About

IMG_7468s

I’ve been writing “novels” since I was twelve. Somewhere I still have a three inch binder with my very first attempt scrawled in pencil on loose leaf paper. I have several other manuscripts locked away in a virtual secret vault on my laptop, but I learned volumes with each one I wrote.

While living in Singapore for a year and a half, I had the opportunity to focus entirely on my writing, thanks to my wonderful husband. I also traveled to Australia and all over Southeast Asia. What can I say? I like going on adventures.

starting that novel triumph

Now I’m back home in Wisconsin and back to my career as a school psychologist. I have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Masters of Science in Education, and an Education Specialist degree in School Psychology. I specialize in working with at-risk kids and teens. My focus has been working with predominantly African American students and families. Love–love!–working with kids.

My two life philosophies:

road focus be kind diffuse 3

I write Contemporary YA that incorporates social issues. I proud to say I’m represented by literary agent Claire Anderson-Wheeler with Regal Literary Agency. Please check out my “Novels” page to see what I’m up to. I am also a member of SCBWI. I love connecting with other writers; working collaboratively is part of what has made me the writer I am today.

I also dabble in amateur photography and oil painting. Here are a few of my favorite pictures ever:

P1090912photo-3 (2)   557168_10100111065895585_2043205287_nP1110610P1150957  223764_774804204735_2449481_n  P1100448  P109094210292219_10100489563044265_2076367346093820752_n

I also have two dogs, a Cairn Terrier and an Australian Terrier.

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90 comments

  1. Kim · April 20, 2014

    Sounds like an awesome adventure! Glad to “meet” you!

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · April 20, 2014

      Haha yeah. Definitely is! And I’ve been lucky enough to really focus on writing :). Nice to “meet” you as well!

      Like

  2. Dave · April 23, 2014

    Hi Saray – thanks for stopping by and following my blog. Looking forward to following yours. Wonderful pictures, btw.

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · April 23, 2014

      Thanks and looking forward to seeing more of your blog as well!

      Like

  3. cardamone5 · April 23, 2014

    Thanks for the follow, and I am a follower as well. Your decision to go to Singapore sounds very courageous and interesting. I look forward to reading more.

    Best regards,
    Elizabeth

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · April 23, 2014

      I’ll have to post that story soon! Look forward to reading your blog as well!

      Like

  4. Bobbib · April 23, 2014

    Thanks for following my blog.

    Writing in Singapore…. Wow! Sounds very interesting.
    I see we enjoy many of the same activities. I look forward to your blog posts.

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · April 23, 2014

      Haha it’s hot. All the time. I’ll say that much now with much more to come. That’s awesome that we have similar interests! Looking forward to your posts as well.

      Like

  5. Paul J. Stam · April 23, 2014

    Keep up the writing. Thanks so much for the follow of writingiam.wordpress.com. I will be following you to keep up with your writing success – Aloha – pjs.

    Like

  6. Mark · April 24, 2014

    Thanks for following my blog. I look forward to following your adventures and reading your writings as well. God bless!

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · April 24, 2014

      Thanks for following me! Looking forward to exploring your blog as well.

      Like

  7. heyheyhannah · April 26, 2014

    What an incredible journey. Can’t wait to read about it 🙂

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · April 26, 2014

      It has its moments :P. I’m very fortunate to even have this opportunity. Can’t wait to check your blog out as well 🙂

      Like

  8. Colin Bisset · April 27, 2014

    Thanks for the follow – will do the same for you. Always good to share the writing experience. I’m rather fond of Singapore, too!

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · April 27, 2014

      Great and thanks back! Writers are pretty awesome people I find. And Singapore…it has its days haha. Have managed to write my entire novel here so that’s good. Been to many, many coffee shops all over the island. Think I may start blogging about my quest for the best mocha in Singapore haha.

      Like

  9. vakunzmann · April 27, 2014

    Your blog is right up my alley! I am a high school English teacher, teaching in a small AZ town, just returned from teaching in the Middle East.
    I’m enjoying your writings.

    Like

    • vakunzmann · April 27, 2014

      Hmmm…nope.

      Like

    • sjoycarlson · April 27, 2014

      Thanks for the follow and I’m glad you’re enjoying. Love to meet fellow writers AND educators, and someone who just had the expat experience. I’m curious what it was like moving BACK to the US after living somewhere very different…. Looking forward to reading your blog a well!

      Like

  10. Natacha Guyot · April 27, 2014

    Hey, I just tagged you in a Writing Process Blog Hop: http://natachaguyot.org/2014/04/27/my-writing-process-blog-hop/ 🙂

    Like

  11. Rhonda · April 27, 2014

    It sounds like you have a full, beautiful life! 🙂

    Like

  12. andreavituly · April 27, 2014

    you have a nice blog…and a new follower 🙂

    Like

  13. Marianne Condrup · April 29, 2014

    Thanks for the follow at placeswhitepeoplego.com – great to see fellow travelers/expats creating their own path!

