Saturday, November 23, 2013

Reading Wars

Reading Wars via Psychology Today
Does the educational system really fail when it comes to teaching our children how to read? This article in Psychology Today seems to think so.  They call it unnatural.  In some ways I agree, but only because The school system didn't teach my kids how to read.  I did. In some ways I disagree because they say progressive readers just "pick it up" naturally and parents might support them but they don't create them.  The answer, in my opinion, is homeschooling if you can handle it.  It's freaky hard.  I say everything a child learns should first be learned in the home.

I'm not saying that teachers aren't doing their job, and I don't think there is anything wrong with their techniques.  I use them at home.  There is nothing wrong with phonics.  That is how I taught all my kids to read. Yes, many gifted kids have the talent to pick up reading before they enter the system or even without their parents teaching them, BUT in contrast the ones who have difficulty CAN be helped instead of falling through the cracks.

This year I'm homeschooling my daughter.  I discovered that she didn't know long division.  This wasn't the teacher's fault.  She was away the day it was explained.  The unfortunate thing is, she never picked it up all year.  How long would she have gone through the system like that? Now I have the chance to rectify the situation before it was too late.

Am I an exception to the rule? Or do other parents feel this way? Do we rely so heavily on teachers to fill our kids minds with knowledge, correct principles, sound moral judgment the we don't reinstate or consolidate the information they are processing?  Do we set the right example in order for them to solidify the principles they've been introduced to?  In short, do we help them with their school work?  Do we role play moments of social interaction in order for them to prepare themselves for confrontation?  Do they know who to trust, how to escape a sticky situation or how to define democracy? The school system introduces new information but not always instruction on how to apply it. Students are bullied, but not always taught how to stand up for themselves.  They are taught study techniques, but they don't always take those techniques home to learn about other subjects or interests.

In a way, teachers rely heavily on us to reinforce their lessons.  Studies have shown that kids lose a high percentage of their schooling over the summer months.  Who is in charge of a keeping a higher retention percentage?  It's not the teachers.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Lethbridge Comic Con!!


I participated in the Lethbridge Comic Con this year!  It was amazing.  I found a good niche for my ART JOURNALS and STEAM PUNK CREATIONS. I'll post pics under my ART TAB. Get details at the website - www.lethbridgecomiccon.com. because you should all come next year.
 I made some great contacts that I will submit work to.  It always helps to meet publishers face to face.  I also met some incredible artists that inspired me to be more creative with my art.  I took a graphic novel workshop and realized that I love the genre and hope to make one of my stories into a graphic novel.  Best of all, I also met Iron Man.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ballad of the Sea Lion Woman

I am proud to announce the release of my first poetry chapbook!  Ballad of the Sea Lion Woman is available on kindle on amazon or soon it will be in print at createspace.com.  II will be doing a book signing at Words in the Park at the Sherwood Park Library on October 19th, Authors for Altruism on Dec 7th.
Read my interview on Smashwords I need someone to write a review there.  Any takers?

I also have a few exciting teaching gigs this fall.  Check out the Art & Sewing section of the Newell Further Education website I'm doing quilted wall hanging and, of course, art journaling!

So I'll give you a taste of the chapbook:
the quilted wall hanging pattern



Up draft
The stress of the cross wind
Might be too much for the minimal flex of the poles.
I never should have trusted that mad man’s inventions
Not with so much at stake
I lost my top hat several knots back
To a sea bird who mistook me
For a fighting sail
I mistook him for a fool
Who is the old man anyway?
Hunchback or not
I’ve become the unlucky lab rat
Who gets mentioned in all of the scientific journals
As “attempt number one”.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why When Words Collide was the best conference ever.

When Words Collide in Review.

