Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


A week without blogging! I was starting to get withdrawal symptoms.

I’ve been busy in several writing projects. The day after Christmas, I started writing a middle-grade paranormal novel (I love ghost stories!) and I’ve gotten a few chapters in. I’d read a couple of really wonderful middle grade novels in the last six months—Each Little Bird That Sings and Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles (I’d met her at the Bedford Bookfest a year ago) and 12 Again by Sue Corbett (I heard her speak at a conference). I liked the way middle grade novels flowed. So, I decided to try writing one. My goal is to submit chapter 1 to the CNU contest, workshop the manuscript through the AWA conference in July, and pitch to an agent at the JRWF conference this fall. Can I do it? We’ll see.

I decided that I needed to read more in the genre, so I flung myself on the mercy of ‘Miss Joyce” in the children’s room at the Franklin County Library. She picked out a stack of books for me to read. I’ve spent the last week immersed in mid-grade novels. And I’ve loved reading them!

I’ve workshopped the first chapter through both Valley Writers and then Lake Writers. At Lake Writers last Friday, something weird happened: my friend Sally and I seem to have switched writing personalities. She read a humor piece that sounded like something I’d write; I read my chapter that sounds like what she writes. (There may be a book in this!)

I’ve also been doing writers’ club stuff—besides my “Peevish Advice” column. I attended the board meeting of the Virginia Writers’ Club in Mechanicsville the other day. We’ve got some good ideas for the club—including writing contests every quarter. I’m back in the Valley Writers Chapter, following a six-month voluntary leave of absence. Now, as 2007 vice-president, I hope to see that club return to the dynamic and helpful way it used to be instead of being bogged down in bureaucracy and rules the way it became in 2006. I’ve got a Franklin County Bookfest meeting this Tuesday and the Franklin County Young Writers group I mentor meet the following Monday. Plus, Lake Writers just announced the annual student essay contest, so my mailbox should fill with entries soon. Luckily, I don’t go back to my Writer-in-Residence job until late March.

Besides my paranormal novel, another project haunts me. I want to write an article about the “mystery” of Henry Brown Richardson’s visit to Avenel. His great grandson, Farrar Richardson, has sent me copies of a letter he wrote to his parents, his discharge from the Liberty hospital, a picture of him as a older man, etc. Thank goodness for the Internet! But to what magazine do I pitch this article? And what direction should the article take?

So many directions to go! Getting there is half the fun, though.


Anonymous Farrar said...

Ah Ha - Paranormal plus Avenel. Maybe it fits together. Avenel was said to be haunted.

9:27 AM  

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