New Project

 My YA paranormal romance, Soul Purpose is on submission right now.  I have a fabulous agent who believes in the work.  Hopefully, it will catch the eye of just the right editor.  

Meanwhile, I'm working on several new projects.  I have a middle grade mystery/suspense working  in addition to a children's non-fiction and two adult paranormals.  

My primary blog can be found here:

Who Am I?

I am a writer in Houston, Texas.

My young adult paranormal romance, SOUL PURPOSE, is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Lenzi who discovers she has the ability to interact with ghosts and help them find resolution to the problems that keep them earth-bound. She finds out that she has done this for many lifetimes with her Protector, Alden.

The problem is, Lenzi has past-life amnesia and doesn't remember any of it, including Alden, who shows up acting like they are best friends or maybe lovers.

A full description of my novel is on my website, I can also be found on MySpace and Facebook. The sites can be accessed through my links on the left side of this page.

I love to meet other writers and book lovers. Please feel free to contact me.


Hearing Voices - Therapy Needed?

Ah. Another post in the QueryTracker blog chain.

The topic this time is: Where do you get your ideas?

I am an auditory person. My concepts almost always begin with dialogue.

Yep, I hear voices in my head.

I’m sure my fellow blogger, Archetype, will lift an eyebrow at that confession, but I hear chunks of dialogue. You can get me on the analysts couch later, Archy. I’m long overdue.

THE INTERCESSOR (my paranormal YA) began as an argument in my head—a furious disagreement over a physical violation.

I’ve always wished (in moments good and bad) that I could put myself in someone else’s body to see situations from their point of view. That idea turned into dialogue that would result if that could happen against someone’s will. The female protagonist is completely freaks out when another character puts his soul in her body. I began writing the book there, in what turned out to be Chapter 4: Show and Tell. The characters were so fully developed by the end of the argument, I was comfortable writing the beginning of the novel.

I wanted to center the story around a natural disaster, and since I live in Texas, the Great Storm of 1900 came to mind. One of my sweet beta-readers for my first novel had emailed me that she had to read an awful book as required reading for school. I volunteered to read it with her to take the sting out. It turned out to be a magnificent, narrative non-fiction called ISAAC'S STORM. Guess what it was about? Yep—the Great Storm of 1900. Took that as a sign of some kind and went with it.

As far as plot, if fell into place because of a couple of songs. Yes, auditory again. “Fix You,” by Coldplay gave me the idea to have the female protagonist’s life-mate commit to “fixing” her past-life amnesia and self-destructive attitude.

Another song, “Death Already Came and Got Me,” by Rosie Thomas put the other pieces in place. Coming from a broken home and a circle of undesirable, drug-using friends, the female protagonist would be resistant to any positive influence from the male protagonist.

I can't, I can't stop crying
Everyday I'm so afraid
Afraid of dying
Death already came and got me
Cause I'm not living...
I'm not living anyway...

And who am I supposed to be?
Everybody seems to see except for me
Who cares anyway...
Cause when it's over,
It's all over, and what you gain you throw away.

When will love ever find me?
All my life all I've craved is to be seen
Who cares anyway...
Cause when it's over,
All that matters is the love you gave away.

Throw in a few ghosts, an exorcism or two, and voila!

Yeah, Archetype, I’ll call for an appointment. The voices drive me nuts sometimes.

Wishing everyone a happy week.

The bloggers in this chain are here:

QT blogger 1: Kate Quinn
QT blogger 2: Archetype
QT blogger 3: Elena Johnson
QT blogger 4: Leah Clifford
QT blogger 5: H.L. Dyer

(no subject)

Today is my anniversary.

I've been married to the most wonderful man in the world for 14 years. If someone had asked before I met Laine, what my life would be like, I would never have imagined a life as blessed, peaceful, and fulfilling as mine is today.

Thanks, Laine, for making my life so beautiful. Happy anniversary.


The YA Stigma

This is my second post in the QT blog chain. The first is below under the title, Bogging Down the Blog.

The topic this time around is genres. My preceding "QT Blog Chainer," H.L. Dyer, posted a beautiful and informative entry, which can be found here: QT blogger 5

I am going to post about literary discrimination, which isn't a real hot point for me, but has lots of authors ruffled.

As in all things, there is a hierarchy in the publishing world. A perceived hierarchy, I am told, not a real one. Ah, but perception is everything, right?

I have friends who write YA and have had successful publications with big houses and small. When I discuss the stigma associated with YA with these authors, I find polar opposite reactions. Either they are outraged by the fact YA is considered a "lesser" genre, or they just don't give a rat's rear end what people think.

I find myself in the middle. I've never been one to worry about my image, which is what seems to fuel a great deal of the debate. Instead, I am sad that just as with every other form of discrimination, the negative image comes from the past history of the genre, or from ignorance. When I run across a YA phobe, I usually find they have read FOREVER, HARRY POTTER, and TWILIGHT and nothing else. Sometimes they have picked up a GOSSIP GIRL novel (God help us) and are basing their opinion on that.

Here's my take: The YA genre is ever changing to reflect the interests of the readership. It is stretching and growing every season. The sky is the limit. Gone are the old days of formulatic YA novels. Pick up Cassandra Clare's MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series, Libba Bray's A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY, or Melissa Marr's WICKED LOVELY and you will see what I mean.

I love writing for teens. I am not writing for any other reason than that. I love what I do.

Yes, I write other genres. I'm working on a legal thriller and a paranormal romance (Wanna talk discrimination? Let's talk romance, which sells more books annually than most of the other genres put together), but young adult is my true love. Raw, fast paced, edgy and inventive. Writing YA is like riding a roller coaster. Wheeeeee!

Here is an article from the NY Times I enjoyed:

I'm YA and I'm OK - NY Times

My point is, as with all forms of discrimination, it is usually based on limited information or agenda driven. My solution? Write what you love, surround yourself with supportive people, and drop the chip on your shoulder. If you write YA, and are troubled by the stigma of writing "lesser" genre, you should probably write something else or find a way to override the negativity. All this whining and moaning is bringing me down! *wink, grin*

Wishing everybody a great week!

The next in the chain is the lovely Kate Quinn: QT blogger 1

Bogging Down the Blog

I have fallen in love with a writers' resource called Query Tracker.

The primary function of Query Tracker is to help writers research literary agencies and find the agent that is best suited for their book. There is a forum on Query Tracker where writers can meet up and discuss projects and critique one another's work. One of the writers decided it would be fun to start a blog chain, and I joined in. Little did they know that I would BOG DOWN THE BLOG!

All the others posted right on time, and I appear to be three days late to the party. Sigh. This is a good segue into my writing method-which is the first topic in the blog chain.

The other writers' previous posts on this topic are in this order:
QT blogger 1 QT blogger 2 QT blogger 3 QT blogger 4 QT blogger 5

My tardiness on this blog is an excellent segue because it is an anomaly for me. I have a get it done yesterday approach to my writing. I've always had a tendency, no matter the activity, to just make things happen. I try to instill this philosophy in my students and children too. You can do anything in this world if you want it bad enough and get it done.

I treat writing as a job. I write ten to twelve hours a day until the first draft is finished. A few times I've written in excess of eighteen hours because things were moving along so well.

I reduce the hours to four or five when I am revising because I get burned out faster. I edit in hour-long chunks so that I can stay focused. Additionally, I need to catch up on the things I neglected during the writing phase--like husband, kids, pets... all trivial, I know, when compared to the manuscript, but they tend to stick around if you pay attention to them, and I've gotten sort of attached.

This binge approach to writing doesn't work for most people. If you read the other posts in our blog chain, you will find descriptions of each writer's distinct method that works for her. Elena's approach of 1000 words a day is amazing to me. I wish I could be so consistent. I'm an all or nothing kind of person.

The mechanics?

I take notes in a small journal I carry with me everywhere. I hear dialogue in my head in the most inopportune places. The journal has come in handy -- like a toddler's security blanket.

I do all my writing at the computer. The journal is only for notes. No handwritten composition, which is a good thing: I can't read my own handwriting! I do not usually outline. My most recent project is a sequel to my represented YA novel, so I had to outline in order to keep this second book in the series consistent with the first one and on track for the third book. In other words, I'm trying to keep the story under control to some degree to prevent plot inconsistencies.

The sequel is completely outlined. Each color represents a type of plot element. Entries in black ink mark the end of each day so that I don't mess up the time line. Red denotes battles, attacks, or acts of violence, green entries are actions taken to avoid or counteract the red ones, and purple entries are steps in the progression of the relationship of the protagonists. Ah, purple, the color of passion!

After the rough draft is finished, I revise it to the point it is no longer embarrassing, and I bounce it off of my beta-readers. Because I teach acting to teens, I have a large group of teen readers willing to read my projects. They are all in the readership age range for young adult fiction, which I believe is crucial. I think a writer should have people they don't know in their projected readership read their novel. Husbands, friends, and family will not tell the truth. Too much is at stake, like harmony at home! "Oh, yes, Dear. It is wonderful!" is not helpful.

The manuscript then goes through too many edits to fathom. I even have my teen beta-readers edit. Here is an example of the constructive comments made by a teen for a chapter entitled, "Sixteen."

Now, none of your friends, critique partners or agents have ever given you an edit like that, have they? I love teens!

Or even better, MY edits, which often look like the image below. I chose this one because it is G-rated. I often write reasons for the dreaded blue X, and they are typically for more mature audiences. This is a family blog.

I've had a blast reading my blog partners' entries. Everyone approaches the writing process from a completely different angle. The only common thread I find among successful writers is they never stop writing and they write because they enjoy writing.

I write because I love it.

Please check out the next in the blog chain series here: QT blogger 1

See ya next week!

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The impending doom of the dreaded blog chain.

Okey Dokey. So I've taken on something new. A group of writers from Query Tracker have decided to post a blog chain.

Blog chain...

I'm beginning to think I'm too old to learn new tricks. I felt like I'd finished a marathon when I figured out how this site worked in the first place.

Blog chain?

Then, to make it worse, I'm going to have to figure out how to link to their blogs. Ugh. I'm so clueless. Just to top it off, they are fast. I' thought I'd have a couple of weeks to procrastinate before I had to post, but NO. These writers have made it through in less than a week. Sigh. Old dog, new tricks. I've been told that can't be done. We'll see.