About Me

My photo
I'm a published author of short fiction for kids and adults. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. I'm a former content writer for Spirit and Truth publishing on their Living the Word series. I've also worked as a paid book reviewer and as a student editor for The Louisville Review literary magazine. I'm a wife and mom to two great kids, three dogs, and a cat. I love books, movies, gardening, kids, and animals.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Will be Away

Just to let everyone know, I will be out of town this next week. So feel free to add to the story start from last week. Hope the holiday weekend is a good one and the Easter bunny was good to you. See you in a week.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New super short story start

Feel free to add to Rabbit Attack too. But as the comments on that story have stopped filtering in, I'm ready to start a new tale.

Northern Breezes:

Jamie hit snooze on her alarm. The wind screamed around the eaves of her house outside. Still the birds had woken her up a half an hour ago--singing. She peeked out the window and groaned. There was snow on the ground. How could the birds be singing so loudly on such a cold dark morning?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Procrastination a Writer’s Worst, Best Friend

Procrastination is something all people are susceptible to. Most of us would agree that this vile habit is the work of the devil. Writers are VERY vulnerable to procrastination. Most people who write do so all alone in the privacy of their own homes. We writers are accountable only to ourselves. Also, most of us are Peter Pan’s at heart, and never really completely grew up. One way writers fall into the procrastination trap is by surfing the net for research purposes. Researching on the internet is a fast and often essential way to gather knowledge on a specific writing topic. The traps lie in the many links to similar topics you find on various websites. I’ve often clicked on one or two of said links, telling myself it’s a related topic that could prove interesting. Then, two hours later I realize I need to pick up the kids at school. I find I’ve lost time AND gotten sidetracked from my research topic. Another trap that sucks away valuable writing time is reading. All writers should read, especially books in the genre they write in. But if you are a voracious reader like I am, putting down said book can sometimes be next to impossible. You get so drawn into the story you tell yourself you’ll read just a few more minutes. Then moments later your spouse is telling you he can’t keep his eyes open any longer and kissing you goodnight. Oops those few minutes became hours. Double oops, none of it was spent writing. So how can procrastinating ever be good for a writer.

I know it seems impossible that the big P word could ever be a good thing. But as writers we pour our hearts into our work and then send it out into the world to be criticized by others, whether its by a critique group or an agent/editor. That takes guts. Often we’ve spent hours alone laughing or crying, maybe both, over our latest epic work. We are jubilant and not a little relieved by the time it is time to actually start showing it to others. We feel like those first brave flowers of spring that have ventured out past the cold, frozen earth toward the sunshine.

Then we get that chapter or short story back that we felt really, really good about. The pages or word document are bleeding red ink everywhere. The people you used to think were friends are suddenly telling you that they were confused, there were too many information dumps, or they just couldn’t identify with the character. Some might even have suggested that you take the skeleton of the chapter/short story that is left and START FROM SCRATCH. Your mind goes numb. People are still talking but you can’t hear them anymore. The spring flower you were when you were going to your critique group meeting or opening that email attachment, you remember that brave happy flower waving in the sunshine, is suddenly dying in a FREAK BLIZZARD!

This is where procrastination can actually be your best friend. Instead of taking those pages and setting fire to them in your trash can, and risk burning your house down, take a step back from them instead. Take a walk, sign up for that zumba class you’ve been meaning to take, or maybe do some boxing on Wii Fit. Just move around and get those positive endorphins pumping again. Eat some blueberries or a fruit or vegetable that is red, blue, or purple. Those are the fruit or vegetable colors that are often loaded with brain food. At least that’s what my healthy food chart that is broken down by color, tells me. Then sit down and write something new. It doesn’t have to be planned out or anything you ever show to anyone. Just write something that entertains you. Then reward yourself a lot. Break out the ice cream or chocolate and lose yourself in that book, or have fun watching your favorite TV show or movie. Whatever your guilty pleasure is indulge it and glory in the procrastination. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rabbit Attack

Clive sat up on his back legs, whiskers twitching. Who had broken the oath and eaten the broccoli the humans had planted yesterday? No rabbit was allowed to eat from the human gardens in this neighborhood without alerting the other rabbits first. That was the rabbit oath.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fun super, short, short stories and other news

I apologize for my inconsistent blogging this week. The beginning of the week has been SO busy and Sunday the artistic spark just wasn't happening. So allow me to play catch up, please. Starting this week, I am going to post a super short, short story on here. For fun I invite all of you to continue the story arc to see where it takes us by posting your own addition in the comments section. It can be as long as a paragraph, as short as one word. The story will conclude when the comments stop and I will post a new super short, short story and we will go from there. It will be fun to see how long our super short, short stories can actually get.

