Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Thoughtful posts on Crossing Cultures, Friendship, and The Lost Colony of Roanoke

Join the Celebration!

Caroline Starr Rose wrote this wonderful piece on life and writing with some marvelous quotes: 

Pinch of Daring

If you missed mine on Monday about friendship and how it blesses us, here it is: 

Other Posts from other writers and readers. All good stuff!

MG Book Review — Blue Birds :: Akossiwa Ketoglo




Monday, January 12, 2015

Childhood, Best Friends, and BLUE BIRDS by Caroline Starr Rose

Today begins a special Pre-Order & Gift week for the upcoming release of Caroline Starr Rose’s BLUE BIRDS (Putnam, March 10, 2014)!!

Caroline’s gorgeous new novel, BLUE BIRDS, is a historical written in verse is about a girl named Alis in 1587, fresh off the boat from England in the new and strange land of America in Virginia. As the only girl in the colony, Alis is lonely and missing her friend back home, but she's fascinated by this beautiful new world so different from cold, dirty London. While exploring the woods, she meets Kimi, a girl from the Roanoke tribe. Together they slowly forge a friendship, but that friendship is forbidden and fraught with potential sorrow.

So today I'm talking about the powerful blessing friendship can be.

I met my first best friend in Kindergarten. Her name was Starr and we instantly hit it off. (Caroline Starr Rose is the second Starr I've ever known in my life and she and I instantly hit it off, too.) 

Childhood friend, Starr, and I spent practically every waking moment together. We were inseparable.

One of the things we both had a passion for was a love of books. We both read ferociously. In fact, the first picture taken of us in Kindergarten is the two of us sitting together, our heads bent over a book. (I wish I knew what book it was, but alas, the picture keeps this little tidbit a secret).

Starr and I shared books with each other, went to the library together, and laughed and cried over books for the next 8 years. Every afternoon we were either at my house or her house (although we had to learn how to cross a very busy street), and we spent a great deal of our time together bringing stories alive by dressing up and creating adventures and characters from the worlds of the books we’d read. (Kind of like dramatic fan fiction loooong before fan-fiction was a term.)

We especially loved The Little House books and pretended we were living in the Olden Days. During Friday night sleep-overs we talked endlessly, ate brownie dough raw, squealed when our big brothers teased us and made fun of our “characters”—while Starr’s father (who was a professional musician) listened to classical music in the living room and her mother (who was a Kindergarten teacher) created awesomely cool boards for her classroom

By age 10 we began to create our own stories. My first official "novel" was authored by the two of us. My favorite books were historicals, contemporary, and magical realism stories, but for some reason Starr and I wrote a science fiction book about two girls kidnapped by aliens and taken to the misty world of Venus far across space. It was full of danger and daring as we hijacked the spacecraft to get back to Earth.

Whenever Starr and I were writing stories we used pen names; our middle names of Elizabeth and Anne respectively. Of course. Because we loved our middle names more than our first names, and they sounded so much more lush and grown-up.

I’ll never forget the power that reading Harriet the Spy had on me. Starr and I read that book several times and for many wonderful summer afternoons Starr and I armed ourselves with our notebooks and proceeded to spy on her family. She had a wonderful, large backyard with a big weeping willow tree, a play house, and a big tree-house with a fire station type sliding pole for quick getaways when *enemies* AKA brothers and sisters came lurking. These various locales - so close to the safety of the back door of the house! - were perfect for surreptitious eavesdropping.

What followed were many happy years of reading voraciously and pounding out stories and “novels” on my father’s typewriter in his garage office.

High school brought lots of changes and, unfortunately, Starr and I never once had a class together or activity. We drifted apart due to extracurricular activities and making new friends through our different churches.

College and marriage took me out of state from where I grew up in the Bay Area. I haven’t seen or corresponded with Starr in over 30 years. I attended my 20th high school reunion hoping to reunite with her there, but she did not attend and nobody seemed to know how to contact her. But I fondly remember the power of our friendship, our closeness, our loyalty—and the power of books and writing that welded us together.

I’ve had close friendships since my childhood days, but none that have been as close or as strong (not counting my husband!) as the one with Starr. Would I be the writer I am today without our live-action fan fiction, story-writing and endless imagining? 

I think I would be a writer because the desire to create my own published work was borne deep within me at a very early age. But I think Starr gave me the courage to begin, to not hold back, to try. With Starr, I believed that the magic was real. Because it was so much less scary and overwhelming to dream together, to brainstorm together, and to put those ideas down on paper together. It was a true gift of our friendship.  

Thank you, Starr, wherever you are.

***This post is part of a week-long celebration in honor of the book, Blue Birds. Author Caroline Starr Rose is giving away a downloadable PDF of this beautiful Blue Birds quote (created by Annie Barnett of Be Small Studios) for anyone who pre-orders the book from January 12-19. Simply click through to order from AmazonBarnes and NobleBooks A MillionIndieBound, or Powell's, then email a copy of your receipt to by Monday, January 19. 
PDFs will be sent out January 20.***

Isn't this quote beautiful all framed? 

"How ordinary life is without a bit of fancy--without a pinch of daring to fill our days."
Caroline Starr Rose

Quote from BLUE BIRDS

Tell us about your childhood friendships, adult friendships (oh, where would I be without my writer friends around the country?!) and pre-order BLUE BIRDS this week! 


Sunday, January 11, 2015

My word for the 2015 New Year! What's yours?

Hello, dear friends, family, and fellow writers!!

It's another new year - which always sort of freaks me out. When I was a kid thinking about the Millennium year in 2000 and wondering what life would be like in the new millennium, it was so far off into the future I thought the Second Coming would be here first. And here we are 15 years later . . . like I say, freaky! Life often moves at breakneck speed, and, at other times of illness, death, grief, or waiting on the publishing world (especially when your book gets delayed over and over again!), time moves as slowly as a snail.

So the end of December was quiet here on the blog. So much happened after my East Coast Book Tour for FORBIDDEN was finished and I tried to catch up after 17 days away. First, I got sick. I came home to a major deadline, and we traveled to Arizona to get my mother-in-law's house ready to be put on the market after her passing in August. 

THEN I was working frantically on the revision for my editor at Harpercollins for Book 2 of the FORBIDDEN trilogy. After I turned it in there were about 10 days to decorate the house for Christmas, shop, wrap, bake, and all that good stuff.

And my oven broke.

And I got sick again on Christmas Eve. (I think I might be a little run-down.) :-)

Despite all of that, my holidays were lovely. It's always so nice to take a break and spend time with my family. My husband was off work for an entire week and my son Jared was home from college and we talked and played games and watched movies and read - and slept.

Today is January 11th, of course, and I'm still waiting for my new oven to get here. I'm *dying* to bake COOKIES so I can write all of my new projects this year, and revise to my little heart's (stomach's?) content! It's supposed to be here this week . . . fingers crossed. So I bought donuts at the grocery store last night. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gonna do. C'est la vie! :-)

Back to NEW YEARS. A new year. A time when I want to change the way I work and live and feel more in control of my life and goals, and become the person I want to be. 

Many writers choose a word at the beginning of each year. A word that describes their goals, their life, their dreams, their vision. I've been pondering for a couple of weeks now. I love so many of the words I've seen. I finally chose JOY. 

"Take joy", "Live joy", "Feel joy", "Express joy"," Believe in joy".


Do you have a word for 2015? Please share in the comments! 




Winner of The Southwest Book Award!

Time travel, war, love, rattlesnakes, magic . . .

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