The Life of a Writer

Monday, December 30, 2013

Golden Privateers

It's that time again to share a little about the writing process of my book GOLDEN PRIVATEERS to be published  in 2014. This was originally written in 1984 as a children's novel called HALLOWEEN BRIGADE.  It was inspired by a friend of mine who sent me an article from New York about a Pumpkin Sail on the Hudson River by the Clearwater. So I wrote a short story called "Croak of the Croaker Fish." Then this short story was created into a children's novel.

I was in a writing group in Los Angeles with Cynthia Whitcomb Mandelburg.  She had just finished writing "Let Um Laughing." At the time and I had created a screenplay called"The World is My Home."  She evaluated my screenplay for me. I had a small child and lived on my boat offshore.  I decided to work on a children's novel instead. She critiqued this too. I proceeded to send it out into the world to publishing companies but unfortunately received many rejections.

Loving this story very much as it was about a group of children that brought back spirit to a city and included the bullies in their Pumpkin Sail to end hunger on the planet, I rewrote it into GOLDEN PRIVATEERS. I sent it out once again this time to Simon and Schuster who liked Baggy Duck yet wanted to see my new story.  It sat at Simon and Schuster for a year.  I was calling every month to see if the editor had read it. Finally, she decided that it must be lost so I was to resend it. I did and six month later I received a letter that said "It had a lot of heart but was not right for their list." It took me awhile to get though the rejection of my story.

So here I am in 2014 going to self publish it. Golden Privateers is a 7-11 year old boat story and yes it has a lot of heart!I recently read it to a group of second graders and they loved it!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Baggy Duck and the creative process...

Here is the original house with the pot of gold!

 Presenting the rainbow that Baggy thought would make him happy!

Love hearts everywhere


This is the original mountain that Baggy Duck went up searching for the rainbow!

Introducing  original leprechaun who shows Baggy where true happiness lies.

The original rainbow looked like this!

Friday, November 29, 2013


All stories come from an original idea.  The idea for Baggy Duck came in the form of a boat docking beside us named "Baggy Duck."  During this time, a friend of ours named Joy was having her boat hauled out of the water and it was going to a city called Rainbow.  I put this all together inside myself and the title Baggy Duck of Rainbow's End was created!

I was taking a beginning calligraphy class at the time at Point Loma Art and Design.  So using a list of the first 100 sight words, I created the story. It had a good beginning--Baggy left the ocean looking for a rainbow that he thought would make him happy.  The middle-- where he picked up all sorts of colored objects to put in his bags. He didn't know what they were but they were warm. End--he met a leprechaun who shows him where true happiness lives. So all the elements were there including the problem and solution.

Here is the watercolor my son did and the original calligraphy! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Magical Potions That Work

This was the title of the first small pamphlet that I made as a Recreational Therapist many years ago now.  I was thinking about bringing back the title and introducing parents and teachers into the joy of reading and how to proceed with it. You may be getting beginning words and books sent home with your new reader. What can you do with these? Let's say you have the following beginning sight words that came home in your homework packet. These are taken from a list of beginning sight words that all children will need to learn.

1. is

2. come

3. good

4. here

5. like

6. and

7. mother

8. make

9. work

10. day

Put them on index cards and put them into your magical hat. Play games with them. Reward your child for knowing them. One way I love to teach is have the children create one of their own books reading the words. Use simple xerox paper and begin to write the story for your child using these words.  Have them illustrate it with watercolor or crayons. Here is a simple example:

I like my mother.
She is good.
Here she is cooking
and here she is working.
I like my mother.
She is making  my day.

Staple the book together. Read it with your child. Save these books.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I was in a classroom on Monday  9/30/13 where the teacher told me what a horrible class this was and how I was going to have a horrible morning. I actually was afraid at first.  She took me out to the line on the playground and pointed out the two blind, five autistic, and two emotionally disturbed students. As the two blind kids led us to the classroom, I mentioned that I felt like it was the blind leading the blind. Are we as teachers blind to the real children that are in the classrooms with us?

As we entered, I introduced myself as Ms. Magic.  The children loved it.  We talked about the number one rule that I learned from the sixth grade kids at Field Elementary that started with an R.  They all knew it was RESPECT.  So we talked about that and what it looked like to them. It's interesting I saw them all as the same One--not different. When they came to the rug, or did their work, I didn't see them as their labels.  How would that be respectful of them? Have we lost our own sensitivity as adults to abuse children by labeling them?  Why can't learning be fun?  Why can't we accept each child as a contributing member of the whole no matter how it shows up?  Are we so attached to our test scores and education of the primary subjects that we have forgotten how to laugh and play as we teach?

