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My humorous thoughts about life.

"My Humorous and Helpful Thoughts About Teaching / Educational Resources for Your Classroom / Music and Random Fun"
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October on TPT

I've been selling teaching items on Teacher's Pay Teachers for a year and a half and sales are going well. Since it's October, check out my booklet on Halloween Activities. It contains logical thinking puzzles and other activities complete with answer keys.

I've created different logic problems and lessons throughout my teaching career, so it's fun to be able to sell these and earn cash, too.

The best bargain on my site is my Literary Unit for 
Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry. 

I made this 183 page power point for my class when we read the novel. However, Number the Stars is popular and my work became buried among the hundreds of products for the same book. Usually, I sell my literary units for anywhere from $14 - $16. Since there were so many other products, I originally priced it at $10. But alas, it was still buried, so I formed a plan. I practically gave it away at $5 and then decided I would add .50¢ back to the price every time it sells. The unit is now selling at $6 and listed on page two–instead of page 8–of the Number the Stars materials, which is getting there. The more an item sells, the higher up on the listing it becomes, so I had to give it away to make it visible, and technically, I still am providing a great bargain at $6 a copy.

If you are interested in purchasing items for your class or home school, please visit my store at:

I've made 271 items for multiple ages and grade levels and in various subjects. If you purchase something and leave a comment on this blog post with your email address and what you would like, I will send you an additional product of your choice for free, just for shopping at my store and being a blog reader. Not bad!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors : September 14

Weekend Writing Warriors

Check out more posts at:

After last weeks post, I figured I'd jump ahead to this snippet from chapter two where Ben is curious as to why some stranger would call him "Benito." And yes, you missed it, but the weird dude and friend chased Ben.


       I debated about how much to tell my worry wart mom who'd freak if she knew about the guys who chased me, yet curiosity and fear bugged the shit out of me. I took two steps away from her and then spun around to head back. “Is my real name Ben, or is it short for something else?”
       “Why you ask?”
       “Someone called me, Benito.”
       The color drained from Mom's face as her eyes widened and she covered her mouth with her shaking fingers. Our conversation was cut short when the doorbell chimed and was followed by a loud pounding sound. I stared at the door without moving.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors / 08/17/14

Weekend Writing Warriors

Here are seven lines from my unpublished manuscript. Advice is always accepted.      

     Pinging came from a flag hook tapping its pole outside the open window. Thinking about soccer, I checked for storm clouds when I spotted a bug-eyed, fat guy leaning on a Cadillac. He fixed his gaze my way causing a tingle to creep up the back of my neck. Even though the guy was just a random stranger, my heart raced at the mere sight of him standing under the ominous clouds. My shoulders inched upward as tension filled my core. Taking a deep breath, I turned to Sara. “Let’s go.”

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors 8/3

Weekend Writing Warriors / #8 Sunday

Richard Peck said that he likes to end a novel where he started. Although I didn't quite do that, this passage is close to the end of my YA manuscript. Ben finds himself back in class talking about the robber barons, just like the very first sentence of BEING BENITO CARLEFFA, which I posted last week. Although this is not eight lines, some of the sentences are short and quick, so I decided to include the entire scene. 

Although just about every hand in the room is up, except Ben's, the teacher calls on him and asks, "Who were the robber barons?"


     “Famous dead guys who ripped dudes off to get rich,” I said, but then blurted, “No. They aren’t all dead.”

     “Who are you talking about, Ben? Are we turning class into a political discussion?” Ms. Link smiled as if she were waiting for her compare and contrast moment. She’d always said, “History repeats itself” and now she was hoping I’d prove it true. 

     I shook my head, but she refused to move to another student. 

     “Can I use the bathroom?”

     “You may after you answer my question.”

     I stood and dragged my feet to the door. Before heading out, I grit my teeth and said, “My father.” 


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors 07/27/14

        Weekend Writing Warriors / #8sunday / 07/27/14

As a follower of the hero's journey, I always start my novels in the normal world before inviting the freak on board. Here is the beginning of my unpublished manuscript BEING BENITO CARLEFFA, before they beat Ben, killed his mom, or even served him "Gestapo" soup. Without the drama, would you keep reading after these first eight sentences? Why or why not? If not, what would you suggest? Please be honest. I can take it.


      The last bell ended my teacher’s talk on the robber barons, famous dead guys who ripped dudes off to get rich, so I stuffed Our Great Nation into my backpack. Those who didn’t want to get squashed hung under a poster of the presidents, while everyone else bolted for the door. Someone had marked up Washington with horns, earrings, and a Hitler mustache; more proof that I didn’t fit in with freshmen. 

      “You’re quiet,” Sara said. 

      I pointed at the crappy artwork. “Did you see that?” 

