Teen Resource – Boys Town

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Hope you had a good week. Check in with the teen in your life? What did they have to share? Hey teens, did you check in with the adult in your life? Share something with them about what you are thinking about? They would love it if you did!

New Subject – Teen Resource

I wanted to add a new subject to my blog to showcase people and organizations that are out there helping teens and families. I plan to showcase a different one each month. So, we’ll start things off in January with a look at Boys Town, an advocate for teens and families located in Boys Town, NE.

How did I learn about Boys Town?

I was in our kitchen looking the calendar hanging on the wall. We received it in the mail and use it to keep track of important family events. This one is from Boys Town and states 100 years of saving children and healing families. So I went online to find out a little bit more about them.

What they do at Boys Town?

The organization was started by Father Edward Joseph Flanagan in 1917. He developed a lifelong interest in young people and the struggles they face growing into responsible adults while he was ministering to the homeless in Omaha, Nebraska.

Accoring to their website, boystown.org, is a beacon of hope for America’s children and families through life-changing youth care and health care programs across the United States.

Along with the youth care and health care services that Boys Town provides, they are also recognized internationally as a research leader in hearing, language and related communication disorders, and childhood neurobehavioral disorders. Their findings are integrated into the treatment of the children and families that they serve.

Anoother thing I noticed is that they are an advocate for teens. One way is through their views on the Juvenile Justice System. Another is through their programs helping teens to make changes to their lives and help them succeed.

Advocate for Juvenile Justice Reform

I read a couple of books lately talking about inequities in the current justice system and treament of juveniles who have been incarcerated. One of them, Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson is a true story about his experiences as a black lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). EJI is a non-profit law firm who helps people who cannot afford or are unable to fight for their rights. Stevenson tells the story of three different teenagers who committed crimes and were given much stronger sentences that would impact the rest of their lives. EJI looked into the circumstances involved in these cases and through the courts, were able to get the sentences reduced.

Boys Town takes the approach of rehabilatation and redemption rather than punishment and incarceration and advocate for fair treatment and practices of teens if they enter the juvenile justice system. like EJI, they want to give these teens a chance to change the course of their lives despite a bad choice they made to get into trouble.

Advocate for teens to change their lives

Boys Town helping teens and families to get the assistance that they need to reach their full potential. They provide a residental program for teens in need of a second chance.

In the Who we Help section of their website, Boys Town describes the teens that they serve.

“We don’t don’t give up on kids and are committed to helping those who have failed in other systems… We give them the secnd chances they deserve.”

One of the posts on their Facebook Page features a video about a teen named Kahla. She came from an abusive situaton before she came to Boys Town. She is thriving now because of their residental program. In her video testimonial she says,

“Change myself for something better.”

There are many more testimonials of how Boys Town has helped people succeed. You will also find these on the Who we Help Section of their website and on their Facebook and Instragram profiles.

Check out Boys Town

Boys Town is an organization available to help teens and families in need. Not only are they actively participating in their lives, but they are also conducting research into areas to help improve the treatment they provide to their clients.

With their focus on advocating for Juvenile Justce reform and providing teens with opportunities to make a better life for themselves, I believe Boys Town would be a good teen resource for them and their families to look into.

Here is a link to their website: Boys Town

Teen read about Peer Pressure

Another good resource for teens would be my young adult novel which focuses on that very topic. The Hard Way is a story about how fifteen-year-old Paul navigates being put into a position by his friends to make a choice between doing something right or doing something wrong.

Here’s a link to The Hard Way on the books tab of my website.

The Hard Way

Please forward this information to someone who may be looking for a good teen/young adult read. If you subscribe to my email list, you’ll be able to follow my writing journey and receive a free copy of chapter one.

Have a great week!

The Ignauguration and Kamala Harris

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

We remember what Martin Luther King, Jr. did for our country today.

How was your week? It was fun for us to work together as a family on Tuesday night as we got our final items out of the condo we are selling. We sat around our dining room table after we finished and enjoyed Mexican takeout. So grateful we get to have those dinners together.

