As an author—fiction and non-fiction—editor, book reviewer,
teacher, and artist, I am a woman of many projects.
In 2006 I retired from education to focus on a full-time
literary career. 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
They say the best way to begin writing fiction is to
write about what you know, so I was already in good shape. I
had the memoir and I had the backdrop of my life. Everyone's
life is interesting....It's all in how you tell the tale.
I grew up in Upstate New York where I romped in fields of
goldenrod and wild blackberries, played along the banks of Nine Mile Creek. This setting and
those memories provide the inspiration for my novel titled appropriately, Nine Mile Creek.
I studied under successful fiction writers and screenplay writers and memoirists. I read authors whose
words have filled my soul and inspired me to find my own words—Wallace Stegner, Amy Tan, Pearl Buck,
Jim Harrison, Joan Didion, Annie Proulx, John Steinbeck, Lillian Hellman, and Jack Kerouac, to name just
Remember I said I'm a woman of many projects...
My new 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.
In 2009, the second edition of
Videoconferencing for K-12 Classrooms
helped teachers around the world find ways to use
using digital technologies in schools to forge community
partnerships and take their students on Virtual Field Trips.
Please visit my non-fiction page to learn more about these books.
* * * * *
Since 2006, I’ve also completed a short story collection, and published short fiction in the Oregon
Literary Review and the Ink-Filled Page Anthology of 2007.
For many years, I've served as the President of Sahalie Publishing, a non-profit, project-based group of
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 New York
State. My account of this unique story, The Brass Bell,
shows why people who are now in their 70s, 80s, and 90s
meet regularly to reminisce about Miss Parsons and the
outstanding teachers who were part of her team at the
red brick school. The book is currently under
consideration at a major university press. You can follow
the project blog to see what happens to The Brass Bell.
photo by: Rachel Hadiashar