Monday, December 17, 2012

"Heads in Beds" Book Review

One of the most informative and enjoyable books I've read this year is "Heads in Beds" by Jacob Tomsky. He lets people see inside the confines of the hotel industry and does it with humor and irreverence. He explains that his entire career has been at hotel jobs from being in valet parking, being a bellhop, in housekeeping and at the front desk. He tells how hotel employees get back at recalcitrant guests and how he has managed to tolerate the foibles of the industry.

Tomsky graduated from college with a degree in philosophy, a rather difficult degree to explain to potential employers, and followed through on someone's suggestion to try hospitality. He landed a job in a luxury hotel in New Orleans, worked his way up the ladder, took a year off to travel Europe and returned with a need for a job. He settled in New York, and again landed a job with a luxury hotel.

He tells readers how to get exactly what they want and more when they check-in to a hotel and when they check-out, and it's not by screaming and demanding. Basically, money talks. The reader appreciates his honesty and devil-may-care attitude. Travelers and frequent hotel guests will be delighted with the tales out of school and think twice the next time they want to complain about the service they have received. An upbeat, fascinating account of an industry nearly everyone uses at sometime in their lives but one most people don't understand.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Joan Leotta, storyteller, shines at Dickens Festival

The Charles Dickens Christmas Festival in Southport, N.C.on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 included a variety of activities and presentations, and Joan Leotta, storyteller, gave one of them. She created her own version of "A Christmas Carol" she titled "Bah Humbug" that had a special appeal because she encouraged audience participation. The children particularly enjoyed shouting "bah humbug" with Joan's prompting, and the adults didn't hesitate to join in. 

Joan is a talented actress, storyteller and writer and understands how to make a story come alive. Ebenezer Scrooge became a real person with Joan's fresh approach to the story, and Charles Dickens' story became a modern tale.

The entire community participated in the Festival by submitting entries in the Christmas tree, wreath and gingerbread house contests. Children entered the art contest. Charles Dickens' England--he lived from 1812 to 1870--was brought to life in Southport. Hopefully, the Brunswick Arts Council will continue this new tradition, so people can be aware of Dickens' influence, which continues today.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"The Community of Writers," Guest Blog by Julie Steele

Polarization. Red versus Blue. Rich versus poor. Gender wars. Liberal versus Conservative. Christian versus atheist. The media is full of articles on our divided nation. Is it really? On some levels, yes, but often we find commonality in spite of differences.

I have a wide array of friends and some people seem shocked by the diversity. I spent the turbulent week post- election pondering what so many people from all ends of the political and religious spectrums have in common – besides friending me, of course. Freelance writer. Creative non-fiction writer. Romance-in-all-its- many-forms writer. Fortune cookie fortune writer. Politically, spiritually, economically, they run the gamut. What is the common denominator for so many of them?

Words. They love words, putting fingers to keyboard or pen to paper. There is something about the craft of writing, combining words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, that creates a community out of people who write for a living or who must carve out minutes in the middle of the night to write.

Creativity. Those who write are not just good writers. They are creative souls in other ways. Many of the writers I know use their hands to knit, paint, garden, cook, upcycle, build furniture or take pictures. Maybe all the words set fire to the artistic side of our brain. Maybe we need to make something three-dimensional because we throw out our words and never hear how they have affected readers. Whatever the reason, writers are blessed with an abundance of imagination and the need to produce things of beauty.

Generosity. Writers are givers. They share tips with others who may be writing a similar book, not fearing their ideas will be stolen. Their time is spent paying forward as well as paying backward in honor of those who have helped them.

Books. We all have heard it takes books to make a writer. Not books on the craft of writing but reading books, period. The love of reading is as powerful as the need to write. The best book clubs are those whose members don’t always agree on a book but they all find time to turn the page or turn on the Kindle.

Story. Leo Rosten wrote, “A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate. Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be understood.” I would add “the need to understand.” When life throws writers a curve, what do they do? They write it into their book (hence of the most popular memes on FB about ending up in someone’s book if they don’t treat the writer right!). Writers experience pain, suffering, and unexpected life challenges. They use words to reach the reader and heal themselves.

