Posted in Family, Parenting, Personal

Connection is the name of the Game

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a busy week at work, but I did take Friday off to hang with my kids even though they’re too cool to hang with their mom right now. They’re teenagers after all. 😉

Children go to school

I’m worried about how this pandemic is affecting them. Especially since they haven’t been able to get together with their friends like they used to. So, I’ve made a concerted effort to get them away from their computers. I appreciate the fact they still listen to me. When I tell them to go outside and get some fresh air, they usually do it. They grumble at first, but they usually go.

I’ve talked to them about finding other interests besides their games, but my youngest pointed out that there’s nothing else to do, and unfortunately, he’s right.

So, tonight he was shooting baskets and I went out and challenged him to a game of horse, but he didn’t want to do that. He wanted to play one on one. Now, I haven’t played basketball in years and it shows. My youngest ran circles around me.

Four People Playing Basketball

But the thing is, we had fun. We were laughing and giving each other grief. It was good to connect with him on a different level than parent and child. He didn’t trash-talk me too bad. He’s kind and has a good heart. I hope the world doesn’t hurt him. He’s a good kid.

Well, our laughter drew out my oldest and the three of us ended up playing horse together. They ganged up on me, of course, I knew that would happen. But it was nice to see their camaraderie. My youngest ended up winning the game, and he did gloat a little bit, but what I liked was how he was careful of his older brother’s feelings. He said, “It just goes to show that we’re both better than Mom.”

Baseball glove

He didn’t rub it in to his brother that he beat him, too. That made me feel so good because when my hubby and I are long gone, all they’ll have is each other, and one of my goals with my kids is that they have a good relationship. I know life is hard and things aren’t always going to be easy, but I hope they know they can count on each other when things get tough. That’s what family is all about.

Children sitting together with parents and laughing

It’s so important to connect with your kids. I believe by participating in something they’re interested in you strengthen your bond. One good thing about this pandemic is that it has brought us all a little closer. We appreciate each other more and I think my boys feel the same way.

Has the pandemic brought you closer to the ones you love? How has it strengthened your relationships? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Blog tour, promotion

Emblazoner Opening!

It’s the official opening of the Emblazoner’s Website! And to celebrate we’re doing an awesome giveaway! Keep on reading and check it out!

Here is the link to enter the rafflecopter giveaway! 🙂


I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about a brand new site and give you a chance to win some great tween books!

I recently joined the Emblazon group. As Indie authors, we know the importance of group support. I have been learning all of this firsthand since joining. Let me share with you some details about our group.

Emblazon is a blog maintained and written by a collection of indie and traditionally published authors who care about producing high-quality stories for kids. We have a particular focus on ages 11 to 14. We call them Tweens. The purpose of Emblazon is to celebrate tween literature. We want to draw attention to this fabulous genre, interact with other enthusiasts, whether child or adult, and encourage new writers.

Emblazon launches its first post on July 10. Please consider helping us spread the word by mentioning us on your blog today or later this week. You may cut and paste from this website and use our attached logo if you wish. All bloggers who participate are eligible to enter our $100 Amazon gift card drawing that will be held the following day.

To thank all those bloggers who help us announce Emblazon‘s launch, we will be giving away a $100 Amazon gift card on July 11, 2013, as well as a smaller second place prize.

To enter the drawing, you must post about Emblazon on your blog on Wednesday, July 10, our official launch day. Then tweet your Emblazoners post to @CassidyJonesAdv and include the hashtag #Emblazoners. (Note: You will not be entered into the drawing without your blog post tweet that includes @CassidyJonesAdv and #Emblazoners.)

@CassidyJonesAdv will confirm you’ve been entered into the drawing by “favoriting” your tweet. If your tweet wasn’t “favorited,” tweet it again.

We appreciate your help getting the word out about our new website!}

You can also treat your readers to our upcoming Sizzling Freebies bash that will be hosted on Emblazon on August 1, during which a great selection of ebooks will be free for one day only.

Thanks for reading this post and leave a comment we’d love to hear from you! And don’t forget to enter the giveaway and win some awesome books!

Posted in Teen

J.F. Jenkins talks about Teen Relationships in Literature

I’ve got J.F. Jenkins here today and she’s going to talk about Teen Relationships in Young Adult Literature. Take it away J.F.!

