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Last night I woke breathless from a nightmare that my brand new blog was running naked in the blogosphere. Ever have those dreams? You’re walking through the halls of school without pants, wondering if anyone notices? The problem (not with me, with my blog)? The “about” link was left blank.

So during a seven hour round-trip drive from Kansas City to Arkansas today, I thought about “about.” My blog needed to be well dressed to go out into the world, be popular, and make friends. The best clothes for my blog should have tags like connecting, inspiring, helping, friends, teaching.

Now, my “about” link reads: Writing Straight is from the maxim, God writes straight with crooked lines. Crooked Lines is the title of my first novel. Through life’s crooked lines and learning curves, people are the dots that connect. This website is about friends connecting to inspire, encourage, and share about writing and life. My writing successes are not mine alone. God has sent me helpers and encouragers, “dots” that have connected one line to the next in my writing career.

Tanya Dean Anderson, former Guideposts for Teens/Sweet 16 Editor, believed in me and didn’t snicker out loud at the 27 edits of my first essay. She stuck with me, teaching me the formula for this magazine. Betsy Kohn, the subsequent editor, helped me become a better writer, then entrusted me with assignments, then editing stories for the website.

Years ago, alone with three little kids, the small Stars critique group reached out through my computer screen and suddenly I had, as my children said, “people in my computer.” These peeps busted open a new online world of writing help and encouragement. Nearly every person in that group became a published author. Dori Chaconas, Verla Kay, Stacy Dekeyser, Karma Wilson and others became teachers and friends.

Demanding editors, while working as a features writer for a newspaper and others who hired me for freelance writing/editing projects helped me to grow as a writer.

For the past ten years, friends on IWW critiqued my nonfiction and on NovelsL, my fiction (Crooked Lines and my current WIP: I’ll Be Seeing You.) Carol Kean from IWW is a stand out writer who offers countless hours critiquing and encouraging. This personal trainer whips novels into shape, one chapter at a time. Rasana Atreya eagle-eyed my India chapters. Love her book and blog, On Getting Published, Good Books, and living Goddesses, is chock full of helpful information for writers. When my husband and I traveled to London, we met Francene Stanley, another excellent critiquer and supporter on IWW. Edith Parzefall, the Book Doctor, did a fantastic job with final edits of Crooked Lines. I highly recommend hiring her.

I’ve learned and grown as a writer with help from devoted IWW critiquers and now friends: Walt Ramsey, John Tucker, Bob White, Brian Clifford, Len Hume, Don McCandless, Carolyn Richer, Bill Weldy, Laurel Lamperd, Les Denham, Deb O’Neil, Jennifer Kilby, Rhonda Gill, Rick Bylina, Ellen Tanguay, Pepper O’Neil, Bill Backstrum, Silvia Villalobos, Judith Quaempts, Carmel Fitzgerald, Lynn Hinkey and other talented writers. IWW has a treasure trove of helpful talented writers.

And thanks Ann Hite for paying it forward. (Ghost on Black Mountain, a pager-turner that kept me under the covers with my kindle until early hours of the morning and whose characters in this compelling story stuck with me long after the story ended.) Congratulations on your nomination to the 48th Georgia Author of the Year Awards.

My goal is a community of writers and friends who support, teach and encourage. I welcome advice from guest bloggers and comments. I have great plans for this blog and invite other join me on this journey. Bear with me as I figure out this blogging stuff. I’ll soon add more, more author links, etc., as I learn how to keep my blog appropriately dressed.