Personally, I feel communication is the key.  Once we train the children to communicate about their feelings and to be able to express it in a good way then we can move forward.  When the classroom is a safe place for everyone, then they can learn more effectively. If the teachers are under constant pressure from above to produce results, the children can feel this energy. What do they grow up to become? Bullies who are trying to control the others around them by labeling them. This needs to stop.  We are seeing the effects of it in the shootings in our country.

Where do we start to change it? I say with the very young. The time is now to educate our children as they enter school in communication skills which promote wellness, positive self esteem and positive relationships.  What a better way to improve student learning. I have become a Say It Straight Trainer so that I can make a contribution in education. I had the opportunity to work with my second grade students for two years using this program. I found significant changes in the abilities of the students to ask for what they want and to express their feelings. The sameness and differences exercises brought healing between two students who had been upset with each other since kindergarten. The two new boys found other ways to communicate other than fighting and calling each other names.

I can be contacted to conduct the SAY IT STRAIGHT TRAINING  in your child's classroom or for the PTA at your school. We have to start somewhere why not now?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


    During the summer I always want to move my stories forward. . Today I am working on several stories at the same time. I took the ideas of my students and created a new  story about making what started out as a bad day into a good one.  It is called THE BAGGY DUCK AND THE MAGIC STONE.  When it felt complete, I began the sketches. Here are the beginning rough drafts of the first couple of pages. This will be made into a picture book with line drawings and watercolor pictures.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My first drawing

     As a child I was always told that I couldn't draw.  After awhile I just accepted that fact and had everyone else draw for me.

Finally at age 60, I took an art class and discovered that I COULD draw. Here is my first drawing of a red tailed hawk!! It was done from a photograph. It  is amazing that with just a little training and practice what a person can do.

Here is another done of a painting by a famous artist yet changed in some way.

The drawing of my slippers delighted me that I could draw!!

What I noticed when I was drawing is that I would have some tranformative experience while doing the drawing.  I felt this much more with drawing than painting. When I shared this with my classmates, they too shared that this is why they keep coming back to art.



     In this age of computers and I pads and I phones what are simple and easy ways to provide a simple art activity for your child?  It doesn't take much really. I love to watch children play and create their own little world. Yet, I notice that when I do provide a little input it works and they love the diversion.

Last week, I pulled out some white 18X24 sketching paper for the two youngest ages 3 and 5. I gave them crayons and I had some colored chalks that they could add a background with by smearing on different colors with their hands. Viola!! success!!! Sprayed them with clear fixative. Here is the one the three year old produced(above)!!

Yesterday, my five year old grand daughter sat down at my drafting table and began to sketch with pencil on a piece of 18X 24 sketching paper.  She produced three sketches. Here is one of them that she signed with her name!

My nine year old grand daughter produced this drawing of animals which she loves to draw. Just paper and pencil.

Be the Light

Here are some poems from my new poetry book called BE THE LIGHT.

              It's just a Wave
It's just a wave that's going through
It's not really even apart of you.
Becoming more of who you are each day.
The wave just washes your fears away!
Then you get up to ride anew,
Another wave that shows the Self to you.
Another level that you never knew.
A deeper part of a soul called you.

What is that thought
I'm thinking of
That thought within my mind?
If I can catch it in my heart
I wonder what I'll find?
Is it a thought I want to keep?
Or do I need to let it go?

Is it about love?
Is it about peace?
Or is it a thought that's just
Wandering through,
To be washed with light
And shot back to you?

  Becoming One
When I become one
With the work that I do,
I dissappear
And so do you.

I'm sitting in the space
Of the place I'm in.
Yet I am not here
I have merged with who I am.

When I beome one
With the one that I am,
I feel light inside in all I do.
I even become one with you.

Friday, August 2, 2013

.The Life of a Writer

It's been awhile since I posted as I am a reading and writing teacher during the school year. I love to be with children. They give me inspiration for my writing. When I go onto the campus', many children call out to me "Ms. Magic!"  That is who I am to them.  When I sub in their classroom, I don't even put my real name on the board.  I just write "Ms. Magic."  I proceed to do the teacher's plans and then every once in awhile I get to show my work.

This year I showed BAGGY DUCK OF RAINBOW'S END  and my new story GOLDEN PRIVATEERS. It is a learning process to read the chapters out loud to them and see what they think. This year they created a song about Baggy Duck and an art project to do with the students.They guessed what is inside of the black box in my new story.  We were laughing so hard. I am passionate about the writing process and I will do anything for them to see how wonderful the process of creating stories is. I want them to know they can do it too. At the end of the day, I usually perform magic tricks.  We all go home happy!

Summertime gives me the opportunity to write and reflect on how much I have learned. I was able to create my new WEBSITE which will be up in August 2013. There are many of the letters the students have written to me posted!! I feel the Baggy Duck presentation is ready to hit the road. So onto the next step!