The Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants- A Book Review

This is a middle level reader for 3rd grade and up. You can purchase this chapter book HERE.

I loved this book. It is written as the secret spy log of three neighborhood kids trying to solve multiple mysteries. They end up getting into quite a bit of trouble along the way.

This book brought me back to the days of my childhood and the radical adventures my friends and I would send ourselves on. What I really loved was the ease of reading. The author alternates narrators between each member of the spy team, and it is incredibly fun and easy to keep up with.

As an American reader, I found that sometimes I was having to reread some lines to get a better grasp of what was happening or what the narrator meant, but I would 100% encourage my son to read this to expand his knowledge of English cultures and reading within context. Nothing was far from deduction.

Nikki Young, thank you for writing such a rich adventure for the growing generations. I cannot wait until my children are old enough to devour this book as quickly as I did.

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Pitch Wars Update- A Writing About Writing

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” -Mary Tyler Moore

Earlier this month I submitted my very first novel to PitchWars (HERE) in hopes of snagging a mentor that will help me shape it into the master piece that I see in my mind. Well, I did not get in. Which is fine. I am actually in the majority and did not take it very hard.

The day after submitting my first ten pages for consideration, I attended a writing conference (which I wrote about HERE). I was able to tweak my in person pitch, tighten my query letter, and found some very GLARING problems within the first few pages of my work and even some throughout.

These are VICTORIES for me. They are not setbacks. I knew I had a lot of work to do, but I also know that it will be worth it to see Apparent Power within a cover and in my hands. My premise sparks interest with agents and now I have to wow them with my hardly more than mediocre writing.

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Though I am so excited about my new book, Apparent Power is my baby and I cannot wait for Valerie’s story to be available to the masses. You can preview it HERE.

So while I balance work, kids, and life, I guess it’s back to late nights in September editing and writing on my lunch break.

If you are a writer and have experienced rejection or are being hard on yourself (its a vicious cycle, we all do it) take a breath and say “I won’t learn if I don’t try. If I fail, I will know why and work to fix it.” You are in control of your emotions. You are in control of your actions. You can be defeated or you can have your beverage of choice, maybe cry a bit if that’s your thing, and then you suck it up and drive on. Your writing goal is not stupid or unrealistic. It takes a special person to keep going, and I think you’re pretty special. Good Luck!

I’m Writing a New Book

I know how much most everyone LOOOVES Apparent Power and Valerie’s journey, but I am taking a much needed break from my first loves. I have decided to write a dark paranormal story and exercise what I learned from the Ghost Town Writer’s Retreat a couple of weeks ago. Needless to say, it is nothing like what I have written to date.

I came upon this idea in bed when I got the vision for the opening scene. It is horrifying and beautiful and creepy. Aside from that, I have a basic idea of how this will play out, but not too sure exactly what the story will hold. Last night I thought about it so much, I started to creep myself out.

Like Apparent Power, Cam and Neph (a working title) will be available in its very rough stages on ChapterBuzz.com. This will probably be my subject matter for the October 10,000 word challenge as well as my first NaNoWriMo entry.

All feedback is appreciated.

Cam and Neph is an Adult Paranormal novel about a brother and sister that are demi-demon/demi-angel twins. During birth, each were touched by the other transferring a small amount of the opposite qualities to the other. The demon holds a little light; the angel holds a little darkness. This is how their story begins.

She moaned, shook, and rolled to her left and right in the pitch black. Lying on the cold, dank concrete in a basement, her swollen abdomen contracted. Black tar poured onto the floor, covering the red inked pentagram drawing that she lay on. The girl’s legs opened wide and her moan escalated to a scream of excruciating pain. From her birth canal came both light and darkness. Louder her scream grew until the light and dark burst from between her thighs.

The light filled most of the room, banishing the damp cold and mildew from what it touched. The cherub she birthed rose into the air and stretched its thick baby arms and legs. Small lips parted into a yawn and then to a smile as it looked down at its surrogate. The girl lay motionless staring at the tiny baby with wings that radiated purity, warmth, and light. The girl raised her hand to it as a tear fell from the corner of her eye in awe and fear of it.

