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Book Birthday Bash: ARROW

  Happy Book Birthday to ARROW! In this middle-grade novel, Arrow, a 12-year-old boy with a limb difference, has grown up as the only human in a lush, magical rainforest that’s closed off from the rest of the world. He was raised by the Guardian Tree, the protector of the forest, which uses the earth’s…
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TreeFolks Loves Trees as Much as Arrow – Plus GIVEAWAY

I’ve got some really special blog posts coming up that I’m super excited about. With the release of my new novel ARROW, I’m interviewing a bunch of people who helped me make the book a reality and celebrate its release. First up is Andrew Smiley from the fantastic TreeFolks, and I’m giving away an ARC…
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4 Ways to Use Setting As A Writing Tool

Setting is one of my favorite things to write in a novel. It’s like being a set designer for a movie or play, and it can add so much to your character and the tone of the story. Here are a few tips on how to use setting well in your own stories. Choose Locations…
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5 Tips to Create Worlds Readers Want To Live In

Did you ever finish a book and just want to dive back in, so you can stay in that world longer? Yeah, me too. A good book creates characters and a world that readers want to spend time in and return to again and again. There are so many fun parts of making up stories,…
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To Outline or Not: A Novel Writer’s Story

One of the questions I’m asked most is about writing process and the *best* way to write a book. The honest answer, though, is that there is no best way, only whatever works for you, and it’ll most likely change the more you write. Outlining is considered a dirty word by many writers. Some say…
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Memorable Stories Need Memorable Characters

I’ve got characters on the brain. I’m preparing to teach my Throw More Stones: How to Build Character Through Conflict workshop for the Writers League of Texas next month, and it’s a subject I love to talk about. But developing characters was not always easy for me. The first novels I wrote had my characters…
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Book Birthday Bash: Life in the Balance

  Happy Book Birthday to LIFE IN THE BALANCE! In this middle-grade novel, Veronica Conway has been looking forward to trying out for the All-Star softball team for years. She’s practically been playing the game since she was a baby. She should have this tryout on lock. Except right before tryouts, Veronica’s mom announces that…
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Interview with Saadia Faruqi on A Thousand Questions

I’m a huge fan of Saadia Faruqi‘s work. Her books are as wonderful as she is, which is why I’m thrilled to be able to interview her about her newest middle-grade novel A THOUSAND QUESTIONS. Here’s the publisher’s description: Set against the backdrop of Karachi, Pakistan, Saadia Faruqi’s tender and honest middle grade novel tells…
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What To Do With Your Shiny New Story Idea

You’ve got an idea for a story. Yes! Congratulations? Now the fun begins. Ideas come in lots of different ways: just a title, an unusual character, a situation, or maybe even an entire story plops right in your lap (although this last one has never happened to me). When you get your idea, you might…
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Book Birthday Bash: Alone

  Happy Book Birthday to ALONE! Perfect for fans of Hatchet and the I Survived series, this harrowing middle grade debut novel-in-verse from a Pushcart Prize–nominated poet tells the story of a young girl who wakes up one day to find herself utterly alone in her small Colorado town. When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme…
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