New Romantic-Suspense SPLIT DECISIONS by bestselling author Carmen DeSousa!

New Romantic-Suspense SPLIT DECISIONS by bestselling author Carmen DeSousa is now available!

SplitDecisionsLargeNEW

Split Decisions is a follow-up novel to the romantic-suspense bestseller She Belongs to Me. While you do not have to read the first book to enjoy the second, we believe you should have the option, so click here to avoid spoilers.

If you’re still here, read on for a first peek at Split Decisions and a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Book Description:

Sometimes you want something so badly you are willing to abandon everything you’ve ever known—including yourself.

Eighteen years ago, Jaynee Monroe married the man of her dreams, became the mother of four, and fulfilled her career goals. About to turn forty, she senses something is missing from her idyllic life. While Googling her name in an attempt to find herself, she unearths something so impossible, she contemplates her own sanity. Seeking answers, she embarks on a journey to discover the truth, only to end up abducted by a deranged stranger who insists on calling her Caycee.

Caycee took the road less traveled. Rejecting a marriage proposal from the only decent man she ever knew, she ventures to California to become famous. Eighteen years later, success has left her alone and miserable. Attempting to locate her lost love on Facebook, she discovers his infatuation with her. Not only does his presumed-dead wife have Caycee’s uncommon middle name, it appears he has photo-shopped her face over hers.

Never could Caycee and Jaynee have imagined decisions they made years earlier would threaten not only their lives but also their loved ones. Caycee must now reunite with the southern gent she dismissed eighteen years ago and convince him to accompany her to New York to locate his wife, the most important person in both their lives.

Download Split Decisions here:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Now all you have to do to register to win the $10 Amazon Gift Card is share this page via Raffle Copter. Contest ends 7/1/13 at 12:00 a.m. EST and you can share daily if you want. Good luck!

Unfortunately Rafflecopter does not work on my blog! Boo! So to enter Carmen’s giveaway just go to her blog and enter the rafflecopter there! Here’s the link!

http://www.carmendesousa.com/

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Posted in Guest interview, Health, Teen

I’ve got Psychologist Gary Cole here and he’s talking about Dealing with Teen Addiction

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Psychologist Gary Cole here today and he’s talking about Teen Addiction. He’s a Clinical Supervisor of Community Based Services and he deals with adults who started out as teens with issues. He’s here to provide some insight for parents so their teens don’t grow into adulthood with the problems that he sees in his work everyday.

So, without further ado…here’s Gary!

How does a parent know the difference between normal teen angst and the actual warning signs of a problem?

  1. I would say there are two areas to focus on. 1. If you see a significant deviation on their past behavior and mood. Everyone has “bad days” but this would be more long standing and persistent. If the parent starts to become worried they need to ask questions or offer the help of someone who the teenager would feel more comfortable with. Many teens will not talk to their parents about these issues. 2. The circle of friends and interests seems to change significantly.  An example would be that kid who loves to play sports, but this year decides he/she isn’t going to play on the team. The answer isn’t to make them play, but to ask what is going on and what has brought about the decision. As kids become more involved in drugs their interest in these types of activities drops considerably.

What are the actual warning signs and what should a parent do?

  1. There isn’t any one sign that if a parent notices this it would indicate drug use. The parent has to be involved in their children’s lives from day one so they know what a change is for this teenager. I would say there are things to watch for and when seen, it should prompt the parent to have discussions with this teenager. The parent will need to remain persistent because it is likely the teen will not just jump into the conversation willingly. It helps if the parent has had a history since the teen was young about talking openly with them and asking their input. If the parent is noticing the “signs” too late and there is extensive drug use going on, talk with a professional and do not be afraid to set limits with the teen. What I notice is that the parent is often either not paying any attention to obvious things or they are uncomfortable asking these questions, so they just avoid it until the problem becomes worse.

