Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Giving Back by Paying Forward

By Dallas Woodburn

Being a preemie has not only given me the resilience to overcome disappointment and the courage to pursue my dreams, it has also instilled in me the desire to give to others. I feel boundless gratitude to the doctors and nurses who saved my life. There is no way I can ever repay them. What I can do, however, is “pay forward” in their honor by doing good works and striving to better the lives of others.

In 2001, I created "Write On! For Literacy" to empower youth through reading and writing. I hold writing contests, teach writing camps, and mentor young writers. In the past decade, Write On’s Holiday Book Drive has collected and distributed more than 13,000 new books to underprivileged children for Christmas.

My latest endeavor is starting a publishing company, Write On! Books, that publishes anthologies of stories, poems and essays by young writers. Our first anthology, Dancing With The Pen, features the work of more than sixty-five kids and teenagers from all across the United States and even abroad. The long hours of editing and formatting and book designing were well worth it thanks to the delighted emails I have received from the young authors—and the many notes from parents informing me that being published was a rocket-boost for their child’s self-confidence.

Link to purchase anthology: Dancing With The Pen

Every year on my birthday, I visit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the local hospital. I introduce myself to the worried parents of the sickly preemies and tell them how I was once a tiny baby in an incubator myself. You would never know it now. I am five-foot-ten, have a graduate degree, and have hiked to the peak of Mt. Whitney.

All of us have gone through difficulties in our lives. All of us are indebted to people who have given us so much that there is no way we can ever repay them. Instead of trying to pay back, I urge you to focus on paying forward. Volunteering to help others in honor of someone who has helped you in an extremely rewarding and fulfilling way to live.  

Dallas Woodburn is the author of two collections of short stories and a forthcoming novel. For her volunteer work, she has been nationally honored with a Congressional Award Gold Medal, a Jackie Kennedy Onassis/Jefferson Award, and most recently a “Best of You” Award from Glamour Magazine. Connect with Dallas at and

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review of The Eighth Day

The Eighth Day
by Dianne K. Salerni

Published by HarperCollins
Published: April 2014

Age Range: 8-12 years

Grade Level: 3-7

Book 1 of the series

ISBN-10: 0062272152
ISBN-13: 978-0062272157

When Jax wakes up to a world without any people in it, he assumes it’s the zombie apocalypse. But when he runs into his eighteen-year-old guardian, Riley Pendare, he learns that he’s really in the eighth day—an extra day sandwiched between Wednesday and Thursday. Some people—like Jax and Riley—are Transitioners, able to live in all eight days, while others, including Evangeline, the elusive teenage girl who’s been hiding in the house next door, exist only on this special day. And there’s a reason Evangeline’s hiding. She is a descendant of the powerful wizard Merlin, and there is a group of people who wish to use her in order to destroy the normal seven-day world and all who live in it. Torn between protecting his new friend and saving the entire human race from complete destruction, Jax is faced with an impossible choice. Even with an eighth day, time is running out.

Book Review
Okay, who hasn't said that they wished they had a few extra hours in their day? I know I have. Well how about a whole extra day of the week? A dream come true? Maybe for some, but not for those who find themselves trapped in or only exist in the eighth day. 

After Jax Aubrey's father dies in a car accident, Jax finds his world turned upside down. He is now in the care of Riley Pendare. How could Riley be considered a good guardian when he is irresponsible and can barely take care of himself? He doesn't always remember to pay the bills and the refrigerator is usually empty. Jax hates everything about his situation and keeps trying to figure a way out of it. 

Why did Riley even insist on taking care of Jax? What's in it for him? Why did Mr Aubrey name Riley as Jax's guardian? Why wasn't Jax's aunt and uncle fighting to get him back? And who is the mysterious girl who was looking out of the neighbor's window? As Jax tries to find answers to his many questions, the mysteries of the eighth day slowly start to unfold. 

Dianne did a wonderful job of creating a story of mythology, magic, and good vs evil that draws the reader in. From the first page to the last, the reader is brought along on an intense, magical adventure full of suspense, action, excitement, danger, and secrets. 

If you are interested in Arthurian legends, magic, and adventure, you will enjoy reading The Eighth Day. This is book one in the series, so there are more adventures with Jax, Riley, and Evangeline to look forward to. I definitely recommend The Eighth Day.

Dianne K. Salerni is a retired elementary school teacher living in Chester County, Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters.
Dianne’s first novel, We Hear the Dead, is a YA historical based on the real story of 19th century teenage spirit mediums Maggie and Kate Fox. We Hear the Dead was the inspiration for the Canadian-produced short film, The Spirit Game, which premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. 

Her second novel, another YA historical, The Caged Graves, is a Junior Library Guild Selection and was inspired by two real caged graves in an abandoned Pennsylvania cemetery.

Her debut book for children, The Eighth Day, released in 2014 to critical acclaim and is the first in a planned fantasy series. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Upcoming Blogfest For September

Everyone has a favorite movie or band that no one else has ever heard about. For whatever reason, they remain undiscovered and underrated. Now is your chance to tell the world about this obscure treasure! 

On Monday, September 22, post about your favorite unknown – MOVIE – BAND/ARTIST – TV SHOW – BOOK

Post about one or all four – dealer’s choice! 

This blogfest is being hosted by Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. This link will take you to the original post where you can sign up.

 I'm signed up!  Are you?


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