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….

Gatekeepers

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….

Smoke Gets in Your…Brain!

For more than a month, I’ve been sucking down smoke in Ashland, Oregon. The whole state seems to be on fire. Admittedly, I haven’t seen any actual flames, but the Rogue Valley, where I live, is surrounded by wildfires. No matter which way the wind blows, we get smoke. More than 200,000 acres are on…

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…

Morning Breaks

I took this photo outside the window of my tiny home (AKA RV) early this morning. I live in a small tree-encircled park within an Ashland neighborhood, just a few blocks from Main Street and the quaint downtown area. Deer outside my window are a common sight. I find it both beautiful and tragic. Beautiful…

Chai and Chi

Originally posted on Bespectacled & Bookish:
One of the most interesting parts of working in cafés is the opportunity to overhear conversations. This afternoon, the background “music” for my pot of eggnog chai (total yum!) was a Portlander who was fretting over how badly his “chi” was affecting his ability to grow his business. If…

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…