Monday, April 28, 2014

Medical Miracle: Can George R R Martin (of Game of Thrones) Have No Heart?

Of course, I'm talking about the one and only, Game of Thrones.


It's an incredible, addicting, thrilling, enthralling show. And it's quite famed for the brutality of its author, George R R Martin (or GRRM from now on). Pretty much, he just kills off everyone. No poetic death for most of them. No great big send-off or emotional cliches. Just - yea, they're dead. Blood everywhere and gruesome, but yea, dead.

(Disclaimer: I only watch the show right now, but I'm going to start reading the books because I've caught up with the show.)

Now, I think it's quite a remarkable feat because he's the only author, ever, to make me feel so scared for every single character. We all know some characters just can't die. With GRRM? Not at all. It's pretty much just a game for him.

What I'm torn about about is this:

Is this a good idea?

Because now, I'm at the point where I almost don't care about some of the characters I should care about. None of the deaths have made me truly sad, just frustrated and upset and vengeful. Only one death made me sad, and that was the first big death (before I got used to the brutality of the show).

The deaths don't feel very strong any more. I'm losing my connection and love for the characters because I'm thinking, "What the heck, they'll die anyway." It's not holding up as a realistic emotional drama for me as much as it has just become a game - obviously fiction with controlled pawns. Sometimes, I feel there are twists and deaths just for the sake of twists and deaths (although, I guess, all of the deaths do have a plot purpose to them). I just think GRRM's tactics might be backfiring on him. It's creating a wall between me and the characters I should love.

But I am still hooked on the show. I want to see how it all ends - please, please don't let it be a disappointment, but I just don't know if GRRM knows how to do happy (or even satisfactory) endings.

Still, I have huge respect for GRRM for truly taking the writerly wisdom of 'kill your darlings' to a whole new level! And there are a handful of characters which I'd completely freak for if they die, so knock on wood and let's keep going on this game of thrones.

What do you guys think of GRRM's technique?

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Writer's Tank Wrap Up!

The contest is OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In total, we got over two dozen requests from five agents - that's an amazing ratio. I think the total number of requests was 27 or something like that.


And for all you who didn't get requests, don't worry about it. I'm not worried - I believe in your writing and others will too. And read this. It's mandatory. It's about critiques but I think it applies to rejections from contests as well.

AND THIS WAS JUST ONE CONTEST!! With only five agents!!! Just think: you'd be crazy to only query five agents, so it's not a big deal that you didn't get requests from these five. Genre and subjectivity is huge.

To the agents: THANK YOU SO SO MUCH for taking the time to participate! I truly hope you find something you love :)

To the entrants: if you get ANY success story from the contest (directly or indirectly) email me or Tweet me!!! I love success stories :)

Now, off to plan for the Query Kombat contest!!! Phew. So much to do, so little time!

Hope you all had fun!


Tell me your thoughts about the contest. Anything to improve for a possible next time?

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Writer's Tank Update

Things are going very well. We got 22 requests from the first four agents who stopped by (Ms. Menon, Ms. Anderson-Wheeler, Ms. Albert, and Ms. Lu, thank you!) and the other two will stop by before Wednesday.

It's the home stretch! And it's going very well so far. Good luck to everyone!

Oh, and if anyone gets a success story from the contest, make sure you email or Tweet me!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pitches for The Writer's Tank (CONTEST HAS BEGUN!)

Here are the pitches for the Writer's Tank contest! 

Attention Agents! There is something going on with the comments in that it's not letting you post requests (it's happened to three agents so far). I've tinkered a little bit and you should be able to post comments by clicking the Name/URL option (from the drop down menu next to "Comment as:") when you go to comment. No URL is required - a name will suffice. So, so sorry for any inconvenience! If it still doesn't work, please email me.

Clicking on the titles will send you to the post which contains the query and first 250 words. From there, agents can request any number of pages (from five to five hundred, synopsis to full manuscript, anything goes!) in the comments. Feel free to refer the authors to other agents if you feel that'd be better! They're up a day earlier so agents have more time to request. Agents can request all the way through Tuesday.

For those vigilant enough to count: there are a bit more than 30 entries below. That's because I reserved a few spots for entries of genres that the agents didn't express an interest for, but I thought deserved a glance at. However, these spots were extremely limited, and I still tried picking entries that are similar in some way to the preferences of the agents.

In choosing the entries, the second biggest factor (after the quality of the entry) was the agent preferences for genres. That's why some genres aren't well-represented at all. So, if you didn't get into the contest, don't even second-guess your writing. It's very probable that your genre was the deciding factor - which is a personal thing for this contest alone.

If you see any small or big mistake in any part of your pitch or entry, Tweet me or email me to fix it!

Also, for the writers: no critiquing comments allowed. Feel free to cheer each other on in the comments, but no critiquing! We have 'Become an Agent' for that :)

If you have any questions, comment on this post or email me.

Enjoy! (The three lines before each pitch are the title, the genre, and then the word count.) I'm going to be going crazy stalking the comments and counting the number of requests!! LET'S BEGIN!!!!!!

    MG Contemporary

    Happy birthdays are never easy when you’re hiding in fear and it’s a bumpy ride as 11-year-old, Hop, does anything to rid himself of a birthday jinx that began the unlucky day he was born in the desert.

    MG Contemporary

    9 y/o Manny needs to research wrestling to take down his sister, but library misbehavior leads smack-down on checkout. Vengeance consumes and revenge plots fail. Now, Manny’s got to shed the “bad kid” label before he starts believing it himself.
  • MG Contemporary

    If twelve-year-old Jake Evans doesn’t advance in the spelling bee, he’ll fail Language Arts and his dream of pitching in the little league world series will be over. The problem – Jake can’t spell.
    MG Contemporary Fantasy

    Gideon Hardy is eleven years old and going blind. After befriending Baku, a nightmare eater, he is tempted to abandon his parents and real life for a dream world where he can still “see”.
    MG Historical Fiction

    Thirteen-year-old Mitchell Jackson uses President Kennedy’s Civil Rights Address, a love of music, and his estranged friendship with his white neighbor, Billy, to faces down challenges in his segregated town of Greenville, NC.

    MG Historical Fiction

    Lordy Mordy, the summer of 1960 eleven-year-old Patsy Dancy, who hates change more than anything else, finds herself deep in the Smoky Mountains at Girl Scout Camp Occonneechee all because she craves an adventure.

    MG Adventure

    Peter Harper thinks he’s chosen to save his city from destruction. He isn’t.

  • MG Adventure with slight magical realism

    Blake, a 12-year-old whose biggest fear is talking to grown-ups, becomes his town’s Secret Keeper. Creepy shadows whisper the townspeople’s secrets and reveal a murder-to-be. Blake must stop the killer…or become the next victim.

  • Younger MG Fantasy

    When Barnabas-the-elephant says "my heart hurts," Bird, his yellow canary friend, knows something big is going to happen. As they sail east on a flying raft, Barnabas must learn to be a true friend or risk never healing his heart.

  • MG Fantasy

    All twelve-year-old Ellie wants is to make friends. Problem is, that’s kinda hard when nobody wants a science-geek around. But when the mystical Arborites of the forest are mysteriously becoming sick, it’s Ellie’s chance to show what makes her special.

  • Upper MG urban fantasy with zombies

    When thirteen-year-old Bridget’s crush since the first grade dies, she casts a spell and brings him back to life. Sort of. As a zombie. Now they're on the run. Except zombies can't run very fast. 
    • YA Contemporary

      Happily ever after Romeo and Juliet retelling where an 18-year-old high school wrestler must overcome his eating disorder, father's abuse, and a family vendetta to be with the high school clarinetist of his unexpected dreams.

    • YA Contemporary

      As far as Sara is concerned, living with an OCD mother is rough, but it has nothing on failing three classes, dealing with a chaotic boyfriend, and struggling with an anxiety all of her own.

    • YA Mystery

      Sixteen-year-old Bea Pearl is not crazy. She has a brother. But no one—not even her parents—seems to remember him.

    • YA Thriller

      NIGHTMARES are supposed to remain in dreamland. Unfortunately for Tommy, his didn't get the memo.

    • YA Sci Fi Thriller

      When terrorists discover his time manipulating powers and hunt him, 16yo Jesse must join secret agents aiming to stop them or the terrorists will steal his free will with mind-control technology and make him a weapon for terror attacks.

    • YA urban fantasy

      Supernatural meets Angel Burn when Caleb's necromantic powers have him dodging a zealot who believes he plans to enslave mankind, gun-toting wizards, demons, and the affections of a super-powered hottie who’s eight kinds of crazy.

    • YA Historical Fantasy

      A teen in post-Revolutionary War Boston joins a society of young people fighting the supernatural creatures that hunt humans once darkness falls, while trying to come to terms with an arranged marriage. 

