Candy, Candy, and More Candy

        A January mentality is still pervading my days.  A new year–out with the old; in with the new.  I’m making room in  drawers and closets, gathering bags of clothes from all family members to pass along.  I’m also attempting, again, to clean out exhausting mental patterns, like “I’m in charge of making everything run absolutely perfectly in my family’s world.”  I’ve got a new exercise routine, expanded to include a face work-out; why not take this “out with the old” idea to the best possible extremes?  For the first time in years, I even went out and bought a new supply of “trouser” socks/stockings in various shades so that on the rare occasions I dress up, I’m not pawing and tossing through to find the best of the worst stretched out ones, twisting the runs to go under my heels, and discovering I need more than two heels.  

        Where did I find the time to do this literal and proverbial house cleaning?  I’ve also discarded my old writing routine, and I have yet to adopt a new one.         

        I’ve [almost] never met a type of writing I didn’t like.  Technical writing is not for me, but I have tried nearly everything else – news, travel, design, lifestyle, profiles, memoir, book reviews, restaurant reviews, essays serious and humorous, brochures, ads, annual reports, newsletters, greeting cards, radio spots, film scripts, nonfiction books,  fiction—and been published and paid for writing them all, with probably a few I’ve left out.  But reduced as my weekly writing hours are (and will remain while I have a child at home), I often feel like a harried traveler attempting to catch trains to multiple destinations at the same time.  I’ve decided, no more.  Time to choose one, (or maybe two or three?) types of writing to pursue for now.  But how to choose?  How does any writer choose one project or germ of an idea to develop, and then let every other idea go, or at least go for the moment?  I’m still a wide-eyed kid in a candy shop finding it really hard to choose a single flavor…            


Beverly Breton Carroll

Shortly after learning to write, Beverly began zealously chronicling life in a teal faux-leather diary.  She progressed to hand-writing, in columns, a neighborhood newsletter, experience which no doubt paved the way to her first sale, an article published in her local newspaper shortly after she graduated high school.   She obtained a degree in English and continued on to a career of writing lifestyle articles and essays for newspapers and magazines across the country, and promotional pieces for various corporate and institutional clients.  She’s the author of  How To Coach Youth Baseball and The Confident Coach’s Guide to Teaching Basketball— written with her husband NBA Coach and ESPN analyst John Carroll.  She’s a published short story writer, and teaches writing to all ages, elementary to post graduate.  Above all, she values and treasures her role as a mother; a  and Boston’s WHDH Parent-to-Parent expert, she is currently writing a book on mothering. 

            Beverly adores nature and art and will attempt just about any kind of design – graphic design, jewelry design, interior design and floral design (she also has a degree in Horticulture) are favorites.   The daughter and granddaughter of consummate seamstresses, she dabbles regularly in clothing and quilt design, and dreams of designing hats.  She lives outside Boston with her husband, their teenage son, and the family’s Katrina-rescued dog Abby.  Look for Beverly to write most often about relationships and the profession of writing.  



Peggy Yalman

Born in 1950 in Yellow Springs, Ohio, the home of Antioch College, Peggy was brought up with all the left-leaning political views that this very special town and college fostered. Growing up with a strong political conscience in no way stopped Peggy from experiencing the usual small town, midwestern childhood antics and teenage pursuits of boys, parties and hairdos.  Graduating high school in 1968, one of this country’s most remarkable years in history, Peggy went on to college at Adelphi University, New York University and Boston University.  Yes, three colleges in four years! Over time Peggy’s pattern of change was further reflected in bouncing back and forth between Boston and New York City a couple of times, marrying and divorcing two men, earning an MBA at Simmons without any prior business experience, and abruptly changing her career from schoolteacher to financial analyst.

Twenty years ago Peggy abandoned her wanderlust to raise her son, Alexander, in the beautiful town of Concord, MA. Fourteen years ago Peggy found a job that she loves and intends to keep –  Real Estate Broker. 

With Alexander off pursuing his dream of fame and fortune as a stand-up comic in New York, Peggy has picked up her pen where she left it many years ago.  Her current endeavor is an anecdotal book about the adventures of a Realtor.  But, of course!


