I fancy myself a writer.

Mount Mary College

Now available on Kindle! Papers: A Master Collection on the Art of Writing

Kindle cover for my new book, Papers: A Master Collection on the Art of Writing.

Kindle cover for my new book, Papers: A Master Collection on the Art of Writing.

It’s finally here! My new book, Papers: A Master Collection on the Art of Writing is now available for purchase on Kindle for only 99 cents!

There is so much content packed into this one book! In addition to all of the academic papers that I wrote while pursuing my master of arts in English with a concentration in professional writing, you also get several original short stories, poems, and a behind-the-scenes peek into my as-yet-unnamed fantasy novel in progress.

Challenge: Upon reading my creative thesis, which is contained in the pages of this text, help me come up with a title for my novel! If I decide to use your suggested title, I will send you a free signed copy of the print edition of Papers: A Master Collection on the Art of Writing as soon as it becomes available!

I am currently in the process of formatting this book for print and should have it available within the next few weeks. In the meantime, get your Kindle copy today! Thank you for supporting my writing journey! (more…)


The self-publishing bug is back

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de eBook Беларуская: Фотаздымак электроннай кнігі Русский: Фотография электронной книги (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I published my very first ebook last year, I kind of have the self-publishing bug. I can’t wait to finish my first novel and get it out there where people can read it! The only problem is, each of my novel projects are months (at minimum) from being publishable. I suppose that’s what happens when you allow yourself to start multiple projects rather than finishing one before starting the next.

One of my writing goals for 2014 was to begin to publish at least one ebook every year. My goal for 2015 is to focus on one writing project and finish it so I can publish it in 2016. But that doesn’t help me meet my 2014 goal, does it? I can’t really say I’ve met that goal if I only did it one year in a row, now can I? (more…)


What inspired you in 2014?

The "Becky Thatcher House" in Hannib...

On my 2015 to-do list: The “Becky Thatcher House” in Hannibal, Missouri. This building is across the street from Mark Twain’s boyhood home. It was the home of the girl Mark Twain used as the model for Becky Thatcher. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, I’m late. I know. But I’ve been sick with the flu this past week (despite having had a flu shot earlier this flu season) and have accomplished almost nothing over my holiday break. Anyway, here’s my list of things that inspired me in 2014:

  • Malala: Who hasn’t been inspired by Malala? (I mean, other than the Taliban.) The world needs more young women like Malala to stand up for girls and show the world that men like those in the Taliban only want to keep women down because deep down THEY FEAR WOMEN!!
  • Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence: Survivors sharing their stories and helping victims who are in the process of making the transition from victim to survivor.
  • My therapist: 2014 was a rough year for me. It seemed like I would never find a job that would pay enough for me to support my family (my ex hasn’t paid his child support in almost two years now.) I needed steady income and benefits, which was never going to happen while I was freelancing and teaching part-time. I have kids needing braces, etc., and blah, blah, blah, one complaint after another. I was feeling really down on myself and was too stressed out about money and living to be able to focus on writing, so I decided to see a therapist for a while. I ended up connecting with an art therapist who studied at my alma mater (Mount Mary University,) and while we didn’t do any “art” together in my sessions, she totally “got” what I was going through with my lack of inspiration in my own art of writing. She pushed me to write through it, and it was a huge help.
  • The Bloggess and James Garfield’s Christmas Miracles: Check out the blog post for details.
  • Laos organic farming (among other things I’ve watched on PBS recently):

(more…)


Are you ready to write a novel this season?

a stack of library books

Today’s library haul… who says fiction writing doesn’t require research?

I had a great time with the summer writing challenge and got to know several of you quite well in the process. I want to thank everyone one more time for participating. If you managed to write even just a few more pages than you would have otherwise, then I consider the challenge a success!

Since I am not ready to stop challenging myself, this morning, I changed the name of my Write Your Novel this Summer Facebook page to “Write Your Novel this Season.” I think it’s a good idea to keep cranking out new material even while you are working on revisions for your previous stories. What do you think?

What’s next? Well, I did a complete read-through of my “Bees to Honey” novel (this is not a title, just a descriptive phrase to keep track of which novel is which) and wrote a few new scenes. I have reached the point where I need to do a ton of research on a certain element of my story before I do too much more writing. So, I went to the library this morning and picked up a huge stack of source material. I have a LOT of reading ahead of me! (more…)


Novel Writing: The Next Step

Cover of "The Hero with a Thousand Faces ...