A black liquid leaked from her womb. In the dark pool lay a ball of thin limbs, a scant torso and a head too large in proportion to the tiny black body. Instead of a cry, a hoarse screech came from the ugly being on the floor. Many arms reached from a still dark corner of the room, clawing toward the mass, grabbing arms, legs, and pulling the defiled fetus into the darkness with them. Light extended to the corner and the dark beings were banished from the room, but not before the light touched the new demon’s right knee, paling the once black surface. Then it disappeared to the place where the others hide. The black liquid began to boil on the ground, fighting against the light. It bubbled and popped in its turbulence. When touched by the light, it splashed into the air, licking the cherub on its right knee, leaving a dark mark where the skin had once been pale.

Light prevailed against the dark, cleansing the floor of the black tarry-like fluid, the pentagram faded, even dirt held no place. The cherub reached back and lifted the girl from the floor. Water and light enveloped her, cleansing her body and soul of the treachery done to her for this purpose. She was wrapped in a white cloth and lowered gently to the ground, purified and made anew. The angelic creature lowered as well, into the girls arms. Its wings faded and he nestled against the girl’s breast. The light faded into a dim glow of morning. The girl was a mother. The once cherub, a helpless babe with a dark mark on his right knee.

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Six Fact Sunday- Ghost Town Writer’s Retreat

If you follow me anywhere like Twitter (HERE) FaceBook (HERE) or Instagram (HERE), you know that I have spent the weekend at my very first Writer’s Retreat. I met the most amazing group of like minded amateurs, professionals, and experts. Even though it was a horror writer’s deal, writers from across all genres were represented. Lucky for me, most of them are local to Denver and mix in circles that I have recently joined.

Anyway, it’s been awhile since I did a Sunday post, but being new to the world of writing and publishing, I have learned soooo much! And here it is:

  1.  EVERY WRITER NEEDS TO GO TO A CONFERENCE!!! You will find your tribe. If it’s 2 or 200 people, you will find SOMEONE if not most people believe in you and your work because they know what it takes to get there. They know the hours you have put into pouring over you manuscript until you could quote it in your sleep. They know the struggles of networking, pitching, querying. Whatever stage you are in, a lot of them have been there and will cheer you on.

Theses people are so amazing. Writing a book is hard, and getting your book out there is even more difficult. The writing community is one of solidarity. Others recognize that you put in the hard work and wrote to tell the tale. Beautiful hearts, theses folks.

2.   I learned how to scare people with written words. This I am super excited about. I received tips from horror writing superstars, on how to make grown people pee their pants . I also learned that true crime is glamorized in fiction. Most of the books or TV shows you watch that are “based on a true story” are 75% bullshat.

3. I learned how to talk about my book in a way that makes others excited. The biggest compliment I have received all weekend is that they loooove the premise of my story and cannot wait to read it. COMPLETE STRANGERS want to read my story. (I am floored).

4. (On the note of number 3) I learned how to query and how to pitch my book to an agent in person. I also learned how NOT to by one ridiculously famous editor. He, despite correcting my in person pitch, asked me for my manuscript. I almost cried.

5. After MANY changes, I finally hammered down the true genre of my book. It is Speculative/ Crisis Thriller. This is the first time I have felt it’s been properly labeled.

6. I Have A LOT of work to do. To include a mad amount of writing… Like 8-13k more words to actually qualify to be the genre I intend. I am humble enough to accept that my novel needs work. I did not expect to just do one round of edits and be done. I’ve put hard work into it, I won’t give up until it’s finished.

 

Of course, I have learned and experienced much more than those 6 things, but I am mentally exhausted and ready to get back to my kiddos and the mister. I miss them like crazy. So, hopefully I will have a good short and scary for you later this week. But until then…

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Community Helped Me Write Smut

pitchwarsIf you do not recall a couple of months ago, I was having quite the trouble writing a much need s-e-x scene into my novel, Apparent Power. All the tension was there, as was the opportunity, I was just soooo uncomfortable. You can read about it HERE.

I also posted about building my Author Platform, if you need a refresher on that one it can be found HERE. So I created a Twitter Account and started my search for like-minded folks to help me out on this. I accidently stumbled across #pitchwars just as I had finished my first draft of Apparent Power. I quickly found that I had exactly one month to get my ish together to submit my manuscript in hopes of being mentored by experienced authors and writers in my genre.

WHAT A MOTIVATOR!!!

Not only did it stick to my personal timelines of submitting to agents, but it kept me focused to do all the edits needed to make it awesome. I also found that where I was lacking in areas, others were master crafts(wo)men. Not only that but the entire PitchWars community is one of sharing and caring. (Thank you Brenda Drake for fostering an atmosphere of positive self-growth for so many).

