Tinkering with Stories

Snoopy and typewriter


For the past three months I’ve been working on To See Clearly, the third installment in my Grover Cleveland Academy series. Unfortunately, I haven’t made as much progress as I’d hoped I would by now, and I’m getting discouraged. It almost makes me not want to write at all. But not writing makes me feel worthless.

I blogged a few weeks ago about how I opened up my Aladdin retelling. Taking a break from what I’m “supposed” to write can be fun and rejuvenating. So this week I’ve been working on a different, but also older, story. This one, entitled David vs. Julia, is written purely for my own guilty pleasure and is borne out of watching too much Doctor Who at one time. Although, is that really possible?

I’ve included the opening lines of David vs. Julia below for your amusement. And hopefully I’ll have some more positive updates about the GCA series soon!

David Lothian thought he might be immortal. He hadn’t died yet, but still he wasn’t confident enough to test the theory. He wondered what the effect of Julia’s knife might be if she walked up and stabbed him in the heart. Would he bleed? Would there be a sharp, overwhelming pain? Would he gasp out his last few breaths gazing into Julia’s green eyes?

Or would he slowly recover, his heart beat again, his chest close the wound, and the skin scab over? Would he be given yet another chance to live?

But Julia wasn’t planning on stabbing him anywhere, much less his heart. She was merely slicing the Boston Crème Pie that she had just pulled out of the industrial oven and set on the diner’s linoleum counter. She looked up and smiled when she noticed him staring at her.

David looked down and straightened his newspaper loudly.

Posted in Personal, Writing | Tagged as: , , ,

Parenting: The NeverEnding Story

Juan and Lizzie drawing

A short moment of peace.

I try not to post about my kids on here because this is a writing/editing blog and there’s a lot of parenting blogs that talk about the same type of things I deal with every day. And they say it in a lot more witty and humorous ways than I possibly could. Today, however, I feel inspired (mostly by my son) to write this up.

I was posting something funny my son said on facebook. I only post funny and cute things my children do on facebook. Which means that some days, there is nothing I could possibly post. Just kidding, they usually get out one or two cute things a day.

But most of the time, my kids are a lot of hard work. And I feel like I am in a constant, losing battle to keep my calm and my sanity. So, for your entertainment, here is a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure of pretty much every one of my days this year. Notice how no matter which option you choose, you always end up in the same place. Enjoy!


First, I have a two-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl. The boy has boundless energy, so he starts running around the house. I can either

  • tell him to stop running, because our house is small and he will eventually run into something. This will make him cry, because he is full of energy and needs to run.
  • let him run around until he runs into a wall or piece of furniture, which he will eventually because our house is so small. He will cry becuase he just slammed his shoulder or head or toe into something hard.
  • let him run around until he trips over his sister, in which case they will both cry.

The next course of action would be to take the toddlers outside, where there is less stuff for them to run into. The boy will automatically pick up a stick and start waving it around. He will either

  • hit his sister with it, either on purpose or on accident, and she will come crying to me. The boy will then come chasing after her, thereby further endangering both me and the girl with said stick.
  • hit his sister with it, and she will stand up for herself and hit him back. The boy will then hit her back while simultaneously whining to me, “Babby hit me!”
  • play in the dirt with his stick until he notices that his sister is playing very happily on her tricycle, when he will either: 1) push her off her tricycle and ride it instead, or 2) try to “play with her” by pushing her ON her tricycle, but since she has terrible balance, she will fall off and the boy won’t notice, thereby running over her with said tricycle.

When I get tired of them hitting each other, it will be bath time. There are no options here. They take a bath together still because they love baths so much that if I tried to let them bathe separately the other would just come in and tip him/herself into the tub headfirst so they could play too. There will be splashing and cleaning and general happiness until the boy starts forcing the girl to drink out of their stacking cups, which is all fun and games until she gets overwhelmed and starts crying.

