I'm not new to talking, sharing ideas, or stating my opinion, especially stating my opinion! After all, I taught elementary school for 30 years! However, my audience has typically been smaller,just family, the classroom, or just talking to myself!

My blog has two goals: be an outlet for sharing thoughts on writing children's books and the path to publication (got my fingers crossed that I'll get there) and a place to chronicle my journey of losing my sight. Sometimes I imagine these two paths will overlap .

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Upcoming Book Launch!

If you've been around the blogosphere for any length of time, you will most certainly know of  LiLa, the sister writing team of Lisa and Laura Roecker. Their debut novel, THE LIAR SOCIETY, launches on March 1st! 
The main character, Kate Lowry, is an edgy, 21st century Nancy Drew with pearls and pink hair who receives an email for her best friend who happens to be dead. Yeah, you read that right, bright pink hair and dead friend.

I wanted to join into the funof preparing for the book's arrival, however, buying a pink wig or *gasp* changing my hair color to pink ..... I don't think so. However, the fabulous LiLa have offered to temporarily dye my hair (okay, so they colorized my photo, don't be so literal about it!). Without further ado, I bring you 'pretty in pink'


Yeah, okay, it's not the photo I'd send with a resume, but hey, it IS festive!

I also asked the ladies a few questions about launch day. Love their answers!

Welcome Lisa and Laura! So glad to be a part of your book celebration. How about answering a few Qs for the crowd?

LiLa: Glad to be here. Fire away!

Launching a book is kind of like preparing for the Oscars, I'm guessing, so what are you two going to do that day to prepare?
Well...Laura will brush Lisa's hair and Lisa will make-up Laura's face. And then we'll jump up and down and scream together. And then want to throw up. We're more nervous for the book launch than we were for our weddings!
If you were to ask your kids to help promote the book, what do you think they would do? (Well, maybe not Ben whose  probable choices are sleep, cry, eat, or poop)
They would most definitely dye their hair pink if we let them. The girls have been dying to get their paws on our pink extensions and even Jack might join in on the fun. And pearls are a no-brainer. Lydia has her own pearls and can't wait to break them out on the big day!
If someone wanted to give you a present on launch day, what would you want to get?
A Xanax and the guarantee that it will work as promised (as opposed to making us pass out, speak gibberish or otherwise embarrass ourselves.)
Name a song that would fit perfectly with your mood/feelings as THE LIAR SOCIETY  heads out into the world?
I'm So Excited. The Jessie Spano version because it's just so much more entertaining.
Just how many twizzlers do you think you'll consume on launch day?
One Family Size pack each. It's not going to be pretty.

Okay readers....pull out those unused Xanax and ship them off to Lisa and Laura; it's fine if they're expired, it will just cut the potency issue.  DISCLAIMER: Just kidding....about the sending the pills, not the potency stuff.

Maybe it would be better to send some Twizzlers instead. I'd vote for cherry but a variety of black, strawberry red, and cherry red would be okay too.

Bottom line, good luck ladies on the launch. I KNOW it will be great! And for those of you who can't make it to Cleveland- home of the LiLa- there will be an online launch party on March 7th right here. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Write From the Soul

Picture courtesy of http//lydiakang.blogspot.com
      A Late Start to a Day of Blogging 

Sometimes I discover great blogs and great ideas a day late. This time, I hit it on the exact day. One Significant Moment At A Time is having a blogfest today. While I might be late to join the fest, I can still participate in the fun. The following questionnaire has been used, frequently, on the program, The Actor's Studio, but it was originally developed by French journalist, Bernard Pivot for his television series.

Who knows....maybe you'll learn something new about me. Or yourself when you think about the questions.

What is your favorite word?    

 Friendship is one of my favorites. Having friends and being a friend is part of my essence.
 What is your least favorite word?

Intolerence. I find it upsetting when people are intolerant of the differences between us. 
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Music can really activate the creative side in me as well as the spiritual. Usually it's quiet, peaceful music but I've been known to find rock n' roll and Motown songs to be a spiritual experience!  

What turns you off?

Bullying. It's. Just. Not. Acceptable. I dealt with it personally as a child and as a teacher, I was compelled to help students who suffered through it.  

What is your favorite curse word?

I wouldn't say I have 'a favorite', but but I use sh*t the most frequently. (I know... bad girl.)  

What sound or noise do you love?

The sound of a young child laughing. Just writing about it makes me smile. Who could be mad when a toddler giggles?! (Okay, so now you know I'm a teddy bear.)  

What sound or noise do you hate?

Screechy sounds on a chalkboard *shiver*. Oh, and when I was younger, the sound of a teakettle whistling endlessly drove me crazy. Now? Not so much.  

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Well, I've been a teacher for many years, I was a pharmaceutical sales rep, now I'm a writer. Hmmmmm.... I once fantasized about being a professional dancer. 'Course that was 30+ years ago and *%#^ pounds ago!
What profession would you not like to do? 

Although I greatly respect these professions, I could never be a doctor, nurse, police officer, firefighter, coroner, or mortician. Blood, guts, and dead people creep me out.  

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Well, I'd just be glad to talk with my Dad again. I miss him a bunch. However, if the Big Guy or Girl were to meet me and make a statement, I'd like to hear that I lived a purposeful life and helped others. I think that's a good way to close out the book.

Anyone care to share a few of your  responses to these Qs? 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Write From the Soul

Happy Heart Day!!         

Valentine's Day..... a day meant for those in a relationship to profess their devotion to each other. Phffff!!!! 

What about those folks not in a romantic relationship?  

Are they connected to others? Yup. In relationships with friends, family, writing buddies, coworkers? Yup. 

