Should Halloween be moved to the last Saturday in October?

The kids will come home from school excited for a night of trick-or-treating. Costumes will be put on and dinner quickly eaten. A night with friends collecting candy is all they will think about. They don’t want to be bothered with thoughts of homework and school. Luckily most teachers know this and are kind enough to not assign any homework.

Parents later will be insisting kids stop their fun and go to bed as there will be school tomorrow. With frowns on their faces, the kids will put away their candy and try to fall asleep.

The next day they will be dragging as they get up and trudge off to school. (Or perhaps they will be hyped up if they had an after-breakfast candy fix.)

This is how every Halloween goes when Halloween lands on a school day. So, this leads some parents and teachers to wonder…why can’t Halloween be set as the last Saturday of October? After all, there are already some American holidays that have been assigned a specific day of the week – Election day, Columbus Day, Presidents Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day and Thanksgiving.

In fact, in the past, Time magazine and the Spirit Halloween retail store both have done petitions to ask Congress to officially endorse this change. But since Halloween is not a federal/national holiday, the federal government cannot make anything other than a proclamation.

But still others claim that Halloween cannot fall on the same day each year due to religious observances. It is after the eve of All Hallow’s Day, which is also called All Saints’ Day, a Christian festival in honor of all Saints.

There are numerous other religious attachments to October 31 or November 1. But the actual celebration that these kids are participating is more of a commercial holiday. Halloween is one of the top-selling months for candy and of course there is the sales of costumes and decorations. Americans spent $8.4 billion last year on Halloween.

If we separate the fun night of dressing up and begging for candy from a day of any religious significance, then there should be no harm in moving the date.

As a parent, I don’t know if I am all that concerned with moving the date. It is a once a year event, and many parents already must contend with keeping kids up late due to either their busy schedule or that of their kids. In all honesty, I would be fine either way. But every year that Halloween lands on a school night, I will still hear this question asked. Maybe one day we will have an answer.

Today’s Featured Author – Tonya Barbee

Please welcome Tonya Barbee as she stops by my blog as part of her virtual book tour promoting her book The Little Girl Inside: Owning my Role in My Own Pain. 

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Tonya

She’s a singer.

She could dance all night.

She loves to burn candles.

She’s a neat freak but has a hidden junk area.

She’s very sensitive but working on that.

She wanted to be a DJ when she was in high school.

She was a drum major for two full years as well.

She also wanted to be an actress and write plays.

She dropped out of college in her early years.

She loves cooking new things.

Book Blurb

The Little Girl Inside is a prolific story of triumph and discovery of inner peace. With each page, the reader will be captivated while the author uses the writing pen as a sowing tool-seaming a garment of praise, banner of victory and fabric of joy. With imaginative color, the book is a perfectly designed combination of patterns expressing the maturation of a woman.

A uniquely designed transparent jewel every woman should own in her jewelry box. The Little Girl Inside is a ministry resource tool for women in search for transparency in the human heart. The author shows us how to overcome the inner battle of doing the right thing the wrong way, going from finding love in the wrong places to allowing love to be revealed in the right time and in the right place.

About the Author 

TONYA BARBEE is a novelist and aspiring playwright. Tonya grew up in Durham, NC, a family of four daughters and one son. Her father, Woodrow served his country for twenty years as an Army officer, retired then taught ROTC for another twenty years and her mother, Doris, a college administrator. She is a proud 1980 graduate of Frank W. Ballou High School in Washington, DC. She worked in operations and management for Department of Agriculture for twenty years. For the past ten years, she’s worked as a project manager for Department of Defense in Washington, DC. She studied at National-Louis University where she earned her Masters in Business Administration in 2009.

Although she’s worked her way up the ladder in the federal government, she had no idea she would end up writing professionally however she has always enjoyed sharing her personal life through story telling with those she thought she could help. Then something clicked. As she writes, she is in hopes that her work reaches her readers that have been through something and have contemplated giving up. Her goal is to enable her readers to become empowered to keep moving forward to accomplish their dreams no matter what challenges they have been faced with.

Tonya resides in Bowie, MD with two of her youngest children, Christian and Zachary. Her eldest two, Andrew and Jessica left the nest years ago and have blessed her with seven beautiful grandkids.’

You can find more about Tonya on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase The Little Girl Inside: Owning my Role in My Own Pain Amazon.