So then they get out of the bath, dry off, get re-clad in diapers and undies (much to their chagrin) and it’s time to be quiet and watch TV. Surprise, they want to watch the same cartoon show they’ve already watched four times through. You can

  • force them to watch something you want to watch, but it should probably be family friendly since my son has started repeating EVERYTHING he sees on TV. They will spend the first fifteen minutes questioning why this is not their show of choice, and then either 1) settle down once an interesting animal appears on screen, or 2) lose interest in the show and run off to their room.
  • turn on the show they want and get out your laptop, where you can hopefully tune out their show. But one or both of them WILL want to sit in your lap.
  • turn on the show they want and get out your laptop, put in your headphones, and listen to music or watch youtube videos. The kids will either 1) not notice and you will get to ignore their TV show, but you’ll have to glance over at them every few seconds to make sure they’re not talking to you, or 2) they will notice, and the great debate over who gets to listen to your headphones will ensue, and nobody will be watching the TV show you have already seen four times.

Soon one of them will start whining that she wants some milk, at which point the other will remember that he is thirsty and also wants milk.  You can

  • get them milk and then risk the boy going into milk overload later in the day and throwing up (yes, he’s weird like that).
  • get them water, which they will first throw across them room when they realize it isn’t milk, but then cry and go drink it because they really are thirsty.
  • get them watered-down juice, if you are lucky enough to still have some juice in the fridge.

Then it’s snack time and they don’t want to eat anything that you offer them and all they want is “juice and chocolate!” but you don’t have any juice because they just drank it all, and you’re certainly not going to be a bad parent and just let them eat chocolate chips as a snack. Mostly because then you will have to clean the chocolate smears off the couch later.

And finally the husband comes home, the children rush to him, and you have a few minutes to make dinner, and in the two hours remaining until bedtime they can either

  • play in their room.
  • watch TV with you.
  • run around and bump into furniture.
  • all three things mixed with a healthy dose of crying because one of them bit the other.

And then it is bed time! And after you brush teeth and put on the pajamas that are always too small because the CDC or CPRS or somebody requires pajamas to be tight-fitting and flame-resistant, and you sing them their two songs, they say, “I love you too!” even though you forgot to say “I love you” in the first place. And then you remember that you really do love them, and you think back to all the adorable things they did that day.

And if you’re lucky that is the last peep you will hear out of them until 6:45 the next morning, when the boy wakes up and starts playing with his doorstop and hollering, “Mama! I’m awake!”

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized

The Soldier and Kerri now avaliable!

I’m proud and excited to announce that my first short story has been published and is ready for your e-reader! The Soldier and Kerri is a fantasy story set in the world of Pocatello. Only .99c to download directly to your Kindle, so why not give it a try?

Cover_The Soldier and Kerri_by Adam Ferrando

After three hundred years of oppression, the brave natives of Nerja finally gathered the strength to fight against the magical country of Malaga. Now the war is over, but the years of violence still affect both lands and their inhabitants. Alejandro and Kerri are just two of the many refugees looking for a new home amid the devastation. The two of them must band together if they are to escape the ruined Malaga and make it safely to the newly freed country of Nerja. But even as they journey through Nerja, forces both external and internal are trying to drive Alejandro and Kerri apart. Will this soldier be able to win another fight, or will he and Kerri be separated for good?


Buy it from Amazon here!

Buy it from Barnes and Noble here!

Buy it from iTunes here!

But it from Kobo here!

And if you like this one, the second tale, A Telling, is now available!


Posted in Pocatello | Tagged as: , , , , , , ,

Fairytales, or, I love Aladdin

What’s not to love?

So last week was my birthday, and my husband, the wonderful and thoughtful planning person that he is, bought me a gift off my Amazon wish list the day before my birthday. Unwittingly he purchased the thing I wanted the most, a blue-ray version of Aladdin.

Aladdin is my favorite Disney princess movie because Aladdin is the only prince who actually had a personality, and he was clever and awesome. And because Jasmine is awesome and has a pet tiger. And there’s a magic carpet. There’s a lot to love about Aladdin! My sister and I used to listen to the soundtrack on cassette tape relentlessly.

