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Monday, January 16, 2012


I finished up “The Help” this morning. It was the perfect e-book to snuggle up with on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The author’s words and moving tale helped me remember how far the Civil Right movement has progressed since the 1950’s and 1960’s. But yet, I am also reminded at how much more we still need to do as a society to realize true equality for all. Take care and be respectful of each other, my friends!

Saturday, December 31, 2011


In need of hibernation, Daddy Bear was mildly perturbed to discover this unlikely duo curled up in his bed.

Monday, July 4, 2011


12:45 PM, July 4th, 2011 - 
Dad saunters in to oldest son's room, turns on the overhead light and says, "Rise and shine, son. It's time to get up and at 'em." 
Son, with covers pulled tightly up over his head, angrily replies, "Why do I have to get up so early!" 
Can hardly wait 'til this one reaches his teen years ...

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Finished Jack London's "Call of the Wild" for my first book of the Summer. Really enjoyed following the brutal descriptions of Buck the dog in the harsh wilderness of Alaska. Now continuing on with another classic, "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Thank you Kindle for providing these great works of literature to me for FREE!!! 
What are you currently devouring in paperback or electronic form?

Thursday, December 2, 2010



103 pages, 2 short novels, and 50,263 words completed in 29 days.

And now, I nap ... : )


Sunday, November 28, 2010

NaNoWriMo Total Word Count for 28 Days:

46,903 Words

I finally became "unstuck" today. I figured out why the Bully in "Winston and the Lint Monster" is so ticked off. It now makes sense, and I couldn't be more excited. This tale just might have a chance to blossom into a full-blown book after all!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NaNoWriMo Total Word Count for 21 Days:

34,664 Words

I planned to hit the 40,000 word plateau by this point, but such is life. Only nine more days left and counting on this adventure to write a novel of 50,000 or more words in 30 days!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


National Novel Writing Month has been going on for a grand total of fourteen days. In that time, I've put in a lot of words and many hours in a quest to get rough drafts completed for a few easy reader chapter books. Here is a sample first draft opening of the second one called, "Winston and the Lint Monster."

Winston threw the television remote across the room. It hit the wall and shattered into three jagged pieces, leaving a quarter size rip in the orange and lime striped wallpaper. The fragments landed unceremoniously on the stained shag carpet in the living room. His first thought was, “What did I just do? Oh, well ... the clicker hasn’t worked right in a couple of weeks.” The TV had been stuck on the same channel for seventeen days, ten hours, and twenty-nine minutes. But who’s counting?

Winston wanted to change the channel to his favorite program, “Robot Wars.” But, the stupid electronic device had ceased to operate correctly for so long now that he wasn’t even sure if he’d remember what his favorite robot, Megatron, looked like. Instead, the British History Channel played old speeches from this guy named Churchill and showed clips of World War 2.

Frankly, he was tired of the programs. Sure watching military planes shoot, bomb, and get in dogfights in the sky over London was cool. But, he longed to watch something that was a little more modern. Ancient war clips and political speeches from some old guy named Churchill simply didn’t do it for him.
“Winston? What just happened?” questioned his Mom ...

What do you think? Would this opening catch your attention if you were an 8 to 12 years old reader? As always, feedback is appreciated ...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One Done, Two to Go for NaNoWriMo

The rough draft of "Macaroni and the Binky - The Novel" is done! It clocks in at a stout 17,309 words and sixteen chapters. I'm going to have to wield a heavy axe to cut it down to a more marketable 10,000 words or less in order to reach my target audience. *sigh* Time to start writing easy reader chapter book #2 for the month!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


NaNoWriMo Total Word Count for 7 Days: 


15,188 Words


I've completed the first thirteen chapters of "Macaroni and the Binky - the Novel." It's been both rewarding and tiring at the same time. And, yes, several hours of writer's block has intervened on this venture. But overall, I am satisfied with my progress so far.


Once the month of November turns over the driver's seat to December, I'm sure to have a boatload of editing and revising to do. But that is a good thing! Instead of multiple stories sitting in my head and collecting cobwebs, I'm being proactive and letting them see the light of day (in rough draft form for now, at least).


