Monday, October 10, 2016

Aunt Fabulous, True Story #3

My kids have been blessed with a lot of wonderful, talented, intelligent, gorgeous, amazing aunts.  One of these aunts is determined to obtain a newer, faster, limo-tinted-windowed luxury car every five minutes.  Her overabundance of charm and taste for all things upscale inspired my Aunt Fabulous character in my young adult novels, INSPIRALED and INSPIRITED.
Excerpt from INSPIRALED:

Aunt Fabulous put her arm around me and asked, “Are you ok?”

“I’m fine.  I’m a little stressed out- this happening to Coco, exams are coming up.  I don’t have my Christmas shopping done yet, and there is a cute boy that I kind of like.  I’m not sure though, because I’m still getting to know him which is hard because he goes to a different school.”   I rambled all of that out nervously, and somehow she was able to pay attention even as I was watching a cute doctor checking her out as he was walking by.  Aunt Fab could probably get a date anytime, anyplace, any hour, in any circumstance. 

“Can I help with anything, miss?” Cute Doctor asked Aunt Fab with a smile, as he slowed down and turned toward her.

“Oh, no sir, we’re all taken care of.  Thank you,” she answered as we continued walking.

I didn’t mention to her any names about the cute boy since my brothers were still in earshot.  Even though they were horsing around and popping wheelies with the wheelchair, they might still be listening.  She wanted to know more about Coco and about what I was feeling when I hugged him.  What was I supposed to tell her?  Sometimes I hallucinate and the things that I see make no sense at all, and as far as I can tell they don’t mean anything.  Oh, and I have bad dreams, too.

I played dumb, and told her, “I felt really, really sad for Coco and was trying really hard not to cry in front of him.  I wanted to cheer him up, not make him feel worse by crying.”

She stared at me with big suspicious blue eyes and somehow I knew she didn’t buy it.   
To continue reading INSPIRALED:



Friday, August 26, 2016

The best thing about Career Day at Earle B Wood Middle School

Author Penelope Aaron presenting to E.B. Wood Middle School students at Career Day

The best thing about presenting at Career Day?  The kids!  To get to spend the day with such intelligent, innocent, curious, and creative young minds was an honor. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, the mail started coming in.  Here are some of their sweet letters:

Thank you E.B. Wood Middle School!  To check out the novels we discussed during the presentation, visit 
INSPIRALED has been approved for MCPS high school libraries and INSPIRITED releases 9/23/16!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My boys, True Story #2

Inspiration for my Kavi and Lakota characters in my debut novel, INSPIRALED, came from my boys, pictured here soon after arriving at college.  Like the characters in the book, these two handsome gents like to eat, play sports, eat, make people laugh, eat, workout, eat, wrestle, eat, play video games, eat, drink protein shakes, eat...well, you get the idea. 

Excerpt from INSPIRALED:
I could hear Mom yelling about all the extra chores the boys were going to be doing for getting in trouble at school even before I entered the kitchen.  When I walked in to say goodbye, Kavi was sitting on the counter shoveling heaping spoonfuls of strawberry Nesquik into a large glass of milk.  He stirred the milk, licked the spoon, and then inserted it back into the Nesquik for one more scoop.  Ew.  Lakota was sitting at the dining room table with a bag of gummy bears, pretending to be interested in what Mom was saying.
To continue reading INSPIRALED:



Sunday, May 22, 2016

To Penelope, From Penelope

  Yesterday was full of firsts.  It was my first Gaithersburg Book Festival.  The GBF is huge!  It features many accomplished, world renowned authors every year, and there I was amongst the greats with my little ol' debut novel, dressed to the nines.  Ok, so not the dressed up part, but hey, it was 50 degrees and rained all day- still had a great time!

  I took my first credit card transaction.  Woo-hoo!  If a lack of cash has been stopping you from picking up a copy of INSPIRALED, then fret no more, plastic is fantastic.

