Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My First Cubs Game!

With the Cubs winning the National League Division this week, thoughts of my grandfather are floating in my head.  I still remember my first Cubs game as if it were yesterday.  Here are some highlights taken from My Hero, My Ding.

The Cubs

Like many big cities, Chicago has two major league baseball teams. Typically those who live on the north side favor the Cubs and those from the south side like the Sox. If we went strictly by location, we would have been Sox fans, but seeing as Grandpa and I were rarely found to be typical in any way, we were both ardent Cub fans. Not surprisingly, it was Grandpa who took me to my first Cub’s game at Wrigley Field.

That year one of my favorite players was first baseman Bill Buckner, so when Grandpa got us (Grandma, my mom, and sister) seats along the first baseline I was thrilled! Watching the Cubs warm-up, standing for the National Anthem, cheering at the starting line-up all added to the excitement. Add to these highly impressive events the hawking of great culinary delicacies of hot dogs and peanuts by the vendors and you couldn’t have set up a more perfect afternoon.

The excitement mounted when Dave Kingman was up to bat just as we found ourselves in need of a run to put the Cubs ahead. If any Cub could hit a homerun at this time, it was Dave Kingman, and he surely didn’t disappoint his fans. CRACK! My eyes tried to follow the line drive as we all jumped up from our seats watching the ball glide perfectly over the left field wall. The clamor of cheering fans was in my ears as Kingman rounded the bases. Not until home plate was reached did people begin taking their seats again. It was then that I saw stars and they were not from the reverie of the day’s thrilling events thus far. I sat down hard just as one would when expecting a chair to be there to catch you. Just then … another CRACK! This time it was not the sound of a baseball connecting with a bat but of my head to the bottom of the seat. (What I didn’t know, but quickly learned, was that the seats at Wrigley Field popped up into the “closed” position when vacated.) My tailbone made a direct connection to the concrete below and my head hit the bottom of the chair with on-spot precision.

The startled man seated directly behind me quickly jumped up to see if I needed assistance. Right at that moment I felt more embarrassed than anything else. Grandpa and the rest of the family thanked the man for his offer of help as I sheepishly sat back in my seat for the remainder of the game. The results: My head had a small bump for awhile and my tailbone hurt for months. I still have lower back problems which probably started with this dingy move over 30 years ago. But the most important part. … CUBS WON! Through all my embarrassment and pain, would I trade this experience for anything in the world? Never!

© 2010 My Hero, My Ding

(Stay tuned for Part Two)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Magestic Moose!

The dog days of summer are now upon us, and it's always a good time to enjoy the moose days of summer too. We thought we'd share some marvelous moose pictures that were shared with us. Hopefully these will bring a smile to your face and add a little sunshine to your day!

Thanks Mukkove for sharing this!  I wish this was my yard instead of yours!

Thanks Rena for sharing the peek-a-boo momma and baby moose!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Book Review: Write About Me

I got this book a while back as a free Kindle book.  I found both the title and cover interesting.  Write About Me by Melissa Pouliot will capture your attention and keep you rooting for Annabelle's safety and survival.  This book is definitely for those who are teens or older because of the difficult subject matter.  My full review of Write About Me appears below.

Write About Me by Melissa-Jane Pouliot was an interestingly disturbing story. "Write about me, cause I'm dead" is a line from the book that sticks with me. Though this story is fiction, it was inspired by the author's own cousin who ran away from home years ago and was never heard from again. This story takes a look at personality disorders, living on the streets, making choices, taking chances and the consequences that can result. I was intrigued also because the setting of this story is Australia, a part of Australia that you don't hear about when making travel plans that's for sure. Some of the language and scenes are rough, but selling yourself to survive can be a scary and deadly prospect. If you know any troubled teenage girls, this book may be an eye-opener for them.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Welcome Paul R. Hewlett...

author of Lionel's Grand Adventure Series.  He was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to sit down with us for an interview.  

Welcome Paul to The Moose Room blog!  I know as a reader, I enjoy learning more about the authors that create the books I like to read, so I know that your readers will be very interested in what you have to share with them today.  

Q- Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?

Paul -Yes and no. I read a lot, but it was comic books. I read Archie and Jughead, Beetle Bailey, and Sad Sack all the time. I can recall my parents worrying that I wasn’t reading enough books. I have two older brothers and they read books all the time, so I suppose the fact that I didn’t was the reason for my parents concern. I eventually started reading books though after I read The Hobbit. That experience has led me to believe that any reading is great; it doesn’t matter if it’s books, magazines, or comic books. If a child is picking something up and reading it, that is good and should be encouraged. Once I began reading, I read tons of Encyclopedia Brown, the Three Investigators, and choose your own adventure books. I still think choose your own adventure books are one of the more clever ideas I’ve seen.

Q-Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story. 

Paul -Lionel Goes to Camp is the next book in the Lionel’s Grand Adventure series. I felt like the next logical progression for Lionel was to surround himself with some close friends to share in his adventures. I loved reading Encyclopedia Brown and the Three Investigators while growing up. I felt like I wanted Lionel to have some partners in crime as well as be able to do a little detective work. I also wanted to pursue some other threads that presented themselves in the first two books. Lionel doesn’t have a dad around. I thought that was significant and deserved a bit more attention. I think most children in that situation would want to know more about their dad. I imagine they would picture their dad as a daredevil, secret agent, or devise some other reason why they had to leave. Lionel is no different. My inspiration was to send Lionel on an adventure with some comrades, like the Three Investigators, as well as do some detective work while pursuing the mystery of his missing dad.