I only have another 34,812 words to go to meet my goal of 50, 000 words for this month! Wish me luck ...

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Getting ready for the impending 12 midnight NaNoWriMo kickoff by hanging out and brainstorming for my first novel in a place where all the meals are happy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


When will it end???

The intrusive, bitter, highly political messages invading U.S. homes and airwaves are not helpful. It appears that as more and more money pours into the campaign coffers, the number of crass and truth-averse messages grow exponentially. Is it any wonder that voters are having trouble deciphering the truth from the rhetoric?

As a contrast to all the lies, fear-mongering, and all out hateful messages, one citizen held up a sign at a recent rally in Seattle that read,

"I don't really have a message so I drew a bunny."


Well said, concerned American citizen. I salute you! 

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Yes, it's been way too long! It seems like forever since I've posted on my blog. As it turns out, I've been away from writing creatively for a bit.

I happily returned to my classroom for the start of another tremendous school year. And much of my energy has been directed toward my students and the associated educational duties instead of to writing since then. But, I'm pleased to announce that all that is about to change!

Coming up in about 96 hours, I shall be starting "NaNoWriMo." For those of you that have absolutely no clue about what I'm talking about, that weird sounding acronym stands for "National Novel Writing Month." The goal of the event is to get a bunch of writers to drink extreme amounts of caffeine and produce the first draft of an entire book (or ten) consisting of 50,000 words or more in just thirty days. I'm psyched, but nervous.

I'd like to invite you to stop by and check back on this blogs or visit the "NaNoWriMo" website for updates. Here goes ...

Sunday, August 1, 2010


A lazy man with a time saving idea is a dangerous thing ... ; )

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I absolutely love Craigslist! Not only is it a good place to sell and/or buy hidden treasures, but is also a source of terrific inadvertent comedy. In perusing advertisements for watercraft, I stumbled upon this gem:

1972 16' Glasply with 1981 Chrysler. This has been a great boat for me until it sank last week. It has a small hole in the hull that should be easy to fix.

For future reference, using the words boat and sank in the same advertisement when you're attempting to sell the aforementioned water vehicle is probably a bad idea. In my humble opinion, MOST PEOPLE PREFER BOATS THAT FLOAT!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Libraries. I am a huge fan. Where else but in a library can a person discover FREE soul enriching, mind bending, or edge of your seat bound paper goodness? Heck, even the "Old Spice Guy" agrees with me. What do you think?

Monday, July 19, 2010


Seattle is a city known around the globe for its vast natural resources and beauty. We are also recognized for our trend-setting people, recreational amenities, educational opportunities, and cutting edge businesses. Computer innovations, aircraft technology, grunge music, coffee houses, and incredibly successful sports teams (I wish) are just a few of the things that have sprung from our little corner of the world.

We are changing the world in other ways, too. Specifically, FLASH MOBS. I know ... I may be stretching it a bit on the changing the world part. But, Flash Mobs are a fun and healthy diversion that are springing up more and more in this area since warmer weather has arrived.

If you aren't sure what this mob thing is, I've embedded a video of one held at the Seattle Central Library on July 1st of this year. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


After submitting my story, "Macaroni and the Binky," to a couple of agents and patiently awaiting a response for over four months (and getting none - not even a rejection letter), I decided to try something different.  It's only so long that I can keep barking up the same tree, ya know? 

I told myself when I began the submission process that I would give a few agents first crack at my work. If they rejected it or didn't respond to my queries, I would go a different route. Since not hearing even a peep from those professionals, I chose an alternate path to possible publication.

I know what you're probably thinking. "Did Moen decide to self publish?"

And the short answer to that question is, "No, not at this time."

Instead, I've worked like a dog to rewrite "Macaroni ..." yet again. This time, I've edited and revised it down to a lean and mean 497 words. I had to cut my story down to this size to fit the guidelines necessary to submit it for the Cheerios® Spoonful of Stories® New Author Contest. I'm crossing my fingers, toes, and other appendages and hoping maybe that this third time will be the charm.

