Here are links to two new published articles. Both appear in the Winter 2009 issue of Triangle Style Magazine.

New Year, New You?
The scoop on the latest cosmetic procedures

Being Kellie Pickler
Talking with the Carolina girl, herself

Hope you enjoy, and feel free to comment.
Washington DC -- As good writing touches all spheres of our lives, the US Senate has declared Oct. 20, 2009 as the inaugural National Day on Writing.
This day was created to recognize how important writing is to our lives -- drawing attention to the remarkable varieties of writing, and acknowledging professional and freelance writers alike.

The National Day on Writing will:
  • Celebrate the foundation of writing in personal, professional, and civic lives;
  • Point to the importance of writing instruction and practice at every grade level, for every student, and in every subject area from preschool through college;
  • Emphasize the lifelong process of learning in composing for different audiences, purposes, and occasions;
  • Recognize and honor the scope and range of writing done; and
  • Encourage Americans to enjoy writing and to learn from the writing of others.
(From Thaindian News)
Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive ... then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
-Howard Thurman
Hello friends and fellow writers,

I feel like I’ve been so preoccupied with the LOST blog
that I have neglected this one and promise to get back on track.

I have two new articles in print right now …
Your Fall Style: Wardrobe Essentials for the Season (in Triangle Style) and Going Green: Organic Community Gardening is Good for the Soul, the Environment, & You! (in Pinehurst Magazine). Check them out. Can’t believe I missed the Good Housekeeping contest … did any of you enter? I have two other irons in the fire and am querying new work all the time. If you are a writer, how often do you query vs. accept assigned work?

Speaking of writing, the
Triangle Area Freelancers have already announced their 2010 Conference. Author Amanda Lamb (Smotherhood, Deadly Dose, and the forthcoming Evil Next Door) will be the keynote speaker. Yes, this is the same Amanda Lamb from WRAL-TV 5. Visit her website or this Event link on Facebook for more:

Our family has settled into the “back to school” routine and D is really enjoying being a middle-schooler. C is potty training (ugh) and getting ready to go back to playgroup. We were excited about the possibility of a half-day preschool – but, alas, need to master the potty first. More fodder for articles, right? (lol)

I have been expanding my photography portfolio and will share a brand new link soon! This is very exciting for me and I hope it is well received. As always, comments are welcome.

What were you doing when time seemed to stand still on this day in 2001?
For those of you who may also be following my LOST blog, please check out new LOST posts here: (this is a link to my LOST Examiner homepage where you can then click-thru to individual articles).

I get paid by the click-thru, so subscribe to emails letting you know when I post new material and please tell your LOST friends where to find me.
Kindness may be described in many ways. It is the poetry of the heart, the music of the world. It is a golden chain that binds society together. It is a fountain of gladness. Kind hearts are more than coronets. Kind words produce their own beautiful image in man's soul. Everyone knows the pleasure of receiving a kind look, a warm greeting, a hand held out in time of need. Such gestures can be made at so little expense, yet they bring such dividends to the investor. -Author Unknown
I've got some new assignments coming to me now, instead of having to query every idea. Mama like!
From Dewey:
Editor-in-Chief, Society for Public Health Education (SOPHEE),
see attached JPG.
From Facebook:
Writing Gigs Community - Freelancers helping freelancers find jobs,
Freelance Writers,
Journalists and Facebook,
The Official Facebook Public Relations Group,
From Cal:

poetrySPARK is a series of events 9/18-20 in Downtown Raleigh - part of SparkCon. Please check out online page and let Cal Nordt know if you want to help organize, read at the events, get more info, or participate in any way! (and click on poetrySPARK's icon).
Thanks to Nan for the heads-up:

Enter at by submitting a short story no longer than 3,500 words, on a theme that focuses on the lives of women today.

Submission must be original, not previously published or
a finalist in another contest. Please include your full name, address,
daytime phone number and email address with the submission. Manuscripts will be accepted June 5, 2009 to September 15, 2009. Only one entry per person.

One grand prize winner will get $3,000 and published in the May 2010 issue. 2 runners up will get $750 and may be published. Winners will be notified by the judges in December.
The Statue of Liberty’s crown re-opened today after being closed by the September 11th attacks nearly eight years ago.

The base, pedestal and outdoor observation deck re-opened in 2004, but the crown remained off-limits. (The torch has been closed since 1916 when it was damaged by a saboteur's bomb.)

