Posted in Literacy, reviews, Teen

Book Review of “Eleanor and Park”

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today and I have a book review for you. Yes, I was able to sneak one in with all my writing and editing! It’s a great way for me to unwind when I’ve been working hard all day. 🙂

The book I’m talking about today is “Eleanor and Park.”

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

I absolutely LOVED this story!

It’s about a young girl who doesn’t fit in anywhere. Her name is Eleanor. She’s picked on and bullied because she’s different. She rides the bus every day to school and ends up sitting next to a Korean boy named Park.

It’s a love story that starts out with Eleanor reading comics over Park’s shoulder. The next thing you know he’s bringing her comics to read and then it progresses to Park creating tapes of his favorite music for her.

When I started reading this, I thought it was going to be one of those cute, bubblegum romances, but it isn’t. There’s an element of danger that rears its ugly head and at first, you don’t really see it coming.

I loved the twist at the end. I don’t want to say too much more because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but this story is one of my most favorite so far. The character development was incredible and so was the plot with its giant twist at the end. It brought tears to my eyes. It’s a great story that helps you remember what young love was like.

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Posted in Parenting, Teen

Check out One Teacher’s Solution to Violence in our Schools

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I saw this on my Facebook page and had to share it with everyone. I think this is an awesome idea! I found this awesome story on Glennon Doyle Melton’s Blog. To see the original article click the link below.

http://momastery.com/blog/2014/01/30/share-schools/

ATTENTION ALL TEACHERS AND PARENTS

This is an article that needs to be repeated:

Photo Compliments of Flicker

A few weeks ago, I went into Chase’s class for tutoring.

I’d emailed Chase’s teacher one evening and said, “Chase keeps telling me that this stuff you’re sending home is math – but I’m not sure I believe him. Help, please.” She emailed right back and said, “No problem! I can tutor Chase after school anytime.” And I said, “No, not him. Me. He gets it. Help me.” And that’s how I ended up standing at a chalkboard in an empty fifth grade classroom staring at rows of shapes that Chase’s teacher kept referring to as “numbers.”

I stood a little shakily at the chalkboard while Chase’s teacher sat behind me, perched on her desk, using a soothing voice to try to help me understand the “new way we teach long division.”  Luckily for me, I didn’t have to unlearn much because I never really understood the “old way we taught long division.” It took me a solid hour to complete one problem, but l could tell that Chase’s teacher liked me anyway. She used to work with NASA, so obviously we have a whole lot in common.

Afterwards, we sat for a few minutes and talked about teaching children and what a sacred trust and responsibility it is. We agreed that subjects like math and reading are the least important things that are learned in a classroom. We talked about shaping little hearts to become contributors to a larger  community – and we discussed our mutual dream that those communities might be made up of individuals who are Kind and Brave above all.

And then she told me this.

Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.

Who is not getting requested by anyone else?

Who doesn’t even know who to request?

Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?

Who had a million friends last week and none this week?

You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down- right away- who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.

As a teacher, parent, and lover of all children – I think that this is the most brilliant Love Ninja strategy I have ever encountered. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see beneath the surface of things and into the hearts of students. It is like mining for gold – the gold being those little ones who need a little help – who need adults to step in and TEACH them how to make friends, how to ask others to play, how to join a group, or how to share their gifts with others. And it’s a bully deterrent because every teacher knows that bullying usually happens outside of her eyeshot – and that often kids being bullied are too intimidated to share. But as she said – the truth comes out on those safe, private, little sheets of paper.

As Chase’s teacher explained this simple, ingenious idea – I stared at her with my mouth hanging open. “How long have you been using this system?” I said.

Ever since Columbine, she said. Every single Friday afternoon since Columbine.

Good Lord.

This brilliant woman watched Columbine knowing that ALL VIOLENCE BEGINS WITH DISCONNECTION. All outward violence begins as inner loneliness. She watched that tragedy KNOWING that children who aren’t being noticed will eventually resort to being noticed by any means necessary.

And so she decided to start fighting violence early and often, and with the world within her reach. What Chase’s teacher is doing when she sits in her empty classroom studying those lists written with shaky 11 year old hands – is SAVING LIVES. I am convinced of it. She is saving lives.

And what this mathematician has learned while using this system is something she really already knew: that everything – even love, even belonging – has a pattern to it. And she finds those patterns through those lists – she breaks the codes of disconnection. And then she gets lonely kids the help they need. It’s math to her. It’s MATH.

