Author, Teacher, Psychologist and Speaker



Posted by on Oct 28, 2013 in Blog | 3 comments

Halloween is a tradition celebrated by both children and adults every year on October 31st. It is one of the most exciting and fun-filled times of the year! We dress up in costumes, go to parties, play games, and go trick or treating.


Halloween costume


Halloween can also be the deadliest time of the year, especially for our children.  Kids have a greater chance of being fatally injured by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year. 32% of victims are children between the ages of 12-15. And statistics show that 60% of child pedestrian fatalities occurred between the hours of 5pm to 9pm, with nearly 25% between pm and 7pm. (Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)


Be Halloween Safe


5 Tips for Trick or Treat Safety:

  • Always trick or treat with an adult or older sibling.
  • Carry a flashlight with fresh batteries.
  • Walk direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  • Walk on sidewalks or paths, or facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street at corners.

5 Tips for Costume Safety:

  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers.
  • Choose light and bright colors.
  • Make sure the costume is made of flame resistant fabric.
  • Make sure the costume is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
  • Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.

5 Tips for Food Safety:

  • Don’t eat candy until it has been inspected at home.
  • Eat a snack before heading out too avoid the temptation.
  • Look for the warning labels on juices, fruits, nuts, etc.
  • Avoid homemade treats unless you know the cook well.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.

5 Tips for Traffic Safety:

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods.
  • During peak trick or treat times, be extra watchful for children in dark clothing.
  • Watch for children walking on roadways, at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  • Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.

Halloween can be a dangerous time of year for our furry friends, too!


Cat Costume


5 Tips for Pet Safety:

  • No tricks or treats for Spot or Tiger, especially dark or baking chocolate, or those containing artificial sweetener.
  • Pumpkins and decorative corn can produce stomach upset in pets.
  • Keep carved pumpkins containing burning candles away from your pet.
  • If your pet chews wires from lights and decorations, it might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
  • Guard the door when opening for trick or theaters so that your pet doesn’t dart outside.

Some fun things to do with your kids this week:

5 Books to read:

  • The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey (4-8 years)

Hallo Weiner

  • Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino (4-8 years)

5 Little Pumpkins

  • The Berenstain Bears & The Haunted House by Jan & Mike Berenstain (4-8 years)

Berenstain Bears

  • Always October by Bruce Coville (8 – 12 years)

Always October

  • Weirdo Halloween by R.L. Stine (8 – 12 years)

Weirdo Halloween

5 Movies to watch:

  • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

  • The Goonies [PG]The Goonies
  •   Casper [PG]              


  • Monsters, Inc. [G]Monsters, Inc
  • The Worst Witch [G]

The Worst Witch

5 Activities to do:

Pasta Skeleton Craft

Pasta Skeleton

Pasta Skelton Template

Pasta Skeleton Template


  • a variety of pasta and dried beans, i.e. spaghetti, macaroni, tiny tube pasta, long tube pasta, wagon wheels, long spirals, tiny shells, wagon wheels
  • a sheet of black construction paper
  • white glue
  • white marker or crayon
  • pasta skeleton template


  • Arrange the pasta on the paper before gluing to adjust for spacing on the skeleton. (The wagon wheels are great for the head, tiny tubes or lentils for spine vertebrae, longer tubes or spirals for collarbones, arms and legs, spaghetti for fingers and toes, small shells or dried white beans for kneecaps, wrists and ankles and dried lima beans for the hips).
  • Glue the pasta to the black paper.
  • You can label the bones and write your name with a white marker or crayon.

Egg Carton Bats and Egg Carton Spiders

Egg carton batEgg cart onspider



Bat Supplies:

  • egg cartons
  • crayons or markers
  • scissors

Bat Directions:

  • Separate 3 cups from an egg carton (See picture).
  • Cut out part of the bottoms of the 2 outside cups to resemble bat wings.
  • Add eyes, a mouth, and decorate.
  • Hang it from a string or a rubber band.

