There are very few genres in which Melanie F. has NOT written. Whether ghosting for others or publishing under her own name, she has written nonfiction and fiction books, speeches, documentaries, background briefs, white papers, poetry, short stories, commentaries, book reviews and feature articles. She has taught poetry and practical writing workshops. The diversity of her writing experience is matched by an eclectic set of interests, ranging from llama farming to stargazing.
spinning, weaving, knitting, experimenting in the kitchen with all kinds of cuisine, birding, dog-training, gardening (from orchids to potatoes), harvesting the herbal remedies that grow all around us and turning them into tisanes, tinctures and balms.
Melanie F. is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wellesley College, where she majored in German (literature and language) and minored in English and Russian.
As owner/caretaker of a herd of llamas, Melanie F. has won her share of blue ribbons and best-of-show awards for spinning, weaving and knitting projects involving llama wool. She has shared her expertise with readers of Llama Life II and the Fauquier Times Democrat.
Melanie F. was growing tomatoes in the detritus from a cement factory adjacent to her urban childhood home. The gardening virus multiplied in suburbia and metastasized in the country. It has inspired many articles, published in various print and online newspapers and magazines.
At the age of 14, Melanie F. started making Thanksgiving dinner for the extended family -- because she suspected she could do a better job than her elders. That youthful arrogance was tempered by some culinary fiascoes, but the enthusiasm that underlay her early experimentation in the kitchen never died. It was stoked by an equal passion for gardening. With freshly harvested veggies and fruits, even ho-hum dishes became treats for the palate. The next phase of her education also began in the garden, as she learned how to prolong the harvest by turning basil into freezable pesto, wineberries into jam, apples into apple butter and tomatoes into tomato paste.
A from-scratch cook with a knack for peasant fare from a variety of cultures, Melanie F. tries to understand the "whys" in cooking: the antibiotic properties of certain spices; the cholesterol-damping effects of Mediterranean cuisine; the relationship between processing and strength levels of onion and garlic.
For food retailers, she has written background pieces exploring the history behind aspects of Mediterranean cuisine, the steps in curing olives and the health benefits of olive oil. For online magazines, she has written about the history of Polish holiday dishes, complete with her own unique recipes. Her online articles also include features about wild edibles -- identifying them and coming up with innovative ways of incorporating them in dishes.
Living with dogs her entire life, reading everything she could find about dog training and enrolling in numerous canine agility and obedience courses have taught Melanie F. a thing or two about critters. Then came the first three llamas and a succession of llama breedings and births -- and the "thing or two" expanded to a lot of information about keeping pets healthy, happy and well behaved. Melanie has shared this information with readers in numerous print and online periodicals.
With her husband, Melanie F. has owned and managed a working llama farm since the 1990s. During that period, she has written numerous articles on farming and served as resident book reviewer for the national quarterly, Llama Life II.
For Writer Access, online magazines and print newspapers, Melanie F. has written about two dozen features, blogs, interviews and advertising copy on health-related topics. About half of those products focused on complementary and alternative medicine, an area drawing on Melanie's decades of studying herbal medicine, yoga, meditation and (most recently) qigong. Another 25 percent dealt with orthopedic procedures and coping techniques. In this area as well, Melanie's writing output benefitted from her personal experience with orthopedic surgeries and with numerous courses of physical therapy.
Melanie F. has written numerous product descriptions for major retailers selling household appliances. The jobs range in size from 100-500 words. Within those limits, it's often challenging to explain the basic function of the appliances (not always obvious), while giving an overview of the various options available.
Melanie F. has written product descriptions and newsletter blurbs for retailers selling tools, maintenance equipment and related supplies for DIYers. The product descriptions are typically about 100 words each. The blog copy runs between 300 and 500 words each. It can be challenging to describe concisely the operation of a piece of hardware -- without benefit of visuals.
Melanie F. has written a series of blog pieces reviewing trucks, RVs and SUVs, as well as features on driver safety. These assignments draw on the writer's own extensive driving experience, including the lessons learned from a few lemons. These assignments also tap into Melanie's childhood work (as go-for) in her father's auto repair shop.
Melanie F. has written both short (about 100 words) and more extensive (500 words) product descriptions for major department stores, clothiers, specialty boutiques, furniture merchants, food retailers and automotive stores. In addition to covering the basic features of the given item, many of these descriptions have had "hooks" -- designed to frame the product in ways the consumer might not have considered previously. Still other jobs have had an instructive angle, showing how the product works or how it differs from counterparts in the same genre.
During three decades of work ghosting for various think tanks, Melanie F. produced scores of newsletters, on a monthly, biweekly and weekly basis. These products updated clients on the latest developments in trade treaty negotiations, law of the sea issues, counternarcotics enforcement, drug rehabilitation strategies, arms control policies, etc. For online clients, Melanie F. has written several newsletters discussing automotive trends, pet training concerns and services offered by various health care providers. The length and scope of these products have varied widely -- from about 500 words to 5,000 words.