It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and I wanted to touch base to say that I’m alive and kicking, and writing, writing, writing! Boy, it’s been a wild, harried, wonderful eight months!
This year began at a fast and furious pace. First, I joined Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, where the task is to write a picture book draft per month, totaling 12 drafts for the year. I’m happy to say that I have already achieved that goal and still going strong.
Then you all know that my daily posting lasted several months. What with Teri Long’s BlogFlash 2013, National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo), in tandem with my self imposed April Prompts, co-hosted by Carlie M A Cullen, it was a wacky posting schedule for a while! Then came NaPiBoWriWe in May. Whew.
To tell y’all the truth, I’ve just come up for air! As a newbie in the picture book writing game, I have no publishing credits as of yet. So, since the beginning of the year through the very end of July, I pushed and entered many writing contests, to earn something to add to my pitiful, one-sentence bio paragraph.
Some I did not win, and a few decisions have yet to be announced. Earlier in the year, I was honored to be one of twenty finalists in the Serendipity Literary Agency/ Gotham Writers Workshop Young Adult Novel Discovery Contest. Woot, woot!
Thanks to all who voted to send my haiku to Mars; it should be in orbit sometime this November!
I was awarded the opportunity to participate in Adventures in YA Publishing’s July First Five Pages Workshop, where I polished the first pages of my MG novel, mentored by Martina A. Boone, Lisa Gail Green, and Susan Dennard, author of Something Strange and Deadly and A Darkness Strange and Lovely. It was one hard heck of a month, but one I wouldn’t have traded for the world!
Also in July, I successfully participated in Kristen Fulton’s WOW NonFicPic, where the challenge was to write a non-fiction PB draft daily for a week. I thoroughly enjoyed the new experience of writing non- fiction, and got two good historical fiction manuscripts of which I’m very proud.
So that’s what I’ve been up to in a nutshell. Thank you all for forgiving my lack of posts when need be, but please know that I’m hard at work trying to create and polish stories that you and your children will enjoy
soon one day.
On that note, I start the highly acclaimed Picture Book Academy the last week in August, and just know that I’m theees close to finding my voice.
No wonder why I’ve felt totally exhausted these last few days! :0)
Just for kicks…here’s one of the non-fiction stories that I wrote about my best friend, and her ghost.
The Ghost in the Attic
My best friend, Linda lived across the street from me in the oldest, kind of spooky, house in the neighborhood. She and her older sister, Debbie, shared the attic.
We would climb a special set of stairs to find a wide, sunny hallway leading first to Linda’s bedroom, then a bathroom, and then to Debbie’s much bigger room. No one but us kids ever came up to the attic.
One day, I noticed that cabinet doors lined flush with the walls of the attic hallway and I asked Linda what was in them.
“Oh, that’s where all Maureen’s stuff is,” she answered.
“Who’s Maureen?” I asked.
“She was Billy’s wife, my sister-in-law. She died in her twenties, and he couldn’t bear to get rid of her things, so he packed them all up here.”
“She was beautiful and was always kind to me. I miss Maureen,” said Linda.
It wasn’t soon after Linda told me about Maureen that strange things began to happen in the attic.
We were in Linda’s room one day and her sister’s stereo went on.
“I didn’t know she was home. Deb, can you turn the music down please?” asked Linda. The stereo sound lowered. “Can you put on the top 40 channel, Deb?”
We heard squiggly radio sounds as Debbie was searching for the channel, then the station came on. “Thanks, Deb,” she said.
“Where’s your history book?” I asked. “We’ve got to study for that test.
“I’ll get it, I left it in Deb’s room,” she said as she walked out. Two minutes later, she was standing back in the doorway with a shocked look on her face.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Deb’s not home! But the stereo went on and then it changed to the right station…by itself!”
“You’re teasing, right? She probably went downstairs.”
We went downstairs to check, but Linda’s grandmother said that Debbie was at cheerleading practice.
We went back upstairs to study for the history test. Then Linda’s light turned off…then on…then off…then on again. We hugged each other in fright.
“Come on Deb, you’re playing games with us right? Where are you hiding?” asked Linda.
Nothing was the reply.
Weird things started happening every day after that. The bathroom light went on and off. The stereo suddenly blasted, then shut off. Then all the lights went off one day and we got scared and ran down the stairs into the kitchen.
“What’s wrong girls?” asked Linda’s grandmother.
“There’s a ghost upstairs, Grandma!”
“Come now dears, there’s no such thing as ghosts. You’ve been studying too long. Let’s go outside for some fresh air,” she suggested.
All three of us walked out of the kitchen and were passing through the living room, when we turned and froze.
In the room was a haze of white. It lingered like a tall billow of smoke. As we stood there, it came together to form the figure of a woman. Soon her face became clear, and Linda and her grandmother called out, “Maureen!”
Linda’s grandmother pushed the two of us out the door and into the front yard. We stood there staring back at the house, and Maureen soon appeared in the picture window. She smiled with wide-open arms, and poof, she was gone.
“Grandma, we talked about Maureen just the other day and how I missed her. Then weird things started happening upstairs, nothing bad, just weird.
Grandmother thought a moment and then she said, “Well, my dear, it seems that Maureen has chosen to make herself known to you because you spoke well of her. I don’t believe you have anything to fear.”
We ran back upstairs, excited to know that Maureen was all around us. I was happy to have seen her beauty. Now, I knew Maureen too.
Linda never had to turn on the light to the stairs anymore because Maureen did the moment we opened the door to the stairs.
In the days, weeks and years that passed as we grew, if Linda, or even I asked, “Maureen can you please…turn on the bedroom light, the bathroom light, Deb’s stereo, we needed just to ask, and Maureen was happy to oblige.
On the other hand, Debbie, the one who tormented her little sister every chance she got, was not so content. Maureen scared the daylights out of her every chance she got.
It was grand for us little kids to have the upper hand up in the attic…with the help of Maureen, of course.
If you haven’t downloaded LUCCI- The No Smoochie Poochie, now’s the time. It’s FREE August 13 – 16th: