Category Archives: A Writer’s Expedition

Meeting Cassondra Coulter

Last night I traveled to the Carlin-Ingersoll Public Library, Canton, IL, to hear breakout novelist Cassondra Coulter talk about her experiences publishing her first book: Broken Silence: Book I.

In spite of the fact that I am not into witchcraft, her reading of the first page drew me in and left me wanting to explore all that this book has to offer.

Main character Anna Shaw”s first words to us are not about witchcraft, not about personal tragedy, not about love lost. Her first words are about something almost every woman wants from the moment of birth: a mother’s love. She speaks of a deep desire for her mother’s love and to be a source of pride to her mother. Anna shares her secret fear, one that resonates with many women: that she has not become the daughter her mother had hoped to have.

Author Cassondra Coulter’s settings are so accurately portrayed, that one reader actually recognized one of the places in the book as a local point of interest. That is one of the greatest compliments an author can receive.

A huge bonus to this talk is that Cassondra has the speech and mannerisms of Jennifer Lawrence. Her voice is musically warm, and her delivery added humor and spice.

I plan to reserve an afternoon to savor this, the first in a series of books, by Cassondra Coulter.

Her book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble. Also, request it at your local library.

In case you are interested, here is the link:


I Am In Good Company

Steven King was rejected 30 times when he submitted Carrie.  Dr. Seuss was rejected 27 times before his first book was accepted by publishers. I was turned down again for a short story I submitted. (Karen, this is not the Library one or the Dog one. I am not sure you have read this one. I will check with you.)

And, once again, I thought this story was THE BOMB!!!! I just love it.

My daughter says that I just don’t fit anywhere. My stories contain realistic, sometimes not so pretty, topics, so Christians don’t want to read them. My stories contain elements of Christianity, so secular audiences don’t want to read them.

I am going to figure out how to find the people, like me, who do want to read them.

I will keep you posted.

Project Memoir

Writing Hieu Tran’s memoir is an intimidating project for me as a writer. In order to truly write a book about a child who leaves Vietnam alone in search of a place called “America,” I need to understand the Vietnamese people and how the Vietnam war affected the people of Vietnam, especially after the war.

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information available, in general, about the people of Vietnam. Most of what I find is about the Vietnam war.

I finally found one book: The Vietnamese Boat People, 1954 and 1975-1992, (By Nghia M. Vo) which led to two more: In the Jaws of History (By Bui Diem with David Chanoff) and The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides (By: Christian G. Appy).

I have already learned some important details.

(1) The Vietnamese people have a fierce desire for Vietnam to be ruled by other Vietnamese and not by foreigners.

(2)Countries will go to extraordinary lengths to remain in control of a foreign country once they claim it–regardless of the harm this brings to the people of that country.

(3)People can suffer an extreme amount of abuse, hunger, and deprivation.

I have also learned that, at least during the years leading up to Hieu’s escape, the two main religions in Vietnam were Buddhist and Catholic.

If you can suggest additional resources that can help me in my endeavor to learn about the Vietnamese culture and people, please comment below or leave a message on my Facebook page.

Exciting Announcement–As Promised!!!!

This announcement really belongs more to Hieu Tran than to me. He and I are collaborating on his memoir. Hieu  escaped Vietnam, alone, when he was twelve and came to live in the United States. His book is about his life, especially his experience getting to the United States and what happened after he got to the United States. It is also motivational as Hieu  has learned valuable life lessons we can use in our lives. Stay tuned for updates.

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I have a big announcement to make about a project. I will be posting about it on Monday.

Contest Entries

I just entered two stories in the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition.  I will know on or before February 28, 2017, if either of my entries place. I worked on setting and character development with these two, so they should stand a better chance than last time. I will keep you posted.

Beyonders: A World Without Heroes

I am hooked on this book series. It has really dark humor. I have laughed out loud a few times while reading the first book–and I don’t generally laugh out loud when I am reading. It is a great adventure story for kids 6th grade and up.

Contest Results

I did not win the contest, or even place in one of the categories. I hypothesize three reasons:

  1.  I did not establish the setting well enough.
  2. I did not describe the characters well enough.
  3. I do not have a big enough audience to win a prize of this size.

What do we do when we lose a contest?

Fix the story and enter it into another contest. I LOVE this story.

Contest Results

I entered a short story in the Writer’s Digest short story competition.  The winners will be announced “on or before December 31.” Needless to say, I have been keeping my phone close and checking my email at least once a day.  I LOVE the story I entered, so I have my hopes up. I will let you know either way.

On Rejection

I just received a rejection of a story I knew was just PERFECT for this one magazine. It is super disappointing. This is my third rejection since July. Which means:  I haven’t submitted nearly enough stories to nearly enough magazines! I should be on rejection Number 20 by now! I need to get going!