Posted in event, News

My First Presentation

I’m giving my first presentation at the Pamlico Writers’ Conference April 6th. I’m excited and nervous.

I have been a part of the conference steering committee for five years. Last year was my first as chairperson.

I have grown up with the Pamlico Writers’ Group. I started attending meetings nearly twenty years ago. Ten years ago I became serious about getting published. Five years ago I managed to obtain an agent, only to lose her three years ago. Two years ago I faced my fears and self-published. This year I became a part of an international anthology and I will be publishing my third book.

Some dreams take time and sweat-equity. If I can do it, y’all can to.

Join me for the Seventh Annual Pamlico Writers’ Conference April 5th and 6th. Go to for more information.

Posted in my books, Story

White Gold excerpt

0CA19407-071B-4560-A980-26FDFB677FE8Hello readers and fellow writers, I’m working on a scene for my sequel “White Gold.” I’d appreciate your feedback. Agent Jake Monroe is looking for evidence that links the present to crimes of the past. Is this section too long, too much telling? It’s about four pages long. 



The man ran from the brick canopy of the hospital entrance. The collar of his khaki all-weather coat up, his head down, scant protection from the pelting rain. The blur from the fog and rain distorted his vision, but Agent Jake Monroe was sure of his quarry. The man fobbed the keychain and the silver Lexus beeped, the headlights flashing. It was Malcolm Bryant’s car. Jake tapped his fist on the dash of his SUV. “Gotcha.”

Suspicious of the man since he’d failed to give the SBI access to his wife’s business information, Jake was determined to discover if Malcolm Bryant was indeed a victim of his ex-wife nefarious dealings, or her rival.

Jake had learned through contacts Malcolm was moving Todd from Duke Medical Center to Coastal. That seemed a risky move. Todd was still recovering from brain trauma after being shot in the head.  Was bringing him closer home to renew their relationship or did Malcolm just want to keep an eye on his out-of-control son? His cynicism was in full bitch mode. He sighed. What if Malcolm really is just a father trying to reconnect with his son? Yeah, and what if I’m really Santa Claus?  Jake waited, engine running, for Bryant to pull out of the parking lot. Visiting hours were just ending and cars were lined up at both exits.

His supervisor’s words flitted through his thoughts to the rhythm of the wiper blades as they streaked watery yellow pine pollen across the tinted surface. “Malcolm Bryant was your source in this case; without his cooperation, you have nothing” No. Jake’s vision cleared as the rain sluiced the pollen from his windshield like the gray mist from his memories. Marisol Grimes was my original source. She’d first come to the field office without Malcolm. Jake tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. He’d been the new guy. They’d assigned him the case because no one else took her seriously. They’d taken her statement but hadn’t done much more than make a few phone calls. “Young Mexican girls run off all the time,” one of the older agents had proclaimed. He was ten years too late to look for evidence of the murder Marisol claimed to have witnessed. Though he’d tried. A search for unclaimed bodies, gunshot victims, anything that might collaborate her story had turned up nothing. Ready to give up, Jake had stumbled across an article in a local paper of a drowning victim. The man’s picture matched Marisol’s description of the murdered man.  Another lucky break came when he happened to be in Florida and saw a crime reporter talking about woman, found dead of a drug overdose, who bore an unusual tattoo of a barcode. DNA proved she was Marisol’s relative.

It was after he’d asked Marisol to come in to view the pictures of the dead woman and give him a DNA swab that Malcolm had first joined her. Frowning at the memory, he’d thought Marisol’s anxiety was over the death of her cousin, but what if it wasn’t? He stared out the window willing the traffic to move.

Elva’s tax records resulted in a few inconsistencies, nothing that shouted “crime boss” but coupled with the other things he’d uncovered, suspicious. He’d worked the case for almost ten years, following the money, rumors and anything that might be considered illegal. Nearly twenty years since the crime that had started the initial investigation, but someone had finally gotten sloppy and left him a trail to follow. Jake knew in his gut, he was close to uncovering the truth. His boss called this case his “Moby Dick,” but he was determined not to let this whale destroy him, or anyone else. He stayed a few cars behind Malcolm.

Malcolm had seemed so willing to help. He’d come to the office with Marisol whenever he’d uncovered a new piece of evidence, and later, he’d come in without her. Jake tried to remember the last time he’d spoken to Marisol Grimes. Shit. He’d been so wrapped up in the case, put so much faith in Malcolm’s statements, he’d not thought about Marisol. A sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach increased his indigestion. He popped an antacid.

