Colleen Houck

“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

Colleen's blog


    June 24, 2014


    Welcome to the third session of




    I love taking a little time out of my busy life to expand my knowledge, enlighten my soul and develop my talents. Creative writing is not one I have the fortune of spending much time on, but I love reading the works of others. Whether its reading Shakespeare, Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Dr. Suess children’s books, a novel by a novice author, or the National Geographic magazine, I am partaking in someone’s art. Whether I decide that art to be beautiful, amateur, sloppy, or insightful to me is to be determined but it is also an exciting experience that can teach me something or even change the way I see the world.

    The art of the written word has the ability to illuminate the heart, mind and soul of the composer. When words are carefully chosen, the effect it can have on the reader is limitless. That is why stories and poetry have the power to change a single soul or even entire nations. The written language is a magical tool we can use to communicate our thoughts. It is limited only by our ability to masterfully orchestrate and manipulate the words.

    I encourage you to take time to read something new, something different from your norm. Then, I challenge you to take some time out of your day to create something from your heart. It can be keeping a journal, writing a poem or story, drawing a picture, molding clay, composing a song, anything really. There are so many ways to express ourselves and everyone of us has a story to tell. Here are a couple poems that resonate with me that I’d like to share:


    The Road not Taken

    by Robert Frost

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;
    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,
    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.
    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.


    Lucy’s Song

    by Charles Dickens

    How beautiful at eventide
    To see the twilight shadows pale,
    Steal o’er the landscape, far and wide,
    O’er stream and meadow, mound and dale!

    How soft is Nature’s calm repose
    When ev’ning skies their cool dews weep:
    The gentlest wind more gently blows,
    As if to soothe her in her sleep!

    The gay morn breaks,
    Mists roll away,
    All Nature awakes
    To glorious day.
    In my breast alone
    Dark shadows remain;
    The peace it has known
    It can never regain.

    The Fellowship of the Ring excerpt

    by J.R.R. Tolkien

    “All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost;
    The old that is strong does not wither,
    Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

    From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
    A light from the shadows shall spring;
    Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
    The crownless again shall be king.”

    Please feel free to share your experiences of reading and creating something new. Remember, everyone has gifts and talents, you just need the courage and perseverance to make it your own masterpiece. C.S. Lewis once said, “Every poem can be considered in two ways–as what the poet has to say, and as a thing which he makes.”

    Now, on to our featured blogger, Amy Plum!!! Remember, she will be hosting a LIVE chat with Colleen Houck on Goodreads on Saturday, June 28th from 9am-10am PST!! Remember, you can post comments/questions before hand if you want to correspond with either or both of them!


    Amy Plum

    A Funny Thing Happened While on the Way to Getting Published by Amy Plum

    I’ve always written. I’ve always been obsessed with books. But I never thought I’d be a writer. Not that I didn’t want to be a writer. I just never thought I was capable. You see, I began by writing poetry. I wasn’t very good at it. And when the college newspaper that I submitted my poetry to turned it down, I took that as A Sign. A Sign of Suckitude.

    I gave up the idea of writing and followed other pursuits. But a few years later, I found myself in Paris taking a creative writing course purely so that I could get a student visa and not be kicked out of the country for living here illegally. And in that 1-semester writing course I decided once again that I was not made to be a writer. The reason this time: I couldn’t think of one darned thing I wanted to write about besides living in Paris, which I didn’t think was an interesting enough topic.

    The only thing I wrote for the next decade or so were a master’s thesis on a 14th century Italian altarpiece and lots of articles on paintings and artworks for my employer at the time, Sotheby’s. It wasn’t until I was almost 40 years old, and found myself pregnant, unemployed, and living in the middle-of-nowhere in the French countryside with no friends, no car (for the first 2 months) and nothing else to do that I started blogging. In the beginning, it was only for my friends and family—to show them photos and tell them little stories about living in the Loire Valley.

    Before long, I had complete strangers commenting on my blog. Soon I had a surprisingly large following. Some of my readers were writers themselves. They encouraged me to gather my stories into a book and try to publish it. So after 4 years of writing an article every day, that’s what I did. Over a year I wrote my blog into a book, and then began querying agents for it. Within two weeks I had my dream agent, and very soon she sent it out on submission to publishers.

    That book, my memoir of living in the French countryside, was never published. But I wrote DIE FOR ME the following year, and have never looked back.

    It still amazes me that people like what I write. I don’t feel exceptionally gifted or capable—no more than anyone else. But I am obsessed with words and I love telling stories. Perhaps that’s what people connect with in my books. Whatever it is, I am grateful. I truly feel I have the best job in the world.


    For those of you interested in learning more about Amy Plum and to check out some of her wonderful books, click here.

    ~Till’ next time,

    Linda Louise Lotti

    This entry was posted in Featuring Authors, The Modern Ink Society.

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    Author Bio

    I’m Linda Louise, one of the bloggers on this website and Colleen’s little sister. I’m just a girl in her mid-thirties who feels thirteen when I play outside with my boys, fifteen when I sing my heart out listening to tunes while driving by myself, and sixty five when I go out past ten at night. I have a thing for junior mints, Mt. Dew, shrimp and kale (though not all at once) and I have a crush on Superman. I still get girlish butterflies when I read Twilight, cry when I read These is My Words, and smile from ear to ear when I read Anne of Green Gables. I have nightmares about aliens on a regular basis and I have a bad habit of midnight snacking. I love everything sports, except golf (although can that honestly be considered a sport??), and I hate anything that slithers, hisses, or stings. I have a problem with giggling at inappropriate moments and I sometimes wish life was a musical. I love science, hate math, love Dr. Seuss, and hate olives. My family is my world and my joys come from their happiness. I’ve learned I don’t know much about anything and I live for a good adventure, naps, cuddles, stories, exceptional food and The Shire.