Author of Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction
Published by Guardian Angel Publishing December 2014:
Jeremiah Lucky and the Guardian Angel
Jeremiah needs a little help and he gets it with the sudden appearance of his guardian angel. Chapter book for ages 7-10.
Jeremiah Lucky Finds Puppy Love
Jeremiah dodges a kiss from a princess and falls head over heels for a lost puppy. Chapter book for ages 7-10.
Watch for these titles coming soon:
The Whispering Chimney
Eleven-year old Bethany finds a stone chimney and discovers a beautiful but terrifying past. (upper middle grade)
(Beyond the) Stone Eagle Gate
David, age fifteen, flees a false accusation and takes refuge in a haunted, abandoned mansion. (YA, historical fiction ghost story)
The Interplanetary Adventures of Yan Sunnara: Book I Rescue on Lato
Cultural scientist Yan Sunnara rescues an unusual child on the planet of Lato with the help of an exotic and beautiful Uvian archaeologist. (Adult, soft Science Fiction, Rescue on Lato is the first of a series of four novellas.)
Three teens are connected by a mysterious and sometimes frightening ability to cross over from one dimension here on earth to another. This YA novel placed in the top three in Florida Writers 2013 RPLA competition. Speculative Fiction.
Monday, December 20, 2010
In my quest to become a better writer, I read, read, read. Just recently, I enjoyed two books by Susan Patron: The Higher Power of Lucky (Newbery winner for 2006) and its sequel Lucky Breaks published in 2009. Both of these middle grade level books are gems. One essential characteristic of an award winning book is the "closeness" of the narrative to the character. Many writers achieve this by writing in first person. If a writer can tell the story totally in the head of the main character, first person is exciting and immediate. Patron's books, however, are in third person. Yet because of the author's deft hand and close point of view, the voice of the story rings authentic to a ten going on eleven-year-old girl. Other winning aspects of these stories are the setting (an extremely small "town" in California's Mojave Desert) and the distinct and interesting secondary characters. In each case, the problem in the story is clear and important. For anyone who writes for this age group, Susan Patron's books are wonderful examples of masterful writing.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Since getting home from a wonderful Thanksgiving visit in northeast Ohio, I have been researching editors and agents for my middle grade book The Whispering Chimney. The most interesting web and blog sites, in my opinion, offer suggestions to the writer that go way beyond submission guidelines. High on my list is agent Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency. She has archived several successful query letters along with her comments on why these letters prompted her to ask for sample pages. Very helpful! This adds to the marketing of those books, too, and just from reading their query letters, I have placed several on my "must read" list. Another great feature of reading a top-shelf blog is that it often has links to other great blogs. From Kristin's blog (Pub Rants) I went to Aprilynne Pike's site. One of her recent entries talks about how some writers spend hours writing but do not really "commit" to getting their books published. Aprilynne suggests at least six months of revision before sending out any queries. Now that I am working at writing full-time, I agree that is about right. Before, juggling job and family, I spent years in critique groups and revising before gathering enough courage to send out my work. Aprilynne implies that sending out multiple queries to agents is a good idea. My technique has been "single shot" submissions and until I get a rejection, I don't send it elsewhere. A plus to that is when I get specific criticism in the rejection, I re-write before sending the story out again. The Whispering Chimney is a far better book than it was the first year I wrote it.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
For the past several days I have been immersed in revising the second part of my book, Beyond the Stone Eagle Gate. When I first wrote the story, I thought it might be a sequel. However, as it evolved it appeared to be so close a follow-up to David's story, nearly a year later in his life, I now feel it completes his story as a second part. Just yesterday, I rearranged the order of some of the chapters. It amazes me how this simple revision improved the pace and flow. The continuation of David's life now begins Part II and I don't introduce the new main character until chapter two. Of course, my new character is a girl. Her name is Sarrie and she is feisty yet loving as she cares for her younger brother and sisters. Revising involves reading aloud and closely examining sentence structure and word choice. Working over a completed story doesn't pop me out of bed like creating a new one, but it is important work. The bonus is falling in love all over again with my characters and the lives they revealed to me several years past.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Yesterday was a writing marathon. Very early in the morning while I was still in bed, the final scenes of my new book came into focus. I knew I was closing in but expected the final pages to take several more weeks to evolve. But sticking with it paid off. I hope. I'm following advice from many quarters and putting the whole thing away for a while, maybe a month. Then I'll visit it again with a fresh eye. It is a young adult "paranormal" adventure/love story about two hundred pages, nearly sixty thousand words. The story came out quickly and I was shocked to look at my calendar and discover I started it the last week in September. I admit to being obsessed with the story and having to pull myself away to do other writing and everyday tasks. I'll reveal the title now but nothing else: Cross Over. Wish me luck, friends and family.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Every two weeks I join an inspiring group of writers in Mount Dora, Florida. More than conferences and books on writing, what happens when we share our individual efforts really helps us to hone our writing skills. Sometimes major confusions in a story's plot are brought to light by caring, constructive criticism. Other times we explore word choice effectiveness or something as simple as placing attributes for conversation in a varied way. Since we all write for children, keeping close to the character's point of view is always a focus. I marvel at the talent of my fellow writers and rejoice in their successes. Sharing in a critique group gives me renewed energy to create and edit my work. Thank you, Sharon, Kim, Eric, Claudia, and James!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Maybe I'm getting the hang of this. I finally managed to get a pic on the screen that wasn't too large. I'll replace it with pics of book covers as soon as that's possible. In the meantime, I am pumped up by my third revision marathon in two weeks on Stone Eagle Gate. I am so glad I went through it another time. I found more inspiration to add to the ending, and I believe I tightened the narrative in many places. First books are like first children. I feel I have grown as a writer since beginning it so many years ago. I read through a folder recently that had letters and written comments from those who have read it in the past. All looked forward to its being published. As soon as copies are available, I'm sending to family, friends, and editors (who didn't buy it, but encouraged me). I think they'll be pleased.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
The idea of creating a blog about writing appeals to me very much. But...I am still flying blind here as to set up. The most perplexing thing is how do my friends access and read my blog? Do I need to set up a website first? I hope to find the answer to these questions pretty soon. In the meantime, I have been busy editing Stone Eagle Gate. Will send it to editor next week.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Hello, out there. This is a first blog entry. For the first time in my adult life I am a full time writer and it is thrilling. The new story I am writing is with me on walks, while exercising at the gym, when I go to sleep at night, and more importantly when I wake up. I am the kind of writer who writes to discover what the story is about, what is going to happen next. Yesterday I thought my new young adult book was coming to an end. Then, to my surprise, something brand new happened and a whole new adventure presented itself to my main character. At the moment, the new story fills my days and I am finding it hard to make time for polishing previous work. Today, I will work on editing that story first so I can get it out to the editor who requested the entire manuscript. Writer friends and all book lovers, wish me luck!
Some Great MG and YA books
- Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
- These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
- Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
- Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
- Red Blood Road by Moira Young
- On Little Wings by Regina Sirois
- Nation by Terry Pratchett
- Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
- Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (Printz 2012)
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
- Fire by Kristin Cashore