October 18, 2013

Dear Friends,

The Ripple of a Lie is Here!

Several months ago while riding on the train (I know, big surprise, I seem to always be on the train) I had an idea-- 'What would happen if a child did the wrong thing for the right reasons?'

My first children's book, The Ripple of a Lie, grew out of those thoughts.  It is geared for children ages Kindergarten through third grade, when the desire to fit in and be the center of attention causes gossip to spread like wildfire.  Parents, teachers, and guidance counselors can use this book to talk in a friendly way about the consequences of lying and spreading rumors.

Marcus is a child who often gets ahead of himself and has been in trouble in the classroom before-- so the whisper brigade begins in earnest.  The children find out that not all is as it seems. 

Every time the lie is told, a raindrop falls.  When the lie is revealed, it turns into a thunderstorm.  When the lie is repaired, the raindrops are replaced with flowers.  Yet, even when the sun is shining again and the world has been restored, the puddles of the thunderstorm remain-- the Ripple of a Lie.  

I had the opportunity to work with the supremely talented Gabriel Calderon of Silver Spring, MD who designed all of the artwork in this book -- and this book blossomed and flourished as a result.  Additionally, I partnered with Dr. Jill D. Chasse, a maternal and child health educator and colleague of mine from the Gaithersburg Book Festival (Class of 2012) to write a section for parents to talk to their children about lying. 

This book is available now on Amazon, and signed copies can be purchased on this website by clicking the Books page.

What reviewers on Amazon have said about The Ripple of a Lie:

--When Marcus steals his teacher's lunch in a misguided (albeit well-intentioned) act of charity towards a classmate, the storm of accusation and suspicion spreads rapidly through his classmates. Rumors of his thievery quickly cloud his relationships with his friends and teacher. By the end of Marcus' tumultuous lunch time, we all discover that the after-effects of stealing and spreading half-truths are as mixed as new growth emerging from mud puddles after a storm.

While reading The Ripple Of A Lie, young readers may ask: But Marcus did steal the sandwich, so weren't his classmates just telling the truth about him? But Marcus didn't take the sandwich to be mean, he was trying to help; isn't helping good? The complexities surrounding the telling of half-truths and altruistic thievery are brought into clearer focus in The Ripple Of A Lie.  Through the collaboration of author Paul A. Stankus' simple, honest storytelling and illustrator Gabriel Calderon's colorful, illustrative graphics, the simplistic and unsatisfactory “answers” that plague many children's books are rejected for the more satisfying opening of a door to honest discussion between parent and child. A discussion made much less intimidating to the parent through the inclusion of a discussion guide and suggested activities at the conclusion of the story provided by psychologist Dr. Jill Diana Chasse.

Madeleine L'Engle once said, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” As adults, we tend to avoid the messiness and discomfort that comes from acknowledging and facing the moral struggles and conflicts addressed in The Ripple Of A Lie. Mr. Stankus and Mr. Calderon have courageously brought this discussion onto the playground... and they should be commended for it. 

--The first day we had this book, my nine-year-old daughter read it to herself, then with a friend, and finally with me. She was intrigued by the story and charmed by the illustrations. There are some interesting suggested activities in the book that can be done after reading the story, as well as a helpful note from a psychologist on talking to your child about lying. The Ripple of a Lie is a great little book with an important message.

--No one needs to teach a child how to lie. This book is a great tool to address all the complex levels a lie holds in a simple manner for Children to understand. I like the fact it not only dealt with the lie, but also modeled a way to repair and behave as a group. A great lesson for adults as well. The illustrations are not only eye catching but an interactive part of the book. Jill's suggestions on how to use this book and speak to your child about this subject make this book a must have for parents, teachers and councilors.

August 24, 2012

Today the summer ends and the pool toys get stacked away.  Tomorrow, the kids go back to school (although ours went back last week).  It has been an exciting and exhausting summer -- from being a Featured Author at the Gaithersburg Book Festival in May to doing my first ever Book signing at Barnes & Noble.  Now bring on the firework colors and additional events of the fall!

Since last I wrote, I have been busy on the book tour doing nine events and book signings as well as do an event with a home school class of creative writing students.  I always enjoy doing events with school groups, it enables me to give back to the next generation of writers and encourage them at the beginning of their careers. If you would like me to speak at your school, send me an email at the Contact Us page.

This fall, I have 3 book signings set up, with several more coming, including events at the Indian Valley Public Library on Sept. 8, a fundraiser for College Gardens Elementary School on Sept 21 and the King Farm Fall Festival on Oct. 7.  Hoping to see my friends at these events --which you can find out the details on the events page.

In the middle of this, I also managed to start writing my next book, a novel set in the early 18th century.  Look for more news to be coming about it in 2013. 

Dad Desperately In Need of Training Wheels continues to do very well since its publication.  Last week, articles about it were in the Gazette, the King Farm Chronicle, and the Rockville and Gaithersburg Patch.

Dad Desperately is now available in Print from Amazon, Create Space, Barnes & Noble, and Books a Million.com.  It is also available in e-book versions from Kindle, Smashwords.com, Nook, and Goodreads.com and soon to come to iPad and other e-book formats.

To download a sample of the book, click here.

May 25, 2012

Paul was a Featured Author at the Gaithersburg Book Festival  on May 19, 2012.  

It was an honor to be the lead off speaker for the festival.  The crowd was warm and receptive.  I'm glad I had the opportunity to be part of the best Book Festival in the DC area.    I felt especially fortunate, since I wrote the book on the train, that the train came to visit the Festival in the middle of my talk.  I guess it felt that since I was talking about it, that it wanted to hear what I had to say."

One of my best memories of the day was when a lady came to my booth afterwards, and said that she read the story about me in the Gazette and that based on that story, she circled the date on the calendar to come meet me.  It is experiences like this that make me glad that I am a writer.

For a list of all upcoming book signings, please see the Events page. 

What is Dad Desperately In Need of Training Wheels about?

Paul thought he had caring for a newborn all figured out from studying multiple baby books—that is, until the first diaper was fired.  Come follow this Dad Desperately in need of Training Wheels as he navigates food-art explosions, sleepless nights, diaper disasters, and juggling life between work and home during the first four years of his son Alex’s life.  Somehow, in the midst of all this chaos, while being bamboozled by his offspring at every turn, he learns a little about himself.  As Paul says, “Watching myself be proven completely wrong was one of the happiest moments of my life.”

This hilarious and heart-warming collection of stories is a must-read for any parent, grandparent, or someone about to become a parent.

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