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 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!

People in our country’s history – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Did you have a good week last week? Did you get a chance to check in with that teenager in your life? What did they have to say? We are in the process of painting our condo to sell it in the near future. Our youngest son came over and helped us out by moving some stuff for us to clear space to paint. With a little direction, we handed him the roller and gave him a lesson on how to paint a room. We took an opportunity to give him another life skill that will come in handy someday.

Speaking of learning, what else can we learn from others?

I enjoy reading memoirs. What is a memoir? Well, according to the Google dictionary, it is a historical account or biography written from personal knowledge or special sources. I’m currently reading one of Barack Obama’s called Dreams from My Father, which is a collection of memories written by him. With the focus on racial inequality lately, reading Obama’s book is shedding more light some of those same themes for me. The memoir not only tells his story growing up and getting involved in the community around him; it also talks about his own personal experiences with racial inequalities he has either witnessed or experienced while on his own life journey. If you are interested in reading it, check it out of you local online library or purchase a copy from your local bookshop at Bookshop.org.

Not only do we have racial inequality in our country, there’s also inequality when it comes to gender. We lost a champion of women’s rights last week to complications from metastatic pancreas cancer.

People in our country’s history

Do you know who Ruth Bader Ginsburg was? She was

• An associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court
• Second woman to serve on the Supreme Court after Sandra Day O’Connor
• Attended Harvard Law School (only 9 women in a class of 500 men) but transferred to (due to her husband’s work transfer) and graduated tied for first in her class at Columbia University
• Became the first woman to be on two law reviews, Harvard Law Review and Columbia Law Review

The list of things above show just some of the things she accomplished in her life, she was also

• A wife
• A mother
• A grandmother
• And a champion for women’s rights

When she earned her law degree in 1959, it was hard for women to do the kinds of things she wanted to do. You would think that being at the top of your class at Columbia, you should have no trouble finding a job. If you were a man, yes, but no so if you were a woman. She wound up doing a lot of teaching before she was even able to practice law. She took on her first position as a professor at Rutgers Law School in 1963. She was informed that she would be paid less than her male counterparts because she had a husband with a well-paying job. If you are a woman in today’s society, would you want to have your salary based on what your husband does for a living? Or be paid a fair wage for the work you are doing?

She battled this type of gender discrimination throughout her life. Through her struggles, she pushed for and helped get many of the rights that women have today. She served on the Supreme Court for 27 years before she passed away and was seen as a champion of women’s rights. The results of that fight will live on in what she gave this country during her lifetime.

“Fight for the things you care about”

Without reading these life stories, we wouldn’t know about the struggles people have had to face in their life journeys. Obama and Ginsburg have made great strides towards equality in our government, but we still have a ways to go. Obama was working within our communities to try and make things better and then became the first black President of the United States. Ginsburg was breaking down barriers for women on her way to becoming the second woman associate justice on the United States Supreme Court. Sure, they both had people supporting them, but they also kept going after the things they personally wanted to achieve, even when challenges were put in front of them to keep them from getting there.

People like Barack Obama and Ruth Bader Ginsburg inspire me to fight for the things that I care about and want to achieve. Who inspires you to fight for the things you care about? Please let me know in the comments below.

Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival

Two weeks left until the Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival! Be sure to check into their website on October 3rd and 4th. There are many authors participating with a wide variety of books to purchase. There are also different panels to check out too! I am participating in the YA Author panel. I will have an author profile where you can purchase a copy of The Hard Way and get a little glimpse of book #2 in The Way Series called Shawn’s Way, due to publish in November of 2020.

The Hard Way

Can’t wait to pick up a copy of The Hard Way? Click on the books tab onmy website and follow the link to get your very own. You still have plenty of time to read it before book #2 is released.

Have a great week!

Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

How was your week? Did you check in with the teen in your life and find out what is going on with them?

One of my kids will be 21 next month and the other one is technically a teenager (for another seven months). We have dinner together with them 2 to 3 times a week. We do talk about what is happening with them and check in then, but I also like having those times when it is just a one-on-one chat. It makes a difference to show that we are present and avalable for them.

The Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival

What is happening on October 3rd and 4th? I’ll be participating in the 5th edition of The Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival

What is a virtual book festival? Well, it is one where you can attend online instead of in person. Due to COVID-19, it has been the way that events can still go on. It is set up to where each author has a book table (web page) in a big room (the event website) with many other authors. Each author page gives them a chance to tell the attendees a little bit about themselves, their books and have a short video with a reading or presentation. There will also be author panels (I will be on the YA Author panel, stand by for more information on that) and the headline author for the event is Matt Goldman.

Here’s a link to the website. Be sure to take a look around and check back on October 3rd and 4th to participate!

Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival

Through my author page on the festival website, there will be links to purchase The Hard Way and to a perview of Shawn’s Way, book #2 in The Way Series. Shawn’s Way is due to publish in November, just in time for the holiday shopping season. In case you want to pick up your copy of The Hard Way now, you can find it on the books tab of my website. Here’s a link,

The Hard Way

Have a great week!

Happy 3rd Book Birthday to The Hard Way

Have you read my first book, The Hard Way, yet? It is a young adult novel about my main character, Paul Jones, and how he learns the importance of choosing the right friends and how difficult it can be to navigate peer pressure. If not, I have a deal that just might get you interested.


