Dust in our homes is a pain. Every few days it reappears. However, there are times when it can be beautiful. For example, when the sun streams in from a window and all the dust particles drifting in the air twinkle in the light. This is when I see Delilah Dusticle with little fluttering wings, waving her duster like a wand, making the glittering particles of dust glide around.
We are all familiar with the idea of a little pixie fairy that sprinkles sparkly dust. Tinkerbell from Peter Pan comes to my mind first. Delilah Dusticle is somewhat different. She is a dust fairy who can sprinkle or remove actual dust. When I imagine this, I see it as the normal dust that relentlessly covers every surface in my home. At the same time, I also imagine her fairy dust to be like snow. Beautiful, quiet and at times filled with sorrow. When she is sad and unable to come to terms with her emotions she showers dusts everywhere.
When we are feeling down, we generally hold everything inside, keeping our facial expressions and body language in check. Trying to transmit the message ‘I am ok’’. Just look at Facebook. I sometimes want the images on the screen to come alive and tell me the truth. “Yes, this is the wonderful gift he gave me for my birthday, but I had to buy it!”
Perhaps this is why I find physical expression of sadness so interesting. When we feel pain, delight or even serenity it can have such an impact that it almost deserves some kind of outward reaction, some kind of physical image. Thunder for anger for example, or dark clouds swiftly passing in the iris of the eye. If you were to physically manifest sadness, what would it be? How would it look? How would it sound?
The next story I am writing is called Delilah Dusticle’s Mission Impossible. So far in the series, Delilah has mastered her powers and her emotions. I am now looking at what else can challenge her that she must overcome, how this will manifest itself and how it will look. I have realised when I write, I always start the story with a picture in my mind and a sensation of how I want the reader to feel.
Today, I am imagining her kryptonite. All kinds of variations of the story are running through my head. This is one of my favourite parts of story-telling because anything is possible. So excuse me now as I drift off into my imagination.
Have a great weekend!
Win a set of the Delilah Dusticle series of your own! Listed below are three sites where you can win paperback and eBook versions of Delilah Dusticle, Delilah Dusticle's Transylvanian Adventure and Delilah Dusticle and the Cursed Tempest.
Are you a member of Librarything? They host giveaways and on this site you can win eBook copies of Delilah Dusticle, Delilah Dusticle's Transylvanian Adventure and Delilah Dusticle and the Cursed Tempest.
Are you a member of Booklikes? They host giveaways and on this site you can win eBook copies of Delilah Dusticle, Delilah Dusticle's Transylvanian Adventure and Delilah Dusticle and the Cursed Tempest.
Are you a member of Goodreads? They host giveaways and on this site you can win paperback editions of Delilah Dusticle, Delilah Dusticle's Transylvanian Adventure and Delilah Dusticle and the Cursed Tempest.
I have been working in the school library now for a few weeks. We are doing a summer reading campaign and I have to come up with a book suggestion as well as an activity. I chose Sophie’s World as the story has loads of content that you can turn into a discussion. I tend to reread this book every two years because my memory is like a sieve. I love reading about the different philosophers.
I plan to introduce the story and what philosophy is. After, I will invite the students to look at some envelops with
‘…the only thing we require to be good philosophers is the faculty of wander…’
written on the front. This text is taken directly from the book. The envelop will also have ‘OPEN ME’ on the front. I guess I am mixing a little of Alice in Wonderland in there too. The students will be asked to open the envelops and inside will be a question that is raised in the book. We will then share our ideas.
I have put a summary and the questions below, just in case you would like to take part .
Jostein Gaarder is a Norwegian writer, who is best known for Sophie’s World, which has been translated into 60 languages. The story is about 14 year old Sophie. One day she comes home from school and finds strange letters addressed to her in the postbox. They contain questions, which jolt her out of her everyday life, making her question the world.
Sophie then receives another letter and this time it is a course in philosophy. In the letter, it introduces what philosophy is all about. It uses the metaphor that there are people who watch a magician pull a white rabbit from a hat and never ask how it was done. Then there are those who want to know how this mysterious trick happened. This is philosophy, asking how the mysteries in life have come about. In the letter it also goes on to say that the white rabbit being pulled out of the magician’s hat is the world, and we are snuggled deep in its fur. Only philosophers will climb the strands of the fur to look out and see what is out there.
Are you snuggled in the fur? Today we will climb out and ask some philosophical questions.
Is there any will or meaning behind what happens?
Who are you?
Where does the world come from?
Are we the only ones?
What is the most important thing in life?
The one thing I need to be watchful over is that the students respect each other beliefs. This is the sort of discussion activity I would have loved at school. I hope it inspires some of the kids to read Sophie’s World. We start the campaign next week. Fingers crossed it will go well.
I almost choked on my tea when I found out that Eliza Bluebell had been nominated for Best Children's Book award. I am truly grateful to whoever it was who put my book forward. The winner is announced in August during their virtual book fair, and it is the book with the most votes that will win. It is shame they do not have a panel who also judges the books. Nevertheless, I am thrilled to be part of the e Festival of Words.
