Sunday, April 8, 2012

Next book written!

I'm done writing my next book, ELECTED! It's approximately 85,000 words as a young adult novel.

Here's the premise: In 2100, overuse of technology finally damaged the environment beyond repair. Climate change, earthquakes, floods, the rupture of oil pipelines, and nuclear warfare caused widespread devastation. The year is now 2185 in what is left of Washington DC. Aloy, a seventeen year old girl, prepares to assume the inherited Elected leadership role over East Country in a mere two weeks. All her life she’s prepared for this position, studying past generations' strict laws, which were determined to save humanity through elimination of technology. Forced to uphold duty over her own desires (love for a boy named Griffin), Aloy must pretend to be male to qualify for office. Against a growing Technology Faction, assassination attempts, forced marriage (to a girl named Vienne), and encroaching threats from a neighboring country, Aloy must solidify her leadership skills, protect her country, and learn to follow her own convictions.

I envision Elected as a three book series. I already wrote the outlines for books two and three. Book two, Neglected, follows Aloy and Griffin’s adventures in Mid Country, where Aloy must find a way to stop Mid’s invasion of East. Book three, Re-Elected, consists of Aloy, Griffin, and Vienne venturing into what is left of Europe to find out why those countries are targeting their continent and how they can work together to fix the planet.

Elected is similar to the Hunger Games and Matched in that it takes place in a dystopian future society and has a strong female lead who must find her own inner strength. However, Elected is also unique in that it deals with gender roles and the implications of environmental misuse. I see these two challenges as timely to our young adult generation, as our country’s population is currently enmeshed in dialogue about both climate change and tolerance.

I'm currently looking for agents on this book and just started sending out query letters. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Finished the Percy Jackson Series

Today I finally finished the 5th book in the Percy Jackson series. It was an interesting group of books. Not quite as captivating as Harry Potter, but I liked all the accurate references to Greek mythology. It brought back to mind the time in 2nd grade when I dressed up as Pandora for our mythology project. However, as I learned from these books...wasn't Pandora a Titan? (Titans came before the Greek Gods.)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Books vs. Netflix

Books vs. Netflix...there-in lies the age old question. Do we stick with an older "technology" (books) or do we let the new technology (Netflix) pervade our lives so much that the older medium becomes less utilized as a means of storytelling? And do we use new media tools (Kindle or ipad) to read books?

Let's start with the second question. Changing the medium. I know that lots of people love the kindle and ipad. In fact, as an author who one day might publish an e-book, I'm all in favor of that technology. However, for me personally, I still love turning the pages and wearing down a real, live book. There's just something about dog-earing those smooth pages that is comforting. I also wouldn't want to take my expensive Kindle to the beach because I'd be worried about ruining it. But take a $2 paperback that I got from Sure!

Ok, so back to the first question. I am a bit of a sellout when it comes to Netflix and watching TV series through that service. Right now we're immersed in Battlestar Gallactica. (I love that the series is a mix of politics, religion, and science fiction. Kind of like Lost, actually.) So since we've been watching so much Netflix, I haven't read books as fast as usual. For instance, I just finished the first Percy Jackson book yesterday.

I read just one book at a time, so the only book I have read for the last week or two was this one. It's not that the book took me so long because of the writing. No, it was a great read! It was truly Netflix that decreased my book reading.

Is that bad? No, not really. Does it make me "dumber" to be watching TV instead of reading a book? No, because the TV series is probably just (if not more so) thought-provoking than the Percy Jackson series.

But it does make me a little sad that I didn't have more books to write about on my blog. The blog...yet another technical wonder that's taken my time away from reading. Oh the irony! :)

Goodnight to all, and to all a good read!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Percy Jackson Vs. Harry Potter

So I finished the True Blood book the day of my husband's surgery, and I moved onto reading the first book in the Percy Jackson series. I really like it--it's a fast read, and I can't put it down. However, just knowing this series came after Harry Potter makes me think Percy's author took quite a few ideas straight from J.K. Rowlings.

1. Percy Jackson is a boy who doesn't fit in. His Mom dies trying to save him, and she's this pure, lovely woman (just like Harry's mom Lily). Percy's step dad, Gabe, whom Percy's had to live with for awhile, doesn't like Percy. He treats him like garbage, making him sleep in bad accommodations when Percy comes back home from boarding school. (The Dursleys are written all over this.)

2. Percy is a half-blood (mudblood). While Harry wasn't actually a mudblood (that was Hermione), the concept is the same in both books. One parent who has special powers and one parent who's plain human.

3. There's a wise man watching out for Percy. (Dumbledore in HP).

4. There's a prophesy about Percy's fate. (same as in HP with those crystal balls). The prophesies in both tales have double meanings and can't be taken at face value.

