Category Archives: Educational

Back to School Blog Tour: Day 4

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backtoschool2016We’re already up to Day 4 of the blog tour. I hope you have been enjoying the daily featured authors. There has been a wide range of books, from Middle Grade to Reading instruction readers, to a picture book. Today, I share with you the author of a fabulous Middle Grade reader, Sandra R. Anderson. She is the author of Konrad and the Birthday Painting. She is a mother of two boys who fortunately have yet to show any interest in art. They are too busy catching Pokémon.

After several years of translating other people’s books by day and reading tons of children’s books every night at bedtime, she decided that she had some stories of her own to tell. She first got started by taking a course in writing for children at the cultural center Näs, right next to Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home.

She writes books for children and for grown-ups and anyone else who likes stories that are about something more than at first glance. She still works as a translator. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, and Postcrossing, although not simultaneously. She is an accidental stamp collector and keeps forgetting to water her potted plants, particularly when she’s working on a new book.

I had the chance to ask Ms. Anderson about her thoughts on writing, her favorite school memories, and what she is up to right now.

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Sandra R. Anderson is the author of Konrad and the Birthday Party available on Amazon.

1) Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?
I was the type of kid that read everything I could get my hands on, so I couldn’t name just one. I loved the classics, wandering around on that deserted island with Robinson Crusoe and exploring the oceans with Captain Nemo, but I also solved mysteries alongside Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys, discovered smugglers and hidden treasure with the Famous Five and slept with my feet on the pillow and baked gingerbread cookies on the floor with Pippi Longstocking.
I honestly can’t imagine the person I would have grown up to be if I hadn’t had all of these characters in my life as a child and am eternally grateful to the authors who created them. They opened my eyes to other people’s lives and experiences and made me see things differently. They broadened my horizons and made me a far better person than I would have been otherwise.
2) What is your most memorable school moment?
The best time I ever had in school was when I lived in Norway for a few years and went to school in a tiny school building with the sea on one side and tall mountains on the other. One time the entire school (not that many kids, perhaps 60 or 70 in all) rode a bus to the next valley over and then went on skis back over the mountains. Eating my school lunch at the top of a mountain is a memory that I will treasure forever.
3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
My best writing gets done really early in the morning, before the rest of my family wakes up. I’m an early bird and often wake up at 4 or 5. When everything is quiet, and the whole family is tucked away in bed, that’s when I can give my undivided attention to the characters in my stories and go on adventures with them. That said, if that wasn’t an option, I would write with blunt crayons on wet napkins up in a tree in the middle of a hurricane. Sometimes a story just needs to be told.
4) Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?
Sure. I’m not very good at a lot of things. I’m pretty good at reading and writing, but that’s about it. When it came to the more practical subjects, I was all thumbs, and I am still capable of burning a salad or sewing a shirt to my trousers if I try to replace a lost
button. But the thing I found most difficult in school was the social aspect, the unwritten rules that govern the playground. We moved a lot, so I was always the new kid, always failing to fit in.
5) What is writing to you in one sentence?
The magic that allows us to see the world through someone else’s eyes, explore places and situations that would otherwise be out of reach, and be anyone we want to be.
6) What projects are you working on right now?
I’m writing the next book in the Artworld series, of course, to find out what Konrad gets up to now that he has discovered an exciting new world inside of paintings. I’m also working on a science fiction story for ages 9 and up and have a coming of age saga for the same age group on the back burner. I  like to work on several different projects simultaneously, to avoid writer’s block, but there are only so many hours in a day, unfortunately. I also write for grown-ups under a different pen name, and have a few projects I’m working on there, as well. The most urgent is a ghost story that I hope to have done in time for Halloween.
To connect to Sandra R. Anderson, find her at:

Her website: www.sandrarandersson.com

Her Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/AuthorSandraR

 

BOOK REVIEW: KONRAD AND THE BIRTHDAY PAINTING

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Sandra R. Anderson writes a brilliant fantasy world in this Middle Grade Book available on Amazon.

