Book Promotion: Jessie Casper

8:34 PM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

The opinions here are 100% mine!  This post contains affiliate links.

For Jessie Kasper, inner turmoil hides behind the face of an overachiever...
From the outside looking in, Jessie is a normal nineteen-year-old high school senior. Athletic, likeable, and seemingly well rounded, he’s every parent’s dream. However, Jessie is suffering from an unfathomable pain…the pain of loss.
Sickness tears him apart from the inside out—but the illness is not his own.

After cancer stole two of the most influential people in his life, Jessie is left to cope with his emotions. He struggles to make sense of his life's cruelty, and is obsessed with the idea that he too will someday become ill and fall victim to the merciless disease.
The first step to getting help is admitting there’s a problem...
As his emotional state begins to spiral, Jessie finally seeks psychiatric help. That's where he meets Kacey Monroe. She’s the most beautiful woman Jessie has ever laid eyes on, and she also knows the pain of loss. While they bond over their life experiences and mutual attraction, Jessie finds comfort in the normalcy of having a high school girlfriend.
Jessie's support system is not only shaken—it's completely destructed as a revolting secret is exposed leaving his vulnerable psyche completely eviscerated.

A split second decision completely alters Jessie's life course in a way he can't possibly comprehend. Hand in hand, he and Kacey are left to face the aftermath…or run.

  About the Author

I live in Piedmont, Oklahoma with my wife and our two children. I have always loved writing, and finally decided to go for it. With the amazing resources available for emerging authors, it only makes sense to take advantage of them.

Author Links:

Sign up for the Author’s  newsletter at to enter to win  3 signed books.

Author Interview: How will Amy Vote?

4:00 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

The opinions here are 100% mine!  This post contains affiliate links.
 TEENS Win the Vote!

It’s an election year, and Congress has lowered the voting age to 14. Not one to refuse political involvement, 16-year-old Amy joins a campaign to elect the next U.S. President. Her goal isn’t only to see her candidate win, but to prevent his rival—an arrogant, profiteering sleazeball—from ever stepping foot inside the Oval Office.

Amy’s participation is also personal. The opposing candidate’s son viciously bullied her in the 3rd grade. Foiling his father’s bid for the presidency would be the perfect payback. But, there’s a problem. Her grade school offender has changed. He has grown into a kind and thoughtful (and cute) young adult. No longer able to dislike him, Amy’s hatred turns to affection. Is she falling in love?
I had a chance to interview Bruce Edwards, the author, about his writing process and favorite author.

Who is your favorite author? Why?
I have many, but there is one in particular who never fails to amaze me: Ray Bradbury. He was the master of the metaphor. Anyone who writes knows what a challenge it is to get that right. I had the privilege of meeting him several times. He could invent brilliant metaphors off the top of his head, and I would ask myself, “How does he do it?”

Who is your favorite character in your book? Why?
The book’s title character, Amy, is a 16-year-old American girl, who like most teenagers, attends high school, sleeps late, and quarrels with her siblings. Everyone thinks of her as the stereotypical rebellious teen, but she’s really not a negative person at all. Amy just wants to understand the times she was born into. She looks at the world with all of its problems and simply asks, “is this the best you can do?”

How do you handle writer’s block?
I separate myself from the written word. There is a treasure trove of inspiration in music, theatre, art, animation, and the like. I absorb those creative ideas, then adapt then to my work.

What advice do you have for young/student writers?
Don’t scrutinize the book publishing industry too closely. The number of books published each week is staggering. Brooding over this willsurely put you off writing, so don’t go there! Stay true to your vision and persevere. Writing a book is a hard road to go down, but it’s the most gratifying journey you’ll ever take.

Explain your revision process.
For me, revising is less analytical and more intuitive. If there is a problem with the narrative, it will generally reveal itself. Having written screenplays, I am particularly aware of pacing. Other than that, I just stick to the basics: Show, don’t tell, etc. There’s one other trick that is also very helpful: use text-to-speech to listen to your material. I find a lot of hidden irregularities in my writing that way.

What are you working on now?
Book# 5, The Age of Amy: Mad Dogs and Makeovers, sends Amy in search of a personality-altering shampoo, and is on track for a June, 30th release date.

