I love this quote….
Next year’s home schooling curriculum is finished and the final touches were put on the yearbook for the year. Our yearbooks actually look more like doorstops when we are done but they share so many wonderful memories of the year. Each one is a wonderful treasure. I never knew how much home schooling would add to our lives – academically, as a family, and in life’s experiences. It’s been, and continues to be, a wonderful journey.
What I write when it isn’t education based…I’m still looking for a publisher for Fireflies of Hope. Since the story was written, Mary Jo Copeland (the director of Sharing and Caring Hands in Minneapolis which was featured in the story) has been recognized by President Obama. (She also was recognized by President Bush years ago.) Recently, she received an award at the White House for the work that she has done. By giving back to our communities, whether it is through our efforts or in money, each one of us can be a firelfy of hope. When the book is finally published, I look forward to giving ½ of the proceeds to Mary Jo and the shelter. She doesn’t know this though and might not even remember us. That’s okay – I like it that way.
The snow is finally gone and spring is finally here. It’s been a long winter and I look forward to the freshness of spring and the warmth of summer.
Fireflies of Hope is still in its search for a publisher. Sending it to agents is no easier than sending it to a publisher. Many only respond if they are interested. For those who do respond, I am grateful even though the book “doesn’t meet their need at this time.” I’m glad for this polite response and that the story isn’t rejected for serious flaws. I’ll keep searching but have also been taking some time to better understand the right place for it.
Next weekend, I’m taking a course from a local writing center for some tricks of the trade. I’m hoping it will give me some better perspective on getting this story published. Soon after the class, I’ll begin sending out the story again.
I’m also looking to donate half of the book’s proceeds, once published, to Sharing and Caring Hands in Minneapolis. It is the homeless shelter that we worked with in the story. The director, Mary Jo Copeland, has also been recognized by President George W. Bush and President Obama for her service to the community. Mary Jo does not know about Fireflies of Hope or that I plan on giving half of its proceeds to her shelter. I truly hope I can do this.
Meanwhile, I’m finishing up writing the AP US History curriculum as well as another one. Homeschooling keeps me busy. I also enjoy writing “jingles” or “ghost tunes” (new words to a familiar song). These have always been fun for me.
While the teddy bear story wants to be told, it hasn’t been easy to begin. Many days were spent trying to find the right way to introduce the story. I finally did. It’s a story meant for little kids (preschool to 1st grade) which is a new audience for me. Hopefully, the story will begin to flow more easily.
The second story is still in the back seat. A lot of my time has been spent recently on designing curriculum for a homeschooling AP US history course.(1865-present day). Big task but I’m enjoying it. It’s amazing what the US has accomplished in almost 150 years.
I’m also spending time working with CVFT’s production team for “The Music Man.” It’s been fun and a great way to get to know the cast and their families. I’ve enjoyed working on press releases as well as cast bios and I’ll fill in wherever else I can. Looking forward to the show in March!
Now that Fireflies of Hope is out searching for its home, two other stories are fighting to be told. Since I can’t take sides for which story should be written first, I’ll be working on both at the same time. (But honestly, the first one has currently gotten more attention.)
The first story is about the strong bond between a little girl and her teddy bear. They have always been the best of friends and the teddy bear is one of her strongest protectors. But one day, the teddy bear must rely on the girl to survive. He has been attacked by the family’s dog and needs immediate surgery. What is the girl willing to do to become a hero to her teddy bear?
The second story is about a young girl who unexpectedly receives an invitation to meet with a Supreme Court Justice of her state. From him, she learns valuable lessons about the Constitution and what it means to be an equal in America. Through his teaching, the Judge asks her to stand up to him if she feels he’s wrong. Will the girl see the Judge as an equal or will she buckle at the thought of his strength?
Back to writing….
Life’s been a little busy – not just because of the holidays coming but also homeschooling and life’s activities. But I’ve continued to find some time to carve out for my writing which continues to give me a sense of peace.
