Posted in environment, Future, USA

Saving our Oceans

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after taking last week off and I’m glad I did. I’ve got a full plate with my writing and I’m hoping these new revisions do the trick. 🙂

 

We shall see. I’ll keep you posted.

 

The other day, on social media there was a video floating around showing a diver in the middle of the ocean with miles of plastic bags and garbage around her. She was imploring all of us to take better care of our oceans.

 

Photo credit: Wilfredorrh on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

 

This is a global problem that requires a global solution. We can pass all kinds of laws and create a million procedures in the USA, but it won’t do a shred of good if there isn’t global compliance.

Remember we only have one planet. In order for our planet to survive we need to keep the oceans alive and healthy. The oceans help distribute excess heat around our planet. They help regulate the CO2 in our atmosphere. Global warming would be an even bigger issue if it weren’t for our oceans.

Photo on Visual hunt

 We need other countries to be on board with saving our bodies of water. If we’re doing everything we can to keep them free of pollution while across the pond, China’s over there dumping all their garbage into the waters well you can see that our efforts are fruitless.

Why don’t we task the United Nations with coming up with a global environmental plan? Isn’t that what they’ve been organized to do? Create a world we can all live in. I know it’s not as sexy as stopping a third world war, but our species will survive longer because of it.

Photo credit: United Nations Photo on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I would love to see a global task force set up to take care of the oceans. A representative from all the continents would meet and weigh in on the way we should do it. I have all kinds of ideas on how we can do it. All they have to do is ask. 😉

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 I want to leave a healthy planet for our future generations. Don’ you? Do you have any ideas on ways we could do this? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Posted in poetry, Uncategorized

When I am an Old Woman

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work and with my writing so I’m taking a break this weekend, but I’ll leave you with one of my favorite poems because it reflects how I’m feeling today and it reminds me of my grandmother who’s favorite color was purple.  This poem is by Jenny Joseph and it’s one of my favorites!

 

Photo on VisualHunt.com

 

When I am an Old Woman

I shall wear purple

with a red hat which doesn’t go,

and doesn’t suit me,

and I shall spend my pension on brandy

and summer gloves and satin sandals,

and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired…

and run my stick along the public railings

and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain.

And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens

and learn to spit…

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

and pay our rent and not swear in the street

and set a good example for the children.

We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I should practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised when suddenly

I am old and start to wear purple.

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Isn’t this a great poem? What are some of your favorites? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Parenting, raising kids, Teen, Writing

Protecting Our Kids

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a busy week of revisions and editing. My revisions for my first MS have been sent off to my beta readers, and I’ve started editing my rough draft of my second one.  I’m crossing my fingers. The characters in these books have made me work hard and I’m proud of the results. Let’s hope the Beta readers like them.

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But enough about that. Last week I wrote a post about finding your passion because I’d done an author visit at one of the schools in the area. I received some emails from some of the students who enjoyed my presentation and I thought I’d share one of them with you.

 

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for coming to our school and talking to us 6th graders about your awesome books! I got the second book from the Super Spies series, and I am so excited to read it! Thank you for answering all of our questions. We learned a lot about being an author and how to write good stories!

Thanks Again!

 

When I get feedback like this, it makes all the hard work and sacrifices worth it. I love inspiring kids to step out of their comfort zones and pursue their dreams. After my presentation last week, some of the kids gathered around me and told me about the stories they were writing. Their enthusiasm was overwhelming and sparked my resolve to keep going with my writing.  It’s funny all it takes is spending some time with kids, and it urges me to keep pushing forward.

Photo credit: Jiuck on Visual Hunt /CC BY-NC-SA

 

Our kids are our most valuable resource. We need to protect them. It seems like our world is getting more and more dangerous and our kids are the ones suffering because of it. We have human traffickers, mass shootings, and child abuse.

 

Photo on Visual hunt

 

How do we protect our kids?

 

To protect our kids from human traffickers and child abuse we parents must be involved in our children’s lives. Most predators target kids who come from low income homes, whose parents are busy trying to make ends meet. They also target kids with low self-esteem. Kids who don’t have a role model to look up to. So in a nutshell, we have to do a better job at parenting.

Photo credit: akahawkeyefan on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

 

As for Mass shootings, better parenting is only half of the answer. We also need to have stronger communities. For those families whose circumstances aren’t ideal, the community should pull together and support them. Make sure the children don’t fall through the cracks and become victims of bullying and other stressors that affect teens. Once we’ve got those support systems in place, then we can move forward from there.

My next question for everyone is this. How do we go from an idealistic kid like the one above to a kid who’ll take a gun into a school and shoot up his classmates? If we can answer that question, we’ll be moving in the right direction.

