Monday, January 15, 2018

Books I’m Reading 37

Poems about the Natural World by Evan Voboril is a book from the ‘Experiencing Poetry’ collection. It provides sample poetry by famous poets and explains them in poetic terminology.

Wild Horse Country: The History, Myth and Future of the Mustang by David Phillips. The author goes out of his way to discover all the details of their prehistoric introduction and the underlying thought behind dealing with the wild mustang. From explaining the law created after advocates and ranchers protested to the hunters and those who rounded up horses to keep on federal land or sent to slaughter, Phillipps provides the varied points of view that stem from the culture. from the writers who either paint a vivid picture of the mustang or denounce their relevance to researchers who help control population, Phillipps reports on the freedom the horses represented. It is an interesting and sad read, but well worth it to understand the situation.

Always Remember by Cece Meng is a children’s book about a sea turtle who died but had done so much good in the world that every animal it touched remembered what it did. The story is illustrated beautifully by Jago. Wonderful story.

La Confesión [the Confession] by José Manuel del Rio. This Spanish novella deals with one man’s cryptic abduction and a surreal conversation with an unknown person. If you’ve read the Trial by Frank Kafka, you would like this story.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Writing Endeavors 17: Updates on Writing

Hope everyone had a great holiday and Happy New Year!

Here are a few updates to what I’ve been up to with my writing:

First, I managed to write three chapters for the fantasy novel in progress and I’m surprised at the turn of events the characters have made. The final chapters are next, and then, on to revising/editing.
Second, I’ve been sending queries to agents for my women’s fiction novel, but after a large portion of constructive rejections, I will be focusing on the present novel and return to revisions for that one.
Third, I’ve submitted many poems to various journals and have got a few accepted. Be on the lookout for the links in upcoming posts.
Fourth, I’m trying my hand at writing a short story in Spanish. So far, I have a page. Oh, and its science fiction.
Fifth, I’m working on a bilingual poetry collection I hope to finish this year. (crossing fingers)
Sixth, keeping busy reading different genres.

Good luck to all of you who have jumpstarted your new year with as much enthusiasm.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Pet News 28: The Mysterious Cat Unmasked

The book, Cat Wise: America’s Favorite Cat Expert Answers your Cat Behavior Questions written by Pam Johnson-Bennett, is a must have for cat lovers and parents. Johnson-Bennett sets up the book by theme, followed by a multitude of questions with their detailed answers. As a cat behavior consultant, Johnson-Bennett gives this information in a down to earth manner, focusing on the needs of the cat at all times and explaining the reason for their behavior.

Such topics include how to get your cat to let you pet them to teaching them how to play without biting. For example, the use of the squirt bottle to deter cats from climbing tables or scratching furniture isn’t really accomplishing what you expect. Instead, Johnson-Bennett says, the cat is being punished and the trust diminishes. It’s important to find out why your cat behaves the way they do to modify their environment/behavior.

Other topics include the reasons your cat purrs, meows, hisses, and kisses to everything on poop and pee. For example, scooping the litter box at least twice a day is essential to maintaining a clean place for your cat to eliminate as well as make sure they continue to eliminate where they’re supposed to. The author mentions that you also get to check on the cat’s health by examining their poop and how often they pee to detect any problems early.

Further topics include dealing with a multi-cat household to aggression issues. For example, help your cat be calm by taking him to the vet for an exam, provide a safe place if the cat becomes agitated or stressed.

There is so much Johnson-Bennett goes over- from indoor vs. outdoor cats to feeding to grieving a pet. It’s a great resource to understanding our cats.
Here are a few websites to check out (but you’d have to look at the back of the book for all the ones the author listed):

Monday, December 11, 2017

Teaching Moments 10: Decode + Understand + Heart = Read

The following book titled, Teach Anyone to Read: The No-Nonsense Guide by Lillie Pope, PhD, is a great resource for teachers. The book provides a myriad of information about teaching students how to read and why.

Pope explains the difference between the traditional phonics (decoding or teaching of skills) and the whole language approach (sight word or balanced reading approach). Most of the time, students learn with a combination of the two, with an emphasis on sound, using all the senses. Importance is made to adapting to the student’s needs and having an open-minded, flexible, and prepared teacher that makes reading fun. She also differentiates between developmental (students first learning to read) and remedial learning (students exposed to reading but have not mastered).

The author mentions that expectations play a big role in the classroom. Students who succeed know the teacher expects them to work hard and mirror their positive attitude toward learning. One way is to practice the same skill in a different way with different materials. These include games, repetition, speaking skills activities, and writing. Providing choices and cutting back on distractions help students succeed.

Don’t hesitate to check out Pope’s book for more on reading and strategies to better prepare yourself to teach reading.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Quotes 29

“There are no gains without pains.”
Benjamin Franklin

Most writing advice says to sit down and write. Sometimes, you get advice about how to squeeze time into this endeavor, which is something I’m always looking for.
Time is the only factor affecting the quantity of writing one does. And you know what? It’s okay.
Yes, okay.
The quality of writing is much too important to blame on quantity or an inability to write. Yes, sometimes we have to write stuff that would make your poodle cringe, but by the end of that draft, the writing is better.
So, write, write, write. Like Franklin says, you won’t get there by staring onto the screen. You have to give up some things to make time for writing. Ten minutes? Go for it. Thirty? Sounds great. An hour? Even better.

The idea is to build on what you’re doing. It’s the same with painting or cooking. When you’re first learning how to do it, you have to make mistakes until you need to form a base before the details or it tastes just right. But you won’t get there unless you make a little time to try. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Books I’m Reading 36

Fire Up Your Writing Brain: How to Use Proven Neuroscience to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Writer by Susan Reynolds. This book provides examples of research-based methods or information in terms of how we use our brains and how we can use it to our advantage when it comes to writing. Reynolds mentions a lot of ideas to get the muse going.

Dragonbane by Sherrilyn Kenyon is a Dark-Hunter novel about a dragon forced into a human body. Though, he can change from one form to the other, his life had been filled with tragedies. It’s a great read and is on top with the Acheron and Styxx stories written of the same genre.

Frankenstein Underground by Mike Mignola, Ben Stenbeck, and Dave Stewart. This is a graphic novel about that famous monster, but with a twist, and without spending so much time on its development. It deals more with his thoughts and feelings. The character was in the Hellboy series.

Crush: Love Poems by Kwame Alexander. This collection also includes poetry by other poets/authors.