      “That’s hysterical!” She laughed as if something was actually funny and then wrapped her fingers around my arm. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors Blog Hop 7/20/14

Weekend Writing Warriors / #8sunday / 07/20/14

Since I've shown the dark side of my young adult manuscript, 
BEING BENITO CARLEFFA, this week I'll lighten things up with 
a humorous dinner time snippet between Ben and his father.


After blowing on the red soup, I cautiously sipped it off the spoon. It's cold? Next I knew, I gagged, coughed, and thumped my chest. All this money, and these people couldn’t even heat the food.

     “You don't like the gazpacho?” Fiso asked. 

      I dropped my spoon on the table. Why would he mention the Gestapo? What was he, a modern day Nazi? Sure, everyone likes murderers. Sick. This guy’s really sick.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Writer's Smooze

I attended an interesting and informative writers' workshop, where I learned a technique for freeing stuck brains when writing. I have a sixth novel that I started some time ago but didn't finish because I didn't know where the plot was headed. Time to pull it out again and try this new brainstorming technique. Write a word, put it in a bubble, and continually draw lines to other word bubbles to see where it takes you.

Picture this machine with a kid's head caught inside.
We also learned how a part of ourselves or emotion is in everything we write. I thought of a comedic scene where my main character's best friend gets his head caught in a bathroom hand drying machine. I thought, that's never happened to me, so how does it relate? Using the technique I figured things out.

The trick reminded me of how a friend of mine and I used to check out each other's dates in college. We dressed up in raincoats and hats while carrying a notepad and pen. We asked the date to turn around so we could check out his butt and any other obnoxious stunts we could blatantly pull. It was so goofy that it took all awkwardness out of checking out a date. Well, at least it did for us. I don't know about the poor sap with the cute buns.

Anyway, it's not so much my character getting his head caught in the hand drying machine and blowing spittle all over the floor as the writing reflects the feeling one gets by knowing you've done something so silly and stupid that it quits being embarrassing and becomes funny.

Have you been there?

So what the heck does my writing scenes where a teen is abused by crazy mob members mean? I never even spanked my own children and here I am tearing this poor character to bits. Maybe some things are best not analyzed. 

For more Ben abuse, tune in Saturday night for another episode of Weekend Writers. Last week I killed his mom. Mwahahaha.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors Blog Hop 07/13/14

Weekend Writing Warriors / #8sunday / 07/13/14

A weekly festival of writers sharing excerpts from their work.  
Many different genres; something for everybody. 

     Here is a passage from my unpublished young adult manuscript called BEING BENITO CARLEFFA. 
Ben was recently told that his mother had died.


I clenched Mom’s pin in my pocket––twisted, turned, and squeezed it tight enough to tear it in two, until the point jabbed my pinky. “No!” Yanking my hand out of my jeans, I sucked my stinging finger and gave it a rapid shake. Next, my hands covered my face and then worked their way to the top of my head where I clutched my hair in a firm grip. My heart pounded in my ears as I rocked forward and back continuously. “You’re lying.” I grit my teeth and squeezed my eyes shut to keep my tears inside. “Dammit!” I punched the door. “Why won’t you tell me the truth?” 


Saturday, July 5, 2014

#8 Weekend Writing Warriors Blog Hop - Get's Musical

I'm glad to be a part of the Weekend Writing Warriors.

Weekend Writing Warriors / #8 Sunday / 07/06/14

A weekly festival of writers sharing excerpts from their work.  
Many different genres; something for everybody. 

     Here is a passage from my unpublished young adult manuscript called BEING BENITO CARLEFFA. I've included a short description below the passage to give background information if wanted. 

     “Here’s the deal, kid.” Carsa leaned close, brushed the handle of the strap down my jawbone, and used it to move my face so that I met his eyes and could almost taste his sour breath. The cold plastic grip dug into my cheek while its leather tail gently danced against my ribcage in a cruel tease. Once again, Carsa’s pupils widened with a three-second crazed expression then dwindled back to normal size as if drugs had returned him from his psychotic trip. 
    “You will not leave this room unscathed,” Carsa continued, “however a little cooperation could help.” He cracked the air beside me. Every muscle in my body tightened as a shiver shot down my spine. “Did your dad say two or three,” he grinned while stroking his torture device, “or was it five or six? Just can’t remember.” 

My teenage character had been kidnapped earlier in the day by employees of a mob boss father who he didn't know existed. The scene takes place in a dark study after Ben broke his father's Waterford lamp and used a glass shard as a weapon against Dad while cussing him out. Not that Ben's a bad kid, he's actually quite good, but he just learned that this scum bag killed his mom, and you can't blame him for being just a little ticked. Of course his father never does the dirty work. Why should he when he's got Carsa to wear the mud?

Compliments are great, but what I'm really looking for is the constructive criticism to take the passage to a new level. 


Sorry I almost missed Musical Monday Moves Me. I'm vacationing in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Here's a quick musical addition to go with my writing.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the ACTUAL LINK POST here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava’s Lounge Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!