Category Archives: Writing

Follow-Up to “Reflections on Anne Frank, Hiding and the Corona Virus Pandemic”

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The last time I wrote a blog post about the lockdown and the pandemic, it was April 8th, 2020 in a blog post called “Reflections on Anne Frank, Hiding and the Corona Virus Pandemic”. I was starting to realize that this lockdown was going to be longer than what the officials were telling us. It was eventually extended, making our “hiding” in place into the summer, about 3 1/2 months. From Mid-March to mid-June, I isolated in my San Jose condo. I didn’t fathom truly how it was going to affect us all except it could be as wide reaching as WWII. I could see it was going to shake up society, disrupt living, and likely change the world forever. I just didn’t know how it was going to do it, and how I’d survive it.

Half Dome taken from Yosemite Valley on a trip in 2020.

But I have to say, the hiding has worked out better for me than it did for Anne Frank. I guess that could be my Gen X cynical side speaking. Maybe because 2020 turned into a worse year than anyone could imagine for the last few generations. Maybe, it just takes a pandemic to really put things in perspective, just like a world war or other global event. This is my first global crisis of such proportions of a world war that I can understand some of what the Great Generation might have gone through now.

As I look back on my optimistic words from the beginning of April 2020, it was that hope that did get me through the year. With the political unrest in the US amid the pandemic, it just seemed like nothing was going right and everything was descending into chaos. But, the goal my husband and I had been working on for a few years, buying a house, seemed like it could still happen. I’d been wanting a house for a few decades, and my husband and I had been talking and doing some planning. Than, I got very sick, actually dying and was hospitalized. I pulled through that, and house buying had to be put off while I got better.

Mrs. Turner standing in Yosemite Valley, August 2020.

Finally, summer 2020 was going to be it, the time to buy a house. Then, the pandemic hit. But among all the goals that had to fall by the wayside, that one was still possible. Goals had to be literally and completely rethought through in the new world order that the pandemic created. House buying was one of the few industries left open during lockdown, because it was considered essential. People need shelter to isolate in.

So, buying a house seemed like a plausible way forward, especially if there was as resurge of virus in the winter and maybe living in a crowded city wouldn’t be the best. I had moved mostly to virtual teaching and freelance writing. My husband’s company had also moved to virtual working. So, we decided on the move. July we bid on a house, and after it was accepted, went through the escrow process.

In the middle of this, we managed a trip to Yosemite, just to get out and away from being locked down for months. With reservations made in April, we were able to enjoy a stay at the Awanhee’s cottages in the Yosemite Valley. Just being out on a trip seemed a victory after being in hiding from mid-March to June. The state of California seemed to emerge for the summer to enjoy some kind of living, masked, and at least more outdoors. RVs and Campers became the travel vehicle for the new “apocalypse” though I was a bit sad that there weren’t real “zombies”.

Small things became a little triumph. Biking around Yosemite Valley seemed monumental. Hiking along the trails were a new adventure, even though it was my fourth visit to Yosemite. When a mountain lion crossed the trail near by us, I was marveling at how close it was, but still keeping tabs on when it went by. It was exciting, but still, I was more afraid of the non-masked humans than the mountain lion in the end. But a trip out in nature, because outside and space from people was safe, was the new frontier.

It was exciting to get our new keys to our house Labor Day weekend. We started fixing up the house, and moving some of our things in. Each weekend, we moved our items ourselves because it was less exposure to people. Packing boxes and moving up to the house became a routine for a few weeks. Then, on a Sunday run up to our new house, a fire broke out around the area. Strong winds blew that night, with our internet being knocked out. It was the night I met my new neighbors, at a distance due to the pandemic, talking loud over strong winds about the emergency alert messages and whether to evacuate. Luckily, I found out from them that the town would sound sirens if we needed to evacuate, like what had been done in 2017. Falling asleep, I was awoken some hours later by the sirens. I evacuated hoping my new house would survive the Glass Fire.

The Glass Fire surrounded my new town, and my husband and I were evacuated for a week. We prayed and avoided the news as much as would could, afraid to see pictures of burning buildings that could be our house. We followed the CalFire map, watching the movement of the fire, having all our friends and family pray our new house would be okay. Luckily, the town was saved and our house. I had survived one of my worst weeks of 2020.

Evacuating during the Glass Fire, 2020. Note, taken while driving through town to evacuate.

We finished with repairs and updating items in the house, and moved in beginning of November. By December, the SF Bay Area locked down again, and for 2 months, I isolated and stayed hiding again for a second lockdown. At least this time, I knew how to deal with it. It was a little trickier in a new house and town, but if anything, 2020 was an advanced course in adaptation and self reliance. I’d already realized that this was a historical time to live through, and I was so thankful for my new house and that it had survived. By the time I raised my champaign glass on New Year’s Eve, I was glad to see the year end.

