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Queries Are Like Bad Dates

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My daughter said while getting ready for school this morning, “I think you need to get remarried.”

Me: (saying in passing as I butter my son’s toast) “That would require me to date.”

My daughter: “It must be really hard to find a someone to date.”

Me: “That, my dearest daughter, is an understatement.”

I have always been awkward around guys. Well, people in general, and I’m okay with it. I do my thing, I always try to be myself and to love who I am. Though, when I actually have a good conversation with a guy, I play in cool. But in my head, I’m jumping up and down, clapping, and saying: “Yippie!!!”

Dating my way

For me, choosing books to read, and writing queries are very simular to dating.


Not only does the blurb about the book (whether your own or not) has to be enticing. The personality of the main character has to shine through like a big neon sign to get someone interested in the story or you (if your dating).

Neon sign sign

It can get awkward when you read a book jacket for the book that everyone is raving about, but it’s just…meh. Of course, you buy it, because who doesn’t like a shiny new book?

The jacket blurb gives your promises and sometimes it’s more reliable than the jacket. Like a blind date.


Then there are those books that you know nothing about, but once you are the jacket, the desire stirs within you. Then there is that excited squeal that I found another book that makes me want to go home to my comfy chair and read to my hearts content.


Here are three books that pulled me in by the blurb on the jacket.

  1. Just One Wish, by Jennette Rallison

Just one wish  a

2. The DUFF, by Kody Keplinger

the duff

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

3. The Raven Boys (The Raven Cyle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Raven boys

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Then there are WRITING QUERIES!


Querying is one of the hardest things to write. It’s like a bad first date where a person inevitably says too much. Instead of an enticing conversation, it can quickly become an awkward summery of useless facts and way too much oversharing. Don’t do that!!


Put your awkwardness away, because you have the fabulous novel that is aching to be published. But you need an agent.


They are the gatekeepers to the New York publishing world. Yes, there are publishers who will do accept submissions without an agent, but you still need to write the query. And it better be good!

Here are what some agents say about queries (from the blog, Writers In The Storm):

“Spelling errors or grammatical mistakes. They just make me want to stop reading.” – Lisa Leshne, LJK Literary Management

“Unfocused queries and the term ‘fiction novel.'” -Melissa Flashman, Trident Media Group, LLC

“I’m sick of vagueness. I get so many queries every day that don’t tell me enough about the novel. If there’s no reason for me to say yes, then it’s going to be no.” -Bridget Smith, Dunham Literary, Inc.

Go to the blog to read more. It’s a very good post.

Agents are fantastic about telling you what works and what doesn’t. Kinda like a dating coach.


A few consistent tips for query writing so you don’t be the awkward douche bag who everyone cringes at.


  1. Be polite and professional
  2. No typos. Read your query three times over, then have five honest friends look it over
  3. Follow the submission guidelines
  4. Do your research! (because asking an agent to represent your book that they do not represent will only lead to awkward embarrassment for you)c
  5. No abstractions. Stick to the main conflict of the story. What are the stakes for the main character? Give enough reasons to care without oversharing.

Here are a few websites that I find to be helpful.

  1. Query Shark
  2. Agent Query
  3. Nathan Bransford’s blog
  4. Query Letter Success
  5. YA Highway

Like my sister told me when I was 16 (someone actually wrote a blog about Mr. Collin’s awkwardness), “Don’t be awkward like Mr. Collins,…”


“…but be awkward as Mr. Darcy.”

Follow the querying/literary social rules, and be a literary rockstar!



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Two of my sisters and I love to watch terrible movies. In fact, we have a competition about who can pick out the worst of the worst. Here are four movies that we love to watch over and over again.


Just Visitng


“Just Visiting” is an American retelling of the 1993 French comedy blockbuster “Les Visiteurs” in which stars Jean Reno and Christian Clavier reprise their popular roles for original director Jean-Marie Gaubert. In the film, A French nobleman, Count Thibault of Malfete (Jean Reno) and his servant André (Christian Clavier) find themselves in modern day Chicago — transported from the 12th century due to a wizard’s flawed time-travel potion.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 33% 


Just Visiting is one of those movies that make you cringe, but you’re laughing so hard that it makes up for the bad script. Julia (Christina Applegate) is a pushover. Her boyfriend calls her bunny and is cheating on her. Count Thibault isn’t terribly clever and his manservant, Andre, is very stupid. Count Thibault accidentally kills his fiancé, Lady Rosalind, who looks exactly like Julia. Thibault needs a wizard. In comes Malcolm McDowell. He forgets a key ingredient in the postion that will send him back a few hours to stop the murder. Thibault and Andre are sent to modern day Chicago (Or the early 2000s). They meet Julia, and she takes them home (thinking he is a long lost relative). The boyfriend is a jerk, and it’s funny to watch Thibault and Andre navigate the modern world; including, killing a car, eating a “mint” from the toilet, and Andre eating at a table with is master instead of being thrown scraps. Julia learns to be more assertive and Thibault goes back to save his “one true love.” It’s fun to watch and worth the rental price.

