Yes, I know I’m writing these books wrong, but I don’t care. (plus a sneak peek to Book 8)

Over the years I’ve been told by critics that: I wrote my books “wrong” (whatever that means); That that my series wouldn’t be “successful” (by whose standards?) because it wasn’t like other people’s books series; That if I really wanted to be popular (why would I want that much attention?!) I needed to change x, … Continue reading Yes, I know I’m writing these books wrong, but I don’t care. (plus a sneak peek to Book 8)

They can keep changing the rules, but we don’t have to be obedient. (Plus 3 sneak peeks into Book 8)

My 6-year-old tried to play chess with me at their school’s STEM night last week. I didn’t realize he knew the rules, and it turns out he doesn’t, because he produced a secret weapon: a 6-legged spider he’d made out of clay in his class earlier. “This is spider-guy,” he announced. “And he can eat … Continue reading They can keep changing the rules, but we don’t have to be obedient. (Plus 3 sneak peeks into Book 8)

Why there will be different answers to these questions, and why that’s ok

Each of my writing classes was subjected to the following experiment. I’d divide the students into three groups, have all of them close their eyes, then, one group at a time, they’d open their eyes to read three words on the board. The first group would read this: After they closed their eyes, I’d erase … Continue reading Why there will be different answers to these questions, and why that’s ok

Hoarding your praise doesn’t make it more valuable

When I was asked to be a “responder” for a writers and artists fest our school district hosts each year at the university, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. My daughter had participated when she was in middle school, spending five agonizing minutes reading her writing in front of two “responders,” several peers, and … Continue reading Hoarding your praise doesn’t make it more valuable

Book 5 Teaser–the manly art of swearing

For seventeen years I taught writing to college freshmen and high school seniors. Watching who thought swearing was mature, or cool, or the way of the world, was always fascinating. Without fail, those who swore were the most insecure and desperate to prove something. One semester I was asked to teach the automotive repair students … Continue reading Book 5 Teaser–the manly art of swearing

Farewell to a beta reader: my life preserver and sinking anchor

Writers need beta readers because they are a mixture of life preservers and anchors; on the one hand they point out the little things we can do to fix the draft, and their enthusiasm keeps us buoyant. But on the other hand they drop anchors on us, comments that can sink us into editing despair, … Continue reading Farewell to a beta reader: my life preserver and sinking anchor

Why English as a major is dying

Some years ago I was hired on as an adjunct composition instructor at a public university in the Carolinas. (We’ll allow this English department to remain anonymous.) At the faculty meeting held a couple of weeks before school started, several agenda items had to be addressed. After the usual introductions, someone of importance stood up … Continue reading Why English as a major is dying

Planned Parenthood and its Very Care-ful Language

[Warning: this post contains graphic--yet accurate--language. Discretion is advised.] You probably don’t want to know about any of this, and may have even avoided all discussion about the Planned Parenthood videos. But you can’t. You MUST to know what’s going on, and more importantly, why Planned Parenthood has gotten away with so much for so … Continue reading Planned Parenthood and its Very Care-ful Language

Excuse me, but your ignorance is showing

Recently a mother of an autistic son in the Salt Lake Valley found the following stickers on her car around her Autistic Child sign: What caught my eye, however, was this sticker. Exactly what’s this supposed to mean? It means that the perpetrator is embarrassingly ignorant, on many levels. Ignorant of autism. Ignorant of appropriate … Continue reading Excuse me, but your ignorance is showing