We can fool ourselves into thinking that we have our lives well planned out. It was that way for me, being a product of the 1950/60’s: I’d go to college, meet my prince, get married, have children and live happily ever after. As much as I thought I knew what to expect, my life was riddled with surprises. But the last was the most unexpected, compelling me to write Fifth Child, a non-fiction book about the anguish and consequences of a drug-addicted child, which resulted in parenting her child almost since birth.

My husband and I are cast into a shockingly large demographic. Grandparents raising grandchildren is a growing phenomenon in our country because of our shifting economy, unmarried teen mothers, alcohol abuse and illegal drug use. Close to 10 million grandparents comprise the club. We had already raised four children. Jaime was our third child, and Brady is her son, who began calling us Mommy and Daddy when he was three. Readers may be amazed to find calamity overcoming a so seemingly traditional family. But as events and family history unfold, disturbing pitfalls and unfortunate genetic vulnerability reveal fault lines that can sabotage people from any walk of life.

"The Addict's Mom Sharing Without Shame" Video is so important whether addiction has touched your life or not. It's powerful. Please click on the link below to watch the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHNZbbePiKg

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pain of Addiction

    Jaime was an adorable child, very talented and sweet but suffered from low self-esteem. We just never imagined that would translate into drug abuse. During her senior year in college, she began showing signs something going amiss. She was avoiding family, her grades were suffering and she sold her car, a gift from her grandfather, which she loved. We were shocked to discover she used up her entire college loan on cocaine. We gave her an ultimatum, to come in for rehab or lose our support. She reluctantly accepted but was rarely sober during her her 9-month outpatient rehab program. Sadly, soon after, she got into methamphetamine.
   After living with many "party" friends, she spiraled down, ended up very addicted to meth, wound up on the street and stopped using when she discovered she was pregnant.
   That's about all I can share for now but promise to return with more of the abridged story.

Monday, April 25, 2011


So happy to see so many checking into my blog. THANK YOU! I'll be back blogging shortly. I needed to take A BLOG BREAK to do more work with my editor getting my Proposal in tip top shape. I'll be sharing about the book in my next blog. Meanwhile, I'll leave you with this...
Brady at 7 years old was trying to talk over me, while I was trying to tell him something. He finally got frustrated and said, "I'm not the brain...I'm the mouth!"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


So, growing up in the 50's and 60's, I thought my life was planned out. I'd go to college, find my prince, get married, have kids and live happily ever after. What planet was I on?????

Drug addiction in MY family? NEVER.
A child of mine living on the street? NEVER.
One of my children incarcerated? NEVER.
Raising a grandchild in my lifetime? NEVER.
Experiencing the death of one of my children? NEVER.

NEVER say never.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Great Editor Makes Your Work Great!

Oh, I am so lucky! I was just referred to an amazing editor. It's so important that an editor not only understand you and what you're trying to say, but to edit your work in a way that is compelling. I found a remarkable editor, who took the Overview of my Proposal and made it "golden!" She took my ideas and words, embellished and rearranged them to make better sense. I've hired her to edit my entire 30-page Proposal in hopes that a publisher will pick it up. Of course, there are no guarantees, but if you are serious about letting your voice be heard, DO have your Proposal for non-fiction edited by a professional before sending it out to agents. You will probably have fewer rejections. I would have!!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


What the publishing industry was and is are definitely two different animals. About 10 years ago, an author could get an advance from $20,000 and up for writing a book. Today, it's more like $10-15,000, if you're lucky.

Memoir-writing has always been easier for celebrities because of their following, but unknown authors also had a better chance of getting published in this genre years ago. Today, the larger publishing houses want authors (especially of memoirs) to have a strong platform. Many authors say their platforms will be strong once their books are published, which is true, but not want the publisher wants.

We must put the cart before the horse! I hope I got that expression right!


Forgot to mention that (not only by virtue of title and definition) Fiction and Non-fiction are two different animals to get published. Certain agents ONLY take on one or the other or their special interest concerns one or the other. Depending on which genre your book is written, the requirements are different.

You don't have to have a non-fiction book completed for an agent to submit it to a publisher. You just need a proposal. Whereas, fiction usually needs to be a completed book for a first-time author. Because the competition is so fierce, it's a good idea to have your proposal worked on by an editor. With fiction, this is not a necessity. The publisher will have their own editor.

