“Not My Responsibility!”

Closed elevators in my apartment building-love the art deco doors! Keep reading to find out why this photo…

There is a whole industry that preys upon school districts, both public and private, by offering speakers to come give “important” talks to local school children and/or faculty and staff for a nice fee.

Once such group got money from the private Catholic middle school where I taught for a few years. Our administration hired someone to come talk to the faculty of the dangers of texting and walking. I am not kidding. They actually paid money for this. 

During a campuswide faculty/staff meeting, an hour was set aside for this guest speaker. Back when smart phones first entered the scene, occasional videos would go viral of people so engrossed in their phones that they walked into fountains or dropped into holes in the ground. They were funny. We all laughed at them. But did we seriously need “an expert” to explain to us that this practice of staring at your phone while walking is dangerous?? 

And to make matters worse, the person who actually did the presentation, complete with powerpoint slides (to me, an immediate sign of an amateur) and said viral videos, was a terrible public speaker. What a waste.

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Lessons Learned Walking to the Gym

Alone and invisible while surrounded by hundreds of people

I had a whole plan for today, all mapped out on my calendar. But my walk to the gym put a huge wrench in those plans. And I feel the need to write about it. So here we are…

At around 11:15 AM, I left my apartment, and about a half block ahead of me, I saw an elderly woman with a cane fall in the street near the end of the crosswalk. I quickened my step as I watched her struggle to get up. People walked up and down the sidewalks without even a glance at her. So I yelled out that I was coming, to just stay put and that I would help her. 

She was a bit overweight – I wasn’t going to be able to get her up by myself, so I called over to a woman walking across the street. The two of us were able to get her to her feet. But she was very shaky. I then wondered if she was injured and that we shouldn’t even have tried to get her up. But she insisted she wasn’t injured. Just shaken up.

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Writing Process (Part 6)

Today’s post is the last installment of my series on the writing process of taking Cassandra’s Daughter from idea to print, a process that took years in the making!

If you haven’t read the series from the beginning, you can start HERE. In the previous post, I got my draft pretty darn close to being finalized. The main step that was left at this point was preparing the manuscript.

This was the stage where my experience with Clara’s Journal proved the most valuable. I should probably also point out that what a lot of people may not realize is just how much the traditional publishing world has changed. I had pretty much decided that I would go the self-publishing route. The cons for going with a traditional publisher simply had too many cons on the ledger. 

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Writing Process (Part 5)

First cover attempt

What follows is Part 5 of my discussion of the writing process I went through to get Cassandra’s Daughter to print. In this installment, I am coming close to feeling like I might actually have a final draft. And I should point out that when I say a final draft, by no means did that mean I thought it was nearly finished. I had just gotten it close to a point where I might be willing to let someone (other than my children) read it.

At this stage, the story was not quite told in chronological order. I was still trying to mix things up – for dramatic effect. Each chapter was devoted to the third-person perspective of a single character, and I had chapters devoted to many more characters than just Cora, Leah, and Cassandra. There were chapters for Bessie, Kevin, Dr. Pendergast, etc. 

But I wanted Cassandra’s story to be told differently. I wanted Cassandra to be rendered voiceless and unable to create as a result of the generational secrets kept from her. But as she discovered the truth, she would be able to gain her voice, to create, to tell her own story. This would mean that I wanted her to tell her own story in first person by the end of the book. But how to make that transition?

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Writing Process (Part 4)

Some people have been asking about how I ended up writing Cassandra’s Daughter, and so I started this set of posts. If you are just finding this, you can go back to Part One to start from the beginning. In the previous installment, I discussed some of the “big picture” decisions I was making during the early drafts of the book while living in the Outer Banks.

At this point, I was mostly spending my time imagining, finding connections, solving puzzles, doing research, and telling stories.

As I would read through each latest draft, I would constantly find myself asking questions:

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