Denise Waldron


Remember that painfully shy girl in middle school who hid behind a curtain of long straight hair? Of course you don’t! Denise Waldron’s hair is shorter now and no one who knows her would call her shy. Her interest in writing piqued considerably when her 8th grade English teacher read a student’s work aloud and then announced it was Denise’s, and a fellow student looked at her wide-eyed and exclaimed, “YOU wrote that?” It didn’t hurt that he was cute and had never noticed her before. She still gets a thrill when she sees her writing published.

After years of writing programming code and technical documentation she quit her job and turned to what she calls “early childhood education”: raising children. Now the children are older and she has found the time to write for fun, and it is fun or she wouldn’t be doing it, because she’s very busy. She works for various non-profit groups in town, plays on a league tennis team, and participates in a conversational Spanish group where after three years she can understand almost everything and speak about as well as your average two-year-old. She’s interested in cooking, gardening, the environment, nutrition, and is an NPR junkie.

There are three signs tacked to Denise’s desk: “Stop Me Before I Volunteer Again”, “Ginger Rogers Did Everything Fred Astaire Did Only Backwards And In High Heels”, and “I’ll Try Being Nicer If You Try Being Smarter”. Denise has one completed novel, one on the way, and ideas for four more. Surprisingly, no agents have come to her door asking if she has any books she’d like published.


Shelli Altopp Miller

Tagged “Crunchy Granola” and “Tree hugger” by some friends, it’s true Shelli Altopp-Miller likes her folk music, Birkenstocks, and the great outdoors. Shelli earned an MSW degree from Washington University in St. Louis and has worked with children, families, and the elderly. She is a military spouse and mother of two who is passionate about travelling, valuing experiences, adventure, simple living, cultural diversity, and spiritual awareness.  Shelli enjoys hiking and biking, thrift shopping, strong coffee, homemaking, and of course writing.  She wrote frequently for her college’s student newspaper, and a few years later, was a regular contributor to Up and Coming Magazine in Fayetteville, NC.  She is currently working on her first novel – a work of literary fiction set in Eastern Kentucky’s Appalachian hills. Shelli’s motto, culled from a Dove chocolate wrapper, is “Life is a work of art designed by the one who lives it”.  Look for Shelli to write about family relationships, self-improvement projects, and coping with change.


Erin McCormack

Erin L. McCormack

Occupation: Writer/ Teacher

Family: Married to Donald; two sons at home

Location: Outside Boston, MA, United States

About Me:  French Canadian/Irish background, married to an Armenian, big fan of the melting pot. Raised in New England; theater/literature major at UC/Santa Cruz; three years in educational software company, New York City; Harvard Graduate School of Education; many years teaching literature and composition to community college students. Currently writing fiction, watching my boys play hockey, keeping up with the grandfolks, travel, Native American drumming and yoga. Lover of nature — there’s always room for animal characters in my stories!
I’m one of seventy first cousins, which makes me related to characters of all kinds, many that look like me, quite a few with colorful life stories, most with good hearts.

Interested in writing about cultural and race relations, and the anxiety and insights of social mobility. Have completed drafts of two novels: Blue Eyes in Black Wonderland, an Alice in Wonderland story set on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where a young white woman finds what it’s like to be a minority working at a hotel/restaurant with a predominantly black staff; also, Spanish Soap Operas, a more lighthearted look at the soap opera like lives of three young women in New York City in the mid-80’s — until cocaine and violence threaten their friendships.  Dovetails is a collection of five novellas, each about the intersection of two lives over one compelling problem such as abortion or the Vietnam War. “Out of the Cold” is a collection of twelve contemporary short stories, based primarily in the American Northeast.

About Shakira (barbie): She’s my girl; my current alter ego. Love everything about her: cross-cultural, cross-musical; writes her own songs; dances barefoot on stage – have you seen the girl belly dance? A wonder to behold.  She calls her own shots and has refused to get a boob job. Wholesome AND sexy; a curlyhead.  Mainly, she radiates joy.