The long road to publication

On August 23, 2013, I submitted a short story, The Passing of Millie Hudson, to a publisher suggested to me by a dear friend and author.

The story appeared once before in an anthology put out by a writers group I was in, but the antho didn’t do well.  In fact, I don’t even mention it in my publishing credits because it was one of those ‘vanity publishing’ things. Instead of me paying for inclusion, I was allowed to include it because I was the ‘editor’ of the anthology. (I use the term very loosely because I really wasn’t an editor; more like a gatherer of blurbs and excerpts of unfinished novels).  It was one of those morale booster things the writer’s group did so writers could see their name in print and hopefully give them incentive to keep writing.  I have positive and negative thoughts on the experience, but that’s neither here nor there.  The thing is, I always thought Millie Hudson needed a home.  A real home where she would fit in and her story could be told the way it should have been all along.

When I found out about this particular publishing arm of the South Jersey Writer’s Group, Hypothetical Press, I sent Millie Hudson in with a hope and a prayer.  Yes, it’s another Writer’s Group, but SJWG is well-known, has a huge following, and some authors you might recognize are members.  It has a great reputation, and its previous anthology did very well in sales.  Plus they are huge in getting the word out there about its authors.  All of these were great pluses for me: reputation, word-of-mouth, awesome exposure.  All things important to an author.

On December 16, 2013, four months after submission, I received my congratulations letter from Hypothetical Press.  They LOVED my story.  I cried.  My lovely Millie Hudson found a forever home.  I later found out there were close to 80 submissions for the anthology and only 13 were chosen.  1 in 7 odds.  I’m happy.

There will be more info about the authors included, the titles of their stories, blog tours, etc., but for now, after a year of waiting, I’m happy to reveal:

Coming August 19, 2014

from Hypothetical Press


I can’t wait to share my story, The Passing of Millie Hudson with you.  I am thrilled beyond words to see this story in its final, wonderful resting spot.  Thank you Hypothetical Press (Amy and Jessica) for your passion and dedication to producing a fabulous anthology, and for your love and belief in my story.

More to come on this folks, so stay tuned!!


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17-Year Old Author’s Most Valuable Lesson Learned

As a YA author, I’m always interested in talking to teens and young adults to get their perspective on things.  Marissa Halvorson is the youngest writer in the ONE MORE DAY anthology so I was quite interested in finding out what she thought to be her most valuable lesson learned in this whole getting published thing.   I found what she said to be enlightening and very true.


 As some of you may know, I am the youngest author in this anthology. In fact, I was not even eighteen when I first heard the good news that they were accepting my story for publication. I turned eighteen about a month later.

This process has been absolutely amazing for me. I’ve met a ton of new people, made a ton of new friends, hopefully made some new fans, collected some new knowledge, and most of all, had fun. I’ve learned a ton of things. Jenny has asked me to tell all of you what I believe the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is. Well, here it is.

You can’t do it alone.

I’ve been trying to get published for several years now. People always told me not to give up, that I had to follow my dreams because I dreamed them so strongly. The whole time I was trying to do this, I thought I had to do it all alone. I thought that the publisher would publish my book, that they’d help edit my book, but that I would have to sell my book myself. I’ve been a fairly lonely child for a good portion of my life, so I’ve become quite independent and I rarely rely on others to do anything for me. In fact, I often don’t even trust others to do things for me. You can see why I’d want to do everything myself, that I’d believe I have to do everything myself, can’t you?

The truth is, becoming a part of the JTP family has changed my life. They’ve all made me realize how you never have to do anything alone. You often don’t even have to ask for help when you’re around the right people. The right people know that you need help and they help you before you have the chance to ask. The other authors helped me with marketing, helped me to learn what I needed to do. We really are a big family, and they have taught me the best lesson, not just about writing and publishing, but about life as well.

Don’t do everything yourself if you don’t want to. Ask for help. Sometimes, you really can’t do it alone.


You can catch up with Marissa at the follow web spots.  Make sure you stop in and say hello.

