I loved to read as a child and it's still one of my favorite things to do. On this website, you can learn
more about me and my books. You can learn more about the writing process and try some writing exercises.
I'll update this site regularly to let you know about news and upcoming books.
Thanks for Visiting!
"SOME FRIEND," (A Richard Jackson Book/
"ONCE UPON A FARM," is a "Best Book of 2002" from the Los Angeles Times, Kentucky Librarians Choice Award nominee 2003, Spectrum Children's Book Club Recommended Book.
"A KENTUCKY CHRISTMAS," an anthology edited by George Ella Lyon features two of my works: a poem, "Shooting Star" and "Why I Believe in Santa Claus," a memoir piece from my childhood.
October 6, 2007, OCIRA, annual conference, Cincinnati, OH, luncheon speaker, Xavier University.
November 3, 2007, Books by the Banks, regional book festival, Duke Energy Center, Cincinnati, OH.
November 20, 2007, Eisenhower Elementary, Louisville, KY
Feb., 2008, Bluffton University, Bluffton, OH.
March, 2008, teaching a writing workshop, Carnegie Center, Lexington, KY
KENTUCKY BOOKFEST, Northern Kentucky University, May 11 & 12, 2006, speaking.
CENTRAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, Louisville, KY, Fine Dining and Forum, June 7, 2006, speaking.
KENTUCKY EARLY CHILDHOOD SUMMER INSTITUTE (Anderson County Regional Training Center), Lexington Explorium, Lexington, KY, June 12, 2006, book fair book signing.
LOUISVILLE FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY--WESTERN BRANCH, Author Series, June 17, 2006, 1 - 3 p.m., speaker.
SANDBERG CHILDREN'S LITERATURE INSTITUTE, The Univeresity of Toledo, Toledo, OH, June 22, 2006, 1:30 - 5 p.m., speaker, teacher.
ANTIOCH WRITERS WORKSHOP, Yellow Springs, OH, July 8 - 15, 2006, teaching children's writing.
KENTUCKY WOMEN'S BOOK FEST, University of Louisville, September 22, 2006, panel moderator on children's literature.
How I Write
I don't write on paper every day, but I'm usually writing in my head -- either figuring out how to fix something that I'm working on or imagining a new story. This habit has its drawbacks, because I have lost stories that I haven't written down.
When I write, I always start by hand, using a pen or pencil and paper. Then I let the piece sit for a day or so. When I pick up my hand-written paper again, I type the story into my computer -- that is, if the story still holds my interest.
I do a lot of research for my books because they tend to be historical. I research before and during the time that I am writing. I use the internet and the public library, and I visit the places that I'm writing about.
I had to really dig to get information on saltworks in the 1800s for my book, "More Than Anything Else," because saltworks don't exist any more in this country.
When I'm writing a book, I work on it everyday. I get up early in the morning and exercise, then I write from eight or nine in the morning until three in the afternoon, when my son comes home. I take breaks and throw a load of wash in the washing machine or start preparing a dish for supper.
Some days, I write until 5 o'clock. My husband arrives around that time. And sometimes, when the story is really percolating, I write after dinner until late at night.
I grew up in the suburbs on the East Coast, the sixth of seven children. I attended public schools, I was a Girl Scout, played soccer, was a majorette and played the clarinet and oboe through college. After I graduated from Hampton University, I worked as a journalist for newspapers and magazines for years.
My husband and I have one child -- a teen-age son -- and I became interested in writing children's literature when he was an infant. I began seriously studying children's literature by reading, attending writing workshops, writing, and joining professional writers' organizations and a critique group. To pay for books on writing, attending workshops and organizational memberships, I worked as a free-lance writer for various magazines.
It took about eight years before my first book was published.
When I am not writing, I enjoy gardening, playing tennis, biking, yoga, and of course, reading.
Have you ever wondered: What it would be like to live on a family farm today? What it would be like if you didn't know how to read? Where your parents are from? When your Dad is going to return home from a trip? I have wondered these things and many more, and turned them into children's books.
But my books don't start with an idea, they always start with a character and the character's voice that just show up in my head. I write the story that the character tells me.
Here's a list of my books and some of the awards that they have won:
"MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE," (Richard Jackson/
ISBN -- 0-531-0944-2 $14.95
"THE LONGEST WAIT," (Orchard Books, 1998) Illus. Peter Catalanotto. Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended List.
ISBN -- 0-531-06871-4 $15.95
"MOMMA, WHERE ARE YOU FROM?" (Orchard Books, 2002) Illus. Chris Soentpiet. Golden Kite Honor Award, Nest Literary Classic.
ISBN -- 0-531-30105-2 $16.95
"ONCE UPON A FARM," (Orchard Books/
ISBN -- 0-439-31766-5 $16.95
"SOME FRIEND," (Richard Jackson/
Stories are all around you. They're in your head, in the grass, in the leftovers you had three days ago that no one has gotten around to tossing in the garbage. When I write, I try to add details that include all of the five senses: sight, hearing, taste, feel, and touch.
Here are some writing prompts:
There is something in the refrigerator that's been there for several days. What is it and why is it there?
Next, write about something important that you forgot to do.
Next, write about a friend who has disappeared.
Now, combine these writing prompts and try to make them one story. Have fun!
How to Contact Me or Buy My Books
If you're interested in buying my books, you can purchase them at any bookstore or online at places such as Book Sense or Amazon.
Teachers, I visit schools and you can contact Visiting Authors on the link above or e-mail me.
Let me know what you think of my website.
More Than Anything Else
From sun-up to sun-down, nine-year-old Booker packs salt at a saltwork, but more than anything else, he wants to learn to read. Set in the fall of 1865 in Malden, West Virginia, this story is based on the childhood of Booker T. Washington.
Once Upon A Farm
A young boy and his sister Sue experience the joys and hard work of their family farm. There are fields to plow and shooting stars to see, corn to harvest and a pony to groom, hay to bail and tractors to ride, cows to milk and ice ceam to make, and more. The boy worries about all the development crowding around the farm. When the family is forced to sell, what will he take with him?
The Longest Wait
Daddy has to deliver the mail, but young Thomas is eager for him to return home so they can go sledding. It is 1922 and the worst blizzard of the century is blowing hard. Everyone is worried, but Thomas. It's just some snow and Daddy is strong. He waits and waits. When Daddy returns, he is numb from cold and gets sick. Thomas starts to worry, too. Will Daddy be all right? The next morning, Thomas knows everything will be all right and he gets to take the longest sled ride he ever had.
Momma, Where Are You From?
Momma's lyrical reply to her young daughter's question takes the girl on a journey back to the days of street peddlers with horse-drawn wagons -- the fishman, the iceman and the ragman. Adults listened to baseball games on the radio and Duke Ellington records, while the children switched their hips, snapped their fingers and pretended to be adults.
Created by The Authors Guild
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