Friday, September 30, 2016

Fun Friday: The Periodic Table of Elements

In the past year, I've noticed a lot of T shirts that use the element symbols to spell words. Here are a few:

What can you think of to spell with them?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How Many Have You Read

The NPR has a list of the best ever teen books set up as a checklist so you can check off how many you've read. It's HERE. Give it a try and see how many you've read (Eleven for me). Do you agree with the list? What is missing from it?

It would be nice if they had a similar list for inspirational or Christian books. 

Here's what I've read from this list. This is not saying I recommend them. You can read my review of them in earlier posts

Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix (just finished this week)

The Hunger Games
Review HERE

The Fault in Our Stars
Review HERE

The Book Thief

The Giver

The Outsiders I was really bored!


13 Reasons Why
Review HERE

The Dark is Rising


Just Listen

If I Stay

I think I've seen more as movies than what I read. I watched these as movies:
The Hunger Games
The Fault in Our Stars
Fahrenheit 451
The Book Thief 
The Giver
The Perks of Being a Wall Flowers
Paper Towns
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
The Dark is Rising
If I Stay
The Maze Runner

Other YA Novels I've reviewed are:
All the Bright Places
City of Ember
I Was Here
This is How I Find Her
The Boy in Striped Pajamas
The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days
Counting by 7's

Monday, September 26, 2016

This is the Way to Have School

My cousin Jim and his wife Stacie both grew up on the mission field, and they both became missionaries as adults. They have a sailboat that they use for ministry. They were in Mozambique, then off the coast of Maryland and are now beginning a ministry in Puerto Rico. 

The cool part of it is that their younger two children were home schooled (or is it boat schooled?) the past few years. So in addition to learning math and English, they also learned things not in a normal curriculum: how to navigate, operate the dinghy, trim the sails, operate the lines, anchor and dock. Lauren and Marlene have sailed the boat by themselves between two islands in the Bahamas needing only a little supervision. They've also learned things such as cooking, sewing, sea life, catching and preparing fish to eat, and the history of the islands they visited from Maine to Puerto Rico.
I am writing an article about them for a kids' magazine that I'll share later. 

I think being schooled aboard a sailboat would rock (sometimes literally), how about you?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fun Friday: Can You Do It?

How easily can you say the color, not the word?

Are you more left brained or right brained?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Interview with YA author Tonja Condray Klein

Today we have Tonja Condray Klein with us talking about Breaking the Shackles, the first of the Rebirth of Eirinth series, which she classifies as Fiction Literature of Epic Fantasy and Action/Adventure.

About Your Book

How did you choose the title?
Series Title was inspired by the song “Rebirthing” by Skillet. BREAKING THE SHACKLES came from how the characters developed with the action and then my own life dealing with Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis and trying to not let the disease shackle me.

Did you design the cover?
Yes, but I commissioned the artwork from a talented artist over the past seven years and then designed it myself as well as the designs for tee-shirts I’ve worn for promotion for years.

How would you describe the book to someone in a text message?
Alternate dimension Fantasy with Anime-style fighting!

Who is your main character and what problem does he/she face?
The main characters are Jaedin and Ryuu Saito, and Seimitsu and Shiri Forester. As with most Fantasy there are several support characters. I use alternating POV’s to give the story an Anime visual feel with characters that readers will relate to, empathize with, fear for, and rejoice about. They face demons trying to take over Eirinth and begin to fulfill their destiny to protect others.

What might draw someone to your character?
Like with Anime, the different characters will pull various readers into the realm. Seimitsu and Shiri are sisters and will draw the teens as they equate their situations with theirs. Young Adults have Kaiyan and Shin Yamamoto, Zale Murakami, and Siena Stasheff to see their calling being interfered with by their leaders. Adults will see Ryuu Saito, Jun and Thalia Morgan, and even Gram Belva as contemporaries that try to help the fighters with their gifts to protect others.

What prompted you to write this book?
I wanted to write a Fantasy with Japanese Anime flavor since I’m an eclectic Fantasy and Anime fan that wanted to reach those two groups with a fictional story that had spiritual truth and real concepts that more than one generation needs to embrace in this time of chaos and lack of purpose.

What did you bring to the book from your own life?
Many of the characters have character aspects from members of my family, friends, and even colleagues. We are told in writing circles to NOT insert your own self, but since C.S. Lewis and Edgar Rice Burroughs did it in their beloved novels and actually used their own names, I figure Thalia being based on me should not be an issue.

