Book lists and library visits: I hope to see you at one of the following….

Hi all,

Things_I'll_Never_SayFirst the big news…. Things I’ll Never Say, Stories about Our Secret Selves was named to the CCBC 2015 Choices list! It’s also on the Teenreads Teen Choices award nomination list along with books be fellow Wisconsin writers Pat Schmatz (Lizard Radio) and Ann Bausum (Stonewall). If you like to vote for your Teen Choices, just click on here.





A number of Wisconsin authors will be gathering around the state and I’m scheduled to be present at a few. We love to hang out together at the Wisconsin Reading Association Conference which is held at the Milwaukee Convention Center. That kicks off the spring author visit season. SCBWI created this schedule and poster for us:12592354_939832912768444_7471174032287437789_n


Here are additional appearances:

  • March 19 — Wisconsin Author Festival, West Allis Library, 7421 W. National Avenue, West Allis, WI  — 1-4:30 pm


  • March 30-April 1 — Chairing Panel on Writing about Family and Dysfunction in Young Adult Novels with YA authors JL Powers, EM Kokie (of Madison) and Terry Farish — AWP Conference (Association of Writers and Writing Programs), Los Angeles, CA


  • April 10 – WEMTA AUTHOR FAIR, Kahlahara Resort, Wisconsin Dells. 11:30 am to 3 pm


  • April 17 — Hedberg Library Open Mic Event, Hedberg Public Library, 316 South Main Street, Janesville, WI 53545, Time: TBA


  • April 21 — Delafield Library, Reading and Q&A, 500 Genesee Street, Delafield WI 53018 (




[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

While I’m writing…..

Posted December 27th, 2013





I listen to music while I’m writing, revising and editing. So this year is ending with work on Things I’ll Never Say, Short Stories About Our Secret Selves (Candlewick, spring 2015) and music by Cloverton, which is so different than the music I usually listen to — those of you who know me, know that I’m more a Joan Jett and Pink sort of fan.

The anthology is also a reach for me because I’m not a secret keeper myself. It came out of a workshop I participated in at Mount Mary called Untold Stories–a workshop facilitated by the Voices & Faces project based in Chicago, a project that uses writing to change the face of violence in our culture. We were encouraged to write from  the perspective of a different gender and I found the voice of a boy named Luke who….well, you’ll just have to wait until it comes out to know his secret. The stories I’ve received provide a breadth of young adult experiences. They’re about the good and bad things that can happen when we choose to keep a secret or share a secret or break a secret. I don’t want to say too much about this anthology until it’s closer to publication. So I’ll just recommend that you stay tuned.

This has also been a year in which I have come to fear that I can’t teach full time and manage to stay with a novel long enough to do the sort of revisions it takes to really nail a novel. It’s been frustrating to sit day after day with characters who just haven’t felt like talking because my head is full of student work and the details of our English Department’s day-to-day responsibilities. So I’m turning to something different for awhile. I’m working on a lot of short stories and poetry in the hopes that this shorter work will fit inside my days. I’m also hoping that playing a bit more–at writing and, well, just playing at life– will clean out my soul a bit and maybe make room for the work of a novel.

As a result of the Untold Stories workshop, I volunteered to facilitate a ten-week workshop for women at Sojourner Family Peace Center. I worked with some amazing women to create Empowerment poems and prose as they moved through the series which we called Writing as Healing.  They inspired me and gave me hope. That hope and inspiration are what drew me originally to Cloverton. That music, by the way, can draw me to tears.

And so I’m ending this year with a prayer of sorts for us: “I hold close those whose days are long because their lives have taken difficult, sad turns. I pray that as the days get longer, their own choices lead to better places and I pray that horizons expand and they discover hope and meaning in the task of living each day with a conscience.”

Happy New Year.