    • YA Fantasy

      Fourteen-year-old Frank's fantasy obsession could never prepare him for learning that magic from in his books is is the wizard who wants him dead.

    • YA Fantasy

      Seventeen-year-old Alice awakens on a medieval battlefield in another world. Forced to disguise as a man, she sets out to find home—even if it means killing people to survive, and plunge into a war between monarch and rebels.

    • YA Fantasy

      The gods drag seventeen year-old Saekina into a secret war. The price of losing: she'll be hunted throughout endless reincarnations—if her soul isn’t annihilated first.

    • YA Fantasy

      Liko was raised to despise Hunters, the elite force behind Haviland’s rulers, but that was before she was magically bound to one for her protection. But can Liko even trust him when Liko thinks he’d do anything to recover his freedom?
    New Adult
      NA Romance

      Livy had her life all planned out. It didn’t include almost dying, and realizing she's in love with the guy she's spent the last eight years pushing away. But fate doesn’t ask you what you want, sometimes it just knows.
      NA Romance

      Tired of her flawed reputation, college is the fresh start Charlie needs. Reinventing herself as Charlotte—the good girl, all she wants is to lay low, avoiding any complications. But escaping her past might be harder than she thinks.


      Adult commercial fiction

      Wannabe journalist Laura and struggling musician Del meet at a punk-rock squatters’ camp and begin a passionate friendship/songwriting partnership that survives a decade of success and failure, but maybe not conflicting desires and dreams.
      Adult Thriller

      Child Advocate Sam Dakota encounters a child he can't save--his son. After two years with no decent leads, he hires Rami Amato, a P.I. with an aversion to “kid cases,” who uncovers a conspiracy of lies and betrayal.
      Adult Literary Thriller

      Deranged novelist, Muldoon, starts with just a title—Incognolio. Unsure how to proceed, he gives his subconscious mind free rein. But the fictional world Muldoon creates further unhinges him, as he must discover the meaning of Incognolio or die trying.
      Adult Cozy Mystery

      Hot young actress Katrina Irvine is killed at Ashling's fairytale park--right in the middle of a performance of Sleeping Beauty. With no obvious cause of death or a weapon, the question is not only who did it, but how?
      Adult Historical Fiction
      A farcical comedy about a doctor in Georgian England who stumbles across a simple, five-step variation of pelvic massage that seems to cure hysteria—potentially making him the most famous scientist of his day—until a dastardly rival steals it.

      Adult Historical Fantasy

      To escape the life planned out for him, James stows aboard a pirate ship, finding himself on an uncharted island in the midst of a love affair with a faery queen. Now he just has to stay alive.

      Adult Historical romance set in Victorian England

      Crippled on a mission gone wrong, a deadly assassin falls for his nurse…whose father’s his next target. He must decide whether to betray his brethren to save her kin or finish the kill, and lose the woman he loves.

    • PING
      Adult Women's Fiction

      Olivia’s tried boudoir pics, therapy and adult toy parties to rekindle her marriage, but what heats up is an online friendship with an old flame. The incidental fire could help reignite her twenty-year marriage or scorch it.
      Adult Women's Fiction

      Maggie, a reluctant socialite, still understands the expectations upon her, knows she cannot accept Gavin's proposal. Years later, successful on her own terms, Maggie returns home still in love, but Gavin won't let go of his grudge.
      Adult Science Fiction/Space Opera

      Bonnie meets Clyde to save the universe from a hard reset.
    GOOD LUCK EVERYONE! And agents, hope you find something you like!


    When an evil mastermind threatens to destroy Dunton City, they need a hero. Peter Harper wants to be that hero.

    After he saves his sister from a speeding car (with a flat tire), Peter starts to believe he’s special. Lady Bologna, the (fake) fortune-teller, foresees he’s destined for greatness. Even the wise old mentor (mostly old) Sensei Cheng has been waiting for someone like Peter. All signs point toward Peter Harper: The Chosen One (unless they don’t).

    Now, a mysterious crime syndicate known as The Invisible Arm wants to take over the city. It’s Peter’s job to stop (or stay away from) them.


    Peter Harper’s summer started like any other, until his ten-year-old sister wandered into traffic.

    At first, he couldn’t react. His feet stuck to the sidewalk like shriveled weeds—roots twisting deep below the concrete, pulling the soles of his shoes.

    When Sally’s baby blue TOMS stepped from the curb onto the sizzling street, he snapped out of his trance. Before he could process how he got there, Peter had Sally in one arm and raised the other like a traffic cop.

    “Halt!” The word burst from his mouth as the overwhelming heat took his breath away. He shut his eyes and braced for impact.

    A deafening pop shot down Third Street, and a mustard-yellow truck screeched to a stop. The unpleasant aroma of burnt rubber and exhaust hit Peter and Sally, but the truck didn’t follow.

    A skin-and-bones boy got out, scratched his peach fuzz and examined the flat tire.

    “How do you like that?” He wiped his forehead, still unaware of the two cowering children he almost flattened. “First it’s the muffler, now it’s a tire—rusted old hunk of scrap metal—wish it would just die already.”

    Peter turned to Sally. “Are you okay?” She clutched her baseball with the ungloved hand and nodded. Strands of sandy-red hair slipped free from her ponytail and waved in the humid breeze.

    Third Street wasn’t busy, but Sally chose the worst moment to chase after her baseball. She tossed the ball up and down everywhere she went. Peter never saw her drop it. Except that one time.

    TWT: A GOOD GIRL NA Romance

    Desperate to escape her reputation of being easy, Charlie knows college is the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself. Her new identity, Charlotte, is a good girl who doesn't drink, party, or sleep around. In a place where no one knows her it’s easy living the lie—until she meets irresistible guitar player Dominic Hudson. Charlie would’ve eaten him up and spat him out, but he’s everything Charlotte’s trying hard to avoid.

    Determined to keep up her act of good girl she refuses to sleep with Dominic, despite the sparks that fly every time they’re together. As the boundaries of their friendship begin to blur, Charlotte knows that if they cross the line she will have to tell him about her past, and risk losing him altogether.
    Charlotte needs to find a balance between being true to herself and remaining a good girl.


    Morning sunshine filters through the blinds, like daggers stabbing at my subconscious forcing me to waken from my slumber. My head pounds ferociously as the hangover from hell squeezes my brain like a vice.

    Groaning, I roll over and freeze as my arm brushes a warm, muscular body. I crack open one sleep-encrusted eye and see a naked guy lying next to me, face down, sound asleep on the bed.

    Clenching my eyes tight, I groan again as I wrack my brain for the missing details of last night. I remember the house party—too many beers and far too many tequila slammers—and there was a really attractive guy talking to me. What was his name? Shit. I have no idea. Did I even ask?

    When I sit up, my head spins as I fight down a wave of nausea and panic; I have to get out of here. I’ve stayed longer than I normally do, testament to the amount of alcohol I consumed last night. The sound of mumbling interrupts my hysteria and I turn to the other side. There is another guy lying on his back. Wait, what? Still half-asleep, he wraps his arm around my waist and pulls me tightly against him. I freeze, slapping my hand over my mouth to stifle the scream that rushes up inside me.

    Fuck.What have I done? What the hell happened last night, and why am I in bed with two guys? Two very hot guys, but seriously what the fuck?

    TWT: THE WHITCRAFT MANEUVER Adult Historical Fiction


    It’s 1829, and Dr. William Whitcraft has just had the breakthrough of a lifetime—he’s discovered a miraculous new treatment for hysteria. And it’s just in time, too, as he and his colleagues have had their hands full with the suffering, fits of rage, and coquettish behavior of its female victims. The best available treatment has always been pelvic massage, but it’s so very exhausting and unpleasant for the administering physician, often taking hours before a successful “conclusion” is obtained.

    After fruitless attempts to improve the process, Dr. Whitcraft almost gave up. But then he consulted Elizabeth Minnock, famous London procuress. Bemused by his pursuit, she casually showed him a five-step manual technique, guaranteed to work on every woman, every time…and in less than ten minutes.

    Now, throngs of hysterical women flock to receive the Whitcraft Maneuver, and his practice is thriving. And when he publishes his findings in the Lancet, he’ll be the most celebrated physician in England.

    But a dashing fellow professional has other ideas, and hatches an evil plan to make the Whitcraft Maneuver his own. Dr. Whitcraft is thunderstruck by his treachery, and can only watch as the credit for the most important medical breakthrough in recent history is stolen away. But Mrs. Minnock is a powerful ally, and together they hatch a diabolical plan of their own…a plan for revenge.


    “Where is she, then?”

    “Can’t you hear, Doctor? Just follow the screaming, up the hall and to the right. She’s destroyed absolutely every piece of furniture in her dressing-room and has moved on to Mr. Wedfellow’s study—”

    “Good Lord,” Dr. Whitcraft muttered, quickening his pace as the butler followed closely behind. Now that he was deeper into the house, he could begin to make out the ravings of his patient in the throes of a hysterical rage. It was likely going to be a difficult morning.

