Monthly Archives: November 2017

A Quick Thank You!

Many thanks to Pat Hensley of for her post regarding the Story Shares teen & young adult literacy project! It’s especially heartening to me to find teachers who want to get involved :)




Teens Struggling with Reading? Story Shares Can Help!

Hello everyone!

As some of you already know, I am a volunteer author for the Story Shares teen and young adult literacy project. Story Shares ( is a charitable nonprofit organization that is building a library of “Relevant Reads” designed specifically for young adults and teens who struggle with reading – books on more mature themes that are “hard to put down but easy to read.” I am proud to say that my own book, Brother No More, is included in the inaugural paperback collection and is available for purchase at 15% off the regular price specially for Cyber Monday on

I’ve recently added a page to my website regarding the program; I’m including the text below for those of you who would like more information. Thank you in advance for your support!

Story Shares – Bringing “Relevant Reads” to Teens and Young Adults Who Struggle with Reading

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as many as ninety million American adults read at a basic or below basic level. Unacceptable numbers of high school students do not read proficiently, with seventy percent of high school students needing some form of reading remediation, and, even worse, several studies have shown that rates of reading proficiency among young people have been declining.

Addressing the problem of literacy in the teen and young adult demographic poses unique challenges for educators, parents, and young adult readers, because books that are written for children who are learning to read hold little interest for teens and young adults. The themes, subjects, and stories that appeal to young children are inappropriate for more mature readers, who share the same tastes and interests as their more literate peers, but lack the skills to enjoy the reading materials that are available to a typical young adult audience. This inevitably leads to boredom and even more frustration with reading, problems which are further compounded as teens grow older.

Story Shares ( seeks to address these issues through its growing library of “Relevant Reads” – titles that are “hard to put down but easy to read.” These books – contributed entirely by volunteer authors – explore characters and conflicts that are compelling to teens and young adults, but at a difficulty level that is more appropriate to these developing readers.

For example, writers are encouraged to craft short sentences, chapters and paragraphs, making the reading experience less overwhelming. They are instructed to utilize more common words and repetitive vocabulary to promote comprehension, and to provide context clues to help readers deduce the meaning of unfamiliar words. Above all, they are asked to create stories that are relatable and culturally relevant for teens and young adults.

Volunteer author Lori Schafer’s Brother No More offers a good example. “An inner-city girl dies… and her big brother is reborn,” reads the blurb. Here is the first chapter:

Brother No More Chapter 1

Teen readers respond well to these kinds of stories. As one reviewer writes in regards to Brother No More, “Damn…that was….there are literally no words to describe it but wow.”

Not only do Story Shares stories fill a gaping hole in the market of educational materials available to emerging young adult readers, but they work with print and digital technology in a way that makes them easily accessible to teens. Books are available both as paperbacks and as free eBooks that take advantage of modern interactive website design. Stories come in a variety of genres, including horror/mystery, romance, fantasy & scifi, historical fiction, and nonfiction, and there’s even a collection of books “For Teens, By Teens” contributed by those who want to hone their skills at writing!

Story Shares always welcomes new writers as well as new readers; writers interested in contributing their own Story Shares stories are encouraged to consult the writer’s guidelines. Anyone can help to promote the program by sharing this post on social media and by following Story Shares on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linked In.

Story Shares is a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization and welcomes tax-deductible contributions to support its efforts. All proceeds from its paperback book sales go directly towards crowd-sourcing new content for the Story Shares library and identifying readers in need of new tools for improving their literacy. Books in the paperback collection are being offered at the discounted price of $9.99 through the end of 2017 and may be purchased online through Bulk discounts are also available with purchases of 15 books or more; parents, readers and educators interested in bulk paperback purchases may contact for more information.

Books that are compelling, approachable, and relatable… these are the qualities that promote a love of reading in readers of all ages. Story Shares seeks to ensure that the next generation of young adult readers learns to read proficiently for the best reason of all – because there is no better way to spend an afternoon or an evening than with a good story.

Story Shares Logo

Author Bio:

Lori Schafer is the author of the award-winning memoir On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years after It Happened and a volunteer author for Story Shares. Her young adult book Brother No More is available in both eBook and paperback; you can discover other titles on her website at

Brother No More Story Shares


Shadow Puppet Brewing Company – 1st Anniversary Party Today!

I am pleased to announce the first anniversary party of Shadow Puppet Brewing Company, happening TODAY from 11 am to 10 pm at 4771 Arroyo Vista, Suite B in Livermore, California. Hard to believe it’s been a year already! Shadow Puppet is currently one of four craft breweries in the city of Livermore, which is well on its way to becoming a destination for beer drinkers as well as for wine tasters. Shadow Puppet features an amazing variety of beers, and a beautiful, family-friendly tasting room.

The brewery is family-owned and operated by founder Brian Blackburn and by Brewmaster and Master Builder Craig Danielson. Ordinarily I would say you can recognize Craig by his big beard, but since he’s just shaved it off for First Street Alehouse’s Movember Fundraiser, you’ll have to go by this picture instead:

Shadow Puppet Brewing Co. Livermore

Shadow Puppet Brewing Co. brewmaster Craig Danielson, left, and owner Brian Blackburn, right, pose for a photograph at their brewery in Livermore, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group -East Bay Times, February 2, 2017. )

Craig loves to talk beer, so feel free to accost him with your questions and comments.

The anniversary party promises to be a great time and will feature a massive selection of 25 beers on tap, including two barrel-aged beers as well as two newly-tapped firkins! South Smokin’ BBQ will be on site, and “Better Days” will be playing live music beginning at 3 pm. If you can’t make the opening, don’t worry – the taproom is open Wednesday through Sunday; visit the brewery’s website for the current menu and hours:

Hope to see you there!