Supporting the Fair Fight

This post, by poet and author Lindsay Young, really resonates with me as I wrestle with how I can lend my voice to help change the systemic and institutionalized racism that is woven into the fabric of America.
The book I just published, Death’s Door, is full of musings about bias and activism, preconception and responsibility, and for some readers, it seems to be landing squarely in the zone of “exactly what I needed to read right now.” For a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the main character’s activism and social conscience, I’ve decided to use Death’s Door to further a cause I feel passionate about – the right to vote.
Former President Barack Obama just wrote in response to the protests happening around the country: “The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable; in fact, throughout American history, it’s often only been in response to protests and civil disobediencethat the political system …

Great Books on Kindle Unlimited

I've started and stalled on this blog post so many times since March when our kids' schools closed and life shifted into something that looked very different than how I'd expected it to look.

I'm writing something I didn't expect to write, feeling transparent some days, and resilient others. Teaching myself to knit, to savor small things, and to appreciate every opportunity for human contact, no matter how digital it currently is.

No one expected the way doing business has changed for any of us, and the generosity we've all seen from every sector - from medicine to the food and service industries, from deliveries to sanitation, from musicians to authors - everyone has given their time, energy, industry, and focus to helping all of us get through this crazy time.

I didn't read for a couple of weeks, but I've started to find my reading escapes again, and I am so grateful I signed up for kindle unlimited, just for the sheer volume of great books that are …

Ringo's London

It was cold in London in February, 2018, and the last days of my week-long trip were spent dodging snow flurries and warming frozen fingers around mugs of hot tea. I spent several days with this book in my pocket, traveling the city as Ringo and Jess might have - on foot and with an eye for the small details that average Londoners, head down against the cold, might overlook.

Some of the locations I wrote about in this book were already familiar to me, but others had to be researched online, with only old maps and available photographs to guide my words. It was magical, then, to see the places I'd only gleaned from Google and Wikipedia - to feel the age of them, experience the size and color and smell of them - and to confirm that I'd gotten things right, or at least right enough.

Before the snow came, I accidentally stumbled upon the College of Arms - that venerable institution and part of the Queen's Household which keeps the records of every noble title and Coat of Arms…

Best YA Books Under $4

I read a book every two or three days, and consequently, I have a fairly vast storehouse of book recommendations to fling at friends, acquaintances, parents at my kids' schools, their crossing guard, my bank teller, and the cable guy. I've built a page of book recommendations on my website because I need lists, and I go there periodically to check the prices of my favorite books so I can shout to my reader group on social media when there's a sale.

Here's a link to that page if anyone is interested:

A couple of my favorite YA Fantasy books are on sale right now, and I haven't done a blog post in ... wow, months, so this is a good time to talk about some great books.
Gregor the Overlander (The Underland Chronicles, book 1 of 5) by Suzanne Collins

This book is the first in a five-book series, perfect for about 10+ year-olds. Suzanne Collins, the author of the Hunger Games, wrote the Underland series first, and it's full of giant bats, rats, ba…

Light a Small Lantern

My husband just got back from working for six months in the Yukon Territory of Canada, very far removed from U.S. politics, natural disasters, hate crimes, mass shootings, and the growing sense of powerlessness among people who wish for something different.

He'd been home only a few days when he pulled me away from the hearing of our children. "Where did all your possibility go?"

His question was a direct punch to the solar plexus, and I knew exactly what he meant. I just hadn't put it into words because it had crept up slowly and insidiously, like a thin, poisonous darkness slipping under the door.

Somehow, in the past nine months, my own sense of powerlessness in the face of all the negativity had become something smaller and more personal. Somehow, that powerlessness had grown a voice and a form, and it came out of my mouth as complaints.

This was truly awful news. I'm a person who firmly believes that a complaint without a request or a solution is just a lot…

An Apology, A Confession, and An Excerpt

I've been hiding.

At first it was politics. The election and subsequent scandal upon horror upon disaster have left me feeling scraped raw and staked out on the mountaintop for buzzards to eat my intestines.
So, yeah. I started hiding from Facebook and Twitter, because most days it felt like the news was just pouring acid into open wounds.
I've read blog posts by other authors who said that they've had trouble writing in this political climate - they've had trouble feeling like anything they do could possibly make a difference. It's a sentiment I totally get, and something I struggle with too.
I wasn't writing - or at least, not seriously or with any kind of intention. Maybe politics had something to do with it, maybe it was because I'd finished a series into which I had poured heart and soul, or maybe I was worried I wouldn't be able to pull off something new. In any case, I have 20,000 words of Bas' novel, the first couple of chapters of a contemp…

Hidden Figures - A Review

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were very honored to have been invited by dear friends to the USC Scripter Awards.That evening, we struck up a conversation with a couple we encountered in one of the Library exhibits. Later, as the awards ceremony got underway, I realized that the woman with whom I'd so enjoyed discussing evening gowns and Virginia and Mexico was Margot Lee Shetterly, the author of the book, Hidden Figures. She was at the Scripter Awards as an honoree, along with the screenwriter for the film based on her work, which my family had just seen two nights before.
After dinner, Ed and I sought Margot and her husband Aran again so I could properly gush about her work. I had loved the movie, Hidden Figures - a deft weaving together of the threads from three of the women's lives, layered in the subtle and glaring racism, and painting a vivid picture of life as an educated, professional black woman in the early 1960s - but after the conversations we had with Margot and…