Showing posts with label author's life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label author's life. Show all posts

Thursday, May 15, 2014

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

I never knew there was such a thing until my wife just told me. But today is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. I just had to blog about this momentous occasion. Chocolate chip cookies happen to be one of my favorite food groups. They're almost right up there with ice cream. Why aren't there bigger celebrations for this wonderful holiday? There should be parades. Balloon floats. Fireworks. Cookie barbecues. Paid holidays. Do your part, enjoy a chocolate chip cookie today with someone you love. :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

When is the best time to read to your children?

The simple answer. Whenever you can. Every family situation is different. For us, right before bedtime always worked best. It was a great time to help settle the kids down before putting them to bed. It also made bedtime more enjoyable for us and the kids. Often I had chief bedtime reading responsibilities. Sometimes my wife did. Frequently we shared the responsibility with a divide and conquer approach to bedtime reading.

Reading at bedtime doesn’t work for everyone. Maybe the best time for some parents to read to their children is right before or right after an afternoon nap. Maybe it’s after your child comes home from school. Perhaps, the best time to read to your child comes while you’re sharing an afternoon snack. Maybe it’s during trips to the library.

The important thing is to read to your children – everyday if possible. Reading often to your children is crucial to the development of their own ability to read. Start young and read often. Find the time and location that works best for you and your children, and then try to make it a habit.

Image courtesy of Ambro /

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What's the Real Value of Author School Visits?

I love it when teachers and librarians understand and recognize the value that author school visits can provide students. Yesterday, I visited Battle Mountain Elementary and Lemaire Elementary in a small mining community in the middle of Nevada. In spite of the five hour drive through the sagebrush covered desert the day before and the five hour drive back after the visit, it ended up being one of my favorite school visits ever.

The school librarian told me ahead of time that the small, out-of-the-way community doesn’t get much in the way of entertainment, so my visit to the school was going to be a big deal. So of course, the teachers, school administration, and students were all excited to have me there. The kids were all engaged in the presentations I gave. They listened. They participated. They laughed when they were supposed to. Even one sweet little girl ran up to me and gave me a hug afterward. All of those were wonderful and added to making it a great experience, but what really made it such a satisfying experience were comments that different teachers made to me at different times after the presentations.

After my Exciting World of Books presentation, one teacher said something to the effect, “The way you read to the kids with such expression is just what we needed to reinforce what we’ve been teaching with fluency. The kids loved it, and now we can say, ‘See, that’s why it’s important to read with expression.’”

After my presentation on Story Creation Fun, one teacher made a comment like, “Your segment on showing versus telling is just what we we’ve been trying to get across to our students. Kids don’t always believe or think what teachers teach is important, but when they hear it from an author, then it makes an impact.” Another teacher said, “Thank you for covering the “try-fail cycle. We’ve been working on that and you reinforced what we’ve been teaching. It was perfect.”

This is the effect that I want all my school visits to have. I want to reinforce in a positive way what teachers are trying to teach. I want kids to get excited about reading. I want to help nurture a love for reading in their lives. I not only want to teach kids some of the key aspects of how to write better stories, but I want them to get a feel for how wonderful and fun the story creation process can be.

The real value of an author school visit is not its entertainment value. The real value of an author school visit is the positive, life-changing impact it can have on students, while reinforcing the schools, teachers and librarians’ efforts in a way that no other activity or assembly can.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Why I Write

Best-selling author, Jeff Rivera, interviewed me the other day. In the interview I talk about why I write and how I hope to help kids, among other things. You can find the interview on his site at

Monday, August 1, 2011

Floods of Life

Sometimes life encroaches on our ability to get much writing done. Three weeks ago I came home from a family vacation to find our house flooded from a loose fridge/icemaker hose. My basement office was one of the rooms hits. So, dealing with the aftermath and being displaced from my office has made it difficult to do as much writing as I'd like, let alone post to my blog.

What are some of the routine things or difficulties of life that keep you from your writing?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Research in D.C.

I'm spending the week in our nation's capital doing research for a YA novel I'm currently working on. It's nice when you can combine work with family vacations.

What's been some of your funnest on-site research that you've done.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Authors Have a Life Too

I think some people picture an author’s life as being full of glamor, fame, and living an exotic lifestyle, I don’t know how it is with all authors, but I think most of us live pretty normal lives. That’s true even for the few best-selling authors that I know.  Some might have a few more conferences, book signings, and school visits than others, but other than that we deal with the same issues as everyone else.

For example, yesterday I spent a frustrating hour on the phone with the customer support people for our cell phone trying to get my phone to work right, and I received a fun letter from the IRS wanting more money from me. But I was also able to workout at the gym, give my youngest daughter a ride to school, spend the day working at my “real job” (freelance writing), coach my middle daughter’s soccer team practice, study for an online class, and help cook and eat barbecue with my family. It might not have been very glamorous, but overall it was a great day.

If you want an insight into some other authors’ lives, check out the King’s English Bookshop blog, where you’ll find interviews with the children’s book authors that will be presenting at the upcoming 2010 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Workshop this June.