I’d survived. 2020 was the strangest year I’ve ever lived through. It was an emotional roller coaster. The politics, protests, the election. The personal stories of COVID I saw and heard from friends. Friends had lost family members to COVID. I had family members that got sick with COVID, but luckily, survived. Of the other people I knew that had COVID, some were having long hauler symptoms. There are all these new terms now. But the biggest news as we entered 2021 has been about the vaccine. Everyone is waiting for their turn to get the jab.

Tiffany Turner is the author of this new self publishing guide.

I’ve just got to hold on now for the vaccine. I even made it into a doctor’s visit, and I think he summed up what is going on the best right now. I had asked about trying to sign up for the vaccine, and he answered, “Yeah, it’s like the Hunger Games.” He also recommended I continue “hiding” until I get the vaccine. So, it’s nice to be under doctors orders to continue to isolate, continue with this hiding plan. The craziness of trying to get an appointment are my new reality. I’m just too young right now, which is just crazy to hear. But I’ll hold on. I’ve made it through almost a year now. A few months waiting for a vaccine, no problem.

So, I have to report, through the things I lived through in 2020, I’ve kept that hope I saw so much with Anne Frank. You’ve got to keep that. It’s what helped me realize I could still go through the one goal dream of buying a house, and made it come true. I did finish my how to self publish guide too. It’s called “Get Ready to Push the Button: A Beginner’s Guide to Self Publishing”. I also published a picture book called “I Don’t Want to Wear a Mask!”. It’s about a young boy that has to return to school wearing a mask, and how he doesn’t want to do it. But his Mom explains to him why it’s important, and how he can be a hero if he wears a mask.

Written to work on picture book self publishing skills, it has turned into a picture book to help with these strange times.

So, in a way, there was a lot of good that came out of 2020 for me and maybe some other people. Maybe that’s why Anne inspired me. You’ve got to work hard to turn the chaos around you into what you may want or the good that can come out of it. The phrase, “When the world gives you lemons, make lemonade” comes to mind. Boy, was there a lot of lemons to 2020. My lemonade might have been more sore, but I know there was some sugar in it.

All the reading, writing, and self reflection I think has just made me look at everything with a new lens. The world is different now after COVID. Maybe we were living in a bubble. That complacent reality before the “crisis” hits, just like in any movie, and then the world is changed forever. It happened with both World Wars. Now, my generation had the pandemic. And it’s affected all the generations living today. Generations living in the future will wonder what it was like for us. I guess that’s why I’m blogging now. To let them know.

What would I tell them? We watched a lot of Netflix. Learned to knit or other skills from YouTube. Listened to a lot of music. Wrote. Reflected. Did our jobs. And just lived through it the best we could. Just like you might have. And we read books to help us figure it all out. And some of us, even wrote those books to help us figure it all.

There was a lot of chocolate consumed in my house. M&Ms was the chocolate we were easily able to get. Supplies weren’t completely stopped, but some things were harder to get than others. Anne Frank didn’t have Walmart delivery. So, yeah. I’ve been blessed. And Girl Scout cookies went online and you could have them delivered, especially if you’re niece hooked you up. We kept our humor. We knitted slippers for our family because if we couldn’t be there, our knitting would keep them warm like a hug.

Christmas was by Zoom. Thanksgiving was by Zoom. Everything was by Zoom.

The whole time, we just wanted it to be over. The whole irony is as I’m going through it still, I think we haven’t gotten that it will never be over. The world has changed forever. We can’t go back. There’s only going forward now. Who knows what that future will look like until we get there.

I wish for you safety and peace. May you be able to get the vaccine soon, and to always still wear a mask. We’ll get through this together. We’re all going to have all our own COVID pandemic stories after all this. Keep that optimism and hope.

I think Anne Frank would be proud.

Tiffany Turner is a children’s author of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles fantasy adventure series. She is also a romance writer under the pen name, Marilyn Vix. Her books are available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and other online retailers. She is also the head writer and editor for her blog, the Indie Children’s Authors Connection.

Interview with Eva and Amaira Deotale

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Eva and Amaira Deotale are the co-authors of the children’s book “Short Stories: By the Children, For the Children”.

During these cold winter months, it’s good to have some inspiration to brighten the days ahead. I’ve found a delightful, twin duo that writes their own short stories to encourage other children to read and write. Their names are Eva and Amaira Deotale. They’re six years old and live in the United Kingdom. Eva loves to sing and tell stories influenced from nature. Amaira loves puzzles, drama and is a keen observer. Together, they love to spend time in the garden and take long walks.

