Thursday, January 14, 2010


Book Contest News!

Well, I’m smack-dab in the middle of my Book Blog Tour for Not Just Spirited: A Mom’s Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). It’s been so much fun so far! And I had a new experience yesterday: My first radio interview. =S I’m not feeling 100% stoked about how I did but they said that I did great for a first radio interview. I guess factoring in that I had Xander and Sophie fighting like dogs over crayons in the background, and I wasn’t able to concentrate on every word I was saying, I did pretty good.

My advice on the entire situation? NEVER give an interview with kiddos in the background unless there’s someone to distract them. =)

While on the subject of books, I came across a great book contest to share with all of you. Hope someone out there manages to score big and get her book out there! (I think I may even try this one out.)

Let us know if you enter and how you do. Good luck!


2010 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and RFK Journalism Awards: The Robert F. Kennedy Book Award

The Robert F. Kennedy Book Award was founded in 1980, with the proceeds from Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.'s best-selling biography, Robert Kennedy and His Times. Each year the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights presents an award to the book which "most faithfully and forcefully reflects Robert Kennedy's purposes -- his concern for the poor and the powerless, his struggle for honest and even-handed justice, his conviction that a decent society must assure all young people a fair chance, and his faith that a free democracy can act to remedy disparities of power and opportunity." The Robert F. Kennedy Book Award has been recognized as one of the most prestigious honors an author can receive.

The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards were founded in 1968 by a group of journalists who covered the Senator's presidential campaign. The awards honor outstanding reporting on issues that reflect Robert Kennedy's concerns including human rights, social justice and the power of individual action in the United States and around the world: insights into the causes, conditions and remedies of injustice and critical analyses of relevant public policies, programs, attitudes and private endeavors. The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards program is the largest of its kind and one of the few in which winners are determined by their peers. Past winners include The Washington Post, National Public Radio and CBS's "60 Minutes."

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Monday, January 04, 2010


Chynna Laird, author of Not Just Spirited, launches her blog tour!

& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

Chynna T. Laird is a mother of three beautiful girls, Jaimie (six-and-a-half), Jordhan (five) and baby Sophie (sixteen months), and a gorgeous baby boy Xander (almost three). In addition to living her dream building up her at-home freelance business (Lily Wolf Words), she's also studying to obtain her B.A. in Psychology, specializing in Early Childhood Development.

Her hobbies include writing, reading, playing piano and crafting with her girls. A lot of the material she writes about includes childhood experiences, her adventures as a Mom, and her personal observations.

She's won writing contests in Byline magazine and her work has been published in various Christian, parenting, writing and inspirational magazines in Canada, the United States, Britain and Australia. As well, she's had personal essays featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Children with Special Needs and Cup of Comfort for Special Needs. Last year, she released a children's picture book called, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD, where she describes--through the voice and perspective of four-year old Alexandra--what it's like to live with Sensory Integration Dysfunction (Sensory Processing Disorder).

Chynna is a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC), The International Women's Writing Guild, The Writers-Editors Network, Christian Writers' Guild, The Canadian Author's Association as well as The Writers Guild of Alberta. She has press cards through the PWAC and the Writers-Editors Network.

Chynna is on tour for her second book, Not Just Spirited: A Mom's Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and her third book, The Sensory Diet: Setting Your SPD Child up for Success, will be released this year.

Find out more about Chynna by visiting her websites:
Lily Wolf Words:

Not Just Spirited: A Mom's Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
By Chynna T. Laird

What would you do if your child suffered with something so severe it affected every aspect of her life?

And what if your cries for help fell on deaf ears at every turn? You'd follow your gut and fight until someone listened. And that's what Chynna Laird did. When she was just three months old, Jaimie's reactions to people and situations seemed odd. She refused any form of touch, she gagged at smells, she was clutzy and threw herself around and spent most of her day screaming with her hands over her ears and eyes.

By the time she turned two, Jaimie was so fearful of her world they spent most days inside. What was wrong with Chynna's miracle girl? Why wouldn't anyone help her figure it out? Jaimie wasn't "just spirited" as her physician suggested, nor did she lack discipline at home. When Jaimie was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) at two-and-a-half, Chynna thought she had "the answer," but that was just the start of a three-year quest for the right treatments to bring the Jaimie she loved so much out for others to see. With the right diagnosis and treatment suited to Jaimie, this family finally felt hope. Not Just Spirited is one mother's journey to finding peace for her daughter, Jaimie. As Chynna says often, "Knowledge breeds understanding. And that's so powerful."

Genre: Memoir/Children with Special Needs
Paperback: 174 pages
Publisher: Loving Healing Press (November 2009)
ISBN: 1615990089

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Chynna Laird's book, Not Just Spirited, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end. We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!

(Photo: Chynna's beauties!)

Interview by Jodi Webb

WOW: Welcome, Chynna! Presently, you have three books to your name--each in a different category--but all concentrating on the same subject, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). In writing these books, did you find that you preferred one type of writing over another?

What a great question! I have to say that I loved writing the children's book the best. That's not because it was the easiest--I still had to concentrate on the target audience, make sure I was saying things "correctly" for that audience, etc. But I think it was because the book was for my little girl. It was my way of helping her to understand what she was going through and how to give her the words to explain her SPD to others. I guess because, at the time I wrote it, I wasn't able to hold her or comfort her or give her any of the usual mommy forms of affection due to her sense of touch being so sensitive; it was my way to do those things. I'll always treasure that book.

WOW: That's beautiful. So what lessons did you learn from your children's book that helped you with your memoir, Not Just Spirited?

Chynna: The number one lesson I learned from the children's book is how important marketing is. I wrote the book in 2007 but didn't really get out there and hard-core market it until earlier this year. Not good, especially when you self-publish. I soon realized that no one would even know my book was out there unless I steered people to it. So now I'm learning about different marketing tools, the most effective social connection tools I can access with the time I have to use them, etc. Some writers make the mistake of thinking their publisher or someone else will be doing all the promoting for them and it's not the case. The writer/author is expected to do a lot of her own promotion and marketing. It's a lot of work but so worth it!

WOW: Thank you for mentioning that--it's a great reminder for authors. Tell us the origins of your memoir.

Chynna: When I first started writing the memoir, I was really just working through the feelings of hurt, confusion and anger I had. Why couldn't I help my child? What was wrong with her? What was wrong with me? At first, it was basically a compilation of journal entries--you know, trying to work through all the emotions.

Then after I wrote my children's book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD, I really wanted to do more to help other families out there if I could. I didn't want to write a tell-all or make parents think or do a specific thing. I just wanted to say, "This was our experience. This is what happened in our house and how we dealt with it. These are the things we went up against. It may not have been the 'right thing,' or the 'wrong thing,' but it was what we did. Take what you need, and keep pushing forward with your own journey."

