Monthly Archives: September 2012

Workshops smerkshops

As I continue to hone my craft, painful shaving by painful shaving, I’m testing out a few different resources.

1) Skillshare: I just started a workshop on humor writing with Grace Bello. My first short story is due next Friday. It was very affordable ($12), you can adapt the assignments to fit your schedule and it only last six weeks. This is my first Skillshare experience so I’ll let you know how it goes.

2) Writer’s Digest Live Webinar: I’ve signed up for Mary Kole’s webinar on writing for the young adult and middle grade market. It was a little more pricey, at $89. (I also used an online coupon.) While you can view archived sessions, to ask live questions you need to log in real-time. It includes a partial critique after the session so I’ll definitely take advantage of that perk.

3) SCBWI Fall Conference: The Dude and I will be taking a long weekend soon and decamping to Detroit for this little soiree. I’ve signed up for a writing workshop with Libba Bray Friday afternoon and then we have a slate of sessions on Saturday. This will be my first Michigan SCBWI experience so I’m looking forward to it.

Best of luck to those continuing on with GUTGAA!

How to be a Detective in 10 Easy Steps

Thanks to Deana Barnhart, GUTGAA goddess, my query and first 150 words are up for Round #1 Agent Judging.  I have been plugging away for nearly a year on my first children’s manuscript with some encouragement and a huge learning curve along the way. So I would like to take a minute to thank Deana for helping those of us slushing along!

How to be a Detective in 10 Easy Steps

Middle Grade Mystery
24,000 words


In this contemporary middle grade mystery Celia Narro, a Fancy-Nancy-meets-Nancy-Drew heroine, must put her knowledge of fashion and fabrics to work as she unravels the secrets of communicating with a boy and making new friends while discovering the different forms treasure can take. When Celia, a 10-year-old Hispanic fashionista-entrepreneur, reluctantly moves to a small lakeshore town upstate, she’s worlds away from her best friend Indira Prashad and their glamorous life on New York City’s Upper West Side. Fighting culture shock, she finds refuge in a secret room hidden behind her new bedroom closet that is both a legacy from the Underground Railroad and a key to a long-lost local treasure. Celia views this treasure as her one-way ticket straight back to New York City, but the search pulls her into a battle with jealous fellow 5th grader Jane Archer and Jane’s strange uncle Theo Rathbone, a member of a secret society who makes no attempt to hide his dislike for “illegal aliens”.

With the help of 10-year-old junior archaeologist and part-time Renaissance knight Joe Eli, Celia nearly has the treasure in her grasp when Joe, her only new friend, disappears. To find him Celia must choose between the treasure and Joe by reaching out to her nemesis Jane. This story is set in the form of a how-to book for beginning detectives with an ethnically diverse cast of characters, strong heroine and historic elements.

First 150:

“Seriously, a FARM and a restaurant,” Celia said. “Can you even?” She stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and put her hands on her hips.

“Now do I look like a farmer?” she asked.

Indira Prashad put on her Fake Serious Face as she looked at her best friend, a Hispanic mirror of her own image. From Celia’s glossy black razor-cut hair to her manicured nails down to the soles of her designer sandals they were both city girls through and through, and had been ever since they met on the first day of kindergarten.

“Noooo. . .,” Indira said, dissolving into the giggly laugh Celia liked so well.

“And does this look like a farm dog?” Celia asked, pointing at Coco. This time they both laughed because there was no way to even picture the handful of cotton candy fluff anywhere other than the upholstered streets of the Upper West Side.

Gearing Up Update and Memories

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit my blog, comment on my pitch polish and contact me in other ways. GUTGAA has so wonderful! If I have tried my best to personally revisit or follow up with everyone, but if I haven’t yet I will!

I would imagine that nearly everyone can remember exactly where they were on 9/11 when they first began hearing the news. I was at my desk. As word started to spread through the office I jumped online to watch the live updates. Needless to say, we were not very productive that morning.

When I left work at lunch the quiet skies seemed so eerie. That evening when I tucked my son (then my only child) into bed I truly believed that when we woke up the next day our world would never again be the same. Right then, I took the time to sit down and write a letter for him with my thoughts and memories of that day. I knew that later on I wouldn’t be able to explain it, and that my memory would be colored by whatever was to transpire next.

I love history and I am fascinated by the way history interacts with us on a day to day basis. I’m sure that’s why I’m so drawn to historical mysteries (my current WIP).  The World Trade Center note that just resurfaced is a great example of the power of the written word. Continue writing my friends.

Meet and Greet!

Questions for the GUTGAA Meet and Greet
-Where do you write?
Any place I can find the time – the hallway at my daughter’s dance school, the kitchen table, my wingback chair – although this one is dangerously comfortable. . .
-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
The black and white lamp I found at a resale shop.
-Favorite time to write?
Any time!
-Drink of choice while writing?
Iced tea
-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
It depends, sometimes I put it on if I think it will help me get into the character.
-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
The inspiration was my exceptionally creative daughter, who loves fashion and mysteries. She is growing up as a Hispanic girl in a small country hamlet, just like my main character Celia.
-What’s your most valuable writing tip?
Just get it down on paper so you can start fixing it!
Thanks for reading GUTGAA friends!
This is a Blog Hop!