Friday, December 20, 2013

Welcome Eric Buffington!

Eric Buffington was born in Ontario Canada, where he lived until he was eighteen. After that he traveled with a Canadian government program, for one year (what he did is top secret), he then moved to California to serve a two year mission working with the Laotian people.

Shortly after returning home he met the love of his life, moved to Pennsylvania and married her. He has since completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in education. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wonderfully supportive wife, and their four children.  He currently works as a High School math teacher in an online cyber school. You can watch his math lessons on his Youtube channel.  He is here on my blog today talking about how we overcome our challenges.

Ever counted the words on a writing assignment just to be sure you made it to the minimum requirement, or within ten words of the minimum? Have you ever gotten an F on a writing assignment and looked enviously at the other kids who got A’s so easily? That pretty much describes my High School career.

In High school my math and science teachers loved me and my English teachers probably wished that I would just drop out. In ninth grade I thought I was pretty brilliant with my 88% in English, but from there my grade dropped 10% each year. As the years went on, my teachers, friends, and parents all consoled me, telling me I just wasn’t an ‘English’ person. My guidance counselor even joined with them. So that I wouldn’t fail my senior year I switched to a current events class that he said would count as an English credit.

By the time I graduated High School I had convinced myself that I would never be any good at writing. I basically stopped trying. If anyone told me my spelling was atrocious or my penmanship was unreadable, I’d just let them know that I was not an ‘English’ person, it was an easy way out for me.

And one thing led to another and now I’m a published author… Just kidding.

Between High School and College I took three years off to do a government program and a mission for my church. In that time two things happened that began my transition into being a writer. I had one roommate who was a grammar Nazi, he didn’t let me take the easy way out. We had to fill out forms and he made me write my part legibly, and correctly. I also had a different roommate who was so passionate about fantasy novels, especially Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, that it was contagious.

When I returned home and began college, I realized that writing was going to be a big part of my life again. With my renewed love for reading and some grammar lessons under my belt I thought I’d finally be able to write something really amazing! Then I submitted my first essay and it was pretty much terrible.

At this point I knew, either my English teachers had called up my College Professor and they were all out to get me, or there might be something that I needed to learn or fix… I was pretty sure a phone call was made.

I spent hours writing and checking each assignment and the results were similar. I passed the course, but never really excelled, and I was again feeling again like I was just not cut out to be an ‘English’ person.

During that summer I got engaged, and shortly thereafter we were married. We moved out west and I began at a different college. I signed up for an English 101 course with the hope that I could learn to write before taking a bunch of courses that just expected me to produce essays.

The first writing assignment came and I typed out an essay, printed it out and brought it home to show my wife. She looked at it and grabbed for a pen. I felt like I was in High School all over again. She was crossing stuff out, and making comments like ‘does not make sense’ all over the place.

Although her comments were very familiar, this was a new experience for me. I knew that she loved me and was trying to help me do better. It was hard to see the feedback and it was even harder to swallow my pride and realize that she, and all my previous teachers, had been right, but it was needed. While I was worried about my ego, she was probably freaking out that her husband would fail out of college and she’d need to sell vacuum cleaners for a living. Either way I knew that she was just trying to help me improve my writing, and that made a huge difference for me.

By the end of the semester I felt like a big boy because I actually wrote an essay on my own and got a decent grade on it. In the end I earned an A- in English 101. I say earned with the greatest respect for the word, I worked harder in that class than I have ever worked in any other class to date. That A- became a stepping stone for a lot of the success I would have in the future.

About four years later, I was talking to a friend of mine about a reading & writing test I needed to take to become a certified teacher. She waved her hand dismissively and she said something that I have always remembered. She said, “That test will be a breeze for you, you’re an ‘English’ person.”

It might have been the fact that I said things like “I’m doing well.” or “I couldn’t care less.” or that I always carried a book with me, but somehow in those years, I had learned enough to fool my friend into thinking I was comfortable with English, and now I’ve also convinced a publisher and hopefully some readers.

When I graduated, I got a job as a math teacher, and I have worked as an online math teacher for several years. I am comfortable with math, and enjoy teaching something in my comfort zone. But what most of my students and many teachers do not know is that I have also taken the tests and became a certified English teacher. I love the look of shock that they get when they learn their math teacher could next year be teaching their literacy class, and then I risk giving them a complete heart attack when I tell them I’ve written a book.
In our lives we will have challenges, struggles and obstacles. We may not be the kind of person we feel we want to be and others around us may seem to easily have the skills that we do not.  What I have learned through the past decade is that when we have a goal, or a dream, we can’t let people tell us we’re just not good enough. If your dream is to be an author, don’t ever let someone tell you you’re not an ‘English’ person. Face your challenges head on, seek help from those who care about you, work your tail end off, and then you will be able to see the rewards in the end.
In a world where each person is born with a magic ability, the island of Denall is on the verge of an attack from a power hungry sorcerer, Mordyar, as he scours the world in search of the Stones of Power. While the stones are gathering, and their power begins to be revealed, four boys leave their village on a rite of passage into adulthood and are swept into an adventure that will make men and heroes of them, if they can survive.

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure
Retail: Paperback 14.95
E-book 2.99

Release Date: October 11 2013

Center One Publishing Website: Sample Chapters & Discounted Prices
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