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Why Libraries are Gold #NationalLibraryWeek

April 12th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

I still remember the smell of my elementary school library — the scent of well-loved books and paperback leaves. I still see how the shelves are arranged — the tables in the center of the room, and the door that led [...]

I Will Not Tell a Lie

March 30th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

In my debut novel Blackbird Fly, the main character Apple Yengko is voted the third-ugliest girl in school. There's a rumor that she eats dog for dinner. The boys bark at her when she walks down the hall. In Hello, Universe, Virgil [...]

3 Things I Learned on Tour

March 22nd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

Adults are kinda lame. (Sorry, grown-ups.) When I arrived and left, I was greeted with excited cheers and I suspect at least 50 percent of them had no idea who I was. They were just thrilled to miss class and loved me for [...]

OMG I’M GOING ON TOUR … See?

February 27th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

Let Me Read to You for #WRAD!

February 16th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

On World Read Aloud Day, readers of all ages celebrate literacy and the pure joy and power of reading aloud. In honor of #WRAD, here is a snippet of me reading chapter two of HELLO, UNIVERSE. Please take time to [...]

Once upon a time, I was a little girl.

January 27th, 2017|Categories: About Lifestuff|

I knew a few things about life back then. They were: When you're a girl, there is nothing worse than being ugly. Therefore, it's a top proirity to be pretty. You should always be yourself, unless yourself doesn't fit [...]

Celebrating 75 Years of Little Golden Books

January 19th, 2017|Categories: About Books|

This is a year of great celebration! It's the 75th anniversary of Little Golden Books. When I flip through the pages of a Little Golden Book, I travel back to a time when the Poky Little Puppy nosed through my childhood [...]

Infographic: My Year in Books

December 21st, 2016|Categories: About Books|

My Favorite Reads of the Year

December 13th, 2016|Categories: About Books|

Of the 100+ books I read this year, these are the 12 that stayed with me. They share only one thing in common: Each sentence made me want to get to the next one. 

Do You Love Louisa May Alcott because of Little Women? I Don’t.

November 29th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Today is Louisa May Alcott's birthday. When we think of LMA, we think of Little Women. Well, that's what you think about, anyway. I think of A Long Fatal Love Chase. Here's a confession: I have never read Little Women. [...]

When Bullies Win

November 14th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

I write a lot about bullies. And unfortunately, there are times when bullies win. It's unfair. It's tragic. But it's true. As we all know, life isn't fair. As parents and educators, it's something we have to teach our children. [...]

Settle down and make yourself uncomfortable

October 31st, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

It's October 31, which means you're primed for all things spooky, right? My recommendation is We Have Always Lived in the Castle, the gothic novel by Shirley Jackson. This is one of my favorite books. As with all well-written gothic [...]

It Isn’t Just a Library — It’s a Space Ship

September 20th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

My purse is an abyss of mysterious dimensions. Sixty percent of the time, I can't find my debit card. Seventy percent of the time, I can't find my inhaler. Eighty percent of the time, I'm digging for wayward quarters to [...]

On Favorites: Choosing One and Being One

August 22nd, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

me + my new favorite book I've always had a favorite. When I was a kid, I had a favorite stuffed animal (John-John), favorite food (macaroni and cheese), favorite cereal (Cookie Crisp), favorite show (She-Ra), favorite actor (Michael J. [...]

A Word About Wordless Picture Books

August 4th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

There are many reasons to love, celebrate, and appreciate picture books. Anyone who knows anything about children's publishing will tell you that they are incredibly difficult to write, so when you find the perfect relationship between words and images, you've stumbled [...]

Today’s Fave: DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS!

July 29th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

#FridayFavorite: In which I celebrate one of my favorite books on a Friday. If Mo Willems’ pigeon doesn’t bring you joy, then I don’t know what to think. I love this pigeon. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is my [...]

Books Take Us Somewhere When We Have Nowhere to Go

July 26th, 2016|Categories: About Books, About Lifestuff|

You don’t have to look far to be troubled. Turn on the television. Scroll through your social media feed. People are angry and frustrated. People are so angry and frustrated that they can’t sympathize with the angry and frustrated people [...]

These are the Most Awesome Pop-Up Books Ever.

