Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Signing at Sam's

Mark your calendars!

Publication Consultants, my publisher, has arranged for me to have a book signing at the Beaumont Sam's Club on Feb. 12, from 10 am to 6 pm.

This past week has been been a new learning experience. I have been conducting testing, using laptop computers, for the National Assessment of Educational Publication (NAEP) in selected schools in the tri-county area for randomly selected eighth graders and high school seniors. Results of the testing will be complied with test results from schools across the nation for The Nation's Report Card, part of the No Child Left Behind program.

I'll continue with testing through next month. This project has cut into my writing time, but is great experience.

My next blog will include more information on the Sam's signing.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Writer's beware: Preditors/editors

Attention and warning to writers. Learn from my mistakes.
After having 6 books published, I contracted with (and paid) a local publisher to edit, print and distribute (and promote) a novel. My critique group edited the manuscript before I submitted it. The first editing of the manuscript by the publishing company should have been a warning. The editing was unacceptable. I had it redone.

For two years I waited, impatiently, for a galley. I found numerous errors in the galley, had it marked up and was promised that these grammar, spelling and typesetting errors would be corrected before printing.

Six months later, I sent copies of the final, published book for review. Imagine my embarrasment when a sympathetic editor asked to mark corrections (spelling, grammar, typesetting, etc) for me. I agreed. She returned my book, a book that should have been on the market, with errors on over ONE HALF of the pages!

I applaud her concern and effort, and recommend her services, at reasonable cost, to anyone who wants an honest editing job at a fair price.
I have filed with the county dispute resolution office for satisfaction. I cannot allow this book to go to market.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Do we value Life?

A nine year old girl was killed simply by being in the wrong place. We are outraged and saddened by the numerous children who are injured or killed in accidents or by child abuse.

However far too many caring adults have ignored the deaths of 53,000,000 (Fifty Three MILLION) children murdered in abortions since 1973 when the Roe vs Wade decision made abortion legal.

53,000,000 citizens under the age of 37 (as of today) is more that the population of Spain.

What could those citizens have contributed to our society?

Of those aborted citizens, 86% were snuffed out for the convience of the mother. The practice of abortion is taking innocent, defenseless human lives.

Who will protect those who are powerless to speak for themselves?

Darrell leads a live of existance. He is dependent on caregivers 24/7. He cannot contribute to society. So what is God's purpose for his life? By sharing his story of abuse by being shaken which resulted in profound retardation and blindness, I hope to educated expectant parents, and to encourage parents and caregivers of special needs children.
His story is available free by emailing me at

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sanctity of Life

The month of January is set aside to recognize the value of all human life. Who adopts special needs or severely disabled children? Why and how do they take on this challenge? What is God's purpose for the life of a profoundly retarded, blind child? I wrote "Adopting Darrell" to answer these questions and to educate about shaken baby syndrome and child abuse, and to empower caregivers of special needs persons.
In honor of Darrell, age 29, I am offering a free copy of "Adopting Darrell" to anyone who requests the book by e-mail which follows this excerpt from the book.
The mail carrier honked as he drove up our gravel drive. I was surprised when he handed me four thick, manila mailers. Each bore the Texas Department of Human Service's return address. Weeks earlier, I had requested a copy of my adopted son's Children's Protectice Services file. I never expected to be overwhelmed by four volumes of material.
Awed by the stack of mailers, I retreated to our back porch, sat down on the swing, and tore the taped flap off the top envelope. Darrell, my adopted son, ambled over to the swing.
"Hi?" Darrell intoned a question.
"Hi, yourself, Darrell". I answered. "Want to swing?"
Laughing loudly, he climbed up next to me, turned around, and kicked his legs. With both hands he patted the mailers that lay on my lap. Suddenly he grabbed the mailer on top and began to swing his outstretched arms from side to side in flashing arcs across his thin body.
Afraid the contents would spill out, I caught Darrell in a bear hug to stop his gyrations. He patted the mailer against his head and covered his left eye. Although Darrell was legally blind, he had limited vision in his left eye. By covering or pushing against his eye, he stimulated light flashes and created light and dark contrast.
Distracting him, I swapped several pieces of junk mail for the mailer. My heart ached. Darrell had just celebrated his eighth birthday.
For your copy of "Adopting Darrell" please e-mail me at with "book" on the subject line.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Be Prepared

Boy Scout Winter Camp, Dec. 26-31, at Camp Urland proved to be a "Be Prepared" challenge. I agreed again this year to teach the art merit badge. Sunday was cool with a cerulean blue sky. By Monday morning the temp was 15 degrees! I was prepared with layers of longjohns and sweats.

I was prepared with my camera and was fortunate to take frost pictures. Note the spines of frost along the edges of the oak leaves.

The cold snap didn't last. By Wednesday we checked gear to see if we were prepared for thunderstorms. The Trading Post soon sold out of ponchos. Thunder and lightning, drenching rain didn't dampen the spirit of camping.

My classes tried to meet under the handicrat pavillion with the leatherworking class, but the winds and showers were not condusive to art.

We moved indoors and joined the Reptile class. Being Prepared to adjust to changes and challenges, the drawing classes proceeded. The boys were delighted to be able to touch the snakes, lizzards and toads. An added benifit was that we learned about the reptiles. From a safe distance.
2010 is the 100th aniversary of Boy Scouting. Several
commemorative merit badges were offered this year only. This young man is using a handsaw to cut pieces for a wooden tool box. The boys learned to use a bit and brace, plane and other "ancient" tools.

When my classes were finished for the day I hung around the kitchen, prepared to learn new cooking skills, like cooking chili for 250 hungry boys and leaders.
I already know how to wash pots and pans so I was given the job of supervising as well as pitching in.
By the time for staff photos, my staff shirt was no longer wearable. I'm wearing a scout shirt topped by an apron gift from the cook staff. I'm an honorary cook!
The Norman Rockwell print below hangs in the staff house. My class discussed artwork that tells a story, so we discussed this print of Souts of different classes and ages, an astronaut, and at the upper right corner a founding father, all saluting our flag. The emotion of patriotism is strong in this painting, and an encouragement to all to be prepared to honor our country by learning all we can.
Learn a little something about everything.

Here's another book never written: "Weeds and Flowers" by Dan D. Lyon