Tag Archives: writing


My autistic 7 year old has been surprising all of us lately with his perfect handwriting and the spelling and reading of really big words – especially for a kiddo his age who just became fully potty-trained two weeks ago.  Here’s a sample:


Sorry about the quality, but you can see his perfect, tiny letters.  I don’t know adults who can write that well!

His favorite game is to write words on paper after paper, then ask, “What does (fill in the blank) start with?”  He already knows, but if you know about autism, you probably also know that a lot of questions are ones to which they already know the answer.  It’s a form of mimicking a behavior that is safe, if that makes sense?  Anyway, the “game” evolves into, “how do you spell (fill in the blank).”

The funny thing is, this game does not usually work in reverse.  Meaning, if I go up to him and ask him to spell a word, more often than not, he will tell me no.  Or, he won’t answer the question, but will instead throw one back of his own.

Last week during dinner, his nearly 17 year old stepsister asked, “Isaac, how do you spell Isaac?”

Isaac, “Um…. no.”

Stepsister, “Isaac, how do you spell Isaac?”

Isaac, “No.”

Stepsister, “Isaac, how do you spell Isaac?”

Isaac, “How do you spell no?”

Of course, we were roaring with laughter.  And he was not even trying to be funny, making these games of his that much more entertaining.



Blog Tour for Charles French 

​I am very happy and honored to introduce to you my dear blogging friend, Charles French. As a professor of literature, Mr. French is well versed in the world of reading and writing, and passes on this knowledge with his fellow readers in his daily posts.

In preparation for the release of his new book, Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book 1, I am pleased to be the host on day 6 of his book’s blogging tour. On today’s leg, Mr. French  offers a glimpse into the very real struggle of titling a literary work. It is both a delightful read and encouraging one.  So without further delay, I present:

The Evolution of the Title in my Novel: Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I
When I first began drafting my novel about 5 years ago, I was not sure about what title to use.  Since I am a lover of Shakespeare, like many writers before me, I went to him for my original title. I decided on Evil Lives After, which is a paraphrase from Julius Caesar “The evil that men do lives after them/The good is oft interred with their bones” (Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 77-78).  I was happy with the title because it reflected one of the major themes in the novel: the consequences of evil during and after life and its continued existence.

I continued using this title through many drafts of the book. (As an aside, the final draft is number 13, but do not worry. Unless you are a Knights Templar in the year 1307, and King 
Philip of France covets your money and gold, you have nothing to worry about from the number 13. But that is a tale for another day!) 

As the book moved along, I had the good fortune to have several very skilled beta readers read and examine the novel. One consistent complaint was that the title seemed tame or stale. At first, I disagreed, because I liked the title and had grown attached to it. Upon serious reflection, however, I came to agree with my beta readers. 

It was time for a title change.

I considered that including the name of the protagonist in the title might work. After all, 
Roosevelt Theodore Franklin is the main character. And the book, in many ways, is about war. Several of the characters are veterans of combat in Vietnam and Iraq, and the Investigative Paranormal Society goes to war against a terrible demon that threatens a child. I created, therefore, the title Roosevelt’s War. This seemed to work—the title was crisp and should capture attention.

But. . . 

As a friend pointed out to me, this title suggested an historical nonfiction book about either President Theodore Roosevelt or President Franklin D. Roosevelt. My friend was completely correct. If I kept this one, it would suggest a completely different kind of book. Roosevelt’s War had to go.

I still needed a title.

Inspiration came to me while teaching a class “Gothic and Horror in Our Culture” at Muhlenberg College. I use Dracula by Bram Stoker in that class. In that classic novel, Dracula is the title character, but not the main character, and the antagonist, not the protagonist. I had my answer to the title dilemma. Like Bram Stoker did, I would make the villain the title character, but I would add to the basic title and include a reference to the group of people who would oppose him. Since this is the first book in a series, I also decided to indicate that situation in the title; therefore, I arrived at Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I. 