Also, in the next few days I am going to post a summary of my current YA novel I'm shopping around and a preview of the opening for its sequel. I'm really excited about it.

Be sure to check out my other pages too. I'm halfway through planting in the demonstration garden I oversee for University of Kentucky, Extension Services, here in Whitley County. I will also be posting some new stuff on my Juggling Motherhood page.

For now here is my first super short, short story...


Aurelia stopped. What had she come in here to do? Thoughts fluttered and buzzed through her mind like butterflies, or zipped past like hummingbirds. Consciously she reached up and caught one fleeting idea before it could escape. It wasn't the right one. She grasped another--no still not right. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and reached one more time...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Great Article on Surrounding Yourself with Positive People

Check out this blog post on Kristi Holl's Writer's First Aid site. It identified several personality traits that writers often have that make life a little harder for them sometimes as social creatures. It gives great advice on how to channel some of those traits into your writing and on how important it is to surround yourself with positive people who accept you as yourself. This is a great blog to follow week to week.

When Your Writer’s Personality is Rejected

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Embracing Your Inner Villain

One of the hardest things to do sometimes as a writer is creating a villain for our story. We often love our main characters and ultimately we want our readers to love and cheer for them too. But you can't cheer for someone if they don't have any problems. As a reader myself the conflict is what drives me to keep reading and turning the page, whether it is a mystery, romance, fantasy, or children's book.

Recently I read through a middle-grade, short story that I wrote and re-wrote a couple of years ago. I loved the character, the setting was great, but the mean kid, bully of the piece was what my husband would call weak sauce. There wasn't enough meanness to the mean kid. In fact, in one part of the story the bully seemed to be too interested in actually helping the main character. No child would buy this, especially if they have been bullied themselves. When, I began to wonder, did I become so hesitant about embracing my inner villain?

This question really got me to thinking and over the next several days I began to watch my own children at play and listen to their stories about interactions with their peers. It made me realize something. By the time we reach adulthood we've become so good at following directions and following the rules, so we'll be good examples to our kids, that we begin to forget how to embrace that little bit of larceny that is in all of us. This isn't a bad thing, but it can be if you're trying to create a story anyone can identify with. I also realized something else. Kids aren't afraid to create problems or pretend to be a big baddy when playing, whether it is with action figures, legos, or Barbie dolls. Listen to a child play and there is always some sort of villain that has to be defeated or a mean girl the good character has to get around or get the better of. Recently, while watching my son play Lego Batman on the Wii, I asked why he was playing the Joker instead of Batman. He very seriously explained to me that sometimes the bad guys have cooler weapons or super powers. In the picture above, my daughter was being an old crone. Why did she decide to dress up and make herself look this way? Because it was fun and sometimes seeing how convincing you can be is more important that looking like the pretty princess.

What did I learn from all of this you may ask? Children are fearless in utilizing their imaginations even if sometimes it means exploring darker aspects of it. Does this mean they want the bad guy to win? Probably not. My kids still get upset when it looks like the good guy isn't going to win. My son even confessed to me recently that the movie Bolt makes him tear up at times, even though he knows everything works out fine in the end. But in stories this is what we want our readers to do, FEEL. So the next time you find yourself hesitating over that keyboard, or wondering where you went wrong in a story with your bad guy, think of that inner child inside you somewhere. Imagine yourself as the villain and think of why you became so bad. Then have fun being that person for a while. Maybe even dress up like them if it helps. Embrace your inner villain and let them wreak some havoc on your main character. That main character will bounce back, and even grow, and maybe so will you.