Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ready for your 2014 Reading Challenge? Fill up your Kindle with more than 60 great $.99 books.



Between December 26 and December 29 ONLY, you can get fabulous books by bestselling authors a mere .99 each on your kindle!

My latest book, Eternal Beauty is part of this sale. I hope you'll stop by and check out the entire selection. A great way to fill up your kindle for your 2014 reading challenge.

Friday, December 20, 2013

What's Wrong With Our Children? Rants and Raves.

At the wonderful age of 58 I became a parent again when we took custody of our almost 5 year old grandson. We noticed some immediate problems such as his inability to watch TV for more than a few minutes. His school had informed us that they believed he had ADHD as well as the possibility that he was slightly mentally retarded. We went to work--really hard work, teaching him to speak properly, proper social interaction with others, nutrition, diet, structure and yes, discipline. In many areas he excelled. We've had our ups and downs, and for about three months worked with an attitude that was diagnosed as ODD. I found that interesting, as I saw it as stretching his boundaries to see how far he could go, and what he could get away with. After six months of good teaching skills (pre-school) he was able to start kindergarten. Although late in the year (December) he was able to participate and with help graduated to first grade. We've come to the conclusion that he does have a minor learning disability, and we're looking for ways to work around that, with it, and keep him on track with the rest of his class.

Now, this brings me back to my original question: "What's wrong with our children today?" The article below states that 11 percent of all school children have been diagnosed with some form of ADHD. The second article, even more scary, states that 1 to 16 percent of school age children have been diagnosed with ODD. WOW! I went through 12 years of basic education, and I don't ever remember a child with ADHD or ODD. We had good kids and bad kids, fights and all the normal things you experience in a school setting--but we never had school shootings or children so angry they wanted to kill. My own children went through 12 years of basic education. I was very involved with the PTA and the school and I don't remember any children that had ADHD or ODD. Once again, good kids, bad kids and normal fights, etcetera.

If you pay close attention to the articles it's apparent that no one really knows what causes ADHD or ODD and they really aren't sure how to treat it, except with drugs. Lots of drugs, that don't help the children academically, and put them on a road for drug use the rest of their life. Some of these drugs have drastic side effects. They can make the children angry. I'm not anti-medication, but I am a true believer that every other available avenue should be explored prior to starting any child on medication. Once the medication is started it's rare that it's ever discontinued and there's really no way to measure the effects on future generations until we get there.

Living this life with a now six year old, I can tell you part of what I think is wrong with our children. First, it's doctor's and mental health practitioners need for an "easy" solution--medication. And second, it's our school system. Our grandson started exhibiting the ODD symptoms at home after about 3 months of first grade. And boy has first grade changed since my day, and even my children's day. He has reading, writing, math, social studies, geography, Spanish (and some even have Chinese), art and history. Excuse me, but WTH? He's six. When we went to school we spent the first year learning the basics--reading, writing, math. We concentrated on learning English, not foreign languages. We didn't have words like "homophone" to learn the meanings of--which by the way I had to look up on line, and when I asked two very intelligent attorneys if they knew what it was their answer was no. If three college educated professionals don't need to know what "homophone" means, then why the heck does a first grader need that? And that's just one of many, many words I've seen at night that blow me away. Useless, and unnecessary. He's diagramming sentences for nouns, verbs, etcetera. Once again, WTH? He can't even really read well at the moment.

We attended a parents meeting with his special education reading teacher who informed us that by the end of the year the goal was for our child to read 105 to 160 words a minute. She asked if we had any questions. I raised my hand and asked--what part does comprehension play in that? The answer shocked me. "Oh, we aren't worrying about comprehension, just being able to read and recognize that many words by the end of the year." I guess I'm stupid, because I really can't comprehend the benefit to a child to be able to read hundreds of words a minute and yet have no comprehension of what the words mean, which means he'll have no true connection to what he's reading and it won't be important enough to remember. He comes home with pages of homework every night. During the winter hours he has little or no time play by the time he finishes his homework, reading and spelling study.

His ODD symptoms stopped when we stopped. We stopped pushing him to be at the top of his class, and accepted the fact that he might have to repeat a grade now or sometime in the future. We started teaching him at home in a different way. We take it slower and we concentrate on comprehension not speed. We're approaching everything at a slower pace. Yes, he still has to keep up at school, but he's learning the basics at home. We found the basis for his anger. It was confusion and frustration. I'm sure if I were thrown into a Quantum Physics class without any basics behind me, I would soon become confused and frustrated, which would eventually lead to anger. If he can't spell homophone or give you the definition, then so what? He's probably never going to need that in the real world.

It's also important to note that his ADHD symptoms would clear up for weeks at a time when he was grasping what was happening around him. Teaching him comprehension of math, words and life has worked wonders for him. He isn't perfect by a long shot, and I'm sure we'll have problems again, but we're laying the groundwork for defusing the anger that is so prevalent in our young people today. We're accepting his anger as long as he's fully aware of what's causing the anger.

My rant and rave is really focused on the mental health and medical profession that diagnoses these children and places them on heavy medications without really trying to look for an alternative. I'm sure there are children out there who really have true ADHD and may even have ODD although I'm still on the fence on that one. And I know how frustrated we as parents can become when we simply can't understand what's wrong with our children and how to help them. I know what it feels like to reach the end of my rope. The bottom line for me was finding answers to complicated issues without masking them. And before you think I haven't been there--well, my grandson sent me in the hospital twice (bear in mind he's six) by kicking me hard enough to crack a rib. He's put his foot through our living room wall. We've had to restrain him to keep him from hurting us or himself. We've been there. We've tried all forms of punishment, and nothing worked until we backed up and decided to try a different route. We would accept his anger and give him a healthy way to express it as long as he understood where it was coming from. We have pop sickle sticks for him to break and a punching bag to really get it all out.

I think it's time the government took a good long look at medications prescribed for children as well as what's in the vaccines babies are given today. It's time for the school systems to look at just how much they're trying to force into small children's brains and perhaps back up and teach the basics first, and when a child has a full grasp of the basics then add things like Spanish, history and geography. Children would have a much easier time in 4th, 5th, 6th and high school years if the first three years concentrated on basics and comprehension. And perhaps we wouldn't have so many angry children.

Rant over!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Author Newsletters

Up until this year I really hadn't given much consideration to newsletters for fans, but having signed up for several myself and enjoying them immensely I decided to start my own. My first newsletter will go out tomorrow 12/15 and I'm excited. I stay in touch with fans on twitter and facebook and with my blog, but this is something totally different. In the newsletter I can share personal tidbits about my writing, my characters, my favorite authors and best of all--I get to give things away. Those who know me know how much I love giving things away and I'll be giving away $100.00 each month in 2014, as well as one month (not sure when yet) hosting a $500.00 giveaway. Yes, you heard it right--$500.00 to one lucky winner. Why? Well, newsletters are a form of advertising. You hope to reach fans who love your books and your characters and want more. I easily pay over $500.00 for a BookBub ad, which results in sales, but I'm not sure that everyone who buys these discounted books actually reads them, and I'd rather give my money and my time to the fans of Jacody Ives and Catherine Mans and hopefully to fans of that shh..... don't tell anyone--new series hero coming out in 2014.

I also love sharing my meditation/self-hypnosis/aromatherapy recipes and healing techniques that have worked for me and others. Through the newsletter I can offer these to people who are looking for something along those lines.

And last, but not least, it gives me an opportunity to share some other independent mystery authors and their books, introducing new material to my fans that I'm pretty sure they'll enjoy because I loved it. I would never recommend a book to my fans that I didn't enjoy myself.

