Thursday, October 29, 2009

Welcome to Creative Muse Journal

My name is Donna B. Russell, and for some time my alter ego, Paige Turner, and I have wanted to create a blog but didn't know where or how to begin. As we were preparing to participate in National Novel Writing Month, Paige suggested that blogging about NaNo would be a great starting point. So, with her help, we will begin this blog by inviting you to share our NaNo journey.

Who are we?

Donna: The writing bug bit me when I was a child. Throughout my school years I wrote poetry, short stories, and plays -- some of which were performed solely within my own classrooms, others (including a Memorial Day pageant) for the whole school and invited guests. In college, I took writing courses as part of my English major; but when I married and became a full-time mom, I put the writing on hold. Then in 1990, I began writing a monthly column called "PetWise" about pets and issues relating to them. With the advent of an "empty nest," I took additional writing courses, and had some poems and a couple of articles published online and in print. I also write devotional material for "Wings of Prayer" ( which I founded in 1999. Then in 2007, I heard about and participated in National Novel Writing Month, which finally helped me take the plunge to try to write a novel. In July 2009, through a quirk of fate, I had the opportunity to copyedit a novel for a published author. With his encouragement, I waded in a little deeper by taking on some additional freelance editing projects while continuing to pursue a writing career.

I am a native and lifelong resident of the Green Mountain State and can't imagine living anywhere else. I tell people my feet are rooted in Vermont soil, and Lake Champlain runs through my veins. I am a former teacher, musician, choir director, speaker, board president, and support chat host. I am also a wife, mother of three talented married children (a son and two daughters) and mother-in-law to their equally-talented spouses, pet parent, writer, committee co-chairman, dreamer, and optimist. For the past twenty years I have lived with the challenges of three chronic illnesses which have helped me to even better appreciate what a precious gift life is.

I live with my husband, David, who is the pastor/director of a church and street ministry, as well as a fine photographer and digital artist. Our nest has never really been empty since we share it with my service dog and our cat, who became "Queen of the castle" when our male cat passed away in August 2009.

Paige: Donna and I met through NaNoWriMo in 2007. There was never any doubt that I would be a mystery writer with a name like Paige Turner. My mother was a huge fan of Patti Paige, so when she married my father, Matt Turner, whose idol was baseball great Satchel Paige, my fate was sealed -- at least as far as my name was concerned. My mother was an avid reader, who also read to me, and taught me that, through books, I could travel to exotic places, have amazing adventures, meet exciting people (and some rather sinister ones, too), and expand my knowledge and horizons without leaving the comforts of home. Then I met Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, and knew that I either wanted to grow up to be a detective or a mystery writer. Since writers are less likely to get shot, the choice seemed obvious. I also own and operate the Live Free Bakery, which specializes in products for people with food allergies.

I live with my best friends, Cody and Noah, a pair of beautiful Border Collies, and Higgins the cat who is definitely master of the house. I'm single, and still hoping to find my perfect soul-mate. I also volunteer at our local Humane Society occasionally and am in the process of having Cody and Noah approved as certified therapy dogs.


  1. Paige Turner is the name I chose for a character in a started-but-never-finished novel. I guess I better change the name! Interestingly, it was also the name of a literary agent, though I could never figure out if it was her real name. Didn't matter since she rejected me.

  2. Names are funny things. No matter how original writers try to be, it's likely that someone, somewhere, has the same name as a character, or has had a similar idea. I once set a poem to music -- an original tune -- only to hear it sung by a well-known group a year later. Yes, same lyrics, same melody! Guess it just goes to show that if you have an idea, don't sit on it. As for the literary agent, what a weird coincidence. My Paige has never had any interest in that field.