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · April 29, 2014

      🙂 And I’m just really amused by your blog name haha. In case you didn’t know, the term for white people in Singapore/Malaysia is ang moh (also spelled ang mo), which is a Hokkien term for red-haired and is slightly racist but widely used and reclaimed.

      Like

  14. edmooneyphotography · April 29, 2014

    Hi there Sarah,
    Thank you for taking the time to stop by and check out my little corner of the blogosphere and the follow, your support is greatly appreciated. Looking forward to seeing more from you 🙂

    Have a great day,

    Eddie

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · April 29, 2014

      You as well! I write but living in singapore’s giving me lots of photo ops. Trying to actually learn something about photography as well; right now I pretty much just shoot and get lucky sometimes haha

      Like

      • edmooneyphotography · April 29, 2014

        LOL, I think everyone starts that way. You will be shocked at what you will learn in a short space of time. I did an experiment last year and went back to shoot an old ruin Which I had done some years ago, the difference was amazing. Keep it up 🙂

        Like

      • sjoycarlson · April 29, 2014

        Will do! Thanks 🙂

        Like

  15. Joe Cummings · April 29, 2014

    Wow, what an amazing adventure to go on! You are far braver than me.

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · April 29, 2014

      Or crazy haha. We’re all on our own life adventures. Thanks for the follow and looking forward to reading about yours 🙂

      Like

  16. Tammy Hopkinson, MBA · April 30, 2014

    Thank you for following my blog! You have some nice achievements under your belt. I look forward to reading more of your posts…:)

    Like

  17. jlheuer · May 1, 2014

    Read your post from today then had to check you out. Wow, impressive. I was a young adult librarian( as well as adult fiction) so I’d be interested in your book when you get it published. As to Mary Burke, she is on the Madison School Board and owns Trek Bicycle.

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · May 1, 2014

      Haha thanks! Will keep you posted. Now I remember who she is! Should’ve known, used to work for MMSD.

      Like

  18. allanwalsh · May 1, 2014

    Thanks for following my blog Sarah.

    Like

  19. mincs1 · May 2, 2014

    Thanks for choosing to follow me, Sarah. I look forward to reading about your adventures and learning from you through the process! All the best to you!!

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · May 2, 2014

      You’re welcome! Looking forward to reading your blog as well!

      Like

  20. timetowritenow · May 3, 2014

    Thanks for following my blog. I’m originally from Wisconsin too. Weyauwega and then Milwaukee. Now I’m in the S.F. East Bay, CA.

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · May 3, 2014

      Juda, oak creek, Sparta, la crosse, milwaukee, then Madison lol. Thanks for following my blog too! Wisconsin love!

      Like

  21. Mike · May 5, 2014

    Best of luck with your writing and travel!

    Like

  22. mad nad · May 5, 2014

    Thanks for the follow! I look forward to reading more from you. Best of luck to you with your writing!

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · May 5, 2014

      Thanks! Looking forward to reading your writing as well. Happy writing!

      Like

  23. James Keegan · May 12, 2014

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and for the follow. Sounds like you are on an excellent adventure. I’m glad my photos remind you of home. I love visiting Wisconsin and go there quite often. I’m not much of a writer but I look forward to reading your work =)

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · May 12, 2014

      Thanks!!! And I’m sure you do visit a lot seeing as you’re from Illinois 😛 do you know we have a nickname for you up in wisconsin? 😛 also I’m looking forward to studying your photos to learn techniques

      Like

      • James Keegan · May 12, 2014

        Fibs? I’m even a Badgers/Packers fan 😉

        Like

      • sjoycarlson · May 12, 2014

        Haha yes. And that.is.amazing. I promote you to Wisconsinite!! How about Spotted Cow?

        Like

      • James Keegan · May 12, 2014

        I’ve been know to partake on occasion.

        Like

      • sjoycarlson · May 12, 2014

        Haha my sister and brother in law live in Illinois and always bring it back with them. 😉

        Like

  24. Andrew Updegrove · May 13, 2014

    Thanks for visiting my blog, and leading me back to yours. Thanks also for posting the pictures of Pine Ridge. It’s a place that not enough people know about, and too many of the rest have forgotten.

    Best of luck in all your adventures.

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · May 13, 2014

      It is a tragedy that Pine Ridge has been forgotten, heartbreaking place that the United States government created. So much beauty and strength there, too. When I end up back in the U.S., I’d like to go back and volunteer again. Thanks for stopping by :).

