Saturday, December 17, 2011

An excerpt from Painless...

  “I am Colton. We have not met but I know of you, of course. It is imperative that we work together to find your mother.”
I backed away before he got out the last stilted and overly formal sentence.
    “I’m sorry, but I’m not interested.”
    The media attention had finally died down, but I should have remembered it always seemed to rise up again on the anniversary of the day she left. Otherwise known as my freaking birthday.
    “You know that I am like you. I can help you.”
Relief collided with fear like an explosion inside me as I realized I wasn’t the only person in the world like me. I turned and ran for the galley.
The galley of Arden’s Family Diner was as dead as the rest of the small town restaurant. Nobody eats at two in the afternoon in Foresquare. Nobody does anything out of the ordinary. Oh, except for me and the stranger. The one named Colton.
    Trisha Briggs leaned across the steel counter in front of the empty food window and pulled her long brown hair into a ponytail.
    “What’s with that hot thing?” she asked. “Can’t believe someone that smokin’ comes in here asking for you.”
    Men came in and asked for Trisha, not me. No doubt she was shocked. And, bored. The afternoon shift sucked.
   I rolled my eyes and tried to control my shaking hands. I slammed the glass coffee pot onto the warmer a little too hard. A hairline crack zipped up the side. Hot liquid dripped out. When something upset me I forgot how strong I could be.
    “Good lord,” Trisha said. “What the hell is wrong with you?” She grabbed the cracked pot and headed for the dish room.  
   It wasn’t the first time I’d broken something in a hurry or a mood, but it was the first time I’d done it at work in front of someone.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thank you world

We spent thanksgiving in Los Angeles, the land of sunshine and roses (also smog and traffic, but I'm trying to focus on the good here). We had a beautiful time, but I'm thankful to be home.

I'm also thankful for:

1. Barbie dolls. Those plastic little blonds with the massively bizarre figures were the obsession of my childhood. My feminist ideals should make me hate them now, but the truth is I still get excited when I see the newest dream house. I just wish Ken had been sturdier. Why did his head insist on popping off all the time? I was delighted to grow up and find that real men were able to keep their heads on their shoulders. Well, most of the time anyway.

2. Chocolate. Yum. What more can I say? Not much, since my mouth is busy eating it right now.

3. Romantic movies. From Casablanca to The Little Mermaid all kinds of movies can take a bad day and make it wonderful with a little splash of love.

4. Warm blankets. When paired with chocolate and romantic movies, what can possibly be better?

5. Books. What else can make seven hours on airplanes feel like five minutes? Cheers to Second Grave on the Right, my Kindle companion from LA to Ohio. 

What are you thankful for this December?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Breaking Dawn...

I admit it. I really want to go see Breaking Dawn. I want to go see it even though my best friend says it wasn't very good. I can't get the details since she's in Paris and she texted me this information. Texting is limited for detailed information in my opinion. Maybe I would feel differently about texting if I had an I-Phone, but that's a different topic that my husband doesn't want to talk about anymore.

I know a lot of people are over Twilight. True Blood's vampires have a certain dangerous element that Twilight can't match. Then again, I think the Twilight vampires are a little more high-brow in their own way. Plus I can't resist fellow vegetarians (they're close enough anyway). 

So, tomorrow I'm breaking away to see Breaking Dawn one way or the other. I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bridger by Megan Curd: A fun 99 cent read on Amazon's Kindle

I love my Kindle. I was sure I would hate it. I've always loved the feel of a book between my hands. I've spent my whole life dreaming about my name on the spine of a book. E-books just seemed like some diabolical plan to ruin my dream before I even got it. But my grandmother got a Kindle as a gift from my aunt. She couldn't figure out how to use it. So she gave it to my mom. She didn't want to figure out how to use it. So she gave it to me. That's when I discovered the magic of unlimited instant access to books. Can you say heaven? I loved it. But then I started exceeding my budget. That's when I discovered the 99 cent Kindle books. Heaven at a discounted price, right?