    “And where is Mr. Wedfellow?”

    “I would guess that he has stepped out, sir,” said the butler as he rushed past and stopped in front of the closed study door. Behind it, it sounded as though a team of laborers were rearranging the room. 

    Dr. Whitcraft stepped forward, flattened his palm against the door and leaned in to listen. He grimaced at a profoundly unfeminine string of curses—and then there was a monumental crash.

    The two men drew breath and looked at one another with wide eyes. Dr. Whitcraft pursed his lips and placed his hand on the knob. 
    It was locked, of course. 
    “Is there a key?” 
    The butler’s frightened countenance turned contemplative. “I believe there may be, sir. In the pantry. I’ll have to go and see.”


    The butler scurried down the corridor. Dr. Whitcraft turned back to the door, pondering. What was the best way to go about managing this difficult situation?

    TWT: OF A PALM BEACH PERSUASION Adult Women's Fiction


    When the bubble pops on the real estate market, The Ellis family, although Palm Beach royalty, find themselves upside down on multiple properties and in serious need of liquid assets. Maggie Ellis is most amused when her father decides to rent their Palm Beach mansion to an L.A. band hunkering down to write their next album. Amused that is, until the musicians staying in her father’s home reconnect Maggie to her only love, her high school boyfriend, who’s proposal she once fled.


    And yes, more than ten years later, she’s still embarrassed about that.

    Between closing on her own first home, keeping up with the projects she’s planned for it, and managing her career as a food photographer and the food blogger behind, “Picture Perfect Recipes,” Maggie knows it’s best to stay clear of the inevitable love tangles quickly knotting between her extended family and the men staying in her childhood home. But mostly, she wants to avoid Gavin, whose part in those entanglements tear at the heart she now realizes never healed.

    It’s Persuasion under the glare of the baking south Florida sun with jet ski accidents instead of sea wall tumbles, and a modern heroine who is not lifted in and out of carriages because she drives her own Mercedes.

    250: (The book begins with a blog post.)

    February 15, 2007
    Almond Granola Bark, a.k.a. Road Trip Fuel

    Recipe Box File Under: snacks, other

    What do you like to eat on road trips? What if the trip begins on snowy roads and ends in 85 degree heat? What if it’s a moving road trip? A you-lived-somewhere-eleven-years but... it’s time. Chapter closed. On the road.

    Is there a food for that?

    When this publishes I will be winding around DC’s Dupont Circle, my townhouse of the past six years disappearing in the back window. I will weave and turn until I find myself on 395 soon to be spit out on 95, the highway that takes me to my hometown home. I’m moving back.

    The Florida girl is still in me. I love the sun and the heat and the mangoes. The thick salty air. Driving past Sandhill Cranes by the dozen pecking through an empty lot or coming home to a smaller family group of the birds honking a parade down my driveway. (Yes, this has happened.) I don’t even mind braking for alligators (also true), though I’m not crazy about the giant lizards (tiny dinosaurs). We’ll blame them for my 11-year hiatus.

    But you know how I am. Of course I’ve got to tie up the loose ends for work and organize the packing, but I’ve also got to plan the travel menu. No surprise - my kitchen was the final room to be dwindled down into boxes.



    Most people have nightmares about falling, being naked in public, stuff like that. Tommy's has claws, fangs, and the ability to see through his eyes. And it managed to break out of dreamland.

    Tommy should have been doing something normal, like playing video games with his buddy. Even studying would have been better than standing on the cornice of a church, 50 feet above the pavement, staring at the fury, wondering which of them would die tonight.

    A week ago, the monster had been a man. A man with a family. Until Tommy’s dream changed all that.




    Sometimes I do the strangest things.

    Like now. For at this moment, I was standing on the Euclid Avenue overpass, conducting last-minute physics experiments. Why could I not instead be entangled in some typical teen escapade, like egging someone’s mailbox? Getting arrested would be infinitely better than getting dead.

    The wind off the lake whipped my bangs into my eyes. This was bad. I needed to be able to see. I had to be able to see. I should have made time for a haircut. I should have made time for a lot of things. Planning. Ninja school. Finding someone, anyone, with enough common sense to talk me out of this.

    What the hell was I thinking?

    Actually, I had planned. Mostly. I'd gone over every other phase of my "stupidcide" mission about a bazillion times. But this part...the part about stepping off a freeway overpass, and hoping to land on a speeding truck below...


    I just hope Galileo was, and my physics texts are, right. Because if they're not, then I'm going to fall a lot faster than the pennies I’ve been dropping. The last thing I wanted to do was arrive early. The second last was arrive late. I now see why stuntmen make big bucks for this kind of thing.

    This morning, I went to school, in body at least. My head certainly wasn’t there. Happily, I had no scheduled tests nor pop quizzes in either high school or “higher school,” which most people call “college.”

    TWT: BEE STADIUM MG Contemporary


    For twelve year old Jake Evans, life without baseball is out of the question. This season, his team has a legitimate shot at going all the way to Williamsport. And at the first practice, Jake finds out he's a top contender for the traveling team playing in a tournament in Japan at the end of the summer. But when he finds out he might be benched for the season because he's failing Language Arts, he panics. He'll do anything do play.

    Lucky for Jake, his teacher offers him an extra credit assignment to help him bring up his grade. Lucky, that is, until Jake finds out what it is. Advance to the school spelling bee. The problem is, Jake can't spell. He's struggled with school his whole life. In last year's classroom spelling bee, he couldn't even spell tulip right. A mistake the school bully, Kyle Filbert, still teases him about.

    As Jake struggles to learn to spell words he can't even pronounce, he realizes he may not touch the mound this season, much less travel to Williamsport or Japan. So, Jake enlists the help of his best friend, and sixth grade know-it-all, Brit to help him study. Because if he doesn't hunker down and learn to spell, he'll never escape Kyle's bullying, he may not move to the next grade, and he could lose his one and only shot at little league stardom.


    Harrison Templeton has a big fat head. Thankfully I sit right behind him. When I slouch, Mrs. Cooper, my seventh-period Language Arts Teacher, can't see a single hair on my entirely proportionally-sized head.

    My right knee taps in time with each second - thirty minutes to go. I've been waiting for-freaking-ever for the first day of baseball practice. This year we might go all the way to the Little League World Series.

    "Can anyone tell me from what point of view the Red Badge of Courage is written?" Mrs. Cooper asks, pacing in front of the white board wielding a dry erase marker like a bayonet.

    Ugh. I'd rather eat moldy broccoli than read this book.

    They should let us read something cool, like The Boy Who Saved Baseball or The Wild Pitch. Heck, I kind of even likedHoles. All this talk of themes and symbolism makes me want to poke my eye out with my number two pencil.

    I duck out of her line of sight. She's going to call on someone to read out loud soon.

    “Jake?” Hearing my name shouted shakes me out of my thoughts.

    “What?” My voice comes out high, like a girl. I push myself upright and shrug my shoulders.

    Next to me, Kyle Filbert snickers, his black hair flopping forward and covering one of his eyes like a pirate's eye patch. I shoot my arch-enemy a dirty look and ball my hand up into a tight fist under my desk. Sometimes I really want to punch the jerk in the face.

    [Removed per author's request]


    TWT: ENSNARED BY YOU Adult Historical Romance


    Bred to strike hard and fast, Lysander belongs to an elite guild of assassins known as The Shadows. When their latest mission goes awry, he’s betrayed by his own and left for dead. From the depths of oblivion, Lysander awakens to a ravishing angel caressing him in the most intimate of places…and to find he’s crippled and immobile. With the police hunting The Shadows, he’s trapped with no choice but to claim he has no recollection of who he is.

    Spirited country miss Lady Olivia Woodward is mortified when she’s caught stroking him down there. In her defense, she was bathing him. The enigmatic hero saved her father from a harrowing assassination attempt; the least she could do is nurse him back to health. But the man defies all rules of convalescence. He’s arrogant. Exasperating. Infuriating. And gorgeous as sin. Attraction sizzles as tempers fly, clashes of ire caving to torrid, delirious pleasure.

    Drawn by her tender compassion, Lysander knows every kiss is stolen, every touch forbidden. His past will resurface, and when it does, it will destroy Olivia’s trust...for he was sent to kill her father, not save him. As the police close in on unraveling his identity, The Shadows lurk in the darkness, reminding Lysander to finish his task. But they’re not the only ones after Olivia’s father. A deranged madman is on the loose and will stop at nothing to annihilate Olivia’s entire family. With the clock ticking down, Lysander must choose. His loyalty torn, will he betray his brethren and risk everything for Olivia? Or will he stand by his allegiance, and lose the only woman he’s ever loved?


    The seductive sway of her hips set his teeth on edge.

