Posts Tagged ‘teen fiction’

A Taste for Adventure and Mystery: Meet Reader-of-the-Month Claire Charvet!

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013
Claire Charvet loves mysteries and historical fiction.

5th-Grader Claire Charvet loves mysteries and historical fiction.

If, like me, you’re feeling just a teensy bit weary of February’s glowering gray skies and biting winds, you might need something to look forward to at this time of year. Good news! Ms. Claire Charvet, our wonderful new “reader-of-the-month,” is a brilliant fifth grader with an infectiously sunny outlook and some fantastic reading suggestions to share with you. So curl up on the couch and let’s pretend we’re all gathered around a crackling fireplace wearing our coziest slippers and bathrobes. We have no thoughts of unfinished book reports, looming math quizzes, or Valentine’s Day angst: we have only our stack of lovely books recommended by an adventure-seeker, world traveler, and book-lover after my own heart – Claire Charvet!

GILDA: Can you describe yourself as a reader? What makes you really love a book?

CLAIRE: I read everything that I can get my hands on and I read at all times possible. Lately, I’ve liked spooky novels and historical fiction.  I like a book that has a lot of depth to it and a good plot, and I like it when there are kids around my age as characters. I have read all of the Gilda Joyce books – multiple times – and also listened to them on tape!

GILDA: Do you have a favorite book in the Gilda Joyce series?

CLAIRE:  I love them all but I think my favorite one is The Ghost Sonata. I love that it takes place in England, because I love to travel…. Last summer, my family and I traveled through France and Iceland together. I also think that Wendy Choy is my favorite character in the series; she’s so musical. I also like that the plot of The Ghost Sonata is unique; I like that it’s different all the other books I’ve read.

GILDA: What have you read lately that you’d like to recommend to fellow Gilda Joyce fans?

CLAIRE: Definitely! My current recommendations are: Wonder by R. J. Palacio, Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz, Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Myracle, The Fourth Stall by Christopher Rylander, and Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm. I’m also a big fan of graphic novels like The Golden Twine: Cat’s Cradle by Jo Rioux, Drama by Raina Telgemeier, and The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon. And of course I’m waiting for the next Gilda Joyce!!!

GILDA: You and me both, Claire! Some outstanding reading suggestions, indeed! And what else do you do for fun besides reading?

CLAIRE: When I’m not reading, I play piano and clarinet, swim, play basketball, and dance (Irish, ballet and modern).  My favorite subjects are language and literature, social studies, and art.

GILDA: Thank you, Claire, for inspiring us with your love of travel, adventure, and great books!

Gilda’s “Up All Night” Famous Chocolate Fudge Cookies!

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Okay, I’ve been gone for a while, and I appreciate the many notes asking whether I fell into a ditch, whether I was hit by a bus, and other gentle and not-so-gentle inquiries as to my whereabouts.

Suffice it to say, ladies and gentlemen, that when you read my next adventure (my fingers are still sore from typing it), those questions will be answered, and you will be AMAZED that I am even still here to type at all. And the answer to one of the above questions is “yes,” by the way. But probably not in the way you’d expect.

How’s that for being vague? Read THE BONES OF THE HOLY on June 10th to find out more….

But on to more important matters. For those of you who are studying for final exams or getting “spring fever,” and just plain tired of doing your homework, I thought I’d offer you something to help you stay perky during the final weeks of the school year.

That’s right, I told you I would post some recipes, and I didn’t lie. It took me a lifetime to get the work done, but I’m finally going to reveal…. TA DA!

Gilda Joyce’s “UP ALL NIGHT” Famous Chocolate Fudge Cookie Recipe
Note: We writers should give credit to our sources, and my “Up All Night” cookies are not solely the result of my own late-night, chocolate-fueled writing sessions. My favorite chocolate cookie recipe is based on a recipe in Craig Common’s wonderful cookbook, The Common Grill Cookbook, which I highly recommend. And hey – if you visit Chelsea, Michigan, make sure to eat at the Common Grill! You’ll no longer believe people when they insist that the words “Michigan” and “yummy” don’t fit in the same sentence!

NOTE: for best results, consume two cookies along with a double latte. Now—get back to that term paper or the last chapter of that novel-in-progress!

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
½ cup unsweetened chocolate
1 2/3 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Sift together four, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

Over medium heat, in bottom half of double boiler, heat 1 inch of water; do not boil. (Set aside.)
Place semisweet chocolate pieces and unsweetened chocolate in top half of double boiler and melt slowly. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. (Set aside.)

Set mixer to medium speed and cream brown sugar and butter in large mixing bowl for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl and continue mixing while adding eggs one at a time, until combined. Add vanilla and beat for 30 seconds. Add melted chocolate and beat for 10 seconds.

Slowly add sifted flour mixture to creamed mixture and continue to beat for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides with rubber spatula.

Drop 2 tablespoons per cookie onto cookie sheet, spaced 2 inches apart, and bake for 15 minutes. Cool.

If you don’t know what to do next, I can’t help you.

YOU CAN WRITE ANYWHERE (AND OTHER NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS)

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011
Gilda Joyce |The Bones of the Holy | Jennifer Allison

cover sketch for GILDA JOYCE: THE BONES OF THE HOLY

Now that I’ve finally recovered from the New-Year’s-Eve revelry, I’m ready to get serious about my list of New-Year’s resolutions.

What, pray tell, could a young psychic investigator and novelist like me possibly need to improve?

