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Welcome to My Wordy Life

For as long as I can remember, I've been besotted by words, in love with the English language. My parents read to me (as I read to my son) practically from the moment of my birth, and when I learned to read, I always received books for Christmas and my birthday and had finished reading them within the week. I still have some of my childhood books: old editions of Little Women, Grimms' Fairy Tales, Andrew Lang's fairy books, Hans Brinker, The Wizard of Oz, all the Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames books. My mother was a member of the Literary Guild and because she never got around to sending the post cards back, I got to read her books, too. (I learned early on how to climb up and get the ones on the top shelves.) She gave me her official permission to read Gone With the Wind when I was eleven. Boy, was that an eye-opener for a naïve little girl! My parents also bought my brother and me The Book of Knowledge; I read straight through all twenty volumes. 

Yeah. I have been, as they say, bookish all my life. Today, of course, I spend most of my time editing and writing.

To read my blog, please scroll down.


  Secret Lives is now available at the on-line bookstores. Buy Secret Lives today!  And then write a review. And tell all your friends how much you enjoyed the book.

You can also go to my Facebook Secret Lives page and Like the book. Tell all your friends again! Ask them to Like the book, too. Leave comments and questions. Wouldn't it be nifty if Secret Lives turned into a sort of interactive book via Facebook and the FREE READER'S GUIDE on this site?

Notice the little witch! Because I didn’t want to rip off anyone’s art and just use one of my 330 witches, I asked my brilliant daughter-in-law to make me a witch. She—the witch, not Phish—is now sitting on the shelf in my living room where you see her in the photo.

Let Me Be Your Editor

Are you writing a book? Thinking about writing a book? Let me be your editor. I've edited more than 250 books (both fiction and nonfiction), academic documents (theses and dissertations), web site copy, articles, technical proposals, screenplays, poetry, and things I don't even remember anymore. As you explore this site, you can read excerpts from my nonfiction books and some of my articles and poems. If you're thinking about writing, send me an email and we can talk about how I can help you. I never charge for email conversations.

Note: if you like my work and want to use it, please do not just copy and paste. As I have to explain from time to time to an author whose work I'm editing, copying and pasting someone else's copyrighted work without their permission is plagiarism. Which is against the law. Which can get you an F in your class. Which can get you prosecuted. It's usually easy to get permission to reproduce someone else's copyrighted work: just ask. If you want to reproduce anything on my site anywhere else, please send me an email and ask. I'll no doubt tell you I'm honored that you like what I've written and then tell you how to give me proper credit.

A meditation on (and in) silence

Posted on November 22, 2015 | Read full article
Because of the work I do, which requires close concentration so I can spot misplaced commas and see when the period is missing after Ibid., I like to work in a quiet room. No daytime TV, which rots your brain. How do I know this? My grandfather, who had worked in the accounting department of one of the big St. Louis department stores, retired and started watching daytime TV…and with five years he was hospitalized with Alzheimer’s. (It’s a blessing that he died within a couple weeks of his hospitalization. My family didn’t have to witness the awful decline that comes with the disease.) Nor do I listen to daytime radio, which is mostly talkradio, i.e., nasty, misogynistic, or “hip” men babbling on and on and on.

I don’t even, alas, listen to my vast collection of CDs anymore. They’re mostly old musicals, Broadway and studio cast albums originally released on 33 rpm long play records. I used to have a huge collection of these records, but after I found the CDs, I gradually gave the records away. If I played CDs now, I’d be singing along and not even see those superfluous semicolons or funny spelling mistakes like “taking my dissertation to be printed and bounded within the next few days.” (This came from a Ph.D. candidate.)