Tag Archives: children’s writers

Guest Post: Alliteration in Literature

Today I’m delighted to host Jennifer (J.R.) Turner on my blog.

Award-winning author J.R. Turner lives in Central Wisconsin with her husband and three children. She began writing in high school, and after a decade working as a commercial artist, started her first novel in 1999. Aside from crafts, camping and cooking, she loves holidays. A favorite is Halloween, a combination of spooky supernatural fun and chocolate. Visit her at http://www.jennifer-turner.com to learn more!
Alliteration in Literature

Writing is a journey—and often this journey takes us places we never thought we would go. I enjoyed poetry in my teens and played with the different forms and variations over the years. In fact, the very first time I wrote something I was proud of, (in 2nd grade, bless you Mrs. Sanders!) turned out to be a poem:

1-2-3 Birthday wishes go so fast
Like the breeze in the willows
Dancing among the grass

As you can see, I never forgot those three lines. Of course I used slant rhyme and my meter was way off, but this began my love affair with alliteration. The way words can come together, sounding so similar, intrigues me to no end. When I write, I often fall back on alliteration to heighten the pace or the sense of place. There’s a difference between the lines:

The farmer struggled to control the tractor and steer it away from the derelict henhouse.

The farmer fought for control of the tractor, turning to avoid destroying the derelict henhouse.

For me, the more the words slide together, the less intrusive they are. My mind can melt into the story and forget I’m reading. You’ll find tons of this in all my books and short stories, and yes, even in those few poems I still write today. Just look at the title of my new series:

Delbert Dallas and the Dragon Diaries: #1 Voyage to Viking Island (link: http://www.omnilit.com/product-voyagetovikingisland-527701-228.html )

#1: Voyage to Viking Island—Release Date: March 22nd.
When the new guitar Delbert Dallas got for his birthday turns into a dragon named Barbecue Bob, the adventures are just beginning. First stop—Viking Island where Prince Rolloff is running away from his wedding—at the age of twelve. A Viking afraid of a girl? Even more shocking is Rolloff’s new best friend.

Walter Wheeler, a bully held back two grades, has discovered his own time-traveling dragon, Firebrand. When the prince offers a bag full of gold to get him off the island, Walter happily accepts, once he hears the plan is to escape on the royal longboat. Not only will he take Rolloff’s gold, he’ll take all the treasure on board.

Can Delbert convince Prince Rolloff that Walter Wheeler is no valiant Viking in shining armor? How do you explain a dragon named Bob to a Prince? What will happen when the rival dragons meet snout to snout? Find out in the first adventure of Delbert Dallas and the Dragon Diaries.

Each story in the series will be released on the 22nd of each month:

#2 Civil War Skirmish
#3 Viva La Francine!

The first in a series of once-monthly releases for reluctant readers, part of the Electric Shorts program for middle-grade kids, is just the beginning of the fun I have writing with alliteration. So what do you think? Do you enjoy reading or writing with allitearation?

Thanks so much for having me here, Margaret!


Interview with author Irene Roth

Tell us something about yourself?
I write for adolescent girls and tween girls about all kinds of different psychological and social topics. I have a blog devoted to adolescent girls at http://www.adolescentgirlsblog.wordpress.com. I am also in the middle of writing three MG novels and tween novels for girls.

Who is your favorite author? Favorite book?
Kristi Holl is one of my favourite MG writer for adolescents. I also enjoy reading Melody Carlson’s novels and Deborah Reber’s books. I ready widely and continually. I also have a book review blog that keeps me very busy.

Tell us a bit about your book?
I’m in the middle of three E-books about adolescent girl’s self-confidence, self-esteem, and happiness.

What are you working on now?
‘m revising a MG novel that I am planning to send off to a publisher in October. I am waiting for responses for three other novels.

Why do you think it’s important for kids to know about history?

I think that kids need to know what came before them in order to have a better appreciation of the present. But also, I think that there is not enough emphasis on history in schools. Schools have to find a way to really make history interesting and relevant for kids.

What can teachers and parents do to help kids become interested in
history and to learn more about it?

I think that parents can help kids by bringing history books home from the library and reading them with their kids. They should also talk about history after dinner or on weekends.

What do you want readers to take away from your book?
I hope that I could inspire girls to not worry about fad diets and outside appearances as much and focus on their inner beauty. Girls have to realize that they are much more than a physical body. They have a mind, and spirit that is worth cultivating. And one smile, if it is offered up genuinely, can make another girl feel so much better about herself. Girls have to be ambassadors for each other.

