Monday, January 31, 2011


Bloggers, I have exciting news for you today. Shelli Johannes at Market My Words is holding one AMAZING contest. Shelli is agented by Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media Group and is offering a personal recommendation to her agent to the winner. Hop over to her blog. Become a follower of both her blog and twitter and then enter your maximum four sentence pitch on a completed M/G or Y/A novel. Follow the rules of the contest and you're in. Dates Jan. 31st through February 4th, 2011.

Shelli will then pick her top five choices and ask for a full query pitch letter. The top two or three will get a query critique and the opportunity to send your first three chapters!

Her favorite she will recommend to her agent. How awesome is that! So start writing that four sentence pitch and enter!

Pop by tomorrow and I will have my entry and dedication to my Pay it Forward recipient. You must pay tribute to a person who has helped you in your writing or personal life. (Also my favorite part of the contest)

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Now for some other exciting news. I was picked as a finalist in Dom's NO FEAR blogfest. Please take a moment and hop over to his blog Writes of Passage and VOTE for your favorite entry. There are some wonderful stories you do not want to miss. Scroll down to mine if you missed it.

Have a wonderful Monday everyone and as always thank you so much for stopping by!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I't like to thank everyone for your help on my pitch.

For my British/foreign friends, I understand that you may not know the term "military brat,"(A kid whose parents are in the military and they move around a lot, taking their families with them. The judges and agents in the USA will understand this term; I didn't want to explain something that is general knowledge for us. So, Dom and Madeleine, I hope you understand.

Here is the final rendition. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Have a great Sunday everyone.

Seventeen-year-old military brat, Aidan, is once again on the move, forced to leave Southern California for Beaufort, South Carolina. He counts the days until he turns eighteen and will be free from the cracked ribs, bloody noses, and swollen lips his father inflicts upon him.
Desperate, Aidan seeks out sexual conquests to numb his deep-rooted pain. High schools have become his hunting grounds, the hottest girls, his prey. 
Lost in a corridor on his first day at school, he encounters Danny, a blind student who perplexes and intrigues him by maneuvering the halls with ease. He guides Aidan to his first class, where he’s more interested in sultry Tanya than social studies.
Visions of Danny haunt Aidan throughout the day. As the final bell rings, his stalking begins with an unusual target this time: Danny.
After an accusation of rape by the general’s daughter and a deadly blow out with his father, Aidan comes to the end of his emotional rope. He has only one place to hide: a rundown historic antebellum home owned by Danny.
Screams in the night reveal to Aidan that Danny has demons of his own. Has Aidan traded one psychotic person for another?
A dramatic view of a teenager coping with an unstable alcoholic father is the setting for this edgy Y/A contemporary novel. Anyone who has experienced a similar situation will find a common bond with Aidan and realize they’re not alone. 
At 58000 words THE BLINDED GARDENER features an emotionally scarred boy trying to live another day.
Please scroll down for my two blockfest entries featuring THE BLINDED GARDENER....

Friday, January 28, 2011


Today I am entering in the No Fear Blogfest at Dom's blog Writes of Passage, he's celebrating his 100+ followers. Congrats Dom! Write a excerpt that shows your favorite character at their bravest moment. This should be GREAT! So don't forget to hop by his blog and read the other entries.

I am also entering Erin, Holly, Pam, and Quita are hosting the 99th page blogfest at their blog Slice of the Blog Pie.  Post the 99th page of your novel. Make sure to drop by and read the other entries.

I would also LOVE to congratulate erica and christy for reaching 150 plus followers. YAY Erica and Christy! Drop by and visit these ladies you will just love them.

Now for the entries. They are listed below. Have fun hopping around the blogesphere today.

And now an excerpt for Dom's contest from THE BLINDED GARDENER.
(WARNING: this might be offensive to some readers.)

