Author Archives: Shala Howell

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.

Do you write in your books?

Last time, I talked about how reading Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer made me rethink my principled stance against rereading books. As you may remember, I had stopped rereading books after my daughter was born so that I could focus … Continue reading

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Do you reread books?

I stopped rereading books ten years ago when my daughter was born and reading time became a precious commodity. After reading Francine Prose’s book Reading Like a Writer over the holidays, I’m starting to wonder if that was a mistake. Continue reading

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Merry Christmas!

May your holidays be peaceful and your 2018 productive in all of the ways you would wish it to be. Thank you for spending another year with us.  

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My most recent Twitter crop of #writing angst

It took me a long time to come to terms with Twitter’s weird blend of watercooler/cocktail party/retail culture. But now I find it to be a fairly useful source of #writing tips and news. Here’s what I found most helpful this week. Continue reading

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What happened when I stopped wearing my Apple Watch for a week

As I had allowed myself to become more distracted by my Watch and iPhone, I had forgotten about all lovely little details that a more mindful life offers.  Having them back has been pretty great. Continue reading

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So I did NaNoWriMo this year — was it worth it?

Every November, I debate whether or not to participate in NaNoWriMo. Most years, I end up doing it, but I try to only do NaNoWriMo if I have a project that would benefit from its word-count driven format. I skipped … Continue reading

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A Writer’s Holiday Wish List

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Hey, my book’s out!

We here at BostonWriters are in the process of moving to California. But before we go, I wanted to let you know that the first installment in my new parenting series is finally available. What’s That, Mom? uses the proven case-study … Continue reading

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Review: Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

Throughout history we have used salt as a currency and prized it for its ability to preserve and flavor food. In Salt, Mark Kurlansky rewrites world history as the story of man’s access to this now common, but once highly prized, commodity. Continue reading

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Great first lines: Another Louise Penny Edition

From The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny: “Kneeling in the fragrant moist grass of the village green Clara Morrow carefully hid the Easter egg and thought about raising the dead, which she planned to do right after supper.” Related Links:  More … Continue reading

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