Fifty bux and a hotel room got me into the best conference since SCBWI Canada West in 2011.  I taught an art journaling class that went so well, my students didn't want it to end.  I love art journaling!  I had my art journals for sale at the author's table and sold ALL of them.  I did a poetry reading from my new steam punk chap book "Ballad of the Sea Lion Woman".  And some excellent poets were in attendance. ie Bob Stallworthy and Joanne Morcom.
Went to the coolest steampunk party ever. Also learn a couple of terms that are nifty:
Zitgeist (sp?) = a german word that describes the stirring emotions we feel when a witnessing history in the making - usually associated with a catastrophie
Twistorian = a story teller who changes historical fact into speculation.
More notes to follow!

A couple of publications!!
Digital Book Today
and Bareback Magazine

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Sizzles Sales Event


Here's the Scoop with my Publisher's Promotions for August.  Get in.

  1. 'Share the Imajin Books Buzz' contest- share our events on Twitter and Facebook, and share your pics of our books and receive entries into a draw for a KINDLE FIRE or KINDLE PAPERWHITE 3G--winner's choice! Open to US and UK residents (Kindle Fire or Paperwhite 3G) and Canada residents (Paperwhite 3G.) Other prizes include three $20 Amazon or Kobo Books gift cards. Void where prohibited. Draw will take place the first week of September. To enter, use the Rafflecopter form on our home page from August 1-31.

  1. $1.99 eBook Sale – www.imajinbooks.com – all ebooks will be priced at $1.99 from August 1-15th.

  1. Twitter Party - for two days, August 17/18, we'll be holding a Twitter Party online and giving away prizes (ebooks and gift cards from Amazon and Kobo.) Join us by searching for #ImajinAuthors. Leave us a question or comment by including #ImajinAuthors in your tweet. The party begins each day at 2:00 PM EST and goes until 8:00 PM EST. Our authors will drop by when they can. Follow us at http://www.twitter.com/imajinbooks

Thursday, July 18, 2013

New Adult vs Chick Lit

I've been involved in an interesting conversation with my SCBWI critique group. The question was raised "Do you ever get the feeling that "New Adult" is a new, less offensive term for "chick lit"?..."
Here are some of our ideas on the subject.
Me: I hope not.  YA to New Adult defines a barrier between high-school and college. Looking back it's all the same to me, but to someone in high-school it is a HUGE difference. It's the difference between the involvment of parents or no parents.  I would serious avoid the term chick lit. It sounds girly and cheesy
Antje : Yes and No. I think New Adult is a little more on the dark side, creepy stories for ages 18 and up. But good point. Chick lit seems a little "out" these days. (I was told) that my story was way to serious historically and emotionally to put into this category. I think this was a good statement defining this new category.
Ishta: Chick-lit would be the Traveling Pants books or some of Maureen Johnson's earlier stuff or Sarah Dessen. I don't think any of us are writing it. Protagonists with the mentality of a high-schooler, but old enough to legitimately buy booze. I thought "New Adult" just meant "YA with actual sex". But maybe I'm wrong.
Lindsey: I haven't done a ton of research on it, but the few blog posts I've read have listed titles that strike me as very chick-lit-y.  I'm not criticizing - Meg Cabot is my favourite form of brain candy - but I wonder if this is more about marketing...
I agree that the difference between high school and college is a huge one and I agree that readers at that stage of life would probably enjoys books about it!
I was thinking of adult writers like Sophie Kinsella - young heroines, in or just out of college, definitely having the sex...
Kate: Just as a point of clarification - I believe that "Is Anybody Out There" by Marion Keyes which may be 'serious' chick lit is really New Adult. Kids out of high-school, maybe with or without sex, but looking at adult ups and downs, loves and losses... getting too close too soon, finding jobs,  I think that's the epitome - learning the lessons of life - New Adult example. Europe has been producing these our whole lifetime and Japan has been writing their stories for longer than that. America is late to the New Adult level of quality writing.
Me again: The term Chick Lit to me means romance and sex.  New Adult sounds more like the ups and downs of real life, even if it's fantasy or sci-fi New Adult is about maturity.  The two terms would be the difference between me buying a book or not, so yes, it has to do with marketing as well. 
I don't think we really came to a consensus.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Recycling isn't good enough anymore

