Next Big Thing

Recently, Kate Hart of YA Highway and Twitter Field Trip Friday fame tagged me in a writing meme – “Next Big Thing”.  After a grueling week at the office grindstone, I needed a short (read 365 days) break.  So I’ve decided to stop long enough to play along.

Here goes…

What’s the working title for your book?
Raven Academy. It’s Book 1 in a middle grade series I’m planning. And no it’s not a magical school for wizards and witches. This is the only book that takes place in a school setting. 🙂

What is the one sentence synopsis for your book?
A 13-year-old boy discovers he’s a member of a secret society of time travelers from another world who’ve built their society by studying Earth’s history and that he’s been hidden in Earth’s timeline by his own people to protect his future and the future of his world.

What genre does your book fall under?
Time Travel/Fantasy

What other books would you compare your story to in your genre?
Sadly, nothing comes to mind. But maybe that’s actually a good thing! *fingers-crossed*

Where did the idea come from for your book?
I’ve always been fascinated by time travel. And family secrets. The idea came to me in college while I was studying philosophy and contemplating the notion of freedom and the struggle between the individual and society’s needs. There’s also a deep family thread in the story that likely arose from my experience growing up in a family with our own secrets “private history”.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I never really think about books in terms of movies. I’ve got nothing.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I intend to work with an agency, but that could change in the future.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? May we see an intro?
I’d rather not say. Let’s just agree it’s taken me longer than it could have. As for the intro, I’d be happy to share it. Just ask!

What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?
Mystery, family secrets, cover-ups, danger, ravens, time travel, friendship and self-discovery.

Tagging: Alina Klein, Michele Shaw, Jennifer Walkup

The 7 (Seven) Game

The 7 (Seven) Game

This morning, Laura Moss tagged me in a writing challenge. It’s called “The Seven Game” (or “The Lucky 7”).  I’d never heard of it before, but it sounded like fun.  So, I’ve decided to play along.

Here are the rules:

  1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.
  2. Go to line 7.
  3. Copy down the next seven lines or sentences and paste them as they’re written.
  4. Tag seven other writers to play the game.

This entry (slightly over the seven line limit) is from my current WIP, “Raven Academy”:
(a MG/YA Fantasy involving Time Travel!)

“Price? What are you doing here?”, Dennis demanded.

Connor looked from Dennis to Karl to the struggling seventh-grader.

“This is a private matter, Price! It doesn’t concern you. Just turn around and leave now, and Karl and I will pretend we never saw you.”

Karl glared at Connor, his bushy eyebrows drawn together into a single black swath across his ridged forehead. He looked even angrier than Dennis at being interrupted as he tightened his grip on the seventh-grader’s arms. The boy squealed involuntarily, humiliated, then gave up struggling and fixed his eyes pleadingly on Connor for help.

Tag! You’re (Alphabetically) It!

  1. Kate Hart
  2. Alina Klein
  3. Carolina Valdez Miller
  4. Laura Pauling
  5. Teresa Robeson
  6. Michele Shaw
  7. Anna Staniszewski

Have fun playing along on your blog!

(If you do decide to join in, please post the link back here in the comments.)


Pushing Past My Indecision

Indiana Jones Indecision
(image courtesy of Tumblr)

I struggle a lot with indecision where my writing is concerned.

Usually, that indecision only takes the form of nearly endless revision. Painful, but true. *sigh* However, more recently my struggle has shifted to two new fronts beyond the printed page;

  1. Deciding whether or not to renew my SCBWI membership.
  2. Deciding whether or not to attend my local SCBWI’s annual conference this year (depending on the outcome of #1).

To some writers this may seem like a no-brainer, but I’ve spent weeks debating what to do. For me, participating in a writing event…with other people…is a big deal. Every. Single. Time.

(I planned a much longer post about the reasons behind this, but I’ve decided to hold off on sharing that one for now.)

So . . .

To make this REALLY long story short, I’ve decided to renew my SCBWI membership (at least one more year) AND to attend my local regional annual conference this year.

Also, in a completely uncharacteristic move on my part, I’ve decided to register for one of the open professional manuscript critique slots at the conference. This will be first for me. The prospect simultaneously excites and terrifies me. My eyes have been the only ones on my WIP for so long, I’ve decided if it’s not ready to be critiqued by now it never will be.

I’m also looking forward to seeing other local writers I met at last year’s conference who I’ve been connecting with virtually since.

* * *

In related writing news, I’ve got one other significant (to me anyway) something in the works. I don’t want to say what it is yet. But, I will say it’s requiring me to complete a 750 word synopsis of my WIP by this Friday!