Like I mentioned last week, there has been a lot of emotion and difference of opinion surrounding the 2020 election results. This week we are having the inauguration ceremony for our President elect and our Vice President elect at the United States Capitol.

A few interesting facts about Inaugurations.

  • An inauguration ceremony is where the new president and vice president are sworn into office.
  • There have been fifty-eight oaths of office given and received in the history of our nation.
  • Inauguration ceremonies started in 1789 with our first president George Washington and his Vice President John Adams. Our most recent ceremony was in 2016 without current president Donald Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence.
  • They used to be held on March 4th to allow for officials to gather election returns and for newly elected candidates to travel to the capital. It was changed to January 20th in 1933 as technology and travel got easier, not as much time was needed to get everyone in place. The first inauguration that was held on January 20th was held in 1937.
  • This year it will be held on January 20th in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. This is when our President-elect Joe Biden and our Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn into their new positions.

We know somethings about our President elect, Joe Biden, he served as Vice President under former President Barack Obama. But who is Kamala Harris?

Kamala Harris

According to the Senate.gov website, Kamala Harris is

Currently,

  • a United States Senator for California
  • second African American woman to serve in that role.
  • first South Asian-American woman to serve in that role.

Soon to be,

  • The first African American, South Asian-American woman to serve as our nation’s Vice President.

Her early background

According to an article in Politico Magazine, 55 Things You Need to Know About Kamala Harris, she was born in Oakland, California, the eldest of two children with a mother who was a cancer researcher and a father who was an economist. Her parents divorced when she was seven and her mother raised her and her sister in a duplex in Berkley. She rode the bus to her school, Thousand Oaks Elementary, in its second year of the integration of black students into their school. After attending middle school and high school in Montreal, she returned to the United States to attend Howard University and obtained her political science degree. After completing her law degree at the University of California, Hastings and passing the bar exam, she became a prosecutor, since she wanted to change the system from the inside.

Determination and passion are traits I admire.

Her determination has helped her to achieve many things during her lifetime. She was the first woman to do quite a few of them. Including being first Black woman to be elected the District Attorney in California. It has also helped her to showcase her passion to fight for others in a national spotlight.

Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, also broke barriers in her field and brought other people with her.  She told Kamala, “you may be the first to do many things, make sure you aren’t the last.”

These are the kind of traits I look for in someone who is going to have a key role in helping to unify our country.

As she enters the White House

With Harris serving as the Vice President of our country, we are celebrating diversity in the executive branch of our government again. It is the second time an African American has served in that office, but it is the first time it will be a woman. Biden and Harris won the election with an unprecedented voter turnout, even during a pandemic.

Part of their platform is fixing what is broken.

  • Investing in American Workforce
  • Involving science in the solution
  • Fight for criminal justice reform – to help curb some of the racial inequality issue.
  • Reform to the public school system to help all school districts.

According to an interview that Harris did with Vogue Magazine, published in January 2021, she talks about how bringing the country together is the biggest challenge facing our country.

“Americans share the same concerns that keep them up at night regardless of where they live, the color of their skin or the God they pray to. We have more in common than what separates us. It isn’t in our best interest to have one group suffer for who they are.”

An asset to help unify our country.

Government officials should be more than just a party affiliation. They are people who should have a passion for the people they serve. Whether you follow the Democrats, Republicans, or a mix, I believe Kamala Harris will be a great person to be involved in unifying our country. Her determination and passion in fighting for what is right are the kind of traits I want for a person to serve in that role.

What traits do you look for in an elected official? Please let me know in the comments below.

Be sure to take a look around my website!

If you have a little time this week, take a look around my website. There is a link to purchase my book, information about me and the upcoming release of my second book, and a way for you to subscribe to my email list and follow my writing journey.

Have a great week!

Teen Challenges – Differing viewpoints – What happened at the US Capitol?

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

How was your week last week?

Did you check in with that teen in your life? Jim took our young adults and new ice fishing gear on a father/son fishing day trip. They caught a couple of fish but learned a lot for the next time that they go.

Did you hear about what happened last week?

