. Will anything come of Ms. Pierce having my info. Probably not. But, she has it, and that’s got to count for something.”

Jennifer Allis Provost is a native New Englander who lives in a sprawling colonial along with her beautiful and precocious twins, a dog, a parrot (maroon bellied conure, to be exact), two cats, and a wonderful husband who never forgets to buy ice cream. As a child, she read anything and everything she could get her hands on, including a set of encyclopedias, but fantasy was always her favorite. She spends her days drinking vast amounts of coffee, arguing with her computer, and avoiding any and all domestic behavior.

Her latest release, COPPER GIRL, is due out from Spence City on June 25, 2013. Learn more about her, and her upcoming releases, here: http://jenniferallisprovost.com/Home_Page.html and here: http://jenniferallisprovost.blogspot.com/

Thanks again to Jennifer Allis Provost for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a wonderful day! – Vonnie

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Jaleta's CC Oatmeal Cookies The recipe for these delicious cookies comes from science fiction writer, Jaleta Clegg. These cookies are perfect for a book club or readers’ group get-together or for the kids when they get home from school. Like last week’s Oven Baked Chicken Bruschetta, Jaleta’s Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies get great reviews. And now, a few words from Jaleta and the recipe:

Have you ever put cooking scenes in your stories? I can’t stop myself. I love cooking and I don’t see that changing for people in the far future, when my stories tend to happen. Picture it: a starship flying through the cosmos, the crew gathered in the galley cooking dinner. I have a thing for RVs. I guess it shows in my books. Right now I’m channeling the Winnebago scenes from Space Balls and the kitchen scenes from Firefly.

I’ve got a main character that loves to cook. It’s her way to destress and connect. She loves playing with new spices and ingredients. Jasyn understands the role food plays in society. It not only nourishes our bodies but our souls.

I can picture Jasyn making a batch of these wonderful cookies in her tiny kitchen on her ship. I can also picture the other crew members – Dace and Clark – devouring them, just like my kids in my kitchen.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 c. butter

1 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. white sugar

2 eggs

1/2 t. salt

2 t. baking soda

1 t. vanilla

1 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 c. white flour

2 1/2 c. quick cooking oatmeal

2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 c. dried cranberries (optional)

Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs, salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Beat until very light and fluffy. Add flour, oatmeal, and chocolate chips. Stir until well mixed. Set aside while the oven preheats. Or cover and refrigerate for several hours. (Letting the dough rest allows the oats to absorb moisture and makes the cookies softer.)

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick spray. Scoop cookie dough in one inch balls onto sheets. Bake for 9 minutes. Let cool for a couple of minutes before removing from the sheets. Makes 5 – 6 dozen cookies.”

biosmall Jaleta Clegg loves writing what she knows – science fiction and cooking with the occasional bit of silly horror thrown in for laughs. She loves concocting dishes with bizarre names such as Chilled Monkey Brains, Radioactive Dog Spit, and Snake Surprise. New spices and strange vegetables are common on her table. Her children have learned to taste before complaining. You never know what you might enjoy until you try it. Find recipes on her blog every Thursday: http://jaletaclegg.blogspot.com and links to her writings at http://www.jaletac.com

Thanks again to Jaleta Clegg for sharing her recipe. Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from speculative writer, Jennifer Allis Provost.

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Thanks to author Pat Valdata for stopping by and sharing her reasons for choosing to write fiction. Enjoy!

Why Write Fiction? By Pat Valdata

On Point 061 WEB Pat small “When I am at a book fair, the cover of my 2nd novel, The Other Sister, often attracts people to my table. Sometimes they just want to identify the ethnic costumes worn by the two girls (they are Hungarian).Often they’ll pick up the book and begin reading, asking me if it is a about my family history. I explain that the book is set in the urban, Hungarian–American culture that I grew up in, and that I got the idea for the novel from hearing the story of how my mother’s parents met, but that it is a work of fiction.

I am always surprised by the people who put the book down at that point and tell me that they don’t read fiction. And they almost shudder when I point out that my other current title, Inherent Vice, is a book of poetry. While I am sorry I didn’t make a sale, I am most disappointed that anyone would limit his or her reading to nonfiction. I have nothing against nonfiction—I write it myself, and some of my favorite books are biographies, memoirs, and nature writing. I also understand that we are all busy and have less time for leisure, so we need to choose how we spend those precious minutes. But how sad not to embrace the world of the imagination!

frontcover2 Sometimes I worry that kids today are not being raised to love imagination. When little kids play with toy trucks, they don’t even have to supply the “vroom vroom” noise of the engine running—their toys come with sound effects built in. Computers and video games provide not only sounds but images, too. I’ll admit that I enjoy playing Angry Birds almost as much as my four-year-old grandniece does, but if had to choose between smashing green pigs or reading a good novel, the novel would win, every time.

Do children have imaginary friends these days? Mine were my closest companions until I started school. When my mother read to me, and later when I learned to read myself, I loved to picture the characters, scenes and action in my head. From page one until the end of the book, I was right there, with the characters, whether the setting was Rivendell, Mars, the streets of Trenton, or a Greek island.

I think that is what led me to write books of my own. When I am in the middle of a novel, it’s as though I have imaginary friends again. I have fun watching their lives develop on the page, picturing what they look like and how they behave. I feel happy for them when good things occur, and sad when the inevitable plot complication means I have to make bad things happen, too. As the manuscript pages pile up, I am thrilled to realize how much I have made up out of pure imagination, and I am hopeful that a reader somewhere will care for these characters as much as I do.

IVcover_small This happens when I write poetry, too. Lately, I have been writing persona poems, in which I put myself in someone else’s shoes and tell a bit of their life story using the first-person point of view. Some are based on real people, like Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman to get a pilot’s license, but others are made up: a skateboarding teen-aged father, a glass blower, a commuter who has lost a child. Some of these fictional personae, like the glassblower and skateboarder, required some research to give their voices authenticity, but others, like the grieving commuter, are completely made up. As with my fiction writing, I hope that readers of these short stories told in poems will enjoy spending time with the characters.

For me, that’s the whole point of a good read (or good write): getting to know a whole new set of imaginary friends.”

Pat Valdata’s first full-length poetry book, Inherent Vice, was published in 2011 by Pecan Grove Press. Her chapbook, Looking for Bivalve, by Pecan Grove Press in 2002, was a competition finalist. Pat has also written two novels: Crosswind (Wind Canyon Books, 1997) and the award-winning The Other Sister (Plain View Press, 2008). Pat is a 2013 recipient of a grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation for a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Pat has an MFA in writing from Goddard College. She has taught writing and literature courses for the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), University of Delaware and Cecil College. To purchase her books: http://www.cloudstreetcomm.com/books.htm

Thanks again to Pat Valdata for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have an imagination-filled day!– Vonnie

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