Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Enter to Win a Kindle Paperwhite - 47+ Fabulous Blogs with Fantastic Prizes - 2014 Indie Writer's Unite Summer Splash Blog-Hop!

Welcome to the 2014 Indie Writers Unite Summer Splash Blog-Hop! 

Ready for loads of fun and lots of prizes? Let's get started.

Once you've entered my contest, just click here, or the Summer Splash Blog Hop Main Page link at the end of my blog, and you'll be taken back to the home page to hop on over to 46 other fabulous blogs with fantastic prizes.






MY PRIZES

First Place




Love reading? Everyone I've talked to loves their Kindle Paperwhite. Value: $119.00 (winner may take their choice of the Paperwhite or cash, just in case they already have a Paperwhite).


SECOND PLACE



fcb7c-amazongift



$25.00 Amazon Gift Card


THIRD PLACE

 An Autographed Copy of Both Catherine Mans Psychic Suspense Novels

 kindle eternal beautyeReader-BetYouCantFind Me - Seal

As with all contests, there are some rules.  Please visit the main page by clicking on the Summer Splash Blog Hop photo above for the contest rules for extra prizes. Follow the rafflecopter directions below to enter my contest.  You must be 18 or over to enter and a citizen of a country to which I can gift the Kindle paperwhite or cash prize. Prizes must be claimed within 48 hours after notification. Good Luck and please have fun!


a Rafflecopter giveaway




As an extra gift I've lowered the ebook price of the Catherine Mans Psychic Suspense Novels to $.99 for the duration of the contest.  Love mysteries with a paranormal twist, and a little romance?  You'll love these!










kindle eternal beauty





Back to Summer Splash Blog Hop Main Page

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Save $6.00 - Book 1 and 2, Catherine Mans Psychic Suspense Novels

A Father's Day Special Offer - Both the Catherine Mans Psychic Suspense Novels are now $.99 through Monday 6/16/14. If you love mysteries with plots and sub-plots, download a sample and check them out.


Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iBooks







Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iBooks




Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Do you suspect your child has a learning disability? Our experience with Learning RX

Two years ago, we took custody of our then four and a half year old grandson. We realized immediately that we had problems. He could barely talk and couldn't sit still for more than two or three minutes. Even with cartoons that he liked, it was impossible for him to sit through more than a few minutes of the show. We met with his kindergarten teacher as there were two weeks left of school in the year when we took custody. We were told that although no official diagnosis had been made because his guardians at the time wouldn't allow it, it was believed that he was slightly mentally retarded with ADHD. We enrolled him in a really good daycare with a preschool and kindergarten program.  We found immediately that he knew almost nothing. He recognized only 3 letters out of the entire alphabet and no numbers. We went to work. Within three months we saw a difference, but not enough to start him in regular school so we waited. In six months we had him tested by the school system and he was allowed to start public school in the middle of the year.  He struggled, but he was in many ways a little sponge. The problem was there were so many things he didn't know. Every parent has seen the little sheets sent home where you match the animal or the picture to the word. For most children this is relatively easy, but for our child it was hard because he didn't know what anything was. No one had ever shown him a giraffe, or an elephant or talked to him to know what a gate was, or a table.

One of the first things we noticed is that he had no concept of the meaning of words. He's trying to learn to read and spell, but he doesn't know what any of those words mean or how they're used.  Within 8 months we noticed he could watch an entire movie.  This started slow, but continued from 5 minutes to 10 minutes to 20 minutes to a full show.  Amazing from the fact that before 2 or 3 minutes was tops.  Still there were problems.  Behavior problems started to develop.  There had always been some, but they got worse.  From working with him I realized that the majority of these problems initiated from his frustration of not being able to do all the things other kids were able to do--he thought easily.  His mind didn't work the way everyone else's did.  He didn't grasp directions, concepts and his cognitive thinking was low.  Really, really low.  He would watch you, judge your emotions and know whether to seek a hug or run away, but he couldn't grasp the concept of 4 plus 4 equals 8.  And if he ran out of fingers to count on, we were in real trouble.

