Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"You're a Triple Threat!" - Harper Collins

Harper Collins submitted their review of my book proposal/outline for South of Light's End. It's kinda long so I won't post all of it, just some of the highlights.

I was excited to see the book proposal for South of Light’s End and thought it was a really great submission. Firstly, I want to start by saying you’ve come up with a really interesting and original concept with well-drawn characters and a compelling storyline.

Most importantly, you’ve created genuinely interesting characters with fleshed out back stories and a sense of humour. I wanted to know more about everyone, wanted to follow their story. I also liked the shifting POV in the chapters. It’s a difficult style of writing to pull off and shows your confidence which is great for an editor to see. I would worry that there might be a lack of dialogue (often the lifeblood of a good YA novel as it keep the action moving forward) as Willa doesn’t talk until the end but that’s something we’d have to see in the actual writing.

I also like that even though the murder mystery/ghost story has been done before, you’ve created your own rules with the echo. I thought that was brave and original.

One of the things I really liked about this was the full fleshed out relationships of all the characters. Tate and his little sister were super charming and I really like the potential for culture clashes (I’m English and laughed out loud at the ‘blow me’ comment!) between Willa and Tate but again, that might be limited if she doesn’t speak until the end.

All in all, you’ve come up with a genuinely original take on a very popular genre and essentially for a publisher, there is absolutely room for a sequel which shows both writing talent, creativity and commercial awareness – you’re a triple threat! Can’t wait to read this once it’s finished. 

Note: Since receiving this review, Willa becomes verbal much earlier in the book now.

Friday, October 28, 2011


I want to write but I shouldn't until I get my review. I'M GETTING IMPATIENT.
Which brings me to a point to ponder. In the ghost business you need patience. I went to my first ghost hunt recently at an old and purportedly haunted bed and breakfast, and the most that could be said for it is that I was bored. Much patience is needed if you're going to hunt for a ghost. I had to reach down deep to find mine. Also, some people's over the top excitement for the tiniest things was I had to control myself to keep my eyes from their face anyway. ;)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Another Win!

My outline for South of Light's End won a contest for a review from Harper Collins. Yay!
Here's the pitch for the book.

If reality is based upon perspective, Willa, Tate
and Elliot’s reality is something to perceive.
A farmer’s daughter moves to the Florida coast, Cape San Blas,
after her father suffers from a stroke. Willa’s unfortunate circumstance
leaves her with little to say, even to her good-intentioned foster parents.
If they or the pompous Tate in her Honors English class aren’t
bothering her, the ghost haunting her new bed and breakfast home
is. When she develops feelings for the lonely specter, life gets

Elliot used to be a normal boy. That was until his premature
death. Everyone he cares for believes he drowned. Only he knows
the truth, but when you’re a ghost finding someone to listen to
the truth is near impossible. That is until he meets Willa. All
he wants is for her to help him catch his murderer. Is that too
much to ask of the living?

Tatum Julius Von Loux III didn’t suspect life in America to
be a dream. He merely wishes his parents would stop arguing.
Maybe then he’d have a shot at understanding love. Little does
he know that helping Willa hunt for Elliot's murderer would
lead him to that understanding. Now, if she would only look at
him like she looks at that dead boy.

Full of mystery and the kind of love that death can’t stop,
South of Light’s End tells the tale of three teenagers whose
paths cross in unexpected and haunting ways.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Real Publisher's Review

I received my review today from a real live publisher. No, it wasn't to get my book published. This was just for informational purposes, and it was great information. I'm sort of in a daze now with all that they said along with my new ideas floating around in my head (sorry Amy). I'll come out of it when I finish revisions. ;)

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Book

I started on a new book this past weekend. Yay me! It's about a girl, a boy and a ghost boy named Elliot. In this one the ghost stuff starts right away. Hehe, I'm a ghost writer.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Joys of Internet

I've been attending a sort of internet writing conference this week. It's been so very helpful. I suppose I should go ahead and apologize to my customers and employees for my inattentiveness. Nah, I'll wait until the week is over - more apologies might be needed.

But all this learning was perfect on the heals of my mini vaca-Ahem, research trip. We took a trip to Cape San Blas (yes, it's a real location and yes, it's in my book White Star), and St. George Island. Let me tell ya, that place is gorgeous and the lighthouse was so adorable and quaint. But the most surprising little discovery was Apalachicola. I had no idea it was so beautiful. I thought it was going to be the typical briny, rough-around-the-edges port city. Not even. The downtown is so pretty and it's so rich in history. The natives take so much pride it in also. My sister and I will be going back soon. Gibson Inn, here we come!
(pictured St. George Island Lighthouse)

Monday, August 8, 2011


It's been a while - sorry. I'll give a quick update.