I will try to remember EVERYONE that helped me along the way.

Jordyn Jacobs– Thank you for your help with my synopsis

Royce Sears– Fellow Veteran and writer. Cheers brother and good luck! I hope this book is your Merlin!

Rachel Dahl– It was nice to meet you neighbor!!! Thank you for your help, coffee is on me!

K J Harrowick– Thank you for showing a newbie the ropes of ASFF

S M O’Connell– early help with my query and just talking me down off the ledge of the trash can lol

all the mentors, more mentors, the FOUR mentors (you know which mentors you are now)

And lastly Willow!!! Willow talked me into writing the smut. She was so gentle and understanding of my first time. She eased me into it and I found it to not be as scary as I thought. I actually really liked it.. THE WRITING PEOPLE!!! Willow- thank you for sharing your talent with me and encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone to add a few hundred more words to my manuscript.

Run to Twitter #pitchwars to see all the excitement

All that said, I won’t know until the end of August if a mentor picks my story. The odds are against me, but there is still a chance. I am humble enough to know that this opportunity is invaluable. If you see me about on social media, wish me luck!!!

 

Pimp My Bio- PitchWars 2017

Pimp My Bio- Pitch Wars 2017

I have missed my blog so much this month while tightening up my novel, APPARENT POWER. It is an Adult thriller with elements of light science fiction, and some very complicated relationships. I just imagined all those folks that made book-to-movies so popular, figured they had grown up and possibly had kids, and wrote a book that they would love but relate to as adults. What’s not in the book? Cheating. Also there are no space ships, robots, or magic. Just some very clever science.

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MY BOOK APPARENT POWER:

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An apocalyptic disaster awakens a dormant gene in a quarter of the world’s population. With an even rarer gene, the life of an emergency room nurse has turned into a race against time.

Stranded in southern Colorado, a hundred miles from home—and from her two-year-old son—Valerie’s genetics are essential in a government plot for domination: morphing into a worldwide totalitarian regime. She tries desperately to get home to her family, avoid capture, and figure out how to defeat the dark, rising power that so badly wants her. Valerie must fight her moral code and decide to help the masses or save her family.

WHY YOU WANT TO MOLD APPARENT POWER INTO THE NEXT BREAKOUT STORY:

 

A Bad ass MC that is believable and dynamic

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And the Suspense… So much SUSPENSE

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And what about me?

-I actually like putting my work out there for feedback.

-I work extremely hard and meet deadlines. And with the opportunity of a life time, I plan on doing absolutely everything to make this novel the best it can be.

-I am hyper-productive and aim to please.

-I understand how to take direction from people who are designated in their craft (I know you know what you are doing and won’t fight you over your keen observations)

-I communicate. I sooo communicate. I’m the most communicating communicator that has ever communicated.

-I am so ready to do all the things to make this publishing dream come true.

-I drink so much coffee.

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Quirks?

-I see my story as it would play out in a movie, and my writing reflects that (hopefully not to my detriment).

-I speak 6 languages conversationally.. Like, I know how to say “Hi, how are you? I’m tired. I need coffee” in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Swahili, and Russian.

-Being a veteran, I have friends in at least 24 different major cities and 6 countries that I hope to do book signings in.

 

Why you should pick me?

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I am a woman, a veteran, a medical professional, and a mother. I have navigated areas of the world bent on destroying me.

One night at work, we received a bomb threat. Nurses came to me, knowing my background and asked me what I would do if something happened. I said, “I am not sure, but I am going home tonight. I’m going home and tucking my kids into their beds.”

If you have children, imagine for a moment that sh!t hit the fan and you were 100 miles away. You would fight. You would do everything you could physically do to ensure their safety. That is the strength and passion that I have poured into my pages.

Otherwise, I am a super fun person to hang out with!

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Momming

It seems to be the trend with my fellow bloggers today, to talk about the condition of their “Momming” or “Wifing” or “Womaning” in general. Although I do a pretty darn good job at juggling, I am not satisfied with about 40% of what makes me, Me. Please walk with me, I’m sure you’ll recognize the scenery.

