About Me

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I am a children's writer from the Virgin Islands. Growing up there was like living inside a history book; an imagination stimulator. Consequently I've been writing for just about forever. I am a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and a member of SCBWI.

Blog Schedule

I post on Monday and Thursday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meeting Jay

It was 1961, I was eleven, and I didn't want to meet him. Truth is, I didn't have much respect for stateside kids. They were always terribly flawed is some way.

Like: They couldn't go barefooted.
Or, they couldn't climb trees.
Or, they were afraid of bugs.
Or, they didn't know how to swim very well.
Or, they didn't like the idea of walking a couple of miles to get to a beach.
Or, they were whiny and complained about most everything.
Or, worst of all, they didn't have any imagination.

Jay's mom had arrived a couple of months early to set up a household. Her husband and son were to follow at the end of the school year. Because the  population of St. John was so small, everybody knew everybody and the the arrival of new people was both a curiosity and a change of scenery. Betty fit right in. She was colorful, talented, and friendly. It wasn't long before she was hobnobbing with other mothers, which meant I soon learned she had a son just my age. She was positive we'd get along great and that I'd just love him.

Of course, I knew better.

Fourth of July came around and I was running around in the park in Cruz Bay, along with a lot of other kids. There was all kinds of stuff happening. Food booths and tables were wafting the aromas of whelk fritters, conch chowder, and kallaloo (to name just a few) into the air. A steel band was playing. Beer and alcohol was flowing. Adults were visiting. It was a wonderful crowded, noisy, mishmash.

In the midst of all that Betty spotted me, called me over, and grabbing me by my arm said, "Jay's here! Let me introduce you."

Being raised to be polite to my elders, I couldn't get away. But I was cringing inside. We'd be going to the same school. We'd have to see each other every day. And I KNEW, I wouldn't like him. Experience had already taught me that stateside kids were whoosies.

Now, I was short for my age and a slow grower.


My sister, Erva, and I, in 1960 a year before I met Jay. She's about 14, I'm about 10. When standing next to her, people who didn't know me thought I was maybe 6 or 7. This irritated me to no end because it caused people to treat me like a baby. 

Back to the story... So there I am being pulled along by Betty and when she pointed to where Jay was standing by the old cannon, my first thought was, "Oh my god, what a little dwarf."

At the sound of his name being called, he turned and our eyes met. At 11 neither of us understood what was happening or had the words for it, though years later we talked about it.

Before we ever spoke a word,  we recognized each other. It was like like we were old friends who'd known each other before in another life and were absolutely thrilled to be together again. It was powerful and immediate.

From that moment on we were pretty much inseparable and the ratio in our heights remained the same into adulthood.
I have four pictures of us in this basic stance. That's my dog, Anna, behind us.

Did you have a childhood BFF? If you did, how did you meet? Are you still friends? 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Alternatives for Cross

Alternatives is a recurring post in which I give synonyms for an over used word. Click on the tab above for a "complete" list of over used words.



Today's word is:


There are many different meanings and ways to use the word cross. 
Cross, as in to go over.
Cross, as in to be angry or irritable.
Cross, as in crucifix.
Cross, as in burden, having a cross to bear.
Cross, as in to edit out, cross off.
Cross, as in intersect, crossroads.
Cross, as in mixed, like a mutt, a cross-breed.

SO

Depending on how you use it, this list may come in handy for finding another way to say the same thing.


adverse, affliction, angry, annoyed, argue with, argumentative

baffle, bearish, bellicose, belligerent, bilious, bilk, blend, bridge, burden

cancel, cantankerous, captious, caviling, choked, choleric, churlish, cloverleaf, combative, come across, connect, contentious, continue, contradict, contrary, cover, crabby, cranky, crisscross, crossbreed, cross-grained, crossroad, crosswalk, crossway, crosswise, crotchety, crucifix, cruise, crusty, curmudgeonly, cut across/through

decussation, defy, delete, disagreeable, disputatious, dyspeptic

edit out, encounter, enlace, exchange, ex-out, extend, extend across/over

faultfinding, fiery, foil, fold, fold up, forbid, ford, forestall, fractious, fretful, frustrate

gainsay, get across, get over, go across/through/over, grade crossing, grating, gridiron, grouchy, grumpy

hacked off, hamper, hinder, hot-blooded, huffy, hybridize

ill-humored/natured/tempered, impatient, impede, in a bad mood, ink out, interchange, intersect/intersection, intertwine, irascible, irritable

join, jumpy, junction

lace, lie athwart of, liverish, load, loop

meet, misery, misfortune, mixture, move across, mongrel, mutt

navigate, negotiate, network

oblique, obliterate, obstruct, off-color, oppose, opposite, ornery, out of humor, overpass

