Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

As I scrolled through all the excited Happy New Year wishes on blogs and facebook. I spend each year at this time wondering what the fuss is all about. I've just honestly never understood the big deal. The calendar turns over. So what?

Now, I'm not stupid despite what you might have heard. I understand it's the symbolic idea of casting off the past and looking forward with hope to the future that looms before us. It's renewal, rebirth. We have shifted the celebration of life renewed to the New year as opposed to the arrival of Spring which many of our ancestors used to serve just this same purpose.

So if this time of year is special to you, then I wish you a Happy New Year.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Spam Posts

Lately the number of spammer comments being posted to this blog are increasing at an alarming rate. It seams every day or two I have to delete a comment from a past or current blog from some spambot or another. I mean, I hope these are coming from spambots and not people who are somehow "earning money at home on the internet" by spamming nonsense all over people's blogs and forums. If it's the latter, you should be ashamed of yourself.

I discovered from someone that this is exactly the "earn money at home" nonsense with which some people are getting involved. It seems that they earn cyber dollars for each time they post this "advertising". Interesting concept. How about we all drop by your house and scatter leaflets over your yard and house like a flipping blizzard? Every day.

I wonder if there is an option to eliminate anonymous posters? Otherwise I'm going to be forced to moderate all comments. I know some who do.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Santa Baby

The past few years I've counted down the days to Christmas with a new sexy Santa pic every day. Well this year I decided to do something different. Instead of sexy, how about a whole different kind of warm fuzzy feelings?

It's Z's second Christmas, and his first one that he can actually participate in. He still doesn't know what's going on, but hey, half the fun is for us at this point. This first pic is of Z with Santa last year. He was only a couple of weeks old. Below it is this years, he's grown just a bit.

That's "Brown Bear" Santa is holding. Z doesn't go anywhere without Brown Bear except to sleep. Then it's all about Heffelump the musical elephant.
So to you from us, Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I hate publishing

In the last month or so I’ve come to a realization that shocked me. I have recently discovered that while I love writing, I hate publishing. With a passion.

I had dreamed of being a writer as a little girl and when I got older I re-embraced that dream. I began writing again and enjoyed the creative process. I grew close to many of the people I met as I honed my skills and shared with other writers. Then one day, what I thought I wanted came true. I received an offer to publish my manuscript. I was going to be a real writer. A published author.

What I didn’t realize was all the shit that comes along with publishing. Like most people, I guess I had been under the impression that the bulk of the pr for a book would be handled, or at least orchestrated, by the publisher. I assumed there would be some support from the publisher related to marketing of the product they were publishing. What I discovered was that, at least in my experience, the bulk of the pr has been left to me. This is a recipe for disaster for someone like me. I know zip about pr. I’m not a “people person” who knows how to chat people up. I have no business experience and was left with little to no concept of how to promote the books that were being published.

Talking to other authors from other publishers, I’ve learned that it’s not just my experience. According to what I’ve been told even authors who are known find themselves responsible for orchestrating some of their pr, often handled by either a professional firm or by an agent; two things I have no involvement with and don’t think I want to.

During the few years I've been involved in publishing my work, I've heard again and again about writers being mistreated and cheated by their publishers. I can't say that's been my experience, but I can't argue with their experiences.

So while I’ll probably always write, I don’t see myself publishing again for a long time. If I do, it won’t be in the erotic romance genre. But that’s a whole other moment of confession.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mystery Writers of America delists Harlequin

Harlequin Romance finds itself in more trouble as MWA follows the lead of RWA and removes Harlequin from it's approved publishers list. Read the full posting below.

Mystery Writer's of America delists Harlequin

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, December 7, 2009

'Tis the TV season

It is the season for holiday specials. I love holiday special and movies, especially the older ones. When compiling my list of favorites I found that I had to separate them into two categories, specials and movies. So here are mine, and I’d like to know yours.

1. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
-This is my favorite and I wait for it every year. I loveFred Astair and Micky Rooney.

2. Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
-This is a lesser known one, but it is sweet and charming. It's based on Frank L. Baum's book.

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
-a classic, of course I'm talking about the animated version.

4. Charlie Brown Christmas

5. Year Without a Santa Claus
-"I'm Mr. Heat Miser, I'm Mr. Sun."

1. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
-You can't beat Natalie Wood and Maureen O'Hara.

2. A Christmas Carol (1938)
-This one is a tradition with my stepdad and me. We watch it every year on Christmas Eve, even when we aren't in the same city.

3. A Christmas Story
-Ralphie brings to life the best and worst of a real family at holidays. We can all identify.

4. The Homecoming
-The original Waltons. This version had a different set of parents, but the kids were the same. It's a great story about what's really important at Christmas.

5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
-Talk about being able to identify...Every family has a cousin Eddie.

6. The Santa Clause
-Tim Allen is surprisingly great as the man in the red suit.

7. White Christmas
-Danny Kaye was one of my all time favorite song and dance men. He and Bing make this a terrific movie filled with music and laughter.

8. Bells of St. Mary’s
-Bing again with the etherial and amazing Ingrid Bergman. This is on my list of top ten movies period.

9. The Bishop’s Wife
-Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven. It's hard to mess that up.

10. It’s a Wonderful Life
-If you'd asked me a few years ago, I'd not have listed it because Ted Turner nearly ruined it by colorizing it and running it every hour on the blessed hour the whole Christmas season. But through it all, Jimmy Stewart still gave us a classic.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It seems as if there is no holiday that happens this time of the year that doesn’t come with it’s share of controversy, especially Thanksgiving. The myth of early English/Native American relations at the Plymouth settlement may have wrapped itself around the Thankgiving holiday in the United States, but it isn’t origin of the holiday. If we look deeper we can find more than the cultural conflicts that work to separate us and find those things which draw us together.

