Category Archives: Books

Ten Books that I Still Think About

Many of these I read as a child; a lot of our favorites from that time stay with us. But a few more contemporary works have snuck in there. I can’t resist a good fantasy.

In no particular order:
1. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones

An orphan boy named Cat Chant finds out he is a powerful enchanter who has nine lives that were transformed into a book of matches. The betrayal of the sister he saw as a mother figure, a girl who used his lives in order to selfishly give herself more power really interested me.

2. Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

Funny historical fiction. A medieval lord’s daughter, who subverts the trope of beautiful Ladies who are quite well behaved, is really rude and plays pranks and plays with the pig boy. I was enchanted.  Continue reading

INDIES: How Independent Publishers & Bookstores are Surviving & Thriving in Today’s Market

This was a panel put on as part of Bookbuilders of Boston‘s Spring Workshops. It was hosted at Emerson College. Well worth attending; the cheese plate was delicious.

Our panelists were: 

The affable Ned Lomigora, a sales rep at Zeeen, an online promotional platform for authors that especially works with Indies. He specializes in analytics and digital media. He’s also a presenter and contributor for WordPress Boston.

The illustrious Dale Szceblowski, the General Manager at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, one of the hubs of the literary scene in the Boston area. He’s been in the book-buying and book-selling business for 30 years. Vice President of the New England Booksellers Association.

And the perspicacious Judith Rosen, a Senior Bookselling Editor and the New England correspondent at Publishers Weekly for 15 years. Previously she has worked in marketing and publicity for trade publishers, Wordsworth Books, and wrote a regular column for the Boston Herald. Continue reading

2013 is Going to be a Good Year

2012 was a mixed bag of some good and some devastating bad, but I believe the universe will do us a good turn and 2013 will be great. Here are some of my goals for the year of Lucky 13.


Go to the gym more. This is the traditional resolution for a reason. IT IS NECESSARY AFTER THE HOLIDAYS. Especially when you work in an office and there are cookies EVERYWHERE.

Learn how to use new technology. I got a space device touchscreen e-reader for Christmas. I asked for it so that I could read manuscripts without killing trees for my internship, but right now there are babies better at touch screens than me.

Save Money. Stick to my budget. Increase  my biweekly deposit into my savings. Every time I resist the siren song of take out, “spend” the money it would have cost by putting it into savings.

Take risks. Yeah, I like having at least a day a week that I do nothing and talk to no one. I’m still happiest reading by myself, but its time to be bold. Go for every opportunity life presents. Drink, Celebrate life, Be merry.  Continue reading

Book Rec for Traditional Publishing

My friend, fellow YA writer and book blogger Ellie, won a giveaway on Marissa Meyer’s blog recently and shared the bounty with me.

I had heard of the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market before, but assumed I didn’t want a copy before I was ready to sell. I was so so wrong as it is great inspiration fodder. I read through much of it at the gym that night and poured over the lists. I can already tell it’s an invaluable resource, so I ordered my own hard copy, despite my vow to wait. I have very little discipline.

The book includes inspirational interviews with NYT bestselling authors on their process, ways to keep your submissions organized, and a comprehensive list of literary agents, editors, and magazines that except and repped and unrepped submissions. Great for freelancers. Continue reading

Author Panel: Rees Brennan, Black, and Bray

“I hate it when you wake up after a party and everyone’s dead.”

–Sarah Rees Brennan

I went to Burlington with the Boston Science Fiction and Fantasy Meet-up Group for an author panel last Friday. Glad I decided to get in on that action.

The writers of the night were Libba Bray, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Holly Black.

Once the authors arrived there was a lot of excitement from the crowd and banter from the stars of the night. Sarah did an interpretive dance of the plot of Libba’s Diviners.

Libba: “I don’t remember writing any of this. Can’t wait to see how it ends.”

