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Monday, January 31, 2011

Working on a Dream

"I'm working on a dream/ Though sometimes it feels so far away/ I'm working on a dream/ And how it will be mine someday." - "Working on a Dream" by Bruce Springsteen

Bruce is just plain cool, don't you think?

I'm working on my dream of becoming a professional, full-time writer, and you may have noticed that I retooled my blog a bit. I added links to my books on their Amazon pages, and hopefully that will help spread the word a little about the Willow Ryan series. I would love some feedback, so anyone who has a moment to comment about the new look of my blog, please let me know what you think. I appreciate it!

Monday, Monday

"Monday, Monday/ So good to me/ Monday morning/ It was all I hoped it would be." - "Monday, Monday" by the Mamas and the Papas

Normally Mondays are not my favorite day of the week, but so far today has been great! I was able to write six more pages in my latest novel, even though my dog was barking and howling like a crazed wolf, I heard one of my favorite songs on the radio ("Me and Bobby McGee" by the one and only Janis Joplin), and Alana was in a fantastic mood when I picked her up from school. What a great way to start the week!

As I was working on some writing last night, I decided to give myself a goal each week. It could be anything from finishing a poem I'm working on, to writing a certain number of pages in a novel, or writing an article on child development. This week, my goal is to write at least 40 pages in my fourth Willow novel. Since I don't have an agent, editor, or publisher to give me deadlines (sigh), I will give them to myself. Hopefully my dedication and hard work will pay off...soon!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chapter One

"A weeping Willow sang its lullabies/ And shared its secrets." - "Alabama Rain" by Jim Croce

I love this song. I love it for the mention of Willow, and I love it for its simple poetic beauty. Imagine the things Jim Croce could have done if he hadn't been taken from the world so early...

Okay, onto the point of this post. I finished chapter one of my fourth Willow Ryan novel yesterday! Aside from a few computer malfunctions (ugh!), it went really smoothly and I am happy to say I am back in the swing of things. I write something every day, but I haven't written fresh pages for a novel since September. It's good to be back! Book Four (undecided on a title at this point) opens up with two-and-a-half year old James getting into mischief and trying Willow's patience. Sounds like real life, right?

Check back for the latest updates on Book Four in the Willow series and hopefully updates on the progress/success of the first three. Secrets and Promises are currently available as ebooks on and, and Surprises will be joining the ranks in the near future. Exciting stuff!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Check it Out

"A million young poets/ Screamin' out their words/ To a world full of people/ Just livin' to be heard/ Future generations/ Ridin' on the highways that we built/ I hope they have a better understanding/ Check it out." - "Check it Out" by John Mellencamp

My book descriptions are finally up on Amazon! Yea! Hopefully now that readers can see what the "Willow Ryan" series is all about, they will take interest, download a copy, and spread the word. If you want to "check it out", please copy and paste one of the links below to view the pages for Secrets and Promises. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pen and Paper

"He found the bandages inside the pen/ And the stitches on the radio." -"Boxer" by the Gaslight Anthem

Brian Fallon's lyrics above are referring to music and songwriting, but I totally get it. I feel the same way about my writing. For me, writing solves problems, provides a vent and an escape, and opens up a world that doesn't exist otherwise. Writing teaches and entertains, it helps and heals.

On that note, I am happy to announce that I have officially started writing the fourth book in the "Willow Ryan" series! I have pages of notes that I have been working on for some time now, and today I sat down and began chapter one. This book promises to be everything the first three "Willow" novels are: funny, tear-jerking, heartwarming, and a way to escape to a friendly little town on the coast of Southern California called Santa Elena, where you can drop in on one of Willow and Denny's beach parties, go shopping at the quaint children's boutiques Two Peas in a Pod and Thyme to Play, and have a slice of Peggy Maguire's famous peach pie. What are you waiting for? Let's go!

Never Grow Up

"To you, everything's funny/ You got nothing to regret/ I'd give all I have, honey/ If you could stay like that/ Oh darlin', don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up/ Just stay this little/ Oh darlin', don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up/ It could stay this simple." - "Never Grow Up" by Taylor Swift

This is what I sang to Alana at naptime today. She has always loved babies, ever since she was one, and lately she has been on this kick where she wants baby. A real live baby. Not a little brother or sister, but a baby of her own. When I commented on how she will be such a good mommy when she grows up, she threw her hands in the air and exclaimed, "I can't wait that long!" Whoa. She's only four!

So, for the child who wants nothing more than to be an adult, "Don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up, just stay this little". The last four years have gone by in the blink of an eye, so I hope the rest of her childhood slows down a bit before it's gone.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Highs and Lows

"Do your feet get cold in the winter time?/ The sky won't snow and the sun won't shine/ It's hard to tell the nighttime from the day/ And your losing all your highs and lows/ Ain't it funny how the feeling goes away...?" - "Desperado" by the Eagles

Yes, it's not even nine o'clock in the morning and my days is already filled with highs and lows. When I was checking my email this morning I discovered an email from an agent I had recently queried. With equal amounts of anticipation and dread, I opened the email and was greeted with a polite rejection letter. Sigh. It was a nice one, saying that Secrets does not fit their current needs, but they invited me to query them again in the future with other projects. I guess that's a good thing, but it doesn't really make a difference at this point, does it?