That brings us to Bridger by Megan Curd. This book is definitely worth the time. Ashlyn's world falls apart when her dad dies in a terrible accident and she realizes she's stronger than she ever imagined in more ways than emotional. A trip to Ireland introduces her to a world of changelings, monsters hidden among her closest allies and a chance at true love.

Check it out today! Order Bridger now!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Son of Neptune

The adventure begins again for Percy Jackson in the Son of Neptune when he realizes he's lost his memory and eight months of his life. He lands in a Roman camp and being the son of the sea god is so not impressive to these half-bloods. The Romans prefer to take to land for their fighting. Unfortunately, Gaia the earth Goddess is waking and if she manages to bring back all her giant children humans and gods are toast. She's opened the doors of death and suddenly dead people just won't stay dead.

Percy's latest quest pairs him up with Hazel and Frank, who have their own deathly secrets. Nico Di Angelo makes a cameo too. 

For lovers of the Percy Jackson series (like me), this book is a great romp through the heavens on earth. Percy's not as much fun this time. Maybe I just knew too much about him. But Hazel and Frank are worth getting to know. The ending sets up some interesting questions for the next book to answer. And, there's a nifty little love triangle brewing. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Five Wishes...

My mother used to always say "if wishes were horses beggers would ride." I'm always wishing for something. Like what?

1. A housekeeper. I have not grown out of not wanting to do houswork. I hate dishes. I hate laundry. I hate dusting. As much as possible I try not to do these things. Alas, I often don't have any choice. If I don't do them, they won't get done.

2. A genie. See housekeeper above with the added benefit of fullfilling my every wish. Genie's are awesome.

3. One of those machines on Star Trek that lets you beam to another place instantly. I hate the process of getting somewhere far away, but I love the being there part.

4. Telepathy. I would like to be able to move things around from the other side of the room. This would be especially perfect for transporting the ice cream I wish for from the table to the triple layered feather bed I'll be sleeping on once my Genie appears and creates one for me. 

5. Physical fitness without the time consuming process of achieving it. Like "the perfect body" in twelve seconds or something like that, but it actually works.

What do you wish for?

Monday, October 24, 2011

I'm so excited to host my first guest blogger! Ty Drago, author of THE UNDERTAKERS: RISE OF THE CORPSES is sharing a brand new short story on our site today. Even better, it's part of a progressive story over the next few days across blogs hosted by Frenzy of Noise and Wicked Awesome Books called YASpooktacular. Want to go back to the beginning of the story? Check out Pure Imagination. Tell all your friends... Tweet #YASpooktacular and tell them @Storiestobe sent you!


Ty Drago

“What is this place?” Laura demanded, pausing with the poker still clutched in her clammy hands.
The figure paused and looked back at her, silver eyes shining with malice.  “It’s a museum of sorts … a private collection.”

“Of what?”

“See for yourself.”  He pointed toward a lever set into the wall.

Laura looked from him to the lever and back again.  “You try anything,” she said, “and I’ll bash your head in!”

The hooded figure made a sound.  A groan?  A laugh?  She wasn’t sure.

Laura crossed the room, her footfalls squelched by the layer of ooze that covered the floor.  With
one hand, she pulled the lever downward.

Light filled the room.

Cages.  And in them: people.  A lot of people.  Some were men, some women, many children.  Dozens of them, one per cage.  They squinted at her, as if unaccustomed to the light.  The nearest cage held a little girl, no more than eight, her angelic face twisted by fear and suffering

“Help us,” she whispered.

“What is this place?” Laura exclaimed.

“I told you,” the figure replied flatly.  “It’s my collection.”

She didn’t want to look at him, but she had to.  It was as if her gaze was pulled by a string.  And she saw him, saw him clearly.  Saw his bulging silver eyes, which seemed to protrude several inches from the sides of his thin, hatchet-shaped face.  His mouth was a lipless “0”, constantly moving, as were the gills — yes, the gills — visible just below where his ears should have been.

This time she didn’t hiss.  This time she screamed.

“It used to be ours,” he said, sounding strangely wistful.  “My sister’s and mine.  Every specimen we collected together, snaring them to our pond in the forest.  Goldfish made such wonderful lures.  We’d built a life.  We were happy.  Until they came …”

He pointed toward two of the furthest cages. In the first, Laura saw Brian.  He looked haggard and terrified, his pale face staring out at her through rusted, vertical bars.  And, in the next cage over, the beautiful Amanda – silently sobbing, her eyes vacant with suffering and despair.

“They came together,” the collector said.  “And we took them both.  But the boy was quick and clever.  He broke free and …” The creature’s voice choked a bit.  “Killed my sister before I cornered him.”

“It was an accident!” Brian called.  “We had a deal!”

They had a deal, Laura thought bitterly.  “To trade me for Amanda,” she said.

Brian averted his gaze.

“Yessss,” the collector hissed, an odd, fishy sound.  “But never would I have kept such a bargain.  Oh no.  Once you see my menagerie, there’s no going back.  So I let him have his precious mate, and then, as they fled, I snared them anew.  Now … I have all three of you.”

“Laura, I’m sorry!” Brian called.  “It was … the only way!  I never meant –”

Laura ignored him.  To the collector, she said, “Open the cages.”

But he only laughed, a terrible sound.

To continue the story, go to The Reading Nook.

About Ty Drago
Ty Drago makes his home in Southern New Jersey with his beloved wife and son.  He also has a beautiful daughter, but she makes her home elsewhere these days (sniff!). His short fiction has appeared in several locations, including AMAZON SHORTS and HAUNTS. When he’s not writing, he spends his time working as a business analyst for a large pharmaceutical company. His newest novel THE UNDERTAKERS: RISE OF THE CORPSES is now available.

You can find Ty on Twitter, on his blog, on Goodreads and you can order his books here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

YASpooktacular is Coming Soon!

I'm excited to be a part of this year's YASpooktacular! This great blog tour offers some amazing prizes (I for example donated a Charlaine Harris autographed novel for the grand prize pack). Beyond the prizes, the best part is a progressive story that lets you choose your own adventure! Check back here on Oct. 24 at midnight to get in on the story (and the prizes). Follow the adventure on Twitter #YASpooktacular.

Story One posts on October 24 at midnight. You can start the beginning of the story at Pure Imagination and follow along for stories from this amazing line-up of authors:
Beth Revis
Lia Habel
Kate Kaynak
Shannon Delany
Ty Drago
Jen Nadol
Kim Welchons
Caroline Richmond
Christina Ferko
Zoraida Cordova
Nova Ren Suma

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Still Reverberating from Central Ohio Fiction Writers' Conference

I'm still reverberating from this weekend's Central Ohio Fiction Writers' Conference. The conference featured best-selling authors Brenda Novak, Joanne Rock and Catherine Mann. Two editors from Harlequin joined us, Paula Eykelhof, Executive Editor Harlequin and MIRA Books and Adam Wilson from Harlequin Teen. Two agents attended the event, Nalini Akolekar from Spencerhill Literary Agency and Melissa Jeglinski from The Knight Agency. The event also featured Barbara Vey from Publisher's Weekly. 

What always amazes me about writer's conferences is the genuine desire of every person who attends to help others grow in their careers. Brenda Novak's keynote was about setting a goal, staying focused and not being afraid to stay with it.

Joanne and Catherine shared their experience as critique partners. The two friends were also joined by Melissa to share how to strengthen an agent/author relationship. These sessions reinforced for me the importance of openness to feedback, loyalty and trust. An important call-out for me in this session was the importance of reading widely in your critique partners' genres. I feel so blessed to be able to send pieces to my critique partners (thank you Connie and Kathleen) when I don't know what to do next or just need someone to say "you really do need to work on this" or "that actually works, stop stressing."

The agents and editors participated in a panel that highlighted the importance of strong writing, voice and knowing your audience. Lastly, Barbara Vey shared insider information about the business.

I had the opportunity to pitch my work, which is always exciting, but most importantly I was reconnected with the energy of this business. It's easy to sit alone in your house late at night pounding the keyboard and feel your energy dip. A conference like this will keep me sizzling with the feeling of community, even as I write alone, at least until the next COFW meeting.

