Marcy Pusey, a best selling children's book author

Hi everyone,

I’d like to introduce you to a talented children’s author that I have met recently. I first discovered her children’s book Willy and the Weirdo and I just loved the story behind the story. I invited her to share more about herself today on my blog.

Welcome, Marcy, tell us about you and your writing…

Have you ever wondered where children’s book ideas come from? Sure, there are whole months dedicated to help authors find ideas—poor ones, great ones, publishable ones—like Tara Lazar’s Story Storm each January.

In fact, a number of my published books have come from events just like that, or the notions they inspire. For example, one might look for ideas in nature, in art, by eavesdropping on conversations with kids and adults alike, reading other books, a TV show, etc.

But what I’ve learned through the years is that these idea-hunts often leave us on the surface of where good ideas come from.

The reality is, good stories come from deep within us. From our own childhoods, the joys and the wounds, the celebrations and sorrows—the moments that made us feel.

These moments, the feeling moments, are where great book ideas come from. Something in nature, or art, or the private-public conversation, the show, or the book, made you feel something. It resonated with you on a deep level. Cognitively, you might just think it sounds nice, but deep down, something in your soul was stirred. And that stirring grows, and grows, and grows until you birth a book.

Take my book Weirdo and Willy for example. Willy is a kid who is bullied each day for being… well, weird. He’s different. He eats strange foods, plays unique games, wears interesting clothes. His classmates tease him, calling him a weirdo each day. But one day, a Weirdo actually shows up. And he wants to play. Thus begins a crazy tale of a creature who wants to play, and the kids who find him terrifying. You’ll have to read the book to know how it ends. 🙂

This idea first came to me from a blog post encouraging authors to think of childhood stories that they would re-write if they could. Maybe with a different ending or different characters.

Immediately I remembered being in fourth grade in P.E. on the softball field. It was time for my team to line up to bat after our stint outfield. I returned to my original place in line, but the kids around me said we were forming a new line. So I headed to the back of the line. But the kids there said we were lining up in our original spots. I had nowhere to go. I asked the teacher for clarification which led to an all-class chant in my direction: Nark! Nark! Nark!

As I re-imagined how this moment should have gone, I pictured a big, huge  Nark, a creature, showing up and eating all of the kids chanting at me. After many revisions, the Nark became Weirdo, and I became Willy.

Someone commented on how the bullies in Weirdo and Willy don’t have a major “aha!” moment. Initially, this bothered me. Weren’t the bullies supposed to be repentant and changed? But then I realized something even better… Willy didn’t need the bullies to change. He needed to change—and he did. He needed to know that he was valued, lovable, and perfect just the way he was. He didn’t need the affirmation of bullies to make him worthy of friendship. He found that inside of himself and with this unique, unexpected connection to the creature Weirdo.

This was my story, too. It’s many of our stories. Most bullies don’t come around transformed and repentant. We have to discover that our worth and value are not tied to their treatment of us. And so, Weirdo and Willy, without my even knowing it, was a wrestling with my own childhood “demons” of bullying. Thirty-seven drafts later, I went from needing the creature to eat all of the mean kids, to realizing I don’t need mean kids to be nice… I need to love myself.

This is true for each of my books. Speranza’s Sweater came from my experience as a foster and adoptive mama and therapist, journeying with kiddos in between families and homes, wanting them to see their story and feelings reflected on my pages. Tercules, the sweet, wild turkey chick who feels “too much” was a reminder to myself that I’m “just right.” According to Corban and Bath Time Magic both feature my son, Corban, and his vivid imagination. However, with a careful eye, you’ll see that mama has a story too, in the artwork. (Corban has been asked if his mom really turns into a dragon sometimes. The answer is yes!)

These are the deep things that inspire us, even when we don’t realize it. Kids are especially good at digging deep and expressing their inner struggles creatively. Sometimes we adult lose that gift along the way. Together, through our stories and theirs, we can experience those feeling moments anew, with hope, redemption, and inspiration for stories to come.

Marcy Pusey loves her family, exploring the world, reading, the ocean, and looking for castles to visit. She also loves sharing stories that encourage and inspire others. Marcy is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, speaker, coach, and the best-selling author of books for adults and for children. Learn more about her work, writing, and other resources at

Marcy’s books are available wherever books are sold, including Amazon, Target, and Barnes & Noble.

You can also find her on Facebook:




Thank you, Marcy, for sharing your story and helping us understand where books really come from, from deep inside of us. It’s so true. I can attest to that as well.

And thank you blog readers for stopping by today. As always likes and shares are encouraged and appreciated!