So while you’re grilling out and watching fireworks, chalk one up for personal freedom being restored, and remember how lucky we are to live in this great country.
Attention writers:

The Southern Women's Review is an online literary journal which was inspired by the biennial Berry College Southern Women Writer's Conference - a conference whose theme we share: "showcasing the works of well known and emerging southern women writers, expanding the literary canon, and developing critical and theoretical understandings of traditions and innovations in southern women's writing."

Whether you are a born and bred Southerner, a Southern transplant, or merely a frequent visitor, we welcome you to submit your poetry/prose, fiction, creative nonfiction/memoirs, and photography. Submissions should be from women who were born in or grew up in the US South; currently live in the US South; or write about the US South. For editorial purposes, we consider the US South to be a region comprised of the following areas: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Maryland, Washington DC, and West Virginia.

Beginning August 1st, the Southern Women's Review will take submissions for our next issue to be posted on-line beginning January, 2010. Please submit your poetry/prose, fiction, creative nonfiction/memoirs, or photography along with contributor's notes beginning August 1st to Allow 4-6 weeks for response and please include type of submission in the subject line. Call for submissions will end October 31st.

Note: Your submission gives us permission to use your work extensively online. At this time, we do not pay upon publication.
I debated whether to blog about the celebrity deaths that occurred this week. So much has already been written. But both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett were iconic symbols of the time in which I grew up, so I felt compelled to put something here.

Mary Farrah Leni Fawcett became known to the world simply as Farrah. From toothpaste to shampoo commercials: everyone knew Farrah, her toothy smile and gorgeous blond mane of hair. She was one of Charlie’s original Angels, an identity she found both a blessing and a curse. Struggling to be recognized as more than just another pretty face, later projects grew gritty and included Extremities and The Burning Bed. But I will always remember her as the tortured wife of Sam Elliott in the 1981 mini-series Murder in Texas. Based on a true story, it chronicles the twisted path of a prominent plastic surgeon suspected of causing the death of his first wife. The creep factor is high and this is a must-TiVo for those of you who enjoy crime dramas. Farrah is well cast as the unpretentious daughter of a wealthy member of Houston society who marries the wrong man.

“The Gloved One,” Michael Jackson, became an American superstar with albums like Off The Wall, Thriller, and Bad. He was an undeniable talent, cranking out hits and dance moves like no other. His presence was magical and his career meteoric. Back in the day, cheerleaders rocked the house to Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough, we spent weekends at Sportsworld roller skating to Rock With You, and experienced the Thriller video on big screens at a new teen haven called Julian’s. Later personal MJ favorites include Smooth Criminal, Who Is It, Will You Be There, and Scream (with sister Janet). For the sake of Jackson’s children, here’s hoping the negativity that dogged him in later years will finally be put to rest. Despite the craziness that his life became, Michael Jackson was a talent who deserves respect and remembrance.

Celebrity deaths have a way of affecting us differently than losing someone we actually knew. Perhaps they remind us of a special time in our lives, or an event that we haven’t thought about in years. Sometimes they represent a tangible item, other times just a feeling. Back in Jackson’s heyday, who would have thought that we’d see “the death of Michael Jackson” just 20-some years later? Now I know how my grandparents felt every time they were taken aback at the passing of an icon from their own era. The loss makes me feel sad and old at the same time. 
Rest in peace Michael and Farrah.
It was here: the one evening in a blue moon that my husband and I actually got to go out with no diaper bag … eat a meal with no chaos … complete two sentences with no interruptions … and relax in a sea of anonymity without fear of what our kids were doing in a public setting. Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh. To be honest, we really have very good children. But every parent needs a break now and then. And this was definitely one of those times.

This date night included dinner (on the run, but I took what I could get) and then a concert! Grandmama and Granddaddy were in town for graduation, so they would care for our monkeys while we got some alone time. Well, alone amongst thousands of concert-goers, but you get the idea. When our first child was little, we’d make grandiose plans for date nights and Grandma weekends … then end up falling asleep early. Ah, the best laid plans. With a new two-year-old in the house -- and one who didn't rest well at all -- we were more sleep-deprived than ever, but had learned to take time for ourselves. That meant leaving the house and spending quality time together doing grown-up things and trying not to talk about the kids for a few hours.

We met some great folks on our evening out, including a restaurant owner and his wife, a shoe store manager and his sis, and even a local morning DJ out on a date night of her own. My husband took my hand as we milled around the amphitheater in search of a cool drink. These days, my hands were usually holding sticky, wiggling little fingers rather than clasped around my husband. It was nice to be me for just a little while, as an alternative to Mom.

