Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The 9th Anniversary for Long and Short Reviews





                                   "Reviewing Fiction One Happy Ever After at a Time"



The Unmoving Sky is a featured book.  

You can win a boatload of prizes including a $100 Amazon/B&N gift card.


Check out the YA page for Long and Short Reviews on Facebook
or the YA page on their website

   






The Unmoving Sky is available on

Nook,  Kindle,  iTunes, and Smashwords   for $1.99 

But you'll want to enter the contest!  Go!    ;) 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

My Book Review: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett.

This is a repost from my review on Kidliterati blog from June.  
Chelsea Sedoti's book is too good not to share again! Kudos to the author. 



I read an ARC on NetGalley. 

From the first page, I was intrigued by what was happening to Lizzie Lovett. I had to know, and the MC's voice impressed more urgency for me to know. The author, Chelsea Sedoti’s voice is spot on, creating much tension and curiosity.

Quirky seventeen-year-old, Hawthorne Creely has a lot of thoughts, and when she learns that perfect Miss Lizzie Lovett, whom she once had an unpleasant run-in with, during her freshman year, has disappeared, her curiosity takes over. The mystery of Lizzie’s disappearance snags Hawthorne and doesn’t let her go. She goes into full detective mode. She learns about Lizzie’s camping trip with the boyfriend many would blame. Say he killed her and hid the body. Surprised a girl like Lizzie would even go camping. Hawthorne goes on a search, and her unique view of the world helps snag the twenty-something boyfriend Lizzie Lovett left behind, convincing him that Lizzie turned into a werewolf. She did have a wolf necklace and liked wolves.

He pushes her away at first, but Hawthorne convinces him (with that ever-convincing way of hers) and he follows along. They search for Lizzie until they come closer to an answer. Confusion and more thoughts rule Lizzie’s mind. She has some pretty creative thoughts, almost like poetry on occasion. A couple of my favorites:

“I knew that even though someone seemed perfect it didn’t mean they weren’t hurting inside.”

“It was a little crazy to think about. That while you were envying other people, they could be envying you too.”

“Nothing ends; it just turns into a different story.”

Chelsea Sedoti has a great teen voice, with the added doubts and troubles, a little obnoxious, she says what’s on her mind. Often getting her in trouble (sound familiar?) There’s so much to love in this book. I was eager to know what happened to Lizzie, and by the end, I was glad to have closure. There was a good amount of suspense, and I raced through this because the voice was so intriguing. I would have followed it anywhere. Glad to have this unique book to read. Hawthorne is a great character, with feelings many of us can relate to.

Pub date: January 3rd, 2017 from Sourcebooks. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

My First Post for The International Thriller Writers.



Being a debut writer with ITW I was asked to write a post for their weekly magazine The Thrill Begins. What was I to write I wondered? But with my recently cancelled middle-grade book, and all the work writing and editing that went into it before the rug was pulled out from under me, I found my subject: Taking the Time for Life. 




Writing, writing and more writing.
I did it every day. I woke early as possible to savor those few quiet hours of my day job before customers came clamoring for coffee. I woke earlier on the weekends than my children did. I wrote after cooking dinner, or researched scientific details through the evening. I spent nearly every minute of every day last year writing, editing, and revising three projects while helping my college-bound dyslexic son prepare to audition for four Shakespeare plays. Read more.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Unmoving Sky is on iTunes!

Good day to you!


I've been away and dealing with a death in the family. It's been a difficult start to Summer, but I know through grace and gratitude for the many gifts in my life, a new cycle of growth is ahead. It feels great to get back to writing!

Today, I learned that THE UNMOVING SKY is available to read in iBooks



Young Adult  Suspense for Readers  12 and up! 

Amazon Reviews


"Suspenseful and moody, the stakes just kept being raised!"



"Written with empathy, compassion and clarity, The Unmoving Sky seizes the reader and pulls him at will along bends and turns, into ravines and out again: in the deep woods at night and in the human psyche. The emotional journey is at times the most terrifying of all, both to the characters involved and to the reader.Bravo."





"The author does a great job of creating a sense of foreboding as you follow two boys lost in the woods and their unlikely savior--or is he? It will have you hanging on until the shocking, poignant ending. The relationship/conflict between the boys and their father is also interesting and well-developed. A creepy, enjoyable page-turner!"





