Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Book Review: TIDES by Jonathan White

Tides: The Science and Spirit of the OceanTides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean by Jonathan White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jonathan White's book, TIDES, includes interesting facts about the way our earth functions AND about the way people have learned to adapt over time to earth's cycles.

TIDES is a non-fiction book with such captivating prose that I wanted to keep reading until I hit the end.

Here are a few of my favorite passages:

"From a practical point of view, it didn't matter if the tide was caused by a waterwheel or a beast or a god; it only mattered that daily survival was easier if you observed the tide and worked with it, not against it. The more you knew, the better." (page 8)

"The roadside is overgrown with alder and black spruce, but at times it opens to sweeping green fields of hay and corn, punctuated by large gambrel-roofed barns and crisp white Victorian farmhouses." (page 14)

"Patches of hard, damp sand stretch for miles, their heavy corduroy surface dazzled in sunlight and shadow." (page 45)

I highly recommend TIDES to anyone who is interested in learning about the earth or anyone who is simply interested in reading a well written book.

View all my reviews

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Teen Bookfest by the Bay 2017

WOW. What an amazing weekend. The organizers of this event went above and beyond on every level imaginable. Before I became an author, I used to arrange huge events, and so I'm familiar with the inner workings of such a thing. So from both the inside and the outside, here are the main items I observed this weekend:

1. There is a dynamic committee that works year round planning and executing this event. Each person on the committee has a different responsibility such as fundraising, public relations, transportation coordinator, treasurer, and so on and so on. Leading the committee is the fearless Debbie VanZandt, who is humble and inspiring.

2. A top goal of the committee was to make sure the attending authors felt spoiled and valued. Goal achieved! The accommodations, the meals, the swag bags, the thoughtful moderators on the panels ... all were beyond fabulous.

3. The event was well publicized. They incorporated student artists to design logos for the event. They reached out to schools and community advocates. And ... I thought it was a great idea to have local vendors set up downstairs for attendees and authors to shop.

4. The event was well organized. The schedule ran smoothly, and the attendees had plenty of interesting panels and workshops to choose from each hour.

5. The list of attending authors was impressive, including New York Times best-selling authors and distinctive award-winning authors.

6. And most importantly, people smiled. Everyone. I never saw a dissatisfied person at the event. That says a lot right there!

As soon as the 2018 dates are announced, I highly encourage everyone to mark their calendars and plan to attend.

My hat goes off to an amazing 2017 Teen Bookfest by the Bay - Corpus Christi, Texas.

Thank you.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Book Club Love

I ALWAYS enjoy meeting with groups that have read my book(s). It is so much fun to discuss the plot and characters and debate the choices made within the story. AND ... with Who R U Really? I love the looks on faces when I explain that the "white chair" scene happened in real life. So scary!!!

Here are some pictures from a recent book club gathering at a high school in Texas. YAY for books!


Internet Awareness Presentation

Oh, it was a fabulous day at Tuloso-Midway High School in Texas!

We talked about this silly meme:

Why did we discuss this? Because even if something you see on the Internet is actually true, it can still be misleading and have destructive results. 

Think things through before taking action based on something seen online.

After talking about the tennis balls, I shared the real-life story of what happened to my daughter when she was almost abducted by an online predator.

Then we had a terrific discussion about Internet awareness topics. Some of the questions that stirred the most debate were:

* Why do teens NOT want to tell their parents about online safety concerns?
* Why would you want to go and meet someone alone in the park?
* Why do people blame victims?

Each group gravitated to topics that interested them specifically, but each discussion was insightful. Teenagers are SO smart and Internet savvy. They could certainly teach adults a thing or two!

Here are a few snapshots from the day's presentations:

If your school is interested in having me present an Internet Awareness presentation, please email me at margokelly1 @ outlook . com (without the spaces) for more information.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Online Safety Resources

Since my novel, Who R U Really?, features an online predator, I'm often asked to speak to groups (young and old) about online safety. This coming Friday, I'll be leading several discussions at a high school in Texas. As I put a few polishing touches on the presentation and tailor it for this group, I reviewed some of the fabulous resources available over at the Stop.Think.Connect. website.

Here are a few items that stuck out to me this time:

According to a 2016 study featured on the STC website:
* 60% of teens said they've created online accounts without their parents being aware
* In contrast - only 28% of parents think their children have created secret accounts 
* 48% of teens said they'd rarely (or never) tell their parents about online problems they're having
* In contrast - 90% of parents think their children will talk to them some (or all) of the time about online problems

For more information visit my previous posts about online safety:

If you'd like me to speak to your group about online safety - email me at: margokelly1 @ outlook . com (without the spaces).

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Touring the Old Idaho Penitentiary

When author Joshua David Bellin came to town to co-teach a writing workshop with me, I wanted to show him some local points of interest. The first thing that came to mind was the old penitentiary. I hadn't toured the facility since I was a teenager, and I found it fascinating in different ways this time. Oh, the stories those walls hold! We had a fabulous tour guide who shared many of those stories with us. Plus, Joshua knows author Leah Pileggi, who wrote a novel, Prisoner 88, inspired by the story of the youngest prisoner held at the old pen. The boy was only ten years old, and he was imprisoned with hardened adults. Here are a few pictures from the tour: