The search is on…

Hello fellow bloggers and readers.  Today begins my quest for the perfect blog title.

For those of you who didn’t read yesterday’s post, I’ll sum it up here.  I’m going to be changing my WordPress Blog to a more interactive play site centered around my epic YA Fantasy novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, slated for release in Fall 2016.  BUT, it’s only the first in the Chronicles of Fallhollow Trilogy, so, I will need a title that can encompass the entire series.

What is the theme of the books?  Think dual dimensions, magic portals, dragons, kings, knights, spunky teens, mystery, murder, strange beings.

My plans for the new blog are to introduce everyone to the fantasy world of Fallhollow and its surrounding kingdoms.  This means you’ll get to read interviews with some pretty awesome characters. You’ll get the behind the scene tour with characters not in the books but make up the settings.  You might even get to meet a real dragonologist!

Anyway, all of this is still in the design stage but I’d at least like to have a name for my blog, so put your thinking hats on.  Dive into the fantasy part of you where hobbits and mystical beings reside, and see what fabulous name you can come up with.

You can comment below and all suggestions will be taken under consideration.  The winner will will a digital copy of your choice of

Reading Glasses

This is a collection of some of the most awesome, spell-binding speculative fiction short stories I have ever read.  Truly fantastic. It also includes my short story, The Passing of Millie Hudson, but that’s neither here nor there.  All of these stories are fabulously written and any fan of speculative fiction will fall in love.  Click the book to find out more.

The contest will remain open until December 1, 2014.

Thank you for all your help, and I can’t wait to see what you all come up with.

My novel, In the Shadow of the Dragon King, picked up by film maker

Yep, in my dream last night, my novel, In the Shadow of the Dragon King, was picked up by none other than Peter Jackson himself. See, he likes dragons and destroying things and when he read my novel, he knew he had to put it on the big screen.

Needless to say,  I was overjoyed, as was my publisher.

Of course the film was a HUGE success and was up for 9 Academy Awards.  All of the authors from Month9Books and its imprints were there at the theater.  We were all dressed to kill and we made such a lovely bunch of giddy authors. My daughter, Heather Jessup, who is a real-life costume designer, did all the costumes for the film (I told Peter I wouldn’t allow the film to be made without my daughter as the CD. Let me tell you, she was stoked beyond stoked.)  Heather won an Academy Award for her role in the film. The film won a couple of other awards for musical score and set design, but I woke up before I found out if it won Best Picture.

Dreams. Ya gotta love them. And until my dying breath, this will be the next major dream I will see come true. Don’t believe me?  Just watch and wait.  Peter Jackson, if you’re out there … I’ve got my eye on you.  🙂

So, tell me. What is your BIG dream?

So, you got a publishing contract. Now what?

It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl to get a publishing contract for my novel.  I know I personally spent more time imagining covers for my novels than I did envisioning my dream wedding.  Come on.  Let’s face it.  The wedding gown is expensive, you wear it for an hour, and then it gets stuck in a ‘preservation’ box forever.  A book cover on the other hand lasts a long time, people will see it for years to come, and even after many eons have passed and the pages are yellowed, a new reader will come along, find the cover intriguing, and crack open the binding to read the precious, toiled-over words in between. For me, that would be words I wrote.

I wrote.

The thought boggles my mind that others will read my story.  That my words will be eternally in print.  Part of the Library of Congress.  A permanent testimony of my life on earth. A legacy.  In a sense…immortality.

But to get this dream, I have to have one of these:

Yes, a publishing contract.  Yuck.  I hate contracts.  All the legal mumbo jumbo, the fine print. Wondering if I can live with this, or if that has to go.  If I push too far, will the publisher say no and then I’m back to square one looking for a publisher?  Do I self-publish?  The possibilities are enough to make an author want to run for the hills and hide.  After all, we write, not negotiate contracts, right?

Sorry to say, if we want to see our books in print, we have to wade through the business end, too.  Even if you have an agent, you want to make sure your agent has your best interest at heart.

As I sit here and wait to find out the fate of my novel I submitted to one of my dream publishers, I’ve been educating myself on what to expect when that contract comes in.  (yes, I said, when.  There is no if.  It will happen).  Over the course of the next few days, I’ll share with you what I’ve learned on Granting Subsidiary Rights, Royalty terminology and other important publication rights that all authors must consider whether going the publishing route alone or with an agent.