Blogger Recognition Award


Thank you, Simon, for this awesome award!  I am happy to know that you enjoy my blog as much as I always enjoy yours!  We have, what my dad would call, a mutual admiration society 🙂

There are rules for this award and they go a little something like this:

  1. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.
  2. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you.
  3. Write a post to show your award.
  4. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  5. Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers.
  6. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  7. Attach the award badge to the post (right click and save, then upload.)
  8. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them.
  9. Provide a link to the original post.

I first began this blog to accomplish two things:  First, I have always loved writing.  I used to write little books before I could spell, then try to sell them in garage sales or door to door.  I thank my mother for her undying patience as she helped me spell every.single.word.  My love for writing grew to poetry and short stories.  But after mommyhood, I found little time to write.  And I really couldn’t think of what I wanted to write!  Short poems came to me here and there, and I would jot them down.  But I wanted something more…  It was a blogging friend of mine who pointed out that I had plenty of material just in my daily life.  As it turns out, there are a few people who seem to enjoy reading my crazy snip-its! 

Secondly, my blog (which has now expanded to poetry, homeschooling, and religion) served as stress relief.  What happened in the day that may have actually been very upsetting, I learned to look at it from another angle.  I blogged about it and realized that kids are kids and they keep us young.  Sanity, however, is debatable 😉

I don’t usually consider myself as anyone worthy of giving advice.  My writing is unpolished.  I’m not a professional, by any means!  I simply enjoy doing it.  For those who love to write, write.  Don’t find reasons why you can’t.  The reasons and the muse will always be there!

My nominees are:





Universe of Possibilities


No I’m Not Okay

Beyond the Books Homeschooling


A World of Horror

Oh Oxford….

Oxford just announced its 2015 word of the year. Actually, it’s not a word. For the first time ever, a pictograph has been selected. Does anyone else feel we’ve just stepped back a few thousand years???

The winning title goes to an emoji by the name of “Tears of Joy.”


According to Oxford, this emoji was selected as the “‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.”

And I thought the new dictionary words were bad!  This is a tragic new low…

Siblinghood of the World Bloggers Award

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggersThank you, Simon, for nominating me for this award.  I look forward to your unique posts (and those designs you promised me 🙂 ).


  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog in your post.
  2. Answer the questions that the blogger who nominated you has provided.
  3. Nominate ten other bloggers (or up to 10).
  4. Create ten questions for your nominees and notify them of their nominations.

GONE WITH THE WIND, Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, 1939.

My Answers

  • What’s your favorite male character in a book and why?

Rhett Butler.  He invented tall, dark and handsome.  His personality is flawless!  I don’t think I’ve come across a more well-rounded character.

  • What’s your favorite female character in a book and why?

Scarlett O’Hara.  Maybe you are seeing a theme at this point… She’s also a survivor at all costs.  She may seem cold and uncaring to some, or the anti-hero.  But to me, she was courageous during a time I can’t imagine living through.  She was loyal to her home and her father.  There was nothing she couldn’t accomplish, until the end of the story 😦

  • What’s the one thing that happened in a book that you would like to do?

True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – I would love to be that young, innocent, beautiful English girl making the sea voyage home to her family, only to realize she is amidst a crazy captain and a crew out to get rid of him.

  • What would you do with a magic pen that any time you wrote with it, it created whatever you described (I liked this so I kept it)?

Draw doors that went into gardens.  Whenever I was a place I didn’t want to be, I’d draw a little door and disappear 🙂

  • What’s the book you couldn’t put down?

Gone with the Wind and Everyday Saints

  • Where in the universe would you like to go? Why?

I’m happy looking at the stars on the ground… Earth’s ground.

  • Who is your favorite author?

Funny, I can only think of one who I didn’t like

  • Have you ever read a book that you didn’t want anyone to know you had read? What was it?

The Twilight Series.

  • What book has made you feel something the most intensely? What did you feel?

Gone with the Wind. I was just so upset that Scarlett and Rhett were over!

  • If offered the opportunity to visit a fictional world, where would you go and what kind of character would you become?

Does being a mermaid count?  Living in the Great Barrier Reef??  Otherwise, if it’s a book, I’ll settle for any fairytale princess.

