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.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Alternative for Decent

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:

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We're talking decent here, as in nice, which is not to be confused with descent, to go down. Amazing what an extra letter and where the accent is placed can do.

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



aboriginal, acceptable/accepted, accommodating, adequate, agreeable, all right, amiable, amenable, ample, angelic, appropriate, approved, apt, austere, average

bare, basal, basic, becoming, befitting, blameless

chaste, clean/clean-living, clear, comely, comme il faut, commendable, companionable, competent, conforming, considerate, continent, conventional, correct, creditable

decorous, delicate, dench, dependable, dignified,

elemental/elementary, essential, esteemed, estimable, ethical, excellent, exceptionally, exemplary,

fair, faultless, fine, fit/fitting, formative, friendly

generous, genuine, good, good enough, goody-goody, goody two shoes, guiltless

helpful, heroic, high-minded, homely, honest, honorable, hospitable

immaculate, incorrupt/incorrupted/incorruptible, incredible, innocent, inoffensive, irreproachable

just

kind

law-abiding, legitimate, lily-white

mannerly, menschy, modest, moral/moralistic

neighborly, nice, noble

obliging, ok/okay, on the up and up, orthodox

passable, Pharisaical pleasant, polite, presentable, principled, proper, prudent, pure

reasonable, rectitudinous, reputable, reserved, respected/respectable, right, righteous, right-minded

sanctimonious, satisfactory, scrupulous, seemly, self-righteous, sincere, sinless, spotless, stainless, standard, stark, straight/straight arrow/straight shooting, sufficient, suitable, superb, sympathetic

taintless, tasteful, thoughtful, tolerable, traditional, tremendous, true, trustworthy, truthful

unadorned, unadulterated, unalloyed, unblemished, uncluttered, uncorrupted, undefiled, undiluted, unerring, unobjectionable, unselfish, upspotted, unsullied, untainted, untarnished, upright, upstanding, up to scratch, up to snuff, up to standard, up to the mark,

virginal, virtuous,


well-disposed, white, wholesome, wonderful, worthy

***

This post is for Christopher, an amiable, kind, considerate kid, who died too young at 39 of kidney disease. Despite the terrible abuse he suffered as a child, and the suffering he endured because of his illness, he left this life with tons of forgiveness and love in his heart.

Monday, October 27, 2014

12 Keyword Searches

Diane Wolfe over at Spunk on a Stick will be giving a review of my book A Lizard's Tail. Hop on over there and see what she has to say about it!

Today's post is about strange keywords searches that have brought people to my blog. They could be used as writing prompts, a jumping off point for writing the next big story.

Ready?


1. I get random thoughts early in the morning (So do I, hate those pesky things!)

2. Corp of engineers fickle finger of fate award (How many of you remember Laugh-In? This clip from 1968 shows clearly that some things never change.) 
3. Kaleidoscope shells (I want one.)

4. Spelling spiders (I have this image of little spiders sitting at their little desks copying spellings words off a blackboard.)

5. Eleanor Roosevelt in color (Was she strictly a black and white sort of person?)

6. Iguana sore mouth (What? Sounds like a disease!)

7. Thrust stone old construction window (This makes perfect sense to me, how about you?)

8. Turning into the alien monster (That would be a neat Halloween trick.)

Aldrovandi-0337


9. Half woman, half bird (I think she's called a harpy and there's your answer to turning into an alien monster AND your Halloween costume)

10. Gas spraying lizards (In the immortal words of Monte Python, "RUN AWAY!")

11. Lizards with a penny in throat (I suspect that would be a choking lizard.)


12. "Whoever you are, go out into the evening." (This is actually the first line of a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke.)


Initiation

Whoever you are, go out into the evening,
leaving your room, of which you know each bit;
your house is the last before the infinite,
whoever you are.
Then with your eyes that wearily
scarce lift themselves from that worn-out door-stone
slowly you raise the shadowy black tree
and fix it on the sky: slender, alone.
And you have the world (and shall grow
and ripen as a word, unspoken, still).
When you have grasped its meaning with your will,
then tenderly your eyes will let it go.

Rilke 1878
Rilke 1875-1926

Rilke at three. His mother lost an infant daughter and, in her grief and desire to have a girl, dressed him in girl's clothing. When  his poetic and artistic talents were becoming apparent, his parents made him attend a military academy, where he stayed for five years before illness caused his departure.

He must have been miserable. But it didn't seem to make him bitter. I've always gotten the sense from his poems that he had great sensitivity towards women and life.

He was only 51 when he died of leukemia.



Have you checked for keyword searches on you blog? Got a favorite one from the ones I've shared?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pictures Worth more than 1000 Words

 Here are some pictures of my characters from A Lizard's Tail.

Marvin P. Tinkleberry, lizard extraordinaire.

The Great Iquana.


 The Lovely Leeza.

The Old One - Leader of the colony at Stone Wall in the Garden by the Sea.

Here are some places and plants mentioned in the novel.

Flame Tree - aka a flamboyant. At the bottom right is an oleander bush.

The Place of Gathering - aka a bougainvillea. 

A frangipani tree, sending sweet aromas into the air.

 A maho tree on the left, whose rough barked branches creak when the wind blows. On the right, a maho flower. They are related to hibiscus.

Nightblooming cereus, a cactus, which El Grecko Gecko tells Marvin about.

One of many different types of hibiscus.


Do you use pictures to help inspire your stories, to help you focus on description?

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Lizard's Tail Release!

Finally, my hero has arrived.
Meet, Marvin P. Tinkleberry!

From the moment he cracked open his egg, Marvin P. Tinkleberry knew deep in the marrow of his bones that he was destined for greatness. He mentioned this to anyone who would listen.

