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Author/Illustrator: Melissa Darvy

Melissa Darvy is a pen name used for children’s books, and this name will be used in place of the author’s real name, though most of the features and awards are in her real name or maiden name. This page is still pending as she jumps back into the world of writing, and it will slowly be built up.

Quick Links: About Her, Her Writing Journey, Features, Awards Received,

Her Art Journey, Examples of Her Art, End Notes/Contact

About Her

Melissa Darvy was born and raised in Wisconsin. She attended several different public schools around the area, until attending homeschool for her later middle school and high school years. During this time, she studied several different languages, traveled around the United States with her family, and wrote every chance she got.

For college, she attended Bob Jones University in South Carolina for a year, then continued her education for another year at Gateway Technical College in Wisconsin at multiple campuses. Her major changed several times from apparel design with a minor in art to general studies to business management then, finally, to marketing with a minor in graphic design.

Eventually, however, she realized that college was not for her; while she enjoyed learning and sharpening her skills, she knew she would not use those degrees and chose, instead, financial stability free of excessive debts, pursuing family life, continuing self-led studies, and diving into entrepreneurialism.

She married her college sweetheart, had their first son, and her husband joined the United States Air Force. Halfway through his first deployment, she had their second son without her husband by her side. Many, many years later, her husband is still active duty military, and she homeschools her two young men, seeking to give them a customized, one-on-one education and providing ample learning opportunities as a part of everyday life, while prioritizing family life, friendships, and being active in the community. While homeschooling, she has also built up her own blog and turned it into a business.

She has a love of just about everything and is well-rounded in skillsets, as those closest to her can attest to—she writes, creates art of all kinds, loves to learn about anything and everything, sings, plays instruments, plays softball, loves math, creates spreadsheets for everything, cooks, bakes, decorates cakes, has been renovating her home to the extent of laying her own tiles and building her own pantry, helps others with home decorating and much more, loves God, and loves others deeply.

Due to being Autistic—not diagnosed until adulthood, though suspected from childhood—Melissa Darvy does have some struggles when it comes to understanding things others may find simple or handling social situations, but she also has a unique perspective on the world and an eye for details and connections others would normally miss. She enjoys letting this come out through her quirky writing and artwork.

Her Writing Journey

Melissa Darvy has been writing stories just about from the time she learned to write her letters. In fact, she carries around a notebook with her at all times, calling it her “Brain Book,” where she will take notes throughout each day of things to do, things that happened, stories that came to her, doodles, and so much more.

In grade school, she wrote for her school newspaper, becoming editor in chief her second year of writing for them. She even kept these copies to cherish all of these years later. She was also chosen to attend the Art of Writing Young Authors Conference at the Milwaukee Art Museum in 1999, where she learned more about writing from published authors and had a piece published in their print book for that year.

In middle school, she participated in Forensics, using some of her own written content for the competition pieces and placing in many of the competitions she entered. She was also able to write a story for a kindergartener; while she gave the child her story as directed in the school activity, all of those who read it said she should polish it up and send it to publishers. Having kept copies of some of the drafts, maybe someday she will revisit it and do just that.

In high school, she grew an obsession for coffee…not just drinking it, but researching it and sharing her findings with others. She sent out a coffee newsletter via her old AOL email for some time, including her own “Coffee Break” comic strip that was featured on a random website for some time. Among her recipients was the master roaster for Berres Brothers Coffee Roasters.

In early adulthood, she did not write as much as she would like to, mainly because she was always busy taking care of her home and family and making a point to be available for friends, all of which she deems top priorities. However, she has found time to weave writing into her life throughout the years, starting with blogging (which has given her amazing opportunities, such as paid trips to NYC and Chicago to meet with food companies at food expos and write content surrounding their products). She has also turned to wit and created several series of punny Valentines.

As her children have gotten older, she has begun to turn back to her love of writing and pursue it more. She has begun a file to document all of her writing over the years, and even completed her first book manuscript and dummy to send to publishers (she is still eagerly awaiting any responses to her quirky piece).

