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Dust-covered Dreams and a Whackin’ Stick

How long had she been gone? Hard to say. Exhausted from her recent adventure, the woman approached the dark building with yearning and trepidation. And hope. When the heavy oak door wouldn’t open, she lowered her shoulder and shoved. It groaned and creaked in protest, but relented. Sort of. Its base grated like a [] read more »

Secret to Creativity? Shut It Down

Somehow, without meaning to, I took an entire month off. Nobody was more shocked than yours truly. I can’t remember the last time I did absolutely nothing, if ever, for more than a weekend. I’m usually that guest at the family gathering who keeps stealing away to write, or the one who cancels at the [] read more »

What do Writers Read? Pursuing Adventure — Summ...

One would expect writers to be on the cutting edge of the book scene, devouring best-sellers one after another. After all, reading got us into this mess. Not just reading, but reading good books. I sometimes wonder, would I be enamored with writing today if I’d tried to read James Joyce’s “Ulysses” or William Faulkner’s [] read more »

The Great Buts of Human Limitation

Who are you, deep down? What is it you really desire to do? What is it you’ve been putting off for years, despite the constant yearning? We all have dreams, hopes, a purpose . . .  but some of us are sitting on our buts and may never see them realized. It seems the more [] read more »

From the Peak of Round-to-it Mountain: Can’t I ...

Happy April! I’ve missed you all so much. It’s hard to believe this page has been dormant more than three weeks, because it seems more like three months. I must admit, I approached this page with trepidation today, a little worried you may have found another blogger to spend your time with. I cant say [] read more »

Grandpa’s Laugh

I met Jerry L. Fitzsimmons, Sr. under unusual circumstances. I’d been engaged to his son for less than a week and we’d been driving through Kansas on our way to McCook, Nebraska in our ’66 Mustang to meet his grandparents. From there, we planned to drive to Denver to meet his parents. We never made [] read more »

Temporary Derailment: A Writer’s Nightmare

All is well now, although I have had to come to grips with a set-back of my own making. Here is an attempt at poetry to explain my absence. No more details needed Hard Drive Not Found Hundreds of children, locked in the grains of a glimmering silver disk. A plastic prison, inaccessible forever. I brought [] read more »

New Year, New Page, New Start

On this, the seventh day of Christmas, I received a most precious gift, as did you. I stayed in bed this morning as long as I could, savoring the opening of it the way one unwraps a much-anticipated present—instead of tearing into the wrapping, I glided my metaphorical finger just under point where the paper [] read more »

NaNoWriMo a No-Go…for now

I’m calling it A Hope Deferred because failure sounds so permanent. More than two weeks into National Novel Writing Month have flown by with a whoosh, leaving me staring at my keyboard in puzzlement, wondering . . . What the heck happened? Not much, I’ll tell you that. I worked, as is evident by my [] read more »

NaNoWriMo: Will Words Escape Me?

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” — Toni Morrison November is National Novel Writing Month. I have no idea why, just go with me on this. Anyway, this is a writers’ challenge which suggests that if we commit to writing 1,667 words [] read more »

A Story is Born: From the Remnants Just Released

Its official! Today Cathy Schrader and I released From the Remnants, A Story of Light and Hope. It is the true story of Cathys journey from heart-shattering brokeness to a place of healing and purpose. This book is for anyone whose faith in God has been tested by the sudden and unexplainable loss of a loved [] read more »

Teachers: Perpetual Sowers of an Unseen Harvest

Every September I get this colossal sense of wonder and gratitude regarding the men and women to whom we’ve entrusted the minds and dreams of our children. Where would we be without these wonderful people who can explain concepts to our children that, let’s face it, we don’t understand ourselves? Some of the concepts that [] read more »

New England in 15 Days: A Dish Best Served Warm

Im walking mournfully from room to room, sighing heavily because the trip I’ve been waiting for and planning for nearly three years is now but a memory, and I long to go back. I yearn to feel that cool ocean breeze blowing into my bedroom window and to fall asleep listening to the waves crash [] read more »

Happy Birthday to Joe; Lessons Learned from a S...

This week we celebrate a birthday, of sorts, as my baby, “Caged Sparrow” is officially one year old. I suspect that’s about 20 in book years, judging by how much of my energy went into raising it. Although completing one book hardly qualifies me as an expert in anything, I would like to share a [] read more »

When Fathers Are Imperfect: You Call this Love?

