Tag Archives: inspiration

Fantastic Halloween Adventure: Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

legendofsleepyhollowOne of my best childhood memories of Halloween is sitting around the TV turning on the Disney Channel and watching The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. For those who don’t know the story, it basically involves a very superstitious and easily scared school teacher, Mr. Ichabod Crane, being told a spooky story of a headless horsemen by the town prankster. When Ichabod makes his way home after the gathering, he is chased down by this headless horsemen and never heard from again.

This story appeals to such a broad audience because we all love a good unsolved mystery. Kids enjoy it because it is spooky, scary and a stern reminder not to run off alone!

The easily frightened Ichabod Crane
The easily frightened Ichabod Crane

The animation may leave younger kids a bit disappointed as it is not CGI and is actually hand drawn (oh, the horror)! However, they will quickly forget that little tidbit as they are sucked into the world of Sleepy Hollow. The daytime settings are pleasant to look at, which gives you a nice secure feeling. Hold on to that feeling. You’re going to need it.
When night falls on Sleepy Hollow the quiet, melodic town turns into a foreboding maze of dark forests, dimly lit cabins and dark, unlit paths. Of course, this is the part that is most appealing to kids and adults on Halloween night. If you talk to your kids and explain tot hem that the dark is not scary, and that the headless horsemen is not, in fact, real, they will not be frightened and will be able to enjoy the story for what it is.

The sense of fear and adventure stirs something primal in all of us, which is why this story and this cartoon version of it, continues to enthrall us all these years later.
Sit down and put this family friendly telling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in your DVD player!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is available on DVD from Amazon.com

SALE: Jeremy, the Jack-O’-Lantern

In preparation for Halloween, which is quickly approaching, my publisher and I have set a temporary discount on my children’s picture book, Jeremy, the Jack-o’-Lantern. Now through October 31st, save 15% off the cover price only at Lulu.com !

Get in the mood for Halloween and share this story with your kids, neighbors, friends, relatives, or anyone who enjoys Halloween!

 

Jeremy Cover 001What does a pumpkin think about being turned into a jack-o’-lantern? Join Jeremy as he goes from a small pumpkin on a vine to a delightfully wicked jack-o’-lantern! Go on a journey as Jeremy experiences Halloween for the first time!

 

 

5 Halloween Craft Ideas

What’s more fun than making things with your kids? Well, okay, there’s that. But, trust, me, this will be fun! We’ve all seen those craft websites and magazines with those amazingly good looking crafts that look oh so easy to make. Have you eve tried to make those? Yeah, they never turn out the way you though, right? Well, here are five crafts that are guaranteed to turn out great because they are simple in construction and explanation.
Add a little homemade decor to your home or front yard with these five easy craft ideas.

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Halloween Ghost Jugs. Everyone has milk cartons, right? This has to be one of the easiest and effective crafts I have seen. All you need to do is cut the bottom out of the jug, use a sharpie to draw a face and stick them on top of a strand of lights for an eerie ghost-like effect.

 

 

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Spider Pops. go to any craft store, like Micheal’s, pick up some little eyeballs, black fuzzy ropes, glue and Tootsie Pops. Spend some time with your kids and get them away from the TV for a bit.

 

 
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Halloween Family Foot-Ghost Portrait. Another easy craft and family bonding time! (Thanks, kidsactivitiesblog.com)

 

 

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Q-Tip Skeleton.
This one is pretty straightforward. Q-Tips, black construction paper and glue! Best of all, your kids can use their imaginations and get creative with designing the skeletons’ faces!

 

 

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Egg Carton Bat. Simply cut portions of an egg carton in threes. Cut the end pieces to resemble wings. Paint it black. Stick on some of those small eyes you have leftover from your spiders! Add a string or ribbon to the top for hanging.

Inspiration Place: Jamba Juice patio

My next stop in a journey tpicture008o find a comfortable, inspiring writing place lands me on the outdoor patio of a Jamba Juice. For all of my “tests” I write on a Microsoft Surface RT with Touch Cover keyboard and Word 2013. The view isn’t terrible, and the little flowers are nice to look at now and again when searching for a word. The chairs and table are black wire mesh and extremely uncomfortable, making this writing a trip shorter than I had imagined. The traffic noise along the busy avenue create a nice little hum that can help keep with rhythm, or be totally distracting, depending on how one looks at it. There is always the fun activity of people watching, which at this location is plentiful, as I can see inside the store and try to guess which drink people ordered, or I can watch people driving by in their cars.picture009

Actual writing time at this location has mostly positive results, as the distractions are mostly background noise. I was able to get a good dialogue flow going between several characters and not stop once in the middle of the conversation to determine where it was going. The words were able to flow freely and quickly, especially using the traffic noise as a rhythm marker. If Jamba Juice could work on the quality of their patio seating, I would be inclined to come back, stay longer, and even order a second drink. This one is out. *slurp*

Inspiration Place: Mall Food Court

WP_000050I’ve been spending the last month going around to different locations to find inspiration for characters and stories. This is my first post in the series.

The first location I stumbled upon for inspiration is the food court at Westminster Mall in Westminster, CA. The food court is one of those places that is always busy and full of interesting people. This particular food court has a lot of different table settings, making it easy to get many different views of the area. My favorite, the counter seating, which allows for a high vantage point, and I don’t look odd sitting by myself.
Sitting in a food court, one overhears many conversations, some intriguing, others bland. There is never a lack of good story content coming from those around you.
Televisions blare out whatever advertisement the mall has paid for, which can be a little distracting, but also easily filtered out.
There are a large variety of people walking around the food court, representing every piece of the American melting pot, a perfect opportunity to create interesting and lifelike characters.
The Westminster Mall food court provides a classic American Mall vibe circa the 1980s and 90s, which provides a very rare energy that is strangely nostalgic and inspiring at the same time.

Overall, writing in a mall food court is a little distracting (and hunger inducing), but a great opportunity to create some very interesting characters and storylines.

On the Path to Inspiration

The other day whilst sitting in a mall, a familiarly fleeting feeling washed over me. Gazing upon the plastic Christmas wreaths and blurred jeans a small jolt of inspiration sprang forth. Why in this exact moment? Maybe it was a small burst o’ Christmas cheer, or maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t sat down for several hours. But more likely it was the brief realization that I need a place of inspiration in which to write. Just in that short time on the bench I had several ideas run through my mind, mostly due to people watching. Inspiration is all around us and in all things. Although, I find the human race the most entertaining of all options.

Since that moment, I have decided to go on the hunt for my perfect writing spot. Some people find solace in Starbucks or Panera bread. Others in McDonalds or a tiny bookstore café. Apparently mine starts with plastic wreaths and people. I will continue to update my journey for my perfect writing place here on my blog, with photos, sights, smells, sounds, etc.

I encourage everyone to find their place of inspiration, not just for writing, but for whatever it is that you love to do. If you love to read, get out of your comfy chair and spend a day reading at a bookstore. If your passion is shopping, try going to a different city and experiencing new stores. You get the idea.
Inspire others! Post your inspiration in the comments below!