Spring and Summer classes!

Tally with violetsIt’s Spring!







And it’s time for my Spring and Summer classes at Flathead Valley Community College…

Writing in the Workplace     (1 session)

  • Grammar Refresher – April 28           12-1:30 p.m.                              $20
  • The Easy Writing System – May 5 12-1:30 p.m.                              $20
  • Editing Tips & Tricks – May 12 12-1:30 p.m.                              $20

Introduction to Screenwriting     (4 weeks)

Learn the fundamentals from ideas to scenes to understanding the basic structure of a screenplay.

Tuesdays               May 5-May 26                           6-8:30 p.m.                      $64

Everyday Creative Writing      (4 weeks)

With guided exercises, it’s easy to capture everyday creative writing.

Mondays                June 8-June 29                          2-4 p.m.                           $54

The Write Plan     (1 session)

Develop the business skills necessary to help your writing career succeed!  Learn to track finances, prioritize key resources and activities, and identify and utilize avenues to get to your readers.

Tuesday                 June 16                                     5:30-8:30 p.m.                 $45

Register online www.fvcc.edu or call the Continuing Education Center (406) 756-3832

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Hope to see you there!


Fall writing classes in the fine state of Montana!

Montana welcome sign

A busy fall for me, and I’m hoping to see some writers out and about at these gatherings…

The Flathead River Writer’s Conference – September 27th & 28th in Kalispell. For more information check out the Authors of the Flathead website  www.authorsoftheflathead.org

The Montana Romance Writer’s Conference - October 4th & 5th in Bozeman, MT. Montana RWA Conference

And I’m also teaching these courses through Flathead Valley Community College:

The Write Business (6 weeks)

Develop the business skills necessary to help your writing career succeed! Whether you aim to be an indie author, find or keep a traditional publisher, freelance, blog, serialize your non-fiction or fiction, or take Hollywood by storm, you are an entrepreneur. In addition to the creative work of writing, you need to track finances, prioritize key resources and activities, identify and utilize avenues to get to your readers, and build the support of an unofficial but highly effective board of directors.

Mondays Oct 6 – Nov 10 3 – 5:30 p.m. $249

BUS 9240A AT Bldg Rm 206

Editing Tips & Tricks(1 session)

No one wants to be responsible for a piece of writing riddled with errors, but we often read and re-read a document not sure what we’re even looking for. Armed with specific editing tools, you can sign off on more polished writing in less time. Leave with a checklist to shift your focus from merely reading to quickly and accurately spotting and fixing writing and grammatical errors.

Oct 7 BC Bldg Rm 118 COMM 9029A

Novel Challenge (5 weeks)

Celebrate National Novel Writing Month with fellow writers and take a big bite out of your novel in 30 days! First class meeting in October will be to strategize our attack. The weekly November classes will be to discuss the craft of writing and the challenges of keeping the words flowing for all thirty days of November. When we have reached our goal, we’ll spend the last evening celebrating and looking ahead to revising.

Mondays Oct 27-Nov 24 6-8:30 p.m. $74

ENGL 1107A AT Bldg Rm 205

For more information and to register, click on FVCC…

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Happy reading & Happy learning!


Day 30 – Victory!

There’s only one thing like the joy of writing 50,000 words in 30 days…. Stopping!

It’s the same kind of relief I used to feel when I finished a run. The running felt pretty good some of the time, but the stopping felt really good all of the time. The same is true for writing.

In 30 days I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve written decent scenes and some that will never see the light of day.

I’ve worked hard and also procrastinated at an Olympic level.

But I’ve started. I’ve started what was only an idea and made it the first 50,000 words of The Rocker’s Mrs.

Nano winner 2013 2

What will happen to it (and me) now?

Well, it will be seriously ignored for a while. I mean that in the best possible way.

1. I need to do some laundry or buy more underwear. Just saying.

2. I need a break from the computer.

The chair doesn’t have my rear end imprint… my rear end is getting a chair imprint.

3. I have got to figure out what smells weird in my refrigerator.

4. It’s the holiday season, and I’ve got to do some book promotions for the four novels that are already out in the world.

5. It’s time to scout around and see if there’s a traditional publisher who would like to bring one of my novels out in print.

6. I’ve got to pick up the revision of the Montana Myth novel and finish it up.

7. Family? Well, hello!

8. It’s only 25 days until Christmas, right?! What could possibly need doing?

9. Sleep

10. The audio book for Hollywood Beginnings will need a good launching in December.

Happy Last Day of National Novel Writing Month!




Day 27 : Advice I Need to Take

Since I’m a teacher, I can be counted upon to stand at the front of the room, dispense my best advice, and sometimes fail to take it myself!