“When I was an egg, an ancient Teller came to the Sacred Nursery to educate us about the Great Massacre and how Prince Leopold traveled Over the Hill to bring lizards back to the Garden. The Teller came to my egg and whispered my name. Then he said, ‘Destiny. You have a destiny.’ Right then I started to hatch and I saw him as he was leaving. He had the ugliest tail, all bent and gnarly. It wasn’t nearly as fine a tail as mine.”

In time the lizards stopped listening to Marvin. They snickered and said things about him.

The boys figured he was a showoff. “Greatness!” They laughed. “He’s all talk. Marvin doesn’t have the claws to fight a fat ugly gecko, even if one moved into his hole.”

The girls knew he was self-centered. “He’s always too busy looking at himself and doesn’t spend enough time perfecting his insect-hunting skills.”

The adults thought he was dreamer who didn’t pay attention. “If he isn’t careful,” they said among themselves, “he won’t live to see grandchildren.”

Their comments didn’t stop Marvin from talking. He just started telling the hermit crabs and butterflies, the rhinoceros beetles and June bugs. He even told the trees.

Which is why, it seemed, he could often be found talking to himself.

***

A Lizard's Tail is now available on Amazon

Feel free to spread the word, there's a hero lizard on the loose.

Marvin and I send out a BIG THANK YOU to those of you who are giving space to us on your blogs in the coming weeks.

It's an adventure!

And, just to let you know, Anansi and Company is available for $2.99 HERE!

What adventure are you on?



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy Birthday to...

Oscar Wilde!
Oscar Wilde portrait by Napoleon Sarony - albumen

I remember when I discovered Oscar Wilde. My friend Charlotte, whom I've written about several times, had a small book of his fairy tales. I couldn't have been more than ten years old when I read The Happy Prince for the first time. I sobbed at the end. I still sob. When my husband read it, he sobbed. It is so beautiful, so touching.

I was hooked. I read all the stories. I still reread them from time to time. The Nightingale and the Rose, The Remarkable Rocket, The Selfish Giant, The Young King, the Fisherman and His Soul, The Star-Child. There are many other stories, which you can check out HERE.

A Wilde time 3

In high school I read The Picture of Dorian Gray, his only novel, and wondered if he would have written other novels had he lived longer. I didn't know about or understand what happened to him due to his sexual orientation, until I was much older. It is sad that barely a month after turning 46, heart broken, beaten down, and destitute, he died of cerebral meningitis in Paris.

"Tomb of Oscar Wilde, Père Lachaise cemetery, Paris, France"
 by 
Agateller - Via Wikipedia.

Because is he so very quotable, here are 12 quotes.

1. A poet can survive everything but a misprint.

2. Arguments are to be avoided, they are always vulgar and often convincing.

3. Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.

4. I don't at all like knowing what people say of me behind my back. It makes me far too conceited.

5. In war the strong make slaves of the weak, and in peace the rich make slaves of the poor.

6. Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.

7. Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

8. Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

9. I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.

10. Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

11. I can resist anything except temptation.

12. With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?

***

Do you have a favorite Oscar Wilde quote? A favorite story? Favorite play? Of these quotes, I'm rather partial to #5 and #12. The Happy Prince and The Picture of Dorian Gray will always be my favorite stories. The Importance of Being Ernest is my favorite play.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Vitamins and Death Cover Reveal

I know I'm not the only one giving Medeia a little face time this week. Look at her awesome new cover! And the story... This sounds like something ripped from national news headlines.

VITAMINS AND DEATH by Medeia Sharif
YA Contemporary, Prizm Books
Release Date December 10, 2014

Deidra Battle wants nothing more than to be invisible. After her mother, a public school teacher, engages in an embarrassing teacher-student affair at Lincoln High, they relocate to a different neighborhood and school. Being her mother’s briefcase, Deidra joins her mother at her new workplace, Hodge High.

Since her mother has reverted to her maiden name and changed her appearance, Deidra thinks no one will figure out they’re the Battles from recent news and that they’re safe. Neither of them is. Hodge brings a fresh set of bullies who discover details about the scandal that changed her life.

Feeling trapped at home with an emotionally abusive, pill-addicted mother and at school with hostile classmates who attempt to assault and blackmail her, Deidra yearns for freedom, even if she has to act out of character and hurt others in the process. Freedom comes at a price.

Find Medeia

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Plastic News

Had some health issues over the week-end and didn't get a chance to write a post for Monday. I'll be okay, but I'm going to take it easy this week and won't be posting on Thursday.

Today is an easy post.

As some of you may know, I really hate plastic. We are killing ourselves and the animal life on our planet with our over abundant use of it.
Såvaedje distcheyaedje Ayin Tekki
For a look at some plastic pollution, please check out these pictures HERE. Become disgusted, become angry.

I encourage, beg, plead everyone to reduce the amount of plastic you bring into your home. Become aware and recycle everything you can. Start collecting reusable bags to take with you when you go to the store. It doesn't take that long to get into the habit of using them.

Is there hope?

On September 30th California became the first state to ban the use of plastic bags in grocery stores and large retailers. The story is HERE. The Netherlands have banned the use of plastic bags, but the dang things can still be found in their recycling plants.

Then there's Boyan Slat,  a Dutch kid from Delft, who has ambitious plans for cleaning up the oceans. Leave it to a Dutchman to figure out a way. He has put off getting his degree in aerospace engineering and his personal life to pursue this issue, which has become his passion.

Please take the time to watch 17 minute film.



Do you recycle? If you don't, why not? Do you use reusable bags? If you don't, why not? How do you reduce the amount of plastic you bring into your home? If you don't, why not?