December 24, 2008

Holiday Surprise . . .

Christmas came early for one member of our family this year . . .

She just couldn't wait . . .

Our brother and sister-in-law sent a box of gifts, which we put under the tree.

Since Lady had gotten into the chocolate-covered pretzels my sister sent the other day, I gave this box a good sniff. "No food," I said to our oldest son, feeling safe to leave the box under the tree while we went out.

Uh-oh. Someone forgot that a dog's sense of smell is about 100 times more powerful than ours.

Lady recognized her favorite scent -- dried chicken strips -- and tore through the box (and her stocking!) with great vigor at exactly the right spot. She was rewarded with oodles of chicken strips and just a bit of plastic bag.

Guess who had a belly ache last night? (But is tail-wagging fine now.)

Here's hoping YOUR holidays are full of happy surprises!


December 18, 2008

And the Winners Are . . .


Everyone's generous spirit during the holidays inspired me!

Twenty-four comments came in before the deadline, so I will be donating one autographed copy of my novel to the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition.

While all fifty states weren't represented in the comments, 22 states and two countries were: CA, PA, FL, MD, IL, WI, TX, MO, KY, CT, OR, MI, VA, AL, GA, NY, OH, MS, ID, TN, NH, MA, Canada and Ireland!

Everyone's name was written on a slip of paper and thrown into a hat.

Our dog, Lady, inspected the slips of paper to make sure everything was on the up and up. It was.

Then our cat, Jasmine, walked by and with indifference.

Finally, our celebrity judge -- MY DAD -- who is visiting from New Jersey, limbered up his fingers and pulled out the winners.

Dad was obviously having way too much fun being a celebrity judge.

The two winners are DDurance (Deirdre) and Kim Kasch. Deirdre and Kim, please e-mail me at dgep (at) hotmail (dot) com and let me know to whom you'd like the autograph as well as your mailing address.

Congratulations to our winners. Thank you to our celebrity judge. And happiest and healthiest of holidays to YOU, dear blog reader!

Wishing you much joy and peace this holiday season,

December 12, 2008

Books Make Great Gifts . . .

Before you do your holiday shopping this weekend, check out this video . . .

And thanks for all the inspiring comments on my book giveaway post. Can't wait to find out who wins the autographed novels! If you haven't already entered, there's still plenty of time.

In the meantime, Elmo, Judy Blume, Dan Brown and a few other famous folks have something to tell you . . .

December 10, 2008

Autographed Books for the Holidays Contest

An autographed copy can be yours for the holidays!

“Laugh-out-loud adventures combined with just the right amount of drama make this a great read.”Minnesota Parent

“Fabulous middle-grade novel about an awkward spelling-bee champ whose governor mother is running for the Democratic nomination. Timely, funny and written in a great voice.”Staff Pick at Children’s Book World

“This entertaining novel offers believable middle school situations, a rip-roaring finale and a funny, memorable heroine.”Buffalo News


How to enter:

1. Tell one friend/family member/teacher/tween about this contest.

2. In the comment section, write the state in which this person lives.

3. Also in the comment section, write one nice thing you're doing during the holidays.

4. That's it!

5. One entry/comment per person, please.

6. Hurry! The contest ends December 17th at midnight. (Winners will be chosen at random and announced December 18th.)

There's more . . .

I will also donate one autographed novel to the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition for every 25 comments. Additionally, I'll donate one extra autographed novel to the Coalition if all fifty states are represented in the comment section.

Can't wait to read your comments! (I've written the first comment as an example.)

Good luck and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


December 8, 2008

The Cons and Pros of Working from Home . . .

Cons of working from home . . .

1. People assume that since you're home, you're available to volunteer, babysit, chat, etc.
2. You are entirely too close to the washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator and TV.
3. Talking to your cat, dog, goldfish or self is decidedly less stimulating that talking to actual human beings.
4. Children don't realize that when you're facing the computer screen and typing madly, you're actually working. "He breathed on me!" "Well he breathed on me first!"
5. Telemarketing calls. Survey calls. Library reminder calls.
6. If you steal office supplies, well . . .

Pros of working from home . . .

1. Dress-Like-A-Clown Day:

December 1, 2008

Does Punctuation Really Matter?

Should you ever doubt the importance of punctuation in clarifying the meaning of words, I present you two paragraphs from Avi's delightful book, A Beginning, A Muddle, and an End: The Right Way to Write Writing.

Each paragraph has the exact same words, but different punctuation. Notice how the punctuation affects the meaning.

1) "Avon! Don't forget all I said. You must not! Speak the truth about what happened! Things will be better, I think. To lie about the truth, it never helps!"

2) "Avon, don't! Forget all I said. You must not speak the truth about what happened. Things will be! Better, I think, to lie. About the truth . . . It never helps!"

Thank you, Avi, for showing us that when it comes to matters of punctuation, punctuation matters!

Happy punctuating,