Rerun: To You Who Are Doing Rejection Wrong

I was reminded today in an email about happy I am being a writer, working with other writers and publishing professionals who care deeply about excellence in literature.  As a reader, some of the most rewarding and amazing books I’ve read have been published in the past five years. As a teacher, I am especially grateful to the gatekeepers and writers of the YA world.  Today’s September Back-To-School Issue challenge is a rerun of a post I wrote a couple of months ago in response to an incident of online abuse hurled at a literary agent by a disgruntled writer. I was angry when…

What I Was Thinking When I Wrote The Ghost Daughter

A few years ago I stood in the check out line at the grocery story, Casey Anthony staring at me from the cover of the People magazine. I don’t follow crime stories usually, but this one followed me. I couldn’t help it. I was fascinated.  A young woman claimed her little kid went missing a full month after anyone had seen her. The authorities found the thoroughly decomposed body of the child months later in a pile of duct tape. The prosecution was inadequate to the task of conviction and the judge let her go. Everyone thinks she did it. But…

Rock Star University: Pursue Excellence

In a fog of mourning last week, perusing every Prince interview available on Youtube, I found an odd little visit he made to The View some years ago. The hosts harass him until he leaves, but before he does he drops an important piece of wisdom. After Barbara Walters leans in to say that Justin Beiber had told them that he wanted to have a career as long as his, Prince just smiles. She says it to flatter him, but he isn’t flattered. His look is gentle but deeply knowing. Prince says, “The key to longevity is to learn every aspect of music that you can. I…

An Interview with Tori Rigby, Author of Because I Love You

Blaze Publishing’s forthcoming YA title Because I Love You looked so interesting to me that I had to ask Tori Rigby if she would be willing to answer a few questions for my blog. Read the introduction and you’ll see what I mean:   Eight weeks after sixteen-year-old Andie Hamilton gives her virginity to her best friend, “the stick” says she’s pregnant.  Her friends treat her like she’s carrying the plague, her classmates torture and ridicule her, and the boy she thought loved her doesn’t even care. Afraid to experience the next seven months alone, she turns to her ex-boyfriend, Neil…

#AWP16

This is the first day after the AWP conference in Los Angeles. I don’t know what to think right now. I may never know what to think. But I’ll tell you this thing that happened: On my way back from a chat with Francesca Lia Block, I shook hands with Malcolm Margolin while nearby Daniel Jose Older stood talking with Walter Mosley. I was in a dreamscape. Famous writer Disneyland. A Pantheon of brilliant people just walking around with their heads on their necks like whatever. It kind of freaked me out. That’s what I’m thinking about today.

Cover Reveal: 27 Days to Midnight

I am truly honored to announce the cover reveal of 27 Days to Midnight, a new YA Steampunk novel from Giant Squid Books. Check it out on GoodReads here and enter to win the giveaway! Here is what 27 Days to Midnight is about: Everyone in Dahlia’s world knows when they’re going to die…except her. Her father has never shown her the pocket watch counting down the days she has left to live. When he sacrifices himself to save her from her scheduled death, Dahlia abandons her comfortable home and sets off after his murderer to uncover the secrets her father…

Author Spotlight: Cait Spivey, author of From Under the Mountain

One of the books I’ve most enjoyed reading so far this year has been the epic fantasy adventure From Under the Mountain by Cait Spivey, released through Reuts Publications. The story is based in a mind-blowing, fantastic world meticulously built by Spivey as a young woman finds herself, after the death of her tyrannical royal family, at the head of an empire. The novel is sometimes reminiscent in the best possible way of Game of Thrones in its scope and intrigue. There is magic and intrigue and complex human relationships in a world where sexual orientation doesn’t raise eyebrows, but…

I’ll Read to You This Saturday

This Saturday November 21st, I will be performing in a Sacramento Voices event  at the Sacramento Poetry Center ( 1719 25th St. at the corner of 25th and R) with Naomi J. Williams and Sandra McPherson. The event begins at 4:30 and goes until 6 p.m. Renowned poet and teacher Phillip Larrea invited me, much to my shock and delight. This is all very exciting to me. I even made an appointment to get my hair fixed that morning. Whatever. Here’s what it is: I’ve been writing for the reading pleasure of about three other people for the past twenty years. My writing…

Blogs I Follow

Two days left on this blog-a-day exercise for September. Stats say that people like it best when I talk about my hair. This is not a blog post about my hair, though a student I don’t even teach told me today he loved my hair and when I asked him if it was because it reminded him of his nana, he said no.  So that was nice. Today I want to take a bow to other blogs I frequent. They don’t fit into any category. They are well written and I like them for different reasons. Maybe you will too, so…

Maxwell Perkins Is My Homeboy

Maxwell Perkins was literary editor to Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe. Perkins was responsible for helping forth such classics as The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, The Great Gatsby and many more American works that we take for granted as integral to the literary heritage of our country. Maxwell Perkins is perhaps most famous for teasing out the best possible work from recalcitrant, alcoholic, undisciplined writers. I picture him at his desk, so handsome and sure. So knowledgeable and intelligent. You can do this work, he says. I believe in you. What a powerful talisman is a…