Plum Tree Books

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Plum Tree Books – a great new place to hang out!   
Plum Tree Books  introduces new authors, offers anthologies and showcases photography, art and music. There are opportunities for adult and children contribute. Creativity, inspiration and fun is just a click away!

Check out the website

Dead Duck Part Deux

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Last night I went to Bunco. Lots of fun, mostly gossiping and gnashing, with a bit of dice thrown in for purpose.

At the end of the evening I was sharing the sad story of watching the male duck mourn his mate. We all did the ooo, how sad, then one of the girls said, maybe he was a crabby duck and she ran out in front of the car since ducks can’t divorce. Someone else decided he was yelling at her for getting hit because she insisted she could cross the road and he wanted to wait for traffic.  Another countered with: maybe he was abusive, then asked if there was a webbed print on her ducky derriere.

It went from bad to worse as the fabulous peach sangria kicked in and it seemed like that duck tale got better as we went.

Was it murder, accident or suicide? We may never know – but apparently even a squashed duck can be great fodder for stories. Odd, funny and mysterious. What do you think happened?????

Dead duck – a story prompt?

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I saw the saddest thing on the way to work this AM. The car in front of me swerved, so of course I slowed down. There in the middle of the road was a smooshed female duck. She looked pretty bad, flat as a duck pancake. The male duck was circling around her, kept walking up to her then would back away from the lane of traffic, trying not to get hit himself.

Do ducks fall in ducky love? I read someplace they mate for life. Now will he mourn for her if he doesn’t get smooshed too? Will he move on to another duck in the neighborhood? I know it is just a duck, but he looked so sad I have been thinking of him all day.

I guess this isn’t the stuff of children’s books, but will fold it neatly and keep it in my brain to be added to a short story yet to be thought of.

Ideas for books and stories are all over. Where do you get yours?

SCBWI Spring Thaw

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Last Saturday I attended the annual Spring Thaw Conference held by my local chapter of the SCBWI for the first time. As a writer, I am at a loss for words as to how valuable the day was.

At first I felt out of place. It was not because everyone wasn’t friendly, because they were. I don’t often go to conferences or classes on my own, but don’t really “hang out” with any authors or writers. My crit group is awesome, but they are online and many states away. It was a bit overwhelming to sit at a table with several published authors and  illustrators. All of them were so kind and generous with advice, they really made me feel at home

Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser – the founders of the SCBWI were the speakers. They have forgotten more about writing than most people learn I am absolutely certain. Both have different styles and gave us tips, quips and stories to take home to encourage us all and help us become better writers. The are bright, funny, entertaining and really interesting to listen to.

Lin spoke briefly with me afterwards and encouraged me to “put a stamp” on my picture book manuscript and get it out there! I followed her advice (electronically) and submitted it to an agent tonight who will hopefully fall in love with my character and story and decide to pick it up. Keep fingers, toes and anything else crossed that you can for the safe journey and landing of my story.

I have ideas running around in my head for a couple more picture books that I want to get the rough drafts typed up. Maybe there is an usable idea for a middle grade novel rattling around in the vast emptiness of my head also. Will keep you posted if I can shake it loose.

Bio for Plum Tree Books

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The hardest thing for me to write is a bio. All writers need them. Some publishers want short, one paragraph bios. Others want long, detailed pieces of me to put on their website. I am not complaining, it is good to get out there and promote my writing, but most of the time I hide behind it.

Anyway, my latest adventure is joining Plum Tree Books ( ) as a children’s book reviewer. I am so excited to be a part of this group.  My pic and bio will be added soon, hopefully my first reviews will be posted as well.

I decided to add my bio below to give you all TMI regarding my writing life. Be sure check out Plum Tree Books!!!!

My life has been extraordinarily ordinary. Raised by a loving family, I was never without the necessities of life. From earliest memory my parents, grandparents and aunts read to me, told me stories and encouraged me to become an avid reader. Money wasn’t plentiful, but life was filled with love, fun and books.

Looking into myself to see who I’ve become today I see several evolutions as my life changed. I married my high school sweetheart, who is still my sweetheart after 36 years. I spent the next years as a stay at home mom and volunteer. Our life was crazy and busy and filled the occasional trip to the ER for bonked heads and broken arms. I would not have traded it for the world.

