Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Monday, December 17, 2012

View From the 5th Grade Trenches: December 2012: Heartbroken

I am shocked and heartbroken by the unthinkable sorrow the families at Sandy Hook Elementary are going through. I know you are as well. 

I found a post on Facebook passed along from teacher to teacher that I've never met. It puts into words what my teacher's heart is feeling. I paraphrase a bit, but the sentiment remains the same.

Five days a week, we teach your kids. That means we
 Educate your kids
Play with your kids
Discipline your kids
Joke with your kids
Console your kids
Praise your kids
Question your kids
Beat our heads against a wall about your kids
Laugh with your kids
Worry about your kids
Keep an eye on your kids
Learn about your kids
Invest in your kids
Protect your kids
and yes
Love your kids


It's nowhere in our job description. It isn't covered in the employee handbook. It isn't cited in our contracts, but we would all do it.

Hug your kids tonight, really really tight and know they are always in our hearts as well.

The truth is, in this day and age, we do practice lockdown drills at school and teach the kids what to do in the event of a malicious intruder. It's tragic that we have to train our students for a potential outcome such as that, but it is a necessary precaution to keep our precious children safe.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fangirl Heaven

Prologue: Monday and Tuesday - December 10th and 11th - the Kindle version of Journeys of Wonder Volume 2 can be downloaded for free. GO FOR IT.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Yes, I'm a fangirl. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Comic Con, Dr. Who, Firefly, The Avengers...

This weekend my daughter (Yes, I've raised a second generation fangirl) and I reveled in a Lord of the Rings marathon - all extended versions - at the Arclight movie theatre as we gear up for The Hobbit. Total Middle Earth immersion. There really is nothing like seeing films on the big screen.

Today, on his birthday I want to salute the person who awakened my fangirl self, lo those many years ago:

Donny Osmond

I have no proof, but I'm fairly certain he was singing Puppy Love to me. I was in hog heaven back on March 15, 1972 when D.J., Robert W. Morgan, played Puppy Love for 90 minutes straight on KHJ radio in Los Angeles. 

A lifelong dream came true this week when I FINALLY got to see Donny Osmond perform live on stage in:

It was AMAZING. I sang, I swooned, I was inspired. The performances by both Donny and Marie were stellar. So many times we build idols up in our minds to a place impossible to live up to. Not so in this case. Donny surpassed my wildest expectations. I hereby nominate him for national treasure.

Happy Birthday, Donny.

Who makes your fangirl/fanboy heart go pitter patter? Any stories to share?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Make Believe Anthology Featuring Lynda R. Young

Exciting news!

Lynda R. Young’s short story, Birthright has been published by
Make Believe anthology 
launching on  
December 3, 2012! 

Virtual cake for everyone!! 

Make Believe is currently available in e-book format and includes Paranormal Romance and Fantasy stories inspired by the image on the cover. This will make great holiday reading by the fire while you wear your fuzzy socks.

Blurbs from all the stories included in Make Believe can be found on the J. Taylor Publishing website HERE. 

Hop HERE to grab your copy

  Birthright by Lynda R. Young Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible. She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her. Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead.  

About Lynda R. Young: Lynda R. Young lives in Sydney, Australia, with her sweetheart of a husband who is her rock, and a cat who believes world domination starts in the home. She writes speculative short stories and is currently writing novels for young adults. In her spare time she also dabbles in photography and all things creative. You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear by M. Pax

I'm a HUGE fan of M. Pax's Sci-Fi The Backworlds series and now that I've met Hetty, I'm hooked again. Mary Pax's versatility and creativity will grab you and not let go.

The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear

A New Adult Urban Fantasy, The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear is the first book in a new series. And it’s now out! The main character, Hetty, is a twenty-two-year-old, stumbling about in an effort to become a full-fledged adult. She struggles with self-esteem, weight, relationships, and making the transition between college and the real world.

Graduation from community college isn’t the magic elixir Hetty Locklear counts on for becoming an adult. Her parents, who work the Renaissance fair circuit, insist she spend part of the summer with them. Hetty doubts pretending to live in the Middle Ages will help her find her way.

 To make it worse, an entity haunts her at her dead-end job, warning her of a dangerous man she doesn’t know. The ghost leads her to a lover who has a lot of secrets. He pulls her farther into peril and into a strange, hidden world of genetic experimentation.

New Adult Urban Fantasy with a contemporary sci-fi twist. Mature content. 

Available as an ebook at Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords / iTunes / Kobo
Visit for more links.