Some of the signs might be:

  1.      -Lying about where they have been. Check up on them, and pay attention to their normal habits. The more you know about your child, the better equipped you will be to know when something is going wrong.
  2.      – Type of friends change. They may keep the friends somewhat hidden from you. So when they come to the house to pick up your teen, make ALL of them come in the house so you can see who they are and if they are under the influence of something. Do not lie to yourself, if the friends look like trouble, they probably are.
  3.      – Using their temper to control you or others in the house. This does not mean trying to get their way, I mean when they have people in the house  and you are uncomfortable with asking questions etc…because you are afraid to “set them off.”
  4.    – Criminal behavior. Pay attention to what is coming in and leaving the house or their car. If they all of a sudden have a nice new gaming system and they do not have a job, something is wrong. When they tell you their friend gave it to them because the friend has a new one, make phone calls and find out what is really going on.    – LISTEN to your kids. Even when they are young. If you see a change in their attitudes and beliefs through things they say, you should be concerned. The teenager will always show you prosocial behavior and say prosocial things when you are talking with them directly but listen to what is being said when they do not know you are listening. Then do not be afraid to ask about things or restrict their access to certain people that seem to be leading them in a wrong direction.– Pay attention to what you are role modeling to your children. It is never too late to “stop doing the wrong things.” Live a controlled life in which you are not using drugs or overindulging in alcohol use. Get up in the morning and have a schedule. Provide fair and consistent discipline, this includes for a teenager.3.     When should a parent seek outside professional help for a problem teen?
       As soon as the problem becomes apparent. Most parents feel like they can handle it and they can, but there are probably things going on that the parent needs help with. So the professional help is not only for the teen, but also for the parent. Do not wait until it becomes an addiction and the struggle becomes much harder. Once an addiction is apparent, the parent needs help also.

4.     When is it too late?

It is never too late, but life will never be the same either. What usually happens is, at this stage, the parent needs help for themselves. Usually this is to look at how they respond to the behavior they see from the teenager, how to hold them accountable and how to cope with the feelings they are struggling with. Usually accountability is the key. An addict usually only changes when the pain of using outweighs the benefits of using. Where people often have trouble is holding that person accountable and allowing the pain of using to happen.

5.     Is there a point when rehabilitation is impossible?

No, never. People overcome addiction every day. It takes a lot of work and dedication on their part. It may require medical help. There are systems in place to help people with physical addiction and counseling to work through the emotional issues that are at work. Part of the problem with working with teenagers, is often they have not had a lot of negative experiences due to their use yet. Also, their brains are still developing so even without the drugs or alcohol use they are impulsive in their decisions. Unfortunately, jail could be a good thing for a teenager. This might be the first negative experience they had because of their use.

6.     Is there anything that an outsider can do if a parent is unwilling to address the problem? When I say outsider I’m talking about someone like a teacher, or someone from the extended family.
Yes, but it is likely not enough. Providing the teen with someone who will listen without judgment is helpful. Being supportive and offering to help them with anything that is positive would be another thing that could help. Do not get caught up in providing a place to sleep etc…unless their use is because of things going on in the home that you feel are unhealthy for the teen. Do not be afraid to include the system if something harmful to the teen is occurring in their home. Everyone feels uncomfortable with making such a call, but it is the right thing to do.

7.     What steps should a parent take to bring the problem behavior under control? Whether it’s a drug problem or criminal behavior.

Accountability is the one thing that helps motivate people to make changes. It is harder in the beginning as all of the past behaviors that have worked are now being challenged. It is important that the parent do this in a caring manner though, as this is when the teen usually lashes out and try’s other tactics to get the parent to return to their old behaviors also. If the behavior is severe enough, a professional should be brought in to help both the parent and the teen.

8.     Are there any types of organizations that can help straighten out these issues and if there are what are the names?

There are many. Each city and town have their own resources. The best thing to do is call 211 and get a list of the agencies in your area. If the first agency or counselor does not seem to “fit” for you, keep looking around. The more information you gather, you will be surprised at the options out there for help.

9.     Who are the teens most likely to run into problems? Are there any common denominators that make a teen more susceptible to choosing negative behaviors?

Addiction and criminal behavior can be found in all homes, races and socio economic classes. But, having a home that is safe, secure and stable helps considerably. Many of the clients I have worked with, there is significant dysfunction occurring in the home. Often addiction is present in the teen’s life before they ever picked up or experimented. Teens who have dealt with issues of abandonment or lack of proper supervision as a child often struggle later in life.  It should be noted that being raised in a broken home, having a parent with addiction etc.. do not mean that child will become a teen and have the same struggles.  There are certain movements within communities which affect the culture of drug use. In Grand Rapids and the surrounding communities there seems to be a rise in the use of heroine and the use of pain killers (pills). As this becomes more prevalent, there is just more opportunity for teens to have access to this. Parents should be aware of what is happening in their specific area.

