The Crimson Five series

Things You Do Not Need to Write a Book

 A gorgeous office, a cute coffee shop, a fancy computer program, a literary agent… or permission from anyone. I wrote my first two unpublished books with a pencil on notebooks like these, and then retyped the chapters onto a Word doc on my ancient desktop computer.

I wrote all three of my published (or soon-to-be published) books in my living room (with my laptop propped up on my lap) sitting in an old green recliner.

I had no fancy office—or any office for that matter. But I still got my stories written. In the early years, no one knew what I was working on, except me. I liked it that way. I didn’t want anyone telling me that my dream was foolish or out of reach.

If you have the notion to write a book you don’t need much. Just an idea, a notebook & a pencil or a computer, and the obscene desire and determination to make your dream come true. If you have those things, the rest will follow. Just believe you can do it and you will.

When I started writing seriously, I had no idea if my writing was good enough. I had no idea if I would ever get a literary agent. I had no idea if my books would ever sell. And I certainly had no idea if anyone other than me would read them or like them!

In fact, back then, I would have given anything for real feedback… someone (anyone who knew what they were talking about) to tell me that I had even a speck of talent and should keep going. But at that point I had never even heard of critique partners or writing groups. I had no idea they were even a thing. So, I just kept writing. All in hopes that the stuff above would happen.

I wrote and wrote and wrote because I truly loved it. It was my thing. It made my heart happy. I loved my stories and that was enough. I didn’t have connections. I didn’t know any literary agents. I didn’t even know how to write. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart. My writing was bad. Really bad. Like, when I read my early work now, I am positive that the fifth graders I write for have more skill than I did then. But I didn’t let that stop me.


Because I really wanted it. I wanted to be an author. I wanted to see my books on bookstore and library shelves. I wanted to write stories that kids read. I wanted them to love those stories as much as I did. So, I kept writing with just my notebooks, laptop, and a crazy determination that I could do this.

Now, as of a few months ago, I have an office. I have a desk, a prettier chair, and walls to hang pictures. Pictures of my book covers! And let me tell you, that reality has not sunk in yet. At all. But today as I write my sixth book, one that I hope will be published one day too, there are still things I do not need. I don’t need this office. I don’t need a coffee shop like you see in the movies. I don’t need Scrivener. I need the same things I’ve always needed:

…an idea, a pencil & notebook, and a laptop. And, an obscene desire and determination that I can do this again.

If you have these things, just know it is possible. And there’s at least one person out there who believes you can do it… me!

So, let’s hear it! Are any of you writing a book? If you are, yayyy! Is it for adults? YA or Middle Grade? Nonfiction? A picture book? Romance or whatever? Let me know. I miss my cheerleading days and I’d love to cheer for you!

Pop the Bronze Balloon is up for pre-order: Click here for details!  

The Crimson Five series

Letting Your Book Go…Until Release Day

A few months ago, a dear author friend, Vivian Vande Velde said something that made me laugh. We were talking about our upcoming book releases and she asked me why publishers refer to publication dates as release dates. She said something to the effect of, “It’s like our books our being held hostage or in jail.”

If you aren’t familiar with Vivian’s books (or her sense of humor) you should be! She’s the sweetest person and the author of 39 books! I can only imagine having that many stories in me or such amazing longevity as an author. She’s written mostly middle grade and YA, though she’s written a picture book too. So needless to say, she has been in the publishing business a very long time, and apparently, the term release day is sort of new. But it got me thinking. It does feel like our books are held hostage for a bit. We’ve written them, revised them, and edited them. We’ve done our job. But then we send them off to our publishers so they can do their jobs. We have to let go.  

So maybe held hostage isn’t quite right. It feels to me like they’re sent off to college. Like my kids. I know they’re there. I try to keep my distance and let them live their lives. I try to let go. But soon my book will be released. My kids will come back home. Both are cause for celebration! So much happens to books while they’re out of our hands—all necessary things. It’s incredibly hard to send a manuscript off for a final time, but that’s just it. When it’s time, it’s time. But the good news is, the next time you see your manuscript, it will be a book. Of course, it’ll be a galley or an ARC first, but once it’s released into the world, it will be the best version of itself. It will be published. Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh!

I’m almost in that stage right now. I’ll have one more pass at Pop the Bronze Balloon before I have to let go of it completely. But the incredible news is, I now have a release date!

February 18. 2020

It may be the start of glorious Fall right now and the sparkly crisp season of winter will be here before we know it. But just as the dreariness of slush sets in, I’ll have this to look forward to. Pop the Bronze Balloon will be released into the world…finally soaring into the hands of readers! Ahhh, I’m so excited! I cannot wait for that day!

That’s really all I had to say today. My long-winded round about way of telling you that in just over four months, the third book in the Crimson Five series will be available. And readers will finally learn what happens to Kia, Ander, Mare, Jax & Jillian when they embark on a globe trotting adventure. I hope you’re just as excited as I am! Okay, probably not, but thanks for being happy for me! You guys are really the best!

Have a great day, lovelies! See you next week:)