The love of words and joy in writing them down is a powerful thing, helping us to see another side, find new friends and new outlets for our craft. Think about your writing community. Are there other things, besides those I have listed, you share? Do you need a little more diversity in your writing contacts, creative outlets or reading to get the pump primed in your own writing?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pictures from balloon ride

Up in a hot-air balloon fulfilled a long-time wish

I don't know if it was the influence of "Around the World in 80 Days" or the more recent "Up," but I became enamored with the idea of floating above the trees in a hot-air balloon. I likened the experience to being free so creative ideas for future novels could flow through my veins as the balloon floated through the air.

The opportunity to fulfill this desire appeared in October when we went to my nephew’s wedding in New Mexico. We landed in Albuquerque, the city of the International Balloon Fiesta, a week after the festival ended. Residents and visitors alike talked about the 600 or so balloons and million people who had attended the event. Despite the commitment to wedding activities, I was able to reserve a spot and go up in a balloon the morning we were scheduled to return to North Carolina.

I thought I’d just hop in the gondola and be off! Not so. The massive balloon was first removed from what looked like a very large pillow case and lay crumpled on the ground. Then electric fans were put on that began blowing up the balloon. The pilot stepped inside and untangled the multiple ropes attached to it. When he finished that job, he righted the gondola from its side and tested the propane tanks. The procedure took about an hour before the eight riders climbed in.

What impressed me the most was how quiet it was as we glided 1,600 feet in the air. We could make out homes, buildings and cars below, but we couldn’t hear any of the congestion or commotion.

The hour ride provided memories that will last a lifetime. I remember the other riders: the couple who used sign language because the woman was deaf, the young married couple who didn’t have plane reservations back to D.C., the man who reminded his teen son to be polite to the others even though he was behaving himself, the 20-something lady who stayed by herself but took endless pictures with her high-powered camera, and the serious experienced pilot who had the safety of his riders as his primary concern.

I don’t know how I’ll fit these people or the experience in stories, but my mind is spinning possibilities as I write this.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Circle of Twelve" by Ted Gagliano and Bob O'Brien

Bitter satire is the weapon of malcontents, and the characters in Circle of Twelve, a novel by Ted Gagliano and Bob O’Brien, leave no doubt how frustrated they are with the current White House. The key word throughout the book is “change,” and that’s what the 12 circle members want. Since they rule the world, it’s simply a matter of choosing the candidate that does their bidding.

The circle of 12 are financiers who meet in Switzerland 10 times a year and make decisions that affect the world. Gregory Szucs is the primary mover, and he chooses “loyals” to do his bidding from newspaper columnist Dave Krapman to his hand-picked candidate for U.S. president, Brett Pseudoman.

However, Suzanne Parker and her husband, Tim are also dissatisfied with the direction the U.S. is going, so Suzanne decides she can do something: run for office. She starts by running for he school board and wins. She climbs up the ladder: legislature then governor.

Szucs realizes Suzanne chooses to run for president as an independent and she’s preaching a message people want to hear. If she is a party candidate, she says she’d be “selling my soul to veiled forces trying to control our country.”

However, since he and his cohorts control the world, they will not let her dismantle their plans.

The book reads more like a political treatise than a novel. It covers all aspects of the political process from running for office to buying votes to re-election.

Suzanne says, “Most [politicians] are hustlers…”

“Money, since its invention, has become the ultimate instrument of power.”

“By means of confiscatory taxation the federal government uses our money to control what our children are allowed to learn and believe,” Suzanne says when she’s running for governor. “I believe that the policy of federal handouts is wrong…”

“Our federal government is gobbling up our freedoms,” she says.

“Currently, each and every crisis is met with the same vagueness and indecision that has characterized his entire career.”

The book never mentions real names except for Michael Jordan and Walter Payton, both last names are misspelled, which is so thinly veiled. The book is a total slam against President Obama, although his name is never mentioned. Pro-Obama readers will be incensed at what the book says, and anti-Obama/pro-Republicans will praise the book for its insights. It’s a personal choice, as voting in November is.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Summer Promises by Laura Simcox

Take set designer Carly Foster, artist Asher Day and degenerate police officer Wheeler Barstow and the results are a contemporary romance filled with intrigue.

Carly admits that closing her eyes and pointing to a map wasn’t the wisest way to choose a summer job, but Ruby Spring, N.M. offered her the opportunity to flee Chicago’s sweltering heat. When Daniel Day hired her to do set design and restore Ruby Spring Theater for an old play he wanted to produce, she accepted the challenge and looked forward to an exciting summer——with one exception. No romance.

Summer romances ended in heartbreak, and Carly had enough of them. No more! Until she met Daniel’s brother, Asher Day. “…his hands moved up her thighs and caressed her hips….Struggling for a good reason to stop him was pointless…” Carly thrills readers by wavering, getting involved with the wrong man and finally finding the man of her dreams.

Unfortunate situations and mysterious happenings follow Carly throughout the summer and she questions her rationale for ditching the city for the mountains. By the end of the story, readers approve of her decision. They also like Carly for her independent, adventurous spirit. She understands that life throws curves, but she adjusts to them and forges ahead with a positive attitude.

Simcox describes Albuquerque and its environs with expertise, which entices the uninitiated to mark that area of the U.S. a must-see destination. Her cast of characters are people in real life: homosexual Ross; young, happily married Daniel and Sophie Day with newborn baby Daniel; the incomparable, aging actress Marilyn Masters with her outrageous antics and her young lover, Nicky. Throughout the book there is the hope that another antagonist will appear, which heightens the intrigue.

The overall theme affirms the principle that good prevails and evil fails, and, of course, that people can find their true love.

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Instructing an Heiress" by Judy Teel

  Reviewing books has become my interest of late, and a clever series that author Judy Teel has developed is the Cinderella Heiresses romance series. The second book, "Instructing an Heiress," introduces charming, intelligent and business-minded CK Kazner. What a treat to read about a young, modern woman.

  CK has to account to her grandfather, the patriarch of the family, who gives her an unfathomable dictum: marry within a month and produce an heir in a year. The consequence of not abiding by his demand? She is disinherited and the Kazner empire goes outside the family. As the only heir, CK is appalled but realizes she has blocked out romance in her life.

  Her grandfather has made it clear that he will win any litigation, so CK calls on Ryan Anderson, her long-time friend, employee and well-known playboy to help her find a husband. Ryan doesn't want to spoil CK's naivete, but because of her insistence, he agrees. What a ride it becomes! Readers will see CK emerge as a sensual woman and credit Ryan with his efforts.

In the first book of the series, “Seducing an Heiress,” Dakota Jamison is also a strong, determined protagonist. Glad that Teel puts women in an authoritative position and remain a sensual person..

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dancing in South Carolina

Coming from the Chicago area, I had never heard of the shag. Once we relocated to North Carolina, only seven miles from the South Carolina border, I learned that the shag is a dance. Not only a dance, but the official dance of South Carolina. Some say it is also the official dance of North Carolina but that state splits the honor between clogging and the shag.

Anyone interested in learning about this dance can pick up "Save the Last Dance for Me" by Phil Sawyer and Tom Poland. The book is basically a history of this specific dance. It even tells how the name, a slang term, as those who saw Austin Powers movies know, came to be.

 The authors admit that specific times, dates and places are sketchy, but traces of the shag began around the mid 1940s, possibly in Virginia Beach, Va., and traveled down the coast to Carolina Beach, N.C. What is known is that Ocean Drive, OD or O.D. to the shagging crowd, in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. has become the ultimate destination for shaggers.

Today nearly 100 shag clubs exist, dance competitions thrive and thousands of people lose themselves in the sound of beach music and steps of the shag. No wonder the subtitle to the book is “The Love Story of the Shag and the Society of Stranders.”

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Hitless Wonder, A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll"

I've been reviewing a lot of books lately, and I want to mention some of them that might be overlooked in the mainstream media. One of them is "Hitless Wonder, A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll" by Joe Oestreich.

The book is basically a metaphor about succeeding in life. It doesn't matter which field a person wants to pursue, whether it's business, medicine, motherhood or like Oestreich, music, all people want to succeed no matter what fate befalls them.
There are hills and valleys. Few people ever sail smoothly from birth to heaven, but it's the fight in each person that determines success. Oestreich tells of the treks through blizzards to reach a club on time. He relates the mechanical problems with the aging Econoline packed with the band and their equipment. He recounts the dashed hopes and promises that were never fulfilled, and the months in Manhattan when they “almost made it big” with Epic records.

