I’m excited that Sally Cronin features Tina Lost in a Crowd in her Children’s Reading Room with a fabulous review. Please head over to visit this post. While you’re there, browse around her other magazine features on nutrition, music, humor and a lot more.
Miriam Hurdlehas been on the shelves of the main Cafe and Bookstore for some years but now adds her new book Tina Lost in a Crowd to the shelves of the Children’s Reading Room.
About the book
Tina invited her friend Erica to attend a popular Tchaikovsky’s Spectacular concert on a summer evening with her parents. During the intermission, her dad left the seat to buy some snacks. Tina and Erica followed him wanting to use the restroom. The shoving crowd pushed them away, and they lost sight of him. It would be impossible to fight through the 18,000 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. What would the girls do?
This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults could have discussions with the children…
I became a member of the BookTrib Children’s Book Network beginning this year. Each month the members receive a “Booster Box” with several children’s books to read and share on the social media network. I received my first package of books in March, and read then posted reviews on Amazon and Twitter.
This board book has beautiful and colorful illustrations. The bright and definite contrasting colors are appealing to the toddlers. The sentences are from three to ten words, easy for the little ones to follow along.
Barnaby’s friends were searching for him while he is on an adventure. They wonder if he is in a balloon or has flown to the moon, is he down by the sea, or has gone out to tea. At the end, they found him in his cozy bed with his sleepy head.
The toddlers would love the rhymes and would read along with the adults.
Chameleon was a colorful lizard. She greeted her jungle friends with her vibrant colors. One day, the animals were preparing a party, her friends liked her colors and wanted to have them. The elephant took her blue before she agreed to it; the lemur took her red, and the crocodile took her yellow. Before long, she h.ad no colors left and no way to express herself. When her thoughtful friend flamingo asked how she was doing, she had no voice because her colors were gone with the colors. Flamingo asked if she were going to the party, she finally could shout, “No.” After they talked, Chameleon went to her friends who took her colors and asked them to return the colors to her. They were not happy about it but agreed to do so. Chameleon was her happy self again.
This hardcover book has beautiful illustrations with eye pleasing colors. It’s a delightful book for young children to read and learn to stand up for themselves.
This book has three parts, The Problem, The Quest, and The Answer. The length and the word count of the book appear to be a chapter book.
The story is about Ferdinand Frog who was in love with Felicity Fogmore-Frog. Ferdinand’s friend, Wrinkleskin Rat, came to tell him that the evil snake, Samuel, wanted to win Felicity’s heart even though Felicity’s parents disliked Samuel the snake. Wrinkleskin Rat suggested seeing the wisdom and help from Osmiroid Owl. Two of them traveled miles deep into the wood and got frightened. They were rescued by Endroglen Eagle. They finally met Osmiroid Owl, who advised Ferdinand that with love, he could overcome the evil of the snake.
The text and the gorgeous illustrations are on the alternate pages. The lovely rhyming words read like poetry and song lyrics.
Banana Fun Bread is about a little boy, Fred chasing his imaginary banana bread everywhere. The rhyming words would appeal to little ones from baby to toddler. Sentences are easy for these kids to understand, such as:
“One loaf, two loaf, come back three, why do you run away from me?
Who, who, who are you? Don’t you know it’s too late for you?”
The illustrations are in pastel colors with cute expressions.
I’m excited to announce that my debut children’s book Tina Lost in a Crowd will be published on April 15 and is available for preorder. The paperback will also be available. I’ll share with you the making of the book during the book release.
On Amazon, the eBook is $1.99 from preorder to the end of April. The paperback will be $6.95 from April 15th to the end of April.
The Hardcover and eBook will be available on Barns & Noble later.
The Book Release Tour will be from Monday, April 19 to Sunday, April 25. I’m thankful for the friends who will help to host the tour. I will post their links and invite you to visit the tour.
If you are interested in helping me to host a tour, please email me at email@example.com, or comment below with your preferred date.
