Category Archives: Daily Log

How to Beat Bad Dreams

I love dreaming. I love meeting people and having strange adventures. I love flying and inventing amazing things. I love being able to solve any problem. I love being funny and happy and good at everything I do. Dreams grant us super powers and give us things we want.

But what happens when the nightmares hit?

In the second grade, I was bit in the foot by a wolf. It hurt so bad, it woke me up. When I tried to go back to sleep, I kept dreaming about the wolf biting me. This nightmare wouldn’t stop. Finally, I reached out and changed the channel on my dream. I don’t remember what I dreamed about next, but I do know that whenever that pesky wolf showed up, I clicked the remote and turned my dream tv to something else.

This ability is called lucid dreaming. It means you know you are dreaming. It also means you can do things in your dream on purpose.

Lucid dreaming takes practice. First you have to recognize that you are in a dream and not awake in real life. One way to get good at this is to create a dream journal. Keep a notebook by your bed and write down everything you remember from your dream when you wake up. As time goes on, you will remember more and more about your dreams.

Next, try to get your dream self to wave at you. Whenever you recognize that you are dreaming, tell your dream self to wave. If you are lucky, he will. This takes tons of practice and not everyone can do it. But, it is fun to try. In fact, studies show that kids have an easier time lucid dreaming than adults. I think this is because kids use their imagination more often than adults do when they are awake.

Once you get your dream self to move, ask him to do other things besides wave. Have him change the channel from the dream he is in and go to another place with the click of the button. If you don’t like television, you can try something different. Maybe your dream self can turn the page of a book or turn the corner to a different street. I’ve tried them all.

I dream all the time. Every morning I wake up with a new dream to add to my journal. Most of them are goofy or weird, like the time I was an octopus with tiny submarines for babies. Sometimes they are scary. When this happens, I turn the channel and make the bad dream disappear.

Sweet dreams~

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Posted by on July 2, 2015 in Daily Log


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Dust Bunnies and Plot Bunnies: What are they?

Every spring our Labrador Retriever sheds all her winter fur. This fur swirls into corners and under tables with dirt from our shoes, hair from our heads, skin cells and just plain dust. Eventually, these things tangle together and form a kind of mat or ball. This ball is held together by static electricity. This ball is known as a dust bunny.

Dust bunnies collect in even the cleanest of houses. They can often be found behind dressers, under beds, in closets and behind knick knacks on the book shelf. They collect in places where vacuum cleaners, dust clothes and brooms don’t always reach. Also, air movement from people in the house or from fans pushes all these dust bunny particles to the outer edges of a room.

So, where does the dust bunny get its name?

Nobody knows for sure. Some believe it came from the idea that real bunnies multiply very quickly–just like dust bunnies do.

According to Mental Floss, one female rabbit can have as many as 1,000 babies–or kits–in her lifetime. That sounds a little bit like the number of dust bunnies under my refrigerator right now! As a writer, we can spend so much time writing that we forget to dust as often as we should. Because of this, dust bunnies hop up everywhere.

The same idea is true for plot bunnies. Plot bunnies are used to describe the ideas that writers have. They are inspiration for story plots. Many writers spend a lot of time jotting down ideas based on things that happen in their lives. Writers often say, “I collect plot bunnies from watching my kids.” As you can imagine, kids do lots of interesting things. In this way, they are like walking plot bunnies!

Another word for writing ideas, or plot bunnies, is novel fodder.

Think about your favorite story. Where might the author have gotten inspiration from? What was the author’s plot bunny?

Now, look around you and start collecting those little bits of inspiration (like the bits of fibers and dust and hair that make up a dust bunny) and start weaving them into an amazing plot bunny of your own.

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Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Daily Log


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Dog Talk: how much do they understand?

We have a tiny dog who looks–and acts–a bit like the monkey on The Pirates of the Caribbean movies. She’s feisty and fun. She also knows when it’s time to “get your boys”, “go outside”, “eat”, or “walk.” She knows “where’s Bailey?” and will head off in search of her pack mate when you ask this question.

She’s not quite a genius, but she’s pretty good at understanding the things that are important to her.

Bailey, on the other hand, knows an entirely different set of words since she never, ever gets to climb in the car and “get your boys” after school. Instead, she responds to things like “where’s your toy?”, “get your ball”, “on your rug”, and “kennel up.”

Our grandma dog, Kallie, would hear the word “naughty” and slink off to the laundry room just in case we were talking about her. The poor thing took the blame for things she never did.

We even had a dog once who would “pick up” her toys and put them in a pile under one of the tables in the living room.

So, just how many words does the average dog know? Dog experts say ruff-ly 165, while some well-trained dogs have been known to learn over 250 words. This means they can understand as many words as the average toddler. That’s a big vocabulary!

What words does your dog know? How did you train him/her?

Curious minds want to know.


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Posted by on November 11, 2014 in Daily Log


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Tales from the Bully Box: short stories on bullying

Tales from the Bully Box is finally here!

