Publication Update + Excerpt


As some of you know, I have been in the process of self-publishing Forces and the Malachite Stone, a middle grade fantasy. I recently published it on Amazon but, deep down, loathed the cover I had made. Plus, believe it or not, found some editing errors (after several read throughs); that just wasn’t acceptable, so I quickly pulled it.

I am currently working on a better cover and going through more edits. This will take some time, but I am doing my best to deliver quality work. One of the things with self-publishing is that you have the power over every aspect. And, unfortunately, that means it can take quite a while to get things accomplished. To get past this, however, I am just relishing my book-baby and enjoying going through it again.

Don’t let the process get you down. Just keep enjoying it, knowing you’re making it the best it can be. Enjoy spending time with it while you can. Okay, that’s all for now.

Happy writing!

Forces excerpt: Prologue

A dark figure sprinted through the woods, his foot tearing through vines as he ran from the creatures chasing him. The sky thundered overhead and he gave a silent plea, willing the rain to come.

He clutched a torn piece of paper in his right hand, balling it up into the confines of his fist as pellets of rain started to dance on his head. He hoped this would help the snakes lose his scent.


#yabooks #selfpublishing

Illustrating Guide

illustrating a children's book

Here is a really neat website that I found when trying to garner some illustrating wisdom. Check out Artists and Illustrators for a guide on creating a children’s book. My heart aches to go home and draw right now. At least it’s Friday. Happy writing! and drawing!

illustrating a children's book

#art #illustration #childrensbooks

Happy People – Happy Writers


Did you know that you’re more likely to write, and enjoy writing, if you’re happy? That’s right. Let’s face it, with work and people, being happy isn’t always the first state-of-mind we’re in. It doesn’t help coming home to a messy house, either. Well, you may not be able to control everything in your life, but here are two things you can do:

Read – That’s right, and I don’t just mean at home. Did you ever read when you were a kid to escape? Well, bring that same principle into your life even now. Keep a book with you at all times. If you can snatch a few lines here and there, then by all means, do it. If you slowly work around your book (then work won’t seem quite so… workish; you’ll be reading a book 2 minutes here, 5 there, and 30 for lunch, etc…) and while you’re still being productive, you’ll be surprised just how much reading you can get done. Believe me, your day will feel a lot more subdued (and if you’re in a stressful environment, this is a good thing).


Clean – Yep, just do it. Clean that house. If you spend a good weekend, or week, (whatever it takes) to whip that place you call home into shape, then do it. Forfeit the fun weekend and get things decluttered and put up. My motto: Everything has a place, everything is in it’s place – then clean it. Maintain this all of the time by doing little “sweeps” at the end of the day before going to bed; is there anything you left out that needs to be put up? Put it up. By keeping a clean atmosphere, coming home will be a delight. It’ll be relaxing and you’ll have free time to write because you’re not in a messy environment; Clean house, clean mind. 01 home office.jpg

Book Review 4: Pretty Dead

This is the book review for “Pretty Dead” by Lia Francesca Block. I am still a newbie when it comes to making YouTube videos, so please pardon the poor lighting and sound quality. Nonetheless, here it is:

#PrettyDead #yabooks #ya #bookreview #writingtip

Lia’s website:

Here is a better book review for you to enjoy:

Book Review 3: Paper Towns


Summary: “Paper Towns” by John Green was an enjoyable book about a boy named Quentin and his crush, Margo. They grew up together only to later drift apart in high school. Quentin, however, has never forgotten the strong, independent Margo. One night, she makes a visit to his house, asking for help as she takes revenge on her ex-friends. Quentin, a quiet boy, goes alone for an adventure filled night. Just when things are starting to look up for him, Margo goes missing. Most of the family accepts this, but Quentin can’t. Deciding to ditch prom, Quentin and his friends go and search for her, following small clues she left behind. SPOILERS from here on: Turns out that Margo used a paper town, a place on a map that didn’t really exist, to writings in a dark abandoned building to leave clues about her whereabouts. I’m not sure why she left these. In the end, after a long and hilarious ride in a mini-van (because even though they agreed to ditch prom, some of them, like Ben, really, really want to make it to prom) they speed as fast as they can to find Margo, and actually succeed. Only, the thing is, Margo didn’t want to be found. But, Quentin gets a kiss and feels that he has grown in some way after resigned to the fact that he must let her go.

