It never occurred to me that my desire to write middle-grade historical fiction would change. Nor, that my author’s bio must follow suit. But I was recently enlightened when I had to write a book proposal (much like a term paper, for those of you who are unfamiliar with them) and with it, include my bio. Seems simple, until you understand I am writing a non-fiction book on “aging confidently”, something I am struggling to do lately. Now, instead of writing for young people, I'm reaching my peers.
My Middle-grade Bio
This is what I created when I published The Heart Changer in 2019:
Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a 'Y') Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history, and offers her young readers hope, heart, and a real-life hero.
Jarm loves to travel, is passionate about visiting new places and determined never to visit the same location twice. Unfortunately, sometimes she has to break her own rule. Having journeyed to six out of seven continents, she’s slowly checking off destinations on her bucket list. Jarm’s next dream destination is a stay in a Mongolian yurt with plenty of yak milk to drink!
Some interesting factoids about the author: Her first job was working in — no kidding — a Chinese laundromat! After meeting a bat head-on, Jarm had the distinct privilege of sporting black eyes for eighth grade graduation. Her secret desire? To get caught up in a flash mob singing a tune from a favorite musical.
Jarm taught Kindergarten and high school art/home economics, served as school librarian, and later, nannied a four year old girl. But her greatest challenge was educating three missionary children in an isolated bush village in Papua New Guinea, without the benefit of modern conveniences.
Jarm is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and American Christian Fiction Writers and Word Weavers, and has published three articles in The Old Schoolhouse magazine (2013/18/19). She finished her advanced course with the Institute of Children’s Literature, completing her third MG historical fiction.
Jarm Del Boccio is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband, adult daughter and son (when he lands at home), in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago. Her debut middle-grade historical fiction, The Heart Changer released with Ambassador International April 26th, and recently won the Illuminations Silver Medal Award in the Children’s/YA category, and honorable mention in The Purple Dragonfly Book Award’s spiritual/religious category.
You can connect on her website: Jarm Del Boccio, Author or social media platforms: Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.
A New Genre, a New Bio—a New Identity!
Now that I am writing a non-fiction book on Aging Confidently, it's necessary to change my bio to reflect the current ‘me’ and to identify with my future readers—folks in their silver years and beyond. Below is my revised but tentative bio. I'd appreciate your feedback!
Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a 'Y') Del Boccio has spent the last 10 years breathing new life into the pages of history offering middle-grade readers hope, heart, and a real-life hero. Now, well into her silver years, and maturing along with her peers, she is looking forward, and not back. Jarm sees a reluctance to let go of the past and its comforts to forge ahead into new territory that will enlighten, refresh and energize the spirit. What many peers fear is the very thing that will help them age with grace, confidence and faith, making their last years productive and meaningful.
Jarm scares off the aging bug with travel, and is passionate about visiting new places—she is determined never to visit the same location twice. Unfortunately, sometimes she has to break her own rule. Having journeyed to six out of seven continents, she’s slowly checking off destinations on her bucket list. Her secret desire? To get caught up in a flash mob singing a tune from a favorite musical. Jarm feels like a 20-something when someone comments on her stunning silver hair. She tells them it's God’s gift to her (along with her stellar hairdresser of 30 years.)
Although Jarm taught elementary and high school students, served as school librarian, and later, nannied a young girl, her greatest challenge was educating three missionary children in an isolated bush village in Papua New Guinea, without the benefit of modern conveniences.
Jarm is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Word Weavers, and Hope*Writers. She has published articles in The Old Schoolhouse magazine and recently, her devotional on Nehemiah was accepted for Unlocked Teen Devotional.
Having sold her home in a tree-lined Chicago suburb, Jarm has moved 11 times in four months. Although it's an adventure she wasn't asking for, Jarm is content with the journey God has placed her on, and plans to settle down with her husband to the North Carolina coast. With this move, she has become an avid declutterer and minimalist, since discovering it fogs her aging brain.
Her award-winning debut middle-grade historical fiction, The Heart Changer released with Ambassador International in 2019, and still has two more kidlit novels to submit when the time is right.
You can connect on her website: Jarm Del Boccio, Author or social media platforms: Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.
What do you think of my new identity? Would you add anything to my bio that would represent my ‘silver self” better? Anything you would remove that is not necessary? Please tell me in the comments below. . .
The Happy Sojourner
Since my husband and I are without a home at this time (our townhome construction in North Carolina has been delayed until spring), we are wanderers and sojourners, traveling across country, visiting friends, house-sitting and staying with very generous church family members a few weeks at a time. Above, you see me in a "here's proof I was at one of the most popular spots in the US" pose.
I'm the Happy Sojourner. . .
. . .and he is not. Dan is a home-body who can spend his vacations in his workshop or music studio, and not leave the house. He loves ritual and hates change. I, on the other hand, love variety and crave changes. It inspires me and tickles my little grey cells (as Poirot often says).
So, I must applaud my hubby for his bravery. I am coming very quickly to the conclusion that it's the thing we dread that keep our minds sharp. Getting adjusted to a new lodging and routine every couple of weeks (not to mention moving our belongings), jiggles our thought processes and comfort zones. Last month, we spent four weeks at Conference Point Camp in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. We volunteered three weeks, and attended our annual family Bible camp the fourth week. Working in the kitchen was exhausting, and ramped up our appreciation for restaurant and camp meals.
During our last week of volunteering, I was asked to manage the snack shop for a friend who flew out west with her husband to visit their daughter and family. The first part of the week, I worked alongside my friend as she showed me the ropes. But come Thursday, I was on my own with two well-trained and capable (thankfully) teens. Occasionally, my husband, Dan, would help out, but he was even more of a novice than me.
