Long time, no blog...
It was a heck of a summer, but I won't bore you with the details. The temperatures are cooling down (because it's raining, not because it's actually autumn yet in Florida), and school is back in session. I've gotten my faulty internet connection back to a fairly reliable status. I'm working on the final revisions of the new book, FINDINGS. It's time to shuffle back into the blogosphere, blushing over my long absence.
While I was gone, an interesting part of my writing life has heated up. I believe I've mentioned here that several teachers' have become interested in using my books in the classroom, primarily as tools to teach other subjects like math, science, and social studies. My late father was fond of saying, "No education is ever wasted." He apparently was right, since all that engineering coursework appears to make me produce stories that are permeated with easy, approachable math and science. And socials studies connections are a gimme, when you write about an archaeologist.
I've been speaking on the subject to different teachers' groups, and some good things are happening as a result. Two major educational consulting groups in Mississippi are recommending my books to teachers. In Georgia, all my books are included on lists of books that are useful in teaching non-literature subjects. An exercise using an excerpt from Artifacts is included in a workbook for middle-school math teachers being published next year. All in all, this is exciting stuff. But it gets better.
At the National Council of Teachers of English convention, a professor of young adult literature heard my presentation and invited me to collaborate with her on some fairly groundbreaking projects. She tells me that there are no books on the market aimed at high school teachers that tell them how to use a single work of literature to teach math, science, social studies, and integrated lessons. We submitted a proposal a few weeks ago to write a book that will do just that, using my books as tools, so we're waiting for that response with bated breath.
While waiting, she has proposed me as a contributor to a book of short stories and to an edited collection of articles to be published in book form. We're presenting two extended sessions at a major conference in Georgia. In our copious spare time, we plan to write some articles for academic journals. The work has been so invigorating that I'm actually thinking about going back to school for a Ph.D. in math and science curriculum development.
Did I imagine any of this when I sat down to write a series of mysteries aimed at adults? No. I've just been following my nose, pursuing opportunities as they arose.
I learned a new phrase to describe the art of following one's nose...going for the gusto, if you will. A friend told me recently that to make the most of life, you've got to "ride all the rides." I'll remember that on those days when getting up in the morning seems to be more daunting than the highest roller coaster.
Yeah...I'm planning to ride all the rides.