Dedicated to the One I Love

It’s booktrack time!

I’m back with a little ditty by who none other than The Shirelles?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give to you, “Dedicated to the One I Love.”

My album says it was released in 1959, but in the video it’s easily the late sixties or the seventies.

I now understand why Etta is in love with these ladies. I mean I guess I always knew, because in the words of Etta, “there ain’t no better song than ‘Mama Said’ and that’s hard to refute.

This song is romantic and feisty and angsty and ballsy all rolled into one. I can totally see Etta and Her Fine girls doing a cover of this song. In the story however, it’s Pearl that sings the lead to this song. It’s perfect, since the singer in the original has a fantastic uhmm, chest voice? Pearl’s the alto of the group. Those wonderful whoo hooo’s are naturally done by Emmylou who has the flighty upper ranges. And Etta, gasp, manages to blend in for once in her life.

So far I’ve managed to incorporate this song because Etta thinks it’ll help get Emmylou in the romantic mood for Jake. She’s counting on those butterflies too. I’ll have to let you know if it worked some other time.

Check ya later,


Also, let me know if these booktracks are the slightest bit entertaining.


Author Mentor Match


So, I know Friday the 13th gets a bad rep, but I’m having a rather pleasant one, for reasons I’d love to share, but can’t just yet.



Yes, I’m like a little Leo DiCaprio. My lips? Fingers? Anyway, I’m being secretive for now.


Rest assured, when I can share, if there’s anything to share, it will be awesome!

But that isn’t why I’m writing this. I wanted to talk about author mentor match. Have you heard of it? Oh man it looks amazing. It pairs writers with mentors at various levels of publication. Some are debut authors, some are on submission, some have books pending to be released really soon. Like in the coming year.

Anyway, the mentors help the writers polish up their manuscripts, perfect their query and even put together the dreaded synopsis. How awesome is that?! Here, have a look around the site. I desperately want to apply! There’s no guarantee that I will be chosen, but if I am, the perks and benefits to working with someone who was not so long ago in my position cannot be passed up. My dilemma, because I always have one: I don’t think I’ll make the deadline to apply.

Submissions open on the 19th. That’s right. October 19th. That’s six days from now. The last possible day to apply would be the 24th and although that’s slightly comforting, there’s still a lot to be done with my manuscript. Terms of applying dictate that I must have a completed manuscript. No rough drafts. As of now, it’s still kind of rough. I’m adding a few chapters as we speak. Yikes! I suppose I could write my last chapter and do some fine tuning and submit, but that’s not good enough. I have to lead with my best work.

Needless to say I’m writing like a mad person…



How I look trying to get my manuscript up to snuff.


yet, I still don’t think I can swing it. I’m trying, but I’m not optimistic. I’m going to need whoever is reading this to be optimistic for me.

On a more positive note, it feels great to get back in the minds of Etta and Emmylou! I’ve written a new scene that has really added something to the story. Not sure what that something is, but I’m digging it. And I’m getting so close to the novel that I envisioned when I started writing that first chapter, too.

Off I go. I need to leave before I word vomit my secret news.



One of my favorite SNL sketches.


Oh and with any luck I can slide in tires screeching to author mentor match on the 24th.

Until next time,


Incorporating Historical Figures

Feels like it’s been forever since I’ve talked about the very project that inspired me to start this blog in the first place! I’m going to remedy that now that I’ve been working on Etta & Emmylou. By the way, the more that I think about it, the more that I want to change the title. I have a title in mind, but I’m going to ponder, see: agonize over it privately before I announce.

Anyway, I have a new chapter eight! This chapter eight is named after the children’s song, that was popularized by Ella Fitzgerald. “A Tisket A Tasket.”

This chapter is by no means perfect, but it’s the first thing in a long while that I have written for this story that I didn’t want to delete and forget I wrote. Here’s why:

  1. I was finally able to incorporate real-life historical figures (in my own way).
  2. Emmylou asks a question that is SO important.
  3. We get to know a tad more about the girl’s family.