Website   Facebook     Twitter

To read Marissa’s story, please pick up a copy of ONE MORE DAY from any of the links below, or try your luck and enter the Rafflecopter for a giveaway of the book and signed bookmarks.





If Only I Had One More Day…

ONE MORE DAY author, Kimberly Kay, joins us today to answer a question I’ve asked of all the anthology authors:

If there was a moment you could freeze in time forever, what would that moment be?

Kimberly’s answer will put time in perspective and break your heart.

Kimberly, my blog is all yours.


If I had to take one moment in my life to freeze and display to all the world, which would I select? That’s a tough question, particularly because my answer is on the tragic, rather than joyful, end of the scale. I would select the moment I learned one of the people I most admired had commuted suicide.

It was the day after I found out that my submission to this anthology was accepted. Looking at the text on my phone, I sat down on a desk as the waves of shock washed over me. I thought, “What was I doing last night, when he died? I learned that I’d made it into “One More Day”. One more day. If only I had one more day. If only HE had one more day.” The moment where I dropped to my knees on the floor and shattered?

THAT’S the moment I would display to everyone so that, hopefully, someone out there who was considering suicide would realize that they should not go through with it. They have a purpose. They have a place in this world that will never be filled should they leave. And most importantly, they are loved. Maybe by someone they aren’t even aware of. I don’t think this friend realized how much he meant to me and the rest of our fencing club, or to his friends and family. Long have I wished that he had indicated he needed help instead of quietly slipping away. I wish we could have–not just one–but many more days to spend with him. Most importantly, I wish he’d realized that more than anything, he could have saved himself by loving himself, trusting himself, and believing in himself. Instead, we who are left behind must spread that message to others, and help them realize they are valued. That’s why my piece in the anthology is dedicated to this friend, Tyler. Because, though, I can no longer show him he is loved, I can at least promise he will never be forgotten.


Kimberly, my heart breaks for you.  I am so sorry to hear about Tyler.  I pray for his family’s and your healing.  May your words touch someone else so another family and friends do not have to endure such overwhelming loss.

In honor of Tyler, I hope you decide to read a copy of Kimberly’s story, Sleepless Beauty.  I’ve included links below, or you can enter to win a copy through the Rafflecopter Giveaway.  Whatever you decide to do, please make sure you visit all of Kimberly’s location on the web and say hi and wish her well.

When Kimberly was younger, she was incredibly timid. She didn’t talk much because she was afraid of what others would think of her. Instead, she expressed herself through drawing. Eventually, art alone wasn’t enough. There were some things she couldn’t express with pencils, so she began talking, and when she did, she realized she had something to say. Now no one can get her to shut up! Worse, she’s discovered she can put those words into writing to share what she has to say with even more people.

Kimberly writes short stories and novels—usually fantasy fairytale retellings. Scattered within her works are things she loves: horses, fencing, archery, and so much more. With her friends, she writes fun fan-fiction that expands her creativity, (and shows what a nerd she is).

Through writing, she has found confidence and freedom.

Website        Twitter     Goodreads





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Tangibility of the written word


J. Taylor Publishing’s ONE MORE DAY young adult anthology debuts December 2, 2013, which means my short story, Dragon Flight, will be available to millions of people to read.

Millions of people.  What a mind-blowing concept. As a writer, that’s all that really matters – having my work out there for others to read and share.  Sure, I’d like to top the best-seller lists.  I mean, who wouldn’t like to be spoken of in hallowed greatness among YA fans of Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Suzanne Collins?  And while I’d like to have a theme park named after my novel, I think J.K. Rowling already cornered the market on that one.  I do envision movies, however.  Epic movies, with an all-star cast, maybe even directed by the great Peter Jackson himself, but I digress.

For now, I am thrilled knowing two of my short stories are out there and someone, somewhere is or will soon be reading them.  The Amulet of Ormisez is available in e-book and in one week, Dragon Flight will be available in paperback and e-book, which just makes me jump up and down and squeal and do the little Snoopy happy dance.  The idea of being able to hold and sign a book featuring a story of mine just blows me away.  It is the ultimate high for this author.  I’ll actually be able to give something tangible to my friends and relatives as presents this holiday season.  It’s personal.  I can write a note inside.  I can hand it to them.  There is nothing virtual about that.

