Tuesday, July 8, 2014


What does World Cup Soccer and Writing have to do with each other? On the surface, not much, but I wondered aloud what I should blog about and in my sports family, SOCCER rules.

Hmm, that's interesting. Writing and Soccer? They ARE alike. We dodge passive voice like Renaldo dodges opponents. We shoot on goal. Agents block our queries like US Goalie Tim Howard blocks shots, but if we write and submit like Messi. We fire from our right foot. Recover the blocked shot with our left and fire again. And again. And again.

Occasionally, with hard work and drive and a tenacious streak that won't quit, our relentless shots get through and score.

We can write every day for hours at a time. We can read books from our genres and categories. We can network and tweet and Facebook. We can workshop our manuscripts. We can edit out every cliché and passive voice. We can remove the stiff dialogue. We can round our characters til the cows come home, but at the end of the day, if we don't fire off query after query after query, we will never get that GOAL!

Game on,

Sunday, June 29, 2014

BOOK RAP: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The end of July, I journey to the West Coast to attend my FIRST Los Angeles SCBWI Conference. I can't wait. I've hit New York, and it's great fun, but I heard LA rocks!

I signed up for the World Building Intensive with Krista Marino. She assigned three books to read: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, the sequel to it, The Dead Tossed Seas, and Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. (I already finished my assignment--yes, my nose shines bright!)

I have never read a zombie book before. There, I said it. I never had an interest in zombies. I tossed zombies over the fence with aliens and always felt if they didn't bother me, I won't bother them.
Front Cover

I didn't read the back cover of the book. I jumped right in. Well, the Forest of Hands and Teeth starts off at break neck speed and doesn't stop. I followed Mary on her journey through death, heartache and betrayal, and more death.

Carrie Ryan actually never says the Z-word until the acknowledgements in the back of the book, but I have to admit, I suspected that the Unconsecrated might be zombies (about 3/4 of the way through--don't laugh!) Though I suppose the signs were there--After all, the unconsecrated crave human blood, spread disease through bite marks,and break their fingers, teeth, and bones trying to get to their prey.

But Carrie Ryan spins a tale so well and so tight in the first person present tense that I devoured the book. It didn't matter it had zombies in it, just like it didn't matter to me that a vampire fell in love with a human, or an angel fell in love with a demon, or a boy fell in love with a witch. A good book is a good book.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a tale of survival, a test of faith, and an excellent example of spell-binding writing.

I challenge you to read it. Go out and buy a copy. Or, if you doubt me, download a sample onto your Kindle or Nook. You won't be sorry.

Go ahead, you know you want to.

Write on,

Thursday, June 26, 2014

BREAKING OUT! Going FAR enough with Patti Gauch


In May at our SCBWI EPA Pocono Retreat, I had the opportunity to meet, listen to, and work with the amazing and larger than life Patti Gauch.

She looks innocent enough. Kind. Friendly. A Mild-mannered woman who dispenses advice topped with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and a cherry on top. HA! HA! HA! HA!

Patti radiates energy. Mention books and writing and she ignites with a fire that burns brighter than a thousand suns.

She points her finger at you, the writer, and ORDERS you to BREAK OUT of your everyday writing habits and storylines and ask yourself, have you GONE FAR ENOUGH? Have you left your comfortable broken-in sofa and worn-out throw pillows far behind? Have you reached deep down inside and ripped out that gut-wrenching tale that makes you cry and laugh and sing?

Patti inspires. Patti points. Patti is not afraid to get in your face and let you know that you need to BREAK OUT, and only when you've gone FAR, FAR, FAR past your comfort level will you discover the extraordinary story only you can tell. 

So, go BREAK OUT! Go FAR and Write on.

And Remember, when Patti points that finger at you--you listen.