Tuesday, December 22, 2015

St. Nicholas, St. Swithin, Whatever

Years ago, I read a book about Jane Austen's Christmas celebrations, which were nowhere as elaborate as Christmas celebrations today. Somewhere in that book, the author hinted that Jane had written a poem that was something like the famous "Night Before Christmas." Since then, I have wondered about this poem and occasionally searched for it. Wouldn't it be great, I thought, if I could blog about this poem at Christmastime?

Well, I finally found said poem, and it has nothing to do with Christmas, or winter, or St. Nicolaus. It does, however, have a saint standing on a roof. The saint in question is St. Swithin, the patron saint of Winchester Cathedral, which was located near Austen's home and is also where she was laid to rest. According to legend, if it rained on St. Swithin's day (July 15), it was bound to rain for the next forty days.
She wrote this poem on July 15, 1817, two days before her death, and it just goes to show that Jane had a bit more spunk than most people gave her credit for. Here she was on her death bed, and she wrote a humorous poem about horse racing.

When Winchester races
When Winchester races first took their beginning
It is said the good people forgot their old Saint
Not applying at all for the leave of Saint Swithin
And that William of Wykeham’s approval was faint.

The races however were fixed and determined
The company came and the Weather was charming
The Lords and the Ladies were satine’d and ermined
And nobody saw any future alarming.–

But when the old Saint was informed of these doings
He made but one Spring from his Shrine to the Roof
Of the Palace which now lies so sadly in ruins
And then he addressed them all standing aloof.

‘Oh! subjects rebellious! Oh Venta* depraved
When once we are buried you think we are gone
But behold me immortal! By vice you’re enslaved
You have sinned and must suffer, ten farther he said

These races and revels and dissolute measures
With which you’re debasing a neighboring Plain
Let them stand–You shall meet with your curse in your pleasures
Set off for your course, I’ll pursue with my rain.
Ye cannot but know my command o’er July
Henceforward I’ll triumph in shewing my powers
Shift your race as you will it shall never be dry
The curse upon Venta is July in showers–‘.

*Venta is the old Roman name for Winchester.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Christ-Centered Gifts

Jesus Christ is my hero, and this Christmas I want to celebrate him. At the beginning of the year, I read a book by Emily Freeman, in which she described one Christmas when she had each of her children pick their favorite image of Christ for a present. The picture had to be one that strengthened their testimony in some way. I thought it was a good idea, so for everyone's birthday this year, we let them choose a picture of Christ to hang on the wall, as well as a fun present.
I wanted to share the pictures we chose:

My husband chose this Carl Bloch painting of the angel comforting Christ

My thirteen-year-old wanted a picture of the premortal Christ.
He chose this one by Robert T. Barrett. He sells his prints from his website,
and it was fun to contact him directly.
My ten-year-old chose this picture of Elijah and the priests of Baal that shows the power of God.
My youngest chose this painting of Jesus raising the daughter of Jairus by Simon Dewey.
I chose a Minerva Teichert painting of Jesus with the lost lamb.

My daughter chose a nativity painting by Rembrandt
My sixteen-year-old wants a picture of Jesus as a teenager.
This one is by Del Parson 
My 18 year old chose this Carl Bloch painting of Christ casting out Satan

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Signing Saturday!

December 5 starting at 10:00 a.m., I will be selling and signing books at Sorenson Unity Center's Winter Market (south east corner of 900 West and California Ave) in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Some of my fellow Austen authors will be there, as well as many local artists and crafters. I'm looking forward to doing a little shopping there myself.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Outlines, Synopses, and Plotting . . . Oh, My!

Over the years, I have struggled with plotting and outlining. And don't get me started on writing synopses. This year, I have finally managed to wrap my brain around the whole outline thing, which helped me with plotting . . . and yes even with writing a synopsis.

A year ago, I wrote an outline for the book I'm about to finish. I followed the outlining method in the book Save the Cat. My outline started out looking like this:

It was a poster divided into three acts, represented by the four rows. (Don't ask me how it makes sense to have three acts in four rows. It just does. LOL.) I eventually filled in all four rows with post-it notes, detailing scenes. It was incredibly useful, but I didn't have a good idea of how the plot worked until I watched the youtube video above of Dan Wells teaching his seven point plot structure.