Screen Time vs. Serene Time

Good Monday Morning everyone,

I’m bringing your our favorite school psychologist, Dr. Valerie Allen, with some very wise words on an important topic for our children…

Screen Time vs Serene Time

Dr. Valerie Allen

The current generation of  children and young adults have been raised during the electronic age. Computer screens and robots (Bots) are an everyday part of life to the point we can hardly conceive of  life without them. When computers go down, stores close, government agencies and banks are at a standstill, people become locked inside various conveyances, and airports grind to a halt. When our electronic devices function properly, we are in awe with such a powerful tool that can facilitate our daily tasks, broaden our education, and increase our social contacts. Used effectively, computers bring the world within our grasp.

Parents must consider the risks vs the benefits of computer use and screen time for their children. Here are some basic suggestions to guide parents in this critical area.

  1. Remember, you are the parent, you make the rules. Allow discussion and suggestions but the final decision rests with you.
  • Set a good example for phone etiquette. Go to another room to speak on the phone and modulate your voice. Excuse yourself from the phone promptly when others are waiting for your time or  attention. Turn off your phone and keep your conversation private while in public places.
  • At home, two hours per day in half hour increments with at least a half hour between each electronic session is reasonable. Keep in mind your youngster will likely be using computers at school. They will also use their devices when with friends and may have considerable computer time which is unsupervised.
  • Develop a routine about computer time and use. No one should use their devices during meal time, in the bathroom, or after bed time. Consequences of misuse should be clear, fair, and consistent.
  • Have a specific place in the home where all electronic devices are kept when not in use. Each child is to turn in his or her device at the appointed time. The first violation of the rule results in missing the next half hour of approved time. The second violation results in removal of the device for the remainder of that day and the next day.
  • Parental controls are available to monitor allowable content. This may depend on the age of your youngster, as some items are appropriate for one age but not another. Be sure to screen apps, games, and social media. Their passwords should not be kept secret. You should be able to access your child’s social media.
  • There are also locator controls to tract your child’s whereabouts. Teens may consider this a violation of their privacy and/or a trust issue, but should they be in danger or have an emergency, tracking may be a lifesaver. It is a parental obligation to know where your  children are at all times.

Youngsters need to be physically active and socially engaged in positive ways and not limited due to their use of electronics. Parents must take control of all electronic devices to ensure their children have a healthy life balance interacting with the “bots” and the humans in their life.

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Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She has published two books for children ages 7 to 12, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends” and a picture book  for beginning readers, “The Sun and The Moon.” Oh yes, she has also raised six children!

Groundhog Day is Approaching

This book is adorable! Check it out and purchase one for your favorite little one and enjoy Groundhog Day even more!

FotoBoek Lieve Snellings

If you know which books I have published, it will not surprise you that February 2 is a special day for me. For many Americans, February 2 is Groundhog Day. An old folk tradition says that if Phil the groundhog comes out of hibernation and sees his shadow, he gets frightened and returns quickly to sleep, as he sees this as a sign of bad weather. If the woodchuck does not see its shadow, spring is close at hand!

But now, I have first-hand information by Margot the groundhog, and this is what she thinks about this story.

    Does this mean that Groundhog Day is not reality, but a legend?

I think, today, everyone is convinced that this is just an old legend, probably invented by the first settlers who were eager for spring to begin. In the Old Continent, Europe, February 2 is celebrated as the moment…

View original post 427 more words

Gus' Big Adventure by Traci Howell

Hi everyone,

Welcome to my blog, Lilacs in Children, where we grow children with character!

Today, I have a special author who has written several books that I know you’re going to love.

Her name is Traci Howell. Let’s hear from her…

I currently live in Missouri with my husband, Charles and two Labrador Retrievers, Dakota North and October May. We will be welcoming our first little one into the family around March. I am a fan of hiking, the outdoors, crafting and quilting, reading, and of course, writing!

I get my inspiration by everything around me. I grew up in a small town in Western Nebraska. I happen to be the youngest in my family, so I grew up watching my older sister’s interactions, as well as listening to everything going on around me. I also grew up listening to bedtime stories that my dad would read to me or make up for me. My mom was constantly giving me paper to write down stories or ideas or to draw my characters when I was younger. Today, I have a notebook I keep in my purse for that random idea that pops into my head. I love observing the world around me and taking in the small things that others may not even notice.

Gus’ Big Adventure is about Ruby and her little dog, Gus. They love going on adventures together. In this particular story, their adventure takes them to The Zoo. They get to see all the animals and enjoy the noises that go along with it until they come to the giraffes. Gus gets so excited he decides to take this adventure one step further by going into the giraffe pen causing a big stir within everyone watching. He talks to the giraffes and gets to take a ride on the little giraffe’s back before the Zoo Personnel come to get him. Ruby, Ruby’s mother, and Gus all learn that adventures at the Zoo require dogs to be on a leash.

