Last Class (for now…) New Classes Ahead

Today we celebrated our last creative writing class. I am so proud of the writing that came from this. Together we honed our stories, we twisted them inside-out, changed genres, perspectives and distilled them into poetry. Everyone’s started with a good story. They all finished with beautiful, well worked pieces of writing. Thank you everyone who attended–the pleasure was wholly mine :)

This class is done for now, but starting in January I’ll be back to teaching a whole new line up of classes. There will also be a two-hour workshop Thursday, Jan. 12 from 5-7 p.m. on Writing Your Memoirs offered at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida in Valparaiso. More details and sign up info are available on their website.

This is the class schedule for Northwest Florida State College. I’m excited to hear some fresh stories!


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Made In Honest on Etsy

made-in-honest-squareemily-tMy oldest daughter finally started a shop on Etsy! It’s about time, I say. She is a phenomenal seamstress, quilter and crafter that has won awards for her work. She is still stocking her shop, Made In Honest, so be sure to check back often and soon.

Sorry, I already claimed this wall hanging. Maybe she’ll make more :)



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Haunted Heritage Day!


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Fundraiser for Pippin

Pippin, adopted by my daughter, is one of the lucky few to have a home.

Pippin, taken last year with me for the HWA’s “Alone is Scary” campaign.

Recently we lost one of our dogs, Pippin, to a disease called lepto he contracted by drinking standing water tainted by rodents.

All our dogs contracted the disease, but Pippin succumbed to sudden liver failure and passed away Oct. 4… the day before my daughter’s birthday.

Between our two households there are five dogs, all rescues. Although we share the dogs, technically my daughter owned Pippin and the majority of his vet bill has gone to her.

We are all chipping in to pay, but my daughter has also started a GoFundMe campaign to help as well. Any extra funding will go to New Beginnings Animal Sanctuary where Pippin was adopted from.

I’m committed to helping as much as I can with direct donations as well as donating all the proceeds from my upcoming book signings directly to Pippin’s fund.

If you have it to spare, I ask that you will also chip in. Many hands make light work and between all of us this bill can be overcome. Even if you don’t have anything to spare financially, sharing the campaign and spreading the word helps just as much.

You can find Pippin’s GoFundMe campaign here.

And thank you.

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Creative Writing Week #5

writingpoetryThis week in our class we worked with distilling our story down to its pure, poetic essence. Stories were refined, expanded on and presented from new angles. All the work that is coming out of this class has depth and honesty. The topics have ranged, but the heart of the works blossoming have remained true to excellence.

Next week will be our last class and we will be making a final presentation of these stories that we have tweaked, stretched, turned inside-out and reshaped. We will also be discussing how writing can be an invaluable therapeutic tool.

For those of you who have decided to submit your stories to the Christmas Lites anthologies we talked about in class, here is that information:

Many of you are very familiar with the Christmas Lites anthology published every year. Every year Amy Eye from The Eyes for Editing compiles a Christmas anthology to support the NCADV (The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence). EVERY SINGLE DIME that is made from the sales of these books goes directly to the charity. This is the fifth year for Christmas Lites, and Amy is opening it up to visual artists and poets as well as the traditional prose offerings.

Christmas Lites III

“I don’t pay anyone for their stories, and there will be no royalty payments made to you,” says Amy. “The only thing you will get out of this experience is knowing that you donated some time and one of your beautifully crafted stories to make Christmas a little better for those who are dealing with the very real, and very devastating effects of domestic violence. Last year, Christmas Lites made it into the top lists on Amazon; it took a few years for us to get noticed, but we are getting noticed AND that means bringing in more money to this charity.”

If you are interested in contributing some of your creative work to a good cause, contact Amy Eye through her website,

Christmas Lites II

Here are Amy’s guidelines:

  • It can be of ANY genre
  • It has to mention Christmas in it somehow
  • It doesn’t even have to be a story – a poem or some sort of artwork would be amazing!
  • It has to be at least PG-13
  • Word count I ask to be no more than 5K
  • Entries due asap.

This year Line by Lion Publications will be helping Amy produce this book, and J.A. Clement will be doing cover art. I’ve had the privilege of contributing to the Christmas Lites anthologies from the beginning. The opportunity for me to give something I love doing as a gift makes my season meaningful every year.

Christmas Lites

“I am serious when I say ANY genre, horror, steampunk, fantasy, romance, sci-fi, children’s stories,” said Amy. “I love the books to be as diversified as the authors contributing to it. So please, I know it’s a little early and wet to be thinking about the holidays, but we are all writers/artists here – we can do ANYTHING! Including making a positive difference, in our own little way.”

If you are curious to learn more about the NCADV, please check out their website,

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Panhandle Focus archives now available

archivesAnyone who has been requesting past copies of the Panhandle Focus will be happy to know that all past issues, including our promotional issue, are now available for free download.

The domain address of points directly to the events calendar here, and the archives are linked above the calendar.

You can view the pdf issues there, print or download and save on your computer.

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Creative Writing Week #4

writing-notesToday we heard brilliant readings from everyone in class. All the stories have progressed to new levels and I am so happy to see how everyone has stretched themselves and explored new territory.

Next week we will start our brief look at distilling a story with poetry and the assignment is to write the same story we’ve been working with–as a poem. I can’t wait to hear the essence of these tales brought forth again in a new way. I urge everyone, especially self-professed “non poets” to try to pare down to the bare essentials.

I also want to share another blog by Laura D. that we talked about today called Got Whiskers. I was struggling to maintain composure today so close on the heels of losing Pippin. I appreciate Laura owning her own loss and sharing it with us.

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R.I.P. Pippin

Today we unexpectedly lost one of our dogs. Pippin, a gangling adolescent adopted last year from New Beginnings Animal Sanctuary, took ill Friday and spent the weekend in the hospital.

He had caught a virus but it didn’t seem serious. We all expected him to pull through. This afternoon his liver failed suddenly and we lost him.

The Adoption Tree up at Cafe Bienville is now dedicated to Pippin, one of the pups that was saved by New Beginnings to have a happy story.

Pippin found his forever home with all of us, we just didn’t realize how short “forever” was.

You can find out more about the Adoption Tree here.

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KidLit event at Niceville Library from 10-noon

niceville-libraryTomorrow I’ll be signing from 10 a.m. to noon with fellow children’s authors Helene Lund Den Boer and Katie Kahn at the Niceville Public Library, 206 Partin Drive N.  

Upcoming KidLit Author Events

October 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. I will be signing along with authors Robin WiesnethHelene Lund Den Boer and Katie Kahn at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida‘s first Haunted Heritage Day event. 

November 5 I’ll be signing books during the annual holiday open house at Artful Things, 1087 E John Sims Pkwy, Niceville, from 1 to 3 p.m.

November 12 I’ll be visiting Harlan Square’s Little Free Library from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Fort Walton Beach. Harlan Square’s Little Free Library is a free neighborhood library meant to promote literacy and the love of reading, while also building a sense of community. They are located at 2278 Harlan Avenue, Fort Walton Beach.

You can find complete details of these events and many other local happenings on my public events calendar.

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Creative Writing Week #3

writingToday’s class began with a lively discussion brought up by Laura D. about banned books. There were all sorts of different points of view.

No one was supportive of banning books (except for me) but there was general agreement that some books are not appropriate for all ages.

Why do I support banning books? I don’t agree with censorship but if a book makes it on the banned list it usually inspires so much buzz and controversy it soon makes many other lists, including best selling lists. That’s just my opinion, but let’s explore the idea by banning one of my books ;p

The work emerging from this group of writers is really gaining some beautiful depth. These guys have rich lives and experiences they are tapping into to share. The writing is well textured, sharp where it needs to be and warm when needed. I am very excited to see these stories continue to develop.

This week we are reworking our stories from a different angle. This can mean presenting the tale from a different perspective, in a different genre or voice or highlighting a different aspect. We will be sharing our results next week.

There will be class next Monday despite it being Columbus Day.


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