Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Hi, Everyone...

September already! Where did the summer rush off to? Thankfully Chicago has warm weather again this week. With a cold SNAP in the air over the weekend, PANIC struck me that winter is well on its way. And I am NOT ready to even fathom that thought, especially after the past two winters...

As you see from the badge, it's time for another posting of the IWSG! Imagine FOUR years now. I remember so well when Alex Cavanaugh first posted about this group. I was one of THE FIRST to sign up. Spend a little time if you can and pop over to the list of bloggers who post for this monthly event...It will make you feel sooo good. Here's the link...

This past month has been a whirlwind for me. Never a dull moment for sure. I have two announcements to make. First, this may shock many of you, I've decided to stay in Chicago for a while. My work here has escalated and since Tampa really hadn't panned out, destiny is keeping me here. Since my lease will be up shortly I decided and DID buy a LOFT!!!! And, not just any old loft. The building I purchased in is a former CHILDREN'S BOOK PUBLISHER... AMAZING. Donahue Publishing opened it's doors in 1883 and closed in the mid 70's... A rich body of thousand of children's books published! How appropriate for me to live in such a stellar old building. Since I write MG and's a perfect fit! 

Once I entered, the VIBE was there. I felt happy. Funny, I hadn't felt that way about any place in a long time. There was just something about the exposed brick, eleven foot ceilings, the HUGE windows, the rough, oiled stained, beat up, maple floor, and the massive metal door leading to nowhere, anymore. I felt like it called and needed me. Of course, it's been terribly neglected and needs TONS of work, but I am totally up for the challenge. I've spent the past three weeks picking out cabinets, slate, marble, lighting, wood flooring (for the bedroom, which is carpeted and on another lever), appliances, etc. It will cost a fortune to make it livable, damn my expensive taste. LOL. Now to just find the right contractor. THAT has been the ultimate challenge. My usual guy has sadly taken ill and is not up for this much work. One thing I am anxious about. I only have two months before my lease is up! This week I am determined to sign with someone.

My second bit of news is an update from my amazing time at the SCBWI conference in LA. If you recall, I had won a manuscript critique from the PRESIDENT himself. About two weeks ago I received his response and notes. Since he was kind enough to agree to read both my ms', he had told me he would only have enough time to read the first 100 pages of each...

The first line in his notes to me read as follows... "Hi Michael—Your story was so compelling I read it all the way through." 

I was flabbergasted... The rest, he pointed out a few things he thought needed tweaking. Also told me what he most liked about my story. Overall it was a very positive critique and I'm very excited about the future for this story. He's agreed to read my other ms, but when he has time. I was glad to hear that because it needs another revision or two. I had worked on it like crazy and had half of it completed when my computer FREAKED and ATE the ms. I couldn't find it anywhere. Now I am INSANE, trying to get it finished. I should have sent it to him this past Monday. I need to get it out by the end of this week. SO if I can't get around to you guys right away, I know you understand. Deadlines...

So to wrap things up... 

Be prepared for ANYTHING. Well made plans can change in an instant. Although I will be staying in Chicago, I still hope to get my winter getaway before the year ends.... but who knows what will happen. We just have to GO WITH THE FLOW... lol. And that pertains to our writing as well. I worked on that MS for FOUR years... look where it ended up. So you never know. Keep writing. Keep dreaming...Keep positive.

Let's keep the positive vibes flowing and let me know what's happening in your writing...

Take care everyone. I'll be dropping by your blogs soon!

Friday, August 21, 2015


Flamingos in the Snow

The woven silvery mist is not unlike fine silk. Fragments of coral mingle with each droplet as the delicate hand of an icy breeze reveals the subtle edges of a watery outline. 

Blurry images dance to a silent orchestra. One by one feathered heads bob in and out of focus. The approaching voyeur holds his breath... 

Could it be? 

Blinking away the frozen tears clinging to his eyelashes, the flock of flamingos continue their dance amongst the doilies of diamond dust on this cold winter's morning.

Greeting fellow blogger pals. Today is my first entry for the WEP... What? You have not heard of the Write...Edit...Publish? Well, today's you chance to enjoy many fine works of Flash Fiction, Photographs, Art, and all that is CREATIVE. And there is still time to participate.

