Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Author Review: J.D. Holiday

When I first started writing on a serious level, I discovered...I didn't really know what I was doing. Oh...I could write, just not well, or correctly. I began taking classes to learn the basics of writing and I started with the Young Adult and Children's market. My first assignment was to write a story using less than 2000 words. My husband says he can write a complete story in less than 20 words, I, however could not. As I learned this skill, writing tight and clean, it became a challenge to find ways to create relationships, characters, and action that happens quickly but the reader cares about. It is still one of the challenges I face with my writing.
J.D. Holiday's picture book  "The Spy Game" is a perfect example of using the skill of writing clean to create relationships that move quickly but feel genuine. At the beginning of the story, It is clear that the kid is not happy with the dog and vice-versa. Through small everyday happenings this author creates a distinct change in the relationship.She uses the normal incidents in a kids life, but makes them seem life changing for her characters. The two face things that go bump in the night, a kidnapped cat,an adventure,  and a tiny treasure at the end. Her patient but exciting tale is a good story,but more than just a story, she creates a character we love because he develops a bond with his dog.
To learn more about J.D. Holiday and her books, go and click on the J.D. Holiday WOI banner link. or her contact information is on my blog January 7.

Monday, February 18, 2013

As If Life Isn't Crazy Enough

 I heard an account yesterday of a man who remembers watching an old variety show from the 1950's where a guy does an act with twelve poles and a series of spinning plates. The entertainment of the thing was not in the spinning but the crashing of the dishware when the performer could not keep them all balanced and spinning.
Being a mother/wife/blind lady/writer feels that way to me sometimes; like the plates are all getting ready to smash to the floor at any moment. I got some great advice from author Cheryl Carpinello about how to rid your self of the guilt that comes from having a few broken plates.

How to Make the Time to Write
by Cheryl Carpinello

Making the time to write is something that all writers struggle with at some point in their writing career. I have, and it took me a while to come to terms with that.

Early in my writing career, I found myself so busy with raising a family and working that I was content to write in the evenings after the kids were in bed, and I had the kitchen cleaned. Even six years ago, I managed to sandwich my writing in between grading papers, making lesson plans, and keeping my kitchen cleaned. I had long ago decided that housecleaning would have to take a back seat to my family and my teaching career. (I taught high school English for 24 years and that meant teaching writing and grading senior exit research papers.) My one promise to myself was that I would clean the kitchen each night so I could cook without clutter the next night and enjoy our family dinner. That solution worked for me and for my family.

Retirement created problems for me with my writing. I found myself with free time (a novelty) and 50 million little things to do. What I didn’t have was a writing schedule. I found days slipping away when I didn’t do any writing at all. How could I be a writer if I couldn’t write every day? I felt so guilty over not writing that I didn’t write. And then I felt more guilty.

In the fall of 2011, I went back to teach full-time, and discovered how busy I had really been all those years. My galleys were due on The King’s Ransom; I had lesson plans to do and research papers to grade again. It proved to be a tough year. However, it solved my writing problem.

What I re-learned that year is that I am always writing even if I am not using pen/paper or a computer. I build my stories in my head, jot down some basics on paper, write my expanded story in my head, and then, when I’m ready, I sit down with pen and paper and write. 

Once I understood how I wrote, the guilt of not writing went away. Take the time to understand how you write, and you may be surprised at how easy it is to write.
"Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend" 2011 Global E-book Finalist

"The King's Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table)" 2012 CLC Silver Award for YA Fiction; 2012 USA Best Book Awards Finalist for E-Book Children's Fiction
You can find out more about Cheryl Carpinello, her books and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at
Follow Cheryl Carpinello at
Beyond today Educator
Carpinello’s Writing Pages

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines Day Is A Crock

Before I start getting hate e-mail from lovers and romantics...I don't think Valentines Day was created by florists, jewelers and greeting-card manufacturers. I am not against a day set aside to celebrate love and romance. My opinion, and that's all it is, comes from a comment I have been hearing in reference to this holiday.
     "I know its supposed to be...guy's night, basketball, class, insert other regularly scheduled programming...but, in case any of you want to save your marriages you better spen Valentines Day with your wives."
I can't tell you how many times someone has made reference to the necessity of making Valentines Day a major event,otherwise the significant other will kill, maime, never forgive, or punish their partner for screwing it up.
And it's most often the women who benefit and the men who pay. (literally) Pardon my language but that is a crock of sheep smegma.
Love isn't a big romantic gesture saved for a grand occasion. Its not a requirement to hold onto  someone and that tenuous grasp hangs on the product of one day.
     Love is constant, patient, forgiving, and most of all a commitment. Not a commitment to Febuary 14 th, a commitment to loving your partner, in a way that they feel loved,every day.
     Now comes the tricky part; how to make them feel loved. Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages that is a terrific book for learning  what your love languages are and what your partners are as well. Often it is more important to understand what language your partner speaks, so you can hear and understand their way of communicating love. I believe it is even more essential to happiness than knowing and understanding your own.
     If your partner would rather have a note, or a poem than a gift of flowers and candy, then Valentines Day can blow up in your face. If you would rather be taken out to dinner and your partner wants to hug and kiss over pizza and a movie...Well you can see where that is going.
Chapman has also written The Five Love Languages of Children and The Five Love Languages of Teens, these are great resources for any relationship but also to understand the action of LOVE.
I suspect one of the reasons my husband married me was because of my particular view on Valentines Day, little did he know my love language is the hardest one for him to speak. Most of the actions of love and romance involve gifts, service, nice words, and tender touches. I require: one-on-one, undivided focused, put down your life and have stimulating conversation with me, attention.  You can't pick that up at the grocery store on your way home. I don't hate Valentines Day, I just hate this idea that the annual performance is more importan than the daily grind that makes true love work.
So Happy Valentines Day, from a romantic that believes the greater part of love is trust and that doesn't come in a heart shaped box of chocolates, or a bunch of roses. True love is something you do, every day. May the other 363 days of the year be as satisfying as I hope today was,and may you know and find true love.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Author Review: Ryan Hunter