July 20th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Interacting with readers is my favorite part about being a published author. That’s what rocks the most. Hands down, no question. I love getting emails. I love speaking to schools. I love visiting school libraries. And—perhaps most of all—I love getting [...]

4 Versions of a First Page

July 18th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Fellow writer Dorian Cirrone, author of The First Last Day, recently shared a blog post documenting the editorial evolution of her first page. It was quite interesting to see how the introduction of her novel progressed. So interesting, in fact, [...]

Today’s Fave: CHARM & STRANGE

July 8th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

#FridayFavorite: In which I celebrate one of my favorite books on a Friday. Charm & Strange is wonderfully strange and beautifully disorienting. When you finish this book, you won’t put it on the side table and saunter off to do the [...]

COVER REVEAL for HELLO, UNIVERSE!

July 5th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

My third book, HELLO, UNIVERSE, will be released in March 2017, and I've got a cover to show you! Actually, Aiden does. Check it out. Then add it to your GoodReads list. Hooray, books!

Today’s Fave: ROLLER GIRL

June 24th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

#FridayFavorite: In which I celebrate one of my favorite books on a Friday. I’ve read lots of middle-grade and young adult fiction, and I daresay Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson hits friend-strife right on the head. The story felt so completely genuine [...]

If At First You Don’t Succeed …

June 15th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

  What’s your writing process? That’s one of the most common questions people ask. My answer has always been the same: I write a synopsis, then an outline, then a chapter summary. I do all this in longhand. At times [...]

Today’s Fave: NEST

June 10th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

#FridayFavorite: In which I celebrate one of my favorite books on a Friday. I’ve written about Nest before, but it’s worth mentioning again and again. Nest is one of my favorite middle-grade books, period. Some reviewers have lamented that it’s much too [...]

In Which I Release the Title of My Third Book

April 27th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

OMG It’s March-Almost-April

March 29th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Where did the time go? This year has been busy. And when I say "busy," I mean so busy that I barely know what time it is. (It's five o'clock, right? It's always five o'clock somewhere). Here's what 2016 has [...]

Best Books I Read in 2015

December 28th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|

These were my favorite books of 2015. Many were released in 2015. Many were not. I read them in 2015, though. So all were 2015 books to me. Feel free to share some of your favorites! [...]

To My Sister: From Chicken Little

December 18th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|

The Land of Forgotten Girls is about many things, but mostly it’s about sisters. This is a picture of my sister, Anna, reading to me. Anna also taught me how to blow bubbles and how to roller skate. We read Chicken [...]

Jane Eyre and Ivan Would Make Great Friends

September 4th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|

Jane Eyre and The One and Only Ivan: Kindred Spirits of an English Governness and a Lowland Gorilla Jane Eyre and Ivan are two of my favorite literary characters. When I finished reading The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, it [...]

New Book Spine Flash Fiction!

July 8th, 2015|Categories: Book Spine Flash Fiction|

Time for another installment of Book Spine Flash Fiction, crafted from Erin's bookshelf. The virgins sway like a river -- winterswim the distant hours. You ask me, "How do you pray?" You ask me how to be interesting. You ask me [...]

Three Interesting Facts (IFs): C’est Moi

July 4th, 2015|Categories: About Lifestuff|

Normally I wouldn't write a blog post listing three interesting facts about myself. But I have a reason. I recently had two school visits where the students asked:  What are your three IFs? In BLACKBIRD FLY, my main character Apple Yengko [...]

Seclusion at the Highlights Foundation, a.k.a. My First Vlog

June 9th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|

I recently spent a three-day weekend in a secluded cabin at the Highlights Foundation. It was pretty much the best thing ever. I worked on my third book, listened to nature, met fellow writers, and saw a nest of baby [...]

Why Do I Write Middle-Grade?

May 7th, 2015|Categories: About Books, About Lifestuff, About Writing|

Because we're all 12. Were you bullied at 12? I bet you remember that bully's name. I bet you could tell me what his face looked like, or the color of her hair. Did you ever feel awkward? I bet you [...]

Sweet, Sweet Pickles

April 10th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|

There's nothing better for a grown-up bookworm than reminiscing about the books of yesteryear. I have lots of books like that, but there's one series in particular that truly warms the cockles of my heart. (By the way, I have no [...]

