Skinny Minnie Is Here!

13407255_1789312701282554_2923088059217904543_n (532x640)

“Skinny Minnie” the book, that is! I’ve finally released my first children’s illustrated book on Friday, June 10th. It has been a long, tiring, sometimes frustrating, sometimes exciting journey, but I did it!

The book targets children age 4 years to 9 years and tackles the issue of teasing/bullying. Basically, it teaches children how to react to such social issues without becoming a mean girl or boy themselves.

I’ve noticed that people are often bullied for being bigger than the “average person” (what is average these days anyway?). However, no one seems to realize or brings attention to the fact that there are boys and girls who are bullied for the opposite, being smaller than the “average person”.

This is where the idea for “Skinny Minnie” comes in.

I was teased for years as a child for being thin or skinny. Even now as an adult people feel it’s OK to tell me what size I should be. As a child it can really mess with your self-esteem. A child with low self-esteem becomes an adult that looks for approval in the wrong places (at least from my experience). Therefore, I am on a mission to teach kids to be kind and to know that they are enough. Always love yourself and be yourself.

“Skinny Minnie” is a book that teaches children how to overcome teasing and just dance!

Get your copy on Amazon or Create Space today and join me on a mission to nurture happy, confident kids!

Oh, and while you’re there, please leave a review!

Until next time…




Untitled design (3)

The wind whistled through windows as the storm continued to shake the old house. Clara Swain pulled the covers tightly up to her neck. Her fingers dug into her palms through the cotton material as she held on, hoping it would protect her. The aged boards of the staircase creaked painfully. Clara’s heart sprinted at the sound.
Continue reading

What Can I say…Things Happen

Yup, they sure do. Like not consistently writing 500 words a day. Like deviating to writing children’s books instead. Yes, that’s the thing that happened. I hate to start something and not finish it so I will definitely be writing a short story here as much as possible. However, I have taken a recent interest (3 months ago recent) in writing illustrated books for children. I’m actually loving it. It allows me to bring out the kid in myself and she was not so bad.

I was one of those children who spent their days outdoors, climbing trees, chasing birds and butterflies, skipping rocks on the pond or reading a book in the shade. I had a dreamy childhood if you ask me. So, being taken back to those times in my memories and crafting them in stories for children, warms my heart.

One of the perks for me with this genre is how quickly the story comes to an end. I’m writing for those early years at the moment, ages 3 to 8 years. So, you’re looking at a maximum of 1,000 words for illustrated books. Of course, I usually go over that limit but my editor has done a great job of bringing the word count down while keeping my story authentic and vision intact. I always get anxious when writing fiction for adults. The end always seem so far away and I want to get there. However, 80,000 words is no joke especially if you’re aiming for quality and a book that your readers can’t put down.

Anyway, I’m enjoying this journey and I’m excited about it. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t abandoned Adult Fiction. But I do believe it’s ok to take detours once in a while. You never know what you’ll discover. So please be understanding and keep a look out for the occasional adult short story for your viewing pleasure.



In The Mirror

Charlotte stood in front of the floor length mirror lying slanted against the wall instead of hanging from it like it should be. She fussed with her once wooly hair, which were now limp brown strands on her head from years of straightening. It never looked right to her and seemed to look thinner after each chemical process. She was in 7th grade when she begged to have it relaxed. All the kids would tease her for having “baby hair” and she didn’t realize how much she needed to fit in. Her grandmother was a stickler for presentation. She always made sure all of the kids were clean and well dressed before they left the house. Even now that she was no longer with her, Charlotte felt the need to be just right at her funeral. Impeccable.

However, some things could not be changed. Like the cocoa bean shade of her skin, which always seemed to work against her. It was the first thing all of the other kids pointed out to make her feel small in an argument. It was the last thing all of the boys looked for when they chose a girlfriend. Here now, standing in the mirror, it was the one thing overpowering the thin image, adorning a white, jeweled Ann Taylor shift dress. Choosing pearl earrings from the green mosaic jewelry box her mom had passed down to her, Charlotte watched herself in motion as long, bony arms reached up to touch her ears like a tree branch void of life, but still moved by the wind. Sitting down on the bed, she slid her feet into a pair of black Nine West sling backs.

She stood to inspect herself. I love my legs, she accepted of herself in thought. They were skinny like the rest of her but long, falling down like waterfalls from under the dress, which highlighted them by stopping short of her knees. Weren’t men supposed to love long legs, she mused, and wondering why no one seemed to like hers? Her grandmother thought she was too skinny also. However, she never made her feel ugly for it. She especially loved Charlotte’s smile.

“Oh child, you have a pretty smile. You’re a beautiful dark skinned girl,” she would say with tenderness in her eyes whenever she caught Charlotte in a wide grin. She always wondered if grandma only said that to make her feel better about herself. How could anyone love her smile? She’d always have to be careful not to show her crooked bottom teeth when she smiled, to avoid giving anyone another imperfection to use as a dart.

“Char! It’s time to go! Her mom yelled. “The limousine’s here!”