Before I knew it, I arrived home and pulled into the driveway. Dad waited for me on the front porch. 
Is this going to be a daily event now?
I couldn’t read his expression. I never knew what he had on his mind or how he’d react. I had to keep it light and casual.
“Hey, Dad.” 
He didn’t answer at first. He watched my every movement as I approached the steps. When I reached the top he spoke. “How was your lesson?”
“Not as bad as it could’ve been.” I looked into his hollow eyes. “I did learn the basic box step today, though.”
“If I ever hear that you give the instructor a hard time again, it will be your last. Get in.” 
He opened the screen door. 
I hesitated a moment not knowing what he’d do to me. 
I better not keep him waiting. It could get ugly. 
As I passed by him, his scotch breath almost got me high. With my back exposed for a brief moment, I prepared myself for possible strangulation, a kick to the back, or a smack to the head. 
Nothing happened. I wasn’t surprised. Last night he caught me off guard. 
He knew I’d be expecting something, so he’s biding his time. Let’s add mental torture to his ongoing list. At least I knew his game now. 
I had to keep one step ahead of him. 
“Sit.” His voice stayed controlled even though I knew he had been drinking for a few hours.
I sat in the chair and faced him. He stood straight and tall like a flag pole. He looked down his sharp nose at me, and then locked his eyes on mine. 
I stared into them, not afraid, but I shook a little. Despite everything Dad had presence. He took a step toward me and kept our contact. 
Then took another. 
I blinked, but remained staring. Sweat tricked down my back. Beads formed on my forehead and ran into my eyes. They stung, but I still held his gaze.
He took two more steps, now only a few feet away from me. 
Did I just see his lips curl? 
I wasn’t sure.
He lifted me to my feet. He reeked of scotch. A smile crossed his lips. 
“You’ve got balls, kid. I might make a man out of you yet. Your dinner’s in the kitchen.”
I hesitated for a moment, I didn’t want to expose my back to him. He forced me around and booted me in the ass. “Move you little pussy.” This seemed odd. It didn’t hurt and his tone seemed almost playful.
The devil’s human transformation unnerved me more than I could say. The questions he asked at dinner didn’t have a threatening edge or a a bit of sarcasm. 
Who was this man inhabiting my Dad’s body? He must of had a really good day. 

Here's my 99th page also from THE BLINDED GARDENER.

“I-I didn’t mean to insult you. But how do you do it?”
Through gritted teeth, he said, “I feel, I smell, and I taste.”
“Yes, taste!” he snapped. “I like to plant herbs, too.”
“Wow. I see — oh shit, I didn’t mean to say that.”
He ran his hand through his hair and a crooked smile formed on his lips. “It happens all the time.” He took a deep breath. “People have a hard time talking to me because of my situation.”
“Just because you can’t see?”
“That and something else. Look, I didn’t ask you over here to talk about me.” He turned his head. A  glint of blue peeked through his bangs. “How much do you remember about last night?”
“Well, Dad got me drunk, but I don’t remember a thing after that.”
Danny stepped past me and advanced up the driveway, crunching on the pebbles. “Come on, Aidan.” He waved to me.
Shaking my head, I followed him. He opened the wooden gate and walked through it. As I entered my mouth dropped open. Did I just step into Munchkin Land in the merry old land of OZ?
I rubbed my eyes, not believing what I saw. Blinking them open, the brightness still overpowered me. Flowers of every size and color grew on trellises, walls, and around the lilly pond, also in bloom. Did Danny create this amazing garden? I just can’t believe it. I had never seen such awesomeness. 
Swallowing a few times, I uttered a garbled “Wow.”
“This is what keeps me going. It needs me.” His voice choked. “I have nothing else.” 

This is a sample of the novel I entered into the ABNA contest. Scroll down for my pitch if you like to take a look.

Thursday, January 27, 2011



I would first like to thank my new followers who made this possible. Welcome Christopher, Shannon, Steena, Melissa, and finally my 150th follower Heather @ The waiting is the hardest part!

Of course, I appreciate all my followers, you have been so wonderful with your words of encouragement, cheers, humor, and kindness.

Now I have five new friends to get to know better. I hope to see you often.

                                         THIS IS FOR ALL OF YOU!

                            H A V E     A    W O N D E R F U L    D A Y  !

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SIMPLY HOT BLOGFEST at erica and christy's- Show your favorite mug. Don't forget to hop over there and see the other entries ... such fun!

As you all know I am a huge Harry Potter fan and my favorite mug is the three teacher's mug, featuring Severus Snape, Minerva McGonagall, and Albus Dumbledore.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


As promised, I have more awards to hand out. I would like to thank Nicki and Marieke for all the smiles. Today is such a gloomy day in Chicago, now more than ever do we need smiles especially use blogger who live in the frozen north. SO to all of you please take a a You Make Me Smile Sward and pass it on. This little guy can't help but make you smile. Let's share the smiles this long and cold winter.

Yesterday I revealed seven things about myself so I don't want to overload you with to much info about me. One of my comments yesterday hoped I had a kitty too, since I said I love dogs. I LOVE all types of animals and kitties are definitely included, but I am highly allergic to them. I was blessed with the most perfect kitten and after just one week my throat was closing. Not fun.  Heartbroken, I had to give her back to the breeder.

There is a happy ending though, she found the perfect home with a child who has Down's Syndrome. This boy had just lost his black Norwegian Forest cat a few months earlier and was very upset. You see black Wee gees are very rare. The mother was thrilled to find one. SO now my former special kitty is a companion to a special child. It does my heart good to know that she is giving joy to someone who really needs it.

Now for the Making Smiles on Faces Award.

Leigh at That's Write. Not only does she have a fun and entertaining blog I see her feathered boa and big smile everywhere in the blogosphere always leaving fun an witty comments. SO for today I'd like to honor Leigh (LTM).