 Living in a modern fast paced society tends to overwhelm and complicate what should be basic daily occurrences: Work, school, chores, activities, clubs, volunteering, home and yard maintenance, shopping, cooking, eating, laundry, bedtime. The list gets more frantic and hectic as the ‘to-do’s’ stack up. Pacing ourselves and organizing the craziness that is life is how we maintain balance. The truth is reality can be hectic, frantic, and at times, too much.
In a good novel, the frantic, hectic and overwhelming create excitement, allure and interest. Would you read a story about teenagers who deal with homework, chores, and baseless break-ups? Or would you rather follow a story about a girl whose father is murdered by terrorists, only to learn they were government operatives. A story of a student who gets a paper cut doing her classwork, or one who uses a butcher knife to cut an electronic sensor out of her hand because the government is using it to listen to, and track her?
It’s strange but the truth is either one of those stories could be made into a great novel if it is paced correctly.
     Ryan Hunter has just such a story in her novel “Indivisible”. It explodes onto the page with a terrorist attack and then never stops rolling toward the conclusion. Hunter’s main character Brin is devastated by her father’s murder but the jolts and surprises that turn her life upside down make the terrorist attack pale in comparison to the mass societal problems that now face Brin and what’s left of her family and friends. Teaming up with her love interest,a guy known only as T,  Brin discovers how much of her life is controlled and contrived by a government force that starts out socialistic and borders on fascist by the end.
I loved the pace of this author’s writing there was no time to stop and breathe, much less get bored with the story. The brief responses that occurred-insert romantic interlude with hot, heroic leading man-  brought the element of emotion into the story without leaving the desperate and exciting pace of the story behind.

Ryan Hunter, self-published Indivisible and has been traditionally published as well under her real name. To read more about this book as well as her other novels go to:


Twitter: @ryanhunter45


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Shaken...Then Stirred

     It is the shaking that still wakes me up at night. Not my own, but my son's. It is the memory of his face bloody beneath my fingertips, his words choking on his tears, and his shoulders convulsing as I held him and he told me about how the neighbor's pitbull-dog had lunged for his throat.
     A little over a week ago, my 12 year old son was walking a neighbor girl home from school when he was attacked by our neighbor's dog. The dog clamped on the his chin first; digging its lower teeth up into Zack's Jaw. After escaping that first bite, he then tore his left arm out of the dogs mouth, as the dog was not satisfied with his first attempt. After breaking free the second time, with the help of his friend and one of our neighbors, Zack was grabbed on his hip and thigh before the animal could be dragged away.
     The girl my son was walking home had needed the escort because she had been chased by this very dog and she was terrified to go home alone. When the dog attacked she climbed into the back of a pick-up truck and watched, screaming as the terrifying scene unfolded. She is only 9 years old.
     The 13 year old boy who helped get the dog off of my son is a good friend of ours and the owner of the dog, and he too was terrorized by the events of this day.
     If you are feeling the pain and horror of these children, than you can imagine the scene in my house when all three arrived home  minutes later.Pure chaotic ferver, tears, and screaming.
     I look back now and realize that this was one of the times in my life when I am stirred to gratitude for my blindness. Although not being able to assess wounds, gather information for our emergency room visit, or drive my son to get his stitches. I do not have pictures in my head of his bloody face. I do not have to see the size and color of the dog and fear every dog that looks like that one. I do not have to remember the looks of horror and grief on those children's faces as they recounted the story, cried, and then wanted to be held.
     But...I will always remember the shaking. The voices as they shook with panic at the thought of having to go back outside and face the dog again. The shaking of shoulders as they sobbed for their parents to come bring them home. They shaking of my son's body as the nurse cleaned the two puncture wounds on his face, her finger slipping into the wound deep enough to cover the first knuckle on her pinky finger.
     I know that we all have been traumatized by the events of that day. The boy who loved and lost his dog. The girl who prayed for God to protect Zack. Zack, who still sees the teeth of the animal coming for him, and only now realizes how close he came to having his throat torn out instead of his chin bleeding.
     Even as I write the details a shiver runs through my body with the memories. A shiver that is quickly replaced with a flood of peace that stirs my sould to tears.
     Those little girl prayers did protect Zack, and his friends. The strength and generosity of spirit those children showed in caring for each other in their crisis, and the loyal and deepened friendships that have resulted from the attack remind me.
     Life will always hold fear and loss, trauma and terror but God and Love and Goodness are the buoy's of the human heart. Those three children are heroes, not for just what they did in the crisis, but for what they continue to do to heal, everyday. For Zack, Chance, and Jadan...You truly are the choicest of God's creations