Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Last Lesson

As you know, this was my last week of teaching. A colleague, a science teacher whom I greatly respect and who taught one of my twins, shares final thoughts with parents and students every year. This year he shared them with me and with his permission, I'm sharing them with you.

A Final Mr. Brügge Story...

It’s a tale of the 18th letter of the Greek alphabet. In science we are far too lazy to write out the full name for ideas and concepts so we often use letters from the Greek alphabet as shorthand for math and science ideas.

The 18th letter in Greek is sigma, which looks a bit like an arthritic capital E. Although it’s not a symbol we use in 8th grade, it will soon become part of your high-school or college science vocabulary.

We use sigma to stand for the sum of mathematical terms. More broadly, however, we are all sigma. We are the sum of our experiences. Some of this we control and some is simple a given because of the circumstances of our birth.

I would like to think that we are actually greater that the sum of our experiences. It should be, then, our job to make the most of our sigma. I offer four free pieces of advice in order to get the most out of your life:

1. Be passionate! I know that passion and middle school probably should not ever appear in the same sentence, but I mean the passion for understanding. Become the local expert on how to take apart a computer—and put it back together, of course. Know the name of every aircraft that passes overhead. Memorize every baseball statistic since Babe Ruth. These passions may or may not lead to a career but they will bring you joy throughout your life.

2. Say “thank you!” Tomorrow at the promotion ceremony, thank the adults who are there to see you walk across the stage; they are there because they love you. Ten years from now when you think kindly about one of your former teachers, look her up and send a note. A sincere thank you will serve you well always.

3. Admit when you are wrong! I’ve made a point this year to give out homework passes when I make a mistake in GradeBook Wizard. While I don’t make too many mistakes, they do occur. The small things are easy to own up to; the bigger ones take character. Trust me, your marriage—please wait at least ten years—will be much happier if you understand this very important concept.

4. Be sigma! You have the ability to take your experiences and become more than the simple sum.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Brügge

Since I am now stepping into a new world, so to speak, his words spoke to me. No, I"m not an eighth grader, but I don't think these thoughts are limited to the young in years. The young in heart can always benefit as well. Thank you, Steve, for letting me share.


Books I'm reading now:
Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Last Week

Not as in the past, but the future. Why? Because this is my last week of teaching eighth grade. If I teach next year, it will be in a different job, probably at a different level. But if I don't teach at all...

Leap, and the net will appear. --John Burroughs

I still have one year of college tuitions (two of them) to pay, so the idea of not having an income is scary. But if I'm not working, I can write. Full time. Without distraction. For hours and hours a day. And I know I'm capable of it. I did it before I started working (to pay tuitions, unshockingly enough)

So this is my last week in the classroom. I will miss the kids and the occasional success I had showing them the joy of words and literature. But I won't miss the rules and regulations imposed upon teachers by people who claim to want the best for students but in practice end up seeming only to want to save their own jobs. Yes, I'm leaving the teaching field convinced that school does not exist for the students (how else can you explain a proposal to save money by having the students stay home for three weeks?). It's rather sad.

But on the other hand, it's with a sense of fear and freedom that I face the week after next.

I'll let you know if the net appears.

Books I'm reading now:
Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn
Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe
Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Min:1 Max:17 Result: 3 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

So the winner is Pamela Cayne. Yay, Pam. Thanks to everyone for entering. Pam, send your address to me:

I will pop that in the mail as soon as I can.

Books I'm reading now:
Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Little contest

Right here on this blog site, I'm running a contest to celebrate AS YOU WISH. You can win this magic wand book mark (about four inches long) just by leaving a comment here. In one week I'll use to choose a winner. I'll send it anywhere the post office will let me (So, yes, international).

So spread the word and leave a comment. (And check back in a week to see if you've won. I have to get your address somehow)

And pick up AS YOU WISH anywhere you buy books. If they don't have it, make them get it. Remember, ten percent of my royalties go to Best Buddies International.


Sometimes writing is like banging your head against the wall--it's an exercise in futility and painful to boot. There's so much you can't control: where the book is distributed, when reviews will be released, if reviews will be released, how much it sells, whether readers will pick it up, how it is received, etc. I've hit a few of those roadblocks in the past week--and it's only been one and a half weeks since the book has been released. So after moping for a day (or three, if I'm honest), my husband passed on his words of wisdom to me.

"Once you recognize the futility of it all, do it anyway. After all, what else are you going to do?"

So, I'm going to keep on going. and write the best books I can. Only sixteen more days of school, I have summer to regroup, and I have set an ambitious goal for myself. I will write a book this summer. A whole book. And when school starts again, I will probably be home because I'm taking the leap. That's another motto passed on to me by a writer I consider a mentor: "Leap and the net will appear."

So spread the word. I'm not done yet.

And also let everyone know that ten percent of my royalties from AS YOU WISH goes to Bust Buddies International. I'll blog more about that in a few days.

Books I'm reading now:
Indulgence in Death by JD Robb
Going Cowboy Crazy by Katie Lane

Monday, May 2, 2011

Good news

This past Saturday I was notified that my novel THE WISH LIST is a finalist in the Reader's Crown Contest, the contest associated with RomCon.

I attended the first RomCon last year and had a great time. Here's a picture of me last year.

Although the winners will be announced June 30, I am attending this year, no matter the outcome of the contest. So look for me August 5-7 in Denver.

Books I'm reading now:
Indulgence in Death by JD Robb