Using Your Imagination

One of the great blessings of childhood is a vivid imagination. A child can make a blanket into a tent or a robe, a stick into a sword or scepter, a couch into a castle or mountain. Give a child a cardboard box and he will find more uses for it than just a packing container.

The simpler the object, the easier it is to turn it into a versatile plaything. Give a child an object that is too refined, like a toy kitchen set, and it cannot be “imagined” into anything else. When I teach Bible classes, I use blocks and marbles for towns and people.

As we age we sometimes lose that kind of ability to imagine objects as anything but what they are. Instead, we go into our minds and travel or dream from there. With the present stay-in-place requests by the government, many of us understand what solitary confinement entails. It gives us plenty of time to dream. At least we have the Internet, with Netflix and online shopping.

What are you doing that uses your imagination? Cooking new recipes? Playing new games with your children? Becoming a schoolteacher since your children are staying at home? If you want a free way to teach your child to read, go to www.raisingupgiants@wixsite.com/free where I have a free reading program. My seven-year-old brother taught me to read at age four, so learning to read is fun, at least the way I show you.

My last book out was Avalanche Puppy, which is part of a new Authors’ Billboard Amazon 99 cent collection, Unforgettable Joy. I wanted to put some humor in it, so I made my dog, Brat, a Border Collie. Brat wants his own way, which includes building his “herd” of his owner/trainer and the young man who wants to act as his handler.

Border Collies are high-energy dogs with minds of their own, and it was fun to write about him. They will nip at your heels to try to herd you together, and when you protest, will just “smile.”

As usual I’m writing another story and planning more. My second-chance-at-love story takes place at a dude ranch, where the new cook turns out to be the woman the owner had dated in college. He hadn’t recognized her married name when he hired her. Then the woman he is currently interested in shows up as a guest. Her name has also been changed as she is in the witness protection program. This story will be part of “Sweet and Sassy in the Summertime”, which is due out in late June.

So use your imagination and chase away boredom. If you need help, remember to go to our Authors’ Billboard monthly board and join our Easter Egg Hunt contest. I have four books on the board, all of which will be free on different weeks, including this week.

7 Tips for Successful Book Clubs

Book Club t-shirtI have a dear friend who is a member of a book club. She enjoys meeting up with other readers and discussing the books that the group has chosen to read. I asked her to give me some tips on how to start successful book clubs. Here’s what she suggested:

  1. Decide on the “tone” of the club. Will the feel be serious, highly social, or somewhere in between?
  2. Genre matters! What kind of books will be read? Will the group focus on best-selling literature or mass market genres such as mysteries, romances, thrillers, etc?
  3. The “when” and “where” are also matter. How often will the group meet? It seems once a month is about the average. If you want to meet more often, breaking the reading into chapters (read chapters 5 through 10 before the next meeting) will work. And will you meet in someone’s home? Or rotate meeting locations? Or meet on-line? Meeting in the local library might be a great option for local book clubs.
  4. Decide your book clubs size. Probably between 8 and 16 members is a good size. Large enough to have a good conversation even if several members are absent, but not so large as to make the discussion overwhelming.
  5. Naming the group might be a fun “ice breaker” at the first meeting.
  6. Keeping in touch: exchange emails and set up a “loop” or create a phone tree for meeting reminders or emergency cancellations.
  7. Going above and beyond—collect dues and use the money to buy books for the local library, a school, or donate the money to a local literacy program.

Here are some suggestions on how to structure your meetings (with or without a leader). Book clubs are more fun and the meetings move smoother with a little pre-planning.

Find ideas for promoting discussion here.

Are you a book club member? How often do you meet? What types of books does your group read?

Look for SUMMER LOVIN’ Anthology ~ 14 novels and novellas by bestselling authors

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