10.   Of the teens who are having problems which ones are the ones who have the best chance of being rehabilitated and which ones are likely to be repeat offenders?

I have no statistics on this, but the sooner the behavior and addiction is dealt with the better. Unfortunately America seems to put a lot of money into corrections when it is extremely difficult to change the behavior. More money should be going into the child welfare system as well as early childhood intervention. I would say, the clients that seem to have a sense that their behavior has become unhealthy and unmanageable are a step ahead and will often do the work toward becoming healthy. If they remain in denial, and do not think their use has become as problematic often struggle more toward really getting healthy. Also, if the same unhealthy dynamics are occurring in the home and do not change, it is difficult for a client to make changes without leaving.

Thanks Gary for being here today. I appreciate your time and your insightful information. And thanks to all of you who stopped by to read this interview! Leave some comments on your thoughts! I’d love to read them!

Posted in reviews

The Movie “Now You See Me”

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you!  Today’s post is short and sweet, so if you don’t have a lot of time then this one’s for you.

A few weeks ago I went to see the movie “Now you see Me.” I was expecting a thriller and I was all geared up to be jumping out of my seat. Well…that didn’t happen, but I loved the movie anyway.

It was a movie about magic and how five magicians worked together to right a wrong that happened years ago. It was totally unexpected and a very good movie. I’d highly recommend it. 🙂

It was nice to go to the theater and get something unexpected. I don’t know about you, but for me that hasn’t happened in a long time. With so many different flicks out there it was nice to be pleasantly surprised. I don’t want to say too much more about it because then I’d have to give up the plot and I don’t want to ruin for anyone.

The actors did a great job. I’m a big fan of Woody Harrelson, ever since his Cheers days, and his acting was superb.  I’m also a big fan of Mark Ruffalo. He’s too cute for words. 🙂 (I know I’m gushing like a school girl…but hey what can I say!)

I liked Jesse Eisenberg’s character in this movie much better than the one he played in “Facebook.” So, he’s growing on me as an actor. I’ll definitely keep my eye out for him and check out his next movie.

Well…that’s about all I have to say about “Now You See Me.” I enjoyed it and if you’re looking for something a little different, you will too.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have you seen a good flick recently? Please share I’d love to read your comments. 🙂

Posted in promotion, Teen, Uncategorized

A $.99 Sale for your Tweens

summer reads sale

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve joined a group of Awesome Authors and we’re getting together and putting our books up for sale for $.99! So help us spread the word And check out our books! They’re awesome!  Just click on the titles and it will take you directly to the books on Amazon. 🙂

Check out the awesome covers!

summer 99 cent deals

“The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer” by Lisa Orchard

“The Super Spies and the High School Bomber” by Lisa Orchard

“The Quill Pen” by Michelle Isenhoff

“Song of the Mountain” by Michelle Isenhoff

“Taylor Davis and the Flame of Findul” by Michelle Isenhoff

“The Color of Freedom” by Michelle Isenhoff

“Michaela’s Gift” by Cordelia Dinsmore

“Gangsterland” by  Ansha Kotyk

“The Mother Earth Series Omnibus”  by Alan Tucker

“The Circle of Law” by Lia London

“Magian High” by Lia London

“Trapped a tale of Friendship Bog” by Gloria Repp

“A Difference of Purpose: A novel of the American Civil War” by Terry Soileau

“The Sapphire Flute” by Karen E. Hoover

“Two Souls are Better than One” by Karen E. Hoover

“The Armor of Light” by Karen E. Hoover

“And the Mountain Burns” by Karen E. Hoover

“Six Degrees of Lost” by Linda Benson

“The Girl Who Remembered Horses by Linda Benson

“The Secret Sisters Club: A Ginnie West Adventure” by Monique Bucheger

“Trouble Blows West: A Ginnie West Adventure” by Monique Bucheger

“The Dream Keeper” by Mikey Brooks

“Through the Mirror and into Snow” by Anne T. Bugg

“The Hidden Sun: The Bariwon Chronicles” by J. Lloyd Morgan

“Blast of the Dragon’s Fury Book One” by Andy Smithson

“Ravenspell Book One: Of Mice and Magic” by David Farland

“Of Wind and Winter Tales of the Snow Queen” by Danyelle Leafty

“A Pony for the Fair: The Gypsy Pony” by Inge Moore

“Night Children Dark Threats” by Scott Bryan

 

