About Amelia

The joy is real.

The struggle is realer.

HI. I’M AMELIA.

I am a mother of two. I am a writer. Some days there are no words. Just messes.

Other days there are plenty of words that should not be said in front of little ears. Like this week when a can of Diet Pepsi exploded in the freezer.

It’s hard, y’all. All of it. And most days it makes no sense. But writing, like my family, matters a whole lot to me. I find my courage when I write. And pursuing a career in writing, like motherhood, is all about courage.

It’s about joy too. My soul dances when I write. My empathy expands and heals the boo-boos in my heart. Finding the right words is my favorite. Learning the craft is all the good things: excitement, satisfaction, pride. I’ve never been prouder of myself than when I sat across from an agent and pitched my MS and did NOT cry. I’m ready for that next step. I’m ready to work with a mentor and learn and refine my skills.

I’VE LOTS OF INTERESTS. Does that make me interesting? 

I’ve been playing second violin in community orchestras for the past five years, and oh! the material I have for my next WIP. I love to travel (check out my Instagram). Reading is traveling. Writers recreate the joy of different smells, foods, experiences, settings, and sensations for their audience. Traveling is a solid foundation for good writing and for good living. SRK and Bollywood in general are my happy thoughts. Cookies are on my team. As are books, trees, James May, and ctrl-z.  I became a mother in the Deep South. I went to school in the mountains. I grew up at the beach. Home is now the Mojave Desert. I update this website every Sunday(ish) and share news about my writing journey…when there is news. And when there is not I write about my interests.

I READ.

Books make it better. Books kept me company when my baby girl demanded equal parts silence and snuggles. I have many favorites. Feel free to tweet me if you heart these too.

C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold  is a comp title for my debut novel. I read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist in my early twenties and fell in love. Kasie West’s The Fill-In Boyfriend was everything I wanted and didn’t have in high school. Jenna Evans Welch’s Love and Gelato has me planning trips to Italy. Shannon Hale’s Austenland makes me no end of happy and inspires my career. Hello crossover artist! Emily Bronte’s Jane Eyre has two people who are so into each other it makes me blush. Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing of the Dog has me laughing out loud every time. Plus the historical necessity of cats is a plot point. Lois Lowry’s The Giver led to ugly crying when I finally read it as a nursing mama. The ambiguity still haunts me. A Farewell to Arms taught me everything I needed to know about dialogue. I am and always will be an Ernest Hemingway fangirl. Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life explored POVs and worked my empathy muscles until I was both raw and strong. J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the best of the series and makes me cry every time. Every. Time. My patronus is an elephant and unicorn riding a tandem bicycle. Alex Prud’homme and Julia Child’s My Life in France also induced weeping. Scrambled eggs can be beautiful. Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers gave me the courage to try.  

I WROTE A YA NOVEL.

Title: THE STORYTELLER

Genre: YA Retold Fairy Tale

Can we talk fairy tales for a minute? Can we talk Bruno Bettleheim(/Julius Heuscher) style? Fairy tales are parables. They are universal truth. They are the most human stories I know. They teach us about the healing and transformative power of love. They teach us about grief and pain. They fill us with hope even as they inform us about real and metaphorical monsters. They give children and adults the tools for besting these foes. They matter. They need to be told and retold because they matter a lot.

“Kate Crackernuts” is something of a forgotten carol among fairy tales (I blame the title). It’s a Scottish fairy tale, and Kate’s story is just as gorgeous as “Cinderella” and “Beauty and the Beast.” I came across it my senior year of college in a folklore class. It changed my life. I wanted to read Kate’s story in YA novel form. It didn’t exist. Kate’s story didn’t leave me. My need to read it became desperate. So I wrote way more than 90K words. Revised. Solicited beta reads. Revised. Solicited more reader. Revised. Asked for more critiques. Revised it down to 90K. And then painstakingly polished it down to 86K!!! I need some help now to make it shine (Pitchwars I be coming!).

In a pre-industrial kingdom (patterned after Scotland), Kate must use her talent for storytelling to rescue bedridden Prince Henry and her stepsister, Annie, from fates worse than death. Kate may be losing her mind in the effort because what she believes happened to Henry and Annie is both fantastic and absurd. Broken hearts do not result in wasting diseases. Princes sick in bed do not dance in the mountains. And stepsisters do not transform into sheep. Henry believes Kate is using folklore to reconcile truths that are too terrible to accept. When rumors of Annie’s death grow and Kate is named an accomplice in her presumed murder, Kate must flee to save her own life. Staying means extradition and culpability, but running means losing Henry and Annie forever. Hop here to take my quiz and learn which of my characters from THE STORYTELLER you are. 

WHY? WHY? WHY?!

I’ve tried not writing. I can’t do that. Writing is my passion. It’s my escape from my hot mess. And it is fun. My mind is happy writing. I like the sound of keys tapping. I like when the words come out of me, and I wonder if muses are real and some how I’ve befriended one. I like finding beautiful trails in revision I didn’t see in the first pass. But y’all, I need some help. I could use some tips because you can’t write alone. You can only do so much when you’re at this by yourself.

DO SHORT STORIES COUNT? Because I wear that hat on occasion.

My story, “Soulless,” won first place in Leading Edge’s 2013 flash fiction competition.

Publication History

  1. “The One Thing We Didn’t Have to Unpack,” Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less(2016).
  2. “Soulless,” Leading Edge, Issue 65 (Feb 2014).
  3. “The Unexpected Roommate,” Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens(2011).

