Tag Archives: The Handy Helpers books

Be the first to write a review!

Now that Book Five is available to my readers, I am hard at work on Book Six. For me, writing is the fun part, but getting my books into the hands of readers is a different story. (Pardon the pun.) That’s where I struggle.

Although I am running advertising campaigns on Amazon, I don’t always get the results I hope for. I have come to realize that having lots of reviews is an important component of sales promotion.

That is why I am inviting the followers of this blog and anyone who stumbles upon it to read my book for free. I am willing to send a free copy of Book Five to the first twenty readers who are willing to write a review and post it on Amazon. I am looking for honest reviews from people who have read the book.

If you would be willing to help me out, send  an email to contactme@handyhelpersbooks.com. I will need your address so I can send you a book. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Rosemary Heddens

P.S.

If you are wondering what this book is about, here’s a clue.

In this book, Laura is presented with an opportunity to do something that will make a difference. Challenged by her teacher to “be the change you wish to see in the world,” she reaches out to a lonely woman who works in the cafeteria. The effects of this act go far beyond what she would ever have anticipated.

 

Book Five–Finished at last!

ID 72032850 © Nelosa | Dreamstime.com

It has taken longer than I expected, but this week I will be sending The Handy Helpers, No Burping! No Slurping! to my publisher.

In Book Five, Laura is challenged by her teacher to “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Ghandi) With the help of Beth Anne, she attempts to make friends with the new cafeteria worker who seems to be stressed and on edge in her new job. While the girls are successful in getting Mrs. Meniere to lighten up, the results of their efforts go far beyond what they ever expected.

Here are a few of the other things that happen in Book Five:

  • The Handy Helpers start fifth grade. Unfortunately, they are slit up, but they manage.
  • Rachel goes to an actual school for the first time. Of course Trisha is there to help her figure it out.
  • Daniel struggles with Tourette’s as he begins fourth grade. But this becomes easier when he makes new friends.
  • Jeremiah continues his relationship with Melody now that they are both seniors in high school.
  • Laura experiences frustration over being a middle child who is taken for granted. Amber is there to help her through it.
  • Laura’s little sisters, Molly and Taylor, have an adventure involving stolen kittens.
  • Spike reluctantly makes a new friend when Wylie Tanner moves to Bluesky.
  • The Handy Helpers become official.
  • Beth Anne finds out reg’lar class can be a challenge–that is until she meeting Eldon.
  • The book ends with a big event you won’t want to miss.

My readers who are fans of the Cole children will be very happy as their relationship with Gus continues to grow.  As you can see, a lot happens in Book Five.  I’ll let you know as soon as it is available.

 

 

 

 

A Promise Kept

A few years ago, someone tweeted a plea to authors of children’s books. She asked if we would consider writing about  “Hug-a-tree” as a way to help parents learn how to keep their children safe when out in the wilderness. . At the time, I had just begun writing Not a Happy Camper. I responded to the tweet saying that I would use “Hug-a-tree” in my book. I kept that promise with the hope that it will be helpful to someone, someday in the future.

“When Mr. Rawlings had finished speaking, a large screen was set up in front of the audience. Everyone watched intently as a video showed a family on a camping trip. A young boy name Tim wanted to go exploring on his own. Before he left, his mother gave him a backpack with water, a few snacks, an orange trash bag with holes for his head and arms, and a whistle. Tim ran through the woods, having a great time exploring everywhere. He was so excited about what he was doing that he forgot to notice where he was going. After a while, he became confused and didn’t know which way to go back to camp. At first Tim panicked, running around yelling for help. Finally, he calmed down and began to remember what he was supposed to do. He found a tree and piled up pine needles for a place to rest. He drank some water and ate part of his food, saving the rest for later. He knew it might be a long time before he was rescued. He put on the trash bag over his jacket so he would stay dry if it rained. Also, the bright orange trash bag would be visible to his rescuers.

When Tim didn’t return to camp, his parents called for help. Soon, people were searching the woods calling his name. They searched until dark and started searching again at first light. Finally, Tim heard them calling his name. He began blowing the whistle. He knew that the sound of the whistle was louder than his voice. One of the searchers heard the whistle and found the boy. He was checked over by a paramedic, who said he was fine—just a little dehydrated. Tim had done a few things wrong, but he had done more things correctly, which was why he was rescued.