I was amazed at how my multi-tasking abilities returned (thank you, Jesus!) as we served a hoard of 107 band kids who literally swarmed in for their ice cream, smoothies and slushies. Whew! It confirmed my hope that I was not ripe for assisted living just yet.
So, What Does Sojourning Have to Do with Writing?
Ready for a surprise? I am moving my focus from Middle-Grade Historical Fiction to Memoir and nonfiction, specifically addressing aging and its many facets. Of course, I will offer ways to grow older gracefully, and point out the issues we silver-haired folks face daily. Does that sound like something you resonate with? I would love to have you comment below, if that is the case. What is your biggest roadblock to moving forward as you age? What are your fears?
If you receive this blogpost via email, click on the title of the post, and it should bring you to the blog itself, where you can comment below. I truly want and need to hear from you! Even if you are in your 40s and 50s, I want to know what concerns you about the future.
The Serious and the Silly
Looking forward to your comments. And I guarantee some of them will show up in my next book!
A Home for the Homeless
Fear rises up in the pit of my gut. I'm signing away my home with no place to go. Is that wise? At least nine long months stretch out to the end of 2022 before my hubby and I will lay our heads on our own pillows in our own bed within our own new townhome. But until then?
I am thankful for friends and family who are willing to give us a place to lay our tired bodies for a short time as we wait for the construction crew to break ground, build a foundation for our new abode, and finally the home itself. Some weeks, we will travel, other times, we maybe rent an AirBnb. Or live in a tiny house—yay!
The Ukrainian Refugees: Fleeing Home
My thoughts immediately turned towards the heartbreakingly tragic situation in Ukraine. Now, I can't profess to know much about the situation. For more on that, click HERE for a newsletter from an author friend who lived among them and wrote two historical novels based on her research.
But, I can imagine what it would be like to leave the home you loved in exchange for the unknown. Of course, I am not being driven from my home. Nor are we fleeing. Well, maybe. Taxes and the political trajectory of our state is motivating us. Not to mention the weather. But the Ukranians have no choice. Not only when to leave or how to leave, but the choice what to take, keep or store. I'm sure they had little time to think about what to pack. Only the necessities: food, clothing, a bit of money, maybe a pet or toy for the children? Speaking of which, did you see the photo of a bridge into Poland lined with stuffed animals from the local community for the bereft children crossing the bridge to safety with their parents? If you haven't seen it, take a LOOK.
I on the other hand, have been clearing out the clutter and giving tons away. Later, we will have an estate sale. And frankly, it's a relief. The less you have, the less to lose. Less to get attached to. Less to care for. But it was my choice. The Ukranian people have no choice. Maybe owning less is a good idea?
Luke 12:22-24 He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” And from what I'm hearing from refugees’ stories, God is providing in so many ways. So why am I worried about this temporary transition to our new home? He has so many ways to provide.
Something to Ponder
And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)
Jesus was talking about Himself! He had no place to call home. But His friends and disciples where happy to host Him. Can you imagine showing hospitality to the Son of God? Wow.
So, in a small way, I will be able to relate to Jesus in His homelessness. How much more will the Ukrainian refugees? Thankfully, there are ways to help them. If you have a desire to aid the Ukrainian church, click on this link for Christian Ministries doing so.
What am I learning in this time of year, homeless transition?
What about you? Have you made a move recently? I'd love some tips on surviving during that time of upheaval. Do you have a heart for the Ukrainian people? Have you found a way to help? Let me know below!
Images for the Writer’s Heart
Since we just celebrated Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to do something out of the ordinary this month—post my favorite heart images. I see them everywhere! In shops, out in nature, on signs and quirky places Below are some of my favs. . .
This display above is on my kitchen shelf above the stairs. Don’t you just love the saying? It reminds me of the musical “Annie.”
Stores are full of heart shaped items in February. . .
The one above is from Starbucks. . .
This tiny sign was a gift from a friend. . .
I couldn’t resist arranging the ingredients for our Valentine’s dinner in this manner!
Even in historic neighborhoods you’ll find hearts! This one I found in Charleston, SC
Nature loves hearts, too. . .
My hubby and I took a quick cruise around Sanibel Island and stopped at a beach for some shadow play.
A lone leaf served as another natural heart image as it hung on for dear life!
And, of course, even though there is not an image of a heart on my book’s cover, there is heart in the title AND between the pages. Along with a ton of hope and a stubborn young heroine who changes hearts when she yields her heart to the one who loves her most—Father God. For a peek into my author’s heart, check out my interview on Write2Ignite this month. And consider gifting The Heart Changer to a middle grade reader who loves adventure, history and stories that they will remember many years up the road.
Tell me in the comments below which of my images you liked best. I’d love to know!
Creating Images for a Book Launch
Has it been two years? Wow. Tempus Fugit!
As long as I'm celebrating The Heart Changer’s 2nd birthday, I might as well share some of the marketing images I've created on Canva. If you don't know about that site (no matter what your profession) you are missing out on an incredible resource! There are many tutorials to help you create an image. And best of all, it's free at a basic level.
There is nothing more delightful to a historical fiction author's heart, than a visit to an old city. It's intriguing and enlightening, and sometimes hilarious! People are people no matter which century they lived in.
I began this post a few years ago, and decided now was the time to share it. I wasn't keen to blog about covid-19 again, so it seemed like the perfect time for a Q&A. Some of these answers you may be aware of, and others, not.
Here goes — enjoy!
My MG Biblical fiction "The Heart Changer" debuted in 2019 with Ambassador International.