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...