As an author—fiction and non-fiction—editor, book reviewer,
teacher, grant writer, historian, and artist, I am a woman of
In 2006 I retired from a full-time education career to focus
on literary and historic research endeavors . The first thing I
did was write a memoir. Then I joined a critique group and
someone said, "Why would anyone be interested in your story?"
I hadn't formed a thick skin yet or learned that unless you're
careful, these groups can be deadly to your writing career. So
I put Growing up Nancy on the back burner and wrote a novel
based on the memoir. My back burner would eventually become
In the years that followed, I learned that everyone's
life and everyone's family is interesting....It's all in how you tell
the tale. We all have a story to share, a legacy.
I grew up in Upstate New York where I romped in fields of
goldenrod, picked wild blackberries, and played along the banks
of Nine Mile Creek. This setting and those memories provide the inspiration for my novel:
Nine Mile Creek.
Over the past few years, I've studied under successful fiction writers, screenplay writers, and
memoirists. I've read works by authors whose words have filled my soul and inspired me to find my own —
Wallace Stegner, Amy Tan, Pearl Buck, Jim Harrison, Joan Didion, Annie Proulx, John Steinbeck, Lillian
Hellman, and Jack Kerouac, to name just a few.
Remember I said I'm a woman of many projects...
My book for teachers, published by the
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE):
Connecting Students to S.T.E.M. Careers,
Social Networking Strategies
....looks at critical education topics and issues;
it provides ideas and resources for teachers on how to
introduce students to S.T.E.M. career possibilities using
leading edge technologies to connect to real people
working at careers in science, engineering, math,
technology, art and design.
In 2009, the second edition of a book I co-wrote in 2004,
Videoconferencing for K-12 Classrooms
was updated and continues to help teachers around the world find ways to use
digital technologies in schools to forge community
partnerships, guidelines on how to take students on Virtual Field Trips to science center, museums, and
even to the Space Station. Without leaving the classroom, students today can talk live, face-to-face,
with scientists, engineers, technologists, and mathematicians. Suddenly, all dreams seem possible and
they discover reasons to pursue lessons that otherwise seemed irrelevant and boring. One conversation
with a woman in an engineering field can change one young girl's life.
Please visit my non-fiction page to learn more about these books.
* * * * *
Over the past few years I've built a short story collection and have published short fiction in literary
journals such as the Oregon Literary Review and the Ink-Filled Page Anthology of 2007.
My Thoughts on Writing
To write what others might stay up all night to read is to be willing to practice and learn every day. In
my quest to become a better writer, I attend author readings and lectures. I read religiously what
agents and editors have to say about exceptional writing and the complex pursuit of publication. Every
month, I read my copy of Poets & Writers cover to cover, submit short stories to literary journals, and
pay my fair share of writing contest submission fees. I am a member of Backspace, Women in Portland
Publishing, and Willamette Writers.
If you're serious about writing, read and write every day. If it's your passion, this will not be a problem.
Birds must fly, grass must grow, and writers must write. For me, writing a winsome sentence or an
engaging scene is like playing a sonata in the dark, one you've practiced since childhood. It's executed so
effortlessly, you evoke an emotion in everyone who hears you playing.
I started writing fiction at the age of eight, and have kept it up all my life. A long time ago, I wrote a
serialized soap opera for the Eugene Magazine: “As the Rain Falls.” I borrowed so much juicy material
from my friends and their foibles, to save my skin I wrote under the nom de plume, La Plume. Since then
I’ve used Camille LaPlume as a handle in all kinds of situations. Now that I’ve exposed my cover, I’ll have
to think of something new should I reinvent myself as a spy.
Then I put the novel on the back burner (someone in a critique
group said I needed a vampire running alongside the car in the
opening scene) while I devoted my time to a narrative
non-fiction account of a one-room school born in a chicken coop
in my great grandfather's cherry orchard in 1927. Great Aunt
Marion Parsons devoted her life to making the school one of
the highest-ranked in the country. My account of this unique
story, The Brass Bell, reveals why people who are now in
their 70s, 80s, and 90s still get together to reminisce about
Miss Parsons and the outstanding teachers who were part of
her team at the red brick school. To review the history of
this unique project, check out the blog. Or,
Order The Brass Bell here:
Sahalie Publishing Company
or on Amazon.com
photo by: Rachel Hadiashar
Photo by Rachel Hadiashar