Wednesday, December 6, 2017

About that Boy Tweet

A few weeks ago these tweets were going around, and I’d been meaning to comment on them. Forgive the messy editing, art was not my best subject in school. If you want to see who said what, or if you want to re-tweet (even better), feel free to dig around my Twitter feed.




Most boys don't read? What? Of course they do! My eleven year old reads non-stop! This is his bookshelf.






I normally don’t post pics of my kids' messes, but I straighten this out almost weekly. It’s a mess because he’s constantly taking books out to read (and not putting them back properly, but that’s another blog post). Then there’s my twenty year old who put a book on his holiday gift list this year. But let’s move away from the boys who share my DNA.

Because other boys read, too!

Can we talk about NATE ROCKS?




Okay. So admittedly, one of the reasons I wrote Nate Rocks was because my oldest son wasn't the greatest reader at the time, and I wanted to write a series for reluctant readers - boys and girls - because boys aren't the only ones who read Nate. But since I want to address the tweet about boys and reading … BOYS DO READ, and boy oh boy do boys love Nate. I have proof:



1. They write to me - especially when their name is also Nathan, or when they also have annoying older sisters (this seems to be the case in a LOT of households).

2. Their parents write to me. Particularly when they do something funny, like hiding behind the couch hoping to sneak in one more chapter when they're supposed to be getting ready for bed. Then there was the mom who begged me not to end the series on behalf of her son. The circumstances sounded dire. ... Sorry.

3. Pictures! I have them. On my website. Parents send me photos of their awesome kids reading Nate. They've also drawn their own adventures. Check them out at www.karentoz.com. They rock.


But, it's not about Nate!

There are TONS (and tons) of other great books, and boys love to read them. Are there reluctant readers? Absolutely and guess what? Reluctant readers find books they love and often turn into avid readers. Does this happen every time? No, but "Most boys don't read at all?" I don't believe that for a second.

Do they need encouraging? YES!
Should we be taking them to bookstores and libraries on a regular basis? YES!
Do they need exciting, challenging, adventurous, funny, educational, creative, inspirational, thoughtful, mind-provoking books to read? YES!
Does the above apply to ALL children? YES!

Give the gift of reading. Nurture your child's creative soul.

xoxo,
Karen

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Little Holiday Poem

Hello friends and readers!! It's me .. remember me? I know it's been a looong while since I've posted (so long that it took me a while to find the new post button). Every time I come back, I always say I'm going to start posting more regularly, but you and I both know the truth, so I'm not going there...

I do however, want to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING! And I want to share a little holiday poem that I sent out with my newsletter this morning. Are you signed up to receive my newsletter? The link is below this post. I promise I  won't share your email address or clog up your mailbox since I send newsletters about as often as I blog! 

But back to the poem!! I thought it was the easiest way to update you on what I've been up to the last seven weeks...





‘Twas the night before Monday, the October wind blew,
The cat had been sick, and I knew what to do.
To the vet in the morning is where we must head,
He stared at me blankly and curled up for bed.
 
As the clouds rolled in and rain poured down,
I pulled out his carrier and then looked around.
To the closet my furry friend had run up to hide,
Seemed I'd need treats to get him inside.
 
“Come on,” I begged, “just behave, please?”
He peeked out and smirked. Oh what a tease.
I reached out and grabbed him. My lucky day!
Down the steps toward the carrier, everyone out of my way!
 
When all of a sudden there arose such a clatter,
The cat sprang away, and I fell with a SPLATTER!
Down the stairs I had tumbled, well really just two,
But enough to have gotten quite a nasty boo-boo.
 
We went to the vet, me banged up and bruised.
That’s what us pet-lovers do when we’re dazed and confused.
To sum up the story, the cat is just fine.
Myself, I now claim two broken ankles as mine.
 
Now seven weeks later, I’m still healing away,
But wanted to wish everyone Happy Holidays!

#truestory


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Friday, May 19, 2017

The Friday Five 5-19-17

No, your eyes do not deceive you! I decided to do a Friday Five  -- it's been a busy week, so why not? It's my blog, I can blog if I want to, blog if I want to, blog if I want to,  ... I've had a little extra coffee today, sorry.



Anyway - let's get right to it!

1. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!  I know this can be a tough day for some. For those - my heart goes out to you - I hope the day was easy and peaceful. For me, I had a lovely and relaxing day with my three kids. My sixteen year old made breakfast (and did the dishes after - thank you, daughter!) My oldest bought flowers and helped clean the patio, and my youngest let me sleep with his giant teddy bear for the night - a definite treat! But my favorite part of the day was when we all went on a walk together … nature, family photos, and perfect weather.  I ended the night with a fab dinner, great company, and a relaxing glass of wine on my newly cleaned patio. All in all it was a perfect day. I hope yours was, too.



2.  Blue Toes.  I don't normally talk about my feet (as in never) but back in February I received a gift certificate for a mani/pedi that I hadn't used yet. Anyway, the temp hit 90, and I needed to break out the sandals, so it was time for a Me Day! Exciting right? It was for me because to be honest, I don't get them very often, and it was heaven. I enjoyed every minute of my pampering.  And, I'm not just going to talk about my feet, I'm actually going to post a picture (Cue the horror music!)




But then … I totally jinxed myself. I got into my car and thought to myself, "I feel sooo relaxed."
Yup. Big mistake. My phone rang on cue … it was my son's school.  

3. Call From School  So I answered the phone, knowing it wouldn't be good news. It never was. "Hello? It's the school nurse." Ugh. "Your son is okay, but …" No! Not "but!" You said he was OK. You're not allowed to use "but" and "OK" in the same sentence. Seriously. It turned out, my son was stung by a bee. He's not allergic so it wasn't a huge deal, at least it wouldn't have been if he wasn't already terrified of bees. He gave an oscar-worthy performance over the phone as to why I had to come pick him up that very second, which of course I did because #momlife. He's fine. He spent the rest of the day playing video games and forgetting all about the bee sting. 

4. Newsletter. On Saturday I put out a newsletter. It was the first one I had done since November. I know what you're thinking. A Friday Five and a newsletter all in one week? Who are you?  I don't know what came over me, but I'm sure it will be another six months before either happens again, so if you'd like a copy of the newsletter, sign up at the bottom of this post (or in the margin if you're on a PC or leave me a comment if you can't find it - I'll get it to you!) There's a cute story about my 10 year old for those who enjoy his funny conversations.

5. Garden. Since my oldest was kind enough to clean off my patio, I decided I should probably plant some plant things. I haven't had a lot of luck at this house because of deer and bunnies, but I figured it was worth another shot. Plus, my friend Kate Brandes gave away seed packets at her book release party (best swag ever!) and I'm always up for a challenge. PS - I'm a third through her book, The Promise of Pierson Orchard, and loving it ... check it out! So far it's five days in and I haven't killed anything! Yay me. I'll  keep you posted.





That's five! I hope you have a great weekend!

xo
Karen

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

I Am Woman Hear Me ... Eep?


Once upon a time there was a woman brave and strong. She thought she'd been through it all, surviving everything from health issues (I am a warrior), relationship failures (Oh the Internet dating disaster stories I could tell), financial stuff (That costs how much?), teen drama (Does this ever go away?), wasp infestation (I'm a pro at killing those suckers), and the list goes on. She (did I say I? Oh, okay, fine) was infallible … until one night, last night in fact, an itty bitty, teensy, weensy, furry little mouse ran across her bedroom floor at 11:00pm. I know!! 

Here's what happened. 

I was peacefully lying in bed, almost asleep, when I heard growling and hissing coming from my two cats. Expecting to see them fighting over a toy, I turned on the light to shush them, but instead screamed bloody murder at the sight of a little mouse scurrying across my floor. Somehow my 10 year old in the next room slept through this! 

"Get it!" I yelled to my cats. I had no doubt "Frick and Frack", protectors of the freshly folded clean laundry, would be on the case.  Look at them, they're fierce!



I know what you're thinking. I should have tried to catch the poor little guy (or gal), so I could set it free. I love animals and all, but, are you kidding? I was thinking more along the lines of burning my house down. Okay so maybe not  -- that's a little extreme crazy and illegal - plus I need a place to live and there's the hassle of replacing all my stuff. Instead I decided to quickly and quietly sprint down the stairs to my living room in order to allow my cats the privacy to do what they're supposed to do.  Yeah, sure, that's why I left.