But unfortunately I haven’t seen Aladdin since I was little because it is really hard to find on DVD (read: really expensive).

Anyway, with this sapphire disc case in hand, I was more than happy to introduce my children to my beloved Aladdin. And thus began my conflicting emotions.

Because now I remember that once upon a time I started writing a version of Aladdin, and now I want to write on it again. And I really don’t have time.

Retelling fairytales has been popular for quite some time, and I am not immune to the allure. I started planning this retelling many years ago, when I noticed that Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella were getting most of the attention. Aladdin is awesome, and it deserves to be retold too.

Like pretty much all Disney movies, Aladdin was simplified a lot for the modern children. In the Disney version, Aladdin is a charming rogue, a “diamond in the rough.” In the Arabian tale, Aladdin was such a slacker loser that his father died from sadness and his mother just sat around wailing at him to get a job. And then he has to use two genies and his mother’s begging to score a princess. And then all the people love him and won’t let the sultan throw him in jail when they find out that it was a genie that made him rich. And only three wishes? The genie of the lamp would never really limit himself like that.

Therefore, today I am writing a fairy tale retold about Aladdin. It’s not something I’m planning on sharing; I’m doing for myself. To take a break from feeling like I have to write on my Grover Cleveland Series or finish the edits on my short stories. I still love both those things, but sometimes it’s good to get away.

What’s your favorite fairy tale retold? Do you ever feel like one or the other doesn’t get the love it deserves?

Posted in Personal, Writing | Tagged as: , , , , ,

Cover Reveal!

This is it, people! It’s my birthday month!

It’s also the month when the first tale from Pocatello will be published. And you probably care more about that fact. The best gift you can give me for my birthday is to buy one of my books and then recommend it to your friends.

The Soldier and the Kerri is the first in a series of short stories that I am publishing. Which you already know if you’ve been paying attention.

So, without further ado, here is the cover! (Click to make larger.)

Cover_The Soldier and Kerri_by Adam Ferrando

This amazing cover was created for me by Adam Ferrando. He took a short excerpt from the story and created this scene. Mr. Ferrando’s style was a great choice for the rugged and passionate feel I wanted to give this series.

And in case you missed it earlier, here’s the synopsis for The Soldier and Kerri. Look for it on Amazon sometime this month!

After three hundred years of oppression, the brave natives of Nerja finally gathered the strength to fight against the magical country of Malaga. Now the war is over, but the years of violence still affect both lands and their inhabitants. Alejandro and Kerri are just two of the many refugees looking for a new home amid the devastation. The two of them must band together if they are to escape the ruined Malaga and make it safely to the newly freed country of Nerja. But even as they journey through Nerja, forces both external and internal are trying to drive Alejandro and Kerri apart. Will this soldier be able to win another fight, or will he and Kerri be separated for good?



Posted in Pocatello | Tagged as: , , , , , ,

Tales from Pocatello

If you’re reading this post and you haven’t bought a copy of Diving In yet, then shame on you! How can you like me as a person but not love what I have written?!?!

Just kidding. I know that every book isn’t for every person. Maybe you don’t like my writing style. Or you think Rahab whines too much (sometimes I think Rahab whines too much). Or maybe it’s simply because Young Adult Urban Fantasy isn’t your genre. Maybe you prefer straight-up fantasy.

If the last reasoning is why you don’t like my book, then maybe I can tempt you with another series I am writing. I’ve talked a bit on here about my fantasy world of Pocatello. It’s existed for over a decade and a half now, and I’ve written (or thought about writing) a lot of stories that take place there.

What I have written about Pocatello is unlike what I have written for Grover Cleveland Academy. The characters there may still be young, but they have experienced firsthand war, slavery, prejudice, and alienation. They are forced to take on heavy responsibilities because a heavy hand has been dealt to them.

Now some of these stories are going to be available to you, gentle readers! Over the course of the next year or so, I will be publishing a series of short stories called “Tales from Pocatello.” Each one will be somewhere between 10,000-25,000 words long. Or, if you prefer, about 35-100 pages long. So if you read one and don’t like it, at least I won’t have wasted much of your time.

