Museum Monday: Special Exhibit in Pittsburgh

What do you think of when you hear the name Leonardo da Vinci? The enduring mysterious smile of his Mona Lisa? His far-before-their-time flying designs? His use of mirror writing to code his notes?

His designation as a Renaissance man--one with skills across many subject areas--lays the cornerstone of a traveling exhibit currently on display at the Carnegie Science Museum in Pittsburgh. Thanks to the preservation of his codices (housed throughout Europe), over 60 of his inventions have been built either full-size or in model form for visitors to peruse and for some, touch with their own hands.

The exhibit takes guests through his works by themes and so after a very brief introduction to his life, starts with a look at his inventions related to weather and flying. Here, I learned that while da Vinci was most definitely an inventor, he was a man who looked at what was already in existence and worked to improve upon it especially in a way that would decrease the amount of effort needed b…

Throwback Thursday: The Negotiator

There are so many good books to read out there and so little time that choosing can be hard. I love following Instagram but I've noticed most of the books featured in those photos are fairly recent releases. While new books definitely deserve our attention, I also want to highlight books that have been around a bit longer that probably will never fall into the classics category but could be just the read someone is looking for.

So read on for my first installment in Throwback Thursdays: Books.

Dee Henderson is a well-known author in the Christian romantic suspense world but in the early 2000's, I had never heard of this author. My roommate bought the first book of her O'Malley series for me--in Spanish. I borrowed an English copy from the library to make the reading easier and soon fell in love with this family (I now own all the books in the series). These are my favorite books from Henderson.

Kate is a fierce protagonist. She knows she is good at her job, is unapologetic…

Everything AND the Kitchen Sink

I first heard of Stomp years ago but attending a performance was one of those secondary bucket list items. You know, the activities that sound neat and you'll do them if the opportunity comes up but you won't go out of your way to make it happen?

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to see Stomp at a theater in DC with an acquaintance, and I have to say that this is a show that needs to be on the bucket list of anyone interested in musical performance. For those of you unfamiliar with this group, they are percussionists who utilize anything but drums pretty much to create music.
Our show started with a solo performer pushing a broom across the floor, but soon the stage filled with seven performers each wielding a broom in a series of charged movements. This number was only the first to amaze me with the athleticism of the cast. (I seriously found myself wondering how their legs were able to endure the beatings they took night after night without anyone suffering from shin splin…

Voting Reflection

We had primaries in my part of the world today. This is a much smaller election with only one issue on my ballot and a similar situation in the county to the south of me. I almost skipped going especially after a full day of work.
I didn't though. I drove beyond my house to a new polling place--I feel like I've been moved at least three times even though I haven't changed addresses in the last eight years--and had to try more than one building at the new site before finding the correct location. I handed over my driver's license, received my ballot, and then made my single choice. All in all, a mundane moment.
It got me thinking though. I don't write books where politics play an obvious role. My characters don't discuss their political affiliations and I don't address the hot topics in our government. I don't see that changing for me, but I feel as my backlist grows, the issue of voting should at least appear even if it is as simple as the characters me…

April Reads

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is one of my favorite reads for the year so far. Based on a true scandal out of Tennessee over half a century ago, the story is heartbreaking. The mystery of who Mae and Judy really were kept me guessing until closer to the end. I did find the romance angle a little cliche but if I ignore that part, this is a 5-star book (4 1/2 when considering the romance).

Another audiobook by Janet Evanovich made my list this month: Plum Lovin'. This was a great choice for a road trip since while there were multiple storylines, none of it was complicated. I didn't really like how the narrator approached some of the voices, but the three CD's made my twelve hours on the road pass much quicker. I enjoyed seeing Stephanie hold her own in a different setting than the usual bounty hunting.

I also read a co-written book by Evanovich and Lee Goldberg The Job, the third book in the Fox and O'Hare series. I'm really liking this series following an FB…

Children's Books in April

I read four children's books this month and really enjoyed three of them.

The Museum had an enjoyable rhyming pattern to it but the gem was how it introduced young readers to several art masterpieces. Children who love to paint would enjoy this book and there are multiple options for incorporating this book into a cross-curricular classroom setting.

Mango, Abuela, and Me combined my love of Spanish with a genuine look at the question of how to handle the concerns of aging parents (or in this case, an aging grandmother). The story also infused parts of Hispanic culture. I would love a copy of this book for my Spanish classroom and will look for other offerings by the author.

Just Add Glitter is simply a fun book. Any young child who loves bright, sparkly things will adore the illustrations. I even found myself gently touching the pages to feel the glitter!

Clothesline Clues to Sports People Play was my least favorite book. It had a neat premise--look at what clothing items are hang…

Editing: A Bus Scene

I am currently in the editing stage of the third book in the European Tour Trilogy. My process involves printing out a copy and reading through it for major issues and hopefully catching some typos and grammar errors although that is not the main goal yet. As I was playing around with one segment of a scene, I thought it would be fun to show you the original and then compare it to the revised one (which might still not be the final one!)

                “Not as gorgeous as you,” Vivian smiled, reached up to take his hand as Marcus stepped into their seat. Lucy felt his lips tighten but managed not to grimace. At least she thought her expression stayed neutral.                 “You missed the train for a guy?” Aubrye called back up, the disapproval staying out of her voice but clear on her face. However, both Vivian and Corinne were facing the front of the bus and missed the look.                 “Daniel was so interesting!” Corinne gushed. “He’s traveled around the world, and …