Response: There’s a really funny scene during one of the pitstops; “Radar revs the engine as if to say hustle, and we are running through the parking lot, Ben’s robe flowing in the wind so that he looks vaguely like a dark wizard…” (Green, 254). That really cracked me up. As a teacher certified in English, I really enjoyed the literature expressed in this book; “I grabbed some cold lasagna from the fridge for lunch and went to my room with Walt. It was the Penguin Classics version of the first edition of Leaves of Grass” (Green, 115). I also enjoyed the paper town and the black Santa collection from Radar’s parents. I suppose this was supposed to be a coming of age story, but it didn’t really feel that way. Only on the very last page did Green suggest any growth, and I didn’t fully buy it; Quentin was just forced to let her go. At least he got a kiss.

Themes: Heavy themes include: The ingenuity of literature, as well as being lost and not wanting to be found.

Audience: I think high schoolers would really enjoy this book the most, but that it is readable by middle-graders as well as adults, as most books really are. I’d like to see this in a 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders hands.

Cons: I hated the cursing and use of the God’s name in vain. Teens might talk like that, but I feel that there are other ways to express reality as it is without using God’s name that way. It only encourages it. I’m a Christian; it makes since I feel this way.

Lookout: Again, I really enjoyed the use of literature; it inspires kids to check it out for themselves without the pressure of a English teacher. Green also used diversity in this book and I’ll be on the lookout for that, as well, in my future YA readings.


Teen Book Review:

#ya #bookreviews #amreading #yabooks


Post 8: And the Award Goes To…

Ever see those shiny yellow stars on a book that looks something like this:

the realm of possibility_0.jpg

Yeah, me neither. Ok, just kidding. Turns out there are many awards that a book can win, such as the Printz, YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction, ALEX, YA Choice, Margaret A. Edwards, and much, much more. Did you know that when publishers expect a book to do really well that designers will often craft a cover in such a way that there is space for the award (a place that one would look well) just in case it wins? A majority of the available awards can be found at

Awards and Criteria:

Printz: “The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature” (YALSA). They have a Teen Book Finder Database where you can search for award winning books via list name, year, author, and genre. Here is a 2018 winner: (I really like the cover.)

YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction: “…honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a Nov. 1 – Oct. 31 publishing year. The winner is announced annually at the ALA Youth Media Awards, with a shortlist of up to five titles named the first week of December” (YALSA).

Alex Awards: “…are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12-18. The winning titles are selected from the previous year’s publishing. These awards can also be found in the “Teen Book Finder Database” linked above. Here is one of the 2018 winners: (Also very alluring.)

YA Choice: “Since 1986, the Young Adults’ Choices project has developed an annual list of new books that will encourage adolescents to read. The books are selected by the readers themselves…” (International Literacy Association). There is a fact sheet, a call for submissions, a list template, and online application form. Here is one of their winning titles:

Margaret A. Edwards Award: “…honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature… It recognizes an author’s work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world” (YALSA). 2017 Winner below: (This cover makes me envious.)

The Truth About Forever

How to access them: Most awards can be found on the YALSA homepage under “Awards and Grants.”

It’s nice that authors get recognized for their contributions. Now, not only can I appreciate that author, but I can appreciate them a little more than I otherwise might have. It’s a nice pat on the back, but it is great for promotion as well as for librarian’s and parent’s when trying to decide on which books to purchase/read. I know that there are many awards given each year with many different criterion. If you or I want a good book with specific qualities, all we have to do is look them up and read the criteria and review of the author and their work. From now on, when I pick up a book with some kind of shiny sticker, or blurb in the back that mentions an award, I will check out the award’s criteria. I will also know that I have a reputable book in my hand that I can read and share with others. In all, awards are an added perk to authors, librarians, parents, and many more.

#amreading #YALSA #bookreviews