All is love- even math. Amazing.

Chase’s teacher retires this year – after decades of saving lives. What a way to spend a life: looking for patterns of love and loneliness. Stepping in, every single day- and altering the trajectory of our world.

TEACH ON, WARRIORS. You are the first responders, the front line, the disconnection detectives, and the best and ONLY hope we’ve got for a better world. What you do in those classrooms when no one is watching- it’s our best hope.

Posted in Fund Raiser

“Books on Base”

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today to share with you an exciting project that I’ve been working on, it’s called “Books on Base.”

Books on Base Logo

The purpose of “Books on Base” is to gather children’s books and donate them to our military bases. I’m working in conjunction with VolunTEEN Nation on this project. VolunTEEN Nation is an organization that encourages teens to volunteer. They have volunteer opportunities throughout the United States.

Volunteen nation logo

To learn more about this wonderful organization click this link http://www.volunteennation.org/

We’re hoping to increase the selection of books for the young people whose parents are serving our country. As we all know by improving the libraries, we can have a positive effect on literacy levels. Check out this blog post for the proof.  https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/improving-our-libraries-will-improve-our-literacy-levels/

What a wonderful way to show our support of our troops by donating books to their libraries. I’m going to be making a donation. How about you?

If you’d like to make a donation, you can send your children’s paperbacks to this address:

VolunTEEN Nation

500 South Meramec Ave

St. Louis, MO 63105

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or you can e-mail me directly at lisa.orchard1@hotmail.com

Have a great day!

Posted in promotion

Astraea Press’ Valentine’s Day Short Story Anthology

Anthology Authors banner

Astraea Press Valentine’s Day Short Story Anthology

A challenge was made: write a short story of around 5000 words that incorporates love and diamonds. Using their varied talents and creativity, fifteen Astraea Press authors were up for the task.

These are their stories…

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Sherry Gloag “Queen of Diamonds”

Will Sybil’s future be determined by diamonds?

Sherry Gloag writes to The Heart of Romance http://sherrygloagtheheartofromance.blogspot.co.uk/

Patricia Kiyono “Operation Rhombus”

Can a forgetful math teacher find the right formula for love?

Patty is a retired elementary teacher who likes to write about the places she’s visited. http://patriciakiyono.com

Heather Gray “Even When It Hurts”

Will he help her…even when it hurts?

Heather loves coffee, her family, God, and writing – not necessarily in that order. http://www.heathergraywriting.com

Kathy Bosman “The Engagement Ring”

Could the object of Rosalee’s pain bring hope and healing?

Kathy writes tender romance in Africa. http://www.kathybosman.com

Jennifer Rae Gravely “Love and Diamonds”

He struck out the first time.

Jennifer writes sweet Southern romance and coaches volleyball, her teams having won 5 state titles in South Carolina. www.facebook.com/JenniferRaeGravely

J. L. Salter “No Love, No Diamonds: The Story I Couldn’t Write”

Is that muscular man digging a mysterious hole next door just a distraction from Susan’s romantic story submission deadline, or could handsome Randy be her story?

Novelist; poet; retired librarian; veteran; former photo-journalist; husband; father; grandfather http://www.amazon.com/J.L.-Salter/e/B00D4F1YTE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1390835362&sr=1-1

Amy Mullen “The Flood”

Sparks fly as the water rises.

Amy Mullen dreams of castles, knights, and interesting ladies – and the writes stories about them. www.authoramymullen.com

Vivian Roycroft “Treasure Hunt”

Men don’t do romance worth a hoot. Women don’t do adventure…, that is, not until challenged.

Vivian Roycroft is a pseudonym for historical fiction and adventure writer J. Gunnar Grey. And if she’s not careful, her pseudonymous pseudonym will have its own pseudonym soon, too. http://taketwoonromance.weebly.com/vivians-blog.html

Liz Botts “Delusions of Love”

Love can make you crazy.

Liz writes YA and adult contemporary romance while homeschooling her three kids in Northern Illinois. www.lizbotts.com

Zanna Mackenzie “One Of These Days”

Is losing something precious about to turn Megan’s world upside down?

Zanna writes contemporary, escapist romance, designed to make you smile. www.zannamackenzie.blogspot.co.uk

E.A. West “The Heart of Africa”

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend… unless they’re bloody.