Do they need recognition as someone special and valued? Absolutely. Maybe a little more just because there isn't a significant other around to remind them.

So this Valentine's Day, why not drop an email to a single friend or family member, or make a call, just to let him/her know that you appreciate him/her. I'm sure it will warm their heart.

And speaking of hearts....... This holiday is full of candy and sweets. And while I really l-o-v-e chocolate, I know it's not always so good for me or others.

February is "Heart Month"; not because of Valentine's Day, but due to heart disease, the number one cause of death in women. Yes, more than breast cancer. 

Women frequently have different symptoms than men, symptoms that we tend to ignore. We don't usually get the pain down the left arm or the tightening in the chest. Our symptoms are constant fatigue, jaw pain, shortness of breath, pain in the upper back or above the breast (either side). Sound like stuff you'd worry about? Of course not, because women are so busy running around that they are often tired and achy.

But I'm here to tell you that you should pay attention to it. Especially if there's any family history of heart disease.

Eight years ago, I had those symptoms and because I have a family history of heart disease on my dad's side, I went to a cardiologist who sent me to have a stress test- which I failed miserably. The following day I had a cardiac cath where they discovered my left main artery (the one they call the "widow maker" because a heart attack due to that blockage= death) was  100% blocked and another one was 80% blocked! They wheeled me over to the hospital and after the weekend, I had open heart surgery. 
Totally unexpected. At age 50. A woman. 

All because I wasn't feeling great and I became pro-active about it. As a result, I've been around for the past eight years to witness celebrations in my family, to retire from a career teaching children, and to start writing.

I am blessed and grateful, and I appreciate every day.  
Valentine's Day is a reminder to me to take care of my heart so it will keep me around to enjoy more of life's surprises.

To all my friends and family, single or in  relationships, I say: Happy Heart Day. Take care of your heart and know that you are always in mine!                                  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Write From the Soul

Welcome today children's author, Doraine Bennett!     
          *applause, applause*

Thanks for including me in your "Global Explorer" tour!

Thanks for hosting me, Gail :-)

I've got lots of questions for you so let's begin.
Please tell us a little about yourself, including how you came to write for the educational market.

I sort of stumbled into the educational market. I homeschooled my four children for thirteen years. During that time, I spent hours every year searching through publisher catalogs for the best resources. When my youngest child started public high school, I went back to college and completed a degree in professional writing. The focus here was always nonfiction, and my professor was a stickler about keeping records and learning to write for a target audience. I did take creative writing classes, as well.

One day out of the blue, an acquaintance who has since become a good friend, called and asked me if I'd like to take over her job as a sales rep for a book jobber. I said yes. So for four years, I've been selling books into schools to both library and curriculum buyers. I sell from over a hundred publishers, and though I don't know all their catalogs by heart, I have a better understanding of what's out there than most writers. I asked my friend why she was giving up her job. The reply was that shehad stumbled on a hole in the market. National publishers don't publish books for state history standards because they can't sell them in more than one state, in most cases. So she started her own publishing house, State Standards Publishing, and I write for her.

 How extensive was your research for this reader's theater?

Massive. I had no idea what I was biting off when I started. The book covers 45 explorers, and I couldn't write a script that included one without researching them. There's an extensive bibliography in the back.

Did you have any input about which explorers to cover?

 I chose them based on continents. I wanted at least a few explorers from each area. I also tried to space them out over time. Sometimes it was a difficult decision to know who to include and who to leave out. Sometimes availability of primary source materials was a factor.

What age range or grade levels is your reader's theater for?

It's designed for students in fourth through eighth grade. These are the grades students in most states study the explorers. But it could go higher if someone in high school wanted to use it.

 You have great extension activities (I think I actually did some similar ones when I was teaching)! Were you responsible for creating these activities?

I did create them myself. As I said earlier, I was a homeschool mom, so I have lots of experience coming up with meaningful projects to accompany a lesson.

Okay, the big question...where can I buy a copy of this book? The snippets I got to read have left me wanting to read all about these explorers!

You can purchase it straight from the publisher at

There's also a Kindle edition available on Amazon.

Are you writing exclusively for the educational market and if not, are you currently working on any fiction?

I just finished a set of books on the Virginia geographic regions for my editor at State Standards. They should be out in late spring. I'm working on a nonfiction picture book that would fit into both the educational and the trade markets. I'm in revisions and it's being a bugaboo at the moment. I also am working on revisions for a middle grade novel set in 1970 when the Supreme Court made enforced busing a tool for desegregating schools. I also have a devotional book for middle grade readers coming out with Christian Focus Publishing. I'm
not sure when the release date is yet, but I just saw the cover last week and I love it.

Last question, what's your absolute, most favorite part about being a writer?

One of my favorite things is that I'm always learning something new. I love research and libraries. It's not always easy to know when to stop. And then there is the hope that you are creating something that will instill a love of the subject in a new reader.

Wow, thank you Doraine, for the interview. Enjoy the rest of your blog tour! Please check back in, if you have time, to catch questions in the comment section.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Write From the Soul

Exciting news!!!!!!

This Tuesday I will be hosting Doraine Bennett, published children's author, on her blog tour. Doraine has a new book out called Reader's Theater for Global Explorers. There's awesome information on world explorers from ancient times to the 20th century. Great scripts and fabulous activities.

So, if you're a teacher, a media specialist, a parent, a grandparent, a write, or just curious, please stop by my blog on Tuesday, Feb. 7th to meet Doraine. She's promised to stop by and answer any questions you post to comments as well.

I am so jazzed about this book......and my friend Doraine too!