Posted in Children's Event

Exciting Children’s Event for the month of September!

 

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! The month of September is almost here and http://readingawaythedays.blogspot.com/ is doing a month long Children’s Book Event.

The event will include interviews with children’s authors, guest posts, giveaways and interviews with illustrators.

Megan will be focusing on books for children from ages 0-11 years. The focus will be on classic children’s boos as well as fairytales. There will also be posts on Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, and J.K. Rowlings.

Each week I will answer questions that Megan has posed to us authors and post them on my blog.  I’m excited! This is going to be fun and the purpose of this event is to encourage young children to read and get them excited about reading. So please stay tuned for details!

The first questions I’ll be answering are:

What is your first memory of reading as a child?

Do you have memories of your parents reading bedtime stories to you? Do you think it’s important to read bedtime stories to your children?

The answers will be posted between September 1st and 9th.  I’m looking forward to this event! 🙂

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Thoughts on my High School Reunion

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you today! I’ve been busy with my son’s sixth birthday and getting ready for school. As the kids get older it just seems like we get busier and busier. J

The same day we had my son’s birthday party I also had my 30th High School Reunion. I couldn’t believe it, thirty years have gone by in a blink of an eye.

I was excited as I got ready for my reunion. I would be seeing people that I hadn’t seen in years some of them not since graduation. Then I got nervous.

Being an introvert, I was always self concious and shy in high school. In fact, some people even thought I was stuck up. (I’ve learned this since graduation.) And I can see where people would have gotten that impression. I wasn’t though, I was just shy and insecure. I started to worry, would people talk to me? Would they even remember me?

My anxiety was unfounded though, everyone was warm and friendly and it was a great night. I got to talk to people that I hadn’t been close to in school because we just ran in different circles. It was nice to get to know them and hear about their interesting lives.

I was able to reconnect with friends that I hung out with in school but had lost touch because of college, careers, and/or marriage. It was nice to see them and rekindle those friendships. I’m sure social media will be a great way to keep in touch with those people from out of state.

So, if I can be so bold as to suggest some advice to teens preparing for their high school years, it’s this. Have fun and get involved. Don’t let fear and insecurity keep you from making friends. I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but high school can be some of the best years of your life. Make as many friends as you can, you’ll be surprised how long those friendships will last.

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Author Stacy Coles has words of Wisdom for the new School Year

You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the one who’ll decide where you’ll go…

~ Dr. Seuss

Fall is just around the corner (although the temperatures might beg to

differ). School is starting for students of all ages. It means new

beginnings, new classes, new friends, and new experiences.

It doesn’t matter if you are just starting your education or finishing your

graduate year, go in with a fresh attitude. Find something you can look

forward to every day. Take control of this school year. Make it YOUR

year. You have the power to decide how much you’ll get out of every

day. You have the power to decide what you’ll do with the knowledge

you gain.

Whether you are moving into the next grade or moving into a college

dorm room, enjoy every minute and take advantage of every opportunity

that comes your way. Be open to classes, sports, or extracurricular

activities that will introduce, broaden, or strengthen your talents. Unlock

your hidden potential and see what doors open up for you.

And when the bell rings and that last class is over, it doesn’t mean the

learning stops. Knowledge is power and your resources are endless.

Don’t be satisfied following in someone’s path. Make your own tracks

and see where YOUR path takes you.

By author Stacy J. Coles

stacyjcoles@yahoo.com

http://www.saythiswrite.blogspot.com

http://www.saythiswrite.com

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Sweet Saturday Sample “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer”

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you. Today I’ve got an excerpt from the first book in the Super Spies series “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer”. So take a look and let me know what you think!

The house sat hunkered down as if it were tensed to spring like a cat stalking a mouse. Sarah shuddered at the thought of going up on the porch and she chewed on her thumbnail.