Originally posted on The Portrait Writer: Not everyone loves Fathers’ Day. Did you have the perfect?dad, someone who attended every sporting event, band concert, and scout ceremony? Who knew your friends names and read the?articles you wrote for?the school paper? I didn’t. My dad barely knew?me, and he attended nothing—not even my high school graduation. read more »

Memorial Day: What’s to Celebrate?

Originally posted on The Portrait Writer: How do You Celebrate Memorial Day? That was a trick question. Across the country, folks are firing up those backyard barbecue grills, stocking the beer coolers, brewing sweet tea, and hunting through the garage for the horseshoes and lawn chairs. Company’s a-comin’ and it’s sure to be a day read more »

Coming Soon to a Bookstore Near You

In order to tell you about this book, I’d like to introduce you to two very important people. The first is Cathy Schrader, who makes teddy bears. Not just any teddy bears, but bears that bring comfort to hurting people. Sick children, orphans, victims of abuse, recovering addicts, people who have lost loved ones . [] read more »

Great News for Caged Sparrow

Okay, so its not a Pullitzer, and its not even a super big deal, but its a ray of hope, so Im going with it. Caged Sparrow has been named a finalist in the 2016 Selah Awards for the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. Not too shabby! Well have to wait until May 25 [] read more »

Me, Myself, and Sigh: A Grammarian’s Plea

Happy Grammar Day, everyone! That’s right, once again it’s the Word Nerds’ favorite observance, March 4th, the only date on the calendar that’s also an imperative. This is the one day of the year, aside from National Punctuation Day, when I can risk letting loose the annoying grammar critic I keep bound and gagged in [] read more »

Tiny Tea Cups and a Girl Long Gone

What is truly of great worth? NOTE: Today’s blog is made possible by a book of writing prompts given to me by my husband on our anniversary, and also by a cold, lazy day that turned out to be good for nothing but sitting by the fire and avoiding work. I will have to write [] read more »

It’s Just a Little Snow, but it’s a Good Reason...

Happy Snow Day, East Coast! I had such a good response from my last Totally Made Up Interview that I decided today would be the perfect day to conduct another one, primarily because I wanted to blog about the weather but I lack sufficient knowledge of such matters (except that my RI family is laughing [] read more »

Chaining the Free Spirit: New Year’s Writing Re...

This, my first blog of the new year, breaks all the resolutions it contains. I’m going to run it anyway, because I find that particularly funny. I’m not keen on making resolutions, but it became quite apparent toward the end of last year that my “take-work-as-it-comes-and-hope-for-the-best” time-management style might not be the most effective.  At [] read more »

State of the Portrait Writer Report

How Did We Fare in 2015? As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time for the now-annual State of the Portrait Writer report, in which I will examine my writing progress thus far. In re-reading my year-old journal entry of expectations for 2015, I’m amazed at how many of the events I planned or promised [] read more »

A Halloween Story

This is based on an old favorite, snazzed up for the occasion, but it should work—particularly if you haven’t heard it… Last year, a young lad who ought to have spent Halloween night studying for the next day’s Chemistry class decided instead to venture out onto the streets and mingle with neighborhood revelers. He [] read more »

Cage Sparrow Launches in Naples!

Who would have thought it possible? Here I am, two hours away from a moment I’ve been dreaming about since I was about 14 – my first official book signing! And to make life even better, I’m in Naples, Florida, sitting with the no-longer Caged Sparrow himself, Joseph Tuttolomondo, without whom I’d still be sitting [] read more »

Left-brain, Right-brain Activity: Woes of an AD...

My husband can work on one task at a time. When he’s finished, he can sleep. If I’ve ever coveted anything, it’s mastery of those two skills. Okay, forget mastery. I’ll take novice level. Apprentice, even. I don’t think I’ve had a good, non-Nyquil-induced sleep in years. My brain simply cannot SHUT UP. At the [] read more »

Inertia, a Writer’s Dangerously Pleasant Anchor

I just don’t feel like writing today. This makes no sense because I love to write. However, today I just want to lie here, wrapped in this cozy blanket of summer memories, and watch the world pass me by. It has been a wonderful summer, filled with travel and family, good food, and idleness out the [] read more »




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