United States Capitol Building

A group of people got together in Washington D.C. at a rally down the street from the U.S. Capitol Building, where our elected officials were counting votes to certify the 2020 election results for the positions of President and Vice-President of our country. The people attending the rally didn’t agree with the results that were going to come from the certification of the ballot counting. So, instead of remaining in peaceful protest, which is within their rights as citizens of the United States, they decided to rush the capitol, break windows and get in, unlawfully, to make their feelings known to those people doing the counting.

What should have happened?

The offices of President and Vice-President each have a term that one can serve. In the United States, one term is serving four years. Those offices are limited to two terms (if they are re-elected to serve a second term.) When their term is up, they are responsible for a peaceful transition of power from themselves to the next ones elected to hold the position.

What did happen?

Since our current president believes there were issues in the election process, he also believes he should have earned a second term as president. So, he hasn’t been very cooperative about a peaceful transition of power to the people who did win the election based on the results of the counted votes. His supporters who attended the rally believe the same things our current president does about those results. They wanted to let the people counting the votes know how they feel. So, they went to the capitol and things got out of hand.

According to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) website, the 2020 election took place during a very stressful time in our history. Between the pandemic, economic distress and racial unrest, a lot strong emotional reactions were being put forth which stirred up disagreements between many Americans. Regardless of the outcome of the election, we have a lot of work to do to heal and move forward as a country.

What can we do?

Moving forward from here, there are a few things to keep in mind

Respect the democratic process – there has been a process we have used for hundreds of years to run the elections, get the results, and transition from one president and his team to the next without violence. If the process is not working, we need to talk about it and make appropriate changes. Until then, we need to respect how the process works.

Channel views and feelings in a positive direction – you may be having confusing feelings about what happened. You may agree or disagree with what happened. Either view point is ok. Be sure to keep your reactions positive. Talk to other people about how you feel but don’t become mean to others or distructive to property in showing how you feel.

Accept people and their differences – the United States is made up of many people who are of different races, religions, and hold different beliefs. We don’t have to agree with everyone else, but respect and embrace the differences we have with each other.

Moving forward from here?

Keep the lines of communication open. Be willing to listen to others and talk about what’s on your mind. If we talk about issues with other people, and listen to what they have to say, we may be able able to understand and work with each other to avoid events like what happened at the Capitol last week.  

Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.

Have a good week!

Book Review – Blended by Sharon M. Draper

Book Review

Good Morning! Here is the Monday Morning Blog!

It has been a while sincemy last post. For the past couple of months, we were getting a property we own ready for sale and that brought us right into the holiday season. No excuses though, I need to make time for the things I want to do. I’m back now and will just keep on posting like I was before.

Hope you had a great holiday season, despite COVID. I’m sitting at our dining room table looking at our Christmas Tree decorated with lights and ornaments. Our family had fun over the holidays even though it felt different without having our normal bigger family celebration together.

Have you checked in with that teen in your life yet? Our young adults are making the best of the situation by getting outside and doing the things that they can. The last couple of nights we have had good talks about snowboarding and today I got to see some GoPro coverage of their day on the slopes. It is fun to share enthusiasm with them about something they love to do. What are some of the things your teens are into?

Along the theme of books with a focus on racial issues, Sharon M. Draper writes her books about the young African American experience. I picked up this book at a local bookstore to support them. The name of the bookstore is Content Bookstore and it is located in Northfield, MN. Here is a link to their website. https://contentbookstore.com/

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Blended

Author

Sharon M. Draper

Type of Book

Middle Grade Fiction

Background

Sharon M. Draper has written over thirty books for teen readers. She has won many awards for them including Coretta Scott King Author Award for books about the young and adolescent African American experience and the John Steptoe Award for new talent. Draper was also the 1997 Teacher of the Year and was named the Ohio Pioneer in Education by the Ohio State Board of Education.

Summary of the book

This is the story of Isabella Badia Thornton, an eleven-year-old girl whose has one black parent and one white parent. The story is her life told from her perspective. Not only growing up as an eleven-year-old girl, but also having two divorced parents and blending their families when they both wind up getting remarried.