Thanksgiving is essentially a harvest festival and those have existed as long as man has been actively cultivating the earth. The Canaanites and Phoenicians celebrated their harvest. The Egyptians celebrated in Spring with sorrowful displays as they wept and moaned while cutting down their corn, believing it necessary to show remorse for taking the “spirits” they believed lived in the corn. The Greeks honored Demeter with their multi-day celebrations. Much of the celebrations within the temples of Demeter were kept secret. Many scholars believe they involved “fertility rights” that may have been shocking even by Greek standards. The Romans thanked Ceres, Demeter’s alter-ego, in the festival of Cerelia in early October.

Native American tribes generally had multiple celebrations throughout the year depending on where they lived. Many Eastern tribes celebrated the Green Corn Festival when the first of the corn was ready to be harvested. The Harvest Moon festival in October rejoiced in the last of the harvest of the Three Sisters (beans, squash and corn)—the spirits of the earth whose gifts kept The People fed. Plains tribes celebrated the harvests, but also the movements of the herd animals.

In Africa, Asia, Europe and the New World we have celebrated the glories of the Earth’s abundance no matter who we thank for that bounty. With the economy the way it is, it is easy for us to lose ourselves in what we do not have and forget to be happy with what we do have. And in these times it is perhaps even more important that we take this time to be grateful for what we have.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Have You Ever Seen Anything So Cute?

Isn't it precious?

On a totally unrelated note:

Jewels of Ursus is finally available through! Yeah!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sorry little dude. I don't have any hotdogs and after today I don't have any money either...sheesh!

My car failed the emissions test that is required before I can renew my car tag. I ended up having to have over $1,000 in repairs to replace my catalytic converter and both O2 sensors.

I'm not complaining about my mechanics. These guys are actually quite awesome. We can trust them and they take good care of our cars. These are the same guys who, when our car broke down the day Z was due, their owner offered to loan us his personal car to use because he didn't want me to not have a car when the baby was that close. They tell us what has to be done and what can wait. One of the things they had said could wait a bit was this particular repair.

What I'm complaining about is the law that requires the emissions check. I'm not sure how helpful this is to clean air when you are forcing people who don't have a lot of money and need their cars to work to pay their bills and feed their kids, to pay for repairs they don't really need yet so they can keep their cars legal. Especially in these economic times. I can tell you it cleared out our savings just so I could keep my car legal.

Monday, November 16, 2009


For the longest time I wrote only poetry. It was just the last five or six years that I've seriously turned my hand to prose. My poetry, like my short prose, always came out of a dark place inside me. If I was happy, I wasn't writing. This poem was previously published in an anthology titled, American Poets: An Anthology. There was a volume number, but I don't remember what it was.

On Becoming Invisible
by Jacqueline Roth

The smiling faces
Gazing back
Eyes look through
Glazed and unseeing
Because no one is here

A silent scream
Begging to be recognized
Becomes a murmur
A part of the drone
A whisper unheard
Unimportant, unheeded, unneeded

Laughter surrounds
Oblivious to the torment
Concealed so well
Because no one is seen
No one is noticed
Grey space filled but vacant

A shadow
A movement
From the corner of the eye
Gone in an instant
Unregistered by synapses
Forgotten before known

Filler for the background
A shape without form
A blur of grey
Indistinguishable from the crowd
The tree lost in the forest

Breathing stops
Heartbeat stills
Humanity slips away
Fading away in the silence
Lesson taught, lesson learned
On Becoming Invisible

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

End of the Line for Newspapers?

Today I had an interesting experience that brought center stage how much our world is changing from what it was when we were kids, to what it is for kids today. We can no longer take for granted that our kids know and understand things that we consider basic literacy and I’m not so sure that it is necessarily that much of a tragedy.

For those who don’t know, I teach reading/literature to middle schoolers as my day job. Right now we are working on a unit on expository reading. During this unit I teach my students, 7th and 8th graders, how to get the most out of reading expository and informational texts. Now this can range from better understanding their text books to how to wade through research sources for the right information to just being able to read the daily news and understand what is going on.

It was this last one that caught my attention today. For the first time I’m teaching “gifted” or advanced readers along side my average and struggling readers. It has been interesting. So today when I gave a mini-lesson activity involving reading a newspaper article that I expected to take no more than 10 minutes and wound up spending 30 minutes plus on it, I was dumbfounded.

My average and struggling readers who have been taking “reading” classes all along plunged right in. They took the stack of newspaper I had purchased that morning (and can we talk about the cost of newspapers? Wow…) found an article that interested them, cut it out, answered the basic questions on the worksheet, stapled it together, turned it in and were ready to go on. Average time, 10 minutes. So far so good.

My “gifted” kids floundered. This is the first time that our district has required “reading” be taken by those students who showed a proficient level. Prior to this, they had skipped reading and taken a foreign language. They didn’t know how a newspaper was divided, they couldn’t identify the parts of a newspaper article, couldn’t tell an article from a column from a letter to the editor from an ad. I was floored and frustrated. They’re eighth graders who can’t read a newspaper?

Then, on my long drive home I got to thinking. So what? Other than the fact that our lovely standardized tests will ask them to do such tasks, was it such a big deal that they couldn’t read a newspaper? As one of them said, “Who reads newspapers?” I spent my day teaching these kids a manufactured skill that they will not need except to pass some test. Boy was my day productive.

Our kids are living in a world that will most likely see the demise of the local newspaper and probably the demise of the printed daily newspaper. Magazines continue because they provide background and depth, but the daily newspaper is a dinosaur that is fast becoming extinct.

This makes me sad, on one hand. I know a lot of newspaper folks, people who work for or around newspapers. I myself spent a few months working as a copy editor/paginator. It was an interesting experience. Many of them are the last fish flapping in the drying up pond, trying to convince themselves that the rains will come again. But to be perfectly honest with ourselves, newspapers are out of date. The whole newspaper industry is the Amish cart and horse trotting along the road being whizzed past by the rest of the world-- romantic and nostalgic but not practical.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

We took the hungry dragon to the mall to trick or treat. Okay, he didn't really trick or treat, he just played and watched all the people. Our mall has a kids area and he got to play with several other little kids.

