Wednesday, December 2, 2020

December IWSG: Don't Quit Your Day Job


The awesome co-hosts for the December 2 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Sylvia Ney, Liesbet @ Roaming About Cathrina Constantine, and Natalie Aguirre!

When the weather turns chilly with a hint of fog and mystery, my inner writer comes to life. October through December are the best months for me to get cracking on new book ideas. However, with a full time job, my writing is on hold to some degree. Squeezing in writing time on the weekends or at night keeps me going forward. 

My job allows me tons of reading time. I'm okay with that for now. Everyday I am surrounded by thousands of treasures new and old. It's a dream job but not ideal for cranking out novels.

I don't plan to quit my day job anytime soon. With my entire summer free and all holidays off, I can write without interruption. (Okay, kids and cats and life...never mind) 

I'm planning on outlining a new novel this weekend. Hopefully, I can crank out a J.K. Rowling inspired kids novel during my two week Christmas break. Lofty goals. 

My plan is to visit blogs tonight. Merry December!

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

#IWSG NOVEMBER: Write the Book You Want to Read

                                                    First Wed of Every Month


Remember, the question is optional!!!

November 4 question - Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?
My awesome co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

"Write the book that you want to read."

This quote sums up the reason I write. When I run out of good books to read, I never panic, because I always fall back on my writing. Crafting a novel is the beginning of an exciting journey! 

I don't write to change the world. I write to escape, to enjoy life, to lose myself in a good book. 

Hope you had a wonderful Halloween! Can't believe it's already November. Anyone doing NaNo? I discovered another middle grade mystery series. I'll let you know next month my thoughts. So far, it's promising! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

October #IWSG: Better than Christmas Morning

                                                     First Wed of Every Month

Remember, the question is optional!!!

October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?


The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!

October is better than Christmas morning. Watching Hocus Pocus for the hundredth time never gets old. Don't judge me. I live for this time of year! 

Lately, my life consists of reading to myself (I guess that's better than talking to myself) and to my students. I love being surrounded every day by thousands of my favorite things...BOOKS and FALL LEAVES. My perception of the term working writer is writing full time with no other job. That's not gonna happen anytime soon. 

With so many responsibilities this year, it's getting harder to dedicate my time to being a full-time writer. I may jump on the NaNo bandwagon this November to finish a novel I started a few months ago. 

As a librarian of two schools this year, it's been challenging, but so worth it. When boxes of books come in, it's like Christmas morning. (We got hundreds of new books this year!) The looks on the kids' faces when I put them on the shelves is priceless.

Are you enjoying the best month of the year? Reading any suspenseful mysteries this October? 

Found these classics this fall.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

#IWSG September: I WISH!


Remember, the question is optional!!! 

September 2 question - If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?

My awesome co-hosts for the September 2 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando, J Lenni Dorner, Deniz Bevan, Kim Lajevardi, Natalie Aguirre, and Louise - Fundy Blue!

If I could choose one author to be my beta partner, I'd pick one of the best young adult novelists of our time, Jonathan Stroud. (I wish!)
Lockwood & Co. has seven books in this series. So, if you're looking for binge-worthy books, I've got you've covered. He writes these supernatural thrillers set in an alternate London where ghosts appear from dusk until dawn. Kids are employed as ghost hunters, because only the children can see the problem. Sounds cliche, but they're one of kind, I promise you that. 

His use of vivid and realistic descriptions in characters and settings take you away from this world and transports you to another. (You won't want to leave!) These page-turners will have you up at night, reading until the very end. 

Please don't ask me how many times I've read this series. I hope all is well in your world. School is starting next week. This librarian can't wait to read to all of her kiddos! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

August #IWSG: Where Have You Been All My Life?

August 5 question - Quote: "Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don't write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be."
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn't planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

The awesome co-hosts for the August 5 posting of the IWSG are Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey!

