Archive | August 2020

How Invested My Family is in ASL from Writing a YA Book

Millneck Book Talk

When I was in college at Stony Brook University, I took American Sign Language, for two years. It was just something that always fascinated me and I thought the language was beautiful.

Many years later, I had the idea to write a book with a young deaf boy as the main lead. That is how FLYING TO THE LIGHT was born. It is about a deaf child who knows a secret so big that everyone in the country is after him. I then began to do school talks about the novel and had the good fortune to be able to sit with students at a few different deaf schools. But, I didn’t want to just go into the school and have an interpreter. I wanted to be able to speak to the students myself. So I started classes at The Sign Language Center in NYC to refresh what I had learned so many years ago.

I did a few talks, some at Millneck Manor and St Joseph’s School for the Deaf. I did have an interpreter at

Me and my wonderful interpreter at St Joseph’s School for the Deaf

both events, but I did try my best to use my skills when I could. Both of those visits were eye opening for me. While in my novel the young boy, named Danny, is deaf and does not speak, I have his entire family using sign language to communicate with him. It didn’t occur to me that a parent would not learn sign language to speak to their child. Unfortunately, I heard from the students that most families DO NOT learn sign language to speak to their deaf children. We spoke about a lot of other things, but this really hit home. The conversations really helped me in writing the sequel called, FLYING TO THE FIRE. I changed some content of that novel specifically because of my conversations with the students at these schools.

FLYING – Young Adult Series

But what is really interesting is now my children are interested in ASL and both took the language for four years in high school. And now my son is continuing his education in Deaf Studies with the hope to either be an ASL Interpreter one day or perhaps work in a Deaf School.

I’ve been written up by so many different deaf websites and I thought it might be nice to list some here so you can learn about them. Please click on each one and it will take you right to the articles.

Sharon Pajka’s Blog – a professor at Gallaudet
able2uk
DeafNetwork
Michael Thal Review

Could You Survive a Zombie Attack?

Ha! I bet that title sucked you in! But really, could you survive a zombie attack? I train for triathlons and sometimes it’s so hard mentally to keep running, keep biking, keep swimming, that I play this little scenario in my head (well, I am a writer) that goes like this, “Ok, there are zombies about a mile behind me, how fast and how far do I need to run that I can put enough distance between us that a) they don’t smell me any longer and b) I can sleep for a few hours before they lumber up to my camp?”

Swimming on the bay

I know it’s crazy, but it makes me at times go just one more step, one mile more. Another scenario goes like this… “I live on Long Island and there’s been an apocalypse and I need to get to the west side of NYC to get some medicine for someone in my family. Roads are closed to cars, bridges are down.” The fact is, I’m confidant RIGHT NOW that I can do this. I can bike the 20 miles to the East River, swim across it and then run to the west side of NYC, get the medicine and do the trek back home. I’m also pretty confidant I can do this in a good amount of time.

Creepy Horror Collection

Do you play any scenarios in your head as you’re training? For some reason, my brain always goes to the macabre. I actually wrote so many short stories this way and you may like my horror short story collection called RICKET ROW. It’s a compilation of horror tales for just $0.99. Here’s one of the reviews I just love:

DeeDiDee
5.0 out of 5 stars Creepiest Horror Compilation Out There!

I became a fan of Ms. Salpeter’s when I picked up her full length novel, The Mannequins, so I picked up a copy of Ricket Row almost as soon as it came out! Ricket Row is a compilation of horror vignettes and short stories that promises a little something for every horror reader. It is so crazily good that I read it in two short sittings, and had bedtime not been calling I would have devoured the whole thing in a sitting!

As a serious Poe fan, I couldn’t resist The Pilgrimage to Poe. It was a seriously cool take on the mystery person who is famous for leaving a remembrance in honor of Poe at his grave every year. As a devotee of Chinese food, I ate up Mr. Wong’s Amazing Wok and the sinister reason why the heroine can’t quit eating his house special dumplings. And Mr. and Mrs. Odd got inside my head and is haunting me hours later.

Ms. Salpeter writes horror with the best of authors, carefully constructing creepy, chilling, vivid atmospheres with a fast pace that takes you from shivering to hiding under the blankets in a handful of page turns. She takes the horror genre and preys on your psyche, delivering epic blows without the gore factor. Looking for a horror anthology to shake your nerves? This is it!

My next goal is to be able to run a 10K. That’s 6.2 miles. To be honest, I start to lose it at 4 miles. My sciatica acts up, but I’m determined to do this. I think I’m going to actually start the Galloway method where you run and walk at times. Hopefully I can build it up to get to that.

Please tell me some of your goals? Do they involve surviving an apocolypse or some kind? Would you survive? Love to hear!

Keeping Busy during the Pandemic

Hi everyone,
It’s been so very long since I posted. I don’t know about you, but when the world seemed to close up in March, it was as if a part of my brain closed off, too. It seemed all I could do was try to keep my family safe and happy, keep my job from combusting, and simply put one foot in front of the other.

Open Water Swimming

As the weeks went by, my kids came home from college and online classes began, I told myself I needed to set some goals, get active and keep myself busy. I had to get back to life. So, I decided I was going to finish THE JOURNEY BACK, Book #6 in the Kelsey Porter series, train for triathlon races as if they were still happening, and lose 20 lbs. Ok, I know I don’t quite need to lose that much weight, but some of the Pandemic carb load would have been nice to take off.

While I didn’t lose 20 lbs, I did lose 6, which allowed me BACK into a pair of jeans I’ve not worn in quite some time, I published THE JOURNEY BACK to great fanfare and I started Open Water Swimming at the local beach (on the bay side, not the ocean – no sharks for me!). (all social distancing in effect) In fact, this very weekend I swam my first one mile mock race in under 40 minutes. And it was raining. And there were waves going over my head. I won’t lie, I’d been scared to do that race, but I did it. The nice part was there were kayakers and paddleboarders watching us, so I felt relatively safe. I’m a “face my fears” type of person for sure. Next? A 10K run… we shall see!

Now, for those who have read the first 5 books in the Kelsey Porter thriller series, THE JOURNEY BACK will allow you a peek into Kelsey’s teen years. If you are invested in this character, I guarantee you that you will enjoy this. But, trust me – don’t read this until you’ve read the first 5 books. Too many spoilers.

I’ll start posting more, I promise. So tell me, what have you been doing this summer to keep busy? I’d love to hear.