Friday, July 14, 2017


I've loved this story from the day I started writing it. From the first page, it was the easiest and most fun novel I've written. I thought it was ready to query, but no yesses. It made it through a contest, but no requests. I sadly put it away and concentrated on something else.

Three years later, Barnabas and Bird haven't let go of my heart. I pulled it out, revised it in Sarah Aronson's online manuscript class, and am working through the ideas and suggestions. I've made a commitment to it. This is a story that needs to be told.

I'm making collages for some of the scenes. Here's the first one I made:

Monday, July 21, 2014


Thanks to Brooke Powell for inviting me to the Writing Process blog tour. You can check out her excellent post with beautiful pictures of yummy looking cakes at:

or follow her on twitter at:

@TheCakeNovelist   Brooke’s tweets are much funnier than mine, as I’m always trying to win free books from sites that give extra entries for posting tweets.

The idea behind the blog tour is that we writers share things informally during workshops and at conferences, but not so much through our open-forum blogs. With the hashtag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions.

Here are the four questions:

1)   What am I working on?

I’ve worked on an upper middle grade fantasy called A TIME OF MAGIC – ZANDER'S CHOICE, for over two years. I write, I revise, I put it away. Recently, I've learned a few things about setting, so I’m back to revisions and having loads of fun. If you want to see the Pinterest page I made for my characters, you can check it out here:

And here’s the pitch:

Zander, along with all the fourteen-year-olds in Puck’s Gulch, undergoes a time of magic where he earns tokens for good behavior and omens for bad deeds. In a subsequent quest, the omens come to life as physical threats and can only be overcome by the right token. After Zander’s tokens are stolen by a jealous rival, his best hope of survival is to join the other questers to cheat Fate. It’s an unbearable choice because fighting with the others puts Zander’s twin sister’s life at risk. Behind the scene is Moira (Fate) who designed the test and insures that each teen flies true to their destiny.

But, wait – there’s more.

I’m querying a middle grade contemporary called THE QUEEN OF GREEN AND HER DOG ARTICHOKE as well as a middle grade animal narrative called BARNABAS AND BIRD.

Shameless self-promotion, I know, but I have great pictures on all the boards. And while I’m promoting, if you want to follow me on twitter, here’s my handle:


I’ll probably follow you back, unless you’re shamelessly promoting services or selling, really, just about anything.

2)   How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m going to answer a different question. Why do I write books so different from each other? Even though I write in different genres and for different ages, I think what’s important to me comes through in all of them. Fate, destiny, and the way we live our life based on what gets thrown at us. Yep, that’s it.

3)   Why do I write what I do?

Because it makes me incredibly happy.

And I really like animals, so I have them in every book.  A TIME OF MAGIC – ZANDER'S CHOICE has a coyote pup, THE QUEEN OF GREEN AND HER DOG ARTICHOKE has an adorable Pomeranian, and BARNABAS AND BIRD are an elephant and canary.

4)   How does my writing process work?

I’m not a morning person, so I seldom do anything productive before 11am Mountain time, and on most days it’s later. However, I do get brilliant ideas in the middle of the night, so I keep my iPhone next to the bed and send myself emails. Those ideas aren’t always as brilliant as I thought at 3am, but some are, so I keep doing it.

I write with a mechanical pencil designed for kids in a journal dedicated to one manuscript. I seldom know what I’m going to write, which makes me a pantser, and that means I write by the seat of my pants. I read lots of articles on why you should outline, plot, and brainstorm. I don’t agree with any of them for me. If it works for you, go for it. It’s hard enough to write without trying to do it someone else’s way. Trying to plot ahead of time gives me writer’s block and I never, repeat, never have writer’s block when I just let it flow.

After I get my story in a Word doc, I print it out to revise. Some stories like A TIME OF MAGIC – ZANDER'S CHOICE seem never ending when it comes to revisions. I wrote BARNABAS AND BIRD in less than three months and have done very little to revise it. QUEEN OF GREEN AND HER DOG ARTICHOKE is somewhere in the middle.

Okay, that’s about it. Now I get to introduce the writer that agreed to continue this game of tag.

I met Robin Korb during an online writing class. We liked each other’s writing, and she invited me to join an online critique group. Initially, I didn’t have time, but a year later, I moved to Colorado and had the brilliant idea not to get a real job, so I could write full-time. Critique groups are vital to new writers and this one’s been amazing. Robin’s the glue that keeps us together, so a HUGE thank you to Robin! We met live last year at the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA.

Her post will go up on July 29th at:

and you can connect with Robin on twitter with:


Congrats – you made it all the way to the end. I should give you a prize or something…. Hmm, maybe I’ll come up with something brilliant at 3am.

Or maybe not.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Barnabas plunged into the cold waters. Although he never had before, instinct bloomed and Barnabas swam.

Barnabas plunged into the cold waters. Instinct bloomed and Barnabas swam.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Barnabas reached up and pulled slender branches from the willow. He laid them long and straight in the shadow of the collapsed shed. With the tip of his trunk, he separated one, just one, and began to weave it through the planks.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Being the friend that she was, Bird said, “When my heart hurts, I find it helpful to talk about it.”

Being the friend that she was, Bird said, “When my heart hurts, I find it helpful to talk about it.”

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Casa di Luce

Air by Beata Bieniak

The art that inspired BARNABAS AND BIRD.

When I saw this, I couldn't help wondering where this elephant and bird were going and why.