SCBWI Southern Breeze Presents …
The first annual Manuscript and Portfolio Critique Event!

June is writing contest month for Southern Breeze. Throughout the month, we’re sponsoring manuscript swap events all over the region. Here’s one I’m hosting:

JUNE 10th, 2017
2 PM- 4 PM
RT Jones Memorial Library
Canton, GA

For more information click on

And, while you are there, check out the 2016 winners on the bottom of the page. 🙂




I equate everything to writing, so why not liken it to trying on bathing suits? (Work with me on this one, people!)

You’ve heard of point of view in books, right? It’s the narrative view an author uses to tell a story. First person or third? Past tense or present? Head jump, yes? No? Maybe a little?

Fascinating stuff, I know, but how does this relate to trying on bathing suits?

The other day I was feeling especially masochistic, so I gobbled down a cheeseburger then strolled through the swimwear section of a department store. Twenty minutes later, after barricading the dressing room stall, I wrangled myself into a loosely disguised water girdle and reread the tag.

Guaranteed to make you look ten times slimmer.

Ten times? Yeah, good luck with that.

Ever squeeze a balloon? Well that was pretty much my experience. Squash the top, the bottom pops out. Wedge in the bottom, hello top! Stuff the middle … at the exact spot these water girdles most concentrate—FLOOMP!

Everything spills out, which brings me back to my point. Yes, I actually have one … this time.

As I stood there, looking at my reflection in what had to be a warped carnival mirror, I came up with a new point of view.

4th person imperfect. It’s the narration when the mirror tells the story.

Let me just say, out of all the POV’s I’ve experimented with, this one’s my least favorite. It’s unreliable, delusional, and should NOT be used after eating a cheeseburger. 🙂


Crumb by Crumb

Kale. On my keyboard. That is my life.

I woke up this morning to two of my life passions.

1. Writing—duh.
2. Deep fried vegetables. Is there any other way?

Without my contacts on, I first thought the object was a spider, which would be fine with me. I like those little suckers. But no, upon further examination I found that it was small piece of the oh-so-delicious deep fried kale I engulfed for dinner last night.

It got me thinking about my life and about the lives of my all my writing buddies who are also trying to pursue this crazy dream.

We write. Word. After. Word. Every single day, or at least as many days as we can. And on those days when we aren’t writing, we are thinking about writing—characters, connectivity, the next word.

Day in, day out, we torture ourselves on this manic depressive ride.

Can’t get the scene right—I suck!

Figure out that plot hole—yes, I am a goddddddddddddddddd!

Yesterday, I read an article that said if you want to write, quick talking about it, and get your butt in the chair. Which I already knew, thus the kale.

So to everyone out there who is pushing forward on what sometimes feels like an impossible task, here’s to you. (Holding up my coconut water.)

It ain’t easy. That’s fo sho! But’s it’s you and your contribution to this life.

And that’s beautiful.



“Novels begin not on the page, but in meditation and daydreaming—in thinking, not writing.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates

Ha! I knew it. Daydreaming—the backbone of my craft. For as long as I can remember, I’ve allowed my mind to slip away from the current conversation (especially if I was in trouble) and drift off to other lands, lands where I could fly, lands where everything ended on a happy note.

Delusion? Some might say. But according to Ms. Oates, I was preparing. I was creating.

So, if you’re like me, the next time you’re caught napping or mentally wandering, no need for apologies. Simply say, “Hey, I’m working here!”



I didn’t know him nor did many of the thousands of people who came out to honor him today. People of different ages, backgrounds, and race, toting flags in silent unity.

We stood on the overpasses. We lined the highways and streets. We saluted. We cried. We prayed.


Because he didn’t know us either, yet he made it his mission to protect us anyway–to protect our country.

In memory of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Skip Wells, killed in the Chattanooga terrorist attack.


Ladies (ladies, ladies) and gentlemen (gentlemen, gentlemen)—prepare yourselves. Today is the official book release of GREY by Christi J. Whitney.

This YA urban fantasy yanks you out of your normal existence and drops you smack dab into an atmospheric world dripping with ancient superstitions, Outcast Gypsies, dark secrets, and forbidden love.

GREY is the first novel in the ROMANY OUTCAST SERIES now available at the following locations: HarperCollinsUK, AmazonUK, Amazon, and B&N.

