Where Students Shine and Learning is Fun!

      On Friday, March 25, 2022, it was my privilege to visit an elementary school for March Is Reading Month. It was a day for me to share the joy of reading and writing books. It was also a chance to share the wonder and power of books to take us on adventures. 

     Using my books Grandma’s Sock Drawer and A Home For Evert as examples, the classes and I explored the steps of the writing process together.

Learning is Fun!

     Students from kindergarten through the fifth grade were the shining stars of each presentation, sharing with me their attentiveness, energy, and enthusiasm. 

     We embarked on the adventure of writing beginning with the hunt for an idea, looking far and near to discover ideas that are all around us and within. 

Time to put on the Idea Hat!

     Once we found our Best, Most Exciting, Fabulous Idea in the World we were ready to write it down and then share it with friends and teachers. It was after this sharing that we discovered that our Most Fabulous, Best Idea in the World needed some work. 
     “Should we throw our story away?” I asked when we found out it wasn’t perfect. 

     “NO!” agreed every class.

     So, we put on our working hardhat and erased and changed our stories until they were the best they could be. 

Time to figure things out with our Working Hardhat.

     “How many times do we fix our story?” I’d ask. “Once? Twice?”
     “Until it’s right!” the children encouraged me.

     We talked about the differences between Fiction and Nonfiction. We discovered that a writer could use facts, even in their fiction story, just like I did with my shrew, Evert.

Talking about writing fiction and nonfiction.

     After reading scenes from my published book Grandma’s Sock Drawer and A Home for Evert, my newest story in the process of revision, we celebrated with applause for the wonders of words and their ability to whisk us away to new and exciting worlds. 

      My elementary friends and I parted with renewed interest in books and the writing process that creates them. 

     We all agreed that learning can be fun.

Reading Grandma’s Sock Drawer to the students.

February Blew By!

I raced through February on my annual Picture Book Marathon. 
Ran past the groundhog’s forecast of spring. 
Jogged through tales of historic Black Americans.
Lingered long in expressions of love. 
Cheered and clapped as teams blocked and blazed their way to touchdowns.
Skated, skied, twisted and twirled, with U.S. Olympians in Beijing.
Shoveled snow, enjoyed unexpected puddles before they crystalized to ice.
Then with a nod to past presidents’ birthdays I skid to a halt.
Teetering on the edge of February 2022, I pause.

What wonders will March bring?

Batches of paczki?
Emerging crocuses defying the snow?
Shall I trade snowflakes for shamrocks; drifts of snow for bundles of green?
Will lion-like winds lift kites wildly on high?
New life emerges all around.
New possibilities to explore.
Clutching my newest story in hand I wonder…

Good-bye, Fantastic February. 
It’s time to meet Marvelous March!

A Poem for Autumn: Nature’s Ticker-Tape

Fall greetings to all!
This change of season may come with whipping winds and stormy skies.
But take courage in fall’s passing beauty, for with it also comes hope and a bountiful harvest,  
Keep walking.
Brighter days are just ahead. 

NATURE’S TICKER-TAPE

Day has begun, but no sun.
Begin the day’s journey unseeing the way
Shoulders robed with heavy mist of dawn
Sidewalk stretches endlessly
Countless squares of concrete gray.
One unnoticed step in front of the other
Padded rhythm marches out the seconds
Till the red-orange sun peeks above the horizon’s purple mountain cloud
And stretches its white tentacles to the brightening sky
Birds begin the melody and criss-cross before with invisible streamers
They swoop and rise with cheers to treetops
Joining the escalating breeze to shake nature’s confetti from the trees.
Golden, floating, lightly landing on shoulders, face and path, saying well done,
well done
Sun reveals the truth:  not just gray ahead, but golden patches checkering the way
Crunchy carpet, piles of crackly brilliance, in the path and along the wayside
Nature cheers in silent earnest to walk with strong step beneath the
whitecap clouds on the inverted sea
Inhaling the sweet breath of evergreen perfume whispering their applause
Success, success, success, is yours, just walk
You have become part of Nature’s ticker-tape

If you enjoyed reading this poem, you might also like The Dandelion Prayer: Celebrating National Poetry Month.

The 2021 SCBWI BookStop features Grandma’s Sock Drawer

I am excited to announce that my debut YA novel, Grandma’s Sock Drawer, is now being featured in the SCBWI, Society of Children’s Books Writers & Illustrators, BookStop in the YA category. My book is available both in print and as an eBook. Check out my BookStop page here:

The 2021 BookStop opened up on October 18 and offers visitors the chance to browse over 1,000 new picture books, middle grade, and young adult novels written and/or illustrated by SCBWI members. Buying a book not only supports book creators, but indie bookstores as well. The BookStop store will be until November 30.

As a member of SCBWI, I have found the organization to be very helpful in my writing and publishing process. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, is the only professional organization specifically for individuals who write and illustrate for children and young adults. Our mission is to support the creation and availability of quality children’s books in every region of the world.

This is the second year that I have shared it in the SCBWI BookStop. It feels wonderful to have reached another milestone on my journey as an author and I am very grateful for everyone who has supported me along the way.

#SCBWIBookStop 2021 is officially open. Start browsing all books here:

#BookBuzz #ChildrensBooks #KidLit #MichLit #MichiganAuthor #WritersLife #SCBWI #NewBooks #WritingGoals #Grateful

Amazing Bubbles

Here are some fanciful thoughts about bubbles that I wrote during the Picture Book Marathon month this past February. I hope it brings a smile to your face!

Bubbles are amazing!

          They come in every size. 

               Teeny bubbles in a jar,

                    Bubbles big as grapes swirl within the kitchen sink.

                         From giant wand, even bubble elephants take flight. 

Bubbles are like butterflies they come, but do not stay. 

            They float and drift upon the breeze, 

                        and then they disappear.

Bubbles are so friendly.

            They’re always up and never down.

                        They stay to work or play, alone or in a crowd.

Through my straw, 

            they scramble, 

                        climb, and burst within my glass of milk.

                                    I take a breath to laugh, then send them climbing up again.

I like bubbles and they like me. 

     They shake my hand and tickle my toes when I am in the tub. 

           They help me make a beard that grows and grows.

                        Complete with mustache under my nose.

Bubbles are amazing!

            All throughout the day,

                        They sparkle their wide smile at me,

                                    And chase the blues away.

Please Vote: Grandma’s Sock Drawer Nominated for the Author Elite Awards

I am excited to announce that Grandma’s Sock Drawer has been nominated for the 2021 Author Elite Awards and I would love for you to cast a vote for my book!

Please visit https://authoreliteawards.com and click on the red button that says “Vote Now” – it will take you to the voting page – once here, you will be on the 1st page for the Young Adult category (1/12), just scroll down, and click on my book cover to choose Grandma’s Sock Drawer.

You may vote daily. I greatly appreciate your support! The Author Elite Awards is sponsored by Igniting Souls in connection with the Author Elite Academy.

Sand or Snow? I Don’t Know

Here’s a picture book I worked on this past February during Picture Book Marathon Month. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Sand or Snow? I Don’t Know

     I hold my little pail and the shovel that goes with it. 

     I’m looking out the window, now, and watching all the rain come down.

     If I could, I wonder what I’d wish for.

     Sand or Snow?

     I don’t know.

To wish for sand, the sun is out.

     It’d be shorts and swimsuit warm. 

     “Ooh! Ahh!”  I’d cry, tip-toe running across the fiery sand.

     Bare feet would wobbly slide as I pick my spot on shifting sand to sit. 

    Then, scoop and pour, scoop and pour, I’d fill my pail in time with clapping waves. 

     Dry sand sweetly sifts through fingers slightly spread, but disappears in tightened fist.

     Dry sand is not so good for throwing. The wind spits its teeny bits back in my eyes and hair.

     Wet sand goes splat, unless molded into a colossal castle defended by a  watery moat. 

     From crumbling castle towers my flags of flapping grass would proudly fly. 

     Sand is good for burying things, like toes, and twigs, and shells and things.

     When fun is done, sand hates to see me go.

     It clings with tiny, gritty bits. 

     It tries to hide between my toes and sneak away with me.

     I’ll miss it, too. 

     I promise, with my good-bye, to come and see it soon.

     To wish for snow the sun may shine, but shivery temperatures blow. 

     I’d wrap in winter wear. My mouth and nose and eyes are all that meet the air.

     Boot stomping and snow crunching, powerfully I march forward.

     Shovel and pank, shovel and pank, my pail is filled with white. My castles and their towers, now, are frosty, dazzling bright.

     I lay and flap in crystal white, my shadow, now a sparkling angel. 

     If I throw dry snow, and in my face it blows, it disappears against my cheek with a teensy, wet, cold kiss.

     Floating flakes alight on lashes, hat, and scarf. Or tickle tongue with speck of icy melting lace. 

     Snow is best for making balls and forts filled with frozen laughs of battles bold.

     Or roll a ball to build a single friend, tall or small, or build a crowd to play around.

     Snow, my mittens sog and tumbles over boot tops to numb my toes below.

     Snow clings in creases between scarf and neck, diving in white and turning out wet.

     Cold forces me to go where snow can’t follow.

     Separated by a pane of glass, I whisper my promise to return. 

     Sometimes snow must go before I come. 

     To miss it less, it leaves a good-bye gift, of puddles to splash or mud for some squishy, squashy fun.

     What is my wish?

     Sand or snow?     I don’t know.

The Dandelion Prayer: Celebrating National Poetry Month

Spring is in the air! 


Even through Michigan snowflakes the daylight is longer and the buds are bursting forth.


April is National Poetry month and I’d like to share one of mine with you.

The Dandelion Prayer

Dear Lord, let me be as a dandelion in your service:

Redeemed by your blood from weedy origins,

Small, yet bright, face always to the Son,

            Despised  by the world, yet, bouquet of choice to child and pocket-poor.

Not requiring notice of royal tables,

Blooming without invitation, spreading without borders.

Eager, quick, the first to herald winter’s defeat and promises of the comfort of spring.

Always dependent on your living water, wilting instantly without  its constant flow.

Steadfast, straight, tall, unwavering in your Truth.

Grabbing ground with fragile root in slightest cracks of unbelief.

Stubbornly refusing that one should miss the freedom of your grace.

Enduring reproach, resistant to attack,

Humbly opening and closing, daily showing forth your golden goodness
     until with one last unfolding of splendid sphere of white,

Your final wind scatters the seeds of your love through my life.

Then silence, moments of breathless calm,

Awake to life anew and strong.

                                                                                              

2020 Novel Writing Month Completed

What an exciting month of writing November held for me. I chose to work on the prequel to Grandma’s Sock Drawer.

As expected, the writing journey had its moments when ideas seemed stale, action stalled out, characters became boring.

I’d say to myself, “You’re the one writing this thing! If you don’t like what’s happening, change it!”

I’d remind myself that writing Nano is more exploring, than settling down.
At the end of the month, if I like the story, I can work to make it the best. Nothing has to be permanent in the first draft. Everything can be improved. Thinking like this keeps me hopeful and excited about the story.

Even so, there were times I had to keep slogging along.
Then something clicked and things started to pick up momentum.
The story flew from my fingers through the last two weeks of November.

Characters asserted themselves on the page. (One day, for instance, my main character sat down and sobbed her heart out! I was so surprised!)

I found myself visiting familiar places with new twists.
Farms in need of planting,

meadows thick with wild, purple lupine flowers,

and spiraling tunnels in dark, echoing caves.

I crossed the Nano finish line of 50,000 words, plus, on the 27th.
But the story wasn’t finished, yet.

On December 2nd, the first draft was finally completed.
The thrill of accomplishing the Nano goal was surpassed by the excitement that I have for the beginnings of my prequel for Grandma’s Sock Drawer.

Yes, I have crossed the Nano finish line.

But only to start again.
A new goal.
A new energy.
A new commitment.
Polish this new story until it will shine in the hearts of readers.

I can’t wait to get started!

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2020

Write a novel in a month?

Crazy, right?

The challenge is to write your story in 50,000 words, in just one month. 

1,667 words per day for 30 days.

It’s up to you what you want to write about.

Besides the total word count, NaNoWriMo writing has one basic rule: No Editing!

November is the time: To Write.

If you like your story at the end of November, then you can edit. 

But for November, just enjoy writing. 

Always move forward. 

Don’t look back.

It’s exciting, frustrating, tiring, invigorating, revealing, requires discipline, and perseverance.

It’s crazy!

And I can’t wait to start!