Dixie, please tell us where you live and what you like to do when you're not writing or mentoring other writers.
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WVU is a great place to learn the basics of writing. It is totally online. Students pay a modest membership fee yearly and then have free access to over 300 classes online. Our motto is Writers Helping Writers. All the mentors are volunteers who have donated their time and efforts to help new writers become successful. The list of classes range from orientation class, punctuation and grammar, fiction writing, non-fiction, poetry, fantasy, horror, editing, preparing and marketing your novel, and much more. The study groups is where most of the real learning is done, through posting student's works from their classes for critiquing and feedback from their peers and other mentors. There is almost no politics or back-biting. That is simply not allowed. We are all there to help each other. Occasionally, a class will ask for a paperback book as a resource, but most classes can be completed without a book. There is a section where students can post their "bragging rights" about books or articles, or other work that has been published. Students are encouraged to share opportunities and contests to get published. There is a MFA course section for those wanting advanced training in fiction writing. That class does require multiple books, but those can be obtained through Amazon.com fairly inexpensively.
Along with teachers, nurses are also my heroes. How has your job shaped your writing?
My NaNoWriMo project for this year is actually based on a true story, but fictionalized somewhat, simply because it all happened way before my time and I don't have living resources to authenticate it more completely. My Aunt Esther had done a family tree history book years ago, and shared it with each of the families. I'm using the information from my copy, as well as data obtained from www.ancestry.com to fill in the blanks. My grandparents traveled by covered wagon from Jewell Co., Ks. to Yuma, Colorado around the turn of the century and tried to live there. Times were very hard for them, and they had their first born son there. The child lived a little over three weeks before he died. They couldn't stay there any longer; they returned to Kansas and homesteaded, raising 10 children. The youngest, Opal Marie, is my mother.
What other writing projects are you working on, and what are your goals for them?
I've already mentioned my family history project, and the nursing home invasion project. I also have a novel for Young Adults about half completed. It is the story of three teenagers who accidentally step through a time portal and find themselves in 1887 without their electronic conveniences or any way of coming back home. They get separated, and are trying to find the time portal once again to return to home and families. I also write poetry occasionally, and I love writing flash fiction. I recently won third prize in Mysti's blog for my Halloween scary story "Jill's Ordeal". Its the story of a young woman who is stalked by a vindictive and insane husband.
Random question time!! What is one talent you have that most people might not know about?
I crochet and do various crafts, and I love photography, especially of wildlife and flowers.
Ms. Barnes, would you be so kind as to share an excerpt of your writing?
Thanks so much for being here, Dixie! I wish you a ton of success.
Thank you, Mysti. I do so appreciate all that you do to help, both in WVU and through your blog. I'm still reading your book "A Ranger's Tale", and so far it has been awesome. Good luck in your writing career also.