Conversations: Creative & Inventive

Five Sources to Help First College Students’ Essays

First year college students need to know how to document their research. Whatever they have to say in their essay is strengthened with quotes and paraphrases from specialists in that particular area. Sharing who that person is strengthens a student’s paper. Think of it this way:  a juror will put more stock into what a doctor on the witness stand says about how to fix a broken arm more than they will a dog-groomer. If a student makes a claim, a well-placed specific “witness” will strengthen that claim. By adding credentials to beside the quote or paraphrase and then at the end of the essay in the Bibliography/Works Cited/Resources (which label to use is determined by the area topic or class), a reader (juror) is more likely to believe the author’s claim/opinion. So, documentation is important for this reason, but, it’s also important because not doing so is committing plagiarism. describes plagiarism as “an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author:  It is said that he plagiarized Thoreau’s plagiarism of a line written by Montaigne” ( Plagiarizing in an academic setting can get a student in a lot of trouble.

I have been teaching first year college students how to write a proper college essay, how and where to do research, and then how to document that research for a number of years. There are five sources I often share with my students:

  1.  The Broadview Pocket Guide to citation and Documentation by Maureen Okun & Nora Ruddock. This handy little book is small, is ring-bound, and is only about $12 on Amazon or from Broadview Press who is the publisher. This handy book covers all three styles:  MLA, APA, Chicago Manual.
  2. Purdue OWL/Purdue Online Writing Lab from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. offers a wealth of free information on citation and documentation in a variety of styles (APA, MLA, Chicago Manual).
  3. John Hopkins Sheridan Libraries offers information on Evaluating Internet Resources
    Johns Hopkins University
    410-516-8335 (Library Info Desk)
  4. The Library of which ever college a student attends will have tons of information, guides, and help.
  5. For students whose instructor requires specific styles. These are the 3 most used, but there are others:

– The Modern Language Association (MLA)

– American Psychological Association (APA)


– The Chicago Manual of Style (online

version and other information)


Creative Minds Are Rarely Tidy


When up to my neck in real work, like writing or planning for a writing class, I’m messy. At times I look up and notice papers; books; calendar; and various pens, markers, and pencils covering the whole table. It is here I have to remind myself creative minds are rarely tidy.

Anyone else find this happen when really in the creative/work mode? Do you feel guilty, or do you have to remind yourself mess comes with true creativity/work?

Interview with Lemon Drop Literary


Interview with Ellwyn Autumn at LEMON DROP LITERARY!is now live!

Lemon Drop Literary

Ellwyn asked me a few questions and begins with….

“Christina Francine’s motto is, imagination is key. Not only for artists but for everyone. It’s the key to our survival.

As an author, teacher and researcher, Christina infuses her beliefs into everything she does and hopes that others will get the message she’s helping to spread:

Students are individuals who crave liberation from formulaic curriculums and standardized tests. Like every generation whose come before them, they need to broaden their minds through creativity, trial and error and investigation; not regurgitate pre-packaged lessons that lack spontaneity, originality and FUN!

Christina enjoys cultivating medicinal herbs and is an Adjunct English Instructor at The University at Buffalo.”

~~Read the rest of the interview here:   Check it out!

Lemon Drop Literary offers book reviews, teacher/author interviews, articles with education-related themes, and creative-writing prompts that can be used for any grade level. Let the journey begin!”



Special Guest at Drop Hammer – Buffalo State College

Poster - BS ReadingSometimes amazing surprises happen. I read my upcoming picture book Special Memory with a release date of Sept. 15th, 2019, to Buffalo State students at a Drop Hammer event and couldn’t have anticipated what happened next. It seems students were to write something on the spot using the theme of my work, or what the them meant to them. The poems and songs that were shared afterwords amazed me. In a world with much anger and negativity, the atmosphere in room at that moment had none of that. Instead, everyone supported one another and shared pain and joy openly. They shared their talent, the kind that comes from the truth of oneself. One student even sang a song while the rest of us listened in awe. Another shared a rap. There was poetry as well. I left the room wishing the world acted this way with one another and thinking what a better place it would be if it were like this.

Special-Memory_1024x1024@2xSpecial Memory is about using positive memories to get us through the negative times. The story reminds us positive memories get a turn again. They give us strength. The main character is a little girl scared about going to school and amazed when she pulls up the special memory made with her mother and sister the previous summer when they danced in a warm summer rain in their pajamas.

The book is available at

Waldorf Publishing and at Amazon.