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.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Calling Research Guinea Pigs!Scientific Study Needs You. Especially teens and young adults!

Call for research guinea pigs! Especially if you are a teen or young adult, this vocabulary study needs your help, but everyone can play. Give it a shot?


 http://testyourvocab.com/


Test
your
vocab

How many words do you know?

I'm old, so nt 32600 isn't bad. 80th percentile group. Where do you fall? I was doing fantastic until I hit the last column filled with Latin based words. I could have deciphered some of them, but I stayed true to their request to only mark words you comfortably use and identify. See, I knew there was a reason I should have taken Latin over French in high school. :-(

An internet friend in her 20's was an amazing 39000 plus. With that, I had to send it to a copy editor friend. He had 40,600. 

As a writer though? The suggestion is to avoid ALL Latin based words and stick with the Saxon ones. You know, chose smart over cerebral or shit over defecate? Ha! Maybe you have some too?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Macavity Award Nominations 2014

Macavity Award Nominations 2014  <--looking a="" check="" for="" nominations.="" out="" p="" read="" summer="" these="">

You'll note that Ian Rankin's is listed. And yes, he posted this to his twitter account. I love twitter!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Writer and Michelangelo; an Editing Journey

In 1993, I spent a week in Rome. As the years pass, many of my memories fade of that trip, but standing beside and beneath Michelangelo's statutes of The Pieta and Moses? That experience will never go away. How can you ever forget such vibrant warm life created out of marble? I marvel at his ability to see those characters hiding inside that cold block of raw material. I'm staggered by the time it took to complete them, as well as the time and practice it took to obtain the technical skills to create them. That is not a miracle but determination and dedication.

My daughter calls it positive space. She should know. She's an art teacher. To me, I know only that Michelangelo had to remove what didn't belong to get to what did.

As writers in the editing phase, we must do that as well. We create our marble block, although ours is a gooey mushy clump-like clay, but once the plot and characters are there? The clump becomes hard, unyielding marble that a writer must chisel. It isn't a passive endeavor. You have to sweat to chip those parts away. Your muscles quiver with the effort. Your mind becomes exhausted.

When you finish the big chunk removal, you move on to the tiny and infinitesimal. Each word, each sentence, each paragraph, each chapter until you reach the warmth and shine of your true story beneath the crud. As you do it? The time passes--sometimes months--until your heart beats harder and your soul cries out as you see the small glimpses of what your story will become. Like Michelangelo, you apply the chisel to find the heart hiding within the cold block of marble.

I will never reach the perfection of Michelangelo, but I will try. I will never stop trying.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Pushing the Envelop to Tell a Great Story; Review Jesus Jackson by James Ryan Daley due out Sept, 2014

My copy was an advanced promotional edition for review purposes. It will be released by the new imprint The Poisoned Pencil, a division of The Poisoned Pen Press on September 1st, 2014. My own Poisoned Pencil work will be released February 3rd, 2015. 

Genre: edgy YA contemporary crime fiction
Appropriate ages: 14 & up
Strongly recommend

Quality thoughtful work, not only well written but intriguing from a plot stand point as the main character deals with the death of his older brother. Both he and his brother attend a catholic high school, but neither believes in God. After his brother dies in a possible murder or suicide, the main character runs across Jesus Jackson who promises, for a fee, to help the main character find his faith. Jesus is quite willing to make that any faith you wish. His specialty it turns out is pushing, sometimes literally, his clients into a leap of faith--even our main character who wishes his faith to be nothing at all. A challenge Jesus agrees is challenging, but it's doable. Therefore $12.00 is paid and the contract is made.

The idea of incorporating a Jesus figure was not only intriguing, it works extremely well. It might turn off some readers to the work, but it frankly lifted this story up several notches in my critical review. This isn't Are You There God, It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume--but it's a similar quest told from the view point of a young man facing the loss of his dear brother.

I found it as funny as it was touching. The teen relationships were believable and the voice strong.

Give this out of the box book a try. I believe you also will enjoy it. 

