TAA * Text and Academic Authors Association
TAA CouncilAbout TAAContact TAAWorkshopsAwardsAction IssuesMediaBooks for PurchaseLinks
Industry NewsTAA Notes
TAA Members Only
TAA Member Center Home
Renewing Members
Give a gift membership

Member Communication
TAA News Alert Archive
Sign up for TAA Listservs
The Academic Author newsletter archive
President's Messages
Executive Director's Messages
Associate Executive Director's Messages

Member Spotlight
Featured Member Profile
Busy TAA People
Share your news

TAA Conference
Upcoming Conference
Conference Archive

Member Departments
How-to articles
Authors Asking
Author Interviews
Writer's Block Essays
Text and Academic Authoring Columns
Notable Author Profiles
Book Reviews

Member Benefits
Mentoring Directory
TAA Teleconferences
TAA Publication Grants for Academic Authors
Promote Your Books on the TAA site

Member Discounts
Editing Services
Books, Courier Services, Legal
Literary Agent, Publishing Law Lawyer Referral List

Recommended Reading
Textbook Authors
Academic Materials Authors

Member Documents
TAA By-Laws
TAA Budget Information
Authors Coalition Survey (PDF)
TAA Committees
TAA Position Statement on the Academic Value of Textbooks (PDF)
Textbook Contracts: A Guide
Guidelines for Writing a Nonfiction Book Proposal (PDF)

Council of Fellows
Fellows List

Write for TAA
Writer's Guidelines



Your Member Info  |  Logout  |  Search the TAA site:

Busy TAA People:

1/23/09 — Terry Bazzett won a 2009 New England Book Show award from Bookbuilders of Boston (www.bbboston.org) for his college textbook, An Introduction to Behavior Genetics, published by Sinauer Associates.

1/8/09 — The sixth edition of Robert Christopherson's Elemental Geosystems ( 2010) will be published in February 2009.

1/5/09 — Matt Stevens, author of Managing a Construction Firm on Just 24 Hours a Day, and a consultant with Stevens Construction Institute, has been hired to run a program to help newly formed Minority Business Enterprise firms understand the essentials of running a construction company. The program, The Contractors Book Camp, is being funded by a Workforce ONE Maryland project grant awarded to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) for Base Realignment and Closure-related workforce development efforts done at Ft. Meade, Maryland.

12/16/08 — Mary Kay Switzer. Two original plays and a folk opera written by Mary Kay Switzer, an associate professor of communication at California Polytechnical State University in Pomona, California, will be performed by the Cultural Alliance of the Pass Area Performing Artists in March, April, and May. Kate DiCamillo has also agreed to allow Switzer to adapt her Mercy Watson series for the stage. DiCamillo is the author of Winn Dixie.

10/18/08 — Mary Kay Switzer, a professor of communication at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, was selected to develop a theatre arts initiative in her county. She serves on the board of the Pass Area Performing Artists, and directed the premiere performance of "Our Town" which got rave reviews. She is also a member of the Cultural Alliance in her county. Mary Kay has been a TAA member for 12 years, and served two terms as TAA Council Secretary. She now serves as a TAA Council member.

10/18/08 — Clifton K. Meador, M.D., clinical professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine and Meharry Medical College and director of the Meharry Vanderbilt Alliance, recently published Symptoms of Unknown Origin, Vanderbilt University Press (2006) and Puzzling Symptoms, Cable Publishing (2008). He was also honored with the National Vanderbilt Alumni Achievement Award for 2008.

10/8/08 — A. Jane Birch, Brigham Young University, and Tara Gray, New Mexico State University, will be presenting two sessions at the Professional and Organizational Development Network (POD Network) Conference, October 22-25 in Reno, Nevada. "Ten Ways to Let Your Database Do Your Work For You", will demonstrate the ten ways a database can be used by faculty developers -- and will help participants identify and clarify the data needs and solutions of their own centers. "Facilitating Scholarly Writing Circles That Work," will present proven strategies that help scholars improve their writing and increase their productivity by a factor of four. Click for more

6/16/08 — Andrew Johnson (North Mankato, MN) recently published an article in Gifted Child Today (2008, 31, 41-29) entitled, "Internet Strategies for gifted students." His latest book, Teaching and writing: Research-based strategies for teachers, tutors, parents, and paraprofessionals, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, will be out in September 2009. He is also under contract to write a second edition of his social studies textbook, Making connections in elementary and middle school social studies, Thousand Oaks, CA, Sages.