If you like fantasy, I hope you will check them out. The first tale, The Soldier and Kerri, will be released in September.

coming September 2013

coming September 2013


After three hundred years of tyranny, the brave natives of Nerja finally gathered the strength to fight against the magical country of Malaga. Now the war is over, but the years of violence still affect both lands and their inhabitants. Alejandro and Kerri are just two of the many refugees looking for a new home amid the devastation. The two of them must band together if they are to escape the ruined Malaga and make it safely to the newly freed country of Nerja. But even as they journey through Nerja, forces both external and internal are trying to drive Alejandro and Kerri apart. Will this soldier be able to win another fight, or will he and Kerri be separated for good?


Posted in Pocatello

Thank You

Diving In Cover - Final - Front OnlyMy second novel is out in the world, and I want to thank everyone who has already taken the time to buy it and read it. Last year when my first novel was published, I hadn’t even formed the plot for Diving In–didn’t even think I would write a direct sequel. But now here it is, and in some ways it’s even better than Into the Flames.

It’s so weird to think that somewhere out there (maybe–hopefully–right this very second!) someone else is reading the words that I wrote. That the scenes that once kept me up at night might now being keeping someone else awake.

I created Rahab, Scout, Hawkins, and Bracken for my own entertainment a long time ago. I wanted to fly. I wanted to be able to have psychic communications with my twin. I didn’t want to have to worry about drowning. I wanted to know what the future held. These characters were essentially facets of my desire to be more than myself. But as time went on, they grew in my mind and spread their wings upon the page, and I felt the need to share them with other people. So I did. I hope you don’t mind.

I’m already working hard on writing the third novel of the Grover Cleveland Series. I think I have a title for it and I definitely have a plot outline. But I don’t want to talk about it too much yet because I want you to read Diving In first! So if you haven’t bought it yet, please do. It’s only 2.99 for your Kindle. And even if Young Adult Urban Fantasy isn’t your thing, at least tell somebody you know about it. Maybe they’d like it even if you don’t.

And if you have read Diving In and halfway liked it, please write a review about it on Amazon. That’s the best favor you could possibly do for me, and I would really appreciate it. Even if your review just says, “I liked it!” It doesn’t have to be a ten-page thesis paper defending my metaphors or anything.

Until next time, gentle readers! I’m going to get back to writing chapter four of GCA3.

Posted in Writing | Tagged as: , , , , , ,

Diving In, Now in [E-] Stores!

It’s finally here! May I proudly present to you Diving In, the second book in the Grover Cleveland Academy series.

Diving In Cover - Final - Front Only

Buy a copy for your e-reader today!

Buy it for Kindle!

Buy it for Nook!

Buy it from Kobo!

Buy it as a paperback!



After the events of Into the Flames, the first book of the Grover Cleveland Academy series, Rahab Carmichael is strangely content. For the first time in her life, Rahab has friends like family and a school that feels like home.
But as the academy moves into a new semester, Rahab realizes that families and homes are never perfect. As the weather turns frigid, Rahab finds the promise of Bracken Carnegie’s affections cooling just as dramatically. He won’t talk to her, spend time with her, or even look at her. What will it take to thaw his heart? Does she even want to try anymore?
Confusing Rahab even more is the appearance of Scotty Smith. Cute, kind, and totally normal, Scotty is also clearly into her. He’s also right in the middle of a rash of weird thefts that have been occurring around Boston. Scout wants to investigate the crimes, but Rahab isn’t sure how it will affect her relationship with Scotty.
But the investigations quickly shove boy trouble on the backburner. A mysterious woman called Aidan is behind the fires and robberies spreading across the city, and Rahab’s ragtag band of superpowered teens may be the only ones who can put an end to her sinister schemes.
Who is this new villain? What does she really want? How much destruction can she truly cause? It’s up to Rahab to dive into the icy waters and find out. But can she overcome the bone chilling shock in time to save her friends, her school, and her city?

Posted in Writing | Tagged as: , , , ,

Remember me…Jessie?