I’m going to get a little personal today. I hope you don’t mind. You don’t, right? Because today I’m going to talk about the relationships of young people in my writing.

It all started last week. I was eating dinner with my family and we were reminiscing about our respective high school adventures. Somehow, the topic of a particular ex-boyfriend came up. I guess you could say this relationship had been a very defining one in terms of my self-esteem because he had been rather verbally aggressive towards me, as well as controlling. Through it I learned just how strong I am, and what I’m willing to put up with in how other people treat me.

All that aside, when we were talking about said past experiences, my Mom looked at me and gasped.

“You put that one guy in your book!”

I just looked right back at her and laughed. “Because what happened between us is too hilarious and stupid to pass up.”

It was a story that needed to be told. And when it comes to teenage relationships, a lot of different angles need to be presented. Too many teen novels depict one extreme or the other. It’s either: let’s get married and live happily ever after dancing under a rainbow and have a million babies right after we graduate! Or he/she (usually he since they’re a book about girls for girls) is a complete and total jerk who has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

To me, neither of those extremes is total reality. Not like I’m going to say they don’t happen, because they do happen, but painting only these extremes is starting to create a lot of frustrating standards in the dating world. Being a teenager is hard enough as it is, why add that pressure of finding your soul mate in high school too?

It took me six boyfriends to find my soul mate. Two of which were short middle school “let’s hold hands in the hallway and sit together at lunch” kind of things. The third lasted for eight months, but we didn’t do much beyond go to a movie and hang out. When the guy cheated on me and bragged about it, I kicked him to the curb fast which earned me the praise of my sister and her friends. That was an interesting story (it’ll probably make it to a book eventually too because it was just hilarious). Then there was the aforementioned abusive ex-boyfriend who did a lot of rather amusing things in retrospect. HE made it into a book, and I laugh at that new Taylor Swift song (we are never ever ever getting back together) because it pretty much tells the story of that relationship. Then there was my obligatory rebound boyfriend. Got over that fast. And then there was my husband.

No, I suppose I’m not one to talk since I did get married young, but as I told my parents back in the day: when you date enough losers, you figure out pretty quick what’s worth keeping around. But here’s the thing, when you look back at said losers you realize they’re not as horrible as you once thought. Yes, even the abusive one. No, I’m not condoning his behavior in the slightest. It was scary and more or less crazy. However, there was a reason I thought I loved him at the time. To this day, I have never met a guy who’s ever been so interested in hearing what I have to say. We would talk for hours on end. All he ever wanted to do was talk.

Through this I realized that when writing my relationships in my books, I need to keep in mind that every relationship has its good points. If there weren’t any, there wouldn’t be any reason for being together right? I also learned that every relationship has its flaws. Even with my husband, there are tons of them. In fact, there might be more flaws in this one than there were in my relationship with the abusive ex. Gasp! But they’re different kinds of flaws. The way we fight is different, for example, and so is the way we love. My husband might not listen to me talk about all my stupid obsessions, and he might not be overly sweet, and he has his moments where I want to punch him in the nose. At the same time, he completes me in a whole new way.

And these are things that are lacking in teenage media these days. Because it’s only one way or the other. You either have your perfect shiny relationship, or you have a relationship that’s horrid. The drama and angst that keeps the perfect couple from having happily ever after is always something from an outside source. Where is the perfect couple who works through their flaws together? That grows together? The relationship where the flaws never necessarily go away or are cured, but you learn to work around said flaws? Because you can’t make a person change. That’s something they have to want to do, and if they don’t change you have to decide what’s worth putting up with and what isn’t.

Where are these relationships in fiction? I don’t see them much in adult fiction either. I suppose because nobody wants to read a story about a couple who isn’t perfect or who can’t overcome their flaws. At the same time, it does impact our society. We are slowly being taught to give up as soon as things don’t go our way: in everything!

Someday I hope this changes. By putting more reality into my books, maybe someone will learn something from it and be touched. Which is why I have to give Miss Swift some credit. As much as I harp on her for writing about her life so bluntly, I do appreciate the reality of it.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us J.F.  Below are a couple of J.F. Jenkins Books. You can check them out on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Astraea Press.

Barnes and Noble:


Barnes and Noble:


Posted in Fantasy

Interview with Sharon Ledwith author of The Last Time Keepers Series

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Sharon Ledwith here today answering some questions about herself and her new series! Take it away Sharon!

What inspired you to write a Time Travel Book?

I’ve always loved the time travel genre. I guess what got me back to thinking about it was reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I haven’t read them all yet, just the first four thick books because the series is quite an investment in time (no pun intended!). When I pondered the idea of writing for young adults, I went with what I loved. Plus, I had a dream in 1998 where I saw seven arches, and there were seven people (five kids, two adults) with crystals in their hands, walking up to these arches. It definitely had an “Indiana Jones”feel to it. So, I thought I’d challenge myself and write a novel—a series—that would appeal to my son, who at the time was the target age of my audience, so I imagined the arches I saw vividly in my dream as time portals. And the rest is history – pun intended!

Who is your favorite character and why?

Really? That’s like asking who is your favorite child! Woot! Okay, if I had to pick one, I’d have to say Treena Mui, only because she’s a lot like me humor-wise. I used to crack off like her when I was a kid, so I guess it comes naturally. I wish I had her sense of confidence back then!

Why should readers read your book?

I think The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis is a timely book. I believe kids need to read what my characters have got to say. That everyone has a purpose, a talent, a gift to be shared with the world. That we all have the power of choice, and we create our reality. And that we really do need to pay attention, and then take action in our lives to make our dreams come true.

Tell us a little bit about your writing process.

You would ask that, Lisa. I have many notebooks and pads and sticky notes at my disposal. I also have a file full of ideas. I guess I start with the characters and build the story around them. The characters, my characters, must carry the story to completion, give readers closure. It’s a must. In order to do this, I begin writing out character tracking sheets (stats on characters appearances, clothing, likes and dislikes, etc.) which have served me well throughout the writing process. Then the fun begins. Research, research, and more research. When you’re writing time travel, you’ve got to know your facts to create the fiction. I love this part of the journey too. Only when I have enough facts, and I feel my characters are fleshed out sufficiently, then I begin to start the novel. Sometimes I’m a panser (writing by the seat of my pants), sometimes a plotter (outline entire storyline)—it all depends on the tone of the book and where my imagination directs me.

What’s next for Sharon Ledwith the author?

Currently, I’m working on the prequel to the Last Timekeepers series, entitled The Legend of the Timekeepers. I also have a completed manuscript of the second book in the series entitled, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, but there’s the fun job of revising it into Jordan Jensen’s point of view. I’ve written a master plan for the series with possible titles and premises, and I’m in the process of putting all this information together in a series guidebook, so I’ll be one busy gal!

Fun questions:

Tell us something that no one else knows about you.

Well my hubby and I used to own a graphic trade company called Box Office Graphics in the early 80s to 2004. I enjoyed every aspect from thumbnail to final product, but the technology grew so fast you had to keep up or get out. We had our fill in 2003 and sold in 2004. I was very grateful for that time in my life and learned so much about the aspects of owning a business, which is one of the hats an author has to wear.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

Silly question! Time travel, but also like a broad range of reads, especially self-help non-fiction, and paranormal romance, some dystopian, and young adult fantasy. Presently, I’m reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (finally!) and finishing The Tempest by Julie Cross.

Who’s your favorite author?

I would have to say Diana Gabaldon, but I like Rick Riordan just as much. Both are very different authors who write in different styles but each have to do a lot of research for their books.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

Single. Malt. Scotch.

If time travel were actually possible, where would you go?

That’s an easy one. Atlantis. I believe it was a real place and not a myth. I’ve done too much research to know this. My gut tells me Atlantis existed. However, I wouldn’t want to go back there when things, let’s say got little shaky and wet, for the Atlanteans!

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Musa Publishing. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, yoga, kayaking, time with family and friends, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives in the wilds of Muskoka in Central Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, a water-logged yellow Labrador and moody calico cat.

Here’s the Blurb for The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis:


When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they’re given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn’t a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers–legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial–Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don’t, then history itself may be turned upside down.

Connect with Sharon Ledwith:

Sharon’s Website

Sharon’s Blog

Sharon’s Facebook Page

The Last Timekeepers Series Facebook Page


Musa Publishing Buy link

Amazon Buy link


Barnes & Noble



Posted in Uncategorized

Let’s get Real by Jessie Andersen

Hello Everyone! Thanks for stopping by. I’ve got Jessie Andersen as a guest today. She’s a fellow Astraea Press author and her latest release is titled “At what Cost.” . She’s got an interesting article for everyone, so check it out and let us know what you think!

