Thursday, December 5, 2013

My PitchWars Warrior Bio

Okay, I'm going to make this short and sweet. There is one very compelling accomplishment in my past that proves I will make a fabulous mentee! But first, some background for those few who aren't hip to PitchWars:

Pitch Wars is a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns (mentor list here) choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions to shine it up for these agents here . The mentors also critique the writer’s pitch to get it ready for the agent round. Mentors also pick two alternates each in case their writer drops out of the contest. A special alternate showcase is held on some of the mentors’ blogs and the mentors will critique the alternates’ pitches. Writers send applications (query and first 5 pages of manuscript) to the four mentors that best fit their work. The mentors then read all their applications and choose the writer they want to mentor for the next five weeks to be ready for the agent round January 22 through January 23.

I am beyond thrilled to participate this year and have already learned SO MUCH just following the mentors, fellow writers and the fabulous Brenda Drake on Twitter!

To see other mentee bios, please go to Dannie Moran's blogspot

Without further ado:


This is a photo of me as Punxsutawney Phil singing "Total Eclipse of the Hog" (yes, this "Eclipse" song is to the same tune as the other "Eclipse" song you're thinking of). I performed this number live six times, in public, for a total of 1800 adults and kids.

For some reason, I channeled Nora Desmond in my portrayal of Phil. Not sure why. Clearly, this confused my fellow actors, as well.

I did this in a variety show fundraiser for an elementary school.

I did this for the children, people. The children.


I hope these photos demonstrate how brave and unvain I am.
(pretty sure "unvain" is a word)
(also, full disclosure: I loved playing Phil. I love writing, too.)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Visual Inspiration

When I sit down to write, often setting comes to me first. I'm a very visual person—just ask my friends about the very elaborate calendar/timeline I see in my head when someone mentions a date and/or year. Or my critique group about how many times I say, "But wait, you need to describe the scene more, I can't picture it."

I've always been like this. As a kid I used to draw maps of made-up towns and sketch crude blueprints for the houses described in the stories I wrote. It annoyed me when I'd read a book and visualize a scene, and then the author would throw in something later that didn't jibe with my image (wait, the front door is to the RIGHT?) and I'd have to go back and re-imagine it. Or, I wouldn't, I'd just go with what I already saw in my mind and blatantly ignore the author, which sometimes led to all kinds of problems as the plot continued.

This still happens to me. Maybe I should be talking to a shrink about this...

ANYWAY, I ended up getting a degree in TV/Film, which further developed my reliance on the visual when telling a story.

One summer day two years ago, I came across an abandoned farm while riding my bike. Luckily I had my camera with me. I wish I'd gone inside, but I was scared of snakes, rotting floors, possible trespassing laws (although there were no signs, people!), that sort of thing.

Below are a few of the many photos I took.

When I got back on my bike, I thought to myself, "I'm going to write a ghost story about this place." And I did.

This setting was the inspiration for GHOST FARM.

Friday, April 26, 2013

"The Haunted Bridge" was the title that caught my seven-year-old eye.

My mother and I were standing in our hot, musty "attic"—really just an unfinished spare bedroom in our midwestern Cape Cod. It was late morning on an early summer day in the mid-1970s. My mother had decided I was ready for a Nancy Drew mystery, and I could read it all by myself.

I was thrilled.

Laid out before me in a long, shallow box was book after book from my mother's childhood. Two rows of faded blue spines inscribed with titles like "The Secret of Shadow Ranch," "The Message in the Hollow Oak," and "The Mystery of Lilac Inn." All so tantalizing. All for me.

For some reason I can't recall, it was "The Haunted Bridge" I wanted. I took it downstairs and out the door and sat on our concrete front steps. My father was mowing the yard. On the book's jacketless cover was the title and the silhouette of a girl with a magnifying glass. Just inside was a pen-and-ink drawing of a young woman wearing old-fashioned clothes (definitely not 70s attire!) hiding behind a tree, watching a man dig a hole in the ground in the dead of night. I was fascinated.

I started to read.

My father finished mowing the front lawn. And the back. Lunch came and went. I sat on those hard, cold steps for hours, lost.

I was hooked.