E.A. West is an author providing journeys of hope, one story at a time. http://eawest.mcphitty.com

Brenda Maxfield “Meet Me in the Copy Room”

Beware when your ex returns to charm you!

Brenda Maxfield writes smart and sassy teen reads. http://www.brendamaxfield.com

Kelly Martin “The Best Catch”

One man. His Boat. And the woman of his dreams.

Kelly Martin writes dark inspirational YA fiction. https://www.facebook.com/KellyMartinAuthor

Kristine Cheney “Facets of the Heart”

A Jewel Heist had Never Gone So…Right

Kristine Cheney is a best-selling author of contemporary & inspirational romance www.kristinecheney.com

Nicole Zoltack “All for Love”

Can revenge ever bring back your love?

Nicole Zoltack writes speculative romances for young adults to adults. http://www.facebook.com/AuthorNicoleZoltack

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00I9MR450

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-and-diamonds-astraea-press-authors/1118588769?ean=2940148209317

Astraea Press: http://astraeapress.com/#!/~/product/category=662245&id=33538033

Posted in Health

The Price of Fame

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I want to discuss the price of fame. It seems to me, in the last couple of years there have been a number of accidental deaths due to overdoses. I blame fame for the deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Heath Ledger, and Michael Jackson.

This photo courtesy of Justin Hoch
http://www.flickr.com/help/photos/#2265887
Link to license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

The reason I blame fame is simple. When you become famous, your privacy’s gone. To me, an outsider looking in, everyone wants a piece of a celebrity. Reporters hound them. They take pictures of their families when they’re having some down time. Just going to the market becomes newsworthy and photographers follow them for the one shot that’s going to make millions. How would you feel if you were running to the market in your sweats, to get your kid some cough medicine, and a mob of photographers were chasing you?

All of this because they’re a great actors or musicians. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to meet George Clooney or Brad Pitt. I’d also love to sit down with Steven King and the members of Rush just to get to know them and pick their brains. However, I would never dream of camping outside their homes just hoping for a picture.

That’s where fame turns ugly, when reporters and photographers make money off a famous face, boundaries get blurred and violated. I understand how some celebrities get so angry; they get into physical altercations with the reporters and photographers who follow them.

Not only do celebrities have to deal with paparazzi following them, they also have to deal with the pressure from the industry. Pressure to look good all the time. Pressure to be better than their last stellar role or album.

It seems like, when you’re a celebrity there’s no time to relax. They work ungodly hours to get a scene right or adhere to a tour schedule. That’s when the need for medication rears its ugly head.

They need it to keep them awake and then they need it to help them sleep. It turns into a vicious cycle. After a while, they’re hooked and in some instances, they need to take more of it to get the same effect.

Their dependency spirals out of control and they’re taking stronger and stronger drugs. In my opinion, this behavior leads to addiction to drugs such as meth and heroin.

So, instead of attaching labels to these people and assigning blame, why don’t we solve the problems that create the addictions in the first place? Why don’t managers create a schedule that allows our celebrities to maintain their health? Why don’t we pass laws that keep the paparazzi away? I know it sounds like a simplistic solution to a complex problem, but it would be a start.

Of course, then there would be the reporters screaming about free press and the public’s right to know, but what about the celebrities’ rights? Don’t they have a right to privacy as well?

Thanks for reading my post today. If you would like to share your ideas regarding this post, leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Guest Author, promotion

L.R.W. Lee’s here to share her New Release with Us!

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Please welcome L. R. W. Lee. She’s sharing the release of the second book in the Andy Smithson series, Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning with us with a stop on her virtual book launch tour and an interview of the series hero, Andy Smithson. And there’s a giveaway too! Just click the link at the end of this Post!

1) What’s your name?

My name is Andy Smithson and I’m 11 years old.

2) Where are you from?

Lake Hills, TX but I keep getting pulled into Oomaldee, how, I’m never quite sure. I’ve been there twice so far. I love it there!

3) Can you tell us about your family?

I guess you could say my parents are ambitious. They both founded and are growing their own companies. Until a year ago when I came back from Oomaldee and scared them (that’s another story) they were always too busy or tired to do much with my sister and I. Things have gotten some better over the last year. They are at least making an attempt to spend time with me. Speaking of which, I also have an older sister named Madison, aka Miss Perfect. She tries to get A+s in everything. I think it’s just to try to get my parents attention. Personally, I find her annoying.