"The rural setting rich in sights and smells grows ever darker as the characters come to life in this poignant tale. A coming of age story reveals the bonds between family & friends as the mystery unfolds. This little book is filled with emotion, hope, despair and suspense."





Friday, July 8, 2016

Anger is All Around Us.

How will we cope? 



In The Unmoving Sky, brothers Artie and Jackson have to deal with their father’s abuse of alcohol to forget their mother’s death and hide his guilt. While their father, a lieutenant, is busy forgetting he neglects his children. Something that had been going on for years. It takes a heck of a lot of earth shattering misfortune to bring him back to a place where he remembers what’s important, and his boys now 17 and 15, are the most important people in his life. His tether to the one woman he loved more than anything in the world. But he neglects them, why? 

Anger is all around us. Our society is hacking away at foundations of peace and cooperation and tolerance. Police are killing black men EVERY DAY. #BlackLivesMatter  They’re being systematically hunted down!!

It’s insane, and more insane that those in a position of power and MORAL DUTY do NOTHING!  

I moved to NYC from Florida because NYC was the melting pot of culture (here in the US) I grew up with a Greek mother and her belly dancing parties. It was often like the United Nations at our house. I love it. I love diversity in ALL its colors and ways. Diversity is healthy. It is Life. (Just like in the plant world diversity keeps the crop healthy) The USA was founded on immigrants. What the hell is going on in this country?

Why such intolerance?  

F  E   A   R   +  I G N O A N C E    = a mess 
and/or hatred, anger, feelings of unworthiness, self-pity.   Not healthy.

I’d wondered about a book I read years ago about the school system: Dumbing Us Down : The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (2002) by John Taylor Gatto, who’d spent years in the NYC public school system. A great book! I read this when my boys were younger. Our family had quite the ride dealing with the DOE in NYC, especially with my eldest son having dyslexia and struggling every day in the system. (A post for another day.)


I can’t help feeling that education is key. I wonder how much of our government wants peace at all, or want people to move out of poverty and ignorance? They strip the schools of funds, making poverty stricken teachers pick up the tab for needed school supplies. Making it harder and harder for kids to learn when the ARTS are taking out. I couldn’t believe that gym was being removed from my kids’ elementary school, only to wind up with an excess of hyper kids—who the school officials wanted to drug!!! OMG. I know when I go for a run or exercise I am fully ready to absorb information and settle down. Why do they shoot themselves in the foot like this?



Ignorance is leading us to darkness, and knowledge is one key for undoing the damage of hatred. We need to expand the minds of others. Ignorance creates fear.

Between the major media outlets supplying excessive fodder to aggrandize the unwitting public, shock and awe of war every hour of the day, whether from overseas or our backyards. It HAS TO STOP. If you or someone you love, needs help managing their anger or finding the tools to cope, there are hotlines. Here's a previous post about < anger hotlines > with links. 

And there are books! Read outside your circle of influence. Read others’ perspectives. Reading is just about the easiest way to learn and it’s affordable. You can always check out books from your awesome local library. I’ve begun downloading ebooks from Overdrive and 3M and I'm ecstatic! 

Here's a little help for those of us with white privilege can do. A very informative < post >.



Friday, July 1, 2016

When Your Book is Cancelled.

So I lived through every writer’s nightmare. Hooray, glad that’s over!
I’d hardly realized this until another writer pointed it out. I suppose my rose-colored glasses were tainted pretty heavily.


After a year, nearly to the date, of deep revisions, my middle-grade book, GLITCH and its option book, were canceled by Month9Books/Tantrum. In a statement from Publisher’s Weekly about the company reverting rights to 50 authors across the board due to health problems, lost counsel, and a death within the company. (The perfect storm) I’m devastated, to say the least. 

Last year, I had to tango with writing/revising three books. (While helping my senior with dyslexia prepare for acting conservatory). It was grueling. I stayed in evenings to work on the books, took weekends to write, and woke earlier. All I did all year was work on those three books. Thank the heavens I have a young adult novella out with Leap Books/Shine imprint (May 16, 2016), getting favorable reviews.The bad news about my rights being reverted came two days its release. I had to attend its book party with a heavy heart, forcing myself out there when I was nauseous, sleep deprived, and ill with sadness. I really don’t know how, but I keep reminding myself to get through it, one task at a time. Playing mind games, that this is for the better. It will work out. The next deal will be even better as fellow writers said.

