Friday, February 13, 2015


Do you dare to dream? I’m not talking about aspirations or life goals. I’m referring to dreaming. As in your subconscious coming to the forefront. Usually in bed. At night. While you’re asleep.

I have a propensity for dreaming a lot, and vividly. Occasionally the dreams come in the form of nightmares. Sometimes they are recurring, or at least it seems that way to me. Perhaps that is a trick of my mind, telling me I’ve had the dream before when in reality something in the dream itself tells me that it’s that way. Does that make sense? I remember I used to dream of choking on bubble gum. I know I’ve had that dream more than a dozen times, and even the smell of bubble gum makes me want to choke. But maybe my mind is playing tricks on me and I’ve only had the dream one time. I don’t know.

This last week, for whatever reason, my dreams have been plentiful and crazy. I don’t know of anything different going on in my life, and I haven’t been eating spicy or exotic foods, but every morning I wake up and think, good grief! What brought that on?

Often I don’t recall many details of my dreams. Sometimes I simply wake up with a feeling of sadness or my heart is extra light, and I’m aware that I had a dream, but when I try to recall it, the details or too vague to pin down. Occasionally I will wake myself up laughing or with an urgent need to relieve my bladder (I’m grateful for those particular dreams because they serve as a wake-up call that saves me a lot of embarrassment!) At other times, the dreams are frightening and I don’t even want to go back to sleep. I’ve even had the experience of knowing in my dream that something really bad is about to happen, and I have tried yelling in the hopes of waking up my husband, whom I know in my dream state is sleeping beside me, even though in the dream itself I’m not even in my house. It’s quite a strange sensation, and one that many people may not be able to understand because they don’t even realize they dream at all. My husband is that type.

Last night my dream was particularly weird. So weird, in fact, that I thought it might be therapeutic to write it down and share it, in the hopes that someone with much more insight than I might be able to dissect it and come up with a plausible explanation.

In this dream, a FedEx truck drove up my driveway – which was about a quarter mile long and was lined with junk cars.  If you know me, then you’ll know that’s a sure sign of a nightmare on the way. I hate junk cars!

But it didn’t work out that way. The FedEx driver jumped from the truck with a big smile on her face and said, “I have your inheritance here for you! Aren’t you a lucky duck?” Then she handed me a Wal-Mart bag that was filled with an assortment of mismatched flatware and a can of spray paint. I didn’t notice what color the paint was, but I do recall being quite disappointed with the flatware. But the driver had more for me. She threw the big door at the back of the truck open – it was one of those doors that slide up with a lot of clattering. Then she pulled a slab of meat out of the truck, and it looked about the size of a yearling cow. But she tossed it onto the hood of one of the junk cars, and I could see right away that it was not a cow. She smiled at me as she swiped her hands across the back of her pants, even though the meat was in a vacuum-sealed bag, and said, “Now what do you think of that?” As I was still holding the bag containing the silverware and the spray paint, I didn’t know what to think. Should I have a picnic or start a craft project?

But I was upset about the meat. I said to the driver, “This isn’t beef, is it?” Like I was accusing her of something. We argued for awhile, and I don’t remember most of the conversation, but I knew after a few minutes that the bag contained woodchuck. A lot of woodchuck that appeared to have been mechanically separated and squished together in a big, cowish shape. I don’t know why that made me mad, but a minute later some woman I knew in my dream but have no recollection of, slapped me on the back and said, “Oh, good! Now we have enough food to feed the nursing home residents.” I don’t know who that was good for, but I can’t imagine it was good for the residents. Yuck!

I couldn’t worry about it for long, though, because I suddenly remembered I was in a race. I called my dog and told her to “come on!” and we took off running down the road. When I got to the corner, I stopped to clean the toilet, just as I knew I should, and one of the ladies from church was there making a pie for the graduation ceremony. The pie was green, and I told her it looked really delicious. She only smiled and kept slapping on whipped cream.