What makes your book stand out from other books like it?
The alternate dimension world is usual for Fantasy, the fighting with elemental or energy power is normal for Anime, and Christian backgrounds have been used in countless genres of literature for decades, but…all of them together with Biblical gifts interspersed with the actual fighting against demons that are physical as well as spiritual? This creation is visionary!

What is one thing you learned from writing this book?
That the beliefs that come through the characters bring me to tears since they live in my heart and make me want their voices to reach at least one reader to find Tenrai Daystar in Eirinth and then Jesus Christ on Earth the way I know Him as Savior and Lord.

About You

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I’ve always written songs and stories, but I tried to be more “economically sound” by going into Computer Science with a minor in Teaching. I had to quit college due to sickness, but that led me to the company that had me get a Webpage Design Certificate I still use now instead.

And now?
I recorded my songs I wrote 30 years ago, published my first Fantasy novel, and still used my abilities with editing images and creating webpages for this project. I decided after I left school that I didn’t want to spend my life searching for a single line of wrong code. Now, I want to search for the right word in a sentence to make it reach out to someone who needs it.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Since I was a child. When I began going to Ohayo Con Anime Convention in 2004 I saw many teens, young adults, and adults my age or older that loved what I did, but they didn’t share in my Christian perspective when it came to so many things. Eirinth was born in 2008 as I finally went back to Church. The characters began coming to my heart, and I saw what they could become if I let God lead me down this path. Book 2 is named TREADING THE PATH for that reason.

Did anything unusual or funny happen on your journey to becoming an author?
My record producer Ron Short worked with me on the songs I used in my book and decided to write the story he felt called to write named THE NEED WORD. He mentioned me in his book, but I went by T.K. Morgan as an author then, and he didn’t get to change it before his book came out. My song “Dancin’ on the Wind” was recently on his show again, and he said I helped to encourage him in writing his book and used my real name. I still have my tkmorgan21 email, so maybe I should just change it to TonjaCondrayKlein to keep things straight from now on! *LOLOL*

What books have influenced you most?
The Holy Bible, Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, Wizard in Rhyme series by Christopher Stasheff, Ilyon Chronicles series by Jaye L. Knight, and all the books by Irene Hannon.

What’s the most times you’ve read a book and why?
Countless times since it’s a Living Book…The Bible.

What are three unusual things about you your readers might not know?
I’m allergic to honey
I’m addicted to Pure Leaf sweet tea
I wish I could write a novel based on Eric Champion’s album “Vertical Reality”.

What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
 I did Power Point presentation panels at Ohayo Con Anime Convention for several subjects related to sub-genres that are very worldly. My “Creating For Anime” panel in 2012 where I used my novel as part of the points and sang my original song used in the book LIVE in front of people that may have seen me do the other panels before. That took more courage because my book and songs are now my passion and could have been ridiculed.

Do you have life philosophy? Favorite verse?
 “Won’t Give Up, Won’t Give Out, and Won’t Give In!” and Isaiah 54:17

What advice would you give a teen who wants to be a writer?
Learn as much as you can from English and Composition courses as well as reading as many books in the genre that you feel drawn to write. If you want to write something that has meaning, make sure it says something you feel that others need to read to find a purpose that he or she can embrace too.

You can connect with Tonja on her webpage
You can read a sample of her book

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fun Friday: What's It Called?

That carbonated beverage that comes from a can--what generic name do you call it by? It varies by region. I grew up in northern Indiana calling it "pop." I move to Jacksonville, FL and it was all "cokes." It was frustrating to ask for a Coke and have someone say, "What kind of coke?" Now I call it "soda." What do you call it?

Below are two different maps to show how it varies by regions of the United States. And if you don't live in the United States, what do you call it and does it change regionally in your country?

Do you agree with this map? It show Jacksonville as calling it soda and that wasn't what I found to be true, and it has our part of FL calling it Coke.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Interview with YA Author JC Morrows

Today we're talking with JC Morrows, the author of many YA novels including her newest, A Tragic Consequence, the fourth book in the Order of the Moonstone series.

About Your Book

Coming October 2016 pre order HERE

A Tragic Consequence

How would you describe the book to someone in a text message?
“What if Cinderella had been sent to kill the Prince?”

Who is your main character and what problem does she face?
Kayden is sent to assassinate the Prince of Auralius – but the more she gets to know him, the more she realizes that he is nothing like she was told. This ignites doubt in her and before she knows it, she is instead saving the Prince's life... which of course causes her all sorts of problems with her employers.

What might draw someone to your character?
I am drawn to her because she succeeded despite overwhelming odds – and though she works for a nefarious organization, she does things her own way. She has the kind of strength I've always wished for.

