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The Naughty List Tag

The Naughty List Tag

I was tagged by Carey Starkey to do the Naughty List Tag.

There are 3 rules for this tag.
1) You must use your current work in progress manuscript
2) Don’t use a character more than twice
3) Provide a description of your story before the tag.

I am currently working on the sequel to my novel The Pink Tourmaline (available from amazon here and directly from my publisher here). Book 1 focused on Quinn and Michael, siblings from our time, who are transported back to the 1920s and have to find a way home. Things get complicated when Quinn falls in love with Rafael, a man from the 1920s and wants to stay behind with him while Michael is desperate to return home.

This second novel will focus on Michael, his girlfriend Lisa and their life following the events in book 1. It will also feature flashbacks to the 1920s where we check in with the characters from book 1.

Let’s get started with the tags!
1) Which character would get wasted and end up humping the Christmas tree?
David Lazlo, Rafael’s fun loving friend. Always ready for a good time, David will make use of the hidden bar as well as the dancefloor, prohibition be damned!

2) Which character deserves to get the crap beaten out of them by Krampus?

It would need to be Michael. His actions in Book 1 were often selfish and this is a trend that continues in book 2. Although he gets brownie points for now being aware of his faults. Still, there are enough head shake inducing moments that will earn him a good slap from Krampus.
3) Which character is the Grinch this year?
Rafael’s maid Mary. Mary’s rough demeanor and sharp tongue don’t even take a rest at Christmas time! She will watch the halls like a hawk to make sure none of the Christmas party guests damage any of her employer’s priceless artworks and nothing gets lifted. And heaven help anyone who dares bring in more than the acceptable amount of dirt on their shoes.

4) Which character would try to get a little too friendly while sitting on Santa’s lap?

Zelda, Quinn’s friend who’s often described as a ‘live wire’. Zelda is no shrinking violet and couldn’t care less about 1920s conventions and expectations. Like David, she doesn’t give a hoot about prohibition and will gladly raise a glass in honor of Santa. Besides, her antics on Santa’s lap are likely designed to shock and awe bystanders, which is Zelda’s way of showing people she will do as she pleases.
5) Who would your antagonist most like to tongue under the mistletoe?
There isn’t an antagonist as such. The one person closest to being an antagonist is in her 80s. In light of this, I will adjust this question and say who my protagonist would most likely be found under the mistletoe with! It would have to be Lisa, the mother of his child and longtime girlfriend. Although if she is currently in the mood to be under a mistletoe with him is another question entirely.

6) Which character would accidentally tip the Menorah and light the house on fire?
It would be Quinn. The MC in book one, she is prone to knocking things over, running into stuff, and generally causing bodily injury to herself by being clumsy – that won’t change in book 2.

7) Which character is most likely to bring magic brownies to the party?
Rose, the mother figure of the group. Thought it would be quite accidental. She’d be looking to add a little something special to the brownie batch and end up mixing in who knows what with unforeseen circumstances. Upon discovering what she baked into her brownies Rose would be mortified!

8) Which character is most likely to ring in the new year naked? And why the hell are they naked anyway?!

This could be a variety of characters in the novel! The time travel rules state that items from the future cannot be brought into the past. So, anyone traveling to the past is bound to arrive naked! Unless they just happen to be dressed in 1920s garb of course.

9) Which character is kidding themselves by insisting they belong on the nice list?
It would have to be Olivia in the present day. She believes all of her actions are justified and her motives righteous but are they really? Or are they just furthering her own needs and wants? Maybe Santa can set her straight!

10) Which character would your readers be shocked to find on the naughty list?
Lavinia. She is a sweet girl with a pure heart who loves Rafael like a brother and adores Quinn. However, even the kindest heart can be corrupted and Lavinia is no exception.

So, that’s the Naughty List Tag. I’m going to tag Kristen Howe to do this on her blog.

The Pink Tourmaline – Excerpt

perf5.000x8.000.indd“There you are!” He held out a copy of the Times. Finally, something she recognized.“It’s Monday, February eighth.” He paused for effect. “1926.” “1926? Ninety years in the past? Wow.” She had to sit. This was all too much. “I know.” He flipped through the paper while Quinn ducked behind a bush to change. “You should read this, Europe has almost five million unemployed. If only they knew what’s coming.” Quinn, new dress and shoes on, pursed her lips and turned around. He was engrossed in the newspaper. “Excuse me,” she said when she joined him on the bench. “Listen to this. Mussolini is Prime Minister of Italy and wants to be addressed as Il Duce—the leader. Yeah that’s a great sign…Tsk.” “Hey!” Quinn slapped the newspaper down to the ground. “What are you doing? I was reading that!” “Hello?” Quinn jumped up, fresh out of patience. “I’m glad you found something to entertain yourself with, but unless you intend to spend the rest of your life marveling at all the things you know that they don’t, you best get dressed and help me get home!” All the light drained out of his face. Much as she hated it, he needed to be shook up sometimes. Michael, smart as he was, had a habit of getting lost in the past. Which was ironic, since they were literally lost in the past.

