Sunday, January 17, 2021

West Meadows Detectives: The Case of the Berry Burglars written by Liam O'Donnell illustrated by Aurelie Grand (mystery)

 Someone has been stealing strawberry plants, but don't worry the West Meadows Detectives--Myron and Hajrah--are on the case in this first chapter mystery.

Published by Owlkids Books

Published in 2020

The reader is introduced to the crime when Hajrah arrives at school and leads Myron (the protagonist) over 'to the far side of the yard.' (p. 9) The school garden has been damaged and not only that but strawberry plants have been stolen. Simone, the senior student in charge of the strawberry plants, becomes their client.

Myron and Simone learn that they have something in common. They are both autistic. For this is not only a mystery but the story also serves to increase the awareness and understanding of autism.

Young readers learn that people with autism don't like changes to their routines and feel, as Myron explains, like their senses are 'on overload all the time.' (p. 59)

Readers also learn that some people with autism use gardening to help them cope with daily stressors.

This story has a well-developed plot and employs writing techniques to ensure a positive reading experience. For example, Myron reviewing the case with Hajrah is a good way to share information with the reader. Reviewing the case also helps to summarize what has happened in the story. Chapter ten ends with a cliffhanger which gives the reader yet another reason to keep reading. My only concern is that the overabundance of characters in this book may be confusing for some readers.

West Meadows Detectives:  The Case of the Berry Burglars is an engaging and intriguing mystery. And the best news yet, it's part of a series.

Wednesday, January 20

Online Author Reading...

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Byron Did

a poem in praise of poetry


What do you think I should record?

You input is encouraged, welcomed and appreciated.

Sunday, January 24

Short Story

photo by ldyck

A Confession

If you live with your spouse long enough you'll learn everything about them--right?

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Sharing my author journey...

Last week I stopped writing my manuscript and the world fell apart
I stopped writing my manuscript--temporarily--because I'd received another manuscript back from my beta reader. I lovingly refer to that manuscript as the Monster.

A couple of months ago, when I gave the Monster to my beta reader I heaved a sigh of relief. I thought I was done.

Friday, January 8, my beta reader gave it back, saying, "You know, Leanne, it needs more work."

A good beta reader is worth their weight in gold. Mine is worth double that.

I told her, "I'll give it back to you on Monday" and immediately set to work. I spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday addressing the issues my beta reader had discovered. The Monster was the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing I thought about at night. In fact, I woke up during the night to scribble notes about it. By Sunday, I realized that my time with the Monster wasn't over. I confessed my sin to my beta reader and said, "But I will give it to you on Wednesday." Pride at stake, Monday and Tuesday found me with my bum glued to my writing chair and fingers on my keyboard. 

Tuesday we had a wind storm. I went to bed with plans to print the Monster first thing in the morning. Early Wednesday morning we lost power. My beta reader and I were to meet at 1:30 pm. Would the power come back on in time or should I phone my beta reader and cancel our meeting? I struggled with that question--hoped, prayed, begged--until... The power came back on at approximately 10:30 am. I heaved a sigh of relief but I shouldn't have. My struggles weren't over. My printer didn't play nice--only printing on one side, every second page. Then... Then I ran out of paper. I thought we might have more in the basement. A mad scrabble downstairs and... I found more. This story ends with me giving the Monster back to my beta reader. After I went for a long walk, I took the rest of the day off--because I thought I deserved it.

I managed to find things to do on my blog Thursday. I was going to start afresh on my new manuscript on Monday. I was confident I would find other writing that needed doing. Well, it turns out I couldn't stay away that long. Friday came and I was back at it. I added an end to the manuscript. Don't get too excited I still have more to add to the middle. 

word count:  24, 910 words
word goal:  40,000 words +

Do you know a laid-back, easy-going nickname that I could use to describe my new manuscript? I'm looking forward to spending more time with it this week.