Come out to say hi

EMSA Publishing was at the Third Annual Jingle Bell Christmas Market this past Saturday. Thanks so much to Bare Canvas Management for the opportunity.

Cookies and Holly Jolly Christmas Market

The next show is on Saturday, November 26, 2022 at Monsignor Percy Johnson Catholic Secondary School, 2170 Kipling Avenue, Etobicoke, ON M9W 4K9 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. I will be bringing all of my books, Heddy, Harry, and Luna dolls, and a selection of handmade blankets, including two new crocheted designs.

Holiday Market

Hot on the tails of Cookies and Holly Jolly is the Holiday Market at Temple Sinai Synagogue, 210 Wilson Avenue, North York on Sunday, November 27, 2022 from 2 pm to 5 pm.

Come on out for a great assortment of holiday gifts (and in some cases, like my blankets, one-of-a-kind gifts!).

Merchandise at Etsy

EMSA Publishing’s Etsy shop is now open for business featuring characters from books Heddy is Sad, Harry has A Lot of Energy, Luna is Afraid of Storms, and Luna has Nothing to do.

Also featured are a number of beautifully handknit blankets to snuggle under while reading our books.

GTA customers: contact me directly at admin @ emsapublishing.com for information on how to purchase these items for pick-up to save Canada Post fees.

Check out EMSA’s Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/EMSAStore.

Read October’s Newsletter

It’s been a while, but EMSA Publishing has resurrected its mailing list and has resumed sending out newsletters.

Here is the link to October’s newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/dc1fe2ad98f0/crisp-new-fall-reads-6145869.

For free ebook copies of October’s spooky reads, email me at admin @ emsapublishing.com. All I ask in exchange for the books is a quick Amazon review.

To join my mailing list, please go to https://emsapublishing.us11.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=4f3d6af21f5a8b1590880403b&id=2586b04fdc.

New Book Release!

Announcing the release of Braelynn’s Birthright–Book 1: Wendigo by Elise Abram!

Imagine a world where the creatures of nightmare are real. This becomes fifteen-year-old Braelynn Hanlon’s world once she inherits her birthright in the form of her grandmother’s ring and is tricked into putting it on. You see, the women in her family have been cursed, doomed to defend humanity from things that go bump in the night. On the upside, the ring comes with super-healing powers, but it also makes her a magnet for all things supernatural. Her mother has had years to come to terms with her fate, but Braelynn’s about to get a crash course on how to be a hunter of all things paranormal.

Her boyfriend, Seth, turns out to be a vampire. When Braelynn vanquishes him, the leader of Seth’s gang sends a bugbear to seek revenge. If that’s not bad enough, her best friend, Shannon, is a werewolf, and Shannon’s girl crush is enchanted. To make matters worse, the school’s activist, Winona, is an Ojibwe shaman in training, hot on the trail of a wendigo disguised as a local businessman who is threatening to destroy the local watershed. Braelynn and her friends agree to help Winona vanquish the wendigo, but will her ring and her new-found powers be enough to keep her safe?

COMING SOON: Braelynn’s Birthright–Book 2: Fallen Angel by Elise Abram

The sequel to Book 1: Wendigo, Fallen Angel joins in the action a few years after Book 1. Braelynn has parlayed her abilities into a full time job. But when she receives the ominous message “They are coming” from three different supernatural entities, what lies ahead cannot be good.

This book borrows from Abram’s other books, Phase Shift, The Revenant, and Revamped to weave a shared tapestry. If you are a fan of Supernatural, Nancy Drew (current TV series), True Blood/The Sookie Stackhouse stories, Midnight, Texas (TV series), and Legacies (Vampire Diaries TV spin-off), then this book is for you!.

Join in the festivities!

EMSA Publishing is confirmed as a vendor at the Prosserman JCC’s Sweet Week Market. We will be selling a host of books for all ages, crocheted Harry, Heddy, and Luna dolls, and one-of-a-kind comfy cozy blankets to snuggle under while you read books or watch television.

Hope to see you there!

It’s Finally Here!