I don’t know how I can explain what this means to me.  I guess the only way is like this.  We all know how great it is to Skype with our friends and loved ones.  We get to see them, talk to them, laugh and cry with them…but it will never replace actually holding each other, touching each other, laughing and crying in the same room with each other.  To give the gift of a virtual book conjures the same meaning for me.  I’m not sure I’m ready to move into a virtual world, where everything we experience is on a reader, online, and someday, in a hologram.  We’re losing our personal touch with people.  We’re losing how to interact with people face-to-face.  I think we’re becoming too tech savvy, so much so that we’re losing what’s ‘real’.  And in our eagerness to progress, move on and be ‘up-to-date’, we’re losing valuable lessons, skills and a tangible form of art.

While I see the importance of e-books and I understand all the arguments for them, they can’t replace the authenticity, the sensation of holding a real book. There is something magical in turning the pages, experiencing the freshness or age of a book.  Hiding under the covers with a flashlight as a child, so you can stay up to turn the last page of the chapter.  To pass on and share a book without needing permission.  I am in love with reading, but I’m also in love with books.  Tangible books.  Pages that will yellow with age, bindings that will crease and tear and perhaps even unbind from all the times it’s been opened and read.  That’s what I want to happen to the books containing my writings.  I want them to be well-read, loved, cherished, seen by many – not sitting in a dark reader to never be stroked, loved, needed and perhaps read only once before being cast into cyberspace.  What a heartbreaking fate for some of life’s most beautiful words.   

Dragon Flight is almost here!

Oh my gosh, I can’t control the squeals of delight!  First, I get an e-mail from my publisher that the print books of the ONE MORE DAY anthology have been approved by the distributor and the paperbacks will start showing up soon.  While I had another short story, The Amulet of Ormisez, published last year, it was only available in e-book format only (Kindle / Nook).  This year, ONE MORE DAY, and my short story, Dragon Flight, will be available in print and e-book!  I am soooo happy I can’t stand it!

Secondly, I saw the purchase link for the paperback on Amazon!

OneMoreDay-cover-pb-spine I just can’t believe it.  I’ll actually have something to sign.  Something I can touch and give to others who don’t have e-readers.  This is such a glorious thing to me.

I’m also very excited to promote this anthology because there are several authors debuting in this work and I’m so happy for them.  It is an incredible feeling knowing a publisher thought highly enough of your work to take a chance on it and publish it.  There are no words that can express how thrilled I am for these new authors. They all have intriguing stories to tell in ONE MORE DAY, and I’m honored to be appearing along with each of them.  (Psst…just to let you know, there is one author who is still in her teen years.  How awesome is that!).

I will be posting a blog tour schedule soon so you can keep up with all the shenanigans we’re all doing.  I’ve also got a great line-up starting December 1 and running through Jan. 2, 2014 of author guest posts and interviews, etc.  You’ll also find other authors I’m promoting during the month of December and I’m über excited to help them out as well.

I hope you stay tuned for all the fun, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways of ONE MORE DAY.  Share the word.  Spread the joy.  And thank you for your loyalty and friendship.  I, we, couldn’t do any of this without our readers, fans and loyal following.  You guys are the best. Thank you for everything.



7 Elements for the perfect plot

You want to write a short story and/or a novel.  What’s the first thing you need?  You’re right…an idea, but what comes after that?

A plot.  Some people think a plot line is easy, but it’s a little bit more than boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy gets girl.  So boring.  What you need is meat, substance, and that comes in the form of the following, pretty much in this order:

  • Aspiration/goal – What does your MC want?
  • Game plan – how does your MC devise to get what (s)he wants?
  • Weakness – what are the flaws and/or obstacles that will keep the MC from getting what s(he) wants?
  • 1st, maybe 2nd and 3rd defeat – Choose how many times the MC must fall and get back up.  Torture him/her.
  • Final showdown – The battle of all battles where the MC shines and kicks some serious butt
  • Self-revelation – What does the MC learn about him/her self?
  • Resolution – Wrap it up.  Show the MC’s strength and resolve and most of all, how (s)he changed/grew from the beginning to the end of the story.  Does the MC get what (s)he wanted or did the goal change?

