Friday, November 21, 2014

V.L. Jennings At Space Camp

Me- at spacecamp

I've been referencing my time at Kennedy Space Center Space Camp for the past two days on facebook that I figured it must be fate. Time to share a picture that rarely sees the light of day. Yours truly, V.L. Jennings at space camp- at the top of the shuttle simulator ladder.

I will always be so thankful to the people who run that place. I was 16 then and about two years outside of the camp age requirement. We were able to call the staff and get them to allow me to attend though. That was such an awesome vacation! I enjoyed it so much that there are numerous nods to KSC in Visionary From The Stars.

Besides the shuttle mission simulator we also had a chance to try various other simulators. We got to try moon walking, simulated climbing in "nearly zero gravity" (Its amazing what some counter weights can simulate!), and I also rode the G force simulator three times. The last time I almost got sick- I kid you not!

Another of my favorite moments was riding the bus beside the launch pad crawler and watching it crush the rocks beneath its HUGE plates as it rolled up the road.

I learned so much, took TONS of notes and I believe I took 5 rolls of film worth of pictures (yes, back before digital cameras were standard). Then that fannie pack you see in the picture... Well I had my last two days of film in there and my notes and left them all behind at a gas station on the way home. EPIC FACEPALM!

We went back to get it but someone had already wandered off with it. No money inside that I remembered... just undeveloped film and a mini notepad. (Really? Who steals film?)

I do still have a copy of the Camp KSC chant that one of the program leaders was said to have written. I love that song so much that I asked them for a copy of it before the camp ended- it STILL hangs in my kitchen (yeah, I am well aware that I am a nerd).

If I can get at least 10 comments on this blog post I will take a picture of it and post it here on my blog for you all to see- 20 comments and I will even sing it for you!

Have you ever been to Kennedy Space Center? What was your favorite part of your visit?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Traveling With An Alien

Rocket Men
photo credit: EricMagnuson via photopin cc

From this point on, Dan, it is imperative that you think of nothing but Mars, Rivi said. Dan nodded in acknowledgment.

Rivi folded the ship into hyperspace and then, thinking about Mars, she brought the ship back out again.

~ The Alien Mind- Order yours today on Amazon!

So... Yeah- I thought by now we would have more interesting forms of travel besides planes, cars, and trains...
Rivi (yes my main character) would either hyper space travel or walk everywhere if I let her -.-
But anyhow. Out of the three how do you prefer to travel?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Mirror- Five Sentence Fiction

photo credit: Send me adrift. via photopin cc

Originally started by Lillie McFerrin, this week I have picked my own picture and word to challenge myself with.

The challenge word for this one is Mirror. Use the word and the picture as inspiration and write your own 5 sentence fiction. If you write it on your own blog I would LOVE to see it- or you could share it in the comments if you don't blog. I’d LOVE to see yours! Leave me the link to your 5 Sentence Fiction blog post in the comments!

She was tired of running, tired of trying to make him remember; she wanted to give up. Everyone else suggested that he was lost for good, but giving up would mean that their connection wasn't real, so instead she fought on. She stood in the darkness of her room and feeling his emotions pouring into hers from the abyss, the fear, the pain, the loneliness; even from this far away. Somehow she had to tear him away from the ones that tormented him, if only she could get close enough to him when they attacked tomorrow!

Earth's very future rested on her plan succeeding- she might not get another chance.

This picture and 5 sentence piece isn't exactly out of the second book to The Alien Mind, but these projects do help me explore the feelings I am trying to portray. The second book isn't anywhere near done yet- but you can check out The Alien Mind on amazon! It has recently been newly released by PDMI Publishing LLC. and is doing really well on the amazon charts!

Does this picture inspire you? Feel free to write your own 5 sentence story about it and either leave it in the comments here or leave me a link to where you posted yours on your blog! I'd love to check it out!

Find The Alien Mind on Amazon!

Did you like this post? If so you might enjoy my book!

For adults and teens alike, it is truly a science fiction adventure for the whole family!

If you'd prefer an autographed copy straight from the author you can buy one here as well!
Autographed Copy:$13.00 + Shipping

Friday, November 7, 2014

Heights- 5 Sentence Fiction.

For some ascensions, God uses a crane
photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc
 Originally started by Lillie McFerrin, this week I have picked my own picture and word to challenge myself with.

The challenge word for this one is Heights. Use the word and the picture as inspiration and write your own 5 sentence fiction. If you write it on your own blog I would LOVE to see it- or you could share it in the comments if you don't blog. I’d LOVE to see yours! Leave me the link to your 5 Sentence Fiction blog post in the comments!

