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: www.inkmapsandmacarons.com

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.


Paper Roses

In celebration of my finishing chapter twenty of my WIP, I thought I would come share another song from my booktrack! *Skims to chapter six* Let’s see… Ah!

‘Paper Roses’ by Anita Bryant, who apparently was a huge homophobe. Very disappointing, but not a shocker.


anita bryant

Anita Bryant


Truthfully, I don’t think I ever heard the song before stumbling on it. I just like what it symbolizes. Chapter six follows a very heavy, very emotional chapter. Emmylou is doing her best to stay strong for the masses, but Jake is still hanging around doing his best good guy act. All the girls seem to lean on him for support, but Emmylou isn’t fooled. She thinks Jake is a big fake, playing up his actions so everyone will warm up to him and eventually the idea of letting the girls sing in the show. He’s kind of a superhero in this chapter. Doing the impossible. From the novel:

I can’t tell if he really cares for the Jacksons, for Lee, or if he did all that for himself. And I know it won’t do no good me bringing it up. Seems like everyone done made up they mind ‘bout him anyway. He’s not fooling me with those paper roses.

Ergo, paper roses. Pretty to look at, but it ain’t real. It’s all a front. Useless.

Ironically, real roses aren’t that great. They die so quick. But they are beautiful flowers. If not a bit common. Also, I don’t know when I became a flower snob. I’m not, I swear!

Soon I shall be back with good news! Soon I shall be back with more booktracks!

Stay tuned,


I’m Getting There…

Wherever there is.

In pure me fashion, I’ve managed to hit a bit of a snag in my writing. (i.e. my story that I was using to get out of my original WIP’s writer’s block is now giving me writer’s block.) Well, let’s not call it writer’s block, I’ve honestly just not have the chance to write what’s on my mind.

There is another Scribophile contest that I had wanted to enter and while I have an idea/character/somewhat of a plot, those words aren’t piecing themselves together as I would like. Luckily, I’ve come up with another story. It doesn’t fit the contest’s requirements, but it’s something I could potentially send out for future publication. Maybe.

Speaking of publication, I’m sitting on some possible publication news, but I won’t say anything more about that until I’m 100% sure. Perhaps one day I can spill all the beans. It has to do with my flash fiction turned short story turned possible novel, but to be safe, let’s call it a novella. Actually, let’s call it what I titled it: “The Trees Won’t Tell.”

Things are heating up in Gussie’s world. And the poor girl can’t tell if her life is getting worse or better. To be honest, that’s kind of how I’m feeling these days. I’m thinking it’s all going to work out for Gussie. Maybe not how she originally planned it all, but it’ll work out.

Here is Gussie btw.


Okay, it’s not her, her, but this is who I picture when I write for Gussie. Only slightly younger, as Gussie’s supposed to be sixteen. At first I was only using the picture to help describe her hairstyle, but I fell in love. Whoever this young lady is, she’s gorgeous. No wonder Erroll would move a mountain for her. Let me tell ya, he has some mountains to move. Like his no good Mama, for one. Oh, and he had to stop his schooling. Not to mention he doesn’t get to see his baby sister, or any of his siblings everyday. Miss Gussie Hicks doesn’t always make it easy for him, but I don’t think he’d have it any other way.

I’m still not sure if Gussie’s story is a romance or a drama. Can it be both? I know it started off as pure romance and it still does have it moments of pure romantic gooeyness, but things have also gotten darker. There’s an incredible amount of tension taking over.

Maybe I shouldn’t worry about such things. Perhaps it’s time I focus on finishing first.

At the rate I’m going, “The Trees Won’t Tell” will be complete before Etta & Emmylou! But not to fear! I have made it a personal goal of mine to finish chapter twenty before the month of April is caput. Oddly, I feel confident I can do it. Not saying it’ll be my best chapter I’ve penned, but I’m optimistic I’ll have something to hate by the time May 1st arrives.

Wish me luck!



Next up in the Booktrack’s jukebox is “Yesterdays.”

Oooooh, this is an oldie for sure. It was written in 1933 I believe. Although, for the book, I had in mind Ms. Lady Day herself.



Billie “Lady Day” Holiday



Billy Holiday just has that tragic tone to her voice. And no wonder too, because if you google her life, you’d know it was tragic. I think it would be cool to use her life a bit and create a story around it. Maybe I’ll get to it one day. If you haven’t already, you should here Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday. You’d think you were hearing a recording of Billie herself!

Without giving too much away, chapter four ends on such a high note, naturally I have to find a way to dash it all. What happens in chapter five sits with the girls for the remainder of the story. It’s kind of the driving force for all that they do. At least for Emmylou. Etta too at some point. But definitely Pearl.

Don’t stay melancholy for too long. I’m feeling very talkative about my flashshortnovel. I suppose I’ll be back to spill about that.

Ta, ta!


Writing Sprints!

Hey internets!

Midterms happened and then before I knew it, I neglected the blog a bit. So I got a lot to catch up on! I’m back with a story, though. As you all know, I’m a part of an online critique community called Scribophile. It’s great. A bit of what makes the website so awesome are the many groups you can join within the community. They reflect different writing genres and interest etc. I joined a lot of the YA themed groups as I primarily write YA fiction. One of these groups in particular has these weekly sprints. Basically, you get a quote of some kind and you have three hundred words or less to create a YA themed piece of micro fiction.

About a week or so ago I had a little free time and I decided to join in on one of the sprints, since I hadn’t done one in a while. Let me tell you, I’m so glad I did. I am tickled by my piece. Absolutely tickled. So I’m going to share it right now!

Here was my prompt/quote:

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

—Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Here’s what I came up with:

How’d I get here? Missing lunch to read to this dumbass so he won’t fail. So he can finish up his math homework real quick and won’t be embarrassed when Mr. Hunter assigns him a number to do on the board, and he can’t.

“If you quit looking around at everything, you’d finish and I wouldn’t need to read to you like a toddler,” I tell him.

“I know, but that book is so boring!”

“It’s only boring because you refuse to read it.”

“Babe, come on. Don’t argue with me,” he sighs. “Alright. Just do this one last time for me. Please.” He’s got all the eyelashes in the world, and they all bat at me.

“Fine.” I give in. I turn back to the book and continue on. “Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.

He throws down his pencil like I read his father’s last will and testament and he didn’t get a single thing. “What in the actual fuck does that even mean?”

“Seriously, language.” I hate that about him. Cursing to be cursing. At least I curse in context.

“Babe. But what does it mean?”

“You need to figure that out, not me,” I tell him. “That’s what Humphries is gonna ask you. I can’t tell you. What do you think?”

I actually see a lightbulb go off over his head.

“I think it means she’s ugly.” He laughs. He teeters back in his chair. “Oh shit, he called her ugly!”

He laughs and laughs. I just sit here. Why am I like this?

“Yo, Amanda!” he calls across the library.

“What?” she asks.

“You look like art!”


Tell me, what do you think? I know I’m just surprised it’s contemporary and not a southern historical voice. Actually, I think all my sprints end up contemporary. Hmm.The sprints are great, though! They really help to get your juices flowing, they offer a little break from your larger projects, and they’re just really fun! You guys should try it sometime.

Oh, and we haven’t had a booktrack post in a while. I better get to it!