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Writer's Write!


Published or not, you are writer when you write.


I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Bentley. Bentley knows ideas are everywhere, and he's crafting an exciting chapter book based off of a character from a game that he loves to play. He's getting to know his character. He's learning what his character wants, and how far that character will go, creating a plot.

Bentley is a writer.


One of the best aspects of being a writer, is getting to know other writers like Bentley. During school visits, students will share their wonderful stories with me. They can be quite good!


In a 3rd grade class, with Mrs. Wright in Oregon, we took stories written for class, and broke the class into groups. We formed critique groups. Students shared their stories, reading them out loud. Group peers then shared what they felt was strong or weak about the story. They shared what they liked, which excited the author. Then, they also shared where they felt the story needed work. They learned about the balance of a good critique. From the authors, there were a lot of nods.


In creating a book, there is a lot of critique and revision. Those suggestions can help a writer to revise their story to make it stronger for a reader's enjoyment. Sharing isn't the easiest thing for younger writers, but sharing can give an author new perspective and unique ideas. You might hear someone say "What if." What if is a golden opportunity. It expands the world a character lives in.


If you enjoy writing, play with different characters. Place them in odd and interesting scenarios. What if a boy has a pet ant. What if the ant was blue? What if his ant could talk? What if his ant started becoming very comforable with the boy's home, and it started to become bossy? What if this ant is SO bossy, the boy no longer wants it for a pet?  Can you see a story developing? What if is key to story growth.


Have fun creating and share those stories that only you can tell.

I hope your school year is off to a great start! Keep your eyes, nose, fingers, heart, and tongue, experiencing the world all around you. You never know what stories will come from your wide awake senses.

Ideas are everywhere.


Happy Autumn!



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Meeting Mother Goose


Everyone knows about master storyteller, Mother Goose. Her nursery rhymes extends through generations. Jack and Jill, Little Miss Muffet, Old Mother Hubbard, Mother Goose's character friends enter our hearts and remain.


As Mother Goose shared her short verses, I watched readers light up, often saying, "I know that one!" Readers loved her happy smile, her energized voice, and the joy in her expression as she shared her beloved tales. Then, kind Mother Goose invited me to share some of my stories!


Isn't storytelling marvelous? The art of the tale has been around forever. I marvel when I think about the many ways stories are told. Pictures have been found in caves from ancient civilizations as story. The Hula is a dance in Hawaii that tells a story using the hands in graceful, meaningful movements, while the dancer sways to music. Newspaper comic strips were short stories drawn to make us laugh. Before television, people listened to stories broadcasted over a radio.


Many fun stories can be heard from moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles. Family.  I once heard a story about how my Grandfather found a baby raccoon. It's mother was no where near. My grandfather brought the raccoon home for his children to raise. They named him JoJo. Can you just imagine how much trouble a raccoon could get into iliving in your house?


Like Mother Goose, and my grandfather, I feel great joy telling stories. As a writer, I've met many students that love telling stories, too. I love meeting these storytellers and hearing about their creations. Creative minds make magic. If you're a story teller, keep creating and share those characters and tales. The world will never tire of a good story, and it is never to early or too late to start.


Summer is a great time to explore your library and summer reading programs. Some tales we tell ourselves, but many others are just waiting to be discovered. 


Happy reading! Have a great summer.

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Into the Woods (again)

In town, the leaves are falling, covering the ground in a wonderful mosaic of red, yellow, brown, orange, and even blotches of green. While at our new family cabin 9,000 ft above, the white barked Aspen stands bare with splotches of white on the ground. Change is everywhere.


Two of my three married children moved their families to Utah. It's nice to be close to family again. My third married child moved with her husband to Vietnam, where she is teaching English (grammar, writing, and speech) to 8th and 9th graders. These Vietnamese students choose an English name at the start of their very young years of education, and that name follows them until they graduate. They know what the English names mean, but wish to choose names that are creative. It's interesting to me, that though we might laugh at names like Blip Blop, Soda, Milk, and Batman, that these names are so special to them. If you went to a country of your choice, what would be your chosen country to learn about, and which name would you choose for yourself? Did you know you can look up different countries given names for children and a name's meaning in the internet? It's fun to learn about different places, languages, and cultures. I have a Chinese name, given to me by a Chinese friend. It is: Róuruǎn xīn. It means Soft Heart.


Fall is such a wonderful time of year. Embrace the changes all around you, and look for opportunities to discover something new!





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Fish, Kittens, and Lizards, Oh My!

2021 is off and running with three new books coming this summer.

My daughter, her husband, and five granddaughters just moved to Mexico. Do you know which language is spoken in Mexico? Spanish. Spanish is a lovely language, and it's fun to learn words from another language with character friends!


A fish named Señor Picante, a cat called Tater Tot, and incorrigible kittens join reader friends this summer in a new series called, Step Into Spanish. (The lizard will join them later.) These are fun picture books designed to help children learn every day Spanish words. I'm excited to share these stories with my granddaughters as they begin their journey stepping into a new country and language.


