Herself: All About Me

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Hello all! My name is Lara McKusky.  “LaLa” is a childhood nickname, given to me by my mother and my aunt.  When trying to come up with a name for my blog, lo these many years ago, LaLa Land just fit. Here is a bit about me:

I am a single mom with 3 children. I work part-time in a church in downtown York, PA as an administrative assistant. I am also working on some fiction writing and my first art collection of paper art in shadowboxes, with a hefty list of collections I’d like to work on in the future. I am also planning to teach creative classes to both children and adults, with a non-profit, if I can get any of my classes to fill! (I’m trying so hard to bring money in!! What is the deal?!) Lastly, I am a student in an herbalism apprenticeship program. I will be a clinical herbalist when I am have completed the two year program.

WRITING EXPERIENCE: 

I have had a personal blog post, “How ‘The Little Engine that Could’ Perpetuates Gender Stereotypes” catch the attention of an NPR writer. She attempted to contact me and Facebook’s brand new (at the time) sorting action for messages caused us to miss each other. I could have been interviewed for the podcast All Things Considered. Their article was entitled “In ‘Little Engine That Could,’ Some See An Early Feminist Hero.

Technorati.com:

While this website is now defunct, I wrote for them several years ago, gaining experience working in a fast-paced virtual newsroom. Every day I selected from a list of topics sent out to me via email and worked with an editor. I also was able to interview people, which was pretty exciting. Here are just some of the titles of articles that I wrote for Technorati:

Too Few Women Could Lead to Big Trouble in China

Gender Gap in Asia, Part 2: China’s Delusions

Still a Pay Gap Between Men and Women

Dark Horse Unveils Digital Comics

Comixology Powerhouse Behind Digital Comics

Galliano’s Anti-Semitic Issues Get Him Dismissed from Dior

Today’s Mama–York, PA the Parenting Column:

I was a stay at home mom at the time and this was my first foray into branching out and writing for others. Some articles I wrote for Today’s Mama–York included:

Getting Kids to Bed the Quick and Painless Way

Comics to the Rescue! Downloadable Comics4Kids

Parenting 101: 10 Basics for Parents, New or Otherwise!

FreshFiction.com:

This writing work was hardly work when I got free books in exchange! This was another platform that allowed me to write and gain experience working with an editor.

Here is the link for my (ancient) profile page! See all 15 reviews I did for FreshFiction before my personal life made it impossible to continue.

Ray Access:

I was most recently a ghost blog writer for Ray Access where I wrote about all manner of things, from medical articles to a fitness newsletter article with a recipe to articles on real estate. Due to the nature of being a ghost writer, I do not have bylines I can link to, however I can give you a list of titles I wrote under:

Teeth Bonding

Teeth Whitening

How To Know To Replace A Sewer Line

Water Heater Inspections

Back Surgery Recovery

Degenerative Disc Disease

Frozen Shoulder

Arrhythmias

Atrial Fibrillation

Dizziness

Palpitations

Tachycardia

Trouble Breathing

Gum Disease Treatment

Teeth Cleaning

Tooth Decay

Acne and Acne Treatment

Hoarseness

Sinus Infection

Throat Infection

Sore Throat

Blepharitis

Glaucoma

Ingrown Eyelashes

Keratoconus

Achilles Heel and Running

Home Inspection

How Much Home Can You Afford?

IRS Payment Plan

IRS Innocent Spouse

Qualified Domestic Trust

Offer in Compromise

Pelvic Pain

Pelvic Prolapse

Urinary Incontinence

Uterine Fibroids

Santa Cruz Home Buying Trends

WRITING EDUCATION

I am a Writer’s Support Scholarship winner and graduate of The Brainery: Online Speculative Fiction Writing + Resources, where I took a course in Short Fiction, workshop-style.

I am a scholarship winner and attendee of the Writer Unboxed’s Un-Conference, 2016 for writing fiction.