The most important thing I wanted to do was to give parents something I didn't have in the beginning of our SPD journey: The comfort that other families are going through the same things we are and that they aren't alone. One thing I was told in the beginning of my struggle was that, "Parents often feel like they're on a remote island where no one else is going through what they are or understand what it's like to raise a child with sensory issues. Once we reach out...once we share our stories...bridges are built among those islands and we aren't alone anymore." When I heard those words, I realized how important it was for parents to tell their stories.

WOW: I totally agree. I'm sure your book will help a lot of parents who are going through the same thing, and I applaud you for that! When you sat down to write your memoir, how did the process work? Did you rely on memories and journals? Did you discuss the experience with your family?

Chynna: For the longest time, it was only me and Steve [Chynna's husband] here going through everything with Jaimie. It's truly a difficult thing to make people understand your situation when they aren't there to go through it with you. It was so frustrating and lonely, and writing about it always made me feel better.

I wrote journal entries mostly, at first. Then, when I went back to edit it, I went through everything again. It was painful, joyous, angering and enlightening all at the same time. I re-lived every experience...every emotion...and it could be so hard. I often had to leave the computer, just turn it off. It was difficult enough to go through all of that initially...not just for me but especially for Jaimie.

I rewrote parts of the manuscript many times. Not because I'd written it "wrong," but more because this isn't just my story. It's Jaimie's and Steve's and my other children's story. So I had to be sure it was told 'just right,' you know? I didn't want to complain or give a 'poor me' type of perspective. If I was going to share our story, it had to be giving the message that things are tough and you'll face many obstacles but you have to be strong and you'll get where you need to be.

I constantly talked with Steve about the book. A huge part of our story was Jaimie's rejection of his love because she wasn't--and still isn't--able to deal with that. So I had to be sure that I was being true to his feelings and views while remembering this book would be out there for a long time (Hopefully!) and Jaimie's early life would be out there. I wanted it to be something she'd be proud of later on.

WOW: It must be difficult writing a memoir that includes young children. Do you ever worry they'll grow up and say, "Mom, why did you have to write about us?"

Chynna: What another great question. Well, as I touched on earlier I did worry about that. How could I not? They are all so young right now and don't fully understand what Mommy does with her writing. And I remember Steve saying, "Nothing in this is going to come back to haunt Jaimie when she's a teenager or anything, will it?"

I almost didn't publish it for those reasons. But you know what? Jaimie is helping so many people with her story...with our story. I think she'd be proud of how I wrote it and how my publisher edited it (Thank you so much, Victor and Ernest!). She already is! She truly wants people to understand her. I spoke with her constantly about what I was doing because I remember awhile ago, when I'd written my story for the
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Children with Special Needs book, she was devastated that I'd talked about her and that everyone would read it. She was embarrassed and believed people wouldn't like her--that was a couple of years ago (and one of the reasons I'd written my children's book). Now, she thinks it's pretty cool to think that she may be able to help others with what she's gone through, and still goes through.

I never made her look pathetic or went into huge, intimate details--that's very important when writing about children in such books. I tried representing her as a little girl going through something tough that she had the strength to learn how to cope with. And that's what I hope she'll see.

WOW: Have you set any writing resolutions for the New Year?

Chynna: I actually blogged about this recently! Okay, some of my goals for 2010 are to: (1) Prioritize my ideas (I have many ideas and not much time to accomplish them so I need to zero in on what I really want to do!); (2) Finish my reference book; (3) Finish my memoir about my mom; and (4) Build up my courage to edit the two fiction works I have shelved. My biggest goals are to finally finish my B.A. in psychology (in April! Yay!) and spend more time with my kids. They need me more than anything or anyone and they're only little for so long. Writing can be very consuming. If you're a writer and a Mama, you can do both you just need to find that balance.

WOW: Wow! I thought I had a lot to accomplish. ;) Thank you, Chynna, for a wonderful and inspirational interview. I wish you the best of luck with your 2010 goals, and with your blog tour!

Want to join Chynna on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

January 4, 2010 Monday
Chynna will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. Stop by and share your comments! One lucky commenter will win copy of Chynna's memoir!

January 5, 2010 Tuesday
Chynna Laird is the guest writer at Write for a Reader's special feature "Because of a Book." Don't miss her take on books and reading and share how they have affected your life.

January 6, 2010 Wednesday
Teachers, parents, and caregivers will want to read this interview about Chynna Laird's experiences striving for a diagnosis and the best life for her daughter with SPD. You can also win her memoir, Not Just Spirited!

January 8, 2010 Friday
Chynna Laird shares her secrets to survival in "How to Successfully Combine All Your Roles: Mom, Wife, Employee, Woman." Don't forget to enter to win a copy of her memoir Not Just Spirited!

January 12, 2010 Tuesday
Chynna Laird, author of Not Just Spirited, shares how rewarding memoir writing was for her. Don't miss it!

January 14, 2010 Thursday
Stop by Writer Inspired to check out what Chynna has to say in her interview, and enter to win a copy of her memoir Not Just Spirited!

January 15, 2010 Friday
Stop by the Mom-Blog for "Five Things No One Ever Told You About Sensory Processing Disorder." You'll also have a chance to win a copy of Chynna Laird's memoir, Not Just Spirited, about raising a daughter with SPD.

January 18, 2010 Monday
Author and Mom Chynna Laird writes about Advocating for Special Needs Children at Your School. Not to miss!

January 25, 2010 Monday
Stop by for a review of Chynna Laird's memoir, Not Just Spirited, and a chance to win a copy!

January 26, 2010 Tuesday
Don't miss a peek into the world of Sensory Processing Disorder with a guest post from Chynna Laird, author of a children's book, memoir, and cookbook on SPD.

We have more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you have a blog or website and would like to host one of our touring authors, or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at:

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a copy of Chynna Laird's memoir Not Just Spirited: A Mom's Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). And check back in a couple of days in the comments section to see if you won!

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Sunday, October 18, 2009


A Chat With Jennie Linthorst: Sensational Mom, SPD Advocate and Poetry Therapist

For the Parent’s Eyes section of my newsletter this month, I had the pleasure of interviewing an amazing poet, writer, Poetry Therapist, mom and SPD advocate, Jennie Linthorst. Jennie is not only the amazing and dedicated Mom to a sensational little guy, she’s also found a creative way to cope with everything that goes on in her very busy life. I can’t say enough about this wonderful women and thought WOW/Muffin readers would be as inspired by her story as my newsletter readers will be.




CHYNNA: Jennie thanks so much for taking some time out of your very busy day to chat with me. Why don’t you start with telling us a little about yourself.

JENNIE: My name is Jennie Linthorst. I am the mother of a little five-year old guy named Graham, who struggles with Sensory Processing Disorder. The compelling story of our journey with Graham with early intervention therapies is captured in the documentary film, Autistic-Like: Graham’s Story. Go to for more information.