While I patiently (yet again) await a response that will not arrive until mid October at the earliest, I plan to happily get on with my life. I have several more stories to write, fences to rebuild, camping spots to visit, hiking trails to explore, a classroom to set-up, and a supporting family to love.

Until next time, take care ...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010


With a cornucopia of drippin' armpits and heat germinating all around the state, isn't it time for a delicious ice cream break?


Monday, July 5, 2010

Detroit Public Library and McDonald's team up for kids | | Detroit Free Press

Here is an article on how Detroit is attempting to promote reading by giving away free Happy Meals to kids that check out books from the library. Is this right or wrong? How do you feel about implementing incentive programs that are designed to encourage a change in behavior? I'd love to hear what you think about this issue.

Detroit Public Library and McDonald's team up for kids | | Detroit Free Press

Sunday, July 4, 2010


You can't celebrate the 4th of July without a little patriotic music ...

July 4th Fireworks Are No Blast For Pets | The Humane Society of the United States


May you have a blasting good time celebrating with family and friends today. But before you go out and play, please remember to take care of the four-legged furry critters in your life that provide love, companionship, and lots of licks.

July 4th Fireworks Are No Blast For Pets | The Humane Society of the United States

Thursday, July 1, 2010


In getting ready for our garage sale this weekend, we stumbled across my old typewriter. I considered selling it. But, after my wife showed the kids how it worked, and seeing how excited they got, I changed my mind.
"It's better than a computer!" giggled my daughter almost uncontrollably.

And with that knowledge, I hatched a plan. 
Instead of selling it, I will store it for another 8 years. 
Then, when the time is right, I will wrap it up all nice and pretty in pink paper with a big purple bow, and give it to my daughter as a gift before she heads off to college.

When she opens the present and invariably throws a fit at such an outdated form of technology, I will smile and earnestly say, "Hey! It's better than a computer." 
*Evil laugh*

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Summer has arrived in Washington! At least, according to the calendar it has. One couldn't tell based on the mollusk activity or schizophrenic weather we're experiencing. 

Our friendly neighborhood slugs haven't exchanged their umbrellas and rain jackets for sun hats quite yet. Oh, no! The trumpets of morning revelry have stirred the critters to action. They hurriedly slime through puddles and over copper barriers on their way to decimate gardens all around the state. Shell-shocked gardeners shudder.

The sun, however, continues to struggle with getting out of bed at the appointed hour. It doesn't make an appearance on some days until late in the afternoon, if at all. Yesterday I yelled out, "Olly olly um come free" for hours and the light didn't arrive until after the remnants of dinner had become compost. Tardiness never seems to be a problem for the liquid sunshine of our state.

But there is hope on the horizon. The vegetable seeds planted in the garden last month are beginning to show signs of life. I excitedly watch as the little tomato, bean, zucchini, pumpkin, and cucumber sprouts push upward through the soil, struggling to break the bonds of the darkness and emerge into the light. I stop by often to visit, and to capture the slimy creatures attempting to chomp on the new growth.

Wait ... what's that? There's a gigantic, yellowish orb directing luminescence from outside and into the living room. Is that the sun? Nah, it's only 10 AM.

But I can't take any chances. If it is the sun, I need to stop playing around inside on the laptop and head outside to mow the moss while I can. I'm outta here ...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Okay, okay. I get it already. I've seen the writing on the crystal clear LCD screen with the 10 bajillion colors and mind bending apps that is taking over the world.

The experts tell me:


But are they? Only time will tell.

But just in case you're curious about what the future may hold for readers, here's a preview of a new IPAD app. It is a modern rendering of tales from one of the best loved fairy tale writers of all time. I present Hans Christian Andersen for your viewing pleasure ...

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Today is Sunday, June 20th, 2010. It is Father's Day - a brief 24 hours to stop and reflect on the male species.  A time to think about all that Dad has done for you over the years. A time to let Dad know that he's an okay dude.

