Friday, August 26, 2011

SCASL workshop proposal

I've been asked to do a presentation at the SCASL (SC Association of School Librarians) conference in March and had to turn in a proposal for my intended workshop by today. I finally figured out a new workshop to do for librarians and got the proposal turned in last night. The Workshop is titled "Digital Reports: From Book to State Reports" and will utilize "paper slide videos" for the basis of creating digital reports. This is a brand new workshop and will be presented for the first time at the conference. I hope the school librarians in South Carolina who will be attending this conference will come visit me during my workshop. Looking forward to meeting new people who can help get my books out there. See you all in the postings - Ma America :)

Art in the Park (or Sunday in the Park) Mint Hill and Hurricane Irene

As of noon Friday, it looks like we are still going to Mint Hill Sunday for Art in the Park (I believe in the past it may have been called Sunday in the Park). Ms. Faye Tollison, author of To Tell The Truth will be joining under the tent Sunday for this event. We have been keeping an eye on Hurricane Irene and hopefully wherever it lands tonight or tomorrow all will be safe and we will still be heading to Mint Hill to do this fun event. Shelley Stout, author of Radium Halos, may join us again this year but she may have another commitment. We shall see Sunday. Hope you all will join us for Art in the Park in Mint Hill, North Carolina, this coming Sunday for the next adventure.

State stories suspended until 2012

I will not be publishing any more state stories in 2011. I have been behind and have decided to catch up on some loose end projects (Finally Home, my YA paranormal mystery and fixing "Train of Clues" and republishing it as it has not been available pretty much since April of this year) before moving forward with more state stories. There will still be updates as to where the JGDS will be in the next five months. For now, the next book slated to come out will be State of Acceleration in January of 2012.

Hopefully my readers are following my website as well for updates, and will continue reading this blog for updates on events. Thanks for all your wonderful support - Ma America & the JGDS

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I received my Square today. What you may ask is it for? Well, I have been asked at several events if I take credit cards but prior to now I hadn't been able to. Square is a small device that hooks to either iPads, iPhones, iPod touches and some Android devices that is a card reader. I can accept credit cards at events now except I don't have any of the devices that Square should be used with.

Am looking into either an iPod touch or an iPad that I can get rather inexpensively to use with my Square. May be able to download the app to my computer and use my computer at events to accept credit cards (looking into that possibility now). If someone would like to gift me one of those devices as an early Christmas present or make a large order of books so I can afford to buy one, I'll be a happy camper - lol.

Hopefully I'll be able to start using my Square with the computer for now and eventually be able to buy a needed device. See you all in the postings - Ma America & the JGDS :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


By the name, one would think that kindlegraphs are just for ebooks, but that isn't the case. Kindlegraphs are available for all books even if not available on kindle. This is a cool way to get an electronic signature to any person who purchases your book not from a direct sale. I've put the JGDS books available so far on kindlegraph so anyone who has purchased a copy not directly from me can now receive a personalized message from me electronically (can be sent to your kindle or to your email and will be a PDF file with the cover of the requested book's kindlegraph and my message). All my author friends out there need to sign up and list their books - the process is very easy and there are some updates coming soon.

See you all in the postings - Ma America, The Travelin' Maven :) & the JGDS

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Love to Learn conference and NC Technology Expo GIS day

The Love to Learn conference was held yesterday at CPCC's Overcash Building as it had been for the previous two years. This was my third year participating, and the crowd seemed a bit bigger this year. It also seemed we had fewer vendors this year than last and more informational type exhibitors than folks selling curriculum related items (just how it seemed to me). Even though the attendee numbers seemed to be a bit more than last year, the feeling was that there were many first time homeschoolers, about to embark on the homeschooling adventure and those kind of thinking about homeschooling. I was a bit disappointed in my workshop attendance as there were plenty of kids there but I had only two kids show up for my drawing workshop and one for my writing workshop. This was in part due to a little miscommunication in the wording from the online description of my workshop and the printed schedule where there was no description - just the workshop title. I had a couple of parents thinking the workshop was geared to giving them direction on how to get their boys interested in writing. So I'm thinking for my workshops to be effective, I need to go back to doing games at the table and offering prizes there and doing workshops for the parents. Now that I'm developing a workshop for teachers and librarians, it shouldn't be a problem to do a workshop for parents on writing and getting the kids interested in writing. If I do any homeschool conferences next year, this will be what my workshops will be geared towards, instead of the kids, since this type of workshop is not netting me sales. It was a long day but I did make some good connections.