My Book Birthday! (a.k.a., That Time I Wrote a Book and Gave You a Handwritten Copy)

March 24th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|

I'm not sure how old I was when I wrote my first book. Eight, maybe? Nine? Loose leaf paper, dark lead pencil, clumsy illustrations. It occurred to me early on that I only needed three things in life to create [...]

The Apple Yengko Playlist

March 6th, 2015|Categories: About Books, About Lifestuff|

'Readers will be scurrying to find the music on Apple’s list of favorite songs, many of them by the Beatles. Those titles are included in all the chapter titles as well, giving readers a tantalizing hint of events about [...]

Writing as the “Other”

February 25th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|

Imagine that you’re standing in front of a closed door. Someone tells you to walk through it and pick the one that doesn’t belong. You walk through. Scan the room. You see a girl. She has slanted eyes, black hair, a [...]

The Novelista Asks Me 10 Questions … and I answer them

February 20th, 2015|Categories: About Lifestuff, About Writing|

Many thanks to Briana Morgan of The Novelista, who nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! Which means I have to answer her 10 awesome questions. I heart questions. Here goes: What's your fondest book-related memory? Some [...]

The Best Books I Read in 2014

January 1st, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|

I’m not sure how many books I read in 2014, but I definitely remember the ones that were the best. They are Nest by Esther Ehrlich and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Where to begin? Station Eleven was [...]

New Book Spine Flash Fiction!

November 28th, 2014|Categories: About Books, About Writing, Book Spine Flash Fiction|

Time for another installment of Book Spine Flash Fiction, crafted especially for you from Erin's Bookshelf. Here goes: Her magical thinking spit back a boy, burning down the house, world and town. Rosemary's baby was falling into place, wrestling the [...]

Found Treasure: Taro and the Tofu (1962)

September 28th, 2014|Categories: About Books|Tags: |

In the early 1800s, a five-story milking house and barn was built in West Chester, Pa., packed with cozy nooks, creaking stairways and stone walls. Today, it's known as Baldwin's Book Barn, a used and rare bookstore that carries thousands [...]

10-Book Challenge: Accepted!

August 31st, 2014|Categories: About Books|

There's a semi-regular Facebook game that asks people to list ten books that have stayed with them in some way. The rules: Don't think too much about it and don't worry about being "un-literary." Just list books that left a [...]

Let’s Celebrate Awesome Stuff, Like My Book Cover and Release Date!

July 8th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized|

Once upon a time I wrote a book about big dreams, the occasional suckiness of middle-school life, and learning how to be yourself by stepping into the great unknown. By some stroke of super-radness, HarperCollins decided they wanted to publish it. [...]

I’d Like to Introduce You to Apple Yengko

July 3rd, 2014|Categories: About Writing|

My writer friend Maria DeVivo tagged me in the Meet My Character Blog Tour. (Thanks, Maria!) The Meet My Character Blog Tour gives writers a chance to highlight the main character of a recent work. For my post, I'd like [...]

Moon-Eating Dragons, Pineapple Girls, and Other Filipino Tales I Don’t Know

July 1st, 2014|Categories: About Lifestuff|

I was born and raised in America. (Born in Kansas and raised in Louisiana, to be exact.) There weren't many Filipinos in my school. I've never shared a classroom with one in my life, except maybe in college, where classes [...]

New Short Story at the Milo Review. You Remember Margaret, Right?

June 22nd, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized|

One of my short stories is now available at the Milo Review. It's about a woman you know named Margaret. If we were to say a bit about Margaret, we would say this: (a) She prefers the smell of paper [...]

The Most Important Writing Technique No One Talks About

May 28th, 2014|Categories: About Writing|

If you've been writing seriously for any amount of time, you probably know all the standard rules of technique: show don't tell, write what you know, blah blah blah. But if you really want to survive as a writer—mentally and [...]

