Infinity, The Secret of the Diamonds

young boy sitting amonst trees wearing a dark shirt and glasses looking off into the distance

Hi everyone,

I have something new for you today that I think you’re really going to like.

I not only have an author of a YA science fiction book to introduce today, but the author is an 8th grader!!

Isn’t that awesome!!

Please meet Tejas…

Tejas Mathai

I was born in Turlock, California in 2005 and currently live with my younger brother Mihir and parents in Modesto, California. Currently, I am in 8th grade at Prescott Middle School. Some of my extracurricular activities include karate, playing the piano, swimming, and riding horses. My passion for writing started when I was in second grade. When we were younger, my brother and I would use toys and Lego minifigures to act out and enhance the stories from movies and books we enjoyed. These stories made an impression on me and I wanted to capture and save them in written form, thus I began to write. My initial writings were short stories made up of two chapters, about a paragraph each with illustrations. After I had continued to write more and gained a better grasp of vocabulary, I made the first draft of my debut book, Infinity: The Secret of the Diamonds.

Book cover for Infinity, The Secret of the Diamonds, in which a spaceship is flying above a night city view with a moon and sun in the distance and a male with his back to us looking at the scene

It took me four years to perfect the final draft of this book. This book is about an 18-year-old adolescent named Jack who lives in New York City with his father and uncle. His father and uncle are inventors and astronomers. When his father invents an interdimensional rift machine, Jack notices that his dad starts exhibiting strange behaviors. A set of circumstances lead Jack to meet the Infinity Corps, a galactic special ops team which protects the five Infinity diamonds that created the galaxy. Conflict arises when an evil warlord comes to the city in search for the diamonds, and Jack, his family, and the Corps must protect the diamonds and the city. I drew inspiration for this book from Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Pirates of the Caribbean, and astronomy concepts. This is the first of a 6 book series under the Infinity title. I hope to inspire others to follow their dreams and passions, for they may never know where it will lead to. All proceeds from the book sales will go to a children’s hospital. I wish all future authors the best of luck!

If you’d like to purchase this book, see the below links for either Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Purchase Links           


Barnes & Noble

Social Media Links


Linked In

Amazon Author Page

To Read a Review of this book

Thank you, Tejas, for joining us today!

And thank you, everyone, for taking the time to read this blog.

Please leave a comment for Tejas to encourage him in his author journey.

And of course, share with your friends, family members, and fellow bloggers so everyone has an opportunity to read about Tejas.


New and Improved Parenting for the New Year

two parents standing holding the hand of a child between them and Dad holding the other child facing a body of water while the sun is setting

Dr. Valerie Allen

Licensed School Psychologist ~ Certified Case Manager

New and Improved Parenting for the New Year

The New Year brings added attention to the fact that children are in a constant state of growth and development. One day your daughter is interested in dolls and tea parties and the next she is experimenting with make-up and high heals. What happened to that lovable little boy who played so nicely with the puppy? This is the same boy who now thinks you are his private taxi service. In a matter of weeks or months, children’s needs and behaviors change and so must our style of parenting. What worked at three may not work as well at 13.

The goal of parenting is to raise children who are independent of us. The job of a parent is to instill values and morals, so the child understands right from wrong and makes appropriate choices when on his own. When we are not there with reminders about being on time, keeping safe, and hand washing will our child be in a position to know what to do, how to do it, and motivated to do it well?

What can parents do to help raise positive children, who enjoy life and are pleasant to be with? Impossible you say! All is not lost. Research has identified four basic parenting styles: Authoritative, Authoritarian, Permissive and Uninvolved. One has proved to have a more successful outcome when raising children.

  1. The Authoritative Parent:  provides a loving, supportive, home environment. These parents hold high expectations and standards for their children’s behavior. They enforce household rules consistently and explain why some behaviors are acceptable and others are not. Children are included in family decision making.
  • The Authoritarian Parent:  holds high expectations and standards for their children’s behavior, however, they convey less emotional warmth directly toward their children. They establish rules of behavior, but they may not take the child’s needs into account. They tend to expect immediate obedience, without question by the children. Parents make “family decisions” without input from the children.
  • The Permissive Parent:  may provide a loving, supportive, home environment, however,  hold few expectations or standards for their children’s behavior. They rarely discipline the child for inappropriate behavior and tend to make excuses for their child’s offenses. Children are allowed to make their own decisions about their life style without guidance or standards set by the parents.
  • The Uninvolved Parent:  provides little, if any, emotional support; even when they are home, they tend to be uninvolved with their children and family activities. They hold few expectations or standards for their children’s behavior. They have little interest in their children’s lives and seem overwhelmed or over involved in their own work or problems.

The Authoritative parenting proved to be the most effective style to develop positive social skills in children. Authoritative parents tend to raise children who are happy, self confident, independent, and respectful of others.

