Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy 2013!

This has been a very busy week. After wrapping up Christmas, relatives, and way too much food, I was excited for some relaxation time. My editor had other plans, which I'm happy to report included my first round of edits! Being a first time published author, I had no idea what to expect, and she did not disappoint. My editor is spectacular! 

Within the span of two days, I've learned all about Track Changes, (thank you You Tube), and I've learned that "towards" really should not be used. And "toward" should really be limited as well.  Surprisingly, I'm not as grammatically correct as I've always thought myself to be, but thankfully my talented editor is.

On top of all this excitement, I am excited to also report that the title of my book will officially be called Cycle 13: Hunted.  Overall, it's been a pretty good New Year's Eve. If this is any sign of what 2013 is going to be like then I say, "Bring it on!"

Happy New Year everyone!  As we head toward 2013 and you're making a resolution, consider this one: Read more in the year 2013.  I can suggest some excellent titles by my friends at Inkspell Publishing! 

(See what I did there?)  LOL  Have fun!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Christmas Wish List

Being a teacher, it seems selfish to think of the holidays in a happy way in light of what happened in Connecticut this past week. My heart goes out to the families of those who will not be celebrating this year. Instead of buying presents, these families will be burying loved ones that were taken from them much too soon. My heart breaks for them. 

This year, I wish that the world would open their hearts to love and friendship. Just today, I was in a store shopping and a woman nearly ran me over with her cart. I apologized for being in her way, even though technically I wasn't. Instead of a smile or a nod, she gave me a dirty look. Tis not the season to be jolly?

I get that we have list upon list of things to do this time of year, but is it too much to ask to spread a little kindness? Patience, tolerance, and a friendly smile go a long way and you never know whose day you might brighten. So this Christmas, smile at a stranger and make eye contact. Yield the right of way to the next person. Thank the cashier and wish them a Merry Christmas. Be kind. Be thoughtful. And most of all, think of others.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Twitter Obsession

I know I usually blog on Sunday nights, but I feel the urge to write today. Mainly it's due to my recent overwhelming obsession with twitter. It's really gotten out of hand...
I created my account a while back, but maybe had ten followers at the time. I rarely went to the site itself, considered it more of my daughter's thing. She was constantly on twitter and frankly I didn't see the attraction. Facebook, with all its quotes, likes, and games was more of a draw for me. Until a few months ago, when I realized that I could reach more people through twitter, did I decide to update my profile on there and figure out how it all worked.
Now I'm still no expert on when to #hashtag and when not to. And I would really like to know how to do an automated message when someone follows me so I can thank them, like many people have done for me. I continue to read other people's posts to try and gain new knowledge on how the whole thing works.  But my obsession occurs with the ME tab. My poor teenage daughter has had to endure daily updates on how many followers have agreed to watch me mindlessly amble my way through the tweeting world. I remember clearly the night I reached 500. I was checking my phone every half hour to watch it reach that milestone. When it finally did, from my bed, I texted my daughter to tell her I had made it to my goal. She kindly texted back,  "You're so cute, Mommy." 

It's time I admit I have a problem.
As of this morning, I have 679 followers. To some of you out there, you're probably scoffing at this blog right now. But to me, that's a pretty large number considering I started with just ten. My goal is to reach 1,000 followers by Christmas.  So if you are reading this blog, and you are a tweeter, by all means feel free to tweet the link...with your help, I know my Christmas wish can be fulfilled.  Happy tweeting!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving and more...

Thanksgiving is this week.  It's probably my most favorite holiday of the year.  Not only is it an excuse to eat whatever you want, however much you can hold until the button on your pants feels like a dagger, it's the kick-off to the Christmas season. 

Now I know what you're thinking...Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for everything you have.  And that's completely true, I totally am.  But let's talk about another event that I'm thankful for, that excites me almost as much as all you can eat turkey...Black Friday shopping!

In our family, Black Friday shopping is a tradition. I can remember being a kid, waking up at 5 a.m. and chasing the freebies.  Back then, Black Friday shopping was all about what the stores were giving away.  We'd get breakfast at the Pic-N-Save for 99 cents and then hit up the stores that were giving away prizes and Christmas cheer. I've continued the tradition into my adult life and can't remember ever skipping a year.  It starts on Thanksgiving morning. We watch the parade and plan our route of attack by looking through the ads from the paper.

Now I have to say that the past couple of years have been a little disappointing.  Stores are opening the night before.  Where's the fun in that?  The whole point of Black Friday shopping is that it happens on Friday. The fun is getting up in the middle of the night and standing in immense lines that wrap around sides of the buildings you didn't even know existed until 4 a.m. with hot chocolate in hand.