***** Five Stars

Konrad and the Birthday Painting is a fast and fun fantasy adventure for middle graders. Konrad, a second grader, finds some mysterious glasses that allow him to look into a painting in the school office that, by chance, is like a map of the real school. He witnesses the taking of the Fifth Grade field trip funds, and has to stop his friend, Casper from being blamed for the theft.

Along the way, he discovers that the glasses work on other paintings at a nearby museum. This introduces him to the virtual world of “Artworld”. Will he want to come back to reality once he discovers this amazing new place?

This is a real creative fantasy that plays with the concept of the real world and a virtual world. I love stories that play with a fantasy world just on the edge of the real world. Anderson does a brilliant job of creating the world and the tension that Konrad has to struggle with. He has to think about his family still in the real world, and make a choice between the two. With wisps of Narnia, I recommend Konrad and the Birthday Painting to readers that love to play in fantasy worlds.

As part of this week’s special discounts and giveaways, you can download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!

**The giveaways are still up and going. Here is a list of all the books on discount/free and the big $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

**Also available on Amazon.

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is the current list of freebies, discounts, and giveaways during the blog tour. All discounts, freebies and giveaways will be running through the blog tour dates: 9/12-9/16.

  1. Win a $25 shopping spree on Amazon! Link to the Rafflecopter giveaway link here!
  2. Download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!
  3. Philip Gibson’s Graded Word For Word Reader 1 & 2 Free
  4.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZQQ98C
  5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019J1U2RQ
  6. The Lost Secret of Fairies: Discounted to $0.99
  7. Win a notebook set, bookmarks or the book Tinker Bee by Erin Liles: http://erinbethliles.weebly.com/blog/back-to-school-blog-tour-giveaway

For an interview with Martine Lewis on Erin Liles’s Blog, LINK HERE! 

Come back tomorrow for the final post to wrap up this week of Back to School celebration!

 

 

Back to School Blog Tour 2016: Day 3

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backtoschool2016The blog tour continues with today’s featured author, Erin Liles. Ms. Liles grew up in Northern California. In her twenties, she moved to Austin, Texas where it’s brutally hot in the summer, but life is a bit more relaxed. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in sociology, and after almost ten years working in family literacy and early childhood education, she took the plunge into writing and later, freelance editing.

Erin spends most of her time with her husband, kids, and pets. I had a chance to ask Erin about her opinions on writing, about some school memories, and what she will be working on next.

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Erin Liles is the author of Tinker Bee, a delightful picture book available on Amazon.

1) Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?

As a kid, I loved Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series. I still have my original books on my shelf (thanks for saving them, Mom and Dad!). As an adult, I love Kevin Henkes picture books and Laurie Halse Anderson’s YA.

2) What is your most memorable school moment?

I most remember my teacher writing lovely comments in the margins of the stories I wrote at school. They said things like Great imagination! and Terrific story! I always felt encouraged to write more.

3) Do you have a writing routine?

Share what works for you. I find that writing first thing in the morning works best for me. That way, I’m fresh and clear-headed (especially after my morning coffee!), and I don’t have to worry all day about when I’m going to get it done because it already is!

I write my drafts on Scrivener. For me, there’s no better way to organize the chaos of ideas flowing through my head, and I only have to switch screen views to see my plot all laid out for me.

4) Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?

Math! I still cringe at the subject when I’m trying to help my kids with their homework.

 

5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

I’m taking a writing course with Professor James Hynes, and he tells a story of his high school English teacher who once told him, “Fiction imposes order on the chaos that is reality.” That sums it up pretty well for me because writing means taking a chaos of ideas, picking the most important of those ideas, and corralling them into a logical, meaningful story.

6) What projects are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m working on a YA ghost story and a middle grade adventure.