You  may or may not know that a freak show is a rather important part of my story. So, in my research of freak shows, mainly their talent, I came across two women who blew my mind. They are Millie and Christine.



I wish I knew who was who, but this is Millie and Christine McCoy.


A quick google search will tell you that Millie and Christine McCoy were conjoined twins who were born slaves in South Carolina in 1851. They were nicknamed, “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” “The Carolina Twins,” and my favorite, “The Two-Headed Nightingale.”

Can you guess why?

It is said that the two dazzled audiences with their harmonies. One had a soprano and one had an alto. They traveled the world singing. It is also said they got their start because of their physical joining (fused at the lower spine and stood about 90 degrees to one another), that they were a bit clumsy and often fell down. As young girls Millie and Christine had to develop a particular walk. This walk looked like a dance of sorts and the audiences gobbled it up.

The more I read about their life, the more my emotions ran all over the place. Part of me wanted to build a time machine and rescue them, but apparently they didn’t mind. It’s reported that their motto was, “As God decreed, we agreed.” They had a really optimistic view about it all and used their anatomy to make money. I’m a tad skeptical about this, however. I mean this life is literally all they knew, but you can’t tell me that it didn’t get old after a while. Wikipedia told me that they wrote a memoir and an autobiography. I should like to get my hands on a copy some day.

Here’s where I need a tissue. In 1912 Millie and Christine succumbed to tuberculosis. Christine passed twelve hours after Millie. For half a day she lay attached to her dead twin sister. You may or may not recall that I have a twin sister. I honestly can’t imagine the anguish she went through. I can only hope that Christine was so out of it, that she did not realize.

Needless to say, after I learned about these sisters and got over how similar they are to Etta and Emmylou (one is even taller than the other!), I vowed to find a way to honor them in my story. The ending is still not complete, but I am so close and I did not find a way to get it in there. I was panicking. Thankfully, I’m going back and editing and adding new chapters (this might need it’s own post too) and I found the perfect way!

Etta and Emmylou have three older sisters and a younger brother. Their eldest sister Annie is expecting her second child. Or so everyone thinks. Annie feels she’s having twins, but no one believes her. And ultrasounds weren’t really a thing, not that she’d go to a hospital… Anyway, turns out Annie’s intuition was right. She has twin girls. You guessed it, named Millie and Christine.

I don’t want to give away too much and I fear I may have, but the birth of Etta and Emmylou’s nieces kind of stirs up some trouble between the girls. It’s great though.

Until next time,


P.S. I think I’m over due for a booktrack.

Rewrite the Rewrite?


I’m a total theater nerd, so I can’t continue without explaining the title of this post. There’s a musical called Merrily We Roll Along, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, about this group of friends, artists. Think screen/playwrights, author/journalist, and composer/lyricist. There’s a song called “Opening Doors” where they all sing about their endeavors and for while things aren’t working out. Charley is writing a one-act play throughout the song and he sings, “I finished the one-act… I’m doing a rewrite… I rewrote the rewrite…”  Check it out:

And so like I said, I’m a nerd, but this song embodies the rest of this post.

I had planned to be better at updating this blog, but then life. I had also planned to be announcing another publication this month, you know, my The Trees Won’t Tell (TTWT) rewrite, but it looks like that won’t be happening for a little while either.

First, I did in fact finish the rewrite. I love it, though it took me awhile to come around to it. It’s so different from the original Gussie. This Gussie is less… naive? I mean, she still doesn’t have things figured out and has made some questionable decisions, but this Gussie is a little more glass half-full. In fact, the tone of the rewrite now titled, You, Me, and These Trees (YMATT) is a lot more adult. The powers at be have told me that it reads like adult fiction with a child/young protagonist.


I feel like I should explain that this rewrite only exist because the folks at Kweli Journal saw something in TTWT, in my storytelling that they liked, but didn’t love so they asked me to look at the story differently. To start it in a different place. To really take a look at my setting and the year my story takes place (1939/depression era). In other words, to really make Gussie’s life a bit of a hell. So I did. At least I thought I did.