I'm not saying one book is better than the other, and I actually enjoy reading something that reminds me of HP. But I will say that I know what the author and publisher were doing, riding off the coattails of a loved HP series about a mishap boy who is destined for something big. I'd like to say I'm smart enough not to fall for this clear marketing tactic....but...I've fallen...and I plan to read all the Percy Jackson books.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Sookie Stackhouse Book Passed Time Well

My husband had a successful, easy knee surgery, and we were in and out in five hours. I was only waiting in the visitor's area for about an hour and 1/2 by myself. The other hours I was with my husband in pre or post surgery. During the hour and 1/2, I finished the next to last Sookie Stackhouse novel, "From Dead to Worse". It helped pass the time well and wasn't too hard on the brain.

Thanks everyone for your well wishes on the surgery! :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What to read while waiting for news?

Good evening,

It's the eve of my husband's knee surgery, and as a follow-up to my blog from February "what do you read when you're sitting around with a bum leg"...what are you supposed to read when you're sitting in the hospital, waiting to hear how your loved one's surgery went? I might be waiting anywhere from 1-6 hours, and anyone who knows me will agree that I'm not good at waiting for news on such subjects. My fears get the best of me. But...I hear that knee surgeries (he's getting a cadaver's ACL) are routine. It's an out-patient surgery, so I'm sure everything will be fine. In fact, my husband is looking forward to coming through the surgery 110% better and more agile than before his snowboarding accident. (He's thinking his new ACL will make him bionic!) :)

I don't want to move from the waiting room because I want to be there when the doctor comes out with news. This means I'll need something to read as I wait. The book contenders are: the latest Sookie Stackhouse (TrueBlood) novel, Beach House by Jane Green, Dirty Job by Christopher Moore, Saturday Wife by Naomi Ragen, or the Percy Jackson series (thanks Julie for letting me borrow the whole set).

Here's hoping for a fast, easy operation!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Update on writings

So....I didn't win the Golden Heart award from Romance Writers of America (cause 3 of the 5 judges who rated it said it wasn't exactly romance). Maybe that's actually a good thing.

And I didn't win the Bethesda writing contest for the 4,000 word short story contest where I submitted the adoption piece.

But I did get an agent to ask for my full manuscript and synopsis.

And I am speaking at GWU to about 15 ladies about writing. They even created a facebook invite for it, so I felt special.

And I'm still writing the 2nd book. I think this one might even be better than the first. I read the first 26 pages to Jason and he was actually enthralled. If a boy is enthralled hearing a read-aloud of chick-lit, you know you have something or other good.

Oh, and while we were cleaning out our upstairs to get ready for a house renovation, I found a bunch of other short stories I wrote in college. I hadn't even remembered it, but I wrote another horror stort story called "Bump in the Night". And I had started a novelette horror story called "Notes". There was even a start to a young adult series called "The Castle Chronicles". I remember that one. It was about a middle school girl whose parents were historians or archeologists or something. And she would travel with them being home-schooled. But she'd end up solving these big mysteries having to do with all the castles her parents worked in. I thought that one would be pretty cool. Maybe one day.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Update on book publishing

So bad news first and then the good news. I didn't win the Bethesda Magazine literary fiction contest. I submitted my 4,000 word story, Silence, about an adopted son. There were 86 entries. of the agents to whom I sent Girl: Classified asked to see my entire manuscript. So I'm hoping she'll want to represent me. Wish me luck! Has anyone ever heard of Cheryl Ferguson?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Latest info on Girl: Treasure Seeker

I wrote some more of Girl: Treasure Seeker today. I'm up to page 26, and I finished the outline for the book. In this one Rachel and Justin are nabbed by terrorists and forced to give state secrets and build a biological weapon. And this one details Rachel's adventures traveling the world in her new job at the auction house while she's awaiting the trial for the van Gogh prints she sold.

Other news on my writing:
I'm speaking about the books and writing in general on April 14th to the GWU Hillel and some other women's groups. I also entered the Bethesda Literary contest with a short story called, "Silence". I think the results of that should be in May. And the results of the Romance Writer's of America Golden Heart Awards should be coming sometime in May as well. So here's hoping something will come through.

Meanwhile, I'll just keep writing the Girl series and sending out a couple of query letters to agents.

You might have noticed that I'm not writing in the blog every day like I used to. That's so I have more time for writing the novel. But I'll still post in the blog as much as possible. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Christopher Moore

Has anyone read any of his books? He wrote the novel, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. That's the first book of his that I've read, and it was really good. What were other good ones that he wrote, which I might want to read next?

