3 Reasons to Join a Writer’s Group

The older I get, and the longer I write, the more convinced I become that writer’s groups are an essential component of a writer’s life, success, and mental well-being. Why? -1- Writer’s groups provide a sense of community, of belonging. Although my professional background has always been in sales and marketing, I have never felt comfortable in large crowds of people (unless I was teaching). Until I walked into my first writer’s meeting in Boston in the late 1980s. There’s nothing that compares to being in a roomful of other creative people. When I’m with other writers, even those I

What Does Summer Mean to You?

Call me a creature of the sunlight. Like a little kid, I wake up as soon as dawn chases the darkness away in the morning–regardless of what the clock says. Summer is mornings, freshness, new beginnings. The vivid colors of the trees, flowers, and sky paint pictures I remember once the winter turns them sodden and blurry. Sometimes I think to snap an actual photo. Usually, I don’t. I collect sea shells, herbs for drying, and long walks once life cools down in the evening. I love bare feet, shirts without sleeves, windows thrown open to the wind. To me,

Freedom of Expression

As a writer, I have always embraced the right to express myself freely, without censorship. That’s one of the best things about being an American and living in this country: each of us has so many freedoms. When I write–regardless of whether my creation is a textbook, workshop handout, short story, novel, or blog post–neither you nor anyone else is forced to read it. You can skim it, read it from beginning to end, or skip it entirely because you have the same rights I do. Although I consider your response when I write, I don’t tailor my words to it. When speaking,

Do you know your slang?

We all know you don’t say certain words in public. Or, God forbid, when your mother is in the same room. Slang is defined as informal speech that’s used in a particular setting or environment, or by people in a particular group. When I was in high school, our slang included the terms groovy, batshit, and way out. In my current novel, two of the present-day characters have ancestors who lived during Prohibition in the 1920s. Did you know the following terms were coined back then? Skid row was originally “skid road,” a place where loggers hauled their goods. During Prohibition, these logging

Why you THINK you’re so much better in the morning … or at night

Circadian rhythm: It’s the reason you find yourself full of energy at a particular time of day (or night) and really dragging at another time. Biological clock: Your internal timing device; usually a 24-hour clock. Your biological clock produces your circadian rhythm. So, what does this have to do with your productivity and whether you’re a morning person or a night owl? Well, your circadian rhythm is based partly on DNA and partly on external factors, such as daylight. “Larks” wake up and go to bed early; they tend to find themselves more productive in the morning. “Owls”  rise and hit the sack later,

Yes, You Really Can Have a Broken Heart

I read an article recently about a 61-year-old woman who went to the ER thinking she had a heart attack. Doctors learned she suffered a broken heart after her dog died. Yes, there really is such a thing; it’s called takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or broken-heart syndrome. Doesn’t this make a great premise for inclusion in a book?! To read what Harvard Medical School has to say about it, click here.

IRS “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2017

As a freelance writer, I research many subjects for both my fiction and nonfiction. Recently, during the research phase of a project for an educational text on identity theft, I learned that fraudulent tax preparers are among the “Dirty Dozen” of IRS tax scams for this year. Who’d have guessed? Did you know: To charge for preparing someone else’s tax return, you must have an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number and include it on all tax returns you prepare? The IRS has a website with a list of all professionals who have credentials to file tax returns? You can visit

And the winner is…

Me! No, I didn’t win first prize, but I placed 16 out of 25, so my short story, “Mama,” will be published in the 17th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection. Each year, Writer’s Digest sponsors a variety of writing competitions, the winners of which win cash prizes and/or have their work published in the magazine or one of the books it publishes. Since this was only the second short story I’ve ever written, I’m very pleased with the win. Once I have details about how you can obtain your copy of the short story collection, I’ll post

Daily Dose of Inspiration

It is time for her to stand up and claim herself. She must now bring forth from beneath that bushel basket The wonders she has kept hidden for fear they’d be snatched away.   She will collect the many griefs and burdens And surrender them in exchange for Solace in the arms of her treasures.   She will gently close the door to yearnings for what will never be And throw wide the gateway to a paradise Where innumerable possibilities await.   She will prod her failings and shortcomings into that basket And stand atop it, hugging herself in glee,

We All Have a Voice

Our first amendment rights not only allow US the freedom of speech, they allow OTHERS the same right. Why do we become so hateful when we hear things we don’t like? Each of us is entitled to have our own beliefs and give voice to them. If I don’t agree with you, are you more apt to listen to me if I try to win you over to my side respectfully, with explanations and facts that support what I’m saying, or if I holler at you, call you names, and point out [what I perceive as] your flaws? Why do