The wind rushed past her, vibrating the strap from her toolbag across her chest, giving her the shivers and causing her to cling to the metal support beams that much tighter. I wouldn't be so cold if I hadn't been forced to leave my space suit at the midway point.
But that couldn't be helped, the suit would be too heavy for her to climb in this far down the transfer ladder.
Foolproof, they called it, would never break down they said!
Yet here she was clinging to the support beams of a transfer ladder, water droplets dripping down her arms and back, halfway between the space station and the ground; all because this seemingly foolproof transfer system had broken down.

***So what do you think? Are you afraid of heights? Could you stomach a climb down from a space station?***

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Expanding Your Brain With An Instrument

Guitar Sonata III
 photo credit: tamahaji via photopin cc

My post the other day was about the Mind vs. your Genes. Today I ran across a video that has shocked me and really made me reevaluate how I look at music!


I've always loved music. I taught myself how to read music and play the piano as a teen. I need to practice playing with two hands more, but I can play with my right-hand alright. My eldest, as you learned in my previous post, has a chromosomal deletion disorder called Di George syndrome. Due to this disorder the areas of visual, audio, and motor functions; short term and working memory;  Visual and auditory attention, are all functioning below where they should be. This is the way it is for MANY children affected with Di George syndrome!

However, if you exercise and stretch a weak muscle it gets stronger right? Low and behold, according to this video- the exact same areas that she is weakest in is the EXACT same areas -playing- a musical instrument works with! Take a look at the 'file system' in the video. She has that issue too! Many times she has learned something but just can't seem to find it in her head again. This is due to processing and recall issues.

Ok- so she's not going to be able to keep up with the faster music. She does ok with slower pieces but the time needed for her to read the note, process the information, and get it back down to her fingers (she plays the flute) is way to long for her to play faster pieces like marches.

Some tips we've been working with:

*Write the letter of all the notes above the actual notes- highlight key areas if you have to- this helps cut down on some of the processing time.

*Her math teacher suggested highlighting only certain notes within a song for her to concentrate on. The rest of the band will play the whole song but she only plays with them when her notes come up. This way she can still play but it lengthens the time between notes to give her a moment to process. (I am SO thankful for the teacher's suggestion on that one!)

*I've found it easier to cut out the "one and two and one and two" stuff- she doesn't get that. Instead, I clap out the beat and point to her on key notes when we are practicing.

This whole realization has been really encouraging to me- and I hope it is to you as well!

So- check the video out. If you have any instrument playing tips put them in the comments for us! And remember- Never stop exploring human potential, always reach for the stars!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Help Mouse Trap Crash The Super Bowl!

Video posted in an Iframe below ;)

Copyright Doritos

My hubby loves working with film shots. He found this contest online to create a Doritos commercial and the most voted will be aired during the superbowl. When he decided to film something to enter, who should he draft for his actors? Why me and our three yr old of course lolol. 

Come check it out - we are hoping it makes you laugh ;)

If you could... please vote and share everywhere you can! We appreciate all the help we can get!

Tonight's Meteor Shower Party!

Click the picture to head to Amazon!

Well- actually it was released yesterday but I found out about it too late. Anyhow, you can now get your copy on Amazon at your earliest convenience!  This book also features illustrations by PDMI Publishing LLC's illustrator Matt Ostrum!

The release date was chosen for this week because November 5- 6 is the annual peak of the Taurids Meteor Shower. It is said to average about 5-10 meteors per hour. While you can catch a glimpse of this shower anytime from September to December the peak is the best time to see the most meteors.

Unfortunately, the moon will be full this week so you may have trouble seeing many of the smaller ones. The best viewing time will be just after midnight.

If you check out Myrtle Beach's WBTW's news website you can see that many people have reported seeing some pretty big meteors shooting across the sky from this shower!

*Who wants to sit outside with me tonight? I know you might not be able to make the trip to my own back yard but let me know in the comments if you will be watching, and then come back later and tell me how long you stayed out, and many you saw tonight! I'll do the same!*

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Mind Vs. Genes

Otherwise known as Di George syndrome
I am a believer that we were all amazingly designed by God and have the potential to do big things. Sometimes the body's design ends up different than it should and that's ok. These people are still special and full of untapped potential if they put their minds to it AND if they have people around them willing to go the distance and help them figure out ways to work around their disorder.

Please consider sharing this ribbon to support DiGeorge Syndrome.

