Wednesday, September 24, 2014


The #ReadOn chat Saturday was a ton of fun, thanks to Jessica of Crossroad Reviews, as well as Laurie Boyle Crompton (who also blogs with me at YA Outside the Lines) and Mindy McGinnis.  You can view the full show here:

Also, be sure to get in on the giveaway of our books here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Darlene Beck Jacobson is providing a fun sneak peek of her debut MG, WHEELS OF CHANGE.  Instead of providing a straight passage, she's giving us a taste of her writing style by offering us her favorite sentences and descriptions of the book.

(I thoroughly enjoyed WHEELS OF CHANGE; my review can be found here.)

From Darlene -
Five of my favorite sentences from WOC:

1.      Papa rushes past before I can hide, a teetering pile of wood planks on one shoulder, paint cans hung elbow to wrist, like ornaments on a Christmas tree. 

2.      An unexpected visit from a bear would be more welcome than one from Beatrice Peabody.  Better known as Beatrice Busybody or Bea Pea as Charlie likes to call her.  If boasting and gossip were subjects in school, Beatrice would be the star pupil.  She spreads rumors like a mosquito spreads malaria.

3.       Mrs. Peabody dismisses her court of worshippers and waddles to the judges table, settling her plumage right in front of the Reverend and Mrs. Porter.

4.       When I’m feeling my meanest, I sometimes wish all the people who judged folks by their skin color were struck blind.  Then would it matter?  Papa says if I wish for things like that, then I’m no better than the people I’m wishing it on.

5.       Mr. Martin looks at me with his face all frowning and dark, like he sees something he’s not pleased to look at.  Or he ate something disagreeable.  Or he’s been sitting downwind of a pile of fresh manure.   

Five favorite descriptions:

1.      I dance across the sawdust-covered floor past Sam, Papa’s woodworker.  His saw hums like a busy beehive, slicing planks of wood.   I pick up handfuls of the slivers, inhaling their fresh-cut fragrance.  The slivers stick to my sweaty palms; I wipe my hands on my dress to loosen them.  The slivers stick there as well, like they’ve found a home.

2.      Old Mrs. Crabtree – perfectly named to fit her grouchy disposition – nods her greeting to Mama and gives the rest of us the once over.  Her freckled forehead is so full of frown wrinkles, it reminds me of a freshly plowed field. 

Papa says nothing, but his head is high and the air around us seems to sing.  I feel like the wagon might sprout wings and lift us skyward like the fanciful contraption made by the Wright Brothers that Miss Carlisle told us about.  Then again, looking at Papa, I realize you don’t need wings to fly.

This kitchen is smaller than ours, but it’s clean and tidy and as warm as a piece of bread fresh from the oven.  I like how the chairs are all different designs.  Ours at home all match, which seems dull next to the variety here.  Like everyone has a chair of his own.  Special.  I can’t stop a smile when I see a horseshoe hanging over the door, just like the one I got from Henry.

Instead of the usual Naphtha soap, Mama hands me a bar of her special lavender scented soap.  I rub it over my cotton chemise until I get some suds.  Mama helps with the back.  She scrubs my hair until my scalp tingles and I holler in protest.  Then, I slip off the chemise and soak in the suds.  The warm, soapy water slides over my skin like fancy silk.  The smell of lavender makes me wish for summer.  I’d stay in the tub until it got cold, but William has to have his turn.  I wrap myself in a towel and after putting on clean nightclothes, I sit while Mama tortures my hair with a comb, trying to work out the tangles.  When she gets tired of my squirming and hollering, she rubs a little mineral oil on the comb to help it slide through. I go to bed feeling pampered and content, like a spoiled cat.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Egmont's holding a TEMPLE RUN giveaway (US / Canadian residents only).  To get in on it, just comment after the post:

Temple Run – 9/20-23/2014 – giveaway is all 3 books in paperback (3 books to one person)
Temple Run, the fastest-growing mobile game app, is taking its biggest leap yet, jumping into children's books!
Ages 8-12
Temple Run Book One Run for Your Life!: Jungle Trek
Chase Wilder    
On Sale: 09/23/2014      
Trade Paperback
You're a lucky kid--for your birthday, you're having a destination party: a campout and scavenger hunt in an exotic locale. Depending on the choices you make, you will reach safety in time to enjoy your party, or you will be kidnapped and held for ransom, buying Guy and Scarlett time to make off with the treasure. You decide!

