"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Monday, September 26, 2022

Fall Writing

It's finally Fall! Although, you wouldn't know it in southeast Texas with temperatures hitting near 100 degrees as I'm writing this. I'm looking forward to the changing season. I'm also hoping to increase my writing output as I've been too distracted to write as much as I would like lately. I'm working full time, going to school full time, my kids are involved in a lot of extracurriculars which require a lot of travel, and we've had several family and friend losses lately. Don't get me wrong - I'm grateful for everything we have and share. It can all just be overwhelming at times and writing continually takes a backseat when it isn't directly related to a school or work assignment. In that vein, I thought I would share some writing prompts - not all of them are season related, but you can make them such if you wish. I hope they inspire some wickedly wonderful Autumn tales!

1) Write a Fall or Halloween special for your favorite television show.

2) Design your own school of magic: what does it look like? what subjects are taught? Who are the teachers? What are some of the back-to-school traditions?

3) Create a legend about your city.

4) Write an acrostic poem.

5) Write about a Thanksgiving dinner attended by your favorite fictional character.

6) Write a scene from the POV of Alexa or Siri.

7) Create a fake news report.

8) Write a retelling of your favorite Shakespeare play.

9) Write a scene that takes place in your favorite bookstore or coffee shop.

10) Write about a character who has terrible luck.

11) Write a Fall scene without using the word pumpkin.

12) Write about the worst possible break up you could imagine.

13) Make up your own conspiracy theory.

14) Write a story that takes place in a corn maze.

15) Write a ghost story.

16) Take a favorite Christmas song and rewrite the words to be about Halloween, or Thanksgiving.

What are you writing? Are you trying any of these? Any other prompts you want to share?

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Banned Books Week

September 18 is the beginning of "BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2022". Below is a couple of lists of ten of the most frequently challenged books.

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.

The Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged books list is compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) and is based on or derived from communities across the United States. According to their data here, the ten most challenged books of 2021 were:

1.  Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images

2. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit

3. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit

4. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit

5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda

6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term

7. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women

8. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit

9. This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.

10. Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: Banned a
nd challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit. 

You can also view previous lists as well at OIF. The list of the most banned books for 2022 will be available in April of 2023. However, if you're curious about the most frequently banned books in their records in America:


Some books have been repeatedly banned or challenged throughout history. This is a list of books that appear the most often on THE UNITED STATES banned books lists.

If you would like more information about banned and challenged books, contact the Office for Intellectual Freedom at (800) 545-2433, ext. 4220, or oif@ala.org. Another god source of information on banned books is the "Libraries and Center for Academic Technology" site by Butler University: https://libguides.butler.edu/c.php?g=34189&p=217684

Sunday, September 11, 2022

21st Anniversary of 9/11

High School and many college students were not even born yet when the Twin Towers were attacked. They learn about 9/11 as an historical event - if at all. I mentioned this anniversary to some of my students, and I was surprised at the number who either didn't remember learning about the event at first, or at all. Has our nation already forgotten this horrendous day occurred?

It's hard to believe that it's been more than 20 years since the attacks. America's motto following 9/11 was "We Will Never Forget." I was so proud of the way our country came together following that terrorist activity. Just as we have following any other attack by foes in our nations history.

Yet, now I see our country participating in another form of war - one of hate and disrespect. So many of our citizens are all too often ready to jump straight to hate. They can't wait to point out someone else's mistakes. Or worse yet, attacking an opinion or point of pride for someone else just because they do not feel the same. When did it become necessary that we all think, act, and feel just alike?

Has this intolerant culture been bred by social media making it easy to bite back immediately without facing the adversary? Have politicians stirred and fueled our hate and distrust of others? Have we forgotten what it's like to fear for our country? Will it take another act of war to force us to join together?

Where were you when the planes hit New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC? What is different about how you act and feel today than in 2001?

Take some time to consider and write about your feelings, memories, and what you think needs to happen in the future. Here are a few ideas:

1)      Write about your reaction to and activities the day of the September 11th attack.
2)      How have your feelings and understandings about the attacks of 9/11 changed?
3)      There were many heroes during the September 11th tragedy. Write about a hero or a heroic event that made an impression.
4)      September 11th is a Day of Remembrance. As we honor those who lost their lives on this day 2001, make a list of everything in your life that you are thankful for.
5)      Did the events of that day change your thoughts about your life? In what ways, if any, did you change?
6)      Sometimes a mistake becomes an opportunity. Explain…
A)    The terrorist mistake of bombing on 9/11 became an opportunity for the United States to demonstrate it is the strongest nation on earth.
B)    9/11 offered America the opportunity to learn from its mistaken efforts to dominate the globe.

Obviously your answers to #6 will offer diametrically opposed positions depending on how you view the United States' role as a world power, and on the extent to which you believe America should fight terrorism.

7)      BuddyProject.org offers suggested activities that your children can do as they research the events of September 11, 2001. Explore the various sites with your children and discuss with them the information that you find. Encourage older children to write about their findings and feelings.

Do you remember? Are you doing anything to commemorate this day? Is your town? To learn more about this event and how to commemorate. check out the 9/11 Memorial & Museum

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

IWSG: Genre Difficulties and a Book Launch!

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive. Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

What genre would be the worst one for you to tackle and why?