My Nominees:

  1. Poor Prose – a very new site that has great potential.  The writing is great and I can’t to see what else he does with the site.
  2. Sometimes Silver Linings are Blue – Wow!  Carisa’s poetry is beautiful, provocative, and oftentimes, hits right to my core.
  3. The Lonely Author Blog – I just recently stumbled upon this blog. Another fantastic writer!
  4. Charles French – writer, book and movie reviews of the classics!
  5. My Two Sentences – Beautiful writing in only two sentences.  You won’t believe what he can do until you read it for yourself.

My Questions:

  • When did you begin writing for enjoyment?
  • Who is your favorite philosopher and why?
  • Why do you write?
  • What is hardest part about the writing process for you?
  • Do you find you’re bummed out when you finish a good book?

Creative Writing Exercise

Also posted on my other site: Homeschooling the Minds of Tomorrow


My cousin has very generously shared his recent assignments from a creative writing workshop he’s currently in. The most recent challenge I really enjoyed, as it took me from my normal writing subjects (me, kids, feelings). I think it would also serve as an excellent assignment for kids.

The subject is color and the writer is the voice of the color. The assignment should be no more than 250 words, and within a 5-10 minute time frame. Obviously, the duration and length of writing can be tailored around younger student’s abilities.

We both chose the color red, but I think did something very different with the same color, while some qualities of the color cannot be ignored and found themselves in both our writings.

Have fun!


Take me to the salsa club; I’ll sashay around and above your hips, energizing your dance moves. Wear me on your lips as we dine in fine company; leave me behind on your wine glass or lover’s mouth. I know you’ll reapply me soon… I am electric and lively, bold and brilliant. Delicate on a rose. Adrenaline on a Lamborghini. I am the deadly warning on the black widow spider, yet the life in oxygenated blood cells. I’m as beautiful as I am dangerous. What songwriter or poet hasn’t used me to convey desire and power? I am unapologetic, even as I flow from you. Spill me over the battle fields of history, yet man’s thirst for me will never be satiated. I am not evil though, no. For I am warmth in the roaring fire; the fantasy of all men and the empowerment of the shy woman. I am life within you. I will be noticed.  I am red – always worn with purpose.


Royal, regal, important, and powerful. I’m fast; I’m bright; and I’m hot. I’m revealing of inner humanity. I am the most brilliant of colors. Every painter has me on his palate. I am primary. I am a stand out in all of the classic paintings. Men adorn their dress with me, to take in the power that I exude. Men are not alive without me. I am the finest of wines, the standout in every salad. The finest juices broadcast their nectar with my semblance. The hummingbird despises any flower who does not know my beauty–for my ambrosia is the most exquisite.

I am both life and death. If my color does not run through your veins, you have passed to another age. If I fall from your body through the sword, your soul will flee also, for it does not want to reside without me. Jesus chose my wine as the that which should be remembered by all.

More of me upon woman’s lips produces a quenching thirst for them upon his own.

I broadcast all emergencies. The important buttons take my countenance. I demand attention. You will stop and take notice when you see me. Your heroes are no heroes at all without me. Santa Claus would lose his luster without me, for a suit of any other demands no notice.

I am resplendent.

*photo credit: blog.salonbuzz.com

The Prestigious New Words of Oxford

Language is constantly changing. My children recently asked about Old English and if it was different than English we speak now. I said yes! In fact, it would be almost impossible to read and understand today. Of course they wanted to know how this could be if it was “still English?”

I gave the following examples: iPad. Did that word exist fifty years ago? Would someone from the past have any clue what that is? So as things change, our language changes with it. Sometimes words are not new but their meaning is added upon or changed.

But today, it was I who received a lesson in language – first from my cousin, who messaged me in shared astonishment,  then from my own research. Let me put it this way: I’m not sure whether to share with my children some of these ridiculous new words and meanings now being placed in our dictionaries, or just keep it to myself for amusement!

For example: manspreading – the term, coined by London commuters, refers to men on public transport who splay their legs wide apart and encroach on neighboring seats.

Ummm good to know! I wonder if these men can be fined for their public display of uhh, real estate?

Butt dial – when someone accidentally dials you from their pants pocket.

Waaay behind on that term! I’ve been using it for at least two years!