Looking behind her, Sarah studied the church facing the Cat Lady’s home. It was a strong structure built of huge stones. She could tell it was as old as the town itself and its presence made her feel safe. Motioning for Jackie and Lacey to follow her, she moved from the sidewalk to the huge oak tree growing on the church’s lawn. The girls hid behind it, peeking out at the witch’s home.

“Are you still going to do it?” Jackie teased.

“Yep.”

“Do you think she’s inside?” Lacey asked wide-eyed.

Sarah smirked at her. “Where else would she be? I hear she never leaves her house.”

“Be nice.” Jackie smacked Sarah’s arm.

“What are you waiting for? Are you afraid of the witch?” Lacey asked as she stared at the house.

“She’s not a witch. She’s just a freak, that’s all.”

“Well, if she’s not …then what are you waiting for?” Jackie snickered.

“I just want to make sure the coast is clear.”

“Hey, you guys, look at all the cats,” Lacey whispered. She pointed at the clusters of felines lolling about on the porch and walking in the yard. “There has to be at least twenty of them.”

“Yeah, that’s why she’s called the Cat Lady.” Sarah rolled her eyes and then felt the sting from Jackie’s slap.

“Do you think she put a spell on those cats?” Lacey asked with a wide-eyed expression, twirling her hair with her finger.

“Could be,” Sarah snickered. “Or maybe she just…you know…gives them food.”

“Knock it off, Sarah,” Lacey glared at her sister.

Sarah stuck her tongue out at her. “Okay, I’m going for it. I’ll meet you back here.”

“Cool beans,” Jackie said.

“Cool beans? Is this town still in the nineties?” Sarah teased.

“Shut up.” Jackie smacked her arm again.

“This is physical abuse.” Sarah rubbed her arm, trying to appear injured.

Jackie laughed. “Be thankful I like hanging out with you.”

“All I have to do is ring her doorbell, right?” Sarah poked her head out from behind the tree. She noticed the tomato pulp still clinging to the siding and peered up and down the street for the notorious Wykowski boys.

“That’s right,” Jackie chuckled.

Sarah took a deep breath and sprinted across the street. She stopped at the porch stairs. A group of cats were sunning themselves on the steps—they meowed at her as if they were hungry. Jumping when one of them rubbed against her legs, she bent down and stroked its back, never taking her eyes off of the house.

Sarah petted the cat, while she worked up the courage to climb the stairs. She heard the loud purr of the contented feline and it eased her anxiety. All of a sudden, she felt a hand squeeze her arm. Her heart leapt in her chest and she let out a yelp.

Turning, she spied Jackie. “I almost peed my pants!”

Jackie giggled.

“What are you doing here?” Sarah muttered and gave Jackie the evil eye.

“I couldn’t stay behind the tree and miss all the action.”

Sarah glanced around her and pointed to some overgrown bushes in front of the porch. “You can hide over there.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Sarah spied her sister running toward them and stifled a groan.

“I didn’t want to stand by myself,” Lacey whimpered, slightly out of breath. She tugged nervously on the hem of her T-shirt as she eyed the house.

Sarah groaned and her shoulders slumped as if she carried a heavy burden. She sighed and pointed at the bushes again. “You hide over there with Jackie and be quiet.”

Sarah waited until the other girls were out of sight, and then climbed the stairs. Stopping when she reached the porch, Sarah took some deep breaths before stepping onto the sagging stoop. Stepping gingerly, she hoped the porch would support her.  Her stomach clenched when it groaned. She took another step and then another, the porch complaining with every footfall. Halfway across the stoop, she heard the girls behind the bushes.

“She’s almost to the door.” Lacey said in a low voice.

Sarah bit her lip, stifling the disapproving remark dancing on the tip of her tongue. Instead, she turned and glared at the bushes, willing its occupants to shut up. She made eye contact with Jackie, who quickly ducked behind the shrubs, pulling Lacey with her.

What in the world is she doing?” Lacey asked.

“Shhh,” Jackie responded.