All people have setbacks and difficulties they have to overcome, or at least try to overcome. It's the personal satisfaction that determines success.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Seducing an Heiress" by Judy Teel

“Seducing an Heiress,” the first in Judy Teel’s ebook Cinderella Heiresses romance series, introduces Dakota Jamison as an independent woman who wants to achieve success on her own merits. Her domineering father needs her to promote the family business, but Dakota defies him and flees New York without leaving a trace.

She reappears in Harts Creek, Ohio as Dakota Johnson where she opens a small restaurant. The people embrace her and her recipes, but eight months into her new role, her father’s trusted employee, Trey Peters, tracks her down and intends to reunite her with her father. The dynamic, physical attraction between the two is in conflict with their individual goals. Despite their urge to fight this attraction, they cannot ignore it. Both are likable characters because they help other people as shown in their various encounters, yet they must make decisions that either cement or sever their relationship.

Teel has hit on a niche that has large appeal. Do wealthy heiresses want to develop a persona of their own? Teel takes the spoiled, rich girl image out of Dakota and shows that wanting to achieve success through your own efforts can be a universal truth. At the same time, Trey’s humanitarian goal shows that money doesn’t always solve a problem.

The clever twists in the story and careful weaving of subplots show that Teel is a creative novelist. Anyone with apprehensions about graphic sex scenes can skim those to get to the meat of the story. Cheers to Teel for creating memorable characters who are role models in romantic fiction.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Free online writing courses available

With college courses costing as much as a person’s lifetime number of automobiles, consider taking free online courses. It’s an advantage, especially if you’re not aiming toward accumulating college credits or working toward a degree. Bob Rankin at has a three-part series covering free online courses.

My search of “free online writing courses 2012” showed a list of 10 universities offering courses. Actually, it’s the same list in Bob Rankin’s first post about free college and university courses. I scanned the list and saw that UCLA has an offering. Best-selling writer Steven Barnes has a 9-week writing class available at his Website, Others schools on this “10” list include MIT, Utah State University, Carnegie Mellon University, Tufts and Stanford.

Another way to find courses you want to take is to choose a school you’ve dreamed of going to or a school that sounds intriguing. Don’t disqualify any college or university because dozens, including Yale, Notre Dame, and University of California at Berkeley, have available free online courses. Once you make that decision, see if the school you want to take a course from offers one you want to take.

Free courses are available in all writing genres: essays, short stories, novels, poetry, screenwriting. Want to learn to do research or academic writing? Want to learn to edit? It’s possible without spending a dime. It just takes time and energy.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"The Season" in Brunswick County, N.C.

Coming from the Chicago area, I never knew about "the season" in coastal beach areas. We vacationed in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. for several years, but our purpose was to be with family. The beach was an added benefit. We moved to Ocean Isle Beach a dozen years ago and then I learned about "the season."

Here in Brunswick County, N.C., Memorial Day ushers in "the season" with services honoring the military who fought for our freedom, black bike week across the border in South Carolina, primarily in Carolina Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach, and a host of activities to occupy the hundreds of thousands of vacationers who come and go throughout the summer until Labor Day.

A big hit is live entertainment. Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach, Shallotte, Southport and Leland have popular bands perform. Shallotte, Southport and Leland also have a movie schedule geared toward children. Schedules are posted throughout the area, and local town halls and real estate offices have the information.

Museum of Coastal Carolina and the Ingram Planetarium offer programs for children, teens and adults throughout the summer. A big hit at the museum is the fish feeding tank where docents explain what the variety of fish in the tank eat and other details about them. The planetarium offers free programs for children but charges for the SciDome shows.

As writers we can find nuggets of stories in these activities. What was important where you grew up? What would attract the attention of visitors?  What is different about your hometown?

Write from the heart.
Clear. Sincere. Superb.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Peter Senftleben, editor at Kensington Books, speaks from the heart at HCRW meeting

One of the advantages of belonging to a writers' organization is the contact with others in the field. Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, which meets in Raleigh, N.C. the second Saturday of the month, makes a point of providing meaningful information at each meeting.

