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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
Recent posts

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)

The Best Books Of The Year (when someone asks you at a party and you can’t Google): (Humor)

10. You Know, That One By The Author Who Writes All Those Crime Books, But Kind Of Literary? 9. Oh God, It’s Right On The Tip Of My Tongue - I Think It Rhymes With Horse 8. That Book - It’s Romantic, But Not Like Romance Romantic 7. It’s That One They Made Into The Netflix Series. Or Was It on Prime? …Tubi? 6. Honey, What Was That Book I Read On The Plane? No, Not To Chicago, To Florida 5. It's By That Guy...I Think He Died? 4. Oh Man. I Literally Just Finished It. Senior Moment! 3. Gosh…I’m Kind of Embarrassed To Say I Liked It. No Such Thing As A Guilty Pleasure Though, Am I Right? 2. Ahhhh…I’m So Close! 1. Um...Moby Dick? I Started Reading It This Year. I Mean, I Thought About Starting to Read It This Year.

The Son From Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” Responds to His Dad After First Hearing the Song (Humor)

Hello Dad, So Mom just sent me the song I mean, first of all, the fact that you didn’t even send it to me yourself is just so *you.* You should make that the last verse of the song! But I digress. Let’s dive into some of these lyrics, shall we? Okay, so right off the bat, there’s this: “He learned to walk while I was away.” Really, Dad? You’ve always told me you were there for my first steps! There’s even a picture with what you’ve said were your outstretched arms I was supposedly toddling into. I have it framed on my desk right in front of me! And now I have to learn - in song form - that it was all a lie? Whose arms are in this picture, Dad?  Speaking of lies, let’s move on to that baseball anecdote in the second verse. Why yes, I do recall when you gave me a baseball for my tenth birthday and then - when you had literally just given me a ball as a gift - you suddenly had “a lot to do” and didn’t teach me how to throw it! On my birthday! What kind of sociopath does tha

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)

My First Byline

 I was sorting through some magazines the other day and came across the Sports Illustrated for Kids that contains my very first byline. Back in ye olde days of the early 90s, SI for Kids had a feature called "You Write the Story," where they would post a picture and readers could send in a little tale about it.  The thing I remember most about the experience is coming home from school to my sister saying: "I'm not sure how your day was, but it's about to get a lot better." She'd taken the call from an SI editor and was so excited and happy for me - it felt really special. I vividly remember returning the call to their office in New York, which felt like calling the moon.  Seeing my name in print had a real impact on me. Even though it was a tiny story surrounded by a bunch of others, it made me feel like a real writer. I'm not sure if SI for Kids even exists anymore, or if another magazine offers a similar experience for young readers (and writers) b