Stephanie Kuehn, author of CHARM & STRANGE

May 23rd, 2014|Categories: About Books|Tags: , |

It’s not often that I pick up a book without really knowing what it’s about. I have a fairly standard ritual before I make a purchase: I read the jacket and/or back cover. If I’m compelled, I read the first page. If I’m further compelled, I buy it and read the whole thing. You probably have a similar routine of your own. But there are times when you pick up a book whose jacket and/or back cover don’t really tell you anything substantive, because such early reveals would ruin the reading experience. Chris Cleave’s Little Bee is the last book I bought without knowing the heart of its plot. (If I recall, the book jacket said something like “We can’t tell you what this book’s about. But trust me, you want to read it.”) I read Little Bee in two sittings. When I finished, I sat and stared at a wall (yes, seriously), churning it all in my head. It was that good. So was Charm & Strange. […]

Mandy Hubbard is a Genius

May 20th, 2014|Categories: About Writing|

Yesterday I saw this tweet from literary agent Mandy Hubbard: As someone who has dreamed of being published since I crafted my first hardcover in second grade, the Tweet resonated. She followed it up with a few clarifications: although you may need a laptop, Internet access, and/or a few pens and notebooks, you can reach the Publishing Mountaintop without really spending a dime. […]

1985’s Teen Wolf, Stupid? Uh, I think not.

May 6th, 2014|Categories: About Lifestuff|

For some reason Teen Wolf has popped into my life a few times over the past several weeks. (And I’m talking about the super-awesome 1985 film starring Michael J. Fox, not the whatever TV series, which I have never seen). It all started when the movie came on one of those ambiguous channels and then my sister reminded me via Twitter that the movie is about 30 years old, which is shocking since I haven’t aged a day. […]

Here’s Why #WeNeedDiverseBooks

May 1st, 2014|Categories: About Lifestuff, About Writing|

Use the hashtag, join the movement! […]

In which I reveal the long-unknown title of my book

April 25th, 2014|Categories: About Writing|

Original source of this awesome illustration: http://weheartit.com/entry/group/12356609 […]

We’re All “Creatives”

April 17th, 2014|Categories: About Lifestuff, About Writing|

When I was in college, one of my professors gave the class an assignment: List at least fifty things you can do with a brick. The assignment was timed. Everyone started scribbling, including me. But my scribbling didn’t last long. I can’t remember how many ideas occurred to me. Maybe ten. […]

Reconstructed Poetry Using First Lines of Other Poems

April 9th, 2014|Categories: About Writing|

A while back, I constructed a short story of debatable quality using famous lines from classic works. In celebration of National Poetry Month, I would like to do the same thing again. Only this time I’ve taken first lines of poetry and reconstructed them into a new piece of work. See if you recognize any of these poetic openers. […]

The Writing Process Blog Tour!

April 8th, 2014|Categories: About Writing|

My sweet Aussie friend Georgia Clark, author of Parched, passed me the baton for the Writing Process Blog Tour. This means I have to answer four Qs about my work. Here are my As. […]

A poem inspired by items from my purse, entitled “Orbit Sugar-Free Gum”

April 1st, 2014|Categories: About Lifestuff|

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I'm launching a series of poems inspired by items from my purse. I call this masterpiece "Orbit Sugarfree Gum." Orbit Sugarfree Gum Oh, sugarfree gum. You provide all the wonder of gum, but— —without the [...]

12 Things Every Serious Writer Needs

March 26th, 2014|Categories: About Lifestuff, About Writing|

Just like every mechanic needs wrenches and all those other fix-it thingies, every writer needs a toolbox. A carpenter wouldn't leave the house without a hammer, and if you want to be a Serious Writer, you wouldn't wake up every [...]

Here’s Why You Should Daydream More

March 7th, 2014|Categories: About Lifestuff|

When I was a little girl, I was a master daydreamer. Mostly because you have to endure a lot of boring stuff when you’re a kid. In school, I spent most of my time staring at the chalkboard (there were chalkboards back then) and thinking about the story I was going to write or all the junk food I would eat when I got home (80s latchkey kid, holla). To the naked eye it may have seemed that I wasn’t contributing much to society—I was sitting there with my chin on my hand and staring into the blankness, after all—but as it turns out, daydreaming isn’t such a bad thing. […]

Prepare to be Dazzled by Inspiration from the Periodic Table of Storytelling

February 24th, 2014|Categories: About Writing|

I recently discovered the Periodic Table of Storytelling, designed by James Harris. Usually the words “periodic” and “table” send me running for the hills—arms flailing, screaming, et. al.—but this is not your everyday periodic table of the elements. It has various ridiculous prompts embedded throughout that can be used to trigger creative thoughts. (Not that I need any more mental brain triggers, but whateve). I decided to give the periodic-table-as-writing-prompt a try, so I selected a few random “elements” without knowing what they meant. Then I clicked through and discovered this: […]

Big Serious Plots, Three Ridiculous Words

February 19th, 2014|Categories: About Books|

There's a lot of research that shows the Internet is rewiring our brains. We're now addicted to instant information. If we need to know something, we need to know it now—and usually we can. But we don't want exhausting explanation [...]

