New Look, New Plan


Those of you who frequent my blog (anybody?) will notice it looks different. I switched blog platforms on you! I’m going to miss the simpleness of the other website (and the beautiful template), but I’m preparing for bigger things and will eventually need more functionality than the other site offers. Who knows, maybe I’ll actually understand how to work this thing in a couple of years? (and not want to hurl my computer into the wall every time I try something new)

Also, I’m excited to tell you I’m integrating my love for photography a lot more into the blog. Still figuring out the details, but today, I’m announcing what will become a regular feature: Picture Writing Prompts! In an upcoming post, I will offer suggestions on how to get the most out of each photo prompt. In the mean time, let the photo above inspire your writing!

In writing-related news, I’m traveling down to L.A. this weekend for a conference hosted by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. The faculty and classes seem fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to making more writer friends. I’m even going out clothes shopping (not exactly my favorite) tonight in preparation! Wish me luck on this daunting quest. (the shopping, that is)

And for those of you who are new to my site: a warm welcome! I hope reading a few of my previous posts and the promise of future Picture Writing Prompts will entice you to return often.

Until next week…Write On!

What’s Up?

Asilomar: the perfect spot for a Writers' Conference!

Asilomar: the perfect spot for a Writers’ Conference!

Yes, it’s been about six months since I posted last. 

Oh, well.

I may not be a diligent blogger, but I haven’t been (completely) idle. A few things I’ve been up to in the past six months:

-I’ve been writing. Shocking, I know. Some months have been intense for me in the writing department, some much less so. I may have more to say in a later post, because I think I may have found a key to writing consistency! (sorry for leaving you hanging)

-One of my magazine articles was published, and a short story accepted for publication. (forthcoming in October) Considering I submit few articles and short stories, I consider this a great success!

-I attended the Golden Gate Conference at Asilomar, hosted by the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Great experience – can’t wait for their Los Angeles conference in August!

-I joined a critique group. I love my group. That said, I may have cried on my way home from one or two of the meetings. Don’t worry – it’s all growing pains.

-I recently returned from a trip to Europe. Once more, I rediscovered the importance of vacation inspiration. My husband and I even left our two kids with my mom for a few days and headed down to Sicily. While there, I researched some things for one of my novels. And ate plenty of gelato! (mmm)

Ok, now that I’ve blatantly disregarded one of the fundamental rules of blogging by making this post only about myself, I turn things over to you.

Consider the past six months of your life. Like me, you may discover that you’ve accomplished more than you thought.

And if you find you haven’t, no worries…I’ll just see you in another six months!

Since you heard from me last…


…I gave birth to a baby boy!! Our new little angel is just over a week old and he is divine. If you follow my blog, you know my doctor put me on bed rest to help prevent preterm labor. Well, after almost two months of minimal physical activity, I hit 37 weeks (considered term) and was actually taken off bed rest again. Yay! I didn’t dance down the street though…nine-month preggo balance + two months of physical inactivity = recipe for disaster. =)Just when I started fearing I would go past my due date (bigger baby, more pain, right!?), the little man decided to come. Very quickly. About four hours from the time I realized I was having real contractions and less than two hours after arriving at the hospital, the nurse placed his slippery little body on mine. Despite being born about a week and a half before his due date, he weighed in at a healthy 7lbs 7oz.

Though I am overjoyed with our new addition, life is…well, life. I can’t decide what has been most challenging these past several days: postpartum pains, sleep deprivation, or my husband’s severe ankle sprain (I had to force him into a wheelchair and push him into labor and delivery – his hobble was just too slow and my contractions were knocking me off my feet).

Anyway, here I am, writing despite being on “maternity leave.” For good or/and ill, the cogs in my brain labeled “writing” are pretty much always turning. I am, however, taking a longer break from more demanding projects – including querying agents about my Young Adult fantasy – to enjoy this new beginning.

That said, I have some fun writing-related news! I recently received my two writer’s copies of the September issue of SHINE brightly, a great magazine created for girls between the ages of nine and fourteen. My story, The Green-Eyed Monster, is about a set of twin girls at war with each other who – with the help of a wise parent –  learn more about the relationship between jealousy and loving one’s neighbor. Just like when they published my story Scarecrow, the editors at SHINE brightly did a fabulous job with editing and layout!

All right, my beautiful readers, time for me to go. My newborn needs some snuggles!

New Year, New Draft

cakeI so deserve a cake right now (not just a piece of cake, mind you, but an entire cake). Unfortunately, the one in the picture got devoured a few years ago…(and it was delicious).

Why do I deserve a cake (an entire one), you might ask?

As it happens, I finished the SECOND draft of my current novel today! Though I’ve finished a few first drafts of novels (three), I have never finished a “real” second draft. By a second draft I mean a draft that’s not only been read through and spell-checked with a few details changed here and there, but one that’s been radically morphed from its original state.

I added, subtracted, divided, and multiplied (who knew there was so much math involved in writing a book?). I fleshed out characters, explored motivations, and tightened the plot. Among other things. All in all, the manuscript is about 27,000 words longer now. To put that in perspective, that’s not too far from half(!) of the first draft’s word count.


Writing a novel is probably one of the hardest things I’ve done. Each time I have been in the throes and woes of writing a novel, I felt sure I would NEVER EVER be able to pull it together and even reach a first draft.

Revising a novel is probably one of the hardest things I’ve done. I know, I already said that about writing a novel. Revising, for me, is just hard in a different way. Mostly, I think, because I never feel DONE. An adjustment here, an adjustment there…it’s enough to drive you insane!

I’ll probably end up doing several more drafts of this novel, by the way. I know I will do at least one or two more when I get feedback from my agent and editor. But before that happens, I just need to get an agent and an editor! =)

In the beginning of this post, I told you I deserve a cake (an entire one). I lied. Instead of receiving a cake, I actually should be baking a cake and giving it to my husband. Without his continual support and encouragement, I would have given up a long time ago. There’s several other people who’ve supported me along the way (the people who provided marvelous feedback on my first draft, for example! HUGE THANKS go out to you!!), so I could be making cake all week. Some of my greatest supporters don’t eat cake, though, so…

Ok, enough with the cake already. This post isn’t really about cake, nor is it about me finishing the second draft of my current novel.

It’s actually about you. Maybe this year you are working on the new, improved draft of yourself.

Don’t give up. Just don’t give up.

That’s all.

Ps. I cried when I read the epilogue of my book…again. I hope my readers will, too (in a good way). Who knows, maybe you’ll cry (in a good way) when you see the new and improved second draft you’ve become!