I am opting out of this month's question. Remember last month's post when I asked the question, "Where have all the good books gone?" Well, let me tell you what happened. While perusing my local thrift stores for lightly used books to add to my library, I discovered a whole new series. (You wouldn't believe the books I have found over the years!) I screamed like a girl! Two books out of the six-book series sat there on the shelf, begging to be bought. Teenage spy school for girls? Yes, please! 

Currently on book four and I'm forever hooked. Ally Carter's New York Times best-selling Gallagher Girls series has everything I love about a good Young Adult novel: mystery, intrigue, secrets, plot twists, surprise endings. I have one question for these books published in 2006. "Where have you been all my life?" 

Life is picking up speed as our schools reopen this month. Stay safe out there! 

Read any good books lately? (I have!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2020


July 1 question - There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

The awesome co-hosts for the July 1 posting of the IWSG are Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp, Liesbet, Tyrean Martinson, and Sandra Cox!

To answer the above question, I would love for the world of publishing to return to basic story telling. So many authors want a platform to spew their rhetoric or doctrine. I get sick of people trying to sell a message to the masses. In the last few decades I remember reading for fun. The top selling books were Harry Potter, the Alex Rider series, Lockwood & Co. For instance, Diary of a Wimpy Kid debuted thirteen years ago. Hands down, it's still the most checked out book in my library. Kids want to laugh, and they want to relate to the characters. 

The simplicity of reading for the pleasure of the page has fallen out of fashion. I'm not saying we can't have depth to our writing or a message to give to children. But when it becomes the obvious driving point behind the story, I roll my eyes. Why do I feel this is an uphill battle? Where have all the good books gone? This remains my whole reasoning for reading my favorite books over and over. Call me old school if you want. Not every book is a dud. I relentlessly hunt for good reads. It's my job! This is my opinion on the changes I'd like to see in the book industry. 

On a more positive note...I've been offered the head librarian position of another elementary school in addition to my current school librarian job. I'm honored that they trust me with twice the number of books and twice the kids. I will divide my time between the two schools and I couldn't be happier!! 

How's your summer going? Read any good books lately? Ready for school to start? Need a vacation? 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

June #IWSG: God Bless America

June 3 question - Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

The awesome co-hosts for the June 3 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, J.Q. Rose, and Natalie Aguirre!

Anyone else super busy this month? Lots of celebrations to keep my whole family hopping. Graduations, birthdays, my anniversary. 

I am so thankful I live in Missouri. We've been free for over a month now. People from every part of the country have flocked to America's Hometown to enjoy life once again. Life is pretty much back to normal. Can't say for the rest of the country. Lord help us. I choose to work in a low-income school with kids of all races. Please don't lump all white people into one category. God loves everyone and so should you. Rioting and looting is wrong. It's against the law and it's destroying lives. End of rant. 

A secret I've added to one of my stories pertains to my hair color. I hated red hair growing up. I tried to dye it, hide it, you name it. A character in one of my books has a unique hair color situation (not red) and it's a perfect picture of my childhood. My mom refused to let me dye my hair, and as a kid, I was stuck with it.  

How is everyone doing this month? Don't let the world get you down. I refuse to give in to fear and hate. God bless (help us inspite of ourselves) America!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020


May 6 question - Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?

The awesome co-hosts for the May 6 posting of the IWSG are Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!

I write everyday when I'm not taking an intential break. The more often I sit down to hash out those outlines, the more I get into the zone. It's not a magical spell. I don't even count the number of words. I write by scenes or chapters. 

I do have one trick up my sleeve. When I'm stumped or when I struggle with plot or characters, I go running, walking, or hiking. It always jogs the creative juices. (See what I did there?) The puzzle pieces start to fit. 

Train Bridge on the Mississippi River
(notice the crane!)

How is everyone doing? Our state reopened on Monday. I'm super excited to get back into the world. Actually, my routine for the last two months has consisted of daily hikes in the great outdoors. I'm so grateful I live next to the beautiful Mississippi River where I find inspiration around every corner. 

