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Watch the book trailer for The Hot List

News & Events

  • Booklist says that the Hot List “captures the angst of young teen friendships and fragile identities.”
  • April 2 Panel Speaker at SCBWI Sprint Spirit conference in Rocklin, CA
  • April 10, 2-4 p.m. Launch party at Copperfields Books
  • May 11 SCBWI S.F. North presents my talk:
    “Ten techniques to transfer your life experiences into powerful stories for kids?"
    7-9 p.m. Luther Burbank Art & Garden Center, Santa Rosa, CA
  • May 11 4-5 p.m. "how to write funny books" workshop at Hercules Public Library
  • July 16 10 a.m. -4 p.m. Sebastopol Book Bibliophoria festival featured speaker

Latest Blog Posts

My Favorite Word, Onomatopoeia and Scott Westerfeld


I have to tell you that I love the word linger. I feel as if I linger over the word as I read it out loud or say it in my head. This is probably because of the hard g followed by the prefix –er, which comes from deep inside the throat. It forces me […]

Lies I Tell Myself and Placeholders in the First Draft


Word choice is so important but I don’t like to get too hung up about it the first time. Okay, I lie. I do obsess but I know I shouldn’t. Why? Well, chances are I’m going to cut my first few chapters anyway. My plots never really get going until chapter three. Why do I […]

How Many Hours Do You Need to Write Each Day?


How many hours ideally would you like to write each day? Two? Four? Ten? I used to have this idea that the goal was always more. And that if I had more time, I’d have more pages and better pages, which would result in more books and better books. But, recently, I’m revising this idea. […]

Action Verbs for Fighting Scenes


Last week, a student in my tutorial at Hollins University delivered a presentation on techniques to bolster fighting scenes. Now I have to confess that I’m the sort of person who covers her eyes during fighting sequences in film. I was the kid who would watch the television show LOST IN SPACE, a campy science […]

To write more, I’m on a no TV, no movie diet, but am I taking it too far?


You might have noticed that I haven’t written in my blog, for ahem, one month. I had pledged to be a weekly blogger and I had been fulfilling that promise. But then I went to teach at Hollins and the blogosphere seemed so far away. Hollins University is a a woman’s college in Southwest Virginia, […]