Monday, November 08, 2010


I've been working on maintaining a writing schedule. It's been over one month now and so far so good. I'm writing everyday and loving it.  The change of mindset has helped me tremendously. I'm working on another book about ancient Africa and revisions on the first one.

It's amazing to me the things I thought worked, but really don't. Revising has shown me the difference of how I wrote then and what my work is like now. What's got me worried is if I thought that was good writing, what will I think of how I write today a year from now.

I must continue to remind myself that the important thing is that I grow as a writer. Every story will get better each time I create one, or so it should. At the end of the week, I will print out the revised book and read it through. On the one hand, I am looking forward to seeing what it has become. On the other hand, I'm hoping all of the changes work and that it flows the way it is supposed to.

As the saying goes: the proof is in the pudding. We will see what we will see.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Really Doing It

I have been back from vacation for 4 weeks now. Everyday I have made good on my commitment to treat my writing like I would a job. So, every morning at 10AM you will find me in front of my computer writing away. And doing it happily.

It's funny, for years I have heard that to be a successful writer I need to be writing everyday. I guess I never believed it. I thought that if I wrote on a regular basis that would be enough. I have found that writing everyday is a far cry from writing on a regular basis. I guess I would have to admit that they were right.

What I have noticed in this short time is amazing. My writing has dramatically improved. It has even affected the my recognition of problems within the piece.

I'm not completely sure why I never did it before. I used excuses like I'm too tired after coming home from work. Or, I need to wait until I get inspired. And there's even the excuse that I have to wait until I can figure out what happens next. Unbelievable. Now that I can see the difference in my writing for myself, I am determined to continue this practice.

Yesterday a friend sent me an email about a writing contest for YA writers. It's being sponsored by Guide to Literary Agents. In order to submit to the contest they ask that you mention the contest in your social media, so I'm doing it here and on my Facebook page. The prizes are: a critique by literary agent Tamar Rydzinski and a free one-year subscription to I'm game. How about you?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

It's Good to be Home

I just got back from my critique group. It's been a long time. Being with a group of incredible writers feels wonderful. My vacation was great, but I missed being with them. I missed the learning. I've come to love the comments they make on what we all write. I so appreciate the time they take with my work.

When I first started writing I dreaded critique. I thought everyone was telling me what I was doing wrong. In some crazy way I thought they were criticizing me. Man, was I all wet. Now I know they are telling me how to make each piece better. I look forward to seeing how this group of talented people will help me polish my work.

Today there were ghost stories and stories about vampires. After all it is that time of year. There were also stories about Christmas, historical issues, and even a visit to a bog.

I am stoked! Let's see what I can turn out this week.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Time to Head Home

It's time to go  home. This is our last night on the road. We've been traveling so long that I'm having difficulty remembering the day and date; although I have to admit it doesn't bother me one bit. It's been pleasurable and exciting. We traveled to places I've never been and spent time with friends I haven't seen in a long while.

Our last stop has been Arizona. It's hot, but no humidity! Now I have a really good reason for not moving east of New Mexico. Visiting is fine but I don't think I could live there. After all, I do enjoy wearing clothes that aren't sticking to me all the time, and dry hair is a definite plus. I have no idea how my friends do it. I've asked them. All they say is 'you get used to it.' Used to it? Why on earth would I want to do that?

So we're relocating here, Prescott, Arizona. It's small enough that things still move slowly, but large enough to provide all of the amenities of the larger cities. It reminds me of my home in Twin Peaks, but not as secluded.

Now I have to plan the move. The worst of it is going through all of our belongings to decide what things we'll take with us. OMG! I can't believe we have so much junk! A lot of it is good junk, though. We have some cool stuff; a potter's wheel, a very large air compressor, a drawing table, bookshelves, and books. I have hundreds of books. Parting with them is going to be really hard.

I guess I could donate them, but that means I won't have them to read anymore. I don't know if I can part with them. So what if I've read most of them, I could always read them again. I've read some of them two and three times. And what about the ones I haven't read yet? Do I donate those, too? Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Oh my goodness, the humidity is almost as bad as the toll booths. It never occurred to me how the country maintains its lovely green fields as we travel across the states. There are no sprinkler systems. Nor are there huge rigs spread across the hillsides keeping things green. IT'S THE HUMIDITY!

I have often complained to my friend in Iowa that her lawns are green without her having to do much of anything to keep them that way. In California I have to use lots of water if I want my lawn to stay lush and green. Not to mention the juggling act I have to keep up between the drought and the home-owners association. The water company says to stop watering because of the shortage and the association says we have an obligation to keep the grass green and attractive. It's crazy making.

If we lived in any of the states we've visited, we wouldn't have that problem. The water for their lawns comes right out of the air. That brings me right back to the problem of humidity.

How on earth do the people here make it. It's hot, sticky, and I feel like I'm going to drown with every breath. What makes it worse is that when you walk through open markets or the entrances to shops they have misters spraying the air with even more water. What is that about?