After the video, there was a brief discussion about what happened to the boy. Parents were given a flyer with important information about how to keep their children safe when camping or hiking. As the campers left the dining hall, they were given a whistle and an orange trash bag. ‘Carry these with you at all times,’ they were told, ‘just in case you need them.’”

You can learn more about the Hug-a-Tree program by visiting their website http://www.nasar.org/hug_a_tree_program

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.

 

A Sneak Peek at Book Four

rheddens_order_delivered_jpgI am busy working on the final chapters of book four–Not a Happy Camper. But I decided to offer a little sneak peek.

“Do it again, Gus! Do it again!” Rachel shouted, excitedly.

            Gus looked over the top of his newspaper. He used his tongue to push his bottom dentures out of place until they rested on his lower lip. Rachel giggled and jumped up and down, clapping her hands. Gus popped his teeth back in place and went back to reading the paper.

            “Stop bugging Gus!” Jeremiah scolded, “And pick up that mess!” He was referring to the crayons and coloring book Rachel had abandoned on the carpet in front of the television.

            “Okay, Jeremiah.” Rachel picked up the coloring supplies and placed them on the desk.

            “She’s not bothering me,” Gus said, laying down the paper. “I love to hear her laugh.”

            “She needs to behave properly,” Jeremiah insisted. “She can’t go around annoying people.”

            Daniel was working on a jigsaw puzzle Gus had given him. It was a picture of a farm with a big red barn and lots of animals. Occasionally little squeaking sounds came from Daniel and his head jerked. “Go sweep the front porch,” Jeremiah told him in a harsh tone. “You’ve gotta pull your weight around here.”

            “The dust on the front porch can wait,” Gus smiled at Jeremiah. “Let your brother finish his puzzle.”

            “We don’t expect something for nothing!” Jeremiah said forcefully. “Our parents raised us to pay our own way. As soon as I can get a job, I’m gonna pay you back every cent you spent on us.”

            “I’ve told you, Jeremiah, that you don’t owe me anything. I’m happy to help you kids. You’ve been taking care of Rachel and Daniel on your own and you’ve done your best. There’s no shame in accepting help. Besides, having you around brightens up my life. You’re paying me back just by being here.”

            Before the forest fire, Jeremiah had been living with his brother and sister in a little lean-to he had built in the woods. He fished and trapped to feed them. After Spike discovered their hiding place, he began bringing them food. When the fire changed directions and headed toward their lean-to, Spike and his friends hiked into the forest at night and rescued Daniel and Rachel who were alone because Jeremiah had gone into town.

            The story of the Cole children was a sad one. Three years ago, their mother died of cancer. Their father, Charles Cole, moved the family to Harrison, a small mining town south of Bluesky. He rented a tiny house and they were getting settled in their new home. Charles enrolled the boys in school. Rachel was only four, so he found a neighbor to care for her while he worked in the copper mine. Jeremiah adjusted quickly to the new school, but Daniel struggled. Some of the children teased him, and the teachers complained because he was disruptive. Charles tried to explain that the jerky movements and noises Daniel made were due to a condition called Tourette’s syndrome. There was nothing Daniel could do to control the movements or the sounds. Putting him under stress only made them worse. The teachers seemed sympathetic, but said they had other children to consider. Daniel had to remain quiet or he would be removed from the classroom. Daniel continued to have problems, so when Charles was offered a job as a wrangler on the Morgan ranch, he took it. Mr. Morgan gave them a little cabin to live in. Like the Morgan children, Jeremiah and Daniel were enrolled in an internet school since the nearest town was too far away. When she turned five, Rachel started kindergarten, going with her brothers to the big house every day to work on the computers. School was going well for all of them. It seemed that everything was looking up and then tragedy struck again. While riding the fence line, Charles was thrown from his horse. It was a day later when he was discovered. By that time, it was too late to save him.  

            Mr. Morgan didn’t want to, but he knew he had to let the authorities know about the children. Jeremiah was sure they would be placed in foster homes, and probably separated. That would be bad enough for him and Rachel, but he knew Daniel would never survive it. They had to leave the ranch. His only hope was to hide out with Daniel and Rachel. When he turned eighteen in nine months, he could get a job and raise his brother and sister himself. The night before someone from Child Protective Services was coming to the ranch, Jeremiah packed up his brother and sister and ran away.

