Lori Soard has an undergraduate degree in education with a major in English. She also holds a PhD in journalism. She has more than 17 years of experience as a freelance writer, editor, web designer and business consultant. In addition to writing hundreds of articles on topics like parenting, pets, homeschooling, frugal living, travel, fashion trends, cheerleading, photography, web design and small business topics, she has had seven books published in both fiction and nonfiction. Her latest is a historical novel titled Dear Viking. She has taught workshops to various writing groups all over the United States and helps small businesses with web design and marketing. Her work has been published in Woman's World and various newspapers in locations like Greenfield, Indianapolis, Abilene and online for publications owned by the New York Times and USA Today.
Lori is a cheerleading devotee. While in school, she spent four years as a cheerleader. She served five years coaching for both youth leagues and school squads. She also helped her daughter start a recreational dance team. During the last ten years, she absorbed information from college cheerleading coaches, owners of private gyms and cheerleaders who have overcome the odds, such as those with physical disabilities who still find success in the cheer world. For the past four years, she has continued to find inspiration and learn new stunts through her teen daughter's spot on first a school cheerleading squad and now a top-rated competitive cheerleading squad.
Lori has spent the last 20 years studying photography and staying up-to-date on technological advances with SLR and point and shoot cameras. She has studied photography through non-credit college courses, local seminars offered at photography studios and through avid reading about the craft of digital photography. Her photographs have appeared in magazines and newspapers all over the country in conjunction with her published articles. More recently, she purchased a high-end digital SLR camera and several lenses and accessories. She is enjoying taking snapshots and experimenting with different ISO and aperture settings to create artistic pieces, which she shares with family and friends. Her passion is for nature photography, but she also takes portraits.
From 1997 to 2004, Lori created websites for authors. In 2004, she moved into business web design and today creates and maintains websites for a handful of local clients and maintains sites for a few authors. She is able to create unique graphics, banners and layouts for each client through her web design and promotion business, Promo Divas. She knows PHP, SQL, HTML, CSS and is proficient at creating and customizing the ever-popular WordPress, Joomla or Mambo-based sites. She has written on web design topics for publications like Web Hosting Secrets and Executive Update.
Homeschool, Kids, Teens
Lori is the mother of two daughters and second-mom to dozens of other teens. She currently has a high school sophomore daughter and a college freshman. She homeschooled her daughters for 11 years. Lori holds an Indiana teaching license. To keep the license current, she must take graduate level education courses and earn six credit hours every few years. These courses keep her up-to-date on current education trends. In addition, she attends at least one homeschool conference each year to learn about the latest trends in home education and is a supporter of her local homeschool group. Lori and her husband served as youth ministers for three years, overseeing tweens and teens in sixth through twelfth grade. Throughout her life, Lori has also coached youth sports, volunteered to work as an AWANA leader for fifth graders, taught Sunday school to preschoolers and taught writing classes to homeschoolers. Her parenting articles have appeared in newspapers like the Abilene Reporter-News and she has been published in educational magazines like FACES, Cobblestone and AppleSeeds. Lori occasionally serves as a substitute teacher in the local schools to keep her finger on the pulse of the local education system and stay up-to-date on issues facing parents and children today.
Business and Social Networking
Lori often says she was "born into the small business world." As a child, she sat at the knees of her parents, who started several small businesses. Her father owned a bait and tackle shop for several years before moving into wholesale fishing tackle. Her mother started a small cutlery kiosk in the local mall and eventually moved into a large store in Indianapolis' Union Station. Throughout her childhood, Lori was given various tasks in running these businesses, taking on more responsibilities as she got older. She has done everything from order processing to marketing to management. Lori has worked as an editor, reporter, web designer, public relations specialist and small business consultant. When she first graduated from college, she owned her own direct sales business. Later, she started a web design and author promotion business, which today has morphed into a small business consultation, web design and marketing company called Promo Divas. Through this business, she advises clients on how to reach customers online through social media and helps them gain a solid online presence. She retains relationships with dozens of web design experts, communicating about new ideas and changes in the industry. She offers free advice through her blog Rat Race Mutiny for those wanting to start a business and work from home.
Lori has a bachelor's degree in English Education and a teaching license through the state of Indiana. She taught a literature course for first and second graders at a local cottage school and has enjoyed nightly reading with her own children. Some of the family's favorite books include "Runaway Ralph", "Matilda" and "Charlotte's Web". Lori has also written books for children and young adults, including "It's Hard to Go Home" (out of print) and a yet to be published picture book titled "Mommy in the Clouds" that is written to help children deal with the death of a parent.
Lori has written on traditional toys such as Legos and Mr. Potato Head for Consumer Search (owned by the New York Times). In addition, she's written on good toys for bath time for the Abilene Reporter News and reviewed toys for different occasions for her local newspaper.
Lori has written extensively on dogs, cats and small pets. In addition to writing about cat breeds, dog training and how to care for small pets, her family was involved in 4-H agility training and obedience classes. She's interviewed everyone from cat breeders to search and rescue dog owners to rabbit breeders and the president of ARBA. She's never been without both dogs and cats since her birth, usually owning multiples of both. She's also owned rescued baby squirrels, hamsters, rats, gerbils, fish, lizards, frogs, turtles and even salamanders.
In high school, Lori worked for a local bakery. When she graduated, she began taking a series of Wilton cake decorating classes from beginner to advanced. This led to her opening a cake decorating business called Lori's Cakery. Her specialty was wedding cakes, but she also created other special occasion cakes. Over the years, she's kept up with new techniques and trends, such as fondant cakes, spray painting, images on cakes and cupcake designs. Today, she still makes the occasional wedding cake as a gift to family or friends and frequently makes special occasion cakes. Her favorite task is creating unique cupcakes and cupcake towers for all occasions.
Other Interests and Hobbies
Lori enjoys learning new things and has several hobbies. She maintains a frugal living blog called Crabby Housewife, loves to read and creates websites and marketing plans for non-profits in her area. In her spare time, she grows organic fruit and vegetables and enjoys raised bed and container gardening. She also spends several hours during the week driving her daughter to cheerleading practice.