Right now he's sacked out in his pack-n play. I need to wake him up soon to eat and go to bed. But you know the saying, never wake a sleeping dragon.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ghostly ghosts

Do you believe in ghosts? In the western world we don’t believe in all the creatures that go bump in the night that we used to. Our ancestors once believed strongly in vampires, werewolves, ghouls zombies, and other dwellers in the darkness. Now of days, though many people do believe in angels and demons, the belief in most other creatures has gone away.

But many still believe in ghosts and that belief has grown more and more a part of pop culture. Several television shows now tout true “ghost hunters” and claim to investigate locations that are believed to be haunted.

I live in the Atlanta, GA area. Almost everywhere in the metro area was at one time the site of a battlefield. The city is very old and many places here are considered to be haunted. We even have our own “ghost hunters” who collect EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) and recordings of foot steps and other evidence of ghostly activity.

In fact, a local morning radio station, Q100, is planning on spending tomorrow night taping an entire four hour show in an undisclosed location that is supposedly the site of tremendous paranormal activity. They will run that in place of their live show on Friday morning. All this week, they have been featuring “evidence” collected by the Atlanta Ghost Hunters. Scroll down on this page, to listen to some of the EVP’s they’ve collected. Or go here. You have to hear the “He panicked” one. There were no women on their investigation that night.

I have to admit that I do, in some ways believe in ghosts. I’m not sure they are the souls of those people who have died, but I do believe that some people see or hear things that are best described as ghosts. I do tend to take a more science oriented approach. I do wonder if, based on the theories of time put forth by Einstein and Hawking, if we are seeing overlaps in time.

You see science now believes that time isn’t a straight line, but exists in waves like many other forces in our universe. If that’s so, perhaps some of these waves touch, allowing us to peek into another time. To me this explains those hauntings that are called residuals, ghosts are seen doing things they may have done in life. It also makes me wonder if it couldn’t explain UFO sightings as well. After all, if time warps and we can see the past, perhaps we can see the future as well.

Far out, I know. Odd, I know. But it’s one of those weird things that floats through my mind on my hour and a half long commute in the predawn hours of the morning.

And speaking of ghostly things, don't forget to play Sam Cheever and Friends Halloween contest. It's easy, all you have to do is go trick or treating. Click on the link and get started filling your treat bag.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween Contest

Once again the exceptional Sam Cheever is sponsoring a Halloween contest and I'm thrilled to participate this year. The contest runs the entire last week of October.

In addition to a Kindle ereader, (yes, I said a Kindle ereader) the winner will also get a black, leather Kindle case, a short-sleeved Finn t-shirt and a long sleeved Purple Prose t-shirt. A free download of a Linda Mooney book, a gorgeous scarf, a handmade book thong, and a personal size photo album from Lizzie T. Leaf , a signed copy of Ghost Lover from Christopher Newman, and assorted other goodies!

All you have to do is go trick or treating. Yep, it's that simple. Visit each of the authors' houses on our "street" and select one item from our goodie bags. Email the author with your choice and winners will be drawn from all the entries. Then click on the trick or treat icon on each page and move on to the next house.

You must be 18 to play and only one trip down the lane each.

So get started at the first stop on our street by visiting Sam Cheever's house. Have fun.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Don't Call Me a Gypsy

Did you realize the term “gypsy” was a pejorative term? In many languages it was synonymous with the term thief, demon, or whore. Millions of people were tortured, enslaved and killed because of the connotations of that word. To many of the Romani, or Roma, it is as offensive as the “n” word is to an African-American.

My great-grandmother immigrated to the United States in 1908. She was 8 years old. Her family came here for two reasons. First was to seek treatment for her older sister who had accidentally ingested a mixture of lye and water thinking it was milk. A bit of the mixture was inhaled as she coughed and gasped. The doctors in Hungary told my great-great-grandfather to take her on a sea voyage and the sea air would help her lungs. (The second reason had to do with the rumors of pogroms spreading across Eastern Europe-a place that had just, within the last 30 years, outlawed slavery for those known as “gypsies”.)

So my grandpa Karl, a widower with six small children, did the only thing he knew. He sold everything they had and booked passage for his family to join family members in America. There were several complications, one of which led to my great-grandmother Anna staying behind for a year with her oldest brother Josef (later Anglicanized to Joseph at Ellis Island) and her grandmother Maria. When Anna arrived in the United States she found her sister healthy and her family living a secret.

No one knew they were Romani. What people call gypsies. But in 1908 the United States and the people of that country weren’t thrilled to welcome “gypsies” into their midst. So they hid who they were. They became simple Hungarians, active in the Hungarian community. I found out later while researching, that this isn’t uncommon. The Romani who entered the country at the previous turn of the century either clung doggedly to their traditions, or shamefully hid them.

My great-grandmother took her secret to her grave. We only found out because her sister did not keep her secret. She told her children. At my great-grandmother’s funeral, her nephew told our branch of the family the truth. They had never spoken of it to any of us out of respect.

What causes someone to be so afraid of who they are that they would hide it for their entire lives?

*Rumors were spread in medieval times that the Roma were
descended from a sexual encounter between a Roma woman and Satan.
*Another belief was that Roma forged the nails used in Christ's

*The Christian genocide against Witches during the late
Middle Ages and Renaissance was also directed against the Roma. The courts seized and imprisoned them in Witches' prisons, often without even bothering to record their names.

*The Diet of Augsburg ruled that Christians could legally kill Roma. Meanwhile, the courts were closed to Roma who were injured by

*In 1721, Emperor Karl VI of what is now Germany ordered total
genocide of the Roma. "Gypsy Hunts" were organized to track down and exterminate them.

*Roma were rounded up and imprisoned in Spain during 1749. They
were considered a danger to society.

*In 1792, 45 Roma were tortured and executed for the murder of some Hungarians, who were in fact alive and who observed the executions.

*During the 17th century many gypsies were forced to become slaves in Hungary and Romania, where their final liberation did not take place until 1855. It is believed that as much as half of the Roma in Europe were enslaved, from the 14th century until Romani slavery was abolished in the mid-19th century. In some parts of Europe it took even longer for slavery to be forbidden.

