Climb Up to the Treehouse: New Book Jacket Summary Added

To read about my creative works-in-progress, or for a list of cool (and kid-friendly) links to author/book series website, visit the Treehouse!

“The Writer Who Couldn’t Read”

This NPR feature is a must-see for anyone interested in the brain and its role in our creative endeavors. It tells the story of a Canadian author who woke up one day, after unknowingly having suffered a stroke in the night, and discovered that he could no longer read. Naturally, he thought his writing career was over.

It wasn’t.¬†

Watch the video and read about his amazing story here:

My Blog is Carbon Neutral!

Via another blogger, I just discovered a website ( that is running a very cool program through the end of the summer. If you give them a shoutout in your blog, they, together with the Arbor Day Foundation, will plant a tree in the Plumas National Forest to offset the carbon emissions of your website. What a greenius idea! ūüėõ

I’ll be adding their badge to my sidebar and encourage all bloggers to do the same. Follow the link to their website to learn more!

We Give Books: Help Children In Need for FREE

We Give Books is a great organization that donates books to children in need, all over the world. It’s easy for YOU to make an impact: simply go to the website (, or click on the image below to open a new window), select a campaign that you’d like to support, and then read a children’s book online for FREE. For every book you read online,¬†one book will be donated to the campaign of your choice. It’s that simple!

So what are you waiting for?¬†Everyone loves children’s books.¬†The selection of books on this website will continue to grow, so check back often–preferably in the company of the little ones in your life!¬†Show them how they can have fun reading AND making a difference in the lives of other children, all with a few clicks of a mouse.

To Write or To Type: That Is The Question

I recently stumbled across a thought-provoking essay entitled “The Phenomenology of Writing by Hand” by¬†Daniel Chandler.

He proposes that there are at least two different “types” of writers–Planners and Discoverers–and that these¬†contrasting personalities might prefer different modes of expression (i.e. writing by hand vs. by word processer). In his words, “Planners tend to think of writing primarily as a means of recording or communicating ideas which they already have clear in their minds; Discoverers tend to experience writing primarily as a way of ‘discovering’ what they want to say.” He acknowledges that every writer is a bit of both–writing would be practically impossible¬†without some planning beforehand (you must at least have the kernel of an idea to begin),¬†and, on the flipside, it would be rare for an author to¬†craft a story without discovering¬†anything new along the way.

But if you had to choose, which do you identify with most strongly?

I, myself, am a Planner–I retell a story to myself over and over in my mind before I set the first words on the page. I believe this brings authenticity to my stories–they are not written until they are real–but I do not undervalue the sparks of discovery that the writing process inevitably ignites; sometimes the best moments in my stories occur when my characters take charge and do what they want, with complete indifference for my tidy outline.

The essay goes on to explore how these two orientations might differ in terms of¬† values, self-revision, editing, and language precision, as well as the role that writing tools (pens vs. pencils vs. word processers) play in this process. Here’s an excerpt:

“Different tools vary in the support they offer for revision, and their use tempers the experience. Writing by hand is not limited to the pen: the pencil is in some ways a quite different medium. Henry Petrosky (1989) suggests that the pencil is ‘the ephemeral medium of thinkers, planners, drafters and engineers, the medium to be erased, revised, smudged, obliterated, lost – or inked over,’ contrasting it with ink, which ‘signifies finality.’ It is a medium supportive of design. This may begin to explain why some literary writers prefer to begin in pencil. Hemingway wrote initial drafts in pencil: ‘You have to work over what you write. If you use a pencil… it keeps it fluid longer so that you can improve it easier’ (Strickland, 1989). Many writers, of course, experience a similar fluidity with the word processor. The word processor extends the malleability of the written word. Paper ‘sets’ text, but text on disc and screen is ‘wet’ and workable. Some writers enjoy this sense of fluidity. However, some report that the ease with which they can edit encourages them to be ‘sloppier’ or less critical than they feel they are with the pen or the typewriter (where words must be pre-considered). Some feel that the word processor encourages them to do too much editing, and leads to a loss of spontaneity. And as we shall see, some simply find screen-based text too ephemeral.” (Chandler)

I don’t have the time or space to summarize the entire essay (and it’s better to get it straight from the horse’s mouth, anyway–read the full text here:,¬†but, based on¬†what you’ve just read,¬†I’ll leave you with a few questions to ponder: Do you write by hand, or by word processer? Could your choice of tool affect your creativity? What are the pros and cons of each mode of expression?