There are actually five videos of Dan Wells's plotting class. I watched them all, and I took notes. Light bulbs went off in my head like never before. Finally I understood how to outline the plot. I went through the book I was writing and filled in the seven plot points with ease. The way he explained it made so much more sense than anything I'd ever heard before.

Now, as I'm finishing up my next book, I've used my seven-point-plot outline to write a synopsis, a book blurb, and a query--all within a few hours. These videos have been one of the most helpful things I've watched all year. I'm so thankful, I wanted to share. Happy late Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Our Harry Potter Party

My daughter turns 20 this week, so I decided to throw her a Harry Potter party. My main motivation was that I wanted to try butterbeer. Haha. But then I got on Pinterest and found tons of other ideas. I am not a party-planner type, but I am a Harry Potter nerd, so I went all out.

We started out with a dinner of roast beef, mashed potatoes, and butterbeer, which is a mix-up of food from Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. I found the recipes here. (Yes, I also added vegies because I'm a mom, but you will note that the kids have not yet put any on their plates in this picture.)

I got this idea to hang up Hogwarts letters in front of the fireplace from buzzfeed. I figured it was a good way to use up all the extra envelops from the graduation announcements, but I added my own little twist. I addressed the letters to the partygoers and put letters or Harry Potter quotes in all the envelops.

This letter begins, "Dear Mr. Jamison, This letter is to inform you that you have been admitted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry because of the following magical abilities:" Then I wrote down a few of the special things about each person. It was easy to find a Hogwarts logo online. I used "Informal Roman" font.

For games, I had one of my kids dress up like a dementor. When he approached someone, they would say, "Expecto Patronum" and tell a happy memory about our birthday girl. (I think I actually made this game up on my own since it's nowhere on Pinterest. Can you believe it?)

We also played the "Wingardium Leviosa" game from this blog. You keep a balloon from hitting the floor by using your wand. This was very popular with the younger kids.

The older kids loved the "Guess your character" game. I put character names on their foreheads and had them ask yes or no questions until they figured it out. I got the idea from this blog and the list of names from Wikipedia. (We used Lavendar Brown, Cho Chang, Colin Creevey, Barty Crouch, Sr., Cedric Diggory, Vernon Dursley, Seamus Finnegan, Viktor Krum, Gilderoy Lockhart, James Potter, Severus Snape, Dolores Umbridge, Aragog, and Charlie Weasley.)

We also played a Harry Potter trivia game that I printed out here. I purposefully looked for hard questions since my kids are die-hard Harry Potter fans, and guess what? They knew almost every answer.

We made wands ahead of time, following these directions. They took longer to make than I thought, so I'm glad we started early. They were very popular with the younger kids.

I wrapped the gifts like potions, using labels I found on this site. My daughter has a good job, so she buys herself most of what she needs and wants. I just bought her some fun foods and drinks that I thought she would like.

For her birthday cake, we made and ate owl cupcakes, which I found in Family Circle magazine . Looking at this picture, you can tell why I don't have a food blog. It may not be picture perfect, but we had fun.

And now my son wants me to plan a Star Wars party for next month.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sneak Peek at My Next Book

This is a picture from my Grandma's ranch (now owned by my uncle.)
My cousin took it. Isn't it gorgous?
It is also the inspiration for the setting of my next book.

The working title for my next book is A Match Made in Lone Spur. (That will probably change next week. LOL.) It's kind of a Western--I say kind of because I'm kind of a city girl, and this book is a little half-Country-half-City. I'm working on the ending right now. It's been so fun to write. I've included the first few pages below:

Rosie hadn’t yet met her new neighbor, but the fact that he’d hired movers instead of hauling his own pick-up loads didn’t inspire her confidence. Betty from down the road had told her—with a wink—that the new neighbor was a bachelor from the East. He’d come to Lone Spur as a change, having already backpacked through Europe, run the Boston Marathon, and swam the English Channel. Now he wanted to conquer the Wild West.

Before he bought the place, his lawyer had sent a letter, asking the other neighbors’ permission to build a small resort. Since her grandfather had started having heart trouble around that time, Rosie hadn’t thought much about it. She’d helped Grandpa sign his permission, figuring a resort could boost the local economy.

Water, though—that was a different story.

Rosie walked along the mostly empty irrigation canal with her yellow Labrador, Cheddar, at her heels until she got to the fence-line, dividing her property from her neighbor’s. She gripped her long blond ponytail before bending to slip her body in between two rows of barbed wire strung across the fence posts. Cheddar, having learned long ago not to take chances with the fence, did not follow her.

