5 Random Thoughts I Had When I Wrote THE ARROW (The Children of Brigid Trilogy, Book One)

I am surrounded by goddesses. I hand wrote the first chapter while on a retreat with a group of twelfth grade girls from one of the schools where I used to work. These students were powerfully intelligent, capable, kind, and just so cool. The retreat center was on the banks of Lake Tahoe, a really gorgeous location. As the sun was setting the first night, I watched the water and snow-covered mountains turn pink then purple. I was surrounded by young women who were set to take over the world and make it a place that made more sense, despite…

5 Ways I Find Time to Read

1. Read what I want Tell the inner smarty pants who is criticizing my book choice to go to hell. Dump books that aren’t capturing or inspiring me. I don’t have to give any book fifty pages before deciding whether or not to continue. Nobody has time for that. This isn’t dating. Books don’t have feelings. 2. Link the library with frozen yogurt Commit to frozen yogurt on the way home from every trip to the library. This is especially effective in the summer. Start reading the best book while eating a chocolate vanilla swirl topped with mochi bits. Don’t drip on…

The Ghost Daughter Cover Reveal

The good people at Coffeetown Press have revealed the cover of my adult literary novel The Ghost Daughter, forthcoming July 2016. I love this cover because the background photograph was taken by my brilliant friend, the artist Evan Hartzell. Evan Hartzell’s photography is renowned for naturescapes of extraordinary, haunting beauty. I am honored to have his work on the cover of a novel that has been a labor of love. I can’t wait for you to read it and tell me what you think.

Rereading Season

It was actually not a million degrees today. Perhaps fall has decided to blow in after all. For me, fall is the season for rereading novels I’ve loved. For a lady whose To Be Read pile is as tall as mine, it may seem like I don’t have time to go over old territory. But I can’t resist. Besides, as a writer these novels (among  so many others) have specific lessons to teach me that are refreshed as I reread. Here are a few of my frequent rereads as the days grow shorter: White Oleander and Paint it Black by…

A Great Yes: Geminid Press

When I was in grade school, I took the short bus once a week to a special day class for gifted children. The program was called MGM for Mentally Gifted Minors, and our MGM teacher was an evangelical woman named Mrs. Sturtevant who really hated my ideas. My nine-year-old Mentally Gifted Minor brain intuited the deliciously thin ice Mrs. Sturtevant’s sense of the appropriate skated upon. I broke through it during our art unit when we fashioned paper mache masks to go with creative stories we had written. The other children gooped strips of newspaper and flour glue into the…

How to Be Manly for a Year: A Great Yes

Yes is my favorite word. This week marks the one year anniversary of one of the greatest yes answers of my career. When Rachel Miller and Anna McCormally of Giant Squid Books told me they wanted to publish my YA novel How to Be Manly, they offered a big, beautiful yes that changed everything. I always believed in How to Be Manly. It was brilliant to find editors who loved my story too. I wrote How to Be Manly in 2009, inspired by my high school students who were showing amazing integrity and generosity through struggle. Many of these students…

What Are You Reading?

My favorite question in the world to ask and answer is, “What are you reading?” I stepped up my reading game as I finished my graduate school program last spring. For a long time my answer to my favorite question was probably an article about successful strategies for teacher mentoring in Australia. Australians are doing a lot of interesting research on this topic, if you want to know. My reading list since spring has been much more varied. My reviews are always four and five star because I don’t continue reading things that don’t interest me. I am a very rude…

I Heart YA

I decided this year to make my students read books for fun. If they aren’t having fun reading their books then I instruct them to pretend they are having fun so effectively that I am unable to tell the difference. In discussion about their books, one student admitted that the YA novel she’d brought was so poorly written it was getting in the way of her fun. She read the first two sentences aloud. Total clunkers. We had to agree that the writing was no fun. We couldn’t even pretend it was fun. Yet some of my favorite writing occurs in the YA novels I…

7 Labor Day Thoughts

My students’ daily homework assignment is usually to frolic in the clover. When I write frolic in the clover on the board where the homework assignment goes, new students want to know what I mean. Students:  Is that a book we are supposed to read? A website we’re supposed to look at? Me: No. Just find a patch of clover and frolic in it for a second. Students: What do you mean frolic? Me: Why does the forty-five year old lady have to tell the teenager how to frolic? Just find a patch of clover and do this (takes off shoes…