Libbie the Lobster

To purchase the children's book "Saving Libbie the Lobster" go to


My 4 Golden Rules of Writing

Nicholas C. Rossis

Found on Found on

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now. The main reason is that I keep coming across several writing rules that make little sense to me. Then, I came across a gem of a post by Constance Hale, “When Shakespeare Committed Word Crimes” on TED.

Constance confirmed what I long suspected: when there is tension in a language between what comes naturally and the rules, it’s because someone has tried to shoehorn the language into their idea of conformity.

Does this mean there are no rules? Not at all. It just means that the ones we are taught in workshops and classrooms are not necessarily the ones that matter to actual readers – as opposed to teachers, agents and editors. So, here are my golden rules; the ones no fiction writer should ever break, in my view:

Rule #1: Don’t let your writing get in the way of your story.

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About Us Part Two–Marybeth

Just yesterday a young woman, pregnant with her fist child, standing beside her mother, my good friend, said to me in all earnest, “You are pretty wild, aren’t you?” How interesting, I thought and replied, “Well, I think I’m just me.”

What people see is that I am an older woman with tattoos and dreadlocks who appears to be confident and outgoing. People who know me describe me as passionate, intelligent, self-expressive, helpful, friendly and kind. I think they are just being kind. Those same qualities can often be detrimental. I tend to be over-zealous about things such as animal rights, the environment, and personal responsibility for choices and I want everyone to feel the same way.  I have no tolerance for apathy. And I sometimes I can be too smart for my own good.

What I know about me is that I have learned much about life the hard way. I am a hippie still, a rebel, a fighter for a cause. I care little what people think of me because I know that I have compassion for all life and strive to do no harm to people or to nature. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the life I live. I don’t fear death and rarely fear anything.

The things that really turn me on are good science fiction and many areas hard science. Quantum physics is a passion of mine. I read about it just for fun. I am a retired psychotherapist so behavior and the mind are also fascinating to me. I could watch a lizard go about her business of catching bugs at super-fast speed for hours. I marvel at clouds and the stars. The very thought of traveling into space excites me. I love seeing what Hubble sees and watching a rocket launch. I live for the beach, the waves and the warmth1537590_661955843855916_166414328_o of the sun on my skin. But mostly now I love to write. Time stops, nothing else matters, and ideas flow as though I have been taken over by some other being.

There are some things I must do before I die. I want to hang-glide in Costa Rica, zipline in Colorado, visit my son and daughter-in-law in Japan, and to leave a positive mark on people’s lives where I can. My greatest hope is to write awesome books to leave as my legacy.

To some I suppose I am a “wild woman” and to others I may be weird, crazy, or strange, but I am who I have created myself to be and I am a work in progress still.



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Read Aloud with Children


Recently I have been working with my son on reading aloud, because his reading test at school shows his reading speed is below average. I am not too concerned about his reading speed, since I know he can read fast when he doesn’t have to read aloud. But I do want to work with him on reading aloud as a way to improve his self-expression and story telling skills.

To do a good job in reading aloud, kids have to learn to coordinate multiple tasks into a smooth process: “read by eyes”, “process information by brain”, and “read out aloud”. My son is good at each single task, but is not so good at putting all tasks together.

What I have been doing is to find short stories for us to read to each other. One book my son has enjoyed is the FREE Aesop for Children from Libray of…

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About Us Part One–Heather

     I think it’s about time I write an “About Us” blog. Heather Chalmers (right) and I are co-authors of the children’s book, Saving Libbie the Lobster. I asked Heather to write something about herself070_pp with a focus on what things she gets excited about.

     Here is what she wrote:

     I love our town Flagler Beach. I love watching the sunrise, and taking pictures of the beach in the morning. It’s such a magical time. I love learning about the different animals that share this little part of the earth with us. I’ve seen dolphins and tarpon jumping out of the water at sunrise. I’ve seen bait fish jumping and little sharks swimming right after them in the surf. I’ve seen cannonball jellyfish that roll up on the beach for a snack and roll back into the sea when they’ve had their fill. I’ve found countless sea treasures, beautiful sea shells, sea hearts, sea beans, star fish and sand dollars. I like to look at the things that wash up on the shore and think about the far away places they’ve traveled from.
     I love spending time with my family and cooking healthy things to eat. My daughter Ava is twelve. As soon as she comes home from school, she starts her homework at the kitchen table and I start making dinner.  At six my husband Brian comes home, and we all  sit down to a nice family meal. Dinner is a very important time of the day for our family. We each take turns talking and sharing about our day.
     I also love to read. There is an entire wall in my house that is just filled with books. I like all different kinds of books. I have cook books, gardening books, books about the supernatural, books about the ocean. I also love the classics. I was a nerd in school and every summer vacation, I would go to public library and ask the librarian what books were the most important to read. I’ve read most of the classics that way. My favorite classic author is Ernest Hemingway.  I have most of his books.  There are also five book cases in my mom’s house. The running joke is that I have enough books for two houses! I also have a huge collection of children’s books from when I was a teacher. I had about a thousand books in my library when I taught first grade. I’ve been giving books away and have gotten my children’s book collection whittled down to my favorite hundred or so.
     My life is pretty simple and very quiet and I like it that way.
     But there is more to Heather. She is one of the kindest people I know. She has her masters degree in education and she loves children. Soon after we rescued Libbie the rare yellow lobster from a local supermarket, Heather asked me to consider joining her in her ongoing effort to rescue Loons who cannot walk on land and who become trapped on the sand when the ocean was too rough. She described that we would carry them to safety across the road to the intracoastal waterway. Of course I responded a resounding yes to the proposition. Heather has also written two other children’s books which are yet to be published. And she writes awesome poetry.
     I am very glad to have met Heather. I could not have asked for a more talented and passionate co-author for writing our book of how we saved Libbie. And I have made a good friend.
     Stayed tuned for Part Two.  It’s all about me!

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How To Smash It At A Book Signing

I am glad to know what works at book signings. I’ll be doing them soon.



Since my novel Corrupted was published in January I have been gaining experience gradually at book signings and readings. Initially the prospect of conducting a book signing was slightly terrifying for me, especially when I was booked in to do a reading in front of a room full of people; ( public speaking has never been my forte.) It seemed like a pie in the sky notion that would never really happen but surprisingly within a week of publishing my novel I had my first book signing event arranged. Since then I have conducted five signings in Sussex and South London, and each one has been more successful than the last in terms of sales figures. My last book signing in Kingston was brilliant, I had so much fun and the manager claimed it was the best one he’s had at the store since he started managing it. I sold…

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