As someone who has always written, but for years didn't think I could become an author, the writing community has introduced my dream to hope and possibilities. Anyone who wants to be a writer should sit down and write that first story. Then go directly to a writer's group and get engaged. Don't stop writing, but start polishing. Polish until the unique voice shines. Learn until you know enough to be dangerous, but don't stop learning.

Writing can be a hobby and a creative pursuit. It's fun and energizing. I write because I couldn't stop myself if I tried. Writer's conferences remind me that publishing my work is a business. I plan to stay at this business and continue to get a little better every day. One of these days I'll be in a position to pass on all the inspiration these authors, agents and editors have given me this weekend to another beginning writer. It may take time to reach publication. It will definitely take hard work but it will be worth it.

Brenda Novak called writing "a dream of the heart" and I think that's a wonderful way to describe how so many writers feel about their work. I'm going to keep working on this dream. I encourage anyone else who has the same dream to get out there and connect with authors, editors and agents in this industry. It's worth every second.

Below is a picture of me with Brenda Novak. She sat at our table and was the most gracious and engaging person. I'm diving into her book, Inside, later tonight, just as soon as I write another chapter of my in progress YA novel.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Magic of Spellbound

Spellbound, by Cara Lynn Shultz, magically transported me off the airplane I was riding earlier this week and into the world of Emma, a high school girl with a tragic past. Emma's trying to leave a tragic past behind her when she falls in love with her soulmate. Unfortunately, an ancient curse has other plans for Emma.

The teens in this book are believable. The mean girl is evil in all the right ways, but there's a glimmer of reality there too. The little cousin, the dangerous boy, the school witch and the concerned aunt all connect with Emma in ways that flow into a beautiful story.

The story is held together by a crest on a necklace that Emma was given by her dead brother shortly before he died. The crest marks her as a soul mate in a love triangle that's one thousand years old. Emma battles high school rumors, near death experiences and her own fear to claim the love she's waited for all her life.

There are still a few mysteries yet to solve in the end, which left me excited about the next book in the series. Don't miss your chance to read this one now!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Girls Without Pants

I loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares. I loved it because I could relate to each of the four girls in some fundamental way. I could relate to Tibby for the way she dressed and her creative streak. I could relate to Carmen for her stubborn streak and her dad in another state. Lena's dark features and need to follow the rules and Bridget's wild side connected with pieces of me.

The last I saw this old friends they were in college and life was good. I waved them good-bye as they strode confidently forward into happy lives together.

Or, so I thought.

Sisterhood Everlasting is a bitter sweet reunion. The first couple of chapters were a bit slow. I was glad to greet my friends again, but something was just a little too predictable about where they ended up.

Or, so I thought.

Soon I recognized new pieces of myself in this nearly thirty year-old women. New, much more complicated grown-up problems surround the girls this time. Magic comes slow and at tremendous cost. By the end of the book I was sobbing, for the sweetness of hope, for the profound reality of loss, for the sisterhood and for myself.

If you're a Sisterhood fan, you won't be sorry you stepped back into the story, but you will be deeply touched by the story that unfolds.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back to School

We watched the Zach Ephron movie 17 Again this weekend. Four times. The first time I thought it was cute. The second time I thought it was romantic. The third time I started getting annoyed that the girlfriend (spoiler alert) chose to tell him her news right before the big game. The fourth time I started to imagine what I would do if I were back in high school again. When the kids begged to watch it a fifth time, I put my foot down.

I don't think I'd want to go back. Then again, I go back every time I sit down to write my YA novels and I love every minute of it. I guess I like the idea of going back under my own steam. I get to make up the rules.

If I had the chance to back and do it all over again, I really wouldn't change one single thing. I say that with the clarity of a person who believes that RIGHT NOW is the best time in my life. High school was really hard for me. But, if I changed anything about those years, I'd never be who I am today.

Still, if I was 17 again today I'd probably be at the fair tonight. (It's fair week in my home town and everyone goes, or at least they used to.) I might be laughing with my friends about some inside joke no one else could possibly understand, especially someone as old as 35. (I'm ancient now, you know?) Maybe I'd eat an entire basket of curly fries and not worry about gaining weight since I'd run it all off the next day anyway. There could possibly be a romantic moment on the top of the ferris wheel. Then I'd have to go home and do eight hours of homework.

