Book Trailer

The day after my last final I jumped back in to working on my novel. I’m so excited to announce that it is available for pre-order via E-book, but the hardback and paperbacks will launch January 10, 2022! I chose this day as a way to honor my late grandfather who passed away last month. January 10th is his birthday and this is how I’m choosing to remember him.

Until then enjoy the book trailer!


A New Adventure

Last year I published my first book, a children’s book series called Adelyn’s Amazing Adventures. I learned a lot while writing and afterward trying to market and push my book to the public. I also learned one of my biggest flaws is not one helpful to someone trying to self-publish a book. One of my biggest flaws is I try to do things on my own. Including a project as a big as publishing my first book. I did enlist editing help from one of my professor and my mom who is experienced in copyediting. I sent my book to Beta reader (friends I knew from social media). I tried marketing the book before I published it, but I didn’t do the best.

Needless to since publishing I haven’t sold many copies. I only sold it through Amazon, I didn’t take it to local book stores, etc. Selling a certain number of copies was never my goal. Hearing those who’ve read it and loved it has been my favorite part. That’s all I want for my first novel, but I also want to know I produced the best version possible and marketed it as best I could.

Sadly history repeated itself….

I began writing my novel and forgot the lesson I learned from the first time. I hadn’t finished the first draft before sending it off to publishers in the hope that one would see the potential in the story. As I continued to write and mold the story I realized the overall plot needed A LOT of work. I started out with a VERY VERY long prologue- which is not a good idea- and I ended up scrapping it entirely. As I look at the current version of the story (draft #3) I have to laugh. The beginning has changed entirely, the characters took on a different path than I originally imagined, and one character has become the basis for the second book in the series.

Yes- this is a series, because when I choose a project I go big. For better or worse. This time though I think it’s going to work well.

I’m learning to be patient with this novel. I’d loved to have published it already but every time I’ve tried I’ve known it’s not right. I’ve outsourced the editing and formatting after making initial edits and revisions. I outsourced a Beta reader to help me get an idea if the plot and characters were strong. The only part I’m not going to pay for is the cover design and I’m happy with that choice (for now).

All of this to say, I hope you stick around because I’m going be bringing updated information and progress on my upcoming debut novel A Royal Mind- The Legend of Ignis Book 1.

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Stories that Inspire (Part 1)

A new year! Yes, we’re all happy to say goodbye to 2020 and welcome the hope 2021 has to offer. There’s a lot to be inspired by right now. The inspirational frontline workers taking care of patient after patient, scientist working on a vaccine to help us move forward, and all the teachers working hard to make this school year work for their students in the best and safest way possible. There are inspiring stories everywhere, and it made me think back to all the stories, the books that have inspired me throughout the years.

Inspiring stories stick with us, they stay on us like the smell of woodsmoke after sitting by a warm fire. Inspiring stories inspire other stories, creating a circle of life that sparks joy in the hearts of all those it touches. This week I’ll be sharing the stories which have inspired me. Inspired my daydreams, inspired my own writing, and inspired adventures I’m still dreaming about today.

The chapter book I remember being caught up in was one my mom read to me, The Christmas Doll, by Elvira Woodruff, about two orphan sisters who find themselves in dire circumstances, at Christmas time. The story follows them through the cold streets, sees them separated, one having to try to save the other, written with heart and detail. I couldn’t wait till we came home at night after a long day at school so I could hear the next part of the story.

That’s what a good story does, it makes you want more, it causes you sleepless nights because you can’t put it down.

This story inspired me because of the context in which it was read to me, which is one of the most important parts of an inspiring story. If you read a story during a hard time in life, you’ll remember how it made you feel, how it helped you cope, help you escape from reality. For me and the Christmas doll, this was a special time of my mom reading me a story after a long day at school. It also served as a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas, love, family, and helping those in need.

Inspiration can come from memories and remembering The Christmas Doll in this new year inspires me to create stories that inspire others, that mom’s read to their kids and the kids look back fondly on those memories as I have mine.


What book inspired you when you were younger that you still remember to this day? Comment below and let’s discuss it!

