BLOG HOP: Write On!

I was chuffed when sister She Writes Press author L G O’Connor asked me to participate in this blog hop, a terrific opportunity to connect with her and the fabulous bloggers you’ll read about below. Meet L G…

L.G. O’Connor is a member of the Romance Writers of America. A corporate strategy and marketing executive for a Fortune 250 company, she writes adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. Her debut novel, Trinity Stones, the first book in her Angelorum Twelve Chronicles urban fantasy/paranormal romance series published by She Writes Press, launches on April 22 and will be available wherever books are sold. She is currently preparing the second book in the Angelorum Twelve Chronicles, The Wanderer’s Children, for publication at the end of 2014. In addition, her adult contemporary romance will launch later this year. A native New Jersey girl, she lives a life of adventure, navigating her way through dog toys and soccer balls and loaning herself out for the occasional decorating project. When she’s feeling particularly brave, she enters the kitchen.

As for me, I’ll be at Chaucer’s Bookstore in Santa Barbara on May 8th at 7 pm giving a reading, I’d love to see you there if you’re in the area. Okay, so on to the question and answer portion of the hop. Please visit the three writers’ blogs following the Q&A.

1) What am I working on?

I’m completing a final sweep through Monkey’s Wedding, my YA novel set in Zimbabwe. It was almost published back in the late 90s, but my publisher merged with another house and I was dumped. I went on to write the sequel, Mine Dances (set in Zambia), which I’ll spiff up next. Then on to getting them both published.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm. That’s a tough one. I would say that in my memoir, Loveyoubye it’s my “voice” that distinguishes it, because that’s what readers first remark upon when they talk about it. But then a writer’s “voice” is something uniquely their own, no matter what the genre. However, in memoir this seems especially true.

As for the uniqueness of Monkey’s Wedding and Mine Dances, both novels started as a memoir. But then I realized I wanted to make the story “bigger,” so I created two protagonists, a white girl and a black boy and gave the story political and spiritual overtones and lots of action. But essentially it’s a story of family and friendship.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write to discover. The poet William Stafford says it best: “I don’t see writing as communication of something already discovered, as ‘truths’ already known. Rather, I see writing as a job of experiment. It’s like any discovery job; you don’t know what’s going to happen until you try it.”

4) How does your writing process work?

So far I’ve been prompted to write by a need to resolve some issue deep inside me, to scratch an itch I can’t quite locate.  I’ve done this without an outline, without a particular direction. I’ve “pantsed” it (actually the term is “pantser”): this means to “fly by the seat of your pants,” discovering as you go. However I would love to have a go at outlining a story, seems the smart thing to do.

That’s it for me. So, let me introduce my three writer friends who will be the stops on this tour next Monday, April 28th.

Jessica Winters Mireles

Jessica Winters Mireles is a late bloomer who rediscovered her love of writing in her late forties after raising her four children while simultaneously teaching a studio of forty piano students. When her youngest daughter survived a cancer diagnosis, Jessica decided that life was too short not to pursue her own dreams of becoming a writer. She has since been published in Greenprints and Mothering Magazine as well as starting her blog: which is a musical term that means “Fast, but not too fast.” Jessica is currently working on a novel.

Linda Rosen

Linda Rosen lives in New Jersey with her husband.  When she’s not teaching fitness classes or working with private clients, she enjoys creating stories for readers to devour curled up in a comfortable chair with a cup of tea.  Her unpublished novel seeking representation, FLOURISH, was a semi-finalist in the 2012 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. She has been published in 201 Family Magazine and The Dying Goose. She is a member of the Women’s National Book Association, NYC chapter, co-coordinator of Great Group Reads for National Reading Group Month, and has a website,, which links to her blog, The Literary Leotard.

Tracey Baptiste

Tracey Baptiste is an author and editor of children’s books. Born on the island of Trinidad, Tracey became interested in fairy tales and told her mother at the age of 3 that she would grow up to be a writer someday. She wrote her first novel at the age of 13, a twelve-chapter future fantasy that she only shared with her best friend. At 15, Tracey and her family moved to New York where she discovered Rosa Guy’s novel The Friends, which set her on the path to writing books for teens and younger children. She Attended New York University for a B.A. in English and Comparative Literature and then again for a M.A. in Elementary Education.

After teaching 2nd grade for several years, Tracey left to work for McGraw-Hill, developing Reading and Language Arts programs. Teaching (shockingly) did not allow her lots of time to write. Tracey wrote her first novel on the commute to work–a YA that follows 13 year old Grace as she visits Trinidad and searches for a mysterious man in a photograph who she believes is her real father. Her debut was published by Simon & Schuster and was well received, earning her a place on the 100 Best Books for Reading and Sharing in 2005. She left McGraw-Hill to freelance so that she could stay home with her two young children, and worked for several publishers including her favorite assignment, working on Scholastic classroom magazines. During that time, she also wrote 7 middle grade non-fiction books including a biography of her fantasy hero, Madeleine L’Engle.

