Adoption, Blood relatives, Children, Family, Love, Nature Vs Nurture

What Really Defines a Family?

What defines family? Except for physical similarities, bloodlines don’t always completely do it. I’m writing a book for which I have researched the “nature vs nurture” theories, albeit in terms of criminal behavior, which is not the topic I am addressing today. The bottom line of what I learned, though, is that nurture is more important in determining the person one becomes than nature. Of course, we can’t disregard genetic influences, as they are undeniably part of who we are, but what goes on within and outside the walls of a family dwelling are paramount in building a child’s character and establishing who they are ultimately to become.

This is even evident among animals. Take pit bulls for example. They are maligned as being a dangerous breed of animal, and it’s true that they can be more easily trained to be protective or aggressive than other breeds, but given the proper supportive environment, they can be loving and loyal family members.

Adopted children are every bit as much a part of a family as biological children. Half-siblings can love each other just as much as those with mutual parents. Even step siblings, with no biological roots, can find that bond. Think about this: Married couples don’t have common blood, at least we hope not, but their bond is as strong as it comes, sometimes even greater than with their own parents. They are family.

Families can have common blood running through everyone’s veins, they may have partially common blood or no common blood at all. A family is not just about shared DNA; it’s about shared experiences, overcoming disagreements, battling trials together, sharing laughter and good times, supporting each other through painful times, and being familiar with, and accepting of, the good, the bad, and the ugly in all of us. No, a family doesn’t necessarily have to be all about blood. A family is about love.

America, animals, Book, Children, children's book, juvenile fiction

It’s That Time Again!!

Thanksgiving is over and I hope you all had a great one! Now the focus automatically switches to the holidays for many of us. What to get everyone? This is an age-old question, but I have an idea for your children. My books are perfect gifts or stocking stuffers. Some of you may have seen my posts before but if you haven’t, I have two children’s books on the market that you will love.

The first book is for ages 2-6. The story revolves around a little boy, Michael, who is new to the school and is very homesick. He never smiles. Davey is a friendly little boy who loves to laugh and giggle. He tries to make friends with Michael, but he just can’t make him smile, no matter how hard he tries, until a magic fairy steps in to help. “The Giggle Box” is a whimsical, full color book about being the new kid in school, friendship, sharing, the joy of helping others, and the healing power of laughter, all tied together with a touch of magic! It is beautifully illustrated with the text written over full page pictures, a perfect gift for your 2-6 year old! You can purchase this book:

on Amazon (

and on (,

but if you purchase it from my website at, (Click on the “Shop” tab at the top) you can get it at a discount for $8.00 with free shipping by clicking on the “Buy Now” button through the end of December, 2019.


If you are looking for an illustrated early reader that teaches children the values of diversity, understanding, acceptance, friendship, and overcoming adversity by working together, then look no further. My newest book sports all of these plus a glossary of some of the more difficult words found in the book followed by thought provoking questions. A chart of the similarities and differences between alpacas and llamas serve as an added educational benefit. In August, 2019, this book took third place at the independent author CIPA EVVY Awards in the Children’s Storybook Fiction category. It’s the perfect gift for all the children in your lives! It can be purchased:

through the publisher at,

at amazon (  ),

and at (,

but if you purchase it through my website at (Click on the “Shop” tab at the top), you can get it at a discount for $9.50 by clicking on the “Buy Now” button through the end of December. Ride the Llama and Alpaca obsession wave or listen to your children laugh. Order your books now, and please share this post with your friends, family, and followers! 

Happy Holidays!

Baseball, Children, coaching, Fun, Parenting, sports

Guys (and Gals), You Are Not Coaching MLB

This may be familiar because I know I have written about baseball before, but some lessons just need to be reinforced.

I love baseball. I have since I was knee high to a grasshopper. I even played and have a crooked finger to prove it. Of course, then, it was playground baseball because girls couldn’t play on organized teams. Showing my age, am I? I did go to all the Little League games that the boys at my school played. Well, most of them. It pretty much depended on who was playing that night. Back then the games were fun. We passed the hat in the stands to support the league and boys may have paid a nominal fee to play. We were out every nice day at the playground or in our back yards honing our craft or just plain having fun.

Fast forward about a half century. Kids still play baseball, but how much of it is behind a video screen in between Fortnite games? Neighborhood playgrounds are a thing of the past for many kids. Homes are air conditioned, and it’s hotter here in the south than it was in Pennsylvania. Now there are opportunities for more advanced players to play competitively on travel teams. That is, if parents are willing to take out second mortgages on their homes and forfeit every weekend to have their kids play. Even recreational games have become more competitive. I’m deep into my third generation of baseball games, and let me tell you, they are no longer as much fun.