Reaction to the book

I loved the book. I could relate to Isabella and the things she went through as an eleven-year-old girl growing up. Draper did a nice job of bringing in the issues she faced with her race, even at her young age. With the increased awareness of Black Live Matter in our society, I picked up on a few more what would have been nuances to me before but are statements made by the author now. Through this book, we see some of those issues play out through the eyes of Isabella and how she learns that those issues are out there for someone of her mixed race to unfortunately must deal with.

Link to the author

If you want to learn more about Sharon M. Draper, here is a link to her website https://sharondraper.com/

Link to the book

If you want to purchase Blended, it is available through Amazon or the authors website. Or, you can order it online or pick it up from your local book store, like I did from Content Bookstore. If you don’t have a favorite local bookstore, you can shop online at Bookshop.org and have the purchase credited to local bookstores across the country.

My books

Looking for a couple more coming of age teen novels?

The Hard Way

Book #1 of The Way Series

The Hard Way which you can currently purchase through the link on my website. Or, it is free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.

Shawn's Way

Book #2 of The Way Series

Shawn’s Way, my second book, took a publishing delay in 2020, but will be published in the next couple of months. Keep an eye on the blog and my website for information about the book launch, pre ordering your own copy and when the official publication date will be.

If you aren’t interested in purchasing a book, you can follow my writing journey by joining my email list. To be added, there is a subscribe tab on my website where you can fill in your name and email address.

Have a great week!

Today is Columbus Day! Or is it Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Have you touched base with the teen in your life yet?

As I was running errands over the weekend, I saw a sign like this one.

So, what is Columbus Day?

History of Columbus Day

According to history.com, in the late 1400s, the route from Europe to Asia by land was long and filled with hostile armies. Portuguese explorers figured out how to do it by sea instead. They sailed around the West African Coast and around the Cape of Good Hope.

Christopher Columbus had a different idea. Why not sail west across the Atlantic Ocean?

His idea was good, but his calculations were flawed. He believed that the circumference of the Earth was much smaller than it was and sailing west would be a quicker way to get to Asia. There were no accurate maps available at the time. So, there was no way to know for sure.

Columbus had a hard time selling this idea and obtain funding for his trip. Then he finally convinced Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile to support him. On August 3, 1492, Columbus and his crew set sail from Spain in three ships, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. On October 12th, the ships made landfall not in the East Indies, but on one of the Bahamian Islands.

The four voyages of Columbus to the New World

This was how Columbus discovered America in 1492. If you would like to read more about his life, here’s a link to history.com Christopher Columbus.

Timeline of being recognized as a national holiday then a federal one

In 1892, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus discovering America, President Benjamin Harrison declared Columbus Day as a one-time national celebration.

In 1934, Franklin Roosevelt made a proclamation to recognize Columbus Day as a national holiday. This would allow for appropriate ceremonies expressing the public feelings towards the anniversary of the discovery of America.

In 1966, Mariano Lucca, pushed to have Columbus Day made into a federal holiday which it became in 1968. Since it is a federal holiday, all federal employees celebrate the day as a paid day off.

Every year, it is celebrated on the second Monday in October, which this year happens to be October 12th, the day Columbus actually landed in the New World, 528 years ago today.

What have we learned about Columbus?

Columbus sailed across the Atlantic not only to have the fame in finding new lands, but also to capture riches to bring back to Spain for him and the sponsors of his expedition. While he was in the new world, he started to enslave the native people, Taino. He believed they were made to be enslaved, due to their body build and peaceful nature.

When the riches he promised were not coming to fruition, he started sending the Taino people back to Spain on return voyages to serve and be sold as slaves for his sponsors. Isabella was uphauled at the gesture. She believed people who were found through the expeditions should become Spanish citizens and not be enslaved. The Taino were sent back. Colmbus was arrested and brought back to Spain in chains.