I know you are thinking "What does the NC Technology Expo GIS Day have to do with a homeschool conference?", and it's simple. Thursday afternoon while I was registering my youngest son for school, I received an email from a Mr. Paul Martin from the Meckelenburg County government offices. He stated he came across my books and was trying to think of a way to bring me up to participate in their Geography Awareness activity on November 16th (GIS Day). I invited him to come observe my workshop and he showed up. We chatted a good bit, he checked out the books and feels that I can offer something to the teachers and parents and students who attend GIS Day. Geography Awareness week falls November 13th through the 19th this year, that Wednesday falls right before I would leave for the Savannah Children's Book Festival but it should be a doable and relatively lucrative day. The only problem I have at this moment for being able to get to Charlotte on the 16th of November is transportation. With my daughter starting college on the 24th of this month and her class schedule being on campus Monday through Thursday, I'm pretty much carless during the day (from the time I drop my son off at school and return home for her to head out until she returns right before school is out for Benjamin), but he did say that there was the possibility of them offering me a stipend to get a rental car for the event. So looks like one more event has been added to my busy calendar, but I'm very excited for this new adventure. Stay tuned for more information as the time draws closer. - Ma America & The JGDS :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Love to Learn homeschool conference

It is that time of year - time for the Love to Learn homeschool information and resource conference. We will be making the trek to Charlotte Friday evening, meeting up with a friend of mine for dinner and then some rest and relaxation Friday evening. Saturday, I will be presenting both workshops for the kids - Draw-and-Tell (ages 5 to 8) and Writing Roads (ages 9 to 12). Jess will be helping me out again. I'm looking forward to the weekend.

If you happen to be in the Charlotte area and are a homeschooler, come visit the JGDS booth. For more information on registration, please check out the Love to Learn webpage. Hope to see you all there - E :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

State of Wilderness rereleased

As State of Wilderness went out of contract in June, Heather and I worked diligently to get it rereleased in July. After a few bumps, we have finally got it the way it should be, so State of Wilderness is available for purchase as of today. Just got the proof copy from the post office and it looks good. Still working on State of Acceleration so be looking for that in the next few weeks (hopefully by the middle of September) and State of Imagination right behind that.

My next fix has to do with Train of Clues - I haven't reviewed it since the Read Across America progam in March but there are some doubled paragraphs in there so that will be rereleased very soon. Happy reading, ya'll - Ma America & the JGDS :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

SCISA, SCCSS and GCSS conference updates

I called the SCISA today to find out if I could get more information about their teachers' conference or workshop coming up in November. They are going to email me the information as soon as they have everything fixed up. She also said she would love to have me do a presentation. So now the wheels are turning on what to present to a group of teachers. As a writer, I don't really feel I have much to offer teachers, but I'm going to go for it - a writing workshop for teachers. This one will be held at Ben Lippen School in November. So I'll make the trip to Columbia the first week of November.

As I'm not coming up with the funds for either of the state Council for the Social Studies conferences, I've decided to forego them this year and hope that maybe next year I can afford them and hook up with the social studies teachers. I'm happy with being able to get involved in a teachers' conference.

I'll keep plugging away, doing what I'm doing - homeschool conferences, independent school teachers' conferences and hopefully the council for social studies conferences with an occasional book festival thrown in there (can't let the Savannah one go because that is an opportunity to do school visits before the event).

Stay tuned for more updates as I get them. Ma America & the JGDS

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