My very close friends, Denise Covey and Yolanda Renee' have reinvented the WEP for all of us to enjoy and PARTICIPATE. It is an amazing way to WRITE. Being in edits for almost two years with both my novels, I have not had a moment to create something new. Thankfully today is my first flash piece in many, many moons. I hope you enjoyed it.

The prompt is atmosphere. Chose a photo that you feel strongly about and tell the reader why. This above is a picture I took a few winters ago as I strolled through the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. It was in the middle of winter with below freezing tempts. Yes, even in winter I need to get out and stretch my legs. LOL.

Imagine my SHOCK to find these tropical birds foraging in the snow. I took many pictures and to this day I am inspired by them. (Please do not use this image without permission.)

So this weekend I hope you will hop around and view/read the other entries. I have read a few and can't wait to read more!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and enjoy one of the last few summer weekends we have left!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Hi, All,

I just had to do a brief post on our beloved BLOGGER BUDDIES! For the past month I had the amazing privilege to meet and spend some quality time with some of my amazing blogger pals...

It all started at the SCBWI conference in LA at the beginning of August. I knew that I would be meeting and spending time with Morgan Shamy and Patty Timmes (who I'm pictured with at the Sparkle and Shine Gala), but I had a few unexpected and very PLEASANT surprises as well. Several in fact...

On the second day, a vivacious blonde approached me sporting a huge smile... She screamed out my name. At first I didn't recognize her. I glanced at her name tag, and ran over to give her a hug. It was Rose Cooper of Sketchy Chicks fame. The last pic I saw of her she was a brunette. Now she's a redhead. Can't keep this girl down for sure. WE had a great time catching up. She is such fun!

On Sunday, I spotted a very close blogger friend on my way to grab a coffee. A moment later, she was gone. I was so upset. BUT as fate would have it. Nutschell reappeared. We saw each other at the book signings, where I am pictured here with Dan Santat. 

Nutschell and I made plans to have dinner that evening. Let me just say, it was an amazing time. What a SWEETHEART!

This weekend I finally got to meet up with Tara Tyler and Julie Flanders in Cincinnati, OH. I had planned a visit for Tara's book signing in late June, but massive thunderstorms raked the area at the time and I decided to play it safe and hold off. 

We all met at a charming bistro for lunch. These ladies are truly sweet and lovely. It was so good to catch up on what they were writing and what events they had attended over the past year. Time flew. It was the highlight of my weekend. 

So friends if you EVER get a chance to meet your blogger pals... DO IT! Not once have I ever not had THE BEST time.

We spend so many countless hours with our blogger pals and it's just like we've know each other forever....well....we have. In our posts, emails, and blog hops. I wish I could meet all of you! But I must admit, I'm not doing to badly. LOL...

Let me know who've you met!

Once more I am so appreciative to be a part of this wonderful blogger family. We are by far THE BEST Community ever! Give yourselves a round of applause! You ALL deserve it!

I'll be posting for the WEP within the next few days, so DON'T forget to check out the posts or SIGN UP!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Hi, All!

Hope everyone is enjoying all the summer fun! I haven't had time to breathe with all the excitement of traveling to LA for the SCBWI conference...

So much to learn and to absorb for sure! Which brings me to todays IWSG post.

So many of us would be OVERWHELMED by a conference of this magnitude... 1200 attendees plus additional for the staff.  SO many professional authors, illustrators, agents, and publishers crammed into one hotel...

Imagine if  LA had an earthquake...more than half the community would've have gone in one shake. Something WE ALL had mentioned. But thankfully we survived, but only just.

This INSANITY got me to think about the poor "NEW" writer/illustrator. Can you even imagine how insecure and TERRIFIED this poor individual would be? I can.

I sat next to one woman who was so completely overwhelmed she had nearly fainted. But she was not the first. I talked with her and reassured her that we are THE FRIENDLIEST and MOST HELPFUL Community and by the end of our conversation the color reentered her cheeks and she was breathing normally. The excitement in her face about starting her new journey left me feeling so happy for her.

We must all remember, that no matter where we are in our journey, there is much to learn. I took away so much after this conference and I had been to at least three other major conferences within this year.

You just never know who'll you meet. The SCBWI organization is a very worthwhile one to join if you are a children's book writer/illustrator. That includes YA everyone... They have so much going on at their website. Grants, conferences (local and national), and lots of information about the children's publishing world.

