Thursday, October 30, 2014

Read the Schedule

Fifth period is right after lunch. The bell rang, and I opened the door. I had put up their assignment on the board, and I was ready for them all to enter.

I waited.

Three minutes into the passing period, and no students were arriving. Um...

A student poked her head in.

"We meet over in..."

Oh, right! I did see that.

Every morning when I check in, along with the room key I'm given a teacher schedule. It has all the teacher's periods listed along with the room number the teacher is in. Normally, the room number for each period is the same.

I did notice that 5th period was in a different room. Then I got busy with the day and periods one through four.

It completely slipped my mind that I was supposed to be in a different room for period 5. My oops.

I quickly grabbed all my stuff and ran over there (luckily it was only three doors away). We were in the room and ready to go before the tardy bell.

I really should pay closer attention to these things. (It would have helped if the teacher had mentioned it in the lesson plan. However, she explained the oversight when I saw her after school that day. So, mostly my fault.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Knitted Gift Card Holders

I finally got those gift card holder thingies listed...

Olive Green "S" on Neon Coral Background
Teal Blue "H" on Black Background
...and you can now find them at my shop.

I can do any initial monogram, and I have several colors available.

And if you've gotten this far in the post and are thinking you might be interested in getting a few (Christmas is coming!), I'm going to sweeten the deal. Use the coupon code GIFTCARDLOG for $2 off. (Special deal for my blogging buddies.)

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mage-y Question

At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements.

This week's what if comes to us from CD Coffelt...

If given the chance to do magic, what would it be?
No gift is “all good”. So what would be the bad, unintended consequences of wielding that magic?

Mage Revealed

Book Two of The Magic Withheld series

Struck with enough malevolent Spirit to turn him into a raving beast of a man, Bert Reese fights to remain human. Alone, he walks a slender path between sanity and madness. Then, an unlikely source enters his life to help—one of the now-hated mages.

But Ashleigh is different and calms his butchered senses. Her fierce nature is the only rock that stands between him and the crevasse that is beast. In all ways, she walks beside him toward a new beginning. But at the end of their journey lies the one who used Spirit against him. Questions arise; did Tiarra, head of the Imperium, lose her magic, die, or simply give way to the new order? Or, like a spider, does she wait for a mage to blunder into her web?

Forced on him without a care for his humanity, Bert is the mage who should not exist, born with a different kind of magic. 

And the gates of Hell are no match for the magic he wields.

Author C.D. Coffelt’s world of magic started in Wilder Mage with the words “The earthquake wasn't his fault. Not this time.” It continues in Mage Revealed, the second book of the three-part series. Watch the book trailer on YouTube.

Excerpt from Mage Revealed

Energy slithered around him, encased him and…


All the elements slammed into him at once filling him like a bursting dam, sloshing into a maelstrom of Fire, Earth, Air, Water, and Spirit. Magic filled him, cascaded into every pore of his skin until there was nothing left that was of his essence.

He raised his arms. “I am a wizard,” he said.

His words echoed, like the roll of a bass drum in an empty coliseum.

From his fingertips, fluid lightning forked and shot into the empty sky. A violent whirlwind as tall as he wanted it to be caught up a whorl of leaves. A roar of Fire sprang from the palms of his hands, crowned his head. And Spirit, the silvery element waited for his command, to charge into any foray he so chose.

He turned to the panting woman, frozen in the grip of panic and fright.

“I am a wizard,” he said again.

C.D. Coffelt lives outside Skidmore, Missouri with a bemused husband and way too many cats. She is a member of the Missouri Writers Guild. But despite that bit of conventionality, she adores all things fantasy with a special love for urban and epic.

With a passion for good writing and Doritos as companions, locating Middle-Earth on a dusty road in rural Missouri wasn’t difficult. All it took was a little Magic, hours of reading, and an overactive imagination.

She blogs as Huntress on, Facebook, Twitter, and her writer’s critique site,

Find her books at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Forewarned Is Forearmed

"Hi. My name is Jake."

The boy held out his hand, so I shook it. It was passing period. Students filed into class. Instead of sitting, Jake put his backpack on his desk and proceeded to roam about.

