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, 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?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG!



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.



Don’t forget that today is  also the one year anniversary of the IWSG website and the day to post your entry for the IWSG anthology. If it is over 300 words, you can email it to theIWSG@gmail.com

The purpose of the book is to assist other writers on the journey, so we are looking for tips and instructions in the areas of writing, publishing, and marketing. It can be inspirational in nature as long as you provide a solid benefit. We’ve already received a lot of great entries–mostly in the area of writing–so looking for some good tips on publishing and marketing. Be sure to state which category, add a one line by-line, and permission for us to use it in the book.

Once you have posted on October 1, go to this page at the IWSG site and enter your link - http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-guide-to-publishing-and-beyond.html The deadline for submissions is October 2.

***
Now, on with my post. 

Ever wonder, once you get to end of a project, what you're going to do next? Ever get insecure and get to worrying about you next idea? Where is it going to come from, how are you going to find it? Ever stare at a blank page and feel like tearing your hair out? 

Personally I don't have this problem. My problem is that I have too many ideas, so many that I have a hard time choosing what I'm going to do next.  I can get so flustered trying to decide that I sort of feel like I'm sinking in quicksand. All these ideas pull and tug at me, each going in its own direction. I have binders full of ideas going all the way back to high school. How is that a problem? Well, I'm one of those people who can only do one thing at a time, focus on one story/novel at a time. So choosing an idea means other ideas will have to wait.

A Lizard's Tail - my next book being released on the 20th of this month (shameless plug) has been an idea I've been nursing since 1977! I wrote the first draft way back in 2002 or 2003 then set it aside while crit partners went over it with their fine toothed combs and I worked on other things. Finally I hauled it out and changed the POV from omniscient to third person past tense. Again I set it aside while I worked on other things.

Now, finally, approximately 37 years after the original idea came to me, my heroic lizard, Marvin, is going to see the light of day. Which proves it's never to late.

So what's next? Oh dear, there's my very first novel which is very close to being ready... A West Indian ghost story. There's a YA historical fantasy that has nothing to do with the Caribbean that's near and dear to my heart. There's a fictional biography of St. Anthony of the Desert, patron saint of pigs and swineherds, told from the POV of a pig. And what about more Anansi stories to retell? Or a collection of my own Texas tall tales with an armadillo hero and his good friend Texas Ranger Stan Dup. So what's it going to be?

None of these. My sister and I are going to tackle revising and editing my grandmother's cookbook. When it was originally printed back in the late 60s, the publisher didn't do right by her. None of the corrections were made... There are duplicate recipes, recipes in the wrong section, and no index... This project will be a total labor of love honoring our wonderful Grammy.

The point of all this (a post much too long as it is) is that there's always some reason or other to feel insecure. You can feel insecure about not having an idea or having too many. You can feel insecure about how long it's taken to get something written or that you rushed through it and maybe didn't give it enough attention.

Stop it! Being insecure is a waste of time. Take it from someone whose knows. I've wasted a whole of lot time, YEARS even. But I'm plowing ahead. Damn the insecurities and full steam ahead!

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Lizard's Tail - Announcing....

Fall is in the air.

It's happening folks! A LIZARD'S TAIL is set to be released on October 20th.
***
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 deadly 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.




2014 BlogfestIf the date of October 20th seems familiar it's because it's the same date as Joy Campbell's blogfest, Who's Your Hero. What better way to celebrate?

If you haven't signed up for Joy's blogfest, what are you waiting for? Isn't it time you told EVERYone who YOUR hero is?








And... if you'd like to help me spread the word about Marvin, feel free to sign up. THANKS!



What news do you have? Are you signed up for Joy's blogfest? Are you enjoying the changing of the season?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pictures from the Netherlands, Part Three

I've been very distracted lately and didn't get my usual Thursday post done one time!

Okay, a few of you said you'd be interested in seeing more of what I saw while I was in the Netherlands, so here we go.

The Netherlands is second in the world when it comes to food production. SECOND! Guess who's first. That's right, the United States. As one might suspect, the Dutch use every square inch of available land for farms and gardens. They have a very long history of growing things. So this post is going to be all about farms and gardens.

In Leiden, I was able to visit the oldest botanical garden in the country. At more than 400 years old, they have plants from everywhere. People come from all over the world to study and learn about plants.





The buildings, on the right.


















A lovely Japanese garden and
a rather large tree...













The farm directly across the street from where I was staying in Culemborg.

Garden plots along a ditch. People who live in an apartment or those who want a larger garden than a typical backyard, can rent - for very little - a small plot of ground and grow whatever they want. You can see these garden plots everywhere. The brick wall to the right is a thousands years old!


Typical backyard along a ditch. Note the clothes line. 
Many, many people still hang out their clothes to dry.

Typical front yard. 

A larger home with gazebo. 

 Apartments with plants.



A park in Culemborg

The same park next to a farm with grazing sheep.

There are green spaces called zumps, which are wild and less cultivated, a place where people can go to feel closer to nature.



Cows graze in the zump. 

View of a farm. This picture was taken from a 900 year old dike. 
In the distance is a town concealed by trees.

Cows by the side of the road. The only thing between any livestock and roads
 is either a low fence or a ditch. All ditches have water in them.

Big and little horses. Behind them is a dike which gives you a bit of an idea of how tall they are.

In some places there are acres and acres of green houses. I took this picture from the train.

Decorative gardening.

Have you noticed anything missing, particularly when it comes to the long views? Take another look. What isn't there are power poles and wires. Most all of their electrical lines are underground. Where lines have to be above ground, they are kept within the same corridors as the big highways (what we would call the interstate) and the train lines.  

Just think what it would be like if all our towns and cities ran the electrical underground. Think of how open and clear the views would be!

Hope you enjoyed this latest installment. Happy gardening!