Second Chances

During November, which is National Novel Writing Month, I wrote what I hope will be my second novel. It’s currently titled Second Chances. In the book, sixteen year old Aaron Cassidy decides to face his fears. When he was just nine, a neighborhood dog attacked him, leaving his face permanently scarred. He decides he wants to overcome his fear by volunteering at an animal shelter. While there he befriends Finn, a teenage boy about his age who while kind, faces his own demons at home. Aaron’s friendships with Tyler and Caleb quickly fall apart when they decide they can’t deal with his being gay.

When an abused pit bull is brought into the shelter, Aaron is at first frightened; it looks horrifying. But when he starts to get close to the dog, he realizes they have a lot in common.

Can Aaron save the pit bull, Chance, before his time runs out?

To check out the book, just click the link to my inkpop page!

Thanksgiving: Traditions New and Old

Thursday was Thanksgiving in America. My family traditions have changed many times throughout the years. We used to all join my grandparents at their house, and my grandmother made everything. It got to be a large stress for her though, so my aunt took over at her house once it was built. Soon after, though, things changed again. My uncle and his family decided to host Thanksgiving for his wife’s family, or they would join her parents. My parents and siblings decided we wanted to go to the movies on Thanksgiving. And then a few years ago my mom decided she wanted Thanskgiving to be a small affair at our house, with just the five – or six or seven – of us. Instead of having to wait until later to eat (like two or three) we can have our delicious meal whenever we want it (usually noon). This gives us plenty of time to relax and get to a movie without rushing. And by the time we get home, voila! It’s time to eat leftover turkey soup!

This year dinner was the most delicious we’ve had in years. My mom cooked the turkey in this baking bag or something. When dad went to cut the turkey, it literally fell off the bones! It was so tender and delicious; even the leftovers are yummy! We had potatoes and yams, squash and stuffing. There were rolls on the table and pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert. Sadly, a few of my favorite foods were missing: sweet potatoes, cranberry  sauce, and… turnips. I love mashed turnips but we didn’t have them this year. It was too much for mom to make all those other things, but I survived.

We ate around noon and went to the movies for 2:30. The Muppets was an incredible movie! I grew up watching their other movies and the show, and I am so happy to see them on the screen again! The movie was corny, hilarious, and full of good messages. There were parts that broke my heart and others that made me giddy. I hope that this movie is the start of the Muppets returning to our TV screens each week! This new generation knows so little – if anything! – about the Muppets, as evidenced by Selena Gomez in the film commenting that she had no idea who they were, but her agent told her to be there. (Clearly she must know off them, but she is a representation of a younger generation who did not grow up with them like I did.)

Turkey soup when we got home was good and I gorged myself on it and pumpkin pie. Naps were a must with my entire family. My sister later that night went shopping while I did my gift buying online. My parents did go out on Black Friday – bless them, I wouldn’t  – and I finished my shopping today.

Now I just need to wrap it all…

What are you most thankful for? I am thankful I have good health, that my family is together on the holidays and that they are all relatively healthy. I am thankful for my friends who have stuck by me in good times and in bad. I am thankful for my cat, Scout, who loves me unconditionally. I am thankful for Bold Strokes Books and their decision to publish Andy Squared in 2012. I appreciate everyone who works at the company, including the president of the company, the editors and cover artists and everyone in between for their help and kind words. And finally, I am thankful for everyone who will eventually pick up the book and enjoy it!

First Snow!!

It’s October 29, 2011, and we have snow. Pictures to come soon. Right now as I write this I look out my window and see it coming down hard. It feels like it should be December! I can’t even remember the last time we had snow this early!

The other day we got a dusting, but I won’t count that as first snow because it was mostly gone by the morning. This storm is said to accumulate quite a bit. In Litchfield County there’s rumor of 10+ inches. For me, 6+ and while I love snow, I’m not ready to shovel! I don’t even know where my winter jacket is!

However, winter is my favorite season. Actually, the time between fall and winter is. I love the cool, crisp air and the smell of approaching snow, but the leaves are still changing colors on the trees. The scent of fires going, and apple or pumpkin pies baking… mmm…

What’s your favorite time of year?

A Day Made Better

October 4th was a very special day for me and nearly 1,000 other teachers across the United States. Office Max and Adopt A Classroom teamed up to deliver supplies to teachers nominated and chosen. How they were nominated and chosen, I do not know, but I was honored to be one of the recipients.

Imagine my surprise when the principal of my school shows up at my door. My students were surprised, but I guess I shouldn’t say I was surprised by this. I expected just a quick visit and observation like usual. Nothing to get worked up over. And then the principal is followed by a group of other people. My student made a hilarious comment while I just stared, stunned, as one woman held a large bouquet of roses. And one man pushed in a beautiful new chair. (Yes, I got excited over a new chair.)

They asked me to take a seat in my new chair, presented me with a certificate, and then wheeled in a large cart with three enormous boxes on it. Boxes with $1000 worth of supplies.

In those boxes were supplies for students: pencils, pens, paper, crayons, markers, highlighters, rulers, notebooks – the list goes on. Another box was filled with plain white paper. The third box held teacher supplies like chalk, specialty pens and pencils, erasers, storage units, and… a printer for my classroom.

My students can now print material they need from my teacher computer rather than having to wait to use the library or print something for me to get for them from the copy room later.

I will admit that I cried, and I told my students that it was the only time they would see me cry. They laughed. We all laughed. And we all thanked everyone that came and made my day… well… better.

A Day Made Better is a program that works to “erase teacher funded classrooms.” It is very true that many teachers put hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars into their classroom every year. This gift that was given to me will go a long way to help my students. I can make sure all of my students have the materials they need that they might not be able to afford.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to all the people at Office Max and Adopt A Classroom, as well as all the donors who made it possible. And finally, to the person who nominated me. I am truly honored and blessed.


For more information, please check out A Day Made Better. If you would like to donate to a specific classroom, check out this link where you can send a box to a teacher you know. You can choose from three different sizes.

It might not seem like much to you, but trust me. That box will light up a teacher’s day.