B&N Teen Read Week–DARE ME signing


On Sunday, 10/20, I will be at Barnes and Noble, Saratoga from 1-3, to bring an end to Teens Read Week. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)–who put Tap Out on their reluctant reader list— and Barnes and Noble have teamed up again to celebrate all things YA lit related and I’m happy to be a part of the week.

If you’re in the area and want to support our local teens, stop in and get a copy of Dare Me signed. I promise it will be worth your while.

If You’re Reading This, I’m at Work

It’s true, today I start back to my other job. I’ve enjoyed my summer vacation, feel as if I made headway on my current projects, and certainly enjoyed the time I spent with family and friends. But now I dig in, because so much lies ahead of me, and some pieces are similar to last year at this time, while others are entirely different.

On September 2nd, last year, Tap Out was nine days from its publication date, and I wrote, thanking a local English teacher for her praise of my work. At the time I did not realize that the release date had already passed–I didn’t know what that date was–and that along with everyone who’d received an Advanced Reader Copy, those who had pre-ordered were already reading and reviewing Tap Out. The early reviews were indicative of the way the remaining reviews would go: some love the story; some are offended by it. At first, the negative reviews bothered me, but I quickly got over them and focused on the critical praise that mattered, the reviews from the important publications, like Kirkus, as well as from those in the know, like Ann L.

Now, Dare Me is twenty-seven days from its publication date, with the release date of September 17th. Therefore, I know that in two weeks everyone who pre-ordered will be receiving copies, and I will be searching like mad following that date for reviews. I have also read the Kirkus review of Dare Me and know that it is astounding. So much so that it altered the cover of my novel. Further, I know there are scant reviews already from those with advanced copies, and that the feelings are mixed. As to be expected. Still, I do not have a review from any local teachers, so I’m waiting, because I know how busy they are about to get, and I know how much their opinion matters.

Unlike last year, my signings are all set, and I’ve posted them below. With an October 8th pub date, I have time to get these exact posters into classrooms across the region well before a number of my events. WNYT (channel 13) is interviewing me on 10/5, just like lat year, but sadly, the Times Union will not be running an article on Dare Me. I’m still scratching my head over how that played out.

No worries, though, because I have a good feeling about Dare Me. It’s another novel that will capture the attention of reluctant readers. It’s another novel that honestly explores the contemporary lives of teens without shying away from the hard facts and without making sure that in the end everything is all tucked neatly back together. That’s not how life works and that’s not how I envision my stories. This time last year I was praying that Tap Out would be accepted. It has been, on many levels, including by YALSA and Booklist. This year I am praying that Dare Me finds a wider audience, not because I’m greedy, but because, as I recently wrote to my editor, when we were discussing what’s next, “So yes, stories, I have them. Fingers crossed I manage to tell them well enough.” Trust me, there’s more to come.

And as it was this time last year, the same remains true today. I’m back at work, but really, I’m always working. Teaching and writing have such similar qualities: engage the audience, keep them enthralled, and leave them having learned something new. My lives intersect in one place, the blank page. I hope you enjoy what you find there.


I will most likely be including the trailer for Dare Me at the end of all of my posts from here until October. Enjoy.

Trailer for Dare Me, created by Patrick Willems

Tap Out and the 2013 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers

Hey, here’s just a quick post in case you missed this on twitter or facebook. Tap Out made the cut for YALSA’s 2013 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers. In essence, this means that librarians feel if you are looking for a title for a teen, who doesn’t like to read, the books on this list might be a great place to start. The titles are as diverse as the readers who will find them and love them. I am thrilled to have Tap Out on the list, because I believe it is a perfect fit, and the chance of librarians and teens finding this title is that much greater. I’m still holding out hope for an at-risk teen connection, and possibly that may arise from this as well.

I would also like to thank Running Press for putting the support needed behind my work so that librarians knew of its existence and had the opportunity to examine its value. And of course thank you to the librarians who nominated and then voted for Tap Out. Your work is important and I am glad to be a part of it.

Thank you.

ALA Midwinter Anxiety


I’m anxious. It’s not cabin fever, in spite of how cold it has been, but rather I’m uneasy because of ALA Midwinter.

I so enjoyed my time at ALA Anaheim over the summer, I am envious of what I know is an absolute blast for the authors, librarians and publishing industry employees. Especially for the authors. I am jealous of the atmosphere, the camaraderie, the readers, fans and immersion in everything BOOKS, that when I check the #alamw13 feed, I so want to be there.

But I’m happy for those who are there, especially the authors from Running Press. I know for some they are having that first experience that I had, and it is well deserved. So I can find the silver lining, and that is good. But then there’s how I feel about the YALSA Quick Pick List for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.

Tap Out is on it, along with, I believe, 100+ others. After the voting today, how much would I like to see my work on the top ten? I’m not sure how to quantify such desire. Not the same as how bad I wanted to get published, but on par with how much I desired positive reviews. And sales. But that’s the thing, being on the top ten would affect both reviews and sales. So there’s that, and the unbelievable recognition.

And the quick pick list isn’t even close to the big show of the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King Book Awards, Newbery, Printz, William C. Morris and more. I cannot imagine how those nominees feel. I hope they are anxious, because I would be a knotted mess.

But, in all sincerity, it is awesome that Tap Out is even on anyone’s radar. There are so many unbelievable YA books that I am lucky to have been noticed and considered. I am thankful and grateful, but also expectant. I believe this is just my nature. I strive, succeed and then strive some more.

I don’t believe it’s an inherently poor way to live, but it is one that keeps me on edge, keeps me anxious and keeps me wanting more–from myself.

So fingers crossed, here’s hoping. And if not, it’s all good. There’s always next year.