It's a dog-eat-dog world out there and not a doggy-dog world as I previously wrote in my last blog (I thank my dear friend for letting me know). It's kinda like when you first learned the alphabet and heard L-M-N-O-P as elemental P.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Learning From Mistakes

Don't get over-zealous about getting your query letter and proposal out with your 3 chapters attached, like I did. Write it and put it away for a few days, even a week. Then re-visit it and you'll see areas that need correcting. I can't stress how important it is to have everything in the BEST possible form because you only get ONE shot with each agent.

Of course, you could get lucky. It's always possible that there's the one agent that sees potential in your work and willing to help you make it better. I got lucky. I'm working hard to upgrade my proposal so that I'm worthy of representation.

What have I learned so far? Make sure the competitors you include in your proposal, have written books within the last few years. Compare your book to not only show similarities; but show why yours is different and a better approach.

Hiring a freelance editor is also a good option in presenting your book in the best light. The editor can move your chapters around, correct any grammatical blunders and punctuation and KNOW what a publisher looks for. In better economic times, a publisher took on your book and had their own editor do the work, which can also happen today. However, because only about half the number of books are getting published, today, it might be better to hire an editor to up your chances.

Next blog will be about increasing your platform and how the industry has changed.

It's a doggy-dog world out there and more competitive than ever!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I'm told to send out queries via e-mail or snail mail (don't forget the SASE), get out a glass and bottle of wine and wait for the rejections to flood in.

So I sent all 55 of my Queries out and waited and waited and I'm still waiting. Oh, and I was just told by a published author that I should be sending out 135-200 Queries!!!! So, I'm back to work, looking up agents that might match up with my book.
While most agents just want a Query letter, some ask for a Synopsis or Overview, some ask for your first 3 Chapters and some ask for your Proposal. Before you send out your Query letter, have your Proposal completed and a your first 3 Chapters in excellent form. "Good enough" won't cut it. Remember, it's all they see of you and your work is one of hundreds submitted. Google Query Letters to Agents and Book Proposals and you'll get a good idea of what's required. Again, some agents want you to fill in their own form so a lot of this goes out the window. Being prepared is important, especially if an agent is interested.

I had the interest of an agent who liked my Query, but my chapters weren't as good as they could be and lost that agent. Please learn from my mistake.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I am a grandmother raising a grandchild. As if that wasn't enough to do at 61. Now, I've added author to my list of of accomplishments. Although completing a book is only the beginning of the long journey.

As I was writing and re-writing, I realized I knew nothing about getting it published. I thought, by magic, someone would read my intro, fall in love with it and want to publish it. Yeah, right!

Let me share some realities, which I sought by way of Google.
1. After writing your book, you must write a Proposal, which is almost harder than writing the book. This is where you promote your story, yourself and how you're going to sell it. Something you need more than anything is a platform. It must be HUGE for a publishing house to want you. That means a new writer needs to be Oprah. If this doesn't stop you, you plug on.

2. Write a Query letter to get an agent to get your book to the publisher (most publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts). The letter must follow exact guidelines and be creative enough to grab the agent's attention and also show that you can write. No typo's here. Many are e-mailed and many are snail-mailed. If the latter, don't forget you must include a SASE (stamped, self-addressed envelope). Also, it's a business letter so DO spell the agent's name correctly.

3. So, how do find what agents to mail to? There are different websites, but a very reliable one is called AGENT QUERY. You plug in your book's genre and lists of agents appear. Then you have to open up each agent's page to see if their specialty matches your book.

I've got to run to pick up my grandson and take him to tutoring. I'll continue later and also tell you about my story.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Okay, my life has not been storybook. It's been filled with lots of drama.
My friends thought my life was so compelling that they urged me  to write a book. So, being the people pleaser I am and thinking everyone would be interested; I did!
Well, if anyone told me the kind of work it takes to get an agent and get published, I might have had second thoughts.
But, I began writing day and night and couldn't stop. Being this passionate about something so unexpected, I've decided to go all the way with it, impossible or not.
Along the way, I'd like to share some of my writing and the process. It's daunting!