Monday, October 31, 2016

Kobo promotional sale for I WISH

I Wish is on sale at Kobo from November 1 - 15, for 99 cents.

If you use Kobo for e-books, here's an opportunity to get the first book in the I Wish series at a sale price. (If you're not familiar with Kobo, they're a great place to find e-books--and they're a major e-book retailer presence in Canada and around the world!)

Just for a little fun, I leave you with a look at my newest SWAG! Bookmark design by the talented Laron at Ninth Moon.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Innovative high schools breed success

I live in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina.  Recently, a local business journal published the rankings of local high schools. I was happy to see that the top six schools are all using innovative approaches to teaching teens. Five are "early college high schools" and one is a charter school.

If you're not familiar with early college high schools, it's a wonderfully simple idea. Early college high schools give students 2 graduation paths. A student can attend for the typical 4-years and leave with a high school diploma. However, if the student stays for 5 years, he or she can leave with a diploma and an associates degree--and it's free for the student.

I've volunteered at an early college HS and left so impressed. The teachers are creative and passionate. The students are excited about learning. Many of them are the first generation in their families to get a college degree.

I hope early college HS's are adopted in more states. It's a win for the kids and a win for America.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Goodbye to homework

There is a growing number of schools, especially in the elementary grades, that are eliminating homework. For instance, from VT to Texas to NY, schools are finding better ways to reinforce lessons without depending on homework.

Frankly, as a parent who had many miserable nights coaxing her kids to complete their homework, I'm glad this issue is being scrutinized. When my kids were in elementary school, I found that most of their nightly assignments were busy work, to the point of being ridiculous. Once the girls reached 4th/5th grade, they did have a few homework assignments, usually involving research and writing skills, that felt worthwhile. But the routine stuff? We would sometimes allow them to skip it, and I would write notes the next day letting the teachers know. It's my belief that:

  • Sleep is more important than that last little problem.
  • Choice promotes more love of learning than drudgery.

By the time my girls were in high school, we were homeschooling them. They completed their *total* schoolwork in four hours or less each day. Both did well on standardized tests. Both have been successful at the college level and beyond. (Granted, they didn't attend top-tier/Ivy-League type universities. Nor did we want them to.)

I hope we can continue to research and debate the effectiveness of homework. Perhaps there are kids who do benefit. Their specific demographics need to be identified to ensure the amount and kind of homework that will serve them best. But not all students should be forced into the misery of homework when there really isn't much data to support how well it works--and possibly suggests that it can have a detrimental effect on the creativity and agile thinking that America needs from the next generation.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cover reveal(s) - new covers for books 2 and 3 of Whisper Falls

The new set of book covers for Whisper Falls is now complete.

Here they are--the covers for A Whisper in Time and Whispers from the Past.

Both e-books (with their new covers) will release on Amazon on October 15 and soon after that on other e-tailers.

Print books will have the old covers for several more months via most online retailers. You may also buy them directly from me if you have a U.S. address and I'll ship them to you. ($6 + S&H).

Thanks to my lovely and talented cover designer, Lisa Amowitz, for creating a trio of gorgeous book covers for Mark and Susanna's story!