I recently won a bit of a contest where people could "vote" on my book from over 5,000 other books. Winning the contest means I get an experienced editor to read White Star and give me a full review. I'm excited about this and nervous as all get out. I had a lot of revising and editing to do before turning my precious baby over to them, but it's done. Go me!

In the coming weeks, I will be sending out query letters to agents and test the waters on how well my book idea will be received. I'm nervous about this too. To be truthful, I should have already been doing this. The idea of failure had me stuck. But I'm pushing ahead and, sink or swim, I'm putting my book out there.

In a week or so I will post a link up where you can go read the first five chapters of White Star. I'm excited about this too.  Keep checking and the link will be here soon!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Another very nice review

White Star

My my.

I read the blurb. I got excited. My expectations were high.
I knew I would love it.
But even so, I was shocked by the raw beauty of your prose.

The first part was thrilling. It was heartwrenching and sad, even as it was terrifyingly intense. It was captivating and so horribly lovely that it had my heart pounding erratically in my chest, like a bird trapped in a cage, fighting to get out. I was captured by the very first sentence and I was never set free.
I’m not saying this to be a kiss-up. I’m being perfectly honest about how I felt, how I feel. I legitimately loved what I read.

The second part, even after such a stunning beginning, didn’t disappoint me. I love the way you introduced Phaethon and Lane. You didn’t drag it on for paragraph after paragraph of backstory that would take away from the immediate story-line. Instead you pulled it off with simple words pieced in smoothly to show a connection without going into extreme detail. And the teenage male antics were spot-on and refreshingly amusing.

Overall, I found this first chapter to be intriguing, unique, and ultimately the start to an awesome literary journey. I’m psyched to read the rest.

- Kennyninja

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

The best review ever

" pops!
Ladies and gentleman, may I introduce the next Nicholas Sparks!!
I have never cried that much while reading something in my life. I mean the Bridge to Teribithia(sp?) made me shed some tears but not like this.
I felt the heartbreak. I felt the sorrow. It wrapped around my heart and I felt it break along with Kara.
Very few people find a love so pure, so good that it literally breaks you when it ends. Everyone dreams of a love like Phaethon and Kara's. So many people are terrified of it as well.
You are such a talented writer. Like, seriously. I loved this story so much that I read it all. Every.Single.Chapter.
I want to see this book become a movie. And I will watch it and I will cry all over again even though I know what happens.
Please keep writing because you are so good! And when this book becomes published I will be in line at your book signing, waiting for an autograph :)

The best of luck with everything you do,
Shelby     "

Monday, April 4, 2011

White Star flash-back

“I like your kite,” I said to him and swirled my long skirt around my ankles. I was particularly proud of my outfit as little girls generally love long, flowing things.
“I know,” he said with a wide grin. The ocean roared behind him. It hadn’t been long that a storm had passed, so waves were beating against our normally calm beaches.
“Why do you have a dress on?” His eyes penetrated my soul as though trying to uncover a secret.
Not answering, I looked down and giggled uncomfortably. Birds chirped in the trees behind me, mocking.
“I have a kite, too.” With renewed spirit, I flicked my long, black hair over my shoulder.
“My daddy made mine,” he said, and puffed out his chest.
I didn’t like his pride. “My Daddy killed himself.”

In the next few months I was reminded often of that day long ago on the beach. In an oddly dark way, it was sweet.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Corn Maize video

UPDATE: WRONG LINK OOPS! One of my employees using his time wisely. This is fall out of your chair funny!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The girl happily tapped on her laptop; her family was gone out of town and, finally, all was quiet. No music, no television, no distractions - this was how she did her best work. Sarah was by herself for the night and the hours stretched out before her like a candy bar to a child.
Sarah had never been scared to be alone even though her house was old and often made weird noises. So when her lights suddenly flickered a few hours later, she didn't overreact as a typical teenager would. She didn't squeal and immediately call anyone who would listen like her best friend, Steph, would. Instead, Sarah looked up and smirked at the irony.  
It's late at night and I'm alone in a house that is rumored to be haunted, she thought, what's the chances of my house deciding to freak out on me now after all these years of living here.
"I'm not going to believe in ghosts all of the sudden, so give it up," she told her light fixture.
Sarah's words bounced off the towering walls of her bedroom then she heard it, the brief but unmistakable sound of a baby's cry. Sweat broke out on her forehead and upper lips as she tried to find a rational explanation for the sound.
Someone was taking a stroll with their baby. Nope, it's midnight. Maybe the baby couldn't sleep. Sarah, there are no babies even on your block. It was a cat. Coming from your living room? You don't have a cat and they don't exactly sound like that. 
Whoosh, came from the game room. It was like the sound of someone letting a curtain drop back into place after looking out the window.
There are only blinds covering the windows in that room. And there aren't supposed to be 'someones' in there!
Sarah squealed and immediately began dialing numbers of anyone who would listen.
"I'm so scared. Will you come get me-e-e-e." The last came out in broken sobs.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Over the years, I've heard a thousand different sayings, made up words, one-liners, incorrect/conflicting phrases, and I would make a point to remember whatever it was because I wanted to use it. I enjoy making fun of people but not in a mean way. When I heard these things, I didn't think 'What an idiot', instead I thought it was fantastic that this person chose me to drop that line with. I felt like I'd won a prize... a new toy to add to my collection.
 Here are a few (and my memory is terrible so I'll probably have to add to this - just check back). If you think of some of your own please leave me a comment. You can add to my collection!