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Now for an update on ABNA .... Judging by what I see, you still have time to enter. Take a shot you have NOTHING TO LOSE.

I thought you all might be interested in my PITCH so here it is. Let me know what you think and thanks again for all you warm wishes.

Your blogging buddy,


Seventeen-year-old military brat, Aidan, and his psychotic father, are once again on the move, this time leaving behind Southern California for Beaufort, South Carolina. Aidan’s abuse is so unrelenting that he lives for the day he’ll turn eighteen and be free from his father’s torture.
Aidan seeks out sexual conquests to numb his deep-rooted pain. High schools are his hunting grounds, where he preys on only the hottest girls. Lost in a corridor on his first day at school, he encounters Danny, a blind student, who perplexes and intrigues him. Although visually impaired, Danny maneuvers the halls with ease, and takes Aidan to his first class, where he’s more interested in sultry Tanya than social studies.
Visions of Danny’s unfocused eyes haunt Aidan throughout the day. As the final bell rings, the stalking begins. Aidan has found an unusual candidate this time: Danny.
Aidan comes to the end of his emotional rope after an accusation of rape by the general’s daughter and a deadly blow out with his father send Aidan running. He has only one place to go: a rundown historic antebellum home owned by Danny.
Screams in the night reveal to Aidan, Danny’s not only blind but has demons of his own. Did Aidan trade one psychotic for another?
A dramatic view of a teenager coping with an unstable alcoholic father is the setting for this edgy Y/A contemporary novel. Anyone who has experienced a similar situation will find a common bond with Aidan and realize they’re not alone. 
At 58000 words THE BLINDED GARDENER features an emotionally scarred Aidan trying to live another day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


First I would like to officially welcome my new followers. AS you know I appreciate all of you, but I like to try and welcome everyone personally.

Jeffrey, E.Elle, Morgan, Kitty, Julie, Lydia, and my newest M. I hope to see all of you often. I love to make new friends.

Now that I have entered ABNA, I finally have the time to hand out some awards that are way over due. Over the past month, thanks to many wonderful bloggers, I have received six awards. As most of you know many of these awards come with rules. I don't remember them all, but I will try to what I can to follow them.

I received two Stylish Blog Awards.  First I must thank Nicki at and Quinn at Make sure you stop by and visit these to fun and
informative bloggers.
Now seven things about myself.

1. I don't really like to cook, but I love to bake. I make the best cranberry walnut bread.

2. Some of you may not know that I am an artist. I have my BFA in illustration. If you get a chance check out my illustrations for my first book.

3. I love dogs. I am a sucker for a wet nose and floppy ears. I can never not pet any dog I see.

4. I love to drive. If I can get there by car I am all the happier. I've traveled all over the world by plane, but I prefer the car.

5. I always wanted to play the piano and someday plan to study it.

6. You all know that I am a huge Harry Potter fan, but another one of my favorite authors is Terry Brooks. His fantasy series are at the top of my reading list whenever I feel like a good fantasy novel.

7. Although I'm not a huge sports fan, I do love Hockey. It adds excitement to see a sport played on skates.

I'd like to give this award to some bloggers I enjoy. Here they are:

Lydia @ The Sharp angle

Christine @ Christine's Journey

Jemi @ Just Jemi

Francine@ Romancing the Blog

Congratulations to you all. Tomorrow I will award the others. I have too many to give.

Have a great day everyone.

Monday, January 24, 2011


First I would like to wish everyone who is entering in the Amazon ABNA contest the best of luck!

I entered last night just after midnight. YAY! I am so glad it's done.

I spent all day yesterday fine-tuning and formatting my entry. The biggest BIOTCH was the PITCH.

I felt like I was giving birth. Between the borderline anxiety attack and all the suggestions, I hope and pray I came up with a winning entry.

We certainly all will be waiting with bated breath for the results on February 24th.


Choose you favorite all time top ten songs. Talk about an anxiety attack. How on earth could a person pick only ten songs that mean so much to you. I have HUNDREDS!

My top ten songs have all brought some kind of special meaning to me. I could never choose them in order so here they in no particular order.

Madonna ..... There are countless number of her songs I love, but one makes me crazy ....         FEVER

The Jets .....   I am a sucker for a good love ballad and this is one of my favorites ....   ALL OVER HIM

Breathe ....     An awesome Brit group who I loved and just faded away ......     HANDS TO HEAVEN

Dixie Midnight Riders .... I love the feel good words and melody of this song..       COME ON EILEEN

Mariah Carey ... I had just bought my first Aiwa CD mini stereo in 1990 for a whopping $750.00 INSANE. This CD was Mariah's first hit. I played this song TO DEATH ...           VISION OF LOVE

Donna Summer ....  This great song brought great dance music back in the early 90's  WHEN LOVE TAKES OVER YOU

Nsync ....    This boy band made the 80's the 80's! How could not love ..... TEARING UP MY HEART

Swing Out Sister ..... Another great group that disappeared after their second album ....   BREAKOUT

Debbie Gibson .... yes, your reading right. Cheezy but oh so sweet .....                             LOST IN YOUR EYES

Mariah Carey ..... once again made my top ten. Christmas would not be Christmas without  ...... ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU.