Tracey has recently returned to full-time work (though she happily works from home) as an editor for Rosen Publishing, where she edits non-fiction books for kids. Her second novel, a creepy middle grade called The Jumbies will be out from Algonquin in 2015.

Tracey is represented by Marie Lamba of Jennifer De Chiara Literary and is currently at work on a chapter book for younger kids, and a middle grade novel. She can be found at where she blogs a weekly-ish roundup of publishing news. She also helps other writers with their fiction and non-fiction manuscripts via Fairy Godauthor ( You can find Tracey in person at the NJSCBWI conference in June. She will be giving two presentations: non-fiction writing, and the author/agent relationship. She will also be critiquing non-fiction proposals.


Must See Movies #2

Here’s my second list of 10 “must see” movies. I gave all ten of them 5 stars on Netflix. Let me know what you think.

1. Being There (1979)

The uncomplicated life of simple-minded Chance is changed after a run-in with wealthy Eve, and soon his “wisdom” — mostly garden related — has Washington’s political elite hailing him as brilliant. With Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden, Richard Basehart, David Clennon. FcPQ9gww_qc

 2. Blade Runner (1986)

In the smog-choked dystopian Los Angeles of 2019, blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is called out of retirement to snuff a quartet of “replicants” — androids consigned to slave labor on remote planets. They’ve escaped to Earth seeking their creator and a way to extend their short life spans. Director Ridley Scott’s reedited version comes with a different ending and the omission of Ford’s narration, giving the film a different tone. KPcZHjKJBnE

3. Best in Show (2000)

Master mockumentarian Christopher Guest (Waiting for Guffman) is at it again with this snarky send-up of canine culture that traverses the galloping neuroses surrounding one highly competitive dog show in Pennsylvania. Talented improvisers Parker Posey, Eugene Levy, Michael McKean and Catherine O’Hara elevate this satire to the stuff of genius. Fans of This Is Spinal Tap, television’s “SCTV” — and dogs, of course — will find much to love. yeifMjqpsg0

4. The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)

Though Tomas (Daniel Day-Lewis) is adept at juggling girlfriends (Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin), he has a tougher time following the dictates (or lack thereof) of his political conscience in this Oscar-nominated adaptation of Milan Kundera’s acclaimed novel about a womanizing Czech doctor. But when Soviet tanks rumble through Prague in 1968, the gravity of the situation changes all their lives forever in this drama from director Philip Kaufman. m1zYYWHFRNw

5. Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Giuseppe Tornatore’s Oscar-winning film follows Salvatore, a Sicilian boy who is mesmerized by the movies shown at the local theater. He befriends projectionist Alfredo, who mentors him and ultimately tells him to leave home to pursue his dreams. Now a famous film director, Salvatore returns home for the first time 30 years later for Alfredo’s funeral and is overcome with warm memories of his childhood even as the town has changed. C2-GX0Tltgw

6. Harold and Maude (1971)

Death-obsessed teen Harold Chasen (Bud Cort) is being hassled by his domineering mother (Vivian Pickles) to play the dating game, but he’d much rather attend funerals, which is where he meets the feisty Maude (Ruth Gordon), a geriatric widow who’s high on life. The seemingly mismatched pair forms a bond that turns into a highly unconventional — but ultimately satisfying – romance in this comical cult favorite from director Hal Ashby. hR-OojNoVDg

7. Where’s Poppa (1970)

Dutiful Gordon (George Segal) promised to never put his mother (Ruth Gordon) in a home — but that was before she was ruining his love life. Now, out of options and with the girl of his dreams on his arm, Gordon plans to scare his difficult mother to death — literally. Gordon tries to off his scatterbrained mother before she manages to rid of his girlfriend in director Carl Reiner’s wacky black comedy. fTkOLLdulC0

8. Tsotsi (2005)

After shooting a woman (Nambitha Mpumlwana) and driving off in her car, a ruthless thug (Presley Chweneyagae) is surprised to discover he isn’t alone, kept company by a crying infant in the backseat. But through his efforts to care for the baby, he slowly rediscovers his capacity to love. Writer-director Gavin Hood helms this Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, based on the novel by Athol Fugard. DYnqbNl7VMM

9. My Life as a Dog (1985)

This Oscar-nominated gem offers an honest depiction of the often-confusing nature of childhood. Shipped off to live with his uncle for the summer, 12-year-old Ingmar finds unexpected adventures with the help of the town’s warmhearted eccentrics. These experiences give him the strength to accept his life and eventually enjoy childhood. VxzO8Qx96O4

10. This is Spinal Tap (1984)

Rob Reiner’s cult satire about a fictional heavy metal group named Spinal Tap spoofs nearly every facet of rock ‘n’ roll — from vacuous modern songwriting and half-baked album promos to pyrotechnic concerts. Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer portray the washed-up, aging British rockers whose tresses and egos outstrip their talent, with Reiner appearing as the filmmaker who’s chronicling the band’s calamitous comeback tour. YZbHagBNY98