As I branch out on my writing tree, I thought it was time I began a blog for my YA/middle reader markets. Here I will post samples of my stories and accept your positive remarks. Thanks for finding me!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Coming Soon!

                                   (from Painted Pony Books)
                                    RELEASE DATE: 3.13.18

Colt Buchanan’s life changes in a matter of minutes when his mother and father are ripped away from him during a surprise dust storm that leaves their Wyoming cabin in nothing but splinters. It’s a moment they’ve prepared for all his life, but at ten years old, he’s not sure what comes next. When he climbs from the cellar, he realizes that this was no ordinary dust storm. The devastation was done by something more powerful…more sinister. Something man-made.

            But Colt is rescued before any further harm can come to him by Captain Conrad Givens who pilots an amazing invention that flies in the air.  Givens takes Colt to the safety of Fort Discovery, a place where Colt learns how important his parents’ scientific work has been—and that he’s not alone. There are many other brilliant children there, as well—children whose parents had extraordinary scientific skills just like Colt’s parents did. And someone is making orphans of them all.

            When danger threatens Fort Discovery, there’s only one choice Colt can make. He has to do whatever it takes to protect the enlightened community that exists there—teachers, scientists, and students alike. But how can he defeat the formidable enemy, Anvil Smith?  With the help of his friends and Pecos Bill, Colt realizes he’s more than “just a kid”—and saving Fort Discovery is the only way to find out where his parents are!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Santa Spy Wins Award

Talk about surprises!

I didn't even know The Santa Spy was under consideration. It was and it received a Gold Medallion for Best Holiday Book. So thanks to Jerusha for publishing it, Brie for editing it, and Kimberly for those uncanny illustrations many of you have pointed out look a lot like a young me.

And many thanks to the Literary Classics International Committee for the wonderful recognition!

A complete list of recipients can be found by clicking here.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Rebellious teen Robin "Robbie" Willette thinks her life sucks. 

Her grades aren't the greatest. Her dad hates her "older" boyfriend. And her mom keeps Robbie on a short leash after her straight A, perfect, older sister gets pregnant and has a baby. As the tension builds in her family, Robbie runs away with her boyfriend Lane only to wind up sleeping on the sofa of her ostracized sister. 

But it's not all that bad. Robbie has a taste of independence. She's working on getting her diploma through night school. She has a job--not a great one but it's legit. And she's finally beginning to figure out that her relationship with Lane is a dead end. For the first time in a long time, Robbie Willette is getting her life together. 

Just as her life is improving, the world around her begins to crumble. Literally. A plague crawls over the planet, mutating humans into blood-lusting zombies that help spread a deadly fungus. It isn't long before society collapses. In fact, in less than a year, all of society’s norms are gone. Robbie quickly finds herself separated not only from her family, but from all humanity. Hoping to reunite with her sister and niece, Robbie sets off with the most loyal companion she's ever had: a yellow Labrador she names Yuki. 

The road she travels is not easy. She must confront personal fears, untrustworthy humans, and aggressive mutants. Will Robbie fulfill her dream of finding her family, or is the world just too dangerous a place to discover what she needs most--hope?

(The Open Book Society has given Running Red a five star review!)

The Santa Spy

It's been a while but in December of 2013, Character Publishing released THE SANTA SPY, a picture book with pictures. 

The Santa Spy is about a brilliant boy named Darren who decides to find out once and for all if Santa really exists. He uses spy equipment, a computer, and a motion-sensitive Halloween decoration to video record the events of Christmas Eve night under his tree. The end will leave readers wondering just what Darren saw in file number 1224. This book includes parent/teacher supplementary material, a glossary, and author/illustrator biographies.

To check it out, click this link: Santa!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Preview: Stumptoad

Stumptoad was an idea I carried for quite a while. It started off as a picture book but the story became so engaging I expanded it. Later, during the edits, it looked like it would be a picture again. Eventually my editor and a friend of hers in the middle reader chapter book world helped me to finalize the story. Below is an excerpt.

Click here to purchase!