Well those are my top ten. I'm sure I surprised a lot of you, but I have varied taste in music. I can't wait to see your favorites. Don't forget to visit everyone on Alex's VERY extensive list.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Hi all,

After yet another 16 hour grueling day of edits, I finally finished my novel. YAY!  One more quick run through and I will be ready to post for ABNA tomorrow.

I still need to put together the PITCH. Anyone that has ever written a query should be getting nauseous right about now. I know I am.

This is the all important round. No matter how fantastic your novel is, it will never be read unless you can sell the pitch/query.

There are so many philosophies on the perfect pitch/query. If I had the magic formula for it I'd be a multi-billionaire. But since I don't "curses," I have to sweat it out just like everyone else.

One piece of advice:

Sell your story.

Make your pitch/query all about your mc and plot. Don't bog it down with useless words. Keep it crisp and concise. Make the reader WANT more. Let them lose sleep over it. Let them wonder. Let them want to give you that coveted contract.

Well friends, I'm off to format, fine tune, and write my pitch. Have a great Sunday.

AND as always, thank you for the cheers and support. You're the best!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Happy Saturday everyone.

This will be a very quick post today.

First, I'd like to thank Nicki at for two awards.... The Stylish Blog award and Making Smiles on Faces award. Visit Nicki fun and upbeat posts. She has awesome energy and she is the sweetest!

Next I'd like to thank Marieke at  She is kind enough to share her You make me smile award with her followers. How kind and generous of her. Do hop over to her blog and say hi.

Next week when things are much calmer I will catch up with handing these babies out ...

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After yesterday's glitch, I am happy to say it is going well.

Jodi, you are so sweet coming to my rescue.

Erica, I always appreciate your eagle eyes.

Roland, your kindness and friendship never waves.

Christy, your support means a great deal.

Thank you guys, it means everything to me.

Editing takes time but it's a no brainer. Thanks for all the cheers blogging buddies. I have another full day of edits, but I will persevere.

Have a great weekend everyone! Remember ABNA is only TWO days away.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Last night I received the my critique from a fabulous blogger and friend Hart Johnson of "Tart" fame. Visit her blog you will love her... everybody does!

To my delight she enjoyed my five thousand word excerpt. She commented on the strong characters and the believable circumstance between Aidan and his psychotic dad. She even dislikes Aidan.

Everything I wrote accomplished what it set out to do. I was on top of the world until.... the axe hit.

A huge technical flaw: I flipped my tenses! NOOOOOO!

Unfortunately, yes. Of course I freaked. Only three days away from submitting to ABNA. Thousands of tenses need to be corrected.

Don't let this happen to you.

My first two novels I wrote in third person. I never had issues with tense. THE BLINDED GARDENER is in first person. Since I have never written in first person before I fell into this trap.

According to my wonderful friend, Hart, this can happen when you make the switch. Thankfully she caught this. But now I am more crazed than ever going through 57000 plus words to fix this mess. I had spent hours last night and today editing... Hence, the late post.

I am only on page 56 of my 225 page novel. I really need all of you cheers and support now more that ever!

So DON'T let tenses ruin your novel. Make sure the correct tenses are consistent throughout,  or you can be going crazy like me.

I've got to get back to editing. Everyone, please forgive me. I might not be able to visit you this weekend. This annoys me so much. It is the highlight of my day to visiting all of you.


Thursday, January 20, 2011


Day three of editing reminds of the next step in the editing process.

After you finish taking care of the grammar and punctation nightmares, you are now left with scanning your ms for the infamous pot holes.

Beware! This can ruin a fantastic story. As your read through your first edit look for these in your ms. Make sure you round off every plot twist and thread. Of course, we all love the cliff hanger, but make sure you follow it though in your story. Only leave a few questions unanswered by the end of your book.

You want your readers to crave for more, but you don't want them upset and frustrated. If you leave too many unanswered questions, they will be.

Now for the cliffhanger... Oh, man do I love a good cliffhanger. We all want to write a book where the reader is so tired by the end of a chapter ten they still must turn that page! Make them loose a few extra hours of sleep. Make your story worth it.

Each chapter should end with tension and intrigue. Build it up so the reader's curiosity wills them to go on to the next chapter.

If you manage to create this in your writing, your novel will be on everyone's reading list. Remember this is what we are all striving to achieve. The choices are endless. Write a novel that will catapult yours above the other thousands of books out there.

Good luck as you edit. I hope this helps you in your editing process. I am off to finish my final fifty pages of editing.

