Stop. Drawing Time.

Guess which drawing is out of my head and which is loosely copied from a picture/painting:


002The Lighthouse Keeper


006The Shadow Thief or Swilling Moonlight


Let my heart be drunk on poetry, my mind eased into silence by the caress of paper worlds, and my hands glow with the distilment of inky nonsense.

Keep your pen on the page,


What Not to Do When You’re Rejected

There is an art to hearing no. I’ve posted about it before. But this post will be different. Here area few things I’ve witnessed that are no-noes when you hear no from a publisher or agent:

  1. Trash them on social media or your blog. (Quick way to get blacklisted, and yes, there is a blacklist.)
  2. Send them pestering emails to ask them why. (Best to take the no and try elsewhere.)
  3. Complain about getting rejected online. (Gets you labelled pretty quickly as a whiner. And, yes, I do whine sometimes. Trying to get better about that 🙂 )
  4. Leave 1-star reviews on books they represent/publish that you haven’t even read. (There’s some debate about writers leaving anything less than a 5-star review, but that’s a different conversation for a different time.)
  5. Give up. (Remember: It only takes one yes, the RIGHT yes to turn things around.)

Rooting for ya. Keep your pen on the page,


Chuck Sambuchino Lectures: Notes on the Publishing/Writing Business

Last Saturday, I attended a writer’s symposium on publishing. The lecturer? Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest fame. Here are a few of things I took away from his lectures, things I haven’t done/been doing/even thought of:

  1. Build an email list (I used to have one for an e-newsletter, but didn’t realize that places like MailChimp publish your physical address at the end of each newsletter. Yeah, will be getting a P.O. box.)
  2. Set goals/expectations for your books (re-evaluate as necessary for each book you plan on publishing. Be specific and realistic about what you want.)
  3. Query 20% max. of agents on your query list at a time (if your query letter stinks, you don’t want to send it out to 100% at once! They all will say no. Agents ALWAYS read the query letter. Give yourself the opportunity to rewrite.)
  4.  Be specific. Avoid generalities about your plot and characters when pitching your book. (This should be obvious, but I’m guilty.)
  5. If you do the comp. title thing, don’t compare your book to: anything overseas (no Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), any A-list books (as in Harry Potter; aim for the middle), anything older than ten years.

Mr. Sambuchino is an engaging speaker, filling his talk with real-life examples. Also, after getting to have lunch with him and my friends, he showed himself to be personable and nice. That’s important: People will be more likely to forge connections/buy your books if you’re nice. A meanie? That’s an instant turn-off.

Main takeaway: Don’t be above your audience. Remember: No matter how high you climb, they are still your customers, your patrons. And you are only ever one wrong tweet or viral Facebook post from being shunned.

Give the help you wanted to receive when you were where they are. You might just be helping the next great 21st-century author 😉

Keep your pen on the page,


Happy Thoughts

One thing I’ve learned as someone who suffers from OCD and depression is that watching your thoughts is one of the best things you can do for yourself. I mean, with OCD you can’t always helps what comes into your head. BUT, you can choose to add positive thoughts into the mix. This positive mindset influences mood and how you see yourself.

But lately, I’ve been slipping. Telling lies to myself. Beating myself up over the littlest thing. It’s not healthy, and that unhealthiness will absolutely creep into your professional life. Everything is connected, to quote Dirk Gently.

Here are some things I tell myself:

  • You’re worthless
  • No one likes you
  • You’re a terrible writer
  • You’re a terrible person

Here is how to combat those words…with the opposite, POSITIVE reality:

  • Your worth comes from God, whose image you were made in; your worth is priceless
  • You have friends who love and care about you
  • You are not a terrible writer; you are learning, growing writer
  • You, like any person, have good and bad behaviors. Choose to focus on the good, ask forgiveness for the bad.

Maybe that’s part of where getting untangled from writer’s block starts: in the mind.

What are your thoughts? I hope you’re thinking good things.

Keep your pen on the page,


Good Friday Post

Hello, lovely people of the internet!

Progress with the goblets novel is being made, slowly but surely. I shall finish this. I shall. I’ve been using Pacemaker for writers now for about a week. My daily goal is rather small, but if I keep to it, I will reach my desired word count goal on Halloween of this year.