Enjoy the trailer. Then go check it out for yourself! 


Freak Flag

Trends. We’ve all heard it. Don’t write to the trends. Be unique to yourself. Let your freak flag fly. Okay, so, I added that last one, but I think it speaks the message quite well. Let your you shine through.

We all have our areas of special interest: collecting coins, playing the kazoo, scrutinizing commas. (Hey, no judgments!) Whatever it is you love to do—do it, write about it, create lyrics for it—live it. No need to worry that no one will share your obsession with pickles or your fascination with six-legged giant bugs who live exclusively on an island in the South Pacific. (I know, cool, right?)

Not everyone will get it … but some will.

Here is a clip of a dancer who definitely followed his passion. He didn’t worry about the current dance trend, he created his own style, which I’m sure included endless hours of standing in front of the mirror isolating particular muscles.

Not your thing? No problem. But his results? Genius.

Enjoy the clip, and, after you’ve wrenched your back trying a few of his gastric pumps or magical foot slides, don’t forget to dig into your own chest of uniqueness.

Wear your differences loud. Wear them proud! Yeah, baby!


Rejection. Yes, we’ve all faced it, but if you are like most people, you do what you can to avoid it. Not so when you are submitting to agents. Writing is very subjective. Finding that particular agent for your particular project is an experiment in patience—and self-esteem.

For every yes you get, you’ve most likely received dozens, sometimes even hundreds of no’s. So how do you push forward and keep your head in the game? For me, I have a few tricks.

The first—surround yourself with positive people. There are certain people in this world that have that special light. Find them.

The second—relax, trust, and work your butt off. You can’t get that coveted yes on a wish.

And the third—find ways to pump up your spirits. Here’s a short clip that has recently become my new anthem. No, it’s not related to writing. No, it’s not found in any technical book, but I promise, you watch this thing a few times, you’ll be sauntering all over your house like the gangsta you know you are.

Wiggle, Wiggle

“Shall we make a new rule of life … always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary.”
~ J.M. Barrie via WONDER

There’s this thing that I do with my tongue when I’m trying to stop myself from crying. I open my mouth, ever so slightly, and then wiggle my tongue side to side like some sort of directionally defunct fishing lure. It’s weird. I know.

What I didn’t know is that I do this. Until recently …

Last week I was at the gym pumping my legs in stationary circles while reading. I’ve found that transporting myself into another time or place helps me to forget that I’m actually exercising. It also motivates me. The more exciting the plot, the faster I peddle with apparently the emotions of the characters driving my expression.

The book I was reading was WONDER by R.J.Palacio and, without giving away the plot, let me just say, it’s the kind of story that makes you want to be a better person.

I was at a very emotionally climactic point and could feel the sting in my tear ducts when I sensed a set of eyes watching me. I looked up to see a man grinning my way with a,”Yo, waaat up, babe,” type of expression on his face. At first I thought he must have mistaken me for someone else, but then I felt it–my tongue–wiggling back and forth in my mouth.

There’s nothing like a creepy grin to screech the brakes on my literary world. Within seconds the book was under my arm, and I was halfway down the hall. But later, while finishing that passage in the confines of my living room, I felt myself doing the same thing–tongue whipping back and forth like a sideways pendulum.

I bring this up not only because I’m weird, but because there are just some books so good they can induce asthma attacks, bring forth unknown facial tics, or, in my case, activate the horizontal tongue flicker.

So if you’re ready for a book that will stick with you and, most likely, affect everything you say and do, pick up WONDER. But learn from me, you very well may want to read this alone. The emotions it elicits can’t be trusted.

Baby Steps

Once again, the ideas for my newest story started off like a fireworks display only to, once again, putz out like a car void of gas. But rather than fret or mope, I’m following in the footsteps of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Bill Murray.

Yes, that Bill Murray. And no, he doesn’t know he’s my friend.
As far as the path he took? It was simple–baby steps. Do what you can can do, one step at a time. It’s from the 1991 movie What About Bob? In case you’ve never seen it, see it. Not only can my bud, Bill, crack you up with a simple nod of his head, but the advice he follows pretty much holds true for any goal.

Enjoy the clip. Happy stepping!

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