Spider Supplies:

  • egg cartons
  • crayons or markers
  • scissors
  • pipe cleaners

Spider Directions:

  • Separate one cup from an egg carton.
  • Using the point of a scissors, an adult should make 8 small holes (4 on each side) at the base of the cup.
  • Insert a pipe cleaner into each of the holes for legs.
  • Draw a face and decorate the body.

Candy Corn Tissue Paper Collage

Candy Corn Tissure Paper Collage


  • White Card Stock
  • Glue
  • Yellow, Orange and white tissue paper


  • Cut a triangle from card.
  • Round the edges into a candy corn shape.
  • Rip the tissue paper into pieces and scrunch into small balls.
  • Glue the tissue paper to the triangle to make stripes. (See picture)

Pumpkin Bowling

pumpkin bowling


  • 5 to 10 empty two-liter bottles
  • two medium-size pumpkins (not too big)
  • gravel (pebbles)
  • white paint and black paint


  • Put enough gravel (pebbles) inside the two-liter bottles to keep them weighted down so they will stand easily without falling over.
  • Paint the two-liters white to use as bowling pins and paint the pumpkins black for use as the bowling balls.
  • Set the bowling pins up in a group and line the children up about 20 feet from the pins.
  • One at a time let each child roll the pumpkin and try to knock down as many pins as possible.
  • Let each child have two turns and add up the scores.
  • The child with the highest score wins the game. If there is a tie, let those children bowl again until the tie is broken.

Haunted House



  • large cardboard box
  • black paper
  • white or yellow tissue paper
  • black pant
  • white chalk
  • scissors
  • sticky tape
  • flashlight


  • Stand the box on one end.
  • Open it up at the top and fold open the flaps to form a roof. (See picture)
  • From one of the flaps cut out a rectangle to form a window. Carefully with the scissors make holes in the box and cut 2 windows from each side of the box.
  • Paint the box black and leave to dry. Make sure that you put down plenty of newspaper or stand it on an old plastic tablecloth first!
  • Cut the black paper into thin strips.
  • Tape the strips to the inside of the box to form crosses at the windows.
  • Cover the windows with tissue paper (taping on the inside of the box).
  • With a thin brush (or perhaps a black marker pen), gently paint cobwebs, spiders and cats at some of the windows.
  • Switch on the flashlight and put it inside your box to cast spooky shadows at the windows .
  • Tape the flaps at the top of the box together and with lots of sticky tape fasten the roof together.
  • Draw a door on the front of your house with the white chalk.
  • You can add a witch and her broomstick.



Happy Halloween

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

pumpkin with candy


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My Blog Tour Stop

Posted by on Oct 7, 2013 in Blog, Featured | 7 comments

I want to thank the very talented Sandra Warren, for inviting me along on this Blog Tour.
Sandra has a wonderful web site and blog, The Grateful Writer. Please stop by and read all about Sandra and her work.

Here’s what Sandra wanted to know about me and my work:

SW – What are you working on now?

AE – I am currently working closely with my publisher on the final launch preparations for the second book in the Sean Gray Junior Special Agent Mystery series, Fallen Prey. The release is scheduled for November 7, 2013.


Fallen Prey Web Cover 2

Twelve-year-old Junior Special Agent Sean Gray is in a race against time. Could there be a connection between his testimony in the trial of an international child kidnapping ring and his mysterious accident?

While the sheriff’s department and the FBI are investigating, his new friend, Gabby, gets caught in the web of an online predator and disappears. She’s been missing for more than 48 hours, and the authorities have not been able to find her.

Sean goes undercover to bait the mysterious hunter. But when he becomes the prey, how will he rescue her?


Sean was first introduced in Hiding Carly, book one of the series.




Eleven year old Sean is in search of the truth. Someone murdered his father, Special Agent Max Gray, and the FBI has officially closed the case. Now it is up to him to find out who was to blame.

While investigating online, Sean stumbles upon a mysterious connection between his father and that new girl in his class. Now he has two puzzles to solve.  What really happened to his dad and what does Carly have to do with it?

In the face of danger, Sean sets aside his fear and finds the courage, compassion, and conviction to “follow the evidence.”


And, yes, the third and final book in the series is well underway! At least Sean is plotting and planning in my head! Untitled, the final installment, is already filled with twists, turns and tumbles. And the ending (yes, I do know how it ends) is a Sean Gray surprise!

SW – How does this book differ from other works in its genre? 

AE – The series itself differs primarily in that there are absolutely no zombies or vampires! Seriously, it centers on a young boy who helps to solve crimes and mysteries using the things he has learned from the FBI Junior Special Agent Program. I got the idea for Hiding Carly while mentoring a fifth grade student who was participating in the program. The FBI Agent that I interviewed for Hiding Carly, Special Agent Bill Malinowski, as well as others at the agency really liked the book. They suggested I write a series.

Malinowski said, “I believe any time you can reach out to young people and impress on them that doing what is right outweighs peer pressure, then we need to make efforts toward that end. The FBI’s Junior Special Agent – sometimes referred to as “Junior G-men” – Program does just that. After personally coordinating the program, I saw such positive changes in many of our youth.”

Though the books contain some universal themes, such as friendship, bullying, family, and separation and loss, they also deal with murder, kidnapping, and internet crime. These are things that affect kids today across the nation and the world. The Sean Gray Junior Special Agent Mystery series features events that strike at the core of children’s issues.

As Joseph Bowman stated in his review, Something New is “Elementary, My Dear Watson”:


From murder and disease to kidnapping and betrayal, Hiding Carly holds onto a tradition of dark content in children’s mystery novels – Nancy Drew, The Box Car Children and Sally Lockhart were all orphans – but it approaches the story in a way rarely embraced by children’s authors. Eisenstein chooses not to pursue the rain coat and magnifying glass, looking for footprints in the rain approach that is seen so often; instead, she focuses the narrative around the everyday crises and uncertainties faced by children poised before puberty.

The complications of losing a father, the confusion of watching a loved one slip into mental decline, a first crush, a bully, all of these take the main stage for the first two thirds of the story while the mysteries of Carly and of Sean’s father more so bubble to the surface. That bubble, though, proves indicative of something worth waiting for as the conclusion takes more twists and turns than is typical for this genre.


SW – Why do you write what you do? 

AE – I wish that I had some magical explanation that would dazzle and amaze. Truth is I just write the story that is in me. Most of what I write stems from my persona as an author, an educator and a psychologist. Though I didn’t start out writing for children, it has been the most natural beginning. My fiction works-in-progress encompass all genres, including picture books, middle grade, young adult and adult. I also write nonfiction and screenplays.

SW – How does your writing process work? 

Wow…let’s see. I have an overactive imagination. I pay attention to inspiration. I get an idea – or two – or three. Poof! Magic! Not really. I do add those three things together and often the character, or characters, enter the picture first. They usually bring some sort of agenda with them. Often resulting in conflict. Yea! As a teacher, I could do without the conflict. As a psychologist, I really need it to begin – but hope it’s not too troubling. As an author – bring it on! Once I have the start of story, I tend to research – a lot! I am concentrating on realistic, contemporary fiction right now, so it is important that my facts are – well – factual. As the story unfolds, I begin to plot and storyboard. I like the plan of it, the road map. My characters usually take some twists and turns that I didn’t count on, but that’s okay. I just move the scenes around or throw them out and add more. It’s a big giant jigsaw puzzle on my wall. And I love puzzles!


Next Monday, October 14, 2013, this Blog Tour train will stop at the pages of the following fabulous, imaginative, and gifted children’s writers:

Donna Welch Earnhardt

Holly Hughes 

Suzanne Warr


Please click on their links and climb aboard to discover new and fascinating things about these talented authors and what they write.


