Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Wishing You a Joyful, Happy Thanksgiving!

A Kids History: The First Thanksgiving (from History)
This is adorable! 

The video below reminds me of all the Thanksgiving shows I used to put together with the preschoolers, but the children in this video are older and do a great job. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Make the World More Beautiful

One of the best homilies I ever heard at Mass was given by Father Griswold at St. Mary's church in Colts Neck, N.J. on the Sunday after the horrible shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. Instead of standing at the pulpit, Father Griswold asked all the children to come up to the front and sit around him. 

Then he read a children's picture book, Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney. 

The children listened attentively to the beautiful story and a sense of calm fell over everyone. As an early childhood educator, I have always appreciated picture books for their simple, but focused messages. In the wake of the Columbine tragedy, the story of Miss Rumphius transcended the horror and offered a positive path. 

Since Columbine, our country has gone through many mass shootings, as well as the World Trade Center attacks. And now there are terrorists in Paris. And young children fleeing from Syria. 

Like Miss Rumphius in the story, all of us can do something to make the world more beautiful. We just have to give it some thought. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Show Me Your Bookshelf

I own many books. This is half of one shelf. On the left, I have several books about pirates, which I used as references when I was writing my pirate/time travel book, The Pirate's Wraith. The tattered book in the center is Grimm's Fairy Tales, the scary, odd, unadulterated version. Next to it is The Scarlet Letter, then Pride and Prejudice, Tales by Poe, The House of the Seven Gables, Waterwitch, the Rubaiyat, and  Shakespeare--all wonderful classics. At least, I think so. 

Take a photo and post a section of one of your bookshelves. This could be fun! Let's see what you've got. :-)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Em Dash Abuse

I am an em dash abuser. I tend to use the quick symbol all over the place. I type in em dashes wherever a comma would suffice. Sigh.

In The Elements of Style, Strunk and White said, "A dash is a mark of separation stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon, and more relaxed than parentheses."

I think my em dash habit is due--in part--to the way I speak. I speak in em dashes!

I have a few examples from The Keeper's Promise below. You see how I originally typed each phrase and how I fixed them.

This was why Bryce loved Shucker's Point--why he had stayed here when many others had left.

It now reads:

This was why Bryce loved Shucker's Point, and why he had stayed here when many others had left.

Sometimes I didn't really need the em dash at all.

that she wasn't a vicious killer--or a psychopath.

Just one simple conjunction works fine:

that she wasn't a vicious killer or a psychopath.

Everyone needs an editor. I have been very grateful for mine.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Sergeants from the Fifth Bomber Command

There's my dad, in the back row, to the right of the sergeant with the glasses. I found this photo on a great site PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF BOMBER COMMAND STATION LIFE

My dad is mentioned in the memoir as one of the men who organized "The Bomb Bay Review." After the war, Dad worked for the Jersey Journal. I guess writing is simply part of my genes.

For Veteran's Day, I give my thanks to all who have served our country. To those who are serving now, I offer my prayers.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

What novel were you forced to read in high school?

One of my daughters read Ethan Frome in high school because it was a class assignment. She hated the book. Ethan Frome was written by Edith Wharton and published way back in 1911. Wharton was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1920 for a later novel, The Age of Innocence. I have not read The Age of Innocence, but I read Ethan Frome--because my daughter hated it. It is a depressing story. However, it is well written--and short, which is probably one of the reasons it was assigned to the students in high school. Nevertheless, I am glad I was not forced to read it at a young age. Well-written novels are often foisted upon tender minds before they are ready to understand them. Worse, the books are then picked apart--piece by piece--until the students are completely sick of them.

I was forced to read The Scarlet Letter, The Call of the Wild, and The Old Man and the Sea when I was in high school. I appreciated The Scarlet Letter most. I later read--on my own--The House of the Seven Gables, which was also written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I could not appreciate The Call of the Wild. I am sure that a dog has a point of view, but I am also sure it is not quite that literate. Nevertheless, I read The Sea Wolf recently, which was also written by Jack London. I liked it. It has romance. It is also about people--not dogs.

The Old Man and the Sea was one of those books my high school teacher made into a torturous experience. Every bit of symbolism was pointed out. Yes, it is well-written--but tragic. Why do teachers insist on tragic, unhappy stories?

Maybe part of the reason some young people do not read today is due to the fact that they've been forced to read depressing books about sad, miserable people.

Why can't English teachers in high school assign happy, upbeat romances? Not all romances are jam-packed with sex. The main ingredient for a romance is a happy ending. Romances are uplifting and not depressing.

Please stop picking the books apart piece by piece. Let the young people enjoy them. Maybe they'll pick up another romance and get hooked on reading for life.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Get Your FREE Download of IRONS IN THE FIRE

Hurry and download this book now! This promotion, through Ereader News Today, will end on November 4, 2015. Afterward, the price will return to $2.99.