M. Pax is celebrating her latest release with a jousting tournament and contest at Cheer for the knights to help them win the grand prize, and you’ll be put in a drawing to win an ebook copy of The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear. Five will be given away. Huzzah!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Hidden Blessing by Melissa Buell

Do you fancy a world where princesses joust and fairies have your back? And yes, there be dragons.

Then pack your bags for Gymandrol, the fantastical world created by Melissa Buell in her Tales of Gymnadrol series.

Melissa's love of fairy tales comes across beautifully in the stories she weaves. Her characters are multi-faceted with dreams and quests that make you want to hop on your steed and join them on their adventures.

If you haven't crossed the border into Gymandrol yet - grab a copy of The Seventh Blessing and prepare to be charmed.

And now the story continues with The Hidden Blessing...


How do you test for happily ever after?

Nine years ago, Emma became orphaned as a result of the Zynachnean-Mittra War. Although her memories are gone and she has no idea who she is or where she came from, she’s kindly adopted by a fairy and raised inthe small village of Weymouth.

Now eighteen, Emma has come to love the life she’s made with her fairy mother. But tragedy strikes Emma’s home just as Prince Will and his sister, Princess Allessia, travel incognito through Weymouth on their way to Mittra. Allessia offers to hire Emma as her lady’s maid, despite Will’s reluctance.

Once they arrive at the home of Queen Samantha and Prince Nolan in Mittra, Emma’s life rapidly becomes entwined with the lives of the royal family. There are rumors that Princess Emmalyn Meredith, tragically found dead when she was eight years old, did not really die. As a result, girls swarm to Mittra to try and prove they are the missing princess. The idea is presented to hold a series of tests to see if any of the girls are indeed Princess Emmalyn.

Talia, Samantha’s fairy godmother, puts together a series of “princess tests” in order to discover the true identity of the long lost princess. Emma volunteers to help with the tests, which creates more opportunities for her to interact with Prince Will. But emotions run high as Emma tries to decipher her own feelings for Will, who has offered to help her find a proper suitor when it is discovered that she is suddenly heir to a large fortune.

Can Emma discover the truth about her past and attempt to plan her future while navigating the stormy waters of courtly intrigue?

(Pre-order from TLT with discount code: thb12mb2 for 30% off until 12/31/12.)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Conversation About Helping

Today I am linking to Julie Musil's blog which has great information on how to be part of the conversation about helping those who had to endure Hurricane Sandy.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

View From the 5th Grade Trenches: October 2012 Halloween Lit

I'm over being silly this week on Charlie Holmberg's blog.

I profess to being a Halloween nut. I love the spooky factor. I love the snap of fall in the air. I love any and all things pumpkin. I love seeing teeny tiny superheroes come a-knockin' at my door. Did I mention the candy?

Most of all, I love Halloween stories. Here are a few of the faves from the 5th Grade Trenches.

A new discovery for this year is a hilarious parody of Madeline by Rick Walton and Nathan Hale.

And some returning hits...

What are some of your faves?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Journeys of Wonder: Volume 2 - Has Landed!

I'm super crazy excited to announce the release of our second volume of genre fiction short stories.
So super crazy in fact that I'm doing a giveaway of two print copies of Journeys of Wonder: Volume 1. Just leave a comment telling me your favorite genre of fiction and your email. 
I will snag an innocent bystander to draw two names from my Empire Strikes Back baseball cap and arrange for teleportation of your prize.


An Anthology of Genre Fiction

Journeys of Wonder: Volume 2 – the second anthology in a series of genre fiction. Quick on the heels of Volume 1 this new volume brings back some favorite authors and introduces a couple of new ones.

Featured in this volume are five incredible tales – each of which will leave you in wonder and amazement.
1. CAL by Lisa Gail Green: A young man challenges his father after falling in love with a cybernetic life form.
2. The Terrible, Perfect Duet by Trysta A. Bissett: Cicadas, insomnia, and high school. What could possibly be more horrifying?
3. Helios by Leslie S. Rose: As humanity flees the wrath of Earth's dying Sun, a daughter's quest to claim her birthright jeopardizes the chance to escape.
4. Encrypted by Ian Kezsbom: Spies. Codes. Murder. A thriller about a man on the run – hiding a secret that others would kill for.
5. Lighting the Sacred Way by S. P. Sipal: Set during the time of the Roman Empire, a woman tries to vanquish the evil spirit residing within her. One that arrived on the day her husband was murdered.
On sale only at! $.99 for a limited time or free through the Amazon Prime lending library!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Va Va Vroom, A Counting Book by Sarah Lynn

I adore picture books. Coming from a design background, illustrations are a huge draw for me.
But that's not all...

