Monday I told you about our homeschool visit with Cynthia Port, and how we got to ask Cynthia all about her writing process, where she finds inspiration for her characters, and what's next for Dinky.
Sitting down with an author is a pretty awesome experience. Kinda like meeting a rockstar, really.
Want to sit down with her? Grab your kiddo. Here are some of the questions we asked and some extra ones we didn't have time for.
Q- What inspires you?
A- First off, thanks for showcasing my book and series, Kibble Talk! It means a lot to me that you enjoyed it so much. Okay, inspiration. It seems lame to say “everything” but that’s kind of how it is with me. I am an incurable observer. It’s an exhausting habit, but it also means that I have yet to experience a moment of boredom in my life. Even in the most boring line at the bank, or the most boring work meeting, I just start observing and analyzing and before you know it, I have some new twist to a character or fine detail to add to a scene in one of my books. For the Kibble Talk series, I take a lot of direct inspiration from my childhood memories, blended with the stories my two kids (aged 9 and 13) share on the ride home from school each day. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in that school!
Q- Do you have a character that bugs you to tell his or her story?
A- Too too many. They put me to sleep at night and wake me in the morning with things like: “Here, make sure you put this scene in and that I say this . . .” or, “I still need a little help here getting out of the jam you’ve put me in . . .” or, “Hey, wouldn’t it be REALLY fun to put me in this ridiculous situation and see what I do? I would love that. Let’s find out together!” So basically, yeah, I hear voices.
Q- Who is your favorite character?
A- Of all time it would be . . . . oh, that is hard. I love Hazel from Watership Down a lot lot lot. He demonstrates how to be a leader in the most trying of times, and even when the last thing you think of yourself as being is a leader.
I also love Hermione Granger – she’s so much brainier than your average witch or wizard but also has a big heart.
Of my own published characters, probably Dinky. He’s a bit like Hazel and Hermione – super smart, big heart, and a leader. Unlike them, he’s also full of snark and pomposity, which makes him a hoot to write.
Q- Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
A- This is sort of funny advice, but don’t dabble. You can dabble while you’re planning the book in your head, and while you’re outlining – actually, dabbling is good then. But when you feel it is ripe inside you, clear your schedule and make sure you can write and/or edit for several hours each day, preferably with some of those hours shortly before bedtime. This has a physiological reason behind it – your brain pays the most attention to something when you are spending more time on it than anything else. By writing this way, your brain will literally work for you even when you’re not writing – you’ll dream about solutions to plot problems, notice random comments others make that help your character dialogue, etc. It’s science helping art, and who doesn’t want a little extra help when they’re writing a whole darn book?
Q- What's next? We CAN NOT WAIT for your next book.
A- Well DO read Dog Goner, because, in my humble opinion, it is even funnier than Kibble Talk. There are some crazy characters in there that get up to ridiculous stuff!
Book 3 is started. It will be called What Dat? The plots for books 4 and 5 are in my head, and they are rolling around in there like spikey bowling balls. Ouch. Get writing!
I also have a historical fiction set in Australia. This is actually the first book I wrote, but I’m still working on the introductory chapters – they aren’t quite right. Once they are, I can’t wait to share it with the world. It's the story of a young girl who spends 6 months in the Outback with her archaeologist mother. It deals with the rabbit plague, racism against Aborigine people (the Stolen Generation), and the repatriation of remains. It's a serious book, but there’s also plenty of humor. Australia is known for its kooky personalities, and I love me some kooky.
Two more important things!
Are you a teacher who would LOVE to get a copy of Kibble Talk, activities, and fun extras for your students?! YOU CAN-
These book party packs are available to elementary school teachers (anywhere) who will use Kibble talk as a class read aloud. There are also free printables available on Cynthia's website.
What a wonderful way to start the new year in your classroom. It's cold and your classroom kiddos are cooped up. Laugh, write dialogue, color, celebrate what makes us all individuals! Contact Cynthia here http://cynthiaportbooks.com or here https://www.facebook.com/cynthiaportbooks
And Cynthia is giving us all another chance to win Kibble Talk. Simply leave a comment below or two if you like Sagetribe on any social media sites, and a digital copy of Kibble Talk might be yours.
Both giveaways will close Friday and winners will be chosen by random number generator and contacted by email. I'm extending this giveaway to Monday!
