A Flight of Angels

*A YALSA Top Ten Pick for Great Graphic Novels for Teens*  Now available in paperback, and it’s pretty flipping beautiful. Or stay classy with A FLIGHT OF ANGELS hardcover version. “Occasionally someone executes a standard storytelling device with such dazzling skill that it reminds you why that device became standard in the first place… [A Flight of Angels]… [read]

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Backwards

Travel Backwards… Available now from Candlewick Press! *Winner of the 2014 Colorado Authors League Book Award* *Finalist for the 2014 Colorado Book Award* *Finalist for the Crystal Kite Award* It was Saturday, November 15th, but I didn’t know that. I wouldn’t understand the strange countdown of days that formed my existence until later. All I… [read]

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The Traitor King

The Manannan family secret is about to be revealed… *Colorado Book Award Finalist* Now available on Kindle and Nook for under five bucks! Or check out the new paperback edition. “You MUST read this book.”  —TeensReadToo.com (starred) “Humor, menace, and mystery suffuse this fast-paced tale… New surprises and plot twists keep readers enthralled, because nothing -librarians, skeletal pursuers, or hard-drinking dads-… [read]

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The Secret to Lying

What happens when your life becomes a lie?  *2011 Colorado Book Award Winner* *Texas Library Association Teen Reading List Selection* *Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards Selection*  E-book, paperback, and audiobook (read by Nick Podehl, “Best voice of 2010″) now available! “Engrossing and entertaining…  a great read.”  —Publishers Weekly “An artful blurring between reality and fantasy, The Secret to Lying masterfully… [read]

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The One Thing I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Creating Characters

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There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there about characters. Do you make them quirky and unusual (like Amelia Bedelia), or more ordinary  (like Charlie Brown)? Do you make them heroic (someone readers might aspire to be, like Atticus Finch), or deeply flawed (like FH in Jesus’s Son)? Do you make them raw and human […]

Writing Advice Part II (my top six other best pieces of advice)

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The single best piece of writing advice I ever got was to write the book you most want to read (more on that here). After that, here are six other bits of writing advice that have made the biggest difference for me (and that I need to keep reminding myself of to keep on going). […]

English Majors Discuss Pop Songs: “Your Love” by The Outfield

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Putting our English Degrees to work by tackling life’s persistent mysteries…   The Song: “Your Love” by The Outfield   The Lyric: “I just want to use your love tonight. I don’t want to lose your love tonight.”   The Problem: Those pesky pronouns. Whose love does the speaker want to “use”? Whose love does s/he fear losing?   Possible Interpretations: A) We’ll […]

Why You Might Be Asking the Wrong Question About Suicide

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The question gets asked over and over again in the wake of a suicide. It goes something like this, “How could he decide to kill himself?”   I heard people ask this dozens of times in various forms when Robin Williams died. And when Ned Vizzini, author of It’s Kindof a Funny Story (and other fabulous […]

Backwards is a finalist for both the Colorado Book Award and the CAL Award! (And now the Crystal Kite Award too!)

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I just learned that Backwards was selected as a finalist in the Young Adult Fiction category by both these outstanding award committees. For a complete listing of the Colorado Book Awards finalists, click here. And for a complete listing of the CAL (Colorado Authors League) finalists, click here. These are two great lists of excellent books […]