4) Do you have any hobbies?

Before I went to Oomaldee, I used to be a gamer. I was really good too! But since I’ve had to battle live dragons, the video kind are pretty boring. Since then, I’ve taken up sword fighting but I don’t know if I would call it a hobby. I don’t think of hobbies as having any practical use and based upon the creatures who have tried to kill me in Oomaldee, I’d say its way more than a hobby for me! Of course, I got this awesome sword named Methuselah the first time I was in Oomaldee. The king scared me when he told me it’s the sword that divides good and evil everywhere. He said he thought it was only a legend since it had never appeared to anyone in his lifetime. He also said there have been a lot of stories told about the battles it’s fought. Apparently legend has it that it shows up only when there is a significant showdown between good and evil about to happen. And it only appears to the one who has been judged worthy to wield it in victory. He totally freaked me out. So, I’m not sure what all I’ve yet to face, but yeah, sword fighting is kinda more than just a hobby for me.

5) Who is your best friend? Why?

Hands down, Alden. He’s a servant at Castle Avalon in Oomaldee. We’re the same age and we just hit it off the first time we met. He’s really cool. Oh, and he has neon green hair! He has a purple pegasus, named Optimistic that he rides really well. He won first prize at the Festival when I was there.

Why are we best friends? It’s hard not to be best friends when you’ve been through what we have together. He saved my life several times – once I fell in quicksand and he pulled me out, we got chased by vulture-men and narrowly escaped into the Forest of Giants where we almost got eaten. Oh yeah, you wouldn’t believe what else we’ve been through. I guess you could say what doesn’t kill you makes you closer. Mainly, I think he’s just a great guy and I trust him.

6) What is your biggest secret–the one thing you don’t want ANYBODY to know?

My biggest secret? You promise you won’t tell anyone? You have to promise!
Okay, I wish the king was my dad. He understands me and loves me and I love him back although I’ve never told him in so many words… It’s just weird to say it out loud, but it doesn’t make it untrue.

7) What are you most afraid of?

I’m afraid the time I get to spend in Oomaldee with the king and everyone else I love will end as quickly as it started. People there just “get” me, unlike my parents and others here at home. They treat me with respect and I can tell they love having me around, something not true at home. At least it doesn’t feel that way… Well, other than Razen, the new manager of the castle staff… He’s power hungry and makes my life miserable at times, so other than him…

8) What do you want more than anything?

I want my dad to accept me for who I am and stop trying to “fix” me.

9) If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?

First, I’d ask to be the most awesomest sword fighter ever in Oomaldee!

Second, I’d wish to get rid of my annoying sister.

Third, I’d ask to spend more time in Oomaldee.

10) What is one physical attribute you are proud of?

I think I saw a whisker sprouting on my chin yesterday!!

11) What one physical attribute would you change?

I’m so short. I hate it! When will I get that growth spurt everybody talks about??? My pediatrician said I’m “small for my age”. Madison teases me that I’m vertically challenged… She’s so annoying…

12) What do you consider your special talent?

I found this last time I was in Oomaldee. I can move really, really fast when there’s danger. I mean really fast. It’s like everything around me moves in slow motion but I’m still moving in normal speed. It’s wicked cool when it happens! It’s come in handy at times, too, but that’s another story!

To enter the Giveaway click the link below!

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http://www.lrwlee.com/#!giveaway/chq4

Buy Links:

Book 1: Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury

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Amazon:
eBook: http://amzn.to/1aT2kx0
Paper: http://amzn.to/17pu0ut

L. R. W. Lee is also excited to announce the serialized podcast of the first book in the series, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury is now available free at the iTunes store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/andy-smithson/id790958884

 

 

 

 

 

Book 2: Andy Smithson: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning

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Amazon Paper: http://amzn.to/1eHKa4Q
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1j6sEKP
All other eBook versions: http://bit.ly/KlCycx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Bio:

From an early age L. R. W. knew she I wanted to write a children’s book. Her imagination for such a book was cultivated early on as her family didn’t have a lot of money. She and Lindaher older brother were encouraged to use their imaginations to entertain themselves. And use them they did – climbing trees and tree forts, using a quilt for a matchbox car city, making puppets and putting on shows, and much more and her creativity and imagination grew.