In April Peter Senftleben of Kensington Books in New York gave tips on how to get your work read.
He said what dedicated writers know, yet he reminded them to store these hints in their memory banks:

* Keep voice in one person's head per scene or chapter.
* Keep the same tense. Don't jump from past to present and vice versa.
* Make sure there's conflict. There's no story by playing "nice" throughout.
* Grab interest in the story immediately.

Peter expressed dedication to his job, hunt for good stories and sincerity in his suggestions. What came across more clearly, sprinkled along with his humorous asides, was his interest in helping writers get published. He cares! He really does! He talked of the overwhelming amount of manuscripts he receives, as all editors do, yet he pays attention to them.

Those rejection letters have more meaning from Peter because after listening to his presentation and suggestions, we know he wants the best books to be published. He's one of the good guys!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Joanne Zerkel, former Features Editor, passes away

I received word today that Joanne Zerkel, an editor from my early days in journalism, passed away. She hired me as a freelancer when I was first starting out and was instrumental in helping me succeed as a writer.

I had sent a story to my local paper, The Star in Chicago Heights, IL, and that editor passed it on to Joanne, who was features editor. She called me, said they would publish the article and asked if I would like to write more stories for the paper. That was my entree into journalism.

The first assignment I got was to write a story about autism. I had no idea what autism was, but I learned with Joanne's guidance. Over the 13 years I wrote for the paper, three of them on staff, I interviewed school children, medical professionals, local residents who had a story to tell, and any number of other people Joanne considered newsworthy.

The most fascinating story I ever wrote was about abdominal aortic aneurysms! That's because I was able to enter two operating rooms to witness the operations. Since Joanne hired me, I have written more than 1,000 articles for various publications.

The irony is that I never wanted to write for newspapers. My forte, however, has been feature writing. Joanne fostered that. She encouraged me and never criticized. She guided me to be a better writer.  My dream as a writer is to get a novel published, a goal I continue to pursue, but writing features articles is where I started.

Joanne is responsible for introducing me to National Federation of Press Women, an organization of which I've been a member for nearly thirty years. She was an advocate for women and was active in organizations that assisted women. She started several programs that helped the underpriveleged.

She will be missed, of course, and I will always remember her as the person who thought enough of my writing to hire me to write feature stories for a legitimate newspaper.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Scrapbooking and Writing

It wasn’t until I covered a story on the hobby of scrapbooking that I considered composing a scrapbook of my own. The 25 people who attended a semi-annual event titled "Scraptacular" in Myrtle Beach, S.C. convinced me scrapping was worthwhile. They, however, did traditional scrapbooking. I thought I'd go in a different direction, so I bought My Memories Suite, a digital scrapbook program. I love it! The program isn't intuitive, but a bit of practice and frequent references to its "Help" pages will produce a professional-looking book.

Another way I'm not a traditional scrapbooker is that I have limited my scrapbooks to travelogues. My first one was on our vacation to the New England states and Eastern Canada. I'm compiling my second one on our trip to Eastern and Northern Europe.

How does this help me in my writing? I have instant information about all the places we visited. I don't always have the exact name of the buildings or museums or highlights of the places we visited, but the Internet has them all. A picture I had of a lovely building in Aarhus, Denmark proved to be the city's theatre. Another of a huge pink building turned out to be the Toompea Castle in Tallinn, Estonia. I can include a specific location in one of my stories with first-hand references to any number of sights, buildings and other attractions.

The best result is a life-long keepsake and a sense of accomplishment--just like writing a book.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Keeping up with Technology

I was at an event recently that several 30- and 40-somethings attended. I commented that I had bought "iPhone for Dummies." A young woman responded, "And you admit it!"

Those under 50 may not want their peers to know they aren't up on all the latest functions on every device available, but I'm not embarrassed to admit I'm jogging to keep up with modern technology. The number of devices a functioning adult is expected to learn and know how to use can be overwhelming. I've had my iPhone for ten months and up until now used it to make phone calls, send text messages, check the weather and use the calculator. I knew there was more to it, but since companies, including Apple, believe three sentences of instruction is more than enough to learn the device and no longer give instruction manuals, I put off learning the full extend of my smartphone. What a lifesaver the "Dummies" book is.