Thankfully, this post from Susan Dennard on How To Write A 1-Page Synopsis is making that task MUCH more manageable.

Thanks Susan!

Duffy and the Devil (A Retelling in Verse)

National Poetry MonthApril is National Poetry Month!  In honor of this I’ve recently completed a retelling of ‘Duffy and the Devil’ for children entirely in metered verse.  Oh, and I wrote it as a short play.  Why?  Well…why not?  Besides, this was a lot of fun to write! Just think of it as a script for a young reader’s theater performance with rhyming couplets. *crickets chirp* Anyway . . . moving on . . .

This “telling” is ~1,400 words (3 pages).  There are five characters, including the Narrator.  In case you’re wondering this mini-play actually has been performed.   By children.   Mine.   (Yes, I played the Narrator.)

Rather than allowing it to collect eDust on my laptop I’ve decided to try sending it out.  Another BIG step for me.  Still, I have no idea where to begin querying something like this.  (Suggestions are always welcome!)

While I ponder what to best do with it, I wanted to offer anyone interested a chance to read it first.  If you fall into that category, you can use the form below to request an email message with the password to the protected post.  Please feel free leave any feedback you may have in the comments section of either post.

To whet your poetic appetite, I’m posting the opening two stanzas here.  After requesting the password, you can read the rest of the story here.  I hope you enjoy it!


Squire Lovell lived alone, lone managed his estate,

without another soul about to toil or conversate.

He preferred things his own way, as you are soon to see,

yet wearied he of doing chores like cooking and laundry.

Deciding he the time was right to add an extra hand,

alone he rode one Autumn morn to seek in Burian

for one to come to spin and knit and mend his fraying garb,

when he did overhear a shout of angry disregard.


Thanks again for your interest!

EDITED TO ADD: Comments on this story are now closed. Thank you for your interest!

Ollie Has Left the Building

Ollie Octopus

That’s right! I’ve completed the final revisions to my story, “OLLIE’S TREASURE”.  Ollie is now safely on his way to possible publication destinations unknown.  Okay, I know Ollie’s destination, but whether or not he will be welcomed with open print space when he arrives is another story.

Sending my first short story manuscript out into the world was a little scary.  It’s silly I know, but scary none the less.  Once I’d decided it was finished, I found I kept obsessing over my words each time I picked it up.  I’d change a verb here, and adverb there, or perhaps change the word order.  Nothing major.  But with each change I felt sure the story was better.  Each time I told myself “I am so glad I didn’t sent it out like it was yesterday“.  Then tomorrow would inevitably become today, and today would become inevitably yesterday.  I’d look at the story again.  I’d change something else.  Something small.  Or several somethings.  Then I tell myself “I’m so glad I didn’t sent this out like it was yesterday.”

This process went on for about ten days straight.  Really.  I finally realized the story wasn’t actually getting any better.  I knew I could look that story every day for a year and find some little change I could make.  But, if I did that the story would never see the world outside my house.

Ollie deserved better than that.

And so, Ollie is gone.  I kissed him goodbye today (yes, literally) and pushed him out of the nest.  I hope he will fly.  Not that I really think an octopus can fly.  Although that would really be something to see.  And for now, that’s all I can do – just wait and see.

Thanks to those who took the time to read and comment on this story.  

Ollie’s Treasure (A Story)

Ollie Octopus

I wrote this very short story for one of my young children a little over a year ago and had completely forgotten about it. I came across it again recently and I’ve decided to clean it up a bit then submit it to a few children’s magazines to see if there’s any interest.

If you’d like to read the rest of the story just use the form below to receive the password. Any comments or suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated. (Image via Corel.)

Ollie’s Treasure


One morning Ollie Octopus was out exploring the ocean with his best friend, Benjamin Barracuda, when they discovered an old shipwreck. The ship was lying on its side, anchored to the ocean floor by years of sand and mud built up around it. Clusters of hard barnacles clung to the hull, and strips of velvety seaweed waved from it like green ribbons.

Ollie stared, wide-eyed. “I’ve never seen a real shipwreck before.”

“It looks like an old pirate ship,” Benjamin said. “I bet there’s a treasure chest full of gold inside!”

EDITED TO ADD: Comments on this story are now closed. Thank you for your interest!


Password for My NPR Three-Minute Fiction Entry

Since some people have asked, if you’d like to read my entry for this year’s NPR Three-Minute Fiction Contest leave a comment below or send me a message using the ‘Contact Me’ link at the top of the blog and I’ll email you the post password. The contest deadline is 11:59 p.m., EDT, on September 26th. I plan to submit my entry on Friday, September 24th.

Thanks for your interest!