Gus’ Big Adventure can be found on Amazon

Rudy is fun story about Santa and his reindeer. Rudy takes a look at what happens when Santa’s original reindeer, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, and Rudolph become too old to continue pulling Santa’s sleigh for him. We meet all of their children and watch as they learn what it takes to become a team and pull Santa’s sleigh. We watch as Rudy, Rudolph’s son, learns to take his place at the front of Santa’s sleigh through all the lessons they have with Santa.

Rudy is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Rudy is also available in paperback or hardback cover.

You can find me at my website or on social media. I’d love to connect with you.

Facebook – traci.howell.77

LinkedIn –

Instagram – traci_howell22

Thank you, Traci, for sharing your wonderful children’s books with us. They sound delightful!

And thank you, everyone, for reading my blog today. Comments and shares are always welcome!

Tejas Mathai and Infinity-The Secret of the Diamonds

Tejas Mathai Article

          My name is Tejas Mathai, and I am fourteen years old, living in Modesto California. I am the author of two published sci-fi novels on Amazon. My first book, Infinity: The Secret of the Diamonds, was published in 2018 and my second book, Infinity: The Rise of the Mandroids, was published in 2019. I have been writing stories ever since I was six years old. Some other hobbies I have are practicing martial arts and playing the piano. All of the profits from my books are being donated to Valley Children’s Hospital because I want to give back to my local community and to help kids feel better to pursue their dreams and passions.

          I started writing when I was six years old, and what inspired me to write was my younger brother. When we were younger, my brother and I would use toys, like Legos, to make up stories. Over time, as we made more and more stories, I began to write them down in notebooks to preserve the memories we had made together. This was the beginning of my passion for writing. When I gained more and more experience in writing stories, I began to drift away from what me and my brother came up with, and I began to make up stories on my own, drawing inspiration from movies and TV shows that I watched.

In 2015, I came up with my first draft for Infinity: The Secret of the Diamonds while I was on my trip to New York City. When my third draft of the story was completed, my grandma read it, and she told me that it was worthy to be published. The seed planted in my parents’ mind about having my story published was only further nurtured when my mom’s friend, a published poet, heard about my writing. She helped us make several contacts with editors and book designers, and by December of 2018, my first book was published, Infinity: The Secret of the Diamonds. The story takes place in present times in New York City, and is about an eighteen-year-old named Jack Stone, who lives with his dad and his uncle in the city. Jack’s father, Sam, is a scientist who creates a machine that can access different dimensions called the RTM. After Jack discovers the invention, circumstances lead him to meet the Infinity Corps, a special ops team from space whose job is to protect the five Infinity diamonds. When the tyrant Tarvin Genesis looking for the diamonds comes to Earth, Jack, his family, and the Corps have to fight against him in order to save the city.

But ever since the idea for the book came to me, I didn’t plan on making just one book. I had planned to make five of them, all part of the same series. And in October of 2019, I published my second book, Infinity: The Rise of the Mandroids. In this sequel to the first book, Jack and his family are reunited with the Infinity Corps three years after the first book’s events. With Tarvin still in power, they must make their way to the planet of Krynosh in order to stop Tarvin from amassing an army of mandroids (robots).

Through my writing, I hope that people, kids and adults alike, are inspired to make a difference and to follow their passions. My main message is that you are not too young or too old to pursue your dreams. I also hope all aspiring writers will be inspired by these books and my story. I wish all future authors the best of luck! Follow me on Instagram (@tejasmathai), Twitter (@MathaiTejas), Facebook, and my LinkedIn. My website is

The After Christmas Crunch



Dr. Valerie Allen

Not far behind us are the holidays with all the trimmings, which for the most part, are packed away, safe until the next season of joy arrives. What to do with all the extra “stuff that has accumulated? The children’s toys and knickknacks need to find a place in their already over crowded  rooms. It’s often difficult for children to decide what to keep and what to part with.

            This is an opportunity for parents to help children learn and practice organization skills and decision-making. One topic of discussion can be the difference between what we need vs what we want. Children can also learn to appreciate material things, which make our lives safe and enjoyable, as well as gratitude toward those who provide for us. It is timely to focus on sharing with others. Parents can also encourage reuse, re-purpose, and recycle to contribute to maintaining our environment and safeguarding natural resources.

Helping children cooperate with the task of organizing their belongings can be made easier with these few strategic steps.