2021 is filled with exciting change. I now live in Utah, and am having fun discovering this historic state and all its treasures. Did you know Utah has three national parks? Bryce Canyon is filled with color and interesting rock formations, Zion National Park is beautiful landcapes, and Arches boasts towering rocks you can see and actually walk through. Utah is one big playground with hiking, biking, and lots and lots of snowplay. Many parasail right over my backyard. Blue, gold, crimson; bright colors of every kind fill the sky. 


I'm looking forward to a year of getting to know the surrounding area, visiting schools, and meeting new reader friends.


I just returned from Disney World, where the Winnie the Pooh line reminded me that every year is a new chapter, and every day is a new page. At the start of the line (for the fantastic trip through Pooh's adventures) is a huge book with blank pages just waiting to be written. You can fill your adventures with whatever your heart desires; make a new friend, learn a new hobby, or just discover new interesting facts and things to do in the area you live in. What are looking forward to this year? No matter what your dreams are, chase them, every one, and have fun doing it. Books also lead to great adventures no matter where you are.


Happy New Year, Reader Friends. May your adventures bring you your heart's delight. I believe in you.


Lori Ries




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Discover Your Family Stories

My husband and I just did a fun shoot with a friend at our cabin. Our Cabin was built in 1937 and it sits on the Oregon Trail. These walls are filled with generations of story. With a steamy hot cup of cocoa with snowy melting marshmallows dancing inside the rim, the wood table is my favorite place to write.

Have you ever asked your parents what the world was like when they were young? What did your grandparents do before cell phones and internet? Where did they play? Who were their friends? What was their biggest surprise as a child?

Asking relatives to share life experiences can open up all kinds of stories. A favorite family story (once told to me) happened long before I was born. My grandparents lived on a farm, and you know what else lives on farms? Garden snakes. I was told that one time my uncle put a garden snake in my grandmother's dish water. Can you imagine reaching into sudsy water for a dishcloth and pulling out a soapy snake? What would you do, if that happened to you?

Stories are what make our families' histories unique.
Have fun discovering the stories within your family. Read More 
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Finding Grit

Autumn brings bright energy with its crisp morning air. I'm excited for tasty spiced pumpkin cookies, freshly picked apples, sweet butternut squash, zesty beef stews, warm sweaters and Halloween fun. I love autumn.

I joined a new writing organization called ANWA, which stands for American Night Writers Association. Their conference in Arizona was fabulous and just what was needed to re-energize and wrap up some works in progress. I'm now on to something new and exciting. Before the sun, I'm showing up to the page at Five. This is my new goal. Since the conference, I've been on task.

Wonderful new friends joined me at the ANWA Conference. I love connecting with other writers. I attended a local SCBWI conference in May as well. School has begun and so have school visits. It's going to be a great year. A year for grit.

I'm ready for this new season of beginnings, are you?
What will you try that is new? Read More 
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Seasons Greetings, Reader Friends!

This year has been filled with travel and change.
In Alaska, we enjoyed the bears and wolves of Denali, the whales playing in Glacier Bay, zip lining through forest, and landing in a small plane on a glacier. In Israel, we experienced the great fortress of Masada and saw tiles that still line the floor of Herod's palace, we walked along the Dead Sea, and saw many Christian and Jewish Holy places. Then, in Disney World, we enjoyed the magic of Mickey himself with our entire family.

Where would you go, if you could visit any country you wanted to? Who can you imagine meeting you there? What might they show you? Real or imaginary, travel is a wonderful experience. When you read a book, or pretend to take a journey, your imagination can take you any place you wish to go.

A big change for us was moving from the mountain into a neighborhood. Now children's voices fill the air. In the summertime bike wheels whirl and skateboards twirl. Winter blankets the streets in white, and sleds zip down the hill with excited squeals.

Steamy hot chocolate laced in cool whipping cream or bouncing fluffy marshmallows, colorful thick mittens and patterned woven scarves, crunching snow under rubber boots, and slick sleds...winter is coming. What do you like to do in winter? Can you write a story about your idea of how the best snow day would be? What would be your first sentence when you wake up, and throw back the covers because the world is white outside your window? What would you want to do when Mom says, "I'm sorry, but there's no school today!" What would your snow adventure be?

With winter arrives holidays. At my house, we celebrate Christmas. I have many friends who celebrate different special holidays to them. Whatever holiday you are celebrating, enjoy the beauty of the season, the friendships that surround you, and the opportunities to do a good turn for another.

From my home to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Lori Read More 
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Time Out for Learning

Meet Molly. Molly is a German Shepherd. German Shepherds are known as "working dogs."
For those of you that keep emailing me asking about new Aggie Books, unfortunately, Charlesbridge has decided that the series is complete.

The Aggie books are still available, however, and who knows what new characters will be born as I experience something new.

I've gone back to school through a wonderful program called Pathway. Pathway is linked to Brigham Young University-Idaho campus. I began this journey fall of this year and I am preparing now to matriculate into becoming a full time BYU-I student. My goal is to continue to grow my writing,  Read More 
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To New Adventures on the Hill

It's hard to believe how quickly the year has flown. It's nearly springtime again. We welcomed a beautiful new granddaughter, so we now have  Read More 
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New Beginnings

Happy New Year, Everyone!

This last academic, 2011-2012, year many changes came. I was teaching early morning seminary to a wonderful class of high school sophomores. My days began at 4 am, and it was great to begin each morning with these happy energetic teenagers Read More 
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