What have you guys been up to? Writing? Taking a break? Reading books? Getting inspired? Cleaning? Organizing every room, drawer, and closet in your entire house? 


Wednesday, April 1, 2020


April 1 question - The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

The awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

How in the world are you guys doing?? Normal life for me came to a screeching halt the day after the first day of my spring break. Did that make sense? Does anything make sense right now? 

It was a Thursday. We traveled to St. Louis for a day trip. We visited the zoo, the art museum, my favorite restaurant: Sugarfire Smokehouse. Whispers swirled of the virus already being in the city. Things would shut down in a day or two. It was surreal. Two days later St. Louis shut down followed by the rest of Missouri. Thankfully, we still have relatively low cases here in our town. 
Van Gogh's Starry Night on display in St. Louis
St. Louis Art Museum

My school has been closed for almost three weeks now. Being a teacher for many years, my routine of washing hands and disinfecting things is a way of life. I have, however, switched to a weekend schedule.I hope you have a routine!!

For me I get up and clean the house, work out, read to my kid (middle-grade murder mysteries, of course!), do art projects, write with my kid, take my son's puppy for a walk, watch a movie, get dinner ready. Keeping a routine will keep you going strong!
Puppy time!

My life hasn't changed too much. My two sons are taking their university classes online at home and still working on campus as essential employess. My oldest is graduating this year. Of course, they canceled graduation. We found out yesterday that they have rescheduled it for August. This news made me so happy!!!

My faith is in God and I'm grounded in his Word. People are freaking out. Stop freaking out. GET OUTSIDE! TAKE A HIKE. TAKE A WALK. MAKE A ROUTINE. I have three places I love to hike. Change it up. Get out everyday. It keeps you sane! Worrying can't change anything. Stay positive.

And yes, we are watching Hunger Games. Hope and prayers for everyone!

Currently, I'm reading the following three books (because librarians never stop reading):

The London Eye Mystery
Murder Most Unladylike (yes, I've read this a thousand times, but now I'm reading it to my daughter)
The Deadly Curse of Toco-Rey (one of Frank Peretti's Cooper Kids Adventure series!!)

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

IWSG: March Mayhem

March 4 question - Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?

The awesome co-hosts for the March 4 posting of the IWSG are Jacqui Murray, Lisa Buie-Collard, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence!

I'm under the weather today. My tooth is killing me! Waiting for the antibiotics to work before the dentist can do anything. I'm opting out this month. I'll be back in April. Happy Wednesday and happy writing!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Feburary #IWSG: Happy Camper

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

February 5 question - Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?
The awesome co-hosts for the February 5 posting of the IWSG are Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, and Tyrean Martinson!

I'm knee-deep in books because that's my job. Piles of kid lit surround me like a happy fort. Why do books make me smile like three snow days in a row? They transport me to other worlds or to similar ones with interesting characters and worthy villains. (Don't get me started on the bad guys. They are my favorite to write!)
Lover's Leap on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River overlooking Illinois. 

With this view just blocks from my home, it's easy to be inspired every day. 

I always begin a new story idea with an Instagram photo or a Pinterest board. Inspiration for me starts with pictures, whether my own personal snapshots or from others wandering the earth. I've even started following urban explorers on Youtube. They've taken me on countless adventures around the globe and have given me access to the most amazing places!! Talk about story ideas. Holy moly.

Hiking and getting lost equal one Happy Camper! However, I'd rather sleep in my own bed instead of the great outdoors. Camping really isn't my thang. 

New hiking partner! (Harper the Australian Shepherd:)
My son lets me borrow her anytime. She is becoming quite the urban explorer.
The Nature Preserve. This place is like no other. Bat caves, winding trails, a hidden lake.
Mark Twain's inspiration for his stories, no doubt! Fun fact: I live in this author's hometown!

I will make my rounds and visit blogs and comment later in the day or tomorrow. Have a great week. 

Get out there and GET LOST and TAKE A HIKE! And write some books.

June #IWSG: The Perfect Storm

                                                                Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We ...