Once Rosie crested the small hill past the fence, she saw why the water level was low. Her new neighbor’s sprinkler system threw white jets across his barren fields. He was using her water—water she could never get back. Hadn’t the irrigation coordinator told her new neighbor about the schedule?
Rosie quickened her pace. Five foot-seven and sturdily built, she had a body that testified of pioneer stock, but she could walk as fast in cowboy boots and Wranglers as any female health club member could jog in spandex. And now a sense of injustice propelled her to walk even faster. As she breathed in the hot desert air through her clenched teeth, she considered whether it might be better to let the police handle this. Stealing water was a serious offence.

The problem with the police, though, was that it might be hours before they took care of the problem. And Grandpa wouldn’t approve. She couldn’t risk upsetting him—not with his heart condition.

Ahead of her, Rosie caught a glimpse of her neighbor. Wearing board shorts and a T-shirt, he looked better suited for a surfing competition than for running a ranch. After a few more steps, she could also see that he wore flip-flops. Didn’t he know this was rattlesnake country?

Her neighbor pulled his screwdriver away from the irrigation pump and waved. His broad smile startled Rosie at first. She wasn’t used to seeing men her age that smiled with such confidence. At least she thought he was her age—he seemed about thirty, but he could’ve been older. He obviously hadn’t been beaten down the way most men around Lone Spur had. Desert living did that to people.
Other than his confidence, Rosie supposed there wasn’t much that was extraordinary about him. He had dark brown hair and wore aviator glasses. She probably could have found ten men that looked just like him in Copper City. He didn’t look like someone who swam the English Channel and ran the Boston Marathon.

She stopped on the other side of the ditch from his irrigation pump. “You’re using my water,” she shouted.

He held a hand to his ear. “I can’t hear you.” He pointed a few yards away to a crop of cottonwood trees. “Maybe we should talk over there.”

Rosie leaped over the irrigation ditch and switched off the pump. She waited until the motor died down before she spoke. “It’s not your turn to use the water. Someone should have told you. There’s a schedule.”

He laughed—he actually laughed. “I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you. I’m Destry Steadman.”

She resisted the urge to turn back toward home. She still had so much to do. “I’m Rosie Curtis.”
“Rosie from the water police?” He removed his sunglasses to reveal dark blue eyes almost the same shade as Rosie’s.

Rosie folded her arms, reminding herself that it wasn’t Destry’s fault she’d arrived home two hours late because of Grandpa’s doctor appointment. “Rosie, your neighbor.” He had only caused her to miss an extra half-hour of watering time. “Someone should’ve given you a copy of the schedule.”

“Someone gave me a copy, but I didn’t know it was that big of a deal.”

“It’s a big deal.” Rosie tried to control her tone. “You’re just lucky you didn’t use Brett McFerrin’s water.”

“Brett McFerrin?”

“He owns the house at the end of the lane, and he’s got at least forty pounds on you.”

Destry’s eyes widened. “You mean he’d—”

“Brett’s a nice guy, but it’s not unusual for a man to lose his temper over water rights, especially when there’s a drought.” Rosie bent to pick up Destry’s screwdriver from where it lay in a puddle of water. She wiped it on the side of her jeans and handed it to him. “I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have, but I’m in sort of a hurry right now.”

He lowered one eyelid to a half-squint. “Sorry about the water. Would it work to trade times?”

Rosie shook her head. “Thanks for offering, but you were scheduled to water earlier this afternoon. I’d be happy to trade in the future if you let me know ahead of time.”

He reached for the wallet in his back pocket. “I’ll pay you back.” A typical city dweller, he had no idea that water was more valuable than liquid gold out here. “How much do I owe you?”

Ignoring the stack of bills in his wallet, Rosie forced a smile. “You don’t owe me anything. The main thing I need is to get back to work.” She turned to walk back in the direction of Grandpa’s ranch. She didn’t have time to teach him the ropes—not with everything else she had to do. Since Grandpa’s heart trouble started, Rosie had taken on almost all the work around the ranch, and she needed to get ahead on her chores before her teaching job began again next week.

She’d reached the fence where Cheddar waited before she noticed the lap-lap-lap behind her. She turned to look at her flip-flop-clad neighbor. There was that smile again. “I thought you could use a hand,” he said. “Maybe if I help, you can get things watered faster.”