I get that they're trying to make it cooler, but it only increases the water content of the air. Sometimes I have to go into a shop just to be able to breathe. I feel like I should get a rebreather just to make it down the street. There must be a trick to breathing here. I haven't figured out, yet. Maybe I should ask somebody. I wonder if they have gills, or maybe there's some other secret they're not telling me about.

Oh, well, I heading back toward the desert, now. It's hot there too, but at least I'm not in danger of drowning.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Thoughts and Writing

I've been traveling across the US with my husband since the beginning of August. We're due home by the end of September and we're enjoying all of the in between. While we were in Charleston, NC we attended a jazz festival. The music was great from start to finish. As usual it began with the lesser known/beginning artists and moved up the chain of experience and fame to the headliners, Spyro Gyra. This group has been playing since the 1970's. That's over thirty years of experience and it definitely shows in their music.

I was blown away by their talent, composition, and showmanship. It started me thinking about my own writing and the career I hope to have. It all comes down to time; time spent learning the craft and practicing the craft.

When I question my success it leads me to important questions: What is the extent of my commitment? Am I doing all I can to grow and improve? What is my resistance to greater commitment? Am I willing to pour my all into my writing?

It would be easy to say, 'yes', but would that be the truth? Looking at the time I've spent writing while traveling I'd have to answer, 'no'. So what am I willing to do about that?

I think what I need to do is sort out what I'm willing to do and take a long hard look at what that means in terms of the success and goals I want to achieve. The concert was very helpful in bringing me to this place. I've been here before, but not with such clarity about who I am and where I need to go from here.

The first jazz group was good. I enjoyed their music and would listen to them again. The second performer was Euge Groove, a very talented young man possessing great showmanship. He included the audience in his performance, gave the listeners what they were hoping for. I would definitely buy his CD. The last group, Spyro Gyra, was beyond beyond. Their music took me on one journey after another. My emotions were slammed. Their sound had color and texture.

How does this relate to writing, more importantly, my writing? It was clear to me that each performer was in a particular stage of development. I would say that I'm almost to the level of the first group. Again they were good, but not great. Euge Groove can be compared to the up and coming writer with a few books out there on the shelves, but clearly working on their craft and getting better with each new work. And Spyro Gyra, they're at the pinnacle of what is possible to achieve.

Each has invested considerable time and energy to get where they are and will likely continue. What about me? Will I?

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Toll Booth Saga

You all know that I'm on a massive road trip. We've been to Arizona, New Mexico, Iowa, and we're now in New Jersey. Visiting with friends has been lovely; getting to them, not so much.

The jaunt from Arizona to New Mexico was enjoyable. I looked forward to visiting with family friend I hadn't seen in over ten years. It was great, we just picked up where we left off. After several fun-filled days we left New Mexico and headed for Iowa.

Things were going fine, great weather, clear roads. Then we reached Kansas. Entering the state we went through a toll booth and accepted the little white piece of card stock with the magnetic information strip on the back and thought nothing of it. We later pulled into a KOA for the night. I should have known that the bold, bright red lettering across the top of the campsite map indicating the storm shelter was an omen for things to come.

Oh, the weather was fine. not a cloud in the sky. We even spied a gaggle of geese on the way out of the campgrounds the next morning. We got back onto the highway without any problems. Traffic was good. Off in the distance we could see another of those toll booths. No worries, right, we'd just pull up to the window insert that ticket we received the day before, pay the toll, and be on our way. Ha! No one told us it would cost us $23 to leave the state! OMG, $23 just to drive through!

We paid it and went on to Iowa. The scenery along the way was beautiful. We arrived in Iowa with little trouble and spent a week with another wonderful friend. At the end of the visit we started out for New Jersey.

We traveled through Indiana, another pleasant drive. We paid a small toll in Ohio and made it all the way to Pennsylvania and spent the night there. The KOA was great. They even had a small petting zoo, two goats and a cow, well, technically he was a bull.

We left the next morning and encountered another toll booth, because the last one we encountered in Ohio had charged so little we thought nothing of it. We accepted the ticket and traveled on. Little did we know this would be more of a Kansas experience.

Leaving Pennsylvania we arrive at the booth at the state's border, inserted the ticket and waited for the total due. $32!!! We they kidding? We had to pay them $32!

Now we were wary of any toll booths that loomed on our horizon. We arrived in New jersey and were making our way to the place we would store the RV during our visit. We missed our exit and had to travel through another toll booth to get off the highway and turn around. Considering our recent experience, we approached it with a bit of anxiety. The toll wasn't that bad compared to what we'd paid in Kansas and Pennsylvania. We exited, made a U-turn and got back on the highway. Can you believe it? They charged us to go back through even though we'd paid them less that ten minutes before. After a small discussion we paid the toll and headed back in the other direction.

No one told us we couldn't take the exit we needed from that direction, so off we go, make another U-turn, and get back on. What do you think was standing right there between us and the exit we needed? You guessed it, another toll booth. Do you think they would let us through considering we've now paid them a whopping $30? Noooo. We has to fork over another $15 to get where we were going. That makes $45!!!! OMG.