    The flame-haired minx pranced atop a wooden table, shimmying to the suggestive beat of the piano. Strands of silk clung to her like floating serpents in vibrant hues of orange, purple and red. Men leaned closer, straining, greedily drinking in the sight of her alabaster skin with a lusty smack of their tobacco-stained lips. The smoke-filled joint crawled with trollops, yet the blokes were mesmerized, captivated by this voluptuous, earthy gypsy.

    One male was markedly less enthralled.

    Lysander glared at her.

    Not that she paid him any mind. She seldom did, these days.

    Not a minute ago, she’d been onstage, the platform serving a good five-foot buffer from the salivating rough-and-tumble audience. Lysander had turned away to order ale from a passing tavern wench. When he glanced back, his heart stuttered. She was no longer there. He forced down his panic, scanning the dim-lit pub. He discarded the potbellied drunkards, their tattered clothing dirtied from toiling on the wharves, fresh off a hard day’s work and out to spend their coin. The whores with their smudged kohl-lined eyes and brittle smiles, one hand pleasing a man, the other dipping into his purse.

    Where the bloody hell was she? He clenched his fists, about to muscle his way through the horde when he caught sight of her. His anger pulsed.

    The buffer zone was lost.

    Halfway across the bar, she danced on a table, toying with a man’s neckerchief. The beetle-nosed troll gazed at her adoringly, more than willing to let her unwind the linen from his neck.



    All twelve-year-old Ellie Emerson wants to do is make some friends. Problem is, that’s kinda hard when nobody wants a science-geek around.

    But when Ellie discovers Arborites, elf-like beings born from the seed of a tree, living in the woods behind her house, they’re actually glad to see her. Trees and Arborites all over the forest are mysteriously becoming sick, and they think Quercus Supreme, leader of the Oak Arborites, is to blame. The Arborites need to find out what’s going on and come up with a way to stop it, but they can’t do it on their own. Ellie has been drawn into a mystical world where she finally has a chance to show just what makes her special.


    Ellie’s favorite tree was lying on the forest floor in a tangled heap. The only branch covered with any of the yellow leaves of autumn waved in the breeze like it was signaling for help.

    Everything’s fine, Ellie thought. Just don’t look.

    “Hey Cassie, wanna read?” she said to the old chestnut tree. “How about another chapter of Gulliver’s Travels? Or I’ve got a new book called Remarkable Trees of the World. There’s a whole section on giants and another on trees in peril!” She pulled away from the tree and felt around for her backpack, opening one eye just enough to find the zipper. As she reached inside for the books, she noticed ants crawling on her sleeve. “Eww,” she said, her eyes opening wide. She flicked the ants off and ran her hands all over her body just to be sure there weren’t any more. She glanced down her front and around to her back. And that’s when she saw the massive army of black ants marching along the fallen trunk. No, no, no, no, no.

    “Shoo, get off,” she yelled. “Leave my friend alone!” She pulled off her sneaker and beat at them like trying to stop a wildfire. But for every ant squished, many more came to take its place. I can’t let them do this to her. Ellie tossed the shoe aside and grabbed a large pine branch off the ground. Holding it with both hands in front of her, she dragged the needles back and forth across the tree, flinging ants in every direction.

    TWT: PING Adult Women's Fiction


    Olivia’s trying. She goes to therapy, she prods Tony into a sexy, boudoir photo shoot, her girlfriends bring her to an adult toy party and she consults Cosmo. But her twenty-plus year marriage continues cooling. Then one dull night, poking around on the Internet, Jake pokes back. Olivia fondly remembers him from a lovely, long-ago summer evening. Jake remains charming and attentive, and like Olivia, his marriage is also discouraging. “The sex could be more frequent,” he tells her. “The nagging less so.”

    PING brings you inside Olivia’s honest, funny and increasingly restless and reckless approach to life. The things she used to focus on—family, including a high school son; a less than challenging job at a second-tier ad agency; and writing a middle-grade time travel novel are succumbing to time spent on tantalizing late-night chat sessions with Jake.

    If Olivia and Jake dare to take their flirtation offline, will Olivia find the excitement she craves, or will it begin the implosion of everything she holds dear?


    On the morning of her forty-fourth birthday, Olivia lay in that lovely post-orgasmic bliss, her right hand rested gently on her naked chest feeling her slowly stilling breaths. She flicked her tongue across her lips, enjoying the flood of sensations, even as they lessened. Turning her head slightly to look at her husband’s profile, she removed the other hand from the moist spot between her legs. She reached to stroke Tony’s sleeping face and thought, not for the first time, Why the hell can’t you do that to me?


    Olivia protested, but not terribly hard, when Nancy pushed the small, brightly wrapped package across the tiny wrought-iron table. “You didn’t have to buy me anything,” Olivia said, reaching for it.

    “Of course I did. You would have been disappointed if I hadn’t.”

    Olivia laughed, “True.”

    The friends sat outside at a fashionable uptown café enjoying the last heat of Indian summer. Potted sweet potato vines, oversized from several warm, rainy weeks cascaded out of planters, and pooled at their feet.

    Olivia unwrapped the present carefully, commenting on the charming pastel buttons Nancy had attached to the Kraft Paper wrap.

    “Anyway,” Nancy said, watching Olivia, “I always buy you a birthday gift, and routine is good for me. And obviously for my therapist, since she tells me that every week.”

    “Then this is therapeutic for both of us.” Olivia lifted the delicate gold hoop earrings from the box. “They’re lovely, thank you.” She half stood and reached across the table to hug Nancy.


    Gideon Hardy is eleven years old and going blind. The doctors said, “No cure,” and they meant it. No amount of money would buy a solution and no battle of wits could solve the problem. With the diagnosis, Gideon believes his days of being an ordinary kid, of hiking and stargazing, are over.

    Then the sneaky shadow plaguing Gideon’s eyesight starts to whisper. Teasing him. Threatening him.

    Not good.

    While Gideon tries to ignore the shadow’s taunts, his parents and doctors try to help him adjust to living with a disability. But the constant concerns and corrections are too much, so he seeks respite in the only place he can: his dreams. When asleep, he meets and befriends Baku, a nightmare eater, who invites Gideon to spend more and more time in the dream world. Together they help other children escape from their darkest fears, and Gideon finds a new purpose, until Baku accidentally lets slip that staying asleep for too long might reap dangerous consequences for human boys.

    As darkness encases his vision, Gideon has to decide if he will abandon his parents and real life for his dreams, a place where he can still “see”.

    Gideon Hardy stood on the stage of a large opera house with rows of empty wooden benches gawking back at him. Thick velvet curtains hung from the fly loft, the hems nailed to the floor by rusted railroad ties, closing off any possible retreat.

    Gideon scanned the house, looking for where the evil sorcerer hid. The hint of movement, the brim of a pointed hat. A wisp of black cape. Anything.

    Lightning shot across the domed ceiling, nearly hitting the enormous chandelier. Thunder boomed with no delay between sight and sound. Impossible from inside a building, but then this was a dream.

    Gideon knew that much.

    “You need me, Gideon. Become a friend of the shadows and they will gladly embrace you.” From somewhere in the second balcony, the evil sorcerer laughed. “I will embrace you as a friend.”

    “No thank you,” said Gideon, his voice barely leaving the stage. Gold and grand, the opera house made Gideon feel undersized. Beneath him, the orchestra pit glowed with amber light, as if a thousand fireflies hid below the lip.

    The sorcerer cackled again, still out of sight.

    “Perhaps you need more demonstration of my power?”

    Gideon widened his stance, squaring his shoulders. Warrior pose, like his mother taught him. In his right hand, he held an oak wand. He’d never used a magical wand before, but it somehow felt natural in his grasp. Familiar.

    Again, he saw a flash of lightning and heard the boom of thunder. This time the chandelier shattered.

    TWT: ALWAYS (...) Adult Commercial Fiction

    [Retracted by writer's request.]

    TWT: CAPTAIN Adult Historical Fantasy

    James is tired of having life dictated to him. At twenty years old, he wants to be his own man. He wants to see the world and all it has to offer. Stowing away on his uncle’s ship, however, he leaves London behind only to find himself on an uncharted island in the midst of a pirate crew.

    After escaping inland, he discovers a race of faeries and befriends their queen. Soon, friendship turns to forbidden love, with the penalty of death if they are discovered. James wants her to run away with him, but she is beholden to her people. If he stays with her, however, his chances of seeing the world are over. And perhaps his very life, as well. He has no idea he’s even being hunted.

    Exposing the human journey behind the well-known story of Peter Pan, CAPTAIN takes us on an adventure through a brand-new world to learn the real facts behind the rise of Captain James Hook and to decide for ourselves who really is the villain of the tale. Think Gregory Maguire with less talking Animals.


    James Lamport was going to sea.

    As he strode toward the London Docks, he couldn’t help but smile. He was going to see it. The world. All of it.