Get Started

1. Set aside a specific day and time to work with each child. When trying to decide what to keep, consider the child first and always allow him or her to select a few favorite toys for safe keeping. As a parent, you may also want to choose items that have sentimental value. These things should be set aside with assurances to the youngster that his or her “special” things will not be taken away.

2. Next, consider which toys are still usable. If broken or missing pieces render them useless, it’s time to get rid of them. Consider the “play value” in light of the child’s age. If the toy is still in working order, but too immature for your child, it’s time to pass it on. Take a look at your child’s “interest level”; has your child played with this toy recently? Is it too simple or too complex for their maturity level? Left over parts and pieces can be recycled into an arts and craft box for future rainy day activities.

3. Get organized with large trash bags, tape, storage boxes, and zip lock bags of all sizes. Use permanent markers to identify items inside of bags and boxes. Repair and tape broken game boxes and book bindings. Put small game pieces, puzzles, books with audio tapes/CDs, and miniature toys into individual zip lock bags. Larger games can be keep together in storage boxes. Use the trash bags and separate the usable toys from those that have seen better days.

What To Do With It

4. Toys should be kept in a safe place with easy access for your child. Low shelves with each item in view is a good option and safer than high shelves; a deep toy chest may work well for stuffed toys and dolls. Use clear plastic boxes to easily see the items inside and label each one.

5. You may decide to have a yard sale and allow your child to participate. Be sure to discuss ahead of time the etiquette of customer service—no tears when an item is sold! No taking it back. Have your youngster price and tag items. He or she can also collect money at the “check out” table. This is a good opportunity to use the proceeds to open a savings account for the child or allow him or her to use the money for a special purchase.

6. Items in good condition can be donated to agencies working with children such as a homeless shelter, domestic violence program, day care center, library, community mental health center, health department, or the Head Start Program. Try to recycle as many items as possible.

The process of parting with the old to make room for the new can be a learning opportunity and a positive experience for your youngster. Taking these steps will provide maximum use and fun with their new items and put reusable items into good hands.

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Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She has published two books for children ages 7 to 12, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends” and a picture book  for beginning readers, “The Sun and The Moon.” Oh yes, she has also raised six children!

Girls Can Do Anything Book Series

Good Monday Morning everyone,

I’d like to Welcome Carmen Petro today who has written a wonderfully empowering book series for girls.

I’ll let him tell you all about it…

Girls Can Do Anything – Genesis of the Series

Growing up as the youngest child with three older brothers, my daughter Caitlyn was caught between the world of girls being cheerleaders, and boys playing football. She adored her football playing brothers, so playing football was the path she decided to follow, and after much consideration on my part (she was Daddy’s princess after all) I grudgingly gave my blessing.  After all, I couldn’t tell her she could be anything she wanted when she grew up, only to stop her from trying football because she was a girl.  It was a tough sport, but Caitlyn stuck with it and in the end became an exceptional overall athlete and NCAA Division 1 Women’s Lacrosse player.

Available on Amazon

When she was little, I wrote a number of stories for Caitlyn in order to encourage and inspire her to think outside the box about her future and her eventual career path. The message of the stories wasn’t to overtly say that Caitlyn should follow a particular path in life. Rather, the message conveyed by the characters in these stories was that she should feel free to explore all options and avenues before making a decision about her future.  Over time, these stories evolved into a series of books written with the intent to encourage not just Caitlyn, but all young girls to dream big, take control of their futures, think outside the box, and not let anyone tell them they can’t do something. 

Young girls are smart enough to derive the underlying message within the pages of these books without having it pushed on them. The intent is to inspire them to consider educational and vocational paths they may not have thought about otherwise. These stories aren’t about competition with boys, or how much money they can make doing a certain job. These stories are about a young girl meeting women in what many might consider “non-traditional” career fields for a woman. The message presents the idea that there is a myriad of options available to girls which can empower them to take control over their futures and become anything they dream of, from an astronaut to an alligator wrestler.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Available on Amazon

Carmen Petro lives in the scenic New Hampshire Mountains with his wife, Sylvia, their 6 dogs, and 2 cats.  He and Sylvia raised 5 children that are all grown and on their own, the youngest of which is Caitlyn.  Back when Caitlyn was just a pipsqueak, Carmen wrote a number of stories for her (loosely based on real people and the family’s real life experiences) to encourage her and let her know that she has the potential to do anything she puts her mind to. 

Caitlyn has since grown into a strong, confident, and successful young woman.  It’s my sincere hope that these stories encourage and motivate other young girls to chase their dreams and not let ANYONE stop them from realizing their natural-born potential.   

