Reader. Writer of Fiction for Young Adults.


Calling Henrico Authors

Henrico County Public Library has an opportunity for area authors:

Come out to read, discuss, and connect with other writers and readers in our community. Local authors are invited to sign up and share their books.

Our self-serve program allows you to book a 90-minute time slot on a Thursday evening at one of our larger Area Libraries to read, discuss your writing process, sell, sign, and promote your book.

Learn more here.

Wendy Higgins’s Sweeties are in for a treat

Fans of author Wendy Higgins, Sweeties as they’re known, will be pleased by the third and final installment of the Sweet Evil series.

Sweet Reckoning came into my hands when I fangirled attended Wendy’s Why We Love YA Romance panel at Virginia Festival of the Book. I didn’t go looking to score the next book early. Wendy is just that generous with bloggers.

Sweet Evil is the story of half-angel, half-demon Anna Whitt.

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels. Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Sweet Peril follows up on Anna’s promise never to do her father’s work polluting souls.

She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things.

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?

Sweet Reckoning delivers on every promise. It brings back every relationship readers loved and every character who made us cringe and cry. And she gives us some surprises, too. BIG surprises. It has all the warmth I’ve come to expect from Wendy’s work and, like books that stick with me long after I’m done, there’s heartbreak tempered with hope.

I borrowed this Princess Bride image

Yes, child, it is a kissing book.

I borrowed this 10th Doctor gif

Happy reading, Sweeties.

The book launch party for Sweet Reckoning is this Thursday.

#FridayReads: A Little F’D UP


A Little F’D Up: Why Feminism Is Not a Dirty Word by Julie Zeilinger, Founder of

Young women today have a bad reputation, and for good reason: They’re sexting their classmates, they spend more time on FaceBook than they do in class, and their appetite for material possessions and reality TV is matched only by their overwhelming apathy about important social and political issues. Right?


FBomb blog creator Julie Zeilinger debunks these (and other) myths about modern youth in A Little F’d Up, the first book about feminism for young women in their teens and twenties to actually be written by one of their peers.* In this accessible handbook, Zeilinger takes a critical, honest, and humorous look at where young feminists are as a generation, and where they’re going—and she does so from the perspective of someone who’s in the trenches right alongside her readers.

Fun, funny, and engaging, A Little F’d Up is a must-read for the growing number of intelligent, informed young women out there who are ready to start finding their voice—and changing the world.

*Julie Zeilinger was teenager when she wrote A Little F’d Up. It came out in 2012, and Julie isn’t set to graduate from Barnard College until 2015.

More about The FBomb

The is a blog/community created by and for teen and college-aged women and men who care about their rights and want to be heard.

In this case the “F Bomb” stands for “feminist.” However, it also pokes fun at the idea that the term “feminist” is so stigmatized — it is our way of proudly reclaiming the word. The fact that the “F Bomb” usually refers to a certain swear word in popular culture is also not coincidental. The is loud, proud, sarcastic and passionate…everything young feminists are today.


#FridayReads (or listens) from around the web

Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, failure and the drive to keep creating

I needed her TED Talk video today. I also needed her other TED Talk. I hope they’ll inspire you to keep creating and keep showing up for your part of the job.

This weekend is RavenCon, so I’m sure I’ll find more weekend reads by great authors. Meet me there and we’ll find books together.

Happy weekend!

Doctor Who gif I borrowed

*#FridayReads is the brainchild of the fabulous Bethanne Patrick (@TheBookMaven on Twitter). It’s a Twitter conversation for every bibliophile to share loves and find new ones.

Calling RVA writers: The Writing Show this week


“Write about what you don’t know about what you know,” instructed Eudora Welty. But how exactly do you dig deep into the familiar to create an extraordinary experience for your readers?

Veteran novelists and professors—and husband and wife—Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown talk about mining your own geographical and personal history as writers, as well as tools and techniques for finding out more about what you already think you know about your place—or places—in the world.

Virginia Pye, author of River of Dust, will moderate the discussion about anchoring your writing through environment and experience. The second half of the panel welcomes questions from the audience.

Coloring Between the Lines: Using What You Know and Where You’re From in Fiction
Thursday, April 24, 2014
6:30-8:30 p.m., with complimentary hors d’oeuvres
The Broadberry (note the new location we’re trying out for April’s show!)
2729 W. Broad Street
Ample parking available in the Children’s Museum parking lot across the street, on street, and in the lot adjacent to the Broadberry

$10 in advance, $12 at the door, $5 students

 I’m looking forward to learning techniques I can use in my rewrites. Will you join me?  Register now.

Visit James River Writers for more information.


#FridayReads: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods and Monsters: I waited for it with twitching fingers and palpitating heart. I pre-ordered early in 2014, even had the release date (April 8th from Little, Brown and Company) on my office calendar. Fountain Bookstore, my local indie, tweeted a reminder to pick up my book early on the 8th.

P!nk gif I borrowed

I couldn’t get by there fast enough…except Tuesday became Wednesday became Saturday. But I finally had it and I didn’t want to emerge.

gif I borrowed

Even when the phone rang.

Golden Girls gif I borrowed

Then Sunday, while dog sitting for a neighbor, the adorable Ewok-looking, 7-month-old cocker spaniel sailed onto the couch in an ecstatic bound and peed on my book.

