About Me

My Photo
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, September 1, 2014

Last Day of Summer... Yeah, Right...

Labor Day, a holiday for all hard-working people. You can learn all about the history of Labor Day, HERE.

I'm not working hard at the moment, but I am playing hard and having the time of my life. If you want to know what it is I'm doing, you'll have to check out my personal Facebook page.

What are you doing this Labor Day... the "last" day of summer? Well, maybe in some places it's the last last day of summer, but in Texas the summer heat will be hanging on for a while yet. Which is a good excuse to go kayaking on the river.
Garner Labor Day
Got any Labor Day plans? Do you think of Labor Day as the last day of summer? Do you stop wearing white? :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Alternatives for Exciting

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

Today's word is:

ImageChef.com - Get codes for Facebook, Hi5, MySpace and more 

I chose the word exciting because for the past month or so I've been saying, "I'm so excited!" Or, "It's going to be so exciting!" Or variations on that theme. If you want to know why I've been SO EXCITED you'll have to check out my personal Facebook page.

Maybe now I can say,  "It's mind-blowing!"

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

absorbing, action-packed, activating, aggravating, agitative, angering, animated, annoying, appealing, arousing, arresting, astonishing

bothersome, bracing, breathtaking

charged, commoving, compelling

dangerous, dramatic, dynamic

edgy, electric/electrifying, enchanting, energetic/energizing, engrossing, enraging, enthralling, erotic, exasperating, exhilarant/exhilarating/exhilarative, explosive, eye-popping

far out, fascinating, fiery, fine, flashy, frenetic, frenzied,

galling, galvanic/galvanizing, groovy, gripping

hair-raising, heart-stopping, heady, hectic, high-voltage

impelling, impressive, incendiary, inciting, inducing, inflammatory, inspirational/inspiring, instigating/instigative, interesting, intoxicating, intriguing, invigorating, irksome, irritaing


kinetic, kicky

lively, lusty

maddening, melodramatic, mind-bending, mind-blowing, mind-boggling, motivating/motivational/motivative moving


overpowering, overwhelming



piquing, poignant, powerful, provocative/provoking

racy, rip-roaring, riveting, rousing

sensational, sexual, sexy, showy, spellbinding, spine-tingling, stimulating, stirring

tantalizing, taunting, teasing, triggering, thrilling, titillating, touching


vexations, vexing, vitalizing



Here's an exciting place.

Anything exciting happening in your world?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Titles to Write By

"Titles to Write By" is an occasional post in which we play with a single word and turn it into, what else, titles! Afterwards the object is to pick one of them and write a little something.

It was Ray Bradbury, in his book ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING, who taught me about making lists of words and turning them into titles. If you haven't read his book I highly recommend it.

Turning a word into a number of different titles is a great writing prompt as well as being fun to do.

For no particular reason today's word is:


I'm lying. There IS a reason why today's word is TRAVEL. If, in a few days, you happen to check out my personal facebook page, you may well discover the reason why.

Now, let's get on with playing.

Traveling the Light Fandango
The Traveler's Sorrow
Travel Long, Travel Hard
How I Traveled to Jupiter and Back
Travel Diary of a Crazy Woman
I'm Not a Hobo, I'm a Traveler
Traveling is Dangerous to Sheeple
How Traveling Spread Human's Around the World
The Nomad Who Hated to Travel
Traveling to Antarctica is Not Cool

I hope some of these brought a smile to your face and that you'll share your travel titles in the comments!

Are you much of a traveler? Do you enjoy traveling? What the farthest you've ever traveled? What's the most exotic or exciting place you've ever traveled to?

Sorry Traveling Wilburys is already taken... Handle With Care.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Origins is an occasional post in which I delve into the history of a word or phrase.

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
Today's words are: Golly, Gosh, Gee

Today they are mostly used as mild forms of surprise.

They are actually euphemisms, which is basically the opposite of being blasphemous.

Gosh, used instead of God, has been around since 1757.

Golly was also used instead of God and began life in 1775. Seeing has how it originated in Britain  I can hear certain people in the government saying things like, "By golly, we have to do something about those rebellious colonists in Boston."

Gee has several meanings:
1. Gee, as in to turn right, the opposite of haw. First known use about 1628.
2. Gee, as in the letter G.
3. Gee, as in a thousand dollars, came into use around 1818
4. And lastly, gee, as a euphemism, is used instead of Jesus. It originated in the United States and has only been in use since sometime between 1884 and 1895.

Other related mild oaths and euphemisms include: jeese, gee whiz, and jeepers, which all replace Jesus.

Gee willikers became popular in the mid-19th century. It is thought to be a substitution for saying, "Jerusalem!" or "Jee-roosalem!" as an expression of surprise.

You can read more about these words HERE.

A 1962 oldie by Sunny and the Sunliners from San Antonio, Texas.

Ten years later, The Stylistics. The words to this song are lovely.

Are you a gosh, golly, gee user? Are you familiar with either of the songs?

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.


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


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.

(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?