In honor of my Dad, and Dads everywhere around the world, I'd like to say ...




Now I must get off the internet and get back to spending quality time with the family. Have a great day, y'all!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I'm in the home stretch at school. One more week of lessons and then I'm off for the Summer. Technically speaking, that is ...

In reality, I won't have teaching duties in the classroom for a couple of months. But, as is the case with many educators, I will be attending several workshops, trainings, and classes so that I can keep my teaching credential current. Not fun, but it must be done in order to stay employed. In addition, I'll be taking on some odd jobs to help improve the family's financial standing.

Today, however, is a day I've set aside for grading, ticking off items on the Honey-Do list, and ignoring the three million legos the boys have strewn all over the downstairs. No concerns though. The 4 year old has promised me that all the blocks will be cleaned up before Mom gets home. Is a verbal contract entered into with a child legally enforceable?

Tempus fugit.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Even when an author gets published, it's still sometimes hard to get noticed. Parnell Hall, a mystery writer with numerous books in print, sings and humorously laments the lack of demand for his "John Hancock" at multiple book signings. Thanks for making me smile, Parnell!

Sunday, May 30, 2010


I'd love to write for hours today
but I've gotta work instead,
Report cards are a waiting
and bringing a sense of dread.

So grade I must - oh yippee-yeah ...
(a sarcastic cheer breaks free),
But Summer beckons in two weeks hence
then recess springs for me.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Feeling a little down in the dumps? Need a motivational speaker to get you pumped up? Then have I got a clip for you ...


The month of May is a busy time for teachers. It's probably right up there on the busyness scale with the month of June. (Yes, that is an actual word - look it up!) Testing, finishing long term units of study, completing end of the year grading, finalizing calculations for report cards, constructing holiday projects, attending meetings, making material request orders, registering for continuing education classes, cleaning up the classroom, and managing an assortment of other duties all contribute to raising stress levels at this time of the year. So what's a teacher do to remain mostly calm and sane for the next few weeks?

I suggest one way is to relax by doing stuff around the home. Gardening, building stuff, mowing the lawn, or pulling weeds while listening to music with headphones on all provide a means of escape. Getting dirt under your fingernails and grass stains on your jeans has a magical way of releasing the tension from your body. These activities give time for your mind to wander and commune with nature. Plus, if you're like me, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment after completing projects around the house.

If working outside doesn't excite you, why don't you escape to the back deck and read a good book instead? Imagine the pleasure you'll get from kicking back in your comfy lawn chair, feeling the warmth of the sun wash over your skin, while you sip a fruity flavored drink with a tiny bamboo umbrella in it. Sound relaxing?

Another way to seek respite from the daily grind is to plan a vacation. The simple act of searching for places to visit and things to do via the newspaper, a magazine, or through travel sites on the internet help put the pep back in your step. The dream of visiting someplace different lets your mind wander for brief time and helps raise your endorphins. Stress abates, tension eases, and relaxation ensues.

Even though I geared this post toward teachers and the tension that they deal with at this time of the year, don't fret if you're not an educator. All humans in every walk of life could use the chance to take a break one in awhile. So, feel free to take any or all of the suggestions I mentioned above and just relax.

Take it easy ...

Thinking of a road trip?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Have you ever considered self publishing your books?  Barnes and Noble recently announced that they will begin offering Digital Self Publishing for writers. But,before you jump into the deep end head first without a life jacket, I'd recommend that you thoroughly research the pros and cons of proceeding in this manner before coming to a decision. 

Here's a link to learn more about the B&N news. It should be noted that they are just one of a multitude of companies that provide this type of service. So, if you choose to produce and market your books in this way, shop around first ...

Barnes & Noble to Offer Digital Self-Publishing

Posted using ShareThis

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I spent time this morning adding labels to the blog posts I've written. Well, there was that, and listening to my 4 year old spell the word butt over and over again.

