Wednesday, May 10, 2017

6 Tips to Help Your Child Love Reading

I originally published this post as an answer to a question on Quora. You can find that answer here. That is the main reason for the use of she/her pronouns. However, I thought this answer could be useful as an article as the advice applies to most children. I have adapted it a bit to make it better formatted for a blog post.

1. Start early. It is never too early to teach your child to love reading. Start by showing your child that you love reading. Get caught reading by your child. Read to your child. Start as soon as your child is born or as soon as you adopt them. Start as soon as possible. If it is already too late, the tips below will still help you.

2. Read to your child. If you can’t get them to read, maybe you can get them to listen to you read. Make sure to pick an interesting book that is suited to their level and interest. (For an 8-year-old who loves horses, pick a low-level book about horses). Make reading to your child a routine. Try reading to them every night at bedtime. This is good bonding time that will help foster a love of books and reading.

3. Pursue YOUR CHILD's interests. Buy books with things they are interested in. Get books with bright covers and preferably those with pictures. Why pictures for an older child? Because pictures are one thing that can engage even the most struggling reader. They help tell the story. So don’t rule out picture books, no matter how old your child is.

4. Consider going below your child's grade level. Just because she is 8, doesn’t mean she needs to be reading at a 3rd grade level. Consider going down a couple of levels. But continue to choose books that maintain her interest. So if her interest is horses, get a picture book about horses. Read it aloud at bedtime.

5. The important thing is not to love reading, but to love books. Sounds crazy? Well, a love of books can lead to a love of reading. NEVER make books a punishment. Spend some time in a book store or library. Let your child pick whatever book (or books) they want. They don't have to read it either. They can just look at it. The important thing is that it is the child's choice. You don’t want your child to feel forced at any point during this journey.

6. Let your child choose the medium. Some kids like to read when it isn’t in a book. I know, I know. You want your child to love reading books and stories. When I was about 14, I had an 8-year-old friend who I used to visit, and sometimes we would chat on Yahoo messenger. I saw her like a little sister and was concerned about her lack of interest in reading. She loved reading my messages to her on instant messenger, though. She was still reading, even if it wasn’t in a book. So let your child read emails, text messages, whatever (with supervision, of course). It’s all going to build their skills as a reader.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Write Tired, Edit Awake: Lowering Your Inhibitions as a Writer

Once upon a time, a man named Ernest Hemingway gave the following advice. Write drunk; edit sober. The reason for this is probably because drinking causes people to lower their inhibitions. But like me, many people don’t drink alcohol, and for them the advice isn’t all that helpful. Or is it?

My own philosophy is like Mr. Hemingway’s. Write tired; edit awake. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should go to your computer and write after pulling an all-nighter.

When you are a little bit tired, your inhibitions are lowered. For this reason, the words might simply flow better. You'll be less self-conscious and more likely to try new ideas. When you’re awake enough, you can edit the story, and gut the truly unnecessary parts or parts that simply strike you as “too weird”.

Another way to lower your inhibitions when writing is to write for yourself. A lot of people open their document and begin writing with the mindset that this is for someone else to see. They already have it in their minds that they are going to publish this book. Therefore, they are already thinking about what others are going to think of their product.

Forget your audience for a moment and think about what you really want to write. Try this exercise. Open a document, and write a five-hundred-word story (or part of a story) which is only for you and that you have no intention of sharing. Perhaps, you will see a difference in your work.

What are your thoughts on writing tired and editing awake? Do you have any advice to help budding writers lower their inhibitions when writing? Please share in the comments.

Friday, December 16, 2016

11 Sites and Apps to Help Writers Get Organized


Set a deadline. Fill out a questionnaire about your characters. Lots of other nice features.

Hit TRY in the lower right-hand corner of the black box to use this tool for free. Write or get a punishment (an annoying sound).

Don’t like negative reinforcement? Written Kitten uses positive reinforcement. You get shown a kitten as a reward for writing.

Lock yourself out of all websites except the ones that will help you with your productivity.

This app is a real life saver. Tells you about sentences that might be too long. Tells you about adverbs. Just in general, a nice editing app.

Write stories, create characters, brainstorm, and set deadlines

Organize your novel and save it to the cloud.

I swear by Google Docs. I write all my first drafts here, just in case! If your computer randomly restarts or crashes or something else awful happens, your work will still be waiting for you in Google Docs.

Write 750 words (or 3 pages) a day. The site is in French.



Set deadlines and reward yourself if you meet the deadlines. Sends you reminders about your word count.

Character Story Planner

Like WordCradle, but a phone app.

Did I miss a good one? Please let me know in the comments!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Princess Who Rescued Herself: A List Of Princess Books to Inspire

If you are raising a girl, then I'm sure you've heard of "princess culture", but who wants their daughter to end up with a Cinderella complex? That's why I've put together this list of princesses who can rescue themselves. Some of them even rescue others. Overall, this is a list of books with princesses AND positive messages.

#5 Don't Want To Be A Princess by Kally Mayer

This little girl isn't sure why she would even want to be a princess! Are princesses allowed to fart or do fun things. The whole book is a fun romp for those who don't REALLY want to be a princess. This book also shows that girls can be whatever they want to be and shouldn't just limit themselves to princesses.

