One for you, one for schools!

todayThis Giving Tuesday (Today, November 29), for every Yoobi item purchased on or a Yoobi owned retail store, Yoobi will double their give back! (If you aren’t familiar with Yoobi, for every item purchased, they donate an item to a classroom in need, more details below.) Today, for every item purchased, Yoobi will donate two Yoobi items to a classroom in need in the United States.

If you’re a writer, Yoobi is a fabulous resource for pens, notebooks and journals, office supplies, organizational systems, and other useful items for the business of writing. 

Yoobi makes colorful, vibrant tools that spark learning and creativity from office and school supplies to fun stationery and craft items! Not only did they want to perk up the supplies aisle, but they wanted to help solve a very big problem. Many kids in the U.S. don’t have access to basic school supplies, unless teachers pay for them out of their own pocket, which averages out to $485 per teacher per year, for a collective total of $1.6 billion a year. In just 2 short years, Yoobi has impacted over 2 million kids with their mission and hope this Giving Tuesday only continues to impact more!

They will also be doing a social media GIVE. If you retweet @yoobigives’ designated #GivingTuesday tweet tomorrow, they will donate an item to a classroom in need for every retweet! Tweet this:

It’s ! RETWEET THIS and will donate an item into a classroom pack. It’s that simple!

It’s such a great and easy way to give back!

Leave a comment

Filed under Best Writer Tips

NaNoWriMo Write-in TONIGHT

Hello local Pacific Northwest writers! I’m inviting all my writer friends and neighbors to nanologojoin me tonight at the Kitsap Regional Library in Poulsbo, where I’ll be hosting a NaNoWriMo write-in from 6pm-8pm.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.
We all value writing together as a community–regardless of genre, or level, or age (young writers andtoday teens welcome!) We’ll have yummy snacks, writing craft books on hand, and prizes for word sprints. So get your laptops and pens warmed up! I’ll see you tonight.

What: NaNoWriMo Write-ins
Where: Poulsbo Public Library, 700 NE Lincoln Rd. Poulsbo, Wa 98370
When: Every Monday night in November
Time: 6pm -8pm

Sponsored by the fabulous Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network, and the Poulsbo branch of Kitsap Regional Library.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction Novel Writing, For the love of writing, Writing Prompt

My HuffPost: 1 week of meditation boosts creative problem solving

Please read my latest article on Huffington Post:

Just One Week of Meditation Can Boost Creative Problem Solving

From deciding what to eat for breakfast to handling a complex dilemma at the office, there is always more than one solution to any problem

The paths linking a problem to any number of resolutions can become twisted with doubt, uncertainty, or fear. Choosing one solution means giving up other opportunities. How do we select the best course of action?

Divergent thinking is a style of thinking that allows many new ideas to be generated. It offers personal space and an outlet for creativity, making room tothink up as many uses as possible for a given topic or solutions to a problem. Or better, discovering solutions that provide unexpected gains, or minimize compromise.

“Creative breakthroughs are often reported to emerge spontaneously, when the mind is distracted and not focusing on the problem at hand,” says cognitive psychologist Mark A. Smith, Ph.D.

How can we get started with divergent thinking and produce multiple creative solutions to problems in a short time? The answer is as simple as breathing.

Please click here to continue reading…


Leave a comment

Filed under Best Writer Tips, For the love of writing, Your highest potential

Teen Story Slam was a HUGE Success!

A packed house for literature!!

Our Teen Story Slam was a massive successful! It was a fabulous evening of story-telling from students in grades 7-12. Twenty-three brilliant young writers (and poised orators, no less!) read their original poems, short stories, and excerpts from their novels to a rapt, stand-room-only audience. Tables crammed with families, teachers, friends of readers, and lovers of literature offered huge rounds of applause and plenty of cheering. As  co-organizer Margaret Nevinski pointed out, “When you’re pulling in more people for a reading than the World Series, you know you’ve got something special.”

The Teen Story Slam was a long time coming. We didn’t pursue the idea actively at first because, well, we writers tend to prefer working quietly by ourselves, sharing our work with only a select few. But it didn’t hurt to ask the students at our Teen Writers Workshop what they felt about the idea. Margaret and I were pleasantly surprised to hear several were game. A small Teen Story Slam organizing team took formation, consisting of Margaret and me, Jenny Bloom (teen librarian), and Jennifer Hager (editor and BARN Writers Steering Committee). With the support of Bainbridge Public Library, the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN), and Kitsap-area middle and high school creative writing teachers, we hosted our very first Teen Story Slam at Westside Pizza. We’d expected an intimate circle in a small corner of the venue. What we ended up with was a miracle.

One middle grade teacher, Brandi Bispham, created a special assignment just for the event, and was so pleased to watch five of her students take the mic with their prose. We were incredibly touched by both the students, and the community’s support. Westside Pizza generously agreed to donate a portion of the entire day’s receipts to our after school Teen Writing Workshop and our Teen Creative Writing Summer Camp! I’m so thankful for our community, and our teens! Here’s some feedback from our team:

Brandi Bispham: “I think you really tapped into a special event that you should continue, if at all possible.  Clearly, we have lots of young people in our community who consider themselves writers and have stories to tell.  It is also extremely meaningful to have an out-of-the-classroom experience to reinforce the craft of writing and story telling.”
Jennifer Hager: “I was impressed by the content of what they wrote and by the ways they delivered it.”

Margaret Nevinski: “Some of the 7th graders were in my workshops for younger writers in the past. So cool that they are now in middle-school and going out into the world to read their stories! I was blown away by their stories and their bravery. WOW!!! So inspiring to see them standing up there and hearing their stories. And what a great crowd.”

Jenny Bloom: “I think it was a great success, an amazing turnout, and the writing was really very impressive.”