“I’ll be right out! She yelled back. Her mom had a way of making her anxious. Everything always seemed to be hurried with her mom and meticulously planned out.

She took one last glance in the mirror. She felt like screaming. “Why can’t I look like, like…someone else?” She said through gritted teeth. Sighing, she left her room and headed outside to join the rest of her family who had now assembled at her house before heading to the church.


Water is a sign of life. It is just one of the reasons why Charlotte Robb love rainy days. She pulled the blanket closer and listened to the rain falling lightly outside her window. Charlotte was jealous of its fluidity and freedom. It fell and landed wherever it pleased, leaving not a trace of wetness after a couple of days of sunshine. Yet it’s presence was everywhere. It left its mark on every living thing. The green of the leaves, the strength of a tree trunk, the musky smell of the earth, the brow of a man…it was everywhere. It could change the world and that’s what she wanted to do. Or at least change lives, just like her grandmother.

Marie Bond was undoubtedly one to be admired. She was certainly admirable in Charlotte’s eyes. Some may say differently. Hopefully out of my ear shot, she thought. All some people saw in her grandmother was a farmer raising nine children without a husband. They never saw how she taught her how to fight with her words and not her hands. Or how she would give her last to a stranger in need. They didn’t see her fight through arthritis, waking up before the sun showed its face, to till the soil all day to feed her family. Neither did they see the loneliness behind her smile, but Charlotte did. She would miss that smile. A wet lump began to birth in her throat, nourished by her memories of her grandmother. She shook her head as if to empty it and prevent the lump from giving life to a downpour of tears.

Charlotte groaned as she rolled onto her back, stretching her body to its limit. Her arms outstretched across the bed, legs spread wide until her toes peeked their head out from under the sheets. She wiggled them until they cracked. It felt good. She felt awake. Staring up at the ceiling, she could still hear the rain tapping on her windowpane. Her mind began to drift again. There were times that she couldn’t help but wonder if her leaving led to her grandma developing Alzheimer’s. She had overheard her Uncle Ted talking with her mom once.

“Since the first day you took Char away from Marie, she began to lose her mind. She lived for that child. She had nothing left after she was gone so she gave up.” He pointed out with certainty.

Her mom had said nothing. Charlotte remembered every detail of the day her mother said she could not live with her grandma anymore because she wanted her to go to a private school. The school would be closer to where her mom lived. At first she thought it would be exciting to move to a new place and go to a new school. However, she was sure that the emptiness she felt being away from her grandma and her friends those first few months was her first true heartbreak. She had cried and begged her mom to let her move back to her grandma’,s but she said she’d get over it. She did…eventually.

Nonetheless, she always wondered how her grandma truly felt. She would call her often. Sure she told Charlotte she missed her but mostly gave words of encouragement and reminded her not to keep bad company. Now she could hear her grand mother in the fall of the rain, her voice strong with wisdom and sure of herself. Suddenly this was a rainy day Charlotte had no love for.

Just as she glanced at the clock there was a knock on her bedroom door.

“Char, it’s time to get ready for the funeral. You’ll want to get something to eat first.” Her mom suggested.

The Challenge

I dislike being controlled. I like to do my own thing. However, a writing challenge is just the type of control I need to bring some discipline into my creative space. Look at the date on my last post. Go ahead, take a look. Say what?! More than a year ago? Exactly. I need a challenge. I need discipline.

Am I the only writer who rarely writes? That is how I’ve learned that intentions are pointless. It’s all about seeing it through to the end. Commitment. Since the last post, I’ve had some adventures. I traveled to Switzerland again and made new friends and discovered new things. All the more reason I should have lots to write about, right?

To be truthful, my desire for this blog was short stories only. However, I’m going to just simply write. If not the ideal short story on a regular basis, I will give you whatever is on my beautiful mind.

The challenge was inspired by one of my new favorite artists, Jeff Goins. The goal is to write a minimum of 500 words a day, everyday, for 31 days ( I plan to start May 1st ). No concern about editing, just write. I’m hoping that this will really get me going in being discipline in regards to my craft. So, if you’re in this boat with me, the one where you have lots to say but never write anything down, lets change. Write something!

Follow, read and comment. I’m always open to opinions. I’m all about growth.

What’s Love Without Tragedy?

Image by photobucket

Sara could never quite figure out who she was. Now with the emptiness she’s a stranger. A stranger even in her shadows.

“Ms. Barnes?

Sara felt a light tap on her shoulder and tried to process what it meant before realizing that it was the nurse.

“Ms. Barnes, sorry to wake you but I need to check your blood pressure. You have been taking the sedatives more frequent than is normal. Are you in a lot of pain still?”

Sara nodded. This patient controlled analgesia infusion pump was her only savior. She would press the little red button every three hours before the first dose wore off. Was she in pain? Sara dared not tell the nurse that she was numbing her soul and not her body. It seemed impossible to clear the lump of dark system weighing on her chest and continuing to build and form the great depression of her life.  The way the emptiness rose from the broken cords of her little ovaries all the way up to her core and pushed a heavy grey cloud into her throat was more pain than she could bear. Thank God if only for Percocet and the deep abyss of nothingness it sent her into for at least four hours.

