New Year’s Eve, while looking for live video of the ball dropping in New York’s Time’s Square, I saw yet another headline claiming ten reasons to quit FaceBook. A relative who doesn’t use social media wanted me to stop and read the article, thinking it might tell something I ought to know. As I went down the list, the author’s grievances with FaceBook pointed more and more to mindless users (why put something on a social networking website and then complain that it isn’t private?). I made a mental note to write a blog post of positive reasons TO use FaceBook, and how FaceBook’s insidious methods are irrelevant to the thoughtful user.


I was going to cite that anti-FB article, but it’s not worth my time to find it—I “ASKed” it (yes, I use because why should we let Google become the Buy-n-Large from Wall-E ?) and found multiple pages of links to people over the last few years all listing reasons to stay away from FaceBook.


As for HOW and WHY to make GOOD use of FaceBook, let me just share with you the following excellent post which I found very well written. While it focuses on Twitter, its points are equally applicable to FaceBook, or probably any social media:


Why I Was Wrong About Twitter, by Adam Grant


It’s up to you: do you want to be pointlessly addicted and manipulated (a “me-right-now” FB/Twitter user), or do you want to use available tools (any social media site) to be thoughtfully positive and creatively productive, contributing meaningfully to your friends and the whole world around you?


When the FaceBook window asks, “What’s on your mind?” you can’t blame FB if you don’t either enter something good or pull your fingers away from the keys.


Oh yeah, one little note: you might want to empty your browser’s cookies after using FB, so they can’t track you all over the net.





Happy Endings Have a Purpose

December 19, 2012

My nine-year-old son and I both “booed” after finishing a short story which started with two children being left alone on an island, and ended with them still there, abandoned by their only visitor, and one of the children vowing to find a way off of the island some day. I tried to console my son by saying that when I experience a sad story that ends without an “ending,” it makes me resolve to get busy making something happen in real life. I asked him, “Do stories always have to have a happy ending?” I continued, “Real life doesn’t have happy endings—it just keeps going and going.” To which he instantly replied, “That’s why we turn to stories!”

I think he’s right.

Most adults are busy, and we can sometimes accept taking a piece of a story to ponder its points as we go on with our activities; but remember being a kid, when a year seemed like eternity? Adults may have been around enough to know a hard time will pass in a day, or week, or year; but it’s hard for a child to hold out for relief which might be so far away—so they turn to fantasy. Time goes so slowly for children that they can’t always grasp from their own real lives, the sense of hope and joy they need; but they can get it from a happy ending to a story.

We all want to know that things will be okay in the end—the end of a situation, the end of a season of life, or the absolute end of one’s earthly life. We need hope for the future in order to keep going through anything less than perfect. We fuel that hope with stories, real and fictional. Stories give us a rest from our reality, and ideas to take back into reality. Sure, we can draw positive thoughts from a story that stops sadly, but that’s work, not recreation. We all–adults and children–need happy endings to feel relaxed and happy.

Life does keep going and going, but with lots of little happy moments, if not “endings.” For those who say that kids should not be taught to expect happy endings in life, I’d say they should be allowed the uplifting pleasure of happy endings in stories, AND taught to both look for and create happy passages in real life.

It doesn’t matter so much that life isn’t “happy EVER after” ONE struggle. It does matter that we CAN get through a struggle, and be happy—and so then we must be able to get through another struggle, and another. A happy ending gives hope for multiple happy endings to multiple struggles.

So don’t feel guilty for filling your kid’s heads with happy endings. And do make happiness come true, even in difficult times.




While searching blogs tonight, I came accross this great story of a little girl whose fanciful tale was published along with some other children’s stories, and how excited she was to see her own words in a book, and to see what other kids had written…



I know that post was some time ago, but NOW all English-speaking kids ages 5 to 13 have an opportunity for the same kind of exciting, positive experience.

Enjoy reading the post in the above link, and then have YOUR kids enter Rifll Publishing’s FREE Kid’s Challenge/contest right now! (Or mark it on tomorrow’s schedule, if you are reading this while your kids sleep.)


