Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

If you’re reading this post on Christmas Day, then you probably don’t share at least one tradition with my family.

Technology is banned. That means, we all (including Dad) surrender our cell phones, laptops and tablets from Christmas morning until Boxing Day. Thankfully, e-readers are allowed, as long as we’re using them to read. Not a problem for me—I have many books on my Most Wanted list.

Anyway, since I won’t be on computer tomorrow, I wanted to post this tonight and wish you a Merry Christmas. This past year has been really great, and I’m excited about all of the adventures that I'm anticipating in 2016. But tomorrow, I plan to kick back and take it easy—because the most important part of the holidays isn’t presents, but presence.

And good food. (I can’t not talk about Grandma’s cooking—she makes these yams that are sprinkled with brown sugar and…*wipes drool off my mouth*...)

Anyway, thank you for following my blog this year. Next week, I’ll be posting some of my New Year’s resolutions. Until then—I gotta jet! Amelia has pulled out the Monopoly board for our annual family challenge and I need to make sure she hands out the right amount of money to each of us.

Merry Christmas! And, see you next year! <grin> 

— Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 18 December 2015

A monster of a bake-off

Tis the season for HOME-COOKED BAKING—and Grandma has been in the kitchen for days whipping up some of my favourites. Ginger cookies, shortbread, Nanaimo Bars and so much more!

I’m not really good at baking those cookies—my gingersnaps are too hard, my shortbread comes out dry, and I don’t even want to talk about the mess I made of the squares—but there is one cookie that I am REALLY good at baking: MONSTER COOKIES.

You may remember them from Tasting My Story, one of the first books in the Superman Duffy comic series. In it, Chase (aka: me!) has to solve the mystery of a missing recipe so he can try and (maybe) win his school bake-off.

Well, I’m going to challenge Grandma to a bake-off this weekend. On Saturday, she’s making sugar cookies so that my cousins and I can decorate them on Sunday. But I’m also going to make a batch of MONSTER COOKIES. We’ll see whose cookies are eaten first! (Though, not by my grandpa, because he’s diabetic and can’t have a lot of sugar…)

If you want to make MONSTER COOKIES, check out Tasting my Story. Gotta Jet—if I’m going to beat Grandma in a bake-off tomorrow, I need to practice NOW!

See you next week! 

— Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 11 December 2015

Red, pink, white—poinsettia’s everywhere!


Each year, my mom and grandma go to the greenhouse and pick out a GIANT poinsettia­—which is the official Christmas plant.

Grandma puts hers in the front entrance; and at our house, Mom gives it a special place on the dining room table. 


They’re really nice to look at, but I’d never seen thousands of them all in one place before.

So, last night, I decided to go with them to the greenhouse and pick out our poinsettias. I thought it would be a quick decision—I mean, how many poinsettia’s could there be?

A LOT!

There were poinsettias EVERYWHERE. Red, pink, salmon, white, cream, even speckled and marbled. Some had glitter on them—but of course, I know they didn’t grow that way. Grandma says there are actually 100 natural colours of poinsettias. (Seriously!)

The greenhouse was overflowing, but tomorrow (Dec 12) is INTERNATIONAL POINSETTIA DAY, so I bet most of them will be gone. How many different colours of poinsettias will you see on Sunday?

Gotta Jet! See you next week!

— Chase Superman Duffy



Friday, 4 December 2015

Checking my list—for books


Today is officially Santa’s List Day—and so I thought since the big guy in the North Pole is making his Christmas list, I should start thinking about mine. (P.S.—I’ve been super good this year, Santa!)

Obviously I’m asking for ALL THE RUNNING STUFF—new shoelaces, a stopwatch, thin socks… But at the top of my list this year (and every year, actually) is BOOKS.

So, in no particular order, here are my most anticipated  of the New Year.

My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights by Brooks Benjamin
Dillon wants to be a dancer. His dad wants him to play football.  Obviously, craziness ensues. This book sounds all kinds of funny and I MUST have it.

The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder
The dashing Prince of the Rats-—who's in love with Cinderella—is turned into her coachman by the Fairy Godmother on the night of the big ball. And he's about to turn the legend (and the evening) upside down on his way to a most unexpected happy ending! Obviously, I’m in!

Ravenous by MarcyKate Connolly
A witch has come to the city of Bryre. She travels in a hut that has chicken feet, and is ravenous for children. And once she gets what she desires, she never lets it go. Yep, I’m bewitched already.

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. Why is she there? Where did she come from? And, most important, how will she survive in her harsh surroundings? Roz's only hope is to learn from the island's hostile animal inhabitants. Colour me intrigued!