      Like

  25. Andrew Updegrove · May 13, 2014

    It’s a place of superficially inexplicable contrasts; the blighted conditions the Native Americans live in in comparison to the active farming of the land – until you realize that it’s white people, not Native Americans, that are farming the Native Americans’ land, because the Native Americans can’t afford what is required to farm their own land. Like everything else of value, their crops get siphoned off by the same people that siphoned off their pride, their ability to make a living, their culture, their healthy diet, and on and on and on…

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · May 13, 2014

      So true and so sad……. I actually took a group of students there and we did a lot of learning around the history of the the tribe. The things that were done…terrible. Not stuff I learned about in school, that’s for sure. And it’s not just the land, it’s the mental health and physical health conditions as well. And White Clay, Nebraska, town of like 14 people that sells millions of cans of beer a year…to the Lakota, because alcohol is technically banned on the Reservation. These white people making tons of money off of fueling alcoholism. Disgusting.

      Like

  26. Andrew Updegrove · May 13, 2014

    This is one of the themes I’m weaving into my second book. Here’s an excerpt:

    “Say, don’t you want to join me in a drink? Make an exception just this once? Let me pour you a stiff one – it’ll help you loosen up!”

    Zee gave him a taut smile this time. “Let me pour you a stiff one; where have I heard that before? It sounds so familiar. Tell me my friend, in all these times that you have gambled at Native American casinos, have you ever taken the time to drive around one?”

    “Drive around one? Well, I don’t know.” He took an appreciative sip of his drink. “I mean, there’s not usually a whole lot to see, is there? All of the little houses tend to look the same – I guess the government gives these pre-fab houses to you, right?”

    “Is that all you’ve seen?”

    “Oh, I dunno. I guess a school – store – couple gas stations. I mean, there really isn’t a whole lot out here, is there? It’s mostly wide open country with some cows on it, right?”

    “Actually, they’re referred to as ‘cattle.’ You’re correct, though, in observing that there isn’t much to see on a reservation. No water, for example. And certainly no natural resources – your people kept all the land with value, didn’t they? No jobs, for sure. Or hospitals. You didn’t see a movie theatre, did you? Or a factory? Why do you suppose that is?”

    Butcher was feeling uncomfortable. He’d never thought about it, and didn’t like the way the conversation had turned. “I guess maybe there just aren’t a lot of people living on reservations, and they’re all kind of spread out. Just like the old days, I guess.”

    “Ah, but you’re wrong about that, Mr. Butcher. In the old days, we had much more land – much better land – land that gave us everything we needed. Before the white man came, we were self-sufficient. Healthy, too, and strong. Now we are weak, and we are sick. Today the average Indian only lives to his mid-40s. Did you know that, Mr. Butcher?”

    Butcher began to sweat. “Gee, I’m sorry, I didn’t know that. I know your people got a really raw deal a long time ago – everybody knows that. But it’s better now, right? I mean, Washington gives you money, and you’ve got your own government and, I guess, police and everything? I learned that, for sure, first time I came out here! Don’t speed through the ‘ole Rez in a car with out of state plates!” Butcher forced a laugh and raised his glass in a mock toast.

    “As a matter of fact, no, it’s not better now. In fact, it may be worse. Our unemployment is over 40%. The cattle you see are all owned by Anglo ranchers. The alfalfa you see is grown by them, too, on land they rent from us for a pittance, because what else can we do with it? The banks won’t lend to us to buy equipment to farm it ourselves, or to buy cattle. Half the people have diabetes. More abuse alcohol. Do you recall where the alcohol originally came from, Mr. Butcher?”

    “Well, I guess your people must have made some yourself, didn’t you?”

    “No, Mr. Butcher, we didn’t. When the white men came, they brought alcohol with them. When an Indian came to town, it was great fun to get him drunk – watch him stagger, maybe even fall down. And it was very profitable to take all he owned in exchange for alcohol, once he became addicted to whisky. You see, Mr. Butcher, Indians had never come in contact with alcohol before, and they become addicted to it far more easily than your people do. When you have no job, no money, no horse, no pride and no future, it is very easy to drink.”

    “Did I ever tell you that my father died an alcoholic, Mr. Butcher? And my uncle Peter? My cousin Yiskah? No? Will you have another drink, Mr. Butcher?”

    Let’s just say that this time around, in my book, it doesn’t turn out so well for the Anglo.

    Andy

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · May 13, 2014

      This excerpt highlights people’s ignorance so well. Spot on. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to reading more. So true about the water too. On Pine Ridge, some people had to have water delivered. No trash pick up either. And a lot of people either don’t have cars or can’t always afford gas, so what do you do? So many people are not even blind to it because they’ve just forgotten it exists. It’s not like inner city poverty, which tends to be more in your face. Pine Ridge is tucked back in teh middle of nowhere. People have no reason to even drive through it.