I have a child with this disorder and it affects many aspects of her personality and health. She has a bleeding disorder, a heart defect, and immune system issues. She was diagnosed with it early in regards to her health issues, but we didn't realize how vastly it affects her day to day life until school issues became overwhelming and we took her to a psychologist.  Many aspects of her personality had been 'brushed under the rug' until now. We were told by the school that she just wasn't paying attention, that she wasn't trying hard enough, that she didn't care, that she JUST needed to study/practice more. Many people were under the impression that she was just being difficult. Things use to be very confusing and frustrating until we realized that it all boils down to her DiGeorge syndrome. Thanks to the psychologist who actually took the time to research this disorder, we now know whats really going on.

She's not being difficult- its the way her mind and skills have developed due to the affects of the Di George syndrome. Now people are starting to realize that she can't just learn her way out of this. She has to be taught how to cope with and work around the underlying problem before she can... diagram a sentence or solve a math problem, for example. All the practice sheets, and all the 'reteaching' in the world can't help you if you are having problems processing what you are being asked to do in the first place. Tie in short term memory issues, sensory issues, attention issues, (among other things) and it is no wonder she's had so many problems in school.

I would like to point this out something else out though. Even though she has these issues she STILL has the potential to do big things; IF we can help her figure out how to work around the root of the problem first. She loves music. She may not be able to handle the faster pieces because of her processing deficiencies, but she can still play the flute and even keep up during the slower pieces. She's really responsible about keeping things tidy and she is really well behaved.

She even wants to be a teacher when she gets older!

 Her bleeding disorder has taken her to dangerously low levels, and still she kept trucking on till we dragged her in to be treated. Without a blood test, you would have never known because she learned to cope with it and work around it so well. She even has a high pain tolerance. When she was 11 she had her second open heart surgery, two days afterward she was up and walking, trying to ignore the fact that she had just had major surgery! The child who was once labeled as 'failure to thrive' and given a shortened life expectancy has now reached her teens!

Never give up! Always keep exploring and never stop reaching for the stars!

Parents of children with this disorder have to be constant advocates. Their children may look as though there is very little different about them, but the disorder can affect everything. For a breakdown of this disorder, visit 22q112-deletion-syndrome page on the Genetics Home Reference website.

If you or a loved one has this disorder I would love to connect with you.

Do you have an 'overcoming the odds' story about you or someone you know that you'd like to share? Tell us about it here or message me if you'd like to feature your story on my blog!

Monday, November 3, 2014

When Squirrels Go Nuts

Caption This - A Game!

photo credit: Jim Bauer via photopin cc

Today on my blog- JUST for the fun of it, I am going to try a caption this game! You are all welcome to join in the fun!

Rules: Keep it clean please.
1. Post your caption in the comments on this post.
2. Remember to click the Squirrels Go Nuts entry in the rafflecopter 

While you are pondering your caption entry, I have an excerpt from Visionary From The Stars to share with you! In this one, the main characters find themselves in a very serious, and yet slightly funny situation. Enjoy! (and DON'T forget to post your caption in the comments!)

Later, in the afternoon, the team passed over one of the many grassy hills and could see, further ahead, the edge of what appeared to be marshlands. It was quiet--too quiet-- almost as if something were waiting for them there; expecting them as they approached. As the group slowly began to follow the edge of the marshlands, Laurie started to feel quite uneasy. Young Chris Hagan looked over his shoulder and into the marshland trees repeatedly, soon finding himself becoming increasingly worried about…well he didn’t quite know.

 As if out of nowhere, a downpour of stones and arrows came launching out of the trees and rained down upon the unprotected EOE team. The group barely had time to cover their heads with their arms when a large band of squirrels jumped out of the trees yelling war cries, and surrounded the team. Realizing that the group had no weapons ready, the squirrels took the team hostage. 

As the squirrels herded the EOE Team into the marshlands, a rather burly squirrel handcuffed and chained the team together. Mr. Kingston looked around for his daughter and Chris— they were nowhere to be seen. 

“Captain Mitchell, the children aren't here!” He whispered urgently. “Do you think they escaped?” 

“They could get lost out oomf!” Mr. Kingston managed before being butted in the ribs with a stick by a fierce looking squirrel.

Available for pre-order on Amazon! - RELEASES WEDNESDAY!  

About The Book: 
For millenia, humans thought they were the only life in the galaxy-- until the day an alien species claiming to have humanity's best interests in mind forces its way onto an unsuspecting exploration craft. In another part of space, the Star Traveler's crew sets out on a camping trip to the surface of the moon. There, they stumble upon an object covered in alien writing revealing the first piece of a galactic map that will lead them into an intergalactic controversy--all while the Platonian race strives to sabotage their every move.

What Critics are calling: