emerging author in the fiction realm
for middle grade & psychological thrillers for adults
Since childhood I’ve imaginated fantastical worlds and developed an itch to write fiction
– whether in short story or novel form – and yearned to see my stories published.
Currently I #amquerying an adult psychological thriller and a middle grade science-based magical realism book with series potential.
see the pitch below
At their core, all of the stories I write dissect interpersonal relationships that are gripped by life circumstances and by the frailties of humanity. While I bring my history to the emotional underpinnings of the storylines, it’s the fictional characters who create their destinies.
I’m the daughter of a mom who suffered with mental illness and the mom of an honors student daughter. I’ve mentored teens and
children in need, volunteered my writing expertise to college-bound students, and (yes I’m going to admit this) like cat videos.
awards & recognitions
- Rudy’s Defiance book manuscript named a finalist
for the Royal Palm Literary Awards in 2020
- Beta-tester for Wild Ink Marketing’s online interactive
course on developing author platforms
- Florida Writers Association; Agent & Interview Chair
for 2021 Annual Conference
- Sarasota Writers Association
- Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
Unearthing gems one book at a time!
Armed with a crimson-colored sunstone, almost 11-year-old Rudy Sein must learn to manage her emotions in order to control the gem and stop a despictrocious villain before they bring back the world’s five worst warlords. In her quest, Rudy must choose: let go of her mom or open the door for the warlords to return.
Find out what happens when Rudy teams up with her friends – Mae, Ned, Viktor and Reeny!
Email me to learn more – email@example.com
The Lizard of Peridot (a short folktale)
An original story by Dianne E McConkey
There once was a queen who was hated by all the people in the village beyond her castle. The queen had one daughter who lived her young life only in that castle among its riches and had never seen the world outside. She was clothed in the finest fabrics, served meals on the shiniest silver plates, and crowned in the most beautiful jewels. To her, all the world ate to their fill, drank to their pleasure, and received their every wish at the beckon of their servants.
One day, a green lizard crept onto her window ledge and called to the sleeping girl. “Wake, wake, for you have much to see today.” The girl startled abruptly, rose from her silk sheets, and wiped her eyes as she walked to the window. She gazed out but saw no one. Again, she heard a voice call to her but the girl could see nothing there. “Kind sir, please, make yourself known,” replied the girl. “Look down to see that which you do not expect,” said the lizard in a most restrained manner.
Upon seeing the lizard, the girl jumped backward. It was not the size that surprised her, for it was no bigger than a quill. It was that the girl had never seen such a living creature. It glistened with a most striking palette of greens that exuded from its scales. It was greener than the land rolling out like a blanket beneath the castle and more radiant than the jewels in her crown. “Now that you see me, haste young princess, before your
servants come to feed and dress you.”
The girl shook her head and stepped to her nightstand, where she grabbed her hairpin and clenched it at her side. “You are but an ill manifestation of my notions, a ruse, sent to me for something I’ve done wrong that which I do not know. Tell me now. You can speak, so make it so. I demand you tell me what I have done to be punished with this illusion.” But the lizard’s scales only flickered shards of light as does the sun off the crests of the lake’s water. The girl blinked furiously. “I command of you,” she yelled and lunged, the tip of the pin shattering the light.
Droplets of fern, moss, olive and basil showered over the girl in a moist breath of comfort that unfurled her angst. She let the pin fall to the floor, and she closed her eyes and stood straight with her head bent skyward. The lizard at last spoke. “You will know the answers to that which you ask when you trust what you have been given.”
The girl shrugged and swiftly followed the lizard out the window wearing only her undergarment, scaling down the stone wall as she never knew she could. They ran across the great lawn, down an embankment, through a stand of cypress trees, and into a village. There, the lizard took her through the streets to see houses with dirt floors and tin roofs, babies crying for food, and children wearing torn, dirty nightshirts for clothing. Tears fell from the girl’s eyes. Astonished and heartbroken at the poor lives of these people who lived just outside of her rich walls, the girl begged the lizard to tell her why this was so. “How can they not eat or drink as do I, for they are my neighbor?”
“There was a time not long ago when the wealth of the land was spread among us all,” answered the lizard, and the girl became frustrated. “Then why is it not so now?” But as the girl asked her question, she knew the truth before her. She knew in her heart it was her mother who had done this. She didn’t know why or even truly understand how. “Do not blame your mother,” the lizard replied to the girl’s thoughts. “She knows not what she creates.” The girl cast out her arm, fishing for comprehension in a sea of ambiguity. She barely knew her mother. She only knew that the queen was sad all of the time, sobbing at the meal table, wailing from her bed chambers. No matter how hard the girl squeezed her eyelids to force her brain to show her her mother coddling her infant body, as the servants proclaimed, it was impossible. She saw only the bluster and heard the tears.