Resolve this new year to tell your child every day “I love you” with your words and by your actions. Take time to be involved in your child’s life at home, at school, and with friends. Your efforts will help create open communication, mutual respect, and a loving relationship with your child throughout the year ahead.

# # #

Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She is the author of two children’s books, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends.” Oh yes, she has also raised six children!

Life Throws Us A Curveball

baseball pitcher in full stride throwing a baseball

Occasionally life throws you a curveball. I have been sharing with you about my husband and his sister’s walk in Spain and then how they had to comeback early do to health issues that arose. Once home, my husband started complaining of headaches and feeling wobbly on his legs. I thought it might be his electrolytes were off or that he had a vitamin deficiency. So he went to the doctor and well, he was diagnosed with brain cancer last Wednesday. We met with the neurosurgeon this Wednesday and it’s stage 4 glioblastoma, cancer. He is having surgery on Monday followed by chemo and radiation.

What a kick in the gut!

We have cried many tears and had talks that you never want to have but must. We love each other very much and have such happy things happening–His oldest son in his 40’s has finally found the love of his life and is getting married November 1st. Our daughter is getting married in February and all he wants to do is to be able to walk her down the aisle. And his other daughter is having a baby boy in January.

So damn much to live for!

We were just bopping through life, looking forward to our future together. My husband was healthy and active. And then bam!

We do have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ to walk us through this trial though and we are praying for a miracle even though the neurosurgeon said prognosis is 1-2 years.

We invite you to pray with us.

I will try to post my thoughts and experiences here as we go because it will help me process and to gain more prayer warriors in this fight.

I believe God loves us and wants the best for us. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe in miracles. Recently, I wrote that “I believe in Magic, it shows up in the form of love.” Never have those words been more true. My husband’s friends and family have reached out and shown us how much they love him and us. We’ve had the most precious of conversations. Love surrounds us. I’m so very grateful for that.

Our daughter came home and we had wonderful conversations along with tears. His son from Utah came in Thursday and we had a great visit with him and his girlfriend. Another one of his sons drove down tonight with his wife for the weekend. His sister that he went to Spain with lives nearby and she’s came Friday to be with him while I went to work. His childhood friend lives an hour south of us. They discovered that fact awhile back but hadn’t actually gotten together. He drove up to visit and they talked for 4 hours reliving childhood memories together.

My husband went on this walk, this spiritual walk, for healing and he found it. He made peace with everyone in his life that he had been hanging onto the hurt. What a blessing!

The other night when I couldn’t sleep, a dear longtime friend was online and she spent an hour with me, encouraging me with  scripture. She felt words come to her that she was not intending to say but they were spot onto me. She quoted my favorite scripture that she had no idea was my favorite scripture. I felt GOD’s presence in a very real way. Tonight, when I couldn’t sleep, I opened my Bible app and the scripture for the day was that exact one. I know God is with me, loving me, and that I am not alone.

In my view, God is showing up all around us in the form of love.

I intend to lean in, let Him support me, and develop an even deeper, more real relationship with God. He is my greatest source of comfort. I need Him now more than ever.

That is not to say that I’m not scared out of my mind and that I’m not incredibly sad because I am. I’m human. I feel overwhelmed and in shock. There will be many trials ahead, I may need to be reminded of how good God is. Wait make that there’s no “may” I will need to be reminded. I ask for your support in this journey, hopefully non-judgmental support. I do not consider myself some sort of spiritual guru nor do I think high and mighty things of myself, I’m just a person trying to make it in this world and now with this trial before the two of us.

P.S.–I wrote this back in October right after the diagnosis and thought I had posted it, but it went into my drafts. I want to go ahead and share it though for those of you who may not have the full story of what is going on in our lives.

Write a Winter Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too! —”Snowfalls” (Haiku from MY MAINE) by Bette A. Stevens

Another great post from Bette’s blog. Here’s something to get the kids writing.

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

Enjoying another snow day at the farmstead in central Maine. This haiku is from my current work in progressMY MAINE, Haiku Through the Seasonsa poetry collection schedule to be released early in 2019. The photo of field and forest (taken from the back patio at the farmstead) inspired me to write today’s featured haiku. “Snowfalls” is a verse from the WINTER TALES section. Wherever you are, whatever the season, I invite you to get outdoors and get inspired. Join the fun and write a seasonal haiku about what’s inspiring you. It’s easy as 1-2-3… You’ll find the definition and descriptive details of writing haiku below. If the kids are around, make it afamily affair—they’ll love it!



Reign over field and forest

Supremely sovereign

~Bette A. Stevens


noun hai·ku ˈhī-(ˌ)kü
  1. :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin…

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Have an Amazing New Year! (Poem + Monarch Butterfly Resources from author Bette A. Stevens)

I discovered this beautiful blog and wanted to share this post with you. Help to save our beautiful monarchs and enjoy the lovely poem and free resources. And visit Bette’s blog for more great posts.