Just like in "Desperado", it's cloudy and damp, but not quite cold enough to snow. A very dreary day. Kind of fits the mood though.

Okay, the pity party is over. On the high side, Secrets and Promises, the first two books in the "Willow Ryan" series, are now available for download on! After hearing good reviews of their e-publishing program from authors on the B&N message boards, I decided to go ahead and upload my books. Hopefully I will have better luck on Amazon than B&N. Only time will tell...

Monday, January 17, 2011


"Early morning, April 4/ Shots ring out in the Memphis sky/ Free at last, they took your life/ They could not take your pride." - "Pride (in the Name of Love)" by U2

Last week six-year-old Riley was learning about the Civil Rights Movement in school. She was writing a report on Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks and was telling Alana and me about it while they were having snack Friday afternoon. When she mentioned that Rosa Parks was not allowed to keep her seat in the front of the bus just because she was African American, Alana got upset and wanted to know why. How do you explain such a cruel injustice to a four-year-old? I tried my best, saying how a long time ago there used to be a lot of really unfair rules that very brave people like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. fought to end.

Just as I was finishing my explanation, this little preschooler looked up at me with so much innocence in her eyes and asked, "Why would people be so mean just because someone looks different? We all look different from each other." That's a question I still don't have an answer to, and I've been wondering about it my whole life.

While I was trying to come up with something to tell her, Riley chimed in and said, "Dr. King wanted to change those unfair laws. That's why he talked to people and tried to teach them that we should all be treated equally. He gave this speech called the "I Have a Dream" speech, and he said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Alana stared at Riley and said, "That's what Jesus wants too. We are all supposed to treat each other with love, right?" That totally blew me away. Here are these two little girls, so young and innocent, yet they have an understanding of how the world should be that so many adults never will. I am always proud of Riley and Alana, but I don't think I have ever been as proud of them as I was at that moment. From now on, I will not just think of the "I Have a Dream" speech on Martin Luther King Day, but also of those two little girls that understood the simplicity of his words and personally felt the unjustice that caused him to speak out. Out of the mouths of babes...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Little Help From My Friends

"Oh I get by with a little help from my friends/ Mmm, gonna try with a little help from my friends." - "With a Little Help from my Friends" by the Beatles

eBook sales have been slow. Very slow. Almost nonexistent. I feel like complaining about it, but it would do a lot more good to try to solve this problem. But how? Any ideas?

If those of you who have read my "Willow Ryan" books know of anyone else who would be interested in reading them, please spread the word! My first two Willow novels, Secrets and Promises, are available for download at for only $5.99 each. For people who do not have a NOOK e-reader, they can simply download a free NOOK app to their PC, MAC, Blackberry, iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad straight from Barnes & Noble's website. It only takes a second and they are good to go.

I really want to get the word out about my books, and I really appreciate all the help and advice I can get. Thanks so much!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Keep on Truckin'

"Truckin' like the Doodah man/ Once told me "Gotta play your hand"/ Sometimes the cards ain't worth a dime/ If you don't lay them down." - "Truckin'" by the Grateful Dead

I have once again renewed my efforts to get an agent. I compiled a list of a dozen or so agents that I think would be a good fit for my "Willow Ryan" series and started sending off letters.

I retooled my query letter for the millionth time, hoping against hope that one of the changes I made will make a difference in my quest for literary success. I have been at this for quite a while now, but after a very long work week and a short paycheck (sigh), one thing remains the same. I. MUST. GET. PUBLISHED. Seriously, there has to be something more out there for me. In fact, I know there is, and I always have. Not to sound cocky or anything, but I know I have it in me to be a full-time, published, and PAID author.

Until the time when a professional agent and/or publisher realizes this too, I will keep on truckin' (maybe not like the Doodah man though...) and do what I can to make it happen.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Rockin' Pneumonia

"Young man rhythm's got a hold of me too/ I've got the rockin' pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu." - Johnny Rivers

When I picked Alana up from school yesterday, she was complaining that her ears hurt. She has had a cold for over a week, and sure enough, it has turned into an ear infection and pneumonia. Poor kid!

Luckily, it's not really as bad as it sounds. This morning during breakfast, she said her tummy was telling her to stop eating her pear, and I thought, okay, no big deal, she's full. But when I was encouraging her to rest and read her books quietly a little later on, she said very seriously that her tummy was telling her to stop reading and get up and play. Hmm... I took that as a sign that she wasn't feeling bad at all. She has still been her normal feisty, stubborn, silly self, so hopefully she will recover quickly and be back to normal - and school - in no time.