My goals for 2018

Hi, all!

Whether you know me from the various writing groups I have been a part of in the Tampa Bay area, from the disability community in this area, or you know me from Facebook or other parts of the net, greetings and Happy (belated) New Year!

Speaking of the New Year, I know most people make goals for the new year. So do I.

So I wanted to write a post directly about my goals for 2018, and get them out there, in the bright sunshine. So here goes:

  1. I will finish writing my book this year. I have been working on a novel for quite some time. In fact, the germ of the idea came to me 10 years ago. January 1st, 2008, to be exact. So, in the interest of wanting to just let go and let myself write it, I’m going to let go of my fears and also not let myself get down if I start to lag behind in this goal. Because I’m going to do it. So, that’s out there now, LOL.
  2. I will get out of my comfort zone and heavily market my editing services this year. Because I need to supplement my family’s income while I am writing my book. So, I plan on writing posts related to editing and writing, that link back to my blog, which for now functions as a website. I also plan on creating a proper website out of my blog, which I already started on late last year.
  3. I will get out of my other comfort zone and make more videos for my YouTube channel. But this comfort zone is even harder for me to get out of. Because it just is. I just need to work on accepting myself for who I am. I’m working on it… I might also consider making videos for Patreon as a source of income.
  4. I will also make art. I have been working on getting out of my “making” comfort zone for a few years now, and have been crafting and pushing the boundaries of what I think I am capable of creatively. So, I not only write creatively, I make art. There, I said it. LOL. Some things I make are art cards, made with stamps and colored with watercolor tube paints, watercolor pencils, and other media. I also sometimes make accessories, like bracelets, from natural fibers like cotton yarn and silver plated charms. This year, I want to push myself a little more, creatively speaking, a little bit at a time, and make some art every day. At least a card or a bracelet a day might do it, as well as doing my art journaling every day.

But that’s the bulk of it. If I think of others, I will edit this post and make any updated links to my other social media.

For now, see you soon!



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No Writer Wednesday video this week

I have been making YouTube videos for a good couple of months now, and I have 5 subscribers. Ok, I’ll take that …  But now, while school is out for the summer, I will have less time for that.

That is, unless I enlist the help of my son. So, while my Writer Wednesday videos may be on hiatus, I have been told that I will have help with my art videos on Fridays … We’ll see how that goes!

Have a great day!




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I had filmed a video yesterday morning, one of those “What’s in my Bag?” videos, then finally posted it on my channel this morning.  While I think I did okay on it, in actuality I think I have way too many bags. My husband says I do. While I do tend to overpack for any endeavor, I love bags. Not purses, mind you, but bags that serve a purpose (I hate purses, btw. ).

For instance, there is my little Krafter’s Purse, which is kind of cute by the way, and quite “bright breast cancer pink,” but again, I bought it to serve a purpose: to hold arts and crafts supplies. And it’s small, especially compared to my (quite large in my opinion) standard-size craft bag. And both of these have some great pockets for keeping things organized and easily seen, but out of the way.

Then there’s the tote bags. I have quite a few of those. I have a quite sturdy cotton canvas tote with real wood buttons (well, I lost one button but I don’t care), that work with a loop closure to keep the top closed. Great in case of rain. I like to use this if I’m going somewhere with at least two of my journals. I’ve had this tote bag for about two years. Another reason I like this bag is that I can wash it with the rest of the laundry. When it’s fresh and clean, I even rub clear wax on the bottom and the handles to keep it from getting dirty too soon.

Last year, I found a 100% organic cotton tote bag. It’s smaller and much less sturdy than the above bag, and has long handles ( I can’t use any bags with long handles because I am tempted to hang them on my shoulders. I have been told by my chiropractor not to do this), but for some reason I like it. Right now, I use it for keeping my current crochet projects out of the sun. I think it works well for this.

I also have a cotton canvas briefcase I use for toting my laptop to meetings, if I feel like I need it.

