Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blog Hop

For some reason, I volunteered to do a "blog hop". For those of you who don't know that a blog hop is, don't feel bad, I didn't either until a few days ago. I guess it's like a bar hop, only it's a fun way to check out other writer's blogs, so you "hop" from one blog to another. Each person who volunteers is supposed to answer the following three questions in their blog. At the end of the posting, you tag three other writers (with links to their blogs) who will carry on the "hop".

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? So here goes. Here are my answers to the three questions:

 What are you working on?

I always have more than one thing going at any given time. Some people like to work on one thing until it’s completed and then go on to the next. But not me. I get bored doing work on just one thing until it’s finished. So, right now I’m working on revising several picture book texts, one short nonfiction story for an upcoming contest submission, several book reviews and a couple of articles for a business service guide.

How does your writing process work?

I’m not sure I have a “process.” But, I guess if I think about it and break it down it works like this: I tend to get a lot of ideas. Some I write down on scraps of paper or in a notebook; some I don’t. Depending on when and when the idea occurs to me, I might write it down and then start writing a rough draft of the story/article right away. This could occur while I’m sitting on my couch, in which case I’d start the rough draft with a pen writing in a spiral-bound notebook. If I’m sitting in my office chair, I’ll open a new Word file and start typing the rough draft on my computer. If I don't have access to either my spiral-bound notebook or my computer, I just jot the idea down on a slip of paper (anything I can find) and come back to it later.

After the initial rough draft is finished, I usually let the article/story simmer for a while. I’ll keep going over it in my head, wondering what I might need to add to or delete from the article/story. I’ll keep rewriting and tweaking it until I feel like it’s in pretty good shape.

Then, I like to have someone read it. That someone is usually my soon-to-be-19-year-old son. He has a gift for writing (must get it from his mother!) and is very good at spotting typos and inconsistencies in the text. Until recently, I didn’t have any writer friends to share my work with, but now that I’m part of an online critique group, I will have them read what I’ve written and give me feedback on it.

Who are the authors you most admire?

J. Patrick Lewis has to be on this list. He writes some wonderful poetry for children. I had the pleasure of not only meeting him, but also interviewing him and writing a profile about him.

J. K. Rowling. I think you have to admire someone who can churn out that many books in a series and have people coming back for more.

James Patterson. I really like most of what he writes. He writes mostly fast-paced, action-packed adult suspense novels, although he has written some books for kids. I think I’ve read everything he’s written, both MG and adult fiction. I admire him, not so much for the way  he writes, but for his productivity. He usually has at least three book novels published every year! Granted, he doesn’t write all of those himself, as he co-authors about half of those, but that’s still a lot of writing!

John Katz. Interestingly enough, he writes about dogs. His writes about his experiences with dogs, mainly with border collies. His stories will make you both laugh and cry.

Hmm....I just noticed that all four of their first names start with "J". Is that a coincidence? I might have to go into therapy to analyze this one fully...

In the meantime, now that I've answered these questions, please "hop" over to these three blogs to see if you find their answers to the same questions:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Meet Peg Hanna

A mother of six and grandmother of nine, Peg Hanna is a busy woman. Not necessarily because of her large family, although she spends as much time as she can with her kids  who are scattered around. Peg is busy because she is a writer who not only likes to write but who goes out and congregates with other writers, building her skills and promoting her work.

Peg and I have known each other for years. We met, appropriately enough, at a meeting for a local writers’ group, the Ohio Writer’s Guild. Peg is still an active member of that group. I haven’t been at a meeting for years although I still keep in touch with some of the former attendees, one of whom is Peg. We recently got together at a local library to discuss our writing endeavors and to “interview” each other.

Peg hasn’t always been a writer. She is a former school teacher. She taught middle school reading in Aliquippa, PA for five years. She quit her teaching job after she married and her first child, Lee, was born in Columbus, Ohio. She spent many years as a stay-at-home mom, keeping order in the ranks when her husband traveled a lot. She also volunteered many hours at her kids’ schools, reading to students, leading writing workshops and judging writers for the Power of the Pen.

Now that the house is quiet – the kids are out on their own and her husband is retired – Peg uses her time to write. She likes to write poems, short stories, and longer novels.

Her professional writing career started when she penned a series of poems for a church newsletter. People identified with her feelings and emotions and asked for copies. Thus were born two volumes of poetry, Hear My Heart volumes I & II.

Since then, she has written early reader books for Zaner-Bloser, a local educational publisher and has had her work printed in a number of publications.

The Columbus Creative Cooperative publishes anthologies of works gathered from local writers. Peg’s story, “From Empty Envelopes” appeared in a recent edition titled While You Were Out. The story is about a bag lady who wants to be a writer.

Six of her poems were published in the Scioto Sampler, an anthology of works by local writers of The Franklinton/McConnell Writers’ group, another group Peg is actively involved in.

In order to raise the profile of writers, Peg volunteered to be on a committee of the Columbus Arts Festival to put together a competition for writers. Each writer had to send in an application. Eight semi-finalists were selected to present 10-minute readings of their works during the festival. A panel of independent judges selected those to read. Peg read a selection from her current book, While

Peg co-authored the book with Brun/Hilde Maurer Barron. The two came of age during one of the most tumultuous times in history, during WWII. 

Says Peg, “My mother taught me that an important word in any language is WHILE. "While washing dishes,Peggy, you dry.’ She would say, ‘While one thing is happening, so is another. While someone is in darkness, someone is in daylight. While one person dies, another is born.’

"With this word WHILE we started this book. While a war was raging between the United States and Germany , and WWII began, two little girls were growing up in opposing countries and living in its aftermath.”

While is available online at, Barnes and, through Peg’s website, in the gift shop at the Creative Arts Building in downtown Columbus, The Book Loft in German Village and a bookstore in Chicago.

Even though Peg is busy promoting what she’s already written, attending writing meetings, and taking care of everyday business, she is still writing. She is currently working on a book about her children when they were growing up. It is titled H dot: Raising 6 Hannas in Gahanna .

Visit Peg’s website for more information about the author and her books.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Author Interviews

I am going to try something new with my blog. In addition to blogs I write about various topics, I will occasionally feature a particular author here. The segments will be written from interviews I conduct with each writer. Some posts will be in a question-and-answer format, while others will be in an article-type format. I will post them whenever I have one ready to go.

The first one will feature Peg Hanna, a friend of mine who is also an author. I hope to have her interview up by Wednesday of this week, July 17th.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Onward, Forward

Well, my story, A SPECIAL CAKE, didn't make it to the semi-finals. Oh, well. I had fun writing it (and I might be able to recycle it for another, and I've had fun reading the comments from every one who was kind enough to stop by. Now, it's onward, forward, to bigger and better things.

But first -- since the contest post was put up before the Independence Day celebrations, and since I wanted to keep the poem at the top of the blog, I didn't want to post anything until after the contest finalists had been selected. Here, then, is a poem I wrote to honor that special day. It's titled, simply AMERICA.


My country 'tis of thee,
with your purple mountains majesty.
A sweet land of liberty.
- Let freedom ring.


Land of the free.
Where red rockets once glared,
the bombs burst in the air.
- Of thee we sing.


Home of the brave.
Where our fathers died.
Land of the Pilgrim's pride.
- Our hearts take wing.


We pledge allegiance to our flag
And to the republic for which it stands.

One nation, under God.
- Indivisible.


Monday, July 1, 2013

A Special Cake - Contest Entry

Susanna Hill is having a children's writing contest on her blog.  It is called "The Fourth of July Secret Mystery Writing Contest." 

Here is my entry:

A SPECIAL CAKE – 399 words

“When do the fireworks start?” Emily asked on the Fourth of July.

“When it’s dark,” mom said.

“When do we eat?”

“When everyone gets here.”

“When will that be?”

“Soon,” mom said. “Do you need something?”

“No,” Emily said, “I just can’t ‘til Uncle Jake gets here!”


“Can’t tell you, it’s a secret.”

“A secret? Hmm.”

“He’s here!” Emily ran off the porch and into her uncle’s arms.

“What’s your hurry?”

“You know, Uncle Jake.” Emily looked at him. “Do you have it? Is it time yet?”

“Do you have what and is it time for what?” mom asked. She looked at her brother Jake. “What’s going on?”

“Can’t tell you,” Jake said, “It’s a secret.”

Emily giggled.

“A secret, huh? Seems like that’s going around today. Do you think you could spare a few minutes and help me? Zach and the boys will be here soon.”

Each grabbed an armload of items, took them across the yard, and placed them on the picnic table. Just as they were finishing, Emily’s dad and brothers arrived. “Where’s Kaitlin?” Emily asked Uncle Jake. “We can’t have the surprise without her.”

“Surprise? What surprise?” Emily’s dad asked as he scooped Emily up in his arms.

“We can’t tell,” Emily said.

“It’s a secret,” Jake agreed.

“Humph,” he said with a smile on his face.

“Time to eat,” Mom said.

“We can’t eat without Kaitlin.” Emily said.

“Don’t worry,” Uncle Jake said. “She’ll be here for dessert.”

“’Bout time you got here,” Jake teased Kaitlin when she arrived, “or we would have to eat cake without you.”

“Better not,” Kaitlin said. “Hope you saved me a piece.”

“Actually, you get a whole cake to yourself,” Jake said as he opened a box sitting beside him.

“A whole cake, for me?” Kaitlin asked. She looked very surprised.

Everyone, but Emily, did, too. Emily knew about the special cake. She couldn’t wait for Kaitlin to cut it.

“Hurry, hurry!” Emily shouted.

Jake laughed.

Kaitlin started cutting the cake, then stopped. She had a funny look on her face.

“What’s wrong?” Jake asked. He looked completely innocent.

“There’s something in it,” Kaitlin said.

Emily giggled.

Kaitlin picked a piece of cake up with a fork and took a close look at it. “It looks like a –“

“Will you marry me,” Jake asked.

“Say yes! Say yes!” Emily yelled.

“Yes! Kaitlin said.

“Yeah!” Emily yelled.