Parents (and grandparents!), don’t coach from the stands, please. These young boys and girls are getting instructions from at least one coach. It may be that your advice is better than the coach’s, but you’re not doing him or her any favors by shouting conflicting instructions. Just let your kids play the game and have fun.

I think we would all be honored if our children had the same passions as we do, but reality dictates that doesn’t always happen. I’m guessing that some of you may have had close brushes with MLB fame and have high hopes that your sons might complete that dream. From my half-century of observation, it doesn’t work like that, and instead of seeing dreams being vicariously fulfilled through offspring, many times I saw boys’ self-esteem being crushed by harsh criticism from parents who think their child has more talent than he does. This harshness is not confined to just parents, either. Listening to some coaches berate their teams for losing a game or making errors, or even striking out, tests my willpower to the max that I won’t open my mouth and unleash my inner Mama Bear at them for being such jerks to these young boys. Not that I haven’t done so in my younger, more, um…verbal days, when my own boys played, but let’s just keep that between us, shall we? And don’t get me started on” guest players”. What’s up with that? Bringing in ringers when kids from your own team are riding the bench? Not cool, overachieving Coach.

Relax, parents and coaches! This is not the MLB. Let them play for the love of the game, not for their, or your, own glory. Be proud of your child for who he or she is, not who you think he or she should be. Find something your children enjoy and where they can excel. Maybe your son didn’t inherit your ability or drive for baseball. Maybe he likes basketball better, or soccer, or maybe he inherited his mom’s talent for singing and dancing. Maybe your daughter would rather be on a baseball field than a dance floor. Who cares? Take the time to learn about your children and who they are, not who you want them to be. Encourage them to do the best they can at what they do, but for goodness’ sake, don’t expect more out of them than they are capable of being. Be instructional, maybe a little tough, but not harsh and critical. They will respect you in the future and you will have set an immeasurable standard for them to follow in their own lives.

Award, Children, children's book, differences, diversity, friendship, Helping Others, juvenile fiction, trust, Uncategorized

Outskirts Press Self-Publishing Authors Impress EVVY Awards Judges—Here Are the 2019 Finalists — Self-Publishing News for Self Publishing Authors

I am so humbled to have my book, “The Town of Alpaca”, as a finalist in The CIPA EVVY Awards contest. Thank you, Outskirts Press for affording me this honor. I will be in Colorado on August 17th!

Outskirts Press self-publishing authors continually impress the judges at the annual CIPA EVVY Awards and this year is no different. In fact, our authors garnered 23 spots as finalists for the 2019 awards and we couldn’t be prouder! Now in its 25th year, the EVVY Awards, sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA) and […]

Outskirts Press Self-Publishing Authors Impress EVVY Awards Judges—Here Are the 2019 Finalists — Self-Publishing News for Self Publishing Authors
Children, gaming, Mental Health

Video Games and ADHD: Friends or Foes?

Kids love gaming, but does gaming love them? Video battles are tons of fun, but how much is too much? What parent hasn’t worried about how much screen time their kids are getting at some point? According to a 2016 study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), greater than 9% of American Children ages 2-17 have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity). Canadian studies have found the rate to be 5.4% among children and youth. Regardless of the numbers, the fact remains that it’s a problem. ADD/ADHD is a multi-faceted, complex problem, so where do video games fit within the puzzle?

Parents may be relieved to learn that it has been shown that video games do not cause ADD/ADHD. There is, however, a new malady that has been identified by the American Academy of Pediatrics: IGD, or Internet Gaming Disorder, and children with ADD/ADHD can easily find themselves fitting into this category. It is a diagnosis that is being researched further, but If you know anyone who has an addiction, either substance or behavioral (gambling), then you probably know the signs: unhealthy pre-occupation with gaming; inability to stop; withdrawal symptoms such as sadness, anxiety, and irritability when it is taken away, loss of interest in other activities; using it to escape problems; compromising relationships; “closet” gaming; etc. Research shows that up to 8.5 % of kids in the United States aged 8-18 meet the criteria for IGD.

Even though it has been established that playing video games does not cause ADD/ADHD, according to psychiatrist Dr. Perry Renshaw of the University of Utah, heavy gamers are more likely to suffer from this or from depression. Parents sometimes wonder: if their child has this ADD/ADHD, how can he/she can sit in front of a screen and concentrate on a game so well? They can even question the diagnosis. So, why is this, and what draws these children to video gaming?

For one thing, the constant lights, sound, and action are stimulating, and the movements are so fast that they must pay attention to what they are doing in order to accomplish the goals of the game. This is where children like this are “at”. They like lots of fast-paced activity that holds their attention. Classrooms, on the other hand, are no so exciting, and their minds drift off because they are not being stimulated enough.