It turns out that while YMATT is different from the TTWT, it’s still not quite what the folks from Kweli have in mind and I have been given the opportunity to work with the editor until there’s a story that checks all the boxes. This was disappointing to hear but now that the words have settled I’m looking at it as an opportunity to strengthen my writing. I’m learning to richochet! That being said, this is going to take some time and since there is no tentative deadline in place, I don’t feel the need to abandon Etta & Emmylou until I get it right.

On the subject of my conjoined main characters, I have added a new chapter to their story! I’m so excited about it too. So excited, in fact, it deserves it’s own post. Therefore, I conclude this one.

I’m opening doors,


P.S. Here is an aesthetic I made with my BeFunky app for The Trees Won’t Tell.


I love creating aesthetics! Here’s hoping the rewrite of the rewrite will inspire me to make more.

Bye for real this time.

I Hear Bells (Wedding Bells)

Who’s getting married? No one. But Etta dreamed Emmylou was and she (Emmylou) still hasn’t recovered from it yet. Chapter eight is a special chapter. I don’t want to spill too many beans, but things are working out for Etta. And maybe all this good fortune has gone to her head, but in this dream of hers where Emmylou is a bride, Etta hums a “… slow tortured version of the Del Viking’s ‘I Hear Bells (Wedding Bells)Ding dong ding dong.” To make sure Emmylou never sleeps again, Pearl accompanies with a hummed version of “Amazing Grace.”

Here are the Del Vikings btw. There weren’t too many mixed race groups. I wonder what that must have been like at the time.

del vikings

The original song is so fun and catchy, I thought why not pull what the producers of the movie Annabelle did at around the 0:58 mark with “I Only Have Eyes For You” by the Flamingos i.e. make it almost unlistenable to unless all the lights are on and its broad daylight. *shivers*

In other music related book news, I got a record player a little while back. I guess I’ve had it for about a month. I have a tiny vinyl collection, and by tiny I mean only three. The Beach Boys, The Shirelles and JoJo’s Mad Love album. Let me tell you, The Shirelles album is magical. Now I totally get why Etta wants to be like them. Every song is a hit! To me at least. And I cannot express enough how awesome “Mama Said” sounds on vinyl. When the time comes that record will be nonstop spinning as I work on ‘Etta & Emmylou.”

A bientot,



My WIP Aesthetic


August is halfway through! How on earth is time moving so fast??? Any who, I’m excited to share with you all an aesthetic I put together for Etta & Emmylou. What’s an aesthetic? Well, in this case it’s a collage of images that I found, that I feel represent my WIP. I see a fair amount of these on Twitter and I always wanted to make one, it’s just I had no idea how. But Twitter came to my rescue and I learned that all I needed was an app. Duh! It’s like the majority of things these days, I suppose. So, I downloaded one called BeFunky.

Without further ado, here is my aesthetic for Etta & Emmylou!


It’s pretty cool right? I’m not great at technology and the like, but it was pretty simple to create using the app. Actually, the challenging part was finding the images I thought would work best. There’s a freakshow flier, and electronics shop similar to the one I imagine the twins are on their way to at the start of the novel, some cornbread (a bit of a running gag), The Shirelles (of course), Wilk’s red and white Ford, my amateur drawing of Etta and Emmylou and last but not least, Chubby Checker. Jake wears his hair in a conk just like that.

You all have probably caught on to my struggle with writer’s block, well, I’m cured. Sort of. A good friend of mine(Hi, Susan!) who has helped me literally chapter by chapter with Etta & Emmylou has set me on the path back to literary success. She’ s cleared things up so well for me that I can’t wait to get back to writing for them. I was a little stumped on the fact that not a lot of things happen in my novel, but Susan assured me that there’s plenty that happens and my real strength lies in characters I’ve created with Etta and Emmylou.

Nonetheless, these two have to wait in the wings just a tad longer while I finish up my TTWT rewrite. This has been a doozy too, but I’ve ironed out the kinks and plan to finish up(first draft) this week. Oh boy! I’m blogging this, so I better stick to it.

I suppose it’s been quite sometime since I last shared a booktrack. I shan’t keep you waiting!


I’m Published Again!

Hi Internets!

Yes, an excerpt of my YA short story “The Trees Won’t Tell” (TTWT) was published in the New Welsh Review! You may be wondering why I, an American am published by a Welsh magazine, but cop a squat and I’ll tell you.

Earlier this year I sent TTWT to two competitions. One was with Hunger Mountain and the other was at the New Welsh Reader. I heard back from the latter first and I unfortunately didn’t make the short list. No big deal. So with that out-of-the-way, I felt why not send to some other magazines and journals for regular submissions. At this point I’m thinking the Hunger Mountain competition is a long shot too, but if I was lucky, then I would withdraw anyway. Win-win.

I sent TTWT to a few magazines and forgot about it. That was until I was looking through my spam and lo and behold, sitting in there a couple of days was an offer from New Welsh Review acknowledging that although I didn’t make the short list, that they were interested in an excerpt of my submission (TTWT). WHAT?! So, while flattered, I was really digging Kweli Journal and hoped I heard back from them. I asked if I could take a few days to consider, they said of course and I agonized. Then I gave permission for them to have the rights to my story. Wouldn’t you know a day later Kweli Journal accepted my story for publication too! AND they wanted the full story.

As a POC, Kweli Journal felt like the right move, so I emailed New Welsh Review and explained my situation. Wouldn’t you know they still wanted an excerpt anyway. It’s like a writer’s dream-nightmare. LOL. After some back and forth and it looking like my Kweli publication wasn’t going to happen (TTWT is going under a major rewrite for Kweli’s publication)  New Welsh Reader gave me my second publishing opportunity and I couldn’t be happier! I honestly feel like a low-key celebrity across the pond between this and “Tabitha’s Babies” over at Quarterday. 

This rewrite to TTWT is kicking my butt, but I’ll be back with more booktrack for sure. Not to mention I’m taking a little hiatus from Etta & Emmylou while I get it done.

*squeals because I can’t believe I have a short story published*




P.S. Let me know what you think of Gussie (and Erroll). I love those crazy kids!

Mr. Lee

Booktrack! Booktrack!

I told you all I’d be back with a booktrack and I brought along Mr. Lee by the Bobbettes!



They’re so young!


Fun fact, Etta loathes the Bobbettes. Okay, loathe is a strong word, but if it ain’t the Shirelles then she isn’t interested. The Bobbettes are too modest I suppose for her, with their square neck dresses.

I find this song absolutely cute. It’s almost a time capsule of the late 50s, when people, even young people referred to their peers as Mr. or Miss(Though word on the street is they’re singing it about a teacher.) It’s adorable. And I love how bubbly the song is. It’s just perfect! I knew I had to incorporate somehow, since Pearl has a brother named Lee. They sing this song for him, actually. Plus, they actually sound like teenagers singing.

There was a show Off-Broadway called, “The Marvelous Wonderettes” about these friends/girl group that is performing at their school’s talent show.



This show is sooooo underrated!


They use old doo-wop songs to tell their stories. It’s really neat and pretty funny. It’s one of my favorite cast recordings to listen to. At any rate, they have a version of “Mr. Lee” that makes me tap my toes too. Give it a listen.

In other WIP news, I think I’m just about done with my first draft. That is after I pen the last chapter (or two. I haven’t decided if I can finish it next chapter or not). I finished chapter twenty-one tonight, and I hate it, but it’s done. The ending is near that’s for sure.

Stay tuned.

For what?

Well you’re just gonna have to wait to find out.

Later, taters,


A Lot Has Happened!

I know, I know. It looks like I’m making things up again, Arnold, but hear me out. I am so sorry for not coming back and updating you all on anything. Bad Cherish! *Cue flogging scene in Sweeney Todd when Judge Turpin punishes himself.*

Okay, that was a bit dramatic, but am I forgiven? Yeah? Alright!