pass, passage, passionate, pass over, peeved/peevish, perverse, petty, petulant, pissed off, ply, pouty, preclude, prevent, prickly, pugnacious, put out

quarrel/quarrelsome, querulous, queer, quick-tempered

range over, raspy, ratty, reciprocal, resist, rood, run across/into

sail, score out, scotch, scrappy, screen, see, sensitive, short, short-tempered, snappish/snappy, snarly, snarky, span, snippety, splenetic, spoil, stand up to, stretch across, strike out, stuffy, sulky, sullen, surly, sweep

take a stand against, take issue with, testy, tetchy, thin-skinned, thwart, touchy,  track, traversal, traverse, tribulation, trouble, truculent, turn up

underpass, unfavourable

vexed, voyage

waspish, woe, worry

zigzag

Is cross a word you use too much? Are there any words in this list that stick out as ones you might use? I'm partial to peevish, myself. I'm a person who becomes peevish when I get hungry.

For your listening pleasure... Many Rivers to Cross by Jimmy Cliff.
Dig the glasses man. A true and beautiful individual.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

International Potluck Blogfest

It's the International Potluck Blogfest!
Hosted by Beth FredMedeia Sharif and Lexa Cain 
Here are the rules:
~ Put the bloghop badge on your post.

~ Post the cover of a book you love (it can be your own) with a food and/or recipe from the book, or a food from the MC's region, or a food you just like!
~ Link back to BethMedia, and Lexa. All three of us.
~ A copy of Beth's Finding Hope, Medeia's Snip, Snip, Revenge, and Lexa's Soul Cutter, plus a $10 Amazon gift card will be given away via Rafflecopter!

***

This should be fun! And who better to share a favorite recipe than the Trickster of Caribbean, Anansi the Spider, who loves ANYthing that has to do with food. One of the dishes mentioned in my book, Anansi and Company, is classic.

Kallaloo 
(There are as many ways to cook Kalaloo, Callaloo as there are to spell it. Kallaloo is a leafy green, a West Indian spinach.)
1/2 lb - Pig's tail*
1/2 lb - Salt beef*
1 - Ham bone
5 cups - water
1/2 lb - Snapper, cleaned and boned
1/2 lb - Grouper or goatfish, cleaned and boned
1-1/2 lbs - Kallaloo or fresh spinach, washed and torn
1/2 lb - Okra, frozen, thawed, drained, chopped
1 - Onion, chopped
1 tbsp - Thyme, fresh, finely chopped
1/2 tsp - Allspice
2 - Hot peppers, seeded, finely chopped
1 lb - Lump crab meat, finely chopped
2 tsp - Vinegar

*Note: Substitute 1 lb boneless ham for the pig's tail and salt beef and omit the overnight soaking.

Place pig's tail and salt beef in a large bowl with enough cold water to cover. Soak overnight. Drain water. Boil meat in 5 cups of fresh water, until tender. Remove and keep stock. Cut meat from bones and finely chop using a food processor. Return to stock.

In another pot boil snapper and grouper for 5 minutes, drain, cool, debone and finely chop. In a separate pot cook kallaloo or spinach; add chopped okra, onion, thyme, allspice, and hot peppers. Mix together then add to the pot with the meat. Add Crab and vinegar; boil/simmer all ingredients together over medium heat for 20 minutes.

Anansi says, "Enjoy!"

***
Traditionally, Kallaloo is served on Old Year's Night (New Year's Eve) for good luck.

Think you'll try cooking up a batch of Kallaloo? Have you visited other participating blogs and found an interesting recipe?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group and a Blogfest to Join!

The brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh, the 
purpose of the Insecure Writer's Support Group is: 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!

Posting is the first Wednesday of every month.

You can sign up HERE.

Since most of us are insecure about our writing and the writing process, 
I have decided to pass on my three rules for writing. Somehow these rules make things easier, less complicated, and more fun.

1. Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison 2008-2



If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. 

(Simple enough.)





2. Bruce Coville
Bruce Coville



A story should contain at least one belly laugh, one honest tear and one gasp.



(I think I can do that.)






3. W. Somerset Maugham
Somerset Maugham (1934)


There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.


(Ahhh, so THAT'S the secret!)



What are your three rules?






The International Potluck Blogfest


Beth FredMedeia Sharif and Lexa Cain are hosting. 

Here are the rules:
~ Put the bloghop badge on your post.

~ Post the cover of a book you love (it can be your own) with a food and/or recipe from the book, or a food from the MC's region, or a food you just like!
~ Link back to BethMedia, and Lexa. All three of us.
~ A copy of Beth's Finding Hope, Medeia's Snip, Snip, Revenge, and Lexa's Soul Cutter, plus a $10 Amazon gift card will be given away via Rafflecopter!



