“Sour Grapes”


That’s what my dad used to say. Whenever I wasn’t able to achieve something or get something I really wanted. “Eh. It’s probably not that great anyway.”

It works well as a mechanism for a while. Making what you can’t have negative and “sour” so you don’t feel so bad about not having it. But in the long run, I think it does more harm than good.

My mom and I have been trying to hunt morels for the past four years now. They didn’t grow back in Miami where we used to live, and we hadn’t even heard of them until recently. But every spring once we heard about these famous delectable shrooms, we were determined to find some.

In the beginning I had the highest of hopes. We searched all the grounds that websites say would spawn them. And went out in the muck after the right weather. We scoured through leaves and dead trees. Searched by streams. Checked any spot that would support rot.

But nothing turned up.

The next couple of springs we combed new areas…although I didn’t stay out hunting as long the second time. Even shorter the third.

And this year? Sour grapes.

They probably aren’t that good anyway.

My family and I went out in the yard today to swing a bit and play some ball. I decided to check on the new apple trees we planted and “Wait WHAT!?? No. WHAT!?”

Three little morels. Just at my feet. Unplanted. Unplanned. Certainly unexpected…especially in such a simple place as my own back yard.

It’s funny to find what you want when you finally stop searching.

Only three. And so tiny. But I called my mom immediately.

Halloweensie Writing Contest


It’s the 10th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest!

100 words or less and must include: skeleton, creep, and mask.

Happy Halloween to all! I think I’ll spend most of mine enjoying everyone’s Halloween stories 🙂


Costume Decisions

For three hundred sixty-four days,

Ben thought, “what to wear to amaze?”

He tried to outdo his previous look,

turn up the creep factor and make people shook.

But he’d been a witch, a ghoul, and a mummy

He’d dressed as a ghost, a vampire, and dummy.

What mask could make children cower and shake?

What frightening costume would take the cake?

Ben pondered and then with a skeleton grin,

concluded he had the costume to win.

On Halloween Night, he rose from the tomb,

decked out just in bones, Ben sure brought the boom.

Fall Writing Frenzy


A kidlit contest hosted by the amazing Kaitlyn Sanchez and incredible Lydia Lukidis. There’s still time to submit your own story. For rules or to read all the wonderful entries, click HERE.

Sibling Rivalry

“My goodness, I’m gorgeous!” Melinda said to her sister. “Behold my fair freckles.”

“Fair?” Belinda shrugged. “Perhaps, but far too many. If you want beauty, gaze upon my dainty nose.”

“Dainty?” scoffed Melinda. “Why it’s ginormous!”

The sisters turned away from each other.

Melinda plucked off her freckles one by one while Belinda trimmed her nose.

“See my unblemished skin?” asked Melinda. “My loveliness is beyond compare.”

“Unblemished? Sure,” scoffed Belinda. “But such wrinkles! True attractiveness lies in my rosy cheeks.”

“Rosy indeed!” mocked Melinda. “But look at how plump!”

The sisters turned away from each other again.

Melinda stretched her skin until it snapped.

Belinda pulled at her cheeks until they popped.

The sisters ripped and tore at their flaws so there would be nothing left but perfection.

Finally, Melinda turned to Belinda to declare herself the most beautiful.

“Oh my!” shrieked Melinda.

“Too far?” asked Belinda.

“My bones are prettier.”

Animal Rescuer Cori and the Wood Frog


When Spring arrived, Cori searched the backyard for critters needing help.

A beetle sloshed in the dog’s water dish.

Cori fished it out and placed it on the patio to dry.

“A great animal rescue!” Cori exclaimed.

On hands and knees, holding a magnifying glass, Cori scanned the patio.

“Oh no, it’s drying!” Cori cried.

Using her fingers like tweezers, she gently moved the earthworm over to the grass.

“Another great animal rescue,” said Cori.

She continued her quest for critters needing help.

“Oh no!” Cori cried.

Under a pile of branches, she found a tiny frozen frog.

Cori scooped it up and placed it in a sunny spot.

The frog didn’t move or breathe.

“Sorry, I didn’t get here in time,” whispered Cori.

The tiny amphibian statue stared back with blank eyes.

Then blinked!

Cori yelped.

The little frog defrosted in the sun.

“Another great animal rescue,” said Cori.