  1. I’m a working mom. I work full time and it makes me feel like a jerk to my kids and husband. But once I tried being a stay at home mom, and I hated it. Part-Time is not an option, as my husband’s job on the rail, though it makes very good money, is inconsistent. We were once furloughed (a temporary lay-off) for almost a year. The grass is always greener, but it often makes me unsettled. I am a hyper-performer at work and feel validated by the product I am able to present. But I get home and my sitter has put a hairband in my teeny baby daughters hair. I am thankful but it broke my heart that her mama wasn’t the first person to do her hair. Or when my son says or does something amazing and new or learns a new joke, my husband will say “Oh I taught him that.” or “He’s been doing that for a while.”
  2. Working 5 days a week, I feel guilty for wanting to be alone because I have been away from my family for so long. But my sanity is worn so thin. I get resentful of my husband who will take a train to another state and sit in a hotel for a day, IN SILENCE! With no responsibility, no one to clean up after or cook for or feed. I have been begging for this since before Mother’s Day. Just a day off. But then for all the reasons of #1, I take both kids out somewhere by myself so that my mister can get some sleep.
  3. I am fat. I’m so damn fat. I am not attracted to me and it makes me unhappy. I’m going to leave it at that. I have lost weight in the past but baby #2 and my aging metabolism has changed and now I must as well to get this under control. That’s all I’ll say about the subject.
  4. MY HOUSE IS ALWAYS FREAKING DIRTY!!! I cannot stand it. My freaking dog cannot hold his pee, my base boards haven’t been touched in over a year I am sure, and I could bake a cake with the amount of dust is on my ceiling fan. But Working 5 days a week away from my family, the last thing I want to do is ignore them to address these things.

But then there are the things I love about my life

5. My husband does his share of chores, and watching of children. He stays home and cleans, does dishes and laundry and doesn’t complain about playing all day with our babies. I am extremely fortunate to have this man.

6. I have a hobby that I love and have the opportunity to escape to this writing world pretty regularly, if not daily.

7. I have good, easy kids that I don’t feel ashamed for finding a sitter for. My son is so sweet and loving. He is still learning to navigate social interactions with peers, but he has learned so much and come so far. Just this morning, although I desperately needed to sleep in, he woke up and came to my room to snuggle. I could not pass up the opportunity. My daughter’s face when I come home from work is probably the single most rewarding thing I have ever experienced in my life.

8. I have an awesome steady job that pays well for what I do. I have my own office and a lunch break that I can spend with readers. My benefits are awesome and I truly believe in the organization I work for. They do amazing things and create honest miracles for the people in our community. I’m humbled daily by the strength and diligence of the people I work with.

9. I like me. I really do. I think I am funny, and fair, and just, and nice. I would want to be my friend. I have big strong feelings and am passionate about the people in my life. I am cannot stay angry for too long. I absolutely have to work things out in order to get back to the happy me that I am. Even if that means telling hard truths, but only in constructive ways. Even though what I see in the mirror is not how I feel inside, at least my insides are pretty.

10. I can say that I have made the most of every opportunity that I have ever been handed. This is in regards to ever aspect of my life. I never let the horrible, terrible things that I have seen and experienced get me down. I might cry with my head up, but I have never stopped moving forward to better myself for me and my family.

 

So all that being said, I will leave you with this. Last night I attended a comedy show put on by a couple of Nebraskan ladies who are hilarious. It was a late night show an hour away. I had planned the trip, bought the tickets, and I drove to and from the venue. Stone.Sober. All I could think about was how cute all these skinny moms looked, how tired I would be for work, and how much more funny it would have been if I had maybe even one glass of wine. Instead I felt awkward, uncomfortable, and wanted no more than to be home with my two booger factories. But there were somethings that I needed to hear last night. I needed to know that other women had my back. The two ladies that came with me did not drink either out of solidarity. My sitter(s) who are my dear good friends at work had unloaded my dishwasher and washed all the baby bottles (a task the husband and I both hate.. Dr Brown’s bottles are completely  impractical to wash). I was floored. The woman who usually watches my kids while I work, was on vacation this week and took it upon herself to find a back up rather than leaving me to figure it out on my own. I could go on and on and on. (Happy Birthday, Swamp Witch). My network of help is endless even though I live an hour and a half from family and moved to Denver three years ago knowing absolutely no one.

Women really do have each other’s backs. All my railroad wives stick together. No one “gets it” but us. All my Veteran friends stick together. No one “gets it” but us. Moms stick together. No one “gets it” but us. So find your tribe and hold on. It will save you. 😉