samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-02-16 10:20 pm
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Smile a Day: Breakthroughs

 #smileaday Breakthroughs. 
lightbulbOne of my favorite things about teaching is being there when someone has a breakthrough, when you can see the light bulb go off over their head, just like in a cartoon, and feel like you helped to power that light bulb. 
I teach for a local community college from time to time. This semester's class is called "Finish Your Novel" and is part cheerleading, part feedback, and part advice about building a writing life that lets you finish things. 
Today, I shared a plantser (half pantser, half plotter) outlining/structuring technique I've been using and the response was heartening. Looks like I'm not the only person this approach might help. One student announced that she was super excited to get back to writing now and try this out!
It's good to feel like you helped someone move forward. Super good. I still feel all glowy. 
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-02-13 09:40 pm
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Smile a Day

 #smileaday When your students missed you. 
I was absent from school for two days which is middle school terms is something like a month. Substitute teaching a thankless job, and many substitutes aren't there because of their love of children or your subject matter. That said, to all appearances, my substitutes were competent and kind, but the kids still prefer their own teacher. Me. 
My return was straight out of Miss Nelson Is Missing. I hope the second honeymoon lasts out the week :-)

miss nelson is missing cover
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-02-12 09:20 pm
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Smile a Day

#smileaday Reading on a rainy day. 
I'm still at home with my sick youngin' and today was bleak and gray and featured a cold rain that made me glad I didn't have to venture out. I read a lot, which is just what such days are for. 

reading in the window while it rains 
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-02-11 08:15 pm
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Smile a day

 #smileaday To speedy recoveries. 
I was home with the youngest Bryant today, who was freshly diagnosed with the flu. Given how bad she felt last night, I anticipated a difficult day full of intense worry, but she was actually quite a bit better today. Low energy and definitely still sick, but much lower temperature for her fever and much more alert and "like herself." Such a a relief! Here's hoping that tomorrow keeps her on the fast track to healthy. 
speedy recovery
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-02-10 10:58 pm
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Smile a day

 #smileaday It's been a rough one at Casa Bryant today. The youngest went from kinda sick to scary sick over the space of a few hours and has been diagnosed with Flu, type A. :-( So, I guess my smile today is that there is an Urgent Care facility in my town and that they treated her with kindness and compassion on the way to that diagnosis. And that, even though the flu sucks, it's nothing scarier than the flu. 
juju cartoon
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-02-07 09:02 pm
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Smile a day #38

 #smileaday Book birthdays.

I had triplets today. Three brain children.

Three of my book babies were sent out into the world to seek their fortunes. Hmmm . . .may have to work on that metaphor. Makes me sound too much like the mother in the three little pigs, and I'm hoping to avoid the wolves.

It really is such a lovely feeling though, getting your work out there into the world. So grateful for all the help I've had getting this far.

It's time to celebrate so the youngest and I made cupcakes. :-)

new books
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-02-06 09:01 pm
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smile a day #37

#smileaday Teaching success. 
It's been a good week in my classroom. My roughest class made some serious progress today. It's exhausting, but when I can ride the wave of their energy and help it splash down in a positive direction, it's the most amazing feeling. Like I'm Diana Prince.  
wonder teacher logo
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-02-05 08:49 pm
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Smile a Day #36


#smileaday Cooking adventures.

I told my husband I wanted to get an instant pot, since I'd been hearing so much about them from friends who cook. I thought I was giving a birthday hint, but apparently, he decided just to get me one! So tonight, we made ribs. I was interested in trying this out because it's one of those foods that generally takes too long to cook to even consider on a weeknight.