“She is gripped.” A hush fell over the village. The dazzling greens of the lizard’s scales muddied into a swamp of despair. “The curse,” the lizard
whispered among a shrill from eagles swarming the sky. “That’s a tale of the fairies,” the girl admonished, her voice rising above the birds. “Do not speak of such lies. There are no witches. No sorcery at hand. My mother cries because that’s all she knows what to do.” The lizard’s triangular head bobbed back and forth. “Twas not always. It has only been this way since near the month of your birth.”
The girl shifted in the space where she had planted herself on the dirt. “I want to go home now.” The lizard crept closely to her and words that the girl didn’t want to hear slithered from his mouth. “Look hard at me for you shall see that which you fear to know.” She resisted but succumbed to her curiosity. The lizard grinned. His many individual scales melded into one coat of springtime dew, like the gems adorning her crown. She leaned in and reached out to touch the skin. He flinched. The girl pulled back. He moved toward her, keeping the girl’s gaze in his eyes, and she soon could see this was not at all a reptile, but a human.
This was an old man, who rose up to his grand height, his shining green cloak encompassing the girth of his body. His hair and beard were white but he was not frail for he towered over the girl. He gazed upon the villagers and sighed then knelt beside the girl, placed each hand firmly on each shoulder and whistled a tune that made the girl’s skinhairs curl. “So it is now that you can see my face for who I am.” The girl gasped then embraced the man, sobbing “Father, father, you are here again at last.” He pulled her close to his heart. “But how, father? I do not understand. Tell me. Why do these people suffer when I do not?”
“Your mother is wrought with sorrow. It came over her as clouds blacken the night. She begs for dawn to break. Yet the days evaporate just beyond the tips of her fingers. She cannot grasp hold.” The girl stifled her sadness. Her father rubbed a whirlpool of comfort on her back and explained his sudden disappearance years earlier. “In a dream one night I was sent to the mountains far, far beyond the cypress. I didn’t want to leave you. But it was a calling I could not deny. I traveled years following the dream until one day I could not lift my feet anymore. I fell on a road near a monstrous hole in the earth where mummed voices hovered. I must have laid there for days, dessication sucking the very soul from my limbs.”
The girl winced. He nodded. “Truly abhorrent, indeed. But I crawled like a lizard to the edge of the hole and watched an apparition lift from the darkness. It hummed the tune I whistled to you as a babe. My lips could barely pucker. My voicebox had not a lick of moisture. Yet I whistled. As I did, the apparition hummed and swirled as a dust storm sweeps up the earth into a pile, and from that formed a hawk, with the rosy lips of your mother. With her mouth she plucked this from a talon.” The father unfolded his hand to expose a Peridot the size of a crab apple.
“Take this.” He dropped it into the girl’s lap. “Place it in the chalice before her morning drink.” The girl had been utterly quiet but could contain herself no more. “I cannot. She’ll choke. You can do it yourself, father. When you come back to the castle. You must come with me. We should go now. Quickly. Before the sun pours the weight of its heat onto our bodies.” His head bobbed the way it had when he appeared as a lizard. “I cannot, my child.” She objected repeatedly but he would not concede. At last he sighed. “There is much we cannot understand, no matter the protest we make.” She flung herself into her father and buried her tiny body under his cloak. “I will do as you say. I will not disappoint you.”
“I’m certain you won’t,” he said as he set her upright on the path toward the castle. “Go forth and don’t look back.” She began to ask why when she clamped her lips down on her tongue. The girl instead nodded, turned and took determined steps toward home. But still she disobeyed her father and looked back. In the pathway lay a brown lizard no bigger than an oak leaf. She crouched to get a better look but a wind kicked up and dirt spat into her eyes. She rubbed them feverishly until no more water could come out of them. Her lids fluttered and the girl focused on the spot where she had stood with her father only moments earlier. There was no lizard. There was nothing but a clump of new grass that had seemed to have grown within the blink of her eyes.
The girl turned back around and ran home. During the night she crept into her mother’s chamber and did as her father told. At dawn, the sun sang the girl awake with a mint green glow that rippled over her bedsheets. She sat up and heard the molasses-warmth of her mother’s voice singing the tune that the girl’s father had whistled. The girl shocked herself when she realized she knew every word. Their voices harmonized throughout the castle and they beckoned the servants to dance with them in the Great Hall as they shared every tune they could remember, and even ones they nearly could not. Their voices floated over the village as the people awoke to find their cupboards overflowing with fish and cheese and bread, their drawers stuffed with gold-laced gowns and embroidered tunics, and everyone ran to the castle and danced in the Great Hall for all the days to come. And the queen never cried again.