Tag Archives: Writing Assistant Monday

    Writing Assistant Monday: Off and Away!


Cat bellies increase productivity. It is known.


It’s hot.


If only writing assistants could also be tidying assistants. Between packing and trying to finish up this novel, the house is a bit of a mess.

This will be the last Writing Assistant Monday featuring either of my darling cats for at least six weeks. I leave for my first summer residency at Hollins on Friday morning. We’re stopping DC on the way to visit with some friends and have lunch, then we should be Roanoke sometime in the evening.

I’m nervous. Really, really nervous. And I’ve been focusing a lot of energy on worrying, which I want to try to stop. So in an effort to shift my focus: a list of things I’m super, duper excited about for the summer.

** Meeting amazing authors and industry professionals. Um, hello. I’m going to be taking classes for Alexandria LaFaye and Hillary Homzie. Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman and Terri Windling are amazing and will be all be there for the summer. Visiting are greats like Cece Bell and Andrea Brown and Charles Vess and freaking Maggie Stiefvater. I can’t wait to absorb the energy and knowledge of so many talented, dedicated people.

** Being just beside the BEAUTIFUL Blue Ridge Mountains. Kyle and I already have plans to hike next weekend.

** Bluegrass.

** Books.

** Reading and writing and talking and breathing children’s lit with people who are just as passionate about it as I am.

** Not having to cook (much). Hello cafeteria and meal plan!

** Books.

I’ll miss Kyle and the cats and my friends in NJ, but with each new move (however temporary) there is the chance to expand. A new place to explore. New foods to eat. New favorite people to add to my already long list of favorite people.

And of course, new books.

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Writing Assistant Monday: NaNoWriMo, Begins!



I’m working on two projects for this year’s NaNoWriMo (a competition to complete 50,000 new words during the month of November). First, I’m finishing up the 2nd draft of my upper MG novel based on my short story “The Rum Cake Runner,” then I’ll be tackling the beginning of a brand new YA based on my bootcamp story, currently titled Discovering Justice. November is traditionally a very hard month at work, but writing comes slightly easier to me now than it ever has, so I’m hopeful that I’ll actually win (finish) this year.

The cats, as you can tell, are very supportive of my goals. IMG_1904.JPG


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Writing Assistant Monday: Home Again

Donna helps me critique the first 15-pages of a fellow middle grade author's manuscript.

Donna helps me critique the first 15-pages of a fellow middle grade author’s manuscript.

I’m back in New Jersey, happy to be reunited with Kyle and the cats.

This Saturday is my first event with SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), an organization I joined in January. I’m super looking forward to meeting other authors in the area and sitting in on panels that are all about the sort of writing I’m doing. I’ll also be meeting editors and agents, which I’m terribly nervous about. I just keep telling myself that they’re normal people–they put on their pants one leg at a time like the rest of us (unless we have the aid of a dresser during a quick change, of course).



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Writing Assistant Monday & Some News

First with the news: I sold a story! “Remnants of a Quilter’s Memory” is not science fiction or children’s fiction of any sort. It’s a very small 500 word piece about a family’s struggle with dementia, and it’s very close to my heart for a whole lotta reasons. It’ll be live at Every Day Fiction on June 22, so check it out if you’re interested.


Task mistress.

This will be my last writing assistant Monday post with featuring these furry faces for at least the next three weeks, because I’m headed home to Michigan! The plan is to help Mutti with the store (specifically sprucing up the window displays).

I’m also planning on finishing up the first (very rough) draft of my middle grade novel, relaxing and playing with my nephew who is just growing up too fast.


Assisting writers is hard.

I also hope to get some reading done…


How many books do you take on your 3-week vacation?

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Writing Assistant Monday: Gardening Assistant Edition

And by “Gardening Assistant,” I mean anything but. This bunny-butt has been wandering through our yard all spring, and I’ve enjoyed spotting him through the kitchen window. I knew he would eventually mean trouble to the garden boxes, but I didn’t expect him to actually begin lounging in them! Breakfast in bed?



What I don’t quite understand, is why he didn’t go for the raspberries that are in the right of the picture, directly in front of him. We found about 12 perfectly formed raspberries on the ground when we got home from Ireland. Unfortunately, they were moldy or I would’ve brought them in and eaten them myself.

Ah well, as long as he contains himself to that box (where Kyle’s 6 zucchini plants are planted), we’ll be okay, the garden bunny and I.

Today’s the first day of “work” after the vacation. My to-do list currently includes:

* Calling Unemployment. Because it just can’t be easy.

* Writing 2200 new words in the novel in progress. At least.

* Dishes.

* Unpacking.

Other things I could/should do:

* Mowing the yard.

* Going through my clothes and shoes and things. Purge.

Riveting, stuff, I know.

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Writing Assistant…Tech Edition

Writing Assistant


A day early, because I don’t trust myself to remember to do this tomorrow, but look! A writing assistant post! The extra cuteness is brought to you by tech. Apparently when I’m gone for long hours, Donna misses me.

Also, don’t be fooled by the title of the post. I’m not actually dedicated enough to write anything worthwhile during tech. Donna’s helping me write an email.

In other news, life should slow down very soon and I’ll hopefully get back to more posts…including some pics of what I’ve been working on since January. (Hint: it’s pretty freaking cool.)

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Writing Assistant Monday: Baby It’s Cold Inside

Donna Writing Assistant Editor

Donna’s not the best beta reader.

It’s been cold lately. Real cold. We’re going to need to refill the oil tank for heat again soon, which is a whopper of a bill. We’d been hoping to make it to February, but with 10 days to go and just over 1/4 tank left, I don’t think we’ll make it. Ah well, one of the advantages to having a giant old house: there’s space enough for roommates who help you pay for things like heating oil. And rent.

In the meantime, blankets and layers have been our friends. And the cats, who around December every year, remember that the 4 giant mammals who rattle around the house with them provide more warmth than even the heated blankets.

Donna and Abi Writing Assistant


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Writing Assistant Monday: New Year/ Snow Day Edition


Friday was a snow day here in New Jerseyland. It was also incredibly cold, so the cats were extra cuddly. Which works for me. Hoorah for writing assistants! Also, hoorah for time to write!

I don’t make resolutions, but I do have lots of hopes and goals for the New Year. One, as you could expect, is to produce more. This weekend I made good headway toward that with work on two different short stories and (finally) diving into the novel revisions. I’ve been talking about the novel revisions for months, but haven’t actually touched them until a few days ago.

Here we go 2014. I’m not sure I’m ready for you, but there seems to be no stopping you. Be kind to me and mine.

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Writing Assistant Monday: First Gift of Christmas Edition

Writing Assistant Owl


When I was little, my brother and I would BEG my Mutti to let us open gifts before Christmas. All the gifts. Any gift. Just one gift.

And she always said no.

Until one year, she got us each a first-gift-of-Christmas that we could open early. Usually when we set up the tree, because it was always an ornament.

Kyle & I have continued the tradition, which I love. Every year I hunt down something new and unique just for him, and every year I get a memento to discover and remember when we set up the tree again and again.

This year my first-gift is a writing owl. He’s doubling as a writing assistant for the next couple weeks.

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Writing Assistant Monday

Writing Assistant Monday

Step One to Having an Assistant: Write.