In Honor of Best Friends Day: Friendships Are Like Paper Plates

  I’m a firm believer that friendships are disposable. I know that sound harsh, but look at it like this; some friendships are like paper plates and some are like your good stoneware. A paper plate serves a purpose and when that purpose is over or the plate is a bleeding mess you toss it. But […]

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In honor of National Best Friends Day, one of my favorite blog posts is making a return visit. To all my stoneware: Thank you for your beauty, integrity, and taking up space in my cabinets. I love you all! S. 

 

ShoreProm1987 -2
My senior prom. Thirty years ago. (Time flies.) These girls were my besties back then. Betsy, on the left, is stoneware. Loren, on the right, also stoneware. I love them both dearly. Meredith, the one next to me, paper plate. Her plate got tossed thirty years ago. Just the way it goes. 

 

I’m a firm believer that friendships are disposable. I know that sound harsh, but look at it like this; some friendships are like paper plates and some are like your good stoneware. A paper plate serves a purpose and when that purpose is over or the plate is a bleeding mess you toss it. But your stoneware comes out every day, sometimes three times a day and is probably in your favorite color. Stoneware helps you, supports you, is reliable, loyal, accepts you for the cook you are, and heats up like a hot flash for you. You might buy thousands of paper plates over your lifetime, but you’ll only have a setting for twelve of that stoneware.

You don’t know when in your life you’re going to find that perfect set of stoneware. You might have to buy it in pieces. Some during high school, some during college, maybe even a piece you picked up along the way. But don’t look for a bargain. Stoneware is worth the price you pay. And if you do get it on sale, well, then, lucky you.

Paper plates are easy to find. They’re every where you look and they’re cheap. But they will always and forever be only paper plates. Don’t hold any grudges over them, though. I’ve had some paper plates I’ve loved over the years, but they still had to go when their purpose was served. I trashed paper plates in middle school, high school, college, from the countless jobs I’ve held, neighbors, committee groups, the list goes on and on. The best thing about paper plates is when you’re done with the package another package miraculously shows up in your cabinets. Right when you needed them the most. Paper plates are great-fill ins when you don’t have time to wash your stoneware. But when you’re making lasagna for dinner and the cheese won’t stick together and is running off the spatula nothing will do, but your favorite stoneware dish.

My stoneware set is much smaller than twelve, but I’m okay with that. We’ve been together a long time. My stoneware never disappoints me and is as vibrant as ever. It’s always there when I need it, shares secrets with me, makes me laugh, and reminds me why I bought it in the first place.

I’m thankful for the paper plates too. They’re quick and easy. They’re fun.

I often wonder if my Noodges have started buying pieces of their stoneware. Many times I look at the selection in their hands and think, “Dear Lord, that is a paper plate if I ever saw one. Put it down.” And sometimes I think, “that could be a keeper.” But that will be for them to decide. And I know for myself, there have been times when paper plates were disguised as my favorite stoneware. It wasn’t until the bottom leaked that I realized I’d been holding an imposter. I guess that will happen to my kids too.

How about you, faithful reader? What’s in your cabinet?

 

 

 

#Sale

photo 2 (2)

It’s the last day to get Welcome To Bibliotheca for $.99 for Kindle.

A little about the book:

Thirteen year-old Gabriel Hunter survived Kata-Tartaroo and wants to go home, which is surprising for a Lesser like him, but instead he and his friends, Owen and Corinna, are forced into another terrifying world – Bibliotheca – where the sun never shines, the temperatures are freezing and the snow pummels you. To make matters worse, Gabriel and his friends have been taken captive by Yugs.

The Yugs will send these three back home, but only if they agree to help with their mission: Enter the Building of Books, a magical labyrinth filled with dangerous puzzles, locate the Command Center, and outsmart the Wolf before he outwits them.

In this fast-paced follow-up to Welcome to Kata-Tartaroo, Gabriel, Owen, and Corinna must rely on each other to save themselves and save the Yugs. Along the way, secrets will be revealed, friendships will be renewed, and Gabriel will learn leaders come in all shapes and sizes. It’s a race against time to see if Gabriel and his friends will solve the puzzles and destroy the Wolf or be left in Bibliotheca forever.

Happy New Year and Happy New Book

WelcometoSkullMntHRcover - CopyHappy New Year! January is a clean slate. A chance to do everything over, if you want to. I’m always sad to see the holidays go, but I like the chance to start fresh. It’s a time when anything is possible.

This year I plan on having more fun. I allow the responsibilities of life to drag the joy out of everything, including my writing, so this year I vow to make some changes. I’m going to experience more, laugh more, enjoy more.

I am happy to share the new year brings my third book. Book three in the Gabriel Hunter Series, Welcome To Skull Mountain is finally available for purchase and you can do that right here. And to my newsletter readers, don’t forget the special gift if you act fast.

