Guilt-Free Writing

I’m a writer. I love writing. Every day. But what happens when real life gets in the way, and I end up in front of the computer doing everything BUT writing? When my brain won’t shift to writer mode, or I’m stuck and the solution won’t show itself? How do I stave off the inevitable…

Chocolate Chip Legacy

Seven basic ingredients – that’s all I need to make chocolate chip cookies. In and of themselves, a legacy they do not make. Even the finished product is just a cookie, a sweet treat at the end of a meal or savored warm from the oven with a cold glass of milk. It’s gone, eaten…

Ball Fringe – Order in a Chaotic World

I’m not sure what it is about ball fringe, but I love it. Okay, I’m obsessed with it. Every time I go into the fabric store, I have to swing through the trim section to look at it. My brain swirls with ideas that justify why I need to buy some. Sure, it comes in…

An Unlikely Muse

What’s a muse, and does every creative person have one? I thought having a muse was something reserved for the ancient Greeks, but I was wrong (thank goodness!). Then I wondered – would it be possible for me to have a muse? I didn’t think so, but imagine my surprise when I realized I already…

Writing on Paper

Does anyone really write anymore? I don’t mean type on a computer or tap out a text. I mean, use one of these things – pencils, pens, even a marker to write something you want to say to someone. I know our world is immediate. We’re used to instant gratification. And sometimes that’s okay. The…

Jackamiah’s Pond

  When the night is full of mist and shooting stars abound, the oaks begin their slow descent to Jackamiah’s Pond.   They drink their fill and wash their leaves, then beckon to the moss who line up at the water’s edge and watch the Pathway’s Cross.   At three past twelve the moon aligns…

The Highest Hill We Know

Wednesday at five.   Nancy and I sit on the berm at the edge of the beach. Damp in our suits, sharing binoculars.   Scanning north, our eyes strain for a glimpse of the Hudson. Rolling dust curls, with Dad inside.   Winged, yellow Hornet. Sun flashing off chrome. Now there! Now gone.   Bare…

Writing While You Wait

My middle-grade novel, The Mystery at Moz Hollow (first in a series of three) is making its way into the big, wide world of editors and publishers – the great “out there.” It’s polished, shined, and ready to be presented to the world. It reminds me of historical novels where a young girl has her “coming out”…

Bookshelves As Storytellers

I love looking at people’s bookshelves. I guess that means I love hanging out with people who value reading and all that goes along with it. I like to see what titles people read, collect, and what they consider worthy to garner the limited space booklovers never have enough of. I have my favorites and…

The Comfort/Discomfort Zone

My middle-grade novel is done. Yay! That’s cause for celebration. And, I did, especially when it won an RPLA award at the Florida Writer’s Association competition in October, 2016. I took a well-deserved break and sat back for a time to revel in its completion and success. Now what? Well, I’ve decided to include this…

The Strength to Say Goodbye

It’s never easy when a pet passes from this life. It’s even harder when the decision to end that life falls into your hands. Of course, you never think about that when a pet comes into your life. I saw the black tuxedo cat for the first time when he showed up as an occasional…

The Once-Maligned Character Template

In my college Creative Writing class, we were given a template to complete before we started writing our stories. It was basically a fact sheet – things I needed to know about my character before I wrote my first word. I thought it was the most ridiculous thing ever. I wanted to write my story…

The Waiting Game

So, one manuscript is done (are they ever, really?) and is navigating its way through the netherworld of publication or rejection. Each click of the “send” button brings with it a wave of hope, excitement, and terror. And so it begins – the waiting game, that is. What’s a writer to do? I gifted myself…

What’s in a Name?