  I tried my first Nothing Bundt Cake and was swept away to my own private heaven made of nothing but rich, decadent, fudgy, chocolate magnificence.  I temporarily forgot where I was and that my wet toes had become numb...all that mattered was another bite of that cake.  If you haven't tried one yet, stop what you're doing and go get some Nothing Bundt Cake!

  Finally, my last first of the day was my signing of a book to a beautiful lady named Penelope!  Yes, it was to Penelope from Penelope.  I hope my first Penelope keeps in touch.

  The Gaithersburg Book Festival was full of warm, energetic book lovers (except for the one lady that said she didn't like to read when we asked her what genre of books she likes.  What the...???) and I had an absolute fabulous time making new friends and bonding over our favorite books (and cakes), even though it was a little chilly.  I can hardly wait for next year's GBF!

Don't like to read but still enjoy a good story?  Listen to INSPIRALED instead!  It's easy and can be free at Click on Shop Now

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Random Pirates and Writing Groups


When people find out that I've written a book a lot of them will tell me that they've always wanted to write one.  "Go for it!" I say.  But there is a lot more to writing a book than just sitting down and typing it up.  Even though getting words on the page is a huge accomplishment,  you really need another set of eyes to take a look at it.  This other set of eyes should be able to tell you honestly (and encouragingly- hey we're supposed to be on the same team!) what works and what doesn't, how they interpreted and envisioned the picture you painted, and what just needs to be axed.

For example, I inserted a random kid in a pirate suit swooping in and saving the day in my upcoming novel, Inspirited.  I thought it was hilarious.  My writing group girls (whom I love to pieces and are pictured in this post) said, "What the heck!  You can't just drop him in at the last chapter.  Where's he been the whole story?  Put Big Mike in the pirate suit!  He's been here all along and deserves part of the hero cred."  Why didn't I think of that?  Mike is so big that the pirate suit will be too small.  I think that's hilarious.

So whether you've got pirate problems or a dragon named Montana that can't find a dress in her size anywhere in Shabbywocka County (take a look at The Dragon Dress Hunt by Penelope Aaron on, you really need to get a group of eyeballs together every week or month or however often works for you all.  But seriously, do it- your story's life depends on it!

Oh, and please check out my debut novel, Inspiraled.  Don't like to read?  Listen to it instead!  It's easy and can be free at


Sunday, March 6, 2016

My Little Lady Liberty, True Story #11

Inspiration for my Liberty character in my debut novel, INSPIRALED, comes from Miss Sassy Pants Senior, pictured here several years ago graduating from boot camp for the U.S. Army.  She has always been a "take no crud from anyone type of gal".  When she was in middle school she was grabbed inappropriately by a classmate and was not having it.  He thought he would laugh and run away.  Well, he got chased and tackled and pinned to the stairs by his throat.  It took two teachers to get her off of him.  I think he learned a lesson that day.  This true story inspired the scary subway events in the following excerpt from INSPIRALED:
We were on our last set of stairs, almost out of the cavern, thinking we were home free when Liberty screamed, “Noooooooooo!”
She had been at the back of our pack.  The rest of us stopped and whipped around to see what was wrong.  Then things happened very quickly.  Liberty kneed Scary Guy in the groin- hard.  He bent over in pain and went down on one knee.  His face was a contorted mask of surprised pain.  She grabbed him by the throat while he was weak and stunned, spun him around and pinned him on the stairs.  He squirmed around a little but couldn’t get up and/or breathe under the grip she had on him.  His eyes were glazed over like he wasn’t all there.  People scattered and stood back on the packed stairs to watch. 
“You don’t grab people, you pyscho! You don’t follow people and scare them!  You keep your hands to yourself because you never know when you’ll meet a girl like me!  Do you understand me?”
Creepy’s face was red and turning purple and registered raw fear.  The audience watching began clapping and cheering her on. 
“You tell him girlfriend!” yelled a large woman somewhere in the back of the crowd of people.
“Yo, teach him a lesson!” hollered a short man in the front.
“Liberty, come on, let him go!  He can’t breathe!” Aunt Fab whispered to her.
Scary Subway Man was making wheezing sounds while his eyes bulged out of his head.  The crowd continued to get louder with their cheers and began chanting, “Pun-ish him! Pun-ish him!”
To continue reading INSPIRALED:

