The Lies That Bind by Lisa & Laura Roecker

The Lies That Bind by Lisa & Laura RoeckerThe Lies That Bind by Lisa & Laura Roecker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars!

Sequels don’t always live up to their predecessors, but THE LIES THAT BIND certainly delivers. I wasn’t sure what to expect from book 1, THE LIAR SOCIETY, but I found it to be a terrific read. I really liked Kate, and I was personally glad (since she’s 15) the book didn’t move into any “edgy” territory where her teenage love drama is concerned. THE LIES THAT BIND was equally satisfying on that score. The story is engaging and, while I had my suspicions, the mystery kept me guessing and turning pages right to the very end. The ending was perfect and set the stage for an exciting finale. I’m eager to see what the Roecker sisters have up their sleeves for Kate in book 3. I’m also curious to know what color Kate’s hair will be next! :)

View my other Goodreads reviews > >

Tom Sawyer: Cast Party Video

I just learned Denise Wilson, Area Instructor for CYT Indy Southside, has posted the video from the cast party for CYT Indy Southside’s performance of Tom Sawyer!  All four of my children crop up in the stills (:10, 1:07, 1:13-1:18), but I recommend paying close attention beginning around 7:04 where my youngest is interviewed by another member of the cast. My favorite part is when she’s asked which scene she liked best. Her answer made me laugh out loud!  :)

I hope you enjoy it!

On The Milking Of Bears

Boromir: One Does Not Simply Milk A Bear

One of my children recently asked the question, “Can you milk a bear?”

At first, this sounded like a funny thing to ask. Ridiculous, really. But funny as it was, the question wasn’t intended for laughs.  It was asked with a sincere desire to know the answer. Of course there’s quite a difference between “can” and “should” when it comes to something like the matter of milking bears. Even so, the boldness behind risking to ask the “unaskable” started me thinking.

At a certain point in life (for some reason we call this growing up) we tend lose touch with our childlike wonder of the world. We have responsibilities. We have deadlines. We have bills to pay. And soon we’re focusing so much on the tasks before us we begin to just accept things as they are instead of taking time to question why they are the way they are in the first place.  And whether they could be any different. Or whether, perhaps, they should be different.

So take a risk! Be bold! Think outside the box. Reclaim your childlike wonder, and ask the unaskable! See what happens. Who know? What if it turned out bear’s milk has an enzyme that cures cancer? It’s often the unaskable that has the potential to make all the difference. It can be a game changer. A life changer. A world changer.

So ask.

I’d love to know what you think.

The KidLit Network: First Contributor Post!

John Rea-Hedrick: KidLit NetworkIn November of this year a new website was launched, called the KidLit Network.  This site focuses on children’s literature and features news and articles for readers and writers alike, including book reviews, crafts, interviews, a book club, and more!

KidLit Network was co-founded by two of the original founders of YA Highway, a popular book blog focusing on young adult literature.  I got connected with YA Highway in their early days and was recently asked to become a contributing member of the new KidLit Network.

I jumped at the chance!

Since then, I’ve also been happily helping out with some of the “behind the scenes” aspects of WordPress blog management like setting up the RSS feed, solving technical problems, and doing various other administrative functions.  *waves geek flag*

Yesterday, I shared my first contributor post: Invite Your Characters Over For Dinner under the ‘Writing” channel.  (Yay!)  I’d like to invite you to stop by and to share your thoughts!  And while you’re there, do a little channel surfing on the rest of the site.

We’re new, but we’re growing!  We’d love to have you along for the ride!

Revision: When Is Enough, Enough?

Stop Revising
When it comes to revising, I have trouble knowing when to quit.

I tend to write for a while, then get some distance before coming back and see how it “sounds” in my head.  I’ll inevitably tweak my word choice a here or there for clarity.  Or I’ll rearrange the word order to adjust the tone.  I may even remove (or add) contractions, slang, or simpler language in dialog to better fit a particular character.

While these may all seem like reasonable ways to revise, the problem is that I find myself doing it to the SAME piece of writing.  Again.  And again.  And again.

So, when is enough, enough?

I mean, this IS writing we’re talking about after all.  So, the “right” words do matter, don’t they? DON’T THEY?

I’ve learned that the answer to this question is…

Not so much.

A grocery list can have the right words in the right places, but no one will ever give that grocery list to their friends and say, “You’ve just GOT to read this!!!”

What matters is the story.

Don’t get me wrong.  When it comes to storytelling, words are the vehicle for conveying that story to others.  But the words themselves are not the story.  The story is what happens, to whom, why, what they do about it, and how they change when all is said and done.

For example, you can tell the story of The Three Little Pigs in as few as 300 words. Or you can take more than 7 minutes to tell it.  Either way, the telling changes the tone, but not the story itself.

Bottom Line:
If you want to tell stories, YOUR STORIES, don’t let the “right” words get in the way.

***

So what about you?  Do you struggle with the temptation of endless revision in your writing like I do?

I’d love to commiserate with you in the comments!

Make a Dent in Your Reading Pile

Reading PileI have a confession to make.  Until a few years ago…
I didn’t like to read.

In school, I often stressed over long reading assignments and I rarely ever read for pleasure.  Why?  Because I was a slow reader.

For me, slow reading had nothing to do with any difficulty decoding writing.  I actually learned to read quite early, and I never particularly struggled with the mechanics of the process.  I also didn’t have any problems with reading comprehension.  I made the Honor Roll nearly every semester and I graduated college with a 3.42 GPA.  It was just that reading just always seemed to take me SO MUCH TIME.  I felt secretly embarrassed ashamed that others could do the same about of reading I did in half the time.

This simple 3:36 instructional video changed everything.

It turns out my problem was that I had somehow learned the habit of reading at a speaking pace.  I would actually “say” the words in my head as I read them.  I never recognized I was doing it, and I didn’t know that most people (apparently) don’t.  I was not only able to break my slow reading habit, but I learned some excellent techniques for improving my reading overall.  What a difference!

As a reader and as a writer this has been one of the most valuable pieces of self-improvement I’ve ever done.

I now have stacks of titles in my “to be read” pile that I’m happily looking forward to reading.  Even if you’re comfortable with your own reading pace, I’d encourage you to consider investing the few minutes of your time to watch this video.

You may be surprised by the result.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

More DIY videos at 5min.com

Healthy Halloween Treats For Kids…With Vodka?


I found this recipe in my local paper recently. It’s for making a healthy Halloween snack for kids. While reading through the steps I found something quite interesting.

(It’s quite possible someone needs a proofreader.)

Healthy Kids' Halloween Treats...with Vodka?

Nevertheless, It’s got me wondering which way is healthier: vodka in, or vodka out…whether your kids are “using” or not.