Change to Indigenous Peoples’ Day

When people learned a little more about Columbus and how he had treated the Taino people, many stopped celebrating Columbus Day. The holiday has changed its name in many states to Indignous Peoples’ Day. The theme of the day is to honor Native American people, their histories and cultures.

Shawn’s Way

The second book in the Way Series, Shawn’s Way, will be released next month.

Just like the first book, The Hard Way, it is also a coming of age novel focusing on a teen challenge. Where The Hard Way focused on peer pressure, Shawn’s Way, focuses on a teen being a target of a bully and an older teen being thhe one who bullies. Be sure to keep checking back to my wesite for updates on the release date.

You still have time to pick up a copy of The Hard Way for another good teen read and get up to speed for what happens in book two.

Have a great week!

STOMP Out Bullying – #SeeMe Campaign

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog – Wednesday Edition!

Checked in with that teen in your life yet? I picked up dinner last night and sat down at the table with our two young adults. We didn’t solve any big problems, but had a very nice check in about how we were all doing.

National Bullying Prevention Month

Like I mentioned on Monday, there are many ways you can take an active role in bullying prevention. One of those ways is just to treat other people with respect. Put yourself in their shoes and treat them how you would like to be treated yourself. We all have differences that make us who we are. They should be celebrated and not be made fun of. Would you want someone to make fun of you for no reason? Think about that the next time you are tempted to pick on somone for how they look. You may think you are just teasing, but if you keep doing it, it is considered bullying.

STOMP Out Bullying #SeeMe Campaign

What do you see? What should you see? What should we see?

The #SeeMe campaign focuses on the fact that we are all people. It encourages teens to get to know others who may be different from themselves. There is a lot to be learned from persepctives that are different from our own.

Young people are brought up seeing the world through the eyes of the adults in their lives. They tend to model the feelings of judgement and hatred that adults in their lives display, unless they make the choice to change the culture and embrace others for their differences and not judge them for them. It is something we all can do.

By joining the #SeeMe Campaign, you are helping to make a culture change towards acceptance of the differences in people.

Change the way our culture… thinks

Change the way our culture…. acts

Let’s Change the culture for all of us!

from the STOMPoutbullying.com website

So, what can you do to Take Action?

Join the #SeeMe Campiagn by posting what others should see when they see you. Complete the following sentence,

#SeeMe I’m _______ and I want you to see that I am __________. (Don’t forget to use the hashtag)

So for me, I would say,

#SeeMe I’m Selma and I want you to see that I care about others and embrace them for who they are.

Post this sentence with a photo of yourself on your social media pages. You can also send the photo and the statement to art.stompoutbullying@gmail.com and they will post them for you.

No matter how you decide to take action in the #SeeMe Campaign, the key is to Take Action and prevent bullying. For more information about the #SeeMe Campaign and STOMP Out Bullying, here’s a link to their website STOMP Out Bullying.

Shawn’s Way

Shawn’s Way

My second book, Shawn’s Way, focuses on this teen challenge of bullying. Shawn Townson is a freshman in high school and this is his story about being a target of a bully, who is a teammate of his older brother’s. It is due to be released in November. Be sure to check it out.

While you are waiting, my first book, The Hard Way, which focuses on the teen challenge of peer pressure is available through a link on the books tab or for free through your Kindle Unlimited subscription. Free preview of chapter one if you sign up for my email list.

Have a great week!

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Have you checked in with that teen in your life yet?

Our two young adult sons took on the adult role of and taking the docks out at our cabin without Jim or I going along. Passing the torch of an annual project. Becoming adults with responsibilities.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

This is a campaign founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Originally a weeklong event, it was expanded to a month to help people across the nation and around the world unite with the powerful message that bullying should not be a part of childhood. Here is a link to their website National Bullying Prevention Center

Today is also

World Day of Bullying Prevention™ An initiative of STOMP Out Bullying™

It occurs the first Monday of every October. On this day students, schools. And communities all over the world go BLUE together against bullying and cyberbullying. It is the kickoff to National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month every October. Here is a link to their website World Day of Bullying Prevention™ An initiative of STOMP Out Bullying™

What Can You Do?