Cover – Uncovered

Happy to finally let everyone know that I have my publication date for my novel.

The Pink Tourmaline will be released on :

December 5th, 2016

Woo Hoo! And so you know what to look for, this is the cover:


I am working on a Facebook author page which I will finish next week. Once it’s closer to publication I will also post links to where the book can be purchased!

Author Interview

Today I’d like to share an interview with my friend and fellow writer, Carey Ann Starkey. Carey is the author of a fantastic supernatural New Adult series called “Witches of Coolersville”. I read the first book in the series as her beta and I’m so happy that she has since published it. It’s a great read and I highly recommend it. I’m looking forward to the next books in the series.
I hope you enjoy this interview.
1) Tell us a little about your book: Witches of Coolersville is a New Adult fantasy. New Adult means the protagonist is 18-25. (Tara’s 18) She goes to live with her grandmother and discovers she’s a witch. This has been hidden from her for reasons you’ll discover when you read the book. And, she has to choose whether to follow this tradition or give it up. Chaos and romance ensue.
2) Who are some of your favorite authors? Oh, man! Definitely JK Rowling. Harry Potter is so beautiful! I also love Sarah J Maas, AC Gaughen, Philippa Greggory, just to name a few.
3) Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you? Well, I mentioned JK Rowling and Sarah J Maas. I’m still pretty new to Sarah’s work. I’ve read the first 2 in the Throne of Glass series and it was so amazing and exciting that I was exhausted after reading them. I have to catch up!
4) What are some great books you’ve read recently? I’m almost done reading “Eve- The Awakening” by Jenna Moreci. It’s her debut novel. She gives writing advice on YouTube and her book is FANTASTIC! It’s a sci-fi New Adult. She said it’s going to be 7 or 8 books total in this series. It takes place about 70 years in the future and there’s a higher evolved race of humans called Chimeras and aliens called Interlopers that are so scary. There’s too much in this book for me to explain. You have to read it.
5) What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime? I love fantasy, historical fiction, romance, the occasional sci-fi.
6) What sort of research did you do to write this book? Well, I have a private Pinterest board about spells, crystals, and herbs based on shows like Charmed when I was stuck on stuff. I haven’t really had to research this a whole lot because I have had ideas in my head for over 10 years.
7) What are you working on now? Book 2! Currently on the 3rd draft of the next book in the series.
8) Is your book a stand-alone or series? Series! I have rough notes up to book 4. On top of editing, I’m starting to outline book 3.
9) What started you down the path of writing? This particular path started when my friend Lisa and I were sitting in a little diner and we were complaining about our jobs. And we decided we were going to wo rk on what we were passionate about so we can get out of those jobs and do what we love for a living. It’s been a challenge and, unlike my friend, I haven’t been able to quit yet. Someday, though.
10) How did you break into the world of publishing? Self-publishing is a wonderful thing 🙂
11) As a new author, what is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? Least favorite? Favorite part of the writing process is the planning and coming up with ideas. I also love writing dialogue. Flirty banter and friendly teasing.
Least favorite- Editing. I notice the most ridiculous mistakes. And then when I send it off to critique partners and they catch what I missed, that’s when the self-doubt starts to creep in. But, as long as I try to focus on that end goal, I can push through it.
12) What does your writing space look like? I share a small office with my fiancé, Joe. I use his computer until I can get a new one of my own. (Mine has been dying a slow and painful death for about 2 years)
13) What is your go-to writing snack/beverage? Coffee! With peppermint mocha creamer. That’s my boost in the morning. I also like International Delight Iced Mocha. I used to drink lots of Cherry Pepsi but I’m trying to cut that out. If I’m writing at night, I don’t want the caffeine buzz to keep me awake all night so I have herbal tea.
14) Are you a planner (detailed outline, have to know what happens) or pantser? (Flying by the seat of your pants with no plan at all) Semi-planner. I create a rough outline so I don’t become a rambling mess that I have to cut down. But, I leave some stuff open to see what my brain comes up with. I also work on 1 book at a time usually. Except the next ones. I want to try and write books 3 and 4 for NaNoWriMo this year.
15) When did you start writing? Was it something you started as a kid? When did you start seeking it professionally? I’ve always been coming up with stories since I could remember. I’d get in trouble in school because I’d write or draw stories instead of doing school work. Seeking to be a professional writer- that started in 2013? I kicked it off with my first NaNo. And, it just went from there.
16) What do you do in your free time when you’re not writing? Free time? What’s that? Haha. My free time is minimal because I do have a day job. But, I like to hang out with my friends. I go to the gym or the pool. Shopping, watching shows on Netflix.
17) What are your top three books of all time? Just three? Hmm… Diary of Anne Frank, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Little Women
18) Can you recommend any new or upcoming authors? Jenna Moreci, AC Gaughen, of course Sandy Windham 🙂 and my friend Lisa- she’s a web comic author.
19) Is there anything about the writing life that you think is misunderstood by the public?The time it takes to get a book out. I had a question on Tumblr something to the effect of “Why are you editing it and sending it to people? If you just wrote and published, you’d get three books out a year.” Yeah, but they would be full of typos and rambling descriptions and unnecessary dialogue. And I’d flop. Sure, I wrote my first draft in a month but it took another year and a half to edit it and get it to where I was satisfied. Then, I was able to share it with the world. I started this book earlier this year and I probably will be working on it for at least another 6 months before publication.
20) Do you write full time or do you have a “Day Job?” I do have a day job. In the exciting world of grocery retail! That’s not what I want to do forever, though, so it pushes me to keep writing.
21) What are some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication? Avoiding the scammers and realizing I had to do this really on my own. I almost went with a print-on-demand house that offered all these services for a seemingly great price. But, then I asked around and people said they were terrible. They also called me all the time to ask when I was going to start the process. It became so annoying. I started making excuses and then, eventually, ignoring the calls. So, I went with CreateSpace.
22) Are there any tips you can give to aspiring writers? Keep going! An author is just an aspiring writer who finished their book. There will be self-doubt. There will be outside haters and doubters. But, you have to use this as motivation. Especially the outside people. Use their doubt and hate as motivation to prove them wrong. They’re jealous, as strange as it may sound. They can’t comprehend writing a book, or something is preventing them from reaching their own dreams, so they bring down anyone who tries.
To purchase Carey’s novel you can go here:
or here:
Happy reading!

