December 5, 2020
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Free Giveaway!!!

Click here to get the short drabble The Road Not Taken.  A short coming of age piece based upon the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost!

Rafe has to make a choice, but if he saves Meg, he may put himself, Cory and Laurie in danger!  This is a re-imagining that may seem familiar to some and was the inspiration for my upcoming book Consanguinity

July 2, 2020
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Sneak Peek

Here is a super early sneak peek of my new Young Adult book Consanguinity.  Fair warning – it’s completely unedited and all names may be changed in the editing process.  Enjoy and please let me know what you think.

Consanguinity – relationship by descent from a common ancestor; kinship (distinguished from affinity). … lineage, agnate, cognate, affiliation, kindred, strain, connection, race, affinity, kin, brotherhood, sisterhood, kinship, filiation, kindredship

the quality or state of being consanguineous persons related by consanguinity

2: a close relation or connection

 

 

Many people believe that time is like a river, moving only in one direction, and that the only world that exists is the one in which they live. Time, however, is not like a river; it is more like a tree with branches that touch, and overlap.  There are many times, many worlds, many dimensions; ours is not the only one.  At one time, the boundaries between these words were thin, and people passed between them easily, much like a squirrel scampering through the trees.

Pangen was one of those worlds. It was a world where magic was an everyday part of life ruled by a quadrumvirate made up of the four most magical people of Pangen.  Not everyone had magic abilities, but those that did, the leaders, the teachers and the healers shared their power and their knowledge with all.  It was like an Eden, but like the Eden of the bible, Pangen had its own snake.  There was a group of people who felt that magic should be hoarded, not shared, and those without should at the very least serve those with magic, at worse, they should be eradicated.  They were called the Turynium.

In a senseless civil war, the Turynium overthrew the governing powers of Pangen, and many innocent people died.  Some with magic were able to flee, helping those with power to escape to our world.  They crossed time and dimensions to land in what we call the Lost Continent of Atlantis.  When they fled, they took with then an icon called the Syngern.  This icon contained the memories and magic of those who came before them and would continue to do so into infinity.  As they fled, they sealed the portals they used to escape, effectively sealing the Turynium in Pangen forever, or so they thought.

June 9, 2020
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Back to Writing

I am super excited – the school year is winding down – and can I just say remote teaching is so so hard – and I can get back to writing. I really thought I’d have this next book done back in March. Boy was I wrong, thank you very much Covid-19. Hopefully once school ends I can get back to some serious writing.

My plan – and amazingly, I do have a plan – it to finish working on my Thinking Positive Tool Kit, and then dive back into my young adult fiction piece full steam.  This was not how I planned for things to work, but as everybody knows, plans often go awry.  I sincerely thought teaching from home was going to be a breeze, and parts of it were.  I finally figured out how to format my lessons on google classroom in a way that worked for me, and my students.  What wasn’t great was I figured it out the last week we were assigning new work to kids.  My learning curve is pretty steep.

What was really hard was working with the students.  We had kids with no computer access, so we were trying to create paper and pencil instructions to be delivered weekly.  That all had to be collected, passed back to teachers and graded (after a quarantine period).  We had families with 3 and 4 kids and one computer so kids had to stagger learning times, and we had kids who were putting in extra hours at their grocery store jobs trying to supplement their parents income.  And then we had the kids that just disappeared off the face of the earth.  Hours have been spent by people trying to track those kiddos down.  Not just for school work purposes, but to make sure they were ok!

I’ve done lessons on zoom, I’ve done lessons on google meet, and I’ve done lessons over the phone, and I know my fellow teachers have done the same.  I’ve talked with kids at 10:00 at night and received messages from kids at 2:00 a.m. because that’s when they were working and that’s when the needed help.  Teaching went from a job, to a full on lifestyle.  For most of us, there were no set hours, and your day didn’t end at 3:00 when the bell rang.  There was no walking out of school with your bag of papers to correct.  Instead we worked 24/7.  It didn’t leave a lot of time for anything.  It became a life.  Lots of things had to give for teachers to do their job in an effective manner, and for me, one of those things was writing.

Teaching is a passion for me.  It’s not just something I do.  Writing is also a passion, and while normally, these two passions can co-exist, this was not one of those times.  But we’re moving to the end of the school year.  Lessons have ended, and we’re focusing on helping the kids with outstanding work as well as the other minutiae that fills the life of an educator.