*In many places Christianity closed its doors completely to the Romani. Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches refused to baptize “gypsy” infants.

Though it was after the fact, let us not forget that the oppression didn't end in the 19th century. Two million of the Nazi Holocaust victims were “gypsies” including these child victims. They were considered even lower on the hierarchy of hate than the Jews and the criminally insane.

The Romani or Roma are still considered one of the most oppressed people in the world. With these stories in her ears and fear for her family, a frightened little girl hid the truth of her identity to the day she died.

I ask that you consider this the next time you toss about the term gypsy, incorporate it in a title or use the term to make your heroine or hero seem more mysterious.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Two Books Down

My To Be Read list has grown smaller by two books over the last two days.

Yesterday evening I finished Dan Brown's latest, The Lost Symbol. (A couple of minor -and cryptic-spoilers follow, so read on at your peril) It was a perfectly respectable read that seemed to take me forever. Not because of it's length or complexity, or even because of quality. I would just set it down and find something else I needed to do and forget to come back to it. Well, I finally finished it, tucked up in bed with my cold medicine and it was good. I still think Angels and Demons was his best effort. The Lost Symbol continues the rather preachy tone that really reved itself in The Da Vinci Code. The lead character in this trilogy, Robert Langdon keeps getting bitch-slapped with Christianity. First he goes along with a church cover-up in A&D, then he ends up kneeling at the tomb of the "Holy Grail" after saving Jesus' great, great, great (on and on great) granddaughter, and now he ends up nearly dead because someone buried a bible in the corner stone of a building in Washington, D.C.

Sorry, but if I were Langdon I'd either become a contemplative monk in the mountains and take a vow of silence, or I'd slap the next person who showed me a Judeo-Christian-Islamic artifact until they begged for mercy and promised to leave me alone.

The second book I read today. I started it this afternoon and read straight through, even as my son used me for a jungle gym. He didn't mind, it seemed my only needed participation in the game was to sit still and not complain too much when he used my hair to pull himself up. This absolute page turner was Cindy Spencer Pape's Crazy for the Cowboy. And quite frankly folks, I enjoyed it a lot more than the above.

I've never been one for cowboys. The clack of cowboy boots and the smell of sweaty horses and dust just doesn't do a thing for me. That having been said, I find myself loving this series by Pape. The Cowboy's Christmas Bride is book one and all three books are available in either electronic or print formats.

The Love at the Crazy H series is filled with all the best parts of romance. Sexy, intelligent, gentle, alpha males who know how to make you swoon; strong, very believable and identifiable heroines who are not too good to be true; and hot, toe-curling, heart melting romance. And this is why I'm up, still coughing my head off, but unable to wait to buy the third book.

Now what to read until it arrives?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Empty Nest?

I’m suffering from an artificial empty nest syndrome. My SO and Z are visiting Grandma in Florida.

Now I admit the first day it was sort of nice. I came home from work, tended to my dogs and then lay down and took a long nap. It was glorious. But now, several days in on a Saturday I feel sort of lost. And a bit guilty. The SO has come down with a bug while on vacation and Grandma is having to step up and take extra care of Z.

The good part of the visit is that Z is loving Grandma’s swimming pool. The SO and Grandma have been letting him play in it every day. I hear he’s a bit pink, not burned, but getting some nice Florida coloring.

If only Grandma’s doggy was as enthusiastic. She is less than happy about this toddling little fellow who chases her around, sits on Grandma’s lap, plays in her water bowl and tries to take her toys. Lazy’s reaction? Run from the baby, try to push him off Grandma’s lap and take the baby’s toys, too.

Well, I’m off. Today is a busy day. I have an eye appointment and then an appointment with the local movie theater. The SO doesn’t like movies, so I’m planning a film festival. I hope your Saturday is as *cough**cough* productive.

UPDATE: Will NOT be having film festival except in front of own television. Must have new glasses and was floored by how much they will cost. YIKES!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

You have to love Aussies

This video is making the rounds of You Tube and Facebook. But as a teacher, I fully believe it is time someone said these things. I don't know if it's true, but I do know the school it supposedly comes from is a real school in Queensland, Australia.

You see, a new policy making parents responsible for their children's absences and homework has not gone over well in Queensland, according to the story. In fact, the school is supposedly being sued to force teachers to change failing grades for students who missed excessive amounts of school and didn't complete enough course work to pass. If so, I hope this is real and I hope it really pissed off exactly the parents it was aimed at.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hanging Out

The last couple of days have been lovely cool down here in Georgia. It feels a lot like autumn, which isn’t usual for this early in the year. K and I were able to enjoy today doing some of the things we did pre Z due to a dear friend, D, who kept him for us today. She and her son kept him today and a good time was had by all. D’s son is 16 and he is a pretty awesome kid. So Z got to have a big kid to play with for the afternoon.

K and I went to one of our favorite places in Atlanta, Little Five Points. This intersection of Euclid, McClendon and Moreland is Atlanta’s mini version of New York’s Village. It’s filled with dozens of fascinating shops and little restaurants and eateries that are amazing. There are several vintage clothing shops, some edgy little boutiques, tattoo parlors, piercing places, used book stores, the oldest feminist book store it the South, new age shops and lots of shops with hand crafted jewelry, vintage and hard to find music, and a farmer’s co-op with organic and hard to find raw and bulk foods.

We started at Savage Pizza. This is without a doubt the best pizza ever. The place itself is fun. Superhero action figures hang over your head and comic book style murals adorn the brightly colored walls. The variety of sauces is terrific and the staff are definitely as interesting as the décor.

After lunch we took a walks around. We stopped at Wax-n-Facts. This little hole in the wall sells records. Yes, records. They have some second hand cd’s as well, but the focus is that you can buy almost any vintage record album you might be searching for by any artist.

Vintage and artist are the key words for Little Five Points. The plaza is filled with musicians and artists displaying their skills. Shops selling vintage clothing line the small piazza along with stores that offer original jewelry. And then there are the more edgy places such as “Le Petite Mort”. Let’s face it, any store named for an orgasm will get your attention.