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Online Critique Group

It's been a year since I started my online critique group. Three authors and I have been getting together once a week to help each other improve our work. I have learned so much from these talented women. And it's all been online, which means we don't have to drive miles and miles to go to our critique group.

Janice Sperry, Renae Mackley, and me.
Melissa Cunningham is also in our group, but I still haven't met her in person.
We've kept our routine pretty simple, which has worked well for us. We meet most weeks on a weekday afternoon while our kids are still in school (except my youngest who watches a movie.)

How we operate:
  1. We submit our manuscripts by Friday night of the week before (though sometimes one of us has a crazy week and gets it in by Saturday night. Occasionally, one of us skips a submission week also.)
  2. Each of us can submit up to 10 pages (double spaced, 12 point font.)
  3. Before we meet, we each go through everyone's manuscript in Word, using the software to make comments and edits. (We turn on track changes, so the author can tell what edits we make.)
  4. When we meet, we take turns talking about each manuscript.
  5. After we meet, we e-mail each other the marked-up manuscripts. This makes it super easy to revise.
  6. Oh yes, and we try to be nice, but not too nice. (Sometimes it can get a little discouraging when the group wants you to make big changes . . . until you make the changes and you realize how right they were.)
How we talk online:
We have never used Skype for our meetings because it won't allow us to have a word document open while we see each other on the screen. At first, we used Oovoo, but it kept crashing on us. Last month, we started using Google Hangouts, and it has worked really well. The picture isn't as clear as it is on some other platforms, but it doesn't crash on us. For now, we're sticking with Google Hangouts.

I've probably left something out. Feel free to comment below with questions and suggestions.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How to Be More Confident

This year, I set a goal to be more confident, so I thought I'd pause for a moment and reflect on what I've learned from watching TED talks, reading books, and studying articles about confidence.

Confidence is a Skill
Confidence isn’t an in-born trait. It’s a skill you can develop with practice. Just like learning to ride a bicycle, you can learn to be more confident.

Positive Thinking
One of the best ways to gain confidence is to watch how you speak to yourself. Try to delete negative thoughts and turn up the volume on positive ones.

Try New Things
Doing things that scare you will help you to be more confident. Any time you learn something new, you become more courageous.

Get Outside Yourself
Giving compliments, hanging out with positive people, serving others, and saying “Thank you” all help you to be more confident.

Confident Body Language
Studies show that when you look confident, you feel more confident. Keep your back straight and your eyes on the other person. Don’t hunch, fold your arms, or rest your head on your hands. Instead, take up all the space you want. Do the Wonder Woman stance--hands on hips, feet shoulder-width apart.

Take Care of Yourself
It's also proven that people who exercise, dress their best, and practice good hygeine are generally more confident than those who don't.

I'm much more confident in some areas than I am in others. Social confidence is sometimes my biggest challenge, so the tip to get outside myself is probably the most important one for me. When I focus on helping other people, I forget my inadequacies.

What helps you to feel more confident?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Taking a Wrong Turn, or Maybe Not

My kids went on a long bike and hike trek this weekend. Their object was to visit four different temples along the way. In the morning, they walked 12 miles and visited two temples. In the afternoon, they were supposed to bike 18 miles between two more temples.

My husband and I went along to support the kids on the afternoon bike trek by providing rides, water, and snacks.  We chose a park about half-way along the bike trail. Then we waited and waited and waited. It was a beautiful area, and I had fun walking along the trail (pictured above.)

Finally, a couple of the bikers arrived at our pit stop. One of the kids was surprised that a larger group of bikers, including our two boys, hadn't passed yet. We decided they must have taken a wrong turn. We waited another hour or so before they showed up. That's when we learned that they had taken not one but several wrong turns. And, unbelievably, it wasn't all my sons' faults. (One of them is pretty famous for going off the trail.)

Anyway, thanks to leaders getting them back on track, most of them managed to complete the 18 mile trek, which ended up being much more than 18 miles. I'm so proud of them for keeping at it.

The story made for a great analogy, and we ended up talking about other wrong turns we might make in life. The boys agreed that it's smart to turn around as fast as you can once you realize you've made a bad decision and get back on the path to your goal.

Afterward, though, I started thinking about all the times I thought I had gone off on the wrong path, and I decided maybe it's not always obvious when you're on the wrong path. For example, back in graduate school, when I applied for the creative writing program and got rejected, I wished I had never gotten myself on the path to creative writing. I thought I had taken a wrong turn, but I was so far into the program that it was too late to turn back. I reapplied, got accepted, and wrote my first novel as my thesis. Now, after publishing three other novels, I'm so glad I persisted with my "wrong turn." (Cue Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" here.)

A wrong turn can sometimes give you added wisdom and compassion. Or, in my case, it can provide material for an angst-filled chapter in a book. (The more I write, the more I realize that no experience is wasted.) Other times, a right turn for me may be a wrong turn for someone else. Life can get complicated that way.

Another issue I have is that when my path becomes difficult, I start to assume that I've taken a wrong turn. This, though, is something that happens no matter what path you take. There are uphill stretches and downhill stretches. Right now, I'm on an uphill stretch in life. I keep having to remind myself of my ultimate goals. Sometimes it helps to take the long view--all the way to the end of the path--instead of just to the to the big hill in front of me. Big hills have a way of providing the most beautiful vistas.

How about you? Have you ever taken a wrong turn that turned out to be a right turn?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Summer Summary

At the beginning of summer, I made a blog schedule, listing all the blog posts I planned to write because I would have so much time to write this summer. Boy, was I optimistic! Our summer was crazy busy on so many levels, and I found myself barely keeping up with everything. I had a bunch of kid projects--one son needed braces, another needed to learn to drive, two started at new colleges, etc. But there were a lot of fun things too. So instead of a blog post, I'm going to share some of my favorite pictures from the best parts of the summer. Here they are:

My husband and me above Alta Ski Resort.

I came here with my youngest son for my birthday activity. I love how the trees arch over the pathway.

We hiked up to Stewart Falls on a hot day and enjoyed feeling the cool mist from the falls.

I love these Black-Eyed Susans I spotted a few days ago.

My mother-in-law took us to Yellowstone National Park. It was so beautiful. The kids' favorite activity was wading in the river. We found out later that a wolf was wading less than a mile downstream from us. (We got to see the wolf too.)

We adopted a new dog because, hey, I wasn't busy enough.We named her Cinnamon. We love her. She is so feisty, though,
 I sometimes think her name should be Tabasco. Next stop: Obedience school.

As you can tell, we did a lot of hiking this summer.
Here I am in a canyon near our house. I love the clear water in the background.

My husband takes this big huge backpack on all our hikes.I tease him that he's overprepared. My youngest, overhearing me,
has started overfilling his own backpack, saying he's "over-repaired too."

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Skit About Noah

The young women asked me to write a skit about Noah for them to perform at Girl's Camp. I always post the skits I write, so others can use them if they want. Here it is--short and sweet:

A Skit about Noah by Rebecca Jamison

Noah didn’t exactly hang with the popular crowd. He wasn’t concerned with popularity though. His greatest desire was to obey the Lord, and the Lord had asked him to cry repentance. Noah cried repentance, but the people only mocked him. He kept teaching the people, even when some of them tried to kill him. Worst of all, he didn't get invited to any Tupperware, Pampered Chef, or JamBerry parties. Noah never got to try that crazy wrap thing either.

After a long time, the Lord told Noah that the people on earth had become so wicked that He was going to send a flood to destroy everyone on the face of the earth. If Noah and his family were to survive, they needed to obey a few special commandments. They were:

1.     To build an ark.

2.     To gather two of every animal on the face of the earth, more of some types.

3.     To get ready to live on the ark with the animals.

At first, Noah might have wondered why the Lord gave him such difficult commandments. Having to build an ark and gather 2 of every animal upon the earth seemed so much harder than say waiting until you’re 16 to date. (You have to remember that Noah was 600 years old. He had been married a very, very, very long time.) But Noah obeyed.

His family members obeyed too. They probably would have rather been watching cute cat and dog videos on youtube [Show cat and dog doing something cute] , but instead they went outside to work. They served with all their heart as they looked for gopher wood and told their neighbors about the plans for an ark.

Then they served with all their strength as they cut down the gopher wood and hauled it home to build the ark.

They served with all their minds as they tried to figure out how to measure 300 cubits. A cubit—that’s the distance between your elbow to the tip of your fingers. How hard can it be to measure a cubit? [Show a small person next to a bigger person and the difference between the measurement.] Later they learned how to pitch the wood within and without [show someone pitching a ball. Then have someone bring a can of something labeled pitch.]

