HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Before I begin with this update and its
living tip section, I want to thank you for
reading my newsletter and supporting my work.
If you've read any of my books then you know
I sweat every detail of the story. Even
working seven days a week until 3 AM, it
takes me a year or more to write a Steve
Alten novel because I want it to be worthy of
your time and investment.
Enjoy the update, and I hope you and your
family have a safe, healthy, and prosperous 2010!
To everyone who donated money to my site at
the Michael J. Fox Foundation to find a cure
for Parkinsons. Like 2 million other
Americans, I have been diagnosed with PD.
Last month, your generosity raised our total
contribution to $3,991. I know funds are
tight, which is why I am only asking for the
donation of the cost of a movie ticket ($10)
to help the foundation fund a cure. Please
click on the link below
and make a small donation that you'll never
miss. Because ten dollars from ten thousand
Steve Alten readers CAN make a serious
difference in the fight against a disease
that affects millions of Americans including
this humble author. Happy Holidays! (once you
click on the link, you can scroll down the
page to see this month's installment of new
As I mentioned last month, not a whole lot
happens around the holidays but it is
possible The LOCH may move into production
ahead of MEG. Whichever movie is greenlit
first will determine which book I pen after
PHOBOS, either MEG 5: Night Stalkers or THE
PHOBOS (Domain 3) CHARACTER CONTEST
The top 30 winners were posted at
TheShellGame.net . If you are among the
winners and haven't sent me a bio, please do
so at Meg82159@aol.com subject PHOBOS WINNER.
Living Tips: Developing Positive Kids
from Jon Gordon
I believe that positive kids become positive
adults and as parents we can play a
significant role in shaping our children's
perspective and mindset. In this spirit I
want to share with you several tips to
develop positive kids.
1. Success of the Day - Each night before
bed, at dinner or while taking an after
dinner walk ask your children their success
of the day. The success could be a great
conversation, an accomplishment at school,
something they are proud of, a situation
where they helped someone, etc. The important
thing is to help them focus on
accomplishments instead of failures. When we
help our children expect success, look for
success, and celebrate success they find more
success and gain more confidence. Of course
they need to learn from their mistakes and
failures, but let's help them to not dwell on
2. Bedtime Prayer - A ritual such as this
provides your children with a foundation of
peace, security, and confidence that gives
them the strength to take on the daily
challenges of being a child.
3. Implement the No Complaining Rule - It's a
simple rule that says you're not allowed to
complain unless you identify one or two
possible solutions to your complaint. This
empowers children to become a driver of their
bus instead of being a passenger griping on
the bus. They also learn to use complaints as
a catalyst for positive change and positive
4. Teach them the Positive Shark Formula, E +
P = 0 - This is from my latest book, The
Shark & The Goldfish, about a nice and
positive shark who teaches Gordy the goldfish
how to overcome his fear of change and find
food. After all, Goldfish wait to be fed.
Sharks go find food. The formula reveals that
we can't control the (E ) Events in our life.
But we can control our (P) Positive Response
to these events and our response determines
the (O) outcome. This formula helps children
develop a strong locus of control which is a
perspective that through their beliefs and
actions they have an influence on their life.
They come to believe that they are not a
victim of circumstance but rather a hero in
their own inspirational tale and that they
can turn their challenges into opportunities
and transform bad events into good outcomes.
This helps them stay optimistic and believe
that their best days are ahead of them, not
5. Feel Blessed instead of Stressed - As
parents we need to realize that children,
like adults, deal with a lot of stress...and
stress is the enemy of positivity. Well, the
great news is that when you are feeling
blessed you can't be stressed. The research
says we can't be stressed and thankful at the
same time. Thus, a simple ritual is to help
your children identify 3 things they are
thankful for each day. You can create a
gratitude journal together or you can
encourage them to write these blessings on
their blog, diary or simply talk about them
at dinner. And anytime they are feeling
stressed you can encourage them to recall
something they are thankful for.
I encourage you to think of your child's mind
like a garden. Each day you want to help them
weed their negative thoughts and plant
positive thoughts. One day of weeding and
planting won't do much. However if you
practice these strategies each day, over a
week, a month, a year, a lifetime, the garden
grows more healthy and vibrant. Nurture your
child. Take time to coach them and nourish
them with lots of love and positive energy
and you shall see the fruits of your efforts.
Dining Tips: Secrets your waiter will never reveal
1. In most restaurants, after 8 p.m. or so,
all the coffee is decaf because no one wants
to clean two different coffeepots.