We spent sometime in Crystal Blue, the new age store. I love to browse the crystals, stones, incense and beautiful jewelry on display. They sell reference books, spell kits, meditation aids and all things relaxing and enlightening. After roaming about we headed to Charis book store, the oldest feminist book store in the South. The lavender colored house has been converted to a book store dedicated to the feminine. Books by women and for women adorn the wall and the Charis Circle community holds workshops and events intended to empower women.

Then back to the car past the Vortex where the smell of grilling burgers teases even a full stomach. The Vortex, whose grinning skull entrance turns heads and whose menu bears the words “If it ain’t on the menu, you can’t have it.”

It was a great day. We haven’t had the opportunity to just hang out there for some time. When Z’s a little older, we’ll have to take him with.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Banned Books and painful ignorance.

"What you are about to read is a true account of events. Trust me folks, I couldn't make this stuff up. No one is that creative."

This is National Banned Book week. The American Library Association (ALA) sponsors this awareness raising event every year to raise the issue of censorship in American schools and public libraries.

So today I went to school in a t-shirt that proclaimed “I’m with the banned”. First of all, several people tried to tell me I misspelled “band”.

I had a slide show going with the title “Banned Book week” and slide after slide of book titles of the most often challenged books. I thought I would simple raise questions among the students as to what was going on. But being the drama filled kiddies they are, they assumed it meant I was banning those books for the week. They were very upset, which I guess is good.

The most frightening thing was that as we discussed the books, my students displayed the most appalling lack of cultural awareness and simple knowledge about the world, literature, history and art. One of the books on the list is “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”. I explained this was a book by an amazing poet, Maya Angelou and waited. Every year I have at least one student ask if I meant Michelangelo. I explain no, Michelangelo is the Renaissance painter and sculptor and Maya Angelou is a talented African American poet.

What followed however, resulted in my having to step into the hall and take several deep breaths to keep from banging my head against the wall.

Student 1: “The dog from Beethoven was a painter?”

Me: “What?”

Student 1: “Michelangelo is the name of one of the dogs on the movie Beethoven.”

Student 2: “No he’s not, he’s one of the Ninja Turtles”

Me: “No guys, those characters were named for the artist just like the dog Beethoven was named for the famous composer?”

Student 3: “What’s a composer?”

Me: “Someone who writes music. Michelangelo is famous for sculpting The David and painting the Sistine Chapel.”

Student 3: “What’s that sistinn thing?”

Student 4: “Is that like one of the places in Las Vegas where you can get married?”

Me: [groaning] “No, the Sistine Chapel is in Rome…[blank stares]…at the Vatican…[blank stares]…in Italy…[blank stares]…where the Pope lives…anyway, he was a Renaissance artist.

Student 3: “Oh, I know like Paul Revere.

Me: “Huh?”

Student 3: “He rode through the town yelling the Renaissance is coming, the Renaissance is coming.”

Me: [stunned silence]

Other students: [blank looks of confusion]

Me: "Noooo, Paul Revere road through the countryside telling people the British were coming…you know the American Revolution?”

Student 3: “Oh”

Student 5: “So are Michelangelo and Maya Angelou brother and sister?”

At that point I had to step out side or scream.

Monday, September 28, 2009

New video

I'd kind of expect to show this off at RomantiCon, but it feels nice and cozy to share it with you. This is the trailer for the lastest release, Jewels of Ursus. The book is a compilation of the the three novellas I wrote surrounding the Ursine family, a family of shape-shifters who transform...naturally, into Bears.

I enjoy the process of making these trailers, but it can turn a bit obsessive. I get lost in the amount of time that has passed.

Today was the first day back at school for the kids in the county where I teach. They had been out all last week because of the damage from the floods. We still had no drinkable water in the building and our PTSO provided bottles of water for the students to carry about with them since they can't use the water fountains.
I admit I'm exhausted today. So exhausted that I'm hoping I'm going to be forgiven for falling asleep.
Z and I have routine. His last nap time comes right about the time he and I get home for the day. I give him a bottle and lay him down. Then I get comfortable and take a few minutes to read or just rest. This afternoon I fell asleep and Z slept too right up until K got home. The dear let me sleep and I snoozed until about 11pm and will be going back to bed momentarily.
It's our anniversary. I found a card waiting for me on the computer when I woke up. Crapmonkeys.
We have a date weekend this weekend. A friend is keeping Z for the day on Saturday so we can have some couple time. I'll have to make up for it then.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Because of the recent flooding, regretfully I’m not going to be able to attend the RomantiCon coming up next month. I had registered early on, had my hotel room reserved, had gathered all my goodies for readers and was making my list of authors I wanted to meet and hunt autographs from.

I was so looking forward to it because I can’t attended the RT conventions because they always fall during the state standardized testing week my school has to undergo each year.

So now I have to move to plan B. I’m boxing up some of the goodies and sending them express to Ellora’s Cave. They’ve promised to set them out on the swag table for me. However, that still leaves me trying to figure out what to do with 200 cherry-flavored white rose suckers, 100 old-fashioned candy sticks, and a ceramic bear holding a medium sized fishbowl that I was going to fill with red, white and purple stones and use to hold the candy. (Red for rubies, purple for amethysts and white for opals – the stones in my Jewels of Ursus series.) It would take far too long to individually label each one of the treats to send.

So, I think I’m going to take the bear to school with me and use the bowl for candy or maybe for a small beta fish to liven up my classroom. I’ve always had fish in my room until the last couple of years. I had a group of kids who had no respect for anything or anyone one year. In one 50 minute class period, while I was out and a substitute was supposed to be watching them, the destroyed my stereo, tore posters off the walls, and tried to kiss my fish. In addition to dumping the whole canister of food into the tank, they sprayed it Lysol. The sub of course saw nothing, but you corner a 13 year-old and he’ll rat on his friends so fast you’ll smell the cheese.