BullyBox_FrontCover-3Bullying stinks, but knowing what to do about it can make things better. In Tales from the Bully Box, you will find short stories about kids just like you. They get bullied, and sometimes they even bully. But most of the time, they are bystanders who have to figure out what to do when they witness the bullying all around them. In “Hailey’s Shooting Star,” one-handed Hailey proves her worth on the basketball court and as a friend. In “The Eyes on the Back of My Head,” you’ll get to stare straight into Mike Mansky’s soul with a pair of super-secret laser eyes. Filled with stories that take readers on a journey from the classroom to summer camp and the basketball court to the mall, Tales from the Bully Box inspires kids to be the best friends they can be.

If you want to know more about the authors and what they are doing to help stop bullying, visit them at The Bully Box by clicking here.

I hope you have as much fun reading this anthology as I had helping write and edit it.


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Posted by on November 7, 2014 in Daily Log


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What is a Copyright?

We’ve all seen the symbol of the letter “c” inside a circle on the first page or two of books, but what does it mean?

A copyright is like a bank vault or locker for writers, musicians and artists. It protects songs, poems, novels and paintings from being stolen. As soon as something is created, it belongs to the person who created it. Nobody can use it without permission.

If someone shares, borrows or steals any part of a book, song or illustration, they are no different than a bank robber who has broken into the vault and stolen money.

You see, authors, musicians and artists get paid when they sell their work. If someone takes any part of that work without paying (or asking permission), money does not exchange hands. The work has been stolen.

Most people don’t realize that recording a song from the radio onto their ipod or their phone is breaking copyright. They don’t think anything of reposting a picture on the internet that someone else made. They have no idea that copying someone’s writing makes them a thief. But doing all those things can get people into big trouble. If they try to pass off someone else’s work as their own, they can get fined, kicked out of school or fired from work.

So, how do we copy the right way? Get permission. Pay for your own copy of a book, a picture, a movie or a song. And always give the creator credit. For instance, the image used above came from Classroom Clipart, a source of cool pictures that are available to members. I can use the pictures from their website for some things, but I can’t sell the pictures or anything with their pictures on it. 

Authors, musicians and artists don’t like to work for free. Would you?

Curious minds want to know.

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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Cat's Lexicon, Daily Log


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Bike Meet Forehead: writing the half truth

Back in the day, when I still wore pigtails and forgot to brush my teeth every morning, my sister and I were playing in the alley behind our house. I’m not quite sure exactly what happened, but all of a sudden, I was on the ground. Flat on my back. I looked up just in time to see my sister’s bike barreling toward me.

Forehead, meet tire.

My sister ran over my head, not once, but twice. Both her bike tires thunked over my forehead. Thunk. Thunk. I had tire tracks on my head for a week.

Okay, maybe not a week. In fact, I’m not even sure you could see the tire marks of her blue banana seat bike at all. However, the story sounds way cooler if my battle wounds remained visible for a whole week…or was it a month?

You see, that’s the amazing thing about being an author. It’s my job to make stuff up. I can pull ideas right out of thin air like a magician, I can embellish (which means to exaggerate the details), or I can tell half truths. As long as it makes sense and adds to my story, I can write just about anything.

Fast forward a few light years to my middle grade novel, Abigail Bindle and the Slam Book Scam. My main character Abi gets plowed over by the bullies–an event that inadvertently (which means in a round about way) helps her solve the mystery and clear her name.

When my sister ran over my head, I never solved a mystery, but I did call her a name or two. One for each tire track!

What unbelievable things have happened to you? As a writer, how can you make boring things sound better? When do things sound too crazy to be true?

Curious minds want to know.

p.s. In just a few short months, you’ll be able to read how I snuck my bike accident into a novel about boys, bullies and dirty tricks.

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Posted by on September 12, 2014 in Abigail Bindle, Daily Log


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What Does It Mean To Be Older Than Dirt

Did you know that six people in the world are more than 114 years old?

According to a story by USA Today (a very popular newspaper), six people were born in the 1800s and are still alive. Most of you who read this blog were born in the 2000s. That means the women featured in the story are more than 100 years older than you. (Click to read the article.)

Anyone who has lived in three different centuries should be older than dirt, and they just might be. You, on the other hand, are probably only as old as soil.

So, what’s the difference between dirt and soil? The following answers come from Popular Science, Discovery Education, A Microherder’s Manifesto and Science News. I combined their explanations to make it easier to understand.

  • Dirt is dead. It is made up of clay, sand and silt. Which basically means it is composed of crushed up rocks of different sizes.
  • Soil is dirt, plus living material like bacteria and decaying plants.
  • Soil is only about a foot deep: dirt goes all the way down to the bedrock. 

So, how is dirt made? Dirt happens when natural forces break down rock. Glaciers, earthquakes, rainfall and wind all play a part in crushing rock into smaller and smaller bits. When these bits get mixed with elephant pooh, rotting leaves and living organisms, dirt becomes soil.

In this way, soil is much fresher than dirt, and takes less time to make. But, it is impossible to have soil without dirt. In human terms, without the experiences of people way older than us (dirt), we wouldn’t be around today (soil).

People need other people. And even though old people can be scary, we should talk to them and learn about their lives. Sharing life stories makes our lives a much richer and fresher kind of soil.

My great aunt was raised in a cave. Because of this, she taught everyone around her to love nature and live off the land…er, soil. She lived to be 94 years old.

Who is the oldest person you know? What kinds of cool things happened in his/her life? How has that impacted you?

Curious minds want to know. 

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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Daily Log


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