We’re Going on an Adventure!

I LOVE teaching Career Lit! If you’re not part of Cabell County you’re probably wondering what Career Lit is exactly. It’s pretty simple really, it teaches students various career areas through four different modules. In 7th grade students learn about journalism, business, tourism, and art/technology. Since I’ve had personal and professional experience in each of these areas 7th grade Career Lit is literally the perfect fit for me.

I’ve taught my students how to write a news article and how to label a newspaper. They’ve created their own business and now we are beginning my favorite module so far, tourism. This is my favorite because, if you haven’t realized already, I LOVE Disney, and Disney Parks and Imagineering is the perfect example for my students in every avenue of tourism.

I like tracking our progress and I decided it might be fun to share here what we’re doing day by day leading to our BIG project. But….since we started this about a week ago I’m going to do a little catch up today.

Activity 1:

It’s extremely important for students to have a knowledge of the vocab that they will hear in the lessons. The first day of our tourism module I provide the students with words along with coordinating pictures. I had them practice their inference skills by showing them the words and pictures together, asking them what they believed the word meant based off the pictures. This went well and I’m hoping it helps them on their upcoming vocabulary quiz.

Most of my classes made it through this little game and after we finished, I announced the first project in our new module. The project required them to choose one of the optional locations and write a very short research article based on their research. They were required to research the following elements.

  1. Population
  2. Clothing
  3. 3 Tourist Attractions
  4. 3 Fun Facts
  5. Food

In addition to the article, they had to write they were also required to design the outside of the provided suitcase template to showcase their country. Unsurprisingly, this was the focus for a lot of a students and the writing fell a little to wayside for some. However, others excelled in their effort on the writing and artistic expression.

Activity 2: Gallery Walk

Once the students handed in their suitcases, I laid them out on the front table and handed out question prompts. The prompts required students to read their fellow classmates work and write about what they read. I had planned on setting the suitcases up around the room, but I was not feeling like rearranging my desks.

In the future I want to find a more efficient way to have students analyze/read each other’s work. I’m considering handing them a grading rubric instead of just a series of prompts. This would help them and me.

Two birds. One stone.

Activity 3: Which job is the right one?

Like I stated previously, I’m LOVING this unit because I’m able to bring in my love for Disney Parks. Back in 2012, Disney produced a series of videos on Youtube called “Every Role a Starring Role”, highlighting the various jobs of their Cast Members.

I had it all planned.

I created QR codes of the videos, printed them out and placed them around the room for the students along with a worksheet for students to record their findings and make an informed decision on which job they wanted in the upcoming project.

I had it all planned.

Of course, technology failed me again. As I tell my students many days, “technology hates Ms. Black”. I even tested the QR codes out a week before and they worked. I don’t know what it is but it never wants to work when it’s supposed to for me.

I’m flexible though, so I showed the videos on the screen for us to watch together as a class and discuss the pros and cons of each of the jobs. It went well and the students used their job fair worksheet to answer the discussion question I placed on Schoology.

That catches you up with the important activities in this exciting 9 weeks of tourism lessons! Make sure to follow along on here and Instagram @pixiedustclassroom.


Merry Christmas Eve Eve! It’s FINALLY Christmas break!!! It hasn’t fully sunk in yet, but the stress has definitely started to leave. I’m blogging right now so that I don’t let myself work on lesson plans. I’m weird and I LOVE making lesson plans that will engage my students and using the new lesson planner I found on Teachers Pay Teachers. But I’m determined to do some non-teachery things during break- at least on this first day. First things first, getting back into blogging.

This first semester of my first year of teaching in a public school has been great but overwhelming at times. The last of the nine weeks is always the worst because it’s all about helping the kids who haven’t wanted to do turn anything in get everything together before the 0’s hit the fan. Here’s hoping the new year brings new attitudes to turning in assignments on time!