It’s been a LONG time¬†since I’ve written by hand–I like to edit as I¬†go, and I find that typing is a much quicker way to get my words on the page–but Chandler’s intriguing essay makes me wonder just what I might have to gain from reconnecting with the physical act of writing…

Update Your Summer Reading List With Spells and Secrets

Check out the Children’s/Young Adult Fantasy page of The Bookshelf for a couple of new additions (or ‘editions’! har¬†har). The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas¬†will be especially appreciated by the¬†younger end of the 9-12 spectrum, while The Black Book of Secrets by F. E. Higgins¬†is a darkly satisfying read¬†for older kids, teens, and even discriminating adults! These¬†titles have enriched my summer reading list–entertaining me during my recuperation from¬†two separate¬†neck surgeries–and F. E. Higgins has even¬†earned herself a place on my list of¬†go-to authors.

Next up on my reading list is the (aforementioned) seventh book in the Artemis Fowl series, followed by Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror by Jennifer Boylan.¬†Falcon Quinn¬†may be¬†Jenny Boylan’s¬†first children’s novel, but¬†she¬†is widely known as¬†the¬†bestselling author of the memoirs She’s Not There and I’m Looking Through You, both of which captured my interest¬†with their anecdotes and humor and moved me with their honesty and authenticity. Jenny Boylan resides in¬†my home state of¬†Maine and is an¬†English professor¬†at one of the finest¬†colleges in the country, so I cannot wait to read Falcon Quinn.¬†Stay tuned for these upcoming reviews.

Thanks for reading, as well as¬†for your understanding regarding my lack of research posts this summer. My medical leave will end in September, and then it will be back to the thrilling¬†world of¬†academia¬†for me! So don’t fret–more discussions on the¬†intricacies of the relationship¬†between psychology and creativity will¬†inevitably follow…

Artemis Fowl and Harry Potter: Coming Soon…

…to a bookstore and movie theatre near you! Two exciting releases to look forward to…


(1) Eoin Colfer fans are getting ready for The Atlantis Complex, the 7th installment in the popular Artemis Fowl series. It releases on August 3rd, and you can preorder it here: (see my Bookshelf page for a little review of the entire action-packed series!)

(2)¬†And, of course, as any lover of children’s fantasy will know, Part I of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be taking cinemas by storm this November. (I, for one, am rereading the entire HP series in preparation :-P)¬† Visit the official site for the trailer:

UBUNTU: My World Wildlife Fund Panda Page

Celebrate the Year of the Tiger! Visit my World Wildlife Fund Panda Page to learn more about WWF’s many conservation efforts and how you can help:¬†¬†

Sweet Summertime

Hello readers,

Sorry for the long stretch of inactivity. I allllmost finished my Master’s thesis before the end of the semester, but unfortunately there was just too much to be done and not enough time to do it, so I had to postpone my defense until the fall. Oh well! I guess that will give me plenty of time to make revisions…¬†

The end of the school year was very busy, but now I have the summer off. I had my first neck surgery on June 8th (to relieve some nerve/artery compression), and I’ll be having a second one at the end of July if all goes as planned. So, this summer will be dedicated solely to rest and relaxation so that I can recover in time for the beginning of classes in September!

Since my first surgery, my computer usage has been limited, but I’m finally starting to feel better and will make posts here and there before¬†I go under the knife again. For now, check out some new additions to The Dictionary page.

Thanks for reading, and come back soon!

The Treehouse

Another new page has been added to the site–check out The Treehouse!

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Elephants never forget...but sometimes they do go missing.

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The Gulf Coast: You Can Help!

Oops--I guess the grumpy sea turtle swam away.

Image © World Wildlife Fund