I sat on my couch - reduced to a trembling ball of nerves wrapped in a blanket - and watched the 11:00 news (which stressed me out even more) as I listened to a ton of pitter-pattering overhead. And then ... silence. Did they get it? Was it gone? Could I reclaim my bedroom?

Be brave woman! I crept back upstairs, wrapping my blanket around my shoulders like a super-hero's cape and peeked through my doorway. One cat was under the bed while the other paced in a stalking-like manner. Ugh! Then, I did the unthinkable. I got into bed! It was midnight, and I had given myself a "Are you really going to let this tiny thing that's probably more afraid of you, rule your roost?" pep talk. "Besides," I continued, "it's quiet in here. It's probably dead by now anyway." 

It sounded good until I heard the cats start growling again. I pulled the sheets up over my head and tried to think of happy things like my kids, and daisies, and a fresh canister of Pringles. At some point it got quiet and I nodded off, but then the chasing resumed. This was my night: a constant stream of growls, quiet, sleep, and commotion, that was light on the sleep and heavy on the commotion. But I was too tired and annoyed to get up and move to the couch. 

Then, at around 5:00am a cat jumped on the bed. WHAT? Please don't let there be a mouse in my bed, I prayed. I cautiously looked around while he made himself comfortable. No mouse. A moment later cat number two jumped on the bed, also mouseless. They both curled up and went to sleep. 

"Wait - that's it? You're giving up?" I demanded. "Or does this mean you caught it? And if so where is it? Why are you two just lying there sleeping? Why can't you tell me what's going on? "

And so, I did what any sane(?) person would do in this situation at 5:00 on a Sunday morning. I got up and made coffee. And my Frick and Frack, worn out from a night of hunting haven't moved since. As for the mouse, it's still a big mystery.





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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Beary Baby Crazy #TBT

I know I often blog about conversations with my youngest, but my older children are equally as entertaining. Before I begin, let me say ... I am not, I repeat, NOT pregnant. But I did take my sixteen year old to the pediatrician earlier this week for her annual well-visit. NO, SHE IS NOT PREGNANT EITHER! The thing is though, there were babies there - a bunch - and they were all super cute. One in particular caught my daughter's attention. It was an infant dressed in a pink bear sleeper similar in style to the ones my daughter used to wear in these pictures.




Yes, that's MY baby sixteen years ago!

Anyway - after we got over the oohs and aahs, the baby left and my conversation with my daughter went something like this:

S: When I have a baby—

Me: You mean in like 10 years.

S: Or 20.

Me: Okay, good - continue.

S: When I have a baby, I'm going to dress her in a bear onesie all of the time.

Me: What about in the summer when it's hot?

S: I can cut the legs off.

(I'm assuming she meant off of the outfit and not off of the child.)

S: Or I'll live somewhere cold. It'll be so cute!

Then after a brief moment of silence where she was no doubt planning out her future baby's entire bear-themed wardrobe …


My youngest, 10 years ago, in his bear hat

S: I think I want to start babysitting more babies.

Me: They're a lot more work then the kids you babysit for now. They cry a lot.

My youngest - I thought the instructions on the shirt were clear.


S: I'll just hold them and cuddle them and then they won't cry. Can you find some babies for me to babysit?

Me: Where am I going to find babies? My friends have older kids.

S: Just start knocking on some doors and ask if they have any cute babies.

Yeah, because that won't be weird or anything...

(P.S. to my local friends: My daughter really is an awesome babysitter! If you're looking for someone for your child of any age, let me know.)

Me: I need to blog about this.

S: I think it should be an entire book.


I told her I needed a little more material, but maybe ... in the meantime, as long as I'm showing off babies ... here is my oldest - 19 years ago.




Yup - he wore the bear outfit, too.


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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine Wishes - How it all Began

photo credit: Anne Worner Heartland via photopin (license)

Happy Valentine's Day!

I know I'm a little late - - Welcome to my crazy and unorganized life. It's not that I forgot it was Valentine's Day, it's just that I forgot I wanted to write this post. Sorry blog, you always seem to be last on the list. But then yesterday, I went to the grocery store. Stay with me, I promise this will make sense. At least I hope it will.

You see, we were out of cat litter and my son's allergy medicine and bananas and I really wanted some California rolls for lunch, and … where was I? Oh yeah, Valentine's Day. It was everywhere. From the bunches of roses when I first walked in, to the heart-shaped everything in the bakery. Even the checkout lane was re-named "Lover's Lane."