Pinnacle Achievement Book Award, “Best Book for Young Adults.”
“Readers will appreciate Amy’s sharp wit and the overall comedy of political theater.” --Booklist
“This book will be popular with those looking for a quirky love story with an exciting twist.” --School Library Journal
“The author does a highly credible job of displaying the incredible cost of meanness.” --Readers’ Favorite


Author Bio

Bruce Edwards writes young adult fiction on subjects most YA authors shy away from. His award-winning The Age of Amy series explores unconventional topics—from the trappings of modern technology to the absurdity of Washington politics. Through fantasy and imagination, Bruce addresses real-world issues, as young readers enjoy a fun read.


Book Promotion: The Productivity Book Part II and Giveaway

4:00 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

The opinions here are 100% mine!  This post contains affiliate links.

The Productivity Book
By Michael Brecht

Ever wondered what the secret is to productivity? Here’s a hint: there isn’t just one. Introducing the Doodle Productivity Book! Containing in-depth interviews with 30 of the world’s top productivity & time management experts, this book lifts the lid on the industry’s best kept tips and tricks. The result? An engaging and practical guide that will help you find your natural pace, so you can work smarter—not harder.

I got a chance to ask Michael Brecht what the most important thing he learned while writing this book was. He had a lot to say.

We understand that the people who use our service do so because they’re passionate about finding a balance 
and living a happier, more fulfilled life.That’s why an integral part of our business model has 
always been to respond to our users’ needs; discovering what features could be added and learning how they 
use the platform so that we can create a responsive, dynamic service. Thanks to this, Doodle has also been embraced by the productivity and time management community, and is regularly endorsed and recommended by professionals everywhere, simply on the basis of its usefulness.

I’m extremely grateful for this acceptance. Seeing Doodle used as a powerful productivity tool says a 
lot about the potential of our platform. This is where the idea for The Doodle Productivity Book came from. 
We wanted to connect our two communities: the regular Doodle users and the professionals, and explore not 
just how Doodle can improve productivity, but how it can be used in conjunction with other technologies 
and methods.

For me, the most important thing that I learned while writing this book—and what I hope our readers will also 
find—is that productivity is a very personal thing. Often people enter into highly-demanding, unnatural 
productivity routines that require strenuous commitment. This balancing act then falls apart the moment 
something unexpected enters the system. The point is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and there is no 
magic app or device that is going to solve life’s hurdles. It’s about being aware of the different methods and 
smart technologies available, and then combining them in a way that meets your immediate needs while still 
being flexible enough to not break when put under pressure.

That’s really the essence of the Doodle Productivity Book. It aims to help the reader learn more about their 
personal approach to productivity, and with 30 interviews there’s a lot to be learned. It was my first publication, 
and I’m happy to say that it was a huge success. Regardless of whether or not you’ve used Doodle, I 
believe everyone can learn a lot about productivity and themselves from reading this book.

Author Bio
I am a serial entrepreneur, have more than twenty years of experience in IT and Digital Media and have held several international leadership positions in Europe and AustralAsia.

Since the beginning of 2014 I am CEO of Doodle – the world’s favourite online scheduling tool. Together with my fantastic team we have integrated Doodle into the Digital Portfolio of Tamedia AG, Switzerland’s largest media company. Our focus is to grow the business into a global application while strengthening its product offerings and continuing its successful monetisation. Doodle AG is a highly profitable business with offices in Zurich and Berlin.

My experience ranges from founding a start-up to various exits to multi-national corporates and subsequent integration. I enjoy topics of digital transformation and the leadership of highly innovative teams with a particular focus on growing a business internationally.

Now that digitalisation is increasingly becoming a topic for all businesses from start-up to large corporate, I have decided to start my own blog. Here you’ll find information on productivity topics, quotes about personal and professional efficiency, my reviews of awesome apps I use myself and I am trying to present a few stories that aren’t meant to be too serious too.

In my private life I am married and our home comprises of four children and our dog (an Australian Labradoodle). We are currently living in five different countries and I myself carry a German and an Australian passport. I enjoy sports, in particular football, swimming, tennis and all kinds of outdoor activities and I am passionate about the discovery of great wines.