The tags I added to my posts will help potential readers locate this blog more easily. By adding key words, people conducting searches on the internet are more likely to find this site. Pertinent labels work as tiny advertisements, very similar to what you might come across in a newspaper or magazine.

My youngest child, coincidentally enough, also attracted attention by using a key word. He used the label butt to gain attention. It worked! His mother and I both asked him to report to our room for a quick discussion about proper etiquette.

So what is the point of a good label anyway? It attracts attention. Simple as that. And as more people are exposed to your writing, the better chance you have of gaining readers.

I'd love to write more, but it is time for me to sign off. It's not too often that we get sunny weather with temperatures in the 70's in Western Washington at this time of the year. So, I must take advantage of it and get outside to shovel some dirt. 

Have a happy weekend!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


I just wanted to share a video demonstrating some of the emotions that I experience on this special day ...

The clip shows a collection of beautiful, archival images set to a song in the public domain. The music is a little dated, but provides a lovely accompaniment to the photos.

I am sending this out with love and appreciation to all of the wonderful Moms in our world. Thanks for all that you do.

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


A new book from one of my favorite authors has hit the shelves. No, it's not one of mine ... darn. But former teacher, Rick Riordan, just released the first novel in his newest series.

Here's the scoop:


Sunday, May 2, 2010


What to do, what to do ...

Here it is, a typical overcast and dreary Spring day in the Pacific Northwest. Wind gently tickling the tree branches outside and flinging the leaves into the already overfilled, soiled gutters of my house. The sun, not wanting to come out and play, hides noiselessly somewhere behind the ashen and lifeless clouds. And here I sit, alone, adorned in luxurious cotton PJ's, contemplating what comes next.

I am at a standstill. The brain wants to turn some of the potential energy I have into the kinetic type. But the body shamelessly disobeys.

I have several projects left to get to on the "Honey-do" list, but inspiration has regrettably wandered off somewhere unseen. Besides, the heat inside the house feels nice and toasty. There are comics and sports to catch up on in the Sunday paper and my backside is feeling pretty comfortable entrenched in the recliner. In my humble opinion, it's not a day to gallivant about doing the laundry or attempting to decimate the knee-high vegetation currently doing a poor imitation of something we affectionately call our front lawn.

The other hindrance to getting me moving today is an indecision about which book project to begin next. Since I completed the manuscript for "Macaroni and the Binky," I've yo yo-ed back and forth for days. I have a total of seven outlines constructed for stories. But, I can't decide which one I want to start on next.

Should I start on another story in the series I've plotted about Macaroni? Or, should I do a picture book that is completely different? Or, maybe should I work on one of the two middle grade/easy reader novels instead?

I guess having several stories to choose from is a good problem for a writer to be shackled with. I don't have to spend time waiting around for ideas to worm their way into my brain. I just have to decide. Easy, right?

*Lunch Break*

Well, I've decided. Cheese stuffed crust pizza slathered with pepperoni, mushrooms, and cheese unlocked the brain freeze. It does that sometimes.

So what am I going to do then? I've decided to finish composing a magazine article I began several weeks ago. Even though it wasn't one of the choices I mentioned above, it has been on the short list of projects. And since I am in the final editing and revising stages already, it's a piece of writing closest to submission.

Thanks y'all for helping me get unstuck!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Book Progress Update

After more than a year of toiling away, "Macaroni and the Binky" and my query letter are finished! I sent both out to the first choice agent on my list, and now am awaiting a response. I will update this blog as news arrives.

Before I hear back, I wanted to share the beginning paragraph of my query letter for all to see. If you have any feedback for me, please write. I'd love to hear what you think! Here it is:

Dear … ,

Macaroni and cheese, beloved around the world by children of all ages, never looked so tasty. But what happens when that creamy treat becomes a dog that romps all over the house causing destruction and mayhem? Will seven year old Bud, along with assistance from his enthusiastic and gravity challenged sidekick in a diaper, be able to stop the pandemonium before Mom finds out? “Macaroni and the Binky,” an action-packed picture book manuscript of 982 words, provides answers to these questions and more.