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

Have an Amazing New Year!

May your days be blessed and beautiful

May your nights, sweet dreams supply

May your New Year be amazing

As a monarch butterfly

© Bette A. Stevens

Learn about Monarch Butterflies

Bette in her garden with one of the monarch butterflies that emerged from its chrysalis at the farmstead in central Maine.

Monarch butterflies offer an amazing view into the intricate nature of the wild. Their scientific name—Danaus Plexippus— Greek for “Sleepy Transformation,” gets part of the story right, but not the epic whole. Monarch butterflies embark on an amazing migratory phenomenon as they have the ability to hibernate and metamorphose.  International conservation efforts to protect and restore monarch habitat are ongoing. These efforts may help improve the near-endangered/endangered status of the species; but we, as ordinary citizens, can easily help the monarch butterfly recovery right in our own backyards and gardens.

  • Resources for kids…

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#writephoto lavendar & rose garden

A lavender lined stone walk leads to a blooming rose bush
surrounded by a metal circular seat

I’m participating in a writing prompt today (a new blog I discovered through a suggestion of a friend)

You can join in the fun by going to the blog Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

The sun shone brightly on the gravel walkway as the lilting fragrance of lavender filled the air. The rose bush that had been meticulously trimmed and braided to stand tall above the other flowers cascaded delicate pink flowers down towards the metal circular seat that surrounded it. The garden exuded a sense of peace to all that came to visit.

In the distance, the carefully mowed grass created a playground for squirrels and other small critters. The tall stately evergreen trees lined the garden and provided nesting grounds for several species of birds that could be heard chirping and singing throughout the day and long into the evening.

This place was well loved. The gardeners took special care to keep everything just so for their beloved princess. She had loved this garden since she was a little girl. Often, she would be seen reading one of her favorite books under the rose bush. As she grew, she wrote love letters there as well. And in time, the right suitor had discovered her and woo’ed her until he finally proposed last year down on one knee underneath the blooming rose bush. She said yes, of course.

Now, the day had arrived. They were to be wed. Everything was set. The garden was ready. Two more days and she would become a wife, a queen, and woman. Everyone was excited and yet a bit of sadness too as they wondered would she come back to visit. Would she remember them? This garden?

The celebration was grand and everyone said farewell. But, alas their fears were put to rest when she returned a few seasons later to tell them how she would be spending summers there, with them, with her garden, and with her soon-to-be family. Yes, she was pregnant and her child would be raised spending summers in her favorite place and with the people that loved her.

“Never fear, my friends. All that is loved shall remain.”

What Happened to 8?

What Happened to 8?? Book Cover with a detective holding a magnifying glass over the numeral 8.
Author Jon Lefkovitz and Illustrated by Joe Bearor
(descriptions provided for those with eyesight limitations)

Hi everyone,

I want to let Jon,the author, of this cute picture book tell you about what happened to 8…

This book began several years ago when I was pushing my three-year-old nephew Isaac on a swing as he giggled and counted, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9…” 

“Wait!” I said. “What happened to 8?” 

The giggling turned to full-blown laughter as we started counting again, each time skipping a different number and following the ‘mistake’ with an incredulous, “Wait!” And with the invention of this bit, an idea was born. I researched the concept and saw that, although there are a lot of counting books out there, I couldn’t find one that centered on skipping numbers as a means of engaging readers in learning.

I proceeded to write the book, coming up with a rhyming exclamation for each number. Isaac’s favorite was “fiddlesticks” – that’s even what he called the book for a while. My personal favorite was “man alive!”, a bizarre expression that’s not used much anymore. The most difficult number to figure out was nine. Lots of things rhyme with “nine,” but nothing seemed to work. My sense of humor initially led me to “swine!”; that didn’t go over well with anyone to whom I showed the book. My parents suggested “shine”, which felt nice, but didn’t make enough sense if you really thought about it (Sorry, Mom and Dad!) I finally brought the dilemma to my ingenious wife Talia, who instantly suggested “whine!” I love collaborating with loved ones.

Once all of the text was complete, I had a new problem: I needed an illustrator. Luckily, my brilliant friend Joe is also a brilliant artist – I asked him to illustrate the book, and to my eternal relief, he agreed. It was Joe who came up with the story of the hapless detective trying to locate each of the eight missing numbers. It was Joe who was able to translate the humor and playfulness of the game Isaac and I created into a visual format. It was Joe who brought the idea to life. 