Their current book, “Short Stories: By the Children, For the Children” is a collection of children-written fables. I had the chance to speak with both the girls about their favorite reading memories, authors and future writing projects.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Eva and Amaira Deotale: Our favorite book memory is reading and listening to “The Giant of Jum” book by Elli Woollard. This book is one of our favorite because it’s a rhyming book with a twist – the giant in this book likes children and is very friendly.

2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Eva and Amaira Deotale: Dr. Suess, Julia Donaldson. We love their storytelling and each story has a message.

3) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Eva and Amaira Deotale: Our next book will be another short story book with funny creatures and a message on disability inclusion. Our latest venture, beingpurple.co.uk, is all about empowering people with disabilities.

“Short Stories: By the Children, For the Children” is a great collection of wonderfully illustrated short stories for children. Written by children, it is relative to kids and can help teach morals and values. These eight easy-to-read fables make great read-alouds in the classroom and short stories to read together at bedtime. Stories include themes of inclusion, courage, learning and exploring, and the lesson to never give up. Give the gift of values to any child.

“Short Stories: By the Children, For the Children” is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

For more information on the authors Eva and Amaira Deotale, please visit their website here.

Tiffany Turner To Teach Online Spooky Story Writing Workshop

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It’s getting near that spooky time of year. After over 15 years of teaching a spooky story workshop to my students, I’m offering it for the first time online. Bring Halloween indoors in an academic way, and keep this season spooky, fun and safe! It will be available two ways.

1) This first way to sign up for this workshop is as a full online in-person experience taught by myself live on Zoom. It will be available through the tutoring center called Knowledge Quest. I’ve worked there now for 3 years tutoring students in person and in local schools before the pandemic.

Now, the opportunity to learn from myself, a published author and certified teacher, is through Knowledge Quest. It starts on Oct. 5 through Oct. 29. There are two sessions, one for grades 3-5 and the other for grades 6-8. Each session will have one hour a week for four sessions. Kids will have an hour of instruction and will be walked through activities and given assignments to continue writing between sessions.

**Some at home support, such as looking over the story and doing feedback with your child, will be required.

I’ve taught and developed this spooky story unit over the years and I have put up some parts of it FREE to do through my website. But this is the full unit, developed by me, and available only this upcoming month of October. By the end of the sessions, all the students will have written their own stories that they can share on Halloween night. They will learn character development, create a plot with problem/solution structure, study the spooky genre, and have a lot of fun! They’ll have a chance to unlock the creativity within them.

**Note times are Pacific Daylight Time since I’ll be teaching the workshop live through Zoom. Sign-ups for the live Zoom instructional spooky workshop is through Knowledge Quest.

Find out more and REGISTER HERE!

2) The second way to take the workshop, especially if it would be difficult to in your time zone, is to sign up for my online writing school course. It’s the first course available, and I plan to develop more through the next several months. I’ve decided to develop the spooky story writing workshop first since the basic posts on the blog are so popular, and my students loved it as their favorite story during the school year.

Here is the blurb from my writing school “Keep On Writing”:

Ready to have some fun writing? Here’s a course to help children love writing and enjoy it. I often found children didn’t get to enjoy the writing projects assigned when I was a teacher. So, I developed an, exciting “Spooky Story” writing project for the month of October that I taught for over fifteen years in my classroom. Now, your child can experience the joy of writing and using their imagination.

Taught through a Writing Workshop format, I go over all the steps of writing, prewriting, drafting, revision and proofreading and creating a final draft. Each lesson includes mini-lessons on the craft of writing including organizing ideas through graph organizers, writing dialogue, “Show, Don’t Tell”, plot creation, character creation and conflict, and problem/solution story structure.

Write your own Spooky Story in either a live workshop with Mrs. Turner or in her online writing school. Get spooky and stay safe this Halloween! Use your imagination and write!

When your child finishes the course, they will have a fantastic story of their own creation to share with family and friends. As they go through the writing process, they are asked to work with a family member or guardian with the writing process in which they learn to gain feedback on their writing and make changes. Anyone in the family or through Zoom can fulfill this role making it a bonding activity with your child.

Whether this course is being used during the fall for a Halloween project or any time during the year to engage children in writing, or help adults write for children, it has always been a student and child favorite. I now present to you, the “Spooky Story” Writing Project to help bring the joys of writing to your child.

The online writing school course is $19.99.

LINK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE & REGISTER!