Yeah, there were good times. I still say today is better.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

How many of these books have you read?

John and I are both book lovers and we have a cascading stack of books in nearly every nook of our house. There don't seem to be enough bookshelves to house them all, despite the fact that we keep buying and building more shelves. More truthfully, I help buy them and then John builds them. Even the addition of the Kindle has done nothing to stem the tide of books.

Today, I attempted to straighten one of our shelves and wondered about the eclectic mix of books it held. I wondered if anyone had read the whole slew of them other than me. Then, of course, I wondered what it meant about me that I had read them all and then haphazardly shelved them together.

How many of these books have you read?

1. The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
2. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien
3. My Life and Hard Times, James Thurber
3. Love in the Time of Chloria, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Little House on the Prairie, Laura Wilder
5. Dead Until Dark, Charlaine Harris
6. Three to Get Deadly, Janet Evanovich
7. Are You There God It's Me Margaret, Judy Blume
8. The Missing Persons League, Frank Bonham
9. Twilight, Stephanie Meyer
10. The Men Who Stare at Goats, Jon Ronson
11. Babyhood, Paul Reiser
12. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

These are just my books on this particular shelf. I've skipped over John's because they aren't my books to share.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ancient Races of People...

All of my ideas lately seem to involve an ancient race of people that have been hidden since the beginning of time. Their roots predate humans somehow. I like to think there are magical folk swirling around in the background. Just because I haven't seen them doesn't mean they aren't there, right?

How many ancient races of people could have survived? Ultimately, they would likely either have receeded into some other world or mated with humans. How much human blood does there need to be before the magic becomes a recessive trait?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A question of faery blood...

My all time favorite book is The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I read it in my mid-teens and pretty much converted it into my religion for at least a couple of years. Morgaine, the heroine, is a priestess of an ancient religion. It's a feminist retelling of the King Arthur myth. There's a scene in the book where she gets lost in the faery world, which has receded so far from the human world that time there no longer runs at the same rate as the human world. Morgaine can go to faery because she has a touch of faery blood. 

I decided that way, way back there must be faery blood in my family, definitely on my mom's side, but possibly on my dad's side, too. You never know.

A couple of years ago my husband and I went to England. The amazing man that he is, he didn't blink when I wanted to leave London to embark on a six hour journey involving trains, buses and endless English countryside to visit Avalon. I had visions of parting the mists and calling up the barge. I'd probably be in the real Avalon now if we hadn't gotten to Glastonbury at  4 p.m. on Sunday after everything was closed. We climbed the Tor, but it turns out the water receded a long, long time ago.

I'm just into the first chapter of my third book and faeries are definitely figuring into the plot. They turn out to be nothing like Zimmer-Bradley's faeries, but I'm still sure I've got a little spark of faery in me somewhere.

Here I am in London on that trip...

Here's the Tor:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Self Publishing, Amanda Hocking and Me

When I first downloaded Amanda Hocking's My Blood Approves (which I reviewed on this site) I didn't realize she had self published the novel. Someone I follow on Twitter had posted a list of 99 cent Kindle downloads and I thought the description sounded interesting.

As I started reading the book I was attracted to the idea of the story. It rang a little bit too close to Twilight in terms of plot, but the post-Twilight junkie in me found I had to keep reading just for a taste of the familiar. As a writer, though, something nagged at me the whole time I read it.

There were little mistakes my critique partners wouldn't have let me get away with. There was the closeness of the plot to Twilight. I couldn't understand how the editor had selected the book. I enjoyed it in a lot of ways, but there was a certain rawness I couldn't put my finger on.

That's when I realized the book was self published. I enjoyed it enough to read the entire series, but something about the whole series of books left me just short of satisfied. I suspect that something is the magic that editors and the publishing process bring. Polish is the best word I have to describe it.