Lee Creek Mines held government contracts, Elva, as CEO of Barton-Bryant INC would have had to have had a background check. After ten years as an agent, Jake had come to know the many ways people hid their transgressions. The family had connections both pollical and social…The light turned green. Malcolm managed to get out, but it turned red before Jake’s car was at the front of the line. He growled in frustration, his thoughts puddling together.

This investigation wasn’t over, no matter what his supervisor said, he couldn’t just let it go. If Marisol Grimes was correct, Elva Bryant had been doing more than trafficking drugs, she’d been trafficking people. He needed to make sure there was no one to take over where she left off.

A movement near the side entrance of the hospital caught his attention. Phil Archer? He debated turning around and confronting the man but other than him shooting Polly and saving Rae Lynne, he really had no proof Phil was involved in this case. He’d have been a child when Marisol’s cousin went missing. Rae believes he’s the third rapist. Jake sighed, another case he had no way of solving. He returned his attention the stop light.

Malcolm was way ahead of him, but as he pulled onto the highway his computer flashed, showing him exactly where to find Malcolm’s silver Lexus. He glanced at the screen of his lap top, the signal was strong.

Thankful the rain offered a layer of invisibility to his unsanctioned mission, Jake followed at a distance. He was surprised when Malcolm parked at the old gym where Dana had set up her dating club. “What is he doing at Cupid’s Zone?” He wanted to go inside and demand information, but he couldn’t. He was on vacation, and if he wanted to remain an agent, he’d have to be careful of his next move. Jake parked his SUV in a vacant lot, the tall grass and spattering of shrubs afforded him additional cover. He turned off the motor and waited. This was the part of the job he dispised…waiting.


Posted in inspiration, Thoughts

Do Not Let Your Fears Defeat You

I have a confession to make. I’m a fraidy-cat. I am terrified of everything. I am afraid of trying and failing, but not trying is even worse, for that is definitely failure.

I tend to hem and haw, and toy with an idea until I make up my mind. Once I’ve decided on something I plow through until it is done. Right or wrong, I just put my head down and do it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes this way. Rushing through a job that would have been better planned and executed according to a specific schedule. I’ve also waited around and missed my chance because I couldn’t or wouldn’t decide. Life is about risks. If you do not take a chance, you will never accomplish anything.

My dream is to be a published author. I have written since I was ten years old. My first story was, of course, a romance written in red ink, titled, “True Love.” All through high school I scribbled stories and ideas for stories. The first time I read my work out loud for a friend she blew me off, embarrassed and hurt I didn’t share my work again for many years. I hid my stories in notebooks under the bed, afraid to let them see the light of day.

When my “adopted” sister found out I wrote stories, she encouraged me to share my work. She liked it and was surprised that I could capture her feelings on the page. Being able to describe emotions and experiences so that the reader asks, how did you know? For me, that was when I knew I didn’t just want to write, I wanted to be published.

I am a fraidy-cat, sharing my writing is like standing naked in the Walmart parking lot yelling, “Look at me!” I sometimes feel as if I’ll swallow my tongue when I try to read my work. I think, “Why do they care? I’m not that good. They’re not interested in hearing what I have written.” But I have found as I opened my mouth and shared my stories, people began to listen. They started to care about what I had to say and about my stories. They related to my characters.

I grew up believing traditional publishing was the only way to go. When I first started sending my stories to publishers and agents, they had to be printed and mailed. Does that tell you how long I’ve been working towards this dream? The past few years I’ve come close with articles published in magazines and stories and essays in published in anthologies. I’ve attracted the attention of a couple of agents even working with one for almost two years but still I’m unpublished. After breaking up with my agent, I realized I had to really get in there and make my dream happen, no one was going to do it for me.

Between my mentor, published friends and my family, I have pulled up my big girl panties, strapped on my leathers and stepped up to face myself in the mirror. I’m terrified but I’m ready. Once the story was edited (AGAIN) and my readers said it was ready to go, I began working towards self-publishing. Author-friends who have self/indie published, some of whom have also traditionally published, tell me it is the way to go. So much of the promoting falls on the writer’s shoulders so why not do it all the way you want to do it.

So, I’m battling the fraidy-cat and standing up to let my voice be heard. I am a writer and soon, I’ll be a published author. Don’t let your fears rob you of your dreams, if I can do it, so can you!