The “Girls Can Do Anything” series of books are available to order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and other fine booksellers, as well as directly from the Girls Can Do Anything web site at

You can also find us in Facebook at

Thank you, Carmen, for being a guest here today and thank you everyone, for stopping by. I hope you run right out and purchase all of his books for that special girl in your life this holiday!

An Attitude with Gratitude

An Attitude with Gratitude


Dr. Valerie Allen

Even in difficult economic times, we live in a land of abundance. Most families exceed the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. Children have more than ample toys and clothes. Often, they have difficulty finding storage for the excess items in their bedrooms and play areas. In this land of plenty, it is difficult to teach children how to appreciate what they have. The joy of giving is often lost in the expectation of getting.

How do we teach children to be thankful for what they have? We need to engage them in the act of giving and doing for others. They will not only develop an appreciation for what they have, but will learn to care for their belongings, and have the satisfaction that comes from sharing and helping others.

Here are some activities you can do to develop gratitude and appreciation in your youngster.

1. Thoughtful Families:  Set an example at home. Discuss acts of kindness by friends, coworkers, or family members. Acknowledge heroic acts, which are reported in the paper, on line, or on the news. Talk about charitable donations and organizations such as the March of Dimes, Hospice House, and Habitat for Humanity. Help children understand there are others less fortunate who are in need of financial and emotional support. Tell them about Mother Theresa and her famous words, “We cannot do great things—only small things with great love.”

2. Thankful Thursdays:  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, plan a day of gratitude each week throughout the year. Children can make a list or draw a picture of all the people and things in their lives to be thankful for each week. They can keep track of what they have done for others, as well as what others have done for them. You can help them plan a random act of kindness for the following week. Soon they will develop the spirit of Thanksgiving during every season of the year.

3. Take Action: Children can visit a nursing home, draw pictures and mail them to shut ins, or help a neighbor with yard work. More formal activities can be arranged through a church or volunteer organization to help at a school, collect canned goods, or work at an animal shelter. Children can make place mats, napkin rings, or menu cards for meals-on-wheels. They can participate in community clean up days, plant a tree, or help clean litter at a park. Encourage your children to become a positive influence in the community.

4. Thank You Notes: Children should get in the habit of writing notes to express appreciation. Not just for birthday or holiday gifts, but for those who give their time or help with projects. Write letters to teachers, neighbors, firefighters, police officers, the pediatrician, the scout leader, or the choir director to recognize their time and effort. Cyber kids can send thanks via email.

5. Thrift Stores: Teach children to share. Have your youngster clean out toy boxes, book shelves, and clothes closets once a month. Have them remove an old item when replacing it with something new. Have them bundle up the items and take them to a consignment or thrift shop or a domestic shelter to be shared with others.

6. Twice Around: Recycle, reuse, and repurpose. Recycling is a wonderful way to respect and preserve our environment. Children can save and sort newspapers, cans, glass jars, and plastic containers. They can also be creative by using items in unique ways. For example, the plastic bags from groceries can be reused as trash bags, or woven into placemats. The Sunday comics can be used as wrapping paper. Small plastic containers can hold pieces and parts from board games, hair accessories, or jewelry.

Money is not the essential factor in helping others. Children need to learn giving of themselves is the most important gift they can offer. Doing for others is the best way to develop an attitude of gratitude in your youngster.

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Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist and author in Melbourne, FL.  She has published two children’s books, “Summer for Smarties and Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends

Happy Veteran’s Day everyone!

Hi everyone,

Monday, November 11th is Veteran’s Day in the US.

I’m super excited to be celebrating this year because my step-son is just returning from serving the past 6 months in Afghanistan!!

He left just before Easter.

His Dad went into the hospital right around the same time. We didn’t know at the time that his Dad would not come home from the hospital.

6 weeks later, his Dad passed away but he wasn’t allowed to come home for the funeral.

Thankfully, he spoke to his Dad on the phone a week before he passed.

His baby girl turned 2 while he was away.

His wife kept comforted their daughter who stood at the front window and patted the glass window repeating, “Daddy, Daddy…” wanting her Daddy to come home.

His wife worked and kept house and all the usual things you have to do plus all the chores that would normally be his.

She evacuated during a hurricane–packing up all their belongings and their child and leaving their home, hoping and praying their home would be safe when she returned.

The sacrifice is real.

I’m so proud of you, my step-son and my step-daughter-in-law!!

And I’m so very thankful for your service and for everyone’s service–home or abroad.

I love you!

And your sacrifice and that of your closest family does not go unnoticed.

Welcome home! Welcome home! Welcome home!

And to my dear, sweet husband who served in the navy, may you rest in peace knowing your son is keeping us safe.

I’ll be flying our flag high and proud today!