In the mean time, Happy Trails to you until we meet again!


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Posted by on Oct 3, 2013 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

I am still reeling from the wonderful 21st ANNUAL SCBWI-CAROLINAS FALL CONFERENCE in Charlotte, NC, last week-end. (And yes, I know that was days ago – but it was that good!!)


993417_10151889904823570_432330980_n edit



Prior to the conference, I was nominated for THE LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD by the very talented Becky Shillington.


Liebster logo



According to my research on THE LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD, it is given to “up and coming bloggers.” (With followers numbering from less than 200 to 3000 – that part was hard to decipher!) Bottom line is “Liebster” is German for “favorite”. This award is the “favorite blog award”. I am honored! Thank you, Becky!

The rules for this award state that you must answer the questions asked of you by the Blogger who gave you this award.

So, I am humbled and appreciative to be answering Becky’s questions of me.  Here they are:


BS: When did you first know you’d like to be a writer (or illustrator)?

AE: I really cannot remember – but I have been writing since I was 3, recognizably, since I was 6!

BS: If you could meet any author, living or deceased, who would it be?

AE: J.D. Salinger

BS: Coffee or tea?

AE: Coffee!

BS: What item is #1 on your “Bucket List?”

AE: Finishing Book 3 in the Sean Gray, Junior Special Agent Mystery Series

BS: What topic do you think is most overdone in the kidlit market today?

AE: Zombie eating vampires!

BS: What is the best book you’ve read in the last six months?

AE: WonderFracture

BS: Are you an early bird or a night owl?

AE: Yes!

BS: What is your favorite opening line from a book?

AE: No way can I choose just one – but since this one is so fresh: “The first time I died, I didn’t see God.” (Fracture)

BS: Do you write better in silence or with background noise? (If you chose background noise, then what kind?)

AE: Most of the time silence is best. Sometimes I listen to environmental soundtracks – like “Thunderstorm”.

BS: What book has had the most profound effect upon your writing style?

AE: Again – how can I choose? I guess I can say that the book that spoke these words to me: “You can be a writer, too” would be Catcher in the Rye


Thank you, Becky, for your nomination of my blog! Now for my (DRUM ROLL) list of up an coming BLOGGERS:


Derick Wilder

Sabrina Campbell Colvin

Annamaria Mckoy 

Laura Colvin 

Maria Nolletti Ross 


This is your mission, if you choose to accept:  Link back to the blogger that tagged you. Nominate 5-10 others and answer the questions of the one who tagged you (mine are below). Then ask 10 questions for the bloggers you nominate, as well as letting your nominees know of their award. Oh, yeah—and have fun!


Having Fun

Here are my questions:


  1.  If you were on death row, what would be your “Last Meal” menu?
  2.  What is your greatest fear?
  3.  If you could return to age 20 again, what would you do differently for your future?
  4.  What is your favorite time of year and why?
  5.  If you could relive any year of your life – which one would it be and why?
  6.  What is the one word your friends would use to describe you?
  7.  What is your all-time favorite book? (Bible and cookbooks do not count)
  8.  What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
  9.  Dogs or cats?
  10. Mountains or Ocean?


Bonus question:

What would be the title song of your life?


Please give their blogs a raving review!



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Posted by on Sep 23, 2013 in Blog, Featured | 7 comments



Statistics show that 95% of teens (ages 12-17) are users of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tumbler, Google+, and Pinterest.  In addition they text,  instant message, email, and often frequent chat rooms.


Teen Social Networks


Internet communication has become a major part of their daily lives. Most of the time, these tools are valuable, harmless and used to communicate with people that kids know in the “real world”.




Occasionally, however, there might be times when kids use these tools to meet new friends. Over half of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 communicate daily with someone that they do not know in the “real world”. Because anonymity is a key component in this type of communication, it puts them at risk. The person on the other side of that conversation can be posing as someone other than who they say they are. This false identity can hide the true identity of an online predator.