**Happy Halloween!

-Mrs. Turner

Interested in Self-Publishing? I Just Wrote the Book On It.

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Tiffany Turner is the self-published author of a children’s fantasy book series and several paranormal romance titles. 

It is now available. All of my self-publishing knowledge over the last thirteen years. I’ve been at this self-publishing thing for awhile now. And I’ve learned a lot. It’s been called a gold rush by some, from about 2009 to 2011, and beyond. I would say that was mostly due to KDP, Kindle Digital Publishing, Amazon’s digital platform. It is now a whole new frontier that I can help you navigate.

From watching and talking to other self published authors on Kindleboards (later Kboards.com) like Hugh Howey, to getting the idea and encouragement to start writing romance after my children’s books, I’ve had quite a journey. I wrote “Get Ready to Push the Button: A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing” to make it easy for anyone to get started. All you need is that finished manuscript, and you can be on your way.

All of my hard earned experience has been written down into my beginner’s guide to self-publishing. So, if you’ve been thinking about it, or even wrote a manuscript during lockdown and don’t know what to do now, I’ve got an answer for you. Self-publish!

I’ve been talking to people about how to self-publish on panels at various local conferences including Fanime, San Francisco Comic Con and the Silicon Valley Comic Con over the last few years. Now, you can get all my expertise in one helpful guide, with links for support in an online FB private group. Plus, I’ve worked with a lot of emerging authors through my Fiverr.com gigs. I’ve gotten experience in so many areas from diving into the self-publishing world, and I keep growing with it. Find out how you can make your writing dreams come true, and become a working writer.

Have a manuscript and don’t know what to do?

Have you considered self-publishing?

Get Ready to push the button (3D)-PromoJoin Tiffany Turner as she explains how to get your manuscript ready to finally push that self-publishing button. This beginner’s guide to self-publishing has been put together with Mrs. Turner’s thirteen years of self-publishing experience in romance and children’s book self-publishing. With easy step by step explanations of how to prepare your manuscript, she’ll walk you through in her humorous banter how to:

-Discovering if this self-publishing path is for you.
-Terms & tips you’ll need to navigate the self-publishing world.
-Preparing your manuscript with an easy to follow list of steps.
-How to find the people to help you self-publish such as beta readers, editors, cover designers, formatters and self-publishing platforms.
-What to set up before you self-publish.
-Launching your book.
-Maintaining your self-publishing empire after your first book.

Discover how to get yourself started onto the self-publishing path.

“Get Ready to Push the Button: A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing” is available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, Apple/iBooks, and Rakuten/Kobo.

 

 

 

Interview with Tiffany Watkins

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This pandemic has made many of us become aware of those things to be thankful for. It may also be bringing on feelings of resentment of what your child might have lost out on. Help them deal with the loss and look at the positives of their new situation with a fabulous find, a “Gratitude Journal for Kids”.

Tiffany Watkins is the author of this book. She has a BSA in Sociology with a minor in Child and Family studies, and a master in Divinity Studies. She received a doctorate in Christian Counseling. She enjoys serving her community and working with the United Way Young Philanthropist Program. Through her book, she hopes to encourage children to look towards what they are grateful for each day and find the magic in a moment of their day. I had the chance to interview Tiffany about her childhood reading memories, favorite author, and what projects she has in store for the future.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Tiffany Watkins: My favorite memory from reading as a child was how fun it was to have your peers reading about the same thing and able to discuss it among them.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Tiffany Watkins: My favorite memory from reading as a child was “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret?” by Judy Blume. This book greatly influenced my walk as a middle schooler because it addressed the things I was experiencing at the time.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Tiffany Watkins: In the future, I would like to write about positivity for kids.

Gratitude Journal for kids front pic“Gratitude Journal for Kids” is a helpful tool to help children focus on the positive aspects of their lives. Written to encourage an Attitude of Greatness, the journal has daily entries so your child can write three things daily about what they are grateful for. Each entry also includes a “Magic Moment of the Day” in which they can reflect on something that was positive and memorable about their day. Drawing is encouraged in the entry to express their gratefulness and artistic abilities. This book will help your child get in touch with their feelings and cope with the loss of a daily routine and events during the COVID19 pandemic.

Gratitude Journal for Kids” is available at: Amazon.com.

For more information on Tiffany Watkins, visit her Amazon Author page.

 

Day 10: Last Day of The Lost Secret of Fairies FREE online Novel Study w/ essay test

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Final Day of The Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study: Final Exam Day!