*Wood frogs can live in the arctic circle. Their bodies produce an antifreeze substance that allows them to completely freeze in the winter. No breathing. No heartbeats. Ice can even form in between their cells! But when spring comes, they thaw out and immediately go out to find a mate.

Check out all the entries (and/or enter your own story) for the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest at https://ciaraoneal.weebly.com/spring-fling-kidlit-contest

The Perfect Present



“When you bloom, you’ll be the perfect present!”
Emery planted the lily bulb in his finger-painted pot and hid it behind the shed.
He checked daily to make sure it had plenty of sun and water.
He showered the lily with love and songs.
Weeks passed and the lily grew tall and green under Emery’s care.
Small buds appeared as Mother’s Day approached.
And finally, the special day arrived.
Emery sprinted to his secret spot.
She will love it!
But his grin evaporated when he saw the lily.
The plant stood without a single flower.
Emery dropped to his knees near the no-longer-perfect present.
Shortly after, Mom found him.
“It didn’t bloom,” Emery sobbed.
Mom hugged him close.
“Oh Sweetie, you grew this for me?”
He nodded.
“Look at all the buds just about to pop. It’s perfect!”
Emery brightened.
“When they bloom it will be Mother’s Day number two!”


For Spring Fling Writing Contest. See more entries and/or add your own (until April 19) here: https://t.co/ca02yXRwML

Cupid School



Bernard always beat his classmates during Love tests.

“I could make a Love Match with my eyes closed!” Bernard puffed out his chest.

One cupid-trainee rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right.”

“I’m the best. Just wait and see!” Bernard skyrocketed off.

He spotted his first possible pair.

“Mustard is the best!” the boy shouted.

“Ketchup rules!” the girl snapped.

Bernard watched from the clouds as the two argued in front of a hotdog stand.

They will make a perfect pair, thought Bernard.

And certain of his amazingness, he closed his eyes.


He pulled back his heart-arrow.




The arrow whizzed through the air and THWAP!

Bernard smiled at how incredible he was and opened his eyes to see…


His heart arrow struck the boy as planned.

But instead of falling for the girl, the boy leapt for the ketchup bottle.

“You were in front of me this whole time,” the boy caressed the red container.

“Hey, that’s my ketchup!” shrieked the girl.

But off the boy skipped, lovingly squeezing his new ketchup sweetheart.

The girl stared openmouthed at the loss of her favorite condiment.

And Bernard cringed in his cloud hiding spot.

When he was certain no one was looking, Bernard slunk back to Cupid School for a bit more training.



This was so much fun! Check out other incredible short stories in Suzanna Hill’s 4th Annual Valentiny Contest

Mac and Cheese!


This is the first I’ve written (well, in blog-form) since I started this site a year ago. However, not only is it the end of 2018, it is also the day after signing a contract to illustrate my first traditionally published book!

May I please introduce you to MAC AND CHEESE AND THE PERSONAL SPACE CASE written by the talented Jolene Gutiérrez! Click below for a post by Kathy Temean on other upcoming books from Spork.

After receiving the manuscript I went straight to work on sketching out what the main characters would look like. Although Oliver, the boy, and Ms. Lopéz, the teacher, went through a few revisions, I was pretty set in their overall “feel.” Mac and Cheese (the adorable class pet guinea pigs) were my favorite to figure out. I tried multiple techniques to capture their furry, fuzzy, cuddly squishyness and finally settled on the above.

Check back for updates on this upcoming book- set to release late 2019.

It begins…(dun da duuuun)

#figments, Uncategorized


Over the monitor I can hear my kiddo in his bedroom being oh so quiet for nap. You can tell because he has proudly and repeatedly announced how very super quiet he really really is.  So, I figured now is as good a time as any to try to write something down.

I’ve been working on a rascally rhyming PB for a while now. It’s been mostly on and off, with diddles in illustrations and fidgeting with words, but I still feel like I need to get it all out of my head and into reality before I can move on.

Thus, a WordPress page… mainly in hopes of honing in thoughts (although, truth be told, I simply wanted to comment on someone’s page and needed an account to do so….)

But for whatever initial reason, hello! And please excuse any spider critters on here. They’re helping me work out some kinks in aforementioned picture book.  They’re also here for reminders that I don’t have to always have things polished.

Sometimes figments are best shown in glimpses it seems.