In the magnum opus of her teaching career, seasoned English teachers , author, editor, and publisher Elise Abram curates a collection of lesson plans and techniques related to the craft of writing. This book is suitable as a self-led course or textbook for writers craft courses.

Abram’s method uses mentor texts to demonstrate elements of the art of storytelling, including crafting believable characters, gripping plots, and finding your author’s voice. Each lesson includes a number of writing exercises, exemplars, and self-assessment checklists to help you assess your progress as you complete the assigned tasks, building upon previous lessons as you hone your writing chaps. 

  • Use mentor texts to read like a writer
  • Practice showing and not telling
  • Construct believable characters
  • Pen plots that keep the reader turning pages
  • Experiment with different points of view
  • Blog and journal about your experience
  • Self-edit your work

Learn about the elements of storytelling from past and present masters of fiction as you study their techniques and apply what you learn to your own writing. Discover your writing style as you complete the activities in this course as you learn how to shape stories worthy of publication.

Buy The Shape of Stories: A Comprehensive Guide for Fiction Writers at Amazon.

One more Web 2.0 idea for your Teacher’s Toolkit

What does a poor teacher do when circumstances force her to return to online learning at the start of the drama unit? Create a Web 2.0 tool, of course.

I spent weeks planning my unit on Macbeth prior to the winter break only to be sidelined by the spread of Omicron. At my school, we long ago decided that since Shakespeare was meant to be watched and not read, we would begin with the movie and pivot to study important scenes and passages after that.

Last year, I discovered the PBS version of the play starring Patrick Stewart and was blown away by it. The movie is available for free on the PBS site, but only so many viewings are allowed each month. In class, I can show the video to my students, racking up maybe 10 viewings (2 classes watching over 5 days), but at home, sending students to the site to watch, I am looking at more than 300 views in a week, which helps to push the quota and shut down the availability.

My only other choices for cinematic quality movies (not stage productions) are the Fassbender version–featuring a nude Lady Macbeth–and the Polanski version–which shows Macduff’s son in full-frontal nudity and soldiers raping Macduff’s servants in the background of the scene that seals his family’s fate. Needless to say, neither is suitable for viewing in a grade 10 classroom. Unlike when we watch face-to-face with the Polanski version (or the Zeffierelli version of Romeo and Juliet just after they consummate their marriage), I can’t skip over these scenes if I ask them to watch at home.

Time constraints were another issue. We lost two days while the government pondered what to do with the situation (under the guise of pivot prep days) and (as would happen later) another two as snow days at the end of the two weeks, meaning that I lost almost a full instructional week when time was scarce to begin with. It is for this reason I made the shift to teaching Macbeth using Web 2.0 tools.

To put it simply,

Web 2.0 was coined to indicate all of the interactive tools available online. These tools “enable users to create, share, collaborate and communicate their work with others, without any need of any web design or publishing skills.

Using YouTube and Google Docs, two Web 2.0 tools, I created my drama unit as follows:

  1. Students were given copies of the organizer.
  2. We watched videos of important passages and/or scenes on YouTube (links in handout for easy access).
  3. Students were given 5-10 minutes to annotate the passage (we learned how to annotate early in the semester).
  4. We took up the answers to the given questions.
  5. I made notes on a master copy that I later shared with students.
  6. Students completed a Google Form diagnostic quiz after each act to test their understanding of what was discussed as we took up the questions on the organizer.

This took us 6 days (+/- one day) of classes to complete. The nice thing was that it killed two birds with one stone: not only did we watch the important passages, but we also went back to make sense of them.

The reason this worked so effectively was due to the work done on the context of Macbeth prior to beginning the play, which included watching the Animated Macbeth (also on YouTube), looking at character relationships, and act-by-act breakdowns of the play. Because students began this task knowing the specifics of the play, it was okay (I think) if we didn’t watch the whole play (which we couldn’t without breaking copyright or my responsibilities as a teacher).

Here is the link to the Google Doc I shared with students.

For more ideas as to how to integrate Web 2.0 tools in your classroom, buy 22 Practical Ideas: Web 2.0 Teacher’s Toolkit by Elise Abram on Amazon.

Elise Abram is an educator in the GTA. She is the owner and operator of EMSA Publishing.