Then I continued on the race, but I suddenly noticed that my purse was really heavy and it was slowing me down. Instead of just chucking the purse, I stopped and opened it. Inside I found that the candy corn I had put in there had sprouted and I was actually carrying a dozen huge ears of corn with me.

That was the end, thankfully. It wasn’t a bad dream, per se, but it’s probably the strangest one I’ve had in awhile. Maybe the strange part about it is the fact that I still remember that much of it so vividly. Usually dreams are fleeting things, but not this one. And although as a writer I know we are advised against using the dream trick in our novels, I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a story, or at least a picture book, hidden in this soup of freakishness. So far I haven’t been able to come up with anything usable, but I thought that by writing it down I can at least come back to it if something strikes a chord. Who knows? It might contain the seeds for the next best seller. In the meantime,


Cordelia Dinsmore

Monday, November 17, 2014


Lately I've been a little disappointed in the new book selections I've brought home from the library. It's not often I leave a book unfinished, but, sadly, it's happened twice in the last few weeks. I don't know if it's simply been my mood, or the writing, or something else, but the books just didn't hold my interest.

That was not the case, however, with Magic Delivery by Clete Barrett Smith. This book is a jewel, and I can highly recommend it to anyone of any age who loves to laugh and go on an adventure that is pretty much unique.

The cover art caught my attention right away. The colors swirling across the front makes me think of candy for some reason. Perhaps cotton candy, or Jolly Ranchers. Sounds weird, I know, but that's how it affected me. But then I noticed the bear squashed into the driver's seat of the big truck, headed down the middle of the highway toward two kids on bicycles, and my interest was definitely piqued.

This is a tale with a premise I've yet to come across, although in some ways it reminded me a little bit of The Mask. But just a smidgen. It's much more involved and creative than that.

Two best friends, both from the poor side of town, and both with definite issues, are nearly killed when a large truck comes barreling out of nowhere straight into the boys' path as they ride their bikes home from school. An accident is avoided when the truck goes over the edge of a cliff and falls to the forest below, but the boys feel obligated to check on the driver to see if he's okay. Even though the driver did look suspiciously like a huge grizzly bear.

I'm not going to tell you what they find when they arrive at the scene of the accident. It's just so much fun that you need to read it for yourself. 

This book made me laugh - alot. It also made me cringe because it isn't all fun and games. There are bullies involved, and class clashes, and underhanded dealings, and resentments, and danger. It's quite a roller-coaster ride emotionally, but it's all done in a style that is lighthearted and that makes perfect sense and makes it all believable. Even though the preposterousness of the situation is totally unbelievable. I'm not sure if preposterousness is even a word, but it fits in this situation.

I can highly recommend this book to MG readers who love a rousing adventure and who like to root for the underdog. It is a clean read, but there is some crude humor involved from time to time. If you read, or have read, this one, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.


Cordelia Dinsmore

Monday, November 10, 2014


Attention teachers, librarians, tweens, and parents of tweens! Announcing a contest just for you... The Emblazon authors are giving away a brand new touch screen Kindle loaded with over 50 of their books. That’s a $300 value and hours of reading entertainment! Emblazon is a collection of authors who seek to create lifelong readers by creating top-notch literature for kids. They have a particular focus on ages 11 to 14. They’re hosting this fabulous giveaway to celebrate their first year and to treat you, the readers. The Rafflecopter contest runs November 3 through November 17 and is open to anyone who loves tween literature. a Rafflecopter giveaway Note: Signing up for the catalog is required for entry. Current subscribers are also eligible for entry. Winners must reside in the United States or Canada. 

List of Stops on the Blog Tour:

November 3rd:

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You can help even more by sharing this post with your friends and family. If you know teachers or librarians let them know about how awesome the Emblazoners are by sharing the link to their website:

Monday, November 3, 2014


November has finally arrived. That means it's NANOWRIMO.

If you are not a writer, or possibly even if you are a writer, you may not be familiar with this silly little acronym. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. And though the acronym is little, NANO is anything but. It's HUGE! 