Stumptoad at Home

Stumptoad loved the stone house he built and spent sunny days inside it for the sun bothered his eyes and irritated his mottled skin. When he did go out on bright, sunny days, he pulled on a large, floppy hat with a wide brim to protect his eyes. He wore a long, brown coat he crafted from a bolt of lightweight fabric he felt like he had always owned, a magical material that never seemed to run out no matter how much he used. When it rained, he danced outdoors and splashed his long, wide, web-toed feet in the puddles around his yard.
He would sometimes hear the happy calls of villagers across the Rolling Meadows on the opposite side of the Crusted Swamp from where his stone house sat. He would peer out from behind his thick drapes to see families tossing feather rings above the billowy grass or flying paper diamonds against the blue sky so high in the air they appeared like glittering shadows.
Stumptoad’s smile would curl up at the ends of his thin white lips just before it drooped into a sad smile beneath each flat, pressed back ear.
Travelers often approached his home to ask for directions only to run away in fear when he opened his creaking door, perhaps confusing him with some of the other inhabitants that lived beyond the beyond where Stumptoad lived. Stumptoad knew of their existence, but like the villagers who avoided him, Stumptoad avoided those beasts that stomped or slithered or paddled or hovered. He was caught between two worlds, shunned by one and frightened by the other.
When he was younger, it upset Stumptoad when the villagers or travelers ran away, but as he grew older, he toyed with the lost passers-by and laughed when he scared them off.
But the truth was, Stumptoad was lonely. He was not a part of the villagers. Nor were the villagers a part of him. Stumptoad was the end of a time that had begun long ago. Sometimes he had dreams of others from that time but as far as he knew, he was the only one of his kind still in existence, which added to his loneliness.
On a drizzly autumn afternoon, Stumptoad stood on the muddy edge of a leech pond raking out the juiciest leeches for his dinner when, quite by accident, a visitor on horseback stopped behind him.
“Excuse me?”
Stumptoad ignored the call of the woman thinking she was a lost traveler speaking to a passing villager. He was used to eavesdropping in these situations. Stumptoad raked up two very long and thick leeches. He bent his curving back forward and picked up each leech, depositing each one after the other into a soggy leather pouch hanging off his belt.
“Excuse me, is there someone there?”
Stumptoad hesitated with his leech rake in his hand. He slowly turned his head, as he was accustomed to doing when he worked outside, making certain to not surprise a stranger with a quick snap. There was no fun in it for Stumptoad if the passerby hurried away before Stumptoad could set the trap and surprise the unsuspecting journeyer.
Stumptoad made a gasping croak. His large dark watery eyes grew larger.
Sitting high on a horse was a beautiful, blindfolded young maiden.
“Curse this horse. Every time it stops I think it’s found the prince.”
Stumptoad’s mouth rippled along the long, thin white lines that were his lips. He tried to find his voice but all that came out were light puffs of leech breath. He puckered and whispered, “Prince?”
The maiden’s nose wrinkled. “Hello?”
Stumptoad held the comb end of the leech rake up near his face and peered at the maiden through the slits, hiding as though the maiden could see him from behind her blindfold. “Hello,” he croaked, making his voice softer than usual.
The maiden on the horse relaxed and smiled. “I think my horse may have lost its way and wandered into the Crusted Swamp. It’s hard for me to tell where I am, actually, as I have to ride with this blindfold over my eyes. I am searching for the village of Hickling where I am to meet the prince I am to marry, although I am not to lay eyes upon him until the day of our wedding, hence the blindfold I must wear. Have you heard of Prince Tilbert of Hickling?”
Stumptoad’s mouth parted and closed and parted and closed until at last he said in his deep, echoing voice, “I am he.” Admittedly, Stumptoad was a bit perplexed. By now, most people who stumbled upon him had run away. He was a diminutive creature, not quite human, but also not exactly a beast. His mottled back was forever curved forward like that of a toad. It rolled forward whether he stood on a dirt path or he sat on a moss-covered rock. Yet his baldhead would be perfectly normal to anyone looking at him from behind.
When he turned, however, his large, watery, dark eyes would blink at whoever stared upon him. His huge nostrils would flare outward on each exhale or pinch inward on each inhale around the hump of a snout. The skin beneath his jaw sagged. His lips were thin white lines nearly stretching from flat, pressed back ear to flat, pressed back ear.
Long, spindly fingers grew out from his palms.
Wide flat swim flippers feet jutted out beneath his bent legs.
A sticky stretched tongue occasionally zipped out to snatch hovering no-seeums or lap up leeches.
Yet this visitor, this beautiful stranger, remained upon her horse, smiling at him, Stumptoad, thinking he was Prince Tilbert of Hickling.
“Well, it’s me, silly Tilly,” she said. “Hilary, and I am to be your Princess.”