About Me

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May - 2016: Upcoming, I'll be participating in Desert Sleuth's Donald Maass Workshop. I'm afraid it sold out months ago, but if you have questions, contact me.

Apr - 2016: A 2nd Kami Short will release in the Malice Domestic anthology in Bethesda MD. I'll also be moderating a panel with authors Karen Pullen, Sue Cox, and Gretchen Archer. Don't miss the fun! I'll have special edition signed copies of the 1st Kami Short from the SinC - Desert Sleuth anthology to hand out for free.

Apr - 2016: An adult short story, Big Horn Mountain Carnivores, was selected as the adult category winner in the Tempe Community Writing Contest loosely associated with Arizona State University! The e- & print release where I read a portion of the story was the greatest fun. Thank you everyone who came by! Free download here (scroll to bottom): 

Aug - 2015: Politics of Chaos was released at an event attended by the awesome NYTimes best-selling author Sara Paretsky! Also, a flash fiction entitled, "Lightning" was 3rd runner up in the national 2015 Writers Police Academy's contest.

July - 2015: NYC FBI headquarters. Many thrilling authors were there, the presentations were fantastic, and the experience was a solid 15 on a 10 point scale. Thank you to the International Thriller Writers for inviting me. Thank you to the men and women of the FBI.

MAY - 2015: The Poisoned Pen submitted Chaos Theory for the 2015 Edgar's young adult novel award. Please note that submission is NOT a nomination. Still, it is an exciting development.

MAR - 2015:Tucson Festival of Books booksigning! Great time by all.

FEB - 2015: CHAOS THEORY, released by The Poisoned Pencil, an imprint of The Poisoned Pen Press - one of the nation's largest publishers of hard-back mysteries.

MAR - 2013: Meg was honored to receive a year long mentorship from author Jan Blazanin through the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators - Iowa. Ms. Blazanin praised Meg's multiple characters' distinct and age appropriate voices.

Her writing blog is located at megevonne.blogspot.com contains reviews and writing craft tools.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Great Story First & the Trouble with Mary Sue Characters

Stuffing your tool box, improving your craft—those are your goals, not publication. All the world class marketing and publicity ideas can’t make up for the great book. All the complicated world building in the universe can't help. It takes a great book first. A stand alone, logical book with secrets and tensions and sparkly character distinctive dialog and rich layered quirky characters and incredible tight pacing. Include taste, smell, hearing, imagery for the eyes, touch—smell, touch, and taste being the hardest to apply. Do it until they drip off your pages, every page.

You can break the rules if you're Meg Rosoff (& congrats on her 2013 NBA finalist award BTW), and I can guarantee you aren't Meg Rosoff.


In RL, I'm a successful business professional and personally hire people on a regular basis. It's always a turkey shoot. The one you think is perfect is dismal. The one I think is a dud but something makes me reach out with an offer turns into the greatest employee with the most empathy for my clients. Apparently the same is true for aspiring authors. Yeah, I know. Should have seen that coming.


The difference is that some people are good employees and some are great interviewers. It is difficult to know which is which--even after all these years. The same applies to writers. Some can talk the talk to sound ready for publication. They have the terms, the concepts, the phrases to make you think they are ready. Then you read... and OMG.


Mary Sue is a term used to describe a character that is an author's self-insertion into the story. It can be idealized, it can be too perfect, or it can be so well masked that the author doesn't realize it. I'm not saying that authors do not instill something of themselves in ALL of their characters, and some more than others. They do. There is a difference however between the amateur and the professional.


The trouble that arises with a Mary Sue is when the writer's ego is tied up inexplicably in the self-inserted character so much that the plot dissolves to ridiculous extremes. It becomes an exercise in self-psychology which the author often ignores--no matter how blatant it is within the pages. If it is such an exercise, I hope she wakes up and reads between the lines to find a resolution to her problems.


I'm going to repeat my first paragraph, because the answer to writing is about your tool box: the number of tools you stick in there and your proficiency with which you apply them.


Stuffing your tool box, improving your craft—those are your goals, not publication. All the world class marketing and publicity ideas can’t make up for the great book. All the complicated world building in the universe can't help. It takes a great book first. A stand alone, logical book with secrets and tensions and sparkly character distinctive dialog and rich layered quirky characters and incredible tight pacing. Include taste, smell, hearing, imagery for the eyes, touch—smell, touch, and taste being the hardest to apply. Do it until they drip off your pages, every page.


Happy writing everyone.