I entered a contest

Some of my online friends know that not only am I a writer, I am a sometime crafter.

I just went to scrapbook.com to check out a stamp, then was offered to enter a contest in order to win a bunch of supplies and equipment, worth I think about $2,500. You do have to  do some poking around their website in order to have additional entries, but I am interested in learning more about papercrafting anyway, so I just ran the free video class while I finished it up.

Also, writing this blog post was on the list of ways I can generate more entries. *shrug* So I figured, why not? if it helps me get some words down today, I’ll do it. I think some of my many (ahem) followers might be interested. . . .


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Under Construction. . . .

I’m undergoing a revamping/reconstruction of my blog. I haven’t been posting for quite a while, but I have been thinking about getting back to this, especially now that I’m serious about finishing my book.

I have also been doing some art recently. I never thought of myself as an artist growing up, but I was always doodling. I also seem to have a need to keep my pencil moving when listening to a lecture or phone call. Flip through my yellow legal notepad of to do lists, and you would see that it’s filled with sketched tornadoes, cubes, hearts and spirals.

So, keep an eye out for upcoming content, and please give any (albeit constructive, please) feedback on how it’s coming! Thanks,



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Death in Writing – It’s Not a Story Unless Someone Dies by Brad Windhauser

I have been blocked on a certain story I’ve been working on for quite a long while. Reading this blog post made me reconsider my strategy on opening the story. This was a very interesting read!

Five Writers

Death in Writing – It’s Not a Story Unless Someone Dies by Brad Windhauser

I don’t have a morbid fascination with death. I didn’t grow up surrounded by death. Although I did have the extreme misfortune of losing two friends in high school—two separate car accidents—I don’t have a pessimistic view of life. However, somewhere along the way—perhaps influenced by these tragic experiences—I internalized that the most potent way for someone to feel was to experience the death of a loved one. So, this explains why most of my early stories included a death of some kind. Now, I do my best to avoid this narrative option.

Because death is a part of life, writers shouldn’t avoid death all together. For many (and for a long time my outlook), how else does someone get so close to the life-changing emotions that accompany the grief associated with this type of loss?…

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I am a generalist.

I am a writer. I have deliberated for a long time about whether or not to specialize. I had read in writers magazines for quite a while that it is quite a good idea to specialize in a subject or two (or three).  However, listening to a friend talk a few times recently about how she is a generalist really got me thinking.

Okay, maybe I have many clips on medical subjects, but I have realized there are so many things I am interested in that I can no longer ignore.

So I have to write about them.

Here are the subjects I would love to write about: Medical (including ADHD, autism and other disabilities, and cancer); Health (including exercise, nutrition, cooking and natural living); Crafting, Collectibles, and Travel; Folklore and Celtic Studies; Literature, Writing and Language.

Some of these subjects overlap. Some don’t. And I think that’s fine with me.

Of course I am willing to write about anything that comes my way. I have even written business profiles for local weekly newspapers. I’ve done copyediting professionally, for a variety of publications and websites.

But mostly, I just have to write.


Posted in Autism, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cooking, Copyediting, Language, Nutrition, Parentling, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a comment