The results! So much yum that I'm afraid I ate too much.


samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-02-04 08:52 pm
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Smile A Day #35

 #smileaday When your partner is a good partner.
I don't feel good today. It's "just a cold" but a cold can be so miserable, making it hard to breathe and leaving you feeling so very very blah. Sometimes I think I'd rather just go ahead and be a little sicker so I could justify staying home from work (and writing substitute teaching plans-shudder!) as opposed to suffering through. 
But I am a lucky girl, and seeing how low I felt, the husband stepped in and made the Beans a la Bryant tonight. Warm, comforting, and someone else made it when I didn't feel up to it. Perfect. It's lovely when you need someone to take care of you and then someone does. 

sick cartoon

samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-02-03 07:25 pm
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Smile A Day #34

 #smileaday Lunch with my girls.

College girl called me up today because she had some time and wanted to spend it with me and her sister. As if that wasn't good enough . . .there was also sushi!

sushi conveyor belt
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-02-02 08:35 pm
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Smile A Day #33

 #smileaday Second chances and fresh starts.

Today, I sent out an author newsletter announcing the re-release of my novels through a new publisher. I also changed all my pictures and banners on all the different social media platforms I play on so as to stop using the picture of me holding that first book with its old cover and the old covers.

It felt really good. Like fresh coat of paint or complete makeover good. That new beginning feeling like I get when a new semester begins and I get new students and the possibilities are all still on the horizon. Such buoying optimism!

Despite the signed contract in my hand (or really, on my hard drive), the thing that made this rebirth moment for my novels feel real was getting my new covers and knowing my release date (February 7). So, one more time (then I promise I'll stop sharing my new covers . . .for today at least): Meet the Menopausal Superheroes for the first time all over again.
new book covers
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-02-02 12:35 am
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smile a day #32

 #smileaday Movie night with Sweetman. 
We're regulars at the Retro series at the Carolina Theatre in Durham and tonight was so much fun! Schwarzenegger and Stallone, The Running Man and The Demolition Man. Retro movie series has confirmed again and again that I married the right man. He always springs for popcorn and candy, too. 

movie posters
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-01-31 08:01 pm
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Smile A Day #31

 #smileaday Building relationships with challenging students. 
I've got three new classes right now. Some classes at my middle school last all year, others one semester, others one quarter, so my "beginning of the school year" work resets for at least some portion of my day several times over the course of a school year. 
One of my new classes is a group of 7th graders taking semester Spanish. It's a big class: 30 kids in a classroom built for 20 (the district cap on language classes used to be 15, a decade ago when I took the job). This class is a rough one. It's 80% male. For those who don't deal with middle schoolers often, you should know that 13 year old males are not particularly mature or patient, and can be aggressive and super high energy. Classroom management is easier when the gender balance is more 50/50 at this age because the girls are more focused and cooperative. So, this skewed demographic is definitely a challenge. 
It's also got a mix of native speakers, kids with some language experience, and total newbs. It's got about 20% kids who are accustomed to failure in their classroom experience. I'm stubborn though. Determined that every one of them is going to make progress. I don't like to see 13 year old people accepting that school just isn't for them and they're doomed to failure. That's way too soon for giving up the fight. 
xena wants to helpIt's hard though. It's easy to lose heart when even basic conveying of information requires hacking through a jungle of apathy and resentment. These kids don't just automatically trust in the good faith of their educators. They've had too many experiences that hurt them. 
I knew I was getting somewhere in getting their buy-in today when one of the high-flyers (admin-speak for "kids who get in trouble a lot") turned to his friend who was getting ready to poke another kid in the ribs just to make him squeal in the middle of my lesson and hissed "Cut that shit out. The lady trying to teach us now." 
So far as he knows, I didn't hear that (it's a useful tool in teaching to be selectively deaf sometimes), but I was so pleased at the heart of that, if not the word choice. He wanted to hear what I was going to say because he wants to learn Spanish and has started to have faith that I can help him do that. That's a big step right there! 
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-01-30 09:45 pm
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Smile A Day #30