They served with all their might as they collected 2 elephants, 2 bears, 2 tigers, 2 lions, 2 zebras, and 10 pooper scoopers.

All this time, the people kept mocking Noah’s family. You think it’s bad when your dog barks at the neighbors. Think how hard it must have been for Noah. The neighbors could have complained about giraffes looking over the fence, pigs stinking up the place, raccoons raiding their trash cans, and rabbits eating the carrots out of their gardens.

 Noah’s neighbors also thought it was laughable that he would build such a big boat on dry land. But Noah trusted that the Lord would send a flood.

After Noah’s family had heard a lot of mocking, they finally noticed the rain coming. That’s when Noah, his family, and the animals finally embarked on the ark. The ark had no sails or rudders to steer by. It didn’t even have an outboard motor. Noah and his family would have to trust God to steer the ship for them.

It probably took all their heart, might, mind, and strength to live on the ark for 40 days and 40 nights. But the Lord watched over them. After their long voyage, he blessed them with a new home, and they were all grateful.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mr. Darcy, Kissing, and Love Letters

I've been busy writing blog posts for austenauthors.net, and today, I'd like to share excerpts from three of my most popular blog posts with you. There's a link at the end of each excerpt, so you can read the rest of the post if you wish.
So Darcy Thinks He Can Dance
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man who refuses to dance must lack a suitable partner. This could have indeed been the case with Mr. Darcy. Ever since he started toddling on his little legs, his parents had schooled him in dance techniques. By the time he was ten, he could jig as exuberantly as Michael Flatley and execute a turn as gracefully as Baryshnikov. During his travels, he took pains to learn the style of dance unique to each region—he learned the waltz in Vienna, the flamenco in Spain, the ballet in Italy. To these basic techniques, he added personal touches. Before anyone had ever heard of jazz hands, Darcy had developed his own form of this technique. His acquaintances might have called him a man before his time—the John Travolta of the Regency Era—if only he had danced in public.
The truth was, though, that he longed to dance with Elizabeth Bennet, or any other fine lady if he could simply get up his courage. What, then, caused his hesitation? Why did he hide his talent? Read more here.
Kissing in Jane Austen's Books
This month, I undertook a serious study of kissing in Jane Austen’s books. Though I’ve read all her books multiple times, I was surprised at what I discovered. The kisses aren’t at all the same as in the movies.  For example, I might ask, “Who gets to kiss Elizabeth Bennet at the end of Pride and Prejudice?” Most people would respond, “Mister Darcy.” Only a few would give the correct answer: “Captain Wickham.” After he marries Lydia and comes to visit the Bennet house, Elizabeth allows Wickham to kiss her hand (Yuck!) Mister Darcy receives no such privilege.
Here’s another question: Who gets to kiss Elinor’s hand in Sense and Sensibility? You might be surprised—as I was—to learn that it is Colonel Brandon. He kisses Elinor’s hand in gratitude after she listens to the story of his past love.
I’m not kidding! It’s almost like Jane Austen was playing Spin-the-Bottle with her characters. Read more here.
How to Write a Love Letter Like Captain Wentworth 
Most of you probably have a favorite Jane Austen novel. What about a favorite page? Mine is page 223 of Persuasion, otherwise known as Captain Wentworth’s love letter.
If you’ve never read Persuasion, stop right now and get a copy. If you have, go ahead and sigh with me as I quote:  “I can no longer listen in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever.”
Wouldn’t you love to receive a letter like that? Or better yet, write a letter like that for someone you love? Everybody loves a love letter. It’s the perfect recession-proof Valentine’s gift. It’s also a great way to rekindle a relationship that’s gone a little flat. Read Captain Wentworth's tips here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Books for Boys 2015

It's always a challenge to get one of my boys hooked on a book, but once they find a book they love, I can't stop them from reading. This summer, my boys and I are doing our library's summer reading program again, so I wanted to share the books they have enjoyed the most, hoping it can help some other moms whose boys are picky readers.

15 year old:

The Thirteenth Reality series by James Dashner

The Flash Comics 

The Eragon series by Christopher Paolini

13 year old:

Almost Super series by Marion Jensen

Anything by Roald Dahl

9 year old:

Floors series by Patrick Carman

Bruno and Boots series by Gordon Korman

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

5 year old (beginning reader):

Berenstein Bears Beginning Readers series

Curious George early readers

They also love picture books about science and books about dog breeds. 
What do your boys love to read?