The Giveaway

Book Promotion: The Resistance Leprechaun

9:03 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

The opinions here are 100% mine!  This post contains affiliate links.
When most teenagers turn sixteen they receive a car or a watch from their family but one Florida teen learns a family secret.

Garritt wakes on his sixteenth birthday to find himself as a leprechaun. Garritt must go live with family in Ireland to learn what it means to be a leprechaun. While in Ireland, he makes new friends but an evil plot against the leprechauns is revealed, sadly only Garritt and his friends can stop it.

Being a teenager is hard but being a teenage leprechaun is even harder.

Book Excerpt 2.
“Sorry Granda I was dreaming and then you woke me; I’m not sure what happened.” I tried to explain to him.
He just looked at me as if I was lying and turned away without another word. Then a wonderful thing happened, I suddenly had to pee. I got up and scooted through the seats to get to the aisle. Granda gave me another stern look as I passed him. I quickly passed people talking in whispers, it felt like they were talking about me. Did they see what just happened to me?
As I got to the restroom, I opened the door, squishing myself into the small space the airline provided for the passenger to use the restroom. Who in his or her right mind believed this small space is big enough for someone to pee in is by far the dumbest person in the world.
I looked down to make sure I was not missing the tiny hole provided, “AAAAAHHHHHHHH!” I screamed.
Instead of missing the hole, it was now like a small pond I was once again a flipping leprechaun. This is going to be seriously hard to control. What in the world, was I going to do about being a leprechaun? I can barely handle my thoughts, I am a teenager for God’s sake, and how was I going to control myself to not be a leprechaun?

There was a knock on the door. Great someone wants in; okay time to come back to reality. Garritt stand tall you are not a leprechaun. I grew fast, thankfully, I zipped up my pants and unlocked the door. I almost ran into the girl on the other side of the door.
 Author Bio

Kristyn Stone was born Kristyn Burkes in Pahokee Florida on April 15, 1989; she grew up in Lady Lake, Florida.

Kristyn began writing when she was twelve and continued to write after she graduated from Leesburg High School.

Now at the age of twenty-six she has self published two books in The Resistance series, she came up with the story while she was pregnant with her oldest son when she kept having strange dreams of him being a leprechaun.

The Ten Minute In-service Book Study Part I-Sections 1-4

11:29 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

The opinions here are 100% mine!  This post contains affiliate links.

This week kicks off the first of six posts looking at how we apply the lessons in Todd Whitaker and Annette Breaux's book The Ten Minute Inservice.  Five other teacher bloggers and I are sharing the lessons we have learned from this book of quick hits for teachers and schools.

Currently a large number of the teachers at my school are going through CHAMPS training.  I was fortunate enough to do this almost ten years ago, so I am not doing that professional development.  However, I am glad that I got the section on Classroom Management because it ties nicely in with what our school is working on right now and gives me a refresher for my own classroom.
Get Their Attention

Any teacher of high school students will tell you that getting their attention is the most important procedure you can establish.  This simple procedure can save many precious minutes of instructional time.
I like having a couple of ways to get their attention:

Turn the lights off

Words- "Ladies and Gentlemen"
Sound- A clap and they repeate

What do you use to get your class' attention?
Rules and Procedures

Rules and procedures are very different things in a classroom.  You should have a few rules- I have three- and a lot of procedures.

I pick my rules, but every year my students help establish what they look and sound like.
Be Honest

Be On Time and Prepared

Be Respectful

This works very well for me with juniors and seniors, and we keep these posted all year.

I have procedures for all kinds of things:
Use of Chromebooks
Retaking Tests

What do you have procedures for in your classroom?
Address Misbehavior

The focus of this section is about having a private conversation with a student who is a chronic misbehavior for a minor infraction (such as talking repeatedly out of turn).  I love this idea paired with the Love and Logic idea of delayed consequences.

My go-to phrase with students is "I can't talk with you about your behavior now, but I will talk with you about it after class."  This is not said to the student in a big production in front of other students but either said directly to him or her in a low tone or with a sticky note.  This allows my students to save face, know they aren't getting away with anything, and have that consequence of worrying about what is going to happen.
Sharing Tips

I think this was my favorite of all the tips in the first section because it pulls from the collective knowledge of all the staff.  Our staff recently did this when talking about school and classroom rewards.  We met and compiled a master list of all the rewards we could offer students in the classroom and as a whole school.

