Energy Break

When I’m really deep into a writing project, I can sit at a keyboard for hours and not notice the passage of time, until some body part—usually my neck or shoulders—calls a time out. If I wait until that happens to stop, and then I stand up…ouch! My muscles are stiff and my limbs resist…

Embracing the Crone

When my daughter was young, she once told me—in all innocence—that I have a witch’s nose. Shall we say I was not…grateful….for her statement of what she saw as an incontrovertible fact. After all, witch’s noses all look a certain way, right? Long and beakish, perhaps topped off with a wart sprouting several wiry hairs….

Writing Totems

A few years ago, I worked one day a week at an amazing children’s bookstore in Ashland, Oregon—Treehouse Books. Jane, the owner, inspired me by populating the store with items that I’m sure represented the magical/mystical spirits that bless her life: fairies, gnomes, ravens, owls, trees, even the occasional piggie evocative of my own Rufus….


One of these people is a gatekeeper: an editor. The other is a hero hoping to be allowed through the gate: a writer. Which is which? Can you tell? Is it the one speaking, or the one listening? The speaker looks authoritative. The listener, earnest, perhaps eager…or intimidated. One of the most intimidating parts of…

Take Flight

Outside my front window birds soar and swoop and dive. Not just once or twice a day but again and again and again. Pelicans glide into view in arrow-tight formations. Seagulls burst skyward, wings pumping against the wind. Crows chide and ravens rave as they skim the waves. What drives this constant motion? Dogs, sometimes….

Always Another Story

Recently, I’ve been writing short books for an educational publisher. There are no advances or royalties for this kind of writing. It’s flat-fee, work-for-hire writing and the writer gets a lot of input from the editors and series “authors” who, in this case, are big-name educators. This kind of writing can be an amazing teacher….

It’s a Journey…not a destination

I’ve been writing stories lately for a work-for-hire project that requires the writer to outline a number of very important things about the tale…before it’s been written. The editors want a synopsis that describes the character and the plot with as many juicy pertinent details as possible. That way of crafting a story goes against…

Every Word Matters

This morning, I posted a review on Goodreads about Laini Taylor’s latest book, Strange the Dreamer. I love the book (read it!), but the review led to a really funny moment, thanks to my ex-boss and primo editor-in-chief of Highlights, Christine French Cully. “Kim,” she wrote, “In your most recent post, I think you meant to…

My Writing Lair

I love seeing pics of the surroundings in which the writers whose work I love create their works. It’s energizing for some reason. So I thought, hmmm…why not take a snapshot of my own writing space? I did, and the pic you see is the result. When I step back and look at it, my…

Highlights and Me

I’ve met many a writer who first broke into print by publishing a story or an article or a craft or a recipe in Highlights for Children. I was not one of them. It was not for lack of trying. I sent many a tale across the desks of the likes of Christine French Clark…