However there was on big lesson learned from all of this.  It’s okay to have a goal, and it’s okay to give yourself a deadline.  Next time, I may not broadcast it quite so loudly lol.  That way if it’s not met, nobody knows but me!

April 21, 2020
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A Riddle For You

I have a riddle for you!  What do Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, Scribd, Indigo and Angus & Robertson all have in common?

They are all online retailers where you can purchase a copy of my ebook Thinking Positive: Take the Journey into Positivity.  I’m really excited, Amazon has been and always will be an amazing retailer, but I love having the opportunity to share my book on other platforms.

Speaking of books, I made a grand pronouncement a few weeks ago about a new book I was working on.  It’s a companion to Thinking Positive: Take the Journey into Positivity.  It’s almost done, and my goal was to have it finished weeks ago.  So what happened?  I’ll tell you what happened.  Covid-19 happened.  No, I don’t have it.  I am, however, working from home.  Let me tell you, teaching remotely is NOT at all easy. I spend more hours working from home than I could ever dream of doing in the classroom.  Between developing lessons for online, holding zoom meetings with students, keeping track of and documenting every single second you spend working and now creating paper and pencil lessons from the online lessons for kids who can’t manage online learning, I feel like I’m scheduled 48 hours a day!  Yeah, see the problem – days only have 24 hours.

So while I try and figure out a way to schedule my time more efficiently, something had to give, and that is writing.  I’ll get it figured out.  I know I’m not alone in this work from home conundrum.  To say that the struggle is real is an understatement for most of the world.  We will figure it out, and we will get through this, and eventually things will smooth out.  I won’t say go back to normal because I don’t necessarily know if that will happen, but what I do know is things will get better, and we’ll be better because of it.

 

March 20, 2020
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Now is the Time to Think Positive – Free Book

Hi Everyone,

I know our world is in a huge kerfluffle right now.  This virus – Covid 19 is serious.  People all over the world are getting sick, and people are dying.  We’re social distancing, quarantining as needed, and in some cases going into shelter in place.  It’s scary, it’s depressing, it’s overwhelming and it’s
very negative.  My school will start remote teaching/learning on Monday and everybody’s stress level is through the roof.  I can only imagine that it’s like that pretty much everywhere for all sorts of different reasons.

During this time, it’s so easy to fall into negative, defeatist thinking, but that’s the last thing we want to do!  The goal is to remain as upbeat and positive as possible.  I want to do my part to help you.  I’m making the ebook version of Thinking Positive: Take the Journey into Positivity free on Amazon.  It’s free, starting tomorrow, for the next 5 days, so if you don’t have a copy yet, now is your chance to download it for free.  I’m hoping to get the companion Book The Thinking Positive Toolbox ready for publication in the next week to help people remain positive in this very trying time.

We all need to work together – at an appropriate social distance of course.  Check with your older neighbors and see if you can do their grocery shopping.   Don’t hoard the toilet paper people, we all have to go, and really, we’re not going to run out of food, so you don’t need to buy all the cans of chili in the grocery store.  Be kind to one another and help each other out.  Stay healthy and Think Positive

March 13, 2020
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Write Like It’s Your Job

I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard, or read the phrase “write like it’s your job.”  If you want to be a writer, you need to make time to write every single day.  Get up early, stay up late, do what you have to do to care out time to write.  Write like it’s your job.  Um….NO!  See here is the thing. I already have a job, a full time job, and it literally drains the life out of me on a daily basis.  I’m a teacher, and it’s hard work.  Just like I’m sure your job is hard work.  We work our jobs like they’re our jobs, because they are.  We write because we love to write.

We write because we love to write.  We write because we have to write.  It’s our passion, it’s what fuels us.  Writing gives us a voice, a platform to be heard, a way to share the stories that fill our brains. That is why we write.  Don’t write like it’s your job.  Write like it’s the passion that fills you. Write like it’s your reason for being, because it is.

I have big writing dreams.  I’m guessing most people that write do.  We’re all hoping to be the next J.K. Rowling, or James Patterson, or Nora Roberts.  For them, writing is a job.  For those of us that aren’t there yet, don’t listen when people tell you to write like it’s your job.  You don’t have to listen to me either, but I think you should write, but write whenever you can, or whenever you need to.  If you have something in you that needs to come out, you’re going to write like it’s more than your job.  You’ll write like it’s your passion, you’ll find the time to get those words on paper.