    All he had to do was ask his Uncle Argo. The sailor’s ship had just come in, and James would make certain he was on it the next time it went out.

    He drew more than a few second glances as he walked onto the docks, his pressed waistcoat a stark contrast to the working men’s attire around him, but he paid them no mind. The bustling stevedores, the barrels of pickled herring from the North Sea, the merchants selling tobacco and pearls and shrunken heads – this was what excited him. He inhaled the tangy scent of filth and fish and his heart quickened.

    “Oi lad – catch!”

    James was struck in the face with a burlap sack that smelled like something dragged up from the bottom of the river.

    The booming voice spoke again: “Come to carry me laundry?”

    He looked up and saw his portly uncle standing a few feet off with his pipe in his mouth, a second pack thrown over his shoulder.

    “Uncle Argo!” They both dropped their bags and embraced one another. James felt his uncle’s pipe nick his ear, and his thick beard chaff against his cheek. His uncle smelled of brine and seaweed covered up by exotic perfumes from the Tropics. “It’s so good to see you!”



    In the country of Haviland, Liko’s people are called thieves for stealing the protection barriers and raising them around their own cities. The barriers protected them from the ruler’s mind controlling spell, and that makes the thieves an uncontrollable liability.

    Liko has trained her whole life to fight against hunters, the elite force behind Haviland’s rulers. But her leader, Sariya, decides Liko is better suited for cartography and scholarly tasks. Hoping to prove her worth, Liko leaves the city and captures a hunter named Kochie. Sariya magically binds Kochie to Liko, forcing him to protect her with his life – if Liko dies, he dies.

    Together, Liko and Kochie must retrieve a spell book translation to break the ruler’s control and prevent a bloody war between the hunters and thieves. But with other hunters tracking them down and Liko’s suspicions that Kochie will do anything to recover his freedom—including breaking the bind by force—they might just end up dead before the war begins.

    THE BOUND AND THE CURSED is a told in both Liko and Kochie’s POVs, able to stand on its own, with series potential. I believe it will appeal to fans of strong heroines and romantic relationships such as Sarah Beth Durst’s VESSEL and Cassandra Rose Clarke’s THE ASSASSIN’S CURSE Duology.


    Liko took a deep breath and smoothed her way over the ceiling beam.The wood was slippery enough to slide right off and fall two stories to the unforgiving marble floor below. Her nails dug into the wood and she had to force them into fists to stop them from fidgeting as she peeked over the side of the rafter. If she was going to steal a mission, she wouldn’t let a simple deadly drop stop her.

    Three figures stood below Liko; Imperio Sariya, and the two boys she was briefing.

    Sariya stood in front of her desk. Liko could only see the back of her black short hair and her silk robes curling around her. Nayeeshi stood stone straight in front of Sariya; the only thing that ruined his
    perfectly ironed appearance was the mop of black hair he refused to let anyone touch. Tarin stood next to him, a striking contrast to Nayeeshi. He made looking like he rolled out of bed an attractive form of art. His orangey hair was mussed up, and his uniform jacket was unzipped, his low hanging shirt showing off his collarbones. He was way too handsome for his own good.

    Papers and inkpots were strewn over the surface of the oak desk that consumed the center of the room. To the right of a half melted wax candle and stamp, an oversized porcelain cup filled with steaming kahvē sat. Its rich smell encompassed the room; a nutty, chocolaty aroma, with a hint of hazelnut. The Imperio lived off that stuff.

    TWT: LIBERTY OR DEATH YA Historical Fantasy


    Boston, 1777— The British left because something worse arrived.

    By day, seventeen-year-old Amity Somerset is an obedient daughter. She perfects her needlework, learns French, practices the minuet, and just like her parents, studiously ignores all that has gone wrong in their world— such as the deaths of her three siblings at the claws of gargoyles. Yet at night, in the company of the Nighters, she rallies against the bloodthirsty supernatural creatures that hunt the citizens of Boston as their favorite prey.

    Upset with her parents over the announcement of her arranged marriage, Amity breaks the Nighter's number one rule: Never go on shift alone. She nearly meets her demise by spiked gargoyle tail until an outsider named Patrick saves her life. Desirous of becoming a Nighter, he's quickly inducted into their ranks. But Patrick has his own reasons besides vengeance for joining up— reasons that have the potential to change the future of the newly formed United States of America.

    Because as Amity soon discovers, not all gargoyles are mindless predators...or fully grown.


    The coal chute is rather what I imagine a snake’s belly to be like— cold, cramped, and dark. I slide through the soot-tainted air and land with a dull thump upon a goose-down mattress. A gargoyle’s high-pitched scream vibrates the metal overhead, along with several loud metallic clangs.

    Scrambling up, I look quickly ‘round. My favorite knife had made the descent ahead of me, knocked from my hand as I’d dived for the chute. Before I can spy it, my partner shoots out in a blur of dark clothing and pale skin— and lands with an audible hiss of pain.

    I grimace down at Benjamin, hoping some soft, vital part of him hadn’t found my knife in landing. My concern abates as he clambers off the mattress, his head bent over his hand. Set in the soft pad of his palm is a small hole. Though Nighters often incur injury over their nail-studded shields, the occasional puncture wound is inevitably better than being taken by a gargoyle.

    Puncture wounds can heal; a caught and carried means certain death.

    “Would this be yours?”

    The cellar guard holding out my knife isn’t one I recognize. As word of us has grown, the Nighters have swelled in rank, drawing others with a desire for vengeance. I take the knife with murmured thanks and return it to my pistol belt.

    Below the leather, my hip bone aches; there's nothing comfortable about landing on pistol butts and unforgiving knife handles.



    Manny Peña is a nine-year-old boy who spends a lot of time practicing superhero moves. And even though his skills are pretty advanced, he still can’t figure out how to stay out of trouble at school – especially in library class. So, when he’s banned from checking out books for what amounts to his entire life, he declares war on the school librarian.

    But even with fastidious planning, and help from his best bud Rudy, Manny’s revenge plots spin out of control. When all he’s left with is a hostage library fish swimming laps in the boys’ room toilet, and a seriously furious principal, Manny reaches an all-time low. After all, he has no library book, no dog (stolen), no dad (left), and next to no one to believe in him. With the “troublemaker” label hanging heavy, Manny has to find a way to make a comeback before “bad-label kid” becomes his truth. Good thing he spends so much time on those superhero moves.


    Four shark teeth and a coyote skull that looked like a shoe. That’s all it took to get me banned from checking out library books for the rest of my life.

    But it was my super sharp laser beam vision that got me in trouble in the first place.

    Fact: I saw my school librarian, Ms. Vandershoot with her finger up her nose. Next fact: I saw her eat boogers. And right after she ate the first one, her mouth was drooling like she was hungry for more.

    So when I told everyone in my whole second grade class what Ms. Vandershoot was up to, I was just telling the truth. Everybody in the library made a really loud “ewwwww” sound, and John Paz pretended to throw up in the trash.

    “MANNY!” Ms. Vandershoot yelled my name. Which I’m used to, ‘cause teachers scream at me a lot. But this time, Vandershoot blew fire through her snout when she said it. Then, she made the usual death threats, and told me that she didn’t want to see my little face. After that, she sent me to the bad kid desk in the back of the library.

    But having to keep your head down gets really hot. And after awhile it’s hard to breathe.

    So I kept popping my eyes up - kind of like an alligator peeking up over the water. I’d poke my mouth up too, just to get some fresh air. But being all alone gets boring. Fast.

    TWT: COVETED YA Urban Fantasy


    When a Friday night ends with World War III breaking out in downtown Kansas City, dungeons and dragons style, Caleb Dunnelly hits the dirt. Buildings crumble, black fire spreads, and a bunch of gun-toting wizards rain down a shitstorm of bullet-riddled magic and mayhem. The wicked part? They’re fighting over him.

    His parents, if he had any, would be proud. Only seventeen, and he’s made someone’s most wanted list. Now he’s on the run from a group of murderous Merlins, with no clue what they want until he’s captured by a fiery redhead who insists the kidnapping is actually a rescue mission. Dubbed Scarlet the one-woman-militia, the redhead reveals Caleb possess the ability to raise the dead, and the wizards aim to kill him before he uses it to enslave mankind.

    Caleb doesn’t want to enslave anyone, but try telling that to the lunatics with the glowing swords. Scarlet says this craziness will continue until he’s either killed or triggers The Rise, whatever that is. Given the steadily increasing number of people who want to mount his head on a pike, this weekend isn’t going to end well.



    Caleb stared at the headline with practiced apathy. Three simple words emblazoned across his computer screen leered up at him from article after article, news post after news post. It was an old truth, but the pain tied to it burned fresh.

    Presumed means probably. His parents were probably dead. Not definitely.

    He repeated the thought until the pressure in his chest deflated. Deep breaths drew him from the brink and he lowered his hands from his face. Pull it in and push it down.