The industry professionals talked of how Picture books are making a HUGE comeback and the publishing world is now clambering for the next Middle Grade blockbuster! Don't worry YA writers, YA is still a very HOT commodity...

It was fascinating to hear so many crucial points in the industry. But one thing was stressed over and over and over. DON'T write to trends! Write what you are passionate about and write it WELL. It takes TWO years for a manuscript to get published, so writing to trends isn't the way to go. IF you are  writing in a genre that isn't hot right now, it may be next year....the tables turn constantly!

So take your time and polish your story until it's blinding!!!!!

I had my own stress/insecurities at the conference. I focused on my first novel and its FRESH, NEW look. I've had interest in the past, but the opening never seemed to work correctly. As I sent out my first chapter for review, I felt confident that I had nailed it. Finally.

I entered the workshop positive. After three hours of exercises, the editor handed us our critiques and sent us on our way. As I glanced at her comments, all she pointed out was the ONE, or two spots I had TOLD instead of SHOWED... She totally missed the eight pages of SHOWING and only picked at that. Imagine what I thought...

I was less than happy. First of all, WHAT IS WRONG WITH A BIT OF TELLING? Look at blockbuster hits that tell so much more than show.... AH, HARRY POTTER, for one... Rowling has pages of telling, adverbs, and passive voice. Would they not publish her story today because of her "telling."

This narrow minded thinking in the publishing world concerns me. Yes, I agree, there should be lots of action to entertain and DRAW the reader into the scene, but what about setting the stage, the atmosphere, and a time to BREATHE between the action?  I feel this is very necessary, too.

During our lunch break, I reread her comments and thought. Hmmm. NO.. I don't agree. The few word corrections I did agree to, but not the telling part.

I then went to my second incentive with another editor. After a few work challenges we got to read our first pages. She told us yes or no whether she would read on. THIS was helpful.

I read my page. She laughed at the appropriate time and I held my breath when I finished. She smiled. She really liked it. But had just one suggestion. NO, she never mentioned TELLING. She mentioned she wished for more tension. If that was there, but it was to subtle. She would have liked more. I nodded and agreed.

This experience truly SHOWED ME how SUBJECTIVE the publishing industry is, and that we need to BELIEVE in our work. Always go with your gut feeling. THAT was stressed at the conference, too!

Now for the really EXCITING NEWS....

I had won a manuscript consultation with Steven Mooser... one of the HEADS of the SCBWI....YAY! I nearly fell out of my chair... And it was my best bud, Morgan Shamy, who said he would draw my name and did! Talk about being positive... She believed and IT HAPPENED.

But the first thing I thought about was WHAT TO SEND HIM? I have two manuscripts... For three days I had flipped back and forth. Talk about anxiety. WHAT TO SEND. ON the one note my second novel was REALLY ready. But my first is such a charming, magical story, something a kid could really enjoy. My second is edgy, raw, and INTENSE. Opposite extremes.

Well as fate would have it (sometimes it is in our favor), I ran into Mr. Mooser in the elevator. With a huge smile he greeted me and I reminded him that I was the winner of his wonderful consultation. He smiled again and asked what I would be sending. I told him the truth. I mentioned both properties, hoping he would prefer one over the other.  WELL... He said he would probably have time for BOTH!!!! Talk about turning my anxiety into MAJOR EXCITEMENT....

So now I need to have one last go around before I send the second and finish the rewrite of my first novel in RECORD TIME...

So you see, one never knows what will happen at these conferences. I heard MANY inspiring stories of very famous authors and illustrators who had amazing luck .... maybe now it's my turn?

TIME WILL TELL... As I say in my blog title... In time...

On that note everyone, I hope you will visit the other Insecure Writer Support Group posts. Drop by Alex Cavanaugh's EXTENSIVE list ....

Have a WONDERFUL WEEK everyone and I will be dropping by your blogs the moment I come up for air...

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Hi, All,

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Chicago is FINALLY experiencing some summer-like weather.... afternoon thunderstorms and all. But at least is is WARM!

Today a I'd like to touch upon something many writers have a hard time writing, and that is the tagline and blurb for you story.

I was honored earlier today by one of my favorite blogger friends, who is also client. Yolanda Renee is an exceptional writer, but has some difficulty narrowing down her novels to one sentence and a few paragraphs. Sound familiar?

