Trim Twist Demonstrator

Have you ever come across a call for submissions for a themed anthology or special issue of a magazine and thought, “Oh, I have something I could write that would fit”? Combing the submissions-wanted section in Poets & Writer’s magazine and signing up with Creative Writing Opportunities to receive daily emails about literary magazines and … Continue reading

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Navigating the Online Publishing and Promotion World

Over the last years, it has become respectable and even desirable to publish online and in ebook format. Traditional publishers, now often called legacy publishers, are scrambling to figure out how to survive in the digital age. With the mushrooming of digital opportunities, websites, publicists and book industry people are dedicated to helping authors find quality … Continue reading

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Judging the Personal Essay

In 2007, I wrote about the way I judge essays in a contest. As Writing It Real members enter their work for our 2013 Fall contest, I am reposting my thoughts on the judging process. When I judge, I separate judging into three steps and view the roles I take on, first of friend, then of … Continue reading

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Excerpt from Women of Strength by Betty Jane Cooper Johnson as told to Suzan Huney

Suzan Huney used what she’d learned about taking and publishing oral history in her recent book, Women of Strength, by Betty Jane Cooper Johnson as told to Suzan Huney. The following excerpt from their work together illustrates the way oral histories evoke time and place as well as the personality of the interviewee, while informing … Continue reading

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Interview with Suzan Huney on Her Book Women of Strength and Writing Oral History

On August 27, 2010, Suzan Huney began an oral history project with her Aunt Betty Jane Cooper Johnson, her mother’s sister.  For many years, the tight knit clan of Cooper family women had celebrated during yearly reunions, but interviewing Aunt Betty meant learning a lot more about the family as well as more about her … Continue reading

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An Interview with Award Winning Young Adult Author Pete Hautman

 This spring, I lead my town’s 8th graders in discussions about Pete Hautman’s young adult novel Blank Confession, a story based on the novel Shane, which is about a mysterious cowboy who changes the lives of a family while working on their ranch for only a short while. In Pete’s story, a boy arrives in … Continue reading

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In Celebration of Behind Us the Way Grows Wider: Thoughts on a few of my poems

Last week, Pixelita Press published Behind Us the Way Grows Wider, a collection of my poems from 1980 to the present. To celebrate, I am sharing some of the poems and my commentary about them. As the title suggests, the book starts with my earlier poems and continues through my latest poems. Here is one … Continue reading

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What Is Fantasy Fiction?

Fantasy author Brian Rush’s article on writing for the fantasy fiction audience is filled with the history of the genre. He helps us see that even if we don’t think we like reading fantasy fiction or don’t ever write it, we actually have some experience with this, in truth, very old genre. Brian’s article is … Continue reading

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Two Old Dogs and a Reverent: 15 Musings on Persona

-1- I am reading Garth Stein’s novel Racing in the Rain. I am drawn in by the narrator, a dog named Enzo. As I read, I remember two other works in which dogs narrate–Billy Collins’ poem “The Revenant” and Eugene O’Neill’s essay, “The Last Will and Testament of Silverdene Emblem O’Neill.” In all of these … Continue reading

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Some of My Favorite Answers For Writers

A good interview calls forth the best from an interviewee, and I am pleased that I have had such opportunities to articulate the thoughts and experiences that shaped me as a writer and writing teacher.  Here are answers I’ve reread recenting and find worth repeating to others as well as to myself: I was honored … Continue reading

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To Write is to Observe: Learning This Again on a Trip to Turkey

To Write is to Observe: Learning This Again on a Trip to Turkey In Mid-May, I took a trip to Turkey with 11 women writers. Susan Bono and I gathered participants who met together for four days of touring Istanbul. Our Turkish counterpart, writer and teacher Yesim Cimcoz and her student Fusun Centinel put together walking … Continue reading

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For Those Who Want to Experience a Writing Retreat

Susan Rich is a veteran of many writing retreats and served on the selection committee for Hedgebrook Writers’ Retreat. If you are interested in finding a writer’s retreat to spend some time away from home in an environment conducive to writing and sharing your work with other artists in residence, you’ll be interested in poet … Continue reading

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Writing Memoir and Poetry, Studying with Mentors and Peers: Interview with Anne McDuffie, Recent MFA Low Residency Program Graduate

Have you wondered about the value of MFA programs or wanted to learn what the MFA candidates learn? Here’s an opportunity to receive enrichment from a recent MFA candidate’s experience–Anne has offered loads of links to journals and writers you will want to know about. Sheila I am pleased by the opportunity to talk with … Continue reading

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In Conversation with Midge Raymond, Author of How to be an Everyday Writer: Tips and Prompts

This week author and publisher Midge Raymond, whose newest book is How to be an Everyday Writer: Tips and Prompts, offers us some of her quickie prompts and answers questions about her career and writing. Sheila Midge, you have succeeded in publishing collections of short stories and novels and you have wonderful nonfiction essays out there. You’re … Continue reading

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Lust for Life

The following is excerpted from Chapter 7 of Dancing on One Foot: Growing Up in Nazi Germany by permission of the author. On May 8, 1945, a radio announce­ment declared the end of World War II and the women of the neighborhood got very busy. They made huge pots and bowls full of green peppermint … Continue reading

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Interview with Memoirist Shanti Elke Bannwart

None of us know the full impact of our stories, only that we are compelled to write them. Shanti Elke Bannwart, author of Dancing On One Foot: Growing Up In Nazi Germany, says, “Creating art is dangerous. It strips you naked and stirs the deep waters of self-doubt; it pokes your nose into the gap … Continue reading

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Bagging Africa’s Big Five

Dorothy Ross’s winning personal essay takes her readers to Africa and a photo safari involving more action than the writer had bargained for. The details the author chooses put us right into the situation with directness and good humor, attributes of good writing. Bagging Africa’s Big Fiveby Dorothy Ross Thirty-six hours after leaving San Francisco, … Continue reading

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Monday Morning at the Fracture Clinic

I admire Karin Goldberg’s recent Writing It Real contest winning description of an accident she suffered and her description of waiting for help. Though in shock, she did what she could to remain in control. In the days after the accident, she comes to an insight of value to all of us writers. Monday Morning … Continue reading

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American Union

I admire Cecile Lusby’s first-place winning essay in our recent Writing It Real contest for its use of dialog to involve the reader in the author’s life-changing childhood experience and for the way the essay spans time, letting us know the impacts of our interactions with others affect us for a lifetime, and working out … Continue reading

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Go Ahead: Write About Your Parents, Again

Tarn Wilson writes, “Then, in my newest piece of writing, my mother returned like a zombie, dominating in all her horror and glory. She was stubborn and unyielding and I had no powers against her. After I’d wallowed around in the shame of my retrogression, I decided to re-examine my assumptions.” It is with delight that … Continue reading

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