Tag Archives: Spike

Book Four is Live!

  The Handy Helpers, Not a Happy Camper is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Xlibris. It is not available as an ebook yet.

I hope you will take a few minutes and check it out. According to my young reviewers, it is the best one yet. You’ll find out what happened to the Cole children after they were rescued from the forest fire. Spike deals with another bully. Melissa hopes to strike it rich, panning for gold in Fox Creek. Beth Anne makes a huge sacrifice. And so much more. You won’t want to miss it. I’m hard at work on Book Five. Hopefully, it won’t take me so long to finish this time.

The Handy Helpers, Book Four–The End–At last

I have said so many times that I am almost finished with Book Four, I wanted to wait until that was actually true. Last Friday, the completed manuscript was emailed to my publisher for copy editing. So I think I can safely say that it is finished.

This is the story of Beth Anne’s quest to go to summer camp with her friends. Her parents want her to go to a camp for children with special needs. Thinking it is because they are worried for Beth Anne’s safety, she and her friends plead their case. Finally, Beth Anne’s parents admit that it is because they don’t have the money for the registration fee–the special camp is free.

That’s when the Handy Helpers devise a plan to raise the money. Registration check in hand, everything seems set for Beth Anne to go to camp. But Beth Anne shocks her family and her friends when she suddenly changes her mind and wants to go to the special camp after all. The reason for her change of heart is a story in itself.

Some other surprises in Book Four:

  • The outcome of the forest fire that took place in Book Three is revealed–the fire damage and what happened to the Cole children.
  • Logan’s dad–absent more than ever–shows up with someone he wants Logan to meet.
  • The history of the Clawson sisters is revealed, along with the history of Bluesky.
  • A big change is coming for Beth Anne’s family and she is excited about it.
  • In Book Three, Spike learned a lot about dealing with Bullies. At camp he encounters another bully and has to put his skills to the test.
  • At camp, Laura and Melissa’s friendship is stretched to the limits. Amber, who is put in the middle, must act as peacemaker.
  • Chris faces one of his fears and works to overcome it.

I hope you are excited about reading Book Four. I’m already at work on Book Five. Hopefully it won’t be so long before it is ready.

Check out my author page and order books on Amazon.


“Washing windows is fun.”

window washingSpike let out a long sigh and surveyed what seemed like an endless row of windows. This job was going to take all morning. Two seven-year-olds , Connor and his friend, Blake, walked across the lawn to the front porch where Spike was wiping the window. Just like Spike, Connor had his hair spiked. And just like Spike, Connor liked to wear shirts with sayings on them. Today he was wearing a T-shirt that said  “ Being Cool is my Job.”

“Whatcha doin’?”  Connor asked. “Did your mom make you wash windows?”

“My mom make me?” Spike gave Connor a shocked look. “My mom  didn’t make me. My mom let me wash the windows. I asked her— in fact, I practically begged her to let me wash windows.”

“Why’d you do that?” Connor asked.

“’Cause washing windows is about the most fun thing you can do on a summer morning. You get to spray water,  and no one will yell at you. Then you get to use these cool window-cleaner bottles, see?

“Can we help you?” Blake asked. “We’re looking for something fun to do.”

“I don’t know,” Spike said  thoughtfully. “I was thinking about keeping all this fun for myself.”

“Please,” Connor begged. “Let us help. I’ll give you half my candy bar.”

“Well . . . maybe,” Spike said casually. “I guess it might be worth half a candy bar. But just you,  okay?”

“What about me?” Blake asked. His dark eyes flashed under his baseball cap. “Can I help too?”

“Well . . . What’ve you got?” Spike questioned.

“I have almost a whole pack of gum,” Blake offered, taking the gum from the pocket of his tan shorts.

“Okay,” Spike said, snatching up the gum, “you  can both help.”

Connor and Blake grabbed the cleaning supplies and started on the next window. Spike took out a piece of gum and popped it in his mouth. Then he stood back, chewing the gum and watching the other two. “There’s a streak right there,” he pointed out to Blake.

Just as the pair finished wiping the window, a girl named Madison came by to see what was going on. After paying Spike a quarter, she joined the other two at the next window. Before long, there were five little kids washing the windows. Spike was feeling pretty pleased with himself. This was the best plan he’d ever devised. The windows were being cleaned by little gnomes, and he was free to do whatever he wanted. Maybe he would take a nap or watch TV.

“Michael David Smith!” His mother’s voice made him jump.

“What’s going on here?”

“I . . . I . . . I thought you were working in the church office?” Michael stammered.

“I just came back to get something. I was expecting to see you washing the windows!”

“They begged me to let them help,” Spike tried to explain. “I didn’t have the heart to tell them no.”

“Washing windows is fun,” Connor defended Spike. “That’s why Spike let us do it. He’s a nice guy.”

“I wouldn’t exactly say that,” Spike said to his mom.

“Neither would I!” Carolyn stormed. “You kids put down the cleaning supplies and go home. Washing the windows is Michael’s job!”

“But I paid him a quarter,” Madison whined.

“You took money from these kids?” Carolyn glared at her son. “You give it all back right now!”


From The Handy Helpers: Red, White, and . . . Bloopers!