Monday, March 22, 2010

If you're an avid reader, this website is the place for you. It's a book trading depot where you earn credits by mailing your books to others across the country. Every time you mail a book, you get a credit that enables you to "buy" a book from someone else. I've been on the site for about 2 years, and I've only had a couple of problems in all that time. One was that someone sent me the wrong book and then never credited me back for it. And the other was that the site administrator did not like me "advertising" my blog at the bottom of my posts on their blog. Oh well. I've saved a lot of money in book-buying, though, and that's the main benefit! Enjoy your swapping!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Percy Jackson - Guest Blog from Kim C.

Guest blog written by Kim C.

"Percy Jackson and the Olympians" (Lightning Theif).

Being a huge Harry Potter Fan, I was instantly intrigued to hear about another kids series with a similar scenario. Boy-hero, misunderstood by everyone, enters a secret world of kids just like him, makes friends, saves the day. I tried to hold off reading it, but I couldn't hold out for long. The similarities to Harry Potter are very clear (Protagonist even has dark hair and green eyes) but if you ignore that, it's another thrilling story of good versus evil, just pasted on a backdrop of Greek mythology in lieu of Wizards and Witches. I'm not sure if I will go on to the rest of the series, but it was a quick read that satisfied my old Harry Potter pangs.

Friday, March 12, 2010

2nd Speaking Engagement - GWU Hillel

I am speaking about Girl: Classified and the process of writing a novel again--this time at the George Washington University Hillel on Wednesday April 14th at 7:30 pm. If you would like to come on out, please just let me know. I can forward the address and any other information to you upon request.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Recommendation for Kelly

I asked audience members from the GWU Women's Literature discussion to tell me the kinds of books they like to read, and I promised to give them personalized book recommendations on my blog.

This one is for Kelly. She said she likes biographies/suspence/drama/Jodi Piccoult). I like Jodi Piccoult too, Kelly. I would recommend one of her books to you, but I bet you've already read a bunch of them. As soon as I saw what kind of books you like, I thought of a recommendation straight-away.

Philippa Gregory is one of my favorite authors who writes historical fiction. I think I've read all of her books. My favorites are the ones centered around the English monarchs--just because their real life stories are so sensational/dramatic. I'm specifically recommending The Virgin's Lover. It's about Queen Elizabeth's suspected long-time lover, Sir Robert Dudley. All of Gregory's books take historical info and fill in the blanks that history is missing.

The year is 1558, an especially dangerous time for England: no bishop will coronate Henry VIII's Protestant daughter, the treasury is bankrupt, the army is unpaid and demoralized. Meanwhile, the French are occupying Scotland and threatening to install Mary, Queen of Scots—on the throne. Ignoring the matrimonial advice of pragmatic Secretary of State William Cecil, the 25-year-old Elizabeth persists in stringing along Europe's most eligible bachelors, including King Philip of Spain and the Hapsburg archduke Ferdinand. It's no secret why: she's fallen for her "dark, saturnine" master of horse, Sir Robert Dudley, whose traitorous family history and marriage to the privately Catholic Amy make him an unsuitable consort. Gregory deftly depicts this love triangle as both larger than life and all too familiar; all three characters are sympathetic without being likable, particularly the arch-mistress Elizabeth, who pouts, throws tantrums, connives and betrays.

Kelly, feel free to have your friends contact me for book recommendations. You/they can contact me through my website

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Recommendation for Jamie

I asked audience members from the GWU Women's Literature discussion to tell me the kinds of books they like to read, and I promised to give them personalized book recommendations on my blog.

This one is for Jamie. She said she likes women's literature & chick-lit (Time Traveler's Wife); some non-ficton (3 Cups of Tea). So...for you I'm recommending Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert. I read this book last year and enjoyed it. I typically go for fiction, and this is non-fiction. So it's a little out of my regular genre, but I found the story's abandon and adventure fascinating.

At the age of thirty-one, Gilbert moved with her husband to the suburbs of New York and began trying to get pregnant, only to realize that she wanted neither a child nor a husband. Three years later, after a protracted divorce, she embarked on a yearlong trip of recovery, with three main stops: Rome, for pleasure (mostly food-wise, with a special emphasis on gelato); an ashram outside of Mumbai, for spiritual searching; and Bali, for "balancing."

I also love traveling, so reading this book made me feel like I was in these three destinations.

Jamie, will you let me know what you think of this recommendation? Have you already read it? Did you like it? They're making a movie out of it, I hear, so I'm looking forward to that. I always like to read a book first and then watch the movie to see how other people portray the characters that I'd pictured in my imagination.