How to Write Like Stephen King

February 4th, 2014|Categories: About Books, About Writing, Erin's How-To|

blastr.com Like him or not, Stephen King has sold more than 350 million books. Many of his novels and short stories have been adapted into movies, TV shows, graphic novels, and comic books. Clearly, he’s doing something right. […]

Signs that Justin Bieber is a Time Traveler from the 1950s

January 24th, 2014|Categories: About Lifestuff|

I always knew there was something off about the Bieb. I don't feel strongly about his music either way (mostly because I'm not sure what music he made after Baby), but there's definitely something different about him. After his recent arrest, [...]

Have you seen this? Yes, You Have.

January 21st, 2014|Categories: About Books, About Writing|

Notice anything strange about this short story? It’s the tale of a man who struggles to understand his emotionally distant father. Take a quick read. Story of a Man I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offenses than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape or time to act them in. I am an invisible man. I am a sick man. I am a spiteful man. I have sometimes sat alone here of an evening, listening, until I have made the echoes out to be the echoes of all the footsteps that are coming by and by into our lives. I often stand in front of the mirror alone, wondering how ugly a person could get. […]

Six Smart Comebacks for People Who Don’t Like to Read

January 16th, 2014|Categories: About Books, Erin's How-To|

I try to be open-minded about a lot of things. Crocs. Wearing camo as a fashion trend. Even beets. But honestly, I don't understand why people don't like to read books. I'm just gonna pull my nerd card on this [...]

How to Sound Like a Literary Genius

January 7th, 2014|Categories: About Books, About Lifestuff, Erin's How-To|Tags: , , , , |

Are you wallowing in the back of the room at the 18th Annual Classic Book Club Convention because you aren’t familiar with any of the Big Important Books? Have you been wasting your time away reading genres instead of focusing on Real Literature? Are you feeling left out because you don’t have anything to contribute when your friends chatter on about the cleverness of Dickens, the clarity of Hemingway, or the captivating language of America’s beloved Fitzgerald? […]

Yeah, I Love Flowers in the Attic. So?

December 27th, 2013|Categories: About Books|

Here's the deal: I love V.C. Andrews, and I don't care who knows it. I distinctly remember reading My Sweet Audrina as a pre-teen (yes, I was too young to be reading V.C. Andrews, but never-you-mind) and being completely intrigued, [...]

How to be Evil like Mrs. Danvers

December 17th, 2013|Categories: About Books, Erin's How-To|Tags: , , , |

Ah, Mrs. Danvers. Your sneaky and evil ways are so sneaky and evil that Stephen King, master of horror, gave you a shout-out in Bag of Bones. You even have a band named after you. Mrs. Danvers, Mrs. Danvers. You are so conniving that I can’t help but love you. The intriguing Mrs. Danvers is the head housekeeper and main antagonist of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, a novel set in the magnificent, stately and unsettling estate of Maxim de Winter, a wealthy widow who was once married to the titular character, but now has a new wife (the novel’s unnamed narrator). Mrs. Danvers, ever-faithful to Rebecca, doesn’t take too kindly to the new Mrs. de Winter and sets about to make the woman’s life a living hell. Perhaps you’re at a similar station in life, wherein you feel the need to psychologically torture the new wife of your cold, wealthy employer as you fuss about in his oversized English mansion. If so, here are a few tips: […]

Why can’t we leave well-enough alone?

December 2nd, 2013|Categories: About Books|

I recently snatched this book from the giveaway rack at my local public library so I could add it to my ever-growing Wuthering Heights collection. This novel, published in 1979, addresses Heathcliff's three-year absence from the moors. (A quick overview [...]

Bookshelf Flash Fiction

November 23rd, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized|

Hi, friends! Time for another exciting edition of bookshelf flash fiction! Okay, it's only moderately exciting. But still, it's something, right? Text: Playing house endangered Rebecca. A long and fatal love chase rose under fire. Spit and passion spark the [...]

