Arlene Knickerbocker was born in Michigan, USA. Her parents owned a restaurant, where she learned to work hard and long. She attended a business college, married young, and had five children, who occupied most of her time for many years. She had at least one pre-school child for eighteen years straight. She kept her business skills alive by working at temporary jobs in offices and schools, as well as volunteering in various positions. She took care of other children in the neighborhood, served as scout leader, directed a junior choir, and led a youth group in her local church.
When she and family moved to a rural area, she had never seen a garden close up. However, her husband Jerry planted a big organic garden, and she soon learned to preserve food. She still makes her own pickles, relish, jam, salsa, spaghetti sauce, and more. She cans and freezes all kinds of fruit and vegetables. In recent years, she and her family have enjoyed an herb garden.
Arlene also crochets and knits. She loves to bargain hunt and choose special gifts for family members. Her children have grown, married, and had children of their own. Four of her ten grandchildren are now married.
Arlene has written teaching materials for many years. As a Christian, she has taught every age from two years old in nursery church to adults in her local church and in home Bible studies.
When her youngest child went to high school, Arlene stepped into an office management position. She was the first employee for a school tour company, and it grew to about fifty employees in the nine years she led the office team. She gained new insights into accounting, marketing, sales, and desktop publishing. She hired and trained staff, set up and documented procedures, as well as established and maintained positive vendor relations. She also trained staff in customer service and telephone skills. Before she left the company, she wrote an operations manual and a training manual. The owner of the company planted a tree in her honor at their new building and held a ceremony as a tribute to her work.
In 1993, Jerry took an early retirement from his job and took a position as caretaker for a Christian retreat center that served college students and other groups. Arlene left her job and had no duties for the first time in her adult life. She started to write with publication in mind.
She first wrote and self-published a book of short stories about dogs the family had enjoyed (and some they tolerated). She gave the book to family members as a Christmas present. Arlene also wrote and self-published a series of studies about family relations, which she and Jerry taught in three churches.
That year brought a mysterious illness. Arlene noticed a strange bite on her right arm. The bulls-eye rash stayed for about three weeks. She didn’t connect it with the fatigue, chronic pain, or the sudden weight gain. After two months, the rash came back. She went to a new doctor since they didn’t have a family physician in their new surroundings. The doctor said, “It’s Lyme Disease” and gave Arlene some antibiotics. The doctor didn’t mention symptoms or follow-up treatment. At that time, Lyme Disease was not known by people in Michigan. Arlene thought the tic bite only caused the painful rash.
Jerry and Arlene returned to their home where she found a new doctor who advocated environmental medicine. She failed to mention the Lyme Disease, thinking the antibiotics had cured it. The new doctor diagnosed her with severe allergies and autoimmune disease. He treated her and helped take care of the allergies. However, some symptoms persisted.
In 2001, Arlene had a heart attack from inflammation. She contracted five different blood infections and was on life support from October 18 to October 30. Doctors in the hospital told her family to prepare for her death. She survived!
Her beloved doctor sent blood to Spain for a special diagnosis. The report said the autoimmune disease had attacked her heart and her thyroid. In 2002, she endured heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic. In 2005, she had a second heart attack. In 2008 and 2012, she had two more heart attacks and two more heart surgeries.
One day, her doctor mentioned Lyme Disease and Arlene asked him, “Did I ever tell you I had that?” His mouth dropped open, and he said, “That would answer a lot of questions.” He tested her, and the diagnosis came back, “Lyme Disease is still active.”
As of this writing in 2013, the Lyme Disease is gone. Arlene’s heart is regaining strength.
Through all of this illness, Arlene continued to write.
Her latest book looks at communication from a biblical perspective. 12 Ways to Make Your Words Count mines the meaning below surface interaction. Readers discover why we say what we say and become aware of the powerful, positive potential our words hold.
As an editor, Arlene enjoys making other writers look their best. She has edited many articles, book proposals, and books for individuals and organizations. She tries hard to keep the writer’s voice and provide encouragement.
As a teacher and mentor, Arlene becomes friends with her students. She says, “I like to give beginning writers the help I wish someone had given to me at the start of my writing career.”
As a speaker, Arlene is an award-winning member of Toastmasters International, where she has polished her speaking skills for several years. She helped start a local club and has served in various leadership positions there. Arlene is available to speak to church groups, women’s groups, and businesses about communication.
And now from the author herself:
I can see how my managerial experience, business education, and acquired teaching skills prepared me for my current position. In 2001, I founded my business ‘The Write Spot’. One of my daughters is a computer whiz, and she designed a website for me. She has updated it a few times, and now she and her daughter have a web design business http://www.dynamicdzine.com.
