School Visits & Speaking

For school visits and speaking, I am prepared to lead groups of up to 30 middle-school students (or adults) in these experiences: Creating a group story with three-act structure modeled on various fairy tales. This involves: —Creating a character as a group. What makes an interesting character? —Creating a story line as a group. —Adding […]

I am hopeful about my latest book!

As you know, my loyal fans, I’ve been working on learning the novel-writing craft for about twelve years. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and I’ve been able to bless others as an editor and publisher. But my own fiction work remains unpublished. That’s because the genre I choose to write in, aimed at […]

Ella Hough, full of promise

My great-aunt, Ella Hough, was an amazing artist. I know because I have her sketchbook. She was born in 1868 to Thomas Hough and his wife Jane. Thomas was a successful entrepreneur who immigrated in his early twenties from Yorkshire, England, in about 1865. He’d left his job operating an elevator in a textile mill […]

Editing Jane Austen!?!

A teen-aged Jane Austen wrote a novella that she never even titled, much less published herself. It’s been called Lady Susan, and now it’s been made into a movie, “Love and Friendship.” Austen is known for originating the romance novel. She really hit the sweet spot with readers ever since her brief career of 1811-1817.  […]

Book Review: Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi

Crispin: The Cross of Lead, by Avi, Book 1 in the Crispin trilogy Published 2002 by Hyperion Books for Children, New York, 262 pages Genre: Historical drama for tweens This book won the Newbery Award when it was published, and more recently the author has published two sequels. It’s A.D. 1377 in rural England. A […]

Why is this car grinning?

Monster the car is grinning. He thinks he won. I’ve been fighting with this car ever since we got him, nearly ten years ago. Took him home, and our mechanic discovered somebody had put antifreeze where the brake fluid ought to be. The car had that cheesy grin then too. Well, we got the antifreeze […]

My mother, mom and opera singer

Jane Ruth Elder, my mother, grew up in Tacoma, Washington, during the Depression in the family of a teacher. In those days, teachers were paid little. It became apparent that her parents could not afford music lessons for her, even though that is what she wanted more than anything. How could she become a musician […]

My father, engineer

This slide rule belonged to my dad, the engineer. Eldred W. Hough, although he was the oldest son, wasn’t named for his father, Thomas C. Hough. Instead, his younger brother got the name Thomas Hough. So, why did the younger one get the father’s name? That’s kind of odd. Dad’s names came from his mother’s […]

Am I a racist?

Racism is a topic that my heart keeps returning to. What is it? What causes it? Why is it so hard to escape? Why do many white people from outlying areas of my city avoid driving in predominantly African-American sections? Answer: They tell each other that the city people are murderous thugs, out to prey […]

Don’t give up on your dream …

My Tales of Faeraven series began as a story to entertain my little girl during a drive. For the main character of my story, I twisted the name of her doll, Cinda, and came up with “Syl Marinda,” a half-breed princess in a divided land. Long after my daughter had forgotten that first story, the world of Elderland took shape in my mind.