Thursday, May 17, 2018

Annual "Thank you, Coach" Card

"Win or learn, never lose."

It's that time of year again, to make cards for the coaches, big fat thank-yous for the kids to sign. Coaching takes money, time, and a lot of positive energy, so HIGH FIVE to the parents that step up and volunteer for the job.

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"Coaches build teams; parents build players." ~ Charles Piazzi Smyth

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Alphabet Book Challenge: The Letter A

For the month of May, I thought about sunny covers and mom stories, the color pink and polka-dots. Nothing was coming together for a reading challenge theme until I saw my library queue-- the books I had on hold all had "A" words, so how about an Alphabet Challenge?

Alphabet Reading Challenge
Starting with the Letter 'A'

1.) The Adulterants by Joe Duntcorne
2.) Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
3.) All the Good Parts by Loretta Nyhan
4.) Adorkable by Cookie O'Gorman
5.) A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

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"If Plan A fails, remember there are twenty-five more letters." ~ Claire Cook

Monday, April 30, 2018

Rolling Out a New Book Cover

Ta da! I finally got some nods of approval on my new Burnout cover. No more black...although I couldn't fully get behind losing the leather jacket, which I left in the background. But I did brighten the whole thing with pops of color and hopefully made it look like the young adult love/adventure story that it is. A huge learning curve...but things are slowly coming together.

It's back on Kindle Unlimited, and in a week it will be available in paperback, too. Check it out, and help this baby see some light by leaving a short Amazon or Goodreads review. I thank you very much!

A road trip of tough luck and tough love.

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“I have a plan.”
Miki Holtz isn’t some rebellious sixteen-year-old just because she dyed her hair blue and rides a motorcycle. She’s an independent girl who knows what, when, and how to get things done…almost. She can’t seem to gain her dad’s attention or make a connection with her soul crush, Will Sullivan. But when her dad invites her along to the Burnout Biker Rally—and Will is going, too—she jumps at the chance to turn her luck around.

"It’s always trouble with you."
While grieving the death of his mom, Will Sullivan has turned into an undeniable couch potato until he’s forced on a road trip with his dad’s motorcycle buddies as some kind of biker therapy. What’s worse? He’s paired up with the prez’s daughter, Miki, a girl who once humiliated him in front of his friends—a girl he can’t forgive…or forget.

“I don’t like the way you like me.”
The easy ride starts off slow yet soon has Miki and Will running for their lives.


Burnout is an adventure story set in the Pacific Northwest where a strong girl and a moody boy discover love while trying to survive on a road trip from hell.

**FINALIST for Young Adult in the 2016 PNWA Literary Contest under the title Riding with the Hides of Hell.**

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Doodle Shapes Challenge

Doodle Addicts is hosting the Doodle Shapes Challenge where ten doodles will be chosen to win a copy of Nate Padavick's book below: 


This challenge was so much fun for all of us, kids and adults, that I thought I'd share. You have a choice of three shapes to doodle on. You can print in color and doodle with traditional media--pencils, markers, paint--or go digital. What do you see? Turn the shape in any direction you want and transform the shapes into fun doodles. Upload at DoodleAddicts.com to enter the Chronicle Books contest, or check out their second contest on Instagram.

Shapes for the Chronicle Books Challenge

Scrumptious Dinner
Highly Annoyed Bird
Quails in the Sunset


Contest Entry

The contest will be open to voting on May 8th at 3:00 pm EST. Have fun!

Sunday, April 01, 2018

April Reading Challenge: The Kids' List

My kids are just as passionate about books as I am, so it was fun to wake up this morning to the beginnings of a "Must Reads" list. Welcome to five Middle Grade books recommended by the fourth grade set.

April Reading Challenge
The Kids' List




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"Life is not divided up into genres; it’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical,
science-fiction cowboy detective novel." ~ Alan Moore

Thursday, March 15, 2018

New Title Alert!

Burnout - New Title!

Old Covers:
NanoWrimo, Kindle Scout, and Published

After much research, a new title for my second book, to replace Riding with the Hides of Hell, was imminent! Help me welcome the new name, Burnout, which has many definitions: 1.) a totally destructive fire, 2.) the result of prolonged stress, and 3.) the act of spinning tires, causing heat and smoke due to friction.

All of these meanings can be found in Will and Miki's story. It's about riding motorcycles, being outside and feeling the dirt on your skin, the wind in your hair. It's about adventure, wearing leather, and being a rebel...and if you couldn't tell by the heart, it's about sweet love, too.

Time and readers will tell, but in this moment, I believe the new title works! Burnout is short, attention grabbing, and easy to remember. It gives a hint to what the story is about, and bonus, I can tell people the name without getting weird looks in return. Win!

It's a slow process getting things changed, so bear with me while the two titles float around. The pages within are basically the same, though, so have confidence reading whichever title you like.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Was, Were, and Wishful Thinking

First of all, I'm not a Grammar Queen and probably shouldn't give too much advice in this area. But sometimes I have a question about what "sounds" right to my english-is-my-first-language ear. I don't recall the school lesson or the rule, but why do these two sentences work*?

1.) I wish I were the Queen of England.
2.) I wish I was the Queen of England.

If I leave off the "I wish" part, then the first sentence definitely doesn't work. One would never say, "I were the Queen." Where were is to plural (we were, you were, they were), was is to singular (I was, you were, he was, she was, it was). Same goes for an "if" phrase...

3.) If I were the Queen, I'd have my own library.
4.) If I was the Queen, I'd have my own library.

Admittedly, I don't think the sentences above, numbers 2 and 4, sound right, but I've critiqued a lot of work and read many traditionally published books where this was the usage. However, *Grammarly.com says, "It's never correct."

Want to know why? Apparently, it has to do with wishful thinking, statements that aren't true, and a verb's mood. When you see sentences starting with the idea of wishing for something, (I wish, Sheila wishes) and the word "If," those are huge clues to use "were." For deeper insight, let me guide you to some helpful resources, because when I see a word like "subjunctive" I know I'm sailing off the deep end.

Here are some sites I visited to better explain the matter:

Subjunctive Definition and Usage by Dictionary.com
Subjunctive Verbs by Grammar Girl
When to Use "If I was" vs. "If I were" by English Language and Usage Stack Exchange


"Grammar is a piano I play by ear." ~ Joan Didion