There are many initiatives and programs out there to help build awareness for this issue. By getting involved, you can help the teens in your school and in your community.

What can you personally do to prevent it? It may take you to change how you look at people.

People are just like you. They get up in the morning, they eat, they take the bus, they go to school, they play sports or video games. They may look different. Maybe they have glasses and you don’t. Or they have acne and you don’t. Maybe they are white and you are black. This is no reason to make fun of them.

We must treat people they way we want to be treated. Would you want someone to tease you because you are wearing a red jacket instead of a black one? Sometimes that is the reason why teens become the target of a bully.

Shawn’s Way

My second book, Shawn’s Way, due to publish in November, focuses on the teen challenge of bullying.

It is the story about a freshman at Mulston High School, Shawn Townson and how he becomes a taregt of a bully, just for being someone’s younger brother.

It is Book 2 of The Way Series and a sequel to my first book, The Hard Way. To find out more information about it, check out the books tab of my website.

Have a great week!

Writing Tip – Just Write Part 3

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog post Friday Edition.

Check in with that teen in your life yet?

There have been quite a few family dinners at our house this week. We got our youngest son a pair of waders for taking out the docks at our family cabin this weekend. When I watched him put them on, I realized how long they were and how tall he was. We could hear him walking around the house with them on singing “I’m a big kid now.” And that he is.

Just Write

Continuing on this week’s theme of Just Write, I thought of one more thing the Just Write method is good for. And that is journalling.

As a young girl, my parents bought me those little diaries with the lock and key for Christmas every year. Did any of you have these too?

I still have mine packed away in a box of things I have saved from my childhood. I was pretty good about writing something everyday. Notes and thoughts about things a young girl goes through while growing up. I take them out every once in a while and appreciate the things I went through in my younger years.

According to the VeryWellMind.com website, journaling involves the practice of keeping a diary or journal that explores thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of your life. Remember what I talked about on Monday and Wednesday how writing about that desk stirred up some memories for me? Well, you can use the same method to ask yourself, “how do I feel today?” and just start writing what ever comes to mind. I have done quite a bit of journaling with my own thoughts and feelings and have found it works well to Just Write and see what I may discover about what is on my mind.

Journaling, like the Just Write exercise, can be done manually with pen and paper, or could be done on a computer or phone. There are journaling apps you can get to help guide you through a program to journal about specific themes like leadership or grieving. I’m a fan of pen and paper when I journal and like to pick up fun notebooks to journal in . This is cover of the one I’m currently writing in.

Sometimes writing is an easier way for people to share their thoughts than actually talking to someone about them. I received my diaries as gifts as a kid which I believe got me to start journaling. Maybe give a fun journal and a pen to your teen and see what they use it for? There are a lot of crazy things going on in the world right now and they may not have thought that writing about their feelings is an option. It might be a creative way for them to figure out how they feel.

Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival

Be sure to check out the Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival! It is happening tomorrow and Sunday! Lots of auhors and books to choose from. You will be able to see me there with my author page and on the YA Authors Panel tomorrow afternoon. Here is a link Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival.

The Hard Way

Looking for a coming of age novel that focuses on the teen challenge of peer pressure? Check out the first book in The Way Series called The Hard Way. It is available through Amazon (free on Kindle Unlimited) and through a link on the books tab on my website. I’m offering a free preview to chapter one when you sign up for my email list. Look for the pop up box when you go to my wesbite or fill out the information on the subscribe tab.

Have a great weekend!

Writing Tip – Just Write Part 2

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog continued…

Check in with that teenager in your life yet this week?

On Monday, I left you with the idea of Just Write. It sounds pretty vague, I’m sure. I talked about how to brainstorm ideas to write about. Either by using writing prompts you can find online by Googling the words ‘Writing Prompt’ or by looking up or across the room and start writing about the first thing you see. In my case, it’s our family’s antique desk and chair, one which was in my parents house growing up, but is now in mine.

In the Just Write format, I just write, not much editing happens in this method. It is more to get what your mind comes up with down on paper. So, here is my Just Write exercise for this morning.