Welcome to the final day of The Lost Secret of Fairies free online novel study. As of just an hour ago, as I’m writing this, the California governor has announced that California schools will be closed for the rest of the academic year, and maybe some changes will happen in the fall in regards to reopening schools. I could tell this was going to be for the long haul, and I am happy to be completing the support for parents in my home state, throughout the US and from my statistics, throughout the world.

I wrote my books for children and used the writing of them as instruction when I was in the classroom. To include them for novel study instruction to help teach reading seems to complete the circle of learning they were created for. I’m happy to have brought you this online novel study for my first book, and I would love to hear any feedback you have about using it.

summer1The Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study Essay Test

So, with that said, here is the final activity to go with the novel study, the final essay test. If your child or student has been completing all the activities, including the summary, character change response worksheet and the theme/message worksheet, your little one is all ready for the essay test. They should have all the time they need to complete it, and they can use the book and their journal notes to help find examples and support.

LSOF Essay Test

Grading Criteria

I’ve included a rubric for you to help grade their answers. They should include examples and details of support from the story, their own ideas, and language from the worksheets they used during the novel study. Other words, they need complete sentence answers, topic sentences and closing sentences. The essay test and all the responses this week have been teaching basic essay response language and structure for your child. These are all standards in most school systems in the US and the world.

Below is a Grading Rubric for you to use. Traditional, 1-4 grading is used on these rubrics. If you want to change that from D grade to A Grade, you can. 1=D, 2=C, 3=B, 4=A. But I feel if your child has made an effort, worked hard, includes the language in a complete sentence and uses supporting details, they should get a high grade. It is up to you. As the parent, high praise from you will mean a lot. 😉

For those wondering minds, a passing grade in school that children would be working toward is the 3 on the rubric. It can also be helpful to show your child the rubric so they know what is expected of them before the essay test.

Rubric for Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study Essay Test

When your child/student has finished the test, and you’ve looked it over and graded it, I’ve included a link to a completion certificate below. You can sign it and give it to your child.

LostSecretNovelStudyCertificate

Congratulations! You’ve completed a reading novel study unit with your child, and they’ve become a better reader and writer!

And that’s about it, folks! I want to thank you and your child for continuing with the novel study, and I hope they enjoyed reading the book. If they would like to continue the series, here are the links below for the three books that continue Wanda’s journey and adventures in the World of Fairy.

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Book 2

The Lost Secret of the Green Man (Book 2)

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003LL3MQE

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lost-secret-of-the-green-man-tiffany-turner/1112041152

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-lost-secret-of-the-green-man-the-crystal-keeper-chronicles-book-2

iApple/iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/lost-secret-green-man-crystal-keeper-chronicles-book/id543028109

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Book 3 

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire (Book 3)

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Secret-Dragonfire-Crystal-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B079J4R22D

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lost-secret-of-dragonfire-tiffany-turner/1114782699

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-lost-secret-of-dragonfire-1

iApple/iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-lost-secret-of-dragonfire/id616637319

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Book 4

The Lost Secret of Time (Book 4)

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Secret-Time-Crystal-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B07GJZBPPY

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lost-secret-of-time-tiffany-turner/1129320107

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-lost-secret-of-time

iApple/iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-lost-secret-of-time/id1428309465

Thank you to everyone that have participated in the novel study! I welcome all the feedback and invite you to follow my blog as I continue to post more learning activities and homeschooling support for parents in the future weeks.

Take care, stay safe, wash your hands, and we’ll get through this together!

-Mrs. Turner

***Tiffany Turner is the author of the children’s fantasy series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has had 18 years experience teaching in California as a public elementary teacher. She is currently tutoring in the private sector and continuing to write full time. 

 

 

 

 

 

Write Your Own Spooky Story For Halloween

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Write your own Spooky Story this weekend, Oct. 26-31.

Each year, I would teach a unit on how to write you’re own spooky story to my class. Since my semi-retirement, I’ve posted the whole process over a 6 day period. Now, you can follow the same plan and create you’re own spooky story.

Here are the links to each step in the process. You can write your story over the next 6 days ending on Halloween, or take each step faster.

Day 1: Write Your Own Spooky Story, Create Your Main Character

Day 2: Creating a Spooky Setting Or Plot

Day 3: Starting the Rough Draft

Day 4: Continuing Rough Draft with Dialogue

Day 5: Revising and Proofreading Your Story

Day 6: Writing the Final Draft

If you’re a teacher and would like this entire unit to teach your class, here is the link for the Spooky Story Unit on TeachersPayTeachers.

Plus, if you’d like a more intense and easy online workshop for your child or students, I have put together the above Spooky Story Workshop into a tutorial workshop format in my new Online Writing School. Kids can work at their own pace on their own. It’s all set up and ready for them to begin. No prep for you!

