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Amazon is redefining how children will not only read, but grow to love reading. Their brand new AMAZON RAPIDS gives young readers access to hundreds of animated stories for just $2.99 a month.

amazon-rapids

I’m very excited to be a part of this. My first story is called Bigfoots’s Not So Big Feet and should be available soon!

So, how does Amazon Rapids work?

Unique chat style

Stories are told through the lens of characters chatting with each other, letting stories come to life one message at a time.

Built-in glossary

Kids can easily look up the definition and pronunciation of words to help build their reading confidence.

Hundreds of original stories

Explore a large and growing library that’s filled with hundreds of original stories.


This is a whole new approach to reading, providing rich content through the technology children are using all the time. I’m sure they’ll love reading them as much as I have writing them. So hop over to Amazon and see for yourself!


This is something great to do with the kids on a summer day!

The Girly Reports

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Fruit and pumpkin purée fishy

With bejeweled craft fish made out of construction paper

Displayed on an under the sea tablecloth I found at the dollar store – that place is amazing –
I recommend walking the aisles and letting the inspiration take over…
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Graham cracker sea treat
The water is cream cheese!

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The making of the fish Reece’s Pieces cupcakes

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Cupcake Fish

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Just posin- they were very proud of their fish!

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Under the sea cake! Gia liked putting the Swedish fish on the cake!

Thanks for checking out fish week!
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What to Read to Your Kids

"The Dandelion's Tale" by Kevin Sheehan & Rob DunlaveyJP has decorated his summer journal and is ready to record our adventures (here’s hoping his motivation extends past the first week). Many of these adventures will take us into nature, where there are always metaphors to be discovered about life. Take, for example, our vegetable garden: each morning we wake to budding strawberries, and each evening we return to discover that they have been devoured by the squirrels and cardinals (how dare the latter betray me after I sung their praises right here?!). There’s a lesson somewhere in there about patience and not expecting to get things right the first time. And so we return to bed with renewed hope.

The Dandelion’s Tale (Ages 4-8), a new picture book by Kevin Sheehan and Rob Dunlavey, offers us another metaphor, this one about the fleeting, cyclical nature of life. This gem of a book takes what can be a…

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Ever since I signed with Schwartz & Wade 4 years ago to publish The Dandelion’s Tale, I’ve been preparing for a whole new world. I read to my girls when they were little every day and night, but I’ve never read a book, let alone a book I wrote, to children that weren’t related to me. 🙂

I was charged with 4 years of excitement when I drove out to Brooklyn last week to do my very first story time. And as usual, nothing was as easy as I had planned.

It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday. Somehow my teenage daughters were able to get up and out of the house on time, since they were going to help me read the book at story time. Samantha was going to play the part of the dandelion and Star was the sparrow. We picked up my mother and headed south.

Imagine my horror when we got near NYC and saw police and stopped cars everywhere! Turns out, my planned route to Brooklyn was closed off for a marathon. Casting my eyes heavenward, I crawled along into the heart of the city, avoiding blockades and changing routes. I finally made it over the bridge into Brooklyn and figured, great, I’m here, this will be smooth sailing to the bookstore.

Dandelion Powerhouse on 8th March 2014

Wrong. Brooklyn was closing its streets for their St. Patrick’s Day parade. I wish I counted the number of times I said, “You can’t make this up!”

Wending through streets I hadn’t been on for 30 years, my gps took me to a brownstone. No bookstore in sight. That’s because I had plugged in the wrong address! I called the store and explained that the travel gods were against me but I was close.

I finally found the store and parked illegally at the edge of the parade route. I asked a cop if it was okay and he said no one would care about my car today. Whew!

Powerhouse

We hustled to the store and saw a dozen little kids already set up for story time. The owner had kindly been reading other books to keep their attention until I arrived.

I had barely taken off my coat before I was handing out stickers and little rubber bracelets to the kids. And then it was time for me and my helpers to read. The super small kids wandered and did their own thing while the older ones listed and joined in the fun.

And after 4 years of waiting and wondering how my first story time would go and fighting through traffic, marathons and parades, it was over in what seemed the blink of an eye. What I did discover is that I loved it. Al that nervous energy and doubt washed away in seconds.

I can’t wait to do more. In fact, I’m in the process of lining up a year’s worth of story times.

Now I just need to get a list of marathons and plan around them.


It feels like this is the 10th snowstorm of the season (actually, I think it’s only the fourth with accumulations over 5 inches) and all of the snow Grinches are grumbling. Not me. I even enjoyed shoveling. I should have been born in Alaska!

What’s your favorite thing to do in the snow?

Snow 2-3-14

snow yard


Oh, for the HOOK of a BOOK!

Happy Chinese New Year 2014! It’s the year of the horse! Since I love all things history, culture, or steeped in tradition, we liked celebrating the holiday yesterday for fun at our house. We like to remind ourselves what animal year we were born in, then see if our personalities are matching up as we learn and grow. Quite honestly, there is also a part of me that just loves all the reds, yellows, oranges and the dragons…..oh, I love the dragons. The kids and I watch some of the parades online and it’s amazing how intricate some of the people dragon trains are designed!

chinese new year 2014

We make crafts and read books and this year my six-year-old and I watched Mulan, one of our favorite heroines.  I leave in this post for you some links and images to help you celebrate or to see how we enjoyed our evening. Be…

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I’ve found during my many editing sessions that my inability to keep continuity with time in my work is a major issue. It’s especially hard for longer works or manuscripts where you take several breaks from and just plumb forget the time of day when you pick it up again.

Shannon A. Thompson has provided some great tips for avoiding these pitfalls. Writers take note!

Shannon A Thompson

How many times have you been following a television show, and there is a full moon every episode? Or their clothes don’t change? Or the weather stays the same all year long, unless snow, rain, or sunshine is used for symbolic enhancement?

It’s unrealistic, and it drives me crazy. It may be a personal pet peeve of mine, but I doubt it. Even Florida doesn’t have sunshine every day, but writers seem to set weather and time aside, especially when they’re more focused on the storyline. At first, I completely agree. Write. Don’t worry about small details. However, I really think revision is necessary for situations like this. Time needs to be tracked. 

When I do revisions, I actually label each chapter with what day it is, what time it is, and how long the chapter lasts. Then I move onto the next chapter and then the next. At…

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