I’m just flitting around lately.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Which you probably didn’t need me to point out. You had probably forgotten all about me and now here I’ve gone reminding you that I was absent. Oops. But life keeps moving on even while I keep thinking about writing posts, and then the time that I had is gone, and I’ve got edits to finish and TV shows to watch and children to raise.

To be honest, I’m writing this post to procrastinate working right now. Not because I deliberately took out time to update you guys. But I will update you while I’m procrastinating.

Acutally, I know that a lot of you haven’t forgotten about me, becuase I’ve had a lot of people ask me recently when my next book is coming out. The answer is: VERY SOON! I’m waiting for my cover designer to put the finishing touches on the cover of Diving In. The second book in Grover Cleveland Academy series will delve more into the lives of Rahab and her super-powered friends. I can hardly wait to share it with you guys.

In the meantime, I’m working on a series of short stories that are set in my fantasy world of Pocatello. You may have heard it if you’ve been listening to me at all. If you haven’t, that’s cool too. I understand.

But the point is, that I am writing a series of short stories. Except that some of them are ending up longer than I had expected. Like, a lot longer. Turns out I am not spectacular at keeping things brief. But I have three of them written so far, and I’d like to publish them within the next year.

I’m also working on a heavy re-write of Grover Cleveland Academy number three. Don’t get too excited. It’s not really anywhere near done. But the good news is that I am nowhere near exhausting myself when it comes to Rahab Carmichael and her friends. Every time I open up a Grover Cleveland Academy document on my computer I get excited. Sometimes I read bits to myself and sigh.

I hope that there is at least one person out there who likes Rahab as much as I do.

And on top of it all, I’ve recently started freelance editing. Which I love. Editing truly appeals to my ISTJ personality, and I couldn’t be happier helping other people adhere to rules and make their books better. I suppose I haven’t got much to say on this front. Things are going well. Yay!

So that is all. Just life going on as usual. And hopefully I will have a few things published soon. And I hope that you all will want to read them.

Posted in Editing, Personal, Writing

Living in the Present

Pin It!

Pinterest can be an evil, evil thing.

In case you don’t know, Pinterest is a social media site where you “pin” pictures of things you like to different “boards.” Sounds kinda lame, right? Well, it is the gateway to visual wedding planning, children rearing, travel guiding, and interior designing. It is the place where it feels like everyone else’s life is perfect and glamourous and yours is just mundane and cluttered.

Lately I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time browsing Pinterest for ideas of what I will do when I get to build my dream home. You know, the house with four bedrooms and a school room and a fireplace and gas stove and my own personal study where I will write all my masterpeices? It’s a great dream that I truly believe one day will become a reality, but alas, that reality is still quite a bit in the future. Quite a lot a bit.

Sometimes I get so focused on the future of my family that I forget to appreciate how great my life is in the now. I sit on my dilapidated old couch and look around and think about how much better everything will be later. I think about how much fun my children will be when they are older. I think about how accomplished I will feel when I have more books published. And I become discontent, when really I should be terribly grateful that I am sitting on a couch in my own house and have two kids at all.

So here I am, reminding myself that my life is great right now. I have two kids who are intelligent, adorable, amusing, and mine. I have a husband who loves his job, loves our kids, and loves me. I have a great family who is always there for me. We have enough money to eat good food and sleep in our own beds and turn on the air conditioner when it gets hot outside (always important to note if you live in Oklahoma!). I have a job that I love and my dream of become an author is a reality.

I just typed in the title to this post, and it reminded me of that adage that preachers say, “Today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.”

But I’m not going to talk about that, because I think that’s a silly phrase. I’m just going to say that I’m thankful for my present. Tonight I am going to go outside and look up at the stars, and think about how vast the universe is and how amazing it is that I am even alive. And then I am going to go inside, and turn on Sean’s old IKEA lamp and snuggle under my flannel sheets and read a book and be thankful that all these things are mine to enjoy.

Anybody else out there ever feel the need to just stop, sit back, and remember to be grateful?

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