Biscuits Help Each Other Rise!

biscuit1On Saturday, I had the pleasure of spending my morning with an enthusiastic and especially curious group of women writers at Charlotte Lit. What a vibrant organization! I can’t say enough about the leadership and students at Charlotte Lit. They have built an enviable powerhouse of writing, and are truly dedicated to helping each other succeed.

The topic of our discussion was how to share your writing with the world. While self-publishing continues to be a vital force in the writing world, no question, I believe it’s still worthwhile to submit your writing for publication by others–whether to contests, commercial or literary magazines.

Why? First, you’ll get to know so many other wonderful people, whether at public readings or just by getting to know them by reading their work. You’ll also meet talented editors, who will happily help your shape your work and promote your writing. And among all your new writing friends (at Charlotte Lit and beyond), you can help each other. As Martha Stewart once said, quoting another baker whose name escapes me, the reason we put biscuits together in a pan is because they help each other rise.

Second, and equally important, is that when you write for publications and contests, you also grow as a writer. Yes, you have to be brave enough to stand the occasional rejection, but you can learn so much about yourself and the wider world of writing, that it’s well worth it. The motivation to improve will invariably result in acceptances, I promise, and by sharing your words and experiences with the world, you’ll expand your community that much more. And, ahem, at the risk of repeating myself too much, we know that biscuits help each other rise, right? 🙂

Have you submitted yet? If you haven’t, give yourself a New Year’s goal of submitting one piece of writing at least once every month in 2020. And remember, in the words of Harriet Beecher Stowe: “Never give up. Because that is just the place and time where the tide will turn.”

In the meantime, I encourage you to lean on each other for help and accountability. Choose a “submission buddy” and check in with that person regularly just to make sure you’re meeting your goals, if nothing else. Share your writing with each other and ask for suggestions on where you might submit your work. Most importantly, celebrate each other’s successes.

And if you missed Saturday’s workshop, no fear, I’ll be offering an extended version of the same one (with even more writing time and new markets for publications!) at Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro on April 25.

Remember, I am rooting for you. Because, okay, last time, I promise. Biscuits help each other rise. 😊



“I Wrote What I Did Because…. Day 7

as a woman, as a mother I was oppressed and broken-hearted, with all the sorrows and injustice I saw, because as a Christian I felt the dishonor to Christianity – because as a lover to my country I trembled at the coming day of wrath.” ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

Today we visited the homes of Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 – 1896) and Mark Twain (1835 -1910) in Hartford, CT. Both homes were right across from each other in a place once known as Nook Creek. Interestingly, although the writers came from very different backgrounds, their work shared a similar world view.

The garden-style cottage where Harriet spent the last years of her life and also the place of her death.



Although most famous for her landmark novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which brought the horrors of slavery to the masses, Harriet actually penned 30 books over the course of 30 years. In addition to being an ardent abolitionist, she was also an animal rights’ activist and one of her novels, A Dog’s Mission, featured a hero named Charley, the same name of Jen’s dog!

Mark Twain (the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens) was known as Sam to his friends. He lived in a grander home that was actually decorated by Louis Comfort Tiffany. He spent some of the happiest times of his life in this house. In fact, after the death of his daughter Susy in Europe, he and his wife Olivia could not bring themselves to return to the same house because of their grief.

Much is known about the life of Mark Twain through his witticisms, novels, and short stories, but we learned quite a few new tidbits that surprised us. He, like Harriet, adored animals and his house was full of cats and dogs. Even these creatures weren’t immune to his humor, however. He named his cats things like “Sin” and “Pestilence.” He had three collies that went by the names “I Know,” “You Know,” and “Don’t Know.” Because there are three of us on this trip, we each chose one of these as our sobriquet.  Jen immediately chose “Don’t Know” as her name, letting me and Ann quibble over “I Know” and “You Know.”

Because of poor investments, the Twain family had to temporarily leave Hartford and vacate this house, instead moving to Europe, where the cost of living was much cheaper back then!








We ended the day on a serendipitous note,  finding out that Thornton Wilder (author of the plays “Our Town” and “Skin of Our Teeth” and the novel “The Bridge of San Luis Rey”) actually built a house in Hamden, CT, and is buried with his family in Mt. Carmel Cemetery in the same town.

We found this house on the real estate site Zillow and learned that it recently sold! Can you imagine living in the house of a Pulitzer-prize winning author?








Wilder is buried next to his beloved sister Isabel.