Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bad Parenting

I heard on the news yesterday a school system in NJ is taking away the "D" grade. Beginning in September the students can earn an A, B, C, or F. The school thinks removing the ability to earn a D will make the students work harder to get better grades. Possibly, I think.

Then I hear about another school system in NJ who took away the D and the C. Now I'm not liking this idea so much. Without the D or C it means the ranges for B's and A's must be larger. So, what does that say to the students?

I'm not entirely sure, and would like you to chime in on this, but I think this new grading system is set up so the students won't feel badly about themselves. A "D" or "C" on a report card doesn't look that good it says you're average or below average. And we wouldn't want anyone to feel average, now would we?

Are they really asking students to rise to the occasion? The school with no "D" increased the ranges of the other grades. Now a "C" is 70-79. I'd like to tell you what the "D" range was when I was in school, but I never got a "D" because I would've had my head handed to me. Funny, how that works. Parent says, "don't get a D or else," and student doesn't get a D. More parents should try that.

And that leads to the very thing I think is wrong with the world. Bad parenting. It all comes down to bad parenting. If parents did their jobs maybe, just maybe their children would rise to the occasion. Set the bar higher. They will reach for it. It means a lot more work on the parents part, but who said this was going to be easy? Anything worth having usually isn't and I don't know about you, but I'd like to see more children grow into determined adults not afraid to face adversity, able to offer kindness to others and know how to spell, write, and handle math problems. How about you?

Talk to you later...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Scary Story

I love scary stories. Who doesn't? Well, there might be a few people, but what fun are they? Just kidding. There's nothing like feeling that chill race up your spine and tickle the back of your neck when you hear about a ghost wondering the woods, or when you're sitting in a dark movie theater watching witches, spirits from the other side coming over, or Anthony Hopkins wearing a human muzzle.

But there's nothing like sitting down in a comfy chair, the room is dark except for a single light next to you, and the pages of a thriller, suspense, or mystery are between your hands. You tune out the world around you as you get on the ride of your life through the story of a dead wife haunting the new one, (Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier,) or the curse of a town killing off members of a specific family, (The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,) or a woman locked up in an attic presumed dead, (Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte.) And let's not forget anything by Stephen King!

Which are your favorites? I loved to hear about them whether it's a book, film, or camp fire story. Post them here. Let's see who we can keep up at night!

Talk to you later...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thrillerfest 2010

Wow! I attended Thrillerfest V in NYC last week and it was fantastic! It doesn't get much better than meeting Harlan Coben and sitting in on interviews with Ken Follett, Sandra Brown, Lisa Scottoline, and David Morrell! Plus many more.

Panels discussed everything from how to avoid cliches to the best/worst advice you've ever gotten. The most inspiring part for me was the Debut Author breakfast where the people of Thrillerfest spotlight all the new authors from the past year. Each one was given a moment to stand up, talk about their book, and tell a little about their journey to publication. Every one had the same message. Don't give up! I hope to be sitting at that table some day inspiring others.

But nothing was more inspiring than NY Times Bestselling Author Brad Meltzer tell the story of Harper Lee having doubts about To Kill A Mockingbird and throwing the manuscript out the window. It's okay to doubt, but never give up.

I met some wonderful people and saw a few familiar faces. Everyone there was so welcoming no matter where they are in their publishing journey. I highly recommend, if you write thrillers, becoming a member of this organization. Thank you to the people of the International Thriller Writers for coordinating such an event. And as a past events planner I know how hard it was. I'll definitely be back next year.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Beat the Heat

Summer is fully upon us. It makes me think of those Country Time Lemonade commercials when I was a kid. I always invision a tire swing under the big oak tree, the sun setting in the front yard while you push yourself in the wooden rocker on the wrap around porch and a tall glass of cold lemonade filled with tinkling ice cubes like the sounds of summer wind chimes.

Summer should be about slowing down and enjoying the moment with friends and family. Unfortunately, since I've become an adult I haven't been able to slow down to the pace I imagine in those lemonade commercials. This week is no different. I'm heading off to a writer's conference I hope will advance my writing journey and I'm working my tail off to get ready and the hours are slipping by and all I can see are the things I didn't get to. Even my sentences sound like an endless "to do" list.

I'd like nothing more than to take my kids to the beach, get lost in a book by a favorite author and forget about the tasks hanging over my head. But the drive to be a published author burns in me like the summer heat. Instead, I'll turn up the AC, pour myself a tall glass of lemonade and get to work.

Talk to you later. Much later...