I have a great time reading a chapter each day. I play with the phone as it is meant to be used: as a modern adult toy.  I synchronized my itunes album with my iphone for the first time since I got the phone. I logged appointments on the calendar. I wrote "to do" lists in the Notes menu. I flipped to the end of the book and downloaded new apps I didn't know existed.

It isn't work. It's my avocation!

How can you get excited about technology?

* Admit that it's here.
* Choose a device or topic that you feel you should learn.
* Look up the "Dummies" library. There are a multitude of subjects covered.
* Enjoy the experience.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Gold Beneath the Waves," self-publishing your way

Jim Brouwer of Myrtle Beach, S.C.  had an idea. He searches for gold and other metals on the beach with a metal detector and wanted to share his ideas with other gold seekers by writing a book. He was leery of the traditional publishing route so chose to self-publish. He went about his quest in a methodical way. He studied how to accomplish his goal, and the result is "Gold Beneath the Waves: Treasure Hunting the Surf and Sand."

He recommends other self-publishers read about how to do it. "The Step-by-Step Guide to Self-Publishing for Profit!" by  C Pinheiro, Nick Russell and Cynthia Sherwood, "Perfect Pages"  and "Aiming at Amazon: The NEW Business of Self Publishing or How to Publish Your Books with Print on Demand and Online Book Marketing," both by Aaron Shepard, are tops on his list of how-to books.

He recommends a self-publisher becomes a "Word Nerd" because you have to do everything: format, choose font and size, do page layout and understand the entire spectrum of getting a book published.

He recommends to get on your road to self-publishing.
"This is very hard work! This is rocket science," he says.

For those who are determined to get a book published, Bouwer's route is the means to an end. Check out his suggestiions. And by the way, if you don't really care about writing a book but want to find gold, read his book. His suggestions work.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Giving literacy help

   I've written about getting help when you or someone you know can't read, but the flip side is to give help.
In a previous post I cite, which states that 63 million adults in the U.S. over 16 years of age can't understand a newspaper article written at the eighth grade level. It goes on to say that this accounts for 29 percent of the adult population. The story gets worse. "An additional 30 million — 14 percent of the country’s adult population — can only read at a fifth grade level or lower."
   However, this means 71 percent of the adult population is literate. That's a lot of people who can give help. Where to go to volunteer your services?

  1) Your local literacy council. No need to have a teaching certificate. The councils offer training sessions.
  2) Community colleges. I received an email asking for volunteers to tutor students who are studying for their
      GED or are having problems with the courses they are taking.
  3) Nonprofit agencies. Hope Harbor Home, the Brunswick County, N.C. agency that assists victims of
      domestic abuse, has women in the shelter who are struggling to make a new life for themselves. Most
      do not have a high school diploma.
   4) Churches. Many churches have immigrants who do not know English and would appreciate some
       assistance in learning it. Some offer GED help.
   Any of these places welcome volunteers.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Finding literacy help

Literacy, especially adult literacy, is a special interest of mine. I understand the importance of reading as most of us do. The problem, though, is how to find help. Most U.S. born adults who are illiterate are embarrassed at their inability to read and won't ask for help. However, they get through life by being enabled by those who love them.

People from other countries may not know where or how to find help.

It is imperative for people to be aware of others who need help. What can we do?

1) Encourage high school dropouts to get their GED and help them find a program suitable for them. Literacy councils abound. Do a google search to find out where a literacy council exists in your area. I have access to two literacy councils: Brunswick County Literacy Council in Supply, N.C. and Horry County Literacy Council in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Horry County council has six branches throughout the county. In addition, churches and their clergy offer assistance. Seaside United Methodist Church in Sunset Beach, N.C. displays a GED sign on its grounds. Community colleges offer programs.

2) Volunteer at schools to help students improve their reading skills. I see notices in newspapers for volunteers and I receive emails asking for volunteers. No teaching experience is necessary.

3) Visit Web sites and blogs that offer tips on literacy. One comprehensive site is It has a massive amount of information.