***Here’s a chance to win a pen and notebook set, bookmarks or a copy of her new picture book, Tinker Bee. LINK TO GIVEAWAY HERE!

For more information on Erin Liles, follow this link to her blog/website.

BOOK REVIEW of Tinker Bee by Erin Liles

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Tinker Bee is available on Amazon as a Kindle Unlimited picture book.

Tinker Bee is a dazzling picture book  about a bee that wants to be different. She wants to be a fairy. No matter where she turns, people are trying to get her to do things the way other bees do. She’ll have none of that. She does things the way she’d like, as a fairy. Then, one day, someone comes along and ruins their best pansy patch. Tinker Bee is off to solve the problem. Her unusual idea saves the day, and it took her fairy wand and imagination to do it.

Kids that love fairies are going to be enchanted with this book. It teaches some of the vocabulary with associated with bees like waggle dance. Plus, it does it all with a charming moral that being yourself is as important as others excepting you as such. The illustrations are beautiful, with cheerful and bright colors that would be part of a bees world. I recommend this picture book for kids 3-8 years old. It would make a great gift for any child learning to read or getting their first Kindle or ereader.

**** Four Stars

Tinker Bee is available on Amazon. It is a Kindle Unlimited title. It is listed for $0.99.

Link to purchase book: https://www.amazon.com/Tinker-Bee-Erin-Beth-Liles-ebook/dp/B01GLM3KQ6

Watch the book trailer on YouTube:

**The giveaways are still up and going. Here is a list of all the books on discount/free and the big $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is the current list of freebies, discounts, and giveaways during the blog tour. All discounts, freebies and giveaways will be running through the blog tour dates: 9/12-9/16.

  1. Win a $25 shopping spree on Amazon! Link to the Rafflecopter giveaway link here!
  2. Download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!
  3. Philip Gibson’s Graded Word For Word Reader 1 & 2 Free
  4.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZQQ98C
  5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019J1U2RQ
  6. The Lost Secret of Fairies: Discounted to $0.99
  7. Win a notebook set, bookmarks or the book Tinker Bee by Erin Liles: http://erinbethliles.weebly.com/blog/back-to-school-blog-tour-giveaway

For an interview with me, Tiffany Turner, head on over to Sandra Anderson’s blog HERE!

Back To School Blog Tour: Day 2

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backtoschool2016Welcome to the second day of the Back to School Blog Tour. The featured author today is Philip Gibson. He is a teacher and author that has more than 35 years’ experience teaching English to children and adults in 7 countries. Mr. Gibson spent the next 30+ years traveling the world teaching English to children and adults of all nationalities.

He now lives in Laos where, for the past 12 years, he has been researching, writing, and improving his Word by Word series of illustrated, graded readers for English-speaking children learning to read and children learning English as a second or foreign language. Mr. Gibson continues to teach, to write, and expects to be able to make the complete 12-book series of books available during the course of the next few months.

I was lucky enough to interview Mr. Gibson, and get his take on his school memories, favorite children’s authors, and what writing means to him.

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Philip Gibson’s Word By Word series teaches English reading to ELD and early readers.

1)   Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?

The earliest books I remember enjoying were the first books in the Ladybird Key Words Reading Scheme.  In the U.K., they were known as the Peter and Jane books.  I believe in the U.S. a similar series known as the Dick and Jane books were widely used during the same time.

Those books used a systematic, step by step introduction of key words alongside attractive colorful illustrations.  The books are now criticized for their lack of phonics emphasis as well as old-fashioned, 1950s cultural stereotypes.  They are now largely ignored and out of print.  However, they did make learning to read an easy and rewarding process and certainly did the job for me and those of my generation (now in our 60s.)

So now I am developing a new, 12-book series of illustrated early readers using a similar, but updated, format.  This new series contains not only systematically introduced sight words, but also phonic emphasis at every stage.  They are also culturally appropriate for the modern age. The first 8 books have now been completed and are available.  I have made the first two e-books permanently free so that parents and teachers can try them out at no cost.