The Handy Helpers series is available 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martha and Mary

Mary-and-MarthaThe story of Martha and Mary in the Bible is one of my favorites. It is about two sisters who respond differently when Jesus comes to their house for dinner. Martha is busy with preparations, rushing around to get everything done. In the meantime, Mary sits at the feet of Jesus and listens to him talk.

I think many of us identify with one of the sisters. For me, I am most like Martha. When I have guests, I am constantly busy making sure everyone has what they need. In between tasks, I try to visit with my guests, but I always have things I need to do as well.

In the Bible story, Martha is upset when Mary doesn’t get up and help her. When Martha complains to Jesus, she expects him to order Mary to help. To Martha’s surprise, Jesus does just the opposite. He tells Martha that Mary has chosen the best way and he will not take that opportunity from her.

An incident in Seven Is a Perfect Number was the perfect place to introduce this story.  When the sharp-tongued Mrs. Henry breaks her leg, the Handy Helpers are called upon to help with some of her daily tasks. Reluctantly, they respond to Mrs. Henry’s daughter Clara’s plea to “not give up on her.” After spending an afternoon vacuuming and dusting Mrs. Henry’s house, Melissa comes home very upset. This is what happened:

“It’s just not right,” Melissa said as she plopped down on the sofa in her living room.

“What’s that, dear?” Her grandmother asked.

“We worked like slaves at Mrs. Henry’s house, dusting and vacuuming and mopping. And she didn’t even say thanks.”

“I’m sure she appreciated what you did for her,” Sarah patted her granddaughter on the shoulder. “It’s just hard for her to admit she needs help.”

“That’s not the worst part,” Melissa went on. “All the time we were working on her house, she was sitting there with Beth Anne, talking and laughing. They were looking at her photo album. Beth Anne didn’t even offer to help.”

“Talking to Mrs. Henry was helping,” Sarah pointed out.

“No it wasn’t,” Melissa continued, getting more upset. “She’s really lazy. I’m glad we didn’t vote to let her in the Handy Helpers.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Sarah said, surprised.

“We were all working hard and she wasn’t doing anything. Like I said, she’s lazy.”

“That’s one way to look at it,” Sarah said, patiently, “but maybe there’s another side you haven’t thought of.”

“Like what?”

“There’s a story from the Bible that might help,” Sarah went on.

“No offense, Grandma. But I don’t think something that happened to people thousands of years ago is going to be much help to me today.”

“I think you’ll be surprised. Anyway, humor an old lady and let me tell it. The story is about two sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha met Jesus and invited him to her home. She worked very hard to get everything ready and when Jesus arrived, Martha was busy serving food. Instead of helping her, her sister Mary sat down at Jesus’ feet and listened to him talk. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Don’t you care that my sister is letting me do all the serving myself? Tell her to help me.’ Jesus said to Martha, ‘You are worried about many things. But you only need one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and I won’t take it from her.’”

“So,” Melissa said with a shrug, “Jesus didn’t make Mary help her sister. I think he should have. She was being lazy.”

“Giving Jesus food was one way to serve him,” Sarah explained, “but Mary was serving him as well.”

“By just sitting there on the floor?”

“There are lots of ways to serve Jesus,” Sarah went on. “Serving him food was Martha’s way. He didn’t reject Martha or the food she served him. He just wanted her to see that Mary was also serving him by listening to his word. They were both serving Jesus, but he told Martha that Mary’s way was better.”

“Well Beth Anne was only talking to Mrs. Henry, not listening to Jesus,” Melissa stated emphatically. “It’s not the same.”

“I’m not so sure. Maybe Mrs. Henry needed someone to talk to more than she needed a clean house,” Sarah said.

From The Handy Helpers: Seven is a Perfect Number

We are all called to have a servant’s heart and to serve one another through love. But first we must have a heart for Jesus as Mary did. It is easy for me to be like Martha and I’m happy to serve others.  But it is my prayer that I can become more like Mary. For I am convinced that I will be a much more contented servant of Christ.