We had over the first year and a half had numerous medical tests run, including an MRI of the brain.  There were no apparent physical reasons for his problems.  Having worked with him night after night I realized that something was wrong.  He wasn't mentally retarded and although he has some of the symptoms I don't believe he's ADHD.  What I did believe was his mind just did not work right.  What he saw and what his mind correlated were two different things.  I started looking for therapies to help retrain his mind.  We first tried visual therapy, but after several months realized we were getting nowhere.  A little change, but not enough to really make a difference.  He was failing first grade badly.  His behavior as well as his academic progress was horrible.  There were times I almost gave in and had him medicated.  It would have been easier on us.  It probably would have been easier on the school.  He would have been calmer, more mellow and sit still--BUT--his brain would never have had the chance to correct whatever his issues were.  So I beat my head against the wall many nights.  I cried myself to sleep many nights.  I prayed several times day that I wouldn't lose control with him, or just give up.  His frustrations were also my frustrations, my anger, my depression.  I almost lost the will to live.  So, yes, medication would have been easier for me.  But I wanted him to have a normal, healthy, happy life.  I wanted him to grow up as a functioning member of society.  I wanted him to think, to learn, and to enjoy that process.  He couldn't do that if drugs were controlling his brain.  He had to learn to control his brain himself.  He had to learn coping skills. His mother was a severe drug addict. I'm sure she used drugs during her pregnancy.  One of the things she always told me was she had no coping skills. She used drugs when she was happy because they enhanced that feeling. She used drugs when she was sad, to get rid of that emotion.  She used drugs when she was angry. Excuses?  Yes, but it all boiled to the fact that she had no coping skills for her emotions or situations happening around her. With the background history of where our grandson had been, the things that had been done to him and the things that still trigger moments of total melt down, I couldn't afford to let him fall into that category.  If he's going to have any chance at all for a normal life he has to learn self-control and coping skills.  He can't do that on drugs that control for him.

Late last year, or early this year I came across an article for the Learning RX which talked about their programs for autistic and children with ADHD. I read the good, the bad and the ugly about this program.  One of the things that influenced me the most was comments by Special Ed teachers who had trained in the program to use with their children at school.  Some of these children made amazing progress.  Children with severe learning programs still made some progress.

We scheduled a meeting with the center, had our grandson tested and talked at length with administrator about his issues, fears and the problems we were having.  His scores on the test were something the center had never seen before. He scored a straight 20 across the board in all cognitive and other areas.  No fluctuation up or down, just a straight 20.  We were told up front they weren't sure how he would respond as they'd never seen this before.  And the program is expensive.  There are several options where they do all the training or it's done some at home and some at the center.  Having gone through months of beating my head against the wall and it taking up to two hours to do one page of simple homework, I opted for them to do all the training.  It's a 12 week program, four nights a week for an hour and fifteen minutes.  We knew it could be a waste of money.  We knew he could balk and not want to go.  We went into it with our eyes wide open.  This was our last hope in many ways to keep him off of medication and find a way to help him.  He couldn't read, he couldn't spell and he couldn't do simple math.

We started the program in late February.  Within two weeks we were getting reports from his teachers about how well he was doing. Not just academically, but also his behavior had improved greatly.  His IEP reading teacher met with me to tell me that he was reading, and reading with confidence and self-esteem.  Homework that took over two hours was suddenly being done in less than 10 to fifteen minutes and he was doing most of it by himself with just a little instruction from us.  He grasped the concepts of addition and subtraction.  He grasped the concepts of vowels and consonants and how blending them made sounds and words.  He developed some reasoning skills.  In other words, he excelled across the board.

This program has been a life saver for us.  He has a long way to go, but now that his brain is learning to function the way it should and his eyes and brain are working together, the rest won't be nearly as hard.  We went from not being able to add 2 plus 3 to being able to add 146 plus 23.  We went from missing every word, except maybe one on a spelling test to getting them all right, or only missing one and sometimes 2 when the words were really hard.  We went from sounding out EVERY letter in a word (which trust me was frustrating and sounded horrible) to being able to sight read many, many words or grasp the word with just a little bit of sounding out.  He now reads books.  He now thinks about choices and what happens when he makes a choice.  He now understands when he's angry he needs to sit down and chill out for a minute--not put his foot through the wall.  He went from screaming for 2 hours at a time to an occasional less than a minute feel sorry for himself cry when he doesn't get his way.  We went from constant episodes of open defiance to small issues of "that's back talk"--"oh, I'm sorry, granny".  We went from having to send him to his room to his going to his room because he knows he needs to chill out.  He can sit through an entire movie at the theater.

