I’m a middle school English teacher, mom of two teenagers, married to a scientist. Outside of work and family I write, sing old jazz songs, and get outside as much as I can. I’m a lifelong book addict who started writing her own a few years back.
I love good writing in any genre, although lately I’m reading mostly fantasy. Maggie Stiefvater (especially Scorpio Races and the Raven Cycle), Gregory Maguire (love Egg & Spoon), Naomi Novik (everything). I started my current MG fantasy out of longing for Terry Pratchett’s witches after he died–my main character gets taken in by some fierce old women. Other authors…Jane Gardam makes me swoon. Love Kelly Barnhill, The Trees by Ali Shaw, Markus Zusak (especially I Am the Messenger).
Novels written in verse (not sure why I’m a-verse to these), homophobia, anything too preachy or religious.
Dust is set in the near future, where neuroscience pushes helicopter parenting to the extreme. Gray was told by doctors at the Delgado Institute that Neural Dust implants would heal her brain injury. But they didn’t tell her that her own parents are willing to risk her life to have the implants make her smarter, more talented. Special.
Gray is prickly and wary, especially since she can’t trust her damaged memory or grasp of reality. She’s unwillingly drawn to Brian, a former football player whose concussions left him unpredictably explosive. Gray and Brian seem to be healing, but entire days are being wiped from their memories. Then two other patients show strange abilities followed by dangerous seizures, and one of them disappears. When Gray raises questions, she’s warned that she and her friends could lose out on the treatment they desperately need. But once she discovers that her missing friend is dead, Gray vows to find out the truth about Dust.
Gray’s story is informed by my years of teaching—and parenting–adolescents and teens in high-achieving communities where parents’ egos can become bound to their children’s success in unhealthy ways.
(warning: I have been working on another manuscript for the past 2 years and have just decided to “dust” this one off and work on it some more. I sent out 10 queries and got 2 requests for more, so I think it has potential. But it needs A LOT of work.)
A face swims in front of me. It speaks–impossibly, because it has no mouth.
“Grace, can you hear me?”
I try to nod my head, but I can’t move. It’s not Grace, it’s Gray, but then everything is gray. And then black. And then nothing.
Next I’m sitting on a kind of barber’s chair, but in the middle of a clearing in a forest. All around me is lush and green. Vines wind up the base of the chair and around the arms. My mother stands next to me, frowning.
“I see we need to do some pruning.” She holds sharp, shiny scissors. There is a mirror, and I stare at my reflection. Instead of hair, hundreds of little branches sprout out of my skull, growing visibly, twining around each other. Tiny new leaves burst open like splashes of fresh green paint.
My mother leans closer, eyes narrowed. “This won’t do at all,” she murmurs, and begins to snip at the branches. I struggle to get out of the chair, but the vines tighten around my arms and I can’t move. The scissors gleam as they snip and the little branches drip bright red drops.
I wake up with a start. My eyes are sticky and it takes effort to pry them open. I try to sit up, but a wave of nausea and dizziness hits me and I lean back onto the pillows. Trying to keep as still as possible, I move my eyes side to side, taking in my surroundings. I’m in an unfamiliar bedroom. A beautiful room, with dark gleaming floors, a view of trees and gardens, a plush and slightly worn sofa and chair.
I touch my head gingerly. Wrapped in gauze, my scalp is bruised and stings, and my head hurts when I move it. I examine a hand next, and my arm. It’s so pale, the skin clean and empty. Somehow this fills me with dread.
I’m revising a middle grade fantasy, also listed here in CP Match! It’s very different from Dust, and I think the writing is much better…
Here are some best practices for reaching out to a potential CP:
- Include the link to your own CP Match profile! You can find it on your Dashboard. Don't have one yet? What are you waiting for? Anyone with a WriteOnCon.org account can make one!
- Introduce yourself a little, and say what appealed to you about their listing.
- Respect what's listed here in their profile. They took the time to fill it out, and they've included this information for a reason. Don't send a message about a book they specifically say is a Hard No, for example.
- Offer to swap a small sample of your works, so you can see if you're really compatible. First chapters are a good starting place.
- If one party no longer wants to continue the interaction, it's nobody's fault. Sometimes finding the right CP takes time.
Happy writing and CPing!