Here is the book cover of Tina Lost in a Crowd.
Why I Write Children’s Book
My experience of writing the children’s books was when, at age 26, I worked in Hong Kong as the Director of Children’s Department at Asian Outreach, which was a Christian literature publication company. They recruited me to design and write children’s magazines for the third grade and higher students. I modeled after a well-established local children’s magazine and wrote stories with Christian values.
This was the process we went through to publish the children’s magazines:
I set the themes of each issue and wrote the stories, games, word puzzles, and riddles.
My boss, David who was the Director of Asian Outreach edited the contents.
I worked with the supervisor, Martin and the illustrator, Isaac in the Art Department on the illustration design. It was exciting to see the pages from sketches to the completed products. They were creative and artistic. On one story about the farm animals, they took the stuffed animals to a village area, used the village as the background to film the sequence of the story. I had fun going to the darkroom watching the photos being developed.
I worked with the typesetter who did the typesetting in Chinese.
Back in the late 1970s, there was no digital design. When the artists finished with the drawings, the typesetter would type according to dimension of space for the text and printed out the words. Isaac cut and pasted them to flow with the artworks. Then he took photograph of each page and sent the negatives to the print shop to ordered the “blueprint” which was the same size with multiple pages as the blue print for buildings.
When the blueprint came back, I proofread the text, the artists proofread the artworks, and the manager ordered the printing of the magazines.
It was exciting to see my first magazine in print coming back to our office. I published four children’s magazines before leaving the office to come to the US.
The experience of working at Asian Outreach was a great asset to my current publication of the children’s books.
April 2021 marks the 25th annual celebration of poets and poetry.
Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and, of course, poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives.
Each April, the Academy offers activities, initiatives, and resources so that anyone can join in National Poetry Month online and at home. Please visit National Poetry Month for a list of activities.
In 2014, I joined the Poetry for Pleasure group, which is part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program for the retirees or age 50+ individuals.
The Poetry for Pleasure group meets once a week for two hours during the regular quarters and intersessions at the California State University, Fullerton. We study the lives of the poets, classic and contemporary, and their works. Members signed up to lead each session. The leader would share the introduction, then the members would take turned to share and read a poem by that poet. Besides studying the poets and their works, we study types or themes of poetry such as humorous poems, poems from a 4-legged point of view, or poetry about love, family, and seasons.
In the second hour of the meeting, members would read their own poems. One member had been in that group for many years prior to my attendance. She was 90 years old when I first met her. She still wrote new poems until early 2021 at 96+ years old when she died of Covid complication. I remember her citing poems she wrote at age 6. It was an inspiration to watch her coming to the poetry group every week reading poetry of her own and others.
The group publishes an Anthology once a year. Each member has a share of eight pages to publish their unpublished poems. The last section of the Anthology is a themed poetry contributed by anyone in the group. One year, the theme was I Am From. The poems could refer to an actual location or a mental, physical, and emotional state, or a family origin. Such as…
I am from Boston where…
I am from a family of seven…
The following was my poem contributed to the anthology.
I Am From –
From a familiar land of Hong Kong, I came forty-some years ago –
to a land of the unknown in Portland, Oregon, following the rainbow.
From a dramatic scene of a skyscraper jungle crowded with people –
to a forest like of sky-reaching trees and behold the first snow.
From restaurants filled with muffled noises drowning my own voices –
to cafes so quiet I could hear the whispering and chewing of Époisses
From television, music, and chattering sounds saturated everywhere –
to air filled with crispy rubbing leaves and whooshing wind brushed my hair.
My surprising discovery was the intermittent tinnitus in my left ear –
which was masked by the environs from my discovery for many years.
The foreign land of the unknown now became my home.
Even when I traveled to places around the globe,
I long for coming back to my bed in my present home.
I will post poetry related posts during this month including the poets and their works, selection of my published or new poems, and other poetry projects.
What would you write if you were writing a poem or a thought on I Am From…? I would love to hear from you!
I love landscape painting and chose this as Sue’s sample paintings.