The show was hot and loud! We danced, we shouted, we sang along. No sippy cups, bathroom trips, spilled fries, or pacifiers. It was a wonderful evening, and we had great fun. But then it slipped in -- “The boys would have loved it when…” Yes, the stroke of midnight had come, our carriage turned back into a pumpkin, and my glass slippers back into flip-flops. But, ya know, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Well is overflowing; building to be sold Destination Wake Forest

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Hannah, a friend I met at Kate Gosselin's appearance at the Southern Women's Show, showed up on one of the two new episodes of Jon & Kate Plus 8 tonight! As cameras panned through crowds at various Gosselin appearances, I recognized Raleigh -- then Hannah -- and, alas, then me. I knew Hannah would eventually appear because she was interviewed by TLC, but I had no idea I was caught on camera as well. LOL.

As J&K are now basically doing solo spots, I'm hoping TLC will use more snip-its in the coming weeks and we'll get to see some of Hannah's interview. :)
Here’s a little something from my friends at inSide919 that fellow professional women might be interested in:

Women network differently from men. Find out what works and what doesn't when it comes to networking on places like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Inside919, etc.

For the first-time ever, there will be an All Women's Social Media Summit in NC. Join fellow Inside919ers Olalah Njenga, Heather O, Deidre Hughey -- along with Heidi Richards from Florida and Wendy Y Bailey from Atlanta -- who will lead a lively discussion on How to Get the Most out of Social Media. You'll also learn about marketing and branding yourself and your business. Find out what some of the no-no's are when it comes to online networking.

Our very special guest will be NBC17 Executive Producer Kim Greene, who will tell us how they use social media to find US for interviews. Yes--they do read blogs, folks!

Seating is limited. You also have a chance to win a pair of tickets in our Social Media Summit Ticket Giveaway. Go to the website for details.

October 17, 2009 (all day event)
Raleigh Marriott
Fayetteville Street Mall

As someone who lives on the computer, I surprisingly never realized how strict the definition of “Spam” really is. You may not either.

The following detailed information from inSide919, a local business and social network, is highly applicable to all business relationships and good enough to share:

Sending Spam or Bulk email using the Internal Email System... Hurts Your Reputation

One of the things we would like inSiders to know is that this is NOT the place for Bulk email or Spam.The main reason for this is that YOU will end up hurting YOUR Reputation and Brand Message.

So... Do not use the Internal Email system to send Bulk email, promotions, deals, notices, thoughts for the day or solicitations of any kind. Basically... ANY email that is not Personalized may well be considered Spam by the receiving party. When a person accepts your 'Friend Request' they are not agreeing to 'RECEIVE' anything from you - they are simply agreeing to be open to forming a business relationship with you.

Here are a few examples that may help:

1. If you send me a one-time individual solicitation for a product, service or business (meaning that it includes a personal message to me, not a cut-and-pasted canned message), I don't consider that spam. If I don't respond and you solicit me more than twice, it's spam.

2. If you send me a solicitation, promotion, or notice in a bulk e-mail that's simultaneously going to a number of other people, that's spam.

3. If you post solicitations on my comment wall, that's spam (unless that solicitation is a RELEVANT response to something I "inquired about" somewhere on the Network or "requested" in my Profile).

4. If you send me a one-time invitation to an event that's designed to benefit me (whether I buy anything from you or not) that's NOT spam. If your "free event" is a thinly disguised sales pitch or "business opportunity meeting," that's spam.

Most messages sent to more than 5 people at the same time will most likely fall into the questionable area. When in doubt ... don't send it out!

From the Lifestyles section, Mon., May 25. It's a tight turnaround, but great opportunity!


Do you want to see your words published on these pages?

We need more community writers for the Our Lives column to share stories about life around here.

Send a 50-word essay -- yes, 50 -- on a topic of your choice. It could be what you'd like to write about if chosen, it could be a little about yourself, it could be what's on your mind. Just make it good.

E-mail your essay to by 5 p.m. Friday. Late entries will not be accepted.

Sorry, but you will be contacted only if you are chosen to write a longer essay to be considered as one of the new writers.

Good luck and good writing!
[I have a story and photos of Kate Gosselin slated for the summer issue of a local magazine. It may never see the light of day based on recent headlines. But no one’s looking at the bigger picture…]

The details of the Jon & Kate Gosselin story are getting uglier by the day. The wholesome Pennsylvania family blessed with eight gorgeous kids (a set of twins and sextuplets) and a reality show documenting their lives seems to have been derailed by fame, the media, or their own sense of entitlement – depending upon who you ask.