Interlake teaching photo

Here are bits ‘o wisdom I will try to follow (today, or really soon)

1. First drafts are awful. They’re supposed to be. Just keep writing to the end and know that you will fix it up later.

2. You don’t have to know everything. As you write, you will learn, and you’ve got to trust that.

3. Just write the next scene. You can doubt and fuss and meet a friend for coffee, but you must write the next scene.

4. Struggle is completely normal. It’s not a sign that the universe is telling you to stop. Keep going.


5. Be clear about your boundaries, and people will be more likely to respect them. It’s okay to say NO.

6. What are you waiting for?

7. Set a timer and limit yourself to that much internet/Facebook/TV/reading or whatever rabbit hole you prefer to fall into when it’s writing time.

8. Celebrate what you did get done. Treat yourself! Carrots are better motivators than sticks.

9. It’ll all work out.

10. You can do this!

Happy getting over the sticking points of a new project,




Day 25: NaNoWriMo class has taught me…

I’ve been leading a group of writers at Flathead Valley Community College through National Novel Writing Month.

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Tonight’s our last meeting, and we’re having a potluck.

I could write an entire blog post on the joys of potluck. I mean, when you get a chance to eat a dozen different things from a dozen different cooks, it’s awesome, right? Sometimes we even luck out and everyone brings dessert!

It’s been one of the most lively groups of writers I’ve had the pleasure to work with. I hope they’ve taken something away from the class. I know I have.

They’ve taught me:

* Enthusiasm is everything. It’s challenging to keep going when you’re slogging through a novel. If you can keep your inspiration up, you can do anything.

* Ask questions. Lots of questions. It makes us all better writers, and it makes a teacher a better teacher too!

* It takes guts to write. Maybe you’re not from a family of literary giants (who is?!). Maybe you aren’t even sure where you’re from, where you are, or where you’re going (anybody besides me?) but with a little courage, you can do it anyway.

* Laughter is what makes everything work better… your writing, your interactions with others, your life.

* Writers, whether we are beginning or mid-stride, are among the most interesting people I know.

Thank you and happy rest of the month,


Day 23: Appreciation

Sometimes in the late fall/early winter, I focus on what I don’t find when I step outside.

The sun, for example, is mostly missing in the gray. The grass, once warm and green and cushy to lay on is frozen hard.

I miss my flowers, the sweet lavender and bold giant sunflowers.

Even the bright orange and yellows of fall have gone, the trees bare and what’s left of the foliage long raked over and forgotten.

But today I walked out and the sun lit up the icy lawn and showed me this…

leaf with ice crystals

Happy noticing small beauty,


Day 17 – 10 Things I’d Rather Do at Starbucks

10 things I’d rather do at Starbucks than write:

Starbucks with AlphaSmart

1. read something someone else wrote

2. show strangers photos of my new puppy

3. drink waaaaay too much caffeine

4. listen in on the conversations around me. Eavesdropping is an important skill set for a novelist

5. go on Facebook

6. go on Facebook

7. go on Facebook

8. be at Costco with my husband (who dropped me off to write) eating samples of everything from teriyaki chicken to chocolate covered raisins

9. nap (although this Starbucks does not have a couch)

10. Outline, take notes, make a character sketch, research on the internet and generally do all those other jobs that at any given moment seem more fun than diving in (which I am going to do right now!)

Happy diving in,


Day 16 – S.A.T.U.R.D.A.Y.

Sometimes a story flows


And sometimes it sticks.




Until I managed another 1,000 words, I didn’t


Really remember how good it feels to


Develop a relationship with my characters, so they have the chance to


Always surprise me and make me say, “write more about you tomorrow?




Happy Saturday,


Day 14 – A Change of Scene

At 7 p.m. I was at  0 words for the day and 20,261 words for the month. Tomorrow is half-way through November, and I’m supposed to be half way through my 50,000 words!

So, I did the one thing that guarantees that work gets done… I left the house.

I do it periodically, write away from home, because home holds people, laundry, too much internet access, movies, a counter full of dishes, the book I’m currently reading, a bathtub to soak in, and now, the cutest puppy in the world, Tally, the Writing Dog

Tally with violets

(eating a violet she found in the yard)

So, I went old school at McDonald’s with my AlphaSmart, yellow pad, gel pen, and sticky notes. McDs

Word count by 8:30? 21,476. Shazam!

Happy Reading, Happy Writing, Happy Meal!


Day 10 – A Day of Rest?

A mere 1,000 words today (and they weren’t very focused ones, either).

What I want from a Sunday… 1. Sleep  2. A good book  3. A fairly good movie  4. Lots of food from the tiny triangle at the top of the food pyramid.

food pyramid

1. Missed a nap  2. Did enjoy some reading  3. Had to stop watching Grown-ups 2 after 15 minutes because it was truly awful  4. Am now going to eat a brownie.

That’s about 50%, so I’ll try to sloth better next Sunday.

Happy Reading, Happy carbo-loading,



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