I could see her growth as a writer through the books. It makes me think about what so many writers have shared with me about not getting published until their second, third, fourth or even fifth or more books they've written. There's a readiness and a polish that comes from the process. Right now, I can't imagine self publishing. I can't say I'll always feel this way but it seems like skipping too many important learning steps. Maybe it's just taking the steps a different way.

It certainly seems to have worked for Amanda Hocking, self-publishing put her on the map and now she's moving to St. Martin's with her next series. But, for now at least, I'm going to keep writing, rewriting and querying.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Check out the The Goddess Test

Aimee Carter's debut novel with Harlequin Teen is well worth the read. Apparently, I'm in a Hades/Persephone kind of mood these days. Meg Cabot's Abandon touches on the same subject. Both heriones are kind and good hearted people who care for others. I think The Goddessware herione, Kate Winters, is a serious and sad person by the time we meet her. Her mother is dying and she's agreed to go to her mother's hometown from New York to wait for her mother to die. Eden, the small town they visit, is anything but what she expects.

She ends up making a deal with the god of the dead, a sweet and sexy guy named Henry, that turns everything she's ever known upside down.

Pick it up today:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Easy A, Gets A+

I'm not nearly as much of a movie fan as I am a book fan, but Easy A reminded me of a great YA novel. I was shocked to learn it wasn't based on a book.

It's the story of a rumor gone astray and a desire of popularity that turns into a desire for a little less notariety. A fun combination and a tribute to 80's teen romance movies to boot!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Banned Books?

I encourage you to read a banned book. Let's support the first amendment and send a clear message to those in power all around the world that the freedoms to think, learn and grow are inherent for all humans.

Check out this list of books that have been banned in 2009 and 2010:

Yes, you will find Junie B. Jones, Harry Potter and A Wrinkle in Time on this list, among others.

Check one of these treasures out of your local library or buy one at your bookstore this week!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ignite the Flame Win!

I wanted to share how excited I am to be a first place winner in the Young Adult category of the Ignite the Flame contest sponsored by the Central Ohio Fiction Writers (COFW) for The Time Keeper's Daughter.

The best part? I received feedback from two published authors on my entry. They both provided me with great insights on plot points and formatting. And, I'll be receiving feedback from a literary agent as one of the prizes.

One of the things I've learned about trying to publish a book is that feedback is the most important gift you can receive. When I attended the COFW writer's retreat earlier this year, I was so proud of the first chapter I brought to share with the critique group. It started with a long narrative where my character spoke directly to the reader and shared her background. The critique group at the retreat helped me understand how I needed to change the opening to be more active. I needed to do more showing and less telling.

When I entered the Cleveland Rocks contest and won second place I received two pages of feedback from the agent who judged the contest. She helped me see that the book needed more sizzle up front in terms of the romance. She provided additional feedback about showing versus telling.

Using her feedback I once again rewrote the opening chapter of the book and then entered in the Ignite the Flame contest, which is all about showing the sizzle in the romance.

I'm so grateful for the amazing feedback I've received. My next step? Finish polishing the book and start writing the query letter.

Meanwhile, I've got an exciting new story idea that's keeping me up nights scribbling notes.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Life with Tourette's...

I have Torrette’s syndrome.

Actually it’s a mild version called a Large Motor Tic Disorder.

I don’t volley out curse words randomly, although I do let them escape from my lips somewhat involuntarily from time to time, but that’s situational not medical. It’s my hands that won’t sit still. I can make them sit still. I can hold them in my lap if I notice what I’m doing. I can order them to go under the table and tic down there.

My hands only somewhat pay attention, so great is my urge to tic. It’s like an itch that’s uncontrollable. It takes all your energy to control it. Even under the table I can’t choose the exact form it wants to come out in. I scrape the daylights out of my pinkie on a regular basis. It’s a battle sometimes to pay attention when I’m fighting the urge to tic so hard.

The facial tics aren’t so bad. I look like I’m stifling a yawn.

People notice and they wonder. “Are you cold?” they ask politely as I shake in my seat.

“No,” I just have Torrette’s,” I tell them.

They look at me with horror in their eyes. We all have our limitations right? So I say move on. I can have this disorder and do whatever anyone else does. Maybe even do it better.

