General writing

How to Organize Writing Ideas

I’m always looking for ways to organize writing ideas. I have a lot of them and yes, not all the ideas are great. But I do a variety of writing, from magazine articles to crafts, educational market fiction and non-fiction, and I hope to produce books for the trade market, too. That’s why it’s important… Read more »

Middle Grade Summer Reading List

This summer, my critique group is working through a middle grade summer reading list. We’re trying to read a book a week, and we are answering questions about the book when we’re done. Here’s our summer reading list. The questions we answer for each book are below the list. Middle Grade Summer Reading List The… Read more »

How to Be a Published Writer

The secret to being a published writer isn’t just writing – it’s writing and submitted. Recently, I received an email from someone asking for advice on how to be a published writer, and the first thing I suggested was that they should write every day. Every Day. The second step on the path to publication… Read more »

Can You Debate the Meaning of Words?

While a lot of things are uncertain and fluid in our world, I wonder if we can debate the meaning of words. My oldest son has a pretty decent vocabulary, but in seventh grade, he missed several words on a recent vocabulary quiz. I looked over the list. His grade surprised me grade, because I saw… Read more »

Tools for Writing a Novel

I’ve been to many conferences were successful writers share their tools for writing a novel, and I now have my own set to share. I am working hard to get my current manuscript done – and basic proofreading corrections made – before February 26. The novel is called DNF (Did Not Finish) and it’s middle… Read more »

What a Writing Coach Offers

In 2017, I embarked on a new part of the writer’s journey and became a writing coach. My first client is actually a young man interested in a challenging creative writing program in the area. We are working together to help him set goals and achieve them. One aspect of his writing that doesn’t work:… Read more »

Twelve Days of Writing or Keep Writing Over the Holidays

It’s so busy right now. You might let your writing take a back seat to the demands of the season, but I encourage you to stay strong and find some time to work on your craft. Here’s a little something I whipped up for the young writer that I am coaching. The Twelve Days of… Read more »

Story Starter Award Now Open for Submissions

The Story Starter Award is now open for submissions. Please share this information with children’s writers and illustrators in southwestern PA.   This award can be used to offset the financial costs of the WPA SCBWI Fall 2017 Agents’ Workshop. Find more information on the workshop and SCBWI here.     

The Bridge

What’s worse: letting a fascist regime destroy art and freedom of expression, or paying money to the regime in order to rescue the art? This is the question that confronted me at my September visit to the Museum of Modern Art.   This month, I returned to New York to pass the tiara of the… Read more »


On a recent road trip with my husband, we played Scrabble. Now, I know a lot of words. But he’s a master at game play and maximizing scoring. But I’ve lived with him for over 17 years and know a lot of his strategies. But he also remembers the two letter words that can turn… Read more »