This Just In…Free Ninja Writer Workshop!


blackboard chalk chalkboard concept

Photo: Pixabay on


Shaunta @ Ninja Writers is hosting a month-long workshop on plotting.  the party starts TOMORROW: The Plotting Workshop.


Just over a week left of kid school, why not jump into some parent schoolin’, before the big summer festivities begin.  Plotting is getting deeper into the educational pool and it’s time to do more than dip my toe.  And it’s free.  Free is my Fav Flav.  Maybe I’ll see you there?




Happy Birthday, Etsy! months, I’ve finally opened my Etsy shop–even made my first sale!  It’s time for me to part with all my craft show / bazaar goodies and make room, for the next batch of craft / bazaar projects taking up space in the garage.

I love spending hours designing gifts, crafts, art and writing. It’s all in fun and hopefully additional income.  While I’m able to insert favorite family photos into canvas art, posters and photo albums; It’s just as much fun creating a special wall art design for family or friends.signed word canvas(#3587666)-F

After recently donating a 20″ x 24″ canvas titled “Words” to a local fundraising event, many people began to ask how they could buy one as well.  Etsy, here I come!!

At this time, there is only one design being offered: Words.  I’ve made it available in several different sizes and even a poster for my budget friendly peeps.  Speaking of which, attached (hopefully) is a coupon celebrating Etsy’s Birthday.

Thank you Veteran’s out there for a special day in the sun.  Not everyone in our world has such luxuries. Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

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Thank You, Brian Wilson!

Reading is a passion I’ve shelved for years, when life took over my life. When the opportunity did present itself, even Janet Evanovich couldn’t keep me awake. Yay for audio books and Fort Vancouver Regional Library! Books, audio books, cd’s, oh my! Free is my favorite price.

After devouring The Crown on Netflix, my audio interests shifted to autobiographies of iconic individuals that were so last century. History is so not me; however, pop culture puts a smile on my face every time.

It’s fascinating how literature and music weaves into every aspect of our culture: connecting time, place, politics, movements, war and peace. It connects entertainers, athletes, gangsters and gangstas. Music is the evolution of the revolutions.

I feel a squirrel coming on, so I’ll get closer to the point. Last week the audiobook selections were narrow and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys won the toss-up. Not the biggest fan of beach blanket boogie, but what the heck.

My biggest take away is Brian’s sincerity and his down to earthi-ness. There’s a feeling of casual conversation, listening to his story and understanding how he saw, heard and produced music.

Brian was ahead of his time, understanding how to layer music and incorporate sounds on the rare level of genius given to Hendrix, The Beatles, The Stones, He hears a melody, harmony, or chord in a favorite song, and begins recalibrating, condensing, stretching, adding, tweaking and throwing in the crash of the kitchen sink if it was what it took to make a song perfect. Music is his purpose.

He really hit a note in my heart after explaining how one song would inspire another song. The inspired song would be completely different from the original. Isn’t that what a writer does? Hope to find inspiration while pursuing a passion?

I love writing and while my skill level is still a work in progress, the last few years have been have helped me see that this is where I need to be. I even love to be critiqued!

There’s no comparing Brian Wilson to my sophomoric writing abilities. My work here speaks for itself; good, bad or indifferent. Like any creative type, inspiration strikes when it’s most inconvenient. At any given moment, a character will spark to life in my chaotic mind. It may come from an article, a story, a cartoon or conversation. Once it happens, the character will follow me until the non-gender specific mammal or non-mammal finds a home on Google Docs.

In itself, this is not a dilemma. However, there have been two occasions when I’ve critiqued a story that sparked one of these character to life; standing front and center, demanding my attention.

These obstinate characters have their own story, very different from the story I’m critiquing. They have different geography, emotions and experiences and expressions. However, it feels as if I’m stealing. So, I write the story in a draft and set it aside, leaving it because my inspiration came from someone else. Kind of.

Thank you, Brian Wilson. You’re insight is a relief. I’m not a fraud!