Thanks for stopping by my blog and if you’ve got a tween who you’d like to turn on to reading check out the awesome books above! 🙂

Posted in Guest Author, promotion

Kelly Martin’s Here and She’s Giving Away Some Books!

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Award Winning Author Kelly Martin here today and she’s giving away FIVE ARCS  of her soon to be released novel “The Deception of Devin Miller.” To enter all you have to do is go to her blog and enter the rafflecopter there. I apologize rafflecopter doesn’t work with my blog. Here’s the link:
Now check out the story and more about Kelly Martin!
deception of devin miller 200x300Back Cover Blurb:
One month ago, seventeen year old Devin Miller wrecked while intoxicated—or so she’s told by the very aggravated blue-eyed boy when she wakes up from a coma. The only thing Devin remembers is the darkness holding her down and the voices– some happy, some upset, and one very agitated. She can’t remember her name, her age, where she lives, or who in the world the blue-eyed boy is. But he knows who she is, and against her better judgment, she offers to pay him for his memories so she can trick the ones closest to her into thinking she’s fine. That is her first mistake.
When Devin gets home, things start to spin out of control. People she doesn’t know keep talking to her. Trey–the blue -eyed boy– doesn’t show up like he’s supposed too. And the police want to talk to her about her involvement in car accident. Plus she keeps seeing flashes of the crash, but none of them make sense. What would a red plastic cup have to do with anything? And why doesn’t she have any feelings for her ‘boyfriend’, Cooper?
Facing DUI charges for a wreck she can’t recall, Devin struggles to remember exactly what happened the night of the crash: something the real driver wants her to keep buried.
kellyhair2Author Bio:
Kelly Martin is a southern mama who writes… a lot. She has two books out through Astraea Press: SAINT SLOAN and Grace Award winning, CROSSING THE DEEP. Her fourth book, B.I.G. IS BEAUTIFUL will be out Sept. 3rd, 2013. By day, she is a special education preschool teacher. By night, you can find her with her hair in a bun and her fingers on a keyboard. She loves God, is addicted to chocolate, and would rather write than sleep. She loves a good mystery and believes in Sherlock Holmes.
My links:
Posted in Uncategorized

The Liebster Award!

Hello Everyone! I’ve been nominated by The Awesome Middle Grade/Young Adult Author of “The Last Timekeepers Series” Sharon Ledwith for the Liebster award.

The rules (which incidentally are made to be broken) for the Liebster Award are:

1. Each nominee must answer the 11 questions.
2. Create 11 questions for the next nominees to answer.
3. Link back to who nominated them.
4. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
5. Go to their page and tell them.
6. No tag backs!
Q&A time:
Favorite Breakfast?
My hubby’s egg sandwich
Beer or Wine?
Wine 🙂
Dog or Cat?
Both 🙂
Coffee or Tea?
Tea
Winter or Summer?
Summer
PC or Apple?
PC
What are your goals for 2013?
Promote my Super Spies series and finish my Young Adult Coming of Age Novel. And get started on a couple of other projects that I’ve got in the back of my mind. 🙂
What makes your day brighter?
Hugs from my hubby and smiles and laughter from my kids 🙂
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Someone being mean to my kids. Grrrrr….
How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa Claus?
Probably third grade. I snooped and found all the presents. 🙂
What do you write about?
I write modern day mystery/thrillers for tweens and teens. It’s called the Super Spies series. I’m also working on a Coming of Age Young Adult Novel.
Here are my nominees for this award Heather Gray, Jodi Desautels, Wendy Knight, Shea Ford, Joselyn Vaughn, and Jillian Jenkins.
Here are their links:
So check out these awesome authors and leave a comment on their blog! 🙂
Posted in Literacy

Improving our Libraries will Improve our Literacy Levels

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! Last year I did a post on Literacy and it’s a subject that’s near and dear to my heart. And at that time I had the thought that e-books might be one of the solutions to our literary woes. But then I started working on a grant proposal for an organization (more about that later) and I did some research and found out something very interesting.