2)   What is your most memorable school moment?

I remember when I was 5 or 6, a classmate coming over and looking at a page I had been writing on.  She expressed surprise that I had filled the entire page.  It had never occurred to me that I might be more advanced in reading and writing than my classmates.

3)   Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you?

I write every day, usually between midnight and dawn when everyone is sleeping and the house is quiet.

4)   What is writing to you in one sentence?

Writing to me is about trying to put out something into the world that will be of actual practical benefit to people… especially children.

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The Word By Word Readers Collection bundle is available on Amazon.

Today, his Word by Word series is featured. As a teacher of 18 years, finding a useful and engaging reading program is important. Mr. Gibson does this while instructing the difficult points in learning English. This is a great series for beginning English learners of all ages. The first two books of the series are FREE! Plus, you can also get the first several books in a bundle HERE! The series is great for teachers and parents to work with their children.

Book 1: Lee and Pat – http://amzn.to/1Nh0M3Q

Book 2: Lee and Pat Like to Play – http://amzn.to/1QAcTwZ

WORD BY WORD readers bundle-https://www.amazon.com/Word-Readers-Childs-Introduction-Reading-ebook/dp/B01BQUCBYK

See all the readers and collections at his website – http://www.wordbywordseries.com/

**As with yesterday, the giveaways are still up and going. Here is a list of all the books on discount/free and the big $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is the current list of freebies, discounts, and giveaways during the blog tour. All discounts, freebies and giveaways will be running through the blog tour dates: 9/12-9/16.

  1. Win a $25 shopping spree on Amazon! Link to the Rafflecopter giveaway link here!
  2. Download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!
  3. Philip Gibson’s Graded Word For Word Reader 1 & 2 Free
  4.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZQQ98C
  5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019J1U2RQ
  6. The Lost Secret of Fairies: Discounted to $0.99
  7. Win a notebook set, bookmarks or the book Tinker Bee by Erin Liles: http://erinbethliles.weebly.com/blog/back-to-school-blog-tour-giveaway

For an interview with me, Tiffany Turner, head on over to Sandra Anderson’s blog HERE!

Tiffany Turner Appearance at Tartan Day April 2 in Fremont, CA

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TartanDayTiffany Turner will be making an appearance at the Tartan Day Day celebration at Ardenwood Farm Park in Fremont, CA on April 2, 2016. She’ll be set up in a booth to meet everyone and sign books. Also available will be the opportunity to enter a drawing for a crystal pendant or a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Mrs. Turner has been very involved in the Scottish Heritage community in Northern California for 10 years. She has played the First Lady in Waiting to Mary, Queen of the Scots in the Royal Court of St. Gyles Acting Guild. She was a founding member of the guild, St. Ida’s of Cill Ida. Recently, she has been playing her Gaelic Harp for the parade group Danse Macabre.  Mrs. Turner proudly has Scottish and Irish heritage.

She will be signing books, giving out Tartan favors she has made from tartan purchased in Scotland, and visiting with her fans. All three Crystal Keeper books will be on sale. Plus, ask her about the current last installment of the series she is writing, The Lost Secret of Time. Also, stop by and sign up to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or crystal pendant.

Also appearing with her will be the author of The Lost Celt, A. E. Conran. Ms. Conran is a children’s book author, freelance editor, and children’s book specialist at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA. She’ll be on hand to sign copies of her new release, and talk about Celtic heritage. Her website is at: www.aeconran.com.

Come by and spend the whole day with the family learning about Scottish and Irish heritage.

Write Your Own Spooky Story Day 6: The Final Draft

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Look for other story writing projects on my blog in the coming months. Please follow to not miss them!

Look for other story writing projects on my blog in the coming months. Please follow to not miss them!