2. We put sugar in our kids' meals so kids
will like them more. Seriously. We even put
extra sugar in the dough for the kids' pizzas.
3. At a lot of restaurants, the special is
whatever they need to sell before it goes
bad. Especially watch out for the soup of the
day. If it contains fish or if it's some kind
of "gumbo," it's probably the stuff they're
trying to get rid of. -Kathy Kniss, who
waited tables for ten years in Los Angeles
4. Now that I've worked in a restaurant, I
never ask for lemon in a drink. Everybody
touches them. Nobody washes them. We just
peel the stickers off, cut them up, and throw
them in your iced tea.
5. Skim milk is almost never skim milk. Very
few restaurants outside Starbucks carry whole
milk, 2 percent milk, skim milk, and
half-and-half; it's just not practical.
6. The single greatest way to get your waiter
to hate you? Ask for hot tea. For some
reason, an industry that's managed to
streamline everything else hasn't been able
to streamline that. You've got to get a pot,
boil the water, get the lemons, get the
honey, bring a cup and spoon. It's a lot of
work for little reward.
7. Even at the best breakfast buffet in the
world, 99 times out of 100, the big pan of
scrambled eggs is made from a powder.
8. It's much easier to be recognized as a
regular on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays.
Once you're recognized as a regular, good
things start to happen. You'll find your
wineglass gets filled without being put on
your bill, or the chef might bring you a
9. Avoid Mother's Day and Valentine's Day
like the black plague. It's crazy busy, so
they're not going to be able to pay as much
attention to quality. Plus, they bring out a
special menu where everything is overpriced.
10. Don't order fish on Sunday or Monday. The
fish deliveries are usually twice a week, so
Tuesday through Friday are great days. Or ask
the restaurant when they get theirs.
11. We're not allowed to tell our customers
we don't like a dish. So if you ask your
server how something is and she says, "It's
one of our most popular dishes," chances are
she doesn't like it.
12. If you make a big fuss about sending your
soup back because it's not hot enough, we
like to take your spoon and run it under
really hot water, so when you put the hot
spoon in your mouth, you're going to get the
impression-often the very painful
impression-that your soup is indeed hot.
13. If your dessert says "homemade," it
probably is. But it might be homemade at a
bakery three miles away.
Dining Tips: How to be a good customer
!. Use your waiter's name. When I say, "Hi,
my name is JR, and I'll be taking care of
you," it's great when you say, "Hi, JR. How
are you doing tonight?" Then, the next time
you go in, ask for that waiter. He may not
remember you, but if you requested him, he's
going to give you really special service.
2. Trust your waitress. Say something like
"Hey, it's our first time in. We want you to
create an experience for us. Here's our
budget." Your server will go crazy for you.
3. When you say, "I'll have the pasta
Alfredo," it tells me two things: You aren't
interested in trying new things, and you
don't eat out much. Restaurants put this dish
on their menus because it's "safe," it sells,
and it's cheap to make.
4. Ask what's in your smoothie. A lot of
restaurants use half-and-half. So you think
you're ordering a healthy strawberry-banana
smoothie, but it's really full of fat.
5. If you're having a problem, speak to the
owner if you can. Managers may have very
little power. They're less likely to comp a
meal, and most aren't authorized to give away
free alcohol. They'll also take it out on the
server if you have problems.
6. If you're worried about cleanliness, check
out the bathroom. If the bathroom is gross,
you can be sure the kitchen is much worse.
*IF YOU HAVE A LIVING TIP YOU WOULD LIKE TO
SHARE, please e-mail to me at
MEG82159@aol.com Put LIVING TIP in the
Super Easy Pork Chop Dinner
Super Easy Pork Chop Dinner (can use chicken
4 Center cut pork chops, 2 Cans Campbell's
Cream of Mushroom Soup, 1 Cup milk (or use
the can from the soup), 4 Medium sized
potatoes (Yukon Golds & Reds are really good)
cut to size, Salt, pepper & Italian seasoning
(or your seasoning preference), Large Skillet
with lid, Brown pork chops in skillet. Stir
in soup, milk & potatoes (be sure your
potatoes are covered by the soup - add more
milk if needed). Season to taste. Heat to a
boil. Turn down to low. Cover & simmer for 1
hour or until potatoes are soft, stirring
occasionally. This is an easy recipe to
double or use for a house full! Can also be
made in a crock-pot or slow roaster.
Enjoy! Melissa L. Erie, PA
*IF YOU HAVE A RECIPE YOU WOULD LIKE TO
SHARE, please e-mail to me at
MEG82159@aol.com Put RECIPE in the subject line.