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

Monday, August 23, 2021

Final Call for IWSG Anthology Submissions

This is the last week to send a submission to this years IWSG anthology contest.

Guidelines and rules:

Word count: 5000-6000

Genre: Sweet Romance
Overall, your story should be clean of offensive material, including profanity, vulgarity, excessive violence, or sexually explicit or suggestive scenes.
Elements in your story should focus on romance, not on sex, which should be kept “behind closed doors.”
The overall plot should lead to a positive and uplifting outcome, also known as "happily ever after."
Absolutely no erotica or pornography.

And please note RWA's definition of romance:
Definition: Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel. An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.

Theme: First Love

Submissions accepted: 
May 7 - September 1, 2021

To learn more, check out: https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/the-2019-annual-iwsg-anthology-contest.html

Have you submitted this year? Do you plan to do so?

Monday, August 16, 2021

Reading to Inspire Students: Parolee and Pirates

At least once a month I try to share what I've been reading. Sometimes it's the fiction stories I'm enjoying, sometimes it's nonfiction or poetry, and sometimes it's craft specific titles that I share. Every summer, I dedicate a percentage of my free reading time to books that might aid in my classroom environment. Today, I thought I would share a few titles from my most recent selections:

1 and 2) I've only recently been introduced to Damon West. He visited with the staff at the high school where I teach. He will be visiting with staff and students at our school multiple times throughout this school year. His mission: to motivate positive character practices.

I picked up two of his books: the autobiography seen to the right, and his "coffee bean" ideology book seen below.

From the bestselling co-author of The Coffee Bean comes the true story of a well-raised kid, a three-year starting quarterback, a young person filled with potential…until a shocking addiction took hold.

Sentenced to sixty-five years in a Texas prison, Damon West once had it all. He came from a great family, in a home full of God, love, support, and opportunities to reach any goal. A natural born leader, an athlete with good looks and charm, he appeared to be the all-American kid pursuing his dreams.

Underneath this facade, however, was an addict in the early stages of disease. After suffering childhood sexual abuse by a babysitter at the age of nine, Damon began putting chemicals into his body to alter the way he felt.

Once he was introduced to methamphetamines, however, he became instantly hooked—and the lives of so many innocent people would forever be changed by the choices he made in order to feed his insatiable meth habit.

After a fateful discussion during his incarceration with a seasoned convict, Damon had a spiritual awakening. He learned that, like a coffee bean changing with the application of heat and pressure, he was capable of changing the environment around him. Armed with a program of recovery, a renewed faith, and a miraculous second chance at life, Damon emerged from over seven years of prison a changed man. His story of redemption continues to inspire audiences today.

3) I met Hal Roberts at another teacher seminar a couple of years ago, and I enjoyed his presentation enough to be interested in learning more about his educational ideas. This book has been sitting in my TBR pile for a bit, but I finally got to it this summer. 

Leadership is difficult, but it is also very rewarding. Join Hal as you sail away from safe harbors into the rough-sometimes treacherous, challenging, but never dull-waters of leadership. Hal will share his experiences of over thirty years of leadership using the acronym P-I-R-A-T-E-S to guide, inspire, and edify you on your leadership voyage. This book is not about attacking and pillaging ships on the high seas, but how to lead fearlessly and navigate the rough waters of leadership. Hal will share how relationships and trust are the foundation of leading others. Leading comes down to how much influence you have as a leader; and Hal tells how to spark, motivate, and lead your crew to fulfill their potential. He connects each of the attributes to neuroscience so that you can get "inside the brain" of your followers.

4) Hal Roberts, mentioned above, accredits this author as a mentor so I knew I had to check out his work as well. I wasn't disappointed.

Based on Dave Burgess's popular "Teach Like a PIRATE" seminars, this book offers inspiration, practical techniques, and innovative ideas that will help you to increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator. You'll learn how to: • Tap into and dramatically increase your passion as a teacher • Develop outrageously engaging lessons that draw students in like a magnet • Establish rapport and a sense of camaraderie in your classroom • Transform your class into a life-changing experience for your students This groundbreaking inspirational manifesto contains over 30 hooks specially designed to captivate your class and 170 brainstorming questions that will skyrocket your creativity. Once you learn the Teach Like a PIRATE system, you'll never look at your role as an educator the same again.

What books would you recommend teachers read? What advice would you give teachers of future writers? If you were going to write a book for educators, or create your own curriculum, what would it be about?

Monday, August 9, 2021

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:

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

IWSG: Favorite Writing Craft Books

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 is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

MY ANSWER - There are about a dozen of these that I frequently revisit. Many of these I am certain you have heard of from most other writers. However, I will share two I feel are well worth your time and not as frequently touted as a "MUST READ."  First, is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and second is This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley. Both of these offer beautiful and inspiring glimpses into following your creativity regardless of fear and doubt. I wish I heard more people mention these two alongside such classics as:

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft  By Stephen King
The Hero With A Thousand Faces  By Joseph Campbell
The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers  By Christopher Vogler
The Associated Press Stylebook  By Associated Press
Writing 21st Century Fiction By Donald Maass
Bird by Bird  By Anne Lamott
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within  By Natalie Goldberg

How about you? What is your favorite writing craft book?