So, now that the trick-o-treating is done, did you get a chance to recopy your story? If not, and you got swept up into the Halloween spirit, don’t despair. You can write a Spooky story any time of the year. It’s called Horror Fiction, and people like to write and read it all year round. So, even if you got distracted by the Halloween excitement, sit down now and recopy your story out into a nice, final draft.

There. How do you feel? You actually wrote a fabulous, spooky story you’ll have to share with others every Halloween. How do I know? I wrote my first spooky story when I was 10 years old in Mrs. Williams class. The story has changed many times over the years, but it became “Pumper the Pumpkin.” If you didn’t get a chance to download it this week, it’s still on Amazon for $0.99. I didn’t price it too high on purpose. There is such joy in being able to share a story with people, and I hope you are able to enjoy mine.

On Halloween Eve, Pumper is trying to be a jack-o-lantern. Only he needs to find the right family to adopt him. Will he in time? Join Pumper in this amazing Halloween quest of being a part of something bigger.

Pumper the Pumpkin: A Halloween Tale by Tiffany Turner is a Kindle Unlimited title.

Pumper the Pumpkin: A Halloween Tale by Tiffany Turner is a Kindle Unlimited title.

Thank you for joining me in this writing adventure this week. I do plan on some more to be posted in the next coming months, starting with how to write you’re own Mystery story as the next project. So please follow my blog so you don’t miss it.

Have a fabulous November! -Tiffany Turner (Mrs. Turner)

My Halloween Tale, Pumper the Pumpkin is be available for free on Amazon. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Pumper-Pumpkin-Tiffany-Turner-ebook/dp/B005X1CS1A

 

Write Your Own Spooky Story Day 5: Revision and Proofreading Your Story

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Writing Your Own Spooky Story Day 5: Revision and Proofreading

Writing Your Own Spooky Story Day 5: Revision and Proofreading

Welcome to Day 5 of writing your own Spooky Story. Well, tomorrow is the big day, Halloween. And I’m sure if you’ve been working hard all week, you’ve got your rough draft done and ready to polish today. This is when you need to find a partner to listen to your story, and give you some feedback. Feedback is comments about what the person liked, what works, and what might need to be changed. They should listen to and let you know if anything is confusing or hard to understand. I’ve always taught this aspect through the writing workshop process, and often gave my students a feedback worksheet to work with. Below are the questions I would include on the sheet for them to fill out.

Your partner can be an older sibling (brother or sister), cousin, Mom or Dad, Grandparent or even Aunt or Uncle. You can also have your friends work with you as well. Writer’s call this a critique group. We often have a network of fellow writers, or betareaders, that read through our stories and give us feedback on what to improve.

You might also notice I mentioned listened. It’s best that you read your story out loud to your partner. That way, it is easier for you to hear what works, check on how dialogue flows, and how your descriptions read. You can often catch awkward and hard to understand sentences this way.

So, here is a list of questions for your betareader(partner) to answer as they listen to your story:

  1. What was your favorite part? Why?
  2. What would you want to know more about in the story?
  3. Is there anything, words or sentences, that were confusing in the story?
  4. What details in the story stood out the most?
  5. What would you want to see in the next story?

After you’ve had a chance to go over some revision, only then let your partner look over your story for corrections in punctuation or spelling. They are welcome to look through and catch any changes they may find. Then, it’s your turn to go back and rewrite the parts and make changes they suggested. When you’re done, show it to them again. See if they suggest anything else.

Most writers do this about 4-5 times. I know, you think, wow, that’s a lot. As a beginning writer try this at least once. Make changes, and show them to your partner one more time. In the last rewrite, they should probably be less often. That’s when you know you’re ready to copy from a revision draft to a final draft.

When you get to that point, you’re ready for tomorrow. Tomorrow, it’s all about copying into a nice final draft to read for friends and family on Halloween. You’re ALMOST there! Have fun today and tonight! You’re in the home stretch.

