Tough Education

Happy WIPpet Wednesday!

The end of the semester is here—exams are stressing out my students! I don’t envy them. Graduate school nearly broke me—academic hazing is what I called it. However, I am so extremely grateful for my education. The experience inspired me to write a book. So, that makes all the endless, sleepless nights of studying worth it.

For all the exam takers, you'll get through this.

For all the exam takers out there, you’ll get through this.

The Hall Speaks #fallsemester is my début novel and the sequel is my WIPpet. There are several story lines, but today I’m going to share an excerpt from Sage’s. He wears the RA position like a BOSS, making policy enforcement look cool. But the RA job has forced him into a dangerous situation. He gets a tough education—one that has nothing to do with school. I shared about him here.

For the math: May 14, 2014, just 5 sentences for the month.



Early Monday morning before the sun got up, Sage took off for the campus gym. He ran across the lawn as if the water called him. The distinct smell of chlorine hit him as he entered the humid, warm locker room. He went for first locker he saw and opened it, tossing in his blue bag. Alone, with only the steady humming sound of the heater, his thoughts racing just as fast.


Thanks for reading, and comments much appreciated! If you’d like to take part in WIPpet just go here.  Be sure to check out other WIPpets because they are fabulous! 🙂  And thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting! Happy reading All! Stay beautiful. 

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The Most Important Work of A Writer

I volunteer at my son’s elementary school.  Eighty-five percent of his classmates are learning English, along with this rigorous Kindergarten curriculum. And yes, it is actually a hard workload for a five-year-old: book reports, addition and substation, spelling tests.

I’m not sure about you, but my first schooling experience pretty much consisted of naps, magical story-times, and snacks.

Helping these kids with English, led me to think deeper about my writing. I wondered if my writing would translate—the way I intended it—in other languages.  Although hundreds of books are translated, thinking about my novel in a different language never crossed my mind. I imagine an author would need a ton of guidance to make sure the translation is as close to the original as possible.


As writers, we can tend to spend an exhausting amount of time looking for the perfect word to capture a scene or emotion. But how important is this to the story? Especially if it has potential to reach worldwide status.  I’m sure the writing style changes a bit during the translation process. But there is one thing that never changes.

Many writers ask, “What’s more important, the writing or the story?” I ran across a statement on Tumblr that gets us closer to the answer. A student sat in a presentation given by  Brian Doyle and here’s what they posted:

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting an amazing author, and an even better man named Brian Doyle. There are a few authors named Brian Doyle, but this one is the author from New York who wrote “Mink River” and “The Plover.” He talked about his own life and how he writes and what his process is, and it was all very standard for an author visiting a group of college students, but then he said something that really caught my attention. He said this:

“I don’t call myself a writer or an author. I call myself a story catcher. I don’t come up with stories, I live them and I take them and I keep them in my pocket until I need to tell them. I do this because stories are important. They are what we all live for. Stories are all anyone can know about anyone else. And so I challenge you to find the story that matters. Because behind everything there is a deeper story. When 9/11 happened everyone wrote about the brave firemen who rushed back into the buildings even though there was no chance that they could save everyone. Everyone wanted to write the story about the terror and the fear and the loss of an icon. But behind all the fire and tire and white ash is a more important story. Everyone tells the big story. No one tells the story about the family that sets four places at the dinner table, and has to put one plate back. I challenge you to find the important story. Find the story that really matters.”

The Story wins! 

Sky, fog, and clouds on a textured vintage paper background with grunge stains.

It’s been proven for centuries that stories are all we have, they confess the human experience. From The Great Gatsby, The Kite Runner,  Alice in Wonderland, all translated in several languages. But why? Because these stories captured a generation and continue to do so today.

I don’t know any teenagers reading original Shakespearian language for fun, but most enjoy stories from that era. We love them—like Disney, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, MacBeth, are here to stay.

So, the most important work of a writer is this: write in a way to help readers listen to the real story. It’s the story–even over time—that doesn’t change, but can change the world. And in the end, that’s all that matters.



Top 3 Stories for Love Day

Love Day can be a little awkward. Some people love it, while others hate all the gooey love stuff. And this goes for single people and those you think have significant others. Because we all know that being in a relationship doesn’t mean it’s a happy/healthy one. So, I’m never quite sure whether to wish someone a Happy Valentines Day or just act like it’s any other day. I try to be sensitive because I remember wanting to sleep through VD all together.

High school was the worst. Nothing is wrong with being single. Most days I really liked the freedom. However, what’s hard about being alone on Valentines Day–in high school–is others knowing and them feeling sorry for you. And they look at you like something is wrong–terrible wrong. It was just awkward.

Even though I didn’t have much success in school finding a sweetheart for Valentines, I’ve always been a little in love with…well, Love. Two people coming together and falling in love fascinates me. The books I enjoy almost always have a romantic element. But I must admit, the most romantic stories I know weren’t found in books. Here’s the top three that make me smile.

(To save my friends from embarrassment, I’m changing their names for this post.)


1. The Beach and Tiki Torches--My friend Kelly had dated Rick for several months. One day after work she found a note saying there was something waiting for her on the beach. All the directions were on a little map and off she went to find her treasure. When she got there during sunset, her boyfriend was waiting for her near the ocean front. He was wearing slacks and a collared shirt, surrounded by tiki torches. Of course, she cried as she walked toward him. And as they both stood in the middle of all these torches, he proposed.


2.  The Scrapbook –Okay, this was too sweet. My friend, Rose, had been seeing her boyfriend for five month or so. One day, he gave her a scrapbook. He’d been collecting all the pictures from their time together and other special occasions. The heading for each page titled by an important date and photo to go along with it.  Now, the scrapbook wasn’t full, but by the time she reached the middle the page read, ‘The first time I told you I loved you.’ There wasn’t a picture so she looked at him all curious but smiling. Then he said, ‘I love you.’ They took a picture that moment and it went in the scrapbook. And I went to their wedding this summer. 🙂


3. Under The Bridge– Not too long ago my girlfriend Nikki got engaged. The pictures were all over Facebook before we spoke in person. When she finally stole a minute away from her new fiancé, she called. And once we got through all the cheers and giddiness, I just wanted to know how he asked. As she started to tell the story I knew it was going to get elaborate. He stated their date with a message in a bottle with a yellow rose blooming out–it’s her favorite flower. Each place they went that night these messages in a bottle kept popping up, all with yellow roses. He’d driven around town beforehand putting these bottles everywhere. Then as they walked down the river walk, this bridge you see in the picture, he placed a special red rose underneath. This time, they read the message together. It was a note about their love and all that sappy goodness. And then he asked her to be his wife. At this point during her storytelling, I’m totally cheesing and wondering is this guy real. Like, what the heck, right? Anyway,this wasn’t even the best part. Above them on the bridge are all of her closets friends and family. He’d arranged for all of them to arrive in town to watch the proposal and celebrate at the engagement party that night. I guess he knew she’d say yes. Boy, I’m I glad she said yes, or this would be a very different story. 🙂

Happy Valentines Day!! 

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