To visit the e Festival of Word website, please click here!
Gothenburg enjoyed a mini heatwave this week. I also started working in the school library, so it has been a really good week all round. I have learnt to check books in and out, put new books into the library catalogue and I have helped the librarian plan her autumn activities. I am also going to write a blog post for the library blog. I have to say I love it, but it is only temporary and I will just have to enjoy it while it lasts.
You may remember a blog post I did called ‘Every Object has a Story’. If not, you will find it in my archives from last month. I am pleased to say it inspired me to write a short story. I have written a tale based on a twelve year old girl who helps her Grandmother on Sundays at the local charity shop. She discovers that they both have flashbacks of memories when they touch the objects. I will leave it in a draw for a few months and then reread it. Distance makes for a better editor in my view.
I am also in the process of getting in touch with my book blog contacts to see if they are interested in reviewing Delilah Dusticle and the Cursed Tempest. I have had four reviews come in already and I am pleased to say two were four stars and the other two were five stars. All the reviews have been posted onto Goodreads and some are on Amazon too. It is such a relief because I never know for sure how the stories will be received.
One of the reviewers is called Namrata and she is based in India. Delilah Dusticle and the Cursed Tempest is also set in India and I am pleased that Namrata has given the story her stamp of approval.
“The author has managed to capture the essence and beauty of India as well as the heat! The descriptions of the transport systems, the train station etc were spot on. A delightful short story for fans of the series, this is a perfect book for young readers. It is easy to understand and is comparable on some level with the Faraway series and many others by Enid Blyton.”
Namrata, Red Pillows
You can read the review in full on Namrata’s book blog called Red Pillows by clicking here.
This week I plan to set up some giveaways where you can win the all three books in the Delilah Dusticle series. I will post the details here as soon as I have everything up and running. I also plan to write the post for the library blog and share it here. It might even be two post. So those are my plans. I guess I better get started then.
When deciding what to read is the size of a book a factor? Does size matter?
I sometimes visit the author forums just to check in and see if there anything new in the publishing world. The topic that comes up time and again is the size of the book and how to price it. There are a quite a few authors who are upset about other authors publishing a very short book and charging a tidy sum for it. Amusingly, they are calling these very short books ‘pamphlets’.
There is a size classification for books and it is based on word count. It can vary, but here is an approximation.
A Short Story should be under 7,500 words.
A Novelette is between 7,500 – 17,500 words.
A Novella is between 17,500 – 40,000 words
Novel is over 40,000 words.
Word count is important, but I think it depends on your genre. For example, there are many reluctant middle grade readers out there and offering them a hefty novel may just turn them off. But offer them an exciting short story, then they might just give it a chance.
My Delilah Dusticle stories vary from short story to novella, but put together they become a novel. I intend to publish them as an omnibus after I finished Delilah Dusticle's Mission Impossible. I have published Delilah Dusticle, Delilah Dusticle's Transylvanian Adventure and Eliza Bluebell as a story bundle called The Delilah Dusticle Adventures. I am not fond of the cover and I intend to change that over the next few months.
As for pricing, there are no guidelines, except for those issued by the retailers. An author could publish a short story and price it at 7.99, but I doubt that anyone would buy it. However, a children’s story is expected to be quite short and can have the same price of an adult novel. But then children’s stories and middle grade books tend to have illustrations in them too, which is another cost and dimension to factor in.
I can see the attraction with a big fat book and as a reader I would be very disappointed to find myself enthralled in a story, only to find it finished within a few pages. At the same time, I am also tired of books that add in extra text just to extend the books length. The text usually could be omitted from the story and the reader would be none of the wiser. I call this ‘filler chapters’. I like a well fleshed out story, but I get bored if the pace has been drawn out with filler chapters.
I have also noticed this in TV series. It seems that programming now requires at least 6 episodes even if the story is about 3 episodes. I watched a BBC Three TV series called Thirteen recently and there was an episode where nothing happened that effected the storyline. You could have missed that episode out and still been able to follow the story. Even advert breaks seem to be longer. It used to be long enough so you could make a cup of tea. Here in Sweden, advert breaks are so long I can take a shower.
There are stories that warrant an epic length. The BBC also did a great adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. However, this time the series was criticised for being squished into six episode. I guess when it comes to length there is no one size fits all.
I understand that a thick book could be seen as more value for money, but I am much happier reading a shorter book that is well paced. Fat books that have been padded out do not do it for me. I see this as a bit of con. In conclusion, I guess size doesn’t matter to me, it’s the content that matters. Stretching things out to make a book look bigger or to fill programming demands is just dumbing down. Isn’t it?
Delilah Dusticle and the Cursed Tempest is now available on Amazon, iBooks, and Kobo. Here is the first chapter to wet your appetite.
A.J. York is a middle grade and children's writer. Author of Delilah Dusticle, Eliza Bluebell and A Fairy Extraordinary Christmas Story. A.J York has a Swedish and British background and currently lives in Gothenburg, Sweden.