She went to college and got a degree in Accounting. However, most folks frown on “creative accounting”, so she continued to put her imagination/writing on hold.  Her business and creative interests eventually led her to found and grow a successful company which, with her partner, she sold in January 2012, leaving her time to imagine and write for the first time.

L. R. W. lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband, her daughter who is a Longhorn at UT Austin and her son who is in high school.

L. R. W. Lee’s contact information:

Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lrwlee
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lrwlee
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7047233.L_R_W_Lee
Podcasts: http://lrwlee.podbean.com/

Building our Self-Worth

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been sitting here spinning my wheels trying to come up with a topic for today’s blog. After four attempts, I’ve found one that works for me. Yay!

I just read an article by one of my fellow twitter pals and it got me thinking. You can read the article by clicking this link. http://www.allthingscrimeblog.com/2014/02/03/run-bambi-run-amanda-knox-is-not-far-behind/

According to the above article, there’s an underlying trend in our society where attractive women are railroaded. I know what you’re thinking; they’re smart, attractive, and capable. How can they be railroaded?

It’s kind of a mob mentality. I’ve seen this happen in places where I’ve worked and I’ve seen it happen to women who aren’t goddesses by any means, but they all seem to have one thing in common. They have high self-esteem.

When women get into the corporate environment, they bring their issues with them. It’s unfortunate, but true. And one of the underlying issues for women seems to be low self-esteem, or she has more self-esteem than me. This underlying competitiveness among women is why men say, “women can’t work together.”

Let me explain how this works. Let us say poker chips represent our self-worth. So, the more self-esteem you have the bigger your pile of poker chips. If you have a big pile, you’re carefree, relaxed, and even willing to give one or two chips away. You’re generous with your self-esteem and don’t have a problem offering a compliment or a pat on the back.

 

Photo credit: Tiago Daniel on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

However, let us say your self-esteem is low. Let us say your pile of chips is small. If this is the case, then you’re not going to give any of your chips away. You’re going to horde them and may even try to steal someone else’s chips. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. You’re going to try to steal someone’s self-esteem by belittling their efforts, maximizing their mistakes, and minimizing their contributions. In addition, if you’re in an environment with other women who have low self-esteem, those other women are going to join the cause too. Everyone wants a bigger pile of chips and if you’re the one with the biggest pile, well…you’re pile is the target.

 

Photo credit: alisdare1 on VisualHuntCC BY-SA

I’ve seen this happen more than once. So how do we turn this trend around? Well, if you recognize that you may be someone with low self-esteem, all you have to do is increase your pile of chips. 🙂 I know, easier said than done.

Here’s a few ideas.

First, you have to accept yourself. That’s right all of the positive things about you and the negative ones too. Once you’ve accepted yourself you’re on the right path.

Second, you have to become internally oriented. What I mean by this is you have to decide for yourself what moral code you want to follow and then follow it. I feel by doing this, you’ll stop comparing yourself to those around you, because you’re living up to your own expectations and not anyone else’s. Therefore, you’re less likely to feel anxiety when a co-worker belittles your accomplishment because you won’t be looking for her approval, you’ll be looking for your own.

Third, recognize when someone has a small pile of chips and help her out by giving her a compliment. By performing random acts of kindness, you’re not only helping someone else’s self-worth, you’re helping your own. Please keep in mind this also applies to yourself. It’s okay to perform these acts of kindness for yourself, especially when you feel your self-esteem slipping a little. When you perform these for yourself, it may take the form of a bubble bath or maybe going for a walk, anything that makes you feel good about yourself.

Photo provided by Shell Belle link to license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/deed.en

Fourth, take care of yourself by eating right, getting enough sleep, and getting enough exercise. When you’re physically healthy, it really does help on those days when you’re feeling down.

Photo on VisualHunt

Fifth, set a goal for yourself and accomplish it. It can be a goal about anything, finding a job, asking for a raise, deciding to have a better relationship with your son or daughter, or choosing to exercise more. Once you make the decision, take action to accomplish the goal. And remember every setback is a learning experience that will point you in the right direction and bring you closer to your goal. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a setback. Learn from it.

So, there you have it, my ideas on how to improve your feelings of self-worth. Do you have any ideas you’d like to share? If you do, leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.