Sue has been a caretaker of her son for 11+ years since he suffered from the traumatized attack. Besides the challenge, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. This is the time she would appreciate the support when she can’t run full speed because of the side effect and the exhaustion from the treatment, plus the impact from the Covid pandemic.
Carrot Rach has created a Rodeo Classic to orchestrate the support event. It calls for a 99-words flash fiction contest. To take part, you write a flash fiction story of 99 words or a poem of 99 syllables, using the photo prompt at Carrot Ranch to find the “Hidden” Inspiration, and enter the contest using a form on the post, then you’d be invited take part in a small donation to support Sue.
“Each story needs to have a beginning, middle and end. Poems must have distinctive theme, movement, and rhythm; no rhyme scheme is necessary, but neither will rhyme be punished…” – H.R.R.
There is a $100 grand prize and five runners up will each receive one paperback from Sue’s collection of published books (those who live in a region where the paperback is unavailable may receive an e-Book instead).
The contest will close at midnight on Friday, February 19, 2021. Winning entries will be announced and read at CarrotRanch.com/blog on March 22, 2021.
I hope you would participate and enjoy the fun!
* * *
You may find Books by Sue Vincent and those written with Stuart France available in paperback and for Kindle via Amazon.
“I remember. I’ll do it when I get home from the walk,” me said.
“You can do both, walking and writing on your phone.”
“I know, it’s not the first time. I haven’t decided what to write, though. I took several days off from writing.”
“You’re supposed to write about your conversation with me. So just write what we’ve said so far and continue.”
“Okay… now I must slow down my walk. Good thing it hardly has any traffic in the neighborhood. I still ought to be careful. One eye on the phone, one eye on the road… alright, I’ve done this much. Then what?”
“Let me paint you a picture.”
“What are you talking about? I’m the in-house artist. Besides, we’re walking. How can you paint?”
“I’ll show you, just wait.”
“I see. There are words.”
“Exactly. Does it look like anything you know?”
“Well, half of it resembles something I remember and half of it looks disaster.”
“Of what it looks like…”
“The only thing I could think of is what I did for NaNoWriMo in 2017.”
“Well, I didn’t write for days over the holidays but still wanted to reach the word count. I kept writing without the coherent plot.”
“What happened after that?”
“I put it in a folder, one of my many writing folders.”
“Are you going to do something about it?”
“I’m too busy to pick it up right now.”
“I know. You’re halfway through another project but kept going back to the beginning. Why?”
“I’m editing from the beginning.”
“Aren’t you supposed to finish the entire book before editing?”
“Well, I just need some satisfaction of polishing a few chapters and call them semi-done.”
“Don’t wait for too long before writing a new chapter.”
“I’ve been busy with another project as well.”
“I know. I’ve been helping you.”
“You have? What did you do?”
“Come on, be sensible. Didn’t I help you with the description of the book cover?”
“The last thing was the description of the children’s book cover for the illustrator. I thought I had given him a description.”
“You gave him a sketch of the book cover suggestion. He needed a description. You can’t assume what you see is the same as what he sees in the sketch.”
“Sorry for being absentminded. You helped to make some bullet points for him. Did he get the idea now?”
“I don’t know. You must wait for him to send you the sketch to see if your bullet points made sense to him. I can’t read his mind over the internet. I can’t talk to him either. He is in Ukraine.”
“He would do unlimited revision, wouldn’t he? He did for many pages so far.”
“It took a year to find someone to work with. Three gigs failed me. The last one waited a month to tell me his grandfather died. I wonder how many times his grandfather died. This gig is busy, but at least he spends some time on my project.”
“I hope this gig’s grandfather won’t die too soon.”
“He put a lot of work into it. I don’t think he wants me to cancel the order, or he cancels on me at this point.”
“Well, mate. We’re home.”
“Isn’t it a perfect timing? Now, just email the notes to yourself.”
“I can do that at the front porch. Until next time, my walking buddy.”
This is Weekly “Fiction in a Flash Challenge” Week #24.Each weekSuzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting us to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.
Here is the week #24 Image Prompt.
“Christmas is around the corner. My parents are hosting the family gathering this year. My mom is sending out invitations to all our extended family. It will be 58 people if they all could come,” Margaret said.
“How often do your parents host the Christmas party?” Darin asked.
“Once every five years. My mom has four siblings married with children. My dad has one sister. They live all over the country. My grandparents live close by.”
“Most of you aunts and uncles are from the same family. It sounds cozy.”
“My mom wants you to come.”
“Of course, I’ll come. We have a small family. Just my parents, three sets of aunts and uncle, my grandparents, and me. I should spend Christmas morning with them. I’ll come in the early afternoon. Is it okay?”
“Sure, the party will be all day long.”
“I’ll be away for a few days after Christmas.”
“Where’re you going?”
“It’s a long story. Well, I have to tell you, eventually. My parents shared something with me a year ago. My dad said he couldn’t give children to my mom. He suggested having sperm donation at a fertility clinic. My mom agreed. In fact, he went with my mom for the insemination. My dad waited for my mom’s procedure. I felt awkward that my dad is not my dad. I mean, I don’t have his genes. It doesn’t matter now. He’s my only dad. They said that having children through using donated eggs, sperm or embryos are common alternatives for couples who have infertility problem to have their biological children.”
“Oh, thank you for telling me. I got something to tell you. But tell me more.”
“My dad suggested I had a DNA test to locate the sperm donor because it was anonymous at the time of the process. Not that he wanted me to meet him, but just didn’t want to leave it as a mystery.”
“Did you do it? What did you find out?”
“I did the DNA test. Unfortunately, I found out something shocking and wished it wasn’t true.”
“What was it?”
“The DNA pointed to a doctor who used his own sperm to help around 600 women conceived. Someone started a website calling people to do DNA test to find out if this doctor was their sperm donor. The guy of the website says these 600 people were literally half-siblings. The purpose of the identification was that people who have this doctor as the sperm donor won’t end up getting married. The risk that two of the offspring may meet unknowingly and start a family of their own, which could cause serious genetic problems in their children.”
“What’s the problem? What’s wrong?”
“My mom told me when I turned 18, that she had me from a sperm donor. She also asked me to take a DNA test to identify the donor.”
“Oh gosh, what were the odds we met?”
“Why will you be away after Christmas?”
“Among the people responded, five of them, two men and three women, who live in the neighboring states would like to meet. After all, they are… we are half-siblings. We just want to meet and talk. Did you find out the name of the donor?”
“Yes, the last name is Vardags. He was an Oxford law student at that time, and he only made one donation. What’s the name of your donor?”
“It was Dr. Bertold Wiesner. Oh, gosh, I’m so relieved. I don’t want to call you my sister. I want you to be my wife.”
This is Weekly “Fiction in a Flash Challenge” Week #22.Each weekSuzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting us to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.
Here is the week #22 Image Prompt.
“Here, Liam, this is mother’s journal. Let’s collect all her personal items before the lady comes to clean the house,” Marcus said.
“I wonder what went on in mother’s mind.”
“Let’s read her last entry.”
September 17, 1969
You said you loved me. I moved in with you. I waited and waited for us to get married. You said it was love that mattered. I believed you.
We had two darling children, two cheerful and curious boys. You were proud of them. I thought you could settle down for a family and a committed life. You said it was love that mattered. I believed you.
Our boys grew into intelligent teenagers. They were outstanding students. The teacher complimented us for being responsible parents. I thought you were a proud father and family man. I mentioned about making the marriage legal. You said it was love that mattered.
I didn’t feel the love you claimed to have in our relationship. I wanted to be free from the agony, yet it’s too late. The boys needed a father for a few more years.
Our sons graduated from college. They supported themselves with scholarships and part-time jobs. We soon will have an empty nest. I asked for your commitment.