Sometimes children with ADD/ADHD have problems with socialization and may have low self-esteem because they are constantly getting in trouble, even though they really can’t control their impulsivity. In the game, they’re often good, and they get instant, positive feedback. They accomplish goals, which they may have difficulty doing in life. Some research even suggests that certain games, especially the shooting ones, may improve children’s spacial skills, and help to prepare them for careers in science and technology. On the other hand, the gaming verbiage with opponents can tend to be a little rough, sometimes, and this may lead to rage and worsening self-esteem.

In conclusion, even though gaming does not cause ADD/ADHD, children affected by this disorder are drawn to video games, putting them more at risk for IGD, which is unhealthy for any child. Here is a good question to ask yourself: is your child controlling the screen or is the screen controlling your child? The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests one hour of total media exposure a day for elementary age children and two hours for those in secondary schools. If your child is exceeding this, it may be time to review media rules.

This is a re-post of my article in

animals, Children, diversity, juvenile fiction

Giggles and Such

Every so often I like to throw in a good word for my books, a pitch, as one might call it. Audiences change, friends get added on Facebook, and new people get on other social media sites that might not have been there before. If you are one who has heard this pitch already, my apologies! I don’t want to saturate those in my immediate circle, but I’m in this for the long haul, so bear with me, please!

I would be ever so grateful if the newbies, and the oldies, too, would take a look at these links to my books. I have written two illustrated children’s books, although I didn’t do the illustrating, myself; I have very talented artists do that for me. “The Giggle Box” is timeless. It’s a sweet story about a new little boy in town who’s very sad because he misses his friends at his old home. Davey steps in to help, but try as he might, he cannot get Michael to smile, until a beautiful fairy, who lives up in Laughterland, (Where all the tickliest clouds float!) helps Davey share his gift of laughter with Michael. This book is about being new, friendship, sharing, and the healing power of laughter, all tied together with just a touch of magic! You know, laughter is the best medicine! Ages 1 to 101! This can be purchased on Amazon, as below, and at

My second book was just released in November, 2018. “The Town of Alpaca” is for elementary school children. This book has everything you could want for your child. My books are written with healthy values in mind. This one is loaded with them: diversity, understanding, acceptance, tolerance, friendship, hard work, trust, persistence, working together toward a common goal, and hope. It’s message is quite timely, as the characters are depicted by a pair of llamas and a pair of alpacas. These animals are alike in some ways and different in some, exactly like people, and they need to learn that they can trust and like each other, even though they are different animals. In our world today, the messages of diversity and acceptance can never be stressed enough. And who doesn’t love llamas and alpacas these days?!

Along with the fun of the story, there is a chart detailing the similarities and differences of these two animals and a glossary with some of the harder words in the book. The glossary has the definition of the word, how it is used in the book, and then asks the child to think of something in his or her own life that goes along with that word. A story, animals, pictures, values, and education. See? What more could you want for your child?

The “Town of Alpaca” has been nominated for the 25th Annual CIPA EVVY Awards. These few nominations are made by Outskirts and “represent the very best of our yearly publications.”

It can be purchase on Amazon at,

at and

directly through the publisher at . They will give you a bulk discount if you purchase 9 or more books.

Finally, you can purchase them through me at The site accepts Paypal.

Thank you all for reading my post and for considering my books as worthwhile gifts for the most precious things in your lives, your children. I want my child readers to always “Do the ‘Write’ Thing!”. Feel free to contact me with any questions. Happy Reading!

animals, Children, children's book, diversity, juvenile fiction

Children Are Worth It!

The Christmas buying season is over and all my books have been delivered and paid for (well almost everyone has paid!). But wait, there’s more! Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, Welcome Spring, Easter, and of course the “Just Because I Love You Day” which is every day! There is never a bad reason to buy a book, especially for a child. This is my second book, and I’m pretty proud of it. It’s different than the regular children’s books because it centers around a real life, adult-type dilemma, written so children can understand it, and resolved by applying healthy values than they can use in their lives forever. My books all use character-building values to help children become better people and always do the right thing. All this plus a glossary of big words and a chart detailing the similarities and differences between llamas and alpacas make this an enjoyable and worthwhile book for a child to read. If you have a business such as  a medical office, school, real estate, etc., consider using these as perfect gifts or to keep children occupied in waiting rooms. If you buy more than 9 books at a time you will get a 50 % discount on my Outskirts site below, which is pretty nice! The bottom link is to my other website, where you can buy my first book, “The Giggle Box”.  Check them out! Happy gifting and reading!