Q- How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

Paul -This particular book was quite a marathon. This book has undergone numerous transformations. The idea, as is usually the case with me, came from more of a stream-of-consciousness writing than an outline. I tend to try to create a rough outline so I have an idea of where I’m going and how I want to get there, but for the most part, I tend to get there by writing. I’m not one that can sit and plan out each part of the plot and process. My inspiration comes from writing. Once I sit down and begin to type things happen. It just happens to be the case with this book, that I wasn’t happy with it until now. I always felt like I needed something different or more. I have to thank all my critique partners for helping to bring this story out. It has been a real challenge, I have to admit, but well worth it. I’m really happy with it, and I hope my fans will be too.

Q-Who are your literary heroes and why? 

Paul -Donald J. Sobol and Stephen King. Donald J. Sobol wrote Encyclopedia Brown. Those books are so dear to me. They are essentially a collection of short stories in each book which makes them easy and quick to read for kids. I loved this growing up as I graduated from comic books to books. I just love and respect the way Mr. Sobol was able to write in such a simple yet entertaining way. I still pick up Encyclopedia Brown books and read them to this day. There is so much to learn from reading him. His writing, in my opinion, is genius. What can I say about Stephen King that hasn’t already been said? I love his characters. He is the master at great characters. I know people probably think of the horror or suspense when discussing Stephen King, but to me it starts with the characters. Who doesn’t have some sleepless nights thinking about Annie Wilkes in Misery? I love Jake Epping in 11/22/63. What about the torment Jack Torrance feels in the Shining? Donald J. Sobol and Stephen King are my literary heroes.

Q- If you could have been the servant to any famous person in history, who would that be and why?

Paul -Abraham Lincoln. I would have loved to witness him during the Civil War. At a time when this nation was at a cross-roads and so many critical issues undecided, I would have loved to witness his thought process and maneuvering to accomplish the things that he did. I mean, the basic identity and future of our nation was in question. Would we be a nation of states with a strong central government, or would be a confederation of independent states? How did he hold things together and bring this nation through the other side, ensuring the nation we see today? I think witnessing such a great leader at such a critical time would be fantastic.

Q-If you are a world builder, what is your favorite part of creating these worlds?

Paul -I wouldn’t call myself a world builder per say. I have created a fictitious town, but it is most certainly in our world. I am a huge fan of the 1950’s and ‘60’s (I wasn’t born yet, no), and wanted to create my story in this world. As a side note, if anyone loves this era like I do, be sure to read Stephen King’s 11/22/63. It was a bit of a challenge, but a fun one. I wanted to create a world that didn’t yet have cell phones and computers. Many of the situations Lionel finds himself in might be easily remedied if he had access to these things, but he doesn’t. I think creating a world in a simpler time makes for some challenges. I think one has to be cognizant of the fact that children today might not connect with such a world. That challenge was probably my favorite part of creating the “world” Lionel lives in. I have attempted to create some universal challenges and dilemmas in a way that transcends time and place. I think children (and adults) of every era can relate to being bullied, or feeling out of place, as well as having a crush on a cute girl (or boy) that you’re worried isn’t reciprocated.

Q-Do you belong to a critique group? How has this helped or hindered your writing.

Paul -I do. I belong to a critique group as well as work with valued critique partners. My critique group is great, but we actually all write different genres so it can be challenging in that respect. I have one critique partner that I just love and value tremendously. She is just super. I trust her opinion and judgment, and she really brings out the best in me. I also have several other critique partners that I tend to exchange work with when it works out. I think working with critique partners, whether it is a group or individuals, has been a great help to my writing. I know writing can be a solitary endeavor, but sharing your work with others and getting their viewpoints and thoughts is critical. Sometimes the writer can be too close to the project and miss things, or be too afraid to edit things. A trusted critique is invaluable to the writing process.

Q-Do you write non-stop until you have a first draft, or do you edit as you move along?

Paul -I like this question. I have always written beginning to end, finish the first draft, revise, revise, and revise some more. I like to have my ideas somewhat outlined and then go to work. However, I have recently purchased Scrivener and it has made me rethink how I write. One of my favorite things about Scrivener (I still have a lot to learn) is the way I can break my project into pieces. I actually wasn’t that interested in this feature when I was looking into buying it, but after transferring many of my ideas for my next book to it, I have realized its value. I can break each idea into separate pieces and then work on them, combining and modifying them as I go. I am really excited to keep working on my next project this way. So, I guess I am evolving in the way I write.

Q-They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?

Paul -I personally, try to take any and all criticism at face value. I understand that everyone has different interests and opinions. Unless a criticism or review is blatantly unfounded, I believe I should view it as a learning experience. Everyone’s views matter, and if I make certain I value it, then there stands a pretty good chance that I can learn something from it and improve as a writer. While it is difficult to hear negative things about yourself or your writing, I want to improve so it doesn’t benefit me if I don’t hear the truth.

Q- What book are you reading now?

Paul -Ambasadora: Marked by Light written by Heidi Ruby Miller. I love Heidi's writing.  You asked about being a world builder earlier, well, Heidi is a master of world building.  I absolutely love the world she has built in her books (I've also read Greenshift by her).  It is truly amazing all the details she has created.  I also love her characters.  She is a master of creating a great heroine.  I'm not sure she'd use that term for her leading ladies, but I will.  I really like them, root for them, and believe in them so, to me, they are heroines.  I cannot fathom all the research and time that must have gone into creating such a real, complex world.  I highly recommend these two books by Heidi.

Thanks so much Paul for sharing details about your reading interests, your writing process, and helping readers get to know you better!

As I've said before Lionel Snodgrass is a great character! 
Congratulations on your latest book, Lionel Goes to Camp, which will be released on June 4th!

You can pre-order your copy today by clicking this Amazon link~

You can also visit Paul Hewlett's website for the latest news, links, and information about all of Lionel's Grand Adventures~