Friday, June 28, 2013

More of My Newest Endeavor

Toby took the telegram and closed the front door. He stood in the hall staring down at the envelope. He had never gotten a telegram before, or a letter or a postcard. He carefully tore open the envelope and slipped out a small, thin sheet of yellow-ish paper.
Toby Turnkettle Stop
He did stop. And he was very confused, until he remembered from an old movie he once saw that telegrams use the word Stop in place of that punctuation dot known as a period. He read on.
Your great-uncle Sylvester Turnkettle has died Stop He has left his estate to you Stop Please report to the mansion this Friday July 8 at ten am Stop The address is 47 Bumblebeech Lane, Lesterville Stop Bring five dollars Stop

Most children who received a note of this kind would barrel into the kitchen to tell their moms all about it. Toby was like most children in the sense that he desperately wanted to do that. But he was unlike a lot of children in that he could not. His parents were not living with him at home. You will recall they were dreaming in sugar comas.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Recharging My Battery

I just got back from my first trip away from Westly. Everything went fine. Michael and Westly kept busy, and I had a fabulous time! I attended a friend’s wedding, saw lots of family, hung out with my sister, went to the movies, stayed up late, and lived it up! And I had SO much energy! It’s crazy how much energy Westly saps from me on a daily basis.

On the 4 hour drive there and back I also had lots of time to brainstorm new stories and ponder my writing. I returned home rejuvenated in all respects.

I guess everyone needs a little vacation now and then.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Guess What!

Happy New Week!

Go to for the title of my final Sherlock Academy book! Spread the word!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Letting Go

This weekend I am taking my first trip away from Westly. I am going down to visit my family and attend a wedding with them. I am way excited, but a little nervous, of course. I know West will be fine, and I trust Michael to take good care of him. But I still may shed a tear as I drive away.

I will go through a similar experience again when I finish my last Sherlock Academy book. I am excited to finish it, publish it, and share it with others. But in doing so, I let go and say goodbye. I entrust my work to readers to enjoy, criticize, and eventually forget. I may shed a tear as I close this chapter in my life.

But where one door closes, another one opens, right? I’m depending on it. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Not Again

This has become Westly’s go-to automatic response for any question I ask him.
 “Do you want down?”
“No!” pause “Yeah.”
“Do you want more?”
“Do you want a cookie?”
“No!” pause “Yeah.”

Honestly, it’s kind of exhausting to constantly hear that kind of negativity from my two-year old! Rejection is never easy to take, no matter who it comes from.  I can swallow rejection from Westly most of the time because I know he doesn’t always mean it and he’s just going through a phase that will soon end.
But it’s a lot harder to swallow rejection from professionals who do mean it and with a single “No!” manage to stab your creative heart. I haven’t sent any work out to publishers in a while, and haven’t received any rejection letters. But my next writing pursuit is to seek out an agent. While I hope with my fingers crossed that an agent will pick me up someday, I have to brace myself for the rejection letters that will follow.

I guess being a mom is preparing me for other things. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013


I'm in the final stages of finishing Book 5. I ordered a prototype and it came the other day. That cover is not the final cover by any means! It's a just a quick cover for the my prototype. 

So now I'll be busy the next week proofreading it. I check for any typos, any formatting issues, pages numbers, etc. This is also my last chance to change anything or add more.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Jaunt in Carmel

We kicked off summer vacation with a little get away to Carmel (next to Monterey Bay). Here are some highlights:

We left early Monday morning.

In Carmel we had a picnic lunch at the park.

West was very protective of his mini Oreos.

We were sure to pop in at the Pine Inn, our honeymoon spot 6 years ago.

We had lunch at our all-time favorite spot Anton & Michel's.

We trekked down to the beach to enjoy a little sunshine.

We cuddled in our hotel room.

Nana and Papa (my fab in-laws) joined us for some company and baby sitting services! Thank you!

On our way home we stopped at the Monterey Bay aquarium.

Summer is officially here for the Shaws!

Monday, June 10, 2013


Everyone has three wishes they tuck away in the back of their mind. Oh, come on, you know you do! If a genie appeared from a puff of lavender smoke and granted you three wishes, you would be ready to go.

One of my three recent wishes is the following: I wish that Benedict Cumberbatch would narrate Sherlock Academy for the audio books. He is a master of voices, enriched with accents and personality (he does a mean Alan Rickman impersonation!) He would be perfect to give voice to Sherlock Academy.

So where’s that genie?

Friday, June 7, 2013

For the Love of...

I had an epiphany the other day about writing. It was spurred by a conversation I had with children’s author Adam Sidwell last week. He and I were engaged in a like-minded conversation that began with “Do you ever…” or “Isn’t it funny when…” Those conversations only work between people who share something in common. In this case writing books.

We were both saying how we imagine our characters in our heads. We imagine conversations they have, places they go, things they do. It’s way fun and creative. I said, “It’s basically imaginative play!”

I chewed on this the rest of the week. And as a result had this epiphany: you have to write for yourself. There’s a lot of wisdom in what authors and publishers say about writing for a particular audience or reader. True. But when it comes down to it, you have to write for yourself. Writing is so much work and can be lonely. You have to write what you absolutely love to make it worth it.

And a liberating change came over me: I don’t care if others don’t like my stories. I love them. I love my characters, settings, dialogue, etc. I want to imaginative play with them all the time. And at the end of the day, that love draws me to write.

Do what you love, and love what you do!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Voice of Affirmation

This past Monday was our writer’s group meeting. We had a special guest: children’s author Mary Hershey. She was so generous in coming to our meeting, free of charge, to talk to us aspiring writers about her experience as an author. It was very enlightening. A couple nuggets I took away:
  • ·         Be declarative: say you’re an author and claim it
  • ·         Have a goal: visualize what you want and make a plan to get it
  • ·         Be disciplined: make writing a priority

I mentioned I was interested in attending this huge international writing conference in LA this summer, but didn’t know if it was the right time for me, etc. She looked directly at me and said, “Farah, you’re ready. Go!”

Funny how all you need sometimes is someone telling you to do it. So it looks like I’m going to attend this conference in LA this August!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Tick tock tick tock....

I hear the clock in my head. It's counting down to September, the release of Sherlock Academy Book 5. I'm almost finished. It's coming too quickly. And yet it can't come soon enough. Stay tuned for the title release and release date!