About Me

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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.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Summer Vacation has Begun


Well it's official, I'm now the parent of a seventh grader and a third grader. I'm not sure how that happened, but I've pinched myself several times and this doesn't seem to be a dream.

My kids have gotten to enjoy one full week of summer vacation now and by necessity my work schedule has changed. Only a few days ago I envisioned this moment and longed for it. Not to be on a school schedule with set bedtimes, homework, or after school activities to plan around. I looked forward to sleeping in and not feeling like a hamster on a wheel so much.


I have gotten to sleep in some, but things are never as carefree as I imagined them. I've been busier in the last week than ever. But the evenings are nicer and I do love not having a set bedtime. I will make every effort not to slack off too much this summer. As a freelance writer I can't afford to do that, not if I want to generate some income. I might even get my daughter to help me stay organized and on task to some degree, when she isn't reading, playing with the neighbors, or watching a movie marathon of Harry Potter or some other favorite series. As for my son, well we need to spend some quality time this summer reading together. Perhaps the two of us can work together on finding some books we can enjoy taking turns reading to each other and talking about later. He still struggles with his comprehension skills. Either way I'm sure these weeks off that I've been so looking forward to will fly by all to quickly, so I must take the time to enjoy them while I can.



Writing is important, but remembering to savor time with those we love most gives us that much more heart to sit down in solitude and create. Hopefully, I won't blink too much in the mean time and miss these blissful long days of summer.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Van-ill-ah...Van-ell-ah



I have noticed something as I hone my writing skills and interact with other writers and groups for feedback on my writing. Dialect can really impact how you phrase words and sentences without you even being aware of it.

For instance, it has taken a conscious effort on my part to stop making a and while one word. To me awhile means a length of time that is uncertain but could take some time. In other words, don't rush to schedule something else right afterwards, you could be held up awhile. It is one word, and I say it that way. I've also always written it that way. It wasn't a conscious thing and I might never have caught it if my writing teacher hadn't noticed it. Here is another example of how dialect can affect your turn of phrase or how you write something. When you are talking about moving from one place to the other do you move toward it or towards it? Apparently some writing styles accept that it is towards, while others only accept toward as being correct.

Here is another one that I never thought about until a writer from a different country questioned me about it. What exactly do you think of when someone talks about a toboggan in their story? For me a sled was something you went down hills on in the snow. Toboggans were the knit caps you wore on your head to keep it warm. But to others a toboggan is a sled. This can be a real problem for your reader if you talk about your characters stuffing their wet hair hurriedly into their toboggan before heading out the door. What? Are they wearing a sled on their head?

Dialect matters not only in getting the flavor right for your character's voice, it also matters when you the writer are using it to describe something. When you ask someone for the vanilla while baking, how you pronounce the word doesn't make that much of a difference, even though my husband insists that it is van-ill-ah and not van-ell-ah. Poe-tae-toe or pah-taw-toe you might be thinking. On the page these things stick out, especially if you are trying to help your reader visualize something. For some people a character pushing a buggy through the store to get groceries is a no-brainer. For others they might wonder when the main character got a hold, or maybe its ahold, of that baby, and why they're pushing them through the store piling groceries in the buggy with it?  Or someone might get pulled out of the story because they wonder what the heck you mean when you have your character grab their pocketbook or put on their housecoat. Huh???

New Story

Nobody's Business

Phoebe Pufflewhaite marched down the street like a cat with its tail in the air waving like a flag. She was on a mission and no living soul was going to stop her.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Great Writing Resource

For those of you who haven't heard of Poet's and Writers, it is a great resource for writers. It offers a free e-newsletter with valuable information as well as the print magazine. This week's free newsletter had a video you could watch about short story writing. Also, in this week's newsletter is an article about some of the top literary magazines produced by universities across the country that also take unsolicited submissions of short fiction and poetry from writers. Here is a link to this article.

http://www.pw.org/content/literary_magnet_71

Monday, May 6, 2013

This week's story start

Sorry for not getting one out last week. It was crazy busy for me. I was gone two days and then spent the rest catching up. Hopefully this week won't be quite so hectic. Look forward to seeing where this week's story takes us.

KELSEY'S WAKE-UP

In her dreams she was eating a waffle cone and watching the carousel spin round and round. Then something wet and sticky was touching her cheek. She pushed it away reluctant to leave the sunny dreamscape. It was persistent. The night must be giving way to morning, she thought. Kelsey sat bolt upright. What day was it? Had she overslept? On her lap, tumbled over from her abrupt rising, lay Mycroft.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Racing Against Time


In honor of one of the greatest sporting events ever, the Kentucky Derby, I had to post something about racing. In my case it is feeling like I am always racing against time. Does this strike a cord with any of you? Do you ever feel like there is never enough time in the day?

Here is an example of a typical day for me. I get up, I get the kids up, I let the dogs out, I ask the kids what they want for breakfast, I pack lunches or snacks, I help/fight with them over clothing choices, I make sure they have at least brushed their teeth before leaving the house, I wave to them and their dad as they leave. Phew. Then it is my time. Right? Sometimes.

I begin trying to get some work done once I've collected my thoughts. The phone rings. I choose to ignore it. I'm working! It is my daughter. She has to tell me something about what she is doing this afternoon. This particular day, it is a track meet that has been rescheduled for Monday afternoon. Great. I didn't have anything due, i.e. online class assignments, chapters for my latest critique group meeting, critiques to do for someone else, market research to get done. Unplanned for track meet that will take up the whole evening and make supper for the kids a bit of a challenge. No problem, heh! I have now been thrown off my train of thought. I settle myself back down again. I can do this. I still have an hour before lunch to work. I settle myself down. I begin to write. The cat jumps on the table and begins to yak all over my papers I've carefully gathered. NO!



Okay, okay. It's all going to be okay. Who cares if it is now lunch time and I still haven't managed to get my shower or get dressed. My husband won't care. No one will be close enough from the college campus near my backyard, to see that I'm still in boxer shorts, when I let the dogs out again. They'll just think they are regular shorts from that far away. The dogs don't care if my hair is greasy and nasty looking. My goals for the day are still attainable. I can still get a good chunk of it done.



I get in the shower and remember that I was supposed to meet people at the demo garden that afternoon. I have exactly 20 minutes to finish my shower, slather on some sunscreen, and get my clothes on. I get there ten minutes late. I enjoy being outside and try not to think about what I still haven't gotten done work-wise. Being outside with nature and the plants is soothing. I do have thoughts whirling in the back of my mind about how to change that scene in my novel to make it more suspenseful. All is not lost. I get home and then promptly leave to get my kids. We get some snacks and then it is off to the track meet. I bring a notebook and some of those chapters I needed to critique for others with me. While the kids do their warm-up, I do some work. I pause and cheer on my youngsters and visit with people I don't get to see except at the track lately. All in all it isn't such a bad day after all. I might not have gotten as much done as I thought. But then I never do. As a stay-at-home mom building a freelance writing career, I've learned you have to be flexible. Time will never be on my side. But in the end as I reflect on my day I realize that being tenacious, keeping my cool, and living in the moment makes me feel at the end of the day like my moment in the winners circle is coming soon. And when I get there, I'll bask in the moment for as long as my kids, and my pets allow. Which may be a whole afternoon, or more likely about five minutes. Then it will be time to get back to the stables and rest up to prepare for the next great race and strive for that next great moment in the sun.