Sarah shook her head and continued her journey. She felt Jackie and Lacey watching her as she crept toward the door. Reaching the entryway, she was surprised to find the storm door wide open. The only barrier between the Cat Lady and the rest of the world was a flimsy screen door hanging askew on its hinges.

Alarm bells rang in Sarah’s head—this has got to be out of character for someone who never leaves their home. She turned back and whispered to the other girls. “Hey!”

Jackie poked her head out. “What?”

“The storm door’s open.”

“So?”

“So…what do I do?”

“Duh…Ring the door bell.”

Sarah shrugged and pushed the doorbell. It let out an irritating buzz and she had the feeling it had been broken long ago and never fixed. She dashed down the stairs.  The cats scattered, alarmed by the sudden activity. Reaching the shrubs, Sarah hid with her sister and Jackie.

Gasping for breath, Sarah waited for a reaction from the old woman. Her heart pummeled her ribs and she pressed her hand to her chest to calm it.

After a few minutes, Sarah started to pace. “Well…nothing’s happened.” She peeked out from behind the shrub and saw the screen door hanging ajar. “I bet she’s not even home. I’m going to try again.”

Jackie shrugged. “Be careful, remember she’s a witch.”

Sarah shook her head, and then peered out from behind the shrubs. Once again, she climbed the stairs. She was braver this time and it didn’t take her as long to make it to the door.

She looked inside, her heart lurching in her chest. She tiptoed to the picture window and peered through it. Gasping, she ran back to the entryway. Pulling it open, she lunged inside.

Sarah stared, unable to tear herself away.  Shock ran through her body like an electrical current as she eyed the scene before her. The crumpled form of the Cat Lady lay on the living room floor, just inside the door. No life flickered in the old woman’s staring eyes. Her mouth gaped open in a silent scream and her hands were up around her head as if she were warding off blows. Turning away, Sarah gagged as the coppery scent of blood assaulted her. There was blood splattered everywhere, on the wall, on the carpet and under the Cat Lady’s body.

Suddenly, Sarah’s throat constricted and she gasped for breath. Fearing she would faint, she stumbled back out the door and collided with Jackie and Lacey on the porch.

Jackie grabbed Sarah’s arm and shook her. “What are you doing? Are you crazy? I never said to go inside!”

Sarah didn’t speak—she just stared blankly at the porch.

Jackie shook her again. “Are you under the Cat Lady’s spell?”

Lacey whimpered. “Hey, Sarah….can you hear me? Sarah?”

“She’s under the Cat Lady’s spell,” Jackie said waving her hand in front of Sarah’s eyes.

“Oh my—,” Sarah moaned and clutched Jackie’s arm.

“What is it?” Jackie shook her again. “Speak…say something!”

“Th-th-the C-C-Cat Lady, sh-sh-she’s,” Sarah stuttered.

“She’s what?” Jackie demanded.

“Sh-she’s dead.”

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Is Your Teen in an Abusive Relationship?

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you today! I’ve had a pretty hectic week. My son’s birthday is Saturday and I’ve been shopping for that as well as trying to get the kids ready for school. J

As I focused on the new school year I wondered what kind of social situations my boys will experience this year. Last year in my oldest son’s class they discussed bullying and bullying behaviors. I was excited to see this because it illustrated that our school system was taking a big stand against bullying.

Then I wondered about their teen years. I wondered what kind of relationships would they find themselves in. I hope healthy ones, but how does a parent know? I remember my teen years and I didn’t share a lot of things with my parents, I turned to my friends. Luckily, I had awesome friends. But what happens to the teen that doesn’t? How does a parent know?

So, I started researching and found that there are signs when a teen is in an abusive relationship. For example, if they stop hanging around their friends and stop doing things that they enjoy. The young teen is basically withdrawing and could even be depressed. This is a huge sign.

When I’m talking about abuse, I’m including emotional abuse as well. Emotional abuse is just as debilitating as physical, or sexual abuse. The problem is that it’s hard to see because there is no evidence left on the abused teen. What is emotional abuse and what are the signs? Below is a list of signs to look for in your teen.

