Friday, April 24, 2015


I got the absolute LOVLIEST email yesterday, from a librarian at St. Francis Xavier School. Her incredible fifth grade readers discussed THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, and made their own "congregation" out of junk, just like Auggie.

As writers, we always say, "If I can touch just one reader in a profound way--if I can inspire just one person--I'll be happy forever." To see readers loving and and interacting with THE JUNCTION, making found-object art just like literally brought a tear to my eye. THIS is why I write:

Sincere thanks to the St. Francis Xavier artists, for sharing your "shine"!

Please do view the full post on their project at the St. Francis Xavier site.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


The first time you do anything, you look like an idiot. No first kiss ever didn't involve a nose-bump. No first-time driver ever shifted gears perfectly. No writer will ever tell you their first novel was BEAUTIFUL (most of the time, they’re in a shelf somewhere collecting dust).

Here’s the thing, though: the first draft of every book makes me feel like a fool. Doesn’t matter how many books I’ve written and published. The first draft always makes me feel like I’m fifteen again, behind the wheel for the first time. 

Right now, I’m revising my next YA for HarperCollins. As I read my editor’s comments, do I see some wrong turns I made the first time around? You bet. I’ve got a better grip on the wheel, a better sense of where I am in the lane, and I feel great about where I’m headed. I'm working my way toward a book I'm 100% proud of.

...All thanks to the fact that I was willing to look a little foolish the first time around...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Over the weekend, I discovered Heidi Tretheway's fantastic post on building a better product page on Amazon. I took her advice to heart, and shortened my description of FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS (I actually cut it in half), and used some html tags to revamp the appearance of the book description. 

I'm really happy with the end result, which can be viewed here.

You can also find Tretheway's step-by-step guide here.

The minute you read it, you'll be heading over to KDP to revamp your own books' pages!

Monday, April 13, 2015


Frank Schmeisser's THE INCREDIBLE THREE AND A HALF SUPERHEROES is, as we would say in the Ozarks, a real hoot.

The book description promises a good time:

The top secret, totally true adventures of the child superhero team, the Incredible Three and a Half. Most superheroes hide behind masks as they battle against injustice in the world and, for their own protection, their true identities are kept top secret. But for reasons beyond his control, incorrigible sixth grader Sebastian Appleby-Krumble is forced to write down his exploits as part of the superhero team the Incredible Three and a Half. The Incredible Three and a Half Superheroes is a humorous, behind-the-scenes tale of the action-packed adventures of Sebastian, otherwise known as the Brain, and his friends Barbara "Action Barbie" Bakewell, Martin "The Chameleon" Koslowski, and Martin's imaginary friend Dickie, "The Chicken." Young readers will find out why Aunt Hilda's birthday ended in disaster; why Dolittle, the class hamster, wound up wearing camouflage; and how Sebastian was almost arrested while wearing a giraffe costume. Most importantly, they will discover why everyone must protect the secret identities of the Incredible Three and a Half to save the world from danger!

...And the book itself delivers everything that copy promises. Laugh-out-loud humor, and utterly delightful drawings throughout  by Jorge Muhle. Some language makes the book a better fit for upper middle grade or young adult. But it's a great choice for reluctant readers, boys, comic or graphic novel enthusiasts, or the young comedian in your life. Plenty of humor will also appeal to adult readers who appreciate books for young readers. And kudos for featuring both a female superhero AND giving the imaginary friend superhero status as well. An incredibly fun book that sucks you in from the start and keeps you chuckling until the last page.

Order at Amazon.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


I've been delighted by the initial response to my contemporary comedic women's fiction novel, FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS! Readers are calling the book "deceptively simple," "thought-provoking," and "full of laugh-out-loud moments."

Author Jennifer Salvato Doktorski described FIDOS as a "fun and funny read with adorable, quirky characters of both the human and four-legged variety. Readers who love dogs, romance, and fairytale endings will be charmed by this book."

 As a fan of vintage movies, some of my favorite comments compare FIDOS to an Audrey Hepburn flick (I've heard that from multiple readers). If you like BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S as much as I do, it's safe to say you'll dig FIDOS too.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


My hometown voted to remove sexual orientation / gender identity in the city's nondiscrimination ordinance yesterday. What might just upset me the most about this turn of events is the fact that this morning, all our local newscasters are indicating that "the LGBT community is no longer protected under the ordinance."

No, no, no. We're ALL no longer protected.

What I have never understood about the discussion is why it has not been presented as protection for the entire community, gay or straight. Doesn't adding SO / GI to the ordinance also mean that a homosexual landlord or employer cannot use sexual orientation as a reason to deny a heterosexual individual housing or employment? Why do we always place the LGBT individuals in the subordinate role in the discussion?

As far as I'm concerned, protection for one is always protection for all.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Formatting FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS (my first independent release) proved to be far simpler than I'd
initially anticipated. Literally as easy as the old 1-2-3.

1. Download Scrivener

Scrivener can be a bit mind-blowing at first. But the beauty of it is that you don't have to learn the entirety of the program all at once--you only need to learn the parts that pertain to your current project. You can import a project from Word, or--this is Scrivener's real strength--you can draft in it. I'm in the midst of writing my first novel start-to-finish in the program now. Nothing has ever helped me break a book down into manageable chunks quite like Scrivener. (It's kind of win-win; the "Compile" button does make quick work of saving your novel as an e-book ready for publication. But even if you decide you like other formatting software later on, Scrivener will still be useful for writing new projects. And it's cheap; if you belong to writing associations like SCBWI, you'll likely also have access to discount codes.)

2. Get Ed Ditto's Book

Ed Ditto's formatting book takes you step-by-step through the process of using Scrivener to format your e-book. It's written for Mac users, but I've got Windows devices, and found it to still be incredibly helpful.

3. Seriously. Get the Dummies Book

I did. I'll admit it. It's actually coming in handier for learning what's available to me as I draft new work. (Ed Ditto's book was more useful for formatting.)

That's it. I mean it. It's that easy. Get to it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


The paperback edition of THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY is out!

...Auggie Jones is coming to a Scholastic Book Fair near you...
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