Inspiration in Strange Places

My muse likes to hide from me. Sometimes she jumps out and surprises me, but most of the time she makes me chase her.  It’s hard to pin down what inspires me to write—what makes my muse grace me with her presence—but in thinking about it for this blog, I remembered a chance encounter I had when I was eight years old. I was sitting in a laundromat while my mom and I waited for our clothes to wash. I’d brought along my spiral notebook and I was furiously writing the next chapter in my Adventures of Stacy book. There...
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Win a Copy of A WORK OF ART

Did you know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)? I didn’t until my sister got involved in Safe Passage, an organization that helps prevent domestic violence and sexual assault in her hometown of DeKalb, IL. I should have known about SAAM, especially because my book A WORK OF ART delves into the shame and insecurity that many sexual assault victims suffer from. It also deals with love—how victims of sexual assault sometimes have a skewed perception of what love is, and how sometimes we can love those who victimize us. Research has shown that readers of literary fiction...
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The Book I Want If I’m Stranded on a Desert Island

I write edgy fiction for young adults. Real issues. Real problems. So why are my favorite books steeped in fantasy? I’ve always been an avid reader. When I was a kid, I read the same books over and over (Bambi, by Felix Salton; The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis), but these days, I’m a little more diverse in my tastes. In fact, there’s only one book I go back to again and again—the amazing and wonderful Watership Down by Richard Adams. For those of you who don’t know, Watership Down is a book about rabbits. And yes, I know...
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Inspiration in Strange Places

My muse is an elusive thing. Sometimes it swells my chest and comes out through my fingertips, but most of the time, it stays locked in a box at my feet, only occasionally making a surprise appearance. It’s hard to pin down what inspires me to write—what makes my muse come out of its box—but in thinking about it for this blog, I remembered a chance encounter I had when I was eight years old. I was sitting in a laundromat while my mom and I waited for our clothes to wash. I’d brought along my spiral notebook, and I...
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Winners Announced for A WORK OF ART Teen Art Contest

For the teen art contest at my book-launch party, I asked teens to draw or paint one of two things: (1) A self-portrait. One of the book’s themes is about how we see ourselves. Tera, the main character, paints a number of self-portraits, and in each one, she sees herself in a different way. (2) A secret. In the book, Tera draws a secret as “a black wad in a girl’s stomach. A black wad with tiny teeth” that gnaws at her. Teens were asked to draw what a secret looks like to them. Party guests enjoyed viewing all of...
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Celebrating A WORK OF ART

Book party, or no book party? That was the question three months ago, mostly because it felt a bit egocentric to throw a party for myself. Then my publicist told me to think of it as throwing a party for my book. That made sense to me, especially after all I put Tera through in A Work of Art. The least I could do is throw her a party, right? I’m so glad I did! Right now, just hours after the party ended, I’m still overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve received from family, friends, and the South Florida...
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A Writer’s Lucky Day (Part 4 of a Countdown to Publication)

Today, I’m feeling pretty lucky. Aside from the fact that I have a wonderful family and that we’re all in reasonably good health, March 18, 2015, is the official release of my first novel: A Work of Art. Not only that, but I got to celebrate by sitting in on a parent book-club meeting at my son’s school where they were discussing (dun-dun-DUN) my book! Yes, I know it sounds narcissistic, but you have to understand that getting to discuss a book that I wrote (and getting to discuss it with people I respect) was something I’d fantasized about long...
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Best First Book Sighting Ever! OR Countdown to Publication, Part 3

When I last left off in Part 2, I was jumping up and down (in my head) because A Work of Art was chosen as the next selection for the parent YA book club at my son’s school. I was riding high, and then, something even better happened… Ten days before release date: A writer friend told me she saw my book in a certain Barnes & Noble, so I rounded up Adam (my husband) and Caleb (my 10-year-old son), and off we went to have a look. Sure enough, my book was there in the teen section—10 days before...
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A Debut Author’s Countdown to Publication, Part 2

When I last left off (click here to read Part 1), I had received my first book review for A Work of Art—a starred review from Kirkus Reviews. I was riding high, and then… Two months before pub date: Other reviews trickled in. I got a really good one from Booklist but a scathing one from another reviewer. Hmmm. Could it be that different people have different opinions? Reviews from book bloggers were mostly positive, but that painful review felt like a stab in the gut. Fear of negative feedback made me less enthusiastic about sending out ARCs (advanced reader...
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I’m Having a Book Launch Party!

Yay! I’m having a book launch party! I wasn’t sure I was going to because throwing a book-launch party feels kind of like throwing a party for myself. But as my publicist told me, “Think of it as throwing a party for your book.” So, yay! I’m throwing a party for my book! And you’re invited! The official release date for A Work of Art is March 18 (a Wednesday), but I’ll be having my book party that weekend, on March 21. Since A Work of Art has an art theme, I’m holding it at the Coral Springs Center for...
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