Meanwhile, looks like I got my phone working. So, I’m going to try the Periscope Broadcast at 3:30 pm PDT. Look for @Tiffmeister. That’s in about 1/2 hr from uploading this post. So, I’ll be going over the steps the last few days, answering questions you might have, and enjoying any comments you have for me. I would love the feedback. Again, Periscope is an app. that is available on Android and iPhone. I’m sure it’s also on iPads too since it’s in the iTunes store. Just head over to the apps section, type in Periscope, and you’re there. So, hope to hear from you. Until then, happy revising! -Tiffany Turner (Mrs. Turner)

Write Your Own Spooky Story: Day 4 Your Rough Draft; Adding Dialogue and Getting Unstuck

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Using dialogue to describe your characters action can propel your story forward.

Using dialogue to describe your characters action can propel your story forward.

Welcome to Day 4 of writing your own spooky story. Today, it’s time to work on connecting those middle events to lead to your solution in your ending. It’s going to be a busy day. Before I start, I have to announce the HUGE issues with my phone. It completely has died. I have to take it to the CPR phone store. So, I’m going to have to postpone my Periscope broadcast until tomorrow at 3:30 pm PDT. Sorry folks. When the electronics act up, it affects everything. But of course,  I can still answer questions and comments on the blog. Feel free to ask advice as you progress through your project this week.

Today is the second day of writing your rough draft. It’s the time you need to connect your introduction and problem you wrote yesterday to the rest of the story. You need to write the middle events that lead your characters to the solution, and end your story with the satisfying bang that they crave. In this section, you have to leave clues that your character can find or have events that push them along to the ending. Think of all those other spooky stories you may have read. They will help you get some ideas. Writers are active readers as well as observers. A lot of the time, a good book in the same genre will jog an idea for you. If you get stuck, try remembering some of your favorite books and try the same thing(s) with a twist. All you have to do is something similar but with twists and changes.

Another thing that helps me get in the zone for writing is to put on some music. If it’s difficult for you to concentrate without noise, that’s normal for some people. Some people need a background noise, like music, to concentrate. Some people need complete silence. If you’re having trouble, and know you need quiet or music to write, try making an environment for writing. For example, I have made several playlists for different projects using Youtube. I find the video for a song and put them in a playlist. Right now I’m playing a Halloween playlist to get me in a spooky mood. It includes Panic at the Disco’s “Emperor’s New Clothes”, “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, Theme song from “Tales of the Crypt” and “Ghostbusters”. If I get stuck, I watch the video and listen to the music, and it gets my concentration going again. This works for me. But if you have other ways that help you as you write, please feel free to share in the comments section.

As you’re writing, be sure to check your story map to check off things as you add them. They will help you guide yourself to the ending. Also, to avoid telling too much, try using dialogue. Sometimes it’s easier to have your characters talk about something than just describe it. Here’s an example:

Mark and Becky walked up to the house at the end of the street. No one liked to trick or treat at this one house, because it looked too haunted. It had a older man that lost his wife a few years ago. He never appeared except to water his lawn now and again. Becky thought one more treat would be good. Her candy bag looked a bit small. Not many people had been home in her neighborhood. Maybe they could get something at this house after all.

Now, let’s add some dialogue to the paragraph.

Mark looked at Becky. “You think we should trick or treat at the house at the end of the street?”

Becky felt ill. “Really, no. I mean, that old guy never appears since his wife died. He only comes out to water his lawn. He’s not very nice when he does it too.”

Mark grabbed his bag looking inside. “It’s been slim pickings this year. Not many people have been home, Becky. Why don’t we try one more house? It couldn’t hurt, right?”

Becky shrugged her shoulders. What did she have to loose? One more house couldn’t hurt. 

Adding dialogue makes the scene come alive, and you’re no longer telling the action, it is being done by your characters. Dialogue can make the action propel into the next scene. Next, I’d have them walk to the porch and try to trick or treat. Since this would be my haunted house setting, somehow they’d end up inside the house. And then the real fun begins.