Let me know your thoughts. Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Guest Author, Guest interview

Please welcome Laura Heffernan and her latest release, “Reality Wedding!”

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I have a guest today and she’s sharing her latest release with us! Her name is Laura Heffernan and her latest release is titled, “Reality Wedding!” Check it out below!

 

Reality Wedding (Reality Star Series Book 3) by [Heffernan, Laura]

 

Lights? Camera? Action! In this irresistible final installment of the Reality Star Series, one woman’s dream wedding may be about to turn into a reality nightmare…

Synopsis

SAY ‘I DO’—OR ELSE

When Jen Reid escaped a reality TV cruise with her relationship intact—if not her hair—she swore she was done with the cameras for good. Sure, she and Justin met,

had their first kiss, and got engaged with tape rolling, but manufactured drama and ruthless producers have shaken them up more times than she can count. With Jen’s reality-themed bakery just getting started and her brand-new lawyer fiancé in a pile of debt, they’re a long way from glitz and glamour, and that’s fine by Jen. Until the Network calls and tells her that unless she says “I do” to a wedding special, Justin will be out of a job.

Now Jen has two weeks to plan an all-expenses-paid “dream wedding”—and dodge the tricks and traps of a showrunner happy to mess up her future in the name of ratings. Luckily for Jen, she’s got plenty of experience with cake and popcorn. But when real-life drama and reality TV twists collide, the cliffhangers may just follow her right down the aisle . . .

Praise for Reality Wedding:

“The third book in Heffernan’s Reality Star series is such a fun and entertaining read, as Justin and Jen – and all the drama that seems to follow them everywhere – are back. Will they get married is the big question here, and will reality TV have any part. Heffernan will keep readers guessing, as the story has some twists to it. With lots of drama, a bit of humor and a sweet romance, this series is as addicting as reality TV. Fans of Sophie Kinsella might want to give this series a try.”- RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

Available now from all major retailers. Order today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | iBooks

 

 

 

Reality Wedding (Reality Star Series Book 3) by [Heffernan, Laura]

Excerpt:

 

“Justin, I can’t hear you. Where are you?”

 

“Airport…on.”

 

I fought the urge to chuck my useless phone across the room. “What? Justin, I can’t understand anything you’re saying. We’ve got a terrible connection.”

 

The phone went dead. I called him back immediately, but nothing happened. The several voicemails he’d left shed no additional light on anything: a lot of static, a couple of broken airline announcements in the background, crowd noise, and one that sounded like a butt dial from the men’s room. Awesome. My concern grew with each uninformative message. All the texts were variations of “Please call me ASAP.”

 

Heart pounding, I dialed Sarah’s number. The call went straight to voicemail. She should be on a plane, not at the bakery, but I dialed the landline, anyway. The phone at Sweet Reality rang and rang until the line started buzzing. Since the shop should be open, getting no answer made me even more nervous.

 

I was still standing in the kitchen, staring out over the pool, when Rachel entered wearing her swimsuit. “You okay? One of the producers said they heard yelling.”

 

“Yes. No. I don’t know.”

 

“Well, that clears things right up.” She tilted her head at me, eyes full of concern. “What’s wrong?”

 

“I don’t know. Justin called, but the reception was all wonky, and it sounded like there was some issue with his sister. I tried to call Sarah, too, but her phone’s off. I hope she’s okay.”

 

“Hold on a sec. He said there’s a problem with Sarah?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“When are they supposed to be flying in?” Rachel pulled out her phone and started tapping. “Do you have the flight number?”

 

“He was supposed to fly out of Florida a few hours ago. When he called, I thought his flight landed early, but he was apologizing and sounding stressed. It doesn’t sound like they were on the plane. Should I go to the airport, just in case?”

 

Rachel kept tapping, a grim look on her face. Then she held her phone out to me. “No, Jen, I don’t think you should.”

 

I snatched her phone out of her hand. Then all the wind rushed out of me. She’d pulled up a news site. HURRICANE CARA STRANDS THOUSANDS. Below the headline, a picture showed a Florida airport, absolutely packed with people.

 

He said Cara, not Sarah.

 

“I’m sorry, Jen,” Rachel said, “but I don’t think Justin’s flying in tonight. According to this site, he might not be able to get a flight for days.”

 

“What about Atlanta? Can he drive to Atlanta? My family’s flying through there.”

 

She tapped a few more times, biting her lip. I found the answer on my phone right when a low murmur told me Rachel saw it, too.

 

All flights canceled. My entire family stranded.

 

My heart sank. Just when things finally started to go right, when I started to think the whole wedding might not be a complete disaster, my groom wasn’t even coming.

