Turtle Trax Blog

December’s Turtle Tracks Newsletter

Volume 1, Issue 6 of the monthly Turtle Tracks newsletter is here!

November’s Turtle Tracks Newsletter

Volume 1, Issue 5 of the monthly Turtle Tracks newsletter is here!

Seven Essential Elements of Young-Adult and Middle-Grade Novels

How do you know if your story is a middle-grade novel, a young-adult novel, or something else? Here are seven elements we look for in a manuscript for a middle-grade or young-adult audience.

October’s Turtle Tracks Newsletter

Volume 1, Issue 4 of the monthly Turtle Tracks newsletter is here!

September’s Turtle Tracks Newsletter

Volume 1, Issue 3 of the monthly Turtle Tracks newsletter is here! Lots of news this month!

August’s Turtle Tracks Newsletter

Volume 1, Issue 2 of the monthly Turtle Tracks newsletter is here!

Friday Freebie – July 23

Friday is Wear Red to Support Our Troops Day. I was fortunate to work with Lt. Gen. Lawrence F. Snowden, USMC (Retired) (now deceased) to publish his memoir, SNOWDEN’S STORY: ONE MARINE’S INDEBTEDNESS TO THE CORPS. When I started working with the General, he was 94 years old, impeccably dressed, living independently, and sharp as a tack. He had written his memoir, and all it required was minor editing and formatting. I also suggested including photographs. The General had not thought of this, and had recently thrown out many boxes of photos. However, he still had a treasure trove of photos spanning back to his infant years. What fun we had sorting through and whittling down the choices! As evidenced by the title he chose for his memoir, General Snowden was proud though humble of his service in the Marines and recalled with fondness the “Giants” with whom he had served. RED (Remember Every Deployed) now applies not only to our military, but to the front-line workers in the war against COVID. In honor of both our military and our front-line workers, I am giving away a copy of SNOWDEN’S STORY to the first three people who leave a comment on this post on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/turtlecovepress. Have a safe and happy weekend. See you again on Monday.

Thursday Thoughts – July 22

I attended a memorial service for my father-in-law last weekend. There were not a lot of people there because, at 91, Emory had outlived most of his peers. Nonetheless, it was a moving tribute to this man who led an interesting life. A former co-worker and long-time friend told a story about meeting with a potential client in Indonesia for a satellite communications system. After a long, complicated question, Emory whispered to his friend, “I’ll take this one.” He tapped the mic to be sure it was working, then simply answered, “No.” This response reminded me of the story-telling style of Ernest Hemingway with his Nick Adams stories: Brilliantly concise. My husband’s eulogy provided a loving picture of his father, with details that were not flowery or sentimental, but which highlighted important details of Emory’s remarkable life. I was perhaps most inspired by my son’s simple assessment of what his grandfather would want each of us to do, and I hope you will all embrace this tenet: Enjoy Life.

Wednesday’s Word – July 21

Words don’t always come easy. Writers get writer’s block. Sometimes those blocks can feel like brick walls! But sometimes, saying things a different way can help us get around that writer’s block. Mel Tillis found that, when he sang, his stutter disappeared. When I was learning German, the instructor had us add words to a sentence from back to front until we could say the whole sentence. And sometimes a writer needs to step outside their comfort zone to help them karate-chop that block or leap over that wall. If you are a novelist or short-story writer experiencing writer’s block, why not give poetry a try? Suzan E. Zan, award-winning author of From Suffering to Salve: My Journey to Happiness, will lead a poetry workshop at the AHA Gallery in Havana, FL on September 18. The workshop will be helpful for poets who want to develop their craft, people who are interested in writing poetry, and writers who want to explore a different genre. Plus it will be a lot of fun! The workshop runs from 1-4 PM and costs $35 (including a copy of Suzan’s poetry collection) or $25 (without the book). Come early so you can explore Havana. There are a lot of interesting shops within a few blocks – and those are not writer’s blocks!

Tuesday Talk – July 20, 2021

Check out the new Turtle Tracks newsletter!

Here is the flyer for Suzan E. Zan’s Poetry Workshop

Monday Memo – July 19, 2021

Karen Carpenter sang that “Rainy Days and Mondays” made her feel down. Rainy days – accompanied by thunder – were the bane of local legend Surf Dude’s existence. A stray Carolina dog, Surf hung out around Panacea and Ochlockonee Bay, but ran as far away as Tallahassee and points north to escape the terrifying thunderstorms. But Mondays are a great time to start fresh. Make a new commitment to eat healthy foods and live an active lifestyle. Pull clothes out of your closet to give to charity. Read a book! If you’re looking for suggestions, visit your library or local bookstore and ask for recommendations. The next thing I want to read is PAX: JOURNEY HOME by Sara Pennypacker. I loved PAX, the story of a fox and his boy and the love they share. I’m calling Midtown Reader today to put in my order! Next up on my Fresh Start To-Do List: I need to get back on my weight-loss plan. I love walking down Surf Road to the marina where I might spot a manatee, although lately all I’ve seen is a humongous Wakulla County Ditch Lizard (aka alligator)! Mashes Sands Beach is also a lovely place to walk. I always think about Surf Dude, now known as Buddy Russell, when I pass the water tower that bears his name. Zelle Andrews’ new novel, loosely based on our beloved Surf Dude, launches on September 4, but you don’t have to wait that long to see the amazing cover by Elizabeth Babski! Come to the cover reveal at Marker 11 at Noon on August 7. I’m sure there will be a lot of stories about the Dude, and how wonderful it is that he recently made his own “fresh start.” Stay well. Be happy. Support your local booksellers and authors.

The Adventures of Surf Dude

The Dog of Ochlockonee Bay


Keep the Mo!

For years I have participated in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. With some embarrassment, I have admitted that I call it NaNoCheatMo, because I work on a novel in progress instead of starting with a blank page. I am also prone to live-stream self-editing, a no-no for Wrimos. But this year, as I notedContinue reading “Keep the Mo!”

I’m a NaNo Rebel

November is National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo. This is the month when writers gonna write write write write write! The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. You’re supposed to start from scratch, leave your editing hat on the shelf (preferably under lock and key), and follow the mantraContinue reading “I’m a NaNo Rebel”