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.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Romulus Buckle & The City of the Founders

When I first began reading Romulus Buckle & The City of the Founders by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr., I was reminded of Terry Pratchett's Disc World. Not that Preston's world is "like" the Disc World stories. It's not. But the energy is there and the fun. And I do believe fans of Pratchett will enjoy this story which is book one in the steam punk series called The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin.

Romulus Buckle, age eighteen, is the Captain of the Pneumatic Zeppelin, a fantastic, steam-powered airship stolen by Buckle when he was fifteen years old in retaliation for a raid by the Imperialist clan that killed his sister. Captain Buckle and his crew are on a mission to rescue Buckle's adopted father Balthazar Crankshaft, the leader of the Crankshaft clan. Before their daring descent into the city of the Founders they bring on board the grizzled field commander, Pleuteus Brassballs and his Ballblasters. Admiral Crankshaft and two other clan members were kidnapped when they attended a meeting to engender a truce between the clans. The secretive Founders hold the Admiral in their fog-shrouded stronghold centered in old Los Angeles at the La Brea Tar Pits. The adventure turns dire before the zeppelin even reaches the Founders. Captain Buckle, out on the envelope of the ship to repair a large tear, is attacked by "flying beasties" called tanglers. The intrepid captain survives after falling off the zeppelin and parachuting into the territory of another clan called The Alchemists. The Alchemists build robots--steam powered, of course--and decide to join Buckle's rescue crew rather than kill him. The reason: their leader, the beautiful and enigmatic Andromeda Pollux, was also kidnapped by the Founders.

Romulus Buckle and The City of the Founders is a swashbuckling tale, steam punk all the way, My guess is these stories will be widely read and talked about for years to come. Although this fast-moving story is my first steam punk novel, it won't be my last. What a page turner! With Preston's short, crisp chapters all ending on a hook, this book is truly hard to put down. I loved the world-building, the story, and especially the characters' names. But it was the writing that really grabbed me--wonderful character development and turns of phrase that would make any author proud. Masterful!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Encouragement and Inspiration

Writing and reading my way through the summer of 2013 cause me to reflect on two important ideas that keep me going: encouragement and inspiration.  Encouragement for me comes in many forms and through many people. My family's support, suggestions and praise from other writers( both close and far), a trusted and skilled writing coach, even friends and neighbors--all serve to bolster my confidence when I need it most. An occasional accolade helps, too.

Just recently a short story I submitted to Florida Writers Association's "It's a Crime" Anthology not only made the cut to be published in the anthology, but was deemed worthy to be listed in the "top ten" best stories, number four to be exact. To admit that this honor sweetens the pot of my ongoing writing efforts is an understatement. I did not think at first that I would enter this year although another story I wrote was published in last year's "Wheels" Anthology. Crime did not seem to be my forte. But the contest only requires that the story have a "link" to a crime, and when I participated in a writing exercise with the renown YA writer Ellen Hopkins at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference in Miami this past January, a kernel of an idea came to me.With that inspiration, I wrote the story entitled "Family Lies," shared it with two different critique groups, made many changes and sent it in. Including all the elements of a good story in twelve hundred words or less is a challenging exercise. Although I write longer works as a rule, being limited to such a short length sharpens my focus, helps me make every word count. To have the story recognized by such an esteemed group certainly encourages me to keep writing.

For the first time, I am working with a writing coach for my YA novel Cross Over. Joyce Sweeney specializes in helping young adult and middle grade fiction writers hone their craft on the bumpy road to publication. For my story, Joyce pinpointed a need to strengthen one of my characters so my readers will be as engaged with him as with my other two characters. I've written several more chapters doing this and I am pleased with the result. Another reminder was to stay in close point of view and not stray into a more narrative voice. Joyce's suggestions resonated with me all the more clearly because she pointed out specifically those places in my story where I was successful. Encouragement and constructive criticism? Absolutely.

Besides the useful information and idea sharing at conferences like those of the SCBWI and FWA, reading other writers both published and in my critique groups is the best inspiration a writer can find. It thrills me to read a description or a bit of dialogue that is beautifully written. And this happens every single week in my sharing group! How lucky I am to be a part of this family of writers! I am inspired by the careful attention to detail these writers demonstrate and their genuine desire for all of us to improve. In a subsequent post I plan to write more about some of the wonderful books I am reading this summer. If you are searching for some excellent choices, take a look at the list on this blog. Inspiring? Definitely.    

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Following the Florida Writers Conference last October, I delved into Karl Iglesias's book for screenwriters Writing for Emotional Impact. Although I am not presently interested in writing screenplays, this book has much to offer writers of fiction. I am working my way through this book for the second time and have even taken some notes which I refer to when embarking on revisions. Iglesias's examples from movies are entertaining and help clarify how the writer keeps the reader engaged.

One of the major points in Writing for Emotional Impact is that it is the anticipation of an established goal that causes the forward movement in a story, not action or dialogue. Iglesias asks the writer to consider what she wants the reader (viewer) to feel. The emotion of a character is the catalyst for the emotion in the reader. The reader wants to"feel excitement and fascination at the uniqueness of the conflict, with a pinch of familiarity." Plot (a series of events) is designed to create anticipation in the form of curiosity, suspense, tension, hope, and worry. Of course, the reader needs to feel empathy for a character, perhaps even compassion, to be fully engaged in a story. Revealing familiar emotions in a character heightens the reader's ability to relate to a character and therefore care about what happens to him.

In a few weeks I'll be attending another writers conference: the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in Miami. I've attended this conference before and look forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new friends. My anticipation grows with all the elements of an engaging story. I am curious about the speakers and their presentations, full of tension and hope at my critique interview with a top literary agent. And worry? Yes, some, but greatly tempered by the welcoming encouragement I have experienced before when attending SCBWI functions. Get ready, Miami. I'm on my way!

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