The Perfect Magical Fantasy for the Holidays

I'm participating in a number of writer challenges on Instagram. One recent challenge asked: Why is my story important? To answer this question, I focused on EOLYN, Book One of the Silver Web Trilogy. What drew me into Eolyn’s story was the immense courage and strength she demonstrates when confronting a brutal system intent on … Continue reading The Perfect Magical Fantasy for the Holidays

Query Letters: The Basics

A query letter should: Place your work within the market,Provide a brief, compelling description of the manuscript, andShare relevant information about you as an author. Each of these essential functions corresponds to one paragraph. All three paragraphs are assembled to craft the full letter. Taken together, the entire letter should fit on a standard letter … Continue reading Query Letters: The Basics

To Query or Not to Query

I had an interesting exchange with author Sierra Godfrey (@sierragodfrey on Instagram) that got me thinking about the whole question of querying. Sierra posted a great "pep talk post" encouraging authors to get their work into the querying cue. I, too, am an advocate for querying, though I understand why many authors are reluctant to … Continue reading To Query or Not to Query

Farewell, 2020

Our classic interdisciplinary course Ecology Through the Writers Lens ran under a different format this year, with local day trips instead of week-long overnight visit to the Flint Hills. Of course, everyone masked up. Photo by Amy Milakovic. As this extraordinary year winds down, I find myself reflecting not so much on what 2020 took … Continue reading Farewell, 2020

Reconnecting

Normally this time of year I would be at my annual Women's Writing Retreat, more affectionately known as Dollbabies Week. Like so many other spring activities and conferences, that plan was washed away by the tide of Covid-19. My literary colleagues and I have organized a remote edition instead. It won't be the same, but … Continue reading Reconnecting

First Goals and Aspirations for 2020

Avila University started its regular spring semester about two weeks ago. Seems I've hardly drawn a breath, and the month has already slipped by! After some worry that I might be teaching an overload again this spring, I managed to negotiate with the powers that be so that my teaching obligations remain within contract. This … Continue reading First Goals and Aspirations for 2020

Hidden Heritage

We're well into classes at Avila, but in quiet moments I still reflect on my summer trip to Germany and all the things I learned and saw traveling the country with my family; visiting the stomping grounds of relatives and ancestors. I've long been fascinated by family histories, a habit instilled in me no doubt … Continue reading Hidden Heritage

Undine – and where our stories come from

Saturday I attended a meeting of the Heartland Authors Guild, which goes by the wonderful acronym HAG. We did a flash fiction workshop including an exercise based on sensory prompts. Prompts were given to us by chance - drawn from a deck of cards. Mine read as follows: the sound of a garden hose What … Continue reading Undine – and where our stories come from

channeling our inner Picasso

  I had the extraordinary opportunity last week to visit the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. The museum houses one of the largest collections of his early works, and gives the visitor an excellent chronicle of Picasso's development as an artist, from his teenage years all the way up through his later masterpieces.   I've had … Continue reading channeling our inner Picasso

Speaking to My Past Self

Have you ever been told to think about what your future self would say to you? I've never actually received this advice, but I've heard it given, usually to young people who are facing important challenges or decisions. I suppose people who give this advice do so because it's worked for them. Me, I've always been … Continue reading Speaking to My Past Self