    Shoving from the desk, he glanced at his occupied couch. Nestled in the crook of the arm, L’Dawn swept bangs from her face and tucked them behind her ear. Her hand dropped against her shoulder, the collar of her t-shirt cut away, leaving a wide arch that exposed soft, caramel skin. Not the outfit she wore to school today.

    She’d changed before coming over, even put on more makeup for some reason, something about wanting to be ‘comfy’. The effort women put into relaxing was ridiculous, and didn’t more work sort of defeat the point? He hoped she was good and cozy, because her comfort was making him squirm.

    His eyes traced the path one dark curl marked against her neck, down to where it dipped just beneath the front of her shirt. His palms itched at the thought of brushing that hair aside. Instead, he tightened his grip on the arm of the chair. It creaked under his fingers, and she looked up.

    TWT: MOUTH OF THE SOUTH MG Historical Fiction

    During the summer of 1960, when eleven-year-old PATSY DANCY, a.k.a. “Mouth of the South” goes off to Girl Scout Camp, heaven help her she can’t seem to control what comes out of her mouth, no matter how many times her mother has warned her to think before she speaks.

    Lordy Mordy, Patsy hates change more than anything else, and this summer is jam-packed with—you guessed it--change. How is it that Patsy finds herself experiencing unexpected changes at Camp Occonneechee deep in the Smoky Mountains ? Especially since she thought last year had filled her life-time quota of change.

    It’s all because this summer, Patsy craves an adventure. And, boy howdy, does she get one. At Camp Occonneechee, she experiences her first-ever time away from home, starts her period, is forced to wear a boob contraption, shaves her legs as a club initiation, and wages an all-out war against another girl in her cabin. Hallelujah for a new friend, May, and a diary replacing her overflowing journal at home to see her through each new event.

    Returning home to Charlotte , NC , Patsy is shocked at rumors of possible change involving her best friend, Olivia, and mystified by change she sees in last year’s nemesis, Wayne . As is her custom, Patsy turns to Viola, Olivia’s colored maid, for a heaping plateful of comfort and wisdom.

    Patsy learns that all change is not bad; new friends can be made in unexpected places; it is okay to write down all her thoughts, but she needs to censor what she says. Being Mouth of the South can give one permanent Foot ‘n Mouth disease.

    In fifth grade, Patsy discovered writing. This summer she writes through her new experiences with her diary entries and original poetry. Life seems to be full of twists and turns for Patsy this summer. And she’s just gonna have to grow with them.


    Fingers of July sunlight snaked through the interlocking foliage overhead and scattered brown diamonds across the lazy waters of Sugar Creek. Patsy and Olivia waded barefoot, ankle-deep, down the main channel, stopping ever so often to turn over a rock or scoop up petals blown into the water from near-by mimosa trees. They tucked the feathery mimosa clusters into their hair and behind their ears. Sweat beads still sprinkled their foreheads from the bike ride down Arnold Drive to the creek.

    “I’ll be leaving in a few days, you know,” Patsy said as she kicked a spray of water into the heavy air.

    “Does it have to be for two weeks?” Olivia whined. “Why not just one?”

    Eleven-year-old Patsy shrugged. “Dunno. Just is, I guess.”

    “You’re NOT going to like it, you know.”

    “That’s what you keep telling me—for a gazillion times now. But this is Girl Scout Camp, not church camp. It’s bound to be different.”

    “ALL camp is the same: bad food, hot cabins—it’s JULY, for crying out loud--, and boring crafts.” Olivia bent over to scratch a chigger bite. “Not to mention the other obnoxious campers whose parents sent them to camp to get rid of them for two weeks. Tell your mom you’re sick and can’t go.”

    Patsy turned over a large rock, watched a crawdad wiggle away, and swished her muddy hands in the creek water. Olivia isn’t usually such a sour-puss, she thought. I bet she’s worried about something.


    Sixteen-year-old Sara is convinced that her life is completely under control. Her grades aren’t perfect (she’s failing three classes), and her friends aren’t the best influence (she’s caught up in the gritty world of Speedway). But her grandmother always said that it’s important to keep up appearances and Sara’s façade is well in place. It’s almost as good as her mother who hides her crippling OCD.

    But while her exterior is immaculate, Sara is falling apart. She spends the majority of her time cleaning the house to ensure her mother doesn’t spiral out of control. Between that, a part-time job, and her chaotic relationship with Speedway racer, Logan, Sara is beginning to believe that anxiety runs in the family.

    Sara wasn’t raised to ask for help, but she needs to decide who she can trust before it all falls apart. It’s no longer just her grades on the line, but her first love, her health and most importantly, her mother.

    Chemicals Collide is a 75,000 word, young adult novel that delves into the world of obsessive-compulsive disorder. It tells the tale of a girl learning to stand on her own two feet with the help of those who want to build her up, not tear her down.


    Getting ready was exhausting.

    An acidic stench filled the air and I struggled not to gag as I scoured the bottom of the shower. My wet hair dangled in the suds and I leaned forward as far as possible without actually entering the stall. The bathroom was already immaculate but if I left without removing the watermarks, my mother would panic and spend the rest of the afternoon doing a job I could do in five minutes.

    My phone buzzed to life on the counter and I reached out to grab it. “Hello?”

    “You’re late, Sara.”

    I closed my eyes and cursed under my breath. “The ice-cream store… I’m sorry Tahina, I completely forgot.”

    “I can see that. So lay it on me, what’s your excuse?”

    “Um…” I glanced around the bathroom. How could I explain that I was wrapped in a towel, up to my elbows in suds, and not even close to being ready?

    “Actually,” Tahina interrupted. “I don’t even want to know. You can make it up to me by coming to the Speedway tonight.”

    My mouth dropped. “What? No. Tahina, I hate the Speedway.”

    “You’ve never even been,” she reminded me.

    “I know, but…” All that dirt, all that dust, my mother would have a fit.

    “But nothing,” Tahina interrupted. “I’ll pick you up in fifteen minutes, and you better be ready. You’ve blown me off twice this week.”


    I didn’t get the chance to complain because a dial tone was already sounding in my ear.



    Genre: Adult, Thriller

    Word Count: 78,000

    Pitch: Child Advocate Sam Dakota encounters a child he can't save--his son. After two years with no decent leads, he hires Rami Amato, a P.I. with an aversion to “kid cases,” who uncovers a conspiracy of lies and betrayal.

    After seven years as an advocate, Sam Dakota encounters a child he can't protect--his son. When Danny vanishes, the chance of finding out who took him dwindles with every dead end. Faced with impossible odds, Sam makes a tough decision to hire Rami Amato, a P.I. with an aversion to “kid cases.” Amato uncovers a conspiracy of lies and betrayal that threatens to bury all hope of finding Danny alive. Then, the letters arrive.

    Strange notes depicting the horrors being exacted on his son show up at Sam’s job and his home, but there's nothing the authorities can do. The ongoing nightmare consumes Sam's life as the kidnapper starts a clock, counting down to Danny's death. Rami can't let another case end like this, and it's clear Sam won't survive getting that final letter. Everyone's time is running out.


    The water ran hot across Sam’s skin, punishing him. His feet were tired from chasing down leads yesterday and posting fliers he knew wouldn’t make a difference. The water couldn’t wash away the sense of doom that hovered, deepened by the trill of his cell in the bedroom. Groaning, he glanced at the digital clock on the bathroom mirror. He used to think it was cool. Now, it represented things best left alone. 6:30, nothing good came of a call this early. Dripping, towel draped around his waist, he slid across the slick tile floor to the closest phone.


    “Yo. Jimmy Slade.”

    “When?” Sam’s wet hair slapped at his back as he shook out the excess moisture.

    “An hour ago. Dunc said tell you not to come alone.” Jimmy’s drawl diminished the words.

    Sam’s damp skin chilled, and his empty stomach roiled. He hung up, slipping once on the wet floor before he made it to the bathroom where his diaphragm went nuts.

    Nothing came up. As usual, he remembered nothing after the call or the drive to the M.E.’s office.


    Cold. Murky. Dank.

    Wholly devoid of life.

    Even the people who worked here wore death like a cloak they put on at the door.

    Visiting this place had always been a hazard of Sam’s job, one he gave little thought, but that was B.D., before Danny’s disappearance. A.D., after Danny disappeared each visit brought him statistically closer to a body turning out to be his son.

    TWT: STEPPING OUT OF PLACE MG Historical Fiction


    Thirteen-year-old Mitchell Jackson is caught in the crossfire between his peacemaking Mama and his civil rights activities Papa. Should he wait for the change? Or force it? Mitchell always relied on Grandpa to help him understand life, but during the time of Papa’s heated civil rights battles, Mitchell has to make his own decision—Grandpa is gone.