We started with each author reading a short excerpt from their books. Diviners is about a flapper girl from the 1920’s with the special ability to get vibrations from objects. The prose was very flavorful and I love the Prohibition-era historic setting.

Sarah read from her novel Unspoken, which all of my friends have now read, so I think that one is next on my reading list. “I have to be standing for this because of reasons,” she said, as she began her reading. Libba spit out her Fiji water when Sarah began stripping.

I am intrigued.

It happened to be Sarah’s birthday, which might explain the delightful energy she had going on.

Next up was Holly Black. Since the closing book of Black’s Curseworkers trilogy Black Heart, has been out for six months, she gave us the special treat of reading from her current work in progress.  Continue reading

Books Recs for Strong Girls

A school librarian I know has two 8th grade girls looking for female protagonists akin to the kick-assery of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

I asked my friends for YA recs with strong heroines. This is what I have so far.

Shrinking Violet – Danielle Joseph
Tokyo Heist – Diana Renn
The Good Braider – Terry Farish
Nowhere Girl - AJ Paquette

Bloody Jack – LA Meyer
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – Avi
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Scarlet – AC Gaughen
Climbing the Stairs - Padma Venkatraman
Catherine called Birdy – Karen Cushman
Love in the Haight - Susan Carlton

Song of the Lioness – Tamora Pierce
Graceling Realm – Kristin Cashore
The Chaos Walking Trilogy – Patrick Ness
Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones

Continue reading

Boston GLOW: Fight Like a Girl

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending the “Fight Like a Girl” panel. The event was put on by Boston Glow, an organization that fosters opportunities for women of all ages to become empowered community leaders and active world citizens. Their latest endeavor is a scholarship contest encouraging young women to come up with local creative initiatives.

“Fight Like a Girl” was a panel of authors, many of whom debuted in 2012, discussing what it means to be a strong girl in young adult and middle grade fiction.

Strong women and girls in literature and the media is something I often talk about with friends, colleagues, and people with ears. It’s what I’m most passionate about as a writer. I’ve been holding off on posting on the topic because there are so many things I want to say, so let these authors say it for me.

AC Gaughen, author of Scarlet, was our moderator that evening. The discussion covered strong females, diversity in fiction, and even some tips on craft for the writers that were in attendance. Continue reading

Music and Poetry, Truth and Romance: The BPL

The Boston Public Library

As part of my company’s goings on, we had a lunch tour of the McKim building (1895) of the Boston Public Library. Our tour guide was the lovely Ms. Nancy Stutzman. You could tell she loved the library and that she loved talking about the library everyday. We, being book people, were all over it.


My impression of the tour was that it would be of the library and it’s services (which I also would have been interested in), but we didn’t even go near the addition that was built in the 1970’s. Instead I got a beautiful history of books and architecture that makes me want to live there all over again. It was gorgeous. I was nerding all over the place.

I want to work there so I can go inside and explore all the locked rooms and nooks and crannies. Not get glares from the guard for touching locked door handles. Continue reading

Lauren M. Barrett:

Super excited that I won Gina Damico’s homemade Reaper giveaway. I think it was the beautiful picture I sent her.

Originally posted on Gina Damico:

And the winner of the huggable yet deadly grim reaper is…

Lauren B.!

Must have been those extra entries she earned by sending in a photo of, in her own words, “me with my well loved copy of Croak looking like a psycho killer. I thought it was fitting, plus I haven’t had my third cup of coffee yet.”

Um, security?

Congrats to Lauren, and also to the little grim, who is clearly going to a creepy yet loving home.

ALSO: If you are in the Boston area this weekend, why not swing on by the ole Brookline Booksmith, say, at around 7:00pm on Saturday the 2nd? Because there you will find: me wearing a festive bow (maybe);  a pile of other fabulous debut YA authors such as Elisa Ludwig (Pretty Crooked), Emily Danforth (The Miseducation of Cameron Post), AC Gaughen (Scarlet), EC…

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