 

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Be Sure to Check Out the First Two Books in the Reality Star series!


AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR

America's Next Reality Star by [Heffernan, Laura]

 

Millennial Jen auditioned for a reality show hoping to win the $250,000 cash prize.  With puzzles, games, and more, this show is right up her alley. But when she meets co-contestant Justin, she finds herself questioning what really matters. Can she trust that his feelings for her are real? Or is it all a showmance put on for the viewers?

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | iBooks

 

Sweet Reality (Reality Star Book 2)

After her brief brush with fame, Jen’s ready to start a new life: New location, new roommate, new boyfriend, new business. But when a killer competitor threatens to put her new bakery out of business before the grand opening, Jen steps back into the spotlight to snag a show-stopping recipe. Can she save her bakery without destroying her relationship?

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | iBooks

 

Praise for the Reality Star series:

America’s Next Reality Star is one sweet, sexy brain-candy read! You won’t be sorry you indulged.” —Leah Marie Brown, USA Today bestselling Author 

 

“Smart, witty, and really freaking good, America’s Next Reality Star is a fun read that has you cheering from the first paragraph through the last page. Laura Heffernan spins an entertaining tale, expertly mixing the main character’s real life events with the reality show’s challenges. With enough drama to not only satisfy fans of reality TV shows, but readers who thrive on a good story with humor and romance, this book is a perfect read.” —Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal bestselling author

 

“Reality TV fans, this is your book! Laura Heffernan captures all the drama and over-the-top craziness in this fun and flirty romance.” —Amy E. Reichert, author of Love, Luck, and Lemon Pie

 

“If you like sweet contemporary romances with a reality show theme, then you are going to enjoy Heffernan’s Reality Star series. Her second book, Sweet Reality, takes place about 16 months after the first and features the same great couple, Justin and Jen. These two are likeable and relatable characters and there is more romance in this one than there was in the first. There is also an interesting cast of secondary characters. Heffernan does a wonderful job with character development and painting vivid scenes. There are also some cute and funny moments that makes this book a worthwhile and entertaining read. If reality shows are your guilty pleasure, give Heffernan’s Sweet Reality a try.”- RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

 

About the Author:

 

Laura Heffernan

 

Laura is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off. When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys board games, travel, board games, baking, and board games. She lives in the northeast, where she spends far too much time tweeting about reality TV and Canadian chocolate.

 

Connect with Laura:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Website | Newsletter

 

 

Interview with Laura:

 

Reality Wedding is the third book in your Reality Star series. Tell us a bit about it.

In the first book, Jen auditions for on a reality show because she needs money to pay a medical debt she got as an undergrad. She’s not looking for love, especially after finding out about her cheating ex, but things change when she meets co-contestant Justin. Are his feelings for her real, or is it all part of an act for the show? The second book follows Jen on a reality cruise, where she reunites with old friends and foes.

For the series finale, Jen and Justin swore they were done with reality TV, but the Network has called and essentially blackmails them into doing one final series. They’re getting married anyway, so it doesn’t seem like a major hardship, except for the fact that the Network will do anything to up the drama and increase their ratings…

This book was a lot of fun to write, because I got to really dig into what a desperate Network might do for ratings, and the wedding setup allowed me to bring back many of my favorite characters from the earlier books. At the same time, you don’t need to have read the earlier books in the series to enjoy it.

How did you prepare to write this book?

Mostly, I watched a lot of wedding-themed reality shows. Four Weddings, Say Yes to the Dress, Rich Bride, Poor Bride. And I watched extensive Bridezillas back in the day, which is the kind of show that sticks with you. There’s very little of my own wedding in this book, but I was able to draw a bit from the experience, which also helped.

Where do you live? Upstate New York. It took some time to get used to the not-awesome weather, but I prefer the snow and cold to the oppressive heat of the California town where I grew up. You can always put on another sweater. The opposite, alas, is simply untrue. Now, one of these days, I should learn to build a snowman…

How long have you been writing?

I wrote my first short story when I was five, so, um… not that long? J Over the years, I’ve started a few blogs, published a few non-fiction articles (under my maiden name), things like that. I’ve got dozens of books I started over the years and never got around to finishing. After I got married and moved to New York in 2013, I started pursuing writing seriously. I can’t believe it’s been five years already since I said to myself, “Look, it’s time to stop stalling and finally write that book.”

So, how many books have you actually completed?

Once I got started, it was like opening the floodgates. America’s Next Reality Star was my first completed manuscript, finished in 2013. Reality Wedding is my eleventh, and I’ve finished two others since.

Wow! Any plans for all the others?

