Divergent Thinking

Here is an excerpt from my essay in SmartPopBooks, Divergent Thinking, YA Authors on Veronica Roth’s Divergent Trilogy.

Check out other contributors’ essays in SmartPopBooks photo album on Facebook!


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Guest Bookselling

I’ll be at the fabulous Village Lights Bookstore in Madison, Indiana on Small Business Saturday (11/30) helping out customers (like YOU!) The idea of authors helping to hand-sell at Indie bookstores came from the amazing author, Sherman Alexie! I’m thrilled to be a part of it. If you’re anywhere near Madison on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, come on by! Also there will be former Indiana Poet Laureate, Norbert Krapf. I’m looking forward to being a part of this event!


Title: Guest Bookselling

Location: Village Lights Bookstore, 110 E. Main St., Madison, IN

Link out: Click here
Description: Following Sherman Alexie’s lead – I’ll be helping out at Village Lights on Small Business Saturday! Books make great presents!
Start Time: 11:00
Date: 2013-11-30
End Time: 15:00

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Sometimes greatness…

is right in front of you for a couple of hours! Spent an evening with Kris Kristofferson last night – it was wonderful! My daughter – who is a huge fan! – was so thrilled – as was I to be able to share this with her. We were both close to tears several times. “Sunday morning coming down…”  Thank you, Kris.


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The Friday Five – Randomness

Busy with gardening, freezing, and canning – so these really are random!

1. There’s always room for popcorn.

2. Putting a cat on a diet when you have 2 cats & one is Jack Spratt & his “wife” is the one who needs to go on a diet… well, it’s HARD!  (History of this nursery rhyme for those who love that kind of thing – like me!)

3. Snapping green beans is meditative.

4. Squash bugs & vine borers are the bane of this gardener’s existence!

5. Summer days can be heaven on earth… except when the humidity is 87%

Hope you are having a great Friday – and – the weekend is upon us!  YAY!

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It’s Caturday! – Frankie & the decoy journal

Since Frankenstein (aka Frankie) loves to lie on whatever I’m writing – I use a decoy to keep him off my real work. Although he was inching towards the original, he managed to keep his rear on the decoy journal! Love that cat!

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Very cool new technology – by accident!

Many inventions have been accidents…

Silly Putty 

Post-It Notes

Play Doh

and now this super-adsorbent material

Very cool stuff!


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Tech Tuesday – the internet news circa 1981!

And we complain about slow page loads!

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It’s Caturday! – Frankie, because…

He’s the cat!

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The Friday Five – Things always change…

This has been a quiet summer. One of my long-time neighbors moved ( :( ) (with plans to put their house up for sale soon), the grad student in the house across the alley got a job & moved, and the neighbors across the street are moving as I type this. All in all, I enjoy having neighbors & although I also enjoy the quiet, I have missed neighborly interactions. So, I’m anticipating new neighbors who will hopefully become new friends in the very near future!

Everything changes…

1. Seed to seedling

2. Seedling to bud

3. Bud to flower

4. Flower to fruit

5. Fruit to meal

I think there are enough possible metaphors in this to keep you busy for quite some time! Here’s my speed round in a writerly fashion…

1. Seed of an idea become a full-formed thought.

2. Thought begets the outline of a story

3. Outline becomes scenes.

4. Scenes become a first draft.

5. Edited draft becomes a readable story.

How about you? Any thoughts on the subject? I’d love to hear them! :)


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The Writer’s Abyss – or Why You Mustn’t Stop Writing!

Temporary Writer’s Block aside (what I consider temporary is when you aren’t sure where a story is going, grasping around for the next scene, wondering if this story is good enough, stumped on editorial fixes, etc.) – a writer cannot afford to stop writing. There is no reason good enough to stop writing.


I am not kidding.

Temporarily having to ease up on a demanding writing schedule because of illness, family emergencies, or necessities of life is perfectly understandable and acceptable. But… that’s only easing up – writing still continues in random moments and shortened time blocks. Whatever you have going on in your life – writing must continue.



Because when you stop writing your writing muscle atrophies. (The root of atrophy is traced back to the Greek for “lack of food.”) If you don’t feed your writing muscles – they weaken and eventually die from not being used.

If you’ve ever had an injury or illness that restricted your normal activities for any length of time, you may be well-acquainted with muscle atrophy. And you would also be familiar with the extra time and effort it takes to get your muscles back to normal – not to mention improving them! Writing muscles are no different. Atrophied writing muscles can be fatal to creativity if ignored.


For reals…

Some causes of writing muscle atrophy…

– continual negative responses to queries
– rewrites that don’t work
– marketing doesn’t get behind your book
– option book isn’t picked up
– agent doesn’t like newest manuscript
– reviews are bad
– sales are poor

The list goes on. But, none of these circumstances should cause a writer to stop writing. A writer writes no matter what.


Discouragement and disappointment are rife in the business of publishing. Things don’t always happen the way a writer would like; maybe even rarely happen the way a writer dares to hope. However, if you let that get you down, you’re doomed to the abyss. The black hole of not writing kills creativity faster than anything.


I know this for a fact. I’ve seen it in others and I’ve fallen prey to it myself. When you don’t write, creativity weakens. When you don’t write, your imagination wanes. When you don’t write, commonplace and hackneyed creep into your thinking and steal away even more of your creative strength. There is only one cure – writing.


But, you might protest, it’s hard! Everything I’m writing IS commonplace and hackneyed. Everything I write is crap!

Well, dear writer… it probably is.

But, guess what? Use the writing muscle and watch it improve! If you’ve suffered an injury that required physical therapy, you know that the first visits to a physical therapist can be painful and humbling. Your muscles refuse to cooperate and your movement is limited. However, doing those (what may seem like silly or ineffectual) exercises begin to build muscle strength. As you progress, the exercises get harder, the muscles regenerate and soon you are moving with as much (if not more) ease than before.

This is true with writing, too. The more you exercise your creative writing muscles, the stronger and healthier they become.


I went through an atrophied creative period due to some writerly disappointments. One day as I was cleaning and putting to rights my office, I came across folders and notebooks overflowing with poetry, novel ideas, screenplays, even a non-fiction book I’d outlined. Wow! This creative treasure trove happened because I was writing! My time in the Writer’s Abyss happened because I wasn’t writing. I realized writers must write, all the time.


Are your creative muscles atrophying? Well, STOP THAT! GET BUSY! Take a class. Write a poem. Do writing exercises. Write letters. Blog. Whatever you do, get out of the abyss! Your creative writing life depends on it!

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