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Soccer Beast; True Story #7

Inspiration for my Indi character came from none other than Miss Sassy Pants Junior, pictured here at a recent game.  At an awards ceremony she was described by her coach as "a fearless girl that will destroy anyone on the field to get to the ball.  Opponents that don't have the ball and get in her way- well, she'll run right through them, too."  Yup. 
Excerpt from INSPIRALED: 
“I don’t know.  Everything and everyone seems crazy to me right now.”  I answered, as I stared at the neon glow- in- the- dark stars that Indi had plastered all over our ceiling.  I had a sudden urge to spill my guts to my little sister right there and then.  Indi was a tiny little thing at just over five feet tall and one hundred pounds, but didn’t take any crap from anyone. She was a beast on the soccer field.  She was only fourteen but had been known to give me ingenious advice from time to time. 

“What do you mean?”  She asked, starting to sound sleepy.  She rolled over and planted her face in her pillow, her back facing me.

“I don’t know exactly.  Do you ever feel creepy vibes off of people?  Like maybe you can sense that they don’t have good intentions or something?”

I didn’t hear anything but the wind that had started to howl.  “Indi?  Are you still awake?”

“Mmmmm too sleepy, talk tomorrow.”

Once again I was left alone with way, way too many unanswered questions.
To continue reading INSPIRALED:

Sunday, February 7, 2016

My Lazy Dog, True Story #13

This is my dog, Buddy, who always prefers riding to walking, and sprawling on the couch to running.  He was my inspiration for the Bernie character in Inspiraled. 

Excerpt from INSPIRALED, Chapter 7:  Coco & Friends:

There were three quick flashes.  Pause.  Then again- flash, flash, flash.  Pause.  Flash, flash, flash.  I told Mom and Aunt Fab that I was going to take Bernie for a walk.  I wanted to investigate.  Bernie hesitated at the door like he didn’t want to put forth the effort it took to go outside because he behaved less like a dog and more like a person- the opposite of my brothers.  It had cooled off quite a bit outside and some clouds had rolled in, so I put on my charcoal colored pea coat over my sour-milk-smelling-sweater, along with my gray Ugg boots and headed out the door.
We wandered around a little bit closer to the house than I wanted to because Bernie was a pampered little Prince and not used to walking much further.  Flash, flash, and flash- there it was again.
“C’mon, Bernie, let’s go see what that is!” I coaxed.
I kept pulling on his leash, but he didn’t budge.   He had already taken care of his business and clearly wanted to get back to the couch.  The grass and brush was tall and thick and not exactly easy to walk through.  I picked him up and carried him further into the woods.  It was darker inside the trees and harder to see.  The grasses continued to get taller and thicker back there, and it took some work to keep hiking through it while carrying Bernie.   Who or what would be out there?  Bernie jumped out of my arms and started sniffing around as we went through an even thicker cluster of trees.  Someone was there.  I smelled fire.  Bernie continued to be lazy.
To read more of INSPIRALED go to:

Sunday, January 31, 2016

I once wore two Super Bowl rings. True Story #14

An excerpt from INSPIRALED, Chapter 15:  Cops and Amnesia
  My brothers seemed to get bored with my line of questioning so they changed the subject by talking about football. 
  “Dude, did you know my mom works with a Redskins player?  She took a picture with him and she’s wearing his two Super Bowl rings!  One’s from when he played with the Packers and the other from when he was with the Steelers,” said Kavi, as he showed Coco the picture on his phone. 
  It was true.  Mom had recently begun working with a client that was a two time Super Bowl champ.  And he was a super nice guy. 
  Yep, all true but doesn't sound very believable...until I bust out my proof!  (My eyes- I know, just call me Earl!)  To read more fun stories based on real life check out my debut novel, INSPIRALED! (click the shop now button)

