Wordsmiths is a critique group of seven Christian writers and illustrators from southern California. Established in the Fall of 2005, we meet every month to encourage each other, discuss market trends, and offer constructive feedback on the manuscripts each of us is writing.
Welcome to our world! We invite you to read our bios and get to know us better.
Web site: www.catherineosornio.com
Bio: If you had asked Catherine as a young girl what she wanted to be when she grew up, a writer would have been towards the bottom of her list. Although she loved reading, her interests were in math, science, and cartooning. When she later realized that she didn’t want a job working on mathematical formulas all day, she went to film school where she graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Cinema with an emphasis on Cinematography. A writer’s strike halted much of the work in the industry, so Catherine had to look elsewhere in order to make ends meet.
Eventually she married and had four children. It wasn’t until several years ago, while helping a friend work on her writing skills, that Catherine felt called to write. Her work includes devotionals for adults, stories for a children’s reading program, and nonfiction and fiction articles for children’s magazines. She received a contract for a nonfiction picture book which resulted from taking a Book In A Month challenge in the Spring of 2007. Her new book, The Declaration of Independence from A to Z (Pelican Publishing Company) came out in January 2010.
Bio: Gloria McQueen Stockstill was born in Mississippi. She now resides in southern California. (Once a southerner, always a southerner!) Always a lover of stories, she wrote her most important poem about the young man she had fallen in love with when she was in the tenth grade. (She later married him—but not much later!)
Gloria’s earliest dreams were of being a movie star. The reason? Her elementary school friends told her she was going to be one because she had blue coloring on her eyelids and in the corners of her eyes. It would be many years before she realized the blue was due to allergies! Sigh.
Gloria married a preacher and began raising a family. A stay-at-home mom, she worked alongside her husband at the churches they served. She used her writing gift to prepare skits, monologues, and dramas they used in their ministry. When her husband became a vocational evangelist, she wrote articles for their newsletter. She also co-wrote, with her husband, Family on the Rock, Or How to Keep Your Family Off the Rocks, a seminar they taught in several states.
In the fall of 2000, Gloria felt God nudging her to launch out and try to publish some of her work. She attended a Christian writers’ conference seeking to determine if this was really God’s calling on her life. While there, she had a publisher pick up her four-book series on re-told Bible stories titled, Listen! Look! As they say, “The rest is history.”
Bio: A “southpaw” and a “Buckeye,” Margaret is left handed and from Ohio. As a girl, she could be found reading a book, playing the organ, or drawing and painting landscapes. By the time she was in high school, Margaret had one essay published, studied pipe organ at the university, and had shown her artwork, where the other artists were all adults. When picking a major for college, Margaret had a very difficult time choosing among her passions. Music won, and she received her Bachelors degree in music education. Later, she earned a Masters and Doctor of Philosophy in education.
As an elementary school teacher and a “teacher of teachers” at the university, Margaret has taught over 300 children to read and hundreds of teachers to improve their teaching skills. Before receiving the call from God to write, she authored ten articles published in print magazines and books. Since 2009, when God called her to this task, Margaret has written over thirty articles for online publications. She is now writing two books for children that have yet to find a publisher. Margaret resides in Southern California with her husband and one of her four adult children.
I have been writing as long as I can remember. First, I was fascinated by the shapes of letters, then excited to discover that I could link them together and make words. Later, I became fascinated by the miracle of sentences. My sentences! My thoughts! Right there on paper where I could see them.
I was ill for many months when I was a child. Somebody gave me A Child’s Garden of Verses, and I found that I could create the “land of counterpane” with my own sheets and blankets, making mountains and valleys where imaginary characters lived and had adventures. I credit Robert Louis Stevenson for showing me how to create believable worlds and my mother for reading tons of library books to me — and showing me there are worlds beyond my own.
Meet Marjorie Flathers!
Bio:I have been a free-lance writer for over 25 years. My work has appeared in print over 300 times, in a variety of magazines, newspapers, and anthologies for writers and knitters. I’ve been married to my husband, Wayne, for nearly 50 years. We have three adult children and five wonderful grand-children. I’m grateful for my 12 years of Catholic education, which gave me a solid foundation for my writing. In high school, I worked on the school newspaper for three years and was editor in my senior year. When I graduated, I wasn’t able to go to college because of my father’s illness, but 23 years later, I did start going to classes at San Bernardino Valley College and spent 4 great years there, enjoying every minute and graduating with an AA in English. I found something of interest and value in every class and have been able to use a lot of this knowledge in my writing. Knitting is my special hobby and source of relaxation, but I’m never happier than when I’m surrounded by books!