Maybe you are the type of person who can get up an hour earlier in the morning to write, or stay up an hour later writing. I’m not, and I know this about myself.  Where I am in my life, I’m not going to be able to write like it’s my job, and that’s okay, because I write like it’s my passion.  Am I the next J.K. Rowling? In my mind I am, and for me that’s what matters, because writing is my passion.  So I’m not going to write like it’s my job, teaching is my job, and I teach like it is.  I’m going to write like it’s my passion, because that’s what it is.

March 6, 2020
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Where Do You Write?

Last fall, and again this winter, I took a couple of writing classes.  They were fun, interesting and more importantly they were informative. In the class I took this winter, the instructor spoke to us about the importance of setting up a writing area. She also shared some tips and tricks.  Some I agreed with, and some I didn’t.  While I agreed with her that it’s very important to limit distractions, for the instructor, this included music.  At first, I was internally appalled at that, but then I realized, that is what works for her. That does not necessarily work for somebody else.  And then it got me thinking about the writing process.

When I first started writing, I wrote literally anywhere and everywhere.  I wrote in notebooks and on legal pads, and then I would type it up on the desktop the family shared in the living room while the television was blaring, the kids were playing and people were talking. I wrote at work on my lunch break (and sometimes when I should have been working), I wrote when I sat at karate with my kids, or skating with my daughter. I wrote anywhere, and it was never quiet, and there were a million distractions.  And you know what? I was more creative then that I have been in a very long time.  The words literally poured out of me.  This was at the height of my fan fiction writing. Was it Nobel Prize winning literature? Nope.  Did it make me happy?  More than you will ever realize.

At our last class, the instructor asked where do you write?  She then asked us all if we’d set up our writing spaces yet and she happily shared that she was turning a spare room in her home into her new writing area.  The others in the class shared where the wrote, and then it was my turn.  Me, right now, I write on my bed.  Sometimes, like now, I write on my sofa in the living room with the television blaring, and sometimes, if I give my students a writing assignment, I write too.  No quite room with the desk set just so, no cozy quiet environment.  At first I felt badly, like maybe I wasn’t a real writer because I didn’t have a dedicated writing space.

Then I started thinking back to when I was at my most prolific and where I wrote, and I realized that where I write doesn’t make me a writer. The fact that I write makes me a writer. Would it be nice to have a dedicated writing space in my house? Sure!  But I know me.  I’d get so caught up in making it the perfect writing environment that I wouldn’t actually get any writing done.  How do I know this?  Well, I just spent 30 minutes looking for a picture or meme to go along with this blog post.  Fun fact – I couldn’t find one.  Apparently there aren’t any memes out there about the perfect writing environment.

Do I get distracted  writing on the sofa, or on my bed with the television on?  Yeah, I do, I really, really do.  Maybe I should change my location. Maybe this summer when school is out, I’ll get up early and go to the library every day and write.  I’d say it would make me more focused, but a part of me thinks NOPE, not happening.  I’ll still have the internet to distract me, and worse, library patrons to make up stories about in my head.  Maybe I could call in character research.

Or maybe, I can just continue on like I’ve been doing.  It works for me, and it feels right, and that’s what it’s all about.

 

March 1, 2020
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I am a Writer

This was originally posted on an old blog of mine.  I’m getting ready to delete the blog and I as looking though it and came across this post dated November 29, 2012.  It’s funny how things change.  I remember the feelings, and before I post the blog, I’m going to answer the question that I posed in the blog post.  Just do it!  Make yourself write every day.  It doesn’t have to be good, it doesn’t have to be meaningful, it just has to be.  I am a writer, because I write.

Original blog post

I am Not a Writer

November 28, 2012

I’m not a writer – not any more.  Well, lets be honest and fair, I was never a professional writer, but I did write.  I used to write all the time.  I was thinking about this yesterday at work.  A friend and I were talking about writing papers and she said how she always struggled with writing papers.  That was never a problem for me,  I could sit and write the hell out of just about any topic and get a good grade.  She said she couldn’t do that and always hated writing.  That when I started thinking about writing.  I used to LOVE to write.  I have notebooks, pads of paper, and countless files filed with stories.  If you look at my profile on fanfiction.net  I have 35 completed stories under my pen name (and one uncompleted one – sorry people).  Of those 35 completed stories, 16 are multi-chaptered, and a couple of those are novel length stories.  They’re not necessary novel QUALITY stories however, nor are they original creations, they are fan fiction.  I don’t care about that.  I loved the subjects I was writing about.  It didn’t matter to me if they weren’t mine originally, I made them mine.  I’m fairly positive Melinda Metz doesn’t mind sharing her characters with me – it’s not like I’m profiting from them or anything like that.