Just to ease my mind, I brought the topic up at my weekly writing group. Another wave of relief washed over me as the discussion went ‘round the table. Writing, music, art, it’s all relative. To build, change, update, and hopefully improve an idea is what creative-types do.

Inspiration is beautiful and often just out of reach. Writing a new story with a different perspective without embellishing or “correcting” someone else’s narrative, that’s okay. It’s how Brian evolved from Surfin’ USA to Pet sounds; making the music his own.

But, as my Power of the Pen peeps put it: if you’re writing a story about a kid with an odd scar, living with abusive family until he discovers his magical powers and runs off to a school called Higwerthia? Well, that’s gonna be a problem.



My Entry for ICL’s Kid Invention Contest

That’s right,  I met that deadline and followed directions–with 34 minutes to spare.    Woot!

My Farding Drone

Yvette Elrod

“Hi Dad.”

“Hey there little man. What’s in the box?”

“It’s my new invention for Mom. Her farding is out of control.”

*snort* “What are you talking about, buddy?”

“Far-Ding with a D.   You can find it on Check your phone. See?”




facial cosmetics.


to apply cosmetics to (the face)

“Mom’s been farding on her face! That’s hilarious!”

“Farding is serious business. I’ve been late for three practices because of Mom’s farding, and she still comes out looking the same! Now Coach benched me and this game’s gonna be a squeaker. I let the whole team down.”

“You’re right, Little Man. It stinks. Sure knocked the wind out of us. Y’know, Mom’s pretty embarrassed and a bit ashamed.”

“Well, that’s me on the bench. After Saturday, it’ll be all hind-sight. Introducing Poof! The Farding Drone.”

“Aaack! Is that my quadcopter!?”

“Yep! I’ve modified The Predator to create Poof. I did it for the team, Dad. Look, it’s customized specifically for Mom. It features state-of-the art spray technology for rapid fire results. I designed it myself, re-purposing stuff from around the house. I finally found the quadcopter; someone laid it under a blanket!”

“You don’t say.”

“Poof was a breeze to re-construct; although I had to cut one upgrade from my original plan. The prototype for the glitter bomb release valve needs recalibrating. Sure wasn’t fun being on the back end of that explosion!”

“I’m guessing those fumes were toxic. Tell me your goggles, mask and an open window were involved.”

“Check, check and check.”

“What the heck…are those dangerous?”

“Poof’s robotic arms are silent, but not deadly. I retrofit them together using parts from Sissie’s robot kitty, the carbon fiber tent poles, and old radio parts.”

“Please tell this is not Fluffer-cat.”

“Yes and no. Kitty was an obnoxious carpet creeper, Dad. It’s not like Sissies’ Fluffer-cat is gone. Kitty is re-purposed, upgraded and functional.”

“I hope for your sake you didn’t attempt to sneak this by Sissie without asking.”    

“Sissie’s been farding for months now. Only, she looks like someone stepped on an overly-viscous frog. Poof can help and technically Sissie will still be playing with Fluffer-cat.”

“The worst part was gathering gross intel for the programming. Initially, the best resource came from the baby cam installed in your bathroom.”

“Wait. Babycam?”

“Hear me out, Dad. Since Mom’s farding is pretty bland, there’s not much color or variety. I decided to research YouTube. At first it was treading muddy water.”

“You still are. Let’s go back to the babycam. How long and where is the memory card?”

“Do you realize the thousands of farding videos are posted each day on YouTube? It’s exhausting. Everyday farding, farding for special occasions, even holiday farding. Bombshell: this year, Mom’s Halloween look is gonna clear the room! BOOM!”

“That doesn’t answer the question, son.”

“I decided to cut it down: 174 farding styles and combined with Moms’ videos and then dropped them into Poof’s microchip. And the drone camera’s memory card. But there was only footage between 7 am – 9 am for a couple days. It’s for Poof’s facial recognition.”

“I predict another bombshell dropping before then.”