Posted in Thoughts, writing inspiration

I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can

My writer’s journey has been more like a Dancing with the Stars episode, two steps forward and many more backwards. I’m dancing as hard as I can and still get the of steps wrong. I’ve had articles published in magazines and newspapers. I’ve been short listed on anthology competitions, and I even caught the interests of a couple of agents.
After working with an agent for over a year, I now find myself without a dance partner. I’m facing a dilemma now of which way to go. Do I become a solo act and self-publish or do I take another chance with an agent and hope we can learn to move as one, or do go straight to a publisher and dance the choreography they already have in place?
My greatest fear in working with another agent or even a publisher is giving up control of my story. As much as I learned while working with my agent, there were changes we made to the story changed so much that it is barely recognizable as my original story. I know that I was blessed to have such a conscientious person honing my skills and molding me into a more productive writer but after all that work, my misstep landed me back on my butt with nothing published and no agent.
What do I need to do to succeed as a writer? I have good friends who have found success with traditional publishing and others who have succeeded with indie publishing. What is the right path for me?
My main concern with self or indie publishing is the cost. While it’s true, as an independent publisher I have complete control and will reap total rewards but it also means that all of the cost, all of the decisions and all the risks are mine. The past ten years since deciding I wanted to be a published author, I have learned a lot about the publishing process. I have attended workshops, programs, watched YouTube videos and taken online classes. But I know there is no knowing like doing.
I had about made up my mind to self-publish when an opportunity to pitch my story to an agent came knocking at my door. What do I do? Part of me wants to take the plunge and see what I can do and part of me says, you’ve been down that road, let’s try something new.
My first step in this new dance is to read my story with fresh eyes and see what I want to keep and what I want to change back and even what I want to make new. I still hear my agent’s voice in my head, guiding me, but I know whatever decisions I make are mine. So, whether I dance with the stars or fall on my butt, the choice is mine. Whatever I do, I’ll sing and new song and make up the steps as I go along. I’m still dancing, but for now, I’m dancing to my own tune.

Posted in Thoughts

My Agent Broke Up With Me

My Agent Broke Up With Me
I had no idea breaking up with my agent would feel a lot like breaking up with my high school boyfriend. Like infatuation, my first experience with having my very own agent was exciting and a little frightening. There were times I felt as if I had no clue what was expected of me or where we were heading. Learning to communicate and trust each other is the most important part of any relationship, and like some lovers who don’t stand the test of time, it was miscommunication that caused the demise of our partnership.
Philosophers would say it was all by design. Some people come into our lives for a season, others for a life time. I believe my agent came into my life at a time when I needed her. She gave me confidence and taught me a lot about craft and the business of writing. I appreciate the time we had together and feel stronger for the experience. Like that first love who taught me to French kiss and drive a stick shift, my agent gave me the courage to fight for what I wanted and the knowledge to achieve it.
Being true to the vision for my novel is important. When I first started working with the agent I was too afraid to say anything for fear she’d not want work with me anymore. While some may believe it crazy to rock the boat when you have an agent in your corner, and perhaps it is. But if you are not true to yourself then what happens when you mold yourself or your writing into what they want and it still isn’t enough. I feel that is what I’d done. I’d changed my words to fit what she suggested or what I believed she wanted. In the end it wasn’t and I was left not knowing what I’d done wrong. I believe my agent wanted to help me deliver the best book possible but somewhere along the way communications broke down and the relationship failed.
Like the first bloom of romance, there is the honeymoon period where everything is rosey and perfect. You both try really hard to make the relationship work. It’s a learning period. You do the back and forward dance until, if you are lucky, you get into the same rhythm. If you are lucky your first agent could be your only agent, after all several marriages started out as high school sweethearts. Like that immature relationship with your high school boyfriend, rushing the intimacy could cause the romance to disintegrate. For a strong and lasting relationship with an agent it is important to feel like partners. Having a strong, well balanced relationship built on mutual respect and faith. Believing in your work enough to fight for it and not be intimidated by the agent. Like that first boyfriend who overwhelmed me and made me feel I wasn’t quite experienced enough or pretty enough to keep him interested, I felt inadequate in my relationship with my agent. It is difficult for many first-time authors to believe in ourselves. Finding an agent who understands what you need as a person as well as a writer.
I don’t regret my time with my agent. She taught me so much that I could not have received anywhere else. She put a lot of time into my novel and her effort on my behalf is greatly appreciated. Like that first love, I now feel more confident going into my next relationship or doing things on my own.