Throughout her schooling, she took many different writing and literature classes and participated in extracurricular events. In recent years, she has taken several online writing courses, including a course by Julia Donaldson for children’s book authors and other BBC Maestro courses, and now participates in a local writer’s group and has begun attending conferences. She challenges her boys to write and has been bringing friends’ teenage daughters along to the writer’s group, encouraging them all to actively pursue their love of writing and grow in the art.

Besides blog-focused and other types of conferences, as well as the writer’s conference of her childhood, the recent writer’s conference she attended in 2022 was her first official writer’s conference as an adult. As part of this conference, she submitted a few pieces to their contests while she was out of town on vacation—the first writing contest she has ever entered—working quickly to make the close deadlines. She placed first in the character sketch contest, second in a quatern contest, second in a children’s rhyming poetry contest, and was an honorable mention in a contest for the true story of the “Three Little Pigs.”

Melissa Darvy writes a wide variety of content. Though this pen name is specific to her children’s books, which she writes the most of, she also writes poetry, songs, and occasionally short stories and attempts at chapter books (though she does not often write long works).

Features/Published Works

  • “The Scoop” school newspaper in grade school (for multiple years)
  • Art of Writing publication 1999 from the Milwaukee Art Museum
  • Military Spouse Magazine 2014—a brief excerpt about my greatest personal achievement at the time
  • Ghost writing and guest writing for various websites such as Purex, Green Kid Crafts, some review sites, and others
  • WCCW Group Member Spotlight March 2023
  • Featured in the May 6/7 edition of Searcy, Arkansas’s The Daily Citizen in 2023 for contest placements

Awards Received

  • 1st place—Character Sketch Award: White County Creative Writers 27th Annual Writer’s Conference contests, 2022
  • 2nd place 4×4 Poetry Award—Quatern: White County Creative Writers 27th Annual Writer’s Conference contests, 2022
  • 2nd place Gin Creek Poetry Award—Rhymed Poetry: White County Creative Writers 27th Annual Writer’s Conference contests, 2022
  • 3rd honorable mention—Three Little Pigs Story Award: White County Creative Writers 27th Annual Writer’s Conference contests, 2022
  • 1st place poetry award—Etheree: Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas’ January monthly contest, 2023
  • 2nd place poetry award—Free Verse: Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas’ March monthly contest, 2023
  • 1st honorable mention poetry award—Free Verse: Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas’ June monthly contest, 2023
  • 1st place Alabama State Poetry Society Award: National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ national contests, 2023
  • 7th honorable mention Massachusetts State Poetry Society Award: National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ national contests, 2023
  • 3rd honorable mention poetry award—Pantoum: Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas’ July monthly contest, 2023

Her Art Journey

While Melissa Darvy has not done any illustrating, per se, she does have a coloring book published on Amazon, is a designer for Amazon’s print-on-demand merchandise program, has helped create logos for fellow bloggers, and creates content and printable products for her website. She does a variety of art outside of this as well, though she does not sell it at this time, and works in a large variety of mediums.

As a child, she was repeatedly chosen for art awards and recognition; she loved learning and creating new art. She also did face painting and balloon animals for the annual Handicap Ride her grandparents’ snowmobile club hosts.

In college, she took drawing classes (which she had to complete with the opposite hand for half of the class due to an injury…and was graded the same because she is ambidextrous) and minored in graphic design for part of her college career—her instructor having previous worked as a senior graphic designer for the prestigious Western Publishing Company/Little Golden Books.

In adulthood, she has incorporated her art on her website, participated in an artist group to create coloring pages, conducted a Canvas and Coffee class, and taught a homeschool art class at her local library. She has also created art pieces for friends and church.

Between formal training, self-training, and experimentation, she has learned how to use Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to fine-tune her work. She is also familiar with gutters and trim and is a quick and enthusiastic learner when she comes across something she has not learned previously.

Examples of Her Art

End Notes

Melissa Darvy understands that her Arts & Crackers website may not be the best example of her writing; while she seeks to make her writing interactive, fun, and grammatically correct, she has focused more on visual content here than in text and proper punctuation. Her actual writing, however, receives much more attention to detail.

This author website is currently just a part of her original website, Arts & Crackers, to save on hosting costs and time website building while still owning the domain name; however, she will separate it as its own site once she has gotten further in her writing career.

Please email hel[email protected] with any questions or comments you may have.

Thank you.

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