But I won't let that stop me. Tradition is tradition. I'll still be out there, seeking out the perfect gifts for my special someones, no matter what time of day (or night) it starts.  So Happy Thanksgiving everyone and happy shopping! Hope to see you out there. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Props to Stephenie

I feel it's necessary to give props to Stephenie Meyer on this weekend prior to her final installment of the motion pictures for her Twilight Saga.  It's no secret that I am probably one of the greatest Twilight fans ever.  My daughter and I have been to countless conventions, met 27 of the stars from the movies---with autographs---and have read all of the books and watched the movies more than I can count on fingers and toes.  To say I'm obsessed is an understatement. 

Standing in line one day at the movie theater, to see something other than Twilight, a little girl from our school walked by and said hello to me.  She was probably in first or second grade and I have always taught fourth grade.  As she passed, holding hands with her mom and dad, I overheard her mom ask who I was.  She boldly stated that I was the Twilight teacher.  If that doesn't make it clear, then perhaps the framed movie posters hanging in my living room would paint a more vivid picture. 

I can't speak for all fans of the series, but I believe the draw for me isn't simply the good looking men. I love the idea of Bella's fantasy life and find myself lost in the world that Stephenie Meyer created. Even the music draws me in...from Carter Burwell to Florence and the Machine. 

So thanks Stephenie Meyer!  You've inspired me to read more and write more. Thanks to you, and a little creativity on my part, I am looking forward to the day I can call myself a published author. 

Monday, November 5, 2012


On my facebook page, people are posting daily thoughts about what they're thankful for.  And while I enjoy seeing everyone's pictures and messages, I decided not to conform and participate. But today, I truly feel the urge to thank my friends.  Let me back up a bit. 

This past weekend my daughter was dancing at a convention in Orlando, The Beat.  It was a fantastic weekend full of laughter, entertainment, and dance education.  After two days of fun, the finale event was set to begin where all of the dancers would perform what they had learned.  I was so excited to see my daughter dance with the choreography from the professionals she'd been working with over the two day stretch, but the "stage" was on the carpet and there were people standing in front of me.  Being in the back, against a wall, I saw some chairs and thought to myself, "Self, you should stand on those chairs, then you can get great pictures and see everything." 

Do you ever have one of those times where you wish you could go back and make a different decision?  Well, this was mine.  As soon as I got up on the chairs, one of them tilted forward and I landed on my foot and rolled my ankle to try and balance myself so I wouldn't hit the floor.  The first thing I'm thankful for is that only one other person saw me fall. 

Needless to say, I can't walk very well today.  I took off work and went to get an x-ray, sure that something in my foot had broken due to all the pain. No. I have a heel spur that is now inflamed due to the fall and extremely painful.  I'm still waiting for the instructions from the doctor as to what to do next, but in the meantime I am very thankful for my friends.

Tonight, a dear friend brought dinner for my daughter and I and another friend, and parent of one of my tutoring students, made us dinner for tomorrow night.  All the love and kind thoughts from my friends has been so sweet.  I truly feel loved. 

So tonight, I am thankful for good friends.  When times are rough, I know I can count on them.  Thank you! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fellow Authors

With all the progress being made on my book, I have to admit it's an odd feeling thinking of myself as a published author, but I'm getting used to it more now.  It's like I've been invited to join this secret world that I knew existed, but like the cool kids at lunch, I never felt I'd fit in.  Now that my foot's in the door, I love talking about my book, making friends with fellow authors on twitter and facebook, and reading up on their adventures as they make their way through the publishing world. 

Before, when I would tell people I was writing a book I'd get the look.  You know, the one that says, "Yeah, right.  Good luck with that."  After getting that a few times too many, I stopped telling people.  If I'm being totally honest, it almost drove me to prove that I could finish.  So I suppose I owe them for "the look." 

Now, after signing my contract with Inkspell, it's amazing the response I get.  People actually want to know what the book is about. My favorite question is, "How long did it take you to write it?"  When I answer three years, I get the "whoas" and "wows". Much better than "the look." 

So to my fellow authors out there, thanks for welcoming me in with open arms.  I hope to meet each and every one of you one day and read all of your books!  Thank you for your support and enthusiasm as my journey begins. 


Sunday, October 21, 2012


Today I felt like a rock star!  All due to a photo shoot for my headshots. 

As I navigate the process of taking my novel through publishing, my goal is to enjoy each and every moment.  Some are naturally more exciting than others, and today was one of those times.  My daughter's dance teacher dabbles in photography and is quite good.  So it was fortuitous for me that she agreed to employ the task of making me appear author-like.  I purchased a new blouse, which for those that know me doesn't happen often, and we met this morning at the scenic and, come to find out, mosquito riddened Sugar Mill Gardens.  Feeling oddly lighthearted, I came out of the shadows and faced the lens that I have so heartily avoided for some time now.  Mirrors and cameras have not been my friends.  (Probably goes back to a little of that self-loathing thing I had going on a few weeks ago.) 

Kristi, the photographer, made me feel very comfortable and I think we got a few good shots in there.  I will know for sure tomorrow.  I'm sure they'll be terrific, especially after editing.  Regardless, I have to say that it was loads of fun. She made me feel like a superstar, which says a lot for her talents. 

So pictures will show up on my website soon...can't wait to see myself. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pre-Edits Done

So I'm feeling very accomplished today.  I have finally finished my pre-edits.  For those of you who are new to this like I am, pre-editing is where you go through your manuscript and fix the little mistakes that you find like changing "cannot" to can't.  Another tedious fix is making sure there is only a single space at the end of each sentence.  I clearly remember back to keyboarding in high school where I was taught to double space before beginning a new sentence, but I suppose with all the new technology of e-books, single spacing is preferred.  As you can see from my blog, I still double space...old dog-new tricks, you get it, right?

After going through the last six or seven chapters of Cycle Thirteen today, I must say I feel pretty lame for my last blog.  My book is pretty darn good, if I say so myself.  I found myself really getting into it and even crying at one point in the story.  Although, if I'm being totally honest, I cry at Publix commercials, so it doesn't take much.  But seriously, I think everyone is really going to like it.  Some things I had actually forgotten about, so it was fun to reread and relive those moments again. 

My next step is to work on the other assignments from the publisher, one of which I am very excited about...the cover design.  I have some ideas, now I just need some time to put them on paper.  Wish me luck!  Until next week...happy reading! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Is it normal to feel like everything you've written for the past few years is crap?  I am in the process of doing my pre-edits and sometimes I read something and I find myself wondering why they picked me.  I'm no stranger to self doubt and low esteem issues, but honestly, as excited as I am about being published, I am also scared to death.  My friends and family will read this.  Don't get me wrong, there's no Fifty Shades references or anything like that.  Judgement is where my fear presides.  Will they like it or will they kindly tell me to my face that it's good but then secretly send private messages throughout Facebook land on how awful a writer I am?  For those of you who are experienced at this, I'm this normal? 

Funny, as I look over what I just wrote, I am reminded of my main character, Skye.  She, too, is in the self-loathing club at times.  Wonder where she gets it from? 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Back to the Book

"I felt faintly aware of what was about to happen. Another person I knew was going to be informed of our supernatural lives. Why didn’t we just rent a banner plane? Seriously."
~One of my favorite quotes from Cycle Thirteen 

For the majority of her life, Skye Kelley's parents have told her to keep her secret hidden.  Even in their own home, her dad whispered when it came to things involving their clandestine lives.  She wanted desperately to be able to confide in someone, to have someone other than Jenny, her diary, to talk to when it came to her life as a uni.  However, when the curtains came down on her play, her world, began spinning in the opposite direction.

Skye's witty sarcasm can be found throughout the book.  She sees the world differently from the rest of us because of who she is.  I can't wait for you to read it and come to love my characters as I do. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I was at a funeral today.  A very close friend of mine lost her father this past week.  The church swelled with love from friends and family members who were there to remember a remarkable man, husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather.  It is times like this that remind us how precious life is. 

I thought about how my life has been up to this moment.  Honestly, no complaints came to mind.  I don't own a house, my bills pile every one else lately, and my car doesn't always work like I would like it to.  But my daughter and I are happy and great things are happening in both of our lives.  Isn't that what matters most? 

So, I arrive home from this sad occasion to find a blog entry on Inkspell Publishing's website welcoming me as a new author.  Yep.  Life is good.  No complaints here. 

My book is being published.  I think I mentioned that before. It still surprises me every time I say it out loud. 

Check it out:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


They say behind every good man is a good woman, but I believe behind every good author is a great cheerleader.  I was fortunate enough to have two.  The first one is beautiful daughter.  She wasn't just an encouraging word or two when I needed it, she taught me about perseverance.  You see, she has been through extraordinary events in her life and has always been a beam of positive shining light in every life she touches.  She lives by the mantra of never giving up.  When I began writing and the self doubt crept in, she took the first few chapters to her middle school and let her friends read them.  It wasn't long before her friends were begging for more to read.  That jolt of confidence encouraged me to continue, so I did.

But the rah-rah's didn't stop with her.  My sister-in-law was a huge contributor to my success and I must publicly thank her for her support.  (No, she didn't put me up to this.)  Sharing her ideas, spending her time reading, weekends spent editing, and countless texts and e-mails...she has done it all.  She is the only person who has read every word of my book and she's done that more than once.  I owe her...bigtime. 

Without these two very special people in my life I'm not sure if I would be where I am today.  So here is a very public THANK YOU to the both of them and to all who have believed in me. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Writing is like having a relationship with words.  Sometimes you're in and sometimes you wish you could run away for a while.  The heart does grow fonder, right?  I'll admit that throughout the course of writing Cycle Thirteen, I took a few breaks.  Some longer than others.  The longest pause between pages was six months.  I was about halfway through my story when I thought I was kidding myself about being a writer, so I gave up.  Feeling as if my story was garbage, I did what a lot of writers do...quit.  It was a flyer that changed my life.  An author nearby was offering classes on how to be a children's author.  I was so there.

I spent the weekend in this author's home learning about writing and publishing and it changed my life.  Overwhelmed with excitement about writing, I made a decision.  Knowing how full my plate already was, I scheduled my "butt in chair" time for 4:30 every morning. I figured the lack in sleep would be worth it one day. 

Now, more than two years later, I can say it was.  All sorts of cliches come to mind about hard work, but nothing compares to the feeling of accomplishment when that work is complete.  Find your inspiration and make it work for you.  You'll never be disappointed in yourself when you know you've aimed for the stars and a little dust has fallen on you. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Idea

Staring at a blank page on a computer screen is torture for a writer.  The moment I decided that I wanted to write a teen paranormal romance, I knew only one thing for couldn't be about vampires and werewolves.  So off to the Internet I went. 

I began researching all sorts of mythical creatures.  I visited our local library and researched there as well.  When all the dust settled, I was left with unicorns.  The dilemma was that I didn't want my book to sound ridiculous and unimaginable.  I had to create a story that people could believe in, but I still wanted that different world feel to it.  After several weeks of research and creativity, my characters began to come to life. 

Meet Skye Kelley.  Skye is a sixteen year old student at Spruce Creek High School.  She enjoys acting and loves her best friend Jules.  Working at Hot Topic in the mall, Skye likes to dress borderline gothic.  It's all part of her guise though because Skye carries a secret that no one outside of her family knows.  Yet a constant reminder is worn around her neck.  Her rose quartz gem holds her hostage to a secret that has tormented her since her eighth birthday.

Meet Mike Evans.  Mike is what most teens would refer to as a prep.  He dresses in Abercrombie and has copper colored coins in his shoes.  On a whim, he and his friends enter Hot Topic one day and Mike finds himself enamored with Skye.  Naturally, Skye blows him off, as she does with all the boys who fall for her.  But Mike doesn't give up easily. 

Follow these two characters in my book, Cycle Thirteen.  Available soon! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Birth of Cycle Thirteen

Cycle Thirteen--My Journey Begins

It has been nearly five years since I began to write my first novel. I guess since I was a little girl I have always loved writing, but never really thought about it as a career option for myself. Knowing that most writers starve, I opted to become a highly paid teacher instead. Insert sarcasm.

Don't misunderstand...I love my life. Working with kids is my calling, or at least that's what I believe. I enjoy it without question. But at the back of my mind I always knew there was something else I wanted to do...needed to do with my life. And that answer came to me in the form of Cycle Thirteen.

I will never forget how it all came about. Technically, one could say I owe Stephenie Meyer for her inspiration. I had finished reading her Twilight series and like so many others, I was in love. But it wasn't just Edward Cullen that piqued my interests, it was reading. You see, before Twilight, I can't remember the last time I picked up a book that wasn't a textbook. After reading about her love for the Austen books and Bronte's Wuthering Heights, I was consumed with a love for reading. So read I did. All of the classics, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Sense and Sensibility, just to name a few. Then I moved on to other young adult series. Some of my favorites were Vampire Diaries, Vampire Academy, and the True Blood series.

Now I know what you're thinking...she's just another Twilight-Vampire-Loving-Old-Mom. Well, admittedly, at first I could have been classified as such. But luckily I digressed and moved on to other genres. Before I left the young adult section of the bookstore though, I realized that this was the genre I was meant to write. All I needed was a great idea...