Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Launch for In Pursuit

The Book Launch for In Pursuit will be next Thursday at 7 PM in my hometown of Dothan, Alabama. The event is open to the public at the Cultural Arts Center, the perfect venue. Ann Cotton, the director, knows how to throw a very classy party.

Since I write this blog also to help others who are following the same path behind me, I want to emphasize that the success of the novel depends upon reviews those who buy the book post upon Amazon. Those reviews can make or break the novel.

How does one go about organizing something like this? My Facebook friends, of course, become the first guests invited after setting up an event page. I then use Word to create a flyer that I then attach to emails and send through other email accounts I might have. Sometimes one must use the mails and send invitations to those with whom one is not connected through other media. I have also been invited to Live @Lunch at our local television station and that also should broaden the scope of those who know about the book. Marketing a novel falls mainly upon the author.

I believe the theme of this novel is an important one. It is based on events shrouded by the passage of time and the politics of the day. The poignant stories of the remnant of Red Sticks who survived Horseshoe Bend and the destruction of the Negro Fort on the Apalachicola River inspired me to write In Pursuit. Books have the power to open a window onto an era and invite people in. I hope In Pursuit will be such an invitation.

But, In Pursuit is first and foremost a love story. Joie and Godfrey, first introduced in Swimming with Serpents set during the Creek War, come together once more and live an adventure with pirates, Red Sticks, Andrew Jackson's army, and British officers determined to build an empire. I hope readers will come away from the novel satisfied with the love story and adventure, motivated to honor the memory of some of those forgotten people in the history of our country.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Train them up

 I'm sure many of you worry about the education your children and grandchildren are getting. I decided to post an email I recently sent my own children on this topic. Should you also be facing these concerns, something here might help you as well. 

Dear children,
I include in this note resources that I found online to help your children in school. Your father and I were fortunate enough to find a school with a curriculum that taught these things so you all got well-drilled in the basics. You must either find such a school or provide those basics yourself. Don’t take it for granted that your children are getting what they need. That is a hard lesson to learn after the fact.
These are excellent resources for helping your children develop skills they will need. Your child will be one among many in a classroom with children whose parents may already have familiarized them with these concepts. You cannot depend upon the schools to teach your child. Stay alert always.
1. Encourage your small children to learn to read phonetically. Regurgitating sight words is not reading. Children must be able to decode unfamiliar words or they will be unable to progress beyond the limit of their memorized vocabulary. Encourage listening skills. Have them repeat sounds after you so they can identify them.  
2. Make sure they know their addition and multiplication tables.
3. I remember Mother holding my hand and teaching me to hold the pencil and then to make circles with the pencil. That helped me later in writing cursive. Encourage that hand co-ordination because the notes a person writes reflects upon their abilities. Handwriting also tells a lot about the person. A signature or a thank-you note may determine the impression one makes upon a prospective employer. Begin with teaching your child to hold a pencil correctly.
4. Please encourage your children to write thank-you notes. Teach them gratitude. If someone cares enough to give your child a present, teach them gratitude and appreciation. Have them write a thank-you note or, until they can write, draw a picture and help them write thank you note.

“Grateful kids tend to be much more satisfied with their lives,” says Froh. “They do better in school and are less materialistic, less depressed, and less envious. Their relationships are much stronger and more supportive.” In one study, grateful kids even reported fewer physical symptoms, like headaches, stomachaches, and fevers.”
Set the example of gratitude early. Remember that a thank you note consists of at least three lines written in cursive (after the third grade). The first line should read something like this:
Dear ____________, (a comma goes after a personal note and a colon goes after a business note)
Thank you so much for the _____________________. (The second line describes the item and how you plan to use it or what you really like about it.) I have already had hours of fun playing/building/riding/coloring.   (Let the third line reiterate appreciation.)You were so kind/generous to think of me in such a thoughtful way.
                                                                              Sincerely (love, truly yours),
Teach them that no one owes them a gift. Someone has sacrificed resources, time and effort to think of a suitable gift because they love them and the least they can do is sit down and write a note expressing their appreciation not only of the gift, but the the care and love that came with it.
Take them places that will educate and not just entertain them. I suggest watching the movie Gifted Hands: the Dr. Ben Carson story to see the impact reading and being exposed to arts and music can make in the life of a child. Talk to them explaining and describing as you do. Create imaginary activities in your discussion to help them visualize and create. (See those birds gathered on that pier. Do you suppose one of them is the teacher. What do you suppose the teacher is teaching them? How to write? Can they write with wings? Could they write with their feet?) Silly stuff. I remember Mother entertaining me by sitting on the steps of the front porch and imagining a circus parade coming down the street with clowns, tigers, bears, jugglers, etc.) We listened for Alliwishus and she told me his story.
You are all wonderful parents and I am so proud of each of you. Your children are your greatest contribution to the world. What you are is your gift from God, what you become is your gift back to Him.
The greatest lessons of all are those will guide them to their own saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior.
I love you,