You may think that by fifth grade, picture books are history, and I don't use them in class any more.
 Not so. 
They still serve many purposes such as teaching:
  • Elements of storytelling
  • Cause and Effect 
  • Picture vs. text connection
  • Main Idea vs. Detail
  • Sequence
And they are also:
  • An accessible practice tool for English Language Development
  • Material for reading aloud to younger cross-age buddies that carries the added bonus of refining speech presentation skills 

My latest crush is an adorable book, 
by Sarah Lynn with Illustrations by Daniel Griffo, about three kids racing for the finish line in a clever counting lesson.

Admit it, you said, "Oh, how cute." 

Here's a fun trailer for Va Va Vroom. I dare you not to be charmed. 

I also want to give a shout out to Tip Tap Pop another treasure from Sarah Lynn. This story about a grandfather and a granddaughter will warm your heart.  

The holidays are coming. Children + Picture Books = LOVE
Long Live Picture Books. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

View From the 5th Grade Trenches: September 2012 : Panic Button

First of all, I want to apologize for being the worst blogger in Bloglandia. 

New school year + New school site + Parent conferences = NO TIME LEFT TO DO ANYTHING BUT COLLAPSE

I promise to let the October breezes carry me back over to your wonderful blogs.

I've invited the panic button onto my blog this week so anyone concerned about education in our country can give it a push. 

Since when is education not important enough to finance?

Since when have teachers become villains?

Since when have students ceased to be individuals and become test scores?

Since when has hugging a child in distress become an action that can threaten your job?

Since when is it vital for a ten year old to identify the chemical signature of photosynthesis?

Just sayin'.


Friday, September 14, 2012

What's Your Chocolate?

Has there ever been a more delicious blog hop? I don't think so.

I remember my first date with a chocolate bar. I was probably eight years old and I'd saved up a whole dollar. I rode my bike down to the liquor store and bought one of the GIGANTIC Hershey bars with almonds, the one with all the squares usually used for s'mores.

My mom would have fillet me if she knew I'd spent my dollar on that, so I hid behind the back fence and ate the whole thing in one sitting.



No regrets.

Chocolate has been the one constant in my life.

My daughter doesn't like chocolate. 

I've failed as a parent. 

No, wait. Glass half full time...I will eat her share.

Here are the other yummy Hop Links

Monday, September 3, 2012

GUTGAA Meet and Greet

Here we go with Deana Barnhart's Gearing Up to Get An Agent fab blogfest. The first task is a meet and greet.

Mini-bio: I’m a mom of two amazing kids in their twenties. One is an actor and one a writer. We will be eating lots of ramen noodles in our house until we all hit it big. I snagged a BA and MFA in theater arts back in the 80's. I never had "big 80's hair." I taught design for years at UCLA, and had a couple of plays produced there. Yes, you may call me, Professor Rose. Yes, you may snicker at the thought of that. Now I teach fifth grade north of Los Angeles. I love writing YA because those teen years are so deliciously crazy. It’s a kick to go back into that emotional soup. My short stories appear in the current Journeys of Wonder, Volume 1 anthology and the upcoming Paramortal 2 by Cliffhanger Books.
-Where do you write?
My "office" is a white tile topped kitchen table in a corner of my bedroom. (I have issues with getting rid of furniture) There's a bulletin board above the table to tack up pictures, notes, and irreverent inspiration. 

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see? Mirrored closet doors that are covered with post-its for various projects artfully hiding a "side-view" of me hunched over my laptop.

-Favorite time to write? After lunch into the evening

-Drink of choice while writing? Water or flavored iced tea - I had to give up the Diet Dr. Pepper. Sad day.

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence? I HAVE to play music. I’ll listen to the playlist I’ve created for the project I’m working on. I listened to Elton John’s Aida about a million times when I was writing my short story AFTERDEATH for the Journeys of Wonder Anthology. Yes, I cry at the end of Aida every single time.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it? Lately I’m into using fairy tales and myths as springboards. I’m working on a Rapunzel retell so I read every version of the story I could get my hands on, including watching the movie TANGLED. Is it wrong to have a crush on an animated character? Don't tell me if it is.

-What's your most valuable writing tip? Hook up with critique partners who are honest and caring. I'd shrivel up and die without Lisa, Julie, Ian, and Deborah.

Join in the blogfest fun. Click on the badge in the sidebar to hop in. Can't wait to meet everyone.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I love creating settings. I'm sure that passion is a holdover from my theatrical design days. When I write, I can build a world without slamming my finger under a misplaced hammer stroke.

In fact, my one hoarding tendency is the files and files I keep of old scenic calendar pages, amazing images I've come across on the Internet, and the endless pictures I take myself. 

