Selected Works

A Rather Adult Young Adult Novel, 2014
A Young Adult novel, 2012
Adults and Young Adults
A 2010 Green Earth Book Awards Honor Book
Younger Readers
A new twist to a very old story. Beautifully illustrated by Heather Solomon.
A tall tale from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Winner of the 2002 Charlotte Zolotow Award for best writing in a picture book. Available in hardcover and paperback.
Works in Progress
A middle grade novel
A collection of essays about Fairy Tales

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Transformations in Writing

Yeah, Social Workers!

September 30, 2012

Tags: 4 Secrets, Writing Life

The author with a social worker at the Bookman!
This is Kelly Oom, who came to my book signing, and who has worked for years with Juvenile Offenders in the Grand Haven area. She was one of several social workers who inspired me to create Greta Shield and to keep 4 Secrets (and my scenes of juvenile detention) authentic and believable. Plus they all inspired me to make Greta Shield a social worker who WORKS TOO HARD FOR KIDS IN TROUBLE.

Who has a problem with that???

The Art Teacher

September 30, 2012

Tags: 4 Secrets, Writing Life

The Author with Angie Johnson, the real art teacher at the JDC. The Bookman party Sept. 27th.
Angie Johnson spent time with me both in and out of the JDC, talking about what it's like to teach art to kids who are in juvenile detention. And so I had to put an art teacher in FOUR SECRETS, someone who knew just how much all the kids needed her, not just the artistic kids, like Renata, but all the kids, with their nightmares and strife and stories without words.

Wonderful Hometown Booksigning

September 30, 2012

Tags: 4 Secrets, Writing Life

It was so wonderful to celebrate the publication of my book, which is officially "available" October 1, at my local indie bookstore. I am happily signing away in the background at the BOOKMAN in Grand Haven, Michigan, a charming and lively bookstore that has supported me for over 30 years! I gave away many books to the many people who helped me make this book happen--some are mentioned in the acknowledgement pages at the end of FOUR SECRETS, but there were others, and it was such a pleasure to hand these helpful people a real book and say: "See? All those questions and phone calls and note-taking--and now a book really happened!"

Wonderful evening!

Haunting Trailer for FOUR SECRETS

September 27, 2012

Tags: 4 Secrets, Bullies, Writing Life

with Jeff Joanisse, director of the trailer.

I am delirious with excitement about the trailer for FOUR SECRETS. It was created by my stepson, Jeff Joanisse, an accomplished director and filmmaker, from a script I wrote using quotes from the characters. The kids in the trailer are friends of my grandson, Isaac Joanisse--Maya Denslow (Renata), Cam Lund (Nate) and Kylee Kowalksi (Katie). They did an amazing job and I loved using all local (Grand Haven & Spring Lake) talent. We shot it at an empty room in the Piano Factory building in downtown Grand Haven. The piano music is courtesy of the fantastic local musician Garrett Born. Very very proud of the effort put into this bleak little gem of a book trailer. View it here

Promoting, Connecting, Preparing

September 3, 2012

Tags: 4 Secrets, Writing Process, Writing Life

Back when I published my first novel--an event which has been on my mind, perhaps because my daughter is now the age I was when I had her and when my first novel was published--it was completely unnecessary to do the sort of self-promotion and self-generated publicity that is now an integral part of the profession. In fact, there was a supposition that my job was to WRITE, a private and solitary act, and that all of the other aspects of having a book published were assigned to the experts--my first editor, Laura Geringer; my first publicist, Bill Morris, my first agent, whose name escapes me. I did nothing, NOTHING, to promote, or sell, or publicize my own books, and nothing was expected of me. My work was sent out into the wide world by others and everything was carefully filtered for me, filtered and fluffed, so that nothing would discourage or confuse me--the new writer, she-who-must-be-protected, exposed to the marketplace gently.

How lucky I was, to have published at all during that era, certainly an easier time for writers who are shy and love their privacy. I never even made a phone call on my own behalf--I just waited for others to promote me, knowing that the rewards of writing a good book would come. And rewards did come--strong sales, invitations to speak, citations and awards--all without any effort from me beyond doing my best to write the books I was meant to write.

Well...I have just spent the past month, getting my book and my name out, out, out into the marketplace, with the invaluable help of a seasoned publicist, but I am experiencing up close and personal, the changing role of the writer in our overly-interconnected world where buzz and speed and promotion is everything!