Then, like I mentioned in the video, I had found that little black backpack. I think it will be useful for me. I recently got rid of a bonded leather backpack purse I’d had for years. I loved it. But it was time to let it go. It had gotten worn with time, and there were features it had I never used.

So while I have hemmed and hawed over trying to find a bag that works for me, and what I think I need now, I actually think that what I need is. . . .  what I need that day.

So. Yeah. . . .  I know.



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Random Thoughts on my Work in Progress

When I started doing research for my novel in 2008, I came across a lot of things… some of which have become a part of every day life for some, now.

I had a character who was into making everything, from the products she cleaned with, to the cloths she used to clean the house, and cooked from scratch every day.

Now, it’s a thing to do all of that.

Plus, she makes her own medicines. Lives off the land. Some people do that.

Was I onto something? I don’t know. But it sometimes makes me think that maybe it’s not as much of an original idea, now.

In early January of 2008 I had an idea for a fantasy novel, several months after the last Harry Potter book came out. Maybe I was bored. Although I don’t know how I could have been: I was an adult Mass Comm student, mom of a soon-to-be four year old, and a freelance writer/editor/photographer.

Anyway, I just loved doing the research involved with the story. I didn’t remember doing research for a fiction story before. Heck, I hadn’t written fiction in ages. I was having fun! Maybe too much fun, though.

After about six months of that, making some notes on plot and writing a few scenes, I realized I may be taking a long time to write it. And a couple months back I realized I couldn’t write the whole story as one book. It would have to be a trilogy. I remember thinking: Uh oh. Now I said to my self, like my son sometimes says: Really uh oh. 

Some other things happened in my personal life that year, which pushed me back some as well, like moving and having some medical issues in my family.

Doubts started to creep in, as well. After all, some writers seemed to be on the same wavelength as me, coming out with stories of young adults having supernatural adventures in strange lands of possibly Celtic origin. Sigh.

I didn’t know what to think. Who to believe, as well. But I did start going to critique groups, which helped me a lot. Even though I found out some don’t think writers should attend critique groups until you have a finished first draft. Sigh again.

I was just trying to get the darn thing done. And trying to see if I was on the right track.

And learning how to be a mom to a kid with special needs.

All in the same year. Or two. Or three.

Sometimes it seemed impossible. At least improbable, anyway, that I would ever finish it. After the five year mark, I just thought it would never get done. So why bother?

However, due to meeting some great people in the occasional critique groups, writers meetings and writers conferences who listened to me talk about my idea, and staying in touch with them online, people would ask me about it. I started feeling encouraged again.

I am grateful to them. Because I have been writing again. Thanks, guys!!

Especially to: Kat Heckenbach (another author with a female character in a foreign land, where there are supernatural goings-on… ),  Kim Kelly Hackett, Miriam Goodspeed, Chris Coad Taylor, etc., etc., etc., also to the FWA (Florida Writers Association), BAPWG (Bay Area Professional Writers Guild), the TWA (Tampa Writers Alliance), etc., etc., etc.

You all rock!!

P.S. I hope to blog weekly now, giving status updates on the progress of my novel, and possibly on other projects. Stay tuned!


Posted in Moms Writing, Procrastination in Writing, Special Needs Parenting, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Writing about people and characters with Disabilities

Personal Note: To be completely transparent, this is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. Because there are many who are a part of my life who have disabilities. But I’ll get on with the blog post now.


Many reasons for writing about people with disabilities

Many writers may want to tell a real person’s story in a newspaper or magazine article, or even use a character with a disability in a work of fiction, like the main character of Shaun Murphy in the TV series The Good Doctor, or  Dustin Hoffman’s character Raymond in Rain Man, or even Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird. How a character with a mental disability interacts with their world makes for good drama.

It’s actually a trend to include characters with autism these days. But, how to do it well? This is definitely not a subject to be taken lightly.