 

THE STORYTELLER was beta read by NYT Bestselling author Grace Burrowes. Ms. Burrowes praised both the book and my writing: “Amelia has a genius—not just a gift, a genius—for dialogue and description, particularly as she anthropomorphizes sensory impressions. The voice is right for the fantastical story, the bones of the plot work, and the characters connect well to each other.”

Feel free to ask below in the comments. Many thanks! 

Thank you #PimpMyBio Blog Hop. Thank you #Pitchwars mentors and mentees. Thank you David S. Pumpkins. Thank you kitty donuts with almond ears. Thank you new #ontheporch friends.

18 Commments

    1. Hi Rachel. Thank you! Good luck to you too! Do you have a favorite retelling? I am partial to Shannon Hale’s work because those sincere fairy tales are my happy place. I read a modern retelling of Emma by Alexander McCall Smith and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

  1. I’m a mother of two as well! I never truly understood the truth of a never-ending laundry pile until I became a mom. Your pictures are awesome and capture the struggle perfectly. Good luck with Pitch Wars!

    1. Good luck to you, Hope! I’m cheering loud and proud for all of my fellow mamas! Mama life is a beautiful, intense, crazy, messy struggle and my writing is…pretty much the same. If you want another pair of eyes on your query or your first chapter (or which ever chapter), let’s get in touch! I’d love to swap.

  2. THAT CAT DONUT.

    All the pictures of your travels look so exciting, and your MS sounds like a lot of fun! Have you travels influenced how you write different settings and cultures?

    Thanks for informing me about #PimpMyBio!

    1. Thanks, Adelle! Yes, absolutely! Traveling is the best writing exercise I know–you know, apart from actually writing and revising and FINISHING. Traveling makes you a sharper observer. What do I notice first in a new place? What sensory details do I remember most? How do I feel? Traveling is like rediscovering living, which I think is also what I’d say about reading.

      But what has influenced my writing more than traveling is HOME. When I lived in the Deep South, I pined for my old home in the mountains. I started writing about the mountains and was floored–gobsmacked–by how much I missed the ocean. And now that I live in the desert I want to write about my old home in those thick forests and frequent thunder storms. The different places I’ve called home have invaded my soul. And although home is of course family and friends, place is a part of it for me too.

  3. What an awesome bio. I love the depiction of the mess. The mess is real. On some days the mess is all there is. Motherhood:mess::Fish:water. The other day a nice lady at church told me “Cleaning up with young kids is like shoveling snow in blizzard.” Then she patted my hand. “If I were you, dear, I’d just wait till the blizzard passes to clean up,” she looked pointedly at the baby in my arms, “in another twenty years or so.”

    1. Good advice. Cleaning up the messes can wait, but believing in dreams and working toward writing and family goals cannot. Those need to be integrated into the mix even if some days it means bigger and badder messes.

  4. Man, talk about natural story telling. I’m laughing, I’m crying, I’m reading EVERY WORD. 3 in HP is my favorite too. I love love love retellings. And I’m so excited for you!!! GOOD LUCK!!! 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼

  5. Hi Amelia (from another Amelia–there are at least 3 Amelia’s doing PW this year!). Till We Have Faces is one of my favorite books. Lilith by George MacDonald is also high on my list. I love Celtic myth and have been laboring over retelling the four branches of the Mabinogi (Welsh) for a few years (not submitting any of those to PW, though–nowhere close to ready). Good luck with your retelling! Sounds fascinating. Now I’ll have to get going on my own bio.

    1. No way! Amelias of PitchWars unite! You must post a #PimpMyBio. It’s a lot of fun and a wonderful opportunity to meet writing friends. I must now put Lilith on my TBR list. Get those retelling out and polished them up because they sound excellent.

  6. I think you and I are meant to be best friends. 🙂 I’m also a mom (who cleans never-ending messes in my house), also a musician (Sorta? Been taking piano lessons for 8 1/2 years. Played violin as a kid, though!), a lover of travels, and a lover of cookies (Seriously, are there people who *don’t* like cookies? Why???)

    I was introduced to Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist just recently. Loved it. As a big believer of the law of attraction, I enjoyed the story. And, of course, I’m a great lover of YA Fantasy! Good luck to you in PitchWars! I’ll be cheering you on!!

    1. Hi Friend! That is so cool that we share so many interests. I took a few piano lessons a couple of years ago–it nearly broke my brain. Well done. Best of luck in PitchWars! I predict all good things.

  7. Your post was so much fun to read. You obviously have such a wonderful and contagious personality. Plus, Prisoner of Azkaban is obviously the best Harry Potter book. 😛 Good luck in Pitch Wars and hope to see you around in the feed and chat! 🙂

    1. Hi, Nicole! Good luck to you too! Mentor or not I already feel like I’ve won. I’ve met new friends like you. I’ve learned valuable lessons from #AskMentor. The critiques I won from them were unbelievably helpful! I’ve met new CPs. I’ve grown some courage. I’ve had a good time. I hope for the best when the submission flood gates open, but I already stand a changed (and improved) writer from my participation in Pitch Wars.

  8. Hi Hillary! Awe! Thank you! I promise I have more in the works. In fact I’m heading out soon to a certain not-too-small-town that is near and dear to our hearts to do some “research” for a favorite contemporary fantasy fella of ours. In the mean time. I am revising like crazy for the big Pitch Wars contest. Crossing my fingers tight, and some days my eyes. I need new glasses!

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