Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Back when the story broke about Republic, Missouri resident Wesley Scroggins's attempt to ban three books from Republic schools, I wrote a post for Sarah Ockler's blog which defended my home state. Scroggins isn't representative of Missouri, I insisted. Missouri itself doesn't stand for banning. When I wrote the post, I honestly thought the whole situation was basically over. The school board wouldn't actually ban Ockler's TWENTY BOY SUMMER, or Anderson's SPEAK, or Vonnegut's SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE. I mean, really...SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE? What decade is this?

Only...they did.

I woke up this morning to a headline in my local paper (THE NEWS-LEADER) indicating that two of Scroggins's targeted titles had been pulled: Vonnegut's and Ockler's.

And I'm completely, totally mortified by the decision. I'm even embarrassed that the headline is on page one of the paper, not shunted to some little paragraph deep inside, hanging its own head in shame.

The truth is, anybody with a book on the shelves can be banned. Anybody. And while "numerous individuals," as superintendent Vern Minor put it, claim to have read the three books in question, I wonder if they've read any other contemporary YAs. I contend that if those individuals were to start reading YA authors whose last names begin with "A" and work their way through the alphabet, the shelves would be empty.

And that's the last place on earth I want to be: a world with empty bookshelves. The slippery-slope is terrifying.

To Sarah, a YA author I so admire, all I can say is this: There are many, many important books out there that have never been banned. But I can't think of a single banned book that is not important.

Monday, July 18, 2011


It's been forever since I posted a vlog writing tip! (But only because I was so wrapped up in the super-fun vlog interviews and posts associated with my PLAYING HURT Blog Tour...)

I just recorded a new tip, which gives a few pointers on what to do with hazy, unclear bursts of inspiration! (Love doing these tips...so, so fun...)

I'm also anxious to get back into my blog series Breaking In (in which I answer any questions you might have on the business aspects of publishing, as opposed to craft), and want to remind everyone that the authors at my MG blog, Smack Dab in the Middle, are also open to answering any questions you might have about writing for kids!

Feel free to post any new questions you might have as a comment to this post! I look forward to hearing from you...

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I'd never read an Anne Lamott book before picking up CROOKED LITTLE HEART. Actually, if you want to get technical about it, I haven't read CROOKED LITTLE HEART, either...not completely, anyway. I'm about fifty pages in.

And I have to say it: I'm so in love with this book.

I've heard wonderful things abut Lamott's BIRD BY BIRD, and found out about this book through an interview printed in the back of another book I was enjoying; the author of that book recommended CROOKED LITTLE HEART. And as an author with a book out myself that's already over a year old, I sort of feel the need to wave the flag for backlisted titles. So I bought this book...and have found an author I so, so admire.

My admiration runs so deep, in fact, that I had to put up a post about this book before I'm even finished. But every single time I pick up CROOKED LITTLE HEART, I think, "I'm going to read everything this woman's ever written."

Now, that's a good feeling, indeed...

Also, a new guest post of my own just went live, and includes a chance to win a swag pack! Check out the details at Snowdrop Dreams of Books!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I got a chance to "meet" fellow author Tracy Barrett online, when I asked her to take part in my MG blog, Smack Dab in the Middle (the blog is growing in leaps and bounds; we're now offering writing tips, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways, which excites me to no end).

I soon learned Tracy's taking the (let's face it: thrilling and scary) plunge into being a full-time author...She's even blogging about the experience at Goodbye, day job!

She asked me to blog about my own experiences as a full-time author...and the post, in which I recognize my family's incredible financial support, is now officially my favorite guest post of all time. Not kidding. All time. Find out why at Goodbye, day job!
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