I also work in the field of Poetry Therapy as a Certified Applied Poetry Facilitator. I work privately with women, exploring their personal histories through reading and writing poetry. I captured my own experience as a mother of a special needs child in my book of poetry, “A Mother’s Journey”.

CHYNNA: Thank you for sharing of your bio with us. Let’s start with your writing. What sparked your interest in writing? When did you begin journaling and writing poetry?

JENNIE: My grandmother, Marion Cannon, was a poet who didn’t start writing until her late 60’s. Her writing was well received and had a very honest, autobiographical style to it. In my early twenties, I began reading her book aloud to a group of seniors at a retirement home, and the reaction to the poetry changed my whole career. I found that the participants responded so intensely to the poetry and it sparked discussion of their own memories in their lives. I created my first poetry writing class for these seniors and we simply wrote in reaction to my grandmother’s poetry. I later discovered the field of poetry therapy, and went on to get my certification, and to create a career in therapeutic poetry writing. I found my own voice around this time as well, and worked privately with a writing coach exploring my own history through reading and writing poetry.

CHYNNA: That’s awesome that you are a Poetry Therapist! You know, I’d heard of Poetry Therapy awhile ago and loved the idea. Writing can be a powerfully healing thing on so many levels. Now, you have two amazing men in your life. Did you want to tell us a bit about them?

JENNIE: My husband, Erik Linthorst is an amazing man. He wrote, directed and produced the documentary about our son. He has become a major advocate in the field of Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder exposing the troubles in the system of diagnosis and treatment options for children who struggle with these special needs. We both hope to inspire change in the system and a separate diagnosis for Sensory Processing Disorder. And of course, my son Graham is amazing too. He continues to be my best teacher in this world, as I watch him work so hard to overcome his struggles with his body and his attention. He has a heart of gold, and his loving of all things shines the brightest to everyone who knows him.

CHYNNA: You and Erik are both doing amazing things for the SPD community and you were both very courageous putting your film out. And anyone who has the chance to see you and your little guy together—like in that gorgeous photograph on the cover of your book of poetry—can see the bond you share. Jennie, as you know, Moms just “know” when their child is struggling with something. When did you “know” with Graham? What signs did you see?

JENNIE: As soon as Graham could crawl, he became obsessed with following and crawling on lines and patterns on the floor. He was also consumed with the spinning of wheels. I was in enough “Mommy and Me” classes and things like that where I was watching the other kids play with toys and be interested in engaging people and new things. His repetitive behavior was extreme and by 15 months I knew that he was not “outgrowing” this behavior. He was so social and verbal with us though, that the word autism didn’t quite fit, but the behavior was very concerning. He also was not gesturing or waving bye-bye which is a major developmental delay. He had low muscle tone and he had great trouble using his hands to play and manipulate his environment. We now can see after so much expert intervention that these were all signs of a sensory system that was out of whack, and a body that was unable to motor plan. The behavior was a way for him to comfort himself.

CHYNNA: I think it’s phenomenal that you never gave up and kept forging ahead to find what worked. You are both incredible parents. That must have been so hard on all of you. You’ve personally gone through so much over the last few years with assessments, diagnoses, and treatments. How difficult was all of that for you? How did you cope with it all?

JENNIE: I am very honest in my poetry about how difficult these years have been for me as a mom. I have experienced major anxiety, depression and all of the feelings that come along when you are faced with a child’s diagnosis and a scary path of navigating the right treatments for your child. Erik and I both have sought out self-growth workshops that have been helpful in working on our own inner pain and expectations and judgments of our child that get in the way of being present and moving forward. We continually work on ourselves, knowing that if we can maintain inner peace and love Graham wherever he is in his journey, the more Graham will grow and we will move together as a family. I have to work on it everyday, and especially when we are in a transition like to a new school. The writing helps me be okay with being honest. It’s a way for me to put it on the page and know that it is okay to have those days. It allows me to be compassionate to myself, and to know that I can share my writing with other moms who will feel less alone on their journey. And lastly, we have turned a “crisis” into an opportunity to help others through the documentary, our advocacy and through our work with parents.

CHYNNA: What incredibly dedicated parents you are. I think what I am most impressed with is how you both work hard at being your individual selves so you can be an iron-strong couple and family—so, so important for families with special needs. I love your book of poetry, Jennie. Your poetry absolutely touches a person to the core of the soul. You are very brave to tap into the raw emotions that create such gorgeous imagery. How important is that ability to writing poetry? How can other writers do that?

JENNIE: I believe that everyone is a writer inside. We all have an inner voice, and if you inspire it, and create a safe place for it to express, you will be amazed at what it has to say. I like to tell my clients that a poem is a snapshot of a moment in our lives. We have thousands of those moments inside of our life stories. It is simply about taking the time to capture that snapshot in words. I guide my clients through discussion and inspirational poetry to bring out those moments, and to tap into the whole experience of where you were, what were you wearing, feeling, what was said inside and out- to recreate it through words. That is what I do in my poetry. I take a moment, and work it out on the page.

CHYNNA: I love your expression, “A poem is a snapshot of a moment in our lives,” and it’s so true. Whether an experience was good or bad, stressful or calm, a poem is a fantastic way to get it all out. You’ve done an amazing thing by combing your writing talents with your passion for helping other moms with special needs kids through your amazing “Life Speaks,” website. Can you tell us about that?

JENNIE: On my website, you can view my different class descriptions. All of the workshops are available privately, and many of my clients are from around the world. We communicate through phone or Skype to read the inspirational poetry together, and discuss the personal meanings it brings up for each client, and then I set you up with a writing exercise that you complete on your own and email to me before our next phone/Skype session. The five week workshop for mothers of children with special needs takes the client through the whole story beginning with the birth, the original dream, and then moves to when you know that something may be different, the diagnosis, the inner strength we call upon, how we meet the challenge, how we look for answers and help, how the experience redefines the family, marriage, and lastly the rebirth we experience of acceptance, blessings, our inner healing and our new dream for our children. In many ways, I take the mothers through their own hero’s journey—inspiring them to dive deep, honor their strength, and harvest the wisdom they have gained on this challenging path. The results are truly life changing.

CHYNNA: What a fantastic resource and service you offer. (I was tearing up just with the description of your class for moms with special needs children). I encourage all of our readers to check out your site. Jennie, you also seem very spiritual—I really felt that in several of your poems. Do you find that writing poetry, or writing in general, is a way to connect with that side of ourselves? How important is that for Moms, especially those of us raising special needs children?

