Farewell to our Matriarch

My Aunt Louise, or Flo, aka Fanny Farkle, left the planet last month after breaking her hip and then developing an infection while in the hospital. We’re all very sad to lose her at the ripe old age of 96, but at least she kept her sense of humor until the end. One of the…

When to give up on a story.

Writers love their stories. It can be a love-hate thing throughout the writing process, but when a writer reaches the end and declares the story is done, they are hopelessly in love with it. Does anyone remember the intro scene from Romancing the Stone, when the sobbing Joan Wilder types in the final scene in…

Changing with the times – how I stayed published.

This piece is from the May 2006 issue of our local electrical coop’s Ruralite Magazine. I interviewed myself actually, and was very easy to talk to. I also took the photos, hence the cut off head. The gist of the interview was how we creative types struggle in our careers. Getting published doesn’t mean we’ll…

Families torn by a mean regime.

My 96-year old aunt has been a dyed-in-the wool Republican for as long as she knew there was a choice. She worked for the party when she was young, and after retiring, she volunteered for them again. My aunt’s incredible knowledge and recall of American history can make it interesting to talk politics with her,…

DIY Picture Book Query Letters

When it comes to picture book submissions, editors and agents nearly always ask for the entire text. For novels and nonfiction, they generally ask for a synopsis, the first three chapters, and/or a proposal and outline. It’s a no-brainer that one should write a query for novels or nonfiction to get the prospective publisher interested…

Sock-sock-shoe-shoe? or sock-shoe-sock-shoe?

I had this discussion recently with a Millennial, who felt that the first option was the only answer that made any sense whatsoever, and, he didn’t want to hear any discussion about the alternative. The discussion recalled a hilarious scene in one of the best sitcoms ever made, All in the Family, which aired in…

Nevertheless, she persisted.

Those are the infamous words spoken by the Majority Leader of the Senate recently as his reason to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren for things he didn’t wish to hear. His invocation of a seldom-used rule backfired and gave a whole lot of us a new battle cry. It goes along with my long-standing mantra: endeavor…

Judging a Cover by its Book?

A few years ago, a friend, who was about to self-publish a nonfiction book, asked for my opinion of the title and cover design since I was a published author. I commented that it was lovely, but I knew nothing about the book by its cover. The title seemed odd to me, the font almost…

Just another day in rural Oregon

From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome. I needed postcard stamps, and our local post office had sold out. The mail clerk commented that it was unusual to run out of them. Maybe a lot of people are mailing postcards? Maybe on March 15? Anyway, with tears in my eyes, I drove off into the sunset…

Leap into Literacy! A Printable Poster

Someone asked about buying a printable copy of this painting I did in 1991, called “Leap into Literacy.” It was a winning entry in a poster contest and also my promo piece back when we mailed things like this to editors and art directors. This is what it looks like. Since WordPress reduces file size,…