FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Questions

Will you read/critique something I wrote?
What are you working on now?
What inspired you to write Levi Anders and The Gargoyle Mystery Contest?
Will you come visit my school?
Why did you start writing?
Are any of your characters based on real people?
Where/when do you like to write?
If you could be a superhero who would you be, and why?

Will you read/critique something I wrote?

If I’m not super busy I’d enjoy reading your story, but unless you have a super tough skin you probably don’t want my feedback. When I ask for feedback I want someone who is nice, but honest. If they don’t point out the things I did wrong, then I can’t make my story better. I tend to be nice, but honest in my feedback as well (some┬ásay a little too honest). So unless you are ready to hear the harsh truth that always comes with rewriting, don’t ask me for my feedback because I don’t want you to hate me.

I have a short list of things that will make me put a book down and very possibly throw it away. I share this so everyone can know up front where I stand. Please don’t ask me to read your story or critique your work if it has any of these:

  • Pre-marital sex or anything that depicts a pornographic scene
  • Heavy swearing
  • rape or other hate crimes described in detail

I understand that many think I’m a prude because of this list, I’m okay with that. My standards aren’t up for debate. Don’t bother trying to rationalize why your story HAD to have a certain scene or explain that it’s real life. I know life is full of many horrible things. I have made plenty of mistakes myself, but I choose not to wallow in them. I have decided what my standards for reading will be and I’m not ashamed of them.

My wish is to encourage people everywhere to be different than the crowd. Even if you’ve made mistakes in the past, choose now to set your moral standards high. Believe in God, go to church, live the Ten Commandments, and stand up for what you believe.

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What are you working on now?

Synergy (YA-book 2 in Paragon Series)
Things you can look forward to in Synergy are:

  • Secret notes and an old friend show up in Lily’s life and Zach vows to kill him.
  • Wil’s in more danger than ever and the person who knows why, isn’t telling.
  • Is it possible for more than one guy to have a connection with the same girl? It is when that girl is a Cossi named Natalie.
  • Aubrey’s dying and Eli’s plan to save her makes her wish she would die.
  • A mistake Zach made as a small child now threatens his relationship with Lily and his chance to govern the Norvak Covey.

Not Gone but Forgotten (Middlegrade)
Mathew disappeared and doesn’t even realize he’s missing until he reads about himself in the paper. The scariest thing is he slept in his own bed last night, rode the same bus he always does to school, and is being counted absent even though he’s at his desk.

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What inspired you to write Levi Anders and The Gargoyle Mystery Contest?

I was told by several people that I wasn’t any good at writing because I don’t know every grammar rule, and I can’t spell super well, and I’m a slow reader, and I don’t write a very good rough draft, and they didn’t like the way I phrased a sentence, and…. I didn’t necessarily disagree with them, except for the idea that I couldn’t write simply because I wasn’t good at grammar or was a slow reader. I believe that creating a story is a completely different skill from grammar which is a completely different skill from reading and so forth. Just because you have good grammar skills doesn’t mean you can write a good story and vice versa. Besides, I thought I was pretty darn good at grammar. I’m never going to be an editor, but I’m light years ahead of where I was a few years ago.

Here’s a little fact about me you may not know. I tend to be stubborn and a bit vindictive when I get made fun of. I wanted to prove them wrong. I didn’t really have a plan, but I wanted to write something completely different from Paragon (the only novel I had finished at the time). I had a vague idea that I wanted to start with something about a tree house and have a mystery contest in it somewhere. I wrote the story so fast (less than 8 weeks) that I didn’t have time to think about the fact that I couldn’t see more than three steps in front of me. I figured, what do I have to lose, which is exactly the same thing Levi thought before he… oh wait, I can’t tell you that because it gives away the end of the story.

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Will you come visit my school?

Yes, I love to visit schools. Have your teacher look under the “Contact” tab for more information on how to book a visit.

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Why did you start writing?

The short answer is I got sick and needed something to do while I hung out in my recliner, so I made up stories. After a while I had to start writing stuff down so I could keep things straight. If you want to hear about how I was so bored I read the dictionary for fun, you can read the whole story in my Un-Memoir, Hazardous to My Own Health. I’m being serious about having read the dictionary for fun. Not one of my prouder moments, but so far no one has carted me away to a place with padded walls.

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Are any of your characters based on real people?

I have used first names of people I know (you have to get your names somewhere) but I have never tried to base a character on a person. Most of my characters are a mix of interesting character traits from several different people. With that being said, there are little things my boys have done that have helped characters come to life in my mind.

Luke, Zach Corona’s youngest brother, cartwheels across the cafeteria in Paragon and I got that from the time I saw my son, Kevin, cartwheel down the school hallway when his teachers back was turned. There are several other fun things about Kevin that remind me of Luke, like how Kevin lives in the moment and seems to enjoy life fully, and when Kevin enters the room, everyone knows it. But Kevin is also very different from Luke and I don’t see them as the same person.

The same is true about Wil, Lily Moire’s little brother, and my son Jeffrey. Jeffrey spouted some very thought provoking lines when he was little, just like Wil does in Paragon, but Jeffrey has a better sense of humor than Wil. Wil is funny because sometimes he doesn’t always understand the words he uses. Jeffrey is funny (even when he was super young) because he totally understands the words he uses.

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Where/when do you like to write?

I have a comfy, brown recliner in the front room and a fancy side table/ desk that sits next to it. The side table has an arm with a place for my computer. I can swing it towards me when I’m working and then push it back when I’m not. The side table was a present and is just one of the many ways my man supports my writing hobby.

My recliner is where I spend most of my time when I’m not feeling well, and so it is also where I spend a lot of time writing. I guess I got used to it because I prefer writing in the recliner even if I’m feeling fine. I do most of my writing while my boys are gone to school. I love spending time with my family and so I have a hard time getting much writing done when they are around.

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If you could be a superhero who would you be, and why?

I’ve always thought Dash from Incredibles was super cool and flying sounds fun, except I’m a bit afraid of heights, but I most relate to the heroes in Dr. Suess’s books. Horton in Horton Hears A Who is just an average, ordinary elephant but he does something spectacular when he tries extra hard to help some very small people. Bartholomew Cubbins in Bartholomew and the Oobleck isn’t anyone special, but he saves the whole Kingdom of Didd when he stands up and tells the king to use the magic words, “I’m sorry.” Eric, the page boy, saves the Kingdom of Binn when he fixes his mistake and digs up the kings stilts. I’m just an average, ordinary person, but I would like to think that if I try extra hard, stand up for what I believe, and fix my mistakes I can make a difference and do something spectacular.

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