Thingyadoomahickie = thing that you've forgotten the name of
Thingamajigger= same as above though for me the tone is more serious : )
 Right now in a minute = soon
I done did it = working on it
I dood it = did it
Chew, chew, chew = this has no meaning but breaks the tension
I want a Subway = no, I don't want to buy the store, I want a sub sandwich
Wrong scurdaddles = it's backwards/inside out

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Old Room

Blood-red curtains adorned her wavy, lead-glass windows, the panes of which ached to be opened. Years of paint held them captive in the narrow, wooden tracks. Off-white tongue and groove boards crowded each other up to the 18 foot high ceilings. Delicate candle-shaped bulbs were imprisoned in an iron cage of leaves and vines; the cell suspended in the air by a heavy bronze chain.
An ole-timey wooden stove outlet was still in the ceiling but filled with insulation and a heavy steal lid, forever cutting off the flow of sweet wood-smoke. An eerie attic access door hung out on the north side of the room. It taunted, “Are you scared yet? Are you scared yet?”
A forgotten fire place lounged to the west. A thoughtful frown left by the covering spoke of happier times. “Where are the ghosts of residents past? Come enjoy me again.”
A tiny closet for wood was its companion to the right. The keyed lock had been smothered with white paint for many, many years. It, too, wanted to be used for its rightful purpose.
Wooden floors languished underfoot. Too rustic to be polished, a brown coat of paint was slathered on as an afterthought. Bits of paint have been-

Get out of my bedroom! Who said you could come in here?

Friday, March 4, 2011

For Autographed books


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cape San Blas - excerpt of White Star

I pull into a picnic area just before the campsites and peer through my windshield at the scenery. It’s woodsier than I might have thought a peninsula would be. There are mostly pine trees around the picnic and campsite area, along with a bunch of palms, oaks, pecan and even poplars. It’s like a melting pot for plant-life.
Flowering shrubbery and plants dot the line just above the sea oats along the shore. The vibrant fuchsia, red, yellow and orange blooms seem to shout their exotic heritage, making me feel as though I don’t belong amongst their beauty. But the softer-colored sea oats waving in the breeze beckon to me.
I step out of the car slowly, suddenly afraid, and the fragrant sea lavender assails my senses, taking me back to a sweeter time. Grandma used to keep it on her kitchen windowsill, saying they made the room smell like she’d been baking.

Just curious. Not that it's important, but does anyone understand the symbolism of the poplars?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Unrequited Love

The first word that comes to mind with this thought is generally cowardice. But, wait a minute. Think about it. If it’s never requited, it remains the same always. It’s never blemished by mistakes, unfaithfulness, too many children or not being able to have children at all. It stays beautiful. Is it possible that unrequited love could be better than the real thing? Yes, it’s possible... That person remains an ideal, a dream in your head forever. She’s a thought to hold onto, to romanticize, to fantasize. Unrequited love is a love that’s never ruined.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Have you ever thought about your duty to the world? Like a scientist who comes upon the cure for cancer, I believe writers have a duty also. As a writer I have gone through the past 15 years thinking I was fulfilling that responsibility. I was sharing my mind and thoughts with others via the newspaper and conveying information to the people of my town. Not that all reporters are meant to be fiction authors, but I am and I’ve been holding back. I’ve had out-of-the-box thoughts, pretty little stories and longer deeper stories and I haven’t been sharing. Someone recently urged me to share a story about plants and bears that I thought was too silly. But if something in our head can bring a smile to someone’s face, make someone not feel so alone in the world, help someone understand why s/he feels the way s/he does… If it could help anyone in any way, isn’t it our duty to get it out there? I believe it is. I will stop being selfish and begin putting my thoughts out there. And, if I find that scientist with the cure, I will shake him until he spills the beans!