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Magic

Jem and the Holograms taught me from a young age that Music is Magic. Now My Little Pony is telling us that Friendship is Magic (http://youtu.be/FXGQGsv8eBQ). This got me to thinking about magic…I have always believed in the magic of the world and the magic of music. So if friends are magic too, that must mean that my musical friends and I are very magic!
When you get people together who love music and each other, amazing things can happen. When you get music and writers all together, wonderful stories emerge.
When you get animators and musicians together…80s iconic pop songs become the stuff of little girl love everywhere…and my Dad can testify (He still knows all the Jem songs too!)
What have cartoons taught you??

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Frozen

I want to say first that I was pleasantly surprised by the new Disney movie Frozen. Near the beginning of the movie, when Princess Anna meets her supposed true love and they decide to get married after a few hours of small talk, I balked. I thought “Oh no! Not another movie where the girl is sheltered and then finds true love after the first ten minutes of being outside!” But then the tides shifted and I enjoyed the change of scenery. Plus, there’s a dancing singing snow man who loves summer…who doesn’t enjoy that?

There are some people who have decided to complain that this is another princess movie wherein the heroin(s) are tiny and perky and pretty. That three years locked away from the world after their parents die would probably have had the girls munching on large doses of junk food and lazing about until they couldn’t fit into curtain dresses. (1) These two are obviously not depressed (as witnessed by singing and dancing about). Sad, yes. Naïve and sheltered, check. But depressed…no.

(2) Very few women in the world would look at an artist and seriously say, “When you draw me as this cartoon figure of a princess, please widen my hips to about three times their normal size, add a hanging stomach pooch, and give me tubby feet and chicken wing arms.” Honestly, there is an ideal in every person’s head, male or female. We all know exactly how we want to look and what size we want to be. Even people who are perfectly happy with their body image will tell you that they could probably stand to gain/lose a pound or two, or that they would like highlights or a new tattoo, or even just a new dress.

Would I like to see a cartoon show up with a plus sized princess? Sure, if it works with the storyline. However, can we be completely candid here and agree that an overweight princess probably wouldn’t have done a great job of trudging through the snow to find her new home or older sister? I know I wouldn’t be able to get very far before my thunder thighs and bronchitis made me sit in the cold for a while. (By the way, I feel the same way about Cinderella..who wasn’t fed enough to be tubby; Ariel…a FISH who swam all day {great exercise for keeping svelte}; Aurora…who was kept in a small forest cottage with three gardening fairies; and Belle…whose only parent didn’t make enough to put much food on the table other than home grown organics.)

Perhaps instead of being so concerned that our children will grow up with a skewed view of the world because the princesses in the cartoons are so skinny and helpless (OBVIOUSLY NOT PEOPLE…PAY ATTENTION TO THE MOVIES!! GOOD GRIEF! But that’s another blog really…) maybe, just maybe, we should be focusing on making sure that they find the morals of the story and don’t focus on looks so much. Belle found love with a Beast, evil was triumphed over, and Princess Anna saved herself and her sister by an act of true sisterly love…no kisses required. Too bad she didn’t get to keep the white hair though…I would LOVE streaks like that!

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Lois Ehlert: A Colorful Artist

The books and artwork of Lois Ehlert are eyecatchingly gorgeous for all ages!

BookPeople

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The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life by Lois Ehlert
Reviewed by Ellen, BookKids Inventory Manager

Lois Ehlert is one of those artists whose work is deceptively simple at first glance. It’s full of bright colors, stark-lined recognizable shapes, and many deal with beginning concepts like the alphabet or colors. But take a closer look at her technicolor flowers, fluttering butterflies, and sleek fishes and it’s soon clear that her work is complex, completely unique, and delightfully surprising.

Best known for her artwork in Bill Martin Jr’s Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Lois Ehlert is the illustrator of over 35 books, 25 of which she also wrote. I am familiar with many of Ehlert’s books, but I haven’t read some of them in a long time, so I went to the library. I checked out as many of her books as they had on the shelf – 14 of…

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Aside

Note Cards and Outlines

I have a very simple and complex way of writing. Simple because I sit down with pen and paper and just write. I write what is flowing through my mind, it streams down the nerves and muscles into my hand, where the words drain into ink form and splatter across the page. Nothing convoluted about the process. However, the complex part begins soon after.

Many of the other writers I know, including those who teach the subject, tout the almost sublime attributes of a good outline. Most use a distinct outline format of flow charts, bulleted lists, painstakingly drawn out maps of characters and places, and the occasional snap shot. I don’t do that. If I begin an outline, I invariably forget the part about ‘outlining’ and begin the actual story. I sometimes make it as far as a second bullet on the list before sentences start spurting out, but not often.