Are you a ‘good writer’?

November 11th, 2013|Categories: About Writing|

When it comes to complicated relationships of self-love and self-loathing, few people can compete with writers. We're a strange and complex collective. One minute we’re convinced we’ve written the next Gatsby or Caulfield; the next minute we’ve decided that every [...]

Eliot Schrefer is my new BFF

October 29th, 2013|Categories: About Writing|

This week, one of the editors at my imprint (and just to clarify—by “my,” I mean that they’re publishing my book, not that I own it, although Erin Entrada Kelly, An Imprint of HarperCollins does sound kinda cool) posted a [...]

How to be Awesome like Jane Eyre

October 17th, 2013|Categories: Erin's How-To|

­­­When Kristina Perez with the Madeleine Project recently asked me which fictional character I would most like to have coffee with, I named Jane. Why? My answer was simple: Because she’s a bad-ass. This week marked the annual anniversary of [...]

Liberty, Words and Pinkie Promises

September 19th, 2013|Categories: About Lifestuff|

We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for [...]

Charlotte Rogan, author of THE LIFEBOAT

July 15th, 2013|Categories: About Books|

Author Charlotte Rogan The basic premise of The Lifeboat is simple: A small group of survivors cram onto a lifeboat after their ocean liner sinks. But inside that one-sentence pitch is a rich, complex and intriguing novel that [...]

‘There’s No Place Like Home’

June 29th, 2013|Categories: About Lifestuff|

My mother's passport photo. In the 1940s, Domingo Entrada was a young teenager in southern Leyte, Philippines, where he spent many afternoons near the U.S. military base in Tacloban. Like most Filipinos, Domingo was from a poor family, so the [...]

Thirty Short Stories & One Book Deal Later

June 25th, 2013|Categories: About Writing|

Early rejections. Back when people still used the Post Office. In 2008, I thought to myself: If only I could get ONE short story published, then I would be reassured as a writer. I remember sending out submissions, [...]

Down with Book Snobbery!

June 14th, 2013|Categories: About Books|

One day I was talking to a friend who quietly admitted that she was reading the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. She isn't much of a reader, and she knows I'm a voracious bookworm, so when she told me she [...]

The Many Faces of Heathcliff

May 16th, 2013|Categories: About Books|

Heathcliff, the grave-digging psychopath. Every now and then we fickle humans find ourselves on an inexplicable mission. Being on a quest for something—whether it’s our one true love, a really great book or the best hamburger in town—adds [...]

An Op-Ed

March 27th, 2013|Categories: About Lifestuff|

Guest Blogger: C. Jade, 16 Picture this. You’re on a date with a vampire and he just keeps talking and talking and talking and talking. Not only does he keep talking, but the moment you try to say [...]

Holden Caulfield vs. Everyone

February 22nd, 2013|Categories: About Books|

When J.D. Salinger gave readers Holden Caulfield, he also gave the literary community a potentially frustrating yet compelling figure: A mode of comparison to hold against virtually all coming-of-age teenagers in the decades to come. Two books recently crossed my [...]

More Trees, Please

January 4th, 2013|Categories: About Lifestuff, About Writing|

An artist once told me that people can learn a lot about themselves by sketching, painting or drawing trees. When you draw a tree, it shows the world who you are, he said. I didn't really understand what he meant [...]

It’s Been Nice Knowing All of You

December 21st, 2012|Categories: About Lifestuff|

Well, some of you. In honor of the end of the world as we know it, I will spare you from the shameless and predictable REM plug (oops – I did it anyway) and allow you a few moments to [...]

Erin’s Shelf of Awesomeness

December 10th, 2012|Categories: About Books|

This is what my Ideal Bookshelf looks like. Being the ginormous book nerd that I am, I considered all my choices carefully, as if I truly faced an apocalypse in which I could only escape with ten books. And I [...]

Note to Self: Get a Hut

December 7th, 2012|Categories: About Lifestuff, About Writing|

This is a photo of Roald Dahl's writing hut, which he named the Gipsy House. Sadly, my hut doesn't quite look like this. Probably because I don't have a hut. I want a hut. I'd love a hut. I could do [...]

My Bookshelf Keeps Whispering at Me!