Well, Bob the Beta showed them. He lived another 9 months, safe at home in his tank. He finally passed away after a little fishy stroke that left him unable to move his left fins. He hovered at the bottom of the tank and when he swam, swam in circles.

Our school population has changed since then and I can’t see my current kids being so deliberately vicious. Not to mention that sub was banned at our school. When she objected that she hadn’t see anything, she was told that the option was she could pay me for the almost $300 in damage that had been done her watch.

Sorry to digress. I’ll miss seeing all of you and as a way to make up for it, I’ll be holding a give away or two in the upcoming weeks and giving out copies of Jewels of Ursus and some other goodies. I’ll also be sponsoring some giveaways for Bitten By Books’ Halloween anniversary celebration.

Til then, be safe.


I've been trying to update my blog for a couple of days now and keep getting an error message. Let's see if this works and then, maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Still Here

It's been very interesting in Atlanta the last few days. Most of us were checking Genesis for the specification on building an ark.

The metro Atlanta, GA area received 15+" of rain in a 24 hour period on top of rain showers that had been off and on for a couple of weeks. Sunday night was bad, but it got worse overnight and Monday. We have hundreds of people without homes right now and at least 8 confirmed fatalities.

(Pictures courtesy of the Atlanta Journal Constitution)

The school I work at closed Monday and will remain closed until at least Thursday. Roads washed out across the area. Major interstates were closed and the Georgia Dept. of Transportation was begging people not to go anywhere. The picture above and to the right is a major convergence of interstates that turned into a river.

One family in our county saw their flooded home burn while the fire trucks got stranded and could not reach them. Below, the road near the school where I teach washed completely away. Several miles down the road it did so again, stranding several families stuck in the middle. Backroads were dangerous and impassible. Fatalities range from 8-10 people, including one toddler, who were swept away by the flood waters.
Near us several subdivisions were flooded and a horse ranch had to have it's four-legged occupants evacuated. Our house sits up on a hill and has three floors. We had to have the roof repaired today because the rains had overloaded seals around the venting pipes on the roof. Our entry way got a bit damp, but other than that we're all home, safe and sound.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Getting Ready for Romanticon

There are just a couple of weeks left before heading off to RomantiCon. I'm trying to decide what to pack and what to wear. I have a few goodies for readers coming with me and one special stow-away.

No, not a long-hair Chihuahua, but my miniature dachshund. Wendell travels with me most places that I go. He loves to curl up in the passenger's seat and snooze. I foresee a lot ot time curled up in the hotel room for him, but he hates being borded.

At present it seems we're going to need to build an ark in the backyard. It's been raining for over a week now and some parts of Atlanta are flooded. This for an area that had been under severe drought conditions for several years.

The good part, I guess, is that our lakes and resevoirs are almost back up to normal levels...almost.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Who'll Keep Baby Out of the Corner, Now?

I remember being in high school and watching the movie that opened the door to the "Brat Pack". The Outsiders. That movie introduced so many teen heart-throbs and film legends that looking back it seems startling. Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Emilio Esteves, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell and Leif Garrett. Some of them are now relegated to the has-been list, but at the time, they were it.

But there was one more guy that was part of this pool of amazing young talent. The oldest of the boys, Darry Curtis, was played by the late Patrick Swayze. Long before he became the very face of romance to the tune of Unchained Melody, before he helped Baby out her corner, before he led a rag-tag team of high-schoolers against the invading Communists, and before he was kicking butt in RoadHouse he was the "adult" keeping a lid on and providing some stability for a group of Greasers in The Outsiders.

Swayze was a rarity among the Hollywood scene. He was someone who could do it all. He sang, danced, acted, wrote and directed. His teenage marriage to his wife lasted over 30 years. Caught up in no more scandal over the years than confessing to and getting treatment for a drinking problem, Swayze was never anything but polite and grateful to his fans. His courage as he battled cancer these last two years was inspiring.

He certainly had a great deal to teach some of Hollywoods current crowd, including that bouche-dag Kanye West. But let's not give that moron anymore press than he already gets.

So thank you Mr. Swayze, you will be remembered and missed.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Muses, dragons and reviews

Received a nice review for Circle of Wolves from Bitten by Books.

"You will be pleasantly surprised at the depth of emotions and the vivid lifelike quality of the characters. I truly enjoyed watching Evan come into contact with his wolf half and seeing him and Kira learn to love and trust one another, despite the completely different ways that they were raised. I was not exactly sure what to expect when I started reading this, but I did not think I would be so drawn into the story! Want to be surprised by the twists and turns that take place right in front of you? Then read Circle of Wolves and sit back for a tale that will surprise and enthrall you." -Nicole (4 tombstones)

Circle of Wolves is one of the books that will be available at the RomantiCon book fair in October.

I received the my order for some of the goodies I'll be giving out at the Author Mania portion of RomantiCon. Unlike the very talented Anny Cook who will no doubt dazzle with some of the goodies she's preparing, I have to resort to buying them. I'm preparing a few items to pass out to readers, and I hope you'll like them.

We did a little shopping today. We bought a new refrigerator. Our old one has been dripping water for some time now and it was just time to retire it. We also bought a costume for Z. He's going to be a dragon for Halloween. We're planning ahead of time so we can get pictures taken of him in his costume.

Writing has been very slow for me lately. It's not just the time constraints of Z. I guess what I'm writing lately doesn't grab me, so I know it won't grab anyone else. I'm looking for something original. I'm tired of the same old. The original appeal to me of the paranormal was that it could be or do anything. Now it just seems like I've said all I have to say in the area. I feel like the things I've written have been very good, but I've said them and I'm done. So, I'm hoping the muses visit me with something new that catches fire.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bears in Print

My Bears have been set loose. Jewels of Ursus was released today, in print, from Ellora's Cave.

This is a compilation of the three books in the trilogy by that name:

Mating Stone
Sarah has found the perfect man and best of all, he loves her deeply. Before introducing her to his family he proposes and presents her with an amethyst pendant, a stone she doesn't realize is more than symbolic. When his brother reveals Mark's secret, Sarah must decide if she loves him enough to accept him even if he's not exactly human. And Mark must decide how far he'll go, how much he'll give up to claim Sarah as his mate. Is he willing to abandon his birthright? Is he willing to kill his own brother to keep it and Sarah?