Get all your questions answered here:


Why do I have to write, mom?...What if it got published?...My writing, published?...Yup! Go to:

Give your child the thrill of being published, plus challenge him or her to coming in First Place. Help your child enter now! ~Share the fun: invite friends & followers to participate.



has kids, knows kids, works with kids, or has a social media audience who has (or are) kids.

Rifll Publishing, Inc. is looking to tell all the kids ages 5 to 13 about a fun contest they can win.

You DON’T have to think your kid is the world’s next great author. And your kids DON’T have to love writing to enter. Rifll’s rules are simple; check them out, help a kid submit something, and the fun will follow!

Several First Place winners will be offered contracts to have their entries published in a paperback anthology of writings by kids and for kids.

All other entries will receive Second Place, and receive the option of being posted on a special page of Rifll Publishing’s website.

When’s the last time you knew of a child who had the pleasure of showing friends and family something he or she wrote, displayed on the internet; or had the pleasure of holding in their hands a book full of stories written by folks their own age?

Now you can help make that possible, for FREE.

Kids CAN write things that are fun and worth reading, and this challenge can ENCOURAGE them to love writing and reading.

Help your kids to enter.

Also please POST THIS to your blog, FaceBook, Twitter, email it out; tell your coworkers, your kids’ friends, teachers, and youth groups.

The more entries, the more fun!

See the simple details and answers to your questions on Rifll’s website:

Kid's Writing Challenge (contest) Deadline 12-31-12 ~

Kid’s Writing Challenge (contest) Deadline 12-31-12 ~
Kids ages 5-13 can enter & win publication!
Share the news. Help kids enter now!


Read Between the Monsters

October 20, 2011

…Monster sized books, that is. In libraries and bookstores alike, look between the multi-hundred paged eye-catchers, and you may find smaller books hiding a much better value.

Maybe if you are looking for something entertaining to fill endless hours of a hum-drum life, you might want to buy books by the pound; but when you need information, the fewer the pages the better.

How many times have you been frustrated with the time necessary to read through huge books only to find that their texts did not live up to their titles, and after having a few points hammered into you over and over again, you still don’t know the information you were looking for? So many books seem to be a big waste—of time, paper, money, shelf space, and potential. The existence of speed-reading and skim-reading methods does not excuse unnecessary bulk; they are valuable strategies which would be equally valuable if applied to books of fewer words.

Many publishers want authors to pad their manuscripts with extra words, so that they’ll take up more real estate in bookstores (pushing out competition and attracting the buyer’s eye), and so that customers will feel they are getting their money’s worth. I find it SO annoying when an author spends half of every chapter telling me what they will tell me in the next chapter if I keep reading. Many publishers feel they can charge more for higher page-count books, even if it’s all fluff and reiteration on the inside. It would be insulting to the buying public if so many buyers didn’t fall for it.

Personally, I think book prices should be based on the value of their content, which has nothing to do with word or page count. In fact, if an author can convey the right information in fewer words, that should actually increase the value of his or her book, because it won’t waste the reader’s time.  I’m attracted to thin books that get to the point and let me get on with using the point. I don’t need an author to tell me the same thing six different ways, as if I were a little kid; I can read it once and decide if I want to remember it. I also find it appealing when an author is honest enough to write a small book, rather trying to make it look like everything you could ever want to know is inside one cover.

Next time you are shopping for a book, try not skipping over the slim ones. Maybe they can save you money and time, save the world trees, and encourage the minority of respectable authors.

© 2011 NPM


Rifll Publishing, Inc.

My Publisher's business card with Logo

Rifll Publishing, Inc. has posted two new items on their “writing” page: a very silly mini-story I co-wrote with my 8-year-old son, and a spiritual poem I co-wrote with my mother.

Check them out; and while you are there, see how you can write with me also–maybe even getting a creation (with your name as co-author) “published” on the website as well 🙂

Just go to