Thanks for all your support and cheers. I should make my goal and have a strong contender for ABNA.

Tomorrow I'll have some suggestions for that final polish on your ms. Until then have a great day!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I am on my third day of editing THE BLINDED GARDENER and it is going well. I have five chapters done and I should be able to do another five today. I am determined to finish the first round of editing by tomorrow night ... Keep those cheers coming friends.

With less than a week to ABNA I have lots to polish. Here are few more things to look for when editing your manuscript.

Name tags .... they also can be a writer's nemesis. Too many "he saids" or "she saids" can really bog up your ms with unnecessary words. Only and I mean only use them when you want to break up a long dialogue sequence OR when a character in dialogue needs to be clarified, usually when there is more than two people in a scene.

So watch out for those dreaded name tags. I had so many in my first novel ... no wonder I had to cut 60,000 words out of it, I bet half were name tags.

Something else to look out for are too many adjectives. I have the tendency to sting two or more together in a sentence.

"The tall, dark, raven-haired beauty..." You get the picture. This could slow down your readers. Each sentence should be balanced and crisp. Don't bog down you writing with useless description.

Another sand trap to avoid. TOO MUCH description.

Don't get me wrong. I am the KING of description. I can go on and on  about how beautiful the cascading tendrils of the Weeping Willow tree looks. But does the reader?

Keep description to a minimal. If you do, when the time comes for some gorgeous descriptive prose the reader will lap it up. Readers do get bored with action, action, action.

Writing is all about the balance. When the prose has a perfect balance of descriptive prose, dialogue, and action, you'll have a great story.

This leads into my final tip: Watch out for too much dialogue. This can also be tedious to read. Pages of dialogue can drive your reader crazy.

One of my critique partners went nuts on me about having too much dialogue. "This is a novel not a screenplay!"

So make sure you have a minimal of 50/50 prose/dialogue. Keep the prose at a higher level if you can. Again ... it's all about the balance.

Have a great day everyone. I hope these suggestions help with your editing. It's time for me to start mine.

Wish me luck.

Your blogging buddy,


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


It always amazes me how involved the editing process is. How do you start? Do you first search for holes in the plot? Or, do you look for grammar and punctuation first?

I guess it is personal preference, but for me I alway start with the grammar and punctuation. Get the nasty stuff out of your ms first! You will be flabbergasted when you do that "ly" search and find hundreds of adverbs.

"There couldn't possible be that many!" You shriek.

Yes, there are. They sneak up on you in the middle of the night without you even aware. That is why this search is a MUST.

Next let's get rid of those pesky "Thats". It's always a jaw-dropping experience to find them littered all through your ms.

Recently I read in a post about the another one of these pests ... the "IT" factor. How do you avoid this one. I haven't a clue! I used the word "it"  so much it scared me. So watch out for those IT's, they aren't popular.

Now, how about those wordy sentences. I learned from my good friend Erica, from erica and christy, to ECONOMIZE! And I don't mean stretching a dollar. My first novel ended up at 125,000 words for a y/a fantasy. HA! It now reads at 68,000 ... talk about too much of  EVERYTHING. This was the editing job from hell and took me over a year.

Look ar your sentences.... Do they flow? Are they crisp and do they sing? This is what we want to accomplish.

And now for the last and very common overage .... drum roll please .... Ellipses and Em dashes. How many do you have? These lovely little creature excite us in our dialogue. They are so much fun to use, we can go nuts with them. DON'T! They should used like any accessory. LESS IS MORE!

AH! I just remembered another, the exclamation! Another one to look out for and us use with caution.

So if you are editing, watch out for all these danger zones. Rake through you ms with a fine took comb.

Tomorrow I'll have a few other dangerous words that plague our ms's.

I'm off to editing.  Have a great day everyone.

Monday, January 17, 2011


                  You can't get more happy that this!                                                     


Saturday, January 15, 2011


Thanks all for the cheers yesterday. Joanna you made me laugh so hard visualizing you shaking your floral pompoms.

Yesterday was a crazy day and I only wrote a thousand words. I plan to spend all day to finish. I did stop on a few blogs earlier and left comments, but for the weekend I really need to concentrate on finishing up the end. I'm almost there ... I think.

I know you all understand and you've been great with all the cheers and words of support.

This weekend Misty Waters is holding a fantastic Show and Tell blogfest which I am so bummed I can't do.... just not enough time! I've skimmed over a few entries and they look awesome, so go check it out on her blog for the list of entries.... I wish I could!

I hope everyone has wonderful weekend... Enjoy. I will try to drop by when I need a break or some air.

Friday, January 14, 2011


This arrangement is a bit too tall for my teapot.

Although it's twenty degrees with a ten degree wind chill in Chicago, I decided we all need touch of spring. How do we do that, you ask?

Through flowers.

Fresh cut flowers can soothe the soul. (Yes, it's  a mini design tip.)