When my youngest son entered high school, I entered college, terrified that I would not be able to keep up with students my son’s ages. Facing my fears was one of the best choices I have ever made. I discovered that I could learn as well as the rest of my classmates. Writing was my new love. I wrote papers as though Stephen King was going to critique them. Essay tests were my specialty! I took as many English classes as possible, writing my way to graduation while working a full time job.

Fast forward to today. I work full time as an analyst, not a writer.  We spend as much time as possible with our grown sons and daughter-in-laws while I impatiently wait for grandchildren to read to.

And I write. I write short stories, I write magazine articles, I wrote a column for our local paper for three years with great satisfaction and very little pay.  I write book reviews and I write yet to be published books for children. I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Short Mystery FictionSociety.

I currently review books for The GenReview My work has appeared in Flashshot, Daily Short Fiction and Penwomanship Magazine.  Ma Cook’s Willow, is included in Tree Magic, which is now available as a free download from Sunshine Press

My short story Crazy is available as an audio story at Sniplits and is included in A Woman’s Touch: 11 Short Stories of Murder and Misdemeanors  available on Amazon at

Catch up with my world and my musings on twitter @lmh171

SCBWI~Illinois Spring Thaw

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I am soooo excited  – this week I am attending my first Writer’s Conference! Stephen Mooser and Lin Oliver, co-founders of SCBWI are speaking. Hopefully I will soak up tips and treasures from them and all the authors and illustrators that will be there. I’ll post with the scoop on Sunday.

A Woman’s Touch: 11 Stories of Murder and Misdemeanors [Kindle Edition]

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Have you ever checked out Sniplits at  How can you not love downloadable short fiction? If you sign up for the weekly newsletter, you’ll receive a free story every week. I may be biased because not only is one of my short stories (Crazy) available for download – it is included in one of the three ebook anthologies published by Sniplits 🙂  Check ’em out on Amazon!

All that info circles back to the ebook vs print copy and adds audio books to the discussion.

In addition to Sniplits downloads, I listen to Book Radio on the way to work. It makes my hour commute bearable.

I guess any and all forms of books are fine with me. This weekend I’ll start sending out my Children’s Book, Jumping Joey to any and all possible publishers where it might just find a home. Keep your fingers and toes crossed.

Book or ebook – that is the question

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What do kids read today? Are ebooks a viable option for preschoolers? Or do they crave the feel of holding an actual book and turning actual pages?

I read both. I love the convenience of a reader. Taking 100+ books along in my purse is my idea of packing light when leaving on a trip.   Yet I cannot imagine giving up print books. I love the feel of books, the smell of books and collecting books. Just walking into a bookstore is a rush. If it sounds as though I am addicted to them, I would not be able to argue otherwise.

Herein lays my struggle. Should I submit my children’s story to both print and e publishers ? It is ready to go out the door into the vast unknown of rejections and the possibility of acceptance, and part of me wants to be a print book snob and only sent out to houses that will print it if accepted. The rest of me says I’d have to be crazy to ignore the wave of the future in publishing.

Right now I have a short story available in an ebook. I am more than excited to be a part of the anthology and embrace the technology that has expanded book markets.

I guess the difference is I can’t envision curling up with an ereader to read a bedtime story to my kids. Any opinions before I send my manuscript off with high hopes?

World Book Night pic

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World Book Night US 2012 started out with giving books to a few gals at work before giving the rest of them out at Heartland Blood Bank in Aurora. Watch for next year’s event and participate! Share your love of books, the world can always use more bibliophiles!

About Me


I am an avid reader and enthusiastic writer. Words have always been a passion of mine. Escaping into a novel has been a part of my life for so long I can’t remember not spending free time with my nose in a book. That being said, I really had nothing to escape from – my life has always been pretty ok 🙂

I entered Aurora University the year my youngest son began high school. There I found my dream of becoming a writer could be more than whimsy. Professor Hanni Taylor, one of my favorite people in the world, encouraged and guided me as well as instructed me in my writings.

After graduation I continued to write. To date, I’ve had short stories and flash fiction published, written a weekly column in the Aurora Beacon News and review books.  Currently, I am focusing on writing and reviewing children’s books.

Welcome to my journey.

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