Read This!: SUBMERGE by Tobie Easton

Submerge (Mer Chronicles #2)Submerge (Mer Chroncles #2) by Tobie Easton

Summary: Now that Lia and Clay’s love has broken the Little Mermaid’s curse, everything has changed. Will Lia’s family remain on land, leading the only life she and her sisters have ever known, or will they move below the waves, to the sparkling new capital city? Lia is adamant about staying on land with Clay for her senior year. But at Melusine and her father’s trial, new revelations threaten what Lia holds most dear. The verdict will shake Lia’s whole world, calling into question her future with Clay, her feelings for Caspian, and the fate of all Merkind. As she wonders who to trust, Lia sets out on a treacherous path that will lead her away from her sheltered Malibu home to a remote and mysterious school for Mermaids—Mermaids who may hold the secret to ancient magic Lia can use to either get back all she’s lost or to embark on a dangerous journey.

EMERGE was a thrilling start to Lia’s story, and SUBMERGE manages to completely sidestep the dangers of second-book slump and offer a story with higher stakes, more danger, and deeper relationships while remaining grounded in the characters and the world of the Mer. One of the things that made EMERGE such a delight was the layers of worldbuilding underpinning the story; here we get to delve deeper into Mer culture and language, from a courtroom trial to visiting a school below the waves. All of it is a natural part of Lia’s story as she explores what it means to be suddenly immortal and reconnect with the Mer side of her heritage. Everything follows naturally from the relationships and events of the first book; indeed, one of the things I love best about Easton’s writing is that, at the scene level and at the plot level, the story moves along inexorably and inevitably, like the tides. At the center of it all is Lia, proud and impulsive and warm and flawed – a character I would follow anywhere. (And don’t get me started on Caspian. Caspian, stop breaking my heart!) It’s a heck of a ride, and I feel like reading Easton’s work actually makes me a better writer.

SUBMERGE is out now.

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Read This!: BEING FISHKILL by Ruth Lehrer

Being FishkillBeing Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer

Summary: Fishkill Carmel fends for herself, with her fists if need be — until a thwarted lunch theft introduces her to strange, sunny Duck-Duck and a chance for a new start.  Born in the backseat of a moving car, Carmel Fishkill was unceremoniously pushed into a world that refuses to offer her security, stability, love. At age thirteen, she begins to fight back. Carmel Fishkill becomes Fishkill Carmel, who deflects her tormenters with a strong left hook and conceals her secrets from teachers and social workers. But Fishkill’s fierce defenses falter when she meets eccentric optimist Duck-Duck Farina, and soon they, along with Duck-Duck’s mother, Molly, form a tentative family, even as Fishkill struggles to understand her place in it. This fragile new beginning is threatened by the reappearance of Fishkill’s unstable mother — and by unfathomable tragedy. Poet Ruth Lehrer’s young adult debut is a stunning, revelatory look at what defines and sustains “family.” And, just as it does for Fishkill, meeting Duck-Duck Farina and her mother will leave readers forever changed.

Fishkill Carmel is a tough-as-nails heroine with a desperate secret. Christine Farina, better known as Duck-Duck, is the quirky idealist who sees through the tough façade and appoints herself Fishkill’s new best friend. What follows is a tale full of poignant moments of friendship, exploring everything from the stirrings of sexual attraction between the two girls, to the nuances of girl bullying, to the ways the system fails those without resources. What I loved most about this book is that it treats Fishkill’s struggles with middle school social life with the same gravity it treats her family situation – only fitting, as both are integral parts of a middle schooler’s life. Fishkill’s inimitable voice – all hardness yearning for softness – comes through from page one, and readers will root for her to find the family she so needs. Just as in the real world, no one gets off easy, and no character is all good or all bad. Prepare to have your heart broken and put back together again by this funny, sad, immersive, and excellent book.

BEING FISHKILL is out now.

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Read This!: STAR-CROSSED by Barbara Dee

Star-CrossedStar-Crossed by Barbara Dee

Summary: Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing—and, if all that wasn’t enough: British. As the cast prepares for opening night, Mattie finds herself growing increasingly attracted to Gemma and confused, since, just days before, she had found herself crushing on a boy named Elijah. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things backstage at the production are starting to rival any Shakespearean drama! In this sweet and funny look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to be the lead player in her own life.

I loved this book! All of the characters felt so real, and I love how the author brought to life the reality that navigating feelings is *hard*, even when you’ve got the support of your friends and family. What could have been a heavy-handed afterschool special in less deft hands is here a light-hearted, but never lightweight, exploration of self-acceptance and finding the courage to express one’s true feelings. All served with a healthy dose of Shakespeare!

STAR-CROSSED is out now.