These online hunters seek out young people through social media. They troll social networking and online gaming sites. They look for kids who are emotionally vulnerable and impressionable. They form relationships, build trust, and develop intimacy with these kids. Then they seduce them through affection, kindness, flattery, and/or gifts. Gradually, they may introduce sexual content.




One in five teens report unwanted sexual solicitation via online predators. And yet, one third of all teenagers who communicate with these online strangers arrange to meet that person offline.


Who's She Talking To


Every year, millions of children fall prey to online sexual predators. In 100% of those cases, teens that are the victims of sexual predators have gone willingly to meet with them.


You Should See


What can you do?


  • Teach your children how to use the Internet safely. Talk to them about the sites that they can use, the ones that you want them to stay away from, and why. Bookmark the ones that you want them to use and put them in a folder with their name on it for easy access.
  • Talk to them about social networking sites. Again, the ones that they can and cannot use and why. Ask them to report to you immediately if they are contacted by someone that they do not know, or someone who says anything inappropriate to them via post, text, or message.
  • Teach them about privacy and protecting their identity and the identities and activities of other family members. Tell them to never give out personal information, such as name, address, phone number, school, etc.
  • Tell them to not upload their own or any family photos or videos.
  • Tell them to never download photos, videos, or links form people that they do not know.


it's okay





reveal on the SEAN GRAY, JSA’s Facebook page!***




Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Safe Online Surfing


National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) CyberTipline

National Crime Prevention Council

Enough is Enough

Wired Safety



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Posted by on Aug 21, 2013 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Back to School


It’s that time of year again! Some schools in the south have already started classes, while the typical start for the rest of the country is after Labor Day. Whether you have already begun or are gearing up – with over 55 million school children in grades K-12 attending our schools, there are some very important safety considerations to note.



Getting on the bus


~ Choose a safe place to wait for the bus, away from traffic and off the street.

~ Wait for the bus driver to come to a complete stop and give the okay to board.

~ Look both ways, make sure all traffic has stopped before you cross the street.

~ Stay seated at all times, keeping your hands and arms inside the windows.

~ Keep the aisles in the bus clear.

~ Don’t throw anything out of the windows.

~ Listen to the driver and other adults in charge, obeying the rules and directions.

~ Do not stand up to exit until the bus has come to a complete stop.



~ Review your child’s route and the bus stop procedures before the first day.

~ Tell your child not to walk in front of the bus until it has come to a complete stop. ~ Remind them not to bend down in front of the bus as the driver may not see him before starting to move.


School Zone




~ Be alert for cars and school buses dropping off children, children walking and biking.

~ Pay attention to the directions of school crossing guards.

~ Remember: In normal traffic, both directions of traffic must stop when school bus stop arms and flashing red lights are displayed. On multi-lane roadways with a raised or grass divider, traffic traveling in the same direction as the bus must stop.

~ Be aware of posted speed limits in and around school zones and schools.


Safe Routes to School




~ Obey all traffic regulations and signals.

~ Ride in the same direction as auto traffic.

~ Walk your bike through intersections.

~ Always wear a bicycle helmet and wear bright colored clothing.


School Crossing




~ Obey all traffic signals and/or the crossing guard.

~ Do not cross the street against a light, even if you don’t see any traffic coming.

~ If possible, walk with a friend, or in the case of small children, with an adult.

~ Wear something reflective that will it make you more visible.

~ Walk only on sidewalks and/or designated paths, not on the road.

~ Do not walk between parked cars.

~ Walk the route with a parent before school starts, especially if it is a new school, to determine the safest route.


School Speed Limit




~ All front seat passengers and minors must wear a seat belt.

~ Obey the crossing guard and the speed limit within the school zones.

~ Drop your children off and pick them up as close to the school as possible.

~ Don’t leave until they are in the schoolyard or building.