Right before the bell, another boy walked in. He took Jake's seat. Not missing a beat, Jake grabbed his backpack and took a different seat.

In the lesson plan for the day, Ms. S warned me about only two students--Jake and Deon.

I addressed Deon by name and told both boys to sit in their proper seats. Deon claimed he was really Jake, and Jake asserted now that his name was Deon.

Which might have worked if Jake hadn't introduced himself to me. Which I pointed out.

(The rest of the class thought this was hilarious. They saw Jake introduce himself, so they knew Jake had blown it.)

*shakes head*

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Wrong Key

I was to cover a 7th grade science class for three days. I had some time the first day to scan all the lesson plans so I'd have some idea of what was to come. All was in order. Or so I thought.

Day 1 they were to work on a study guide for a test on day 3. It was on line graphs, bar graphs, and pie charts. Easy enough.

But one girl called me over to help her with a question. And I wasn't sure what the question meant.

This happens sometimes. I walk in cold to these classes, and I haven't been there when lectures were given. Sometimes I'm not exactly sure what the teacher is going for. I usually mask this by having the students consult their notes and ask them leading questions so that they can figure it out themselves. This works 99% of the time.

This was not one of those times.

It was a simple question, but which simple answer did the teacher want?

Oh, right, I had the key.

Day 2 we were to go over the study guide, and I was given a key for this purpose. (Some teachers remember to provide keys for assignments. Some don't.) All I needed was to go into my materials for day 2...

I found the key. For chapter 1.1 & 1.2. They were working on the study guide for chapter 1.3.

Panic time.

But then I remembered that the science teachers all do pretty much the same thing. And the teacher next door might just have what I needed. So I called her. And sure enough, she was able to answer the student's question.

(And a short time later, she sent a student with the correct key. Whew.)

I am so grateful to that student, though. Because if she hadn't asked the question that sent me scurrying to the key, I would not have known I had the wrong key. Until the next day when it was time to go over the study guide with the whole class.

That could have been ugly.

It's nice when things work out.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Not Going to Do It

"Is this homework?"

I had just passed out the worksheet, explained to the 8th grade math class that it was their assignment for class, and told them to get started.

"It's classwork," I said.

I know this game. If I tell Maria that what she doesn't finish in class is homework, she hears that the assignment is homework, and then she does nothing in class. Because the assignment is "homework" so she should do it at home.

Maria persisted. "Do we have homework?"

Yep, not falling into that trap.

I met Maria the prior week in her science class. I noticed that she hadn't started working on her assignment, so to give her a little push I asked her to make sure her name was on her paper. It wasn't. She then refused to write her name on the page.

This is one of my tricks. If I want a student's name and I don't want them to know I'm looking, I check the name on their paper. Student never realizes how I figured out who they are.

But this time I wasn't looking for her name. I just wanted her to write something--anything--on her paper. Because she refused so vehemently was the only reason I made sure to learn who she was. And her name did go in my note that day.

I answered Maria by telling her that I'd discuss what their homework was at the end of the period.

Maria goofed off all period. She tried to get her friend to sit next to her because she "needed help". I was not allowing any students to move from their assigned seats. I offered to help her myself. I asked her what she needed help with. She got sucked into a conversation happening on the other side of the room.

Fine. I walked away, but I came back several times to "help". She wasn't taking me up on my offer. She wrote maybe 3 answers all period. (The assignment had something like 50 questions.)

(Others did take me up on my offer to help. So, I wasn't entirely useless all period.)

The end of the period rolled around, so I got the class's attention and made the announcement. Anything they hadn't finished in class was homework.

Maria was incensed. "But you said it wasn't homework."

"No, I said it was classwork. Now, what you didn't do in class is homework."

Maria: "But you didn't say it was homework. If I had known it would be homework, I would have done it in class."


No. No she wouldn't. I know she wouldn't. It's all just an excuse to do nothing.

But it's frustrating just the same.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Unintended Consequences

At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements.

What if you (or your main character) executed a silly prank, but then those around you totally misinterpreted it and turned the incident into a major issue/problem? Would you come forward and own up, or would you hide in the shadows?