November 15th, 2012|Categories: About Books, About Lifestuff, About Writing, Book Spine Flash Fiction|

... so I wrote a story with its spines. Ghosts stuck on Earth torment Alice in the country of Hearts. People of the past -- taken by storm, disease, passion, misery -- burned immortal. The eternal ones spark a tale [...]

Postcard Prose

August 13th, 2012|Categories: About Lifestuff, About Writing|

As writers, we tend to write everywhere. If we don't have a pen and paper, we write in our heads. Every now and then there's a little story that wants to be told. It doesn't want to go through all [...]

Here’s a Book Spine Short Story …

August 6th, 2012|Categories: About Books, About Lifestuff, About Writing, Book Spine Flash Fiction|

... because I'm no poet. Text: A certain slant of light sparks ghosts along the bayou. The Supergirls wonder where the truth lies. A good and happy child, Buddy Cooper finds a way above the Faeries' Oracle.  So much pretty on [...]

So, I’m Reading this Book with a Vampire …

August 2nd, 2012|Categories: About Books|

[To be clear: I’m reading a book with a vampire character. I’m not actually sitting on the couch with a vampire, reading.] … and as a person who has never really been part of the vampire-loving culture, I find it intriguing [...]

Things I’ve Learned at the Washateria

July 3rd, 2012|Categories: About Lifestuff|

After years of being the master of my own laundry domain, I've recently become reacquainted with the world of mass laundering, better known as the washateria (or, if you prefer the fancier term, laundromat).  There is no other place like [...]

Quick Rant on Random Capitalization

June 22nd, 2012|Categories: About Writing|

One day I was editing a fiction manuscript when I came across this: "Suddenly, He stopped and ..." I rubbed my eyes. Did a double-take. He, as in big-H? Had Jesus/God suddenly appeared in this novel, or were my eyes [...]

Good Beach Reads for People on the Other Side of the Umbrella

June 18th, 2012|Categories: About Books|

I have nothing against the beach or reading at the beach, but when people ask me for good “beach reads,” I wonder: What does that mean, exactly? What’s a “beach read”? Books about the beach? Books about reading at the [...]

Give Your Children a Reason to Celebrate You

June 13th, 2012|Categories: About Lifestuff|

I can’t remember the first time I ever wrote a story, but the earliest documented evidence I have is “The Two Orphans” (actually, the “Two Orpans”—my pencil didn’t have spell check), the story of two best friends who live in [...]

The Life of a Grammatically Correct Text-Messager

June 5th, 2012|Categories: About Lifestuff|

The other day I was in a hurry and wanted to send a text message. In the interest of time, I used “u r” in lieu of “you are.” Imagine my discomfort. My general sense of uneasiness. Two letters—a vowel [...]

A Word on Movies as Book Covers

May 29th, 2012|Categories: About Books|

When you go to the bookstore you hope to find a good book to read, not necessarily a great movie to watch, but as you’re sauntering down the aisles you will inevitably come across at least one movie poster perpetrating [...]

The Creative Power of Sleep

May 22nd, 2012|Categories: About Lifestuff|

About a year ago, I had an idea for a novel. Something like October Sky-meets-The Sandlot-meets-Radio Flyer-meets-Stand by Me-meets-Erin. Needless to say, it wasn't sketched out very well and the whole concept felt forced and muddled so I left it behind [...]

I’m Going to Miss You, Encyclopedia

May 16th, 2012|Categories: About Books, About Lifestuff|Tags: |

... I remember pulling out volumes to read as a kid just so I could learn something new and random. Whether it was HIR.-IND. or KAO.-LIN., you always had something good to say. You sat on the shelves of my [...]

Bookmarks & Dog Ears

May 11th, 2012|Categories: About Books|

My daughter leaves empty bowls on the table, discarded clothes on the floor and X-box games on her bed, but when it comes to her books, she’s finicky. A creased book jacket is abhorrent. Crackled spines are a no-no. But [...]

Apostrophes [Not Apostrophe’s]

April 18th, 2012|Categories: About Writing|Tags: , , , |

I can understand a misplaced comma. Forgive a wayward semicolon. I can even turn a blind eye to random capitalization. But apostrophe abuse has got to stop. I'm not sure why misused apostrophes get under my craw so much, but [...]