Fireflies of Hope recently began its journey to finding a publisher. It’s a process that takes a long time as it joins other hopeful manuscripts on a desk. Often the wait time is around 4-6 months before finding out if someone wants to publish it. However, authors often don’t hear back from publishers if they aren’t interested. I truly believe in the Fireflies of Hope story – it’s a picture book written for older children and includes information on fireflies as well as volunteer organizations and ideas that would welcome a child’s help. I truly hope the story will find a home soon. Giving to one another, we learn so much about ourselves and the world we live in.
I’ve also been working on some articles for a magazine’s publication for Siberia. It’s a magazine written for children and they are accepting submissions. Life in Siberia was much different than I had ever expected and I am glad that I had the chance to visit years ago. It changed my life in so many ways and I’m glad to share some of these experiences. From my time there, I was able to write 4 articles and send in some of the photographs. The articles include:
“The Magic Swan Geese” (a retelling of a famous Russian folktale that was translated for me while I was in Siberia.)
“Sleeping Over at a Friend’s House….in Siberia” (With a little history of Siberia, this one focuses on what I learned from my time there. I discovered many more similarities between our 2 countries than differences and I learned new perspectives on life.)
“Siberia’s Hidden Treasures” (This shares more about the history of Siberia. Largely unknown and undiscovered, Siberia holds a large percentage of Russia’s wealth. This is not only in its economy but also in its people.)
“Time to Party and….You’re Invited!” (This article shares one town’s New Year’s Day traditions. In far eastern Siberia, Khabarovsk residents look forward to this holiday the most. Included is a recipe for pelmeni, a Russian dish of dumplings which is native to Siberia.)
Stay tuned for more of my writing!
She wasn’t thirteen yet. But it didn’t matter. She wasn’t old enough – at least that is what the volunteer organizations told her. It didn’t make sense. “What difference does it make if I’m nine or thirteen?”
After creating her own successful campaign, she gathered a car load of warm clothing for a local homeless shelter. But it was at the shelter where she received an unexpected gift of her own.
Fireflies of Hope was written to empower and inspire kids, of all ages, to make a difference within their own communities. The ability to change lives is not defined by age but by one’s heart. The story is not just motivational but it offers a list of national and international community service opportunities that are kid friendly. At the end of the book, there is also a scientific Q&A section about fireflies.
After working on the story for a couple of years, Fireflies of Hope has now been sent to its first potential publisher. As a picture book, it shows kids that one simple wish can change the world with their fireflies of hope. Hopefully, it will find its home soon.
Unlocking the Mystery of the Alphabet is now being offered to groups at a discounted rate through the Smashwords site. If you are interested in learning more about the discount, please let me know.
Unlocking the Mystery of the Alphabet is now available through Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo and Baker-Taylor. It is also available through Kindle, Sony Reader, or in a PDF version at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/179170.
I’m currently waiting for approval so that my book can be included in a catalog that will be distributed to the Apple iBookstore as well as other major retailers like Barnes and Noble. I expect that this will be happening soon. When it does, I will also announce it here. You can also sample or purchase the book through the Smashwords site by visiting https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/179170.
The reception for this book has been heartwarming and I am so appreciative to everyone that has supported me on this journey.
To learn more about me, please visit: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/sstaunton
I’m so excited to announce that Unlocking the Mystery of the Alphabet is finally published! Written originally for my daughter, it’s been patiently waiting for me to find a home for it. Along the way, I’ve gotten a lot of support and encouragement. I thank all of you who have supported me along this journey. At one point, I was told that it should be published because “what blesses one, blesses all.” That is my hope.
This book helped build a strong literacy foundation for our daughter as well as an insatiable love of learning. Along with another curriculum that I designed, she entered kindergarten devouring early chapter books. It is with this hope that I published my first e-book. With the ideas in this book, teachers and parents can work more effectively to introduce reading to their students. Once kids discover this first key to unlocking this “mysterious code,” they begin a journey that will last a lifetime.
Check out my new e-book at Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, and Apple (just to name a few.) As a resource book, it focuses on over 200 activities for letter-sound recognition. It is also expected to be in e-book format with other major retailers within the next week or so. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/179170