Has your teen…

  • Showed a loss of concentration?
  • Shown signs of being afraid to upset their partner?
  • Spent excessive amounts of time in contact with their partner?
  • Lost contact with other friends?
  • Been constantly fighting with their partner?
  • Changed their behavior and/or appearance?
  • Had unexplained injuries?
  • Not been enjoying activities that he/she used to enjoy?
  • Become more aggravated and/or less independent?
  • Seemed persistent to be home at certain times to receive/make phone calls?
  • Seemed withdrawn from what is going on around him or her?
  • Told you about or have you been a witness to their partner calling them names, embarrassing them, or putting them down in front of others?

If  your teen answers yes to two or more of these questions they could be in an abusive relationship.

If you suspect your teen is in this type of relationship ask them these questions. If they answer yes to three or more of the questions they need your help.

Does your partner….

  • Have a short temper?
  • Act very jealous?
  • Exaggerate fights?
  • Tell or suggest what you should wear?
  • Try to limit who you talk to?
  • Make you tell him/her where you are going and who you are with?
  • Tell you when you have to be home?
  • Put you down?
  • Take up most of your time?
  • Hurt you physically or throw things at you?
  • Get angry when you disagree with them?
  • Pressure you to engage in sexual activity that you feel uncomfortable with?
  • Make you feel like you can’t say no to sexual activity?
  • Embarrass you in front of others?

If your teen is in this type of relationship a parent needs to intervene. But how? How do you intervene without alienating your child?

One step is to look into T.E.A.R. acronym for Teens Experiencing Abusive Relationships. You can find them here http://www.teensagainstabuse.org/index.php.

This is a great organization that can help teens and parents.  This is where I got the information for this post. J

Here’s some solid advice from T.E.A.R.

  1. Keep all lines of communication open. Sit down with your child and talk about the differences between a good relationship and a bad one.  Ask questions but don’t grill them. Also don’t yell at them or blame them for the abuse that you suspect they are dealing with.
  2. Always validate their feelings. When a parent validates a child’s feelings they realize that you really do want to help and that you value them.
  3. And the most important thing to do, in my opinion, is strengthen your relationship with your child. Encourage them to develop an aspect of their life without the abuser. Maybe join a church group or a club. Then join with them and spend more time with them. Instead of lecturing and giving advice, give them options. J

I hope this post has been helpful! For more information please check out this website http://www.teensagainstabuse.org/index.php. They also have an abuse hotline. Here’s the number 1-866-331-9474.

*** I would like to thank T.E.A.R. for providing the information for this post. J

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Meet Amanda Alberson and hear about her book “Losing Connor”

First off thank you Lisa for having me on your page! It is an honor. I am in the insane process of self publishing my first novelette, “Losing Connor”. It will be available August 20, 2012 through Amazon. There will be a Face book release day party that day from 5pm central until 9pm, filled with fun games and prizes. Technology is just amazing, now if we could only send cake and drinks out like emails! You have CAKE!

Here’s the cover!


You can check it out at this link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/435941933123077/437937909590146/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity
Excerpts and works in progress of mine can be found on my author website at http://rayneedazewriting.weebly.com/

I have several things lined up once I get “Connor” off the ground and running. This has been such a long and fantastic journey to publish my first work, and I hope to continue writing for many years to come.
The idea for this particular story came to mind several years ago when my daughter became ill. All of the early symptoms pointed to Leukemia and I was devastated. I found solace in the fact that my husband, her stepfather, is a strong and uplifting man and I was able to lean on him. After several tests and a slew of doctors, she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which was a bitter sweet ending to the mystery. After everything settled down many thoughts that had plagued me while we were testing for Leukemia stuck with me and just grew into “Losing Connor.”
It’s a story of courage and love that slips back and forth between main characters’ past and present. Cassandra Coven is faced with a difficult decision when she finds herself pregnant at 17. Cassie must choose what’s best for the baby, even if it means losing everything, including the man she loves, Declan.
Years later when the child she gave away needs, her she will come face to face with all her past regrets. Will she fall under the emotional tidal wave of having Connor and Declan thrust back into her life? Or will she stand strong as she did before and do what’s right?