But fear not. There are organizations and websites for writers to consult if they have questions.

According to its website, the National Center on Disability and Journalism was founded in 1998 by freelance photographer Suzanne Levine, to raise awareness of how the news media can better cover people with disabilities. Also, the Conscious Style Guide has a section of its guide that is focused on ability and disability.

I believe these sites are good for any writer to consult, whether they write fiction or nonfiction. Taking a look at these sites is a good way to get started if you want to write about a real person or a character with special needs, especially so if you don’t know anyone you could personally consult, so as to get a good idea of what their world is like.

People-first and identity-first language

The terms stated above can be confusing for writers just starting out writing about disabilities. People-first language basically just means putting the person first, before the disability, showing how much they are like everyone else.

In addition to the wonderful resources above, the CDC has an easy-to-follow guide on people-first language. In this guide, there is a graphic with information on how to use people-first language.

There are many examples the guide uses, and the ones that follow are just a handful mentioned:

When you use people-first language, if you were going to discuss a person or group of people who have a disability, you would say “a person with a disability,” not “the disabled,” or “the handicapped.” This sort of language is outdated and is considered by many to be insulting.

For discussing someone who uses a wheelchair, use those words, not “confined or restricted to a wheelchair,” or “wheelchair-bound.” if you sense a theme here, you’d be right: this kind of language has a negative connotation, and can make it seem like a tragedy that the person has to use a wheelchair. In reality, it’s a tool that gives them freedom.

When you are discussing a person with an intellectual, cognitive, or developmental disability, describe them just like that, and never with the following terms: Retarded, slow, simple, moronic, defective, afflicted, or special person. This type of language is negative, and all of the above words could be considered offensive.

However. Another thing to consider when writing about people with disabilities is that some folks really connect within a community.

In effect, some people really do want to first belong to the group of people that they want to represent. So, some people do want to be called autistic. Or, Downs. Or blind. Because that is their reality, that they have to live with, every day of their lives. Examples include an autistic child, a Downs adult, a blind man, etc.

Others use these terms interchangeably. In essence, it’s all personal preference.

There are some people who do take offense to one or the other side.  So, how do you choose? In essence, use your best judgment.

Also, use proper research methods. When writing about real people, be sure to ask what their preference is. When writing fiction, use the term/s that seem to fit the characters and the people around them.

There is one more resource that I was able to find, for those who write children’s books specifically, called Disability in Kid Lit. On this site is a page called Introduction to Disability Terminology that reiterates some of the information I just mentioned above, but goes more into depth on this subject than I have done here in this post.

Also, this page mentions how to write about a person using functioning labels, which describe the nature of someone’s disability, and are quite common. Here’s a quote from the site on this topic:

“To specifically describe someone’s situation, you can use language like: “Devon lives in a group home and relies on disability benefits for income. He has strong verbal skills, but misses social cues.” It takes more words than “high-functioning” and “low-functioning,” but it also conveys more–and more useful–information. If the character’s situation and skills are genuinely relevant, one might as well be specific and accurate.”

“The above is autism-specific because “low-functioning” and “high-functioning” are commonly used when discussing autistic people, but a lot can be extrapolated to other conditions as well.”

To Sum Up

There is so much to keep in mind when writing about people and/or characters when they have disabilities. People want to be treated fairly, in life and in print.

So in general, when in doubt, use neutral terms.

And, do your research. You can consult someone who knows and/or cares for someone with a specific disability, and you can find information on how to use these terms in the sources mentioned above.

Also, consulting with someone who is well-versed in disability terms, like I am, can help. Please comment below with any questions you may have. Thanks for reading!





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Blog Renaming/Back to School

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Tools for working from home or on the go [With photos of my stuff!]

Edit: I don’t know how I posted this without a title, but I’ve now added one. Oops!