“I’m married,” you said. “It was an arranged marriage in China. The WWII separated us. I thought she was dead. I went to Hong Kong when the war was over. You and I met. It was love. Nothing confirmed her death, so I couldn’t make our relationship legal. Five years later, she went to Hong Kong and found me. It was my obligation to see her.”
You said I was your only love. I demanded your choice. You were still indecisive and said you had an obligation to her. I asked you to pack up and never come back again, and you just walked out.
I told our sons because they needed to know why their father didn’t come home.
“She told us, and it shocked me. Father seemed to be so nice to us for all those years.”
“There’s one more entry. Let’s read on.”
Words came from your wife as you passed away. So… you told her about me and your sons. I sent Liam and Marcus to the funeral service. They told me there were two children with your wife, one was seven years and the other was five years younger than Liam according to the eulogy.
Liar! Liar! Liar!
“Mother had a chest pain after this entry. We took her to the hospital and her heart shut down.”
This is Weekly “Fiction in a Flash Challenge” Week #21.Each weekSuzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting us to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.
Here is the week #21 Image Prompt.
A Kind Soul
“Cemetery is my favorite place for contemplation, reading, and writing,” Jeremy said, keeping his eyes on the road.
“It’s peaceful, for sure. You don’t have to talk to anyone unless you speak a ghostly language.” Betsy glanced at him.
“I like to walk around when I think about writing. But then I started reading the tombstones. There’re interesting stuff.”
“Yeah? I can’t think of any interesting things among the dead.”
“I read the descriptions of the deceased on the tombstones. It made me think of the lives of these people and the legacy they left behind.”
“Oh, I see. It reminds me of a meeting with the dead last week.”
“What? Did you know someone who died?”
“No, it’s just my friends. Me and six girlfriends take turns to play dead. We met at Charlotte’s basement. We lit candles around the room. The ‘dead person’ lied on a massage table in the center of the room. The rest of us were standing around, took turns to read the eulogy. After the eulogy, we went upstairs for the reception in the living room. The ‘dead person’ could reflect, comment, and ask questions.”
“Have you played dead yet?”
“No, I’m the last person. After our first meeting, it made me think of what life is all about, what my priorities are, and what I would like people to remember me.”
“It sounds like serious stuff. Oh, we’re here.”
“Exactly. Now tell me what we’re doing here?”
“Well, it’s a long story. I haven’t told you all about it because I wanted to get here as soon as I could. Anyway, I was walking around the cemetery reading the tombstones yesterday. On one of them, instead of a description, there was a web link. I copied it and did a search. Guess what I found out?”
“What? You haven’t told me yet.”
“The website has only one page and one message. It reads,
You were the first person who came to my graveside. You even stopped to read the engraving on the tombstone. I appreciated your interest and kindness. I would like you to visit my home. I have a message for you. Please find the front door key which is in the garden directly behind the fireplace in the living room. There’s a loose brick at the bottom on the right of the red brick wall. Remove the brick to retrieve the key. Enter the house and find the rug in front of the fireplace in the living room. Locate a envelop with my wishes in it. You’ll find out what to do next.
There was an address and a map. So I called you right away and asked you to come with me this afternoon.”
“Oh, wow! What an adventure. This house seems to be neglected for ages. So, we’re looking for the key.” Betsy was getting excited.
“First, we need to locate the living room to have a point of reference.”
“Let’s circle around the house and find a window with a view into the house.”
“All the windows are boarded up.” Jeremy surveyed the surrounding.
“Come here. The board on this window got a crack. See if you can make out anything.”
“Thanks, this looks like a living room. If we walk to the end of this wall and turn left, we should find the red brick wall behind the fireplace.”
“This is a big house… Okay here’s the red brick wall. Now let’s find the key.”
“There it is. Hurry to get in before dark and open some windows. There may not be light inside.”
“Look at all the oil paintings on the wall, and a grand piano in the living room. Yes, there’s a Persian rug.”