I have attempted NANO twice now, and failed miserably both times. The idea is to write an entire novel during the month of November. Approximately 50,000 words is probably the average. 

That's a lot of writing for some. Others have no problem with it at all.

During the process of writing the novel, participants will encourage you to avoid all urges to edit. That is partly why I always fail. I just cannot leave things alone. I'm constantly going back and changing things, or waking up in the night and thinking, "Oh, wait, that won't work. I'll have to redo that part in the  morning." The editing eats up all my time and thirty days go by quickly when one is trying to make a deadline like NANO. 

But I'm not going to even bother this year. I have a project that I'm quite pleased with spending my time on, even though the going is slower than molasses on a cold morning. I'm researching for a historical middle grade novel. It, too, may be my undoing. 

Research isn't bad,  per se. But this project is really big, and I'm still trying to narrow it down to just a few people I want to center on. It's confounding to find so much conflicting information once I begin researching each individual. Dates don't always match. Sites that should have burial information list no such person. And my eyes are nearly bleeding from trying to decipher old letters that have been uploaded to internet sites. Don't get me wrong. I so appreciate the efforts others have made to afford me this information. I just wish it was easier to read.

As I said, though, I'm enjoying the work. And I'm finally learning a bit more about American History - which has always been a difficult concept for me. But I'm ready to begin the actual writing of the project, and I know I'm not ready yet. That's why I didn't even bother to sign up for NANOWRIMO. I am hoping this turns into a positive project and I may not even be finished with the research by the end of this month. 

In the meantime, and to fill in when my eyes can no longer stare at a monitor, I picked up a few promising titles at the library this morning. 

I really AM writing every day, but I don't consider notes to be quite the same thing.


Cordelia Dinsmore

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

I have the habit of choosing books based on the title and the cover. I rarely take the time to read the back cover or inside flap blurb. One reason is because I'm usually in a hurry when I stop at the library, and another reason is because I think it's interesting to be surprised by what's inside.

The Boundless was certainly a surprise of the most pleasant kind. The cover does reveal a number of interesting bits. It depicts a train traveling through a snowy darkness, with a full moon shining in the distance. What's interesting about the train is the mammoth size of it. The cars are double-decker, and the engine has three levels to it. I'm pretty sure I've never seen a train quite that large. Additionally, the silhouettes of two figures are leaping across the tops of these double-decker train cars. Those details give me a clue that something interesting is happening here.

Next we have the addition of a key. Keys are always fun. They indicate numerous possibilities. Perhaps there is a treasure hidden away. Or a secret car or compartment somewhere on the train. And I've read enough to know that sometimes whatever is secreted away behind that key is not the surprise we are expecting. Or, it could be a different type of key. After all, the figures jumping the car roofs are a boy and a girl. The key may signify something about their relationship. Keys are fun.

But, when you look closely at the cover, there's something else to grab your attention. Scattered throughout this dark, snowy landscape surrounding the train are eyes. Hmmm. There's no way to tell if these are friendly eyes are those of potential enemies. The combination of all these details was enough to convince me I wanted to read this book. When I began reading and discovered the main character's name was Will Everett - the same as one of my favorite uncles - I knew I had to find out what happened to that young boy.

I couldn't put it down. Even with all those clues right before my eyes, I was still unprepared for what I found inside this remarkable tale. A combination of adventure, murder mystery, science fiction, historical fiction, and steampunk. The action is non-stop, whether the main character is running for his life from the bad guys or the Sasquatch. And then there's the little matter of exactly WHO are the bad guys.

The tale is admittedly far-fetched, from the colossal size of the train, to the equally colossal characters. It was tempting to find myself scoffing. But the author bestows such lifelike traits into the characters that I found myself loving them and hating them so well that they became real to me.

The story involves a train's maiden voyage across Canada, carrying the remains of the man who made it all possible, along with a carload of treasure that instigates the train robbery and most of the adventure. Young Will becomes embroiled in the theft plot, and is determined to warn his father of the danger. Unfortunately, he's at one end of the train, and his father is miles away in the locomotive. Will faces many dangers, adventures, and conflicting emotions as he makes his way to his father.

One aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was the inclusion of Mr. Dorian, the owner of the circus that is traveling with the train and is heavily embroiled in the plot. I love the fact that the author uses that particular name. Have you ever read The Picture of Dorian Gray?

I liked this one, and highly recommend it for those who love never-ending tension. And I'm very pleased that the author managed to keep the reading clean throughout. There are some close calls as far as language goes, but he doesn't succumb to the growing popularity of vulgarity. Thank you for that, Mr. Oppel!


Cordelia Dinsmore

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Curiosity Quills is excited to reveal the cover for contemporary, young-adult Burn Baby Burn Baby, by Kevin Craig, which is due for release December 11, 2014. The cover was designed by CQ managing partner Eugene Teplitsky. Burn Baby Burn 1000About Burn Baby Burn Baby: Seventeen-year-old Francis Fripp’s confidence is practically non-existent since his abusive father drenched him in accelerant and threw a match at him eight years ago. Now badly scarred, Francis relies on his best friend Trig to protect him from the constant bullying doled out at the hands of his nemesis, Brandon Hayley—the unrelenting boy who gave him the dreaded nickname of Burn Baby. The new girl at school, Rachel Higgins, is the first to see past Francis’s pariah-inducing scars. If Brandon’s bullying doesn’t destroy him, Francis might experience life as a normal teenager for the first time in his life. He just has to avoid Brandon and convince himself he’s worthy of Rachel’s attentions. Sounds easy enough, but Francis himself has a hard time seeing past his scars. And Brandon is getting violently frustrated, as his attempts to bully Francis are constantly thwarted. Francis is in turmoil as he simultaneously rushes toward his first kiss and a possible violent end. Add Burn Baby Burn Baby to your Goodreads 'to-be-read' list. -- Kevin Craig - Author picAbout The Author: Kevin Craig is the author of three previous novels; Summer on Fire, Sebastian’s Poet, and The Reasons. He is a 4-time winner of the Muskoka Novel Marathon’s Best Novel Award. Kevin is also a playwright and has had eight 10-minute plays produced. His poetry, short stories, memoir and articles have been published internationally. Kevin was a founding member of the Ontario Writers’ Conference and a long-time member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR). He is represented by literary agent Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group. Find Kevin Craig Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Monday, September 29, 2014

One Came Home by Amy Timberlake

I really enjoyed this book. Not because it was a Newbery Honor Book. Not because it was a historical fiction and I LOVE historical fiction. Not because it was a great mystery. I enjoyed it because Georgie Burkhardt is one of those characters who, although young, and a female in a time when females weren't fully appreciated for their amazing contributions to society, does not allow anyone to tell her what she cannot do.

That sentence probably has some major technical problems, but it is what it is.

Georgie's story takes place in 1871, in and around the town of Placid, Wisconsin. The first paragraph of her tale blows me away - we writers are told to grab the reader from the get-go, and Ms. Timberlake manages to do it with gusto. She talks about her sister's first funeral, and tells us she knows it won't be her last. How can you resist something like that?

This gutsy young girl takes off on an adventure to discover what actually happened that has resulted in this catastrophe. Imagine watching your parents go through the grief and anguish of attempting to verify that a badly mistreated body (or parts thereof) is that of their missing daughter, while knowing in your heart that it canNOT be the sister you know and love. Unimaginable!

It's a good thing Georgie is such a crack shot with that rifle of hers, because she's going to need her skills as she turns detective and sets off in search of the truth. Of course, it turns out to be a good thing when that questionable character, Billy McCabe, decides he'll just have to go with her - with the excuse that he's only loaning Georgie his mule, and has to make sure she takes good care of him.

I love the voice of this girl, and her grit, and her refusal to be molded into anything other than the incredible person she is. The setting is interesting and all of the historical facts regarding the now extinct passenger pigeons were woven into the story with great skill. 

A great read and suitable for all ages.


Cordelia Dinsmore