Nancy grew up in Everett, Pennsylvania on a dairy farm, the youngest of seven children. She milked the cows, baled the hay, drove the tractor, and spent all her spare time reading. Favorite memories include reading Little Women perched high up in the branches of a tree and Pride and Prejudice while floating on a raft in the middle of their pond. Now she loves to write and has had a successful writing career with books and numerous magazine articles published by publishers both big and small.
Nancy is the author of over 80 books including the award-winning picture book D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet and the bestseller for Scholastic Teaching Resources 25 Read and Write Mini-Books that Teach Word Families. She has also written several books for teachers with her husband, Jeff, who teaches elementary school. They live in southern California and have two grown sons, Dan and Ben.
Nancy’s passion is to teach others how to write as well as break into the world of publishing and experience success as a published author. In her award-winning book, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career, she shares insider’s tips and practical strategies to help writers realize their dreams.
I grew up with my nose in an old set of twelve books my mother read when she was a girl. My Book House Books were filled with fairy tales and fables, princes, and talking animals. I laughed and made up my own melodies to go with some of the silly poems. I pretended to be the characters and lost myself in the magical world of books. These books are one of my dearest treasures today.
I never knew I could write for children until I was in my thirties. What a shock to see that I could create fun, engaging stories that brought children joy! My husband and I read children’s books not only for the sake of our two boys—we loved them too. Bob and I actually read them out loud in bed at night. Our kids could hear guffaws coming from our room! I so desperately wanted to write for children but didn’t know how. I took two Saturday classes at our community college on writing for children. I was hooked! I brought home stacks of children’s magazines and books from the library and studied them. I read fourteen books in one year on how to write for this genre. Clubhouse Jr. accepted my first magazine feature fiction story in 1993. I remember pulling that magazine out of my mailbox and literally jumping up and down like a maniac, squealing with delight. Neighbors probably witnessed this. I did not care. After that first story, God opened more doors. I was published in Highlights, Babybug, and Trails ‘N Treasures. I became a frequent assignment writer for Clubhouse Jr. magazine, and continue to write for them today. Since that time I’ve had the privilege of co-authoring seven books with my dear friend Nancy I. Sanders for Scholastic Professional Books. My two Christian picture books are published with David C. Cook. My 10th book, Easy-to-Read Science Plays: The Human Body (Scholastic Professional Books), was released in November of 2009.
Meet Shirley Shibley!
Blog: Shirley Shibley’s Weblog
I wanted to write from the first time I could make words with my pencil. I still remember the first story I wrote. I put writing on the back burner while I raised my family, but when the kids were all in upper grades in school I started dabbling a little with words again. I hadn’t the faintest idea what I was doing, I just wrote. Over the years I began to study hard at crafting the writing, though I didn’t make any sales until I was an empty nester, and then just a dribbling at a time. It wasn’t until I attended writer’s conferences and joined a critique group that I began to see myself as a writer. I received the encouragement I needed along with tips for success. I still receive many more rejections than acceptances, but I feel my writing has matured and all the discarded and rejected things gave me great experience. I have had 20 articles and stories published in periodicals for children and adults, several online devotionals, contributions to three book compilations, and have had dozens of stories and articles accepted for books being developed for Christian schools. I have written about 25 books for both children and adults but am still looking for my first book contract.
Meet Veronica Walsh!
Web site: www.veronicawalsh.net
As a kid, going to the library was a regular event at our house. I loved to check out books on every topic. One of the first things I wanted to be, when I grew up, was a creator of children’s books. An encouraging moment in this direction happened when I was seven. I won a creative writing contest. My mom thought I was a genius! Resourceful and artistic, she sparked the creative flame. Like my mom I grew interested in sewing, painting and reading.
I studied art and design at California State University, Long Beach, where I received a BFA in Visual Communication Design. After college, I worked designing all sorts of things, including gift products, fabric designs, jewelry, logos, ads, websites and packaging.
I’ve recently let the seven year old within take the lead to write and illustrate children’s books. With the encouragement of my critique groups, I’m currently working on a few ideas, including an alphabet book and a story about a singing princess.
My husband and I live in Southern California. We enjoy riding our bikes at the beach, eating sushi, and shopping for antique furniture. My husband says I attract stray cats. I’ve been adopted by three.