Author of Middle Grade novels about friendship, family, and figuring out where you fit in.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gift Ideas for Writers

(Said in announcer voice) "Do you have a friend or family member who is a writer? Are you struggling to figure out what kind of gift to give them for their birthday or a holiday? Well, struggle no more!"

My birthday was last week, and my family gave me the most fun and creative gifts! So, if you need a gift for the writer in your life, here are some ideas:

My mom bought me a WRITER T-shirt and WRITER tote bag! I can't wait to show off to everyone that I do what I love. They're from the TV show Castle, which I also recommend to writers.

My sister gave me a bunch of writer-related goodies. Besides a cute notepad, lined paper for lists, and neat-looking pen, I also got...

...some magnetic poetry, to give me ideas when I'm stuck on a scene, and...

...a notepad for when I get ideas in the shower! Holy cow, I've been saying for years that I need this!

I encourage you all to Google these items and consider them for either yourself or a writer friend. I know I look forward to using them!

But one gift I received that you can't buy came from my grandmother.

She made me a ceramic girl who is reading a copy of Wishing for Washington! Yes, she printed out the front and back covers of my book and glued them on! And that's not all...

...even the inside of the book is the dedication and first page of Wishing for Washington! My grandmother is so creative. I'm in awe.

So, needless to say, I have the most thoughtful family ever, and I love them.

What are some gift ideas for writers that you've seen, received, or come up with yourself?
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Monday, June 23, 2014

What Would We Do Without Our Friends?

Sharing a book with the world can be a scary thing. You've worked so hard on it, and then it's time to release it into the wild. It's out of your hands.

But something that makes publishing a book much less scary is the support of friends and family. I'm so grateful for the people in my life, for the encouragement they've provided and enthusiasm they've shown. I couldn't do it without them. (Which is why my acknowledgements section is so long -- a lot of people have helped me on this journey!)

I'm also very thankful for my fellow writers. My blog and Twitter buddies have helped me in many ways: providing feedback, cheering me on, giving advice, and overall reminding me that writing does not have to be solitary. We can share this process instead of feeling lonely.

Two writer friends in particular have been super generous and have featured WISHING FOR WASHINGTON on their blogs:

- Jemi Fraser, who is always above and beyond sweet and always does so much for others. She's been such a lovely friend and is such a positive presence in the online writing world. Everyone who knows her can agree -- and if you don't know her, please go check out her blog!

- Beth Fred, who has beta read for me and provided really good feedback. She's also someone I can talk to about whatever's going on in my life, and who has given me great insight into the indie publishing world. She's always kind enough to feature other writers on her blog and has some thoughtful posts, so I also recommend checking out her blog!

A giant Thank You to many others who have tweeted, shared on Facebook, added on Goodreads, and all the other amazing things you guys do! I appreciate every single thing. Really.

* While we're talking promotion, I am eager to feature more MG and YA books on my blog, so if you or someone you know is interested in promoting your/their book, just comment or send me an email. *

So tell me, in what ways have your friends (or family or writing community) been helpful or invaluable to you?
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wishing for Washington is now on!

I know the official release date for the e-book was supposed to be June 18, but yesterday I decided I'd play around on Amazon. The mobi (Kindle) formatting was all done, and there was nothing stopping me from actually publishing it.

So I did.

If you're interested, you can check it out here. If you're not sure if you'd like it or not, you can read a sample on

I kept thinking I still had a week before the release (though I guess I could have waited a week before fiddling with Amazon), so I wasn't really prepared to announce it today. It definitely feels surreal.

The Nook version and print version are still in the works, but both will definitely release this summer. Then we'll see if I can format the book for iTunes. I've got a busy month ahead!

What summer releases do you guys have your eye on? I've got a long To-Read list, but I'm always looking to add to it. (Has anyone with a long list actually made significant progress? If so, can I borrow your reading superpowers?)

P.S. Some of you guys offered to blog about the book, which is awesome. I'll be emailing you soon with all the info.
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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Review of BINGO SUMMER by Dawn Malone

Middle Grade is my favorite genre by far, and though I don't have the opportunity to blog about every single MG book I read, I do want to make a point of sharing ones that really stand out to me.

BINGO SUMMER by Dawn Malone is a book I wanted to blog about even before I finished it. Not only because Dawn and I are email buddies, but because I can picture many different kinds of readers, kid and adult, who would love this book! The story is fascinating (what kid -- or adult -- doesn't dream about winning the lottery and getting rich?) and the characters and voice are spot on. Since Summer, the main character, is in eighth grade, this book would appeal to older tweens/young teens as well as kids in elementary school.

A summary of the book, taken from

On her thirteenth birthday, Summer Haas scratches the lottery ticket her mom tucked into her birthday card and the down-on-their-luck family become instant millionaires. Then the attention gets crazy in their small Illinois town, and the family moves north to ‘disappear’ in the Chicago suburbs. Summer’s new home might as well be on the Moon, it’s so different from where she used to live.

Suddenly, Summer is a candidate for student council, trades her t-shirt and jeans for mall-brand clothes, and throws a party for her entire grade even though she didn't invite a single guest. Everyone wants Summer to be someone other than herself, including the super-popular Suri who Summer hopes will be her new best friend. There’s Mara who wants Summer to forget about competing with her for third base when softball season comes. And Summer just wants to avoid Dink and Anna even though she has more in common with them than she wants to admit.

But when Mara discovers how Summer’s family made their millions, and threatens to tell the whole school, Summer needs a friend more than ever. Can Summer fit in AND stay true to herself?

Check out the book on Amazon here! (Or if you want to hear more gushing, read my Goodreads review here)
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