I’m also hoping the new year brings less stress. Life at home has thrown curveballs between injuries and sickness and life in the classroom has been a mix of teaching and keeping up on my own assignments and deadlines. My stress almost hit a breaking point this past week. I had been teaching all day then went shopping at Target with the family. And I still hadn’t finished making my student’s their ornaments or making the cookies I wanted to give out to my fellow teachers. I was about to lose it. I felt the Christmas spirit disappearing.

Then I turned on the Christmas tree in my room. And the soft yellow lights illuminated my room and my mind. Because I was reminded of how God’s light illuminated the world years ago in the form of a baby born in a little town, in a tucked away barn, to a 16-year-old girl. That birth happened after years of silence between God and His people. A time when they were probably feeling pretty down and on the breaking point. Just like I had been feeling until I saw the light.

As the truth sank in I felt the stress lessen and my Christmas spirit lifted a little. This all happened on December 21st, the winter solstice. The darkest day of the year. I didn’t realize the connection until the next day when I saw posts of Facebook. My favorite was from Annie F. Downs:

Light is coming.

Light is our hope.

Hope is what keeps us going.

Hope is a turning on a Christmas tree and letting the light fill the room and heart.

It’s Been a Long, Long Time

Today is my graduation. I’ve elected to not walk the stage because I honestly don’t want to sit there and here a litany of names I don’t know read off as I sit there and wait my turn. Besides I’m exhausted as many TEACHERS are this time of year on a Saturday.

Did you catch that bolded word?


Back in August, just a few weeks before the start of the school year, I received a call from one of the top schools on my list of where I wanted to teach. I never imagined getting a call from them though because it’s one of those schools that people don’t want to leave. However, the 7th grade career lit teacher retired and a spot had opened.

A spot teaching topics that utilize both of my degrees.

A spot teaching my favorite grade.

A spot teaching at one of the best schools in the county.

Even writing this I still can’t believe it really happened. Yet, I have the papers to grade and the bags under my eyes to prove it wasn’t just a dream.

As I thought about my graduation this week, between listening to student’s business presentations, I thought about the miracle of my job. And we’re currently in the season of celebrating the biggest miracle the world has ever known.

Christmas season is my favorite time of year. Between the lights, music, and traditions, it always lifts my spirits during a time of year that is often dark and gloomy. One of my favorite traditions is the reading of Advent calendars. My mom purchased one a couple of years ago by Ann Voskamp, author of A Thousand Gifts and more. Her Advent, The Greatest Gift, is written in her unique, poetic style and one of the doors we opened this week, talked about Abraham and Sarah and their miracle child Issac.

Abraham and Sarah kept waiting for a child but God continued to give them the answer we all dread, no. He kept promising Abraham that he would be the father of many, but Abraham couldn’t understand how that would happen without him having a child. Sarah came up with a world altering idea that still affects our lives today, and it was not the solution God had planned for them. But he still kept his promise and gave them the child he planned for them, Issac. Abraham was 100 years old when Sarah gave birth. He still lived to see his son grow up, he still enjoyed the time he had with him, even if it didn’t happen on his ideal time line.

My teaching journey has not been what I wanted. I thought I’d found my ‘forever school’ a few years ago, and everything just felt like it made sense why God put me there and why I had to wait, etc. Like Abraham and Sarah, I thought I had it all figured out. Well, of course I didn’t. Because that place was not my forever school, and I am forever thankful that God took me out of there. But at the time, I was devastated and I thought God was telling me ‘you’re not supposed to be teaching’. Thankfully, I have a mother who reminded me of all the ways God had shown that teaching was what He wanted for me.

If He hadn’t taken me away from the toxic environment I was in, I wouldn’t have gone back to Marshall to earn my teaching degree allowing me to teach in Cabell County. I wouldn’t have had been assigned to Milton Middle for my clinical with Mrs. Jones in the 8th grade hallway. I wouldn’t have met the people who are now my colleagues and friends.

I’m holding the tears back just looking back on it all.

Today I may not be celebrating my graduation the traditional way, but I am still enjoying this day as a graduate who’s earned her teaching certificate. Celebrating a week of enjoying her miracle gift of a job.

Using Pixar Storytelling Rules to Create Content (PART 2)

Welcome to part 2 of using Pixar’s 22 Storytelling Rules to create content on social media!