Does this pique your interest?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

That's right ... Fonzie is in the House!

If you are in the neighborhood next weekend, why don't you stop on by and meet the FONZ?  

Henry Winkler is scheduled to be in Bainbridge Island, Washington on Sunday, May 2nd at Eagle Harbor Book Company. He is stopping by to promote the latest book in his Hank Zipzer series, which he wrote in collaboration with Lin Oliver. 

Click on the link below for full details about this event ...


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Editing and Revising

Raise your hand if you love to edit and revise your stories over and over again? Okay then ... That wasn't the overwhelming response I was expecting.

Really? There's not a single person out there who absolutely adores polishing their work over and over again until every single word shines like the North Star?

Ah, come on! I can't be the only one who loves to push, pull, and twist the things they've written ad nauseam as if shaping a lump of clay into the perfect shape. Can I? Apparently, since I don't see any hands raised in the room, I am.

Editing and revising are a pertinent part of the writing process that cannot be ignored. In order to present your manuscripts in the best light possible to potential agents and publishers, you must take as much time as is necessary to get it right. You only get once chance to make a first impression so it might as well be a good one.

Here are some the the steps that may help you:

1) Read your story aloud to yourself. Make notes of any possible changes.
2) Put your story away for two weeks.
3) Read your story aloud to yourself again. Edit/revise.
4) Put your story away for two weeks.
5) Read your story aloud to yourself one more time. Edit/revise.
6) Seek professional help. At this point, join a critique group or have a editor or other qualified individual read your work.  I recommend that you don't use a friend. They have trouble being as honest with you as is needed.
7) Evaluate based on feedback received from the professional(s). Does your story show promise? If so, proceed.
8) Edit/revise some more.
9) Find some students in the targeted age group for your story. Read your story aloud to them and get feedback.
10) Edit/revise, if necessary.
11) Seek professional help again. At this point, ask your critique group, editor, or other qualified individual read your work once again.
12) Repeat steps 1 - 11, as many times as necessary. 

Sounds painless, right? Not really? That's good. It shouldn't be.

The reality is that writing is hard work. I personally find it to be quite rewarding, and don't know what I would do if I couldn't express myself creatively. I sincerely hope that you enjoy it too. 

Happy writing!

Friday, April 16, 2010


An example of how competent non fiction writing and impressive narration can merge with compelling, time-lapsed pictures to create brilliant art. Either that, or I felt this clip was simply too amazing not to post:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

End of Books?

With the release of Apple's new iPad electronic tablet style device, some pundits are speculating that the time-honored tradition of printing books on paper will end. Yep. Just like dinosaurs, the betamax, those white parachute pants with a tie in the front that I loved so much, and my svelte 32 inch waistline. Books are going to disappear forever.

Well, hold on there for a moment, naysayers. Don't throw shovels full of dirt over my beloved books just yet!

The print medium is definitely in a state of flux, and writers, agents, publishers, bookstores, and the like must change. But with some creative marketing and innovation, paper bound materials can survive, and even thrive in the future. Always look on the bright side, right?

As much as I love curling up with a good book to keep me company at night, I have to admit that the updated "Alice in Wonderland" ebook for the iPad looks pretty incredible. What do you think? Will the printed version of this medium survive the challenge?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Unpublished Author Contest Details

Cheerios is holding a Spoonful of Stories® contest for unpublished authors. If interested, details are available by clicking the link highlighted above. I've also included a related clip from notable author (and former elementary school teacher) John Scieszka. Good luck!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bruce Coville writes stories that I love. He is also the proud parent of a company called Full Cast Audio that produces fabulous recordings of quality literature from multiple genres. If you're a student, teacher, or person interested in reading or listening to quality children's literature, I wholeheartedly recommend that you check out the clip of Bruce Coville and Daniel Bostick as they work on scenes from "Space Station Rat" by Michael J. Daley.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Holiday Cheer

From my family to yours ...

Happy Easter!

May you have a glorious day filled with joy, happiness, and a bunch of little kids running around frantically searching for chocolate eggs.