Amazon Link:

#4 The Smartest Princess by Mary Lee

You don't need to be pretty or dainty in The Smartest Princess. You just need to be smart. Princesses compete in an annual competition and if the winner is not already a princess, then she will become one.

Amazon Link:

#3 Princess Charlotte And The Pea by Sally Huss

The prince wants to find a girl sensitive to find a pea under dozens of mattresses. You know, the classic story. And he finds her, but the story doesn't end there. Oh no. Princess Charlotte would also like to test the prince on how sensitive HE is. And that's why I love this retelling of The Princess And The Pea.

Amazon Link:

#2 A Moat Is Not A Goat: Poems For Clever Little Girls By Elsa Takaoka

While this book isn't completely princesses focused, it does include princess characters, which is why I chose to include it on this list. It's also completely focused on empowering girls and encouraging them to be their authentic selves. I have a paperback copy of this book and I treasure it.

There are lots of adorable poems and the stories will make you feel proud to be a girl!

Amazon Link:

#1 The Mystic Princesses And The Whirlpool

This is one of my absolute favorite princess books for a multitude of reasons. The biggest one is not only are the princesses in this book capable of rescuing themselves, but they also rescue someone else. A girl named Harmony needs protection from the children of Ares and the princesses are up for the job. Kids who read this book will learn about important life skills like self-defense and being aware of your surroundings while sliding down rainbows, riding dolphins, turning into birds. What more could you ask for in a princess book?

I own a paperback of this one too and cherish it as well!

Amazon Link:

I'd love to hear from you. What books would you add to this list?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Disney's Zootopia Sends A Much Needed Message For Everyone

Disney's Zootopia is cute from front to back, especially with an adorable bunny as the lead character. All Judy Hopps has ever wanted is to be a police officer, and she'll stop at nothing until she achieves her dream. Despite several setbacks, such as being beaten up by a bully, being told by her father, "It's okay to have dreams, as long as you don't believe in them to hard", and being pushed around in the police academy, Judy never gives up.

But that's not the only take home message in this great movie. There's a not-so-subtle message in this movie about how prejudice can hurt groups of people. And it's a message that kids today need to hear. I won't get too deep into detail, because I don't want to spoil the movie for you, but I will say this. In this movie, predators and prey live together in "harmony" in the city of Zootopia. However, prey still have some internalized beliefs about the predators that may be harmful. But here's the question, can they overcome their prejudice to once again live in harmony? Or will the predators be banished.

Aside from the good messages, the movie is cute, funny, and smart. And while the ending is somewhat predictable, the movie is still sure to become a favorite of kids and adults. 

Upon checking other reviews, after writing this one, I've noticed that some people think Zootopia's anti-prejudice message is a miss. I disagree.

Have you seen it? What are your thoughts on Zootopia?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

New Book Announcement: THE FAIRY'S BUBBLE WAND

I'm pleased to announce that over the last few months I've been working on a new children's book, The Fairy's Bubble Wand. 

In The Fairy's Bubble Wand, two girls from entirely different worlds must go on the journey of a life time and learn to believe in themselves while they're at it.

Here is the description from Amazon:

Fay feels like a fairy failure when she doesn't pass her test. Because her father is the king, she worries that she'll just be a disappointment to everyone. But when her father turns out to be missing, Fay knows she's the right person to search for him. 

Vidaya doesn't want her sister to go away for college. She has very few friends and is worried that she'll be lonely. But things change for Vidaya when her sister's gift opens up a magical new world. 

Vidaya and Fay go on a journey to remember, taking on marshmallow pirates, ice fairies, and even a changing forest. 

99 cents until April 5, 2016 only! Regularly priced at $2.99

Why do I believe this book is so important? It's essential for kids to learn to become independent, and in order to become independent, they need to believe in themselves. I hope that kids will read The Fairy's Bubble Wand and absorb that message. I can believe in myself. I can be independent. I can do anything I put my mind to.

The Fairy's Bubble Wand is now available for pre-order and will be released on March 25, 2016.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Book That Made Me Smile

If you look at the date of the last post on this blog, you will notice that it was quite a while ago! I haven't really blogged since the car accident I was in 9 months and a day ago. Thanks to a very dear friend, PJ LaRue, there was a blog blast hosted by Mother Daughter book reviews. If you are curious about what happened to me you can read more here. 

By this time you're probably wondering why I'm blogging. To tell you about my accident? No, I'm not ready to rehash that yet. 

Earlier today I passed photo of myself taken shortly after my accident. In this photo, I hadn't woken up yet. It's a very somber photo and it's also a cruel reminder of things lost in the accident. I can't tell you why, but I broke down and I began to cry very hard. I could no longer focus on my art which is what I was originally intending to look at. So I closed that folder. 

When I closed it there was a book up on my Kindle Cloud Reader. It's called Doc Tails: Snow On My Face.

So I started reading this book, and then my tears dissipated. I broke into a grin. When that silly dog licked his face I started giggling. This book erased every bad feeling I was having and reminded me that life is great.

It is a short, sweet, and simple book about a dog named Doc playing in the snow. The pictures are bright and the text is very easy to follow. I loved this book and it now holds a special place in my heart.

Who knew a happy puppy playing in the snow would get me blogging again?

You can find Doc Tails: Snow On My Face on Amazon.