Now we know how they're planning to resolve the national debt---TOLL BOOTHS.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Getting Ready to Hit the Road

Where has the time gone? It's August! That means it's the end of summer and time to leave on the massive road trip my husband and I have planned. So now I'm packing furiously and trying to remember everything that we'll need. My biggest struggle is figuring out how to maintain a writing, critique, and blogging schedule.

I've managed to put some things in place, like mobile WiFi, getting a wireless printer for the RV, and arranging to swap manuscripts and chapters online. I think the most difficult part will be putting a writing schedule together and maintaining it; along with exercise.

I would love to visit some independent bookstores while I'm on the road. Here's my itinerary, if any of you can think of a bookstore I should stop by in one of the areas I plan to visit, please let me know. We're going to Arizona, New Mexico, Iowa, New Jersey, South Carolina, Florida, Maine, Indiana, and probably more places.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Wow, has it been that long?

It's been a while since I've posted. I'm sure some of  you are wondering where I've been and what I've been up to that would keep me away so long. Remember the wonderful distraction I now have? It's not the only one. I've been celebrating my birthday. It was July 21st, but I'm still celebrating.

I keep telling myself that it's time to get back to work, but apparently I'm not a very good listener. I got great gifts from my family and wonderful wishes from friends. My husband started with buying me the beach cruiser I've be drooling over. It's bronze with beautiful tan scroll work. It has a brown leather seat with braid and tassel trim. It even has a black basket in front and a bell. I've been riding it just about every day.

Then the darling man surprised me with an iPad! I have an iPad! I've been playing with it every day. There are so many wonderful things I can do with it. I've even been using it to keep up with the daily news. I'm still searching for great writing Apps. If any of you know of some good ones, please pass them my way.

Then my daughter and her family treated me to my favorite breakfast of tasty Belgian waffles and sausage,  in bed! On top of that, they gifted me a Keurig coffee machine! I've been planning to buy that thing for over 3 years and now I have one. It makes great iced tea.

These are the thing that have been distracting me. I've asked myself, more than once, where is your discipline? The answer is, gone until after my birthday. But how long will that be? What will get me back in line?

Well it's going to have to be soon. I've got lots of work to do and storylines are calling out to me, begging me to come back.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wonderful Distractions

I told you my husband retired last month and he is my wonderful distraction. It's awesome having him home, but I can't seem to get anything done. The problem isn't him, it's me! I go into my study and sit in front of my computer. I even open the files I need to work on. When I'm in here, he doesn't come in to disturb me or even call me into the room where he is. He respects my space and waits until I'm either taking a break or finished with that session.

It's me! Here's how it happens. I'm sitting in front of the computer, writing or revising whatever. I hear him laugh or comment about something in another room. I have to go see what he's saying or doing. I know the man isn't talking to me. He could be talking to our daughter, the grandchildren, or even on the telephone, but I have to go. He doesn't even have to be saying anything, just the thought of him being there sends me scurrying to look at him.

He's really supportive of my writing. He asks, "Are you taking a break now, you just got started?" Or "Did you finish that scene already?" Sometimes it's even, "Did you need to read something to me?" He's really a great guy and that's part of the problem. I just want to be around him all of the time.

He assures me it will wear off as time goes by, but I'm not sure. He even offered to leave the house while I write. That's not going to happen, I just got him back! I have to hope he's right about the newness wearing off, otherwise I'm in deep trouble. It's just that he's hot, and buff, and nice like all firemen. And he's MINE!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Great Hero Passes the Baton

Today is my husband's last day as a firefighter. He's been on the job for about 32 years. He has loved every minute of it! He would argue that point saying that he loved fighting the fire, but hated the 3am rescues of people who called because they couldn't sleep.

I was invited to the fire station to join in the send off. The celebration was from 10am to 3pm. Engine after engine came through with all of the firefighters wishing him well. Each had something wonderful to say about him. I heard so many AJ stories, most of which had us laughing until our sides ached. I can't tell you how many took me aside to tell me about the positive effect he's had on  their careers. One guy said, "we've all heard of the man's man, well AJ is the firefighter's firefighter." Being in a room with so many who put their lives on the line every day was humbling. Listening to them attribute much of their skill to the time my husband spent training them was really over the top!

This has been an awesome brotherhood and I have been blessed to be able to see it in action. At the end of the day (mine, not his, he's still at work) we were taken to dinner by the guys in his station. It was hilarious driving up in the engine and watching the valet try to figure out if he should offer to park the big red thing. Of course he wasn't allowed to. So the engineer parked it on a side of the parking lot opposite rows of Bentleys and very high end Mercedes. Frankly, our ride cost just as much, if not more, than theirs. *smile*

Today has been wonderful. The best part of it is knowing that I will have the privilege of sharing his company for the rest of my life! Happy Retirement AJ. We all love you.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I am so frustrated right now, I could bite someone's head off. This writing thing is crazy. It's so very difficult to know what the truth is. How on earth do I find out the truth. No one in the writing profession commits to saying anything that is helpful. That's not completely true I had an agent tell me the writing was flat in places and of course he was right.