I even have a couple of rejection letters to my name for some original things that I’ve submitted.  And if you look on my hard drive, you will find a bazillion story ideas, a couple of half written books and a thousand false starts.  But I stopped writing one day, and I don’t know why.  It wasn’t the rejection letters.  Sure they hurt, but it’s not like I had any false illusions about my talent.  If I were to get published, that would be great, if I don’t, that’s okay too.  There are tons of ways to get my words out there if that’s what I want to do.  But I don’t seem to want to any more.  I still have stories to tell, but I seem to lack the motivation to write.  I don’t know what happened and I don’t know why, but it’s gone, and I don’t know how to get it back.  It’s November 28th, and I just realized that it’s NaNoWriMo and I didn’t even think about it until the other day.  That has NEVER happened to me.

In a way, it’s kind of like a dream I had died.  I’d always dreamed that some day I’d get published, much in the way I dream of winning the powerball or something.  The chances of either thing happening are somewhere in the likelihood of slim and none.  I always knew that and didn’t care.  I still play powerball, but I don’t write.  That dream is gone.  It’s died and I don’t know how it happened or why, and I don’t know if it can be brought back to life.

I’m saddened by the loss of this dream.  The death of any dream is a tragedy, but usually when a dream dies, a new one is reborn, like a phoenix to rise from the ashes of that lost dream.  Not this time.  I have NOTHING that has taken it’s place and I don’t know what to do about it.

How do you get a dream back, or replace a dream that’s died?  How do I write again?  Can I write again?

February 28, 2020
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Where Do You Find Inspiration?

Where do you find inspiration?  It’s the question every author is asked and every author has a different answer.  Inspiration can be found anywhere and everywhere. There are many writers who have written all their lives.  I am not one of those writers.  I wrote a couple of things here and there, dabbled in some really bad poetry in my teenage years, but that was it.

One day, I saw a promo for a really great looking television show called Roswell, based upon a series of books by author Melinda Metz.  I decided to check it out and I loved it.  This was back when the internet was really starting to become a thing, and there were message boards and user groups everywhere.  I found a message board about the program Roswell and joined it.  I made a wonderful group of friends, and we’re still friends to this day.

We loved Roswell, and we loved to talk about Roswell, the only problem was, despite it’s fantastic premise, Roswell wasn’t actually that great of a television program.  It had an amazing cast with great chemistry, and a story line that touched the souls of everyone who watched.  But network execs wanted to the show to be something else, and when the writers tried to follow their directives, the story suffered.  That was where I was introduced to fan fiction.  For those of you who don’t know what fan fiction is, it is a type of fictional text written by fans of any work of fiction where the author uses established characters, settings, or other intellectual properties from an original creator as a basis for their writing (wikipedia.)  It blew my mind, there were people out there writing stories using the characters I loved to make the series be what they wanted.  I wanted in!

For a long time, that was where I found my inspiration.  I wasn’t a great fan fiction writer, I don’t think I was even very good, but people seemed to like my version of the show.  I branched out and did some writing for a couple of other fandoms, and that was when I realized that I am a writer. Again, not a great writer, but a writer nonetheless.

So I’ve moved on from writing fan fiction, and I have to wonder, where do you find inspiration?  I realized not too long ago, that inspiration is everywhere.  I used to find my inspiration for fan fiction by asking what if?  What if those characters I saw on tv did this, or did that?  What if they were in this situation, how would the act?  I realized that is where I find inspiration, only this time, I get to create my own characters

My newest character is Meg, though I’m not sure her name is going to stay.  She is a teenager, and she is very insecure.  She is very introspective, and even her hobbies are solitary.  She studies martial arts, runs and is a musician. Meg is also magic, only she doesn’t know it.  When I last visited Meg, she was cooking a pot of stew for her family and in her mind’s eye, traveled back in time.  Meg thinks she was just imaging it, but was she?  All this happened to Meg (or at least the plotting did) while I was making a pot of spaghetti sauce for my family.  As I was stirring my sauce, I started imagining Meg in her kitchen, making stew, and I started thinking what if.  I don’t know where other authors find their inspiration, but mine was right there in a giant pot of spaghetti sauce.  The sauce turned out great.  I hope Meg’s story does as well.