Bad News for Bullies


In Red, White, and . . . Bloopers! Spike’s life is made miserable by a bully–his sister’s boyfriend, Todd. Spike tries to tell his parents what is going on, but they think Spike is over-reacting. They point out that Todd has two older brothers and he is used to horsing around with them. Spike only has sisters. He isn’t accustomed to Todd’s rough-and-tumble ways. As he gets away with pushing Spike around, Todd becomes bolder, until he feels entitled to force Spike to clean up his messy kitchen.  Eventually, Spike and Todd are able to work through their problems and by the end of the book they are actually friends. Todd admits what he has been doing and Spike’s parents acknowledge that their lack of action caused Spike undue anguish and feelings of helplessness.

Bullying is identified as a serious problem in our world today. School children, teenagers, and even adults find themselves the victims of bullies. Bullies hold power over their victims, causing them to try to protect themselves any way they can. This protection could be in the form of avoidance, but in extreme cases, it could lead to someone taking his own life. Bullying in any form should be taken seriously. The signs of physical bullying are more obvious–bruises or other injuries that are frequent, or not the result of normal play. The effects of emotional bullying are less obvious. Someone who is being repeatedly humiliated feels the pain as much as someone who is hit.

Parents and teachers should be the first line of defense in protecting children from bullies. Educating themselves to recognize the signs of bullying is the first step. Having an open relationship where a child feels comfortable talking to parents about their problems is vital.

In a HuffingtonPost article, posted October 17, 2013, and updated January 23, 2014, Franklin Schargel, a former teacher, school counselor and administrator, offered these suggestions to parents if you think your child is being bullied:

1.  Talk to your child about what happened. Listen to the whole story without interrupting. Be calm and validate what is being said. Remind your child that it is normal to feel upset but it is never all right to be bullied. Ask your child what he/she would like to happen, before you make any suggestions.

2.  Don’t expect your child to solve things on their own.

3.  Deal with each incident consistently. Never ignore or downplay complaints about bullying.

4.  Keep a log of the incidents, where the bullying took place, who was involved, how frequently, if anyone witnessed it. Do not attempt to confront the person or their family yourself.

5.  Contact the school. Find out if the school has an anti-bullying policy. Find out if the school is aware of the bullying and whether anything is being done to address the situation. Make an appointment to speak to a school counselor or school administrator.

6.  If your child asks to stay home from school, explain that it won’t help and it may make things worse.

7. Discuss bullying at school board meetings and with other parents (i.e.PTA).

Schargel goes on to say, “Schools need to assertively confront this problem and take any instance of bullying seriously. Addressing and preventing bullying requires the participation of all major school constituencies, school leaders, teachers, parents and students. By taking organized schoolwide measures and providing individuals with the strategies to counteract bullying schools can reduce the instances of bullying and be better prepared to address it when it happens.”


Cyberbullying can be even more vicious than the typical forms of bullying because it is shared with people outside the group involved in the bullying. We must all guard against aiding the cyberbully by being careful what we share on social media. Giving our support to efforts in schools, workplaces and on social media to prevent bullying is everyone’s responsibility.

The Handy Helpers: Red, White, and . . . Bloopers! is available on amazon



News from Spike

mqkTKySDzy7mUaLE6NWbfoA (2)Okay. Okay. I know I shouldn’t a done it. But having two older sisters is a pain in the butt. When they’re not bossing me around getting me to do stuff, like vacuuming they’re supposed to do, they’re telling Mom about something I did–usually something I didn’t mean to do anyway. Accidents happen you know. So Jennifer found my fake rat, Chuck, in the box of cereal. She didn’t have to make such a big deal about it. Then she got Mom all worked up. I had plans you know–plans to go fishing with my bros. But no! I got stuck washing windows! Then when I figured out a way to get it done quick, (I got some little kids to do it for me. They even paid me to do it.) Mom came home early and spoiled the whole thing.

I guess washing windows isn’t the worst thing to have to do. Anyway it’s summer–there’s plenty of time to go fishing. That’s not what’s really bugging me. What’s really bugging me is Todd. Todd’s Jennifer’s jerk boyfriend. Why he’s always hanging around here I have no idea. Doesn’t he have a home of his own? I’d think Jennifer would get tired of seeing his dumb face everywhere. I know I am.

The first time I ever saw Todd, he was trying to show off for Jennifer, doing tricks with the basketball. First he was dribblin’ tween his legs. That looked  stupid ’cause he kept hitting his leg and then he had to chase after the ball. When he finally shot a basket, it did go in a few times. But that wasn’t good enough. He had to show Jennifer how he could make a shot with his eyes closed. He opened his eyes just in time to catch the ball when it was rolling off the roof. His backwards shot bounced off the rim and hit him in the back of the head. It was so funny, I thought I’d die laughing. When he saw me, he threw the ball at me. “Let’s see you do better!” he yelled. I just threw the ball down and went in the house.

After that, me an’ Todd have been sworn enemies. Mom and Dad think he’s trying to treat me like a big brother–but they don’t know him like I do. He’s a jerk and a bully. I’ve gotta figure out a way to get him off my back. Anyway, Jennifer only keeps a boyfriend for three months. Todd doesn’t know it, but his days are numbered. When Jennifer drops him on his butt, I hope I’m there to laugh in his face!

My friend, Rosemary, asked me to write this blog. She writes down the things that me and my friends do as Handy Helpers. You can read about all the stuff we’re into in the Handy Helpers books. If you have any ideas about what I could do to get even with Todd, I sure would like to know.

Scan_20141120(The Handy Helpers books are available at amazon )