Pumper the Pumpkin: A Halloween Tale by Tiffany Turner is a Kindle Unlimited title. Free Oct. 27-31!

Pumper the Pumpkin: A Halloween Tale by Tiffany Turner is a Kindle Unlimited title. Free Oct. 27-31!

Enjoy finishing up your rough draft today. Tomorrow, we’ll work on revising and proofreading to ready you to get that final copy done for Halloween. Ask around and see if someone is willing to listen to your story for tomorrow. And I’ll post questions and tips for them to look for. Until then, happy writing!- Tiffany Turner (Mrs. Turner)

Plus, for this week only starting, Oct. 27, my Halloween Tale, Pumper the Pumpkin will be available for free on Amazon. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Pumper-Pumpkin-Tiffany-Turner-ebook/dp/B005X1CS1A

Write Your Own Spooky Story: Day 3 Starting Your Rough Draft

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Day 3 of writing your own spooky story: Starting your rough draft

Day 3 of writing your own spooky story: Starting your rough draft

Welcome to Day 3 of writing your own spooky story. Today we’re going to start the rough draft. The best way to start your story is to find a quiet place, and have an idea of what activity your character is doing when we find them. It’s best to start them in the middle of an activity that is important to them, such as being at school, basketball practice, or playing in the creek near their house. Something that would be a place or thing that will lead them to the problem.

Why is this important? Because as a writer, you want to SHOW, NOT TELL your story. You want to have activities showing what your character is about or likes to do, and not just tell your readers. If you tell them, your story is nothing more than just a summary of actions. A story shows the actions and events. It puts characters into problems and lets them loose.

There are two school of thoughts on how to write the rough draft as well. The two ways to write a rough draft can be broken into two groups of people, those that write by having an idea of what the characters are and what may happen, and let the action play in their mind as they write it down. These people are called Pantsers, as they write by the seat of their pants.

The second group are more organized and like to outline or write down the order of events that they want to have happen in a story from beginning, middle to end. These people are called Plotters since they like to have events mapped out.

Either way of writing your rough draft is correct. You could even try the one way that sounds best to you, and if it doesn’t work, switch to the other. It’s good to know which you prefer since it will make it easier for you to write. Personally, I’m a Pantser. I tend to spend a lot of time knowing what my characters are like, and an idea of what they will do. But often I’ve sat down and had the story turn out different, because once I put the characters into the situation I’ve created, they choose to do something else. I love this! I call it being in the zone. I enjoy the story as much as any reader since sometimes I don’t even know what will happen in the end until I write it.

So, think of that action your main character needs to be in the middle of, find that quiet space, and start writing. Don’t worry about how it starts. You can always change it later. Just start. If it’s hard, use the phase, “There I was on a dark and stormy night.” My starting phrase for my posts this week is”Welcome to Day — to writing your own spooky story.” It might sound boring or hokey, but it gets me started. Once you get your brain flowing, the beginning can always be changed or improved.

Tomorrow, I’m planning to try something new. I’m going to be broadcasting on Periscope, a phone app. that allows you to broadcast world wide anything you might be doing from anywhere. I’ll be going through the techniques I’ve posted about the last few days, and taking any questions or comments you might have on your story in progress. Please join me @Tiffmeister on Periscope at 3:30pm-4:40pm PDT. If you don’t have the app, you can download it from the GooglePlayStore or Itunes store for your iPhone.

Pumper the Pumpkin: A Halloween Tale by Tiffany Turner is a Kindle Unlimited title. Free Oct. 27-31!

Pumper the Pumpkin: A Halloween Tale by Tiffany Turner is a Kindle Unlimited title. Free Oct. 27-31!

So, get writing! And I’ll see you tomorrow for some one-to-one help and support! -Tiffany (Mrs. Turner)

Plus, for this week only starting today, Oct. 27, my Halloween Tale, Pumper the Pumpkin will be available for free on Amazon. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Pumper-Pumpkin-Tiffany-Turner-ebook/dp/B005X1CS1A

World Teacher Day! Share Appreciation With A Teacher Today!

