Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I recently went through the list of banned books. What I discovered was a list of books banned/challenged and I couldn’t understand why some made the list. Not that I think there's an instance that calls for a book to be challenged/banned. I don’t. If you’re afraid you’re child will read a book you have deemed inappropriate for their age - don’t let them read it. Don’t make it hard for others to read it, too.

Then there’s the actual list of books that are banned/challenged. There’s a lot. Something that surprised me, however, was the number of classics on the list. Here are a few:

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner

I choose these books out of the list because my daughter read each one for her AP classes at school. She loved them all. They didn’t influence her to go out and commit a crime or smack her siblings around. It only made her appreciate those authors even more.

Some books that made no sense to have censored at all were on the list. I had read these books. Some a while ago….but still. I couldn’t recall any content in them that would be deemed inappropriate. Of course, my taste/opinion would differ from many but I don’t get it. Here are a few of those:

 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor

Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park

I’ve decided to try a challenged/banned book and read it. I challenge you to do the same!


Have a great day. Read a book and Laugh!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


It’s common knowledge that many writers were first readers. But not just any kind of reader. Most writers read everything, anything, they could get their hands on. Or I could just be describing myself. But I doubt it.

I fell in love with books at an early age. I’d devour books so quickly; I can't accurately say how many I’ve read. That love for books, for stories, parlayed into my love for writing. Since starting on my writing journey, I've enjoyed reading more. I’ve found, however, with family, work, writing, and other demands on my time, I don’t have as much time for reading. I’ve been slacking. And I hate it.

I made up for that recently by reading some awesome books, though:  

The Guardian by Katie Klein I found this book when I read an anthology called “In His Eyes.” I had originally picked this up because of another author’s work that I wanted to check out. But ended up loving this short story because of its fantasy element. Oh, I loved that other story, too, by Jessie Harrell. The thing I liked the most about The Guardian was the main character – Genesis. The author created this character that leaped off the page and I kept reading the story until I was finished because of her. Then I grabbed the next book in the series. And another great book by the author, too.

Bully by Penelope Douglas I saw this book recommended on another blog, can’t remember where now, though. I’m not a big romance reader – but honestly, if the book is good with great pacing and believable characters, I’ll read it. Bully was that book. I think the characters are what make the story interesting for me. I don’t necessarily need a super original plot that no one has ever heard of – but that wouldn’t hurt. Just give me characters that are unique in some way and I’m half-way there. It wasn’t the main character that I fell for though, it was her love interest. Read the book, you’ll understand.  

Matched by Ally Condie - This book is not last on my list because I liked it the least but it was the book I thought most of you would know best. This is another book with an interesting character(s). I love the story because I have a thing for Dystopia’s. I can’t get enough of the “What would happen if the world…” stories. I have so many books on my TBR that I have not read the sequel to this one yet but I’m itching to get my fingers on it. There’s a love triangle and I’m torn completely down the middle with this one. I love that!

 What I want to read next:

Allegiant by Veronica Roth
– Come on already! This is one of my favorite YA series and I’m dying to know what’s going to happen next. If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, you’re missing out. It’s a great Dystopian with awesome world building and jump off the page characters that you won’t forget.

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi This book is part of another really great series. It was labeled a Dystopia but I mostly thought of it as fantasy/romance with a little world building. Maybe there will be more on the new society mentioned in the first book but it was the writing that did it for me with this one. It was different, descriptive, and weird – in a good way. I really enjoyed it and it was mostly romance (not my favorite thing to read but it's in all the books I read now – and write coincidentally).

Partials by Dan Wells –  I found this book in an anthology for YA Dystopias. I read all the books in the anthology after I read the sample chapters, with the exception of this one…and I think one other. But it’s not because I did not like these two, I just haven’t had time to read them. If you haven’t gotten this anthology, you should. It is the Hunger for Dystopian Sampler. Not only have I read most of the full length books in the sample but also the sequels to those books as well. Can’t wait to read this one by Wells, too.

A book I’d recommend to all writers:

The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi – this book offers valuable info on how to describe – show, not tell – the emotions your characters experience in your story. It offers a definition of the emotion; physical signals of the emotion (jumpiness – for nervousness); Internal Sensations (a flutter of the abdomen – for love)…and more. It’s a great companion when you’re writing and you need that added descriptor to complete or compliment a scene.

Have you read any great books lately? I’m always open to suggestions and I’ll read just about anything with great characters – especially if it’s a Dystopian, fantasy, or horror.

Have a Great Day. Read a Book and Laugh!

Monday, September 9, 2013



What's in a kiss? Well, actually, quite a lot depending on who it's from, where you are, your mental state, their mental state, how long have you known  them.... 

So in honor of smooches everywhere, especially in fiction and non-fiction, Cecelia Roberts and Christine Rains are hosting a Blogfest dedicated to the delectable (or sometimes, NOT) kiss. We are posting scenes from our stories  - a kissing scene. First, if you'd like to participate, let's go over the rules:

1. Sign up on the linky list and post the badge on your blog.
2. On one of the days of the week of September 9th, post a kissing scene on your blog. It can be either fiction or non-fiction.
3. Please do not exceed 250 words.
4. This is a blogfest, so visit the other participants and have fun!

I'm sharing a scene from my YA urban fantasy, Finding Me. This is the first kiss between my protagonist and her love interest:

With my eyes shut, I concentrated. Possibly, if I thought of the two of us together, I could conjure something. I tried, hard. But nothing registered. Only the memories from the last couple days. “I’m sorry,” I said. Tears welled up in my eyes threatening to spill.

He drew my chin up to meet his darkened eyes. “Don’t worry. We have time.” He stroked the side of my face gently, and then traced his finger across my bottom lip. My mouth parted in anticipation. My heart raced and my knees buckled. He bent closer. His eyes never strayed from mine. I knew he wanted a kiss as much as I wanted one. His lips lingered by mine as we stared into each other. His eyes glossing to a warm caramel. He bent his head and closed the gap. Our lips touched. A shiver of delight fluttered through my abdomen. Our lips moved in harmony, the electric current pressed in on us again. It radiated from every crevice of my body.         

       “I love you,” he whispered. He continued to trace kisses along my neck then across my chin.
        I wanted to say I love you, too. But my heart wouldn’t allow me to tell that lie. However, I could be. Soon. If I could remember.                      
Maybe there’s nothing to remember. I slapped back this thought, and continued to kiss my new found soul mate. But with my eyes wide open. 

Have a Great day. Read a book and laugh!

Monday, September 2, 2013


I’ve been thinking about my writing journey thus far. It’s been a tumultuous one – at least emotionally. Why has it been so emotionally charged? Because as an unpublished writer, who is passionate about my craft, I put in the hours to make my stories shine. Or at least I try to.

Why is this bad?

It’s not. We should hone our craft as a writer. After all, doesn’t practice make perfect. Yes. But there's a little known truth, at least in my world, that if you try to do something and after a certain time frame it doesn’t work, you need to stop. To some people, what I do at the wee hours of the night, on my lunch break at work, during the early morning hours before everyone else is kicking, is a hobby. Yes, I’m sorry. I said it. A passionate hobby. That’s what people perceive our efforts as. Not all…but many.

And, truthfully, that assumption used to really irk me. I said ‘used to’ because I try not to allow someone else’s perception of what I do affect me. Their perception won’t alter my passion for writing. It won’t make me stop doing it, or even apologize for it. It only ‘used to’ infuriate me. Not so much anymore.


Well, I found this nifty thing online called: the writing community. Writing can be a lonely endeavor. You sit at your keyboard or with paper and pen alone. For hours. You go through most of the process entirely by yourself. Some people don’t even have critique partners. They are trapped in a maize of perpetual loneliness and torn between their love for the craft and the biting words of others about that passion.

Those naysayers can go kick rocks!

Newbie writers need to take advantage of the writing community. You won’t survive if you don’t ever associate yourself with like minded people. That’s why religious people have church….to fellowship with other people of the same faith/belief. That’s why there are adult sports leagues…for sports enthusiast to find a release with others who enjoy the sport they love. And that’s why there are hundreds of sites dedicated to writers. Here are a few of my favorites:

YALitchat – a great writing community. You can share blog posts, get help with your query, synopsis, and MS. You can share exciting news about projects and learn about other writer’s success stories. It’s a great site for those who write children’s books.

SheWrites – this site is similar to YALitchat except, as the name implies, it caters to the woman writer (but I’ve seen a few men on the site and they didn’t get lynched for being there).

Miss Snark’s First Victim – this is a blog run by the anonymously great Authoress. She offers tons of critique opportunities and exposure to agents through her many contest. Can’t say enough how helpful and fun this site is!

CBI Clubhouse – this site is similar to YALitChat and Shewrites. It’s dedicated to those who write under the children’s umbrella. There are forums to meet and greet/find CP’s and more. There’s also tons of helpful info about the writing process and publication. This site, however, does have a small monthly fee.

Please, please, please seek out these groups/organizations. Writing can be lonely. But you shouldn’t have to feel this way when there are thousands of people, just a click away. No, I can’t promise you these organizations will ensure you get an agent or published, but they lighten the load. They understand your pain – they live it, too. Trust me…you’ll be a happy writer for it.

Have a great day. Read a book and laugh!