In all communities lack of funding or poverty is the number one cause of low literacy. By providing the tools (e-readers, e-books, and paperbacks) needed to fight this issue we are having a direct effect on it. Wan (2000) reviewed multiple reports to find the positive impacts of reading to children. Some experiments Wan reviewed involved reading aloud with individual students while others combined alone and group storybook readings to a class. Wan’s findings showcased that reading to children was vital to personal and school achievement. Even Stephen D Krashen author of “The Power of Reading” and Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern California said, “In my opinion, the place to focus is the library, both the school and public library. Studies show a positive relationship between library quality (school and public) and the amount read, as well as a relationship with reading competence. Better libraries mean more literacy development for younger readers as well as for high school students.” Therefore, successful approaches to reading including read-aloud programs and setting aside time for reading. The first way to do this is to improve the amount of books on the library shelves.

So the gist of the last paragraph is that if we improve our libraries (school and public) we’ll have a positive effect on literacy levels. Here are some statistics that support this claim.

Information Brief: Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement by the New York Comprehensive Center

State Impact Studies

 

Collaboration between Teachers and the School Library

Collaboration between teachers and the school library through cooperative planning, identification of educational resources, and imparting information literacy skills, positively impacts teacher effectiveness and promotes student growth.

• Colorado:  A study conducted in 2000 showed that students in elementary schools with highly collaborative relationships between teachers and school librarians scored 21% higher than students with less collaborative relationships on the Colorado Student Assessment Program, or CSAP (Lance, Rodney, & Hamilton-Pennell, 2000).

• Indiana: A 2006 study showed that when principals put an emphasis on in-service opportunities for collaboration between teachers and school librarians, there was an increase in test scores of 29.5% compared to those who placed a lower emphasis on such activities. Additionally, collaboration in curriculum design and delivery of instruction resulted in a 7.8% increase in test results. It should be noted that these relationships were evident in both the elementary and high school grade levels (Scholastic, 2008).

• Illinois:  A 2005 study involving high schools showed that American College Testing (ACT) scores were highest for 11th graders when there was a high degree of collaboration between school librarians and teachers across a range of activities such as identifying materials, planning lessons, and motivating students to read.

• Oregon:  A study indicated that schools with the best Oregon Statewide Assessment reading and language scores had teachers who were twice as likely to collaborate with school librarians. Furthermore, students      in such classes were over 3 times more likely to visit the school library (Scholastic, 2008).

Access for Students

Providing access for teachers and students to school library facilities and resources, including through flexible scheduling, helps support students and has a positive effect on retention, work performance, and grades.

• Delaware: A study noted that teachers and faculty placed high value on school libraries due to their role in providing students with technology access, as well as ensuring information source quality       and diversity. The study concluded that teachers believed that such access helped them perform their responsibilities and duties better (Todd & Heinstrom, 2006)

• Illinois: A study involving schools that provided increased access to the school library through flexible scheduling found that fifth grade students performed 10% better in reading and 11% better in writing on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) compared to those schools with less access. Similar results were seen in high school, where there were 5% differences between schools on the ACT    (Lance Rodney, & Hamilton-Pennell).

• Michigan: A study demonstrated that teachers and students in schools with the highest reading scores on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) were four times more likely to have access to the school library on a flexibly scheduled basis than those in the lowest scoring schools (Rodney, Keith, & Christine, 2003).

These statistics demonstrate that the more teachers work with their library and the more resources a library can provide this has a direct effect on literacy levels of the students. This also applies to public libraries as well.

Without a variety of books to choose from a public library will attract very few readers. So, the more books a library has the more young people will be using its facilities.

A low cost alternative is the e-book. E-readers can hold approximately one thousand e-books. And e-books are less expensive and more durable than paperbacks. So, let’s help our libraries. We can donate our books and our time to them. I said it before and I’ll say it again! E-books are one of the solutions to our literacy issues!

Thanks for stopping by today and reading my post! Leave a comment and share your thoughts! I’d love to hear from you!