Well, since we’re all friends here, I don’t mind sharing a few items from my ever-expanding list:

1.     Stop eating chocolate chips straight out of the bag.

2.     Time my angst-filled phone calls to my best friend during daylight hours instead of after midnight. (Aren’t you proud of me, Wendy?)

3.     Find more opportunities to wear my new velvet shoes with purple ribbons.

4.   Get a new notebook and keep it with me at all times. In other words, write more!

“But wait a minute, Gilda,” I can hear you saying, “You who have ‘diarrhea of the pen’ couldn’t possibly need to get more writing done!”
While it’s true that I’ve been known to type into the wee hours of the morning, it’s also true that the demands of my careers—not to mention my ever-growing pile of math homework—have a way of cutting into my writing habits these days.

However, it has also recently come to my attention that I have lots of little drab, linty bits of time that could be used to complete a new bestseller (or at least a new submission to the school newspaper) if only I could find a way to roll them into a giant dust-bunny of productivity.

For this reason, I am starting the year with – TA DA! –  a fresh new tiny notebook. It’s ever so cute and is small enough to hide quickly in a pocket if someone catches me scribbling away when I’m supposed to be doing trigonometry.

I usually hate tiny notebooks because they don’t give me room to sprawl and scribble as messily as I want. But my “idea notebook” reminds me that sometimes it’s okay to jot down an short observation, an idea for a story title, or even a little poem instead of a whole novel chapter or even a whole paragraph.

Later, when I finally have time to sit down at my typewriter and concentrate for a few hours, I’ll turn back to my tiny book of ideas for sources of inspiration and details to enhance my stories. If nothing else, I’ll be able to laugh at myself when I come across title ideas like my recent entry: “The Wig that Ate Detroit.”

Bus ride to school?

Perfect time to take notes on the sights, sounds and smells of the early-morning school day.

History class?

Perfect time to jot down that idea for a historical novel.

Lunchroom?

Great time to jot down that joke your best friend made about the corndogs and record it for posterity.

Commuter lane on the freeway?

Okay, let’s not go too far! Unless your mom or dad is driving, of course; in that case, scribble away!

So let’s get to it! Grab that little ideas notebook (preferably in leopard print or similar) and jot down those ideas whenever you have a minute! Sometimes less adds up to more, so let’s squeeze in time for writing, and stay inspired this year!

Feel Better; Write More!

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Gilda Joyce the Dead Drop by Jennifer AllisonEvery now and then, we writers have what is commonly called a “blue day.” Maybe that story that we pictured becoming a NYT bestseller ended up getting rejected by the school magazine. Maybe that boy we’ve had a crush on for the past year decided he likes the very girl we can’t stand (or vice versa). Maybe something genuinely terrible or simply mortifying has happened, and we’re ready to catch the earliest train out of town. Or maybe we’re simply feeling uninspired and “stuck.”

Here, my dear reader and writer, are some of my favorite tried-and-true tips that will not only help you feel better; they’ll get you writing again!

1. My first suggestion is so simple it sounds ridiculous, but you should get a new writing pen. I personally prefer pens with pink or purple gel ink. Sparkles are good too. Will this magically transform your writing? No, but you’ll suddenly feel better as that sparkly pink ink flows onto the page. Or try using a typewriter for fun if you’re used to writing longhand or using a computer. True– it’s not for everyone, but I swear by it!

2. Treat yourself to a new notebook and decorate it. I just used some babysitting funds to purchase a pink leopard-print notebook that will house the next chapters of my “Penelope Stunn” mystery-in-progress. But I also have a stash of notebooks decorated with my own original book-cover art – stuff I’ve created from collages of magazine photos and even my own cartoons. (On those rare off-days when the words aren’t flowing, you’d be amazed at how proficient I remain at using scissors and glue.)

3. Hit the high road and go exploring.. Now might be a good time to take a walk in a new neighborhood or visit a new museum. It doesn’t really matter where you go so long as it’s unfamiliar. Whenever I visit a new place, I pay more attention to details. Suddenly, I find myself getting new ideas for stories and seeing old stories in a new light.

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Do Writers Make Good Spies?

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Those of you who know my work already know that I’m a writer and an investigator. And yes, in some circles, I’m considered a spy.

No – I don’t work for the CIA (although I wouldn’t be surprised if they ask for my help one of these days). But I have been known to use my spying skills to snoop out the characters and stories that lurk around my neighborhood just waiting to be turned into scintillating fiction.

I’ve discovered that the techniques that help spies sniff out crucial bits of intelligence can also help writers locate fascinating stories. So button up your trench coat and lower your dark shades; it’s time for GILDA’S GUIDE TO EAVESDROPPING AND WRITING!

1.    Always be curious. At the moment, your neighborhood may seem to be full of nothing but homework assignments, overcooked vegetables and Monday-morning blahs. But I assure you, it also containshidden mysteries. Who lives in that house with the overgrown garden down the street? Why does that elderly gentleman always walk his dog at midnight? Is there any truth to that ghost story about that stall in the girls’ bathroom? Clues abound around your home and at your school. Being a writer begins with simply being curious and paying attention at all times.

2.    Use all of your senses. NOTICE DETAILS. Spies are trained to remember tiny details: we notice the man wearing a baseball cap who stands waiting for a bus, the parked pick-up truck that sits at the curb, the mother and child who stroll down the street. We take a mental picture, memorizing information as detailed as license plate numbers when necessary.  In this way, the spy is more likely to recognize potential danger when that same man turns up in different parts of the city (“Am I being trailed?” we ask ourselves). Usually the answer is “No, you’re being paranoid.” Still, we pay attention.

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