Friday, September 30, 2016

Cat Food for Lunch

My oldest child has always been a picky eater - always. When he was in pre-school, we had morning trauma if his Pop-Tart was somehow broken. He wouldn't eat the broken one, he didn't want a new one - he wanted the broken one, NOT broken. Like I could somehow magically repair it. He cried, devastated, in that way that makes all moms wish they could wave a magic wand and make everything better.

One of my favorite food moments with him, though, came at the end of a school day. I picked him up at daycare, asked him how his day went, and he burst into tears.

"They tried to make me eat cat food for lunch!"

Of course I tried to reassure him that they would never do such a thing, but he was insistent. "I said I didn't want any, but they made me take a 'thank you' bite!" More tears.

Confused, the following day I asked what they had served for lunch the day before.

Answer: tuna fish!

I know many of you are parents. Have you ever used any of your children's funny, weird, or frightening moments in any of your books?


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

MG Manga - My Daughter's Favorite

Black Butler


Just a stone's throw from London lies the manor house of the illustrious Phantomhive earldom and its master, one Ciel Phantomhive. Earl Phantomhive is a giant in the world of commerce, Queen Victoria's faithful servant...and a slip of a twelve-year-old boy. Fortunately, his loyal butler, Sebastian, is ever at his side, ready to carry out the young master's wishes. And whether Sebastian is called to save a dinner party gone awry or probe the dark secrets of London's underbelly, there apparently is nothing Sebastian cannot do. In fact, one might even say Sebastian is too good to be true...or at least, too good to be human...

The last thing I wanted was for my daughter to get into Anime or Manga. I believed they were just too weird, too non-traditional for me . . . cuz they are.

However, I cannot begin to express the happiness they bring her. She begs to go to the library, where she will fill a bag with 10-15 books. Then, she races to her bedroom where she will sit for hours reading them. She adores the characters. She laughs and cries with them. She obsesses over them and dresses up like them with her friends--all the things we wish for our children when it comes to reading.

While they are not my cup of tea, Manga titles engross MG readers every bit as much as traditional titles. I have been converted and convinced. The key, though, is to make sure they are not reading adult titles, which can be highly inappropriate. Therefore, I'm starting a review series of appropriate MG Manga series, of which BLACK BUTLER reigns (at least according to my daughter *grins*).

Have you read any MG Manga?

Monday, September 26, 2016

MMGM -- IMPYRIUM by Henry Neff

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Release Date -- October 4, 2016

In the first book of Henry H. Neff’s new high-stakes middle grade fantasy series, two unlikely allies confront a conspiracy that will shake the world of Impyrium to its core.
For over three thousand years, the Faeregine dynasty has ruled Impyrium. But the family’s magic has been fading, and with it their power over the empire. Whether it’s treachery from a rival house, the demon Lirlanders, or rebel forces, many believe the Faeregines are ripe to fall.
Hazel, the youngest member of the royal family, is happy to leave ruling to her sisters so that she can study her magic. But the empress has other plans for her granddaughter, dark and dangerous plans to exploit Hazel’s talents and rekindle the Faeregine mystique. Hob, a commoner from the remote provinces, has been sent to the city to serve the Faeregines—and to spy on them.
One wants to protect the dynasty. The other wants to destroy it. But when Hazel and Hob form an improbable friendship, their bond may save the realm as they know it…or end it for good.

Henry Neff is one of my favorite MG authors. I have read and re-read his TAPESTRY SERIES, and it never gets old. IMPYRIUM is set in the same world, but many, many years later. At first, it was a little unsettling to revisit the world of Max and David and Mina without them there, but I quickly became engrossed with the newness of it all and with the utterly likeable new cast of characters. I LOVED IT! Now begins the long wait for the next book. While this works perfectly as a stand-alone novel, I would highly recommend beginning with THE HOUND OF ROWAN and completing the Tapestry Series first. It will add a whole new level of enjoyment and appreciation for Impyrium.

 Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born. For a full selection of MMGM posts, visit her website HERE.

Friday, September 23, 2016



The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe, which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.
~ Naomi Shihab Nye

This is the kind of fame we can ALL have. It is within our reach every single day. As we strive to finish our WIP's, find our agents, sell our books, and stroke the bindings that proudly display our names at Barnes & Noble, let us NEVER forget to be the one who smiled back.

                                   Go. Be famous. And never forget what you can do.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


"There’s no music in rest, but there’s the making of music in it. And people are always missing that part of the life melody, always talking of perseverance and courage and fortitude; but patience is the finest and worthiest part of fortitude, and the rarest, too."
-John Ruskin

Perseverance . . . Courage . . . Fortitude . . . all good qualities, all necessary to face a career in writing, all challenging.
And then there's PATIENCE. Ah, for me that's the most difficult one of all.  I am now entering the "shopping the manuscript" stage of this journey. It's out of my hands and into the hands of my agent. Time for patience . . .

I can persevere, because I'm stubborn and have all of you for support and encouragement. I can be brave, because it's who I am and I am not afraid of my dreams. I can have fortitude, because I have a loving family and our bloggy community. I have never, ever, had patience--and no one can give it to me.

The worst part of it, though, is that a lack of patience can cause a lack of faith, of hope. That's when I fall into the blues. It's particularly disheartening in the query stage. One day at a time . . . that's what I want my "life melody" to be.

How do you deal with the patience part of this writing journey? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Let Your Whole Self In

Write from your whole self. If you have a sense of humor, make sure that flavor’s in your writing. If you like talking ideas, make sure there are ideas in your writing. Anything less will be unsustainable. You will get bored inside the narrative realm you’ve created, in the same way it’s boring to sit at a desk all day filing papers. The only way to last for the long haul is to avoid boredom, and to avoid boredom you need to let your whole self in. (Not to mention you’ll bore your readers).
~ Po Bronson

The idea that we need to write for ourselves, to write what we love, is not a new one. We can open any book on writing, turn to any friend, tour writing blogs... any number of things. That's because it's great advice - the real thing.

I am drawn to this quote by Po Bronson. There is something about it that connects with me, speaks to me in a powerful way. This quote makes me want to sit down and write. It makes me want to write better and to write in a way that is real.

What is something that draws you to your computer and makes you long to write?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

It's Okay

"If you have other things in your life -- family, friends, good productive day work -- these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer."
~ David Brin
We all struggle to find ways to balance LIFE with our writing. We have jobs, kids with a million activities to be shuttled to and from, spouses, friends, churches, obligations . . . and we want to write.  Even those who have the luxury of staying home to write find balance difficult at times.

Guess what? That's okay. It's okay to let LIFE take over some times. It's okay to take a break from blogging or writing or editing or querying. IT'S OKAY.

Today, treat yourself to a day that's guilt-free. Embrace whatever you're doing, and let go of what you're not. It will all be there when you get to it. It's okay . . .

What will you choose NOT to feel guilty about today?

Monday, September 19, 2016

I'm Back

Hi, blogger buddies!

After a too-long absence from blogging, I am finally able to return to the group. I had to take some time away in order to juggle finishing the end of my MG novel and, well . . . life. Blogging was one thing too much. 

I am thrilled to say that my story is FINALLY finished and safely in the hands of my agent. Woot! Now, we wait.

In the meantime, it's wonderful to be back to our blogging community, and I look forward to catching up with all of you!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Redeemed Blog Tour + Giveaway -- Q & A With P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast


by P.C Cast & Kristin Cast

To celebrate the release of REDEEMED, the final book of the House of Night series, Meryl L. Moss Media Relations has partnered with some great companies, like Sinful Colors, 21 Drops and Jamberry, as well as Baby Blue Designs and For Strange Women, to put together Goddess Gifts  to celebrate the some of the most notable characters in the series.  Additionally, they have provided us with an awesome interview with both authors!

P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast Q&A

1.      REDEEMED, the final novel in the House of Night series just came out. How does it feel to reach the finale of the series?
PC: It’s bittersweet to come to the last HoN book.  I’m excited about the new trilogy I’m working on, but I also miss Z and the Nerd Herd.  I spent almost a decade with the HoN characters.  I know I’m going to feel their absence as I’m at my writing desk – and at my brainstorming desk!
KC: It’s sad that the HoN series is ending. Like Mom, I’m going to miss Zoey and the Nerd Herd, but I’m going to miss our fans most of all. I hope that they’ll continue to follow us as we each begin our new projects.

2.      Do you have a favorite book in House of Night?
PC: For a long time I loved CHOSEN because of the mistakes Zoey makes in that book and the lessons she learns.  And my favorite novella is LENOBIA’S VOW.  Since finishing REDEEMED, though, I have to say that I love it best!
KC: My favorite is LENOBIA’S VOW. I love the story, and that anyone can pick it up and read it without having to read any of the other books in the series.

3.      Is there a character that you feel closest to?
PC: Aphrodite is easiest to write, and I’ll always feel close to Zoey.
KC: I love me some Heath! I guess that also means that I love Aurox too!

4.      House of Night is an international phenomenon! How has the success of the series changed your life?
PC: HoN has enriched our lives on many levels.  We love hearing from our fans about how they have grown up with Zoey and the group. Kristin and I get to take awesome road trips! 
KC: I’ve gotten to meet so many people who have been inspired by HoN, which has made me a better person in a lot of ways.

5.      Neferet is such a tragically flawed character. Her backstory made her more sympathetic, even though her choices are horrid. How much of her actions in REDEEMED, and previous books, is a result of her trying to overcome her past?
PC: Sadly, Neferet’s life choices were a direct result of her inability to let go of her father’s brutal attack and rape.  I think a big part of her reaction to his abuse was a direct result of “Emily’s” inability to forgive herself.  I do understand Neferet, often too well.  It saddens me that the HoN world lost what could have been such a great force for Light.

6.      Where do you see Zoey in 10 years?
PC:  I see Z being a kick ass High Priestess!

7.      Does Zoey and Stark’s relationship continue?
PC:  Absolutely!  Stark will always be Zoey’s Warrior.

8.      Did writing the series together strengthen your relationship?
PC: Kristin and I have always been close, so that hasn’t changed.  I am appreciative of her editorial eye, and love partnering with her!
KC: Mom and I have always had an amazing relationship! Working with her has made me appreciate and respect her even more.

9.      Do mothers and daughters read your books together?
PC: Yes!  We hear from mothers and daughters a lot!  We love that they read the HoN as a team.
KC: Hearing how our books have brought mothers and daughters closer is so amazing! I love that we’ve been able to inspire connection within so many families.

10.  How did you decide to write a series about vampires?
PC: My agent, Meredith Bernstein, asked me to write a series set at a vampyre finishing school, and my imagination took off from there.

11.  Who is your all-time favorite fictional vampire character?
PC: I love the vampire in Robin McKinley’s wonderful book, SUNSHINE.
KC: Spike! He’s totally my boyfriend.

12.  Spike or Angel?
PC: SPIKE!  He’s been my boyfriend for years.
KC: No! He’s MY boyfriend, Phyllis.

13.  Some have speculated that the huge surge of interest over the past few years in the paranormal romance/vampire fiction genre won’t last. What do you think?
PC:  I think it’s silly to worry about genres coming and going.  A good book is a good book.  Excellence in storytelling will never be out of fashion.

14.  What is on your nightstand now?
PC: The first book in Anne Bishop’s Jewel series, Neil Gaiman’s THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, and the latest copy of bitch Magazine.
KC: Benadryl, my dehumidifier, and stress relieving essential oils. (I have a bit of an allergy problem.)

15.  What was your favorite book as a young adult?
PC:  Wow, there were so many of them!  When I was a young girl I read every horse and dog book I could get my hands on (LOVE Walter Farley).  As I became a teenager and a young adult, I didn’t read YA.  I read lots and lots and lots of fantasy, science fiction, and romance.  As a teenager my favorite series was probably Anne McCaffrey’s books about Pern.  I still want to ride a golden queen dragon!
KC: I was obsessed with GOSSIP GIRLS and Lynn Ewing’s DAUGHTERS OF THE MOON series.

16.  Can you tell us a little more about the philanthropic organizations that you support?
PC:  I have an education foundation that helps kids through college. I’m also passionate about supporting the feminist bitch magazine and SageWoman.
PC & KC: We believe in supporting local charities like Tulsa Street Cats, the Oklahoma Equality Center, the Oklahoma Center for the Book, Philbrook and Gilcrease museums. We will also always support the Humane Society and SPCA.

17.  You are about to embark on book tour – what are you most looking forward to?
PC & KC:  We haven’t toured in the US for several years (been too busy writing!), so we’re really looking forward to seeing our fans from all over the US! 

18.  What has the response been like to the House of Night clothing line?
PC: I’ll let Kristin handle this one, as this is her baby, but I will say that I heart me some HoN merchandise!
KC: It’s been fantastic! It’s amazing when I see people out in public who are wearing one of the shirts, or have a bumper sticker on their car. I feel very honored and fortunate to have such support from our fans.    

19.  Your fans can’t wait for the HON movies to come out! Where are you in the process right now?
PC:  This summer I worked with our wonderful screenwriter, Marc Haimes, on the treatment (which is really just a long outline) of the first movie, and he has completed the first draft of the script.  Yes, I do love it!

20.  What’s up next for you, PC?
PC:  What’s next for me is a fantasy romance trilogy of epic proportions that I’m really excited about.  I should have news for my fans in the next month or so!

21.  What’s up next for you, Kristin? 
KC: Right now I’m working on the first book in a new adult paranormal suspense series. Meredith Bernstein, my fabulous agent, is finalizing the contract with my new publisher and I will have exciting news this November! You can sign up to receive info about my new series at

Just post a comment to be eligible 
for the giveaway!


Don't miss this fantastic series finale!!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy 15th, Lenny!

Happy 15th Birthday, Lenny Lee!!

I wrote this poem a long time ago for one of the sweetest, sunshiniest people in all of blogdom--our Lenny. I thought this was a perfect day to share it with all of you (and Lenny, too) again.


Today, many of us have joined together to spread sunshine throughout the blogosphere. But not just ANY sunshine. This sunshine is extra, super-dee-duper SPECIAL. This is Lenny Lee Sunshine, which is the very best kind!!

Sunshiney Guy
(for Lenny from Miss Shannon O.)

Outside's a gray and cloudy sky
the wind it howls, the rain does fly
but here online, we're safe and dry
because we have the "sunshine" guy

The sunshine guy? Who is he?
I gasp! I cough! It cannot be
that you don't know of LENNY LEE
the kid who's always sunshiney

Each place he goes, he shines so bright
that heavy hearts once more are light
and laughter echoes--echoes--our delight
each time we read the things he writes

When brush-offs leave you feeling blue
revision...plotting...queries, too
Here's good advice to pull you through:
Let Lenny's sunshine brighten you.

Happy 15th Birthday!

to see more bloggers who are celebrating Mr. Lee today!

Also, check out today's post for 
The Gathering Darkness Blog Tour


Blog Tour -- The Gathering Darkness

 The Gathering Darkness
by Lisa Collicutt

Don't miss this new YA!!

They say “third time’s the charm,” and for sixteen-year-old Brooke Day, they had better be right. She’s been here before, twice in fact, and so has the darkness awaiting her return.

When Brooke is forced to leave Boston for the village of Deadwich, she thinks her life is over. New friends become estranged—downright evil. But worse, recurring nightmares become reality.

Enter Marcus Knight; he’s popular, hot, and the only person Brooke can trust.

Not to mention, they’ve shared the same nightmares.

With the discovery of an ancient Celtic amulet, Brooke and Marcus unravel the secrets ofher past, revealing the path to her future.

As the equinox approaches, darkness and light merge for the first time in a century. Soul-mates reunite. Magic awakens.

Author Bio:

Lisa likes to write dark and twisted tales of magic and romance. She has a passion for Young Adult and New Adult Paranormal Romance. When she’s not conjuring tales about witches, demons, and other magical beings, she can be found leathered and bound to the back of her husband’s Harley, touring her homeland of Nova Scotia, Canada.

Enter Lisa’s imagination where realism ends and fantasy begins. But heed these warnings … it’s dark, it’s magical, you may experience tingles.

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