Getting into my Antagonist’s Head

The writing prompt today was to write something from the POV of the antagonist of a story. This was a great prompt because I was pretty stumped on how to make my “bad guy” seem real and believable. I have never really put my writing out in public like this. But I couldn’t get the comments on the Teachers Write site to work so I am going to throw it out here.

This is the first appearance that my antagonist (one of them) makes in my story. Meet Adam, Jenna’s abusive boyfriend….

…Oh man what a day!! Absolutely nothing went per plan or schedule. Seriously, if the guys on the floor don’t get their act together soon, we will never ship on time.
And what is up with the front office? I spent three weeks pricing out that new drum project and the office manager “accidentally” deletes the files. You have got to be freaking kidding me!! Some days the incompetency of the world around me is more than I can stand. My friends think I am OCD, haha, but I just cannot cope with the sense of powerlessness that comes with mistakes.
Where in the world is Jenna? A nice hot meal and cool drink might take the edge off of my anxiety. But once again it looks like I have to forage for myself. She is so sexy and fun that I thought living together would be a hoot. But man she can be flaky. Like where is she!

Bang! Scrunch, scrunch, scrunch……

“Jenna is that you? Where have you been? I ducked out of work a little early and thought we could have a nice relaxed dinner for a change. But now it is 6 already.”

I stomp into the kitchen as she pushes through the back door. I know the stomping is kind of unnecessary but I can’t seem to help myself.

“Jenna!! Hellooo…I am talking to you! Where have you been?” jeez she looks like she is completely in a zone. What kind of fit or fuss or meltdown is she having now?

“JENNA!!” I shout

She jerks out of her daze and looks up at me with huge petrified eyes. I hate that “doe” look she gives me sometimes. LIke I am some kind of monster or something. I know I have a short fuse sometimes but that kicked puppy look just adds fuel to the fire.

“Aaa I’m sorry what were you saying?” she stutters.

“For crying out loud Jenna, what is your problem now? You look like you saw a ghost or something. I was saying I had really hoped………., Where are you going?”
With a sharp gasp, almost a shriek Jenna flees down the hall and into the bathroom.
I follow her and bang on the door. But I get no answer. I can hear her retching and sobbing. What now?

Teachers Write


I have been blogging strictly about books on my other site for about a year now so if you want to see book reviews, head on over there. Since I am a goal-setting multi-tasker, I decided to use this site again for a writing project I am working on this summer. I joined an online group called TEACHERS WRITE and thought this would be a place to archive that project. I am not sure my writing will always be middle-grade content and I want to keep my reading site student oriented.
Now some of you may point out the obvious fact that I am not a Teacher. Well, I am not a licensed teacher but I do a lot of teaching and I want to write more. Therefore, I am hitching a ride with this very illustrious group. There are some amazing author/teachers providing mini-lessons and feedback daily.

Click on the icon to find the website:Teachers Write 2014 Button

Historical Poetry about famous Mother/Daughter teams

Historical Poetry about famous Mother/Daughter teams

Today’s mini-lesson is from Jeanine Atkins a wonderful author. See the icon of her book of poetry above. Click on it and you will find her author site.


photoIt tis the season in my life to uproot and make some changes. We just moved into a new home. It is a condo and so beautiful. We left the family home of 15 years and are so eager for this update. Likewise, I have decided to change the name of my blog. I really want to try to engage some of my students in booktalks and reviews through my blog. I fear that Operating RN was confusing for them to find on typical search engines. So I have been happy with WordPress and think I will just add another blog to my existing one. Starting this summer I will gradually switch over to the new site. I may keep this site for my adult book reviews and travel pics. I am also hoping to convince some of the teachers I work with to join me in an informal online book club this summer. So I will be posting all the Children’s and Youth literature entries at the following address:

“Careless talk costs lives”

Code Name VerityCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow!! This book deserves all of the rave reviews I have seen. It is a powerful story of two young women (one English and one Scottish) taking part in the fight against Germany in WWII. It has a unique approach to the storytelling and at times is a little baffling. This will require a quite sophisticated teen to stay committed to reading through some of the enigmatic story. But the reward for that commitment and persistence is overwhelming.
It is difficult to discuss the book without presenting spoilers. Suffice it to say that there are spies and pilots and Gestapos and Resistance fighters and loving friends!
I was reminded of the book Tamar by Mal Peet. It would be a great unit for a high school literature or history unit to read both of these novels about the Resistance efforts in many occupied nations during WWII. Tamar is Dutch and Code Name Verity is French. Throw in The Book Thief and you could discuss situational ethics for an entire semester!!!

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This is a very cool look at the Illustrator’s process for cover design.

Nerdy Book Club

I’m so excited to reveal the cover for Anne Ursu’s The Real Boy. After working with this same team for Breadcrumbs, I was thrilled to be asked back for Anne’s next book. Breadcrumbs had so much wonderful imagery for me to work with, and I wondered what her new script had in store for me. Lavishly dressed noble women, magicians (and their assistants), apothecaries, and friendly cats? Yes, count me in.

Figuring out the cover for The Real Boy was an interesting process, and it started with lots of thumbnails and lots of sketches. We weren’t sure what we wanted for the cover, we just knew that Oscar, the main character, assistant to a powerful magician, would be on it.

After reading through the manuscript, I started to gather references. I looked at photos of the spice markets of Istanbul, the backgrounds from various Miyazaki movies, and different…

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Non-Fiction Monday

Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure by Jim Murphy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. Jim Murphy is such an expert at researching and presenting fascinating topics at the middle grade level. He captured me again with this one. I must admit the nurse in me was very intrigued by the topic of Tuberculosis. You cannot be in the medical field and not have had some kind of exposure to TB and its history. In spite of my medical background, there was so much information I never knew in this book. In the Author’s Note, he explains that they attempted to tell the story in 3 prongs. 1. Biography of the Germ 2. History of science and treatment 3. Social issues around the victims of this disease. I am not sure which area I enjoyed more.
I have always been fascinated by the history of health knowledge and treatments throughout time. Some of the theories seem sooooo primitive and even crazy when compared to modern medicine. And yet, how many of our principles of today will seem primitive and crazy in a mere 50 years from now????
The thread about social issues was provocative. So many lessons we never seem to learn. The idea of forbidding medical care to large portions of the population because of their race or ethnicity is disturbing but not hard to believe. The treatments that were promoted for pure financial gain with absolutely no medical basis are shameful and ever present.
Finally, the idea that we have never completely defeated the enemy, Tuberculosis, should stick with every reader. Our medical world is rife with micro-organisms that are mutating faster than our technology can compete. We should never lose our diligence against disease and its partner, poverty.

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Nonfiction Monday is a weekly meme in the Kidlitosphere that invites bloggers to read and review a nonfiction book on Monday as a way to promote high-quality nonfiction titles. Each week, a different blogger “hosts” Nonfiction Monday and provides a roundup of all the posts. This week Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Supratentorial