Please feel free to have your friends contact me for recommendations too. You can contact me through my website:

Thanks for coming out on Monday!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Recommendation for Stephanie

I asked audience members from the GWU Women's Literature discussion to tell me the kinds of books they like to read, and I promised to give them personalized book recommendations on my blog.

This first one is for Stephanie. She said she likes chicklit but with more of an "edge"...funny, but also dealing with serious issues (family, depression, divorce), recognizable characters, even if a bit over the top.

Stephanie, I just started reading the book, Beach House, by Jane Green. I'm only in a few pages, but I thought this might be up your alley. It's about a sixty-five-year-old Nan Powell who has lived comfortably and happily in Nantucket since the suicide of her husband, Everett, so she is thrown for a loop when she learns that she is in danger of losing her beloved house. After weighing her options, Nan decides to turn her home into a bed-and-breakfast. The guests she gets for the summer are all at a crossroads in their lives in one way or another. Daniel has just separated from his wife and is facing something he has denied for years; Daff is recovering from the heartbreak of a divorce and getting a much-needed break from her anger-filled 13-year-old daughter; and Nan’s son Michael is on the run from a disastrous affair. Nan finds herself opening up to her guests and enjoying their company, but she is shocked when she discovers a person close to one of them has a startling connection to her.

Stephanie, will you let me know what you think? Also, feel free to have any of your friends tell me the kinds of books they like, and I'll do a recommendation for them too. You can contact me through my website

Monday, March 8, 2010

GWU Speaking Engagement

Today I was a speaker at George Washington University on a panel discussing women's literature and chicklit. It was a great experience! Published authors always talk about the importance of networking and marketing yourself. I saw it first hand today. I met some great people who had ideas on how I could move forward with my writing projects.

The other speaker on the panel was a GWU teacher who did her dissertation at Delaware on Chicklit (although, her professor wouldn't let her use the specific term in her dissertation's title...) She is introducing me to her friend who's a published author and who is starting a writer's circle. A writer's circle is a group of writers who give each other constructive critism and tips on writing/publishing. I've been looking for a circle that includes authors focusing on women's fiction.

An audience member also gave me a great tip. She's the Director of Engagement at GWU's Hillel. She would like me to speak again with her specific contingent. I'm looking forward to that! She also said that Lilith Magazine is looking to do a story on Washington DC writers, so she is planning to give them my name. Lilith magazine features award-winning investigative reports, new rituals and celebrations, first-person accounts both contemporary and historical, entertainment reviews, fiction and poetry, art and photography--all with a focus on Jewish women.

Third, another audience member talked to me about Book Expo America. The next conference is in NYC on May 26th. Many authors, publishers, and agents congregate at the BEA to trade ideas and network. I hadn't heard of the conference before, but I'm looking into new avenues for networking, so it was a great tidbit of info.

All in all, the speaking engagement today was a fulfilling use of time...and fun! It was interesting to discuss favorite authors with other women. We also had an intellectual conversation about why the term chicklit is a bit dirty in the publishing world--why the genre went downhill after an influx of poorly written books in the beginning 2000's--an how chicklit writers are reinventing themselves under the term "women's fiction" or just plain "literary fiction" instead.

Thank you again to Erica for setting this up and inviting me!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

There's No Place Like Here

I just finished reading a classic, great chic-lit. It's written by Cecilia Ahern, the author of P.S. I Love You. She's also the Irish Prime Minister's daughter. (I've always thought that was cool tidbit of her biography.)

There's No Place Like Here is classic chicklit because it's written in the first person by a female protagonist. The narrator is discovering something about herself in the book, and a background (yet important) plot element is the acknowledging of the main character's true love. It's about a thirty-something woman, Sandy Shortt, whose job it is to find missing people until she herself goes missing. What I like best about Cecilia Ahern's books is that most of them include an element of Irish folklore/magic. I know that sounds strange for chicklit, but it's what makes Ahern's books different and special.

Five stars for this novel, Ahern's latest, which was published in 2009.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett was discussed on NPR yesterday as I drove in to work. It's about the desegregation of America from a young caucasian girl's perspective as she talks to African-American maids. I had seen this book on the bestseller list and not thought much of it. It sounded an awful lot like the Secret Life of Bees. However, the NPR show made the book sound very thought-provoking. I'm looking forward to reading this novel now. Has anyone else read it yet?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol"

Right now I'm reading Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol". It's the third book in the Robert Langdon saga, and this one takes place in the Washington DC area. That's pretty cool because I can recognize all of the sites discussed in the novel. (Although, I will say that some of the info is wrong...There are certain government agencies sited in the book that far reach their real-life authorities.)