Tuesday, April 29, 2014


It's no secret I dig art; my first YA and MG both focused on art themes.  When I head out on buying trips with my brother, a full-time antiques dealer, I also find myself gravitating toward art buys.  I'm not-so-secretly convinced that one of these days, I'll snatch up a masterpiece for $5.  Actually, last winter, I was certain I'd bought a William S. Burroughs original (not one of his shotgun paintings, but a small mixed-media piece), but it turned out that the signature wasn't quite right. 

Last weekend, I snatched these guys up.  They're glazed ceramic wall hangings, all signed similarly (what appears to be "Sh 2002").  I completely dig their expressions.  Anybody know anything about the artist or these objects?

Thursday, April 24, 2014


I do love meeting a slew of new bloggers through Follow Friday.  I haven't participated in some time, but I just couldn't resist this week's question: Do you have any pets?

"My dog + coffee + my WIP = Bliss"

My spoiled Pekingese, Jake, has been a big part of my blog (and my writing partner of the last ten years).

I've actually had animals throughout my life; I grew up with a Maltese named Winnie, as well as a couple of cats: Peter and his mother, Tuffy.  Tuffy, as her name suggests, was actually born a feral cat.

...My forthcoming YA, FERAL, features feral cats (none of them as sweet as my old girl Tuffy).  Be sure to get in on the current signed ARC giveaway for FERAL, and let me know if you're a new follower via the blog hop!

Monday, April 21, 2014


FERAL, my next YA (and first mystery / thriller) won't release until August...but you can get your hands on a copy!  I'm hosting a giveaway of a signed ARC.  US / Canadian residents can fill out the form at the end of the post; the giveaway runs through May 5th.

Bloggers who have already gotten their hands on an E-ARC through Edelweiss have already begun commenting on the setting of the book; below is a vlog in which I explain why I chose Peculiar, Missouri as the setting of FERAL:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Pre-order FERAL to ensure that it arrives as soon as possible following the official release:

Barnes & Noble
Brookline Booksmith
Google Play
Hudson Booksellers 
Politics and Prose
Quail Ridge Books
Rainy Day Books
Tattered Cover Bookstore
Watermark Books and Cafe
Wellesley Books

Friday, April 18, 2014


For those of you who are looking forward to a quiet, leisurely Easter weekend filled with some great reads:

Barrett's love of the classics shines through in KING OF ITHAKA.  As I read this, I kept thinking how great it would have been to have this as supplemental reading in my Latin and humanities courses in high school.  Great adventure novel. 

Hurwitz's MG novel THE SUMMER I SAVED THE WORLD...IN 65 DAYS released earlier this month; I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC some time ago.  In this era of the "princessification" of young girls, it's refreshing to see a girl more interested in what she does than how she looks.  A lovely contemporary read.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


One of my favorite ways to clear the ol' head in-between rounds of drafting and revising is to go on buying trips with my full-time antiques-and-collectibles-selling brother (he can be found on Etsy under Wisdom Lane). 

Last week, we happened upon a collection of vintage jumpsuits (which are again back in style).  These things are so fun; the black ensemble pictured here is definitely from the 80s (tapered legs, shoulder pads), but the others we snagged are older 70s-era jumpsuits, bell-bottoms and all.

I had to post for my teen readers, since I actually think any one of these jumpsuits would make an incredibly fun prom outfitespecially for the girl who's into the retro look (some platform heels, a funky bag and vintage jewelry, and you're set...and I guarantee no one else will have the same outfit)!

You can check out the black jumpsuit here; he's also selling a yellow ruffled-sleeve number with bell-bottoms, a pink jumpsuit with pretty sheer sleeves, and a navy floral jumpsuit (which I think is the least formal but most modern-looking of the bunch).

*Update: These things are going fast.  The yellow ruffled-sleeve jumpsuit has already sold. 

Monday, April 7, 2014


I was invited to participate in the “Writing Process Blog Tour” by YA author Amy Nichols, who blogs with me over at YA Outside the Lines.  

The writing process, I’m realizing, is both elusive and universal, all at the same time.  As a professional writer, it’s fascinating to me that I still find the same parts of writing (the sluggish middle, for example) every bit as tough as the fifth-grade students I Skype with!  The only difference is that I’ve been at it long enough to have a few tricks up my sleeve that help me work through it. 

This tour asks…

1.      What am I working on?

Right now, I’m gearing up for the release of my third YA (and first mystery / thriller), FERAL.  I’m also in the midst of writing my next MG.

2.      How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Much of my previously-published work has really hinged on voice and character.  I’d say what separates my YA from others is that each work has actually been in a different subgenre.  A BLUE SO DARK was a literary problem novel.  PLAYING HURT was a romance.  FERAL is a thriller. 

3.      Why do I write what I do?

Writing is an innate part of who I am.  But I’m also a reader.  And I’m as interested in as many subgenres of writing as I am in subgenres of reading.  I never know where my heart’s going to lead me next.  Not only am I meeting new characters and heading to new settings, I’m also exploring new subgenres.  And that makes writing the most exciting thing in the world. 

4.      How does my writing process work?

I really dislike the first draft.  I do my best to get through that part as quickly as possible.  I give myself crazy word-count goals each day: sometimes as many as 5,000 words.  The first draft is a scene-by-scene fleshing out of my loose outline.  It gives me a chance to figure out the what of a novel.  My favorite part is revision—that’s when I can figure out the how I say it of a novel.  I get to write pretty passages, new metaphors, flesh out my characters.  Of course, I don’t just revise once.  My published books have been revised more times than I can count.  It’s funny—I get to know my books the same way we all meet new people in our lives—a little at a time.  Each day, I discover something new, get a little closer to my characters…

Be sure to travel to the next stops on the tour:

Tracy Barrett - the author of numerous books and magazine articles for young readers. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with honors in Classics-Archaeology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Her scholarly interests in the ancient and medieval worlds overlap in her fiction and nonfiction works.

Ann Haywood Leal - wrote her first novel in the sixth grade.  It was handwritten (mostly on colored notebook paper) and was called MISCHIEVOUS MARTHA.  Her later books,  A FINDERS-KEEPERS PLACE and ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER were published by Henry Holt.

Naomi Kinsman - the author of the From Sadie’s Sketchbook Series (Zondervan) and Spilled Ink, the award winning Inklings Writers’ Notebook. Drawing upon her background in improvisational theatre and arts education, Naomi developed Writerly Play  a methodology that breaks the writing process into parts and inspires creativity through interactive games. Naomi is the founder of Society of Young Inklings,  an organization that empowers young authors ages 6-16 and Regional Advisor of the San Francisco South chapter of SCBWI. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Seattle Pacific University and a MFA in Writing for Children and Adults from Hamline University.

Jen Cervantes - the author of TORTILLA SUN, claims, "If I wasn't a storyteller, sports writing for the NFL would have been my game, (or some other job where I got paid to watch football games). Maybe someday I'll write a book about football.  I am inspired by my daughters Alex, Bella, and Jules, their silly friends, amazing stories, and real issues concerning kids who need hope and a place to call home."

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