Teen issues: Let’s be real.

Some people balk at the idea that authors write about issues like drug abuse, alcohol consumption, driving under the influence, teen pregnancy and abortion in young adult literature. But let’s be real, folks, teens deal with these issues with or without reading about them, many times on a daily basis. I believe it’s my job to present some of these issues in a realistic manner, and to use my writing as an opportunity to show a few alternatives to these issues to the teens who will read my stories.

I’m a mother, and as I raise my children, I want them to avoid some mistakes that I’ve seen so many people make. My mother used to pray this prayer for me and my brothers, “Lord, let them not do anything so stupid that they can’t live with it.” Fortunately for her, it worked. God is good. J But I see so many teenagers making mistakes that can be avoided. Notice I didn’t say easily avoided, but avoided nonetheless. And please know, it’s not like me or my brothers were perfect by any means, (my brothers especially *wink*) but there were some things we didn’t have to deal with because of the choices we made.

Unfortunately, we can’t erase the issues that come up in teenagers’ lives. I wish we could. There are many times in my life that I’d love to go back and erase a decision or two, but we can’t. We have to learn to deal with the consequences of our actions, to live through them and to grow because of them. Sometimes, like with the teen pregnancy shown in my book, it’s a huge consequence.

For some reason, teen pregnancy and abortion are issues that hit my heart. I hate to see a young person have to struggle with raising a child when he or she is still a child. It’s hard enough to do as an adult. But even more, I hate to see a life snuffed out because a young person wants to make a hasty choice. Our tendency as humans is to quickly get rid of the problem, whatever it is. But sometimes, it’s not that easy. Sometimes taking what seems like the easy road at first, brings about the hard road later on.

It’s important not to downplay the types of issues teenagers are dealing with. We can’t ignore them, and we can’t make them go away. Instead, we must teach kids how to deal effectively with them and how to live with the consequences of those actions. Teenagers aren’t dumb. They know, be it, when reading a story or talking to an adult, when people are patronizing them. Give it to them real. Show them the real consequences to some of the things they might face in their teen years, and then hope and pray that they’ll make wise choices based on the truth.

So, for the teens out there reading this, I seem to be speaking more to adults in this post. Sorry about that. It wasn’t my intent, but sometimes the words just come out. Just know that even though we adults may seem overbearing at times, we do the things we do because we love you and want to see you happy in the future. We just may not go about it in the best way. I know you’re smart kids. You can put two and two together and make good choices. But the key to making those choices is to make them before the situation arises. Don’t let your temptations guide you. Use your head and stick to your decisions.

Okay, I’ve given enough advice for one post. Farewell, all. Thanks for putting up with my blabbing today.

You can find Jessie’s books here:


Barnes and Noble:

Posted in Uncategorized

Distracted Driving

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you!

Today I’m discussing the issue of distracted driving. It seems that this has become a major problem especially for the younger crowd. J You know who you are!  Read on and check out some pretty scary statistics.

Distracted drivers cause about 6,000 deaths and a half a million injuries every year. Now, for the teenager, that means texting or talking on a cell phone while driving.

Did you know that while young drivers are texting, they spend 10% of their time outside the driving lane that they’re supposed to be in? Pretty scary!

Did you know that talking on a cell phone while driving could make a younger driver’s reaction time as slow as that of a seventy-year-old?

Did you know that answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds? That’s enough time to travel the length of a football field. Another scary thought!

It’s clear that both talking on the phone and texting behind the wheel lead to distracted driving.  Distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents.

According to the Transportation Safety Group at the National Safety Council, distracted drivers account for 80% of car crashes. 80%! They also found that teenagers and Generation Y (ages 18-30) are more likely to send text messages while driving.

These statistics are frightening! How can we change some of these numbers?

Experts don’t agree on what measures should be taken to put a stop to unsafe driving practices. 43% support technology that automatically disables phones when the car is started. 42% want tougher laws against cell phone use, and 41% think that staying off the phone is a driver’s responsibility.  What do you think? Leave a comment and remember don’t text and drive, the life you save might be your own. J