I won't be posting tomorrow or Monday the 11th, but I will be back Tuesday August 12th to participate in the International Potluck Blogfest.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Introducing...

What, you might ask, have I been doing the past three months?

I spent most of my time away not doing much of anything except reading. Don't get me wrong, I worked on my next book and, in fact, have it at that point where I'm ready to get it formatted, plus the cover art is being worked on. I'm excited about that!

So, let me tell you a bit about A LIZARD'S TAIL and introduce you to Marvin P. Tinkleberry.
Hero extraordinaire.
From the moment he hatches, Marvin P. Tinkleberry knows he is destined for greatness. For one, he has a marvelous, well-groomed tail. For another he can puff out his throat pouch in the most spectacular way. Maybe the other lizards in his colony don’t take him seriously, but he knows the truth. It lives in the marrow of his bones; he’s going to be a hero.

When a feral cat threatens the lives of all who live at Stone Wall in the Garden by the Sea, Marvin knows it’s HIS destiny to get rid of the fearsome beast. Travelling Over the Hill to find help should be as easy as snapping up a sleeping moth. But it doesn’t take long for Marvin to see that the world beyond Stone Wall is not the same as his pampered life back at the garden. From the deadly Sucker Cactus Forest to murdering mongooses, danger lurks around every corner and Marvin will have to decide if he’s willing to be the hero he’s long bragged about being.


***
I'll be keeping you posted on Marvin's movements into the great big world of publishing. I can tell you this, he's been waiting a long time.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

On Friendship

I decided to return to the blogging community today for one reason, it's the birthday of my childhood best friend who died suddenly last year. 

Jay had a profound impact on my life and I intend to share a few stories of our adventures in future blogs. 

He was as much a part of my life as my family.

He was a natural born comedian who could make anyone laugh. His imagination was the most imaginative of anyone I've ever known. He was pretty much fearless and uninhibited when it came to putting on a persona and running with it.

In honor of Jay, and because it is Thursday, I've decided to share with you a list of synonyms, alternatives as it were, for the word


FRIENDSHIP

I have added "friendship" to my list of over-used words, even though I don't think it's a word you can over-use.

In fact, I think it's a word that isn't used enough.

***


accord, acquaintanceship, affection, affinity, agreement, alliance, altruism, amiability, amicability, amity, association, attachment, at home with, attraction

bear good will, be acquainted with, befriend, benevolence, bond, bonhomie, brotherhood

camaraderie, charity, chumminess, civility, closeness, coalition, collegiality, comity, community, communion, companionship, company, comradeship, concord, confraternity, consideration, consonance, cordiality, cordialness

devotion

empathy, esteem

familiar/familiarity, favor, favoritism, fellow feeling, fellowship, fondness, fraternity, fraternization, free and easy, friendliness, fusion

generosity, good-fellowship, good will, good understanding

hand in hand with, hand in glove, harmony, have a leaning toward, have dealings with, have the ear of, hold communication with

keep company with, kindliness, know

in one’s good graces, intimate/intimacy, intercourse

league, like-mindedness, liking, link, love

mutual affection

neighborliness/neighborly

on good terms,

pact, partiality, peace, philanthropy

rapport, regard, relationship, respect

selflessness, sentiment, shake hands, sisterhood, sociability, society, sodality, solidarity, sorority, sympathy/sympathize with

thick, thick as thieves, tie, tolerance

understanding, unhostile, union, unity, unselfish

warmth, welcomeness, well met

Here's a nice song about friendship by Bruno Mars. 
I like that the pictures show a girl and boy. 
Pass it on.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Secrets of Honor Cover Reveal

 (I'm not here, not really. But I am, in a way, because I promised Carol Kilgore a good while back that I'd help out with the cover reveal of her newest book, SECRETS OF HONOR!)

About the book:

By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.

As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of the first lady’s dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.

Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.

The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.

BIO
Carol writes grocery lists, texts to her family, new lyrics to old songs for her dogs, love notes to her husband, and novels for herself. And for you. In between, she blogs weekly at Under the Tiki Hut and is active on Facebook and Twitter.

She sees mystery and subterfuge everywhere. And she’s a sucker for a good love story—especially ones with humor and mystery. Crime Fiction with a Kiss gives her the latitude to mix and match throughout the broad mystery and romance genres. Having flexibility makes her heart happy.

You can connect with Carol and her books here:

Under the Tiki Hut blog:  http://www.underthetikihut.blogspot.com
Website with Monthly Contest: http://www.carolkilgore.net