The idea for all teachers share their best classroom management tip is perfect for an online community, so that is what I would like you to do:

Share your best classroom management tip in the comments below!

Grab your own copy and follow along with us this month.

Be sure to check out the posts from my co-hosts

Part II: Teaching Practices
on 3/12
Part III: Improving School Climate
on 3/19

Part IV: Learning from Others
on 3/26

Part V: What Makes a Great Teacher?
on 4/2

Teaching Overseas #1: Saudi Arabia

4:00 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

This week begins a series of interviews that I have conducted with teachers that have or are teaching overseas.  This is a topic that is dear to my heart for several reasons.

There was an opportunity to student teacher in England the semester that I did my student teaching, but I didn't even apply. I now with that I had.

I was accepted to the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program in 2009. After receiving my placement, I had to withdraw because the school I was working for laid me off. 

Lastly, one of my three brothers, who you are going to get to meet today, is currently teaching English in Saudi Arabia. I was there when he got on that plane in the wee hours of the morning, and his messages home inspired me to seek out teachers that have or are teaching overseas to have them share their experiences with my readers.

I would like to welcome my brother, Caleb, to kick of this series, 

which he helped inspire.

My name is Caleb, and I am a recent graduate of Central Michigan University. Currently, I am teaching in the Engineering College associated with Albaha University and the Central Library for Boys in Albaha, KSA.

Who are you? Background and Experience
My degree is officially in Religious studies with a triple minor in Philosophy, History and Linguistics. In addition, I earned two certificates; one in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and one in TESOL (from Oxford Seminars).  During my final year in University, I taught an extra-curricular Business English course in a Lutheran Chapel on campus where I developed a love for teaching and built lasting relationships with international students from around the globe.
Where are you currently teaching?  Describe the institution and population.
Currently, I am teaching in the Engineering College associated with Albaha University and the Central Library for Boys in Albaha, KSA. The University environment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is nothing like that of western nations. 

Besides the obvious difference of being divided by gender, the standard of education is nearly non-existent and the requirements placed upon instructors is simply marching through the simplified EFL (English as a Foreign Language) textbook and workbooks. Furthermore, Instructors are categorized and measured by the rapport they build with the student population. 

If a group of students dislike a professor, they can simply request a new one and they will be issued one. Also, the requirements placed on instructors, namely grading, is calculated ONLY by exams and attendance without any freedom to require homework.   
Why did you decide to teach overseas?
I decided to teach overseas to take international experience as well as experience a different culture and to be honest, a large salary. The salaries for teachers in the USA are extremely low given the service they provide, which can be described no less than building the cornerstone of any society by molding the youth and preparing them to replace the existing populace when they become weary. What other vocation could boast such a claim? Unfortunately, teachers and the education system in general worldwide suffers everywhere from corruption and poor administration.
What are your three favorite things about teaching overseas?
I couldn’t speak from anything except my experience here in Saudi Arabia, but the three best things about teaching here are the ability to travel and see so many historical sites, the incomparable large salaries and the overall change of scenery and peace of mind one gets from the hustle and bustle everyone has with a western lifestyle.
What are two challenges you have faced teaching overseas?
The most significant challenge that I have faced teaching in Saudi Arabia is without a doubt adjusting to the educational system or lack thereof. All my life I have complained about the burdens placed upon me by my instructors in the USA and have seen now what happens when nothing is required from instructors and the ignorance it creates throughout generations within a society. Furthermore, I have found simple travel to and from the city difficult being that there is no public transportation system.
What do you believe is one thing  U.S. teachers can do to improve learning based on your overseas experience?
Any teacher could learn to improve by teaching overseas in that they learn to communicate with students in other ways than just lecturing. 

Most teachers can tell you that patience is a virtue in any class room environment and when you and your students literally don’t speak the same language, you become very creative.
How did you go about getting this teaching position?
I applied online through a job offer on ESL Employment and heard back from the company almost immediately.

The rest of the interviews in the series will post on Wednesdays through the middle of April.

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