About Me and My Services

This is the first post of this version of my blog, so I’ll start with introducing myself. I am Heather Dewey Pettet. I am a writer and editor. I started freelancing for newspapers in 2000, and have enjoyed myself ever since. I got bit by the journalism bug, and have pursued an Associate’s degree in Mass Communications. I have also been on the other side of the desk, as I was editor of the HCC (Hillsborough Community College) student newspaper, The Hawkeye, on two separate occasions. After having my son, I continued to work on completing my Associate’s degree, all the while freelancing for newspapers and a magazine. Also, I was an intern at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. Once my son was diagnosed with autism, however, things had slowed down, so I focused on getting him the help he needed. I recently became interested in re-entering the freelance work force, and also in starting a blog about the disability community where I live, in Upper Pinellas County, Florida. I want to use my experiences with my son as a springboard for a concentration in writing geared to the disability community. With a professional background in writing for health-based organizations, and a personal background in health-related topics, I feel I am best suited for writing about the real, everyday lives those with disabilities—and their families—face. On the editing side, I was also a freelance copyeditor for two years for an international publication about healthy eating, and also have assisted with copyediting for a website. On the collegiate level stated above, I have been Editor-in-Chief, Copyeditor and Sports Page Editor. I have created, or assisted in creating, in-house style guides for magazine and book publishers. My specialties include blogging and features writing with a medical focus, particularly on disabilities; medical writing; food writing; nutrition, travel, health & fitness; general copywriting; copyediting and proofreading. I have a sharp eye for detail and have editorial experience using the AMWA (the American Medical Writers Association) Style, AP (Associated Press) Style and the Chicago Manual of Style. I am a member of the NCDJ (National Center on Disability and Journalism) (who have their own style guide, by the way), and BAPWG (Bay Area [Tampa Bay] Professional Writers Guild). I am a former member of SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists), TWA (Tampa Writers Alliance) and FWA (Florida Writers Association). I am fascinated by the English language, and have been since I can remember. I will be writing in the future about writing, editing, proofreading, language, grammar, and constructing sentences. Also, I will be writing about the writing, editing and other books on language that I recommend to all my writer friends. Also, I will talk about the mistakes that I, too, make. I guess I’m human, after all.

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I see dead copy. I see dead copy everywhere …

I see writing errors everywhere I go. I go crazy when I see signs that misspell, even on purpose. And although I know it’s an attention-grabbing device when used on purpose, it still gets my goat.

When you’re a perfectionist Virgo like me, it just makes you crazy sometimes.

I also go crazy when I see ads with misspellings. Don’t get me started when I see typos in newspapers. That really drives me up the wall, because I know papers employ people who know better. But when you’re pressed for time, like I know reporters and copyeditors are, things just get missed. I have been in that boat.

My copyediting impulse helps me, though, as a writer. I think I’ve produced articles error-free at least a few times (they were published as is, by a pretty good newspaper). I can’t tell you how much that helped my self-esteem! 

No matter how much you want to write error-free, it still sometimes happens that things get missed. People tend to read over their words, substituing the proper spellings or punctuation in their minds, instead of seeing what’s on the page. That’s why writers, even professional writers who write every day, have their work edited by someone they trust.

Luckily, I’ve been able to make some money doing just that. And I love every crazy moment of it.

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It is National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week.

I’ve been thinking a lot about health issues lately. It seems as if I’ve got so many things going on, with myself and my family. But I think that’s because I’ve recently had an anniversary. No, not my wedding anniversary, although I have also recently celebrated that. Like last week.

I had my first surgery for a lump in my left breast in February of 1999. Valentine’s day, as a matter of fact. Twelve years ago on Valentine’s Day was my first surgery for breast cancer. I am a twelve-year breast cancer survivor. So that makes me think of my experiences at that time. Especially in that how I was so young to get breast cancer. In fact, I had a Nurse Practitioner tell me I was “too young for breast cancer.” I was 27 when I discovered the lump in the spring of 1998. It wasn’t removed until almost exactly one year later, on Valentine’s Day 1999.

So, yes, young women get breast cancer. In fact, there is a national organization dedicated to increasing awareness of that fact, called the Young Survival Coalition.

The following is copied from the YSC’s website, youngsurvival.org:

“Young women CAN and DO get breast cancer. While breast cancer in young women accounts for a small percentage of all breast cancer cases, the impact of this disease is widespread: There are more than 250,000 women living in the U.S. who were diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 or under, and approximately 10,000 young women will be diagnosed in the next year. …breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 15 to 54.”

In fact, this week is National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week (April 3-9). Please visit the Young Survival Coalition’s website at youngsurvival.org. Thanks!


P.S. So I had a VERY interesting 40th birthday in September! I loved it. I didn’t hate turning 40 at all. I was glad to be alive.

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