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.)

Cross Over
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, January 30, 2012

Back to Work

Well, it's over: the fantastic NYC SCBWI winter conference. I, with over a thousand others, crowded the halls, wandered in search of the break-out rooms, congregated finally in the hotel bar to somehow make sense of our day and each other. I have my notes, my hand-outs, my memories from this event which seemed to fly by all too quickly. The informative program filled me up while it left me thirsting for more. When my head clears, I know I'll be able to build on new knowledge of re-visioning and the advice of those editors and agents who discussed their likes and dislikes in their presentations. Several especially resonated, spoke across the crowded room when they described what they seek and it sounded so like my ready-to-submit story.

If I have a regret (and I am realistic about this) it is that I was not able to talk in any kind of personal way with the several editors and agents I so longed to meet. I had a list and high expectations, knew the protocol, never intended to corner anyone or pitch my stories unless asked. Still, I hoped to meet, say hello, admit I "followed" on Twitter, let these pros see my smiling face. Alas. The Friday function widely attended by a myriad of agents and editors was only for the VIPs, not for the ordinary attendee. It would have been nice as well to have a gathering for YA writers similar to the ones that were organized for illustrators, international conference goers, and those interested in writing for the LGBTQ audience.

Today is a day for family visiting from up north, for making soup, talking a walk in Florida's restorative sunshine. But tomorrow I will get back to work, synthesizing notes, making lists, and maybe even sending out a couple of queries. Most importantly, I will write another chapter for my work-in-progress, the third book in my as yet unpublished trilogy. I want to have it ready for revision by spring. Despite all the interruptions and excitement of the last few days, I listened, Kathryn Erskine, and I will light my candle.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review of Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

For the past two years, I have steeped myself (my non-writing, reading hours at least) in reading the best of YA fiction. I go for award winners, heralded authors, widely acclaimed titles. Several months ago I came across a stunning literary masterpiece: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. Published in 2010 by Atheneum, Nevermore is Creagh's (pronounced Cray) first novel. I'm delighted to find out her sequel entitled Enshadowed is in the works for August of 2012. Wish I didn't have to wait that long to read it.

What makes Nevermore such a memorable read? Many facets: wonderful writing, an intriguing and unique story, a chilling imaginative setting, the juxtaposition of the mystique of one of American's greatest writers into the lives of two modern day teens. Nevermore starts with a Prologue, setting October 1849, relating the last days of Edgar Allen Poe and his demons. With this taste of things to come, the author introduces the reader to Isobel Lanley, cheerleader, indifferent student, a secure member of her high school's In crowd. Isobel is assigned to partner with the enigmatic, goth-dressing Varen Nethers to research a deceased American author. With the ten-page report and classroom presentation looming, Isobel knows a failing grade will bump her off the cheering squad and she'll miss the National Championship competition.

As the story progresses Isobel is increasingly drawn to Varen. In order to meet him she lies to her friends and her controlling football star boyfriend. The author Varen chooses is Poe. More and more is revealed about Varen and his painful home life while Isobel fights to remain on her cheer squad and cope with being friendless at lunch. Central to the plot is Poe's story "The Masque of the Red Death." As Isobel struggles to actually read the story, her own life takes on a surreal turn. She is pursued by demons in the park, sees a mysterious Poe-like figure who appears in strange places. Both Varen and Isobel become caught in an in-between life and death region, the Woodland of Weir. Without revealing the ending, it was obvious that only a sequel would suffice to answer the many questions that remain. Hopefully, Enshadowed will have the energy and gripping power of Nevermore.

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