Thursday, May 29, 2014

Remembering Maya Angelou--a Woman of Words and Wisdom


The world has lost a precious soul in Maya Angelou. She passed away at age 84 packing a lot of love, laughter, and great words of wisdom in her writings and poetry. Poet, educator, author, activist, playwright, and director are some of the careers Dr. Angelou included in her journey through life.

On the Maya Angelou Website, her family said:

She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.

Guy B. Johnson

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer,  It sings because it has a song.
--Dr. Maya Angelou

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day and the Rose Parade

This flag is made entirely of flowers and natural elements
because it is part of the RFD-TV float in the Rose Parade 2014.
The title of the float was You Make My Dreams Come True. I was in awe of the float, a huge masterpiece of color, texture, style, and imagination.

The United States Air Force Thunderbirds Flyover, a heart pounding tribute to our service men and women, roared off the start of the Rose Parade.

This morning my DH and I and my grandson attended a Fly-in at our small airport in our town. Pilots from all over the Midwest fly their small planes in for a pancake breakfast and a time to gather together for fun. Antique cars and planes as well an new experimental aviation projects added to the festivities. The opening ceremony included a flag raising and the Star Spangled Banner. It was an emotional experience bringing tears to my eyes when I saw Old Glory raised on the flag pole. 

Memorial Day is our way to  honor those who served in the military and to remember loved ones who have passed. Take a minute during this important holiday to appreciate them.

Have a safe and fantastic Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Links to Help Young Writers

Author J.L. Campbell dedicates an entire website to helping young writers write. Ms. Campbell shares writing tips on plotting your novel, creating effective scenes, and developing characters and more. The Young Writers Suite explores the craft of writing and helps you develop your writing skills. 

Join the Facebook page for the Young Writers Suite to gather young writers together for discussions on writing.

About J.L. Campbell
J.L. Campbell is a proud Jamaican and an award-winning writer, who is always on the lookout for story-making material. She writes romantic suspense, women's fiction and young adult novels. She is the author of ContrabandChristine's Odyssey, Dissolution, Distraction, Don't Get Mad...Get Even, Giving up the Dream, Kicked to the Kerb, Retribution and Hardware (written under the pen name Jayda McTyson).

She blogs at Feel free to connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or visit her Amazon author page.
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If you would like to submit an article for the Girls Succeed blog about a woman you admire, please check the submission guidelines for the Girls Succeed blog. I would love to feature your story on this blog. Thank you for your consideration.
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If you dream of becoming a writer or book illustrator, follow Jane Stroschin as she pursued her dream to write books. Here's an excerpt from her story in Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women.

To succeed you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality.”Anita Roddick, entrepreneur, business executive

Practice, Practice, Practice
Eight-year-old Jane clutched the new drawing pad, pencils, and paints to her chest.  She treasured the precious tools which she used to fill the paper pads with her drawings and paintings. Jane Stroschin was enthusiastic about creating art pieces from the time she was just a girl. She grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her twin sister and an older sister.
Her love of drawing helped Jane recover from an accident she sustained when playing football with her friends.  Jane was tackled, but could not get up.  Her legs were broken.  She had to endure surgeries to repair her legs.  Doctors told her she would not walk.  But through determination and hard work, Jane proved the doctors wrong.  She learned to walk again. 
During this time of recovery from the accident, Jane worked on her drawing skills and practiced and polished her artwork.
Jane loved sketching so much she continued even after her legs healed. She created cartoons for her junior and senior high newspapers.  In high school, her art teacher asked her to join the “grown-ups” painting class in her home town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The artists in the class were impressed with her composition.  She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in art education.  She continued to paint and draw and to learn from respected masters of art in classes and workshops.
After graduation Jane married Mike Stroschin and they moved to Fremont, Michigan, where she and Mike raised their two children, Laura and Brian. Because there were no jobs for art teachers, Jane accepted a job as the children’s librarian at the local library.  It was here that she fell in love with picture books. She appreciated the combination of art with the story. 
She read lots of books so she could be sure to select interesting ones for the library’s weekly story time. Two of her favorites to read out loud were Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Voirst and Ray Cruz.  She wanted the kids to have fun with the stories and to return each week for more. 
One summer afternoon Jane and her young children, Laura and Brian, sat on a grassy hill watching the puffy clouds move and change as they crossed the blue sky.  The kids told their mom what the clouds looked like…a dinosaur, a kitty, and more.  These cloud pictures gave Jane an idea for her first picture book, The Cloudy Day
Another idea for a book, Emma Lou and the Reindeer Flu, popped into her head when Jane was on the road traveling to a school where she would be teaching kids to write stories and draw pictures.  It began to snow. 
“The snow was beautiful.  It made me want to write a Christmas story,” she said.
As Jane continued on her journey, the story of Emma Lou took shape in her mind. She pictured Santa stopping at Emma Lou’s farm on Christmas Eve because all the reindeer were sick with the flu.  She had to get the words on paper, so she stopped at a restaurant, sat down at the table, and began writing the story on the back of the placemat. 
“Would you like a menu?” asked the waitress as she placed a glass of water on the table.  She couldn’t put it on the placemat after all. 
Jane looked up from her writing.  “Um, oh no.  I’ll just have the special—whatever it is,” she said and returned to her writing.
The words for the story were streaming onto the placemat.  Jane didn’t even notice the waitress had brought her food.  Finally the waitress stopped by the table and asked if something was wrong with the meal.  Jane kept writing and took a bite of the food.  “It’s fine,” she said.
When she finished the story, Jane went to the pay phone in the restaurant to call her twin sister.  (This was before cell phones were available.)  She read the story over the phone to her surprised sister.  There was silence on the other end.
“Well, what do you think?” she asked. Still silence. She began to worry. Jane thought her sister must not like the story and was trying to figure out how to tell her it was a rotten idea.

At last Jane heard her sister sniffle and then reply.  “I’m crying. I love it.”
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These links will connect you so you can download a sample of the e-book or purchase it. A study guide is also available to accompany the book.

Do you know of other websites that are helpful for young writers? Can you suggest sites or magazines that welcome stories by young writers? Please let us know by leaving a comment here. Thank you. Keep writing!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Wishing all the moms and those women who are very special to a child, 
a  very
Happy Mother's Day!

If you are fortunate enough to still have your mother in your life, 
call her or grab her, hug her, kiss her, and tell her how much you love her.

If your mother has passed on, recall some of those precious times you shared with her.