Favorite Scene:

The restaurant scene where Andre mistakes a Clorox drop-in in the urinal for a dinner mint.





Lt. Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is a weapons officer aboard the destroyer USS John Paul Jones, while his older brother, Stone (Alexander Skarsgård), is the commanding officer of the USS Sampson. Unknown to Alex, Stone or the rest of the U.S. Navy, alien invaders have arrived on Earth with plans to steal Earth’s resources. When a confrontation with the invaders knocks out the Navy’s radar capability, American and Japanese forces must work together to find a way to save the planet.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 34%


I LOVE end of the world movies. They are awesome! I love Alexander Skarsgard. That’s why I went to see this. Totally worth it! It’s loud and completely implausible. We love it in my family. Hopper is an ass, but a hot one. Rhianna is good. I love how they use the grid system like the board game. I wish they had used the line: “You sunk my battleship!” It would have made the cheesiness more complete. I have referenced this movie in a novel that I wrote last year.

Favorite Scene:

The chicken burrito scene where Hopper tries to get Sam’s attention. He offers her a chicken burrito for five minutes, which at the end he gets tasered.



A Cinderella Story


Sam (Hilary Duff), a teenager in California, is obliged to work as a janitor and dishwasher in the diner of her stepmother (Jennifer Coolidge). After a cell phone mix-up, Sam begins an anonymous text-messaging and e-mail relationship with a boy. They agree to meet at a school dance, but when Sam finds out that her secret pen pal is none other than Austin Ames (Chad Michael Murray), the cutest boy in school, she panics and looks for a way to make herself cooler.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 11%


Two words: Jennifer Coolidge. She is very funny. I love her in Austenland and Legally Blonde. While they are good, my sisters and I picked A Cinderella Story because of the word “moist.” When this movie came out, we were watching Dead Like Me (seriously go watch this show). In the TV show, Georgia Lass’s mother thinks the word moist is pornographic. Then we went to see A Cinderella Story. The cookie scene made us laughed so much that the other people in the theater told us to shut up. It’s a good teen movie/chick flick.

Favorite Scene:

The cookie scene where the stepmother says the word moist. Did I mention how much I love Jennifer Coolidge?





With four beautiful daughters of marrying age, Manorama (Nadira Babbar) and Chaman Bakshi (Anupam Kher) frantically seek out the perfect husbands for their children. Yet their eldest daughter, Lalita (Aishwarya Rai), is intent upon marrying at her own choosing, for love. Lalita endures a number of hopeful suitors, but the American William Darcy (Martin Henderson) seems different — and not always in a good way. Misunderstandings, schemes and lies threaten to keep the two from true love.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A


Bollywood isn’t for everyone, but this little gem is funny. I love the random songs, and Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite stories. The acting isn’t bad and I think mostly it is liked. My friend came to see it with us. Her and I were the only ones who liked it from our group. We still sing a couple of the songs.

Favorite Scene:

The scene is a musical number called “No Life Without Life.” We sing this a lot.





 In Los Angeles, siblings Ellie (Christina Ricci) and Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg) come across an accident on Mulholland Drive. As they try to help the woman caught in the wreckage, a ferocious creature attacks them, devouring the woman and scratching the terrified siblings. They slowly discover that the creature was a werewolf and that they have fallen victim to a deadly curse. Now that they have been sliced by the werewolf’s claws, they will be transformed into werewolves themselves.

 Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 16%


I’m not going to talk a lot about this movie, simply because we don’t like it save for one scene where a werewolf flips everyone off. We still talk about this scene. Enjoy.


To the Movie Critics: Why All The Hate?

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Why all the hate, movie critics? Seriously, I know it’s your job to torpedo a movie through well placed words, even if it’s not a movie you would go see if it hadn’t been assigned to you. For example, the 5th Wave.

5th wave

Yesterday, my sister and I went to see the 5Th Wave. I don’t think I have to go into the synopsis, as it is based upon a young adult novel by Rick Yancey. It worth the read, but when I went onto, I was pretty bummed that only 17% of critics liked it.

Really? 17% liked it? What about Twilight?

Twilight sign

Twilight at 48% of rotten! Like I said, where is the love?


Here are a sample of what was said by critics about the 5th Wave movie:

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.42.13 AM

eye roll

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.43.10 AM


Can I just say that the N.R.A. (FYI: I hate the N.R.A.) has NOTHING to do in the 5th Wave, and if aliens did attack, I’m sure you would love to get your hands on one of them! I know I would.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.42.27 AM


Nope.  Alex Roe was good too.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.43.21 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.42.53 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.41.54 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.41.23 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.41.12 AM

Here We Go


Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.40.29 AM

for sale

You people who love YA, sci/fi, dystopia sound like mindless drones with a for sale sign on our faces. Like we don’t know what a good movie is. By the way, we can think for ourselves.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.40.52 AM

Oh for the love that is holy!

Princess Eye Roll

Stop comparing every book and every movie that is in the young adult genre to Twilight!


Not cool, because each stories are different. Yes, some stories uses old tropes and cliches, but they are not Twilight!

While some were mean, indifferent, or who was only at the movie so they could get a paycheck, some reviewers had nice things to say:

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.40.04 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.39.53 AM

Right. Well, my sister and I really liked it. We would give it 3 out of 4 stars. Someone parts were really funny, and I’m unsure whether they were meant to be funny or not. The acting is good.

We laughed about the army being trustworthy, because my sister is a vet and she yelled out: “Bull shit.” I knew, because I read the book. Still it was a funny moment that the others in the theater didn’t appreciate.

My point: Go see the movie and find out if you like it or not. Like books, movies are all subjective. I may love something that you don’t. That is okay! Don’t go by people who are paid to be cranky and find the worst in everything except artsy films like The Artist. 


Music to Write By and Querying

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I have recently finished and queried a young adult horror novel. I’m sitting here, like,


I have agents reading my work, and it’s worse than a freaking blind date! I want to tell you all about my novel. I want to be like i’m here world! Read this! In reality, I’m trying to act like I’ve got this.


And whenever someone asks me about my novel, I’m like, “Yeah dude. I got this.”


In reality, I’m back in my shell, trying to think about my novel in the hands of wicked awesome agents who could say no.


A friend of mine (who writes New Adult and you should totally buy her freaking awesome books, because I’m not a fan of New Adult, but I love her work) gave me the best advice. Start a new project!

I have so many ideas, that I’m like, oookkayyy…


So where do I start? A playlist, which inevitably gets modified as I go along. Here is the playlist for novel that I’m querying.

  1. MERCY, Duffy
  2. I PUT A SPELL ON YOU, Jeff Beck (featuring Joss Stone)
  3. FEELS LIKE RAIN, John Hiatt
  4. IN THE STILL OF THE NIGHT, The Five Satins
  5. ALL I WANT, Kodaline
  6. STAY WITH ME, Sam Smith
  7. YELLOW, Coldplay
  8. CREEP, Stone Temple Pilots
  9. DEMONS, Imagine Dragons
  10. HURT, Johnny Cash
  12. RUNAWAY TRAIN, Soul Asylum
  13. COMING FOR YOU, The Offspring
  14. EVIL WAYS, Blues Saraceno
  15. QUIET LITTLE VOICES, We Were Promised Jetpacks
  18. PUSH THE BUTTON, Amy Lee
  19. SEVEN DEVILS, Florence and the Machine
  20. THE PRETENDER, Foo Fighters
  21. THE GHOST OF YOU, My Chemical Romance
  22. BRING ME TO LIFE, Evanescence
  23. ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, Blondie
  24. NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT, Fred Astaire

How do you start a new work in progress?

ThrillerFest 2015

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I know I have been MIA for months, but it was for a good and very personal reason. Now that everything is resolved, I’m starting up again. Within the last few months, I have been to ThrillerFest in July and after that is when something occurred that needed my full time and attention.


ThrillerFest is Manhattan and is one of the best writer conferences I have been to. It’s also where I pitched my novel, THE WHISPERING.

NYC 1    NYC 2

After PitchFest, which was really brutal. I’m the type of person has a hard time communicating verbally about books or movies or my feelings. I stutter when I get nervous, and sitting in front of agents and pitching them my novel. After that very stressful afternoon, I did fine as it turns out. Not just that though, an agent (who I did not pitch) gave me the best advice I wish I had before I went into Pitch Session.