Plot it out in your head or on paper, then write your heart out.  Good luck to your MC, and may (s)he get what (s)he desires.

Happy writing.

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YA author bloggers wanted for some crazy, mixed-up fun!

Hey all!

In case you didn’t know, I have a short story, Dragon Flight, releasing December 2, 2013 in J. Taylor Publishing’s ONE MORE DAY anthology, and I am unashamedly seeking fellow YA authors/bloggers to participate in blog tours between November 1 and the end of the year.  Of course I will be more than happy to host other YA authors either with interviews, guest blog posts, reviews (if you have short stories/novelettes), giveaways, etc., so if you’re interested, leave a comment below.

If you are a book reviewer or have 250 followers or more on your blog, you can participate through J. Taylor Publishing to get an ARC of ONE MORE DAY to review.  Trust me, all the reviews this book can get, the better.  It’s really a fantastic collection of short stories that I’m sure any fan of YA would love to have.  You can sign up with J. Taylor at

I hope to meet a lot of YA authors and bloggers on this tour.  What do you say?  Up for some fun?  I know I am, so let’s rock this thing!  Whoo Hoo!!

What if today never ends? 

What if everything about life—everything anyone hoped to be, to do, to experience—never happens? 

Whether sitting in a chair, driving down the road, in surgery, jumping off a cliff or flying … that’s where you’d be … forever.

Unless …

In One More Day, Erika Beebe, Marissa Halvorson, Kimberly Kay, J. Keller Ford, Danielle E. Shipley and Anna Simpson join L.S. Murphy to give us their twists, surprising us with answers to two big questions, all from the perspective of characters under the age of eighteen.

How do we restart time?

How do we make everything go back to normal?

The answers, in whatever the world—human, alien, medieval, fantasy or fairytale—could,maybe, happen today.

Right now.

What would you do if this happened … to you?


Seven-Sentence Monday

Jocelyn Adams, author of the Lila Gray series (among other fantastic tales), tagged me on Facebook for a seven-sentence reveal.  As a lot of you don’t have Facebook accounts, I thought it would be fun to post the same thing here and then I’ll tag all of you do the same.

What do you have to do to play along?  Go to either page 7 or 77 of your manuscript. Count down 7 lines, then copy the next 7 lines to your status.

Here’s an excerpt from my short story, Summerfirth.

“I love you, too.” I dabbed my eyes as Perdita slipped from the room. My best friend, my sister in every way but name, was gone. I would never see her again, not as long as she remained in Master Gowdry’s employ. I swallowed back the sickness rising in my throat. In less than an hour I would marry a man I did not love, a man whose lot in life was to kill the man I did. Never had I felt more alone, more afraid, more like thrusting a dagger in my heart.

So, what are your seven?  Tell us here or on your own blog.  Make sure you link back here so we can all read your snippet.

Happy Monday!

Dog Park Revelation

I took my pups to the dog park today.  That’s my Aussie, Toby, in the foreground, Jahlee (the white dog) is right behind him, and Charlie is the fuzzy black dog in front of her.

toby at the dog park 1-13-2013

As I watched them play and run and romp and snark, I was reminded of a passage from a short story I wrote titled “The Passing of Millie Hudson”:

I jus’ stood there buried in my own thoughts, watchin’ them birds rustlin’ ’round the ole oak tree when I heard Millie shuffle up behind me.

“My, my,” she say. “Look at them. Just as happy as can be. Oh, what I would do to be one of them for a day – to not worry about anything, especially good for nothing relatives, to not even be privy to my own mortality but to live each second of every day as nature intended.”

How wonderful would that be, to wake each day with not a care in the world.  To just live.

I think it’s possible – if we can get past our own self-inflicted limitations.  Replace our own negative patterns.  Become one with God and the Universe.  To live like animals, careless and free.  Are you up for the challenge?

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