Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Rockin' Around..... The Ups, Downs and In Betweens of 2018

      My author pals and I are remembering the happy moments as well as the challenges we have faced this past year in our blog hop: The Ups, Downs and In- Betweens on the 2018 Writing Road.” Check out my blog, then visit the other #Gr8Blogs linked at the end of the post for more shared recollections and lessons learned along the way.

Christmas is almost here!!  I do believe as we get older, time goes by faster. Do you agree?  Some days can go by slow but time goes by fast.  Another year is about to begin and I can't help but look back at 2018.  Being a self-published author means I do it all: the creating, formatting, marketing etc and I love the freedom it gives me but it is hard. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth it, but seeing my published work always fills me with pride, so I brush off the negative thoughts and keep going. 

     Into the Ocean is my latest book, which I published last fall. In 2018, my goal was to get my ebooks into paperback and I have accomplished that except for one book, Bullies? No Worries! which proved to be a challenge due to having to reformat the entire thing to fit the required format.  I admit, I've been procrastinating on this but I am halfway there! This summer I did manage to give my website a whole new look. Check it out here:

One thing I am proud of this year are my read-aloud preview videos. My goal here was to just give the readers a glimpse into the book but not read the entire story.  I used Powerpoint to create them but am interested in learning new programs to make my videos stand out more.

For December ALL of my e-books will be on sale!!! You can even get them autographed through or to make it easier, use the widget found on my website.  Want to hold the book in your hand or something to wrap? You can also buy my books in paperback.
So what do I have planned for 2019?  The summer months are my time to switch into author mode and I plan on getting my fourth book in paperback and when that is done, I may try to write another book!  Inspiration hasn't hit me yet but I'm thinking I may do another chapter book.  Are there any topics you haven't seen in children's books but would like to?  You can always hit the comments or find me on fb. I also plan on making an awesome read-aloud video for Into the Ocean. I possibly may find a way to turn my Green Screen skills into some amazing book marketing ideas.

Maybe one year I will be able to focus all my energy on being an author and illustrator.  That is my long-term goal!  Will I accomplish it? Maybe, maybe not but I'm still putting it on my wish list.  Hopefully Santa found me on his good girl list this year and will work some of his magic on my career. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and
a wonderful new year! 
Happy holidays everyone!

Thanks for stopping by! How was your year? Want to share your accomplishments/challenges?  Please share in the comment section.
For more inspirational recollections and lessons learned, visit more #Gr8blogs below.
And if you blog and want to join us on this hop, just add the family-friendly link to your blog post in the comment section.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Green Scream Fun!

Green Scream Fun!

 As I have said before, it has been a crazy busy school year.  So busy in fact, I have not worked on any book stuff much at all!  I have been wanting to create an animated read-aloud video for my book Into the Ocean but just haven’t had the energy or time to work on one much. If you work or have worked in the school system, then you know what I am talking about I’m sure. 

Halloween is one of my absolute favorite holidays in my classroom though and we have been having fun reading local ghost stories, drawing out some silly and cute monsters and other Halloween themed characters and my favorite, creating some silly, creepy and magical green screen videos!  I would love to share them with you but do to protecting my students privacy, I can't.   I can show you some screenshots though! We had a blast using masks, frames, music, and my students favorite……monster slip on bags. LOL  Sounds like fun, huh?  It really is but I didn’t just do this with one class.  I work with every grade, Kindergarten through fifth and we made sooooo many videos. At times, I was wishing my magic wand prop really could make me disappear. Hahaha!

Have you ever worked with a green screen app?  Do you have a favorite?  I really like DoInk, which sadly is only available on itunes.  This fun app makes creating fun videos easily.  You don’t even really need an official green screen, but they are better, and you can buy one for under $50 bucks.  However, you could do what I did for years and use a green table cloth.  I got the cheap party ones from the dollar store.  A dark holiday green won’t work, you need to get one as close to a basic green as you can for best results. 