Rule #2: “You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.”

Now, if you’re like me you’ve seen how the trend on social media has gone from photography to videography. Which has been super hard for me to get on board with because videos take more time and effort to create. I’ve tried to stick with photos but I realized if I wanted to get my stuff out there like this blog and my novel, I’d have to give my audience what they wanted. I’d have to start creating more videos than photos for my instagram account.

And I’ve found it fun! What I once dreaded has become enjoyable and I’ve found it as a creative challenge that has helped me work on my storytelling skills. I’ve learned the same with writing. I may not be crazy about writing something other than fantasy, or I may like a trope that has long since died out with readers. But if I want my work to be read and enjoyed I have to meet my audience half way.

Don’t read this and think I’m saying compromise. DON’T EVER COMPROMISE. You can still be uniquely you and use the trending mediums. As content creators of any niche or medium we have to go with the flow of the times. And hopefully like me, you’ll find enjoyment in it all!

Follow me on instagram @pixiedustclassroom and follow along here as I continue through Pixar’s 22 Storytelling Rules. And don’t forget to read my novel A Royal Mind available on Amazon!

Using ELA Skills to Create Content (PART 1)

I think we can all agree that Pixar knows how to make exceptional movies! They’ve had their failures yes, but overall they know how to tell a story. They took the ideas of toys coming to life and created a timeless classic that has spanned a generation. How do they do it? There are 22 Pixar Storytelling Rules, here’s the picture of them laid out from Pixar Story Artist Emma Coats.

I love how this is laid out and I can’t wait to teach these rules when school starts back in the fall. But for now I thought how fun would it be to apply these to creating content for social media! So, let’s start at the very beginning.

Rule #1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

Now, how do you make this work for creating content? I’m glad you asked. The thing about creating content for our blogs or social media we try to make pictures and videos look filtered to perfection. We position things just right, angle ourselves for the best lighting, and non of that is bad per-say. BUT we have to be careful that we don’t only show the filtered version. We need to be authentic with our audience. We need to remember our purpose behind starting up our account. Was it just for the followers? I know that’s a big draw because it’s what helps with sponsorships but it can’t be the only reason.

We need to show our audience our most authentic selves. We need to show the unfiltered side because thats usually where we show off our niche the best.

How can you be more authentic with your audience?

  1. Tell your story
  2. Don’t always try to sell something
  3. Lose the filters!
  4. Let lose!

I hope you’ve enjoyed part 1 of this series and make sure to follow me on Instagram for my filtered and unfiltered life!


Comics and Creative Writing

Lately I’ve been looking into how I can implement comics into my ELA classes. I’ve learned that students may be overwhelmed by large novels, even if they’re on their level, but hand them a comic and they’ll read multiple in one sitting. Some educators may not think students can get much out these but I disagree. Consider the lessons we can take from the Marvel shows and movies created over the past year. These shows are based on comics, therefore one can infer that we can learn similar lessons from the original source.

Star Wars recently came out with a new Obi Wan comic that provides us a deeper look into Obi Wan, his time on Tatooine and his past as an active Jedi. I ordered and read #1 and found it very enjoyable. I haven’t read comics for years but I found my idea that these can be used in an ELA class to be completely validated. In this comic I found 3 tips for creative writing.