Any tips for aspiring writers?
I have a five tips for aspiring writers:
1. write consistently
2. try to do the best that you can to perfect your writing skills
3. have faith in the process of drafting and redrafting
4. never give up
5. send out queries often.

Where can readers buy your book?
My ebooks should be available at my adolescent blog www.adolescentgirlsblog.wordpress.com around the end of november of this year.

Any last words?

Thank you for interviewing me. I really enjoyed this.

Meet Suzanne Marion, Author of “Too Many Tutus”

Tell us something about yourself:
This is such a nice opportunity for me to be interviewed for your blog, thanks very much. I’m a musician in Houston, Texas, retired after teaching voice and piano for quite a few years. I have recently been a church choir director, and do quite a lot of accompanying of singers and instrumentalists. During my years of teaching I composed and arranged music for my students and colleagues. Four years ago I established a small business creating custom lullabies and play song for babies and children. My web site is www.lullabiesbysuzanne.com. I compose the music and write the poetry for the songs.
Each week I play as pianist with a small group of string players for fun.
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and my husband Stuart and I have three grown sons, three wonderful daughters-in-law, and seven grandchildren. We live with our dogs, Laura and Diana, each of whom has her own special song copyrighted.

How did you come to write ‘Too Too Many Tutus”?
‘Tutus’ came about when our granddaughter Christina had trouble choosing a tutu to wear for her ballet class one day. I have long written a variety of stories for our children, which they enjoy. A friend, artist Marj Hales, read the story and enjoyed it. The next thing I knew, she had gone to the library to research ballet positions, and produced some gorgeous paintings of little girl ballerinas. Her illustrations are so lovely that I felt we should create a book. It has proven to be rather popular with little girls and their parents and grandparents.

‘Donner the Western Dragon’ needed to be written for the little boys of our acquaintance. It turned out that Marj Hales has a particular penchant for mythological animals, and so once again we felt we must bring it to light as a book. She painted fourteen absolutely beautiful paintings of dragons and unicorns (one of the protagonists in ‘Donner’ is a female unicorn named Una). ‘Donner’ works for little girls as well. It is a morality tale about a modest and peace-loving dragon.

Are you a dancer yourself?
It would be difficult to find anyone less capable of being a dancer than I am. In junior high I was the clown in my gymnastics class program. Fortunately my granddaughters have transcended my lack of ability in this area.

Did you have to do much research, if any for your book, and if so, how did you go about it?
For these two books I did not have to do research, except in my imagination. In the future, though, I hope to try some writing projects that are more ambitious in terms of requiring research.

If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
To be perfectly honest, the first answer that sprang to mind is the character of Ramona in Helen Hunt Jackson’s wonderful novel, ‘Ramona.’ I read it as a child, and several times since, and have always loved the story of this beautiful Hispanic woman in 19th century California who fell in love with Alessandro the Indian. It is beautifully written and very powerful.

What are you working on now?
Right now I am considering two projects. One is a memoir of my experiences working in Yellowstone Park as a young teenager. The other involves a history of a large musical organization of which I am a member. This group will celebrate next year the 100th anniversary of its founding.

What do you want readers to take away from your book?
From ‘Too Too Many Tutus’: there are some lessons about choices, and about seeking the help oftrusted persons in making decisions. Also, there is a simple physics lesson included.
From ‘Donner”: this is a story about being true to one’s own self, and not feeling the need to go along with the crowd.

Any tips for aspiring writers?
I do not feel eminently qualified to give this sort of advice. But I believe in any creative endeavor the main objective should be to do a little work each day, to do it quite regularly. This is true of any creative activity, whether it involves practicing music, writing prose, poetry or music, painting, sports…sometimes once you get started it is hard to stop. Even a very small increment of time is better than none.

Where can readers buy your book?
Both of our books are available on Amazon.com, and also from the publisher, CreateSpace.

Any last words?

Once again, thanks so much for this opportunity to say a few words about our books. It is great fun to know that children are enjoying our books.

Meet Author Elysabeth Elderling

Meet Elysabeth Elderling, the author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad series. The first two books in the series are available from a href=”http://4rvpublishingllc.com” target=”_new”>4RV Publishing. They are “State of Wilderness” and “State of Quarries.”

How did you get started writing this series?

