#FallWritingFrenzy Honorable Mention!

I’m excited to share that my entry for the #FallWritingFrenzy contest received an Honorable Mention! The contest was run by Kaitlyn Sanchez (Fall Writing Frenzy creator), Ameerah Holliday (2021 Fall Writing Frenzy Guest Judge), and Lydia Lukidis, (Fall Writing Frenzy Co-host) as a way to encourage writers to start their own blogs, make new connections, and get inspired to start a new story or poem based on a photo prompt. Here is a link to my entry.

264 writers entered the contest and 24 winners were selected to receive a critique by industry professionals as a prize. In addition, 8 more Honorable Mentions were selected, and I was one of them. The competition was TOUGH so I’m really honored to get a mention.

Wishing you a warm, cozy, and productive fall season!

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Fall Writing Frenzy Entry

Happy Fall everyone! The Fall Writing Frenzy is a writing contest created by agent/author Kaitlyn Sanchez, and co-hosted by children’s author Lydia Lukidis. This year is the third edition of the contest and I decided to throw my scarecrow hat into the ring to try to win one of the great prizes.

Writers needed to pick one of 13 images to inspire their writing piece, which has to be 200 words maximum. Here is the image I selected and my story follows. For the list of all the stories, make sure to visit Lydia’s website. Thanks for reading!

Credit: Ehud Neuhaus / Unsplash

The Scariest Student

Penelope quickly learned it wasn’t easy being the only living girl at Brantwood Hall School for Young Ghosts. She couldn’t fly. She couldn’t walk through the walls. She couldn’t even make things float around the room. In fact, the only thing Penelope could do was follow the Brantwood Hall school motto: Cura, Non Terrent.

Care, Don’t Scare.  

No one at Brantwood Hall used the front door the right way except for Penelope. So, when the doorbell rang one afternoon, everyone turned to her. As she opened the door, a tall woman wearing a bright red blazer walked right past her into the front hall, closely followed by a group of people in suits.

“Oh, no! Not again,” said Headmaster Higgins.

“You see, like I said it needs a lick of paint, but it would make a fine building for your new school.”

“Excuse me, who are you?” asked Penelope.

“Oh! You scared me to death!” said Red Blazer Lady, noticing Penelope for the first time.

Me? Scary? Penelope burst out into laughter. Then everyone in school joined her. Terrified, the Red Blazer Lady and her friends ran away.

“Hooray for Penelope!” shouted Headmaster Higgins. “The scariest student at Brantwood Hall!”


Maplewood/South Orange Book Festival 2021


I enjoyed volunteering again at the Maplewood/South Orange Book Festival this year. The event was last held in June 2019, and it was great to catch up with so many local authors and illustrators including Lee Bacon, Ariel Bernstein, Kristin Mahoney, Mike Ciccotello, Jay Cooper, Robin Newman, Diana Murray, and so many more. Below are a few snapshots from the day.


Top image courtesy Maplewood/South Orange Book Festival. Slideshow images by R.C. Orrell.

I’m a Lucky Duck!

Last week I got one of those emails that just makes your entire day. It was from my local Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illlustators (SCBWI) chapter notifying me that I won a full Lucky Duck Scholarship for the upcoming New Jersey SCBWI conference in June, a prize worth $450. As someone who rarely wins things, this was a great surprise on a gloomy March day.

If you are planning on going to the conference, I hope to see you there!


Maplewood/South Orange Book Festival

It was a nice surprise to see this photo of me and my daughters meeting with kid lit authors Tracey Baptiste (The Jumbies) and Bridget Hodder (The Rat Prince) last June, on the homepage of the Maplewood/South Orange Book Festival. Two thousand people attended last year’s festival, which included booths, panels, and guest authors like Rosemary Wells, David Baldacci, and Keith Hernandez. The third annual festival will be held on June 7 and 8 2019 at the Woodland in Maplewood, N.J.



Storystorm Time

Award-winning picture book author Tara Lazar (The Monstore, 7 Ate 9, Little Red Gliding Hood) is once again running her annual idea generating competition called Storystorm. During the month of January, writers are challenged to come up with 30 ideas in 31 days. Once you register you are signed up to get daily inspirations and win prizes like professional consults, signed books, original art, and more.