HERE IS THE LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE ONLINE SPOOKY STORY WORKSHOP!

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Pumper the Pumpkin: A Halloween Tale by Tiffany Turner

Also, I have a Halloween Picture Book, Pumper the Pumpkin, that is available on Amazon that was my own spooky story when I was a kid. It is only $0.99! Check it out start out your Halloween weekend. Great for young kids that are going to be carving pumpkins this weekend. 😉

This was my own spooky story that I wrote at the age of 10 in 5th grade, back in the day. I have since updated it and drew my own illustrations, but the core and idea was written when I was ten. I enjoyed creating my own Pumper the Pumpkin carvings and designs for several years after I wrote the story. In fact, I still do. 😉

Have fun and stay safe this Halloween! -Mrs. Turner

Halloween & Spooky Story Project: Step By Step Plan to Keep Your Kids or Students Busy Until Halloween

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Create your own spooky story this week with a step by step plan. Click on Day 1 below to get yourself started.

Note: This whole activity is available online at my new “Keep On Writing” Online Writing School. It’s set up as a tutorial to allow kids to work at their own pace with more in depth instruction. For more information, LINK HERE!

So, I am currently a semi-retired teacher writing full-time. But when I was teaching, I would teach my class one of my most loved and remembered writing units: A Write It Yourself Spooky Story Unit! I would spend a whole week, sometimes two, with my students writing a spooky story that they would then read-aloud on Halloween. We would spend the whole day in school reading them, and I’ve been told year after year, it was the one thing that my students remembered from being in my class.

So, I will share with you now, the step by step plan for getting your kids (or yourself) motivated and channeling that nervous Halloween energy into something productive. I first wrote these posts back in 2015. The links will take you to the original instructional posts.

If you are a teacher, and would like the full lesson plan for this unit. It is available on Teachers Pay Teachers in my Writing Is Fun Store.

Below is the list of each step. The link will take you to the post with all the information you need to get started.

Day 1: Write Your Own Spooky Story, Create Your Main Character

Day 2: Creating a Spooky Setting Or Plot

Day 3: Starting the Rough Draft

Day 4: Continuing Rough Draft with Dialogue

Day 5: Revising and Proofreading Your Story

Day 6: Writing the Final Draft

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

Also to celebrate Halloween, I’ve put my Halloween picture book, Pumper the Pumpkin, on sale for FREE from Friday Oct. 27 – Tuesday Oct. 31. I wrote the first draft when I was 10 years old and promised myself to finish it when I got older. I did.

So, have fun writing with your class or children this week. Or maybe you’re the child writer, and you’d like to take this on. Go for it! It may be the start of a new adventure for you. Writing is fun and challenging, and so worth the effort of seeing people enjoy your story.

Be sure to comment and let me know how you like this post. I’d love to hear what kind of stories you all come up with.

**If you liked this post or others, please be sure to follow my blog. My fourth book in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles is complete and is going through the revision process. So, get on the newsletter and blog list today. Be sure to get all the updates and informative posts coming up in the next several months!

And of course, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! WAAAHHAHHHHAHAHHAH!

-Tiffany Turner

Back To School Blog Tour Day 4: Featured Author Tiffany Turner

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2017B2SchoolBannerWelcome to day 4 of the Back to School blog tour 2017. Today, I am a featured author and will give you some insight into why the last book in my series has been delayed the last few years, how the progress is going on the last book, and sneak peaks into my writing process.

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

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Tiffany Turner, author of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles

Tiffany Turner: I think the first time I really enjoyed middle grade novels was when I was given a Judy Bloom box set for Christmas. I read through two of the books just during the break. I discovered “Blubber”, “Then Again, Maybe I Won’t” and my favorite, “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?”. I think I copied that at night, talking to God by saying, “Are you there God, it’s me Tiffany” for awhile after that.

I loved her way of getting into your head, like she knew what you were thinking. I try to do that with my characters. Being a teacher helps since I’ve observed 18 years of children talking, and have been told my dialogue has been really realistic. Of course, if your job is talking to children all day, you’re going to pick up any catch phrases or interests that are current, But really, kids all have the same problems of similar generations. Growing up is still hard and an adventure. I love the way Judy captured that, and I try to put it in my books too.

What is your most memorable school moment?

Tiffany Turner: Believe it or not, I have several. There were times I really liked school and times when I didn’t. Some of my best memories come from Fifth Grade when I discovered that I was good at writing. My Fifth Grade teacher encouraged me and had all her students write in journals. That was the first time I kept a journal.