“Good, I found it. The envelop is under the rug right in front of the fireplace.”
“Open it and read the message.”
“Okay, it says,
I was an orphan and worked day and night all my life to get ahead. I had no fun, no family, or friends. You were the only kind soul who came to my graveside. My attorney is the executive of my will. He’ll distribute all of my assets except this house to a designated orphanage. This house and everything in it will be yours as my appreciation to you. My attorney is expecting you.
This is Weekly “Fiction in a Flash Challenge” Week #19.Each weekSuzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.
Here is the week #19 Image Prompt.
“Who are you?” Eric moaned.
“I’m your shadow.”
“Was I dead? Why am I talking to you?”
“Get up! You have a job to do and I’m here to help you.”
“What do you remember of your last sight?” The shadow swayed side to side.
“After my concert, my fiancée and I were going to a nightclub to celebrate.”
“Did you have fun at the nightclub?”
“No, our car was hit, and the driver got away. We were stranded on the street at 2:00 a.m. and there were hardly any cars coming by to help us.”
“Go on. What else do you remember?”
“Finally, a car stopped behind ours. Three guys dressed up in black baggy clothes came out and approached us.”
“Were they there to help you?”
“No, they were rough buys with bandanas on their heads and heavy chains on their necks.”
“What did you think they were?”
“I wasn’t sure. They crouched their shoulders and jerked the steps toward us. One of them grabbed Shelly, and two of them grabbed my shoulders, one on each side.”
“Go on, then what?”
“The thug forced on her. She screamed. The guy on my left nodded and the one on the right choked me on my neck. The first guy darted over, seized her hair, and cupped over her mouth. She jolted violently, but the thug lifted her legs and pressed them toward her face. I turned my face away from her and tried to yank free from the guy, but he put a knife under my chin.” Eric’s voice trembled.
“I wished someone drove by to rescue you.”
“The next thing was that the thug yelled from being bitten by Shelly and he fired a shot. The guy who choked me startled, and I shook free and ran toward her.”
“Was she okay?”
“The blood was gushing out of her chest and she was motionless. I snatched the thug and pounded his chest. He fired a shot at my face, and…”
“You were dead.” The shadow softened the voice.
“But why am I talking to you?”
“I’m the Crow, your dark angel. I’m here to take you to avenge the rape and murder of your fiancée, and your own death. He is in the nightclub where you were going for your celebration. Here’s the gun for you.”
“You might not have an unobstructed view of his face the night he committed the crime against you and Shelly. He is at the bar sitting next to the woman in red. Try to get him to move to the hallway behind the bar. We need not claim innocent lives.” The Crow added.
“Okay, stay with me and tell me what to do.”
“Point the gun at his side.”
“Move! Don’t look back.” Eric gunned against Funboy and pressed him toward the hallway away from the crowd.
“Hey, easy. Who are you?” Funboy cooperated and moved the feet with hesitation.
“I’m here to offer you a deal. One life to trade for two.”
“I’m not greedy. I always indulge one at a time, except… It’s impossible. I only had the luxury to take two when…”
“You’re correct. You murdered my fiancée and me. Too bad you only have one life to repay me.”
Funboy made a sudden turn and ran down the hallway. Eric fired a shot at his head and missed. Funboy drew the gun and shot back. Eric fell backward.
“Cut.” The director called timeout.
“Brandon and Michael, let me have a word with you,” Alex Proyas said to the actors.
“Alex, Brandon is bleeding. Call the ambulance.”
~ ~ ~
In “The Crow,” the lead actor, Brandon Lee was accidentally wounded on set during filming by defective blank ammunition and later died in the hospital during surgery on March 31, 1993 at age 28. With only eight days left of production, unfinished scenes used a rewritten script, a stunt double, and digital special effects.
On July 20, 1973, Brandon’s father, Bruce Lee died in Hong Kong at age 32 from a brain edema possibly caused by a reaction to a prescription painkiller.
They were buried next to each other in Lake View Cemetery, Seattle, Washington.