Monday, February 16, 2015

Embrace Winter


I'll admit that when I hear a snowstorm is coming, I don't run out and fill my car with gas or race to the grocery store. Instead, I get all of my writing tools in order and anxiously await being stuck inside with my muse. You may even hear me shout, "YAY!"
While I've found bad weather can result in productive writing days, too many of these days can be frustrating. Not all of my writing process happens here at my desk. 
I NEED to go to the library to do research or to pick up the stack of books that I've placed on hold. Not being able to do research can hold up a project which can be an even bigger problem if that project has a deadline.
Not being able to meet with fellow writers is especially frustrating when you're in need of feedback or you're looking forward to brainstorming on a manuscript. Even more important, you miss the support of others.
I've found some ways to stay productive even when Mother Nature gets in the way.
There are many picture books that are read aloud on YouTube, so if it's a mentor text that's holding you up, do a search and chances are the author, a teacher, or a librarian has made a video. This was especially helpful when I recently wrote a new manuscript and found out there was already a book similar to what I wrote. I was able to find out exactly how similar it was by viewing it on YouTube. I also use Google Book Search a lot. It can be very helpful with research and keeping me moving forward with a project until I can get to the bookstore or the library.

If bad weather is getting in your way of meeting with fellow writing buddies, we can always find each other online. But we know when we meet in person it results in a pretty darn productive day. Consider scheduling a write-in. Plan on being online at a certain time of the day, say from 9 a.m. until noon, which could be the time and day you all normally meet. Everyone writes or brainstorms from 9 a.m. until 9:45 a.m. at which time everyone checks in with each other and shares what they've accomplished. You have 15 minutes to read and comment on each other's work. Then the cycle begins again at 10 a.m. and continues until noon.
Make a deal with yourself. Promise to stay off of social media for a set amount of time and write, research, accomplish something on your to-do list. When you've completed what you've set out to do, reward yourself. It might be a special snack or drink, or it could be phone call to catch up with a friend, or I like to reward myself with reading time used strictly for enjoyment.
With each day that passes I know that warm sunny days are drawing nearer. But with that comes less writing time. Things like gardening, beach days, picnics, softball games, and barbeques fill the calendar. I look forward to spring but embrace what winter has to offer and right now that seems to lots of time to write!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine's Day Craft with Riddles
ISBN 978-0-7660-4119-6


The History of Valentine's Day
Did you know that some people believe that Valentine's Day started with the ancient Roman feast of Lupercalia? It's true! Named after the Roman god Lupercus, the feast was celebrated from February 13 through February 15. Young girls would write their names on pieces of paper and place them in a vase. Each boy would choose a name from the vase. The girl he chose would be his partner for the festival and maybe even the year. These matches would often turn into love and sometimes even marriage.

Today, Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14th. Here's a craft I created using funny Valentine's Day riddles from my book.

First, I traced a heart on a piece of colored paper. I used a heart decoration as my template.

I used scrapbooking paper so I could fit two hearts on one page and use the leftover for the flaps.

Then I cut out the hearts.

I typed up and printed, from my computer, various riddles from the book so the children would have a variety to choose from. FYI, there is no copyright on jokes and riddles, so no worries! I typed the question above the answer with a cutting line in between them. Then I cut the papers up so the question and answer stayed together. The cutting line will be used later when assembling the flap.

I used the scraps of colored paper leftover after cutting out the hearts and created a flap by folding the paper in half.

Next, I cut along that line between the question and the answer and glued the question part of the riddle to the front of the flap.
Then I glued the answer to the riddle inside the flap.

Next, I glued the flap to the front of the heart. 

 Finally, I wrote my message and decorated the heart with fun stickers. You can even flip it over and write another message on the back.

 There you have it, a fun(ny) Valentine's Day craft for all ages!
If you would like use this craft in your home or classroom I would be happy to email you the word document with the riddles. Just email me through my web site.

Linda Bozzo has published over 50 nonfiction books for the school and library market. For more information about Linda and her books, you can visit her website.

Copyright 2015 Linda Bozzo