5/23/08 — Guesna Dohrman, a professor of mathematics at Tallahassee Community College, recently started a non-profit organization called SOMETHINGPOSITIVE. Based in Tampa, Florida, it's mission is to encourage and promote physical activity for people with MS in the Tallahassee and Tampa, Florida areas.

5/23/08 — William Koenecke received tenure from the Murray State Univeristy Board of Regents on Friday, May 16, 2008. He has also signed a contract with Kendall Hunt for a book to be published in December 2008. It has the working title: "Improving the Writing Skills of Tomorrow's Teacher."

5/23/08 — Jean A. Lukesh received her doctorate in education (Ed.D.) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on May 9, 2008. Lukesh is the author of the award-winning history textbook, The Nebraska Adventure.

5/12/08 — Judith Haynes retired from Linfield College at the end of fall semester 2007, and started her own business, Haylo Education Solutions, LLC (http://www.hayloes.com) in January 2008. Haylo assists students and teachers with their education issues. They help teachers catch up with the twenty-first century by modifying or preparing their curriculum to be presented on-line in an inter-active, easy to use format. They also help people who teach or make presentations as part of their work, but haven't been trained in teaching techniques. Consultations are done on-line or in person, in classroom or workshop settings, or on a one-to-one basis.

4/9/08 — TAA Executive Director Richard Hull published the second edition of Ethical Issues in the New Reproductive Technologies by Prometheus Books in 2005, as a revised, updated, and expanded version of the first edition, published in 1990 by Wadsworth. An electronic edition of the book, self-published by Hull, is available through his website, http://www.richard-t-hull.com.

Hull also published an article in Free Inquiry (vol 28, nos 2&3), entitled, "Can We Survive? The Changes Required to Deal Effectively With Global Warming," with co-authors Stephen Paley and George K. Oister. He is also completing, with coauthors Paley and Oister, an academic version of the two-part article, that will appear in a volume edited by Paul Kries and Randall Osborne, Global Community, Global Security, which will be published in 2008 by Editions Rodopi.

4/4/08 — Matt Stevens was interviewed by the journal of the Design-Build Institute of America, Design-Build Dateline, about his book, Managing a Construction Firm on Just 24 Hours a Day. Read the interview: Click here

1/11/08 — Jerry D. Wilson, the author of nine physics or physical science textbooks, recently published a trade book, Best of the Curiosity Corner, a compilation articles from newspaper columns he wrote for 26 years. Visit the book's website: Click here

11/1/07 — TAA member Kimberly Davies recently published her first textbook, "The Murder Book: Examining Homicide," with Prentice Hall.

9/11/07 — At the Hollywood Book Festival 2007, TAA member Helen Gordon earned an award for best book in the category of historical fiction for her novel, Voice of the Vanquished: The Story of the Slave Marina and Hernan Cortes. The contest was judged on the basis of the author's story-telling ability plus the potential for the novel to translate into other media such as a movie or television series.

Click for more

TAA Member Websites

Click to view list of TAA member websites

Post a link to your website:
Email your website to kim.pawlak@taaonline.net

We want to hear from you!

Have you published a new book? Revised an existing one? Published a journal article? Changed jobs? Share your news with fellow TAA members in The Academic Author's Busy People section. Click here to share your news using our secure online form.

Busy TAA People

< Featured Member Profile Archive

Featured Member Christy Keeler:
Blogging keeps author on track to write regularly

By Kim Seidel

Christy Keeler
Christy Keeler

Christy Keeler, a pedagogy scholar/consultant for the Teaching American History Grant for Las Vegas's Clark County School District, uses a blog to motivate herself to write and as a means of personal accountability.

“My goal is to blog every time I write for a peer-reviewed publication,” she said. “Though I sometimes get lazy, and don’t log my time and progress, such as over the summer when I was writing infrequently, I’m usually pretty good about blogging during each writing session.”

Keeler also has several other blogs that she uses to support her teaching. She taught for two years as a visiting professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). She’s now considered a part-time instructor at UNLV, because of her work with the Teaching American History Grant.