Now that you have your screen, next comes forming an idea on what you want to do with it.  Storytelling is a popular use in classrooms.  Students can write a short story and either draw out the characters and turn into puppets and act the scene out, draw out the scene to be placed in the app and only have the students narrate the story or combine both! DoInk also has an amination app that may be combined with the green screen app.  You can check out DoInk on Twitter for more great ideas.

Veterans day is coming up next week and I already have a video in the works!  I have some amazing fifth graders who have volunteered to sing The Star-Spangled Banner while students who bring in pictures of their family veteran’s play across the screen. This video will be played during our Veteran’s Day celebration.

Next will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas!! So many ideas, so little time! 
*My videos are used for school purposes only.  I do not own the rights to the backgrounds or music used.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

That Time of Year Again...

It's that time of year again!  No, I'm not talking about pumpkin pie spiced everything, even though people are really excited about that. LOL  I'm talking about school starting back.  Where did summer go?  It went by way too fast!!!   I did get so much accomplished but there was so much more I wanted to do.  Now my brain has to endure a thousand tabs opened up at once and it's all school related instead of book related.  It has been a rough few weeks, I won't lie.  Hoping things get set into their routine soon, which makes things easier.  If anyone wants to give me a million dollars, cause you know that's just pocket change, I will gladly take it so I can work on my books full time. Nope?  Well, can't blame a girl for trying. LOL 

So before the craziness of the new year began, I created a couple of read-aloud preview videos for my books World of Color and Imagination Destination to celebrate getting them into paperback.  They are a really quick preview of those books and I'm hoping to have one for Into the Ocean created soon, but I just haven't figured out a great way to do that one yet.  I tried a free trial of a very cool photo program called Mirage.  This allowed you to take any photo and animate it. It was so cool and the animation was spectacular but you couldn't add voice, text etc to it which was a bummer.  I would love to animate my Into the Ocean book in some way for this book read-aloud preview.  So if anyone knows of a cool program that I could use to do this, please shoot me a message on FB.

Want to see them and hear my awesome WV accent? Which by the way does not sound so awesome when you have to hear yourself in the recordings over and over again until you get the reading just right!  Hahaha! Let me know what you think and please feel free to share my book links. 


All of my books can be found at Amazon.

Happy September!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

On the Road Again....

Check the tire pressure.  Power up your GPS.  Dust off the maps.  We’re off on a family-friendly road trip across North America, Great Britain, and Australia in the #Gr8Blogs Summer Road Trips 2018.
My writerly pals and I are sharing insiders’ touring tips for your summertime fun.  I’m excited to guide you around my part of the world. Then you can pop about the globe for more inspiring road trip ideas from other great bloggers, who are linked at the bottom of this page. Summers not over yet, so pack your shorts, tees, sandals, sunblock and let's go!

Welcome to wild, and wonderful West Virginia!  There are things to love and hate about where you live I believe, but I can’t imagine living anywhere but where I do.  I would miss the beauty of this state.  There may not be any oceans around here, but we have fun on the water!  You can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, boating, fishing and more on one of our large lakes found in the Mountain Lakes region. Or enjoy some of these activities on the rivers as well.   Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular attractions but it’s a "never gonna try"activity for me. Haha. 

Summersville Lake
Not a fan of water? That’s okay, there is so much to do and see here. Maybe you like to hit the trails?  The Hatfield and McCoy trails are a must for you. These trails offer beautiful scenery with trails labeled for your skill level.  Plus, there are plenty of campgrounds available, so you can hit the trails straight from there.  Some cabins even offer hot tubs.  I love hot tubs!  

Okay, so what is my favorite thing to do here?  That’s easy….Jeep or side by side trips. My hubby and I love taking the top off the Jeep and hitting the backroads or taking the side by side on the trails.  Finding waterfalls is my goal on these trips. As many as I can find.  I even talked my hubby into marrying me in front of one.

Blackwater Falls
Bergoo Falls

You have to take a train in order to see this beauty!

Day road trips are the best and there are so many amazing destinations for you to explore while you are here.  We have State parks galore that offer hiking trails, fishing, lake and river activities and more!  Not your thing, how about a resort?  We have those too.  

Beartown is one of my favorite parks to go even though it has no waterfalls to be seen. Instead it offers a half a mile boardwalk that takes you through massive boulders, cliffs, unusual rock formations and some extremely deep crevices.  It really is a sight to be seen.  It was formed from an ancient sea that used to be there.   If you are a history buff, while you are in that area, head on up the road to Droop Mountain Battlefield which is where WV had their last major Civil War battle.  You might hear and see some ghosts along with learning more about the history of the place. The site is reportedly haunted.   

Like the paranormal?  WV has plenty of that as well; Mothman may come to mind.  Point Pleasant, WV is home of the Mothman Statue, where the incidents occurred back in the 1960’s.  That story is one of chills, mystery and fascination.  It’s one of my favorite stories to share with my students during Halloween.  That one, and the one where it is recorded in history that a ghost solved her own murder!  I could go on and on about the hauntings in WV but it would take me months to type them all out! Hahaha Instead you can find one of the many WV Ghost story books out there.  I recommend Haunted West Virginia by Patty Wilson.

 If you’re going to be traveling through WV around August 11, then you may just want to join Steve and Tango, yes, the same Steve and Tango from the show Ghost Hunters, on their paranormal night tour at Lake Shawnee Amusement park. You can find out more about that on their website,  

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is also a must-see attraction. It wasn’t always called that. It was known as the Weston State Hospital and was a hospital for the mentally ill from all the way back in the mid 1800’s!.  You can take a paranormal tour and learn some history about the location while also hearing about some past and present ghost stories.  I have been there. I didn’t see any paranormal activity, but we definitely had some weird things occur.  They also offer a history tour where you can learn more stories about such events like the Civil War Raids.  This location is a historic landmark and the building really is a must see!

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum picture found on
Didn’t I mention resorts back there, you ask?  Well, yes, I did.   West Virginia has many resorts found throughout the entire state.  You can take your pick from The Resort at Glade Springs, The Greenbrier, Stonewall Jackson, Lakeview Golf Resort, Creekside Resort, Oglebay, Berkeley Springs and more! The Greenbrier and Berkeley Springs are known for their rich history. The Greenbrier might even ring a bell. It has a once-hidden government bunker built back in the sixties that you can tour, which is a really cool place to visit and learn about.  Berkeley Springs even has its own castle!


Photo found at:

Last but not least, the New River Gorge Bridge!  The largest arch bridge in the western hemisphere. If you visit this unique bridge, make sure you make time to drive underneath it for a different and up-close view.  If you're brave enough, you could do the bridge catwalk. This experience puts you 25 feet below the bridge and you walk the entire 3,030 feet length of the bridge! How high are you from the ground? 851 feet from the New River.

I’ve hoped you enjoyed your virtual Road Trip to West Virginia even though there is so much more to here than I covered. Maybe it inspired you to visit here for a vacation one day?! As the song says....

"Country roads, take me home to the place I belong, West Virginia, mountain mama, take me home, country roads."
Country Roads by John Denver
Want to learn more about WV?  Check out these sites:

Thanks for your company!  What are favorite road trip must-sees in your corner of the world? Please share in the comments section. We’d love to virtual visit!  And if you blog and want to hop with us, add a live hyperlink to your family-friendly road trip post in the comment section. We’ll swing by and give you some blog love!

There’s more more fun and inspirational Summer Road Trips ahead! Click over to your next destination at my #Gr8blogs pals below.

North America
Carmela Dutra - California Bay Area

Julie Gorges - California

K. Lamb - California

Cat Michaels - North Carolina

Rosie Russell - Kansas City, Missouri

Rhonda Paglia - Western Pennsylvania



Monday, June 25, 2018

Mine! All Mine!!

Summer is here, and my brain has been Mine! All Mine! for a few weeks now at least and it is wonderful. So, what have I been up to?