If we take a look at the purpose of recycling, most of us conclude the purpose is to save the environment.  Isn't that the truth?  We want to keep plastics out of the landfills because they take so long to decompose.  Rather, we can melt it down and reform it into bottles, picnic tables or other such useful objects.  Recycling is a nation wide project where we all benefit.  So what happens when your local recycling stations no longer take plastic?  Do we just throw them out like we did in the eighties? Some of us might sigh with relief thinking the burden of washing out all those yogurt containers is over.  Others, like me, will consider this de-evolution an atrocity and bag up their plastic and ship them two hours away to a station that will take it.  The real tragedy is the reason behind the abandoned project: because it costs too much money.
Since when did recycling have anything to do with money? Oh boohoo, the city budget is maxed out cause high-ranking officials need compensation for their frivolous spending habits.  We'll have to cut financing from things that only matter to regular citizens. (I'm just being judgmental here, I haven't yet spoken with the mayor about this unfortunate turn of events.)  If everyone did things the easy way everything would suck.  You can quote me on that. What will it cost to dig new landfills since the old ones are stuffed with non-bio-degradables? What will it cost when our children have to deal with the towers of garbage ruining their environment?
We need to start reusing plastic containers as much as we can. I'm not saying, stuff your teddy bears with it, but Zip-lock bags will last through 10 washings. I know I've done it. Or how about buying products with less packaging? When the local recycling agencies are no longer dependable, we can step up our moral duty because it is the only option.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

the epitome: Summer Promos

the epitome: Summer Promos: I am not a publicist.  I am an artist . The trouble is, in order the make sales, I have to be both.  I have seen really amazing art fall by...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Summer Promos

I am not a publicist.  I am an artist. The trouble is, in order the make sales, I have to be both.  I have seen really amazing art fall by the wayside because the artist could not market their wares.  I have also seen average, boring art make a great profit because of well placed advertising.  Over the last year while trying to promote my book I have realized that consumers don't like to search for the amazing.  They will settle for the boring because it's easy to find.  It comes to them, sometimes it gets shoved in their face.
I remember being at a craft fair and noticing the artist next to us selling pottery.  His work was at best undesirable if not down right ugly, but he was attracting big crowds, calling into the street, talking up a storm about the finest clay and original, one-of-a-kind pieces.  His audience was entranced.  He sold hundreds of dollars worth of his product.
I'm not saying my art or my writing is better, but maybe it's a bit more useful?  I spent the same amount of time creating it as my potter neighbor, but I hate hassling people.  I hate buttering people up.  It feels like I'm tricking them.
So what does that say about consumers?  Are they easily tricked?  I don't think so.  People know what they want and I guess they wanted at the craft fair was mediocre pottery.  Did they get home and say "Why on earth did I buy this". I don't know.
It comes down to thisI have a young adult adventure novel on amazon SHIFTERS, and it is not selling.  When I do signings or other live events I can sell them, but on line is another disconnected story.  How does an author sell books on-line?  I've heard the advice about social media and  marketing your brand, but I'm just not into it.  Don't get me wrong, I love my book and I'm super excited about it, I just don't want to "trick" anyone into buying it.  I don't want them to get home and say "Why on earth?".
I need your help.  If all of my 233 followers sent out a tweet for me I would love you.  If you can add me to your "to be read" list I would love you again. If you write a review on Amazon I would burst with love.  If you leave a comment saying you did these things for me I will enter you in for a draw for one of my famous, hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind art journals.
Don't be tricked.  Search for what you want.  Help me out.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Steam punk crushes


While I was doing some research for my steam punk pirate novel,
 Evelyn of the Sea, I came across these little gems.  They rock both my worldsSteampunk Spock.
I have a crush on steam punk Iron Man. and steam punk Spock