First thing first, I am a college graduate! Last month I was able to walk in my school’s commencement ceremony, although, I’m taking two online classes this summer to make it official tissue!

Second thing, I’ll hopefully be starting my first job not as a student soon. This is very much daunting, but it’s also very much necessary. I’m lucky this job allows me to work in my field (sort of) and will definitely be a plus should I apply to grad school. I think I might be headed in that direction.

Third, after months of not being able to write for Etta & Emmylou, I managed to rewrite chapter twenty and start chapter twenty-one. Let me tell you, chapter twenty-one isn’t moving as easily and not for the same reason as previous chapters. I think I may be a bit scared of ending this thing. Chapter twenty-one is so emotional, I actually have to stop every few lines and give myself a pep talk. I definitely wasn’t expecting it to hit me this hard, but there’s some real Elphaba and Glinda changed for the better feels. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can watch it here.

Fourth, and this may be the most important update, “The Trees Won’t Tell” has been chosen for publication at Kweli Journal! I knew this for a while, but I didn’t know when until a few days ago. It’s being considered for either the June 2017 or October 2017 issue. I think it’s safe to say that it’ll be featured in the October issue because of some edits that are in order. I’m actually a bit nervous about the editing process, though I’m always open to making my stories the best that it can be. I can’t wait to share more about this publishing venture that I’m on. There are still some details I’d like to clear up before I say more. I figured since I haven’t updated in a little while I might as well spill something.

Next post will be a booktrack for sure.

Until then,


Looking For A Blog To Follow?

Hey internets!

I can’t believe that it’s May! Crazy!


Anyway, I’m here to share a blog by a new friend of mine, Fanni! We met on Scribophile where she was just so warm and kind and encouraging about my writing. She’s definitely someone you want to follow. I have a little interview to tell you why, just in case you like to make informed decisions and don’t randomly follow people. Even if they are incredibly talented and overall awesome.

But first thing first, Fanni Sütő is a writer, poet, dreamer who believes in fairy tales even if they are dark, disenchanted and deconstructed. She writes about everything which comes in her way or goes bump in the night. She has been published in Hungary, the US, the UK and Australia.



Here’s Fanni!


You can find her on her blog:

Twitter: @Fanni_Pumpkin

Instagram: Parisiantreasures

Do you plan on using an illustrator? What sort of artist do you imagine would be best for your story?

I love cross-art projects. I’ve been working with an illustrator, for example he designed the cover for my bilingual short story collection and I wrote him poems for one of his artistic projects. I also had some of my short stories published on The Story Shack where you’re paired up with an illustrator. I really enjoyed that. I think I’d be best matched with an illustrator who is a bit dreamy, dark and Gothic in the vein of Dave McKean or Chris Riddell. I’m not too picky though, I’m happy to work with anybody nice. So if there is an illustrator out there reading this who would be interested in working on a project together, please get in touch, I’d be very happy to hear from you

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Yes. Although we all know the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” I think the aesthetics still matter a lot. If you wander into a bookshop with no special book in mind, you will reach for the book that catches your eye. It’s sad but true. So I hope one day when my novel is ready to become a book, it will have a nice cover.

Have you written works in collaboration with other writers, and if so: why did you decide to collaborate and did it affect your sales?

I wrote a novella called The Gift of the Sea, together with my dearest writing friend, Gabriella Szaszkó (check out her writing here) It was very exciting because she writes dark realist fiction or horror, I write light-hearted realist fiction of fantasy. However, our styles merged well and we learned a lot from writing together. We published the story for free on our respective blogs so I don’t know if it would have affected the sales… I’m always open to collaborations, serious or just for fun, again if anybody out there is interested, feel free to get in touch!

If you could retire into any fictional world, which would it be?

Probably one of Jane Austen’s novels. I could go to balls, read books and maybe have my very own park.

What literary character is most like you?

Hermione Granger. Elizabeth Bennet, Georgia Nicholson, Eowyn


So? What are you waiting for?! Get to following! You won’t be disappointed.

I’ll be back soon with more booktrack.