I hope you stay tuned.  It’s gonna be a bumpy but fun ride – like dodging pot-holes in a Ferrari at 200 mph.


Hurry up and wait

So, I submitted a query to a “dream” publisher on May 30.  I received a request for my full manuscript on June 8.  I had one week to submit.

So, I got 5 sets of eyes on the manuscript.  I edited…read again…edited…read again…rinse and repeat until I couldn’t do anymore.  Around 2 PM on June 14, I held my breath, closed my eyes and hit the ‘send’ button.

Of course, after I submitted, I found mistakes.  It was driving me  nuts.  Several of my lovely writer buddies told me to put it away. It was gone. Nothing I could do about it. Still, I wanted it polished. I wanted perfection.  One side of my brain said there is no such thing. The other side of my brain said yes there is.  I’m conflicted, can you tell?

It’s been 4 days.  I haven’t received a confirmation e-mail that the publisher received the MS, and the website says don’t ask.

So now after all the hurry, I sit and wait.  My nerves are frayed. I may eat a finger or two, maybe a hand, before I hear anything. Pray for me.   My fingernails are already disappearing.

Copyright: robodread / 123RF Stock Photo

Writing out of sequence

So, I woke up in the middle of the night with the ending to my Chronicles of Fallhollow trilogy playing in my head like a movie.  I had to write it down before I forgot it. The attached song by Evanescence was playing in my head as I watched the ending unfurl in my dream.

OMGosh.  I got up this morning and read what I wrote and I was in tears.  Not that what I wrote doesn’t need work, but I saw the ending of this story in such clarity and it was so darn sad…yet there can be no other ending.

This song captures the ending so well.

Does anyone else write out of sequence?  Do you have moments of clarity that just blow you away?

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Create a map – visualize your world

I’m not an artist, nor do I pretend to be one.  I do like to dabble with painting on glass and shell art but I do it for fun and stress release.

I am a writer, however, and I am knee-deep in writing a YA epic fantasy trilogy, The Chronicles of Fallhollow, complete with knights, dragons and damsels not so fair or in distress.  The realm of Fallhollow where much of my story takes place is huge and while writing the scenes, I found myself getting lost.  I knew where things were in my head but lost perspective on how long it took to travel from one place to another.  I had to find a way around it, so I drew a map.

Map of Estaria2As you can see it’s a very crude drawing but it gives me an idea on where everything is and I can visually relate to how long it would take to travel from one spot to another.  There will be some minor changes to this and some tweaking, but for now, it hangs on a board near my computer so I can refer to it when I write, just to make sure I have it ‘right’ when placing a scene.

What do you do to ‘ground’ yourself in your story to keep from getting mixed up in time and space?

10 Resolutions for 2014

I never make New Year’s resolutions.  Deep down inside, I hate planning and conforming to rules.  I’d much rather fly by the seat of my pants.  Over the years, however, I’ve ‘re-arranged’ myself to look or act a certain way, be a certain way, but it wasn’t ‘me’.  You know what I’m talking about?  I can’t tell you how many times I refused to sing in front of others because I sound like a dying cow, or I don’t smile as much as I should because I have a dorky smile, or I fail to express my childish enthusiasm and run sporadically like Phoebe Buffay because it’s embarrassing to those around me. Well, guess what?  2014 is going to change all that.  Here is a list of 10 things I’m going to do to get back to the real ‘me’:

1.  Eat healthier and get away from this dreadful type 2 diabetes that has been plaguing me for several years.  Yep, I’m going to eat more prebiotic foods like berries, bananas, artichokes, asparagus, onions, garlic, and leafy greens.  Take in more whole foods.  Get thin again and feel good about me.

2.  Exercise more.  #1 and #2 go hand in hand.  Just gotta do it, even if it means going for brisk walks.  I don’t want to die before I’m 55.  Only I can change it.  Now I have to do it.  Who’s with me so far?