I redesigned my website for one thing and I love it! I have been wanting to do that for a while. I loved the look of my old site but have had it for a few years now and was ready for a change.  You can check it out at

As you may have known, one of my goals this summer was to get my ebooks into paperbacks.  I have one completed and two more to go!! SO slowly, I am getting there. Anyone know of someone who just loves formatting books so much they do it for free? Yeah, didn't think so. LOL

Also, this summer, I became a part of the Art/Media team for Sharks4Kids. My job is creating coloring and activity pages about sharks.  I am in heaven! Here is one of my creations. You can find this and more on their page.  I'm also adding them on my site as well.

On top of all that, I have been relaxing and enjoying my summer. I have been catching up on my TBR summer reading but not as much as I would like. Hahaha I could read all day, every day if I could.  If you like contemporary romance, then you need to check out any book by Jill Shalvis! She is one of my one-click obsessions. I also adore anything by Julie James, Christie Craig, Shannon Stacey, Ann Charles and I could go on and on!  Do you have a favorite author or book you always recommend to your friends and then are biting your nails as they read, dying to know what they think of It and desperately try not to give anything away? πŸ˜‰ I want to know!  Hit me in the comments or find me on fb. 

I haven’t painted anything other than my porch yet this summer.  Makes me sad to think but inspiration just hasn’t hit yet.  I think this week, I will get out my paints, canvas, and easel and see what develops. 

Guess it's time to work on the formatting for Imagination Destination..........or maybe vacuum the dog, give my cat a know anything but formatting! Hahaha  Happy June, y'all!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

School's Out For Summer....

🎢🎢 School's Out For Summer ……

Isn't that a song? hahaha Join in and sing and dance with me! Today was the last day for students but I still have a couple of days left. I am ready to slip back into author mode for a couple of months. I have my To Do List already to go! Am I going to work on a new book this summer? I won't rule it out. You never know when inspiration will hit but my main goal is to get all my books into paperback form. I'm really hoping it won't be torture BUT I've been down this road before and it's not pretty. So wish me luck!!

Between herding kittens aka my students these last very long weeks, I've been finishing up end of the year projects, organizing events and slipping in some craft therapy. We have an amazing lady from our staff retiring this year and we wanted a personal farewell gift to give her. So we brainstormed and I came up with this. I love the way it turned out. I think she will love it!



 I've also worked a little with the Sharks 4 Kids organization. I introduced this group to you in my last blog when they did a Skype lesson with my students. I highly recommend them for teachers and parents. My students finally got to complete their ocean paintings in between testing and field trips. They turned out really well and they loved painting them. I also got to create a coloring sheet for this wonderful group and I plan on designing more over the summer. I already have some ideas down, including word searches, connect the dots maybe some how to draw sheets. Is there any type of activity sheet you would like to see? Let me know in the comments section or find me on my Facebook author page. (Why is this text highlighted you ask?  Who knows?  But it will not let me change it no matter what I try! grrrr. I've even deleted and typed it again and it still does it!  Crazy technology. As a friend of mine would say, those tech gremlins are at it again.)

I am also going to create some coloring and activity sheets for my book Into the Ocean.  I would love to turn this book into an interactive story book app of some sort but I just haven't figured out how to do that...….yet!!
So here's to two more days until my author/illustrator hat officially comes on! Happy Summer!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Spring Is Here....I think

April is here and it is officially spring! Here however, it is a lovely 40 degrees with snow moving in for the weekend.  I LOVE snow but we had one day of 70 degree temps and that was such a tease! March was full of snow days, which for me, was Heaven but now I'm ready for warm temps, t-shirt and porch sitting weather.  How is spring beginning where you are?

Any spring plans?  I think every day in April and May at my school has something planned. I'm probably gonna be a zombie by the time summer break gets here. 🐲  I am excited about a couple of guests I have coming to my classroom in the next couple of weeks.  One, is artist Steve Harpster. Mr. Harpster teaches kids how to draw using letters, numbers and shapes. I have several of his books in my classroom, and we watch his YouTube channel a lot. Want to learn more?  Check out his website at Harptoons. As a class project, my students are creating his characters and putting them on a bulletin board as a welcome sign.  I can't let the kids have all the fun though, right?  Can you guess what letter is used to create this character?

Another guest I am happy about, is an organization called Sharks4Kids. This organization has paired me up with one of their amazing scientists and we have a Skype lesson scheduled for my third grade class. Next, they are going to take what they learned and create their own underwater watercolor painting.  The students are excited about this but honestly, I think I am more excited! Haha  The founder of this amazing group is also a children's book author and an equally amazing woman. I follow her on Twitter and if I didn't know any better, I would swear she was a mermaid from all the time she spends in the water. She swims with great white sharks, without the safety of a cage! I am a little envious to say the least.  Want to invite this Fintastic group into your classroom?  Swim on over to for more info.
Of course, GW is also going to make an appearance during this lesson. πŸ˜‰
Into the Ocean
Fun time over. Time to get back to work. If anyone has a spare magic wand or an amazing beach house in the Bahamas they want to give me, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. 😁

Friday, March 2, 2018

March Madness Has Begun

Sorry folks, I am not a basketball fan. Haha March Madness for me is my students catching Spring Fever 🌷🌸 and it spreads quickly! Luckily Spring Break is just a few weeks away. I'm hoping I survive till then. Wish me luck! πŸ˜‰πŸ€

I am one of those types of people who love reading inspirational quotes, okay, okay, I love the funny, sarcastic ones more. Haha But Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite children book authors and his words, no matter how silly, are some of the best words to live by. Dr. Seuss's birthday is today, March 2.
Happy, Happy, Happy birthday to him! πŸŽ‚

Do you have a favorite Dr. Seuss quote? I honestly have too many to choose just one. I found these images on

Things here right now are a little stressful but I love my work family and we are sticking together through this hard time.This one in particular, holds a special meaning to us here right now.


You may be a fan of these books and you may not and that's okay. I love the messages these books have and when I began writing, it was important to me that my books also sent out a message. I know I am no where close to being on the same level as Theodor Seuss Geisel, but I hope my books have made an impact to those who have read them. You can always check my books out on my website:

Also, be sure to check out this fun site, to learn more about his books.

My next project is trying to turn my book, Into the Ocean, into a storybook app of some kind. I've been doing some research but I'm still unsure of how to do this. It may happen and it may not but as Dr. Suess would say, "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."  Maybe these words will inspire you to go out and do something you've wanted to do but thought was impossible. The power of words is strong.

Best of luck to everything you want and will accomplish!


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Winter Wonderland......

HAPPY 2018!! 

How is your new year starting out?  Mine is pretty good. I've gotten a few snow days so I've had time to paint, read and write.  I am one of those people who love snow. I love watching it fall. I think it is beautiful on the trees and if it's going to be cold then I want the ground white. haha I know snow has its dangerous aspects too, which I've experienced, but I'm choosing to look at its more magical side.  Now even though I do like the snow, I'm not a fan of the negative temps we've been having. They are fine for a day or two but not weeks.  The arctic blast was only good for one thing and that is creating some spectacular views to be seen.  This is a picture I took of Cathedral Falls here in West Virginia.  So are you like me and enjoy the snow or one of those who is counting down till spring?

How do you keep busy during these cold days?  Do you brave the cold temps and see the sites, maybe go skiing, sledding etc? Maybe you stay indoors with a warm fire, a cozy blanket, with something warm to drink and a good book. Or binge watch tv, paint a picture, or play a game.  I can say I got a good start on my tbr reading list and relaxed by painting a little bit.  No matter how to you like to spend these winter weather days, I hope you are enjoying them. If you happen to be experiencing summer right now, enjoy it while it lasts! haha 

For a limited time, Into the Ocean is going to be on sale for 0.99 so take advantage!