So I went through the ms with a fine-toothed comb. I find exactly what he's talking about and change it. The flat places came from trying to put too much information in places where it wasn't necessary or helpful in moving the story along.

I wish someone could tell me if I should continue to shop the ms around or move on to the next thing. Trying to look at things realistically, I haven't sent it around as much as "they" say you should, whoever 'they' are. How many times should it go out? How do I know when to quit?

This stuff is so subjective that agents are reluctant to say it's bad because it just may not be what they like. I understand what they mean because I've had friends recommend books that they loved and I just thought they were so-so or didn't like them at all.

How do I find the agent with the taste for what I write?

Monday, June 21, 2010

New Things

Yesterday I saw something brand new: Synchronized Treatmilling! First, I never new such a thing existed. Second, it happened at church, and third, it was a hoot and very clever.

Because yesterday was Father's Day our church celebrated with what they called ManDate. The campus was turned into an amusement park. There was rock climbing, motocross, four-wheeling (big trucks including a Hummer), hatchet throwing, bands, and meat - BBQ. There was more, but I can't remember it all. It was kicked of with the synched treadmilling. I wish I had brought a camera. By the time I remembered that my digital recorded video, it was over. I'll have to ask around to see if anyone recorded it.

It inspired lots of book ideas. I'm not quite sure how to put them together yet, but I have written them down. Later I'll sort through them and see which ones are viable, but I know something's there.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Writing and Loving It

I love to write and the whole writing process; my process, anyway. I start with an idea. They come from anywhere. Most of the time ideas happen when I'm sitting and people-watching. It isn't what they say or do, it's what they don't do and don't say.

For instance, I was at the store and a mother in line with me was trying to tell her child "no" about some candy. She told the child "no" several times and each time the child tried to explain why the mom should buy it. After a bit, the mother became frustrated and said, "I said you can't have that. What about that can't you understand." The child asked again. Then the mom shouted, "What? You didn't understand me? I used English. What language do you speak? Chinese?" She turned to the rest of the people in line and asked if any of us spoke Chinese."

After nearly choking to death on smothered laughter, I got an idea. The story idea that came from it was about a teen who suddenly speaks a strange language and can no longer understand English.

Having the storyline build in my head was awesome. Letting the characters unfold literally feels good in my mind. The best part is watching it take form on paper. I love it!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I've Been Thinking

I've been thinking about where to go from here. My plan is to continue to query agents about Nubian Princess and see how things go. So far I might have two interested, but it's early yet and we'll see what shakes out.

It took me a moment to get back on track, but here I am. Friends and family have been very supportive. My husband is the best guy on the planet. Really. (You might think yours is, but it's really mine.) He encourages me constantly and helps in whatever way he can.

I've decided to work on the next NP book. It's my way of having a tantrum. I think this may be the longest running tantrum ever because it's going to take me a while to get the manuscript finished. The best part about it is that I'm enjoying revisiting Nubia and the characters. I will have to do more research, but that's part of the fun.

I've found out about a press that specializes in YA multicultural science fiction. What a prize! When I finish this manuscript, I'll get back to my other love. The stars are out there waiting for me and I plan to get there.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Not This Time

Thank you for your support of my entry into the Amazon contest and your paitience in my blogging about it at every opportunity. They didn't chose me. What a bummer. The day I found out was really difficult. It caused me to question my abilities as a writer and my choice of subject matter in my writing. I had to have a serious talk with myself.

I have decided that I have to truly listen to what professionals say about my writing and hold onto that. I have been told by several editors that my writing is 'very good' to 'excellent'. These editors are from major houses, so I have to believe they know what they're talking about. That means my writing is in the ballpark.

That takes me to the subject matter of my writing; therein lies the problem. Each time a major editor reviewed/critiqued my work, they were impressed with the writing but the story wasn't something that fit with what they were looking for. One even suggested something they'd love me to write which was a subject I'm not ready to work with.

Should I change and write what has been asked for or should I write what is within me? What is within me is much more positive and encouraging. What she asked for would take me to a very dark place. I'm not sure that if I visit that place I would be able to leave it. That would not be helpful to me of those around me.

Being a person of color requires that I keep some things locked away because there is no resolution to them. It is very difficult for someone who has not experienced this as a way of life to understand the impact
this has on everything one thinks, sees, and does. It is my hope that the things I choose to write about help change that for those who come after me.

Who knows? I may be fooling myself or even shooting myself in the foot. Only time will tell.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Interview with a Princess

Here it is folks, as promised. It took me longer than I thought. It's really difficult to look and sound professional with tissue crammed in your nose. Today I'm much better and definitely presentable. So now I'm sitting across from Princess Kandake. I'm so excited about this opportunity I need my notes to keep everything I want to ask from getting mixed up. She graciously agreed to answer questions many of  us have about her position as King Amani's daughter and an heir to his throne. Let's get started.

Good morning, Princess Kandake, thank you for coming. How are you? Nubia is quite some distance to travel, how was the trip?

I am well, thank you. The journey was difficult but pleasant. Having the readers so invested in my story made stepping off the pages fairly simple. The difficult part was the journey through time. It seems things have changed greatly. In your time very few people travel by horseback and your travel routes are so filled with what you call cars, makes getting from one place to the next a little frustrating.

Yes, I imagine our world is very different from yours. Would you describe Nubia for us?

Your world does have differences than mine. Nubia is a place full of promise and opportunity, beauty and strength. If you were to visit, you would see why I love it. Because we are close to the Nile River, our land is lush, it keeps our grasses growing and that keeps the cattle healthy. We are a hard-working people. We trade in items we make from iron and other metals. Our animal hides are in high demand and so is what we make from frankincense, like our medicines and kohl. But what Nubia is best known for is our warriors, which, by the way, are male and female.

I can see that you love Nubia, why wouldn't you want to rule over it?

In this time, people seem to think being queen is a wonderful thing, something everyone should want to be. Being queen and ruling over a kingdom is very difficult and constraining. There is little room for yourself.

Difficult? Constraining? What do you mean?

A queen has great responsibilities. She must ensure that all of her people have enough food to eat and the medicines they need regardless of what happens with the cattle or crops. She must make sure the laws of the kingdom are fair to everyone and settle any disputes that arise. It is the queen that holds the kingdom together. And that's just what happens in Nubia. A queen must know her neighbors well and determine if they are allies or enemies. She must also be aware of what is happening in those kingdoms and how this effects Nubia. Besides, a queen can't go hunting whenever she wants.

That does seem like a lot of responsibility, but isn't being a warrior dangerous?

Life is dangerous. What matters most is how I live that life. I could spend my days making decisions that others have to carry out. Or, I could spend my days doing what the ruler commands and making sure those necessary things get done. I'm more of a doer.

You say that  you want to be Nubia's next Prime Warrior, doesn't that mean you would have to give commands?

Yes, but I get to participate in those commands. The Prime Warrior is required to have the same or better skills as all the warriors. She would protect the way of life in Nubia from all enemies. I'm already really good with a bow and my skills at combat are growing every day.

Before we wrap things up for today, one of my readers would like to know how old you have to be to begin warrior training?

In Nubia we begin learning skills like riding a horse or shoot an arrow at a very young age. These skills are important to hunting and providing food. As you get older, say about 9 years old, you begin training at the trade you desire.

Why begin training so young?

For us 9 years is not not very young. We are declared adults at 14 years, a much younger age than in your world. Here, you don't start your adult life until 18 years.

Princess Kandake, thank you so much for your time. I understand that you are open to another interview. I look forward to our meeting again.

You are very welcome. I look forward to our talking again, soon.

That does it for today. Be sure to get your questions to me, Princess Kandake will be available to answer them in our net interview.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Can't Believe It's Been So Long!

Oh my goodness, how long does a cold last, anyway. Today I finally woke up with energy, feeling well, and having a brain. Although, there are those that would say that the brain thing is debatable.

Saturday I attended Agent's Day in Newport Beach, a SCBWI event where four agents presented. I rode down with three of my writing buddies. It was great to catch up on what we're all doing and hoping for. The weather was overcast (surprise... not) with a cool breeze. Two of the four agents really impressed me. They presented as informative and human. The last characteristic is really important. 

Writing is fun and enjoyable even though it is a lot of work. Submitting is a little scary, but a necessity. Meeting agents and editors is terrifying! I always go to brain freeze when there's an opportunity to speak with them. I push myself to do it, but afterward I kick myself for not talking about anything interesting. My assumption is that if I continue to work at it, this disability will leave me.

Saturday I had a moment to speak with one of the agents. She was immediately approachable, inviting, and warm. We talked about reading my work and her backlog of things to get done. I realize that all agents have pile of work to do, not to mention the queries that flood their mailboxes (email included) daily, but sometimes the way they present this is a little off-putting. What I hear is, "I'm not sure if reading your work is worth the time I'd be taking from more pressing things." I doubt that any of them is ever saying that, but it's how it comes across to me. This particular agent didn't have any of that tone in her conversation with me or any of the others at the event.

I hope that when she reads my submission she finds it something she would love to represent. I'd love to work with her.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Can You Stand to Hear More?

A friend of mine just emailed me the review by Publisher's Weekly.  OMG!! I may have that stroke after all. Here's what it said.

From Publishers Weekly

This stellar historical novel brings ancient Nubia to life as one girl struggles to understand her destiny. Kandake, 14, is the youngest child of King Amani, ruler of Nubia. Her desire is to protect the land she loves as a warrior, but the decision is not in her hands. When Great Mother announces Kandake as the heir to the throne, she sadly accepts the inevitable, striving to understand Great Mother’s reasoning. Meanwhile bandits have been raiding Nubia’s trading caravans, and Egypt, Nubia’s ally and neighbor, is asking for assistance to protect its borders from the Assyrians. When Kandake’s brother Alara fails to return from a hunting expedition, King Amari makes a difficult decision: Nubia must use her resources to defend her border. Alara’s rescue must take second place. Unwilling to accept this decision, Kandake and her friends sneak away to find Alara. This skillfully crafted novel weaves cultural details into a remarkable, well-structured plot featuring a strong African heroine. The characters are fully developed, and their motivations, inspirations, and the growing maturity of these teens are believable. Readers will eagerly hope for a sequel to resolve the larger political issues facing Nubia and its future Queen.
Can you believe it. It doesn't get any better than this. If it does I'd better be sitting down and have a canister of oxygen standing by.

WOW!! Semifinalist!

That's right, I've made it to the semi finals. I can barely stand it. The contest started with 5,000 entries. Then that was cut to 1,000 and again to 500. Now they have cut that down to 50 and I'm still in the running. How awesome is that?!

I checked the website early this morning and the list had not been posted. Then I checked again in the afternoon and still nothing. I went to the movies to distract myself. I saw How to Train a Dragon, a really cute film. When I got back I went online to the Amazon site and found that the list was posted AND MY NAME WAS ON IT!!!!

If you still haven't reviewed the excerpt, now is the time.

Go to  and search Nubian Princess by Stephanie Jefferson. It's Kindle ready. No Kindle? Don't worry, just download Kindle for PC/Mac.

Now buy ($0.00) Nubian Princess. It will be downloaded to your Kindle PC/Mac. Read the excerpt and then review it on Amazon. Of course you loved it and will give it a 5 star rating. Don't wait to do this. The editors are reading all the reviews and using that as part of the judging criteria.

Now here's the big deal, between May 25 and June 2 vote for NUBIAN PRINCESS.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Princess

Lately there has been some controversy over  a princess who does not want to be queen. There are those who have called her selfish, foolish, or even immature. Having grown up in the US where there are only elected officials, I wonder about that question, too.

All of the tales we read and have read talk about a prince or princess fighting to get to the throne. There are even stories where siblings fight for that privilege to rule. Then there's the buzz that we get over here about the Royal Family in Great Britain. To me it looks like you get a lot of what you want, wear really nice clothes, and ride in parades waving at people. There's always the problem of having you mate chosen for you, or the public appearances you have to make whether you want to or not. But from the perspective of most of us, being a Royal looks pretty cushy.

Yet, there is a princess that has made it pretty clear that the throne is not on her list of things to do. I thought it would be nice to get her perspective on what it would be like and why she would choose differently. I was able to reach Princess Kandake and she graciously agreed to interview with us. She is more than willing to answer any questions you might have about being a member of a royal family.

We're still trying to work out a date that works for both of our schedules. Since the date is not yet set, you have time to pose any questions you might have for her in the comments of this blog. Once the date is set, I will announce it in time to collect those last minute questions. So get those questions in.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Fury of the One-Armed Paper Hanger

Now I know how politicians feel when they're in the middle of campaigning. Once I found out I'd made it to the quarter finals, I've been busier than a one-armed paper hanger (as my mother would say). Posting on Facebook, tweeting, blogging, creating and distributing postcards and flyers. All to get you to download the excerpt of my book and write a review. Have you done it yet? If you haven't, get to it! The steps are fairly easy.

1.  Go to Nubian Princess by Stephanie Jefferson.
2.  Click the 'buy' link to download. The cost is a whopping $0.00, but I don't think that will break this week's budget. If you don't have a Kindle, the right sidebar has a free download for PC or Mac.
3.  Read and enjoy the excerpt.
3.  Now write your review raving about the wonderful writing and story. You'll want to give it a 5 star rating.
4.  I will thank you profusely for you review.

Of course this is a shameless plug for my book. Did you expect anything else? Now click the link, click the link!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Date Confusion!

Boy! I had no idea how much the excitement of moving to the next round would cloud my ability to reason! I have been telling people about the Amazon/Penguin Contest and not giving complete information. I think my brain is a little clearer and I'll try again.

First, I need you to read and review my excerpt of Nubian Princess at Here's how:

1. Log in at If you don't have an account with Amazon it's simple to do and it's FREE!

2. Search Nubian Princess by Stephanie Jefferson.

3. Download the excerpt. The price is a whopping $0.00. Be aware this download is for Kindle. If you don't have a Kindle, there's a FREE download that's Kindle for PC or Mac. FREE!

4. Read the excerpt.

5. Write a glowing review (of course it will rate 5 stars!) and post it.

Second, I need you to do this really soon, like before May 18th. The sooner you do it the better. The judges are making selections for the next round so do it now, Now, NOW!

This concludes my shameless attempt to get you to help me get the much coveted contract with Penguin. My next shameless attempt to get you to help me will be the information you need about voting for me!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I'm Almost Home

We docked in Florida late this morning. Now I'm resting in the hotel. I fly back to California at noon tomorrow. Now for the really interesting news.

On Tuesday I found out that I made it to the quarterfinals in the Amazon/Penguin Breakthrough Novel Contest. Hooray for me! You can read an excerpt of the manuscript on To do this go to and search Nubian Princess by Stephanie Jefferson. You'll be able to download, read, and review it if you have an account with Amazon. If you don't, you can start one. It's very easy and free.

The download is for a Kindle. If you don't have a Kindle (neither do I), first download Kindle for PC, Mac, or iPhone from that same website (also free), then "buy" the excerpt at a whopping price of $0.00 (Why don't they just say it's free?) All of this is FREE.

Once you do this you can read the excerpt and leave a review. I would love for you to tell me what you think. Then May 25 12:01 AM EST through June 2 11:59PM EST you can (must) vote for me. The Grand Prize is a contract with Penguin!!!

Man, am I stoked!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I just checked the Amazon website and I made it to the quarter finals in their novel contest. I am so stoked. I'm still on my cruise. The ship is leaving Honduras and is on it's way to Belize. This is a vacation of a lifetime! I made it!

I'm sure there's lots I could write about, but right now all I can saw is OMG! I'll keep you all posted. Soon Amazon with post the excerpt of my novel. I need you to read it and vote for me. I'll give you all of the details in my next post.

WAHOO! It is so wonderful.

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's Almost Time

Friday's acomin'. I can't wait for it to get here. I've washed all of my laundry, set out the suitcases, and double checked the passports. Tuesday I'll start packing everything. I have checked and doubled checked to make sure I have all of the necessary electrical cords. I have the one for my phone, and one for my camera, and one for the earpiece to my phone, one for my toothbrush, and the one for my computer. Now I'm trying to decide if I should take my video camera. At this rate I'm going to be so loaded down with cords and equipment that there will be no room for clothes; and I need to save room for my books, too. I can't leave the books, a good read is a must. My husband even picked out a brand new su doku book to work on.

I talked to my friend who's joining us from New Jersey. She's looking forward to some pleasant weather. It stopped snowing there, but now it's raining. I can't complain about the weather, here in So California it's warming up nicely. Soon there will be no need for sweaters.

I've been writing and and working on a MG and a YA, trying to keep busy and not think about the contest. But it slips in now and then. I wonder how my excerpt is doing in the standings. I hope it's compelling enough. I really want to go the distance. The grand prize is calling my name. I'll find out if I made the cut next week. Please keep all of your body parts crossed for me.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Vacation Time!

I am super jazzed. The last week of this month I'm going on vacation. I'm taking a cruise with my husband and some friends. Of course I'm taking my computer, a sack of books, and exercise clothes.

I'm taking the computer for two purposes. One is so that I can check my email while I'm away. The reason I need to check email is that the Amazon/Penguin contest announces it's next round winners while I'm cruising. If I didn't check it, I'd be distracted for the whole trip. If I make it to the next round I'll be in the perfect place to celebrate. If I don't make to the next round I'll have my husband and friends to help console me, plus a lot of good food (the reason for the exercise clothes).
The other reason for taking my computer is to write, of course. I never know when an idea will appear. What better place to get ideas than the Caribbean. After all it is the setting for my next WIP. I'm looking forward to getting some flavor and inspiration to and to my research.
I've never been to the Caribbean before. I'm really excited.  WAHOO!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Yesterday was the first notification in the Amazon/Penguin novel contest. I made it through the first round. I can't begin to tell you how stoked I am! After I read my name I immediately emailed my critique group to let them know. Their support is wonderful. I got replies from everyone wishing me well and rooting for me to go the distance. I smiled and yelled so much I got a headache and my face hurt. But it was a good ache.

I went to the gym as usual. The excitement pushed me to workout really hard. Between the exercise and the thrill of getting to the next round wore me out. By 9 pm my eyes were seriously at half mast. I forced myself to stay awake a little longer, but not much.

I didn't get much rest, though. I went to sleep, but I dreamed about it the whole night. I woke up this morning with my face aching from all that smiling. I can't wait for the next round of the contest. I so hope I'm still in it.


Friday, February 12, 2010


Today I'm sitting in front of my computer deciding how to write a particular action sequence. It's a part of my stories that I love the most. I like the pace of it. I like orchestrating the fight, battle, or attack. It gives me a thrill that nothing else seems to. My critique members enjoy those parts of my manuscripts, but I'm often asked why I have a flair for action rather than romance.

I'm not really sure. It's the same with what I enjoy reading or the movies I prefer. I'm pretty sure it's not the blood or gore. I don't care that much for slasher movies or horror. I'd have to say it's the pace and power of the scene.

When I'm writing, I see every blow delivered and received. I hear the scuffle and struggle of clothing, bodies hitting the ground, the grunts and groans of the combatants. I watch the placement of the characters' bodies and feet. I experience the aftermath of both sides. This a part of the book that comes alive for me. Not that I don't enjoy the other bits, like scene or character building, because I love those too. I just get really involved in the sequence and effect of the action. All of that movement going on in my head is invigorating.

What's your favorite part?

Friday, February 05, 2010

What's Hiding in My Mind?

Here's what's hiding in my mind, lots of books waiting to be written. They're rolling around in there, rattling against each other. The better question is, how do I get all of them out without my fingers falling off from the mad tap-tapping of the keyboard? I guess I'll just have to rely on God's superglue. Here's hoping it lasts a few more years, better make that decades.

I have so many ideas bouncing around in my brain, sometimes it's hard to keep them all straight. I write them down so that I don't lose them, but the stack of paper that they're written on is almost to manuscript length! No matter, I am determined to get them done.

A lot of the ideas sound good at first. When I start fleshing one out into a story it becomes apparent that the idea needs a lot more work, more time to 'cook'. There is no way that thing is ready to meet the public.

I got this idea about one story that had a being from another world that wanted to live on Earth. That part isn't so bad. Watching this being experience our planet's lower gravity, teens with extreme fashion, and junk food were a little trite, and that's being kind. I still think it's a decent idea, it just needs more time in the imagination oven.

I would like to think that I'm not the only one who experiences this, but I could be wrong. Does you brain burst with ideas? Do you ever have ideas that just don't hold up under the scrutiny of being put on paper?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I am completely exhausted. I have decided to enter a YA manuscript contest. Reading all of the rules (every word), making sure I understand each guideline, and putting together the submission packet has left me completely wrung out. And I still have the pitch and the author's bio to do. Who would have thought that this would be such hard work? Certainly not me.

I remember what it was like preparing, every night, for my comprehensive exams to proceed from master's level to doctoral. I feel exactly like that! Like then, the information is not new, nor is it anything I haven't done before. It's the emotional impact. Hooley-looley, this is draining.

My brain is numb. I can't think clearly enough to put together decent sentences, hence, the run-ons that are written here. I have decided to give myself a break from it all. I'm going to play solitaire until my mind has detangled enough to follow one thought to the next.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another Day in the Neighborhood

I was thinking yesterday about what direction I want my life to take. It seems I often come back to this question. I guess it's because writing is so up in the air for me. I have no idea when someone will like what I write enough to publish it. I have no idea if when I get published what sort of following I'll have. And, at this moment, I'm still learning about connecting and networking in the writing neighborhood.

I read several blogs and I comment on them. Several people read mine and comment there. I'm on facebook and have 'friended' several writers, some published in my genre and some not. I guess what I'm trying to figure out is developing relationships with some of them. I have the members of my critique groups, but I would like more. I'd like to be a part of a social/professional network of writers, especially those who write for children.

Attending conferences and workshops has been a source of connection, but somehow we drop the ball in maintaining that. I have created great connections in the world of psychologists, but I haven't quite figured it out in the writing arena. So I will keep at it until I find the neighborhood and move in.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Routine

Okay, so here I go. I've put together a new writing routine and hopefully I will get much more done. The old one was not challenging enough and left too many gaps for me to slip through. Now let's see how much this one helps.

I have neglected to do this for myself in the past because with my work schedule I had to squeeze it in whereever I could. It was not only a time factor, but one of energy and space in my brain. Being a psychologist I would often come home with so much buzzing around in my head ,I just needed to do something that would numb it. Now that I've retired, that is no longer the case. These days I have to remind myself that I have the energy and space to get it done, and tell mysel to go to it.

It's amazing to me that since I enjoy writing so much I would have to remind myself to get more done. I really do love writing. My brain feels differently when I'm doing it, literally. I think it has something to do with right brain vs left brain and may involve some level of endorphins. I wonder if this happens for others, too.

Do you notice a difference between writing and doing some other task? Let me know.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Wouldn't it be fun to take a week-long cruise that was specifically for writers? I have this fantasy that all of my favorite authors and editors would be there.Then they would agree to facilitate writing workshops offering their expertise. Of course the editors would tell us what they are looking for and invite us to submit our work.

What a wonderful dream. I love getting professional feedback and direction. I wonder if a cruise like that could really happen? If there were, I would be among the first to book that trip. I get so much out of attending conferences that offer professional critiques. It gives me an idea of what I need to focus on.

I remember the first time I submitted something for critique. I was so nervous I took a digital recorder with me because I knew I would never be able to remember what was said. Their feedback was extremely helpful. It gave me a different perspective in the direction of the WIP.

This year I'm putting together a list of conferences and workshops to make sure I don't miss the ones I'm really interested in. To date, my favorite conference has be the SCBWI Summer Conference and the Agents' Day workshop put on by my regional chapter of the same organization. These two events have given me help, direction, and encouragement.

What are your favorites?

Friday, January 01, 2010

A great and Wonderful Year!

Happy New Year!

I'm really excited about this year--2010! I expect it to be a great one. I get a chance to do things I didn't get to do last year. Things like finishing the projects I'm working on, learning new writing skills, and meeting new writing friends. I hope you are one of them

This year I plan to write new stories and challenge myself to write that mystery I've always wanted to. I am so excited! Just think of all the things I can do with 365 days. I can't wait to get started.

I won't keep you long, I'm sure you have things you're dying to get back to. But I want to say one more thing. Keep up the good work, my writing friends and should we meet, let's share a story or two.