I was thrilled to discover Amazon’s CreateSpace platform; having the book available all around the world is an incredible feeling. It’s been a joy hearing from friends and strangers whose children are enjoying the experience. Multiple people have sent me a photo or video of their child’s gleeful reactions as they read the book out loud. I was also happy to finally answer Isaac (now eight years old), with a resounding “Yes!” when he asked if the book was published yet. Needless to say, it’s dedicated to him.

So that’s the origin story of “Wait! What Happened to 8??” I want to thank Wanda for the opportunity to invite you to join the number-finding adventure!

Official Facebook page:

Amazon link:


Thank you, Jon, for sharing your very creative, fun, counting book with us today. I hope you all will check out this book for your child or grandchild or niece/nephew and/or leave a comment and let Jon know what you think about his book. As always, shares are appreciated!!

Becoming A Caretaker Changes Your Relationship

When someone you love becomes seriously ill and you become their caretaker, your relationship to that person changes. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a parent or a spouse, the dynamics are now different.

Sure the old ways of relating are still there but when you make all the decisions about their care, it’s a tall order, especially if you don’t have any medical knowledge, like me.

You want to keep the person comfortable, you want to make good decisions, you want to actually help them get better, yet you don’t really know how.

You don’t really know if you should push them to be independent or if it’s best if you do things for them.

You don’t know what questions to ask them or the doctor.

You don’t know when something is serious and when it isn’t.

Largely, you have a lot of responsibility but very little knowledge on how to carry out that responsibility.

Back in my psychology training days, that was the recipe for stress.

Your loved one depends on you.

They don’t know how you can help them either but you are all they got.

They may not trust you to do everything right.

They may want to dictate to you what to do, possibly because they have lost so much control and controlling you gives them that sense of control.

You may not be good at taking orders, like me. I have never liked being told what to do. Yet, you understand that the person is helpless and dependent so if the roles were reversed, you would want someone to help you. So, you bite your tongue and do your best to care for them and meet their demands.

You feel helpless and sometimes hopeless. You can’t see things improving. You feel like crying but don’t want your loved one to see. You need a break but there isn’t one. You are tired beyond anything you have ever experienced yet nothing you are going through compares to what they are going through.

People tell you to take care of yourself but sometimes you forget to brush your teeth or you’re too tired to take a shower.

You aren’t hungry but then when you are, you can’t figure out what to cook so you eat something available like cookies or chips.

You don’t meditate anymore. You say quick, pleading prayers.

You don’t exercise but you feel your body aching with soreness from lifting wheelchairs and walkers awkwardly and trying to get them into and out of cars.

Your world has been turned upside down and so has your loved one’s life. You need each other but often can’t talk about it without an abundance of tears.

You feel alone even with many people reaching out.

You don’t know what tomorrow will bring but you hope and pray for a miracle.

You have good days and bad days.

You have good reports that are celebrated and bad reports that cause sadness and concern.

You are on an emotional roller coaster and would love to get off but there is no end in sight.

Yes, you’re relationship has changed. They need you. You do your best to meet their needs. Your own needs are put aside. The relationship is no longer a mutual give and take.

Your love is strong but relies on memories to carry you through.

Laughter is seldom.

I never knew what caretakers went through. But, now, here I am. I can say that it’s the hardest job you will ever have.

If you know someone who is a caretaker continue to reach out to them, let them know you are thinking about them and their loved one and that you are praying for them both. Offer meals because that’s the last thing they are thinking about. Offer to sit with their loved one while they run an errand or take a nap. You can ask what they need and they may know but they may not. Ask again later because needs change and even though they didn’t need anything before doesn’t mean they don’t need anything now.

Let them know they are not alone and that you are available anytime to talk or anything else they may need.

My heart goes out to all the caretakers in the world! May you find peace in the middle of stress and joy in your darkest hours because you are not alone and this too shall pass.

Hold on, keep plugging, and don’t look too far down the road. Today is enough to be concerned about. And please know that I love you! I feel your pain. And I’m here for you.

Friday Faceoff – Time travel is possible. Will explain later. #Brainfluffbookblog

This is one of my favorite things—Friday Faceoff! Here are several different covers of the same book and people weigh in on which ones they like best. They do not always feature children’s books, but this time they do. Also, Sarah Higbee’s blog is one of my favorites. While you’re here, poke around and check it out. She’s also an author. If you like science fiction, you’ll enjoy her books.


This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This meme is currently being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and the object this week featuring on any of our covers or the story is an AMULET, so I’ve selected a book I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading, The Story of the Amulet – Book 3 of the Five Children series by E. Nesbit.

This edition was produced by Penguin Classics in March 1995. I love the artwork and the green-hued backdrop which gives a real sense of the drama and danger of a trip back to Egypt. But that clunky red something doesn’t remotely resemble any amulet I’ve ever seen – what a shame, given the wonderful lighting giving it centre stage. And my other peeve is that dreadful red text box…

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