I’m such a hermit writer; I had to look up the term pantser after seeing it on Twitter one day! I felt like my dad googling ‘hip’ terms kids use all the time. I am a complete pantser, I start with a blank word doc, an idea and sometimes a name and it all grows from there. I’ve had stories change completely half way through and had to rewrite everything, but I love every minute of it! I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember. I would spend summers at my grandmother’s house typing them up on an old antique typewriter. Stories about anything that made me smile or brought tears to my eyes were always my favorite.

Growing up I read every book I could get my hands on. I was a Stephen King expert when I was 9. I could recite the first few pages of “The Outsiders” by: S.E. Hinton years before we read it in junior high, and I still read “Where the Red Fern Grows” by: Wilson Rawls every few years.

The explosion in “indie” writing has blown the doors open and flooded the world with amazing stories. Once I decided to start writing things for everyone to read, I got on Twitter to see what I could learn about indie authors and books. Not only did I find a million fantastic books to read; I made so many new friends.

Everyone in the “indie” community has been open armed and welcomed to me. Their advice and critique of my work has made not only my story better, but molded me into a better writer. “Losing Connor” would never have made it out into the world without all the help and kindness I have found. I would thank them all right here, but that would take up far too much space. They know who they are and hopefully they know what their help means to me!
Again Lisa thank you so much for taking a chance on an unpublished new writer, you are one of the many that I appreciate so much. I hope everyone enjoys this post and will check out my first book “Losing Connor” when it comes out on August 20th!

Thanks Mandy for being a guest today and I can’t wait until August 20th! Your book is definitely on my TBR pile!

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What the Olympics taught my Kids

Hello! I hope everyone has been enjoying his or her summer. It has been a busy one with vacations and family outings. I took the boys to the zoo last week and they had a blast! It’s fun to watch them learn, they are so curious about everything.

When we have some down time we’ve been turning on the Olympic Games. I’m truly amazed by the talent and drive of the athletes. Many of them are much younger than myself. (I’m not going to say how much younger! Just younger! LOL! )

As I watched the Olympics with my boys I wondered what message they were receiving from watching these athletes. Was the message, “the only things that matter are the results?” I certainly hope not. I want my boys to enjoy the journey to their goals as well as the “destination”. In my humble opinion this is the definition of happiness.

I feel very strongly that we, as parents, need to stress to our kids the qualities that these athletes possess, such as perseverance and determination, not the fact that they win or lose.

My five-year-old asked when we were watching gymnastics. “How does he do that?”
“He practices a lot,” I said as I gave him a hug. “Remember we get better with practice.”

I was so glad he asked that question so that I could explain that perseverance and determination were good qualities to have and that everyone needs to practice, even Olympic athletes.

Later when we were watching the men’s 400m race. We witnessed Oscar Pistorius running with able-bodied men even though he was handicapped. What an incredible lesson for my kids to learn!

They learned that obstacles can be overcome. Not only did Oscar have to deal with his handicap; he had to fight a legal battle to run in the Olympics. He didn’t let his handicap stop him or the Olympic officials themselves.

It would have been incredible if Oscar would have won. Unfortunately, he didn’t. Kirani James from Grenada won the gold medal. But in a great act of sportsmanship he traded his nametag for Oscar’s. What an incredible show of admiration to the handicapped athlete!

My boys watched this and they asked so many questions, mostly about Oscar’s running blades. But…I was able to sneak into the conversation a few points about overcoming adversity and the great show of sportsmanship that Kirani illustrated.

It was a great night and watching Oscar made me realize that everyone runs into obstacles, just different ones. So, don’t let obstacles get you down most of them aren’t permanent. And if they are permanent there are ways around them.

I hope everyone has a great day! Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!