This Writer’s Toolbox

Writing is a process of total immersion into the world around me. It is not limited to the actual task of writing – pen, paper, computer, etc. To create a believable and inviting world for readers, I must first create one for myself, as a writer. I create this world by seeking out and using…

Broken Promises

She spoke softly with a mix of sadness and anger. I couldn’t see her face, but sensed the tears filling her eyes and felt them spill onto the Earth. “You gave me your word; that you would not let harm come to her. You promised to care for and nurture her.” “I did what I…

The Magic of Inspiration

I never know where or when I’m going to find inspiration – does any writer? Sometimes I go looking, or will it in my mind, but I seem to have the best luck when I leave the door wide open and welcome inspiration on its own terms. I’ve gotten into the habit of taking a…

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…

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…

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…

Trust Me, Emma

Yeah, she did it again.  Emma’s standing in the woods this time, arms crossed in front of her chest, wondering where I’ve been.  She’s a muddy mess and covered in scratches from running through the woods.  She’s not happy about my being gone for as long as I was.  “Where were you?  We were almost…

Don’t Watch Me Write!

Writing, from my perspective, is a solitary endeavor that takes place within the confines of my office. I have two windows that I can stare out of when I’m trying to figure something out or if I’m lost and need to clear my brain for a bit. I hope no one’s looking in. If they…

Delightful Devices

Writers refer to them as devices.  They are things you use for various reasons in a story, depending on what you need them to do.  In my middle-grade mystery, I’m plucking them from here and there, inserting them into my story, and giving them a job to do. My devices fulfill more than one purpose. …

Striking a Balance

I like strong, female characters. I am one. I can mix cement, handle a chainsaw, and shingle a roof. I want my main character Emma to be able to do the same if the situation presents itself. I also want her to be a feminine, young lady who will grow up to be a confident, self-assured…

Outdoor Kids

I know life was different when I was a kid.  I think about those lists that come out periodically, reminding me of all the things that were unheard of when I was growing up (computers, cell phones, email, CD/DVDs).  Conversely, there are lists of things today’s kids will never experience (skate keys, fixing a cassette…

About Cemeteries

I had to get into my middle-grade mind when I wrote a scene for my current work-in-progress about visiting a cemetery.  I thought about cemeteries I visited at that age – one that is most vivid in my memory is Round Lake cemetery, not far from our lake cabin.  My sister and next-cabin friends hiked…