 

The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

This post is the thirteenth in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Most likely at some point in your novel, your characters are going to speak to each other. This is called dialogue and it can be one of the trickiest things to write well.

Dialogue can provide several benefits to your storytelling. It can provide:

1.) Immediacy – Dialogue allows the reader to be involved in a scene. They experience what happened rather than have the author or a character tell them about it later. Wouldn’t you rather witness an argument between two people than hear about it later?

2.) Characterization – Dialogue is an excellent method of revealing character. When you hear a person speak, you get an understanding of what kind of person he or she is. It can reveal if they are educated, funny, happy, bored and so much more with not only what they say but how they say it.

3.) Information – Dialogue is a way to deliver information to the reader. It can reveal people’s passions, motivations and more. This can be a way to get back story or other important information into the story without dumping a lot of information in a long story-stopping description.

Writing realistic dialogue can be challenging, and how much dialogue you include in your novel can depend on your own preferences, circumstances in the novel or even the type of genre. But don’t avoid dialogue because you feel challenged by writing it. As with all aspects of novel writing, it takes practice to write dialogue well.

Now, dialogue needs to serve a specific purpose in the story. Rarely are you going to add dialogue to just pass the time. It needs to be used to advance the plot, reveal something about a character, establish the mood of a scene – or perhaps all three. When editing your novel, always consider if the dialogue advances the story.

Here are a few tips to help you with dialogue.

1.) Remember that people don’t speak in proper English. They use slang and contractions. They speak in fragments. They also rarely call each other by name. Spend some time listening to people speaking – at the mall, at restaurants, or even in your own home. This will help you develop natural sounding dialogue.

2.) One of the best ways to ensure your dialogue sounds natural and realistic is to read it aloud.

3.) Keep your dialogue tags (said, asked) simple. The more complex the tag line, the more it detracts from the actual dialogue. (More on this in two weeks.)

4.) Avoid using adverbs with the dialogue tags. (Example – he said angrily) Often the adverb is repetitious; the dialogue should tell us he is angry. There is no need to repeat it.

5.) Consider whether you even need a tagline. If two people are conversing you don’t need a lot of “he said, she said” to have people follow the flow of the conversation. Avoid using “said” too often. However, be wary of using words like “shouted,” “muttered” or “whispered. While they are perfectly fine, they should be used sparingly. It is better to have the dialogue convey that it was intended to be shouted or whispered.

Since dialogue can be important to your story, I have broken this topic into three parts. Next week, I will talk about internal dialogue and the following week I will go more in-depth about the use of dialogue tags.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

WANTED – Authors for Featured Author Spot

wantedAre you an author looking for some additional publicity for your latest book?

I host guest authors every Friday – any genre, both traditionally and self-published. I have openings in November, December and beyond!

The post can take one of three formats: author interview, book excerpt or a guest post on any aspect of writing, publishing, or book marketing.

Sign up is on a first-come-first-served basis, though I do have a few Tuesday openings to accommodate special requests for dates related book tours, book releases or cover reveals. (Click the Featured Authors link on the left to check out past authors.)

If you are interested, send me a message along with any date requests, and we’ll take it from there.

Determining if my kids are bossy or assertive

Lexie last month had a sleepover and it gave us a chance to watch her behavior. My husband could hear her ordering her friend around and wondered if she was being too bossy.

No one wants a bossy child. But it is a fine line between being bossy and being assertive. You don’t want them to be domineering, but you also don’t want them to be a total pushover either. There is nothing wrong with having an opinion and being strong-willed.

So, is your child bossy or assertive?

And no, these are not the same things even though people often use the two interchangeably. The difference is small but significant. It is all in how you say something.

If Lexie’s brother is touching her things, there is nothing wrong with telling him not to do it. She should not have to put up with him touching or taking her things without asking. She may have a legitimate reason for being upset, but it is in how she chooses to handle the situation that matters. Too often her reaction is to screech ‘Stop taking my stuff!’

Yelling between those two is a common occurrence even though we always admonish this behavior. When they play video games and one of them doesn’t respond the way the other wants, their response is to yell.

But screaming at people rarely is the way to go. In both situations, both kids need to stop and think about how they would want to be addressed if the situation was reversed. Would Lexie like it if Jase yelled at her for touching his stuff? (And of course, he has.) Would Jase respond better with a different approach?

It will take time and a lot of repetition to get either child to see and understand the difference between being bossy/demanding and being polite. (Right now, I will take polite over assertive.) They just need to take other people’s feelings into consideration while stating their own perspective.

And one of the keys to changing Lexie’s (and Jase’s) behavior will be consistency. My husband and I need to address their bossiness every time. Too often it is easier to let it go or to let them try to work out their own problems but to truly get the results we want we must be consistent with calling them out on the behavior.

Lexie and Jase still need reminding that they can’t always get his or her way. They need to learn that others can say no to them whether it is a sibling who doesn’t want to play a game or a friend who would rather have go swimming than play a video game. There is no harm in asking others to do something, but that person can say no – or heaven forbid, do something their own way.

As with all things this is going to take time and patience to achieve the desired result. I want them to stick up for themselves and to be confident. But I also want them to learn to compromise, to do try what others want to do and be a good friend.

Today’s Featured Author – Rosie Christie

Please welcome author Rosie Christie to my blog. Her book, As Tears Go By, was released last year. She is currently working on a sequel to it.

Interview

Please tell us about your current release.

As Tears Go By – Inspired by True Events – An eye-opener to treatment of Indigenous Children lost in the system.

The emotions portrayed by Maria, a beautiful Cree woman raised in residential school, attempting to save her children from the same demise as herself, tears at your heart strings while Kate, the overbearing foster mother rules with an iron fist, a wicked mouth and a razor strop. This book is compelling which makes it a very hard book to put down. Follow the journey as the fate of Maria’s children, Dolly, Jacob and Rayen, hang in the balance.

What inspired you to write this book/series?

This story is something I have had extreme difficulty with for over a half century which is when it all began. It is only by the grace of God that I am still here on this earth. This is why I felt it was a testimony that needed to be heard. This story even to myself seemed so unbelievable that it needed to be shared.

How did I come up with the title?

“As The Years Go By” was what I was typing with lightning speed when the title “As Tears Go By” emerged. It proved appropriate to the content and it stuck with me.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

“Rayen – More Than Enough” is the second book of what I now call the Rayen Series.

Rayen leaves the house where she has been abused for the past 12 years.  At the tender age of thirteen she discovers the name she is using is not her own. Nothing she has been told is real. She hates herself. The streets can be cruel for a naïve preprogrammed little girl. Pedophiles and violent men swarm to her in droves. Would death be kinder?

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

“As Tears Go By” and “Rayen – More Than Enough” have both invoked so many emotions that each page has been difficult to write. These stories need to be told. It is my hope that other people can find inspiration in these survival stories and that in some way I can help them.

 Book Blurb

I changed their names. I shaped their minds. I was judge, jury, and executioner. No one could stop me. No one! To anyone looking in, we were just a normal church going, family. No one was aware of the dark secrets we held within the walls of the tiny house by the swamp. I was the woman with the razor strop and I made sure every blow connected. That was until the day the sheriff handed me my subpoena. I felt the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Abuse? What? The one-word ringing in my head drowning out anything and everything else that might have been said. I felt I might just pass out right there on the step. I kept my composure until he pulled out of the driveway and then my anger quickly exploded into rage. Those ungrateful little bastards. After everything, I did for them. This was my thanks. A bolt of straight adrenaline shot through my veins and I grabbed the gun….. I had instilled the fear of god in them. I am not a woman to be tampered with. How could this be happening? My one mistake…and I don’t make many… was not realizing that these stupid children would grow up.

About the Author

My name is Rosie Christie and I am from the Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan. I am a Canadian Author. My inspiration came from author V.C Andrews. “Flowers in the Attic” was a major influence in my life when I realized that I was not alone in my plight. This author gave me the strength to continue on and to eventually escape from the nightmare that I lived.

In reform school I was taught to write down my thoughts and feelings that were too indescribable to speak about. We would burn these writings on the fire. I continued to use this mechanism as a release for many years and I did not elect to publish any writing until 2016.

My writing is slated as Fiction but only for legality purpose. I feel it is anyone’s inherent right to write or speak about their own history without repercussion but this is not so when abuse is involved.

You can find out more about Rosie and read the first chapter on All Author.

You can purchase As Tears Go By on Amazon.