I remember discovering the ultimate power of explaining and telling a story when writing about Daniel Boone for a report. I found out about a personal connection; I’m actually related to him. I added that to the report and included the family personal story. Yes, I got an “A”. It taught me that stories were powerful, and I could have the ultimate power over them, and that was exciting.

Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Tiffany Turner:  Yes. In the morning, I do my business end of writing. I update blogs, check email, and work on any promotions I have scheduled. I would also mail books for promos or get that all ready. Then, I have lunch and will often write in the afternoon and/or evenings. I make myself sit down and write once a day. If I sit for at least an hour and write, I consider it productive.

I developed this from doing NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) in November for the last three years. I also started the routine of checking email and doing the business end of writing when I lived in Sydney for 6 weeks during the summer of 2011. So, there are ways to get you into the routine of writing everyday. NaNo helped me, and being abroad in a foreign country really helped me. The secret is to get yourself to focus on your writing once a day. So, isolation, going on a trip or retreat, can really help get you into the practice of doing this.
Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?

Tiffany Turner: Reading was more difficult for me because of my speech and hearing problems when I was younger. I had trouble with some blends, and would slur the middle of words when speaking. I also mixed up my “p” and “b” sounds. So, I think my teachers thought because I read a loud not so well that I didn’t understand what I was reading. Often, I did understand it, but just couldn’t say it right. I still was in an average reading group and highest Math group. But eventually, I did learn to overcome it.

What is writing to you in one sentence?

Tiffany Turner: Something I just have got to do. I would write no matter what. It is my therapy and keeps my sanity. I feel most alive when writing. (So, I cheated a bit. That’s four sentences.)

What projects are you working on right now?

Tiffany Turner: I’m currently working on the last book for the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. It’s called The Lost Secret of Time.  It’s been tricky since I’m winding up the whole series, and it has time travel involved. But it has been a lot of fun because of that too. I’m also planning a prequel in which Brewford will be the narrator and talk about some of his adventures as a cat sorcerer before he starts helping Wanda.

The other reason it has been delayed is that I got very sick at the end of 2014. In fact, I was hospitalized and had to go through physical therapy for 8 months. I did post a whole explanation here. The good news is that I’ve been recovering and getting back my strength, and have semi-retired from teaching. I am working at a tutoring center and teaching in after-school programs at local schools in my area. So, in the end, I’ve overcome this health obstacle and have more time to write now that I’m feeling better.

I’m happy to be finally able to be nearing the end of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. It has been a 10 year journey, and I hope it brings happiness and adventure to generations of children to come.

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The first book in the Crystal Keeper Series is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has written three books in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. Her first book in the series, The Lost Secret of Fairies, is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

spookystoryunitbkcvrPlus, Tiffany Turner has been writing down all of her lesson plans from teaching writing as an elementary school teacher. They are available at TeachersPayTeachers.com. You can get lessons on paragraph parts, Beginning of School writing activities, opinion paragraphs, book report ideas, and writing workshop units for writing mysteries and spooky stories. All are available in her “Making Writing Fun” shop.

**Plus, the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is still going on. Be sure to head over and enter today!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/20834f9e16/?

 

 

Back To School Blog Tour Day 2: Featured Author Becca Price

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2017B2SchoolBannerWelcome to the second day of the Back to School Blog Tour. Today’s featured author is Becca Price. Ms. Price is a children’s author with many fantasy children’s books ranging from beginning fantasy chapter books to middle grade novels. I had a chance to talk to Becca about her writing process,  how she gets her ideas, and what she has next in store for us.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

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Becca Price has written the popular fantasy series of bedtime stories, Dragons and Dreams.

Becca Price: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. As a child, I used to tell stories to my siblings before going to bed. I wrote some highly derivative fantasy in high school and college, as one does, but didn’t seriously consider making a living as a writer. Instead, I started work as a technical writer, and continued in that profession until ill health made me quit. I still took the occasional contract, however, and kept in the profession for a total of 30 years

How long does it take you to write these books?

Becca Price: It varies so much. Sometimes, the words just roll out, and the story is close to it’s final form. Other stories, I struggle with. I have one story (Heart of Rock) that I worked on for 20 years, on and off, trying to come up with a satisfying ending.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Becca Price: Inspiration strikes at any time. One story, I worked n in my head while trying to go to sleep. I finally got up at 3:00 in the morning, and wrote down the first draft of the story almost completely.