I was really good at gossip from middle school to high school, so that advice would have worked better than my really crappy logline and pitch that came out of a trembling voice.

After PitchFest was the rest of ThrillerFest. It was interviews and panels of authors, including Lee Childs and Christopher Rice.

The Young Adult Panel was the most interesting to me.

ThrillerFest Event 1

Included on the panel was Kelley ArmstrongCJ Lyons, Elle Cosimano, and RL Stine.

Charleine Harris and Karen Slaughter

Karin Slaughter interviewing Charlaine Harris.

It was an interesting conference, but it really wasn’t for young adult writers. That was a bit of a problem for me. I write YA and I mainly read YA, and they were talking about genres like military thrillers. Frankly, subjects I’m not interested in. ThrillerFest is good for people who aren’t interested in young adult.

Fifty Shades of Hashtags: The Stage of #AskELJames

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Caffeinated Constellations

As a group, Twitter feeds are the new 16th century courtyard. With the rise of technology, the internet has become the proverbial stage, and as we have seen today, hashtags are the rotten tomatoes with which we throw.

When I first saw the #AskELJames hashtag, I chuckled to myself and liked a few statuses. Much of the sarcasm rang true, and though I have never read the Fifty Shades series, I have heard enough to know that it perpetuates harmful portrayals of abuse with incorrect notions of BDSM. But as I sought out the hashtag and continued reading, I felt a pinch in my conscience that didn’t resonate well with me.

Instead of using this hashtag to ask legitimate questions that may have prompted thoughtful discussion, the restless crowd raised their pitchforks and threw the rotten tomatoes in the form of snark and sarcasm and ironic abuse.

Yes, EL James…

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Child Post 1: The Royal Wedding and Prince Harry

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I'm a princess

This post isn’t about writing, but a story that happened a couple of weeks ago.

It begins with a little girl. Normally, I won’t talk about my children. I’m a single mom to a 7 year-old boy, who is non-verbal autistic. I will call T-Boy. I have a 5 year-old girl who I will call Lady. I’m not posting pictures or their real names. Since this story has made everyone that I have told laugh, I’m going to blog about it.

waking up

My daughter, Lady, hates to go to bed. She is 5 and has autism along with ADHD, but most importantly Lady is kind, loving, and freaking hilarious. She says whatever comes to her mind. The girl has maybe 5% of brain to tongue filter.


For years, she has loved Halloween. She loved to talk about pumpkins, ghosts, witches, vampires, zombies, trick or treating, and loved to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas (Thank you Tim Burton) and her favorite book was Room on the BroomWhen Lady was 3 years old, she drew pumpkins and witches on her Easter basket craft. I was like: YES! YOU’RE AWESOME, LADY!


And she LOVES to read!

Lady is high functioning and has a speech delay, but that doesn’t stop her from saying what she thinks. She does have some trouble with identifying social cues, but since starting Kindergarten, she has grown leaps and bounds. Also, Kindergarten has ushered in a new ear in our house:



Lady wants me to dye her hair blonde and keeps asking when she is going to develop special powers like Princess Elsa. My response is, hair dye when she becomes a teenager, if I could give her special powers, I would. But my brown-haired, with red highlight girl is fabulous, but she’s all sassy and feisty. Like Princess Anna.


She is currently growing out her hair like Rapunzel.

tangled 2

Then came Cinderella.


Lady fell in love with the story, but most of all, the beautiful blue dress!

Cinder Dances

She has asked when is her prince is going to come and when can get a blue dress like that! Then the glass slippers came on-screen, it she squealed. This girl has more shoes than me!! When we talk about princesses and princes and fashion (as she wants to become a fashion designer when she grows up), I’m like:


This is going to be fun! I love to talk about make up and fashion and pretty much anything that Lady likes. She is passionate about her likes. Recently, she designed her own cape so that she could be fashionable.

That’s the back story to the story. The main story goes like this:

I starts with Lady having to go to bed. Prince Harry’s face in this GIF was pretty close to Lady’s face when it’s bedtime.

Angry Harry

She then always asks: “Could I stay up for 1,000 minutes before I go to bed?”

And me? I’m all like:


So Lady went to bed, and I grabbed my iPad to sit in her room since she has recently developed a fear of the dark. Once we are settled in, she asks if there are real Princes and Princesses in the world. I tell her there are. Lady get’s all excited.