    Mitchell is given Grandpa’s Hohner harmonica as a memorial keepsake, and remembers how Grandpa played it to keep peace in the family. Mitchell is determined to “work the magic” of that harmonica, too. He struggles to understand Papa’s “civil rights drive”, until he remembers how Grandpa took notes from President Kennedy’s Civil Rights Address and kept them in his Bible. Mitchell retrieves the notes and studies them. As Mitchell awaits the “change” that Grandpa assured him was coming, he befriends Grandpa’s old friend, Mr. Willie Barnes. The change comes sooner than Mitchell thinks when Papa tells the family of President Lyndon B. Johnson passing the Civil Rights Act. Papa offers Mitchell the opportunity to attend an all-white Belvoir High in the fall, and Mitchell impulsively agrees. Mitchell’s torn with his decision, as it yanks his family further apart, and shatters his friendship with his white neighbor, Billy Jones. Mitchell depends on Mr. Willie’s musical analogies of the world and snippets of President Kennedy’s Civil Rights Address for inspiration and guidance. Over the summer, Mitchell denounces Billy’s friendship and chooses to face his challenge alone. As tensions mount, the cost of making a change in a stubborn community is high. Mitchell discovers that he’ll need more than family and music to retain his courage—he’ll need Billy’s friendship.


    Not much spooked me. At least not until I opened the little black harmonica case. Grandpa’s old Hohner sent chills slithering up my spine. Must’ve been the lining of the case. It looked coffin-like. Yeah, that must’ve been what gave me the creeps. That harmonica reminded me too much of Grandpa—lying peacefully.

    Mama gave me Grandpa’s harmonica a month ago. Couldn’t stand the sight of it, so I just shoved it into my sock drawer. Don’t know what possessed me to pull it out now, but I wished I had kept it closed.

    Grandpa made low melodies sneak out of that Hohner as smooth as a baby’s lullaby. Then he’d surprise us with wavy, high-pitched notes that told our feet to pat. He always played from his heart. When his heart stopped, I wondered if the miracle of that harmonica had stopped too.

    I ran my fingers lightly across the burgundy velvet lining, building up my courage to touch it. I slowly curved them over the harmonica, then—

    The screen door banged shut. “Oh, Lord, have mercy,” Mama wailed from the kitchen, “Lord help us.”

    My heart dropped to my stomach, just like it did when Grandpa died. I snapped the case shut—afraid to move.

    “Mitchell! Mitchell!” Mama’s voice was urgent.

    I jammed the case back into my sock drawer and took off down the hall. The sight of my older brother, Ray, froze me in my tracks. He sat slumped in a chair. If it wasn’t for his two friends supporting him, he would’ve hit the floor for sure.

    TWT: BARNABAS AND BIRD Younger MG Fantasy


    When Barnabas says "my heart hurts," Bird knows something big is going to happen. Bird is right.

    Barnabas is an elephant living with a circus at their California winter home. When he feels tiny, tiny, because of his small (for an elephant) size, Bird offers to accompany him on a quest to heal his heart. Together, they build a flying raft and find a sail. When the wind whispers, destiny, they’re ready.

    Barnabas discovers the wind listens to no one, and he’s dropped at its whimsy in the cross country trip. In Nevada, A duck, duck and a goose question his quest. A young bison makes Barnabas re-think his plan in Yellowstone, and Kansas cows help find Bird after a storm separates them. In Michigan, snakes demand a performance before they’ll help rescue the raft stuck in a tree, and Barnabas realizes being large is a matter of believing. As he travels, Barnabas learns that life is full of hurt, but also joy.Then Barnabas learns a secret about Bird that breaks his heart and challenges him to consider what it means to be a friend. When he finds it hard to tell Bird he loves her, he waits until almost too late. Almost.


    When Barnabas said, “my heart hurts,” Bird knew something big was going to happen.

    Bird was right.

    It happened on a full moon night when they should have already been dreaming. Restless, Barnabas paced inside his pen. Bird fluttered from her perch on the center pole to the edge of the red and white striped circus tent. A pacing elephant must always be avoided. Even a small one like Barnabas.

    Had Barnabas known Bird’s thoughts, he might have protested. But he’d passed his third birthday. He would grow no more. He was the smallest elephant in the circus.

    “It’s not fair,” he grumbled. “I hate being tiny.”

    Bird, being the friend she was, wisely did not point out that even as the smallest elephant, Barnabas was larger than every other animal in the circus. Barnabas didn’t want to hear it. Barnabas’ large ears were closed to that truth.

    Being the friend she was, Bird said, “When my heart hurts, I find it helpful to talk about it.”

    “You’re a bird. A canary bird. A yellow canary bird.” Barnabas, fond of stating the obvious, stomped his foot. “What can you know about the hurt in a heart the size of mine? Why, my heart is a thousand times the size of yours.”

    Barnabas didn’t understand that the size of the heart had nothing to do with the pain it could feel. But because she was a very good friend, Bird held her words.

    “I must leave.” Barnabas paced as straw swirled at his feet.

    TWT: I'M IN LOVE WITH A ZOMBIE (...) MG Urban Fantasy w/ zombies

    When thirteen year old Bridget’s crush since the first grade---Ronnie---dies, she casts a spell and brings Ronnie back to life. Sort of.

    As a zombie.

    A covert government agency disguised as a rehabilitation clinic takes Bridget and Ronnie prisoner so Bridget can turn dead soldiers into zombies. The agency wants to test their newfangled Zombie-Activation Chip. And the first zombie they want to test their military weapon on is Ronnie.

    Bridget has to stop them before the dead are turned into zombie killing machines, unleashing the zombie apocalypse.

    And save her boy zombie in the process.

    I'M IN LOVE WITH A ZOMBIE BUT HE DOESN'T KNOW I'M ALIVE is Zombieland meets Warm Bodies but with thirteen year olds.


    Hiding in the back of the mausoleum where Ronnie is interred I venture inside. I run my hands along the wall until I get to his crypt.

    “Ronald Michaels—beloved son and friend.” I assemble materials for the spell Great Grandmother Bridget listed in her Book of Shadows I wrote on the palm of my hand.

    *Do not use if dead more than a day.
    **Cannot guarantee a full return of faculties even if person has been dead less than 24 hours.
    ***If spell is used, the witch must find and feed said Returnee and thereafter be known as the Returnee’s Keeper.

    The herb Leustean—I have Basil.
    Oil of peppermint—peppermint extract.
    Mallard duck’s pin feathers---feathers from the inside of my pillow.
    Black candle---mine is green.
    White candle---yes. 

    I light the candles as instructed. I sound out the words. They’re in Latin or some other language. “Ver ee sah ma ide em. Zo bee zam leev um. Ko leev zo bee um. Leev.” I chant the words three times, toss the ingredients into the flame of the white candle and wait for Ronnie to appear.

    Where is he? Why didn’t the spell work? I consult the Book of Shadows and read by the flickering candle. No, I did everything right. So, why doesn’t he wake up?

    I bang on the outside of the crypt. “Ronnie? Ronnie, its Bridget Miles. Can you hear me?” I put my ear to the crypt, but I don’t hear anything.

    TWT: THE COLD DISTANCE Adult Sci Fi/Space Opera


    Mistrustful of authority, full of resentment and prejudice, Dee escapes offworld with a pair of master thieves. She learns the trade and becomes friends with Heughee, the self-aware quantum computer, but keeps some distance from the enigmatic Alu, an alien of the same race as the madman who murdered her parents.

    When the galactic police-for-hire close in on them, Dee is forced to question everything she thinks she knows. With only one friend, Dee must prevent a doomsday machine’s completion and save the universe from a new Big Bang.

    It’s Bonnie meets Clyde to save the universe from a hard reset in THE COLD DISTANCE, a 108,000 word space opera in the same vein as Firefly.


    "I can't breathe, Mama!"

    Dee squeezed her mother's hand. Eight years old and short for her age, each breath she took was hot and stale with the sweat of the crowd and it tasted foul. Her father was ahead of them, just out of reach

    Panicked and irrational beings filled the narrow hallway of the apartment blocks past any reasonable approximation of capacity. Hundreds of people on each floor pushed and shoved and crushed the smallest and weakest to the sides. Dee and her parents were in the center of the throng but it had been forever since they'd moved.

    "ATTENTION, ATTENTION. AN EMERGENCY HAS BEEN REPORTED ON THIS FLOOR. PLEASE PROCEED WITH CAUTION TO THE NEAREST STAIRWELL AND EXIT THE BUILDING." The warning repeated twice in each of the seven Standard languages. That didn't make the frenzied crowd trying to get out of the apartment block any more cautious or careful. In school they had regular fire drills that were quiet and orderly. Such a thing as quiet and orderly does not exist when people's lives are in danger. Dee made a note to share this with her teacher on Dipri.

    Her mother picked her up. "Is that any better?"

    The awful noise in the tiny space made it so that Dee had to shout. "Yes, Mama!"