Cat cafe – a cafe or similar establishment where people pay to interact with cats housed on the premises.

I can’t even get upset at Oxford over this one. Seriously, people do this?! I mean I like animals as much as the next person, but to pay to pet them while eating a sandwich? I’m lost.

Fatberga very large mass of solid waste in a sewage system, consisting especially of congealed fat and personal hygiene products that have been flushed down toilets.

Because when I’m speaking to someone about such things, I want to make sure I sound educated and use the proper term.

Awesomesauce –  something so good it’s beyond awesome!

Mkay – another way to say or spell okay.

I’m officially embarrassed. This must be a joke!

Hangry – anger when one is hungry.

Yep. I’m embarrassed.

I’ve got a few ideas! How about kangry? When one is angry because of their kids? Or tangry? Anger over towels not being hung after use. Nkay? No, it’s NOT okay! Oxfappointment – disappointment over Oxford additions.

Or Stupidspreading – the widespread spreading of stupid “words” until they become dictionary worthy.

I’m submitting my suggestions to Oxford immediately. Be on the lookout for these genius additions next year!

Sunshine Blogger Award


Thank you, Threehandsoneheart, for nominating me for this award! I have enjoyed following your blog and learning from you.  Your dedication to your son and your quest to discover as much as possible about autism, its treatments and help for those who care for these special children, is nothing short of amazing and inspirational.  I look forward to reading your posts. Thank you!

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions from the person who has nominated you.
  • Nominate some other bloggers for this award.
  • Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you have nominated.
  • Notify the bloggers you have nominated.

The Response:

Do you keep a diary or journal?
I used to keep journals.  Actually, I love buying journals and have quite a collection of beautiful journals waiting to be filled!  Now I blog, so that’s kind of like my journal 🙂
What is one of your guilty pleasures?
One guilty pleasure??  I was going to say sodas every once in awhile (I try to eat as clean as possible most of the time).  But it’s a toss up between that and eye shadows!
Do you have any pets?
At the moment, no.  We had a dog and hope to get a new one very soon.  We had a cat.  We had a saltwater aquarium, but those don’t move well so we had to sell the fish.  My oldest son has a few small fish in his room, and my second son is saving his money for a turtle.
Tell us about one thing that really gets your goat…
Most of the things my kids do.  Maybe not at the moment… but after I have survived the day, then I can laugh about it.
Who would you invite to a celebrity dinner party. List 5, alive or not…
Norah Jones to serenade us at the party.   Stan Getz to play along beside her.  Robin Williams, Edgar Allen Poe, Mozart or Beethoven.
Brain dump… what is on your mind right now?
Getting my kids to the Fourth of July celebration!
What is your most annoying bad habit?
Oh man… right now there are lots of them filling my head!  Probably smacking while eating gets to me most frequently. And messes all over the house.  Oh, and toilet seats left up 🙂

According to Katie

Phil Brewer

Orthodoxy in America

Fighter Faith


A Homeschool Mom

How to $tuff your Pig

Charles French

Nicky’s Day with Autism


My Questions to my Nominees:

Why did you first begin blogging?

What is your greatest inspiration for writing?

What hobby, skill or talent do you wish you had or could do?

What do you feel is the greatest dilemma facing kids today?

If you could go back and study one subject, what would it be?

What is your ideal vacation?

I Forgot Some!

Hopefully I did not forget anyone else.  If I did, I will add you, too!  My only excuse is it can be challenging to type with a bunch of kids hanging on my arms 🙂

I am always amazed by other moms and how they manage their days.  I feel like we are flying by the seat of our pants most of the time, so for those who have so much more on their plates, WOW!  One such mom/blog is Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities.

My uncle, Phil Brewer, is another amazing person.  He has now authored three books!  When I was a kid, I send letters out to all my extended family in hopes of getting a bunch of letters back.  He was the one who always faithfully wrote back with a beautiful postcard.  I still have all of them today and they are a treasure!

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

My 4-year old loves to do schoolwork.  The other day she decided to spice up her writing practice.  She chose pink paper, naturally, and added some pizzaz to her letters.  The result: