Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What's a "Real" Writer?

So, the question came up on the blue boards about what is a "real" writer. I have often stumbled over the words when someone asks me what I do now. "Well, I used to teach high school and some college courses. Now I am raising two kids. Oh, yeah, and I write a little on the side." But how do I say, "Well,...I'm a children's writer." You all know that look, the scoff at a would-be novelist who has too much time on his hands, right? I found I didn't feel legitimate, at least not in the company of non-writers, unless I had a published credit to my name. Well, I am on the verge of such a credit with my recent acceptance to Cricket, but does that make me any more a writer than I was before? Was I really any less of a writer then? Someone made an excellent comparison: If an athlete hasn't won any medals, does that make him not an athlete? Of course not!

So, I am in the midst of building a syllabus for a college course I will be teaching next semester: "Writing Children's Literature". When I was offered the job, I jumped at it, but that little bug in the back of my brain whispered, "psst! but you haven't even published anything yet. How much can you know?" I finally answered myself, "PLENTY!" I have a nice pile of rejection letters, some encouraging notes with them; a stack of manuscripts; a ton of reading experience; and a good bit of teaching experience as well. And writing experience? Only 25 or more years worth! Not all of that goes towards writing for kids, but I AM A WRITER. Would I die if I couldn't do it? No. But I'd be a lot less cheerful, probably more neurotic than I already am, and a lot less interesting.

So...what do you all think? What is a "real" writer?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cricket and things are hoppin'!

So, my latest news is that Cricket Magazine just accepted my story "Abe and the Magic Lantern". I received the fabulous letter on Friday, a day after stuffing myself full of turkey and oyster dressing and thanking God for the many blessings I already have. Now I have another! The editor at Cricket was wonderful, and I emailed him this morning and within minutes received a reply. What a wonderful way to finish off one holiday and start the preparations for another.

Speaking of everyone ready? My hubby and I have already started shopping and actually had a celebration/date night last night thanks to my brother-in-law and his wife. I can't wait to put up the Christmas tree and deck the shrubs and trees outside with lights--finally. I've always wanted to do a little outside, but it's always been so low on the priority list that it never got done. But this year...

Oh! And I did accept the teaching position, so I'll be a busy chick next semester. Now I must get my novel finished before Christmas...I must...I must...I must finish the battle for man's survival and leave my MC standing tall...

What's your mantra?

Friday, November 10, 2006


Ok. So here I am in what I've been told is a flattering photo--I'm not sure there is such a thing when it comes to me, but you get the idea. I'm new to the whole blog thing, so forgive my novice appearance. Just what we all need...another distraction to keep us from publishing that blockbuster we know resides deep within our child-like subconscious. At least I hope I can find it there. Please feel free to leave your thoughts or wisdom, however they may coincide.

Just a little bit about me. I'm the mother of 2 fabulously creative and brilliant kids--a 9-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl. I used to teach English to high school students, many of them gifted, all of them fascinating. After putting my husband through graduate school (yikes!), I am now staying home to pursue my dream of writing books for children and young adults while he lives his as an English professor at a small liberal arts college. We are a disgustingly literary family with far too little book shelf space--hoping the big sale will remedy well as buy back my second passion--horses. (Had to sell mine, what with the whole graduate school budget and all).

What do I write? Mostly ghost stories. I love them. I grew up in a house that was haunted by the ghost of a young Miami indian. Yes, we saw things move unbidden and heard strange noises. When the toilet ended up in the middle of the bedroom one night, we figured he had a real sense of humor! I am currently working on a historical novel set in 1850 Rochester, NY. I am very nearly done and look forward to sharing more, but for now, that will have to be all.

Thanks for taking a peek.

Mary Ann...the Ghost Girl