      Like

  27. seaangel4444 · May 15, 2014

    Hi Sarah! I have nominated you for the Lovely Blog Award! Please follow this link to my blog to get more details: http://wp.me/P4doQv-9K Thank you!! Cher xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • sjoycarlson · May 16, 2014

      Awwww thx I’m honored 🙂 or am I honoured?

      Like

      • seaangel4444 · May 16, 2014

        You are most welcome! Nah, you are honOred, ya Yank! 😉 Cher xo

        Like

      • sjoycarlson · May 16, 2014

        Hahaaaa but I’m not going to lie, sometimes my brain starts thinking a bit british 😛

        Like

  28. echoesofthepen · May 19, 2014

    Enjoy your wonderful adventure… and there’s nothing wrong with feeling just the teeniest bit British! Take care…

    Like

  29. Lexi · May 21, 2014

    I’ve really enjoyed looking through your blog and reading your content. You are a talented writer and I am SO excited for your novel! I am blown away by how much you have accomplished with your blog in a single month… seriously, simply blown away. I admit, you’re pretty much my blogger hero in that aspect haha. I cannot wait to continue reading about your life in Singapore and everything on reading/writing. I’d love to talk more with you and learn from you 🙂
    Happy blogging!!

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · May 21, 2014

      Wow thanks 🙂 I do have ALOT of time of my hands, but I’m honored to be your blogger hero and I’m glad you enjoy my writing 🙂

      Like

  30. sandradan1 · May 26, 2014

    Hi, thanks for finding and following my blog! SD

    Like

  31. Pingback: Inspiring? Me? Okay. | Jonas Lee's Imaginarium
  32. Jonas Lee · May 30, 2014

    I nominated you for an award, sorry…lol http://jonasleeblog.com/2014/05/30/inspiring-me-okay/

    Like

  33. Pingback: My Stop on the Writing Process Blog Tour | Entertaining Stories
  34. Jennifer Austin - Author · June 3, 2014

    Hi Sarah,

    Looks like it’s “Awards season”! I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award! For more infor check out this link:
    http://jenniferaustinauthor.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/liebster-award-whats-a-liebster/

    If you’d like to participate, I look forward to your post. If not, just ignore.

    Jennifer

    Like

  35. T.J. Salazar · June 4, 2014

    Thanks for following my blog and I hope you enjoy the Seraphim series. Coming at ya every week on Monday. Yup, the crappiest day of the week just became a bit more tolerable.
    -T.J.
    http://www.twilightspire.com

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · June 4, 2014

      Hahahaaa we need something to look forward to, right? Thanks for stopping by and happy writing 🙂

      Like

  36. threekats · June 10, 2014

    Thanks for stopping by and following my blog! Your photos are amazing!

    Like

  37. Jason Fleming · June 30, 2014

    well, goodness-gracious….Hi Sarah! Maybe you should, like, get involved with life or something – i mean, do something fantastically awesome and inspiring! Hello – i’m Jason…hanging in Minneapolis for the moment…..keep writing! Finish it! Take pics! Make it happen! #yay! jason5creative@gmail.com

    Like

  38. Hayley Knighten · July 9, 2014

    I nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger award. Check it out on my blog http://booksaredelicious.com/2014/07/09/a-very-very-very-inspiring-blogger-award/

    Like

  39. Victoria Davenport · July 15, 2014

    Hey there! I love your blog, and nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award/One Lovely Blog Award 🙂 Check it out here:
    http://coffeewriterepeat.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/blog-award-round-up/

    Like

  40. Eliza · August 21, 2014

    Hi Sarah,

    I’ve been really enjoying following your blog and I get a lot of value reading and interacting with you. So I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I see you get loads of these, but I’m sure you enjoy seeing your nominations, so here it is:

    http://elizaworner.com/2014/08/21/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

    – Eliza

    Like

  41. vlandaman · December 29, 2014

    You have an excellent blog! I enjoy it! With coming New year! And merry Christmas! 🙂

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · December 29, 2014

      Thanks! I do my best and thanks for the follow 🙂

      Like

  42. Physics and Art · February 13, 2015

    Spent a good deal on time in Singapore in the ’80s. Interesting place.

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · February 21, 2015

      It really is. It really is. I bet it’s changed a lot since the ’80s! It’s like a city of the future now!

      Like

  43. christinavarga · March 25, 2015

    So happy I came across your blog! Loving the eclectic feel of it and I look forward to reading more! 🙂

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · July 28, 2015

      Very belated thank you for this! (life got crazy moving back to US and with writing :P)

      Liked by 1 person

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