It’s the end of October again and National Novel Writing Month [NaNoWriMo] is on the horizon. Writers from all over the world have the opportunity to network with other writers or go solo in tackling the challenge of writing 50,000 words during the month of November. Word counters and charts on the website serve as tools to keep writers inspired, motivated, and accountable.

I’ve told myself for a number of years that I would participate, but an excuse always weasels to interference. I did participate for about a week in 2013, but my progress was halted when I decided to apply for my MFA in Writing, thus devoting myself to the application package. I also participated in 2015 because the challenge matched up with my Literary Novel class (although it poured into December too and hasn’t amassed 20k words yet). Today, I have far more writing knowledge and skill under my belt and even some published short stories to help spur my confidence. The challenge is only four days away and I haven’t decided or committed myself to participation yet. Studies, kids, health issues… I’m making excuses again, aren’t I?

For those who are committed to participating, here are a few good resources to check out for tips on completing the challenge.

  1. 10 Tips on How to Finish Your NaNoWriMo Novel
  2. NaNoWriMo Prep: 30 Tips for Writing a Book in 30 Days
  3. Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo
  4. and this exhaustive list, NaNoWriMo Tip #1: Read Two Years’ Worth of Advice in a Single Post

Every writer is different and utilizes different approaches, writing/editing styles, and techniques for translating their mental stories into words. For many writers, it takes a combination of many different components. Stephenie Meyer abandoned the linear approach and wrote scenes she felt most interested in at the time, regardless of their place in the plot. The biggest goal is to produce words–no matter how messy or inconsistent they may be–for the purpose of a first draft. Drafts can be edited, but there is no draft to edit if we do not first take the plunge and write.


Institutional Support for Assessment: Southern New Hampshire University

An institution of interest for their assessment practices is Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).  SNHU is a nonprofit university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in three delivery options: on-campus, online, or at regional academic centers.  Television commercials for the university have featured its military-friendly format, and the university has received recognitions for innovativeness and its great workplace.  With these things in consideration, the university must be doing something right to be perceived well by students, employers, and third-parties alike. Continue reading

Models for Course Design

Adequate strategic planning is essential to the success of any project, regardless of institution.  Effective planning for improvement requires self-evaluation, assesses needs, proposes goals, and generates solutions that achieve ideal outcomes.  In education, teachers are additionally pressured because their strategies and decisions affect the academic future of their students.  To guide these strategies and decisions, course design models are created with the critical factors necessary to develop courses that effectively foster significant learning experiences. This paper will explore two course design models that have withstood the test of time. Continue reading

Literary Fiction – What is it, really?

The literary genre is arguably the most misunderstood genre of writing of today. I recently saw a discussion on social media in which literary was described as “flowery and sophisticated words.” Sambuchino, editor of Writer’s Digest, described literary fiction as “requir[ing] the highest command of the language” and “not easily defined, and sometimes the premise is not easily explained.” Santi, editor of Our Stories named common misconceptions of literary fiction, “they assume that the reader is interested in continuous tags of dialogue, riddled with unimportant gestures and gesticulations” (cited in Allen). Because of this widespread misconception on the definition of literary fiction, writers’ “literary” stories receive swift rejections, and people continue to spread false impressions on what literary truly is.  Continue reading

Goodbye, March.

The month has culminated in three very exciting pieces of news: my MFA conferral, and two short story publications.

My experience at Lindenwood was incredible, allowing me to hone my craft in ways that were both direly needed and beyond my expectations. I have nothing but good things I say about the program. I will be forever grateful for my professors, who are among those named in my thesis acknowledgements, but hidden away in pages that no one will read. If only Lindenwood published student theses…

NoiseMedium will be publishing my short story, Crystal Ball, on May 9. I entered their inaugural contest and was selected as a finalist. I’m pleased to be a part of their publication. The story is centered on a teenage girl and her mother’s obsession with a prediction of her death.

Riding Light informed me today that they would like to publish my short fantasy piece, The Gold Curse, in their forthcoming fantasy-themed issue. It’s the only short fantasy piece I’ve written to date, although Sacrifice for Resonata has a somewhat fantastical horror element within the modern world. The Gold Curse is a standalone piece in its own special world of fantasy creatures, but focuses on the pursuits of one dwarf. I will update my publications page in the next month or two when it’s released in print.

Soon, I will began posting about craft and literary elements. I’ve enjoyed exchanging advice with other writers in the classroom or in writing groups, so perhaps my posts will be of us to someone. Stay tuned…

MFA conferral on the horizon

My thesis is due in just a few days, on Sunday night. I opted for a short story collection, as my two novels-in-progress are far from completion, and their stories require more pages than a thesis requires. My midterm reader had good feedback on my draft (Thank you, Professor Anderson!). I am finally gaining some more confidence in my short fiction, and better understanding where my strengths and weaknesses are. I’ve also been playing with different styles and techniques, which has allowed me to extend beyond my comfort zone, grow as a writer, and become more versatile.

I just completed a rather sizable round of submissions, as March 15 happened to be quite the busy day for submissions deadlines. I’m very familiar with rejection as this point, but I’m eager for that one surprise acceptance. Fortunately, I have the final weeks of classes to keep me occupied. Conferral is set for the end of the month, and I’ll be awaiting my thesis grade.

Is this the point where I finally call myself a writer?

Shattered Bones, Shattered Dreams: The Short, Undefeated Career of Onlyforyou


On a sunny day this past February at Hallandale Beach, Florida’s Gulfstream Park, a field of eight Thoroughbred racehorses were guided toward the starting gate by tiny jockeys perched atop their backs. The weather was particularly welcoming for a late winter day, and the track was listed as fast–a term used to describe the track footing as dry, even, and at peak efficiency. The field of contenders, all three-year-old fillies, were aiming for the top prize of the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes.

The Thoroughbreds filed calmly into the gates and barely fidgeted as they awaited the start–except for one. A strong bay filly of almost 16 hands (64 inches at her back) in the third stall of the gate challenged her tiny steel confinement for a brief moment. Onlyforyou was her name. She reared and pranced nervously, causing her five-foot-one, 115-pound jockey, Javier Castellano, to dismount until she calmed down. Her trainer, Todd Pletcher, watched the outburst from among the crowd with a fleeting moment of disappointment. Little did anyone know, Onlyforyou’s eruption was just a preview of the power she would unleash when she would break from the gates.

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Independent Author Rises Above The Tiny Islands


Nestled in the northwestern corner of Washington lies the picturesque Orcas Island.  This horseshoe-shaped island is home to breathtaking mountainous and ocean views, and home to independent author, Keary Taylor.  A married mother of two, she has exhibited steadfast passion and discipline to self-publish seven novels, three shorter novelettes and companion pieces, and amassed over over three-quarters of a million downloads in the short four years of her career.  But her career wasn’t always so successful.

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New site


I decided to make a site where I can have one place to provide links to my published creative works, articles that serve as samples of my writing, and a place to state my teaching philosophy and other pertinent information to my role as an educator.

Thanks for stopping by.