  1. Use flashbacks
    • This story begins with an older Obi Wan, similar to what we see in A New Hope, looking back on his time as a Jedi. We’re provided a flashback that takes up the majority of the comic. Flashbacks are useful tools when used correctly. They can help provide background information while continuing the action of the story instead of giving the reader information overload. And in this case the flashback introduced the conflict of the story.
  2. Introduce conflict as soon as possible
    • A story’s conflict is what keeps the reader reading. It’s what gives the story its plot. If there wasn’t conflict Frodo wouldn’t have had to return the ring, Harry wouldn’t have to keep fighting for his life every year at school, and Katniss wouldn’t have had to volunteer as tribute. Without conflict there is no story, therefore the quicker you introduce the conflict the better.
  3. Choose the right ending
    • It’s your story you get to choose the ending, or sometimes the ending chooses you. In the case of the comic in question since this is #1, it tells us that there will be more, and therefore the ending needed to provide a conclusion but also leave a little unresolved issues. Obi Wan’s flashback wraps up that part of the story, but as we return to a much older, battered, Obi Wan on Tatooine, we’re given an unresolved ending. An unresolved ending is one where the reader is left on a cliff hanger, filled with questions that have yet to be answered. And in this comic we’re left to wonder how Obi Wan knew what was coming for him, and what else happened to him in the Jedi Temple that we didn’t see in the films? When writing a story you have to make sure that you choose the right ending for your story. In my novel A Royal Mind I made sure to give it an unresolved ending because I knew I’d be writing multiple books in the series, but I did make sure to wrap up Aster’s story in order give the book itself a conclusion to satisfy readers yet keep them hooked to find out what happens in the overall story of the Legend of Ignis.

I’m excited to read the rest of this series! Kenobi is my favorite Jedi and so far the Disney Plus show is AMAZING. I hope that you enjoyed this little lesson from a comic, and I hope to provide more of these!

Comment below if you enjoy comics!

Self-Publishing Journey

It’s been just a little over a month since I self-published my first novel A Royal Mind (PURCHASE HERE) and I thought I had learned a lot from my mistakes after publishing my children’s books but boy I still have a lot to learn. Which shouldn’t surprise me because we can always keep learning and when we’re starting something new we’re bound to not get it all right at the start.

But that’s a struggle of mine- I like knowing how to do everything first time around and I don’t like making mistakes, even if I try to shrug them off when I make them.

I thought I’d start sharing a little more in-depth of my self-publishing journey so far.

When I self-published my children’s book series Adelyn’s Amazing Adventures I realized I should have hired beta readers, sent my book to trustworthy ARC readers and of course I should have had a professional editor. I also know I could have done A LOT better at the marketing. So, going into my novel I really thought I was doing better by having the professional editor, the beta reader, etc. But I only hired 1 beta reader, I didn’t ask for reviews, I didn’t send it to ARC readers and I didn’t send it to reviewers.

I also thought I had the marketing under control but I have learned I really needed to focus on getting reviews BEFORE the book published so that they could be posted and used to advertise.

Needless to say I’m trying to makeup for these missteps and I’ve sent my book to book bloggers and reviewers, and I’m looking to hire a professional marketing planner.

I’ve definitely learned, or I should say relearned, that with each new venture there will be things we learn that could have made it better, but that’s okay. Learning is important so that when we try again we won’t make the same mistakes.

Valentines Day Is On the Way

Happy Friday everyone! I’ve gotten way behind on my blogs this week but I wanted to wrap up the week by sharing some AMAZING artwork for my book! Now, if you haven’t purchased my book you can click the link below! I highly recommend you purchase the paperback because there’s nothing like holding a book in your hand!


I’ve been sketching the characters from my book for awhile but was never really happy with them. And I wanted art for my book to eventually add to future editions and of course share here and on social media. I’m also hoping I can get a subscription box to use my book!

I reached out to my good friend Haley who is an amazing artist and I shared my vision of what I wanted the characters to look like. And she went above and beyond with Aster.

I’m so happy with what she created and I’m so excited to share it with you today!

Follow Haley to see more of her work! https://www.instagram.com/haleyravenn/

A Very Harry Potter Valentine

I’m very behind in my Valentine’s Day advent but no one’s perfect (at least that what Hannah Montana always said). Today’s valentine was inspired from the only time Valentines is heavily mentioned in the Harry Potter series, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets the MinaLima edition. So far the series has book 1 and 2 but I’m most looking forward to this edition of the 3rd book Prisoner of Azkaban.

MinaLima’s Valentine’s illustrations in Chapter 13 A Very Secret Diary are AMAZING. They really capture the scene of what the Great Hall would have looked like with Gilderory Lockhart’s Valentine chaos.

The illustrations inspired me to create this fun Valentine and I’ve created a pdf template for you! Just click the link below to download!