OTHER EXPERIENCES WITH WRITING & PUBLISHING:

I am a Binder. (I could tell you what that means, but then I’d have to kill ya.)

I am a Diana Gabaldon Fan Ambassador. The title of “Himself” is given to heads of Scottish clans, and Outlander fans have long called Ms. Gabaldon “Herself” as a sign of respect. I decided I really liked the sound of that, like a woman being called “Herself” was being exactly that: herself. And so I have begun using “Herself,” myself. 😉

I was a book reviewer for several years and received books from St. Martin’s Press, Harper Collins, and Random House.

I worked with a small PR firm called PR by the Book to review all sorts of indie books.

  prbythebook

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EDUCATION:

An Associate’s degree from Methodist University {formerly Methodist College} in General Studies. Honors Seminar student, where we focused on exploring Greek and Roman writings.

A dual Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Liberal Studies from Notre Dame of MD University {formerly College of Notre Dame of MD}. Graduated magna cum laude. Inducted into two honors societies.

Forty additional credits in an accelerated program through the Art Institute of Pittsburgh–Online Division towards a degree in   Graphic Design.

WORK EXPERIENCE

I have worked with children in all capacities {pick one: babysitter, camp counselor, nanny, private tutor, child care group leader, Sunday School teacher, student teacher, substitute teacher, etc.} in addition to having my ed degree, so I have fairly strong opinions about raising children, as a result.  I’d apologize, but I’m not really sorry.

Besides caring for children, I have been an active graphic designer for over 20 years. I have a separate website for that portfolio, which is Siostra Artistry & Obrys Magic. As a designer, I have worked as a freelancer, a jack of all trades while working for others, and now as a sticker designer with my own shop. I can now say I have website design and building experience, using WordPress mostly but I do have experience with Blogger and Weebly as well. I’ve dabbled in some Drupal. I am tech savvy, so picking up new dashboards is really no problem.

Other work falls under the headings of library or administrative assistant or secretary. Often, library work, education and design work have all converged, which is fine by me! Other “trades” I have experience in? Marketing, social media coordinator, event coordinator, subcommittee head, retail and direct sales experience, brand and print designer.

PERSONAL TIDBITS:

What do I do when I’m not taking care of my kids, working, designing, reviewing, or writing?

I love pop culture.  I have worked in a comic book store, I love the comic book world and all things geeky and nerdy. I have adored working in libraries!

I am also a nurturer and a nester that loves cooking, straightening up my abode (honestly? I’m a neat-freak), snuggling down with blankets and books, movies and popcorn. I garden, walk and try to do yoga. I just learned how to knit, which I adore, and I’m eyeing up crocheting. Somehow, I am an 18th century woman trapped in a feminist’s body. I can’t figure it out. You shouldn’t hurt your brain trying to either.

WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR…

If you’ve read this far, bless your little heart! I work about 26-30 hours a week right now for an hourly salary that is way better than the one I was making 2 years ago, but not enough for me to stand firmly on my own two feet financially, feed and cloth my kids, and move us up and out of an 800 square foot townhouse. I am looking for a job that is creative, intellectually stimulating, flexible and pays at least $45,000 a year, plus benefits.

For a more comprehensive list of skills and experiences, please track me down on LinkedIn.

I look forward to making brilliant new connections and doing great work with amazing people!

 

A note on affiliate sales and ads on this blog:  as a single mom, I’m trying to make ends meet, every month, in a variety of ways.  I have carefully selected brands that I think align with the look, feel  and subject manner of LaLa Land.  My highest commission is 20% but the average is 10%, through Share a Sale.  In the spirit of honesty and transparency, I have yet to make any money off of my affiliate links.  Additionally, I am an Amazon Affiliate.  If you enjoy reading my blog, please consider using my Amazon Affiliate links.  It is an easy way to give back if you’re already ordering something on Amazon.  Many thanks!

{Last updated: August 17, 2018.}

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