I started The Write Spot thinking I would primarily write resumes for individuals and newsletters for businesses. At that time, I had just completed a co-authored book of creative nonfiction, which a traditional publisher put into print. I also was writing monthly articles for a magazine, a column for an ezine, and selling a few stories and devotions here and there. Shortly after starting my business, I applied to write Bible study materials by assignment. Currently, I am writing my twenty-third teaching manual for that publisher. I now have more than 1000 works in print by various publishers.
After founding my business, I kept studying books on writing and editing, attending workshops and conferences, and participating in critique groups. I added editing to my list of services.
Then I started to teach writing classes online and in person. I found a sense of satisfaction when my students were published. I also home schooled one of my granddaughters who had epilepsy that kept her from school one year. Soon parents started asking me to tutor their high school students in English and in preparation for the essay portion of college entrance exams.
I wanted to improve my creativity, so I started to write poetry. I joined an online poetry critique group, and six years later self-published a devotional book of poetry entitled, Open the Door to Another Realm: A Poetic Spiritual Journey.
I enjoyed speaking to groups of young mothers at church and in the community. In 2007, I started to attend a Toastmasters Club to polish my public speaking skills. After a couple of years, I helped to start another Toastmasters Club nearer to my home. I have served this club in various leadership positions, have earned several awards, and have placed in several speech contests. I will function as area governor beginning July 1, 2013.
About three years ago, tears fell on my pillow as the clock ticked away the hours. Someone had hurt a loved one with cruel words. I started to think about the negative effects of words, and then I started to contemplate the power of positive words and the potential that often lies untapped. I thought about the fantastic gift God has given each of us—communication! I felt the need to write a book that would encourage people to speak words of healing, encouragement, and affirmation.
This book did not come easily, but I learned amazing truths while writing it. I have written, prayed, rewritten, sought critiques, edited, and begun the whole process again—writing, praying, rewriting…
I have blogged and spoken about communication for the past year.
A few months ago, I sought an agent and/or publisher and was offered contracts from two different traditional publishers. However, they were not good contracts. I decided to self-publish. I gave my granddaughter a rough draft, and she designed a beautiful cover. I solicited and obtained credible endorsements. I was able to edit the book, but I hired a proofreader because it is easy to miss my own errors. I formatted it ready for print and found a wonderful printer. My daughter turned it into Kindle format, and I hired a friend with broadcasting experience to make an audio book, which is still in the making. 12 Ways to Make Your Words Count was born in March 2013. It is receiving rave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
By reading 12 Ways to Make Your Words Count, readers discover why we say what we say and learn new ways of speaking that bring lasting positive results. Written from a Christian perspective, it encourages words that will do the following: 1) Establish a Healthy Environment 2) Enrich Relationships 3) Express Godly Character 4) Enlarge Your World View 5) Emulate the Living Word 6) Esteem Lasting Values 7) Engage Your Audience 8) Exchange Negative for Positive 9) Elicit God’s Power 10) Extend Grace 11) Equip Followers 12) Encourage Faith.
This book offers exciting possibilities to individuals or small groups. I am teaching it to an adult Sunday school class and receiving good feedback from participants.
All three of my books are available at a discounted price on my website http://www.thewritespot.org. In addition, I share a devotional thought, a joke, writers’ tip, and favorite quotes on that site. Visitors can read my blog and subscribe to it at http://www.thewritespot.org/knicksnotes.
Thank you, Arlene. I was also offered two contracts for my chick lit novel but my heart sank when I read them and following great advice from The Society of Authors, I decided to go my own way and don’t regret it.
You can find more about Arlene and her writing via…
- Arlene blogs about communication at http://www.thewritespot.org/knicksnotes.
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/arleneknickerbocker
- Author’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/WaystoMakeYourWordsCount
- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TheWriteSpot_ (must use ending underscore)
- LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=h-gnav-name-link-0
- 12 Ways to Make Your Words Count is available in print on her website: http://www.thewritespot.org/knicksnotes/books-from-the-author/51-12-ways-to-make-your-words-count.html.
- Kindle version is available on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ways-Make-Words-Count-ebook/dp/B00C4LA4I6 and print form at http://www.thewritespot.org/knicksnotes/books-from-the-author/51-12-ways-to-make-your-words-count.html
- Epub and PDF format is available on Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/301705
If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/submission-information/opportunities-on-this-blog (the spotlights are option (a)) or email me for details.
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Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
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