“Once the intel loaded, I began programming the arms to replicate detailed farding movements from the videos.”

“Farding arms. I’m flabber-gassed.”  

“Good one, Dad. Not only that. Poof! has state-of-the art scan and spray capabilities for rapid fire results. It’s manned with an arsenal of my patent-pending washable cosmetic tattoo formula, all contained in these bladder reservoirs.“

“The balloons! I wondered. Did you say patent-pending?

“Yep. Mom’s morning fards fade by dinner. With my new tattoo formula, colors stay on until washed away with Poof’s! Farding Cleanser. It’s a combination of all the makeup in Mom’s drawer, her cosmetic primer and my 3D pen. Take a peek; I just finished loading all the concoctions!”

“For everyone’s safety, Poof automatically powers down in moving vehicles. Farding and driving can cause a tail end blow out.”

“I think you mean rear-end collision.”

“In the final analysis, Poof! will blow the doors off our “Bus is Leaving” time. We’ll be leaving skid marks blasting out the door.”

“I have to admit, that would be breath of fresh air.”

“Dude, you’re cracking me up! Snort. Sigh. Hmmm. Do you think Mom will like it, Dad?”

“I don’t think there will be a dry eye in the house, Little Buddy. “

“Thanks Dad. Last one in smells like a rotten egg!”

Sorry about the potty humor, I’m not a scientificky kind of girl. But I am late quite often….

Maybe It’s Not the New Year, Maybe It’s Me!

A new year, a fresh start?  Once again, I find myself sitting in front of my computer with lots to say and share.  Aaaand I’m spending most of that time trying to get this blog to be functional.  (totally user error, naturally). Of course, the dishes need to be done and a mountain of laundry is screaming my name.  It’s January and yet everything still feels the same.

Maybe it’s not the new year. Maybe it’s me!  Over the last few years (gulp!) I’ve been learning as much as I can about writing for children.  Because of our remote location, it’s been a challenge meeting local writers and finding critique groups.  So at 50-something, I’m retraining my brain to think globally and finding my people on line.

Julie Hedland’s 12 X 12 group has been an amazing resource of information, education and inspiration.  It’s daunting and super fun to meet so many wonderful writers out there!  The premise of 12 x 12 is to assist writers, published or pre-published, to write twelve manuscripts over twelve months.  It’s a pretty lofty goal for a newbie like me.  Instead of setting myself up for failure, I joined to learn.  And boy howdy, have I learned!  You can learn, too: Julie Hedlund 12 X 12 challenge.

Julie has an amazing network of writers, illustrators, editors and agents who offer advice, encouragement, ideas and Friday dance parties!  The best part (if there really is a best part), are critiquing resources and educational opportunities.  If you’re lucky to get in (sign up is now!), you’ll find so many more wonderful kidlit gems in the 12 X 12 group.

Another HUGE resource is Katie Davis! I can not get enough of her YouTube podcasts.  Forget binging Netflix, Katie had me at Brain Burps.  Specifically, Brain Burps About Books.  It’s all about the business end of writing.  As yucky as that sounds, Katie has helped me realize that if I want to eat, I need to know this side of being a writer.  *sigh*.

Katie Davis has another free podcast called Writing for Children; AND is the Director for the Institute of Writers.  Where does she get all that energy?  (Yes, I’ve submitted my aptitude test and have checked my email every five minutes to see if I am accepted.)

I can’t finish this article without mentioning Suzanna Leonard Hill!  Her online class, Making Picture Book Magic in an invaluable resource on the ins and outs of writing a story that is worthy of submission.  I also look forward to her blog posts and “Would You Read It Wednesday”, where authors can submit their book pitch before submitting it for real-sy.  Suzanna has much more to offer, including free writing contests.  I’m not sure what’s more fun, submitting and entry or reading everyone else’s!

There are many more folks that I would like to promote; however, it’s probably time to tackle this wordpress debacle.  Katie said so. Oh, links, why won’t you work???

Happy 2018, everyone!  ~Yvette