Something as simple as a name can get very complicated, very quickly. My name is something that identifies me as me. It’s my own individual label. But what happens when I’m faced with deciding how to identify myself as an author? My last name has changed for reasons irrelevant to this blog. What is relevant…

Unlocking the Secrets of a Series

The middle-grade mystery that began its life as a tiny glimmer of an idea is finally done (I’m pretty sure). You know how it goes – just one more tweak here, change a word there. But at this point, I’m hitting the ‘save’ button one last time and calling it done. Now, what do I…

Blogs: This Writer’s Fix

Blogs are my writing validators. They’re my quick fix. They bolster my belief in my writing ability, and they keep me moving forward, like a couple of Dove chocolates when I’d rather shut off the computer than re-write that scene in my middle-grade novel AGAIN. I currently write two major blogs. The FWA (Florida Writer’s…

Wanted: One Magic Lamp

The last chapter has been written, and I’m officially calling my story “done.” Now what? My office was a sorry sight. I’d been in there with my face glued to the computer screen for so long, I didn’t realize what a confused jumble it had become. I don’t do well with jumble. I also knew…

Changing Hats

It was bound to happen, sooner or later. That time when the writer hat(s) comes off,  and is replaced by marketing headgear of some sort. I wore lots of fun, functional hats while writing in the world of Emma and crew: bobble hat, baseball cap, hoodie (is that considered a hat?), crash helmet, and a…

Hat Trick

It’s difficult to switch from writer to reader. I’m in the final phase of editing, and I’m reading my middle-grade mystery for the umpteenth time to see if it flows, hits the vital plot points, and becomes something the reader will, hopefully, have difficulty putting down. The reader in me dives in, and becomes engrossed…

One Page at a Time

I’ve finally reached the place where editing is an almost pleasant experience. I seem to have evolved past the feeling of panic and hopelessness that plagued me on earlier drafts. I’m done questioning whether or not my story has merit. The piles of drafts on the floor under my desk will soon be shredded, along…

Dinner Rolls and Writing

I’m ready to create something delicious and memorable, something people will remember for a long time, and want to enjoy again, and again. I pull out my recipe (trusty plot clock template), and list all of the ingredients I need for a successful and engaging outcome: ordinary world, binding point, low point, turning point, climax,…

Cut Me Some Slack

No, not you. It’s a message to me, from me, granting permission to step away from the computer screen, to let my brain rest, and mull a plot point over in my brain while I sweep the driveway. Several drafts in, and I’m again at a pivotal point in my story – the Turning Point….

My Weekend Pity Party

Going forward, unfortunately, involves going back. At least, that’s what I encountered this weekend on the “home stretch” of my middle grade novel. I succumbed to the “WILL THIS EVER BE DONE?” pity party on Saturday, and did not turn my computer on until Sunday afternoon. I tidied up, and went to a symphony concert…

The Moose Stays

The setting for my middle grade mystery is northern Minnesota. There was no doubt in my mind that a moose had to play a part, had to be in the story somewhere. If you’ve ever lived in, or visited northern Minnesota, you’ll know that the décor usually reflects the breathtaking natural environment and the animals…

Fine Tuning in the Editing Pond

I’ve donned my waterproof boots (perhaps I should be wearing hip waders!) as I slosh my way through the third draft of my middle-grade mystery. My editor is a godsend – she provided me with detailed notes/comments and meets with me after each quadrant so that we can discuss what is amazing (whoohoo!) and what…

The Pinocchio Phenomenon

It started out as a gathering of ideas, a list of characters, and a setting. Happenings on paper that would become a work of fiction. But as my story evolved, the characters, settings, and events became more real to me than I ever imagined possible. I learned about my characters as my story progressed, but…

End With Somewhere to Start

Sometimes I run out of steam. Sometimes I run out of ideas. Sometimes I run out of time. Sometimes I just plain get stuck. Whatever the reason that forces me to stop writing, I make sure I won’t have to face “blank screen syndrome” when I settle back into my chair (not completely, anyway). Before…

Write When You’re Not Writing

If I were to ask you to describe a writer, what would your response be? If someone posed that question to me, initially I’d describe someone hard at work at a desk, typing, staring into a computer screen, or balling up wads of paper and tossing them into a wastebasket (perhaps as they tear at…

Juggling Paper in a Parallel Universe

The first ideas drafted for my middle-grade novel were done via pencil and lined tablet. Once I settled in front of my computer, I entered a delusional state where I believed the document on my screen would be the only one I’d need to worry about for the rest of this story’s creation. In my college…

Sliding into the Low Point

It’s just a story, right? None of my characters are actually real. They’re just ideas, description, and imagination put to paper (or screen). Right? Then why is it so hard for me to watch my main character head to the low point of the story? There’s no stopping her, no way to avoid it. I…