For this week, I tracked my heroine’s journey using Campbell’s 17 phases of the hero’s journey adapted from The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Last night was the second meeting of my Monday evening Advanced Novel Writing course at Mount Mary College. Our homework for last night was to complete two writing exercises designed to get us thinking about our stories and where we are going with them.

The first exercise was a “Building the Novel” exercise that our professor adapted from Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. (I haven’t read this text yet, but it sounds like I may need to.) We were to review Campbell’s 17 Phases of the Hero’s Journey and then type up one paragraph for each of the phases, describing how the characters in our own novels would deal with each of the phases.

Even though I felt like I had much of my story figured out already, I found this exercise to be very helpful in getting me to the next step in writing my story. I worked out a lot of new details and answered a couple of old questions as well. I also wrote my first chapter last week, and the story now seems to be seeping out of my very pores, drenching the pages with word sweat. (more…)


2012 Sigma Tau Delta induction

Sigma Tau Delta

Sigma Tau Delta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I officially joined the International English Honor Society at the 2012 Sigma Tau Delta induction ceremony which took place in the beautiful Caroline Hall student lounge at Mount Mary College.

According to the Sigma Tau Delta website, “Candidates for graduate membership must be enrolled in a graduate program in English, or one of its specializations, have completed six semester hours of graduate work or the equivalent, and have a minimum grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.”

I lured my children to the induction ceremony with the promise of food, and they were actually very well behaved throughout the ceremony. Perhaps it was the promise of a slice of the huge cake sitting on a back table that kept them in line. My boyfriend came along as well to keep an eye on the kids and man the video camera (he kept the camera trained on me for pretty much the entire video!) (more…)


AWP 2012 Overview

Chicago 8

This looks exactly like some of the rooms where I spent last weekend! | Chicago 8 (Photo credit: penmanila)

I had to miss class Saturday morning to make it to the 2012 AWP Conference and Book Fair in Chicago. My Narratology instructor encourages students in our professional writing program to attend such events, so he was okay with a few of us missing class just this once. However, he asked that we each write a review of the conference and discuss what our biggest takeaways were so we could share the experience with our classmates who couldn’t make it.

I thought my review, with a few revisions, would make a good blog post for today considering I’m always short on writing time on Wednesdays (I teach 2 classes on Wednesdays.) Enjoy… (more…)


Windy city-bound today

English: Author Margaret Atwood attends a read...

I’m off to the Windy City today for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ (AWP) 2012 Annual Conference and Book Fair. This year’s conference includes a variety of readings from published authors, a keynote address by author Margaret Atwood (pictured at right,) and a plethora of educational sessions. There are so many options to choose from, I’m having a hard time deciding which to do. But here’s a quick-list of a few sessions I’m hoping to hit today: (more…)


Writing to Right the World at Mount Mary College

A view of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin by night

Image via Wikipedia

Last night was the second installment of the Fall 2011 Writers on Writing series at Mount Mary College. I so love these writer’s discussions. It is a privilege to hear published, award-winning authors read their work and have the opportunity to meet with them in person.  Not to mention the fact that there is always food (but someone forgot the lemon bars this time. *tear*)

Last night’s author panel, entitled, “Writers Writing to Right Their World,” included:

Christopher Mohar is such an inspiring speaker, I can not wait to find the piece he read and share it with my written communications students. (more…)

Writers on Writing at Mount Mary College

Last night began the Fall 2011 Writers Series sponsored by the English department at Mount Mary College. I had the pleasure of joining many of my classmates for this event in Mount Mary’s beautiful Stiemke Hall. Milwaukee Magazine editor, Bruce Murphy, spoke at length about his own freelancing experiences in the Milwaukee area. Murphy, who was instrumental in breaking the Milwaukee County pension scandal a few years ago, shared some interesting insider stories, along with tips for working as a freelance writer in the area.

A panorama of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin by...

Image via Wikipedia

In his discussion (and in his online bio,) Murphy refers to himself as a “fiscally conservative liberal contrarian.” I took this to mean that he likes to play the devil’s advocate, a favorite role of my own, so I enjoyed the talk. And, who can complain about the free food (more…)