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Read This!: EARTH FORCE RISING (BOUNDERS #1) by Monica Tesler

Earth Force Rising (Bounders #1)Earth Force Rising by Monica Tesler

Summary: Thirteen years ago, Earth Force—a space-military agency—discovered a connection between brain structure and space travel. Now they’ve brought together the first team of cadets, called Bounders, to be trained as high-level astronauts. Twelve-year-old Jasper is part of this team being sent out into space. After being bullied back on Earth, Jasper is thrilled to have something new and different to do with other kids who are more like him. While learning all about the new technologies and taking classes in mobility—otherwise known as flying with jetpacks—Jasper befriends the four other students in his pod and finally feels like he has found his place in the world. But then Jasper and his new friends learn that they haven’t been told everything about Earth Force. They weren’t brought to space for astronaut training, but to learn a new, highly classified brain-sync technology that allows them to manipulate matter and quantum bound, or teleport. And it isn’t long before they find out this new technology was actually stolen from an alien society. When Jasper and his friends discover the truth about why Earth Force needs them, they are faced with a choice: rebel against the academy that brought them together, or fulfill their duty and protect the planet at all costs.

As a huge fan of ENDER’S GAME, I was so excited to read this book. And it did not disappoint! My son and I read it together before bed, and I would often find myself reading ahead after he went to sleep. (Shh! Don’t tell him.) From the foundational concept that those born with various forms of neurodiversity are able to harness interstellar travel, to the warm, funny, cast of characters, to the nonstop adventure Jasper and his friends find at EarthBound Academy, this is a series that can be appreciated by parents and kids alike, and is equally great for fun pleasure reading and deeper discussion.
EARTH FORCE RISING and its sequel, THE TUNDRA TRIALS, are out now.

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Join Me at Thy Geekdom Con this Sunday!

This Sunday, I’ll be heading up to Delaware for Thy Geekdom Con, a convention of “all things geek in pop culture”! I’m looking forward to appearing in Character Building in Fantasy alongside adult fantasy author Daniel M. Ford.  Hope to see you there!

Thy Geekdom Con
Crowne Plaza Wilmington North
630 Naamans Rd, Claymont, DE 19703

Character Building in Fantasy

Sunday, November 5 at 11 AM

Worldbuilding is fun, but someone’s got to live in that world, and compelling characters will make readers want to stay put. Join Daniel M. Ford, author of The Paladin Trilogy (Santa Fe Writers Project) and Kathy MacMillan, author of Sword and Verse (HarperTeen) for a lively discussion on selecting the right characters to tell your story, and how to make fictional people seem real.

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Next Week: nErDCampLI!

I’m on my way to nErDCampLI next week, and I hope you’ll join me!

 3rd Annual nErDcampLI:
Saturday, November 4, 2017

  • 8:00 – 2:00: Unconference
  • 2:00-3:30: Author & Illustrator Meet and Greet

Location: Boyd Intermediate School
286 Cuba Hill Road
Huntington, NY 11743

All attendees come to Nerd Camp to present and attend workshops for FREE.

nErD Camp is an “unconference”/ Edcamp with a focus on literacy based on the original #nErDcampMI’s model.  An “unconference” is a free, participant driven learning and networking experience that is designed by you and includes the topics you want to discuss.  During the first 30 minutes the morning of the event, a session board is filled with different topics by the nErD Camp attendees.  During the event participants are encouraged to vote with their feet and it is acceptable to move on if the session doesn’t meet your needs, or more likely there are 2 totally AWESOME sessions at the same time that you would like to experience. If you love spreading book love and think authors and illustrators are rock stars… then you are already a #NerdyOnLI. If you love teaching, learning, and are passionate about both…join us.

Participating authors


Register here!

Preorder books here.


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Roundtable: A Conversation with Authors of Teen Fiction

Sunday, October 22 from 2-4 PM

Catonsville Branch, Baltimore County Public Library, 1100 Frederick Road, Catonsville MD 21228

Join 6 writers of fiction for teens for a lively, interactive panel discussion about their inspirations, writing process, and the value of stories in the modern world. Books will be available for purchase and signing after the program.  This panel is co-sponsored by Baltimore County Public Library and the MD/DE/WV Region of the Society for Book Writers and Illustrators.

Featured authors:

fmboughan author photo

F.M. Boughan is a bibliophile, a writer, and an unabashed parrot enthusiast. She can often be found writing in local coffee shops, namely because it’s hard to concentrate with a cat lying on the keyboard and a small, colorful parrot screaming into her ear. Her work is somewhat dark, somewhat violent, somewhat hopeful, and always contains a hint of magic. CINDERELLA, NECROMANCER (Month9Books) is her YA debut, a dark fantasy retelling of the classic tale.



Meg Eden‘s work has been published in various magazines, including Rattle, Drunken Boat, Poet Lore, RHINO and Gargoyle. She teaches at the University of Maryland. She has four poetry chapbooks, and her novel “Post-High School Reality Quest” is published with California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. Find her online at or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.



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Christina June is a school counselor by day and writes young adult contemporary fiction by night. She is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter. Her second novel, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE (a companion to IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE), will be published in 2018.