No, the complexity of my work begins somewhere in the middle of a first draft. My characters are in the midst of a big action sequence (or a long, drawn out flight) and I suddenly can’t remember who stayed in England to begin with; and that is where the notecards come in. I have stacks upon stacks of notecards for each book. Cast of Characters in a conveniently numbered and color coded pile, followed by important places, car/house/business/ship names, pet names, and every once in a while, a quote so that I don’t forget to put it in.

Line after line scrawled on 3×5 squares in varying shades of bright ink with little numbers circled in the upper right hand corners so I don’t get them out of order. TWO note card holders busting at the seams in an attempt to contain them all, and I still forget a name from time to time. I suppose even notecards do not make my brain perfect (although I am close to it…if I do say so myself!).

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My actual notecards for the newest Stone Dragon Saga book. Begun around midnight last night…I don’t think they’ll fit in the green holder.

Do you have any certain ways of keeping yourself organized? I would love to hear how you do it!

 

 

 

 

What Are You Reading Today?

Are you currently delving into a new world of mystery and intrigue? Have you found a series you can’t force yourself to put down? Do you have tests on Friday and are devouring text books like candy?  I would love to hear some comments and suggestions!

Perhaps, like me, you haven’t even managed to finish your January book yet. Or you just haven’t picked up a new one as of late. May I suggest heading over to Amazon to cruise the self-published pages and give a little hit to a struggling author or two? (You can always search Dr. Wilson Jay Tyree and/or Elizabeth S. Tyree if you like specifics..we can always use the confidence boost!)

I am currently struggling with finding new material, both in reading and in writing, so if you have any ideas for me I would love to hear them!

Batting Around 2-Cat’s Perspective

My best friend is a big fluffy ball. Every day I wake him up with a POUNCE and he rolls from the top of a pile of his siblings to come play with me. WE HAVE SO MUCH FUN!

Sometimes he gets so excited that his ends start to unravel and he becomes a long trail of fuzzy strings. When that happens my mom picks him up, rolls him up, and sends us both for naps. I’m not supposed to get him all riled up, but it is so exciting to run around together that I sometimes forget that part.

He hasn’t been looking too great lately though; I think he might be sick. His fluff has started to frizz and he snags and flops now. I’m afraid he may not be with me much longer, Mommy took him off of the pile today and put him in the other room.

What’s this?? It looks like my friend but he’s not a ball anymore. Mommy made him into a toy for me…AND HE SQUEAKS!!! I don’t have to sneak him off a pile anymore either, Mommy says he can live with me all the time now!

(my actual creepy kitty, making friends with houseshoes)

 

 

 

Video

Happy International Tolkien Reading Day!

This is my first attempt at a video blog and includes a reading from the beginning of The Hobbit!
Today is International Tolkien Reading Day, which was begun in 2003 to bring integrate more of Tolkien’s fabulous fantasy worlds into the new generation’s school and library group readings.
(It is also a way to celebrate the pre-anniversary of the Fall of Sauron, which happens in the Third Age of Middle Earth..March 25, 3019)

To find out more please check out http://www.tolkiensociety.org/ed/tolkienreadingday.html

and

http://interestingliterature.com/author/olivertearle/

Batting Around

I missed Short Story Sunday yesterday due to an extreme lack of story and extra not-feeling-good in both my daughter and I. We still don’t feel very well, but I did get a story started last night so I am plunging right ahead with it!

Batting Around

The world begins to roll on past me, pricks of pain shredding my skin. This dizzy insanity serves to once again remind me that I am made for a more sedentary lifestyle. This is not what I am meant for, this terrifying spin that leaves me spread thin and tangled on the floor. And does anyone ever ask if I’m ok? NO! They just roll me back up and throw me on top of the basket. Then it’s a perfunctory “bad kitty” and a tap on the nose for my persecutor. As if that will stop him from leaping over my brethren and tearing me apart as soon as the mistress has turned her back again.

I know I’m complaining about something that cannot be changed immediately, but several of my kin have been saved already. I watch them as the mistress chooses their bright hues and weaves them into her life…but I am just a muddy green and there is no need for my colors in her work, so I am left on the top of the stack, attacked daily by that mottled beast.

Wait! She has chosen me and loops my fragile body around her hook. She is making me into something special! I am a butterfly slowly emerging from my cocoon! What is this?? A CAT TOY?? NO! This can’t be right! PLEASE DON’T THROW ME BACK, I WAS GOOD YARN ONCE! A cat toy…I can’t believe my life.

(a beautiful hand spun green via:http://www.etsy.com/listing/120852730/sale-handspun-yarn-spring-awakening)

Rankings

I just found out that on January 19, 2014 I (or more accurately, my novel series) was ranked as #1,818th in the Fantasy genre on Amazon. With hundreds of thousands of books to contend with, my little upstart seems to be holding on! 

If you haven’t checked out my work yet, the first three books in the series are available through create space/amazon in paperback form and as e-books through Kindle. Search for The Stone Dragon Saga by Elizabeth S Tyree (Dragon on My Neck is book 1) OR find my author’s page at amazon.com/author/elizabethtyree