The sighs and heartbreak have lightened up, a little. But today I was reminded at 4am when everything is magnified and strangles me with doubt. I’m reminded of the newest agent rejection on a partial submission, after being so close. I’d joined a debut group, became an administrator, (this is actually the silver lining: meeting The Swanky 17s --friends for life!) They are a most awesome and supportive group.

Nothing is really wasted. I know, the writing is writing.

But this will take some time. And it was time to write about my experience. Way back, during #Pitmad, many were excited for CTRL+ALT+DELETE, the title before it became GLITCH. I had so much enthusiasm and support for this book to be out there for KIDS to read, for it to stimulate their imaginations. My editor at Tantrum Books was lovely and encouraging. I had no idea the bottom would collapse the way it did.

If you’d like to read about what happened to Month9Books and their imprints, the link is here. After I read the article I decided I should be glad, overjoyed to have my rights back, which have yet to arrive since the email announcement on June 8th.   I'm not.  More information found on Writer Beware. Make sure to read the enlightening comments. 

So, I’m searching once again for an agent; my YA thriller (THE UNMOVING SKY) is getting great reviews. I’m busy rewriting the beginning of a YA historical and writing a fresh draft for July Camp Nano. Taking this one-day at a time, keeping occupied with the writing and trying not to think too much about what was. If there's one thing I've learned, its that I need/want/deserve to have an agent. If not for GLITCH then for the next.  

Onward!   




Friday, June 24, 2016

Books that represent our lives.


Isn’t this what most of us want? 
Children need to be represented in books so they don’t feel alone. What if there’s no one around in a young person’s life to comfort or heal their insecurities, confusion, or abuse. What if they cry for help and no one hears? Maybe a child or teen won’t know they need help until they see themselves in a book. It makes them question, or seek answers, and maybe finally reach out to someone. Victims can suffer alone believing they had something to do with a parent’s addiction or an abuser’s abuse. Lonely with feelings of worthlessness while your self-confidence diminishes. It’s a very poor way to begin life when characterizations are beginning to settle in your personality.

Photo credit, dear friend, Pat Sweeny (2011) My son is 2nd from the left. 
Books are one of the tools we have to help!

In Kate Messenger’s outcry, “A Blog Post I Never Thought I’d Be Writing On Book Release Day”, about her book THE SEVENTH WISH, (Bloomsbury), when a school librarian disinvited her to speak 24 hours before she was scheduled to. Why? Because the book’s theme is about the impact drugs have on families. (Yay, Kate Messenger, for standing up to this!) 
THE SEVENTH WISH is a book that uses magic to explore something many families are afraid to talk about with kids – addiction. …”  And from Publishers Weekly: Authors Respond to Disinvites from Schools.

WTH? Isn’t our public education dwindling enough, kids NEED resources!
Books are one of the few tools that can help children harness this volatile world. I do not understand. Whom does it protect to withhold books?

Books open our minds, open up communication, if not out-loud at least internally. It’s a first step. Books can mirror our environment, or set our sights farther than we could have seen before. Our children need difficult books. Books about addiction, depression, mental health, are of paramount importance. For if you cannot speak it, how can you move through it?

My father was an alcoholic. My mother left him to raise us own her own when I was seven-year-old. But no one talked to me about what was going on. All I saw was his anger and their volatile fights. (He now has a farm and enjoys gardening to drinking, thank goodness.)

I want children and teens to have a something to navigate this crazy world, and complex emotions, help them see another’s perspectives, lend understanding to difficult situations. What an eye opener. Conversation and communication are the beginning steps. Books on subjects kids can most benefit from are essential to their physical and mental heath and happiness.

I wrote THE UNMOVING SKY, with much of this in mind. Alcoholic father, an unwanted pregnancy, domestic terrorism, these things happen every day in our world.
We do a huge disservice to our children withholding difficult subjects for them to read about. How will they learn? Grow? And not feel responsible for the perils they’re put in? 

This is why I became a writer of children’s books. Because our children our greatest resource, and our future. 

*I stumbled across this today from Neil Gaiman on Brain Pickingsif you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up.”