So, what are you goals and hopes and wishes for 2016? I’d love to hear them and we can walk this amazing journey together.

 

Are You Sipping The Chocolate River?

courtesy of www.morguefile.com
courtesy of http://www.morguefile.com

Well, like everywhere on the east coast it is the start of another school year. So many of us are jumping up and down and shouting, “YEAH!!!” My kids are going to learn all kinds of great stuff, make ever-lasting friendships, and love their parents unconditionally. Okay, I admit it, there are chocolate rivers where I live.

But seriously, the school year is upon us and I love the structure the school day gives our lives. My kids get on the bus at an ungodly hour, and in the winter in the pitch darkness, and I now have 7 hours to write, which really means I have 7 hours to write, market my writing, take care of the house, the dog, and exercise because I constantly slurp from the chocolate river.

Today was the first day of school for Noodge 2. She’s in the 8th grade and Noodge 1 started his sophomore year last week. I’m a big kid mom, which means, I’ve been to the first day of school rodeo several times. And I think it’s showing.

Two years in a row I forgot to take someone’s picture on the first day. Probably because they no longer begin on the same day and once the first one goes, well, it ends up being tough luck for the second one. I’ve stopped buying brand new clothes for the first day of school unless I’m pestered which would only be by Noodge 2 since she’s a she. But why bother wearing new fall clothes when the first week of school could be a hundred degrees and you’re going to need to wear the same things you’ve been wearing all summer? Why not wait a few weeks, the crowds will die down and the fall clothes will be on sale. You won’t need a sleeve until October. See? Big Kid Mom tricks. Ten years ago I was a very different mommy.

But I always drive my kids to the bus stop because we live too far away from it to walk and if they did even want to walk, which God forbid, they do not, they’d have to leave at least 10 minutes sooner to get there on time and we all know what 10 less minutes means in the morning. Even in the land of chocolate rivers.

For the high schooler, I drive down, drop him off and turn around to go home. Easy-peasy-one-two-threesie. And remember, school started last week. High school is old hat by now. But the middle school started today. Oh boy, what a difference at this bus stop and there has been a bus restructuring so now we have some elementary school kids on the bus. Big Kid Mommy wasn’t expecting what she found at the bus stop. Oh no.

Tons of kids, in the street, lined up to take photos and all the young mommies outside their cars, chatting, cameras at the ready. There was even a daddy and a mommy team. Really? It’s just the first day of school. There are 179 more opportunities to come to the bus stop.

Unfortunately, for me, it’s a been there, done that, kind of thing. I’m an old mommy. I want the bus to come so I can get back to work. And don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to death. I enjoyed having them around all summer, but it’s school and it’s time to get back to business.

So, when we turned onto the street and there was a parade of people at the bus stop, I stopped the car half-way down the street, turned to my daughter, told her how much I loved her, to have a fantastic day, but I wasn’t going to attempt to drive my vehicle through that crowd to jockey for a space on the street and I wasn’t going to get out of my car and take pictures of her. She would rather die than allow me to do that. School pictures are only allowed in the house and I can only share them with my mother.

And guess what? I forgot to snap a picture of her this morning,after all. Well, that’s what tomorrow is for or the next day. In twenty years, who will even remember what day it was I took that picture? Not me, I’ll be sipping from the chocolate river.

Some Friendships Are Like Paper Plates

cat-landing-plates-pistoulet

 

I’m a firm believer that friendships are disposable. I know that sound harsh, but look at it like this; some friendships are like paper plates and some are like your good stoneware. A paper plate serves a purpose and when that purpose is over or the plate is a bleeding mess you toss it. But your stoneware comes out every day, sometimes three times a day and is probably in your favorite color. Stoneware helps you, supports you, is reliable, loyal, accepts you for the cook you are, and heats up like a hot flash for you. You might buy thousands of paper plates over your lifetime, but you’ll only have a setting for twelve of that stoneware.

You don’t know when in your life you’re going to find that perfect set of stoneware. You might have to buy it in pieces. Some during high school, some during college, maybe even a piece you picked up along the way. But don’t look for a bargain. Stoneware is worth the price you pay. And if you do get it on sale, well, then, lucky you.

Paper plates are easy to find. They’re every where you look and they’re cheap. But they will always and forever be only paper plates. Don’t hold any grudges over them, though. I’ve had some paper plates I’ve loved over the years, but they still had to go when their purpose was served. I trashed paper plates in middle school, high school, college, from the countless jobs I’ve held, neighbors, committee groups, the list goes on and on. The best thing about paper plates is when you’re done with the package another package miraculously shows up in your cabinets. Right when you needed them the most. Paper plates are great-fill ins when you don’t have time to wash your stoneware. But when you’re making lasagna for dinner and the cheese won’t stick together and is running off the spatula nothing will do, but your favorite stoneware dish.