Our Antique Writing Desk

The Writing Desk

It is a writing desk with a fold down top. The one which used to be in my parents’ living room in the house I grew up in. The antique chair that is with it now isn’t the original chair. The original chair was more square with a seat covered in black vinyl. I like the antique chair better. It seems to fit the look and maybe I like the rounded edges a little bit better.

Above the desk is a picture that we found while cleaning out some of my parents things. It also has a memory as Jim’s grandfather would mention wanting a Pierce Arrow, the kind of car which is featured on the print.

On the top of the desk we are displaying my oldest son’s high school dimploma. I remember the day he received it. It was a big day! It took him a little longer to get it done, but he did. He is a smart one, just needed a little more motivation to do it. I remember the struggle to get him up in the morning to go to school each day. Steps to get it done.

The other item on the desk is a ceramic bowl. This used to be where we kept the car keys when we lived at our prior place, the condo. Now we have our keys hanging from hooks close to the back door which goes out into the garage. It used to be only one set, now it is four. That reminds me of when the kids were learning to drive. Now they are almost 21 (in October) and 19.

That’s just a quick Just Write example. I keep these writing samples in notebooks or computer files. I do use them from time to time to help build a short story or a novel. But many times it turns out to be just a writing exercise that helps me get my creative juices flowing, or brings to mind some very beloved memories.

Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival

Be sure to check out the Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival this weekend! October 3rd and 4th. I will be participating, virtually. I’m really excited about being involved and also seeing how the whole event works. They have done a great job in over coming the obstacles put into place by COVID to make the festival happen. Here is a link to their site Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival.

The Way Series

The Hard Way – Book #1 in The Way Series

Make sure you check out my author page at the festival! You’ll be able to pick up a copy of The Hard Way and if you send me a copy of the receipt, you can get an autographed book plate to put in your book! There will also be a little teaser about book two, Shawn’s Way, available on my page. Not sure what The Hard Way is all about? Check out the books tab on my website and if you sign up for my email list, you can preview the first chapter of The Hard Way for free!

Stop by my website again this Friday to learn more about Just Write.

Hope you are all having a great week!

Writing Tip – Just write

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Did you get a chance to check in with your teen this week? What did they have to say? I had dinner with our two young adults last night. They like to go to the skatepark and ride their scooters there. I asked if there were any new tricks learned today. They both said no. They didn’t get much riding in as a big rain cloud came and make the park all wet. I asked if you can go riding right after the rain. They both said typically no. It gets kind of slippery.

DeepValley Virtual Book Festival


Less than a week away! Be sure to check out their website. The event runs on October 3rd and 4th. You are able to check out many author websites and there are panels to attend. Here is a link to their website. Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival

Speaking of the festival, one of the questions I was asked on the YA Author’s Panel was what advice I would give to a young author or someone who wants to get into writing. I responded, Just Write.

Just Write

Have you heard of writer’s block? Where writers sit down with all of the excitement to write and then draw a blank? It happens to the best authors too. There are many ways to work through writer’s block and get back on track. Some writers go on walks to get away and think about something else and come back to it. The Just Write method typically works for me.

When I say this, the first question is, what do you mean, just write? When I say Just Write, it is simply that. Just Write. Sit down in a comfortable spot with a blank piece of paper, notebook, journal or computer screen and just start writing or typing. Now the next question typically is start writing about what?

You can Google the words writing prompts. A writing prompt will give you a scenario to write about to get those creative juices going. I have used these before and come up with some really great ideas for things to write about.

But, my favorite method for Just Write is to look across the room and write about the first thing that I see. For me, it is currently a writing desk my parents had at our house when I was growing up and is now in mine. Be sure to check back on Wednesday and see what I write about that desk.

The Hard Way

What happens when a group of boys get together and want to create a little mischief? Pick up a copy of the first book in The Way Series called The Hard Way. A link is available on the books tab of my website. Want a free preview? Sign up for my mailing list and you will receive a copy of chapter one! Fill in the information on the pop up box or on the subscribe tab of my website.

Have a great week!