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This year it is difficult for me since I’m not able to teach. I’m spending the year working on getting my health back and writing after a serious health issue in December last year. But I can at least support my fellow educators especially on a day like today. It is World Teacher Day! It’s time to show appreciation for teachers around the world. I know on some days words of appreciation were small gifts to help combat the constant exhaustion, stress and politics that accompany teaching. So, give a shout out for your favorite teacher today. Here is a graphic to show why we need to support teachers courtesy of Grammarly.com:

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#ISTANDWITHAMED: My Thoughts On The Fear of Violence in School Culture

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How about a new School Culture that is a World School?

How about a new School Culture that is a World School?

I have to say, I don’t usually talk about something so political on my blog. But this story has got me so fired up and thinking, I have to write something. There are so many points of view that affect what happened to the Muslim student, Ahmed Mohamed, that it’s hitting a big nerve with people. In fact, I’m reading so many points of views and opinions, it’s time I threw mine into the ring. Because I seem to be adding to the conversation of many Twitter and newspaper article comments about School Culture. That is a big part of this. It’s the reason the officials treated the clock project with caution. Any school in our country would. That I think is as equally sad as taking it to the levels they did with arresting, finger printing, and questioning Ahmed without his parents.

The fact that school officials and police have to deal with the threat is outrageous in American society to begin with. That is clearly an outrage in itself. I know. I’ve had to deal with teaching children for all most two decades of Lock Down Drills, watching for people that might shoot kids on the playground from hills that surrounded my school, or think of what I’d do if someone should come through the school with a gun. These are things that, when it comes down to it, are more acceptable than the fact Ahmed is a Muslim and a student of color.

School Culture isn’t what it was when I started teaching in 1997. The innocence of American schools has been destroyed. It started with Columbine, when two kids could change the make up of American schools by deciding that their enemies needed to be destroyed instead of dealing with high school in the usual way kids had in the past. Then, Sept. 11 happened. Terrorists won by causing a rooted fear in American society. Distrust is connected with Muslim and Islamic people. This incident shows the 20 years of progression of what American Schools have become.

Who do we blame? I want to say ourselves. But that wouldn’t be right. There were events that living through them, caused the fear. But I do know the progression of the School Culture. And the way the rules are set by politicians and adminstrators following laws to prevent these things from happening again. Truly, Ahmed is not a victim of this alone. We are all victims from the things we are losing from the youth who are affected by it.

I’m an 80s kid. I remember the rebel and radical images portrayed of kids back in the 80s. Heavy metal was going to rot everyone’s brains. Warning stickers were put on albums to protect the innocence of youth. D & D was children devil worshipping. What was to become of society? It’s almost laughable now to what the current young generation has to deal with. Some of those things that were considered bad actually made my generation strong. Maybe with all of this being put into light, the School Culture will be reexamined. But what happens when one kid slips through the cracks, sets off a bomb, and the authorities are blamed for not being tough?

We got to approach this different. But how? I’m at a loss here. It’s hard to suggest a solution with 20 years of attacks on the school system, violence, and terrorist fears haunting most of America. I don’t know if there is a clear answer. But there has to be a start. Maybe what happened to Ahmed could be the start of that; the healing this country needs. I look forward to seeing what this young man will do with his opportunities from this, and maybe it will help future school officials and police to take a step back and think before assuming someone is something by how they look. If they had taken a close look at him, he was so geeked out, with glasses and a NASA t-shirt, he could have been on the “King Of The Nerds” reality show. And talking to his parents would have been a perfect way to handle it than cuffing and fingerprinting him. The fear can’t take us over or the real terrorists will have won. Taking a step back and looking at this situation will hopefully bring change that is so needed in our schools today; looking at kids again as kids.