My stoneware set is much smaller than twelve, but I’m okay with that. We’ve been together a long time. My stoneware never disappoints me and is as vibrant as ever. It’s always there when I need it, shares secrets with me, makes me laugh, and reminds me why I bought it in the first place.

I’m thankful for the paper plates too. They’re quick and easy. They’re fun.

I often wonder if my Noodges have started buying pieces of their stoneware. Many times I look at the selection in their hands and think, “Dear Lord, that is a paper plate if I ever saw one. Put it down.” And sometimes I think, “that could be a keeper.” But that will be for them to decide. And I know for myself, there have been times when paper plates were disguised as my favorite stoneware. It wasn’t until the bottom leaked that I realized I’d been holding an imposter. I guess that will happen to my kids too.

How about you, faithful reader? What’s in your cabinet?

 

 

 

Feel the Magic. Read a Book.

This view should inspire you to read.
This view should inspire you to read.

I was at a book signing recently, where I had the opportunity to talk with lots of parents. Many were concerned about their child’s lukewarm feelings toward reading. Well, I have a theory on why many kids don’t like to read. They are forced to read books they don’t like and they start thinking, if all books are this boring, stupid, dull, who cares, I’m never reading another thing again. And yes, there is the whole competition with video games, apps, social media, and movies, but believe me when I tell you, find a book a kid likes to read and you’ll make a reader out of them. Because reading is magic.

When the Noodges were in elementary school I watched the school librarian discourage a few kids from reading and that was only the times I saw. How many other times did she do that? She’d say at a book fair, “don’t waste your parents money by purchasing books you can’t read.” Really??? Are you kidding me? If a child has any interest in a book, cultivate that interest. And don’t give me the, “they’ll be frustrated if they can’t read it,” that’s what parents are for. And yes, some kids don’t have parents who care enough to read with them, but that’s a discussion for another post.

Noodge 1 was an early reader and if I can brag for a second, an advanced reader which made finding books that were appropriate for him in elementary school difficult. I didn’t want him to lose his love of reading because he didn’t have choices. That same elementary school librarian apparently didn’t feel the way I did. When he was in the third grade, he had grabbed Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien off the shelf. The librarian said, “You can’t check that out,” and laughed at him. He said, “why is it here if I can’t take it out?” (Yup, that’s the Italian in him.) He put the book back. He came home from school and told me. I’m sure you can guess how this played out. I told her he could take out whatever he wanted from the library and she could keep her mouth shut. I was a little nicer than that. I think.

But then we have teachers who inspire the love of reading in their students and I applaud them. Recently, I was at Anthony Wayne Middle School where I presented a creative writing workshop to eighth graders. Their teacher chose my book and had them read it ahead of my appearance so we could discuss it while I was there. One student told her she thought the book was stupid because of the cover, but Mrs. R. wouldn’t be dismayed . She encouraged the student to keep at it and guess what? She was my biggest fan that day! You know what I’m most grateful for? That young lady learned that amazing stories await inside the covers of books if you just give them a try. She felt the magic of reading for herself. So imagine if she loved the cover, but a teacher said, “You? Read that?” Insert villainous laugh here. 

Applause for Mrs. R.
Applause for Mrs. R.

I assure you, if you find an author or a genre your child likes you’ll make a reader out of them. Encourage them to stretch and try books that might be a little challenging. If they don’t know a word, the can look them up. And they can use an app for that.

Feel the magic. Read a book.

 

The Magic of Writing

Thank you, TOIS, for allowing me to inspire young minds, year after year.
Thank you, TOIS, for allowing me to inspire young minds, year after year.

Ever since I was seven, I wanted to be an author. I loved the magic of books and their stories and the way an an author can take your hand and say, “follow me for awhile. I have something to tell you.” And you go willingly. I wanted more than anything to create those magical stories myself. I’ve always written something, whether it was in my journal through my teen years, my first novel at the age of twelve, screenplays in college, or tariffs for a phone company. But now I’m an author of books with readers of my own and when I take the time to enjoy my accomplishments, I’m sort of proud of myself. “I did it,” I say.

One of the things I love about being an author is going into schools and speaking to the students about creative writing because my other passions are speaking to groups (we all know I talk a lot) and inspiring others to follow their dreams to be a writer too.

Recently, I spoke to 65 sixth graders. It was a total blast. I taught them something about writing, they got the chance to create a story, and they shared it with the group. I was humbled when one group of students asked me to read their stories out loud for them. It’s not easy to share your stories and much harder to have someone else’s eyes upon the rawness of a first draft.

Writing is magic. It’s not only the place of other worlds, but the place where dreams live.

Write.

Dream.

Live.

Magic.

 

Coming in April:

Book Three in the Gabriel Hunter Series
Book Three in the Gabriel Hunter Series