Saturday, November 27, 2010


I don't have time to write much today because I'm off to an event where I'll be signing books. You can learn more about that here:
In case some of my followers don't know about it, I also want to mention that I've started a Facebook group for people who care for or about kids with special needs and would love to have you join if you're one of them. The group is called Special Kid Carers and you can find it by searching for that phrase under Groups. My newest book is about kids with learning disabilities, but the group isn't there just to try to sell copies. It's intended as a supportive community and I hope it will be helpful to parents, teachers, and other people.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


In the Sierra foothills where I live we get a moderate amount of snow; usually enough for kids to enjoy, but not enough for people to get snowed in.
But sometimes we get a kind of weather that doesn't really have a name when several kinds of precipitation happen at the same time or alternate quickly. Slush is a combination of water and ice like slushies, but that doesn't really describe what I'm talking about.
If it snows and rains at the same time that could be called snain. If it rains and hails at the same time we might call it rail. And a logical name for the combination of snow and hail might be snail? No, those last two words wouldn't work because they're already taken to mean other things.
And what word could we use when all three happen at once? Snorail? Raihanow? Haisnain?
Come on, there has to be a better word to use than slush.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Books That Change Lives

Someone in a Yahoo group I belong to recently posted something about a book she read at a difficult time in her life changing her attitude. Looking back, I can remember many books that made a difference in my life in similar ways, and I hope the things I write will do the same for others.
For example, my newly published book, Signs of Trouble, is an exciting story (I hope) but the included educational activities are intended to help kids learn safety and reading skills and to understand others with special needs.
However writers often never know how things they've written have influenced others. Sometimes even the readers themselves don't realize that something in a book or article has made a tiny difference that will ultimately combine with other influences to make a big change in their attitude or behavior.
When we are aware that something we read has helped us, if only in a small way, letting whoever wrote it know would make a positive difference in that author's own life.
Since this is the season of Thanksgiving why not send an e-mail message or even an old-fashioned letter to someone whose writing has been helpful to you?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Heart Cord

When a baby is born the umbilical cord is cut, but an invisible cord that stretches between the baby and the mother's heart is created. That cord lasts as long as the mother and child live.
If they are close together the cord is loose, but whenever the mother and child are separated, either physically or emotionally, it stretches tight and pulls on the mother's heart. Things like the mother returning to work and leaving her baby in child care, the child's first day of school, or when he or she goes to visit a relative or to summer camp without the mother, pull the cord tight. And if the child is hurt, sick, or in trouble it pulls tighter still.
When the baby becomes a teenager he or she might try to reject the tie to the mother's heart, but that only pulls the cord tight since it can't be cut.
When the child becomes an adult and moves out into the world away from the mother the cord continues to stretch between them, although it has become longer. As long as the grown child stays in frequent contact and on good terms with the mother, it can be relaxed, but if there is conflict between generations or the child and parent don't stay in touch, the cord again tightens and pulls on the mother's heart.
Eventually when the mother becomes old the child might become the caregiver and when she dies it's the child's heart that feels the painful pull.
But the cord connecting the hearts of a mother and child cannot be cut.
The name of the cord is Love.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hot and Cool

Back in the 1920s the term, "Hot" became slang for something - or someone - fashionable and attractive. It may have originally been derived from the phrase, "Hot off the presses," shouted by newsboys on the streets. People in the generation that was young then continued to use it for many years.
But the next generation didn't want to be like their parents, so they developed the opposite term, "cool," to be used with the same meaning.
Over the years both terms have become accepted parts of the English language and are both still currently used, with slight changes in meaning. "Hot" is now used mostly with regard to physical attractiveness or things that are extreme. "Cool" is so common that the meaning has become mild and it's often a synonym for "okay."
I wonder if a different word regarding temperature will someday become the new slang for things that were once called hot or cool. "Cold" already has a different connotation so that probably won't do.
Maybe the new term will be "luke."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Purple Pencil Adventures

Today I have another interesting person to introduce: Debra Eckerling is a writing coach and social media expert. She created Write On! Online (, which is a website and community for writers, as well as a coaching site with the philosophy that writing is exercise: Write On Track LA (

Debra also has a site for young writers: Purple Pencil Adventures ( Since writing is a skill that can and should be developed at a young age, every Friday there’s a new Purple Pencil Adventure – a writing exercise for kids of all ages, designed to inspire creativity.

Sample Purple Pencil Adventures:

Restaurant Adventure: Going out to eat this weekend? Why not try writing a Restaurant Review! It can be fast food, a picnic, or fine dining. Eat, enjoy, and then write about it. Be sure to include what you did or did not like about your dining experience: the food, the location, and the service.

Speaking Adventure: Write a short speech - just two to five minutes long - about something you that makes you happy. Remember, it should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. After you practice it a few times, give the speech to a friend or a parent. Even better, find a friend interested in writing a speech too, and then you can present to each other. The ability to communicate well, whether it is on paper or verbally, is a skill you will be able to use in school, at work, and throughout your life.

You Adventure: There are many things successful writers need: talent, opportunity, and an understanding of the craft. Something else all writers need is a bio. I realize it may be difficult to write about yourself. But try. You can always revise. A bio is something you will need to promote and sell yourself, so you may as well get started now.

Write a 300 word bio. Remember to include your background, education, and writing experience. Don't have experience yet? You can always include a success story from a book report or creative writing assignment for school. Everything counts. And you are not going to be graded, so have fun!

* * *

For more writing adventures, go to Become a fan on Facebook:

Also, Write On! Online ( and has Author interviews, Reviews, Expert Columns, Contests, and more.

(If you're interested in books you might want to visit tomorrow to learn about another author.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sofia's Dream

An internet friend sent me a PDF copy of a delightful picture book called Sofia's Dream. It's about a little girl who makes friends with the moon and gets carried away to visit him in a dream. There she learns about Mother Earth's suffering because of pollution and other environmental damage and wakes up determined to do something about that important problem.
In spite of the important message, the book isn't teachy-preachy. It is told in rhyme, which works well without being forced, and the beautiful illustrations by Sue Cornelison capture the dreamlike mood of the book perfectly.
Sofia's Dream would make a wonderful bedtime story that children will probably want to hear over and over again. Perhaps some of them, like Sofia, will visit the moon in their dreams.
I assume the author, Land Wilson, chose the main character's name because Sofia means 'wise one' or 'wisdom' and hearing her story will inspire children to care about our planet.