Clip shows like The Soup have been targeting the Gosselins and their TLC show, Jon & Kate Plus 8, for months. But it was business as usual at TLC. And mom Kate continued to make appearances promoting books about the family. There was a big “will they or won’t they” media blitz when Kate wanted to continue with a fifth season of the show and Jon most definitely did not. TLC announced the show would return, and everything in the Gosselin household hit the fan.

First there were rumors of infidelity on Jon’s part … followed shortly thereafter by the same against Kate. Kate spoke with The Today Show and said she was “hesitant to believe” the accusations against Jon and that they were handling it privately. Not so privately, it seems, as less than one week later she appeared on the cover of People magazine saying, "I don't know that we're in the same place anymore, that we want the same thing … I've been struggling with the question of 'Who is this person?' for a while."

The media blitz surrounding the family is larger than ever, and everybody’s got an opinion. Up until now, sources supposedly “close” to the couple have been cashing in. But now we’re even hearing that the marriage is over from Uncle Kevin and Aunt Jodi, Kate’s brother and sister-in-law. Viewers will remember Jodi from earlier seasons of J&K. Is this payback from Jodi for being cut out of the show and the children’s lives? Is this a publicity stunt by TLC to boost ratings for the May 25th summer season premier of Jon & Kate Plus 8?

It just doesn’t matter. Whether the headlines are true or not, who’s considering how all of this nonsense is affecting the children? I’m tired of hearing how much the Gosselin home is worth and how much they earn per episode. How can you put a price tag on what this controversy is doing to the kids? At ages eight and five, these children are heavily influenced by what they see and hear in the media – and in everyday places like school and the grocery store.

"Watching this family self-destruct should not be used as a form of entertainment," said Jodi.

If you love your kids as much as you profess to, Jon & Kate, please stop doing interviews and start going to counseling instead.
You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair. In the central place of every heart, there is a recording chamber; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, and courage, so long are you young. -Douglas MacArthur
Registration is now open for the Triangle Area Freelancers (TAF) 2009 Writers' Conference.

"Write Now: The Craft and Business of Freelance Writing" will be held Saturday, April 18, 2009 on the North Campus of Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh. Local novelist, nonfiction writer, and private editorial consultant Peggy Payne will deliver the keynote address. Her most recent novel Sister India is a New York Times Notable Book.

Reserve your seat by visiting, or call 919/873-9833 for more information.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of interviewing a woman with whom I have a lot in common. We were both born within a few years of each other and raised in the Badger state, chose similar professional fields, got what we hoped would be stepping-stone jobs after college, moved around a bit, got married, and had children.

The major differences between us are that she is more well-known and has made more money … subsequently by working full-time through most of her children’s lives. But despite all her successes, this woman is now taking ‘early retirement’ and leaving the daily grind. She is stepping down from a job she loves, where she is well-compensated, respected, and admired – to be at home with her kids. I applaud her decision as it is one I made a long time ago.

Although she seems to be following my lead, in truth, I can learn a lot from this woman. To go from a nine-to-five environment into a world where you work just as hard but don’t get paid, are only sometimes respected, and admired only by those who do what you do – is a form of culture shock to say the least. But family is important, and those of us lucky enough to be home with our children sometimes lose sight of that in the grand scheme of things.

I love my family and also my occupation. For me, freelancing is the best of both worlds. As my second job (the first being CEO of a busy household), it allows me to keep my professional skills sharp while working with editors and business associates nationwide. I have to dress for work every day, multi-task my brains out, return phone calls, meet deadlines, and deliver a finished product that makes everyone happy. My family is starting to see how important it is for Mom to have a creative outlet and a paycheck made up of more than sticky-sweet kisses. Little do they know that they are often the inspiration for many of my essays and all of my successes. Wearing two hats is a challenge, but all jobs have their pluses and minuses. On most days, my office is better equipped than my pantry, but I am learning to expand my super- and writer’s-markets.

With this in mind, I’ve written measurable and attainable goals for 2009. Resolutions include exceeding editor/client expectations (the old “under promise – over deliver” adage), showing more patience with my children, and demonstrating the confidence and fortitude to help my business and personal relationships soar. It’s a tall order, but one I am eager to engage. What are your resolutions for the new year?