As a pedagogy scholar/consultant at UNLV, Keeler teaches 50 third- through fifth-grade teachers in five-week modules six times each year. “The modules couple pedagogy and history, and I work with two historians who teach the history content while I teach the pedagogy,” she said.

With her teaching and family responsibilities – Keeler and her husband have two young sons – blogging is a way to organize her professional and personal writing life. The path that led her to blogging her writing efforts started about two years ago, when UNLV offered its faculty the ability to attend a workshop presented by Tara Gray, entitled “Publish and Flourish: Become a Prolific Scholar" (this workshop is co-sponsored by TAA).

“It was fantastic; we were all motivated to write and broke into writing groups following the training,” she said. “My group lasted for over a year, and we were very supportive of one another.”

Keeler discovered, however, that even with the writing group, she still became complacent about her writing. She would fail, for instance, to bring writing samples to the weekly meetings. “My group didn’t hold me as accountable as I needed to be, so I knew I needed a different motivational method,” she said. “At about that time, I was beginning to experiment with blogs for use in my classes, and I thought that a blog might provide a means of personal accountability.”

Some of the main benefits of blogging are that it's easy and fast, said Keeler. “Though I am keeping the blog for myself, it also increases my feeling of accountability, because I know anyone can look at it and judge my dedication to my writing efforts," she said. "Therefore, I feel guilty when I know I haven’t written in awhile.”

Keeler always blogs about where she is in the process of a given project. “This enables me to review where I left off on the previous writing session so I can pick up there, instead of having to review the entire document on which I’m working,” she said. “Also, it’s been great for me to go back and recall who I’ve contacted regarding a paper, which journals have rejected articles, which journals are reviewing articles and other progress.”

During Gray's workshop, she stressed the importance of writing religiously for 15 minutes every day, said Keeler, but that was the one piece of advice she hasn't followed. “Given my life as a wife and mother first, and a scholar second, this never works for me,” she said. “I am much better at writing in spurts – usually right before a project is due. My goal is to write as often as I can. My blog has proven that the more often I write, the more often I have articles published."

Ideally, Keeler said she would like to have an “accountability partner", in which each author would blog and use RSS to review each other’s blogs. That way, they could check up on each other several times a week. “We could also leave encouraging notes for one another as comments in our blogs,” she said.

A blog also could work well for collaborators on a writing project, she said: “If each of the collaborators logged their work on the project each time they contributed, there would be a nice accounting of the progress made and the next steps to take. There are other online applications such as Google Docs and spreadsheets that allow collaborators to work jointly on writing projects, but blogs provide a nice accounting of progress. The blog entries can automatically and immediately be downloaded to all group members’ computers as soon as comments are posted.”

Blogs are easy to create, and very easy to use, Keeler said. She believes so strongly in the value of blogging that she’s created videos about it. They can be accessed by downloading iTunes and subscribing to the “Keeler’s Training Videos” podcast or by visiting http://keelertrainingvideos.blogspot.com. She suggests the following episodes, “Using, Posting and Commenting in Blogs,” “Introduction to Blogger” and “Procuring a Blogger Account.”

Don't know how to subscribe to a podcast? Keeler recommends the online video “iTunes Basics,” which can be found on one of her websites: Click here. This video is also available via the "Keeler's Training Videos" podcast.

Keeler has kept herself accountable to her writing by a Microsoft Word document detailing parts and due dates for each project in her office, among other ways.
View PDF example

Along with blogging, other ways Keeler has kept herself accountable to her writing are by using Academic Ladder, which provides online academic writing coaching; a writing board in her office; a Microsoft Word document detailing parts and due dates for each project in her office; and logging her writing times on her handheld computer/phone.

Keeler used Academic Ladder for one month, and experienced an incredibly productive month. “It was very motivating, because I knew that I had paid for the service, and I wanted to make sure I hadn’t wasted the money,” she said. “It’s also very rewarding to mark a little checkbox each day after you write.”

Someday, Keeler said she’d like to see something similar to Academic Ladder that could be used by academic advisors. This could be a great resource for dissertation advisors to help keep their students on task. It also could provide advisors with readily available information about the progress of their students. “That way, there would be accountability online as well as in the face-to-face environment."