 #smileaday Bamboo. 
I have always liked bamboo. It appeals to my eye and nose. I can remember seeing it at the Cincinnati Zoo when I was a kid, inside some of the animal enclosures. It seemed exotic to me, so very very jungly. 
When I moved to North Carolina, I was surprised to find small stands of it here and there. There's a lovely stand of it at Duke Gardens, not far from where my husband and I got married. That's where I found out that it feels nice, too, if you run your hands down the stalks. 
It's my understand that you're not allowed to plant it, because its an invasive species, but obviously some has made it into my little town, because here I am, on my walk today, standing among the shoots and trees. I felt so happy just being there. Maybe I'm secretly a panda. 

me standing beside bamboo
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-01-29 07:56 pm

(no subject)

 #smileaday Fresh starts (new covers!)
If you've been following my publishing story, then you already know that I asked for and was granted the rights to my Menopausal Superhero novels from my previous publisher AND that I've signed with a new publisher: Falstaff Books. 
Today was a big day in that I got to see the latest iterations of my new covers. A cover can make or break a book's chances for sales, so this is no small thing. And I'm really really lucky in that this publisher is willing to listen to my opinions and give me a strong say in the final product. 
I did really like my old covers. They were vibrant, eye-catching, and simple (in a good way). They were, however, a little off-tone for the content, perhaps leading readers to expect a mostly comedic book instead of superheroic women's fiction with comedic moments. So, this move to a new publisher was the perfect time for a re-brand. 
We're not quite ready to show them yet, so I'm just going to give a sneak peek here, the bit of each cover that shows the title. I can't wait to unveil these babies to the world! 
new covers
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-01-28 09:01 pm
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Smile A Day #28

 #smileaday Tea.
Today wasn't a bad day. It just wasn't really a good day either. I'm tired. I'm in the first few days of three brand new classes, while still teaching my other four. Of the three new classes, two are heavily stacked with especially needy students. I'm fighting a cold. But now, at the end of it, I'm sitting in my office wearing my new rainbow writing gloves and sipping Raspberry Zinger tea. When you need it, tea is the best thing ever. Warm, aromatic, and comforting. 
raspberry zinger tea
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-01-27 08:30 pm

Smile A Day #27

 #smileaday A big writing day. 
It's been a while since I spent an entire day at home, able to put a good amount of focus on my writing life. Today, I submitted three short stories, finished another short story, prepared my submission for my critique group and sent it out, made arrangements to attend a convention this summer as an author guest, responded to one of the two mentoring programs I'm participating in, formatted and scheduled the guest post I'm hosting on Wednesday, and responded to a host of emails that have been dangling for a couple of weeks. 
It feels good to feel like I'm on top of things again instead of buried under them. 

buried under the to do list

samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-01-26 10:12 pm
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smile a day #26

 #smileaday Today was a good day. I spent time with my tribe (A Women's Fiction Writers Association get together), eating good food and having great conversations. But the best part was after that, when I picked up my college girl and took her out to dinner. We had simple, easy, quiet time together, just talking about nothing and everything. Exactly the kind of time with her I have missed the most since she went off to school.
with my college girl
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-01-25 08:58 pm
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Smile A Day #25

 #smileaday Happy giggling girls. 
Today was a Scout meeting day, and I was the transport for my daughter and two other Cadettes. Some of my daughter's friends worry me because darkness pulls at them, but her Girl Scout friends are giddy and light and joyful. I'm glad she's got a good place for this part of her soul as well. 
And me? I got a car full of silly happiness at the end of my workday. Just the soul lift I needed. 
Girl Scout Cadettes
samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
2019-01-24 08:39 pm
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Smile A Day #24


#smileaday Making plans.

I'm on the board of my local Friends of the Public Library. We had a meeting tonight. Now, generally, if I start a sentence about a meeting, you can expect it will end with me feeling annoyed and irritated. But that's never true with this group. They're so positive, reasonable, and proactive, full of ideas for how to make sure our library has the money it needs to continue all its amazing programs and start some new ones.

Making plans with a group of positive visionaries can be such a joy!

making plans