JENNIE: Having a child is in itself a spiritual experience—the miracle of it, and the sense that these children come from something greater than ourselves. It was important for me in my own inner healing to find a way to surrender the sense of myself that felt it was somehow my fault, or that it was my responsibility to fix it and control every step of the journey. I have faith that my son’s life is bigger than I can imagine or control. This experience was given to all of us as an opportunity to grow and give back. In my writing, my inner voice is more connected to that place of inner peace, and I find that it will remind me in my poems what I most need to hear, to get back to that place of love and peace in any situation. We all have that ability to find inner peace however you want to define it spiritually or not. My hope is that I can help other moms find that voice of peace.

CHYNNA: I completely agree with you about needing to find inner peace. Thank you for reminding us of how important that is, especially for us Moms. How can we find out more about your work and your classes?

JENNIE: Please visit my website and read through the course descriptions, testimonials and information. You can contact me through the site or through my email to talk more and set up workshop sessions.

CHYNNA: Great, thanks for the links. What inspires you in life and in your writing?

JENNIE: Wow, big question. In life, being with others and sharing life experiences honestly and authentically is most inspiring to me. I thrive on real relationships with family and friends. I love to cook warm meals and invite people into our home, to laugh, cry and feel safe together. In my writing, it is the little moments of the days we live that inspire me the most. It’s the moments when that voice inside says, “I feel this.” It’s the thought you have at the grocery store, or on your drive home. It’s the thought upon waking as your child stands beside your bed at 6am. It’s those inner moments with yourself where you are truly honest.

CHYNNA: It’s the simple things that mean so much and can be so inspiring, isn’t it? It’s amazing how having special little ones remind us of that. How is Graham doing today?

JENNIE: Graham just started Kindergarten at the public school here in Manhattan Beach. He is in a regular classroom and is getting services with the school to help with attention, processing and handwriting. He mostly struggles with regulating his body to stay on task to finish center time activities. Fine motor skills are the hardest for him. We are working hard on handwriting, coloring, cutting and gluing. He seems to love school and his friends. We are still doing some therapies at home to help with homework and to get his body moving through swimming, my gym and one on one Neurofit exercise sessions that work the vestibular and visual processing systems through movement. He is super social and loves to cook, sing songs, ride his bike and go to playdates.

CHYNNA: He sounds like one amazing little guy. I’m so happy to hear things are going so well for him. One last question: Is there anything that you’d like to say to the other Moms or caregivers out there who may be out there searching for answers or comfort?

JENNIE: I want moms to know that they are not alone out there. I want them to know that it’s okay to have all the feelings that come up each and everyday with our special children. And lastly, I want them to know that they have all of the answers and all of the inner peace inside them. Just listen to that inner voice and be gentle with yourself.

Wise, beautiful words from a wise, beautiful woman, mom and friend. Thank you so much to Jennie for sharing her poetry with us as well as tidbits about her life as a Sensational Mom. Through the therapeutic experience of writing out her own story, Jennie has created her five-week expressive writing workshop for mothers of children with special needs. For more information about her wonderful writing workshops, please go to Jennie’s website at


Please be sure to check Chynna’s blog over the next few days as we’ll be posting a contest for a chance to win a signed copy of Jennie’s phenomenal book of poetry. =) We'll also be posting a few of Jennie's amazing poems over there too--you won't want to miss them, believe me.

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Friday, October 09, 2009


Keeping My Canadian Pride

Let me just say from the get-go that I am a proud Canadian writer and author. I mention it in my blog, my bio and whenever I do interviews. “Why then has most of your work been published in the U.S. and Abroad?” you’re probably asking. Well…just because I’m proud of where I was born and raised doesn’t mean I’ve had the easiest time getting published here—even now. I have no idea why! Maybe it’s because some editors don’t feel that I have a very Canadian perspective after writing for U.S. and International audiences for the last several years. Or maybe it’s because I was setting the bar too high by going for some of those big-wig glossies right off the bat.

The truth is here in Canada a lot of the big glossies are Government funded, which means the publishers and editors have to follow very specific guidelines in order to receive their funding. What this means is several places are only able to accept submissions from Canadian writers and those Canadian writers need to offer up Canadian content. The U.S. and International publications seem to have a bit more freedom in terms of who they choose to write for them and when. And that’s why when I was first starting out I turned to the south of the border and beyond in order to get my work out there.

Now that I think of it...the ideas I was pitching weren’t always about Canada or issues that effect Canadians only; my ideas were more global…or I’d like to think they were. No matter what, though, there are still some fantastic publications up here—some of which I’d love to write for one day and others I never will—and they pay really well. What I thought I’d do today is offer up five great places for Canadians (or anyone else) to try. Why not? Some of these places will give non-Canadians a shot if you present your pitch in a way that would be interesting and beneficial to Canadian readers.

Good luck, have fun and be sure to let us know if your work was accepted by any of these places. Having your advice and pearls of wisdom on what worked would be helpful for those who are trying to break in.


PS: Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! =oD

Azure Design, Architecture and Art ( This is a magazine that covers everything about architectural art and design. They look for people with experience and knowledge in this area and look for nonfiction articles from 350 to 2000 words. Pay is $1/word (Cdn).

Family Fun ( This magazine is all about how families can have fun together from playtime to travel. They accept pitches in all their departments, including features and they have detailed guidelines on their site in terms of who to contact and what they need in a particular area. Pay is $1.25/word.

Today’s Parent ( Monthly magazine for Canadian parents with kids from birth to 12 years of age. The look for articles “grounded in the reality of Canadian family life.” Pay ranged from $200 to $2200 an article depending on word length and department.

Reader’s Digest Canada ( Pretty much the same as the U.S. version. Mostly look for those “true life stories” that touch the heart, get us thinking or give insight into a current issue. They pay $1.50 - $2.50/word depending on the type and length of the story. Prefer original, unpublished pieces.

AlbertaViews ( Got a story about Alberta? This is the place to pitch it to. Whether you’ve visited here or lived here all of your life, they want stories Alberta-based. They pay anywhere from $350 to $1500 depending on subject and whether the article is solicited or not.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Children's Picture Book Contest

Normally, I love to blog about how writing mixes in with life but I have a fantastic children's book contest to share. Since I know there are several children's authors out there I thought this would be an idea one to try out. It's called Moonbeam Children's Book Awards.
There are many different categories--something for everyone! The entry fee is a bit on the higher end ($95 per book, per category) but it's well worth it. Here's a blurb from their website:
"Presented by Jenkins Group and Independent Publisher Online, the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards are designed to bring increased recognition to exemplary children’s books and their creators, and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading. Awards will be given in 36 categories covering the full range of subjects, styles and age groups that children’s books are written and published in today."
Complete details can be found on their website at
Good luck and be sure to let us know if you won or placed.
Happy Writing!

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Monday, July 13, 2009


Chynna Laird, author of I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD, launches her blog tour!

& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

Chynna Laird credits her adventures as mom of four children under the age of six as the source for much of her writing. When she's not spending Mom-time reading, playing piano and violin, and crafting with her children, she divides her time between being a student and a writer.

Chynna is busy finishing up her BA in Psychology, specializing in Early Childhood Development as well as continuing her career as a writer through her business Lily Wolf Words. She's written for many magazines: Amaze, Mindful Mama, Parenting Special Needs and Unique. She also has several bigger projects, including a thriller making the rounds. Her memoir, Not Just Spirited: Living With Sensory Processing Disorder, will be released this August.

Find out more about Chynna by visiting her websites:
Lily Wolf Words:

About her book:

I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD

By Chynna T. Laird

Four year old Alexandra describes, in her own words, how it feels to have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) readers get a peek at how she hears things, smells things, even how things feel on her skin. She tells readers how frustrating it was for her to try to explain to other people she wasn't trying to be difficult or naughty, she was trying to communicate. Alexandra shows us all the things she does to cope in a world she finds so terrifying and how she helps others understand her better.

The book can be used as resource/reference tool for parents of children with SPD; to help children with SPD learn to express how they feel in words; and to educate counselors, teachers, friends and family.

Genre: Children's picture book
Paperback: 24 pages
ISBN: 1432714724
Publisher: Outskirts Press

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are
holding a contest to win a copy of Chynna's book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end. We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!

Chynna's beautiful children (photo right): Xander (two), Jaimie (six), Sophie (ten months), Jordhan (four).

WOW: Welcome to The Muffin, Chynna. We're delighted to launch your blog tour for your book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD. [editor’s note: the original title of the book was I'm Not Weird, I Have SID] You've written a variety of non-fiction articles and essays about Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD for various magazines. What made you decide to also write a children's book about SPD?

Chynna: Initially, I wrote the story just for my daughter Jaimie who lives with SPD--to validate her feelings. When she was about three, she had an unfortunate experience with a small group of children who made fun of her reactions to them and her behaviour. The book was to help her feel better about herself and also help her see that there were other kids in the world who felt things the same way she did.

WOW: Tell us how your book got from idea to publication and how long it took.

Chynna: Jaimie loved being read to so I thought the perfect way to reach her and teach her how to talk about her SPD was to write a children's picture book that she'd love and be proud of. I honestly never had any intention of having the entire world read the children's book.

I researched a few POD places and chose Outskirts. I got lucky with the people I worked with on my project. They were wonderful and so supportive. I was never pressured to spend more money than I had to. Sadly, a lot of first-time and eager writers are "advised" to spend way more than they have to with some places. My project only took a few weeks from submitting my manuscript to approving illustrations, cover and interior setup to production and printing of my book. I cried the first time I read it to Jaimie and she loved it.

WOW: A little birdie told me you're making some changes to your book. What are the changes and why are they being made?

Chynna: Yes, I'm currently in the process of revising the book to reflect important changes that have occurred in the SPD community, mostly having to do with important research.

When Jaimie was diagnosed with SID/SPD about four years ago, it was known as Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID), Dysfunction of Sensory Integration (DSI) and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). All these acronyms refer to the same condition but there was no universal way to refer to it. It was very confusing. Then shortly after my book came out in October 2007, it was finally decided to universally refer to it as Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD.

There were several reasons for this decision. The first, and most important, being that a "dysfunction" can give the impression that something simply isn’t working quite right and a few simple “tweaks” can make things run smoothly again. Believe me, with this line of thought, seeking the right help for a child with this condition can be very difficult.

The other point is that SID, as an acronym, was often confused with the tragic Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS.

Finally, there’s a phenomenal SPD research team attempting to finally have SPD included in the next revision of the DSM in 2010 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). To put it simply, everyone involved with SPD research, diagnosis and treatment had to agree on what to call this disorder in order for it to be taken seriously in the medical field.

WOW: You're also adding an activity page. Why did you decide to add that?

Chynna: All year long, her classmates knew Jaimie struggled with something because she was often very aloof or avoiding activities requiring closeness, touching or that were too loud/smelly/etc. During the first few months of school, Jaimie had many meltdowns and her classmates were genuinely concerned but didn’t understand what was wrong or how to help Jamie. For example, when upset most children will accept a hug from a friend. But Jaimie yelled, "DON'T TOUCH ME!" or would become even more upset.

It was after I'd taken the book to read at Jaimie's Kindergarten class and given a free copy to each of her classmates that I thought of adding the activity page. Almost all of the parents came up to me the next day--some of them tearing up--to thank us for a book talking about SPD from a child's perspective. You see, there are so many reference books out there written for adults who care for or work with these children. None of them really talk about SPD from the child's eyes…in the child's voice.

Then it dawned on me that it could help children reading the book with adults to have activities that may help to further their understanding. Children are amazing people and are genuinely curious about things, especially when it’s different. Giving them fun ways to explore SPD and how it "feels" to children who have it may help readers understand it better. And that's so important.

Kids like to ask questions and explore…this just helps with that idea. Parents and teachers are always looking for fun ways to explore the subject matter in books they read with children in a deeper way. Activity suggestions already offered in the book helps give the book more "saleability" because the caregiver doesn’t have to either research or come up with ideas on their own. It’s already there!

WOW: What's up next for you?

Chynna: Well, I have a memoir called, Not Just Spirited: Living With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) coming out at the end of August. It's about our journey finding help for Jaimie. It starts with what we went through from when we saw signs that something was wrong (pretty soon after we'd brought her home from the hospital) to begging her pediatrician to listen to us, her diagnosis, therapy, getting into Kindergarten. My story is just to help other parents who have that aching gut feeling that something is wrong never to give up. Knock on those doors until someone listens.

Another exciting thing that's just happened is that I've signed on with Sunrise River Press to write a book tentatively called, The Sensory Diet: Setting A Sensational Child Up For Success. Essentially the book talks about the natural, holistic approaches we can take to treating children with SPD using combinations of occupational therapy, physical therapy, nutrition and exercises specific to the needs of a child. I'll also have a great section on childhood anxiety and how it can help this too. (Children with SPD can often have high anxiety. We've had to help Jaimie with both.)

WOW: Did I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD pave the way for these new projects?

Chynna: It's funny you should ask that. It wasn't my intention but it seemed to have done just that. I honestly never planned for the entire world read the children's book. But one day when Jaimie was in her preschool class, I got to talking with one of the other mothers about Jamie's SPD.

Anyway, the mom actually said, "Wow! My son was just diagnosed with that. We always thought he'd had Autism. Do you have any information on it?" I gave her a few resources, including the book I wrote. She came up to me the next day and said, "We read your book as a family and it actually made my husband cry." She asked to buy four more copies of the book. It sort of went from there. Now it's included in several local libraries, SPD therapy centers, Early Intervention resource centers and other places.