MY ANSWER - I would have the most difficult time writing anything that required a deep understanding of medical, political, or legal terminology. I'm not saying I couldn't reach a level of proficiency, and even enjoyment, in sharing this type of tale. I just currently do not have the knowledge to effectively tell such a story.

The First Love anthology is finally here! My short story "Paper Faces" is included in this sweet YA romance collection. If you are interested in learning more, or supporting the authors, check out the official tour schedule in my previous post.

How about you? What genre would be the worst one for you to tackle, and why?

Sunday, August 28, 2022

First Love Tour Dates

It's almost time! The official release date for the First Love anthology is September 6, 2022. My short story "Paper Faces" is included in this sweet YA romance collection. If you are interested in learning more, or supporting the authors, here is the official tour schedule:



9/1 – IWSG Anthologies Blog, http://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/

Book blurbs


9/5 - Kelly F Barr, https://kellyfbarr.com/blog/



9/6 - Kelly F Barr, https://kellyfbarr.com/blog/



9/7 – Diane Burton, http://dianeburton.blogspot.com



9/7 - Cathrina Constantine, http://cathrinaconstantine.blogspot.com/

Book feature


9/9 - Sandra Cox, https://sandracox.blogspot.com/2022/09/your-weekend-read-first-love-anthology.html

Book feature


9/12 - Elizabeth s. Craig, https://elizabethspanncraig.com/blog-3/

Article - Working on an Anthology


9/14 – C. Lee McKenzie, https://www.cleemckenziebooks.com/blog/



9/16 - Louise M. Barbour, https://selkiegrey4.blogspot.com/



9/19 - Susan Gourley, https://susangourley.blogspot.com/2022/09/first-love-art-of-making-doughnuts.html


Please stop by to say hi! If you're interested in helping to spread the word, please contact one of us and let us know how you would like to help. We'll send you a media kit.

What is your favorite part of a Book Tour?

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Language of Ray Bradbury

I've spent a lot of time over the last couple of months reading Ray Bradbury. The more I read of him, the more I admire, and feel I learn from this writer. He is one of the most celebrated American authors of the twentieth century. Bradbury strongly believed that writing should be developed through a combination of studying the authors you enjoy and one’s own life experiences. 

A few of my favorite reads and lines so far...

Fahrenheit 451: 

“It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history”


“The books are to remind us what asses and fool we are. They're Caeser's praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, "Remember, Caeser, thou art mortal." Most of us can't rush around, talking to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven't time, money or that many friends. The things you're looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore” (82).

Something Wicked This Way Comes:

“You two feet taller… you looking down at me Jim, and what’d we talk about, me with my pockets full of kite string and marbles and frog eyes and you with… empty pockets and making fun, is that what we’d talk, and you able to run faster and ditch me…” (127).


A stranger is shot in the street, you hardly move to help. But if, half an hour before, you spent just ten minutes with the fellow and knew a little about him and his family, you might just jump in front of his killer and try to stop it. Really knowing is good. Not knowing, or refusing to know is bad, or amoral, at least. You can’t act if you don’t know” (198). 

The Halloween Tree.

“See, boys?” Moundshroud’s face flickered with the fire. “The days of the Long Cold are done. Because of this one brave, new-thinking man, summer lives in the winter cave.” “But?” said Tom. “What’s that got to do with Halloween?” “Do? Why, blast my bones, everything. When you and your friends die every day, there’s no time to think of Death, is there? Only time to run. But when you stop running at long last—” He touched the walls. The apemen froze in mid-flight. “—now you have time to think of where you came from, where you’re going. And fire lights the way, boys. Fire and lightning. Morning stars to gaze at. Fire in your own cave to protect you. Only by night fires was the caveman, beastman, able at last to turn his thoughts on a spit and baste them with wonder. The sun died in the sky. Winter came on like a great white beast shaking its fur, burying him. Would spring ever come back to the world? Would the sun be reborn next year or stay murdered? Egyptians asked it. Cavemen asked it a million years before. Will the sun rise tomorrow morning?” “And that’s how Halloween began?” “With such long thoughts at night, boys. And always at the center of it, fire. The sun. The sun dying down the cold sky forever. How that must have scared early man, eh? That was the Big Death. If the sun went away forever, then what?” (60-62).


The unemployed of all midnight Europe shivered in their stone sleep and came awake. Which is to say that all the old beasts, all the old tales, all the old nightmares, all the old unused demons-put-by, and witches left in the lurch, quaked at the call, reared at the whistle, trembled at the summons, and in dust devils of propulsion skimmed down the roads, flitted skies, buckshot through shaken trees, forded streams, swam rivers, pierced clouds, and arrived, arrived, arrived” (Bradbury 97). 

How about you? Are you a Bradbury fan? What are some examples of written language that you enjoy?

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Happy National Book Lover's Day!

I hope you're enjoying an excellent read today!

If you've never heard of this celebration, National Book Lovers Day harnesses all the excitement bibliophiles feel about books into one celebration on August 9th. *Bibliophile – a person who has a great appreciation for or collects books.

A day for all those who love to read, National Book Lovers Day encourages you to find your favorite reading place, a good book (whether it be fiction or non-fiction) and read the day away.
Curious about the history of this day, or how others are spending it? Check out: