Saturday, August 31, 2013


I've talked a little before about my summer day job teaching reading enrichment programs. Thursday was my last day for this summer, and something really cool happened.

One of my junior high students, S, had previously told me how much she wants to be an author. On Thursday, she noticed my writing notebook on my desk and asked what it was. I told her that it was my story notebook for my WIP.

"But you didn't tell me you write!" she exclaimed, and with the grabbiest of metaphorical grabby hands she wanted to know all about it. I gave her the very short version (high school, friendship, boys, musical theatre), and she was full of smiles and genuine interest. "How cool! Someday I'll see your book and be able to say you were my teacher!" she said before leaving.

It doesn't matter that she has never read a word I've written or that I don't write under my real name so she won't actually be able to do that. What matters is that her blind faith and excitement has motivated me to keep writing this story. My goal is to finish a complete draft by the end of the calendar year, and I am determined to reach it!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Take Away

I am the kind of reader who takes away big things from books. Big ideas. Maybe its because I took a lot of English Lit classes in college or maybe its because I read a lot. But the point is, good books leave me with good big things.

For example:
Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton left me with three big things/ideas. 1. death sucks but we keep those we love close to in other ways 2. magic is awesome but it comes with a price 3. bad people can become good, good people can go bad. its all in your choices and actions

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater left me with four more big things/ideas. 1. risk everything for love 2. life finds a way 3. trust your friends. 4. parents should pay enough attention to know if a girl is keeping a boy in her room

The House of Tradd Street by Karen White left with with three big things/ideas. 1. don't sleep with suave men because you're annoyed at the nosy sweet one at home 2. old houses have stories to tell and secrets to keep 3. even broken families have hope of mending themselves.

As I work on G4 I keep thinking of what big things people might take away from it someday if they ever read it. I know what I want them to take away but will they?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Grammar & foreign languages

So, I might not have told you, but I'm a language nut.

I took French and Spanish in high school, hold a BA in French from The Ohio State University, am a certified secondary French teacher in NYS, studied classical and medieval Latin in college as well as Old Occitan, and taught my self some VERY basic Portuguese for a trip I took to Brazil in 2010.

Anyway, I love languages and particularly grammar. Oddly enough, however, I know far more about foreign grammar than I do about English grammar. I fully understand the rule behind qui and que usage in French which is the only way I can remember the that and which rules in English. I also use the Latin case system to understand when to use who vs. whom (its all about the accusative case, man).

I still make really simple grammatical mistakes that are colloquially common, etc. BUT I use my foreign language skills to minimize them. And I will always think its funny that I learned English grammar when I learned other languages.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Who are my characters?

A few days ago, Sarah posted a great bit of character building advice over at TGNA ( and it really got me thinking about my main girls and boys of G4.
Sarah used an extremely relevant quote by J.K. Rowling that expresses an author's connection to their characters. I hadn't quite realized but each of my the main ladies has a bit of me in them. And the boys? I think I've crushed on all of them in my time.
Predictable? Maybe. But it means I know my characters. And I love them.
And when I say I know them, I mean it. S.E. Hinton, author of the Outsiders once did an interview talking about just how well she knew her characters but the internet has failed me so I can't share it with you. Her interview was the first thing I thought of when I read Sarah's post.
I'm happy to say that I know exactly what my characters eat for breakfast and which sock they put on first BUT I struggle to know which of those details are of interest to you. Sometimes I want to give you the whole back story because its totally interesting to me but I know I have to find my middle ground.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Writing with the wrong hand

In high school chemistry, my teacher told me that doing things with your non-dominant hand that you normally do with your dominant one creates new neuro-pathways. I have no idea if its true but I took it to heart and taught myself to write with my left hand. It came in really handy when my right hand cramped up in college classes.

I also use it when my brain can't put a sentence together. I've told you already that I write a huge proportion of my stuff in longhand first, right? Well, when I'm stuck, it helps sometimes to pass my pen, turn my notebook a little, and get something on the page. Its a little messier than my usual handwriting but it almost always gets me out of my head. Its how I fixed something today!

Its also fun. So the next time you're bored, or blocked, try writing with the other hand. And don't forget to tell me how it goes!  :-)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Chapter Swap

I recently did a chapter swap with Alex Yuschik ( and it was awesome.

Her work in progress, Slings and Arrows, is great. I am all about her main characters. And I cannot wait until I get to read more of it!

And her comments on my first two chapters of Goodbye Good-Goody Girl were great.

Until recently I had been relying heavily on my dear friend Jenny Adams Perinovic for feedback and comments. In the last month I won a chapter critic from The Great Noveling Adventure from Sarah at and have done this chapter swap. It has been a liberating and humbling experience. Having a feeling of community as I write feels so great!

Thursday, August 8, 2013


I have been writing a lot lately and its all longhand because that is part of my process. 

But I've written about that already as a guest on The Great Noveling Adventure. You can find it here: Why I Love Longhand

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Musical Inspirations

So I made a playlist for G4 and it is equal parts relevant to my WIP and nostalgia-inducing for me. I AM IN LOVE WITH IT.

You'll probably judge me but I love it.

Feel free to check it out here

To reread or not to reread? That is the question.

I don't reread books that often. Sure, I've read the entire Harry Potter series too many times to count and a few others have snuck ...