What’s in a titel

Book titles. Aside from actually writing the books, that’s one of the biggest challenges. Aside from of course editing, querying, finding a publisher, and promoting it!

A bad title can trip you up when finding an agent or publisher, no doubt. When I go to a book store often I find myself drawn not just to a nice cover, but to an interesting title, especially when I don’t know the author.

So, how to pick a title for your book?

I struggled with this when I wrote my first story. It’s currently called “Goodbye November”, and I might stick with it but it’s been a journey getting there. During the first draft I called it “Garafalo” after the band featured in the novel. I loved it, but the more I worked on the story the less the band featured and it didn’t reflect the book anymore. After some thought I changed it to “Sorrowland“. The MCs both suffer from depression and addiction issues and mental illness is a major theme in the story, so it was fitting. I still like the title, but after querying and posting the synopsis online I received A LOT of feedback saying it was too sad a title and off-putting. Mind you, the story is not a happy one, so maybe it was the right name for it after all. It’s currently shelved, awaiting yet another re-write, so we’ll see.

The second novel, “In Absentia” wasn’t that difficult to find a name for. I was going through a phase of fascination with the Latin language at the time. The term “in the absence of” is usually used in legal proceedings, but it’s a perfect name for the book which deals with the aftermath of a young man’s disappearance. I briefly toyed with changing the title to something else but in the end I’m stuck on “In Absentia”.

The story which found a publisher is titled “The Pink Tourmaline”. There was never any doubt that it was the right title for the story since the events in the novel take place because of a pink tourmaline gem stone. Well, at least in my mind it was always the right title. Fortunately, my publishers agreed and it’s still the title.

I’m working on something new right now and am toying around with title ideas, but as always – I’ll have to come up with a good story first!



Query stats

When I first queried The Pink Tourmaline I found it really useful to see stats and timelines by other writers, to compare. So today, I’m going to share how The Pink Tourmaline fared during the query process. I queried agents, small publishers, and also participated in several contests.

I started querying The Pink Tourmaline in June 2015. I sent out a total of 57 queries to agents. Of those, 24 didn’t reply. Of the remaining queries I received two full requests, four partial requests, and 29 rejections. Two of the rejecting agents offered personalized rejections with offers to resubmit or submit other manuscripts.

I also submitted to seven small publishers. Of those seven I received: Two rejections, four full requests, and one rejection with an invitation to resubmit. One of the four full requests turned into the offer from my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.

I participated in Pitch to Publication 2015 and out of the five mentors I submitted to I received two  full requests and one partial. I also participated again in 2016, this time receiving one request. In between I participated in a couple of other contests such as Page70pit and PitMad on Twitter, but didn’t get any newsworthy results!

All in all, I had a much better time querying The Pink Tourmaline than I did with In Absentia. I sent just over 100 queries for In Absentia and only received two full requests and a couple of partials. I also didn’t have any luck in contests with it. I hope once I edit it and start querying again it will have better results.

So was your experience with querying?


Black Balloon – New Poem


You fade away like a black balloon in the night’s sky.

Like you were never there.

Like you never cared.

At all.


Attachments cut lose.

Connections severed.

Bonds broken.

Ties undone.


Out of sight.

Out of reach.

Out of mind.

Out of touch.


A blip on the horizon.

A speck of lights in the fading daylight.

A star overtaken by the rising sun.

A feather drifting into the unknown.