Another Book for Your Writer's Tool Box, Writes of Passage

My basic writer’s tool box is filled with books. My go to book for writing inspiration has always been Jane Yolen’s Take Joy; for editing, it’s Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne; for in the trenches and needing humor, it’s Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Besides writing, you’ll note the common denominator is humor. As writer’s we need that.

 

To that mix, I’ve added another book, Writes of Passage, Adventures on the Writer’s Journey, Sisters in Crime, edited by Hank Phillippi Ryan 2014. It’s essay collaboration on all stages of writing by writers who know. Each offers advice from the heart with humor and kindness. As I step from stage to stage as an author, each new level requires new skill sets and bravery to face new fears.

 

The best way to share this from a writer’s perspective is to list some my highlighted quotes. I highly encourage you to purchase this for your own writer’s craft bookshelf. Thank you to all the contributors for excellent advice.

 

From Hank Phillippi Ryan, “…the one secret of writing: Every single author has felt the way you do. Without question, I can assure you, every single one. …This little book is your weapon against fear, your ammunition against self-doubt, your antidote for gloom. …They say you can only learn from experience. And that may be true. But what they don’t tell you is that it doesn’t have to be your own experience.”

 

From Catriona McPherson, “…we happily share our daily word count on our Facebook page, but I’ve never seen someone post news of six hours’ good, hard thinking and expect a high five. …That’s where the stories come from.”

 

From Sandra Parshall on who you are, “You’re a writer. That’s your identity. Don’t let anyone take it away from you.”

 

From JoAnna Carl & Eve K Sandstrom on research, “People just love to tell you what they know. …Writers, don’t be shy! Ask somebody!”

 

From Kylie Logan on writing reality, “Wabi-sabi is a Japanese concept. It’s all about the appreciation of imperfection and impermanence. In other words, the acceptance of transience. …I have to remember that a book, at any stage in its writing, is a product that’s growing and changing. In other words, it’s transient. ...when I’m writing—when the creative juices are flowing and the words are tumbling out of my brain and my fingers are racing across the keyboard---it’s okay for my writing to be a little wabi-sabi.”

 

From Clare O’Donohue on writing spaces, “As a home-office-less writer, I’m pretty much doomed to wander the earth looking for a place to rest my weary PC, so I’ll write anywhere I can find a seat.” But if you do it in public, expect your intent and often discomforting expressions may terrify people in public. Ha!

 

From Lori Roy on her writing organization skills, “While organization served me well as an accountant, it does me no good as a writer. Instead of papers filed in a three-ring binder, the holes of each page reinforced, my research is piled around my office, stuffed in drawers, jammed in manila folders I won’t be able to find later.”

 

From Clea Simon on writing, “As a working author, I can attest to one vital truth: There is always time for laundry, and that’s not a bad thing. …That troublesome subplot will find itself resolved somewhere between the cold and hot water loads.”

 

Proofreading advice from Elaine Viets: “Will you get them all? Not this time. But you will see the last few typos—when your finished novel arrives.”

 

From Terry Shames on A Little Help from My Friends, “I was a member of Guppy Chapter.

 

From Leslie Budewitz on above, “What groups do best…is encourage their member and leverage information. Every opportunity and accomplishment I’ve had as a writer started with something I learned from a group. And with SinC and the Guppies, I didn’t even have to put on shoes.”

 

From Deborah Coonts on talking with other writers, “From Nancy Martin, [an author mentioned by several of the contributors] the wonderful writer of the Blackbird Sisters series, I learned that…writers… are the most accepting, supportive, wonderfully weird group of friends. …Walk into writers’ conferences…knowing that you belong. …Then reach out a hand to a newbie and bring him or her into the clan.”

 

From Emily Dickinson a quote long known but always helpful, “’Hope’ is that thing with feathers—That perches in the soul—And sings the tune without words—And never stops—at all__

 

From Kaye George, “The most important thing I learned was that this is not an easy process and it would take time and patience and tons of persistence.”

 

From Barbara Ross, “The most important character trait a writer can have is not hope. It’s resilience. But how do you get it? You write more.”

 

From Sharon Wildwind, “Want to add a quick fix to the hope chest? Drink water. Two percent dehydration…impairs decision making and reduces creativity. Sometimes hope is as simple as a glass of water.” And “In the words of Galaxy Quest’s Jason Nesmith, “Never give up. Never surrender.”

 

From Joelle Charbonneau, “I learned to self-motivate based on love of the craft and the thrill of climbing the storytelling mountain and getting to the other side. …I became an author the day I made the commitment to myself and the story I was telling.”

 

Sujata Massey offers six effective marketing and promotion ideas that won’t kill ya.

 

From Cathy Pickens on hitting the wall, “The best artists learn to shove on through . And that’s the secret: not dancing around it, ignoring it, or pretending you can plan enough to avoid it completely, but pushing on through.”

 

Patricia Sprinkle offers a personal story on promotion that made me roar out loud! As her husband commented, “We can’t afford too many successful signings.”

 

Barbara D’Amato shares a hilarious road trip with another other author. They hear a precious story from a married couple at a road side vendor stall. They both get in their car smiling, knowing that they were going to use the conversation in something sometime!

 

From Luisa Buehler on Writes of Passage, “How different the feeling of knowing you’re moving forward and not muddling through. How defining the moment when you understand the difference, not only in your mind but in your heart.”

 

From Lucy Burdette and Roberta Isleib’s essay on the difference between hope and success reminded me of a quote I keep taped to my keyboard. It’s from some 15th century manuscript copied from a Great Course on literature. It reads, “Like the light of reason shining upon long cherished illusions.” This piece reminded me to shine that light of reason on my writing so I see reality as well as my dream to make it happen! Remove the illusions and then you can proceed.

 

Harley Jane Kozak shares how to translate your editor’s revision requests into happy to-do lists that fix the problems. Then “Use fancy fonts and different colors and mount it on beautiful paper, suitable for framing. …After that I filed that horrifying eight-page editorial letter in a box that I locked in a vault that I buried under the floorboards, never to read again. And then I could work.”

 

From J. A. Hennrikus, “Don’t forget to be happy. … stop and celebrate every passage.”

 

From Deborah J Ledford, “Writing can be a lonely profession, and only your fellow writers know what it takes to commit, pour out your heart, offer your soul to strangers, and hope the reader will accept what you have to offer. …Surround yourself with like-minded, supportive, and creative people.”

 



Sisters in Crime’s motto is ‘you write alone, but you are never alone.’ Not a bad offer to writers.

Friday, June 6, 2014

YA Edgar Award Winner Review - Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

The Edgar Awards are given annually by the Mystery Writer's of America, which is a professional mystery/crime fiction writer's organization. Last year, I fell in love with an also nominated Emily Dickinson's Dress and Other Missing Stuff. That book lost to Verity. Okay, great book but I still loved the small press EDOMS more. :-) This year, Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher won the YA category.

From what I can see reading the other reviews, you either love this or you don't. I would have come down with a 4.5 rating.

Title: Love it.    Ketchup Clouds

Interesting premise: young UK girl dealing with first love confusion and then guilt over a death begins writing to a death row inmate in Texas. That's cool. I like it a lot. it plays with the time line so you obtain memories from the letters as well as current action--that's cool and well done. Toss in the nice little subplots: a professional dad out of work and a guilt ridden stay at home mom over an incident involving their youngest deaf daughter, two brothers that fall for the same girl; the dead boy's mom trying to figure out how to cope and how her son died, another sister who is being bullied but isn't--those are nifty too. OK--maybe she over did the sub-threads.

Negatives: Although the young girl's voice is age appropriate, it rattles apart at various times. That was disappointing. She comes across as far too mature in some relationships (siblings) and far too immature in the romance triangle.

Mixed feelings: The inmate on death row is kinda important, but we miss his input since he's doesn't reply. As his death date arrives, I didn't feel it was tied into the story to bring about any resolution on the MC's part. That left me disappointed, and you don't want to disappoint your reader.

My ultimate guess? I'm probably going to fall in love with one of the other nominations like I did last year.