Please share these posts! Support local authors and writers :)
Our family loves Playful Learning classes. The links below are affiliate links. When you click on them, we earn a small commission. Thank you for helping our family.
One of the many gifts I've received from a Writing for (a) Change circle is how to create and hold a community. We take great care in our writing circles to do this each semester and class. So much so that I began to realize the importance of doing this in EVERY circle I'm a part of. I don't think it matters if you are two, four, ten, twelve... we families must consciously create a community inorder for our homes to be safe, warm, places to grow, learn, nourish.
Our family recently continued an online class through Playful Learning called Mindfulness Matters. We take a lot of their workshops, love them all, but this one speaks to me in a different way.
The activties help build and hold a conscious community.
They ask us to pause and think about what we need in order to relax, calm our minds, feel okay, work through hard things.
And together we listen to each other.
He needs audio books, she needs chocolate, he needs to burn sage, she needs her writing circles...
Together we draw and write and talk and there is lots of silly and chats about butts and toots (because they bring a lot of joy when you're four and eight).
We finish our time, centered together, clean up, read stories, head to bed or work, and maybe we don't talk about these moments or things we need again for a while, but then I smell the earthy bliss of sage mellowing our space, hear Harry Potter's adventures lulling our boy to sleep, watch her face when really good German chocolate passes through her lips, feel every part of my relax the moment I sit down in circle with laptop in hand.
We have an opportunity to create a space for ourselves and the people we love to live in the chaos the world can create differently. To breathe deeply, speak kindly, give, receive, and find joy in our days.
Playful Learning has a number of wonderful classes that alone with Mindfulness Matters, encourage building a community within your home.
Recently, we homeschoolers met with local Indiana author Cynthia Port to chat about one of her children's novels, Kibble Talk. While munching on "kibble," we learned about Cynthia's writing process, where she finds inspiration, and more about one of our favorite fictional dogs, Dinky the Great Dane.
We kids and adults loved this novel. What child (and adult) who loves animals and their furry family members doesn't wish they could share a common language. Wouldn't it be wonderful to know what your dog is thinking or convince your cat to stay off the counters.
What if all you had to do was eat a piece of kibble? Would you?
When the main character, Tawny, eats a piece of kibble on a dare, her adventures and your laughter are just beginning. Tawny and her dog, Dinky the Great Dane, are determined to help Dinky's dream to become a sparkly lap dog come true.
We'll definitely be following Dinky, Tawny, Jenny, and all the other hilarious characters throughout their adventures.
And YOU can too!
Cynthia is giving away a paperback copy of Kibble Talk to one of YOU Readers. Comment below for a chance to win. Comment a second time after you've liked Sagetribe on a social media site, for a second chance.
The winner will be chosen by random number generator on Friday, December 19th and will be notified via email. Congrats Brenda!
Stay tuned Wednesday for an interview with Cynthia, a wonderful opportunity for teachers, and another giveaway!
Last week, while my daughter somersaulted down a plastic foam triangle, jumped up with arms flailing- Ta-Da, and made long leg Ws while hanging on a bar, a father, sitting next to me, began to speak to no one in particular. I looked up, and so a conversation of sorts began. Where did my children go to school, he wondered, because he was unhappy with his daughter's education. Many minutes later when he'd finished telling me all about how horrible teachers were, how they didn't teach, I told him I was a teacher, who was now homeschooling. Was I using K12 he asked or something better. If he heard my answer it didn't phase him, because he went on to say how he knew some people could do a good job homeschooling if they had the right curriculum, but he knew many who didn't and therefore didn't teach their children anything, because they were lazy, and those kids were going to be dumb.
I spoke homeschool stereotypes before we started really thinking about how we wanted our children to learn. Just like before I had children, I winced in disgust when I saw the way some parents "let go" of the interiors of their cars or homes. I judged in the most typical way we can- without knowing what I was talking about. Karma likes when we do this. She made sure the banks stopped giving suckers when my kids came around. Mine is the car with stickers COVERING the passenger side windows. Truthfully, I'm thankful. It distracts the women who wince and shake their heads, like I would have done years back, from looking inside.