Have a laugh at my book trailer:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Go Ahead, Make His Day

Gramps (at age 72) playing basketball
  My dad is pretty amazing.  A Vietnam Vet, cancer survivor, and dedicated church and family man, he is still working full time at age 73.  He is a man that does not give up.  Ever.  While dealing with the weakness, fatigue, and dizziness caused by  the hormone therapy he is undergoing to continue his battle with cancer, he recently stepped out onto the basketball court to play with his grandkids.  He fell down...and got back up and tried to keep playing with a swollen goose egg on his head (don't worry-he was benched by his grandsons).  When I asked him to take it easy, he replied, "I can't.  You never know when I'll have all seven of my grandsons and most of my twelve granddaughters on the court at the same time.  You have to seize the moment."
  My dad is my hero.  He would do anything for his family.  One of the many times that he demonstrated this was a late night when I was in middle school.  Some neighborhood boys knocked on the window of the basement bedroom that I shared with my sister.  By the time we heard them and looked outside, all we could see was my dad chasing them away with a gun!  Everyone laughed about it the next day at school, but the message was clear:  my dad was going to protect his family at all costs.  
  My first novel is a collection of stories loosely based on real life events.  In honor of my dad, I have recalled this story about him coming out of the house with his weapon.  I love you Dad, enjoy! 
     Excerpt from Inspiraled:  Chapter 24:  Go Ahead, Make His Day
He ran with the gun pointed at the sky.  I could just barely make out three shadowy figures running down the street away from him.  Gramps stopped running by Zander and Zoe’s house and strutted his way back, huffing and puffing.  I ran out of my bedroom and found most of the rest of the family standing in the foyer looking bewildered as they stared out the open front door.  We all watched in silence as Gramps walked back into the house laughing.  We stood there in shock as he holstered his weapon.  Yes, he was wearing a holster.  
“Dad, what happened?” Mom demanded, as she pulled a sweatshirt on over her pajamas.
“Oh, you should’ve seen it.  Those kids scattered like roaches when the light comes on!” laughed Gramps.  He adjusted his holster under his bulging belly like he thought he looked cool.  He kind of did.
To read more go to
and click on the Shop Now button. 
To watch the book trailer, go to

Monday, January 18, 2016

What inspired you to write your first book?

  Often I get asked where my inspiration came from for my first novel, Inspiraled.  I remember it vividly. 
  A few years ago, my middle daughter was in a serious car accident.  It was a crash that could have been avoided and one that nobody should have survived according to the officer on the scene.  After several days in the hospital and a recollection of some of her memory, my daughter with her broken bones and raw tender skin, looked at me seriously with eyes full of pain and confessed, "Mom, I had a feeling that I shouldn't get into the car with those boys.  Something told me not to go with them but I didn't listen.  I should have listened."
  I knew at that moment that I had to tell her story.  Its one that we can learn from no matter where we're living or what stage of life we're in.  We all have decisions to make daily, some monumental, others miniscule, but all of them having an impact on something or someone.
 In the book, I had fun including some exaggerated, over-the-top situations on how the main character received these feelings.  But hopefully, I've still left the reader wondering... How much happier would my life be if I always paid attention to that guiding voice that whispers which way I should go?  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

"The truth is stranger than fiction..."- Mark Twain

We've all heard that truth is stranger than fiction. I didn't realize just how accurate that statement was until I began putting my truth in ink.  Soon I had tens of thousands of words compiled into a book.  I weaved in some exaggerated ridiculousness and voila! my first young adult book, Inspiraled was finished.    

But it doesn't end there.  As I finish up the last few chapters of my second novel riddled with strange truths, I am inspired daily with fresh, new crazy things to write about! 

We all have a story to tell.  How do you tell yours?