That is a quote from Herbert Hoover. I know this because when I was a student at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and my dad came to visit me, we went to the Herbert Hoover museum, which I believe was in West Branch, Iowa, where President Hoover was from, and I got a red t-shirt that said the above quote in white lettering. That was the sort of thing my dad liked to do on vacations: go to funky little museums. I miss him.

Anyway, in summer, mine are the joys of Iowa, too, as I love teaching at the Writing Festival each summer. This summer I'm teaching:


  • WRITING THE POPULAR NOVEL IN ANY GENRE June 22-23
  • FIVE ELEMENTS OF THE NOVEL June 23-28
  • PLOTTING THE NOVEL July 14-19
  • FLASH FICTION IN A FLASH: WRITING AND SUBMITTING PUBLISHABLE FLASH FICTION July 20-21
Won't you join me? We'll learn a lot, write our hearts (and minds) out, and have a blast!


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I'm delighted and honored to have my 10-minute play, "Who's in Love with the Big Bad Wolf?" be a part of the Kathie Rasmussen Production Company's  Mythical Creatures Short Play Festival in Madison through February 9, 2019. Here I am (center, holding my pink fuzzy ear muffs--hey, it's Wisconsin and freezing!) on opening night with two of the three members of the amazing cast, Granny and Red. (The Big Bad Wolf must have gone off to his den before we could take the picture. I don't blame him. I think it was -1 below by the time the show had finished, around 11 PM.) The cast and director brought my words to life in a way that was way more powerful (and funnier and sexier!) than I could have imagined, and I am so grateful to them, and to the producer for choosing to include my play.

The other plays are by turns funny and moving, and it's always interesting to see how other playwrights respond to a prompt.

Now that it's January, I'm turning my attention to new plays, new festivals, new projects, and I'm writing and sending out new material--and hoping to send out more.

What about you? What are your writing or other artistic or professional or personal goals for 2019? Please share them in the comments!

Break legs, all! And... cheers!




Today is National Dog Day. While Rosie was a 7th birthday present for our daughter Alice, who is now 16, she has become the best friend to all of us. I am sure that cats also make great companions for writers (I'm allergic, so I'd hardly know, though I did have a beautiful Manx cat once), but one nice thing about dogs is that at least once a day they make you get out from behind your computer and go outside for a walk. Rosie is 9 1/2 and this is still the favorite part of her day, though she also likes to cuddle, takes naps, and meditate in the sun. For a writer who still suffers from headaches over too much computer time, she is a wonderful role model.

Do you have a dog? A pet? What do you love about him or her?

Happy National Dog Day, from Rosie and me! xo
Iowa Summer Writing Festival

It's time to register for Adult Summer Camp for Writers--aka, The Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Every year, writers gather in this UNESCO City of Literature to write, learn, share, create, be inspired, inspire, prespire (whether due to hard work or Midwestern humidity or a combination of the two, I'll let you decide...) and I can't wait to be a part of the fun. I'm teaching:

FLASH FICTION IN A FLASH: Writing (and Submitting) Publishable Flash Fiction June 23-24

FIVE ELEMENTS OF THE NOVEL: One for Every Day of the Workshop Week June 24-29

WRITING THE POPULAR NOVEL: in Any Genre July 21-22

PLOTTING THE NOVEL July 22-27

Hope you'll sign up for a class with me (or with one of my fantastic colleagues)! Let's get those novels started--or finished!



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Due to Univeristy of Wisconsin system budget cuts, we don't have quite enough money to print enough copies of our beauitful color glossy literary magazine, THE SPIRIT LAKE REVIEW, as we're used to doing this year, so the college students such as Kendrick (above) and I decided to have a fund raiser. Jordan (and others) work at our local Culver's restaurant, so they organized a share night--which means that Culver's shares its sales with us. The community came out to eat burgers, fries, and custard, the students delivered food and wiped down tables, and we'll earn a percentage of the night's sales. Will it be enough to make up the difference between what the campus allocated us, and what we'll need to print a couple of hundred copies? Stay tuned... In any case, we had fun!

And if you're a Wisconsin writer, or an artist from anywhere in the U.S., then please submit your work to us by 22 February at: SpiritLakeBooU@gmail.com.

We'll try to promise not to eat it up, no matter how yummy it is!

I've always enjoyed reading Woman's World Magazine and For Women First, so imagine my joy now that I'm writing for www.FirstForWomen.com about perimenopause. Menopause is defined by not having a menstrual period for a year. Perimenopause is defined by the time before that, when a woman is losing estrogen, but is still having periods (if irregularly), and experiencing symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings. The average time of perimenopause is 4 years, though it can last up to a decade. (Yeah...)

Excerpt from "Perimenopause is Turning Me Into My 15 Year-Old Daughter"

"I can imagine a magazine quiz: Is it puberty, or is it perimenopause? Choose the picture of Gordon Ramsay’s facial expression that shows how angry you become when someone eats the last of the Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia you were saving for tonight. When you listen to Nirvana’s 'Smells Like Teen Spirit,' are you young again, or just young? How many Kleenexes do you need when Sarah McLachlan’s ASPCA commercial comes on?"


I'd love it if you read my article, filed under BEST YOU, titled, "Perimenopause is Turning Me Into my Fifteen Year-Old Daughter," and tweeted it, shared it, or pinned it. And please, let me know what you think! 



Thanks, readers, and happy new year! May you be your best you--in 2018 and always!





It’s December, which means that in between grading English composition papers, reading college creative writing finals, and doing my own editing and writing, it’s time to think about … presents!

Some of my favorite presents to give—if the recipients are willing, obviously; I mean, I don’t give these to people like cough syrup, because they’re good for you—are books.

We’re a “mixed” religious family. My mother was Jewish, my dad Catholic, and my husband was also raised Catholic. In our household, we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. I give our daughter a book every night of Hanukkah, “because Jews value reading and education,” I used to explain to her, until my friend told me that sounded kind of bad.

“Bad, how?”

“You make it sound like other people don’t.”

“I was just referring to the fact that when people came to set fire to your house with pitchforks, the one thing they couldn’t take from you was your education. At least, that’s how my mom explained it.”

“How do pitchforks start fires?”

"Hmm?"

Anyway: I stopped with the explanation. But I kept on with the book-giving tradition.

If the books are good, my daughter reads them in a day. If they’re not good, she abandons them after a chapter.

Anyone have any good recommendations for fifteen-year old girls? Or husbands who like to read poetry? (Don’t worry. My family doesn’t look at my website.)

Happy reading and happy gift-giving, everyone!
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