Our experience with the Learning RX has been amazing and wonderful.  Was it easy?  NO!  After 7 plus hours at school he had to go for an hour and fifteen minutes of very high powered tutoring four nights a week.  Then come home for homework.  The program is 12 weeks long.  He's six years old.  He never fought us about going, but there were times I praised his instructor as having the patience of Job.  There were times I had to go into the room and remind him of proper behavior to show respect.  There were times when we all looked at each other and shook our heads because he was driving us crazy.  Why?  Because he was tired.  He'd been in school all day.  All the other kids were outside playing and he wouldn't be finished with everything until it was dark or almost dark. It was at times very difficult, but the progress we were seeing encouraged all of us to keep going.  This is his last week.  Then he'll be tested and then he'll graduate from the program.  The program for his age is called Lift-Off.  And that's exactly what it's done.  It's lifted him up so that he could catch up with those around him. Now we have a baseline for continuing and keeping him caught up so that his future academic progress won't be so hard for him or us.

Although I highly recommend the Learning RX program, I'll be the first to say that every child is different.  Our grandson's progress here was probably top of the line.  They had what he needed.  This may not work for every child.  Some may do better, some will seemingly get no benefit at all.  It's an individual thing. And as I said it's very expensive.  As long as you see it that way and go into it with your eyes wide open, you're willing to drive every night, sit and wait for an hour and fifteen minutes, then drive home, get dinner, homework, baths, etcetera, then I'd say give it a try.  It's not easy on the children or the parents.  It's the hardest 12 weeks we've had in a long time because not only was his nights taken up, so were ours.  Was it worth it?  Yes.  Every minute and every dollar.

We've giving him the summer off, and then there's a second program based just on reading and math that we may look at if he's still having trouble when he enters 2nd grade.  He'll be tested next week and I can't wait to see his scores.  If he has a good day and good night and puts his true effort into that testing it should be an awesome score for this program.

Some reading this may believe I'm anti-medication.   To an extent I am.  I need to see some physical or emotional need for that medication.  In our case simply allowing medication to control what he needed to learn to control himself would have been the wrong option.  There are children who probably need medication so therefore I would not be anti-medication in those cases.  The question I had to keep asking myself was--"Are you medicating him for his benefit or because you're tired of dealing with him?"  The answer was always "I'm tired of dealing with him."  Until I can answer that question that it's for his benefit, I'll always look for an alternative.  If one can be found I'll grab it first.

If you're interested in learning more about Learning RX, check out the link below.  Make sure you read all the reviews, good and bad.  Make a list of issues for your child, and ask specific questions of what you can expect over the course. Get involved in what's being done and watch your child's progress or lack thereof and discuss this with both the teacher and the administrator.  I've found them to be very open to both questions and issues.  And if you have a child with a learning disability, don't ever give up on that child. Seek therapy for yourself if you reach the point I have reached many times.  I did, and it helped to have someone to sound things off of.  Someone to understand what I was going through. Someone to encourage and help me through the rough spots.

Will all of this continue?  Only time will tell. He could revert and stop learning again. He could revolt and refuse to spend the time necessary to help him continue his learning process. He could eventually need medication. Only time will answer those questions. I have my fingers crossed.

http://www.learningrx.com/








Monday, April 14, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

I want to thank Robert DeBurgh for inviting me to join the My Writing Process Blog Tour. Robert learned to fly at the age of fifteen and has over twenty thousand hours of flight time. He has been a flight instructor, cargo pilot, mail pilot, bush pilot, mercenary fighter pilot and has served as captain for three airlines. As a professional pilot, DeBurgh has flown in the US, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Africa. He has served as captain for three overseas airlines and for seventeen years served his country in the capacity of a pilot examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration until his retirement. As an author, he has written aviation articles and stories for various publications and has written many science fiction and fantasy short stories, was a columnist for two newspapers and associate editor for “American Roadracing Magazine.” At the present time he writes articles for “Indian Aviation Magazine” and several US magazines and is the author of the widely acclaimed novels, "Riders of the Wind" and "Winds of Fate". In each of these novels DeBurgh has woven a tale of high adventure set against an accurate background of actual historical events. His new novel, The "Winds of Kunlun Shan", due to be released in the autumn of 2014, is the third book in the Riders of the Wind series. Riders of the Wind (Universal link) http://viewbook.at/ridersofthewind Winds of Fate (Universal link) http://viewbook.at/windsoffate


MY WRITING PROCESS BLOG TOUR

 1)  What am I working on?


I'm currently working on two major projects, a romance which is now in the hands of the editors (shudder, shudder); and a legal thriller introducing a new series with Assistant DA Jenna James. Hopefully both will be released later this year. After finishing this project I have a paranormal romantic suspense in the works as well as six novellas and one full-length novel for the Catherine Mans Psychic Suspense series.  Exciting! Lots of hours at the computer ahead for me this year.


2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?


I think you could take a thousand authors and give them the same story to write and each would be unique. My writing is interspersed with my own style, words and emotions. Although mysteries have the same general themes of good guys/bad guys, my good guys and bad guys will be different than anyone else's. My years with the judicial system and working with law enforcement allow me an insight into both areas that carries over into my work.  I love character driven fiction and truthfully once the characters are developed they tell the stories.

3.  Why do I write what I do?


A question I’ve been asked before and it's one that’s sometimes difficult to answer. I love all things mysterious and things that make me think outside the norm. I’ve always loved puzzles and cryptograms. I love analyzing dreams. My metaphysical studies into psychics, hypnosis, dream analysis, touch healing and natural herbal remedies added a new element to my love of mysteries. By combing the two, mystery and metaphysical, I felt I could write a more entertaining story as well as offer some research and facts into the metaphysical areas that I’ve found beneficial.


4.  How does my writing process work?


With a lot of blank pages staring at me.  Just kidding.  With me every book is different. Sometimes I have nothing more than a title that begs to tell a story. Sometimes it’s a character who wants their story told. I’ve often wished I could sit down and do an outline and follow it, but that never works for me. My first draft is usually my outline. It tells the story from A to Z. From there I go back and read and rewrite putting in the facts, geography, fluff as we sometimes call it, until the story is complete. I can spend hours upon hours of computer research for a simple paragraph in order to make sure the facts are correct. I love writing early in the morning and late at night. In the mornings my mind is fresh and perhaps I’ve dreamed a scene I really want to get down on paper. In the evenings my mind is filled with real life emotions, feelings, problems and accomplishments which I can relate to the different characters.

Who's Up Next?

These three amazing authors will be posting on April 21st.

M. A. Comley

Mel Comley is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling British author living in France. A wonderful person on top of being a bestselling author, Mel is very involved in animal rights. She has a witty sense of humor and keeps you entertained.  She has had an exciting career, and I can say from personal knowledge, writes page-turners that will keep you up late at night.  Not for the squeamish, but if you're a fan of TV shows like Criminal Minds, 24, NCIS, and love police procedurals, you're going to love the Justice Series and the Intention Series. Visit her on Facebook at:  Mel Comley and Friends. If you're on twitter drop her a line.  Stop by her blog.  Or visit her website.




Jeff Brackett

Jeff was destined for storytelling. A father whose daredevil adventures personified the rebellious preacher's son, a Choctow mother, and a veritable cast of characters in the family made for lots of "Did you hear about?" stories, as well as inevitable oral histories.

Jeff has been influenced by martial arts, trigonometry, Star Wars and yes, ice cream. His wife is a huge fan of J. D. Robb, and he listens to her for adding "spice" to his novels. (Smart guy).

Jeff and his family live somewhere near Houston, Texas, with two "goggers", three kids, one grandchild a cat name Dead Tehya. (I'll bet there's a story in there somewhere).

Visit Jeff on Facebook, Twitter or stop by his blog and website.




Darlene Franklin-Campbell

A fellow Kentucky author, and fabulous person. Darlene grew up in a family of storytellers. Her father taught her that stories frame our existence. They tie together ancestors and one to another. They help you find your place in this world.

Darlene believes everyone has a story to tell, and books--well, books are magic. They have power to transcend time, space and culture.

I've had the wonderful opportunity to hear Darlene read, and if you love stories told with a bit of magical humor and reality, then you definitely want to connect with Darlene.

Visit Darlene on Facebook, or stop by her website or blog, and check out her wonderful books.







Friday, April 4, 2014

Mystery At Its Best - Newsletter Sign-Up Drive

If you love mystery, prizes, author swag such as autographed books, book bags, bookmarks, and fun, I having a special newsletter drive.  The first 100 to sign up will be gifted a ebook copy of Eternal Beauty my latest release for Kindle or Nook (sorry, I don't know how to gift Kobo or iBooks, however I believe Kindle or Nook will work with these).  You'll also be entered in my monthly random.org drawing for a $100.00 giftcard.  This happens every month and there's one lucky winner every month.  Love mystery, fun, prizes--and a few writer's contests, such as poetry and flash fiction, for extra prizes.  Let's have fun together.