I'd been working on the memoir for quite some time and had several agents/publishers interested in it. But because the subject matter was so specified (or "niched"), it didn't fit into their editorial line-up.

The Sensory Diet project is a compilation of all the research, interviews and stuff I've done over the years in finding what worked best for Jaimie. I thought if I could offer a resource to parents that were in the same position we were in, a book that had all of that information in one place, they wouldn’t have to research as much on their own. This book isn’t going to be a signs/symptoms book but more for parents past the diagnostic stage and into the, "What do we do now? What therapies are there out there?" stage.

I still don’t consider myself an "expert" on the subject of SPD. I'm just one parent with one child who has a form of SPD who’s willing to share our experiences, especially if it helps others. I'm a strong believer that we go through things for a reason. I also believe that reaching out to others can be therapeutic in a way. Most importantly, if telling our story inspires other parents to tell their stories, we won't be islands in the middle of nowhere wondering if others are going through what we are. We'll build bridges among us to share our stories, experiences and knowledge and maybe, one day, this disorder won't seem so foreign.

WOW: Do you have a piece of advice for hopeful children's authors? Something you wish you had known starting out or something you wished you had done differently.

Chynna: The first piece of advice I can give hopeful children's authors is to try your hardest to find an agent or traditional publisher.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing it all on your own or with POD places (as long as you do your research and find the "right" one.) But you are entirely responsible for the marketing part, including finding buyers. It's not a big deal for me now since I'm not going to school full-time any more but it is A LOT of work and takes A LOT of time and effort.

If you don't have that time, hang in there and do it the traditional way. You'll still have to do a lot of your own marketing but it's better to have the additional support and backing. I wished I'd waited for a traditional publishing route but, as I'd said, my initial goal wasn't to SELL my book to the world; it was to help my daughter understand her disorder and to give her the words to make others understand.

The best advice I can think of is to understand your intended audience and stay in that perspective. For example, writing for a 5-year old is much different than writing for, say, a tween or teen. Listen to how they talk, watch their mannerisms, watch how they interact with people. I'm lucky because I'm surrounded by my intended audience and they inspire me every day. Children are amazing little people and I love writing for them. In fact, I've decided to focus most of my fiction writing on the children's and YA audiences. Who knows…maybe you'll see me out on the bookshelves in that area one day.

WOW: Thanks for giving us so much to think about, especially how a writing project that was essentially a gift of love could make its way from a bookshelf in your daughter's bedroom to a bookshelf in your neighborhood bookstore.

Want to join Chynna on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

JULY 13, 2009 Monday
Chynna chats with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. One lucky commenter will win copy of Chynna's book!

JULY 14, 2009 Tuesday
Chynna stops by Joyce Anthony's blog, Books and Authors, for an author interview and book review! Stop by today and learn more about I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD.

JULY 16, 2009 Thursday
Chynna visits Raising Socially Anxious Children to talk about encouraging loving sibling relationships when one child has special needs. There is also a book giveaway comments contest! Stop by for a chance to win a copy of Chynna's book.

JULY 17, 2009 Friday
Chynna visits Cathy C. Hall's blog, Finders and Keepers, to chat about children's book writing. If you haven't visited Cathy's blog, be sure to stop by--it's bound to spark a lively discussion!

JULY 20, 2009 Monday
Chynna visits Shai Coggins' blog for an author interview! Stop by today and learn more about Chynna's thoughts on writing her first picture book.

JULY 24, 2009 Friday
Have questions about writing children's books? Stop by Samantha Clark's blog, Day by Day Writer, to visit with children's book author Chynna Laird.

JULY 27, 2009 Monday
Stop by Margo L. Dill's blog, Read These Books and Use Them, to find out what Margo thinks about Chynna's book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD, as well as some activities adults can use when reading with their child.

AUGUST 11, 2009 Tuesday
Chynna stops by Allyn Evans' blog, Happily Ever After Today, to talk about the challenges of understanding SPD and raising a child with SPD. Not to miss!

We may have more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE to keep up with the latest.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you would like to host one of our authors, or are an author looking to schedule a tour of your own, please email Jodi at:

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Oh, be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a signed copy of Chynna Laird's children's book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009


Writing Around Life

Writing around life.

That seems to be my theme here on the Muffin. But what exactly does that mean?
I don’t know about you but I don’t get much writing time in during the day. I am a Mom of four gorgeous children—all six and under and two with special needs—and that’s my main job. Somewhere in there I also study to earn the last nine credits I need for my Psychology degree, tidy the house and all of the little jobs that need doing. But I’m also a very creative person who needs time in each day to BE creative in some way or I go crazy. It’s great doing crafty things with the kids but I’m talking more about ways to express myself through my writing.

I’ve always used writing as a way to work things out, calm myself or help me to re-focus. To me writing is soothing…therapeutic. It’s something I don’t do just to earn money. For me, writing is an extension of my heart and soul that I need to tap into a little bit each day otherwise I feel like a volcano brewing to erupt. And after a crazy-insane day, I need the glorious silence and solitude. Okay…I admit those times are few and far between especially since my kids don’t sleep well but I take advantage of bits and bites throughout the day. Here are a few suggestions:

* If you have very young children, set aside a little bit of time during naptime. That means leave those dirty dishes in the sink or putting the vacuuming for a little while and take some writing time in. Even if you just give yourself half-an hour, it’s worth it!
* If your children don’t nap but still a bit young to play totally alone, take advantange of a designated “quiet time.” In our house, we usually do crafts then my kids watch Imagination Movers while they have a snack. On days when they fight their naps, I squeeze in a bit of time then.
* Take your laptop or Neo to the park with you and do a bit of work while you’re watching them play. This one is a bit more difficult for me because Sophie is only one and hates just sitting in her stroller while she sees her siblings running around the park. And she can’t play on her own yet—she stuffs anything and everything into her mouth so I have to watch her constantly. But those of you with older kids can take a it of time then.
* Stay up late to work or get up early—just don’t do both. Mamas need rest too or they can’t do their very important jobs. So, either stay up for a few hours after the kids (finally) go to sleep or get up a couple of hours before they do.
* Mary Rosenblum told me once that she used to work right in the living room with her boys playing or watching television around her. She said that the deal was if they let Mom do a chapter while they entertained themselves, she’d take them out to the park or somewhere else after she’d finished her work. What I thought was really cool was how Mary said that her writing was THEIR thing not just HERS because they needed to be a team in order for her to work and earn money with her writing. That’s a fantastic thing.
* If you get an offer for help with the kids, TAKE IT! I’m pretty bad for that, actually. Until recently I didn’t often ask for or accept help with my kids. But with my business taking off and, now, writing books too, I NEED the extra time to write.
* Let them do it with you. The most amazing thing is that Jaimie and Jordhan like to write little books of their own. So what I do is cut up a gynormous piece of paper into small book-sized pages and they write their own books—complete with illustrations—while I do my work. (One day I might compile their little stories into books because they are really quite good!) It’s fun for them and, until they start fighting over crayons, it’s nice and quiet.

These are only a few suggestions that work for us. I still have days where I get almost nothing done. But I find as my little beauties get older, and they need me a little less, I have many more productive days. One day, they won’t need me at all and I’ll have all day to write. Until that day comes—and, secretly, I hope it doesn’t happen too quickly—I’ll keep my Neo close and continue writing around life.

See you soon!


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Friday, October 26, 2007


Pssst... Have You Heard of PREMIUM GREEN?

It's the latest secret club to hit WOW! Women On Writing!

It's for Women Writers ONLY.

If you don't subscribe to our "Market's Newsletter" then you have no clue what we're talking about. But that's okay... only truly dedicated freelance writers need subscribe!

What is it?

Well, if you've subscribed to our FREE "Market's Newsletter" you'd already know.

How do you subscribe to our Free Market's Newsletter (AKA: Think Green)?

Go to our home page and subscribe or update your subscription in the gray box -- actually, it's at the top of all of our pages. If you're a long-time subscriber, you may have missed this option because we recently added new newsletters in the past few months. And our Think Green! Market's Newsletter is free, but for the truly dedicated we offer an ultimate newsletter for freelancers called PREMIUM GREEN.

Here's what it's all about:

Support WOW! and we'll support you!

We at WOW! want to keep providing you with the best content out there for women writers and keep our free publication alive and well for many years to come.

The WOW! online magazine will always continue to be free as long as we exist, and we will continue to provide jobs and freelance gigs for women writers. It's our goal to support the blood, sweat, and tears of your writing efforts.

And we know that even in this day and age there still aren't as many places for women to have their work published -- as our monthly columnist C. Hope Clark observed in her September article. "Other than in the romance arena, men writers outnumber women. Or let's say that published men writers outnumber women."

That's why we continue to strive for the best and create needed markets for women writers. By subscribing to
Premium-Green Markets we will guide you through the rough waters and help you get those published clips!

When I first started WOW! I made myself a promise -- that I'd NEVER ask for a donation from any of you ladies. To me, that defeats the purpose of helping women writers, and I've always found those things to be cheesy! I'd rather offer you a valuable product for your hard-earned dollars. So, let me tell you what you'll get when you subscribe to the Premium-Green Markets:

Select Markets Especially for Women Writers!

Pink & Green

This selection of Premium-Green called, "Pink & Green" goes in-depth to bring you the BEST in writer's markets for women.

And we don't just list them, we ask the editors what they want! This way you'll always get up-to-date information of what these editors want to see in their inbox TODAY! This increases your odds in finding a fit for your work, which is our goal.

Columns found ONLY in Premium-Green:

In the Trenches by Chynna Laird

Editor Chynna Laird lives 'in the trenches' -- as a full-time freelancer, she knows what it takes to make a living from her writing. Chynna shares her personal experiences in the world of freelancing: publications she's submitted to, responses to her queries (both acceptance and rejection), and tips that have worked for her. Written in conversational journal-style entries, Chynna lets you step inside her world by sharing her secrets. Grow your freelance career with Chynna!

Tips & Tricks by Angela Mackintosh

Angela loves to write How-tos, and step-by-step articles. If you're familiar with her blog posts or features on WOW!, Angela breaks down complex topics in easy-to-grasp language.

Topics include: How to win over an editor's heart, how to start and maintain a successful website, blogging for bucks, how to set up your business structure for your home-based freelance business, promotion and guerilla marketing, & more!

Get Writing, Mamas! By Chynna Laird

As a mother of three children under the age of five, Chynna takes you through the process of writing around life and what you have to do to make it work for you. And YES you can make a living and be a mommy too!

Topics include: workspace organization, prioritizing, anecdotes about motherhood and writing, inspiration for writing moms, networking, and motivation. This is not to miss!

Interviews with Editors, Publishers, and Freelancers:

Meet Your Mentor

Each issue we'll spotlight a particular subject and ask an expert for their advice to help guide you through the waters of freelancing. You never know, you may meet your mentor or life-coach!

Inter-Activities for Freelancers:


Here you will find interactive exercises to help get you inspired, motivated, and provide feedback. It may be in the form of a quiz, or a worksheet that you can print out and fill in. We urge you to save these to track your writing progress over the year. It's a journal of YOU and your writing career. At the end of the year, we'll ask if you want to submit your wild notes and scribbles to "Project Workbook" -- an ebook compilation. We compile it and send them out to Premium-Green subscribers at the end of the year so you can read through your fellow freelancers notes and be inspired!

Your Questions Answered:

More than you Magic 8-Ball

Submit your question on anything you'd like to know the answer to, and we'll publish it in our Q&A column. Anything goes here. You can ask questions about life, freelancing, writing, editing, or personal issues. We'll answer all of them!

All signs point to yes!

Markets, Markets, and More Markets:

Besides our fabulous columns to guide you through your freelancing career, we bring you a top-notch selection of markets tailored to your tastes.

  • Pink & Green Markets
  • Fiction Addiction
  • Nonfiction: Freelancer's Delight
  • Contract Jobs: Writer's Wanted
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All served up fresh to bring you the Green!

Bonuses and Bunches for your Bucks:

At the end of the year you'll receive two ebooks:

Fueled by Premium-Green: A compilation of a whole year's worth of the Premium-Green newsletter's columns and markets in ebook form. Plus additional articles and resources for women freelancers not found anywhere else!

Project Workbook: This is all about you! (See the above section under "Workbook") This ebook combines all the worksheets given throughout the year that you filled in. It'll be put together in 'slam book' momento for all subscribers. This tracks your progress and your fellow freelancer's progress all in one fun and inspirational slam ebook!

Specials only for Premium-Green Subscribers:

At times we'll have specials that will only be offered to Premium-Green subscribers. These may be discounts on books, products, services, or giveaways offered to PG subscribers only. You will not find these elsewhere. Lucky you!

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Subscribe today and let us walk you through your freelance writing career!

And most of all, we'll help you have fun along your journey!

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That's less than $2 per issue. With all the bonuses, you can't go wrong. And you'll be supporting women writers, WOW!, and giving us the fuel to keep striving for the best!

Premium-GreenSubscribe to the Premium-Green Markets today!

Support WOW! Women On Writing and we'll support you. Thank you in advance for your consideration. Let's make this a banner year!!!!

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Saturday, September 29, 2007


Tag, You're It!

Last night I flopped down on my loveseat and stared expressionless at the television—a ritual I do at the end of a busy day to empty my brain. After a few moments of "brain-drain," commercial grabbed my interest:

A woman stood on a busy corner and waited to cross. A young man was about to run into the intersection when the woman pulled him back just as a car sped around the corner. In the next scene, the same young man helped a woman struggling with her groceries. As items started to fall out of her bag, the young man grabbed them then carried the woman's groceries to her car. In the next scene the young woman with the groceries reached out to someone else in need and so on. The commercial was for life insurance, which was revealed when the woman who saved the young man from the car dealt with her clients in the closing scene.

Now, I realize the company’s message was different from what I got out of it but I thought, “Wow. Look how far one random act of kindness extends.” It’s the same with our writing.

When we write an article or story, someone who reads it will (hopefully) be affected or inspired by our words in some way. It may even sprout other articles or stories from it. A good example is the article I wrote for WOW—Start Me Up—was inspired by my experience with starting up a freelance writing business. The goal was to give encouragement to other Writing Moms who wanted to do the same thing but weren't sure how or where to start. Another Writing Mom, Tricia Ares—a fantastic writer—emailed me to say she was inspired by my advice about “writing around life.” In fact, Tricia wrote her own article on the subject (what an honor!). I checked out her thought-provoking article and read the comments left by other Writing Moms. They thanked Tricia for her awesome article and wrote how they were inspired by her words. See the pattern?

Just like the insurance woman who saved someone’s life and Tricia Ares, the inspirational Writing Mom, we see how random acts of inspiration and kindness can extend far beyond where they're intended to go. For me, my only hope when I write a piece is that my words can reach even just one person. And if that one person is touched in some way by my experience or what I’ve shared, I’ve done my job. And all writers have this ability.

So go out there and write to inspire; to reach out; to voice out; or just to share. And see how far your words branch out.


Happy writing.


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Saturday, September 08, 2007


Something Old...Something New...

I enjoyed Jean’s “exercise” post so much the other day, I wanted to report…I HAVE NOW ADDED WRITING EXERCISE TO MY DAILY ROUTINE! Not that I didn’t before but I’m doing it a bit differently.

The point of Jean’s post was to challenge ourselves by trying on a different writing hat every so often. Brilliant! Because I've always written for the inspirational and opinion categories, I went genre-hunting and chose something so far out of my genre I surprised even myself. Are you ready…I chose…horror. Not the slasher, Jason/Freddie Krueger, screaming-girl-bouncing-and-tripping-through-a-forest type of horror; but more the psychological thriller that has one sitting on the edge of their seats in “pins and needles” anticipation. And, guess what? I’m having a lot of fun.

Her post also gave me extra incentive to trudge forward with the thriller novel I started (I think it’s up to Chapter Five now…). Thanks so much for the fire under the bum, Jean! ;o)

NOW here’s a challenge for all of you: Go and choose a genre you’ve never written in before, write a story then enter it in a contest. Or post it here on the Blog on the free post day. I’d love to see what you can do out of your comfortable writing zone.

As for me, I think I’m going to try to enter my horror story in Byline’s “Spooky Story” theme. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Happy writing all!

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Saturday, July 21, 2007


In The Corners Of My Mind

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer so far. I can’t believe it’s half over already.

This weekend has proved to be one of great insight for me. Two of my brothers, Cam and Ian, came to visit me this weekend. It was a wonderful visit especially since we hadn’t seen one another in about seven years. I’ve always found it so comforting that no matter what chaos exploded around us, my siblings and I have remained close.

Homemade wine was poured, scrumptious barbeque was devoured and memories flowed. We laughed, we cried and we hugged as we each took turns pulling out our memory cards from the corners of our minds (as well as what’s happened since we last got together). As I listened and shared, I wondered: who would share our hilarious childhood antics and who would tell our stories of closeness and survival after we’ve passed on?

Now that I have children, it’s become important to me to leave my stories behind – both of my life and of their lives - as I saw it. Here are a few things you can try to preserve your own memories:

(a) Start a baby journal. This is a little book you write down all the goings on during your child’s baby years and beyond. I started one during pregnancy with each of my children. I record what pregnancy was like, what I craved, what happened in the world at the time I was pregnant, what they were like as babies, recorded their development achievements and anything exciting that happened in their lives. I plan to record things until they grow up so they can read about their lives from my eyes and in my voice.

(b) Create a scrapbook. This has become a popular way to keep memories alive. Scrapbooks are like photo albums with a boost. If you go to a craft store, you have so many options to make your scrapbook original and personal.

(c) Build a memory box. This can be a chest you put together from Ikea or an old chest you fix up. You can even decorate an old cardboard box. The idea is to create a personal box to keep photos, letters, journals or other memory treasures that tell a story of your life or the life of the person you made it for.

(d) Leave a legacy. Collect stories from all your family members and put them together in a book to unfold the story of your family. You can use this idea for your children, for a valued friendship or anyone else you adore and want to remember and be remembered.

This weekend also reminded me of my dear grandmother. Grandma loved to tell us stories of her youth. She was a young thriving artist living alone in New York with a bunch of schoolmates and, oh, the stories she told. Sadly, Grandma was slowly taken from us – a victim of Alzheimer’s - and her stories faded as her memory did. I wished one of us thought to record her stories at the time. Now, I make sure mine will always be here – long after I’m gone.

There are so many different ways to create memory treasures. How will you make sure your memories stay alive? Can you think of other ways?

Happy writing.


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Saturday, July 07, 2007


More on finding inspiration...

What influences you the most when you sit down to write?

This is a question I come across time and time again – especially in the inspirational or Christian genre.

“Surely,” I’ve been asked. “The well must run dry at times.”

You would think so. I mean how can a person have the strength to continuously pump out one story after another with some sort of inspirational message in it? I guess those people who specialize in this genre don’t really think about it. I know I don’t sit at my computer every day and say, “Okay, I’m going to be motivating today!”

It’s honestly not something you need to think about. You simply need to listen and to pay attention to everything around you. I compare it to seeing the world through a child’s eyes. Get down and investigate, ask questions, be curious, and, most of all, find beauty where you never thought there could be.

Most of the people and situations I’ve written about have been…well…simple things. You know, an every day person who does extraordinary things that would normally go unnoticed. I write about people who’ve touched me so deeply my heart overflows. How about writing about how you, or someone else persevered over adversity, beat the odds or “made it”? These make the best stories because people can relate to them. They inspire because they are about every day people: People we know, people we strive to be, people who are told they “can’t” but do anyway.

There is enough tragedy and negativity in the world today and, unfortunately, these feelings are contagious. But do you know what? So is happiness, love and peace. Think about what happens when you throw a smile at someone as you pass them. Even the sourest of faces will return a smile.

So, dear writers, you can see the well will only go dry if we let it. All we need to do is look around. There’s inspiration all around us. And as long as I’m writing, I’ll be sure to keep making deposits into that well so other people’s thirst for hope will always be quenched.

Happy writing.


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