The writing board is a tool Keeler learned about several years ago while attending the American Educational Researcher Association (AERA) Annual Meeting. The idea is to keep a board listing all of your projects and moving the projects across the board as they progress from conception to publication.

The writing board is a tool Keeler learned about several years ago while attending the American Educational Researcher Association (AERA) Annual Meeting. The idea is to keep a board listing all of your projects and moving the projects across the board as they progress from conception to publication.

“Not only is this a visual reminder of current projects – and a constant reminder of those projects hiding in the shadows of your file drawer – but it helps organize projects so you always have some in various stages of the writing process,” she said. “The AERA presenter said that it is important for a healthy writer to always have projects in different stages, so that there is no dead time in between projects.”

A benefit to these tools from Keeler’s life is that if she has a research project stuck in an Institutional Review Board (IRB) review process or is under review with a journal, she can work on another project listed on her writing board. “The result is that I should have a regular schedule for rolling out new articles,” she said. “This is especially good if one is expected to produce peer-reviewed articles every year.”

To create her writing board, she used a white board and Sharpies to devise the sections. She then printed out all of her writing projects on bright paper and placed a magnet on the back of the page. She cut out each article and placed the project titles into the correct section. “This sits right next to my desk so it’s like a weight around my neck if nothing’s moved lately,” she said. Keeler also has a similar document she maintains simultaneously in a Word document on her computer. She can share this with potential employers and also record anticipated completion dates for each aspect of each writing project.

“There are simple and inexpensive programs that allow individuals to log their time spent on given tasks throughout the day,” said Keeler, who uses SDS Time to calculate the amount of time she spends each week on her writing. The program allows her to download the data and review it over a period of time. Keeler may find, for example, that during a four-week period, she only dedicated 10 percent of her work time to writing.

When she’s not blogging, she loves to spend time with her family and she loves to teach. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband, Mike, and their children, Ryan and Spencer. “We love to spend time as a family, especially traveling,” she said. “In my spare time, I like to work. I enjoy teaching and helping teachers become even better at their craft. I am very rewarded by creating resources that others can use to improve their instructional delivery.”

Her passion for helping teachers is why she offers a large number of free online resources (http://christykeeler.com). “I also enjoy learning and presenting at conferences,” Keeler said. “I know this sounds funny because most people do these things for their ‘work.’ For me, my family is my work, and my hobby is my profession.”

Some examples of Keeler's blogs:

• Little House Teacher's Guides. Keeler worked with her students to help them create teacher's guides to accompany children's literature relating to 1800s U.S. exploration: http://littlehouseteachersguides.blogspot.com

• Keeler's Training Videos. A blog of screencast videos on how to use technologies: http://keelertrainingvideos.blogspot.com

• Las Vegas Education Events. A list of trainings and options available for teachers in Southern Nevada: http://vegaseducation.blogspot.com

• The 1930s and Arts Education. A blog on one of the courses Keeler teaches: http://tah-1930s.blogspot.com

• Educational Virtual Museums Developed Using Power Point and Audio Digital Storytelling. A blog on training others on techniques she teaches in her classes: http://educationalvirtualmuseums.blogspot.com and http://audiodigitalstorytelling.blogspot.com

• Keeler Thoughts and Conference Notes. A blog Keeler keeps for professional and personal use: http://keelerthoughts.blogspot.com. “In it, I blog all my conference notes and general ideas or information I wish to keep,” she said. “For example, I attended a weeklong training on the We the People curriculum. During the training, I maintained a detailed list of resources and notes that others at the training may use for future reference. See the blog postings ending on August 5, 2007."

Kim Seidel is a freelance writer based in Onalaska, Wis.

Interested in submitting an article?
Writer's Guidelines

TAA Home | TAA Council | About TAA | Contact TAA | Workshops | Awards | Action Issues | Media | Books for Purchase | Links | Industry News | TAA Notes

Copyright 2008 by Text and Academic Authors Association. All rights reserved. Disclaimer

TAA is a member of the Authors Coalition of America (ACA) and is an Associate Member of the International Reprographic Rights Organization (IFRRO).


TAA Home Council & Committee Only TAAF Board of Directors