Welcome to my website
I’m glad you’re here. I hope the new year finds you thriving and optimistic.
Great news: My new nonfiction children's book on North Carolina Piedmont farm life is in print and ready to launch! The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is publishing the book, called Bountiful Red Acres: Two Farms, Two Families, and a Year on the Land. The story follows the Hauser and Sawyers families through the year 1900, as they farm their patch of earth in Surry County, a site now known as Horne Creek Living Historical Farm. There's more good news: Bountiful Red Acres is illustrated by the talented Dare Coulter.
You can pre-order the book now from UNC Press. It's written for fourth- to eighth-graders, or for anyone who's interested in what it was like growing up on a farm at the turn of the 20th century. And if you're in the area, come to the official launch event at Horne Creek Farm, April 27 at 1 p.m.
Also humming along: I'm starting work on two new nonfiction projects; more on those as they develop. The YA novel I started some years ago is updated and looking for its place in the world. That was a good project for me during the long months of quarantine. I've finished a couple of manuscripts for very young readers. So many ambitions, so little time.
Among my other time-gobbling ambitions is an unending quest to create a perfect garden. Does the yard need a new stone path? Another fern here, another euphorbia there? Or maybe just the usual weeding, mulching, and rearranging or plants? Caring for the garden has become a passion of mine. There is something soothing about having my hands in the dirt, something heart-lifting about watching my plants bloom and grow anew every year. My favorites are the ones gifted to me by friends -- shared bounty to be treasured. In challenging times, it's great to have a high-maintenance garden.
Not long ago, I had the privilege of teaching Writing for Children through Duke University's OLLI program. It was my first time teaching adults, an entirely different challenge from teaching schoolkids. Like their young counterparts, though, the grown-up students were a joy to work with.
Anyway, please check in here now and then, look around, see what's new.
Read excerpts from my three most recent books. You can reach them with the links at left. If I get requests, I'll put up the first chapters of the older books as well.
Get to know me through my bio. Hint: Books and literacy are big parts of who I am and what I do.
Comb through my archive of bite-size Writing Tips. You'll find practical advice on punctuation, word use, story structure, character development, time management, and more. The Tips are now organized by category rather than chronologically, so you can easily find what you're looking for.
Contact me. Offer suggestions on how I can make this site more useful to you. Ask me questions about writing, publishing, or anything else.
Let me know if you're looking for a conference presentation. I love to visit schools, libraries, and community groups, in person or virtually. I had the opportunity a few years ago, during grad school at N.C. State University, to present at several academic conferences, a whole other world. All of which is to say, I am back in circulation, experienced at speaking to a range of audiences, and available for engagements.
The same goes for my editing services. I offer several levels of editing: Developmental, to work out big-picture issues in your story; Line Editing, to make the most effective use of your words; Copy Editing, to get the details right; and Proofreading, when you're self-publishing and ready to go to press. If you're looking for a freelance editor, contact me any time and I will be happy to answer your questions so you can decide if I'm the right editor for your project.
This is probably so obvious I don’t even need to say it, but … everything on this site is under copyright. Feel free to link to my site — new guests are always welcome. But before you copy or distribute any part of this material, ask me for permission.
Again, thanks for stopping by. Show yourself around. I want this to be a place where we can meet, communicate, and continue to share the joys of books and reading.