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A Day of Firsts

One of my favorite parts of being an author is visiting schools to present programs and talk to the students. My desire is to make a difference in the students’ lives with my writing. The story accomplishes that, but when I can visit a school and talk with the students, I can convey my passions and take the lessons to a deeper level.

Today was a treat as I was invited to speak at CSA Central Middle School. Up until this point, I had spoken to groups of preschoolers, elementary students, adults and senior groups, but had not yet spoken at a middle or high school. The students were eager to listen and had some great questions.

Another first for today was that my husband, Paul Hoffman, and I were asked to speak together. We’d never done this before, but rocked out our program as well as sharing the slide remote control very well (we both attended kindergarten – a prerequisite for learning to share).

The CSA Central students are preparing to write historical fiction stories done in the “choose your own adventure” style. Paul and I were able to offer advice on creating a theme, how to gain inspiration, and outlining as well as some other handy writing tips.

At the end of the second group, one of the young ladies approached me with a broad smile on her face. She asked at what age did I start writing. She stated she had already started her writing career, creating stories for her younger brother to read. She also had something else to share, a characiture of my husband and I (seen at the top of the page). I was very honored that she shared this with us and allowed me to photograph it. Yet another first, a drawing of the two of us.

I never know what surprises await me when I speak, but they never disappoint.

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Diapause

When Paul and I returned from Ukraine & Ireland, I was pleased to find my parsley plant covered with Black Swallowtail caterpillars. We had several caterpillars last year, but this year a total of 32 were eating, hiding, and enjoying my herb garden. I brought them into my butterfly house, provided them with organic parsley, cleaned out the frass daily and waited. They grew…and grew…and grew. Finally, they were ready to form their chrysalis and prepare for the time they would eclose.

But this year was different. There were a few that didn’t make it to the chrysalis stage. Four formed their chrysalis, but then were invaded by Chalcid wasps (equivalent of our Invasion of the Body Snatchers). When the first butterfly came out, its wings never developed for flight. I cried. Butterflies were made to fly. Several more emerged and flew off to the East. Currently I have about 8 chrysalis left, which have decided to diapause or over-winter (insect’s version of hibernation).

I researched and discovered I must place the butterflies outside, still in their house, in a protected space such as a porch with an overhang or a garage. I choose my garage and placed them up off the floor with a towel covering two sides of the house. They need protection from predators as well as some humidity and ventilation. Now, as the butterfly waits for spring, so do I. I am hopeful that they will emerge triumphantly next spring and fly off, perhaps returning to lay more eggs in my little herb garden.

As I contemplated my butterflies this year, I thought of how their metamorphosis is a perfect picture of ours. Some mature more quickly and emerge ready to fly. Others are attacked by the enemy or consumed by vices or the troubles of life and never emerge. Some think they are ready to fly, as they have made it through their metamorphosis, but still cling to the earth and don’t let their wings develop enough to fly. They are afraid, unsure of their newfound abilities. They cling to the life they knew before, even if it was painful because it’s what they know and it seems more comfortable. Then there are those who only need more time. They are changing and growing, but winter approaches. They know it’s not time to fly. It’s time to rest. Eclosing now would mean death. So, they wait.

What phase of metamorphosis are you in? If you are allowing growth and change, if you are resting when the winter of life comes, you are on the right path to becoming who you were meant to be. But, if you are afraid of the changes, if you complete your metamorphosis, but you’re afraid to spread your wings and fly, don’t despair…others have been there before, as well. You’re not alone. Don’t be afraid of this change. It’s new and strange, but it’s where you’re meant to be. You were meant to spread your wings and fly. And if you’re in the stage where you are allowing harm into your life whether from others or yourself, make the decision to stand up and say, “No More. This stops today.” Don’t let the “parasites” consume you. Finish your transformation.

Embrace the change. Eclose or diaspause. But grow. Be at peace and find gratitude and joy in your metamorphosis.

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Exploring New Possibilities

I’ve published poetry, two children’s books with two more coming out soon, but had not yet taken on writing for a magazine. My friend, Kyrian London, who publishes e-zine, Brave Wings Magazine, asked if she could interview me for the magazine. I agreed and quite enjoyed thinking through and writing out the answers to her questions. Interview

After the interview, I agreed to write an article for her March issue on my adventure in Ireland – The Magic of Ireland. I found that I quite enjoyed writing magazine articles and was ready to take on another one.

My next article took on the subject of coping with fibromyalgia, Balancing Act.

Writing for a magazine can be a bit challenging as you are writing in a concise, informative venue in which you need to keep the reader’s interest. I was quite pleased with my first few attempts and am ready to take on more assignments. I’ve learned more about my abilities, broadened my scope of writing, and hopefully written articles that others can learn from and enjoy. I hope you enjoy reading the articles and will check out other articles in Brave Wings Magazine.

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Life of a Busy Author

Authors, especially those with day jobs, are extremely busy people. I’ve not had time to update my blog for several months due to author events and well…life. My husband, Paul, who is also a talented author, and I have been to a variety of events in the last six months and are scheduling a plethora of events for the rest of the year.

 

Writing does have a progression or method to it, but it may not be one work at a time. Currently I have several ideas in various stages. Between the author events, day job, writing in my blog, and life, it can be difficult to find time to work on these different ideas, but it is something authors have to do. The ideas, research, writing, editing, marketing, etc. takes effort, belief in yourself, and perseverance.

So when you think about becoming an author or when you talk to one, know that it is not just writing down a story and putting it into printed form, There is so much that goes into publishing a story. It is not easy, but it is rewarding. So hug an author, ask them about their process, schedule them to speak at your event, buy their books, and write reviews for them. The need your support.

 

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Richards Elementary School Visit

After postponing my visit due to bronchitis, I was able to visit Richards Elementary in Columbus, Indiana last Friday. The visit was a huge success and I was able to maintain my voice throughout, though it was quite scratchy by the time I left. This was the first time I have spoken to an entire school and I must say they were very attentive and respectful. The first group heard me speak on “How to Write a Story” and the second group, “Overcoming Obstacles”.

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One young man asked if I could sign his bookmark, which I did and thus started a long line of eager students who wanted my autograph. The young man remarked that he would keep the bookmark always and never wash it! It seems I am a celebrity in my hometown.

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When I finished here, I made my way to the kindergarten classroom and read both of my books to the students there. They were the first to hear me read “Sigmund Stanley Spider Squared” and they loved it!

Ready for my next adventure! Contact me if you would like me to speak at your school, library, etc. I’m always excited to meet new people and share with them about my passions.