Posts tagged with "writing"

Website Under Construction, plus Free Essay Coaching Talk

Photo by Doug Tunison on Unsplash












Stay tuned!

I’m updating my website to focus on my new upmarket women’s novel REALITY BOUQUET. Along with my daughter, Sam, I’ve also been working on a nonfiction how-to, book proposal called GET HEARD! How to Empower Your Voice through Better Writing. Our target audience is young writers ages 12 to 16 who want to raise their voices. More to follow….

And, I’m doing my annual pro-bono talk on “Writing YOUR College Essay” at Arlington Central Library on Sunday, June 2nd from 4:30 to 6 pm. Please spread the word!

A Day of Inspirational Women!

I was so honored and excited to be chosen as an “Inspirational Woman in Journalism” by Jade and Wilnona, the fabulous “And I Thought Ladies,” who themselves inspire and connect women across the country.  Our topic was courage in both life and writing, and we heard some impressive women speak, both live and virtually at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD.

In my own speech, I shared details about the nonfiction book proposal, GET HEARD!, that my daughter, Sam, and I are working on. We aim to give young writers and activists the writing tools they need to be heard by those in power. I also shared a personal anecdote about “The Girlfriend Pep Talk” which helped me conquer a 40-foot-high ropes course. I’m thrilled to be writing about that soon for

In particular, I enjoyed getting to know Tara Lynn Masih and hearing about her writer’s journey and can’t wait to read My Real Name is Hanna, her YA novel about the Holocaust in Ukraine that was inspired by actual events. Annapolis author, Janice F. Booth also shared her insights about a lifetime of writing and teaching writing, while Ruby Lopez Harper shared her story of fighting for her place as both an artist and arts advocate.

Eve Hurwitz, a former Navy pilot and now reservist, graciously subbed in for another speaker at the last moment and pumped up the crowd with her incredible energy and vision for the future. I hope I get to vote for her one of these days!

In part, the day supported Powerful Beginnings, a nonprofit in Georgia that helps courageous women leave abusive situations. I was excited to meet and listen to Monika Thornton, the group’s founder and look forward to supporting her much-needed work.

Summer Essay Coaching

red tulips istockThe earliest college applications aren’t due until this fall, but you can get started on your personal essay and get a jump on the process.  Most of the schools you apply to will accept the Common Application, and so you have the 2014-2015 essay questions in hand.  (They’re unchanged from last year, and you can find them here.)

It may only be April, but I’m already scheduling summer coaching sessions.  Remember that if you work with me, we meet face-to-face for about two hours, and then the rest of our sessions are online.  I’ll give you a questionnaire to complete that will help you to brainstorm for the essays, and there’s no need to write anything before we meet.  In fact, I don’t want you to write anything until after we meet.  Once we talk, you’ll have a much more complete picture of what college admission officers are expecting and what you want to write.

With tough classes ahead, more SAT/ACT testing, and college apps to complete, the first semester of your senior year is going to be intense.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have that personal essay written before the first day of school?

And, don’t forget, I’m giving a FREE presentation on “Writing the Personal Essay for College Apps” at 7 p.m. on April 29th in the auditorium of Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy St, Arlington, 22201.  Hope to see you there!

Get Thee To A ….

Since October, I’ve been in the throes of revision on String Theories, which accounts for my more random posts and sporadic online presence. My apologies, but a writer’s gotta do what she’s gotta do. Juggling a family and a writing career is a wonderful challenge, but when it’s crunch time on a manuscript, things do slip through the cracks. So here’s a little catch up for me:

1) Congrats to Belle for winning my Delirium giveaway. I let her know awhile back, but didn’t manage to post here.

2) Thanks so much to Booktopia, a new children’s indie in Bethesda, MD, that hosted me for a wonderful event back in December. They even put my name in lights on the sign outside the store:

3) Thanks so much to my amazing and talented cousin Laura who baked this FHN cake for a meeting of the Mount Vernon Bluestockings book group. I had a wonderful time talking about writing and the language of flowers, and the cake was delicious!

4) I blogged today on Authors Now about the best writing advice ever.

5) And lastly, get thee to a conservatory! This winter has been a bear, and we all need a breath of fresh flowers. From San Francisco to Brooklyn, there are wonderful conservatories across the U.S., so find one nearby and treat yourself to a mini tropical vacation.

If you live in the DC area, the National Museum of Natural History is hosting a show on the orchid in Chinese culture. I can’t wait!!

Playing Catch Up ….

Whew! I just helped to organize an auction fundraiser that took place last night. It was for my favorite charity in the world, the Arlington Academy of Hope in a small village in Uganda. If you’re looking for a way to make a personal, lasting, and financially responsible connection to someone on the other side of the world, this is the way to do it.  My family sponsors four kids, three of whom have moved onto secondary school in one of the larger cities.  It has been a joy to be able to transform these kids lives with education, medical care, good food, and hope for the future.

However, I am excited to get back to my writing career full time. I love, love, love doing school visits and have a bunch coming up. I had a marvelous time with the girls at St. Margaret’s boarding school in Tappahannock, VA.  After I did my tussie-mussie demonstration, I asked if it was anyone’s birthday, and girls all pointed to the lovely girl below. We’re in their spacious dining room with the flags of the nations of the girls attending hanging behind us.

She was so sweet and said she’s going to keep the bouquet forever! The school also rocks, because they let me borrow a kayak the next day. They have a gorgeous setting on the banks of the Rappahannock River. It was so beautiful to paddle up one of the creeks, past the trees turning to gold, and the grasses swishing in the breeze. I wish I had pictures, but I was scared of dropping my phone in the water. (Earlier in Sept. I stepped off a dock and missed the boat — literally — so no pictures this time.)

Later this week I’ll be heading back to Philly for two school visits and a local authors night at the awesome Children’s Book World for their Local Author and Illustrators Night.  I know, I know, I’m not exactly local, but they invited me.  And I just found out one of my dearest friends will be in town too, so I can’t wait.

I’ve also been all over the web as part of The Crossroads Halloween tour. It’s an incredible group of writers and bloggers with a scavenger hunt and tons of fun prizes.  I’ll be chatting with a group of paranormal writers live at 8 pm on Halloween night.  (Here’s the link.)  Should be super fun!!  I’m with the Book Swarm today, so come visit us.

Now … back to working on my next novel, String Theories, which I’m trying to take to the next level. Basically, that means pushing everything harder — being tougher on my characters, bumping up the writing quality, and refining my plot. I hadn’t looked at the manuscript for several months, which is always a great thing. So off I go. Wish me luck!