I keep a setting diary full of sketches or bullet pointed details when I encounter delicious visuals. Later I can draw from this resource to combine elements from completely different places into a new reality.

I get a rush when I come across a funky or unique locale to add to my diary. On the road between LA and Las Vegas there is such a goldmine.

Alien Fresh Jerky in Baker, CA. Now hang on all you alien activists - it's not jerky made from aliens. It's beef jerky in dozens of flavors from traditional to habanero to whiskey. All delish, and yes, quite fresh. 

The alien themed decor is trippy and plays homage to the Area 51 mythology.

Can you imagine a character in your story encountering this mecca on a road trip?

What fun!

Do you have a system for crafting settings? Any cool roadside   stops we should add to our "must visit" list?  

BONUS NEWS: From Wed. 8-29 to Friday 8-31, the e-version of Journeys of Wonder, Volume 1 (see sidebar) is free-free-free.
Click HERE to go grab it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cause and Effect

If you give your cat some freedom,

 it may dart out from under a table.

If the cat darts out from under a table, the fiend will trip you.

If you trip and face plant on the tile, taking a dining room chair along for the ride, you will sprain your wrist. 

(which hurts more than a break I'm told
I TOTALLY believe it)

If you sprain your wrist, you will have to wear one of these.

If you wear a wrist splint, you will have to type with one hand and take pain killers.

If you take pain killers, your cat will have total freedom and you won't care anymore.

I'm over at Lisa Gail Green's Blog 
this week discussing the issue of...
...da da da
When critique partners don't agree


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

View From the 5th Grade Trenches: August 2012 - Suggestions Please

Now that the new school year is upon us, my monthly feature:  View From the 5th Grade Trenches
where I crack open my classroom door so you can peek at life in 5th grade at a public school will be starting up again.

For the first installment of the 2012-2013 school year I'm going to pick your brains.

What books should I read aloud to my class this year?

I am thrilled to open the year with:

Stand by, Lee for a barrage of questions and comments from my new crop of 5th graders.

I am seriously toying with the idea of following that with:

since I have a "thing" about kids being exposed to the book before they see the movie.

And now, it's your turn.

What is a MUST READ for my kiddos this year?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lola and Sarah

A while back Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins was getting a lot of love in Bloglandia.

I read it and fell in love myself.

When Sarah H., a former middle grade student of mine, who has now entered the YA realm of readership asked me for a book recommendation, I shouted LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR.

Sarah graciously agreed to share her authentic teen opinions of this wonderful book with all of you.

First, let's get to know Sarah.
I'm in 10th grade. My favorite subject is French. I love to go horseback riding, draw, and cook.
(Aside from Leslie: Sarah is one of THE most talented artists I've ever had the pleasure to teach.)
My goals for right now are to try the best at what I'm doing, and when I get back to school from summer break, I'm going to study hard in every subject so I can pass my classes.
(Aside from Leslie: Sarah is every teacher's dream student.)

Did the characters in Lola and the Boy Next Door feel authentic to you? 
Yes. Stephanie Perkins made every character come alive for me in the way she described them and talked about them. I liked every character, yes, even Calliope. I mean, sure she was mean at first, but near the end she was nicer to Lola. The only character I disliked was Max from the start. The way he treated Lola was harsh. I know he's the antagonist of the story, but I still didn't like him even if he did make the story interesting.

Lola is an artist. Do you find that kids with artistic gifts are celebrated in high school as much as students with other strengths like academics or sports?
Kids with artistic gifts should be celebrated more in high school. It is a talent that should be acknowledged.

What was your reaction to Lola's unique family of two dads?
I love Lola's two dads. They're just the best. Andy and Nathan make the best dads for Lola.

Did you feel the author respected the intelligence of her teen audience in the way she told Lola's story?
Yes. Lola had her first boyfriend and her first love right in front of her. Some teens can understand how Lola felt trying to decide between the two. When you have your first boyfriend you can be too crazy about him to see the problems that are happening between you and you can't let him go. That's what Lola's problem was. She was too crazy in love with Max that she didn't see he was the wrong guy for her.

Any other random thoughts about Lola and the Boy Next Door?
I liked that the story was in first person so you know what Lola's thoughts and feelings are throughout the story. I also love how the author squeezes in humor. I thought the book was perfect.

Okay, Sarah, wish list time. If one of the amazing authors out there was writing a book just for you, what would you want it to be about?
Write about my normal high school life because it's full of drama, friendship, crushes, heartbreak, betrayal, enemies, etc., but in the end, make it turn out better.

I agree, Sarah. I love it when authors make crazy life turn out better. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on Lola and the Boy Next Door. 

Have you read Lola? What is your take on celebrating the arts in high school on the same level as sports and academics?