Already have Eternal Beauty - gift it to a friend you believe would enjoy it.  Already signed up, share with others who love to interact with authors and have fun.

Don't forget to confirm your subscription and then just drop me an email at:  linda@lindasprather.com  telling me whether you would like nook or kindle to claim your free gift.
















Thursday, March 27, 2014

Could a FaceBook post or an innocent Twitter comment come back to haunt you?

Unfortunately, if you find yourself involved in the legal system the answer to that question is YES.

I joined the justice system as a court reporter many, many years ago. When I became a court reporter the courts were keepers of the record, and in most instances those records were protected. Times have changed. In 1999 many insurance companies joined with nationwide court reporting services to provide court reporting services for defense and in some instances plaintiff depositions. Up until this time it was mandatory that court reporters be totally neutral. We could NOT share what we heard in a deposition with anyone outside the room. We could NOT share the deposition transcript with anyone other than the attorneys and the courts. We could NOT have any relationship with anyone involved in the deposition that gave the appearance of impropriety. Kentucky court reporters fought long and hard to make contracting illegal in Kentucky.  It is, but unfortunately the law is not followed by everyone, nor is it enforced in a way that would stop it.

Over the years we jumped from just court reporting services to legal consulting services and trial preparation services and national data banks were set up to store the depositions taken, including medical records of the deponents.

Something sent to me today, both frustrates and terrifies me, as the corporations are once again moving in a direction that clearly will harm citizens.  They are now getting access to your personal data which includes according to claimscout.com the following information and statement:

"Using proprietary methodology...which means, A methodology that a trader keeps to himself because (1) he doesn’t want to share its secrets or (2) he doesn’t want to answer questions about what he does.

Claimscout monitors: Facebook, Myspace and other social networks. Blogs and journals, online communities, twitter, message boards, Reddit, Digg and social sites. Personal websites and much more.

They state they can: Scout out whether a person's claim is in fact valid.


Imagine this:  You're talking to your mother online or facebook and you say something like, I fell this morning and my back is hurting.  You're injured in a car wreck and it hurts your back.  They're going to bring up your comment to your mother stating--your back was already hurt.

Or you tweet, "On vacation, having a great time."  Humm....doesn't sound like you're too injured if you're on vacation and having a great time.  You don't say in your tweet that you're having a great time watching the kids because your leg is broke and you can't get involved with them.  But no one is going to care about that.

We're often warned to watch what we say because it's out there forever.  You may think you're never going to be involved in an accident or that your comments are too innocent to hurt you.  No comment now is too innocent to hurt you.  Someone who has no right to those comments is monitoring you.





Thursday, March 6, 2014

Harsh winter, but puppy love!

Those who know my family know that myself and my sons have always been dog lovers.  We love them from the puppy stage to old age.  Some were surprised when Coby and I got together because he wasn't a dog lover. In fact, he made it very plain to me that there would be no dogs in our house.  Because I loved him, I agreed for a long time.  Actually about fifteen years.

Two years ago our grandson came to live with us.  He was 4 1/2.  Of course he wanted what?  A dog.  About six months in to our residence Coby took us to see a litter of Shih Tzu's.  There were seven of the cutest little puppies you could ever want to see.  We told Chaz he could pick the one he wanted.  He was in puppy heaven.  He sat down on the floor and while six of them bounced around him one crawled into his lap and looked up at him with those big puppy eyes.  That's the one we took home and Chaz named him Popcorn.  Long story there, but he really wanted a pet named Popcorn.


It was really quite funny to watch Coby slowly change from a non-dog owner to totally captivated by this little ball of fur, who has grown a lot since we first got him.  We take turns walking him, and last week on one really cold, snow covered day Coby left with Popcorn for his nightly around the block walk.  I happened to look out the door as they were coming back and Popcorn was nowhere in sight--until I saw this little head sticking out of Coby's jacket.  When he finally got home I asked what happened and he said "his little feet were cold so I just picked him up and carried him."  Oh, does that puppy have him wrapped around his paws, because he loves it outside and he doesn't care how cold or snowy it is.  The more snow the better he likes it.  Truth be told--Coby thought he was cold and wanted to keep him safe and warm.  How sweet!