Kathy MacMillan 300 dpi 1.2 mb large

Kathy MacMillan is a writer, American Sign Language interpreter, consultant, librarian, signing storyteller, and avowed Hufflepuff. Her debut young adult novel, SWORD AND VERSE, explores questions of power and prejudice in an epic fantasy setting. Kathy serves as the co-Regional Advisor for the Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia Region of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Find her online at or on Twitter at @kathys_quill.




Sharon Huss Roat is the author of HarperTeen novels Between the Notes and How to Disappear. She grew up in Lancaster County, Pa., and now lives in Delaware with her husband and two children. She writes and reads and cooks and gardens and drives to music lessons and dance rehearsals and takes naps. (Naps are big.) She also loves to hear from readers, so visit her online at, on Twitter @sharonwrote, or Instagram @sharonhussroat



Katy Upperman is a graduate of Washington State University, a former elementary school teacher, and an insatiable reader. When not writing for young adults, Katy can be found whipping up batches of chocolate chip cookies or exploring the country with her husband and daughter. KISSING MAX HOLDEN is her debut novel.




CinderellaNecromancer   PHSRQarccover   iswg-final-cover   Sword And Verse cover   hot to   kissing max holden

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HallowRead, Here I Come

This weekend, I will be appearing at HallowRead, a book festival celebrating genre fiction right in my beloved Ellicott City, Maryland – the town where I grew up!  Some of the great activities at the festival:

  • Writing Workshops
  • Ghost Tour
  • SteamPunk Author Tea
  • Author Panels
  • Book Signings
  • Paranormal Investigation

​Location: Roger Carter Center, 3000 Milltowne Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043

More info and tickets at

I’ll be appearing on the following panels on Saturday:

Writers as Fans: How Fandoms Influence Our Writing Kathy MacMillan, Meg Eden and F.M. Boughan- a panel of writers discuss their favorite fandoms and how their passions have inspired and influenced their writing.
Nevertheless, She Persisted- Writing kickass heroines and wise women in the age after Buffy, Bella and Hermione. Moderated by Rebecca Rivard. With Jill Archer, Katherine McIntyre, Kathy MacMillan, Heather Elizabeth King, and R.A. Boyd

Hope to see you there!

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Read This!: THE MEMORY TREES by Kali Wallace

The Memory TreesThe Memory Trees by Kali Wallace

Summary: Sorrow Lovegood’s life has been shaped by the stories of the women who came before her: brave, resilient women who settled long ago on a mercurial apple orchard in Vermont. The land has been passed down through generations, and Sorrow and her family take pride in its strange history. Their offbeat habits may be ridiculed by other townspeople—especially their neighbors, the Abrams family—but for the first eight years of her life, the orchard is Sorrow’s whole world.
Then one winter night everything changes. Sorrow’s sister Patience is tragically killed. Their mother suffers a mental breakdown. Sorrow is sent to live with her dad in Miami, away from the only home she’s ever known.
Now sixteen, Sorrow’s memories of her life in Vermont are maddeningly hazy; even the details of her sister’s death are unclear. She returns to the orchard for the summer, determined to learn more about her troubled childhood and the family she left eight years ago. Why has her mother kept her distance over the years? What actually happened the night Patience died? Is the orchard trying to tell her something, or is she just imagining things?

Sorrow Lovegood is haunted by her family’s past, so it’s only fitting that Kali Wallace’s beautiful, atmospheric writing will absolutely haunt the reader. Wallace plunks the reader into the rivalries, both petty and great, of Abrams Valley, and explores the ways hatred and anger play out over generations. Sorrow is a girl at a crossroads, needing to process her past in order to move on, but so scarred by it that she has blocked out the parts she most needs to understand. Stories of Lovegood women throughout the years punctuate the narrative as they have punctuated Sorrow’s life – tales of strong woman who grew and maintained the orchard that has been their family’s livelihood for generations, who were buried in the cemetery where an ash tree has been planted for each grave. Women who were persecuted, and often accused of witchcraft, because they were strong and independent. Magical elements are taken as a given, so entwined are they in Sorrow’s life: of course the earth mourns with cold when a Lovegood dies; of course the favors Sorrow finds in the orchard – a broken pair of glasses, a pocket watch, a bead on a string – are gifts from the dead. Though there is pain, there is also hope; the only answers, Sorrow learns, are the ones that she and her generation will shape for themselves out of the grief, pain, and joy that have been handed down to them.

THE MEMORY TREES is out now.

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Time to Break Out the Corset

That’s because I am returning to one of my favorite places this weekend: the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, MD!  Hope to see you there!

FB_IMG_1472502550592Sunday, October 15,  11 AM-5 PM: Maryland Renaissance Festival: Visiting Author at Page After Page Bookstore

Come learn to write your name in the language of the gods and get your signed copy of Sword and Verse at Page After Page Bookstore (inside the festival village). More about the Maryland Renaissance Festival.

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