Harry 2

Lady get’s excited, but then she asks for proof. I go onto YouTube and show her Prince William and Princess Kate’s wedding.

At first, Lady was bored watching guests arrive at Westminster Abbey. Until she saw this!

Evil Step Sisters

The conversation went something like this:

Lady: “Who are those guys?”

Me: “Those girls are princesses.”

Lady: (making a disgusted face) “They are princesses?”

Me: “Yes.”

Lady: “They look like witches.”

Me: “Witches?”

Lady: “Because they have horns on their heads!” (Like it was obvious)

This is what she was thinking about:


Me: “Those aren’t horns.”

Lady: “Yes.”

Me: “No. Those hats are called fascinators. I know, they’re ugly hats.”

Lady: (shaking her head) “They don’t look like princesses.”

Then Princess Kate arrived, and she was done with the fascinators.

the dress

Her squeal was adorable. Then the conversation went as followed:

Lady: “Oh I love that dress. I want that dress, and the veil. Oh the earrings. Could I have those earrings? Is that a crown?”

Me: “No, sweetie. That’s a tiara.”

Lady: “I though princesses wore crowns?”

Me: “That would be the queen. She’s a princess so she gets to wear a tiara.”

Lady: “When am I going to be able wear a tiara? When do I get to be a princess?”

Me: “Well. Either you’re born a princess or you marry a prince.”

Lady: “Oh.”

The wedding on, and all she could talk about with Princess Kate’s dress and how beautiful it would look on her (Lady).

walking to the carriage

Once they left Westminster Abbey (which she gushed over and how she wanted to go to church there and be married there), she stopped gushing over the dress, because of this!


Lady loves to ride horses, and she is good at it. As soon as she saw the carriage and the horses, the conversation switched to whether she’d ride a white horse or a black horse back to the palace. Lady isn’t going to be pulled in a carriage! Like this:




The camera filmed the audience, and Lady can read, so when these ladies popped onto the screen,

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 6.07.06 PM

She said: “Huh?”

Me: “The banner says: ‘Marry me, Harry.'”

Lady: “Who is Harry?”

Me: “A prince.”

Lady: “Ewww! A boy is named Harry? That is a horrible name, and princes aren’t named Harry.”

Me: “Well, that’s his name.”

Lady: “No. Prince’s are name:


Harry 1








Not Harry! It’s such a horrible name. I don’t like that name. Do you like that name, Mommy?”

Me: “Yes, Lady. I like that name.”

Lady: “I don’t. It’s a horrible name.” (She knows a few big words)

Me: “I think Harry is a nickname.”

Lady: “Oh. Okay.”

She continues to watch video, then asks: “Why do they want to marry him?”

Me: “Um…Well. He’s pretty cool and nice, and I suspect it’s because he’s a prince.”

Lady: (she didn’t look convinced) “That’s it?”

Me: “I think they want to kiss him, because they love him.”


Lady: “Why don’t they just go up to him and kiss him?”

Kissing Kissing

This is the girl who at 4 years old, cornered a boy in the school yard and kissed him!

Me: “Because it’s called assault.”

Lady: “What’s assaulting about kissing?”

Me: “Ummm….?”

Lady: “They want to kiss him. He (Lady meant she) should just kiss him.”

Then this comes on the screen:


Lady: “Look. They’re kissing.”

Me: “That’s because they just got married.”

Lady: “Okay, but why would she kiss Prince Harry?”

Me: “That’s Prince William.”

Lady: (nods) “Good name.”

Me: (laughing) “Okay, sweetie. It’s time for bed.”

Lady: “Do you want to kiss Prince Harry?”

Me: “Nope. I don’t think I’m his type, and besides, I don’t know him. I don’t go around kissing random guys. It’s better to know them before kissing them.”

Lady: “Like friends?”

Me: “Yes. Good night, Lady.”

bye bye

After a bit of a fight, she finally went to sleep. For weeks, I was considering on whether to post it or not. In the end, I decided to post it, because it was a very funny conversation. Not only that, I want to be able to show it to her in a few years.

So that is my 5 year-old. She is sweet, funny, and really needs to learn to filter her thoughts. She is wonderful, and even now, she wears her toy tiara from Cinderella and insists on wearing princess dresses. I love her a lot, and I’m loving this princess phase right now. I hope it lasts for another year or two.

What are your favorite princesses?