Monster Read Aloud

If you’d like to hear the first chapter of my book FROM THE GRAVE, click on the link. This recording was originally made for World Read Aloud Day 2019.

Perhaps during these days of quarantine, my monster adventures might appeal to a middle grade reader (ages 9-12) in your house.

Monster is as monster does in the odd world of Uggarland. However, Frank and his misfit classmates don’t fit the monster mode. They must prove they’re more than monster enough in this “fun and fast-paced” award-winning novel with just enough creepyness–and more than enough adventure–to prove a page-turning pleasure.

I’ve provided a link to my favorite local Indie: Novel Neighbor and to Amazon if you’re interested in buying a copy.

Stay Safe!

Draw Your Own Monster–And Win a Book!

The monsters are joining art school!


Local artist Todd Tevlin‘s class on HOW TO DRAW MONSTERS will include a chance for students (7-11) to win copies of FROM THE GRAVE and INTO THE SHADOWLANDS!!! Each student will be given a 20% discount to buy the books at THE NOVEL NEIGHBOR  where the classes will be held. Hurry and sign up. Class size is limited. Don’t miss your chance for mayhem!




Frankenstein ALIVE

Who wouldn’t love a face like that?

Okay, so I’ve been hanging around with monsters for much too long–and I LOVE IT!

AUGUST 30 is Frankenstein Day!

So you still have time to put on your costume and monster mash the night away!


FRANKENSTEIN FRIGHTFACE GORDON from my upcoming MG fantasy novel FROM THE GRAVE (October 18, 2016) is not a typical Frankenstein–he’s blue, prefers a crisp white button-down shirt, and the quiet life.

Still he’s full of surprises, the best of friends, and can certainly pull his weight in a tough situation. BLUE is COOL!

Preorders are happening right now–and an amazing giveaway! Don’t miss your chance to win a MONSTER OR DIE T-shirt.


Follow the link and learn how to make a FRANKENSTEIN CAKE–perfect for today’s celebrations or anytime you want to Monster On!!!


And if you want to make your Frankenstein cake look like my character FRANK, just switch blue icing for the green. Remember, BLUE is COOL!


Oftentimes When I Start Writing a Story…

There will be a good guy versus a bad guy. My fantasy FROM THE GRAVE seemed pretty straightforward in this respect with Frankenstein Frightface Gordon—a less-than-monsterly monster—as the good guy. Malcolm McNastee—a true blood troll on a mission to end misfits—seemed the obvious bad guy. But then, as I dug deep (please forgive the obvious cemetery allusion) into the story, my characters started revealing who they really are. Their quirks and shortcomings. Their fears and failings. And of course, I love them all the more for it.


Looking Deeper

While Frank maintains his good guy persona, he’s not without his numerous shortcomings. He has a quick temper that he’s tried to put under wraps, which sometimes causes him to be too cautious. He doesn’t initially lead the charge to stand up for exiled misfits. Rather he must be convinced by Georgina—a dragon without a trace of fire—and by his dear, departed granny—from the grave!


Malcolm, on the other claw, isn’t a totally tough creature. He has a big soft spot for his little sister, Nelly, who exhibits some disturbing misfit traits. Plus, Malcolm has his own secrets to hide—secrets that would destroy his perfectly gruesome image. One of Malcolm’s favorite sayings is “Less thinking and more monstering.” But that is not always easy to do. In fact, being a monster is far from easy but wonderfully entertaining, as I hope you’ll discover in FROM THE GRAVE coming October 18 from Jolly Fish Press.


 More Monsters!from-the-grave

For more information on creating characters and details on FROM THE GRAVE, visit these What’s New blog posts:

Monster Writing Prompts: Creating Characters

1/29 Friends

1/21 Family

1/17 Appearance

1/8 Likes & Dislikes


Creating Characters: FRIENDS

Although Frank, in my story FROM THE GRAVE, is a misfit, he has a number of friends. Unfortunately, they are all considered misfits also.


Frank’s best friend Oliver is a half-wrapped mummy who is more interested in reading than staying bundled up. Georgina is a dragon who is quite good at flying, but she can’t shoot fire at all. In fact, all she can do is snort out a blast of water when she sneezes. Stan & Dan are the two heads of one goofy gargoyle. They love to tell jokes—only monsters should NOT be funny.


Frank has an enemy too—Malcolm McNastee. He’s a sinister troll who hates misfits and does everything he can to destroy Frank. How will Frank ever stand up to him???


Does your monster character have friends? Enemies? What are they like? How do they help or hinder your main character (protagonist)?


You can use the Character Chart from Part 3 to explore these supporting characters in your story. Make a separate chart for each one. The more you know about your supporting characters, the more you’ll know how they will interact with your protagonist.

*TIP: Often for me, it is through the writing process itself that I come to know my characters better. Do some planning and research, but don’t wait too long to jump into your writing! Exciting, amazing things will happen when you let your characters out on the page. 🙂

Below is a circle graphic of Frank’s friends. Who are the characters surrounding your protagonist?



Monster Writing Prompts: Part 3

Creating CHARACTERS: Family


In FROM THE GRAVE, monster families care for each other. How does a writer create characters readers care about?


In FROM THE GRAVE, the main character, Frankenstein Frightface Gordon, has a rather typical family, very comparable to a human family. A mom, a dad, and an older brother who likes to torment him. His dad and brother, unlike Frank, are green and gruesome—just as Frankensteins should be. His dad works at the Haunted House Factory. His brother Ghoulbert, is rather slow at school but excels at mischief. Frank’s mom is a classic monster as well—a shrieking siren, floating here and there and everywhere. Poor Frank, with his pale blue skin and neatnik ways is the only oddbat in the family.

Does your main character (protagonist) have a family? What are they like? How does your protagonist fit in—or not? Supporting characters (the semi-important characters like family & friends) can have a big impact on the protagonist. They can be fun and interesting foils –characters that contrast another character, highlighting the differences. Make sure you know your characters well. Then when you write your story, you’ll make them come alive (or as alive as a zombie can be) for your reader too!

A good way to find out everything you need to know about your character is to create a Character Chart. Here’s an example below.

  1. NAME
  2. AGE
  8. FEARS
  9. GOALS

Does your monster have a mummy–or daddy???        


Monster Writing Prompts: Part 1

Creating MONSTER CHARACTERS: Likes & Dislikes!

For the month of January, I’ll post some pointers on Creating Your Own Monster Characters. Be sure to come back next week for another quick writing tip!

When I started writing FROM THE GRAVE (Book 1 of the MONSTER OR DIE trilogy, from Jolly Fish Press, coming October 18, 2016), I thought it would be fun to make the monsters basically the opposites of humans. For example:

Monsters hate: sugar, neatness & cleanliness.

Monsters love: sludge noodles & the smell of rotting anything.


But as I began to know my monsters more, I realized that monsters truly love ORDER and RULES. They only allow “mayhem when appropriate.” Hmmm, being a monster isn’t as easy as it looks—which is a very good problem for a writer to have with her characters. Never make it too easy for them. It’s much more fun and exciting to provide plenty of problems.


Now, if you were writing a monster story, what would your characters like and dislike? Make a Word Web to jot down your ideas. Write your character’s name in the center and some LIKES above and DISLIKES below.

Here is a link to a Word Web you can print out if you need one.

For a list of FRIGHTFUL READS, visit my website. What’s your favorite scary story?

Monster on!!!