What prompted you to write this book?
God inspired every bit of it. I was writing something completely different and struggling along when I decided to pray about what I should be writing instead and the story simply exploded into my mind.

What did you bring to the book from your own life?
Honestly... nothing that I can think of. The story itself is nothing I ever planned to write so I wouldn't even know where to begin to put anything from my own life.

What makes your book stand out from other books like it?
I would say the fact that I use elements popular from the steampunk phenomenon without incorporating the full steampunk world. I picked and chose only the things that fit the story.

What is one thing you learned from writing this book?
I am capable of stretching myself as an author - to do something completely outside of my comfort zone.

About You

When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I have always been a storyteller. I scribbled stories in notebooks since before I can remember, but I did not get truly serious about it until college.

Did anything unusual or funny happen on your journey to becoming an author?
I once had an all night writing session where I completed the last 17,000 words of a novel – part of a scene I did NOT want to write.

What’s the most times you’ve read a book and why?
I lost count of how many times I reread the twilight series. For at least six months, I would work my way from start to finish and then start over at the beginning again. It was a rough time for me relationship-wise, and I was really holding on to that fantasy fairy tale.

What are three unusual things about you your readers might not know?
1) Even though I am not at all a morning person, I get up between 4am and 5am every morning to write.

2) I can see in the dark – which really came in handy in the darkroom when I took photography in college.

3) I am double jointed.

What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
I'm actually pretty boring. Probably the most adventurous thing I've ever done is ride the ferris wheel - which absolutely petrifies me.

Do you have life philosophy? Favorite verse?
And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. - Habakkuk 2:2 King James Version (KJV)

What advice would you give a teen who wants to be a writer?

Read everything you can. Reading makes you a better writer. Plus, you get a better idea of what readers want from books!

Connect with JC Morrows
JC Morrow's webpage
JC Morrow's blog

If you haven't read any of the Order of the Moonstone books, book one is free for your kindle on amazon today (September 12) HERE

Friday, September 9, 2016

Fun Friday: How Many Countries of the World Can You Name?

I thought I was doing well to name 99 countries. But there are 196 total. So I got barely 50% How many can you name? Spelling counts on this quiz. Click the link to take it. Countries of the World Quiz. Leave a comment below with your score.

Feel free to use the map above to cheat : )

If this is too hard, go to my girls' blog to try the states and capitals quiz HERE

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Book Review: The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days

The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days by Michelle Hurwitz

I found this book because it was on my son’s middle school summer reading list. He had to read two off of the list. He didn’t know what this book was about, but picked it from the title. The librarian reserved it for him, but when he realized it was a “girl book,” he wouldn’t read it. But I did. (He read Guitar Notes and something with Mars in the title).

This feel-good book begins with thirteen-year-old Nina at loose ends during the summer. Her attorney parents are too busy to notice her, her older brother is acting weird and her best friend is obsessing over boys and the far off school dance.

When Nina impulsively plants flowers for her neighbor who has a broken leg and hasn’t been able to plant them, it’s just the start of Nina’s good deeds. Inspired by memories of her grandmother, she decides to do 65 small but remarkable good deeds during the summer. Some are planned, but some are spontaneous. 

While the acts of kindness improve life for a young super hero, a very pregnant mom with three young sons, a high strung dog walker and her quiet husband, the girl from her summer class and more, one neighbor is sure the deeds are being performed by a criminal--or a ghost-- and begins an investigation into it involving the police.

The only one who finds out Nina’s identity is her long time friend, Eli, who is literally the boy next door. He applauds her efforts while dealing with issues he doesn’t share and that are only revealed after a show down. He’s not the only one with a secret. Nina’s own brother has his own. In the end, everything is sorted out, and Nina manages to remain anonymous because of her desire to  help others, not receive recognition for it. And for the most part, she succeeds in making someone’s life brighter, and finds out that good deeds can be contagious.

Good deeds aren’t the only thing going on during the summer though, and Nina has to cope with an old friendship that is changing and a new friendship that she isn’t sure of. She struggles with how her friendship with Eli is turning into something more and what her older brother is up to.

This is an easy middle school read that will hopefully inspire others to make their own list of anonymous good deed to perform.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dolphins at the Bay

Yesterday we were blessed to have some dolphins--the ones that swim in water, not play football--join us in the bay.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Fun Friday: How Many States Have You Visited?

How many states have you visited? Follow the link to create your map, then tell us in the comments how many states you've visited.

Map here

Here's mine. I didn't include states where I have only been in the airport (Alaska and California) or ones I just drove through but didn't stop to do anything or just drove through a corner of it.
 I am missing the West Coast, East Coast and New England states. 

What state do you most want to visit?