Get Organized!

January is the month to Get Organized! My first book, in print since 2006 from Free Spirit Publishing, with over 60,000 copies sold and available in eight languages, is still helping middle grade kids get organized. With downloadable worksheets, helpful suggestions, various strategies, and humorous anecdotes, GET ORGANIZED WITHOUT LOSING IT has garnered praise from… Read more »


Lately I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what motivates a protagonist to action. Lisa Cron, in her terrific craft book STORY GENIUS, describes what she calls the character’s “misbelief” – a belief that has been the source of much agony for the character. Others refer to this characteristic as a “back-story wound”, or… Read more »

Be Kind

When my son was younger I told him that he should keep two words in mind as he went out in the world: be nice. Now I would change those words to be kind. There’s nothing wrong with nice. My mother would have used the word correct. (Which is one reason I’ve come to dislike… Read more »

Texas Book Festival & NCTE

Hi all! I have a couple of big events coming up this November. I hope to see you at one or the other! But first, the winner of my Rafflecopter giveaway (drumroll, please……): a Rafflecopter giveaway If you plan to attend the Texas Book Festival (in Austin, Texas), here’s my schedule: On Saturday, November 5,… Read more »

Things That Go Bump In The Night

” ‘Hainted, it is, with grindings and screeches…’ page 23, THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE. Ghost. Phantom, apparition, spook. Commonly thought to be the spirit of a dead person appearing in lifelike form. The Scots, it turns out, are very into ghosts. The word wraith first appears in 18th century Scottish romantic literature; the… Read more »

Creepy Cryptids!

This week I have a special treat for all you tricksters – and a special guest. Christine Hayes, author of MOTHMAN’S CURSE, has written us a tantalizing guest post – and she’s attached a great giveaway of her own! Here’s Christine: There’s something irresistible about a mystery, and cryptids may be one of the most… Read more »

Haunted Castles of Scotland

What is it about castles, especially the ancient castles of the British Isles? I love them, and so, it seems, do many of you. Here’s my guess as to why they are fascinating: they’re big and elaborate; they’re old and so have plenty of interesting history; and many of them are apparently haunted. As I… Read more »

Spooktacular October Giveaway!

October is one of my favorite months. I love the fall colors, the crisp air, the anticipation of holidays. And I’ve always been a fan of the “spooktacular” aspects of Halloween. So, this October, as I’m celebrating a little more than 6 months of THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE, I’m running a spooktacular and… Read more »

Christina Diaz Gonzalez & RETURN FIRE

I met Christina Diaz Gonzalez the year that both of our debuts launched, 2010. Hers, THE RED UMBRELLA, is a stunning historical novel that I adored. Now she’s working in new territory, with books that blend fantasy with elements of mysteries and thrillers. Her latest, RETURN FIRE, is out now! Please give readers a brief… Read more »