Peed. On my. Book.

Even drenched in dog pee, Laini Taylor’s writing is green-monster-provoking good. I read lines out loud to Adam, avoiding spoilers, of course. I want to be Laini Taylor. Well no, I’m rather fond of my own husband, family, friends, and even my wonky right knee. I want her writing brain: her weird imagination where gods slumber in teakettles. I want her writing ability, the alchemy that turns paper into Prague snowflakes. But I can’t be Laini Taylor. That’s not my voice or style. And it breaks my heart.

That heartache becomes part of my writing life, so it’s all good, and I read on.

So far it’s nail-biting awesomeness.

gif I borrowed

And I’ve been like this a time or two:

Neil Effing Gaiman gif I borrowed

Other #FridayReads

Every year on Good Friday, I read John Donne’s “Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward.” It’s been a while since I went to a Good Friday service, but I faithfully return to this poetry. It might be 401 years old, but the words stir me more than modern devotionals and sermons:

There I should see a Sun by rising, set,

And by that setting endless day beget;

But that Christ on this cross did rise and fall,

Sin had eternally benighted all.

Yet dare I almost be glad I do not see

That spectacle, of too much weight for me.

Who sees God’s face, that is self-life, must die;

What a death were it then to see God die?

It made his own lieutenant, Nature, shrink;

It made his footstool crack, and the sun wink.

Could I behold those hands which span the poles,

And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes? (11-22)

People say don’t discuss religion in polite society (why not, if it is respectful of all?), but I hope you’ll forgive me for poetry. If you’re interested in the entire poem, you can find it here.

Sadly, I must write of another passing. We lost Gabriel García Márquez yesterday. His work will touch the world for many lifetimes to come. I’ll likely read one of his books this weekend. What’s your favorite?

Photo by Reuters

“I owe him the impulse and the freedom to plunge into literature. In his books I found my own family, my country, the people I have known all my life, the colour, the rhythm, and the abundance of my continent.”

-Isabel Allende

Find #FridayReads



Know a teen looking for a good book? Or maybe you’re looking for a free Friday read? Yesterday I joined Katharine Herndon and Bill Blume, friends from James River Writers, to #rockthedrop in honor of Celebrate Teen Literature Day. Check out ReaderGirlz explanation of Rock the Drop. We left favorite books by Malinda Lo, Kristen-Paige Madonia, Erica Orloff in Patrick Henry Park and across Church Hill.

#FridayReads from around the web

Publishers Weekly shared the unique and utterly fabulous way audience questions were picked at New York Public Library event on April 11th. (Click the link for video.)

LIVE from the NYPL photo. Click for more photos.

Thanks for getting through the long post. At least I gave you P!nk, David Tennant, Bea Arthur, John Donne, Benedict Cumberbatch, Gabo, Isabel Allende, and Neil Gaiman in a single post. Happy Friday!

Sherlock gif I borrowed

*#FridayReads is the brainchild of the fabulous Bethanne Patrick (@TheBookMaven on Twitter). It’s a Twitter conversation for every bibliophile to share loves and find new ones.

Failing as a writer


Sherlock gif I borrowed

Let’s reshoot this scene. I’ll be the disgruntled bridesmaid. My manuscript stars as the boutonniere-wearing sociopath.

Yesterday I had a long editorial phone call. I walked away (literally, I walked three miles after) with a firm conclusion: I know the story I want to tell and this ain’t it.

Authors claim they share my struggle.* The only solution is another draft. So back to the desk I go. Revise. Revise. Revise.

The dysfunction could end up being sexy.


Another borrowed gif

*I hope this is true and not a ploy to keep me from hurling myself into traffic.

UPDATE: I’m so grateful for the writer friends who are encouraging me during revisions. You all are amazing! Thank you. It’s been a great experience–start to restart–and I hope to have many years ahead of editorial feedback and revision.

A League of Our Own

Sharing A League of Their Own quotes with LynDee Walker over on Facebook reminded me of this scene, one of my favorites.

Perhaps I enjoy it because I played ball growing up. I know variances in bats by the ounce, the aroma of red dirt and leather in the air, and how spray chalk will never feel or smell as good as the powder poured from bins. I can still get a gut-punch of nerves recalling walking onto a field full of girls taller, stronger, faster, and more precise than I was, no matter that I spent far more hours at practice. Dozens of girls. Maybe 15 slots on the team. One little me, smaller and with a batting average several points lower than last season.

It’s a lot like walking into the publishing industry.

There’s the comparison, intense pressure, unsympathetic criticism, and competition. Some are naturally talented. Some won’t see their names on the list.

“I receive about 15 query letters daily and request between 10 and 15 full or partial manuscripts in a year. The maximum number of authors I sign out of my slush pile per year is four. That would be maximum; I usually only sign between two and four.”

-Michelle Brower of Folio Literary Management

“Some of you are going home.”

Like all those years ago, I’m lacing up my cleats* and heading into the game. I’ll get cut for a few years. I’ll sacrifice things I enjoy for more practice time. I’ll keep going back because I’m too stubborn to give up. I’ll watch the metaphorical tapes and visualize the plays.

I’ll make sure I’m not one of those going home.

Diamond Fever softball player (I played for this team many moons ago.)

*Actually, mine were sometimes boy’s cleats inherited from my cousin, who went on to be a pro ball player.



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