I was at the School of the Blind once. There were several kids there who had a host of issues. Quite a few had tics they couldn’t control. I envied them their freedom to tic. They did it without remorse in big swift movements. When you’re excited, tired, hungry, worried, it just feels so good. I didn't envy them the prison their tics and other issues locked them in. At least my tics are mild. A lot of people who know me don’t even know I have this disorder. But it shouldn't matter if my tics are mild or extreme. I'd be me either way.

What kind of man would fall in love with a woman who claps her hands and contorts her face regularly.? Sometimes even in public. You’d be surprised. There are men who can still love you. Who still want you. Who don’t even notice and then one day say “hey, I notice you do this thing.” And when you tell them they say “that explains it” and that’s the end of the whole conversation.

When I was a little girl I was always told to “sit on my hands.” I couldn’t explain how much I wanted to not do it or how much I needed to do it to relieve the surge of energy inside me. Sometimes it was stress and negative tension. Sometimes it was adrenaline and exciting ideas. Sometimes it was suspense and the terror of not knowing. But always it was there driving me to be that freak in the back of the room.

I’m not a girl with Torrette’s. It doesn’t define me. Lots of people are surprised to even find out I have it. But, I am a girl with Torrette’s. It is a filter through which I experience my life and my emotions everyday. It doesn’t get any worse and it doesn’t get any better. It is simply the way it is.

There are the jobs I didn’t get. The boys who didn’t ask me out. The strangers who look at me with pity. Still there are the jobs I earned. That book I wrote and even won a couple of contests with. The man who married me. The family that loves me. The strangers who don’t make a thing out of it if they catch me in a hallway.

There are medications. I can’t take them, though. One has the unpleasant side effect of lowering your blood pressure. A lot. And I already have blood pressure that is too low. Another is for anxiety. They don’t like to prescribe it to people who don’t have anxiety. At least people like me, who only have the normal amount, whatever that is.

The doctor suggested I do some behavioral therapy. I could learn with years of practice to control my tics and have them come out in less obvious ways. I’m 35 years old, though. I already did that on my own. I guess life is behavioral therapy enough.

I’m not Rain Man, but, I’m not completely normal either. I guess no one is completely normal so what’s the difference, anyway? Life is what it is. You can let your limitations define you or you can define them.

How many times do I get asked per day if I'm cold? Who knows?

"No," I say with a smile, “That’s just my Torrette’s” and on I go with my business. It’s the business of moving on and focusing on the joy in my life. There isn’t any other way to live.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Update on the Lake Toss

Thanks to those who sent me their opinions on this one via Facebook. It appears I'm wrong on this one! At least I can admit it. My husband is usually right, so I guess this makes sense.

I'm going to switch the object being tossed into the lake to something that belongs to the guy's father. Everyone agrees this is more realistic.

My favorite quote?

"An X-Box costs, like, a million dollars Why would anyone destroy something like that?"

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tossing it in the lake

My husband and I are debating the opening of a new middle grades novel I'm working on. The question at hand is whether or not a fifteen-year-old boy with any grip on his sanity would toss a video game console into a lake in protest for being forced to go without television for a week. My husband says "no way, not unless he is a complete psycho." I think under the right circumstances and to add comic relief it could happen.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Blood Approves...

There's still a little bit of me that's in the post-Twilight hangover. Every once in awhile I get sucked in and have to find a vampire YA book to get my fix. I downloaded My Blood Approves on the Kindle for 99 cents. It was a fast, fun little read if you're looking for Twilight Light. I would have liked to have seen a little more action and a little less endless angst, but it was short and there was a certain sweetness to it. Alice, the leading charactor, finds herself in a vampire love triangle. The only thing keeping her human is her little brother Milo who lives to take care of her. He's a complex guy, with a secret of his own.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I just finished Meg Cabot's newest book ABANDON. Like most of Meg's books she taps into the voice of a teenage girl grappling with the technology, relationships and realities every young person deals with today. The twist here is that Pierce, our heroine, died and came back to life two years ago. Ever since then she's been haunted by a man who wanted her to stay in the underworld with him. I love the way the story moves, the unexpected twists and the tie in to the Hades/Persephone myth.