Lovers’ Stone
Luke Ursine is drawn to the most sacred place in his clan’s lore. There he finds a woman who touches him like no other, and his own mating stone. Not a common mating stone, but a lovers’ stone that declares he has only one true mate, one great love who will claim him body and soul. Anna is the most inappropriate of all mates. She’s a hunter and they are sworn to destroy the Weres. Even if they can set aside generations of hate and murder, will their families let them live long enough to enjoy the promised destiny?

Soul Stone
He is physical perfection. He is sex personified. He is an incubus. All his life Tarris has followed the rules that would keep him from transforming into the dark soulless predator who feeds on the sexual energies of women, draining them to madness or to death. But now that he can no longer feed in a safe and controlled way, he faces a choice—hunt or starve.

Callista is quiet and reserved. Her restrained exterior hides an astonishing passion and vivid imagination that have captured him. Who knew that a creature who had no soul could love a woman so deeply? Tarris must now find a way to control the change he feels coming and defeat the hunter who pursues him, obsessed with possessing Callista and destroying the incubus.

Praise for the books in this series:

"...the men in this book are to die for...Elyssa Edwards has done a great job with Mating Stone. She has written a unique shapeshifter story that any paranormal fan will enjoy." -Ashley, Fallen Angel Reviews

"Elyssa Edwards offers a erotic tale of fantasy. Mating Stone is a very dark story. Her approach to shapeshifters is unique."

"Mark Ursine and Sarah are well rounded and enjoyable characters and you do find yourself rooting for their seemingly impossible relationship." [Mating Stone] -Simply Romance Reviews

"Mating Stone... is a wonderful story with humor and sensual love play. Elyssa Edwards displays a very creative talent in this surprise saga. Mark is every woman’s dream man, caring, gorgeous and considerate ...This is a remarkable read that I enjoyed." -Literary Nymph Reviews Only[Lovers' Stone]

"This was an intriguing twist on the Were legends, or at least a variety I have never heard before. I really liked the way the author set polar opposites to attract and be mated. I really enjoyed the erotic passages and each of them was well thought out. I love the tenderness and compassion in this story as well as the passion. Each character's take on what was happening was thoughtful as well as thought provoking. I would love it if this story was a little longer, but I guess I'll just have to wait for the next installment of the story." - Dawn Epton, ParaNormal Romance[Lovers' Stone]

"I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of suspense, romance and eroticism, ...I thought the story well-written. The romance and meeting of the main characters was magical, and the conflict needed for a short story such as this was indeed present. The author created a universe I want to read more about, and if you choose to read this installment, do yourself a favor and be sure you have the previous ones as well." -Christine, Simply Romance Reviews

"LOVERS' STONE pairs together two lovers who were supposed to be enemies and at the same time proves that love can help conquer any obstacle. It will provide a sensual treat for paranormal fans." -Lori, The Romance Reader's Connection

Monday, August 24, 2009

What Burglars don't want you to know.

Has it really been that long since I was on here?

This was reported by a local radio station thismorning and it seems good to pass on. Especially since one of the guys said he'd just had one of these happen to him.

1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.

3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste … and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.

5. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.

6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy.

7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom—and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

8. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door—understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather.

9. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.)

10. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

11. Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms.

12. You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me.

13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you’re reluctant to leave your TV on while you’re out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television. (Find it at

14. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

15. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors but...

16. I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to what he was doing. It’s human nature.

17. I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

18. I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs that you’re home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.

19. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address.

20. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation.

21. If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wishing for Winter

As I sit here in Atlanta, GA with the temperature at 93 degrees at 7pm at night, I envy those who live in the southern hemisphere where they are celebrating the glory of winter. Someone on a writer's loop I belong to posted pictures of winter in their neck of the woods. It made me really miss winters in Illinois where I grew up.

This photograph is of the shore of Lake Vermillion in East Central Illinois. Snow for them comes mostly in late January and February. Christmas is usually not white, but everyone with any sense owns a show shovel, gloves and a pair of jumper-cables.

Looking at the snow is not only refreshing on such a hot and miserable day where my air conditioning is barely making any headway, but there is an aire of innocence about such a scene, an element of purity.

This is me and my younger brother M. He's the little blue smudge on the left side that looks like a snowman, wrapped in a snow suit, scarf and white show boots that were too big and reached almost up to this thighs. He's probably wearing a pair of socks over his mittens to keep his hands extra warm. If you look close you can see the stick he's holding. We taught him to poke the ground with the stick as he walked, sometimes the snow would drift high and freeze over. A few steps in and you'd break through up to your hips in snow. For him that was over his head.

I was, of course, teaching him to make snow angels and my stepfather took the picture as I was attempting to get up without ruining my angel. Thanks Dad.

I doubt Z will have much opportunity to make snow angels, snowmen or snow forts. He'll probably barely have the chance to hurl a snowball. Sort of sad, really. My SO would not agree. The Floridian hates to be cold and wet and what is snow but cold and wet? Oh the fun he'll likely miss. Going to a ski resort just isn't the same as walking out your front door into a winter wonderland.

Of course, at present Z's largest concerns at the present time are how to get past the barriers mom has put between him and the entertainment center (CD's are fascinating) and convincing mom that chicken is ucky and should be permenantly removed from his menu. (Yes, that is his Jesus doll, a gift for his baptism. I believe he's taking the chicken issue to a higher authority.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I am so excited I’m actually doing a happy dance. Today is an important day in the lives of myself and a circle of very important people I’ve known for nearly 9 years — people who have had such an impact on me that I can truly say that they’ve not only changed my life, they have played the key role in making me who I am today.

I have in my hand a book. It’s an anthology of Zombie stories published by Living Dead Press called Book of the Dead. Now I don’t write horror, I write primarily paranormal stories. I’m the person who squeezes her eyes shut when she knows the scary part is coming in the horror flick. So why am I so excited about a Zombie anthology?

