"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."

~Laura Ingalls Wilder

My Writing

August 20, 2013
Special Delivery

So my bright and shiny CALA (Catholic Arts & Letters Award) for Anna Mei, Blessing in Disguise arrived in the mail the other day. 

After getting its picture taken with me, its immediate plans are to move into the bookshelf, where my copies of the Anna Mei books live. I have a feeling it's going to look right at home there.

August 12, 2013
"Blessing in Disguise" Wins a National Award

It’s beyond thrilling to announce that the third book in my Anna Mei series, Blessing in Disguise, has just been awarded the 2013 Catholic Arts and Letters Award by the Catholic Writers Guild. The award was announced at the guild's annual conference, held this year in Somerset, New Jersey.

Although I was not able to attend the conference, I knew that Blessing in Disguise had been submitted for consideration by my publisher, Pauline Books & Media. Just prior to the conference I learned that it had been selected as one of three finalists in the children’s fiction category.

Then on Aug. 8, bestselling author and CWG president Ellen Hrkach announced that Blessing had won the award. Pauline's Sales and Marketing Director, Sr. Martha Moss FSP, accepted the award on my behalf.
It’s impossible to describe how honored I feel to have my work singled out by the CWG, an amazing group of 250 talented and dedicated writers whose mission is to promote excellence. I’m also grateful that PBM believed in Blessing and felt it belonged in this competition. And I hope this recognition means that more readers will discover Anna Mei, and be inspired by her journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

I can’t think of any better way to end this post than by quoting the final paragraph of the book. Although I was writing from Anna Mei's point of view, I share her feelings about the blessings that come at unexpected moments: 
Her life was filled with blessings—some of them smiling brightly, others hiding behind a fake nose and black plastic glasses. But from now on, no matter how they came into her life, she would try to recognize them, and be grateful.

June 15, 2013
Getting Caught

Recently my library district ran a promotion called "Get Caught Reading." They invited people to submit photos of themselves (or their family members, or their pets!) reading whatever they like. There were a lot of cute and clever entries...but I'm kind of partial to this one.

April 11, 2013
Ordinary Treasures

Since publishing the Anna Mei series, the groups I’ve been invited to speak to have fallen into two basic categories: 1.) children, and 2.) adults who are aspiring writers.

With Margaret L. and Linda G.
So it was a nice change of pace to be asked to speak at a luncheon hosted by a chapter of the Association of Catholic Women. Even though I was meeting them for the first time, I felt as if I knew these women. They were like the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and friends I'd known my whole life.

My topic that day was inspirations. I explained how I had learned to find mine in the everyday occurrences of family life. As a mother of three, I had what practically amounted to an idea factory right in my own home. Things that amazed my children, amused them, challenged them, charmed them—these were the seeds that eventually grew into published stories.

My sweet niece, Ana
When I decided to try writing a full-length novel for middle-grade readers, I told them, my inspiration came from my family again. I settled on the idea of a character based loosely on two of my nieces, who had been adopted from China as babies. I wondered what extra challenges the girls might face during their tween years, and what kind of inner strength it would take to meet them. Those initial questions were the basis for the Anna Mei stories.

My writing has never been about the mystical or the magical. For me it's more about paying attention, filing away memories, finding inspiration in ordinary life. As I looked at the faces in the audience, I knew these women understood. After all, they had family stories, too, stored up in their minds and hearts like treasures.

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