Temple Run Book Two Run for Your Life!: Doom Lagoon              
Chase Wilder    
On Sale: 09/23/2014      
Trade Paperback
You are an intern and will be accompanying the curator of an antiquities museum during school vacation on a dive to a newly discovered historic shipwreck. Depending on the choices you make, you will either be stranded at sea, drown, explore the wreck, or discover buried treasure. You decide!

Temple Run Downloaded Apptivity Book
On-Sale: 09/23/2014      
Trade Paperback
Temple Run Downloaded is a cool, fast, addictive mobile game, and fans can relive the excitement with this activity book shaped like a tablet. Race down ancient temple walls, along sheer cliffs, and avoid evil monkeys as you challenge your brain to solve these fun puzzles. Temple Run Downloaded includes mazes, brain teasers, puzzles, 4 gatefold pages, and 4 sticker pages, with exclusive info about this favorite game and characters. Full color illustrations throughout.

Monday, September 15, 2014


I'm making the rounds, doing several online visits in the next coming weeks.  (Online visits are a godsend.  Seriously.  I get to connect directly with readers and work on my next book.  Right now, I'm revising my next MG.)

On September 20, 4 pm EST, you can catch me (and Mindy McGinnis Laurie Boyle Crompton) during Crossroad Reviews' next episode of #ReadOn.  Ask us questions, and enter to win signed books!

If you're in the New Mexico area, I'll be Skyping with the Albuquerque BOOKWORKS on September 27, 1 pm MDT / 2pm CST.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Monday, September 8, 2014


It's no secret I'm a fan of Catherine Ryan Hyde.  I've often said one of my favorite aspects of reading a new book by Catherine is that I always walk away from it having learned a writing lesson.  TAKE ME WITH YOU is no exception.  This time around, though, in addition to a writing lesson, I also got a bit of a life lesson that I'm taking to heart:

As a writer, one of the aspects I found fascinating about this novel was the pace.  There's a discussion in the book about RV travel--and a line about it not being about getting to a destination in a furious rush.  Instead, RV travel is slower, and all about finding a place you enjoy and staying there for a stretch, appreciating where you are until you get the urge to move on again.

In some respects, I felt like the pace of this book mirrored this sentiment.  When August takes off with the two boys, they do have an ultimate destination, but reaching that destination doesn't take over the book.  Instead, the characters explore each other and their surroundings in a way I haven't seen in many contemporary reads.  It made for a different--and lovely--experience.

But doesn't the pace and philosophy of RV travel also make for a great metaphor for life?  How many times, as writers, do we finish one book all in a rush, anxious to meet a deadline, only to rush to the next project?  How often do we see where we are and wish we were somewhere else--at a larger house, or seeing better sales numbers?  How often do we allow ourselves to simply enjoy our current place in life?

I'm in the midst of doing just that--allowing myself to enjoy where I am right now, in this my career and in my life both.  I'm taking the time to enjoy my writing process, to enjoy my family and friends like I never have before.

Thanks, Catherine, for reminding us all how delicious the ride can be.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Releasing two books in two different genres in '14 means I also have my hands in two different worlds: MG and YA.

One of the absolute coolest parts of being an MG author is being able to do classroom Skypes.  If you're a teacher interested and looking for some tips on how to get started, check out my recent guest post on the subject over at Primary Junction.

...And, if you're looking to get your hands on a copy of my YA psychological thriller, you can get in on a giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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