Wednesday, April 28, 2010

No Toys in the Happy Meals?

I'm about to get on my soap box. The following may be inappropriate for the more liberal persuasion of the population. You may wish to turn the blog off now.

For the rest of us...I heard the channel seven anchor of the five o'clock news say some group wants the toys out of the happy meals. Are you kidding me? What is this country coming to?

Do you mean to tell me that parents have lost complete control of their children? They need the government to force food chains to change the way they've been doing business for decades because Mommy can't tell little Susie or Johnny no. Here, let's try it together. Take a deep breath. Ready? "NO!" There. Don't you feel better?

Who is the parent here? If your child has a weight problem it is your responsibilty to take care of it. You brought the child into the world. Not Ronald McDonald. (Well, maybe he brought in a couple. Who knows.)

We owe our children to be the best parents we can. That means saying no even when they kick and scream. Especailly when they kick and scream.

I don't know about you, but I don't want the government telling me how to raise my children. If I want to allow my kids to eat fast food because they like the toy that should be my business and mine alone. And if a parent doesn't have the good sense to watch what their children eat, make sure they get enough physical activity then shame on them!

Step up to the plate people and take responisiblity for your actions. Be the parents you were meant to be. Have rules. Say no. Your children will thank you for it when it counts. They might hate you now, but oh well. We aren't supposed to be their friends.

I'm getting off the soap box now. Talk to you later...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Criminal Minds and the AAA Man

I've been watching too many episodes of Criminal Minds. I love that show. I can't get enough of it. I even watch the reruns on A&E and Ion Television. And as a suspense author I'm always thinking someone is out to get me. That's what happened the other day.

My car battery died Thursday morning. After the kids got off to school and my husband left for work I called AAA. The nice man pulled into my driveway, jumped the battery with his cables, and told me to let the engine run for twenty minutes. Simple enough!

But I decided to leave the garage door open so I could keep an eye on my car. Just in case someone wanted to steal it of course! (There goes that suspenseful mind again.)Not five minutes later I heard a knock on the door inside my garage. The one that leads to the inside of my house. The one NO ONE ever comes to probably because they don't even know it's there.

My heart slammed against my chest like a jack hammer breaking concrete. Who could be at the door? And that particular door of all things. My hands shook. I didn't know what to do. Do I call 9-1-1? Do I go to the door? Had the AAA man come back to murder me? That was it! The AAA man had returned to kill me. I was sure of it. That's what they do on Criminal Minds.

Who would find my body? Could I fight this intruder off? Thoughts spun around in my head like a tornado. I tip-toed forward. I didn't want to give myself away of course. "Who's there?" I said with trepidation.

The AAA man hadn't come to murder me after all. My imagination had run away with itself yet again. I opened the door to a familiar face inspired to enter my garage because my car was running in the driveway.

So, what does that say about people like me? Are you also thinking someone lurks around every bush ready to pounce before you have the key in the lock? Will I stop watching Criminal Minds? Will you put down that suspense novel for something less scary? I hope not. For without us the world would be filled with blue skies and Palomino ponies. Boring!

Talk to you later...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My First Book Signing

I mentioned the other day I was teaching a class to sixth graders. Last week I participated in the Ocean Township Intermediate School's Authors' Day. It was awesome! I taught the students all about writing in the active voice. (You can get a snippet of my lesson below.)The students were so enthusiastic about learning. They participated, asked questions. This was the first time they were exposed to active voice. I met other authors and an illustrator. It's always a great experience to meet other people in the industry.

But the best part was the end of the day. The authors had an opportunity to sell their books to the students. I don't have any books to sell yet so the students asked me to sign my business card for them!!!! How thrilled was I? My face hurt from smiling all day. It was a fantastic experience and I'm so honored to have been included. I had my first book signing and it was as wonderful as I imagined!

You know what this means? Believe in yourself. Follow your heart. Live your passion. Never surrender and never give up! And a few supporters in your corner doesn't hurt either!

Talk to you later...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Writing Lesson - Active Voice

I'm teaching a class to sixth graders this week. I was asked to speak at an author's day at a local intermediate school. My topic is "How to Write in the Active Voice." I thought I'd share some of my wisdom for all you aspiring writers. You can apply this to all your writing. Even letters. Feel free to add your own knowledge of the craft or ask questions. I don't know about you, but I love to learn. Here goes:

Writers use active voice to make action jump off the page. It puts the reader right into the scene with the character and you feel like you're doing whatever the character is.

But what is voice? Voice refers to whether the subject performs the action (active voice) or is the recipient of the verb's action (passive voice.) A writer needs to identify the difference between active and passive voice so they can find it in their writing. Here's an example: The computer ate my paper. That's active voice. The paper was eaten by my computer. That's passive voice. See the difference?

Passive sentences always have a form of the verb "to be" in it. When you find that in your writing ask yourself how can you change the sentence so the subject is performing the action?

If you want your writing to be strong, powerful, and concise make sure to use active verbs and watch your writing jump off the page.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Occasional Dark Corner

I promised the occasional dark corner. As a suspense writer I couldn't resist the urge to tell a scary story. Read on.

Lara Adler woke with a start. Her heart thumped in her chest like a captured wild horse. Another nightmare. She closed her eyes, but couldn't shake the vision of a man outside the McDonald's. Murdered. That would teach her to eat fast food late at night.

The cool breeze from the bedroom window blew across her skin. She pulled the covers tighter, but the chill settled into her bones. She should sleep in something other than yoga pants and a tank top. Tossing the blankets aside, she swung her feet to the cold floor.

The digital clock read 1:52. The nightmares always happened at the same time. She fumbled for the lamp on the bedside table knocking her IPod and psychology text book to the ground. The light pushed the darkness into the corner of the room. She blinked against the painful intrusion.

Her usual sleep garb had transformed into her college sweatshirt. Covered in mud. "What the..." And her jeans, a pair she only pulled out for working in the yard, streaked down the sides as if she'd been wiping her hands on her legs. She wiped her pants then and brought her hands to her face. Blood.