Friday, June 10, 2011

What's not to love about this name? Muggle Born

As a raging Harry Potter fanatic (have you read every book 20 times each?), I had to jump on this site when the name popped up in a web search. Two of my favorite witches are muggle born. Hermione Granger and Lily Potter, of course. As for me, I'm a half blood. I definitely have magic coming from at least one side of my family, along with a little fairy blood. I'll not disclose which side.

Beyond the name, it's a great little find with YA book reviews, contests and an editorial intern willing to critique the first 30 pages of an author's manuscript. I'm not taking her up on it, but I definitely thought about it.

Stop by let me know what you think!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ignite the Flame!

If you spin tales of love and romance, don't miss this chance to get your work in front of a literary agent or editor. Just submit the 15 pages of your romance novel that start the magic between your hero and heroine.

You only have until May 31 to get your entries submitted. The Young Adult category is judged by Laura Bradford of the Bradford Agency. Check out the link below!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Show versus tell

I'm going back through the completed manuscript of the Time Keeper's Daughter now to eradicate those evil moments where I'm telling, telling, telling instead of sucking the reader right down into the action to live it with my characters.

I want you to smell Eddie's cologne the way Annie does when she first meets him, not just know he's wearing it. I want you to plunge into that first love attraction that makes two gallons of Abercrombe scent taste like a promise of long, sweet kisses.

It's amazing how often we tell, tell, tell when we could just show.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quick Update on Retreating...

The writer's retreat was a great experience, although I will agree with Stephen King about not actually doing much writing during a retreat. Spending a weekend with people who are willing to look at your work, brainstorm writing ideas and explaing the publishing business, who are funny, smart and kind is always worth the time, however.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


 Next weekend I will attend my first writer's retreat. Stephen King, in his book on writing, mentions that he believes retreats are a waste of time. I don't know if this will turn out to be true. We'll have to wait and see. I'm looking forward to writing time, critiques with fellow writers and hopefully a fair amount of laughing.

I've already learned a great deal from the other writers that comprise the Central Ohio Fiction Writers group. It's a chapter of the Romance Writer's of America, which is great since my young adult novel ideas are all are romantic. The Time Keeper's Daughter is a new twist on Romeo and Juliet.

I think the picture below, from a trip I took to Spain, is appropriate for "retreating..."

More to come after the retreat!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Time Keeper's Daughter finals in Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest

I'm so excited to share that my young adult book The Time Keeper's Daughter is a finalist in the Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest in the young adult category.

It's a fast-paced, fun paranormal romance with a twist. Annie Allen is a psychic teenager whose life is beyond predictable. She’s never been in love and she’s never been surprised. That is, until Eddie Green walks into her High School but not into her future visions.

Unfortunately, Annie quickly discovers that Eddie is her family’s sworn enemy, a Time Bender. Annie and her Mother are Time Keepers. While Time Benders live to change the past, Time Keepers ensure that time moves forward as planned.

A forbidden favor leads to true love and is quickly followed by a race for their lives to crack an ancient mystery.

Want to know more? I'm still working on a publishing contract but I'll keep you posted!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Deep Point of View

The writing world seems to be on fire for "deep point of view." You might think of it as third person with most of the benefits of first person. I like this discussion on the topic:

I like to write in first person and go deep inside the perspective of my heroine. I've just finished my first experience in third person with the deep point of view perspective. The hardest part is showing versus telling.

When I read I become the character. I am Jake in the Sun Also Rises. Don't you feel his angst over Bret and the sad knowledge that she only wants him because she knows she can never, ever have him? I am Vlad in Eighth Grade Bites. I can taste the blood in his sandwich. I am Harry Potter. I yearn for the family that was shredded in front of me when I was only a child. I am Stephanie Plum. I'm riveted every time another car blows up.

Lately, I am Wen Michaels. Alone in a jungle in Costa Rica I run with a child slung over my shoulder. Gunshots blast behind me. Time is ticking away... Never heard of Wen? That's because I haven't finished her story yet. Don't worry, one of these days you'll have the chance to live her life too.