I also need to add <11,000 words to the women’s fiction project. It’s slow going. I think I should really focus on one project at a time, but everything’s drawing me in like, “Ooh! I am shiny. Pick me! PICK ME!” Rawr.

AND, to top that all off, I got bitten by another plot bunny. Really need to give my muse the old Bob Barker treatment, if you know what I mean 😉

Have a blessed Good Friday. Remember: Sunday is coming.

Keep your pen on the page,


Extra! Extra!

I have news–and I know how you like news. I’ve had a flash fiction (short story under 1,000 words) accepted for publication by Spark: A Creative Anthology. I’m not certain when it will come out, but I am quite chuffed, as the British say. I will keep you all posted and let you know when it comes out.

What else am I up to, you ask? Well…

  • Writing (adding words to a finished manuscript and one 2/3rds finished manuscript)
  • Submitting writing/querying
  • Putting together a CV
  • Keeping up with social media
  • Running a creative writing group (in-person)

Oh, and I’m almost done reading The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams. Very funny. Very weird.

Until next time…

Keep your pen on the page and enjoy this cat pic!

Miss Cricket



Easter Basket 2017 – Writer’s Edition

Here are some things that my writer pals might like to see in their Easter baskets this year:

  • A book-inspired candle from FROSTBEARD STUDIO. (Le Cirque des Reves and Reading at a Cafe smell AWESOME!)
  • YOUR BOOK, YOUR BRAND by Dana Kaye (good book on how to present yourself and your product online.)
  • NOVEL TEAS (a collection of tea bags with literary quotes on the tag–what’s not to like?)
  • WRITING GLOVES (fingerless gloves to wear while you’re writing. They even have literary quotes on them! Choose from Alice in Wonder Land, The Raven, Pride and Prejudice, and more!)
  • ENGRAVED LITERARY SPOONS (spoons with fun bookish quotes engraved on them. Cool, huh?)
  • WRITER’S EMERGENCY PACK (cards to help with writer’s block.)

Have any ideas you’d like to add? Tell me in the comments! Easter is Sunday, April 16th this year, so get hoppin’!


Launch Parties

Think like a super-fan.

Are you a super-fan of anything? You might be looking forward to a book release of a beloved series. Maybe the latest Tea Shop Mystery release found you sweaty-handed with anticipation. Or the next Stormlight Archives book. Or perhaps you cannot wait to get your paws on the next Lock and Mori book. Whatever the case, here are some ideas for celebrating your favorite franchise. Enjoy, and PARTY ON, DUDES!

  1. FOOD

The Tea Shop Mysteries always come with recipes at the back of the book. Lord of the Rings mentions lots of food in the Shire chapters. Edmund has a thing for Turkish Delight in The Chronicles of Narnia. So make a menu, go to Pinterest, and bake your little heart out.

007Turkish Delight (rose-flavored)


For the second two Lord of the Rings movies, I drew a thirty-one-day countdown calendar (for each.)


(Two ideas, more to come. Bear with.)

Okay, you’re saying. I’m not a super-fan. But are you a writer? Do you have a book coming out? What are some ways you can pump up the hype? Book launches are awesome…if you set a budget and don’t go too overboard (read: get your friends/family to help.)

Lady Catherine Says: 365 Tweets of Condescension is coming out on Jane Austen’s birthday of this year (December 16th.) And I plan on having  a local (and later an online) launch party.

Lucky me, my book of humor comes with a built-in fan base: Jane Austen.

So for refreshments, I just have to Pinterest/Google for Regency recipes and get a few friends together to bake with me. Find the era of your book and research recipes. Also look for food references (I know: duh.) And if all else fails, get a cake with your cover printed in edible frosting on top.


Bring copies of your books to sell. If you’ve only got an e-book, that’s a little tricky. Make sure to have buy links on your business card or postcard or whatever freebie paper/s you hand out. Better yet, keep a guest book and gather email addresses (noting that you will be in touch) and email out (ONCE!) a buy link and possibly an invitation to your e-newsletter.