    Dee wrapped her arms around her mother's neck ("Not too tight, punkin'") and saw her father pull them through the madhouse and into the stairwell, shouldering aside people she'd seen in the halls.

    TWT: FATE'S LOVE NA Romance

    Livy Bannon doesn’t believe in love—until fate shows her that sometimes it's all you need.

    Waking up in hospital, hooked up to an IV, with no memory of how she got there, twenty-five-year-old grad student Livy knows it’s bad. She just never expects to hear she’s been in a coma, for three weeks. Of all the things to be worrying about, Livy’s thinking about the last thing she ever expected: she almost died—without ever falling in love.

    Livy’s not the type of girl to agonize over past decisions, until now. Three years ago, she walked away from the only guy she’s ever cared about, for the second time. The first time Ethan came into her life, she was sixteen, and despite their unexplainable connection, it was never enough to overcome the unresolved issues from her childhood. So, when the first person she runs into after leaving the hospital is Ethan, Livy's convinced it is more than mere coincidence.

    A bittersweet reminder of what she could’ve had, or a chance to rewrite history, she hasn’t figured it out, yet. But one thing is certain—Livy's in love with Ethan, she always has been.


    I threw down the pen in frustration, it was no use. I was never going to finish this damn paper on Romeo and Juliet. Despite my affinity for reading, romance was so not my thing. My head refused to work with the whole star crossed lover’s story. Sure, in the film Leonardo Di Caprio was a cutie, but what's up with the double-suicide ending? Some of the ‘greatest love stories ever told’ have a lot to answer for. Innocent I’d-die-for-you love? I mean, come on, seriously, what is that?

    When I was three, Mom caught Dad cheating. Not a spur-of-the-moment one time kind of thing either. It was a full on affair. They married young; both fresh out of college, and head over heels in love. High school sweethearts looking to live the American Dream. Apparently, a devoted wife and two baby daughters wasn’t quite the dream Dad wanted. But that's guys for you; full of promises just waiting to be broken.

    Growing up Mom tried to tell me that one day I’d meet my Romeo. That one person in the world meant to love me. I’m not like Mom. The tales of Romeos and their Juliet’s deserve the pages of worn out romance novels. Real life Romeos don't exist. But Mom’s a dreamer, and she’s waiting for the day she can say ‘I told you so’. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times, ‘Olivia May Bannon, fate doesn’t ask you what you want, it just knows.’ Yeah right!



    TWT: DARK CORE YA Fantasy


    Saekina is used to waking up covered in blood. Fighting off demons does that to a girl.

    She hides in the massive city of Dennin, no stranger to unwanted company. At seventeen, she has never had anyone but herself to rely on. Demons have hunted her since she was a child, her prayers for salvation unanswered. Not even her patron goddess listens. Being alone is easier that risking someone she loves dying. All she needs is her daggers, and hope that her strange powers continue to work.

    She meets three others with the same power. And the same demons. For the first time in years she has friends, and she isn't about to let anyone hurt them—demon or not. The four set out to discover the reason they are hunted, scouring the city for answers.

    Their search drags them into the middle of a hidden war between the gods. Even worse, Saekina learns her patron goddess—someone who should be protecting her—is the one sending the demons after them, afraid they’ll access the memories from their past lives and with it, the knowledge to defeat her.

    Saekina’s blades are ready, but they can’t kill a god. To break free, she must delve into her past and uncover the secret the goddess is so desperate to protect. If she fails, they’ll all be hunted throughout endless reincarnated lives—if she doesn’t learn to annihilate their souls.


    Saekina sleep-walked through life: wake up, hop the tram to the closest bounty hunter office, find a target, spy, sell the info, and hopefully have enough money to eat more than one meal. If she spoke to anyone, it was work related or a polite hello to a merchant.

    Same shit, different day.

    After tonight, she’d have enough money to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner for days. The bounty hunters will fight over this info.

    Saekina crept toward a dented door hidden in the filth. The lone light orb illuminated the alley, not that there was anything worth seeing. The dumpsters overflowed with rotting food and used magical charms.

    She brushed a strand of dark hair behind her ear. Even at this time of night, the heat clung to her skin, creating a layer of sweat. She cast a few furtive glances towards the end of the alley: no sign that anyone had been there.

    She lugged the door open, the warped wood fitting tightly into its frame. She winced at the scraping noise.

    The hotel owner shuffled by, his almost feline features giving him a Moragwar look. "Ah, it's you again,” he said. She slipped him the usual payment.

    “We good?”

    He counted the money. "Yeah, yeah, as long as the money keeps coming." He handed her a key from under the counter. "Room seven. You have half an hour until they arrive."

    She forced herself to smile at him. Smiling is good for business. "Nice working with you."

    TWT: SKYFIRE YA Sci-Fi Thriller


    When sixteen-year-old Jesse discovers he can manipulate time, he wants to travel back a year to convince his past self to grow a pair and tell his best friend Brycen that he loves him.

    But before Jesse can master his newfound power, a terrorist group known as Project Genesis discovers his time manipulating ability. Composed of humanoid creatures known as daphirs, Project Genesis plans to capture Jesse and implant a mind control chip in his brain so they can force him to freeze time while they wage war against the humans that have forced daphirs to live in secret for centuries. Jesse is going to have to put his declaration of love on hold for a while.

    Grappling with the endangerment of his free will, Jesse confides in Brycen, who reveals he’s a daphir working against Project Genesis. The two join an elite team of daphirs who train Jesse to face Project Genesis. If he fails to defeat them, Project Genesis will take over his mind and force him to create a world where humans and daphirs can’t coexist, and Jesse could never have the life he craves with Brycen.

    SKYFIRE is told from both Jesse’s and Brycen’s points of view and set in New York City. It will appeal to fans of Malinda Lo’s ADAPTATION.


    “Neither of them wants custody of you?”

    “That’s what I gathered,” I repeat and twist the end of my scarf around my finger. It’s not Brycen’s fault that he doesn’t believe it. I wish I didn’t, that I’d stop caring, but the whole thing still forms a nauseous empty hole in my stomach. “But I mean, what’s new, right?”

    “Nothing, I suppose,” Brycen says. “Once they settle this thing, will you have to move?”

    Thank God the crosswalk signal changes to red and we have to stop at the corner—my legs turn to jelly and that hole in my stomach rips open, sucking in worries like a black hole. Moving.

    Brycen turns to me, looks up at me with those big green eyes and distinct, slanted eyebrows. Unintentional on his part, but I’ve never spent a day without a fluttering burn in my throat when he watches me like this. And I’m not ready to start.

    “They broke their company in half and Mom’s taking her part to South Dakota for the virtually nonexistent taxes. I don’t want her to take me. I can’t leave.”

    I can’t move away from the liberal honking surrounding us or the shine of lights reflecting off skyscrapers, buildings daring to touch the sky because no one can stop them. No one can tell all these people, filling the sidewalks despite the time of night, where they should be or who they should be. That charisma, persona, individuality would disappear from my life.

    And be replaced with a state that believes I don’t deserve the right to marry.



    When orders come to evacuate Lake George due to rising flood waters, Bea Pearl sees her brother, Jim, head toward the river. She follows him. What happens next takes her six months to remember as only she returns. But when her own parents don’t acknowledge his disappearance, she’s determined to discover how and why he vanished and prove to everyone he’s still alive. Because if he can disappear, can she too? Now she might actually be going crazy because she’s also questioning the reality of things from swamp monkeys to a mysterious boy who may only exist because of a botched séance. As her search progresses, she realizes she must unearth the truth surrounding her presumed dead brother, not just to reunite her crumbling family, but for the sake of her own sanity.

    My manuscript is similar in tone to THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES with the unknowing, mystery aspect of THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER.

    First 250: 

    I haven’t said my brother’s name out loud since Momma hit me with a catfish. I ran out of the kitchen, wide-eyed, holding the dead fish and my bloody arm. When I found Daddy, he rubbed the fish’s slime on the puncture wound to help with the pain. The throbbing dimmed to a dull ache. My throat remained too tight, holding back my tears. He warned me never to mention my brother around Momma again.

    As I say his name into the phone receiver, it tastes like that sweet moment caramel goes from hard to chewy. “Jim.” It’s a short name. I try to savor the way my teeth click and lips touch.

    “Yeah, Jim Montgomery. Is he there?”

    I don’t recognize the voice, maybe because I’m more focused on the echo of my missing brother’s name in my head. “No.” It comes out as a whisper. I clear my throat. “No, Jim’s not here.” I just want another excuse to say his name out loud. As if saying it aloud will bring him home.

    “Can I leave a message? When will he be back?”

    I cradle the phone on my shoulder and rub the little puckered scar on my forearm. Even though the surrounding skin is tan, it remains stark white. “I don’t know.” I hang up as the wooden creak of a floorboard behind me makes me jump.

    Daddy winks at me as he enters the kitchen with an empty coffee cup in hand.