This book represents so very much. Ten years ago writing was a dirty little secret for me. No one saw my scribblings and I failed to finish anything other than a few angsty poems. Ten years ago my life as I knew it fell into pieces. The most important person in my life, someone who has shared over twelve years with me, loving, living and struggling to find our place in the world, walked out. The words, “I’m not happy,” destroyed my world.

I began picking up the pieces and in the process met the people who would become, not my life or world, but the ingredients that flavored a life that centered on me and not on someone else. If that sounds selfish or vain, you’ve never lost yourself in another—made them your entire reason for being. That is a mistake of youth and one that I sill never make again. Even my son is not my reason for being. He is an individual of his own and will have a life of his own in which I will become a spice that makes his world more palatable.

In that recovery I found my flavorings. My SO, K, has helped me learn so many important life lessons. But this blog isn’t about K, it’s about a group of peoplen who I am proud to call my friends.

One summer, as I was again recovering, this time from a car accident; I came across a website that was dedicated to fanfiction. I had been fascinated with the world that fanfiction was written in and was eager to read more. Much of it was so horrible it could cause nightmares…and has. But the goal of the site was to encourage writing, especially by children. But there was a group of writers, most who worked as staff on the site as I eventually did, who were writing some incredible stories. We found each other and became critique partners, cheerleaders and teachers for one another. Some of us dreamed of being published, others were happy to be readers, others dabbled in writing but —though amazingly talented (yes, Brit, I’m talking about you)—had no interest in being published.

The book I hold in my hand represents a dream come true. My friend, critique partner, cheerleader, teacher and inspiration Jennifer Hudock has seen one of her remarkable stories come into print. She’s worked long and hard for this, and we’ve been there rooting for her all the way. Her achievement is affirmation for all of us.

So, for chills, thrills and some of the spot on best writing you’ve ever seen, check out Book of the Dead: A Zombie Anthology by Living Dead Press and the story Two Weeks by Jennifer Hudock. And while you’re at it, you can enjoy a remarkable poscast novel, Goblin Market, at her website. Six installments are up and I promise you won’t be able to wait for the next chapter.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Release

Horror at it’s Best

I’ve mentioned a friend of mine on this blog from time to time by the name of Jennifer Hudock. Jenn is an amazing writer who specializes in the horror genre. She’s currently undertaking a spectacular podcasting project that is not to be missed. Check out her website for more information. The Goblin Market will speak to fans of horror, paranormal and fantasy.

But there is even better news. Jennifer Hudock’s story “Two Weeks” has just been released as part of the anthology Book of the Dead: A Zombie Anthology. Jenn is an incredible new talent that you will be glad to have found.

NCLB: No CLue Bullshit

First day of “Leadership” down.
First migraine of the school year, here.

I had to start back to work today. As the Reading Dept. chairperson, I’m a part of the leadership team. This means I spent seven hours sitting in a meeting trying to decide if we should have a goal for 99% of our eighth graders to meet or exceed standards this year or for 98% of our eighth graders to meet or exceed standards. Oh, and the truly tough question, do we have a goal for 50 or 55% to exceed standards?

Welcome to the world of No Child Left Behind. We were horrified this year to discover our school did not make AYP (adequate yearly progress). Why? Because our special needs population, as a subgroup did not meet the bar. That’s right, students who are diagnosed with learning disabilities, who struggle with standardized tests, timed tests, and learning problems that cause them to be behind their peers, didn’t keep up with their peers. Therefore we are, of course, horrible educators.

But hey, our country is serious about quality education. That’s why they are giving us money to buy materials and supplies, money to hire more teachers to reduce class sizes…what? There is no money for materials? There is a hiring freeze? We’re furloughing teachers? We’re increasing class sizes?

In the words of the unforgettable Gilda Radner….”Never mind.”


If you’re considering making the trip to Romanticon this year, I can’t urge you enough to do it. It’s a convention that is not only for writers, but for readers too. Check out the list of writers who will be attending, appearing on panels and signing. There will be lots of give aways and some amazing baskets to be raffled off. The authors that work with my editor have gotten together to create a Frog Pond basket that is going to be out of this world. There are so many books and goodies included in it, we may need to put it in a suitcase instead of a basket.


I’ve not been on the computer much the last few days. I’ve been sewing. I know this seems like an odd thing to talk about but it’s something I wasn’t able to do anymore up until my surgery. I’d be able to work for only a minute or two, then my fingers would be so numb and my hands so weak, I couldn’t continue. Now I can sit on the couch, watch my new favorite show, Warehouse 13, and embroider. I love it. Typing still tires my hand quickly, but sewing is going great. It’s nothing earth-shatteringly spectacular, but it’s the first I’ve been able to do in years.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Essentials, In My Humble Opinion

I was confronted a while back by a parent whose child was reading above grade level. The problem is, they wanted their student to read only books on their “reading level”. This creates two problems.

First of all, while a middle school student may be able to read and comprehend books written for an adult audience, they are not ready to read the content in most books written for an adult audience. Then there is the “fun” element. Most adult books are written at a fifth to sixth grade reading level. Want something higher and you’ll be reading books like David Copperfield, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and the like. Not exactly what a 13 year old boy wants to read.

The second issue is that there are certain juvenile and young adult books that form a basis for cultural literacy. These are books that most young people have read and that teachers are likely to reference. And many of them are books that, in my opinion, are books that everyone should have read by the time they hit high school. In no particular order:

1. Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry
2. The Giver
3. Wrinkle In Time
4. The Great Gilly Hopkins
5. Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key
6. Little House in the Big Woods
7. Charlotte’s Web
8. The Outsiders
9. Bridge to Terabithia
10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (Philosopher’s) Stone

Many of these are Newberry Prize winners or honor books. All have become part of our cultural literacy in terms of children’s books. Their characters span races, economic situations and ages. The settings are urban, rural, contemporary, historical and the future. They are realistic fiction, fantasy and adventure.

Have you read them?