If you're a mystery lover, Catherine Mans Fan, or Jacody Ives fan and love newsletters as I do, you can sign up for my newsletter on my blog here; my website at: or the Catherine Mans Fan Page - email signup.

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! Let's have an amazing 2014 together.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Gay Rights or Religious Freedom? I wouldn't eat this cake.

I found the above article sad in many ways. First, I am not a proponent of discrimination in any form but this case, taken to court, was a lose/lose situation in my eyes. Yes, a ruling was made that Masterpiece Cakeshop must make a cake, which means all cake shops regardless of whatever reason must bake a cake for gay couples, or for anyone who wants one. Mr. Phillips had refused based on religious beliefs. The judge ruled that baking the cake wouldn't hurt his business, but would most likely increase his business and make it more profitable. It wasn't about money for Mr. Phillips--it was about upholding his religious beliefs. He offered to bake any other items the couple might want, just not a wedding cake. Clearly he didn't hate the people, he just couldn't in his heart support the marriage. Mr. Phillips' attorney made a statement that I found very true: “America was founded on the fundamental freedom of every citizen to live and work according to their beliefs,” Martin said in a prepared statement. “Forcing Americans to promote ideas against their will undermines our constitutionally protected freedom of expression and our right to live free.”

What appears to be a win for gay couples isn't a win at all but will in reality only foster more hate. Mr. Phillips appears to be a good man. I'm sure if he bakes a cake for the couple he will bake them a beautiful, delicious cake. Not everyone who may be forced to abide by this ruling will be. And truly, would you want to eat a cake or serve a cake to your guests made by someone who didn't want to bake you a cake? I wouldn't. How do you know they didn't grind up maggots in the flour and bake them in the cake? You wouldn't taste it or see it, but the baker would know it was there. How do you know they didn't spit in the batter before baking it? You wouldn't see it, or taste it, but the baker would know it was there. There are a million things the person baking your special cake could do to it that wouldn't leave a taste or be seen, that are sickening to think of.

My children would tell you that I often applaud people for standing up for their beliefs even if I disagree with them. In this case I applaud the gay couple for standing up for their rights to be served by anyone and treated equally with other couples getting married, but I also applaud Mr. Phillips for standing up for his religious beliefs. Both were right and both had rights. If this were the ONLY bakery in the world that made wedding cakes I would say that the couple had every right to go to court and get a ruling. It isn't the ONLY bakery in the world that makes wedding cakes. Clearly the couple could have gone to another bakery that would have been happy to bake them a beautiful cake. Mr. Phillips wouldn't have been forced to lose his rights to uphold their rights. And they could have had their cake and eaten it too, as could their guests, without the nagging fear in the back of their mind that the baker did something nasty to it.

When we take an action in court to force someone to do something against their will, we may think we've won, but there are no winners. We fan the fires of hate in those just looking for a reason to hate. And there are plenty of those people out there. Mr. Phillips doesn't appear to be the type of person to hate, but I would guarantee you he bakes his cakes with love, because he loves what he does. If he bakes this cake it won't be make with love. It may be beautiful and even delicious, but it won't be a happy cake and I doubt very seriously the couple will enjoy it at all.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The perfect gifts for mystery lovers!

Gifting can be difficult for some, but easy for others. Here's some great gifts for mystery lovers.

Mystery lovers love books. Mystery lovers love series. Did you know you can gift a copy of a book to arrive on a certain day? Perhaps a special birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day.  Simply hit the gift a copy button, enter your recipients email address and choose the day you want it delivered. Amazon will deliver it at 12:00 on the day of your choiee. Imagine your friend's surprise when they open Their Kindle or email and find a gift that will keep them entertained for days, weeks or even months.

If you're a mystery lover - check out the books below.   If you have a mystery lover on your gift list as I do - well, you've just found the perfect gift.

Catherine Mans Psychic Suspense / AmazonLSPrather / AmazonLPrather

MA Comley Justice Series / CruelJustice / ImpedingJustice / AmazonMAComleyJustice