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Chapter Books

The last time I was home visiting my folks, I came across a few of the many books I wrote when I was a kid. According to the copyright pages (yes, I always made one for each book 🙄), I was between 9 and 11 when I wrote these, and I still pretty much remember the stories even though it's been 30-odd years since I last saw them.  I remember being particularly proud of my Encyclopedia Brown ripoff Dick Tionary , which was almost called Theo Sarus before I thought that sounded too much like a word-obsessed prehistoric creature than a mystery solver - not sure the title I ended up with was actually better though. I think what stands out to me the most as a memory are the blank white books themselves. My mom would have bought them for me, and I would have stared at them for a long time before finally diving in to write and draw - no rough drafts here; just straight to print. After I wrote them, I'd picture what they'd look like on a bookstore shelf or at the library, and I'd
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Some news...

I'm excited to write these words after quite a few years and more than a few books I've queried:  I've have a literary agent(!) Stephen Fraser with JDLA is now representing me, and I couldn't be happier. I'm a huge fan of so many of his clients, including Margi Preus, Carol Lynch Williams, Claudia Mills, and recent debut author S.A. Rodiguez (among others), and his enthusiasm for my middle grade mystery and other projects was really encouraging to hear.  When I was researching which agents I wanted to submit to for this book, I came across a talk Stephen did a few years ago at BYU , where he spoke about joy in publishing and had an insightful Q&A with students. I felt a kinship with his views on books and writing and saw his passion for his clients and agenting come through, and I really hoped things would line up to work with him - I'm so glad it did.  I don't know what this next phase of the publishing journey will bring, but it's a great feeling t

Book Reviews: Her Country and Jagged Little Pill

 I have two reviews in this month's Performer Magazine for books that I felt really fortunate to write about: Marissa R. Moss's  Her Country, which dives deep into the experiences of women in country music, and Eric Smith's Jagged Little Pill , a YA adaptation of the Broadway musical (based on Alanis Morissette's album).  You can read them in print or online here: Jagged Little Pill review Her Country review

Spring Fling Writing Contest - "Song of Spring"

I had a lot of fun writing this  #SpringFlingKidLit  contest entry, which challenges writers to create a 150-word (or less) spring-themed work inspired by a gif.  Thank you to  Ciara O'Neal  and  Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez  for creating this contest - a perfect way to welcome in spring :)    ( gif by Claudia Cameron ) "Song of Spring"   (149 words) “Grandma, what’s your favorite song?” “My favorite song, precious one, is the Song of Spring.” “The Song of Spring?” “Why yes, my love. It’s the song of the breeze rustling newly grown leaves. It’s the song of fish jumping in a bubbling stream. It’s the song of rain sprinkling flowers in the garden. It’s the song of birds singing on treetops at dawn. It’s the song of fireflies buzzing at dusk. It’s the song of you, my dear child.” “Of me?” “Why yes, of course. It’s the song of you blowing seeds off a dandelion. It’s the song of you rolling down soft-grass hills. It’s the song of you squeezing fresh lemons for lemonade. It’s the song

Battle of the Bands (book review)

I wrote about Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith's outstanding short story anthology for Performer Magazine -- it's a really special book I wish had been published when I was a teen starting to play in bands, and I think it will inspire more than a few folks to join one. Check out the review here:  BOOK REVIEW: Battle of the Bands (Candlewick Press)

Quiz: Mid-2000s Emo Band Song Title OR Mnemonic Device Used in STEM Classes?

-- (answers below!) 1. I've Got All This Ringing in My Ears and None on My Fingers   2.  I Value Xylophones Like Cows Dig Mooing 3.  King Henry Died Drinking Chocolate Milk 4. There's a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven't Thought of It Yet 5. Do Kings Play Chess On Fine Green Silk? 6. Chia-Like, I Shall Grow 7. Good to Know That If I Ever Need Attention All I Have to Do Is Die  8. Pregnant Camels Often Sit Down Carefully, Perhaps Their Joints Creak? Possibly Early Oiling Might Prevent Permanent Rheumatism 9. When I Get Home, You're So Dead 10. Old People From Texas Eat Spiders Emo Song Title:  1. (Fall Out Boy); 4. (Panic! at the Disco); 6. (Say Anything); 7. (Brand New); 9. (Mayday Parade) Mneminic Device: 2. (Roman Numerals); 3. (Metric System); 5. (Classification of Living Organisms); 8. (Geological Periods); 10. (Bones of the Skull)

Mary Gauthier: Saved by a Song (book review)

I wrote about Mary Gauthier's compelling memoir for Performer Magazine -- I came away from reading it with a huge appreciation for her songwriting and I desire to sit down with the guitar and write too.  This one is up there with Steven Pressfield's The War of Art , which is about as high of praise I can give. Check out the review here: Saved by a Song: The Art and Healing Power of Songwriting

Black Pumas interview

  Really enjoyed chatting with Eric from Black Pumas for this cover story on the band and their current tour. It was my first cover, and I couldn't be happier to have it feature this band - they're so dang good.  Check it out here --

Jeff Tweedy: How to Write One Song (book review)

Jeff Tweedy is probably my favorite songwriter (he and Todd Snider flip flop around, depending who I'm listening to at the time) - and I also love how he pointedly dismisses a lot of the mysticism around songwriting and creativity.  I really enjoyed this small but powerful book. You can check out my full review in Performer mag here: BOOK REVIEW: Jeff Tweedy ‘How to Write One Song’

Bartees Strange interview

Bartees Strange released two records in 2020 that are just ridiculously good - an EP of The National re-imaginings, as well as his full length debut, Live Forever .  When I saw he'd posted on Twitter that he was hoping to be interviewed about gear and his sound, I took a shot at requesting one through Performer Magazine. I really enjoyed the conversation and his perspective on life and music.  Check out the interview here:  Bartees Strange on Making Music He Wants to Hear (and Letting Go of the Rest)