If you missed her post yesterday she was kind enough to show the process of one of my services, blurb and tag editing, step by step.

One thing we must remember about blurbs and taglines, they have to GRAB our reader. A writer can create atmosphere and magic even in one or two sentences. When I write a blurb, I want to feel the essence of the story. What drives the story? Bring out the passion... concentrate on one scene that is pivotal to the story and focus on that....This way the reader is not bogged down with step one, two, three. Who wants to read a monotone tagline or blurb. WE want to read about the passion of the character. What they overcome. What is there challenge? Get us to want more. Weave that scene into the overall story. This is how I write an intriguing tagline and blurb.

Do any of you have a special way to attack that tagline or blurb? I'd love to hear about it... Perhaps it can help another writer.

If you are interested, please drop by Yolanda Renee's blog. Blurbs and taglines can actually be fun if you don't become overwhelmed by it. If you do, perhaps I can help you, too. I do enjoy writing blurbs and I do have a knack for them. I don't usually self promote, but I thought this was a nice way of reintroducing my services to all of you. I have other services as well, just click onto the badge and it will take you to my service page.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Hi, Everyone,

Thanks for dropping by on Monday for the return of the WEP. If you haven't heard, WRITE...EDIT...PUBLISH is back. So for those of you who LOVE Flash Fiction drop down to my previous post.

Once again it is the first Wednesday of the month and thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, we can post about our anxieties about life, writing, and our deepest darkest fears. As well as lending support and advice for those who need a lift. Such a great way to start the month. Don't you think?

So please pop over to Alex's "List" and visit those who need encouragement or to read about some wonderful advice from others.

Today I'd like to talk about timing and new beginnings. How often have we started over, changing our course or direction. Even the best laid out plans can crumble. I should know. Spending six months planning my move only to end up with frustration and back to to where I started. It happens to all of us. 

But you can learn from this. I have always believed in timing. If the timing is off, then this course or journey is not the right one. So we have to pull ourselves back up off the ground and continue. Mull things over and plan a new direction. It's the same for our writing. You can outline plots, characters, scenes, etc. and then begin to write. It may be smooth sailing at the beginning and everything seems to fall right into place...then...WHAM! You're knocked on your butt. 

What do you do? 

Giving up is NEVER an option. So, you pick yourself up and start over. Eventually it will run smoothly again. IF not, CHANGE your course completely. Maybe focus on a different character. Change the tense, or simply put the project away for a while. Take a walk. Clear your head. Have lunch with a friend. OR... reach out to you blogger pals. Shoot an email to a CP. It may help TWEAK the situation to your favor.

As for me. At this time, I am concentrating on other things. Leaving my "HOME" worries behind and delving back into our FINE community. Re-aquanting myself with my blogger buddies, and psyching myself up for the SCBWI conference at the end of this month. I have LOTS of revisions to do on my first novel, which is now the time to do it.

Keep your minds and hearts open and all will work out. Always believe that everything happens for a reason and how we REACT to it shows us how strong we really are and gives us character. Life's experiences strengthens us and not to mention we have some great stories to write about!

Have a wonderful day everyone! Celebrate Life and HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!

Monday, June 29, 2015


Hi, All!

Hope everyone enjoyed one of the first weekends of summer! I did. We actually had a lovely weekend weather wise. Of course it didn't last. Once again the rain returned....

Today I have the pleasure of announcing that the WRITE... EDIT... PUBLISH Bloghop is now returning. YAY!

For all of you who love Flash Fiction, photography, art work, poetry, non-fiction, or play scripts created to a specific word count to keep is fast and FUN!

Open to ALL Genres: MG, YA, ROMANCE, and ADULT.

So why not get those creative juices flowing now that summer is here and we are all in happier spirits. LET'S CREAT TOGETHER, by starting with a fun and exciting HOP...

Your hosts are my close blogger buddies, DENISE COVEY and YOLANDA RENEE! I know many of you know these amazing ladies, so you know you are in for a fun and quality HOP! I"m certainly looking forward to the first Prompt!

Why not drop by Denise's blog... here is the LINK to her intro... Happy HOPPING everyone. 

I hope all of you have a WONDERFUL Monday and be sure to drop by here on Wednesday for yet another IWSG POST....