It’s a Halloween BooooooooooK Giveaway!

599271_w185Remember a couple weeks back? When I told you I was going to do a book giveaway for Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Think Positive for Kids? Halloween is the perfect day for it. And here’s why:

My story, called “Better Safe Than Sorry” is all about a scary moment from my youth. I mean the way, way back youth, when I was just a 10-year-old kid. (And no, that’s not the scary part.)

So, my mom sent me to a camp out in the sticks somewhere in South Carolina. (Still not the scary part.)

And on the last night of camp, we gathered in a big circle and roasted marshmallows and sang songs and the older kids were allowed to stay for the (here comes the scary part) ghoOOOoost stoOOOoories. Since my friend was one of the older kids, I got to stay with her.

And then

Well, you’ll have to win the boooook to find out what happened next. Or if the suspense is killing you, get your own Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Think Positive for Kids. It’s such a gooOOooOOOood read!

(All you have to do for a chance to win is leave a comment, and on November 8th, I’ll draw a name. And please make sure you have some kind of contact info included. If I can’t mail your book, that’s beyond scary. It’s downright horrible!)

A Halloweensie Story (With Apologies to Mr. Poe)

I may be too old for trick-or-treating, but that doesn’t mean a girl can’t have a little boo-rific fun. And as I’m pretty fond of Edgar Allan Poe and poetry and Susanna Leonard Hill’s writing contests, it all came together. In a hundred words or less.




The (Scaredy) Cat


Once upon a midnight spooky, while I roamed in my Suzuki,

Looking for my black cat, lost among the trees.

I thought I heard a mewing, or was it more like booing?

A booing ever softly, whistling through the breeze.

“H-hello?” I asked the dark, the shadows in the park.

When suddenly a cackle sounded in my ear.



And then I caught a peek, of something black—it streaked!

Across the grass, and sprang onto the floor!

I nearly jumped out of my skin, as it settled down right in—

my lap. Sweet dreams, kitty.  But for me, nevermore!


There’s still time for you to jump in and join the Halloween fun! As for me, I think I deserve a Butterfinger. Or six.


Hurry! Get in on #GrammoWriMo

ImageSo Grammarly came up with a community-written novel to tie in with National Novel Writing Month and I thought, “What a brilliant idea!”

I think I might have even thought it with a British accent.

Anyway, then I zipped up to a writer’s retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains and was having such a wonderful time writing, and talking about writing, and researching and writing, and writing some more, that I completely forgot to spread the word about GrammoWriMo.

But not to worry! You still have one more day to sign up if you want to add your 800 words to the group effort. They’ll give you notes so your bit will make some sort of sense. Or maybe it won’t make any sense. We shall just have to see when Grammarly produces the book at the end of National Novel Writing Month.

Which begins November 1st for those of you who might have completely forgotten that as well. (Raises hand, slinks off to add a couple notes to her calendar.)

Friday’s Fun Find: Boo, Y’all!

contest and pumpkin 001As if October isn’t fun enough with my birthday, there’s also great big gobs of spooky, creepy, gory stuff with Halloween!

So while The Beneficent Mr. Hall is kicking me out gifting me with a lovely writer’s retreat up in the Blue Ridge Mountains (OOOOoooooOOOoooo), I might find time for a little Halloween fun. You can join me, in spirit at least.

Susanna Leonard Hill’s sponsoring her Third Annual Halloweensie Contest! All you have to do is come up with a 100-word Halloween story appropriate for children and then post it to your blog between October 28th and October 31st for judging.  And if you need a little inspiration, you might want to read something wicked this way comes.

Check out the blurbs from Simon and Schuster’s latest Best Halloween Books for Adults. Or maybe just check out the trailers. ‘Cause seriously, this is some scary reading, y’all.

Matt de la Peña, All-Around Swell Author

I just got back from Wik’13, the SCBWI conference in Birmingham, and as always had such a delightful time. But I’m sort of kicking myself for not signing up for Matt de la Peña’s intensive on dialogue. I know it would’ve been swell.

He was the keynote speaker–I laughed, I cried, I learned. (I might not have actually cried, unless it was from laughing. But seriously, he’s an engaging speaker. If he’s ever in your area, go see him. And take your boy readers.)

So I bought one of his books,

2013-10-16 11.05.36


and it’s a great read. But more than that, it’s a good template for wanna-be published authors like me (and maybe you, too). It’s a well-crafted story, with layered characters and terrific pacing and plotting. And I’m not just saying that because Matt very graciously agreed to have his picture taken with Cathy-on-a-Stick.

2013-10-12 12.29.10


Or wrote such a sweet note when he signed his book.

2013-10-16 11.05.58