Building the Plane

I had the pleasure of talking to my personal cheerleader today: Sheila Kennedy. She always seems to know when I need a shot of positive energy & today was one of those days!

We started by filling each other in on the progress of our extensive projects and the lack of sleep that seems to go along with them when I made the comment that I was ready to ‘step off the cliff’ with regard to my writing (both novels and screenplays) and see if I would fall  – or more importantly – fly. I love her response!

I’ve already stepped off and made the changes in my life necessary to make the commitment to my craft – and I’m building the plane on the way. All the pieces are here, I just need to see where they fit together…

and fly!

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Alternate Endings

I recently received coverage for The Vortex – a professional reader’s opinion as to whether or not a screenplay would be recommended for purchase. While it’s not there YET, I received some amazing feedback as well as suggestions on where and how to make it stronger and therefore saleable.

The reader commented that it was a strong start to a clean draft which shows my strength as a writer and pride I take in my work (thank you!) The other considerable strength is the concept which “has a lot of legs to make it to the big screen. It has sort of everything you want in a family movie.”

The main area that I needed to work on was the ending – too many loose ends. While it’s going to have franchise potential (just check out the book series), I need to tidy things up in order to make it feel complete and whole – think Harry Potter at the end of each movie.

So with that said – the ending has changed! Loose ends are tied up (but Fiona still has goat legs!) More details to come!

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The Vortex – Update

I recently received some amazing feedback regarding The Vortex – which I’m sure I’ll share later…but they mentioned an interesting point that I haven’t thought much about – having it animated.

Being as I LIVE in the vortex – I’ve always seen it as a ‘live’ action kinda thing, but with animation it would free up the creatures to be even more fantastic.

What do you think?

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Sometimes we all need a little inspiration to keep up going. I was faced with that recently when I wanted to start the third (and final) screenplay for The Vortex franchise.  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I figured a visual would give me the kick I needed to stay the course. It worked!

A friend of mine is a graphic designer and created this masterpiece!


What more can a girl ask for?

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Rebel Yell Cover Reveal

The novel itself is still being edited, but a sneak peek of the cover can’t hurt!

A gunshot in Kentucky changes Bess’s life forever. A misfired gun in New Orleans allows her to take it back.

In 1886, Bess joins up with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Experience – throwing the small town girl into a world of cowboys, Indians, and wild horses. Running from her past, she has no idea what to expect when she joins the troupe. In the very first week she is stabbed, thrown from a wild horse, and falls in love with a rugged cowboy, Eli.

Will she be able to survive the second week?


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Rebel Yell

My very first novel idea came to me many years ago after a long, hot day at the barn. I wanted something new and exciting with the old mantra ‘write what you know’ thrown in. I had just finished reading the phenomenal book Water for Elephants and liked the idea and setting at the circus: it was very new and very exciting. What could I do?

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Experience! I’ve always had this crazy love for history and it threw in plenty of what I know: horses! I started researching and writing that night my first middle grade fiction book. It was bad…very bad. The idea behind it was the only redeeming quality.

That was nine middle grade novels ago and the story has been nagging me through every single novel. Somehow the story of the most incredible year (in my opinion) of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Experience needed to be told – 1886 – the year both Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull joined the troupe as well as their journey across the ocean for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. What a fantastic time in history – but would kids find it as fascinating as I did? Probably not.

So the idea simmered until it hit me – Rebel Yell needs to be a historical romance, not middle grade fiction! So, stripping everything away but the bare bones, I went to work and it’s nearly done!

I’ve picked out the cover (which I love and can’t wait to reveal) but it needs the back blurb – which is where you, dear reader, come in. Tell me your thoughts (positive and not so positive) as well as any questions that come up that you want answered…Here’s what I have so far:

A gunshot in Kentucky changes Bess’s life forever. A misfired gun in New Orleans allows her to take it back.

In 1886, Bess joins up with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Experience – throwing the small town girl into a world of cowboys, Indians, and wild horses. Running from her past, she has no idea what to expect when she joins the troupe. In the very first week she’s stabbed, thrown from a wild horse, and falls in love with a rugged cowboy, Eli.

Will she be able to survive the second week?


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It’s Official

Last weekend I participated in Jacksonville’s 48-hour film project where a short movie (4-7 minutes) is conceived based on certain criteria, written, shot and edited from 7 PM Friday to 7 PM Sunday – 48 hours.

My team’s genre was mystery and our criteria included: a character had to be a plastic surgeon, a prop had to include a salt shaker, and we had to use the line “That’s just the way it goes.”

It was screened last night in Jacksonville, so now I can share on social media – check it out…especially the credits at the end!

Let me know what you think!


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Need Help Again – Query Letter

Alright my village – I’m having problems with the clarity of my query letter….I think I’m too close to the subject – tell me what you think and what YOU need clarified. Especially for those who haven’t read the series…yet!

The Vortex is about 14-year-old Addeline who must rescue her brother, Ian, from the Florida swamp when he disappears and her sister, Fiona, after she’s kidnapped by a kelpie when their parents leave the country and the children realize they are trapped in a cryptozoological vortex with Aunt Tabitha and Uncle Buster.

Addeline must find the fabled unicorn horn to save them and reunite the family. After Aunt Tabitha and Uncle Buster are poisoned by goblins and left unconscious, Addeline secures the horn, but a changeling from the Fairy Realm threatens to destroy all the plans that she has set into motion. Now, with time running out, Addeline must rescue Ian from the Skunk Ape, and then save Fiona from becoming a mermaid.

As always thanks to my brilliant village – it takes one to sell a screenplay!


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48 Hour Film Project

A week ago I was invited to be a writer for the 48 Hour Film Project in Jacksonville, where  teams of film makers have 48 hours to complete a short (4-7 minute film) . I looked over the website and it intrigued me so I jumped onboard!

It kicked off last night at 7 PM in Jacksonville. With the weather and my crazy schedule, I knew I couldn’t be there – so I was the virtual team member! A few minutes before 7 PM, my phone rang…it was the director. “Our genre is mystery – start brainstorming. I’ll have more information soon.”

Mystery? Mystery! All of the genres are picked from a hat – not the one I would have preferred (give me family or fantasy any day) – but mystery it is…

A few minutes later the phone rang again. “One character has to be a plastic surgeon, you have to include a salt shaker as a prop, and the mandatory line of dialogue is ‘That’s the way it goes’. Start thinking and I call you back soon to brainstorm.”

Not one to sit around and wait for the phone to ring again, I started thinking and writing. I knew it would have two characters (male and female) and the location (a condo). I began writing. After scrapping the first idea completely, the director and I spent hours on the phone last night, brainstorming, tweaking, and finalizing the 5 page script.

I didn’t make it to bed until after 11 and was back up by 4 with more ideas swimming through my head, so I added some more and sent it back. My work is done now – it’s up to the talent to make the magic happen and to editing to make sure the idea comes across.

It was my first time collaborating on a project (and hopefully not my last) – it was a whirlwind of a night and I can’t wait to see the finished project on Wednesday June 7th.

A very special thank you to Sharon Y. Cobb and Brooks Brandal – fingers crossed!


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The Vortex Synopsis (revealed)

Thank you to everyone who helped tweak the logline over the past few weeks! Here it is:


The Vortex is a family fantasy about three kids who visit their aunt’s ranch for summer vacation. They soon discover the ranch is an active cryptozoological vortex when mythical creatures cause chaos and the kids must battle their fears to save themselves.

Three siblings, Addeline, Fiona, and Ian face the wildest summer vacation of their lives after their parents plan a romantic getaway and drop the kids off with their eccentric aunt and uncle.

Aunt Tabitha and one-handed Uncle Buster are preoccupied with frightening sounds from the woods. Eventually they confess that the ranch is a cryptozoological vortex where things aren’t always as they seem.

After a fight with his sisters, Ian wanders into the woods until he’s hopelessly lost, bug-bitten and realizes he’s being stalked by Florida’s version of Big Foot – the Skunk Ape. To make matters worse, before the search for Ian can begin, Fiona is kidnapped by a kelpie and dragged underwater and into the realm of Mer.

Frantic, Aunt Tabitha calls on the Sprites for assistance, learning from them that they must first find the fabled unicorn horn to help rescue the kids. A goblin attack reveals the location of the unicorn horn, but leaves the aunt and uncle poisoned and unconscious. Addeline secures the horn during the attack but doesn’t know how to use it to save her siblings. Their “boring” summer vacation has become mystical, magical, and dangerous.

Will Addeline figure out the secret of the unicorn horn and rescue her family, or will she be forced to explain the sudden disappearance of everyone she loves?


I’d love to hear what you think – let me know if you have any input. If you’ve forgotten the story line from Books 1, 2, 3 – here’s the trailer:


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