As I waited behind someone who had two separate orders and wanted a price check on a dozen organic eggs that couldn't possibly cost $5.99 (they did and she bought them anyway), I started thinking about Valentine's Day. That got me thinking about romance, which got me thinking about The Whispered Wishes romance series I wrote a few years ago. That got me thinking about a scene in book two, Holly's Wishes, where Holly's sister, Tessa discusses her theory on the first Valentine's Day and why. That reminded me that I wanted to share the scene on my poor neglected blog and … Ta Da! Of course, since I stink at multi-tasking, all of this blog-wheel turning took place while I stood in line NOT unloading the contents of my cart onto the empty checkout counter. (Sorry nice people behind me!)

So ... since I mucked up the grocery store line with my zone-out idea-generating ... it's only fair that I now share the true origins of Valentine's Day — As per Tessa Haines of Holly's Wishes —even if it is a little late:


“Valentine’s Day was surely a holiday created by some sadistic person hoping to torture all of the single people in the world,” Holly said, filling her glass with wine.
They sat in Tessa’s tiny apartment, wallowing over the fact it was February fourteenth and neither one of them had a significant other.
“Actually,” Tessa stated, pouring a glass for herself, “I have visions of this big roundtable, with a bunch of guys sitting around it somewhere in the 1800s or something, and having a conversation like this …”

“Aye, Arthur, we need to make more money this year. Our garden productions were fine, but the demand was just not what it should have been.”
“Indeed, Theodore, my printing business has been on the decline as well. How has your confectionary business been, Herbert?”
“I declare, they’ve been frightfully low. If only we could think of a way to increase the demand for chocolate.”
“And flowers,” added Theodore.
“And cards,” Arthur stated. “Even if it were for just one day a year, it would help.
Perhaps Edward could even benefit with jewelry sales as well.”

Holly smirked and finished her glass.

Okay, so it probably didn't go anything like that, but whether you were alone or with someone special, I hope your Valentine's Day was a reminder to spread love and kindness every day of the year. And if V-day is one of those days you dread, just remember … you can find lots of chocolate on sale today!


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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Just In Time For Black Friday!

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Picture it: Thanksgiving morning you wake up and get a lovely email from Jennifer Bardsley, aka "The YA Gal," telling you that you won $220 to spend on a book buying shopping spree on Amazon. Wouldn't that be fun? That lucky person could be you!!!

I've teamed up with twelve YA and KidLit authors to cosponsor a raffle. The grand prize is a $220 USD e-gift card to Amazon. There are multiply ways to enter the giveaway. You can sign up to follow author newsletters, follow them on Twitter, or add a new release to your Goodreads TBR pile.

Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter.

Would you like to know more about the authors involved? Check out their websites to find your next favorite book.




NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
1. Promotion Description: The '$220 Amazon Gift Card!' ("Sweepstakes") begins on 11/09/2016 at 06:00 PM (Pacific Time (US & Canada)) and ends on 11/24/2016 at 08:00 AM (Pacific Time (US & Canada)) (the "Promotion Period"). By participating in the Sweepstakes, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of ("Sponsor"), which shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Entries and the overall administration of the giveaway. Entrants should look solely to Sponsor with any questions, comments or problems related to the Sweepstakes.
2. Eligibility: Open to legal residents of USA, Australia, Canada, England who are Must be 13 years or older or older. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, distributors, retailers, sales representatives, advertising and promotion agencies and each of their respective officers, directors and employees (collectively, the "Promotion Entities"), and members of their immediate families and/or persons living in the same household as such persons, are ineligible to enter the Sweepstakes or win a prize.
3. Winner Selection: The winner of the Sweepstakes will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible Entries received throughout the Promotion Period. The random drawing will be conducted by 48 hours by Sponsor or its designated representatives, whose decisions are final. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible Entries received. Winner will be notified by email at the email address provided in the Entry Information on or about 48 hours after the random drawing. Potential winner must accept a prize by email as directed by Sponsor within 48 hours of notification. Any winner notification not responded to or returned as undeliverable may result in prize forfeiture. The potential prize winner may be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and release of liability, and a Publicity Release (collectively "the Prize Claim Documents"). No substitution or transfer of a prize is permitted except by Sponsor.

**GOOD LUCK!**

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