My Published Words

Welcome to Amazing Words Wednesday, the day we enter the labyrinth of language and see what fabulous fun we can discover together.

Normally it’s something about grammar, word play, etymology, famous quotes, etc. But today I got into the maze, turned a corner, and voila, there it was! The Goblin KingThe Goblet of Fire. Okay, actually it was this:

Orange Karen Cover

If you follow my blog, you know I’ve already mentioned the Orange Karen Tribute Anthology–oh, maybe three or twenty times. But tomorrow feels rather special to me because I finally get to share my wordsmy languagemy story with readers.

Tomorrow, April 11, is the official release day for this anthology featuring short stories from various genres. My YA contemporary short, COLOR ME HAPPY, is among them.

Karen DeLabar
“Orange Karen”

I began writing over four years ago, but this is the first fiction piece I’ve had published. And the cause is such a good one–supporting our marvelous writer friend, Karen DeLabar, as she continues to battle the fallout of Toxic Shock Syndrome.

But I thought I’d share some other words of mine today as well. Because while this is my first fiction piece in print, it isn’t the first thing I’ve had published.

You see, I made an appearance in the December/January 2001 issue of Child magazine. Was I giving parenting advice? Oh no. I was asking for it. I had read all of the What to Expect books, but the pregnancy/motherhood books that most helped me gain perspective were the Girlfriend’s Guide books written by Vicki Iovine. She had an advice column in the magazine, and I submitted a question. Yep, I was Sleepless in Texas.

Child Magazine page

And then there was the 2011 DFW Writers’ Conference. Penguin Promo had a booth in the exhibit hall. Several days beforehand, they ran a contest for t-shirt slogans. The prize was simply that your slogan would be chosen, sold at the conference, and you would receive a freebie. I submitted a few slogans, and one was chosen to grace the front of a shirt.

T-shirt: I'd grovel to publish my novel.
I’d grovel to publish my novel.

So having been “published” already, should I really be that exuberant about the release of my short story?


I’m thrilled to start my fiction publications with a short story, in the YA genre, among a group of quality authors, and for the benefit of Karen. What better way to have a “debut”?!

If you would like to read my words–and/or those of the other 38 authors involved in this project–here’s where you can buy, starting Thursday, April 11.



Also be sure to mark this a “Want to Read” on Goodreads and post a review (if you do that sort of thing).

Remember that all proceeds go toward helping Karen pay her medical and rehabilitation expenses. And a massive thanks to Christina Esdon, the leader of this project, who has been gracious at every turn and a delightful person to work with.

So what were the first words you ever had published? Have you ever written in to a magazine or newspaper? Have you ever come up with a slogan? Which of your words are you particularly proud of?

Christmas Gifts and #ROW80

After doing a series on gifts for the grammar geek, word lover, book reader, and writer, I was thrilled to get a few writer-themed gifts myself on Christmas Day. Check these out!

My new laptop stand. I’ve talked about how important it is to be nice to your back and shoulders while writing on a computer. However, it’s impossible to get both your keyboard and your screen at the right level while using a laptop. Thanks to my hubby, I can now use this laptop stand at home along with a bluetooth keyboard and keep my muscles happy. I think he was a little motivated by the idea of me not begging for a shoulder massage all the time.

Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain. I’ve heard this writing craft book mentioned several times, so it’s been on my short list. I happily received a copy from my mother, and I’ll probably read in it round two of ROW80.

Jane Eyre book charmBook charms. These were featured in my Gifts for the Book Reader post and were one of the items I drooled over when I found them online. My husband ordered the Jane Eyre charm for me, and my sons got me Hunger Games. I love both of these books–obviously for different reasons. You’d better believe I’ll be wearing them when I attend my next writers’ conference.

Scrivener for Dummies by Gwen Hernandez. I took the Scrivener online course with Gwen, and it was excellent. I’m using more features of the Scrivener software now, and it’s helping me to plot, organize, and turn out good writing. However, I wanted the reference book as well, and my family came to the rescue! Scrivener for Dummies now sits on my shelf, ready for me to look up how to do this, that, and whatever.

Karen DeLabar
“Orange Karen”

Orange Karen Anthology. Obviously, this is NOT a gift to me. Rather, it is an anthology being put together to benefit fellow writer Karen DeLabar, who suffered through toxic shock syndrome this past summer. You can read her amazing story HERE. However, I was delighted to receive the news a few days before Christmas that my short story had been chosen for inclusion in the anthology. The proceeds from this project will go toward Karen’s mounting medical bills. It’s a pleasure to be able to support Karen with my words, as well as my thoughts and prayers. The anthology is due for release in April 2013.

And the continuing gift of A Round of Words in 80 Days–the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Here is the crux of the challenge: You have 80 days to achieve whatever goals you set for yourself; you post biweekly (or weekly) updates; and fellow writers keep you accountable and cheer you on. Easy peasy, right?

It’s time to declare my goals for Round 1, which runs from January 7 through March 28. Here are my ROW80 goals for the first round of 2013:


  • Complete full rewrite of SHARING HUNTER.
  • Work with editors on short story for Orange Karen Anthology.
  • Revisit GRACE & FIRE (1st novel) and run through one more round of edits.


  • Write one full short story.
  • Write blog posts for Sundays (including ROW80 updates) and Wednesdays.
  • Start plotting sequel to GRACE & FIRE (working title: HOPE & ASHES).


Non-writing goals

  • Exercise twice a week.
  • Take a true Sabbath–no working and time with God and family one day a week.

So what were some of your favorite Christmas gifts? What are your goals for ROW80? Be sure to check out the challenge HERE, and you can sign up or see who’s participating HERE.