Hi, folks. I was going to write a blog post last night, but instead, I am writing it today. I zonked out last night; school is not in session yet here so I will be able to do more blog writing after the kid goes back to school. Working mom problems…

Anyway, I think I will write about working from home. Keepin’ it real this time.

Working from home has its ups and downs, for sure. Especially when you have a kid or two. Kids get sick, so you have to drop everything and pick them up from school. And doctor’s appointments happen, whether your kid is sick or not.

Other things happen, as well, like the pest control guy has to come, so you have to clean your house/apartment/whatever. The kid’s grandparents come over, so you have to clean even more.

And then there are the phone calls that you either ignore, nor not ignore, because they are from the school, doctors, or your family members.

All of these interruptions cut into working time.

So, what can you do about it? Not much, really. So you fit in work tasks in between other things. It’s just what you have to do.

Personally, I keep my bullet journal, my novel bullet journal, and my idea catcher notebook with me at all times. That way, I have access to my project lists and notes. I also like to have a small pencil case, which houses some basic journaling items: some colored pens,  a mechanical pencil (or a real pencil) or two, and an eraser.



All of these things don’t take up as much space as you’d think. I even sometimes bring a small art journal.


20180810_145742 (5)

I guess I like being prepared. When I bring an art journal, I usually add a couple more items to the bag, like my water brush, and I bring a small DIY watercolor palette that’s made out of an Altoids tin. I love them! I usually use watercolor paintbrush sets when I paint at home; one is full-size.


Sometimes I also bring that small set of brushes seen above.

Anyway, back to the subject of working at home, especially when you have to work intermittently between bouts of parenting. For example, I have worked on this blog post off and on, since noon today.

How do you work, if you’re a parent? Before your kid wakes up in the morning? After they go to bed? In the after-school pickup line? Let me know in the comments.

Also, I might have a companion video available over the weekend, if I can.

Have a great day,



Posted in Art, Copyediting, Moms Writing, Uncategorized, working from home, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A quick blog post tonight. Because I’m tired, I’ve been working today, plus arranging some things for the weekend.

So, just tonight I applied to be a dealer at my favorite con, Necronomicon Tampa.

And now, we wait…

Short and sweet, no? 🙂

TTFN, Heather

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NaNoWriMo, and a Crafty Update

So last weekend was a washout, both in my writing, and arts and crafts-wise. I was so sick I couldn’t see straight. So I just wanted to hang with my guys and rest during our little stay in Celebration, to attend the Little League Challenger State Jamboree. I finally felt good enough on Sunday afternoon (on the ride home, of course) to at least do some crochet chaining for the bracelets I make.

And then I felt good enough these last few days to get some work done on a large editing project, as well as complete some arty things for that literary con I attend every year (again, it’s called Necronomicon).

Anyway, I also wanted to say that I’m getting myself signed up for NaNoWriMo today! So, yes, writer friends, I will do it!! I think participating will help me get some headway on getting past this block I’ve been having with regard to writing a specific scene, and getting more actual pages written, and just finish banging out this darn story I’ve been working on for so long it’s pathetic!

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Feeling Creative

So, I’ve been feeling quite creative lately, and have been making quite an amount of crafty/arty things.

Bookmarks, tags, note cards, and other art. I love to do this. I also will be participating in some events coming up soon, also, and need the stock to be able to participate and sell stuff.

The events are here in the Tampa Bay area, one of them (that I have written about here before) called Necronomicon Tampa, taking place the weekend of October 20-22. I plan on posting again here about that. Another is a craft fair in Clearwater, two weeks later.

Also, this weekend I will see if I can sell any of my awareness bracelets and pins at the Little League Challenger Division Florida Jamboree, taking place in Kissimee, Florida. Half of any income derived from sales of my awareness items sold there will be donated to our home (Clearwater) Little League. Plus, I’ll be hanging out with my boys!! 🙂

I’ll be sure to take some photos of things I’ll be bringing to these events. So, photos to come soon!




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