Other times, it’s more like a “real” job, usually after I get my first pass edit back from the wonderful editor, Martha Hayes – she seems to know what I am trying to say better than I do sometimes, and will ask me questions. I’ll get up in the morning, start working on her edits, take a break for lunch, and finish writing around 4:00 pm, and then back to work on it the next day. I don’t seem to be able to write well after about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, unless it’s one of those things that keeps me up til 3 until I write it down.

What brought you to write your fairy book series?

Becca Price: The only real series I have is Fields, Forest, and Fairies. This consists of 3 books: Fairies and Fireflies, The Wood and the Wildfolk, and The Wizard and the Wood. They all take place in the same universe, and I just kept writing the stories as long as the Wide Wild Wood had stories to tell me. It may have other stories to tell, but right now, I’m feeling like it’s pretty complete.

How you become a published author? Any inspiration?

Becca Price: After I wrote my first book, Dragons and Dreams, I looked carefully at publisher’s requirements for children’s books. They tend to be very strict and formulaic, with no place for the kind of gentle fairy tales I write. I started doing research (I’m a research junkie anyway) and decided to self-publish through Amazon. In this effort I was helped immeasurably by the kind folks at kboards/writer’s café, which still provides me with help in my writing, and in my publishing efforts.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Becca Price: When my children were very small, I looked about for good bedtime stories for them, It must have been a dry spell for children’s books, because other than the classics like Dr. Seus and the Grimm brothers, there wasn’t much – and I disliked the sexual stereotyping in the classical fairy tales. There was the peerless Paper Bag Princess, but other than that, not much. So I started to make up stories that addressed issues (like being afraid of the dark) that my kids were having, or silly stories like The Grumpy Dragon and A Princess for Tea. When my children started correcting me on how the story was supposed to go, I wrote them down, so I’d remember them. That collection became Dragons and Dreams, and is still my daughter’s favourite of my books. Then I got a letter from a fan, wanting to know whether Butterfly Fairy ever got another kitten, and that set of stories became Fairies and Fireflies.

Most of my stories have a strong nature orientation. I’ve been known to call the local Extension Office at Michigan State University, to make sure I have my facts straight. The rest of it comes from my own knowledge of mythology, an exposure to Waldorf education, and that great source of all knowledge, Google.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Becca Price: Other than childish attempts? Dragons and Dreams took form during my early 40s when my children were little. I didn’t start publishing until 2013, however.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Becca Price: I read. I go on reading spurts, prompted by all sorts of things. I read biographies of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr after my daughter, who is a technical theatre major, introduced me to the musical Hamilton. I read books on ancient (pre-Greek) mythology while a future story, The Boy Who Loved The Moon started taking place. I still haven’t written that one down yet, because it’s going to be very challenging to write, and I want to get it right. What started out as a main character, an 8th century Welsh bard, is now the villain.

But I read a lot for simple relaxation. I’m a fan of regency-ish romances, no matter how bad the research in them is, because usually the author has a good story to tell anyway, and it’s an era where I find the stock characters comforting to read. I read science fiction, and when I feel my writing style has become stale, I read Lois McMaster Bujold,’s fantasy series. I like her Vorkosigan series, as well, but her fantasy tends to be exquisite.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

Becca Price: I have 7 books: four collections of fairy tales, and 3 stories that stand alone. I have 8 books, if you count Child of Promise, which is also the last story in Dragons and Dreams. The non-collection books are Heart of Rock, Bridge of Seven Stones, and The Snarls. All of those were written for my children as they grew up, but I think have universal things to say to any child.

I have to admit, Dragons and Dreams is a sentimental favourite, being the ones I told my children over and over again.

What is next for you? What are you working on now?

Becca Price: There’s The Boy Who Loved the Moon, which I’m still researching and working out the general plot overview. I’ve got several fairy tales, such as my own take on the Tam Linn story, that are sketched out, but on the back burner for now.

What I’m spending most of my time on, however, is Sirens’ Song. It’s a tough book to describe, because it’s still taking shape, but it’s a parable that deals with death and life. I ran a draft of it past a child psychologist, who says that it’s appropriate for 4th and 5th graders, so it’s one of my stories that’s aimed at older children.

And my daughter has been nagging me to write more stories about The Grumpy Dragon, so maybe after Sirens’ Song is finished, I’ll start working on that one.

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Book review of this book featured on Teddy O’Malley’s blog today!

***To continue with the blog tour, head over to one of the participating author’s websites to read a book review of Becca Price’s Heart of Rock. Teddy O’Malley will be featured tomorrow in the blog tour. Today, she is posting a review of Becca Price’s book, Heart of Rock. So, please, head over and enjoy her book review.

To purchase the book, links to Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.

**Plus, the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is still going on. Be sure to head over and enter today!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/20834f9e16/?