In celebration of The Hard Way celebrating its third birthday (publication anniversary) on April 12th, I’m an doing a Facebook Live reading of chapter two next Thursday, April 16th. I’ll announce the time of the reading in my weekly blog post on Monday.

Happy Birthday to The Hard Way


You may ask, why not chapter one? Well, when you visit my website, a special offer pops up. If you are willing to sign up for my e-mail list, you can receive a free copy of the first chapter of The Hard Way. Be sure to read the chapter before April 16th, because then you’ll receive the next part of the story from my online reading. So, you get to preview two chapters of The Hard Way free before you buy it.


To pick up an ebook or paperback copy of the entire story, follow the link on the books tab of my website or check it out on Amazon.


And, for the next bit of exciting news, if you pick up your copy of The Hard Way now, you’ll have time to read it over the summer and be ready for book two of The Way Series called Shawn’s Way, due to publish September of 2020. Check back to my website for more details.

Featured Image provided by Morgan Lane on Unsplash

My writing update and a little bit about William Shakespeare

Good Morning! Here are my Tuesday Morning Thoughts!


How have you been doing with the changes in our day to day activities due to the Coronavirus? I have been primarily working from home for my day job. Jim has been going back and forth to work, since his job is more hands on, and the boys are “laid off” from their part time jobs for now. I will say, there are positive things to be found in our current situation. It has been nice to have family dinners again and we were able to do a movie night together Sunday night.

On the writing side of things, I’ve been actively working with my editor to get book #2 of The Way Series, Shawn’s Way, ready for a couple of final reads before its summer pre-launch and eventual publishing in September. Getting excited for my readers to find out how the story line of the series continues.

If you have read the first book, The Hard Way, and left a review, I thank you. For those of you who have received free copies on my promotional download days, if you would leave a review on Goodreads, that would be great. If you are a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can always select to read it for free as part of the subscription, and you would be able to leave a review on Amazon. If you purchased a copy on Amazon and want to leave a review on Amazon, that would be appreciated as well. Any of these reviews will help me out for the pre-launch of Shawn’s Way this summer. Leaving a review for a book you read is a great way to help a writer get people to read their books. The reviews show that people have read the book and it helps potential readers to get an idea of what other people thought of it.

A little bit about William Shakespeare

You may have seen the recent post on Facebook talking about Shakespeare and the writing of his sonnets. Did you know he wrote 154 sonnets when all of the theaters were shut down because of the Bubonic plague? I found it very interesting. With the Coronavirus shutting some things down now, maybe it will give us writers and authors some down time get some of our best writing done, just like Shakespeare did.

My interest in Shakespeare was also piqued by another blog post I saw about the unique spelling of the word playwright. You would think it would be spelled playwrite, right? Well wright is a word for a crafts person or someone who builds things. So, in that sense of the word, Shakespeare was one who built plays and sonnets.

Photo of William Shakespeare from Biogrphy.com

According to Wikipedia.com and Biography.com, William Shakespeare was known as one of the greatest writers in the English language and one of the world’s greatest dramatists. He was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, a bustling market town along River Avon. He married Anne Hathaway in 1582 and was the father of three children. After the birth of the twins (the second and third children) in 1585 it is believed that is when he started writing. Many Shakespeare biographers refer to the years between when the twins were born and 1592 (when he came onto the acting scene) as the lost years. During this time frame, he doesn’t leave any historical traces, but it is generally believed that he may have found work as a horse attendant at some of London’s finer theaters, which may have been how he got involved in theater. Records show Shakespeare had works published and sold as popular literature, which was seen as reaching above his social rank and posing a bit of a threat to playwrights who came from a more scholarly background.

Shakespeare was part of a very popular acting group called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, (which became the King’s Men in 1603 when King James I became king). The members of that group along with Shakespeare put money into the coffers to build their own theater called the Globe Theater. For the time, this was an unique commercial operation for actors. They not only had a shared in the profits from the show, but also had a share in the profits from the playhouse. According to britannica.com, all of Shakespeare’s plays were performed there after it was constructed in 1599. His plays were said to be written from a career actor point of view rather than a scholarly one, which was probably another point of contention with the scholarly playwrights. An interesting fact, the plays were always staged in the afternoons to make the most of the light provided by the sun; since the theater didn’t have lights.


According to civil records, in 1597, Shakespeare purchased the second largest house in Stratford, called New House, for his family. But he spent most of his time in London away from his family acting and writing since Stratford was a four-day ride from London. When he retired from the theater in 1613, he moved back to Stratford where he died three years later.


Here in Minneapolis we have a place called the Playwrights’ Center. Founded in 1971 by five writers seeking artistic and professional support. The center serves more playwrights in more ways than any other organization in the country. What a great way to keep the theaters alive for the communities to enjoy.

I love the name they chose for the Playwrights’ Center, especially knowing what the term really means now. Do you ever think about why people pick the names they do for things? Book titles, for example, usually have a connection with what the author wrote about. However, not all title meanings are understood until after you have read the book. What book titles have connected with you? What are some of your favorites? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Have a great week!