Seeing People, Not Differences

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Originally posted on Nerdy Book Club:
When I first started writing The Fire Horse Girl, I obsessed over getting all the details right. The book opens on Chinese New Year, and I combed through every New Year tradition I could find and jammed most of them into the first chapter (don’t worry, Cheryl Klein, editor…

Why I Write Realistic Fiction


I was at the Montgomery Book Festival last week on a “Just Keeping it Real” panel with Christina Mandelski, Stasia Ward Kehoe, and Jessica Warman (all fabulous and so much fun to spend the day with). Our books span the various genres under the umbrella of realistic fiction– mystery, romance, coming-of-age, historical. An audience member … Continue reading

Dear Poet Project


I love this idea from the Academy of American Poets! Students read and respond to the poetry of poets who serve on the Academy’s Board of Chancellors. What a great opportunity to connect students with writers. There are specific instructions here for any other teachers or librarians who are interested. Select letters with receive a … Continue reading

The Fire Horse Girl’s Inspiration

Antique marguerite

I wrote a blog post this week for Scholastic’s On Our Minds Blog about what inspired me to write The Fire Horse Girl. Click the link above to read. I hope you enjoy!


Crayon on paper

To be a writer is to sit down at one’s desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone – just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great … Continue reading

Scenic Route


Is it a bad sign that I am finally getting around to writing my New Years resolutions on the fifth day of the new year? Maybe, but 2012 was a bit of a roller coaster for me, and I am finding a scenic route through 2013. This year is about falling little out of step … Continue reading

Fire Horse Girl – Released this Week and Giveaway


There is a giveaway of The Fire Horse Girl and a listing of all the great books coming out this week on Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing. It is a great site in general, so after you sign up for the giveaway, look around. Also, I will be guest-posting an Inspired Openings blog post next Monday. … Continue reading

KERA Think Podcast


If you live in the Dallas area and are interested in a great writing program, click here to listen to Suzanne Frank, Dan Hale, and me talk about The Writer’s Path at SMU. And yes, Krys Boys  is as fabulous as you would think if, like me, you have listened to Think for years.    

Putting it All Together

Back to school

If you have been following along on our journey to dig up the central conflicts and theme in your work-in-progress, now is the moment that we bring it all together. I have to use a enumerated list…that is how exciting it is! 1. Gather up your three charts and a blank sheet of paper. If … Continue reading

Chart – Plot and World


Here is more of the early brainstorming for Jade Moon. Hopefully you have you character chart explained in yesterday’s post. To continue discovering the repeating images and themes in your story, complete two more charts. On a fresh sheet of paper, brainstorm everything you know about your book’s plot. This might include what happens, what … Continue reading

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