Bad Luck by Pseudonymous Bosch
At Earth Ranch, things can get a little magical (some might say strange). Intrepid readers will discover a runaway boy, fishy cruise ship, strange cave paintings, dragon-like footprints, and other mysteries that Clay and his friends need to solve. Sounds like an adventure!

Speaking of adventure, the new Superman Duffy comic, SHIVER ME TIMBERS, is at the press right now. Aye, it’s a good book, to be sure. Tell me the book on your Christmas list and I’ll send you a copy of SHIVER ME TIMBERS. It’s THAT easy.

Okay, Gotta Jet! See you next week!

— Chase Superman Duffy

Monday, 30 November 2015

NaNoWriMo: Z is for Zone

Hey! I can't believe it—today is the LAST day of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! If you missed any of my A-Z posts you can find them in the archives.

Did you make your goal? Email me at chase.superman.duffy@gmail.com or comment below for a chance to win a signed set of the Superman Duffy comics.


*   *   *

I’m ending my posts with Z for ZONE — as in, getting “in” the writing zone. It’s different for everyone, I know, but here are a few ideas to help you find your writing ZEN.

Find your ritual. Whether it’s using the same pen every time, or popping a bowl of popcorn before you sit down at your desk, try to remember the last time you wrote well. What was your ritual? Repeat it.

Find a creative environment. Maybe it’s your bedroom, or the local library, or the park down the street. Wherever you write best — go there.

Clear your head. Words not coming? Try going for a walk or reading a book. I like to go for a run.

Write at the right time. Early morning? Late afternoon? Find the time zone your creativity best responds to and aim to write then.

Get inspired by awesomeness. Watch a movie, read a book, look at a painting. Find someone who inspires you and spend a little time studying what makes him/her awesome.

That’s it!

Starting Friday, I’m back to blogging once a week. Even though it will be a lot less work, I’m going to miss my daily posts.

Gotta jet! Thanks for writing with me all month. Let's do it again next year!

— Chase Superman Duffy

Sunday, 29 November 2015

NaNoWriMo: Y is for Yapping

Hey! Are you doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? Follow me this month as I work through the alphabet of great writing tips, from creating ACTION to getting into the ZONE. 

Need a writing buddy? Email me at chase.superman.duffy@gmail.com or comment in my daily posts. We can inspire each other to put down those daily word counts.  My goal this year: 5,000 words.


*   *   * 
 
Dialogue. One of the most difficult things for me to write.

It’s more than just two (or more) characters YAPPING. Dialogue should move the story forward somehow… Great dialogue can pull a reader in. But bad dialogue? It’s the fastest way for me to give up on a book.

Here are eight tips I’ve learned for creating better dialogue:

1. Listen to how people talk. Yes, eavesdrop. Politely, of course.
2. Not quite the same as real speech. You can lose the “um” and “like” and “er” dialogue…readers can become annoyed with too much “extra” dialogue.
3. Don’t provide too much info at once. Try not to use dialogue to give the reader information that you SHOULD show in the narrative.
4. Use slang sparingly.
5. Don’t overuse dialogue tags. You should only use “said” or “asked” when possible.
6. Break up dialogue with action. Too much dialogue on the page can be daunting.
7. Read widely. But you knew that… <grin>
8. Punctuate dialogue correctly.

What’s some of the best dialogue you’ve ever read?

Gotta jet!

— Chase Superman Duffy

Saturday, 28 November 2015

NaNoWriMo: X is for X'ing Out

Hey! Are you doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? Follow me this month as I work through the alphabet of great writing tips, from creating ACTION to getting into the ZONE. 

Need a writing buddy? Email me at chase.superman.duffy@gmail.com or comment in my daily posts. We can inspire each other to put down those daily word counts.  My goal this year: 5,000 words.

*   *   *

Believe me, I know how hard it is to write a few hundred words. Sometimes, it’s like pulling teeth. (Whoops, a cliché...) So, I can imagine you won’t be excited when I say sometimes you need to “X” out some of those words.

After you’ve written your first draft and you go through with your green pen to edit the story, think about some of the ways you can delete some of those extra words.

For instance:

Stand up = stand (unless you really do mean stand down)
Adverbs with “ly” (remember: “crept” is more powerful (and less words) than “walked slowly”) — get rid of as many as you can
X out weak verbs — can you rewrite a sentence to avoid “was”? Or how about “very”?

New York Times Bestselling author Steve Berry says writers should always be conscious of “writing tight” — which is another way of saying, “Keep it simple.”

Gotta jet! Only two days left of NaNoWriMo. How are you doing?

— Chase Superman Duffy