I wrote a story, “Train of Clues,” that won a shared second place win in a contest in 2005. I wanted to expand the story into a series, with a clue for each state, and consulted with an editor with SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). She sent me some great advice. After receiving her advice and the directions she suggested I could go, I started doing research to find info that could be used for the “clues.” I found some clues on the Educational World ® website and then I found a website, quite by accident, that had some trivia type of information for landmarks in every state. I gathered my information and let the idea brew, trying to figure out the best format for the series, that the reader’s wouldn’t get tired of and that would really be what I wanted from the series.

What gave you the idea to make the stories like a game where you guess the state?

It was an accidental finding. I had thought of writing the stories for a 5-minute mystery site and I played around with different ideas. I originally was going to do the series like a journal, where the kids would be in a year-round school and would have to keep track on a weekly basis of all in the info given to them to figure out which state was being described. When I saw a posting asking for submissions for the 5-Minute Mystery, I thought maybe my stories would work out for that. I tried to make it as the state being the character and giving each state a personality to give the trivia info to the kids, but that didn’t work. I tried making it like a game host asking the questions – kind of a Jeopardy!® type game, but that wasn’t turning out the way I wanted. And, then the produces of the 5-Minute Mystery site wanted the stories to be more “geographical” in the story and I was having to either give up story or plot or characters or something and so we weren’t meeting in the middle.

I understand you’re writing a teacher’s guide to go with your books. Can you tell us something about that?

Yes, I am writing the teacher’s guide as I finish the book. I had wanted to have varying puzzles in the books for the readers to have some fun after reading, so I kept that idea. I had never written a teacher’s guide nor really seen anything. The closest thing I could come up with was the Weekly Reader’s teacher guide given to me from one of the teachers who is a band parent. The research/discussion questions expand out a few of the more interesting clues in the book. I’m trying to have a science experiment in each guide or maybe I’ll switch to some math related problems in some that are related to a clue, and then to wrap it up, I have some end-of-book questions (multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank and T/F). The bibliography will be in both the books and the teacher’s guides so all readers will benefit from the plethora of information I have gathered for further reading or papers or whatever the need is.

Where can readers purchase your book?

Check out http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com to orders copies of the book. Books are also available through amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com as well but you can order directly from me and get signed copies. Direct contact can be made via email – eeldering@gmail.com.

Meet Crystalee Calderwood

Crystalee, You wrote Angeline Jellybean in rhyme. Did you plan it that way?
CC: No, I started writing and that was what came out. In fact, I didn’t realize at first that it was a picture book, but when I did, I went with it. I had never written a picture book before.

What do you think about rhyming picture books?
CC: Rhyming picture books, when well done, are extremely good for helping children
develop language and memorization skills. The pitfall, of course, is that they are very hard to write well. The classic example of a flawless rhymer is Dr. Seuss, but there are many modern picture books with great rhyme schemes.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is probably one of the best out there. Ask a three-year-old to tell you the story, and they can probably do it. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom has really become an update on the “ABC Song.” It uses rhyme to teach the ABC’s and kids have so much fun with it that they don’t even realize how much they are learning.

Do you think that being a poet helped you when it came to writing Angeline Jellybhean?
CC: I find that 99% of the time I try to write a poem that rhymes, it comes out trite or too sing-songy. but my background in poetry did help me hear the rhythm in my head and sort of know when something didn’t fit right. But really, I have very little experience with rhyming, so that aspect took a lot of work.

I hear that you have also written a YA Povel-any plans on getting that published? Can you tell us about it?
CC: Definitely! Yes, I would love to get it published. It wasn’t until I sat down with some of my mentors recently that I realized how far I need to go with it to get it ready for publication. It needs stronger secondary characters, some plot holes filled in, and a subplot or two. I have my work cut out for me!

For readers who don’t know what a povel is, it is also known as a novel in verse or a novel in poetry.
Povels are novels told as a series of poems. In my case, the poems alternated between the voices and points of view of two characters. Yes, it is as challenging as it sounds. Writing a YA novel is much more exhausting than writing a picture book. It took me almost a year to write my 100 page novel. Angeline came out of me in maybe an hour? Of course, neither book was perfect from the beginning. With the novel, I had to be much more organized. I had to keep track of two character’
lives, hobbies, families, struggles, boyfriends, etc. I also had multiple copies of 100 poems lying around my apartment.

I had to set up a schedule for my novel. I wrote religiously every Thursday night from 6:30-9.
Think about it: a picture book of less than 500 words and a novel of 100 pages. The novel has obviously taken up a much larger chunk of my life.

Lastly, where can readers buy your book?
Amazon http://www.amazon.com
Barnes and Noble http://wwww.barnesandnoble.com
4RV publishing http://www.4rvpublishingllc.com/Store-Books.html