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

Kirkus Starred Reveiw for Beetle Boy

June 28, 2014

Tags: Beetle Boy, writing process

I have a few writer friends who say they don't read their reviews. Others who say they don't care about reviews and are not affected by them. I wish that I could adopt one of these two strategies. I must admit, the wait for my first review of Beetle Boy was stressful. I am not a stranger to critical reviews, even a few that I would characterize as brutal reviews--and these, I believe have strengthened my belief in the integrity of my own books. They are not for everyone. They are distinct and uniquely mine. This is certainly true of Beetle Boy. I don't think I have ever been so proud of a book--so sure that it is coming straight from my heart and my brain and my beliefs about what happens to children when their parents abandon and/or use them. But the book is a strong dose, full of harsh realities and human failure and may be problematic for some. So like I said...waiting for that first review...very hard. Now it has come and the matter is settled. I am very glad that it was a starred review, but beyond that, I am over the hurdle of the wait for the "first review," and so feel very free about what will come next. Let it roll. I believe in my book. No one else could have written it.


August 24, 2012

Tags: writing life, writing process

Long must be...
More nostalgia. The jacket flap photo from my first novel. My daughter had just been born. Now she is expecting her first child, a girl. Beloved daughter. Expectant and full of new life and the same age I was when I had her. The baby will be named Beatrice, after Chloe's grandmother. And she will be very, very clever.

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Something I Realized About Journals

August 24, 2012

Tags: 4 secrets, writing life, writing process

The Bigger Book of Lydia
Today I realized something that brought a smile to my face. The very first novel I ever wrote, way back in the eighties, THE BIGGER BOOK OF LYDIA, had a crucial journal in it, a survival manifesto. Lydia's journal was about not fading away, not disappearing. In FOUR SECRETS, Renata also has a journal and it helps her to survive in Juvie. They are both artists and they both survive the trauma of their situations via their precious journals. It felt like a kind of full circle, an accidental one. I felt happy about this coincidence all day.

And also a little nostalgic for the early days of my chosen profession, before the internet, a time of innocence, a time of confidence.

Writing about FOUR SECRETS

June 22, 2012

Tags: Four Secrets, writing process

Here are various topics that I have been sketching essays for: 10 Things You Didn't Know about Juvenile Detention, The Bullied Child as Hero, Bullies in Classic Literature about Growing Up, and Facing Up to your Inner Bully. This last one is based on my belief that we all engage in bullying behavior sometimes in the process of becoming adults and learning compassion. What's scary is how rarely adults reflect on their own guilt and cowardice when faced with the subject of bullying. Everybody has tough school memories: being bullied, observing bullying, ignoring routine cruelty, refusing to intervene out of apathy or fear. All stuff I am so interested in. Great summer project, along with writing autobiographical essays on the theme of various fairy tales that comforted me and freaked me out as a child.

Hans Brinker

May 14, 2012

Tags: writing, essays, writing process, HOW SHE LEFT

A classic story of a brother/sister bond
To ease myself into a new project, I am tinkering with autobiographical essays that were in various states of incompletion--several just needing a solid conclusion, but conclusions are very hard for me. Finished one essay yesterday about loving the book HANS BRINKER by Mary Mapes Dodge when I was a young reader, using the (more…)

Valentines Day

February 14, 2012

Tags: new novel, writing process

What is there to say when you are writing the way I have been writing? There is no way to make it interesting--it is solitary, introspective, internal; it moves underneath ordinary life. All I can say about my work this month is that sentences are becoming paragraphs. Paragraphs are becoming pages. I am grateful (more…)

Digging In

January 11, 2012

Tags: writing process, Four Secrets, new novel

Currently I am awaiting the galleys for FOUR SECRETS, also awaiting a response to my novel THE BEETLE BOY and working steadily on the short stories that will comprise the novel HOW SHE LEFT. January is proving to be a month during which I can write every day, even it it is only for (more…)


December 30, 2011

Tags: autobiographical short stories, writing, writing process

I had hoped to finish a first draft of a novel-in-stories, but the month of December was filled with tasks and programs and holiday concerns that took me away from a solid writing schedule. That's okay. I am about two-thirds finished with this new project, tentatively titled HOW SHE LEFT. Now it will take (more…)

Thanksgiving With Me

November 22, 2011

Tags: picture books, writing process, Michigan

Ah, Thanksgiving. Time of gratitude and feasting. "Again we will call them in from the sea, again they'll have Thanksgiving with Me!" My 2011 Thanksgiving will be quiet and restful with my beloved husband as we head up north, just the two of us, to the Traverse area. We've done this before when our children (more…)