Tuesday, June 28, 2016


This summer, I'm bringing my indie work into the world of print. I'm delighted to announce that my first print book, MILES LEFT YET, is now available!

I was surprised to find that putting a book together--I mean designing it in a visual way--is actually an artistic process. That's completely different than formatting an e-book; with an e-book, you can't account for what device your work will be read on, and have to keep it all as simple as possible. No graphics, no fancy fonts, nada. With print, though, you get to play with all of that.

As a reader, we don't actually think about little things like font choice and margins, the spacing of each line. But all those things come together to create tone--to provide a full reading experience. Having only gone through the process once, I'd already say that I now think of an adult print book as a piece of visual art--every bit as much as a young reader's illustrated book.

That's truly been the coolest part of putting together indie work, being responsible for every last detail: it makes me think of the content in a new way. I'm now imagining of the end product from the get-go, even when I'm still in the earliest drafting phase...

Thursday, June 16, 2016


SPARK, my latest YA, is full of flawed characters. In fact, the entirety of Advanced Drama is filled with students who believe themselves to be senior nobodies—the dull, neutral shades in the crayon box. To some degree, every single character you create should be flawed in some way. But what about those characters who wear their flaws outwardly, conspicuously? How do you create a flawed character who remains multi-dimensional?

Don’t JUST make them flawed. Human beings are fully rounded. We all have weaknesses and strengths. Make sure that every one of your “flawed” characters also has a special strength or talent as well. In SPARK, Cass and Dylan are arguably the most flawed of any of the characters in the book—or, at least, are the most affected by their own flaws: Cass has a prominent birthmark, and Dylan has a stutter. But they’re also incredibly talented musicians.

Don’t dwell on it. In a way, this was easy in SPARK—the book is told from Quin’s POV, so I didn’t have to worry that I was devoting too much of a character’s internal monologue grumbling about their perceived flaws. But if your flawed character does happen to also be telling the story, don’t allow their every thought to be focused on this one physical or personality quirk. It can have a stronger impact if you show how it affects their interactions with other characters, then develop other traits once you’re inside their head, listening to their thoughts.

Give your character a sense of humor about it. This can actually help you create a voice for your main character—let them be sarcastic. Or self-deprecating. Humor always helps endear your main character to your reader, and in this case, it keeps the book from seeming a bit melodramatic as well. 

Give them a scenario that forces them to face their flaw in some way. In SPARK, Cass and Dylan literally have to step into the spotlight—a place they both fear. What does your own character fear? Why? How can it hold them back? How can they address it? This all helps add drama, build to a climax. 

Let your character get over it. Or accept it. Or come to realize we all have perceived flaws. Your main character(s) should grow and change internally. There’s nothing tougher sometimes than self-acceptance. And it can make a really beautiful story, especially when it’s a story for younger readers.

Friday, June 3, 2016


The next installment in the FOREVER FINLEY SHORT STORY CYCLE is live--and is currently a free read!

Those of you who have been following along with the cycle since last December know that things in Finley have been getting "curiouser and curiouser." This installment, "Chasing June," offers the most magical turn of events yet...

We've also spent the past several months meeting new characters; from now until next December (when the series will wrap), we'll be going back to those old characters, and we'll begin tying those loose threads together. As always, though, each story is a stand-alone; if you haven't read any of the previous stories, you can still jump in and read "Chasing June" now:

Chasing June

A short story that explores the frightening (and often wonderful) things that can happen after disturbing the dust that has settled across life as it’s always been.

Annie Ames returns to her childhood hometown to begin a project with her lifelong friend, Justin: a book documenting the romantic folklore surrounding the legend of Amos Hargrove, the town founder. But no one likes the fact that she’s “disturbing the dust”—rifling through old memories and a more than century-old legend. When Annie visits Mary, the town’s oldest resident, she opens an old trunk—and along with a treasured antique wedding shawl, discovers life-altering truths about her feelings for her closest friend…and about the legend of Amos Hargrove and his sweetheart, Finley.


Previous releases in the cycle include: Come Decmeber, January Thaw, Forget February, Dearest March…, April’s Promise, and Mayday Mayday Mayday.

Watch the FOREVER FINLEY trailer:
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