Try your local library (some love local authors and will let you celebrate there for free!) If that doesn’t work, try bookstores, cafes, or some venue related to your book.


Find a theme in your book and have favors relating to that theme. Writing a book with a tea theme? Buy personalized tea bags to hand out (with you book title and purchase info on them/your website address.) Have business cards, postcards, or bookmarks to hand out. Do a raffle. But make sure you do NOT raffle or give away your book at the event. Why? People will postpone buying your book, in hopes that they will win the raffle or giveaway.

Those are just some of my ideas. I’ve only done an e-book launch party/book signing, but I did see a small increase in sales for the next two days after the party.

Have fun, be yourself, show an interest in others, and stick to your budget.

Keep your pen on the page,



Agent and Mouse

Dear M. and Co.,


I am writing through a fever, but I must pen these words before anyone finds me out. You see, my good sirs, the boy I mentioned earlier suspects everything and everyone. Your game is most definitely on his radar.

Introducing the enhanced rats to the warehouse was simple enough. The things breed and re-breed like, well, rats. They say the gestation period is a week or so. The boy could tell you. I have observed him studying them. It did not alarm me at first, his interest in the creatures; who wouldn’t be interested when a supposed multi-million dollar business became infested, and no exterminator was able to keep up with it? He took one home. At first I assumed it was for a pet. They are cute, after all, in their own ugly way.

It was yesterday, when the lad approached the CEO with an aerated shoebox that I became worried. I hope you will forgive my disregarding orders, but my sixth sense was tingling. I listened at the keyhole, and can report with confidence that I was neither seen nor heard.

The young boy spoke first. “Mr. Elmscroft, I presume you are aware of the devastation the rats are causing?”

Elmscroft is slow, but he is not that slow. “Of course, you little devil. Of course I am well aware of what they are doing to my business. How dare you imply otherwise?”

“And I assume you would wish to have something done about it.” I must give him points for not losing his bored, arrogant tone with an adult. Elmscroft is a large man with a quick temper.

“Yes, but what have you got to do with any of this? Who are you? Where are you parents?”

“My uncle works under you, and I would like to see him keep his job.”

The old man laughed. “Is he in any danger of losing it?”

“Only if the rats continue eating up your inventory. I am not one to mess about with niceties, Mr. Elmscroft, so I’ll get right to the point: these rats infesting your warehouse cannot be killed by poison.”

Something dropped at this point, rather near to the door, and I was obliged to move back a pace, in case someone decided to exit. That is why I missed a few words, but I’m confident I caught enough to alarm you.

“—Genetically engineered to tolerate most common poisons known to man, even thrive off of them,” the boy was saying.

My blood ran cold, sirs. Mr. M. has worked long and hard on that formula, and a mere boy thinks he is on to it. M. will please forgive me for breaking the rules. I know there are others like me that have infiltrated the base, disguised though it is as a business. Some are to watch and listen; others, like me, are meant to mind the rats. I know this.

Forgive the incoherency, gentlemen. I blame the fever.

I heard more. Elmscroft was showing the boy to the door, or trying to, rather. “I know what you are, Elmscroft. A front. A ruse. I know what really goes on here.”

Silence followed for a brief moment, then Elmscroft exploded. “Your uncle been telling you company secrets, eh?”

“On the contrary. My uncle is in the dark. But that is neither here nor there. Those rats are the first wave. They are meant as a test, to see how well they adapt to the environment. The next wave will bear disease, and they will be planted here first as well, until, slowly, all of London is overcome with illness.”

“Oh, you think this, do you? What proof have you?”

I didn’t have to see what was happening to know that the dratted boy was holding up the aerated box.

“This rat for starters. He is what you might call a mutant.”

There was another pause. “How old are you, boy?”

“Eight, but I hardly see the relevance to our conversation.”

That is all I heard before I began to feel unwell. I am sitting at my desk now, writing you this missive. I do not feel right. I do not feel right at all.

Perhaps these rats are spreading something. I was not made aware of their nature, as I ought to have been. Please don’t feel I’m threatening you, sirs, M., or anyone else on the committee. I’m just a grunt.

My tea tastes funny.

Too hot. I’m too hot.