3.  Stop expecting people to Realize not everyone will like me, and that’s ok.  No more trying to ‘fit in’, or be what I perceive others want from me. I’m beautiful the way I am with all my  quirkiness and strangeness.  Some may see me as ‘unworthy’, but to others, I’m priceless.  That leaves me all gooey inside. 🙂

4.  Respect myself more than I respect them.  I’m always doing this…telling others how beautiful they are, how proud I am of them, and then turn around and tell myself I’m fat, I’m ugly.  How stupid is that?  Those words are getting a swift kick out the door.  I’m going to trust who I am, believe in my choices and feed off my inner strength.  I’m going to stop putting myself down.  Instead, I’m going to say, “I’m beautiful.  I’m strong and I’m happy in my skin.”  Come on, say it with me – “I’m beautiful.  I’m strong and I’m happy in my skin.”  Don’t you feel better already?  🙂

5.   Accept others for their uniqueness the way I want them to accept me for mine.  Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss,  once said, “Be who you are and say what you mean because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”  That’s my mantra from now on.  You love me for me, I love you for you.  It all has to do with that respect thing in #4.

6.  Understand I can’t change people (or allowing others to change me).  We are all unique with special gifts and talents.  If I can’t accept someone’s behaviors or habits, then I will need to change my relationship to it, not ask them to change for me, and vice versa.

7.  Allow myself to be happy.  Enough with the envious thoughts, the thinking I don’t do enough or if I’d only done something better.  Enough with holding my feelings hostage, pretending they don’t exist or don’t matter.  Follow my inner calling of being a writer and working with animals. Express myself.  Live.

8.  Those all too familiar words:  “Never mind.  It’s not important” that comes out of my mouth all the time?  They’re going away because if I’m feeling it, if I’m experiencing it, it’s important.  A great deal of unhappiness and confusion and feelings of betrayal comes from not saying what we feel.  I need to be brave and say what I think and what I feel.  There’s no greater sadness than holding on to words I never had the courage to speak.

9.  I will do whatever I can to not focus on the bad, but put all my thoughts into the good.  This is a difficult one for me and one that I will strive to fix.  I’ve suffered from depression my entire life.  I tried to commit suicide at the age of 18.  Yep, that’s a whole different blog post right there.  I’ve been in toxic relationships all my life and have pretty much lost who I am because of my need to fit in, be accepted, believing that acting a certain way would make someone love me more.  All it’s done is lead me to the place where I am today.  Someone I don’t even know recently directed me to a podcast by Joel Osteen’s on how we cannot be defeated.  You can listen to it here if you choose.  Anyway, it made me realize I’ve allowed myself to be defeated.  I’m the one amplifying the problems because I’ve dwelled on them and made them bigger than they need to be.  I lost my faith in God, in life, in everything around me.  This unknown angel (and a few others) brought me back to my faith, to the God I truly do believe in, and I know now He has a hand on my heart and I’m graced in His favor.  I trust in His guiding light.  I will not be defeated.

10.  Finish my dadburn novels!  They’ve been sitting here waiting, screaming at me to finish, but I have been filled with so much self-doubt, so much depression, so much hurt, I couldn’t focus.  2014 is the year.  3 novels are going down this year. I’m also going to get an agent and get my dream publisher.  I know 2014 is going to be a great year as I already have one publishing credit to announce in the next couple of months.  I’ve squandered my gifts for far too long.  It’s time to listen to my heart and my soul. What about you?

IT’s Your turn…

What does your New Year’s resolution list look like?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

K – Kedge

Hello peeps of the world!  Welcome to day 11 of the A-Z challenge.  Today’s letter is “K”, which in my world stands for Kedge, as in “The Eye of…”

What is Kedge?  It was once a central meeting place of the mages buried deep in the Sankara Mountains.   It served as their secret headquarters during the great Dragon War.  Fingers of tunnels spanned from the base, serving as safe passages to all of Fallhollow.  The eye of kedge is a magical stone that energizes the crystals that hide the tunnels from creatures of black magic.  It went missing at the end of the great war. With the possibility of war looming over Fallhollow once more, it is important to find the Eye of Kedge.  The mages are gathering.  Time is running out.

What does the eye of kedge look like?  Click here to see my inspiration.


H – Havendale

Happy Tuesday, everyone, and welcome to day 8 of the A-Z challenge.  Thank you once again for visiting and reading my contribution to this fun blogging event.  After you’ve lingered, please jump on over to see what the other participants are blogging about.

Now on to the letter H.  From my YA novel, The Eye of Kedge, I bring you the town of Havendale, Tennessee.

Havendale is a fictional mountain town nestled in the heart of the Cherokee National Forest.  As the name implies, it is a quiet town, a refuge, a sanctuary from the rest of the world – that is until inexplicable events begin to happen, and David and Charlotte come face to face with a mysterious little man with ill intent.