Wednesday, April 3, 2019

April #IWSG: As You Wish...

OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: If you could use a wish to help you write just one scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?
Co-Hosts:  J.H. Moncrieff, Natalie Aguirre, Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken!

I'm loving where my current MG mystery is headed. However, my full-time school librarian job takes up a lot of time. Yes, I get to read all the books. But right now I'd wish for more writing time. I guess summer's coming, and I'll get my wish!

One of my favorite movies growing up was The Princess Bride. I loved the plot twist of Westley becoming the dread Pirate Roberts, his identity a secret until Princess Buttercup figures it out. As an adult, I enjoy watching Cary Elwes (Westley/Dread Pirate Roberts) as the infamous Pierre Despereaux in the Psych series. You never quite know if he's the good guy or the bad guy. And Shawn worships him to no end. I adore a villain who is more than just an evil overlord. I love the complexity of Despereax;s character especially in Season 8 when he transforms from "world's greatest art thief" to the head of MI6. Yes, it's one of my all-time favorite Psych episodes.

For my current WIP, I wish to create an antagonist that leaves you guessing if he's the good guy in disguise or if he's been the villain the entire time. Wish me luck! 

How about you? What would you wish for? Are you ready for summer? What are your plans? Are you getting in writing time? Who is your favorite villain? 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019


OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?
Co-Hosts:  Fundy Blue, Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

Each of my novels have been written from the protagonist's point of view. However, I do enjoy reading alternating POVs as well. I don't think I've ever read a novel written from the villain's POV. And, if we're all honest, we know that each villain thinks he's the main character. He is a hero in his own mind.

I love a good villain who is justified by his actions. I loathe antagonists who are ruthless and mean for no good reason. Talk about STEREOTYPE. PREDICTABLE. BORING. Please don't bore your readers. We endure enough tedious, uninteresting, dull, and monotonous moments in our lives already. Working in a school library has taught me one thing: kids won't tolerate boring books. 

I was invited to my first live Twitter chat on Monday night! You can check out the #RevPit feed on Twitter. My middle-grade murder mystery, THE INK AND PAPER SOCIETY, won runner-up in the #RevPit contest last April run by a group of professional editors.This contest led to feedback on my manuscript (other than my wonderful critique partner) and eventually resulted in me getting an agent. 

I'm so over the snow, ice, and below freezing temps. The end is in sight. Fifty-five degrees on Saturday!

I'm on a roll with my new murder mystery. Anyone else having a sudden burst of writing inspiration? I must go to the library this morning--my day job. But I'll try to make my rounds later today! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


First Wed of Every Month

OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

My latest hobby is collecting snow days or ice days, like today. The Midwest, home to blizzards, ten-foot snow drifts, and ice, makes me happy. Don't get me wrong. I HATE winter. But I love SNOW DAYS (when they call and cancel school) !! During the sleet falling last night, we experienced thunder and lightning. What is happening?? Snow days make for a great time to edit and write! 

Okay, I'll get serious. One of my favorite creative outlets other than writing is reading. My kids in the library asked me this week how many books I was currently reading. I admitted that I, the librarian, have a problem. I can't stop. I just finished a Scottish murder mystery/thriller and the second book in the Truly, Devious murder mystery series, which I almost threw across the room when I read the last page. Seriously??? That's how you end?? I was left on a cliffhanger the size of Alaska. I can't deal.  

Reading books in many different genres helps me think creatively to plot and to plan multiple murders--mysteries, people!! I know it sounds morbid, but my younger self always wanted to be a detective. 

Also hiking. Hiking makes me happy. I love exploring the great outdoors!

In other news, I just recorded my first radio interview that went out on Monday on VoiceAmerica radio station!  My publisher wanted to interview an award-winning author. That's me! 

I can't wait to read what everyone else does for fun and inspiration! Now, please, excuse me while I enjoy another snow, er, ice day! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019


OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?
Co-Hosts:  Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!

I've had several people tell me lately they've read my first book and loved it. It amazes me how genuine they are! It was so many books ago.Then they ask, "So, when's your next one coming out?" 

It's almost as bad as the age old question spoken five minutes into a nine hour road trip, "Are we there yet?"

UGH. My middle-grade murder mystery went out on submission a few weeks ago. If only a button existed to make it appear on bookstore shelves instantly! Several more of my mysteries are itching to be released into the wild. My friends don't realize this takes TIME. Lots of time and PATIENCE. I'd love to be able to give them an answer, but it's impossible to tell when in the publishing world. I think this is precisely why people self publish. They have more control over their careers. Call me crazy, but I'm doing this old school, letting my amazing agent work her magic with a group of wonderful publishing houses. 

My favorite writing question is, "Where do you get your story ideas?"

Rubs hands together. "Gather around." *Speaks in a deep, gravely voice next to a camp fire* NO ONE IS SAFE. Friends, family, the people I eavesdrop on in the streets, photos, events, you name it, I take from everything in life and hoard it in my mind palace. 

I hope you've had a relaxing yet productive Christmas break filled with family fun and writing! Here's to the New Year filled with wonderful book news!! 

Monday, December 3, 2018


OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: What are five objects we'd find in your writing space? 

The awesome co-hosts today are December 5 posting of the IWSG are J.H. Moncrieff, Tonja Drecker, Patsy Collins, and Chrys Fey!

The five essentials you'd find in my writing space besides a laptop, of course, are the following: 

1. Punching bag (when I was querying) Rejection isn't easy. 

2. My favorite middle-grade murder mystery books for inspiring...well-formed plots, of course, silly.

3. A fort made out of my TBR list. Makes a good hiding place when you're trying to write and the kids keep asking about dinner. Sheesh.  

4. Cat one trying to type. 

5. Cat two trying to snuggle.The distractions are real, folks. 

Bonus item: My contract with my agent to remind me that I met my NUMBER ONE GOAL this year!! WOOHOO!!! 

Okay, so I don't really have a punching bag or plans for murder (or do I?) lying around my work space. And my virtual TBR list (I mostly order e-books) dwindles everyday. I just finished James Ponti's excellent MG mystery series, FRAMED!, VANISHED!, TRAPPED! I'm also finishing Sheila Turnage's MG mystery series, Three Times Lucky, Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, and I'm half way through The Odds of Getting Even. Boy, can Turnage write suspense and humor! My hero.  

People in the hallway outside my library door at school must think I'm crazy or plotting murder mysteries. Actually, I'm reading and giggling. Boy, do I read fast! I've tackled countless books since August. I've also written fifty plus pages of my WIP for the month of November. Not as much as I hoped. But I'm planning to write more this month. 

If you witness murder plots, criminal profiling books, and plans for the perfect crime, you've entered my work space. 

Hope you are enjoying this crazy busy month. Happy writing and Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

November #IWSG: The Perks of Being a School Librarian

OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?
Co-Hosts:  Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman!

Over the past few years, my creativity has evolved into an insatiable monster. Events, awkward situations, conversations, and personalities get thrown into a folder in the back of my brain, ready to use in any given scene. EVERYTHING that comes my way in life turns into potential story ideas. That goofy middle-aged man I just met would make a great side character. That annoyingly perky woman would make an awesome villain--hiding her real personality behind her perfect life. 

One of the perks of being a school librarian is the interaction with the kids. Eavesdropping on their conversations and watching them in the "wild" (aka school) provides great material since I write middle-grade.

Can you guess the best perk of being a librarian? Yep, I get to read all the books. The other day as I explored the library I discovered a stack of Mark Twain Award books on a top shelf. A whole stack of unread novels just waiting for me! I dove into the first one, a middle-grade mystery, FRAMED! by James Ponti and I was hooked. I read it in a day. Now I'm onto Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. My kids at school are like, "Mrs. Hawes has her nose in a book again." And I'm like, "What? Oh, hey kids, didn't see you there."

I need an intervention.

Anyone else doing NaNo this month? Do you need an intervention? Are you reading all the books? I'm almost ten thousand words into my next murder mystery! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

October #IWSG: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (to write murder mysteries)

OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

Co-Hosts:  Dolorah @ Book Lover, Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, andChemist Ken!

October affects my writing like no other month. Ideas are piling up faster than the leaves falling. I'm already five thousand words into a new story! There's just something about this season that inspires a well plotted murder mystery. I sense a change in the atmosphere. Haunted houses creep up everywhere. Cooler nights descend on us in shadowy form. Spooky graveyards beckon for a visit. Wax museums become all too real.

My new job (major life change!) as an elementary school librarian has me scrambling for different writing times. Early morning is still a go, but no more afternoon writing binges. Late nights or weekends are my choice for writing all the words now.

Mark Twain's boyhood home town has it all: gorgeous fall colors, haunted houses and wagon rides. Yes, even a disturbingly life-like wax museum. The perfect writing inspiration for me!

Does October inspire you to write? How are you celebrating fall? 

April #IWSG: As You Wish...

Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We discuss our fears, insecurities, ups and down...