~ Parents should require seat belt use by the driver and all passengers, limit the number of teen passengers, do not allow eating, drinking, cell phone conversations or texting to prevent driver distraction; limit nighttime driving and driving in inclement weather. Remember, many crashes occur while novice teen drivers are going to and from school.


Back to School Internet



~ Never share personal information about yourself, your family members, your school, your telephone number, and your address.

~ Use strong passwords, keep them private.

~ Never open email or click on links from strangers.

~ Never download unfamiliar links that may contain viruses.

~ Use computers with a good antivirus protection.

~ Never send pictures to strangers.

~ Use caution before you post online. Once it is in cyberspace it is there forever!

~ Lock and protect your computer and mobile devices.

~ Report any suspicious, inappropriate, cyberbullying or cyberstalking behavior to authorities.


Cyber Safety


Keep these tips in mind and have a safe, happy, and exciting school year!







Back to School Safety

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Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Blog, Missing Kids | 5 comments

May 25, 2013




On the morning of May 25, 1979, Etan Kalil Patz left his apartment in the SoHo district of New York City. For the first time, he was walking by himself to the West Broadway school-bus stop to catch the bus to take him to school. Just two blocks. He was just 6 years old. And though he never arrived at school that morning, it was hours before the parents were notified that he was absent.




It was 33 years before Pedro Hernandez was arrested and convicted in the case. Hernandez confessed to New York City Detectives that he saw Etan waiting at the bus stop that morning. He walked out of the bodega where he was employed, up to Etan and asked him if he wanted a soda. Hernandez lured Etan into the basement of the bodega where he “choked him until his body went limp”. He put him into a plastic bag and a cardboard box, which he tossed into a dumpster.  He told police that “Etan was still alive” when he left him there. Under New York law, a person can be convicted based on their confession and Hernandez was sentenced in November, 2012.

The decade long nationwide search for Etan Patz became the most publicized case since the murder of the Lindberg baby.  It spurred the movement that put the faces of missing children on milk cartons


missing milk


And billboards.




This nationwide attention to the plight of missing children led to a coast-to-coast movement. And on May 25, 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed every May 25th as “National Missing Children’s Day” to commemorate the anniversary of Etan’s disappearance.

Through the discipline, dedication, and determination of organizations such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), who sponsors the take 25 Campaign, we will continue our national effort to find and recover our lost children.


take 25




WHEREAS, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing each year; and

WHEREAS, on average, approximately 2,000 children are reported missing to law-enforcement agencies daily; and

APPROXIMATELY, 58,200 of these children are victims of non-family abductions and more than 200,000 are the victims of family abductions; and

WHEREAS, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) exists as a resource to help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation, help find missing children, and assist victims of child abduction and sexual exploitation, their families, and the professionals who serve them, and

WHEREAS, this special day is a time to remember those children who are missing and give hope to their families.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that, in partnership with NCMEC and its supporters, [city/county/state] proclaims May 25 as National Missing Children’s Day.

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that [city/county/state] urges the participation of local government, law enforcement, and communities in the protection of children and educating children about child abduction and sexual exploitation, and how to respond and seek help from law enforcement, social services, and NCMEC.

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that [city/county/state] encourages all individuals to take 25 minutes to help children stay safer.

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by [city/county/state]:

That May 25, [YEAR], is set aside as National Missing Children’s Day as part of [city/county/state]’s continuing efforts to prevent the abduction and sexual exploitation of children.





If your child is missing…




Call law enforcement immediately. Police are required by law to immediately take a missing child report and then promptly enter that report into the FBI’s NATIONAL CRIME INFORMATION CENTER.




After you have contacted local authorities, contact THE CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST© (1-800-843-5678).






The Vital Value of Amber Alert




National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Polly Klaas Foundation

Elizabeth Smart Foundation

Shared Hope International

The Joyful Child Foundation





It is never too early to talk to your child about safety!





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