My younger son Joel teaches at an inner city high school in Denver. It’s a tough job for not much money. Last weekend, he recounted a particularly difficult week in which nearly everything that could have gone wrong did. “But it’s okay, Mom,” he told me. “I’ve even picked out what I’m going to wear.…

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My mom used to complain that she’d figured out the identity of the bad guy in books by Mary Higgins Clark way before the big reveal. Honestly, that never bothered me. I’ve always loved Clark’s storytelling ability, and even when I correctly suspected who the villain was, I kept right on turning the pages. Still,…

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If readers have enjoyed a writer’s book, I’ve noticed that there are two questions they repeatedly ask. The first is usually some variation of, “So what’s your next book about?” and the second is, “Where do you get your ideas?” Recently, I decided to redo my website (currently in progress) and took a stab at…

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What a thrill to meet the award-winning writer Sharon Draper at the SOKY Book Festival this past spring. Before the festival doors even opened, we had bought each other’s books! It turns out that her daughter is a dancer, so she wanted to give While I Danced to her as a gift. And I devoured…

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  Every professional author on the planet hears the consistent message that publishing has changed. Gone are the days when we can spend all our time doing that writing thing. Nope, we have to get out there and market our babies. Promote, promote, promote! A big part of that is creating and publicizing what makes…

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Next week, I’ll be travelling to the Killer Nashville conference for the first time. I’m excited not only to have been nominated for the Silver Falchion Award for my YA novel, It Should Have Been You, but to participate in several panels, including one I’ll moderate, called “Coming of Age: Writing YA Mysteries, Suspense &…

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Until my sister Lucretia began digging into genealogical research, it never occurred to me that my family had anything to do with the abomination of slavery. My mother’s California family was one of modest means, while our Texas-born dad grew up in abject poverty. So, imagine our surprise when we discovered that we were direct…

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This past week, I read Gayle Forman’s latest young adult novel, I Have Lost My Way. Like her previous YA novels, it’s a beautifully written and deeply moving work. Three teenagers from markedly different backgrounds are each suffering from devastating losses. Freya, a budding pop star, has lost her voice while recording her debut album,…

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I don’t usually cry watching Morning Joe. Well, that’s not quite true. The horrifying images of the inhumane and immoral treatment of immigrants at our borders have certainly brought me to tears. But yesterday, I cried about something good, something inspiring, the story Mike Barnicle told about Joe Biden’s generous outpouring of emotional support for…

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My husband and I are at that age where if parents of our contemporaries haven’t yet passed away, they’re dying now. This past year, our sister-in-law’s parents both died, as did a dear friend’s mother. Saturday night, it was our turn. At age 93, my mother-in-law passed away. It wasn’t entirely unexpected. She’d been in…

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