You will be smiling the moment you put them in your favorite vase or like me, if you want to be a bit more daring in a TEAPOT....

Many of you had visited my blog during Jen and Melissa's blogfest and commented on how beautiful the roses looked in, yes, the teapot.

Just imagine how expensive this unique arrangement would cost through Teleflora or FTD.

SO while you are out running around in the snow, stop off at your local grocery store or private shopping club , everyone has a Wholefoods, Costco or BJ'S .... they have stunning flowers. Jewel if you're in the midwest. Publix in Florida, Groger, in Atlanta, C foods in NY, Smiths in Vegas,  etc. If you're wondering, yes, I lived in all these places and then some.

They could be any flowers of your choice. You can even purchase a living plant. I actually have a blooming azalea in my living room right now.... Mother nature is amazing.

When at home think of a fun container to put them in. Something you would never think of using for flowers.... be creative. Spring is in the air!

Next, arrange them to your liking and place them in a place where you will see them to enjoy. On your writing desk, kitchen/dining table, entry/foyer, living room, family room, even bedroom if you spend a lot of time there. If you feel really SPRINGY make more than one!

Well everyone, give yourself a mid winter lift with a touch of spring! Let me here about your creative ways to add a touch of spring on a long winter's day.

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Now on a more writerly note, I did this quick post because I needed a touch of spring and a break from my WIP ... HOWEVER ... I did achieve my goal of 50,000 words ..... But as of yet I need a few more thousand to wrap up the ending. So now I will go an write. Thanks everyone for all your cheers and support. I can use a few more to finish....

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I had to take a break from the endless hours of writing. How are you all doing today? Fine, I hope. Well thanks to all of your encouraging words I am down to the final chapters of my WIP. I'm only a few thousand words from target goal, but I might have to add a few more thousand to round the story off with a bang.

Several people have commented about ABNA so I thought I would repost my original Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards to inform those who haven't read the first one I posted a few weeks ago.

But before that, I would like to welcome some wonderful bloggers who recently visited and became friends. Thanks for following, I hope you'll leave my blog with something happy and positive.


Frankie, Casey, Margo B., Dan, Margo K., Florence, Misty, Mohnoutka, Tony, Dani, Stephen, and my newest follower, Jennifer. I am thrilled to meet all of you and hope to see you here often.

Now for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. JAN. 24th Mark that day on your calendar. I kept the original post just in case you'd like to read about my experience. If not, feel free to scroll down to the pertinent information.

Now it's time for me to get back to writing ....

Good day fellow bloggers. Today I am going to inform you about the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards: affectionately known as the ABNA.

Last year I was introduced to this amazing writing contest by a friend. I had just finished what I thought was a polished manuscript. A 125,560 word Y/A fantasy. Needless to say I spend over a year to really polishing my novel. A WILLOW'S TALE is now at a slim 68,000 words.

Before I tell you about the contest itself. I would first like to tell you how this contest launched me into the writing world.

It began with the entry. After finding out I made it through the first/pitch round, I was flying high. I began to visit the threads, eventually commenting. At first my comments amounted to nothing. Many of the contestants knew each other from previous years and chatted back and forth with each other. While waiting for the second round announcements, I managed to be heard here and there. Even though I wasn't "in" the group, I still enjoyed being in the thick of things.

On one faithful day I had the courage to start a thread. I had just received my critiques from my excerpt. And asked the community for some feedback. I was upset because one of the reviewers called my writing amateur. In the thread someone commented that I didn't add to the conversation and then it happened.

Erica from erica and christy came to my rescue. Thank you Erica!  Kind, supportive, and boisterous, Erica told them what of .... that the reviewer never should have wrote that, and theoretically we were all amateurs until we were published.

Eventually she and a few other kind souls helped me with what later became a major edit and restructure. Months of twelve hour days it took to pull my novel together. So you see, this is where it all began.
Erica then joined Christy and created there wonderful blog erica and christy I began to follow the blog world and three months ago I created In Time ...

Now for the contest .....

As you might have guessed it is sponsored by Amazon and Penguin Group and Create a Space. This is their fourth year running it. There are two grand prizes, one for Adult Fiction the other for Young Adult Fiction. The winners receive a $15,000.00 dollar advance and a publishing contract with Penguin. The contest is open to unpublished novels. Yes, self published authors can enter.

Open submissions for manuscripts begin on January 24th, 2011 and run through February 6th, 2011.  They take the first 5000 received in each category. And you must register with Create a Space ... it costs nothing to register. Manuscripts can be from 50,000 to 150,000 words

What you need to submit is a pitch: max-300 words. An excerpt up to 5000 words. Personal information on entry form. And of course, the manuscript itself. There are specific and there are a lot of do's and don'ts. Expect to put in some time. It is well worth your effort. Here is the link to the rules.

After submission the waiting game begins. You wait to see if you make the first cut. Everyone's on the forums relieving their stress and anxieties. You will meet some fantastic people. Threads run like fire, so don't be intimidated. If you feel like participating do it! Eventually you will find your niche.

Here are the dates and phases in the contest.

Submission: Jan. 24- Feb. 6

First round: Feb.7 - Feb 22 ... They read the pitch and select the top 1000 entries in each category.

Second round: Feb. 24 - March 13 Reviewing and judging of excerpts.

On or about March 22nd excerpts are posted on Amazon for everyone, yes everyone ... your friends included, to read and score. Top 250 make the quarter finals. Not the easiest thing to do....

Quarter finals are judged between March 22nd and April 25th ... the full manuscript. Top 50 in each category advance to Semi finalists.

If you are lucky enough to make it this far you advance to Finalist. On or about May 16th you will be notified. Only 3 from each category. Finalist are flown to the host city and judged.

In June the winner is announced.

Well that's the Reader's Digest version everyone. I highly recommend it to all of you that have polished manuscript. It doesn't have to be perfect, but if you want to win, I suggest your perfect it.

This contest is excellent for getting your work seen by our community as well as the publishing community. So take advantage of this amazing opportunity.

Good luck and please let me know if you plan on joining me in the contest! I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

STYLISH BLOG AWARD.... Thank you, Quinn!

Today is another cold day in Chicago, but it always warms me when I receive an award. I would like to thank Quinn from seeing, dreaming ... writing. If you're not familiar with Quinn you should be, he writes edgy posts that make you think. Visit him @

As always these awards come with all kinds of fun rules, however I am at the final stages of  THE BLINDED GARDENER and I only have two weeks before ABNA so as you can well imagine I'm crazy/busy. I'm down to my last 5000 words, but  I might need a few thousand more.... I'll keep you posted,

You do know I find some time to blog and after the 24th, I'll catch up and send out awards and relay some fun facts about me. Until then, thank you all for the kind words, support, and especially your cheers.

A special thanks to The Words Crafter, Golden Eagle, and Roland for their daily cheers. I appreciate it so much. You're the best!

I would also like to welcome my new followers. I will try my hardest to keep you entertained and informed.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Always your humble friend,


Monday, January 10, 2011

INTERVIEW WITH MADEMOISELLE MISSIE KERSTEN from N.R. Williams - The Treasures of Carmelidrium

Welcome everyone. 
I am thrilled to be interviewing the talented Mademoiselle Missie Kersten live in Gil-Lael. Our readers are fascinated by your story Mademoiselle, as am I.
I would like to start the interview a few background questions if I may?
M. Kersten: Of course you may.
Q. How long have you been studying the flute?
M. Kersten: Since I was six years old. A friend brought their flute to the house and while my mother was talking with her I picked it up and started to play. Both my mother and her friend were determined to get me flute lessons after that.
Q. Why did you choose to study at the University of Colorado? I’m certain that a person of your talent could have chosen any school, including Juilliard in New York.
M. Kersten: Yes, I could have gone to Juilliard, however, Colorado is my home and the University of Colorado has an excellent music program and, they have Professor Cloche. It was an easy choice to be honest.
Q. Mademoiselle Kersten, when you first stumbled into Gil-Lael, what did you think?
M. Kersten: I didn’t know what to think. It was morning, I left L'Amérique at night. Then, the state that I come from, Colorado, doesn’t have giant redwoods and I got confused by that thinking that somehow I was in California.
Q. What happened when you first met the unicorn in Gil-Lael?
M. Kersten: I thought he was a horse at first. When I noticed the horn I was shocked. I mean, wouldn't you be. Then he started talking to me. I looked around but didn't see anyone else and the whole thing took place telepathically. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't resist the unicorns influenced. When I touched him, I heard such beautiful music and when he left I could speak French. I didn't care for his warning though. That my music would heal all but the one, and he would be destroyed. I am an advocate of none violence to resolve problems.
Q. What did you think of Prince Healden? It is pronounced with a silent “a” like Hel-don? Is that correct?
M. Kersten: Yes, that’s right. What can I say; he’s a wonderful guy, charming, good looking, but still a prince. He has surprised me on many occasions with both his compassion and generosity. But I wasn’t born yesterday; I know that the common people don’t mingle with royalty. 
Q. I heard you had a run in with the symberveen? Mademoiselle are you all right? You look shaken.
M. Kersten: Yes, I'm fine. I don’t remember much about them except for the nightmares that intruded on my mind. I was awake and kept seeing distorted images. I’m really glad that His Highness, Prince Healden, was close by to rescue me. We don’t have symberveen in L'Amérique. 
Q. I’ve been told that your music heals like that of Princess Lysandra from the legend of old. 
M. Kersten: I’ve been told the same thing. But who can believe that? Still, whenever I play, there is an elusive something that lingers and lifts my spirits. Very strange. I don’t understand it.
Q. There is a legend about a fair haired people that invaded Gil-Lael over 1400 years ago. You resemble them. What can you say in your defense?
M. Kersten: My ancestors came from Norway. The Vikings, who are the people of this legend, also came from Norway. It doesn’t surprise me that I resemble them. Your legend is very similar to our historical accounts. But there isn’t such a thing as an “evil eye,” as Sigowia’s song implies. He is the prince's minstrel. I can’t turn anyone into stone and I wouldn’t want to. I am a modern American, not an ancient Viking. 
Q. What are your personal goals?
M. Kersten: That’s simple. I want to get home of course. I am two months away from graduation. I can’t help defeat this evil guy in the north. I mean, think about it. I play my flute to entertain people, and I guess here in Gil-Lael there is a great healing benefit that comes with it too. No, I want to go home.
Q. I have heard some say that you have noticed a difference when you play your flute. Doesn’t that make you consider the possibilities that Gil-Lael has to offer you as apposed to L'Amérique?
M. Kersten: I admit. I am mystified over the whole thing. I also am attached to certain people I’ve met here in Gil-Lael. But home is still home.
Q. By attached, you mean His Highness, Prince Healden?
M. Kersten: He’s a great guy…so yes. But don’t tell anyone.
You are too charming Mademoiselle. What a fascinating interview. Thank you so much. My readers will be most intrigued by you my dear.

Thank you so much for stopping today. Please leave comments and your email address to be placed in the drawing. Nancy is kind enough to be giving away three e-books on kindle.
There is also a special from now until July to order your copy at Amazon for only $2.99.
I had the pleasure of reading this wonderful story and it is a fantastic read. 
Be sure to blog hop to the many other bloggers who will be featuring a different interview for the next few weeks. Scroll down a few posts for the schedule or hop over to Nancy’s blog @
Notes from the author: 
Thanks everyone for dropping in to read this blog tour post. Michael has more information for you. Please leave any questions you may have. I’ll be back all day to answer them.
N. R. Williams (Nancy)

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I would also like to thank everyone who commented on my excerpt and left words of encouragement. I hit the 40,000 word mark last night. I'm on the final stretch. So keep those good vibes coming my way. You're the best.

If you'd like to read an excerpt from THE BLINDED GARDENER, please scroll down to next post.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Hello my blogging friends. First, I would like to thank you for your encouragement. For those of you who don't know I am currently in the process finishing the remainder of my WIP. 

THE BLINDED GARDENER is a Y/A contemporary. This is the first time I have written in this genre. The subject came to me in a dream. I decided to do a few pages and entered them in Tessa's Outside of the box blogfest.

Many of you had liked the edginess and realistic feel of the beginning, so I decided to turn it into a novel. I am hoping to enter it in the ABNA contest in just a few short weeks. Thankfully I am down to the last 14000 words. It has been a tough go and I am now in the final stretch. Please send out good feelings to me so that I can finish and still have time to edit. We are a wonderful community and your support means everything to me.

I would like to leave an excerpt and would appreciate your comments. Thanks again and good luck to the other contestants who plan to enter ABNA.

Here it is for your approval another page from my current WIP. Please realize that this is a FICTIONAL, hard edge story full of disturbing incidents. Those of you who are sensitive to physical and mental abuse please do not read this excerpt.

Within fifteen minutes, I pulled into the driveway. Dad rented a three bedroom vintage colonial for us. Mom split a few years prior. She wanted to take me with her, but Dad’s threats frightened her. After twenty years of abuse, she had enough battle scars to know he meant it. I still had until the end of the school year before my escape. 
I made a deal with the devil to hang with him until then. One thing I can say about him, he kept his word. Good or bad he carved his word in stone. Nothing changed it. I could thank the military for that. But for nothing else.
Grabbing my backpack, I raced up the front stairs two at a time. I pulled my keys out of my front jeans pocket. 
The keys fell out of my hands, crashing hard on the cold cement. “Shit!”
I scooped up the keys fumbling for the right one. “Got it.”
No sooner had I put the key in the door and it flung open. A strong hand gripped my arm pulling me into the living room. 
“Dad, I can explain —”
“Save it!” He shoved me against the wall. His rancid breath tearing my eyes. “What did I tell you about coming home on time?” 
“I know Sir, but —”
“Why do you disobey me?" His dark eyes bulged out of their sockets.
I waited for the blow.
Nine more months. Hang on Aidan. It’s just nine more months. Gingerly I picked myself off the floor. I heard my breathing, raspy and short. Another cracked rib. It’s not the first, but I hope it’s the last.
“Tough it up you pussy.” He picked up his glass from the coffee table, swirled the ice around, and took a sip. “I got a hell of a lot worse from my father.” He glared at me. “Get out of my sight.”