“Your pressure is kind of high. Try to ease up off the medication. The doctor is concerned with the amount you’re having because your blood pressure has increased. We’ll put you on oral medication in a couple of hours.”

Sara resisted the urge to start pumping as much of her liquid savior into her veins as possible before they robbed her of it.  She dreaded the thought of having to deal with her recovery. Couldn’t she just sleep thorough it, she thought? She hated her body. Few people have betrayed her in life. That she had been able to deal with. But her own body?! What a slap in the face. Hadn’t she taken good care of it, always mindful of what she fed it and determined to get a satisfying amount of exercise? Many women had envied her body, not knowing the insidiousness of its insides.

She looked at the nurse. Janet, her name tag read. She couldn’t have been more than 24 years old with a defined Jamaican accent.

Janet met her eyes and smiled.  “While I’m here I’m going to check your bandages ok?”

“Ok” Sara said feebly not wanting to talk at all.

“Wow, what a great job he’s done. You can barely see a scar.” Janet stated after removing the bandages. “Take a look”, she remarked.

Sara shook her head.

“You don’t want to see it,” asked a seemingly confused Janet.

With the floodgates about to burst in her head Sara shook her head again and turned toward the window. She wondered if the nurse realized that she wasn’t quite ready to face the evidence of her harsh reality as the woman went on about her duties in silence.

As the nurse exited the room Sara took her last squeeze on the red button to get a last shot of her merciful painkiller, as it would be her last. She needed all the numbing she could get while she could get it. She glanced at the round-faced white clock perched high above the armchair, which was covered in a peach fabric with prints of seashells woven into it. It’s hands told it was 2:03 p.m.  In about five hours Mia would be there to take her home.

Home…did she even have a home, Sara thought glancing out the window. There was always a sense of abnormality about her. Now, she was certain she didn’t belong in this world. She just didn’t fit in. Everyone around her lived “normal” lives where things happened in the order you dreamed they would when you were young. But not for her, her life always seemed to be as grey as the clouds she saw from the view of her window, hovering over a not so normal day that appeared to be waiting for that great voice to command, “Sunny with light winds, no chance of rain”, so that they, puffed up as they are, would have brighter days. Sara understood them so well. Even as her sedated high crept in she wondered if the earth would ever come around for her but she doubted it as she welcomed the deathlike sleep.

Mia arrived just as Sara was signing the last of the release papers. She wore a beautiful smile on her round, plump face as she strolled into the room. Some twenty years they’ve been best friends and Sara have never known this woman to rush or carry on with any sense of urgency. Cool, calm and collected should be all that’s written on Mia’s tombstone at the end of her days. Sara returned the smile to her friend and thought how blessed she was to have her. When her own family didn’t consider her a priority, Mia had. And now during the most memorable moment of her life here she was again, faithfully by her side.

Sara gingerly pulled the soft, pale blue cotton dress over her head with Mia’s help. As they gathered up her items, she barely heard a word Mia was saying about the horror she had in the kitchen trying to make her favorite soup as a welcome home treat. One thought plagued the front of her mind at the moment. How was she going to break the news to her boyfriend? She had met Jonathon Starks after years of thinking she would end up alone, travelling the world like a nomad.  He had been a glimmer of light in her dark world. Sara felt a pang of guilt for not allowing him to see her while in the hospital. She just couldn’t face him. Or was it the idea of losing him that she couldn’t come face to face with? But she must tell him his odds of continuing on with her.

It just wasn’t fair, not to him, to be thrust into a decision like this just as they were climaxing to the next stage of their relationship and thinking of a life together. It certainly wasn’t fair to her having to deal with the thought of losing him after all she has lost already.

There was no way around it. It is what is it she mumbled, climbing into Mia’s glossy black BMW. Her friend looked at her with a clouded, sympathetic sadness in her eyes. It was almost as if she knew what haunted Sara’s thoughts as they made their way onto Sheridan Street.

As the car sped on, so did her heart as she rehearsed how she would tell Jonathan that she would never be able to carry his child. Her heart ached for him more than herself.

“Where is God in all of this?” Sara wondered aloud.

Mia reached over and squeezed her hand. “When you’re down to nothing, God is up to something, sweetie,” she tried to assure her.

Staring straight ahead, Sara was quite annoyed with God at the moment and didn’t want to hear any of those pitiful lines meant to give suckers like her false hope, not even from her best friend.

“Yeah, maybe He is…” she smiled at Mia patronizingly.

Feeling guilty for the undeserved attitude she gave her friend, Sara turned up the volume on the radio. Jonathan once again heavy on her mind, she forced herself to pay attention to the lyrics floating in the air. How could she bring herself to be the bearer of this news to a man who spent the last few months sharing his hopes and dreams for them and their future family?

The lyrics rang out in her head, “What’s love without tragedy…” The artist was right. With her track record, there could never be love without tragedy.