Wednesday, February 18, 2015


HI, All,
Happy mid winter....

I know the north and east has been pounded with snow and I am know how aweful that can be. I hope and pray that you are all safe! 

When I was in NYC last week we did get a bit of snow, but nothing like is happening now. The SCBWI conference was AMAZING! I learned so much and felt so energized and excited about writing again. If any of you are in a slump, I HIGHLY recommend attending ANY regional or national conference it is worth it's weight in gold. Seriously, it was a costly venture, but the knowledge and advice I had received was priceless.

For those of you who are children's writers and illustrators, you will be happy to know that this genre is making a HUGE comeback. I have thought about doing a picture book for quite some time now. Since I can illustrate, it would be such a blast to create something amazing for younger kids. Once I finish with my current querying and WIP, I hope to create a picture book. It would be SOOO FREEING.

The guest speaker at the conference ranged from picture book artists, m/g/ y/a authors and commercial mega successes. Each had an amazing and inspirational story to tell. And the bottom line is DON'T GIVE UP! I know many of us just want to crawl back into our holes and cover ourselves up, never to be seen again. DON'T you DARE! Keep plugging away at it.

As for my featured story, I was very fortunate to be given some amazing advice on how to really fine tune my first few pages. AND...THANKS to my wonderful friend and fellow blogger, Carrie Butler, she had give me the final tweaks to really make my story blinding....  THANK YOU, CARRIE!

Now it is time to send it out to the agents and publishers from the conference. Many of you may not know this, but if you attend one of these conferences, your ms will be given a boost up. They will at least READ your query in first few pages. As we all know many of the top agents have assistants reading their queries. Yours will get a fighting chance. Isn't that the best we can hope for at this stage?

I was also humbled during my first round of the round table critique to get an ovation from the publisher and other authors. I was shocked and THRILLED. The editor liked most of it, but did suggest for me to start the story a bit differently. Will I take her advice? Maybe. I am still working through it. At least for the next day or so. I really feel the beginning is where it needs to be, so I may just leave it. Always remember it is OUR story, not theirs.

So the process continues... Believe me you will all be the first to know if I receive any full or partial requests.

I also have some news on the house hunt... if finally found a place! YAY! I put in the offer today. Keep those good vibes coming my way that the owner accepts it! Once it is finalized, I will give you all the details...

Anyway, I hope all of you are well and safe. As soon as I return to Chicago next week, I will be visible. Between the conference in NYC and looking for places in South Tampa, my life has been one, mad dash. Plus I didn't have internet access for almost two weeks. WE all know how hard that is...

Stay well, my friends and I'll be by to see you all soon!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Hi, All,

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far. I know the Northeast and Midwest have been dumped upon by mounds of snow and the white stuff is still dropping. Let's send some positive vibes their way! Especially since this weekend is the SCBWI conference in NYC. I am flying to New York as you read this post. So please keep those prayers and positive wishes coming my way. I'd REALLY appreciate it!

Today is also the IWSG! Every first Wednesday of the month we spout off about our insecurities and give blog warmth, love, and advice to those who truly need it.

Today I am on edge because of the conference. On Friday I have a private group meeting with an agent and publisher... We have to read our first 500 words and give feedback. EEEK! I know that my MS is probably in the best shape it will ever be in before it moves on, but I still can't help feeling helpless and insecure. Who wouldn't?! Yes, I always strive for the positive as you well know, but this is different... or... is it? Okay, I am really trying to talk myself into it. It's no big deal...right?

OF COURSE IT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This could make or break my future novel. LOL. Sorry, just a minor freak out. You see I've worked on this particular novel for FOUR years. I know that sounds like so much for those who publish a new book once or twice a year. But, for me, I won't let go until it is published one way or another. Each time it goes under a critical eye, I rewrite it. I can see you all cringing right now. I know you've been there.

Here are my first 500.... Please let me know what you think...

Chapter One 


Will this nightmare ever end? my shaking hand scribbles onto the last page of a journal. 
In a swift movement, I push it under the mattress and glance at the glaring red numbers on the digital clock. 
0300. In three short hours it begins again. I wonder what fresh hell he has in store for me today?
Snuffing out the light, I drift into a dreamless sleep, tossing and turning throughout the pre-dawn hours.
I wake with a start as my heart jumps from my chest. The second blow nearly sends the door off its hinges. 
“Get up! It’s 0500. If you’re not out of that bed and downstairs in five minutes, consider it your coffin. Don’t keep me waiting.”
For the past three years, since Mom died, this has been my wake up call.  
I kick off the sheet and my journal lands on the floor with a loud thud. A good thing Dad didn’t see it. He’d freak. Writing is not a career option according to him. It’s all about life in the Corps.
I pick up the journal and flip to the story I’ve been working on, skimming it to the end. 
Terryn opens the utensil drawer and lifts out a meat cleaver. She runs a delicate finger across the edge…
“There’s no use hiding,” she calls out as a fiendish grin trails to each corner of her mouth.
“It works.” I close the dog-eared cover, placing it back under the mattress, giving it a good shove this time. I grab my cell to look at the time. Two minutes just passed.
Shit. Dad’s waiting. 
I reach for my crumpled t-shirt and jeans hanging off the edge of the chair. One minute and forty-five seconds later, I jump and land at the base of the stairs. My best time yet. 
For a split second I pause and consider going straight to school, hoping to avoid another physical encounter.
“Aidan! Stop slacking off and get in here.”
Too late. 
I head into the kitchen.
Dad raises his coal-like eyes from the newspaper and nails me in place with his stare.
“Sit and eat.” His breathing puffs like an oncoming steam engine.
“Yes, Sir.”  
I take the seat across from him and crunch on the usual burnt toast while waiting for the list of orders.
“You will be polite to the teachers. You will pay attention.” He pauses and holds my gaze. “You will be home at 1500 sharp. No excuses. Is that clear?”
I gulp hard and swallow as the piece of toast scratches the inside of my throat.
He pounds the table. “Is that clear?”
“Yes, Sir. 1500 sharp.”
My fingers tense, itching to strangle anything. To strangle him. But instead, I reach down deep inside, not wanting the devil to know my thoughts.
It sucks having to live by his starched and mind-numbing military code 24/7, and I wonder, for the millionth time, how much more can I take?  

So, today, I hope to take my own advice and keep positive, focused, and enjoy the experience and that is what I INTEND to do! 

I had been to this conference a few years ago and had the time of my life and I hope this time, this year, it will CHANGE my life.

If any of you are attending PLEASE let me know! I'd love to see you there!

And, PLEASE, don't forget to visit the other IWSGers who may need your support... You can find all of us at Alex's blog...