Sure, I could have yelled at my kids, scraped the stickers off, forbid them from ever having a sticker, said no even...and I could tell the stranger everything my children are doing, and that despite not having a curriculum or "teaching" them, they are far from dumb. I could defend our choices, make sure he and the others who ask the same questions, perhaps out of curiosity, perhaps not, know my children are smart and social and will have a future.
Except I'm tired of feeling the need to defend what I know is good and works for us. And I love the car I have loved since I was 22, my first car, the one that I immediately began to add my own stickers to, to make it mine. It screams I love turtles and have children. Children who are allowed to do things like decorate car windows, plan their day, learn what they want to learn, and who are allowed to make choices, mistakes, be children.
When the doors are opened and crumbs, hats, sparkly shoes, mason jars, markers, cloth napkins, and so many bits of nature spill out, it's because the two people I get to spend my days playing, living, and learning with (by playing and living), are spilling out too.
We have let go of a lot these last 10 months since embarking on this journey, because we have learned a lot. I'm finally focusing on what works for us, what's important, what matters. I'm letting go of my need to defend. Letting go of what is done just because it's been done for a long while, and as for the stickers, those I'm definitely keeping.
is just around the corner, down the street, and maybe over a block or two.
Locals- don't forget to head over to the The Bloomington Winter Farmers' Market Saturday mornings from 9:00a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The winter market runs December 6th, 2014- March 28th, 2015 with the exception of December 27th.
Located in the Harmony School Gym at 909 East Second Street, enjoy FREE parking in the Harmony School parking lot, on the street, or just over a block away in the Atwater Parking Garage (entrance is off Woodlawn).
They accept SNAP!
Visit the website for more information: www.bloomingtonwinterfarmersmarket.org
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The links in this post are affiliate links. Clicking on them and making a purchase provide our family with a small compensation. Thank you so much!
Once, a long time ago when our oldest was just a year or so old, I went out into the Black Friday madness to find a deal on something that turned out to not even be on sale. It was not my idea of a good time.
I do, however, like a sale, and I love supporting small companies whose focus is on quality over quantity.
Every affiliate we have here at Sagetribe is picked because we love and use their products.
We think YOU and your families will love their products too! Below are some pretty great deals! Enjoy!
Playful Learning- use code GRATEFUL30 to get 30% off on all workshops! Playful Learning has a wonderful array of winter workshops for children, parents, and teachers!
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Sparkle Stories- Martin and Sylvia Audio Advent Calendar $24.00
This morning I listened to a podcast from the Good Life Project. The host, Jonathan Fields, asked one of my favorite writers, Brené Brown, "What does it mean to live a good life?"
Her response was simple or not, "Gratitude".
She went on to say, "A good life happens when you stop and are grateful for the ordinary moments that so many of us steamroll over to try to find the extraordinary moments."
Holidays bring a number of gifts and challenges. Thanksgiving for me is a mixed bag. We are far from family, but we have good friends surrounding us. We are appalled by pilgrim and Indian dress up and tales, but we celebrate harvest time, and love gathering with those we love to eat good food.
The biggest gift and challenge during this time of year can be our focus on being thankful. We try to hold gratitude with both hands, year round. Before meals, before bed, when we're scared, happy, celebrating, just being.
But in the season of Black Friday and presents and what will I get...well...it can be hard to hold as well as we should.
Tomorrow is another day to celebrate gratitude, not "the day" to be thankful, but in the spirit of the season, let's take a moment to linger in the ordinary moments in our days that bring us joy. Let's ask our children and partners about their moments. What will we discover about ourselves, each other?
~ the motor that purrs in my ear no matter where I am sitting or sleeping- my Lilo girl is always near
~ my first sips of coffee, knowing a new start has begun
~ how he gently rubs my head while we lie in bed processing our days
~ the sound of the women I love on the other end of the phone
~ a blank page, a journal, colored pencils and a good pen
~ soup, slightly salted, the ease in making, the comfort in my belly
~ twinkle lights on all year round
~ wandering on trails, through creeks, finding critters and treasures
~ early morning quiet
~ snuggling in a pile of blankets and books
~ a lit candle or many
~ dinner blessings where they boy's voice leads us
~ giggles and snorts
~ a glass of wine to sip while cooking dinner
~ the house just after vacuuming
Gratitude for you, dear friends, everyday! Wishing you joy in your ordinary moments and your celebrations.