Rebecca Judd, Kitsap Regional Library Branch Manager: “Congratulations on a truly successful night; I’m thrilled at the turnout and that so many teens felt empowered to read.  I believe it is a testament to the encouragement they have received from each of you.  Thank you for putting together an evening that encouraged teen voice in such an impactful way.”

Thinking about a meaningful fundraiser for your school or  nonprofit org? Consider hosting a story slam! 

Our Teen Writers Workshop meets on the 2nd Thursday of every month during the school year, and we host a week-long Teen Creative Writing Summer Camp each summer.


Leave a comment

Filed under For the love of writing

A new book, the Doctor, and Shakespeare

What inspires your writing?

I’ve been pulled in several literary directions recently, and I just wanted to take a moment to check in.

today-3I began plans for my third book by engaging in Author Accelerator. I love having weekly deadlines, and the helpful insights of my Author Accelerator book coach, Kemlo Aki. This week, I’ll be working on the opening scene.
The two sixth grade classes at my older son’s school are putting on productions of MacBeth, and Julius Caesar. I’ve been so impressed by my kid’s total embracing of Shakespeare that I wanted to lend my support and encouragement. It’s been a while since I’ve painted, but I found myself challenged with the task of designing the stage to suggest both a brooding and murderous Scotland, and a sun-swathed Roman betrayal. Common to most writers, English was always my favorite subject, but I am especially fond of Ancient Rome, so the research has been akin to a Julia Cameron/The Artist’s Way “Artist’s Date.”

Speaking of Ancient Rome, my next book will be a modern retelling of a comedy-drama (“dramedy”) written in the 1700s about the ascent of Emperor Nero to the throne. I’m still playing with the details, but it’ll likely be set here in the Pacific Northwest in the early 2000s.

halloween16On Halloween, I was roped into showing up at my fourth-grader’s classroom dressed as a fortune teller. My son and I had created 60 secret fortunes and enclosed them in small envelopes. Sitting with each student in the fourth grade and talking about his or her hopes and who they love was the best “treat” I ever received on Halloween, second only to seeing both my kids in jackets and ties for the first time since they were wee ones without specific clothing opinions. (They trick-or-treated dressed as the 10th and 11th doctors from Dr. Who.)

But wait! The literary good times don’t end there. On Wednesday, November 2nd, the first annual Teen Story Slam will kick off. The brainchild of a small circle of committed writer friends, we’re very proud to see this opportunity finally arrive.

Please comment below with whatever is inspiring you. Or tell us if you’ve had an Artist’s Date of your own!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction Novel Writing, For the love of writing

Kitsap Area NaNoWriMo Write-in

nanologoHey neighbors, friends, and PNW writers!

We had so much last year hosting Monday night NaNoWriMo write-ins at the Poulsbo library, we’re doing it again!

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

It’s especially meaningful because so much has changed over the past year. Our group, formerly known as Field’s End, as been folded into the fabulous Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network, but our ongoing strong friendships are what make this year’s Monday night write-ins possible.

We all value writing together as a community–regardless of genre or level–and the awesome people at Poulsbo Public Library have graciously opened their doors to us, and will supply yummy snacks and writing craft books to keep our wordcount moving toward the 50,000 mark.

If you’re in the Kitsap area, and you like the positive peer pressure borne of the sound of fiercely typing fingers, come join us every Monday evening at Poulsbo Public library. I’ll be hosting on November 21st, from 6pm to 8pm.

What: NaNoWriMo Write-ins
Where: Poulsbo Public Library, 700 NE Lincoln Rd. Poulsbo, Wa 98370
When: Every Monday night in November
Time: 6pm -8pm

Leave a comment

Filed under Best Writer Tips, Fiction Novel Writing, For the love of writing, Your highest potential

Teen Story Slam 2016 is coming!


On Bainbridge Island, we have a wonderful bi-annual celebration of storytelling called Story Slam. Held at a local restaurant, The Treehouse Cafe, friends and neighbors dare to take the stage to tell a 5-minute true story, without props. Random judges chosen from the always-packed-to-the-rafters audience tally scores to determine three winners. The stories are always memorable; funny, heartfelt, or downright frightening. The slam events are organized by the multi-talented Wendy Wallace, and benefits go to our Teen Writers Workshop and Teen Creative Writing Summer Camp. Earlier this year I thought, “Wouldn’t it be incredible for our talented teen writers to have a turn? No competition, no memorization, just pure storytelling awesomeness.”

That dream is becoming a reality!

In partnership with Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN) and the Kitsap Regional Library, we’re hosting our very first Teen Story Slam at Westside Pizza on Bainbridge Island on Wednesday, November 2nd!

We invite all Kitsap-area writers in grades 7-12 to share a story they’ve written. All participants will receive a prize!

Teens are welcome to read from their pages for a five-minute (or less) time limit. We want to hear short stories, poems, a chapter from their novel, a true story–anything goes! We welcome any genre as well, from Sci-Fi to Fantasy, contemporary, comedy, and crime mystery. (PG content only, of course.)

Beloved Bainbridge High School English teacher Noah Barfield will serve as master of ceremonies. Mr. Barfield has braved the Story Slam stage, and won. He is also known in the community for his achievements as a playwright, and among his students as a comedian.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 2nd, from 6:30 – 8:00 pm (Come early and get dinner!)

WHERE: Westside Pizza, 323 High School Road, Bainbridge Island 98110
Interested teens can SIGN UP at the Reference Desk at the Bainbridge Library. (Say hi to Teen Librarian, Jenny Bloom!)
Registration is required to participate.

Family and friends are welcome to come cheer on the writers! Donations will support the Teen Writers Workshop at Bainbridge Public Library.


Leave a comment

Filed under For the love of writing, Your highest potential