The Thesaurus is Your Enemy

February 13th, 2012|Categories: About Writing|Tags: , , , , |

Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule. [Stephen King] The thesaurus is a ferocious enemy of the novice writer. The adverb has long held the nemesis position, [...]

Jane Deserves Better

January 31st, 2012|Categories: About Books, About Lifestuff|Tags: , , , |

Although it is widely considered a cornerstone of classic feminist literature, Jane Eyre has long been branded as a Victorian love story. I’ve never been a great fan of Victorian novels and I’m an even lesser fan of love stories, [...]

Why I Am Using This Blog to Nerd Out on Books, Followed by an Enthusiastic Book Recommendation

December 10th, 2011|Categories: About Books|

For weeks and months at a time, my blog hosts the occasional post and then waits wearily for another dose of inspiration to follow it. Sometimes that inspiration comes. Sometimes it doesn't. I spend so much time writing -- columns [...]

The Evil King Comma

August 24th, 2011|Categories: About Writing|

In the magical Land of Grammar, Comma is king. It's difficult to imagine any other item of punctuation that has caused more misery and grief for college students, high-schoolers, writers, editors and English teachers. It's an invaluable hooked little devil, [...]

It’s a Million Degrees Outside …

August 6th, 2011|Categories: About Lifestuff|

... That’s just an estimate, of course. A more accurate number would be somewhere around 90-something, with a heat index of 100-something. In other words: It’s hot, no matter how you measure it, and at the end of the day, we’re [...]

The Serious Art of Writing Kidlit

July 25th, 2011|Categories: About Writing|

When I was in elementary school, I decided I was going to become a bestselling writer who would make millions and live in a New York City penthouse. Years passed and I realized that although there are a few writers [...]

‘You should write about [blank].’

June 4th, 2011|Categories: About Lifestuff, About Writing|

“You should write about (insert topic here).” I know this turns thorns in the sides of many writers, but it doesn’t bother me a bit because sometimes – more often than you’d think – the story that follows is actually [...]

Sharpening My Beta-Reading Skills

May 9th, 2011|Categories: About Writing|

A big thanks to my friend Monica B.W. for helping me promote my blog and extending the chance for a first-chapter critique to writers far and wide. After lots of great pitches, I whittled my selections down to five. If [...]

Writers: Are You Trustworthy?

May 6th, 2011|Categories: About Writing|

[Guest post for writer Monica Bustamante Wagner.] Overuse of adverbs, overreliance on adjectives, telling over showing – there are any number of ways that writers can announce to the world that they are amateurs, still polishing their craft but not [...]

May 3rd, 2011|Categories: About Lifestuff|

The other day, I imagined a sun. It was bright and symmetrical with varying shades of yellow and orange. Its three-dimensional center was blazing. Its rays were bold and powerful. I decided to paint it. I’m not a painter, but [...]

It’s Not Me, It’s You

April 5th, 2011|Categories: About Lifestuff|

Drumroll, please. I have done something noteworthy. Shocking, some might say. Impossible, even. I have said goodbye to television. When I say I’m sending the tube on its way, I don’t mean that I’m cutting back on bad reality TV [...]

Laughter Keeps Us From Getting Dizzy

January 28th, 2011|Categories: About Lifestuff|

Allow me to set up a punch-line for you. The year is 2004. The place: Local grocery store. There’s a long line of impatient customers in one of the check-out lanes. Among them are myself and my eight-year-old daughter. We’re [...]

A Case Against New Year’s Resolutions

January 12th, 2011|Categories: About Lifestuff|

Sharpen your pencils. It’s time for your list of New Year’s resolutions. If you’re like millions of other Americans, your list includes things like lose weight or quit smoking. If you’re a renegade, it’s probably jazzier – go skydiving or [...]

Believing is Seeing … ?

December 15th, 2010|Categories: About Lifestuff|

I wrote a letter to Santa. It was  second grade. I still have a copy. It goes something like this: How are you? How is Mrs. Claus? Is it cold in the North Pole? How are the elves? Is Rudolph’s [...]

The Grand Inaugural Post

August 14th, 2010|Categories: About Lifestuff|

I’m not sure what belongs on an inaugural post. Should I craft out the meaning of life? Share some deep-seated thoughts about how I view the world? Make an introduction? Or can I just start chattering on about nonsense? Personally, [...]