Some of those manuscripts will remain locked in a deep, dark drawer forever. Either because the genre wasn’t right, or the timing wasn’t right, or because the story didn’t work out the way I wanted. The most recent two will be published as part of the Gamer Girl series, which will be released by Kensington in 2019. There are a couple I’d like to revise and hopefully share with the world sometime after I finish the Gamer Girl books.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Board games, mostly. And we’re having a baby in a few months, so cleaning out stuff, setting up the nursery, learning how to keep a child alive…

Which authors have most influenced your work?

My biggest influence would have to be Sophie Kinsella. She was the first romantic comedy author I discovered, and I devoured all of her books. Becky Bloomwood is such a great main character, as aggravating as she can, because she’s not perfect. She’s deeply flawed, but in a way that makes you want to root for her, and at the same time, you don’t feel bad laughing at her mishaps.

Early Jane Green was also a big influence. Her first books really helped establish the genre, and to me, reading them is essential to seeing what works. And I’m a big fan of Emily Giffin, especially Something Borrowed and Something Blue.

 

Thanks for stopping by Laura and sharing your new release with us!

 

Posted in author visits, Children's Event, inspiration, promotion

What’s your Passion?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of work, parent-teacher conferences, and revising. Always revising!  Auuugghh.

Anyway, the kids are doing well in school and work and the revising are going well. And I ended the week on a high note. I was invited to do an author visit on Friday afternoon and it was a blast.

Image may contain: 3 people

I spoke to a group of sixth graders about “Following your Passion.” They were enthusiastic and asked some great questions. I then posed the question to this eager group and asked many of them what their passions were and here are some of the responses.

 

Cooking

Photo on VisualHunt.com

 

Writing

Photo on Visual hunt

 

Gaming

Photo on Visualhunt

Coding

Hockey

Basketball

Engineering

Reading and Writing

Science

And the list goes on and on…

 

These young kids know what they’re passionate about all ready. That’s amazing, but then I knew what I was passionate about at a young age, too, I just didn’t have the confidence back then to pursue it. So think back to when you were younger before you had responsibilities or mortgage payments, what was your passion? What made you happy?

I’m convinced following your passion is the way to happiness. If we all did what made us truly happy we’d be too busy enjoying it to worry about what our neighbors were up to. We wouldn’t have any energy to devote to the comparison game. Maybe those sixth graders are on to something?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today. What’s your passion? What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about money? I say go for it. Start small and build upon it. Remember what C.S. Lewis said, “You’re never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream.”

Leave a comment and share your passion with us! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Entertainment, Literacy, Reading, Teen, World War II

What I’ve been Reading

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I thought I’d share with you two books I’ve recently read. After a couple of serious posts, I thought I’d lighten things up with a fun one. Well, fun to us bookworms!

The first book is “The Girl in the Blue Coat.”  It’s the story about friendship and betrayal during WWII when everyone was living in fear.  One woman hides a Jewish girl in her back room and one day the girl disappears.  She seeks out the assistance of Hanneke to find this girl and so the story begins.  Hanneke is pulled into the situation and reluctantly does what she can to find the girl.

 

Girl in the Blue Coat by [Hesse, Monica]

The national bestseller and winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.
On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person-a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.
Beautifully written, intricately plotted, and meticulously researched, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping novel about bravery, grief, and love in impossible times.
My Thoughts:

This story was well written and an accurate portrayal of what happened during WWII. I loved Hanneke, she was such a strong girl, even though she didn’t see herself that way. There’s a twist at the end that took me by surprise. A well written historical YA novel. I’d recommend this to both adults and young adults. It was a great read.

The next book I read is also a WWII novel and it’s based on a true story. The title is “Beneath a Scarlet Sky.” It’s the story of Pino and his family during WWII and how Pino helps the resistance by joining the Nazi army. It’s a depiction of the bravery of the Italian people who joined the resistance and helped Jewish families escape into Switzerland.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel by [Sullivan, Mark]

Soon to be a major television event from Pascal Pictures, starring Tom Holland.

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, the #1 Amazon Charts bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours.

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

Fans of All the Light We Cannot SeeThe Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love.

 

My Thoughts:

While this is the story about the bravery of the Italians who joined the resistance, it’s also the story of love and loss. The story of Pino and Anna. Pino falls for her hard after he joins the Nazi party and begins spying for the resistance. The war ends and Pino believes he and Anna can now marry and start a family. However, Pino suffers the devastating loss of his love at the very end of the war. It’s incredibly sad and frustrating because he feels incredible guilt that he did not save her.  This is an incredible story and the bravery of the Italians involved in the resistance illustrates that good does triumph over evil. I’d recommend this book to both adults and young adults alike.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any books you’d recommend? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!