Let me tell you a secret….

Posted April 2nd, 2015

Hi all,

  My secret isn’t so secret anymore. In fact, it’s a celebration. Happy Birthday to Things I’ll Never Say, Stories About our Secret Selves.Things_I'll_Never_Say

 If you want to know more about why writing about our secret selves is so enticing, and so important, and so worthwhile, stop in to my panel on literary themes found in young adult and new adult writing at the AWP Conference in Minneapolis. I’ll be on a panel on Thursday afternoon–that’s April 9. Or come on over to Barnes and Noble in Racine on Saturday, April 18 when I’ll be offering a workshop on writing about secrets.

Of course, you can always register for a graduate writing class at Mount Mary University – we’ll be offering classes in memoir this summer. Fall brings short story, novel writing and creative nonfiction.

And I promise to post some story starters and writing exercises here too. So stay tuned…..

Look What arrived on my doorstep….

Posted March 7th, 2015









The best part of having an upcoming book birthday is the way books begin to arrive months before the book’s actual birthday. The ARCs come first in a plain brown box, followed by that first author copy. And then, early in the book’s birthday month ….. THIS…..

So now it’s time to figure out some giveaway games. Hhmm. Maybe I should ask people to reveal a secret on a FB comment. Then I can randomly select the secret?

Here’s a secret about the anthology — one author is a newly published author. Her work was selected from submissions the teaching authors were allowed to invite. I’m listing the authors here. Can you figure out who is new?

With stories by:
Ann Angel
Kerry Cohen
Louise Hawes
Varian Johnson
erica l. kaufman
Ron Koertge
E. M. Kokie
Chris Lynch
Kekla Magoon
Zoë Marriott
Katy Moran
J. L. Powers
Mary Ann Rodman
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Ellen Wittlinger

When it seems like everything else comes first and writing time gets tossed aside….

Posted February 20th, 2015

Hi all,

When you read this header, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I haven’t posted for quite awhile. But my intent is not to complain about the lack of writing time in my life. Instead, I want to talk about what we can do not to get hyper-crazed when we move through times when writing has to be temporarily tossed aside. I think if we use these busy times to pay attention to the world and pay attention to our own sensory experiences, we’ll come back to writing with a deep sense of appreciation for the details of our world and excitement that we can use these specific details in new projects. So, instead of getting all freaky about the papers or reports we might need to review, family members who seek attention or all the minutiae (I love that word) of our daily lives, we can try the following —

Meditate – it will calm your soul. Trust me. It really will.


Take a look at the art all around. I’ve noticed that some wrought iron stairways

Wrought Iron Stair Railings contain amazing designs, ceiling lights can turn me on, and graffiti can teach me something. But I’m also thrilled by some of the subtle details in photos and advertising – like fog or smoke or backgrounds. And, I’m trying to take the time to study stained glass windows, the lines of people’s faces and the colors and textures of what everyone is wearing and carrying. Okay, so maybe I’m becoming a bit obsessive about this one. But the world really is an amazing work of art!graffiti street

Take a moment to smell the world. I figured this one out many years ago when I quit smoking. My sense of smell came screaming back about two weeks into it. When I hit mad-crave moments, I discovered that a quick drive past restaurants eased the craving and left me as satisfied as if I’d eaten the best meal in the world. My two favorite drivebys became McDonalds and Jakes Restaurant – they both shared the lovely smells of beef and onion rings.

Pay attention to the small things — the way warm water runs over your hands, the sound of the washer and dryer in the background, the feel of the air when it’s warm or cold.

And then, if you have a minute or two, create a quick poem about the small things. I hope you’ll be back to writing time in no time. And you’ll be fresher for the break. "biographies, photos