Monday, January 13, 2014

EVENTS 2014!

A new year is here…and so are new events! The first two months are already looking busy. And here was I, thinking that 2014 was going to be easier on my tires. Apparently not!

Any questions about any of these events, please leave a comment below.

Teachers and Librarians, if you’re interested in a booking, please visit the Teachers page of my website for more info.

Or, you can simply email me!

To download a FREE copy of the Common Core Annotated Educational Guide for The Flame in the Mist, click HERE. (It's currently being featured on the educator resource pages of the Random House website, where you can also download it, here.)


Tuesday Jan. 14th,  4:00 – 6:00 pm: Special Educator Event    
Barnes & Noble, Clifton, NJ 
With Alison AshleyFormento and Ann Malaspina, on the use of our books in the classroom with reference to Common Core State Standards.

Wednesday Jan. 15th, 1:30 – 2:30: Assembly Presentation, grades 3-7
Wiggins College Prep Lab School, Camden, PA.

Wednesday Jan. 22nd, 1:15 – 2:15 pm: Assembly Presentation, grades 4-6
Pen Ryn School, Fairless Hills PA.

Friday Jan. 24th – Sunday, Jan. 26th: ALA Midwinter
Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107.
Look out for me at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) table. Time of book signing TBA!
Tuesday Jan. 28th, 6 – 8 pm: Presentation and discussion grades 4 & 5
Jefferson School, North Arlington, NJ


Thursday, Feb. 6th: Presentation and discussion with 5th-7th grade students 
Brittingham Elementary School,  Milton, DE.

Saturday, Feb. 22nd, 1 – 3 pm: “Once Upon a Time” event 
Barnes & Noble, Neshaminy Mall, Bensalem, PA 
Fantasy and fairytales with a bunch of local authors!

Tuesday, Feb. 25th: 2 school visits! (Times tba)
Morning - Assembly presentation at Kutz Elementary, Doylestown, PA
Afternoon - Assembly presentation at Cold Spring Elementary, Cold Spring, PA


Saturday, March 8th, (time tba): Authors Breakfast, Cumberland, PA
Location tba
Books on sale/signing

Late March...probable trip to the UK to see family, and to Europe to write songs.


Saturday, April 19th: YAFEST, Easton, PA 10:30 am – 3:00 pm
Easton Area public library, Palmer branch, 1 Weller Place, 18045
A ton of YA and Middle Grade authors will be there, signing our books!

Saturday, April 26th, 10:00 am – 2:30 pm: Little Flower Teen Festival,  
Little Flower High School, Philadelhia PA
I'll be teaching 2 workshops on The Dark Underbelly of Character


26th – 29th (specific date/time tba) Keystone State Reading Conference, State College, PA
Address TBA
Presentation (title tba) and book signing. Lots TBA with this one...


Tuesday, Dec. 2nd (time tba) Assembly Presentation and bookfair
School TBA

Saturday, January 11, 2014


I know, I’m kind of late out of the gate with a New Year greeting. After a huge number of events last year (did you notice?), I took an extended break over the holidays – a bit of grog here, some wassailing there, punctuated with the odd party and quiet time catching up with The Hubby (which I needed, and so did he). It’s taken me a while to creak back into gear. . . but here I am!

Over the holidays, I also spent some quality time with teetering pile of to-be-read books and managed, ever so slightly, to shrink it. Since I’m officially a bookish person, and this blog is officially attached to my bookish website, I’m going to prattle on a bit about a YA book that I read just before the New Year: A MONSTER CALLED by Patrick Ness, which I snagged from my local indie, the Doylestown Bookshop* just days before the holidays. 

Its title was the first hook for me. (As you might guess from The Flame in the Mist, I’m not only a bookish person, but a spookish one.) Then, its dark cover, moodily illustrated by Jim Kay, gave my creep-meter a thrilling surge. Jim’s drawings grace the whole book, and are fabulous – if you’re a fan of dark and soul-stirring, which obviously I am. Reading the blurb on the back, which starts, “The monster showed up after midnight. As they do”, and ends, “This monster is…something ancient, something wild. And it wants the truth”, I was already reaching for my wallet. Both voice and content were instant grabbers. I had to read this book. 

What's more, it's "the first ever to win both the  Carnegie Medal for literature and the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration". Not that I needed to read that to be sold. High accolades to live up to, thoughwhich it did.

 Based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd, who sadly passed away in 2007 at the age of 47 before she could flesh it out, A MONSTER CALLS is the story of Conor, whose mother has cancer, and who is in denial about its severity. Beautifully told, it weaves the surface story with magical realism – the large yew tree that comes to life outside his bedroom window and plagues his nights, with its ultimate symbolism of healing. But the yew isn’t THE monster of this book. That is something Conor has dreamed, but won’t face – and we’re not told what it is. You might think, as I did, that it would turn out to be the truth about his mother’s condition. . . but it’s not. It’s more tender, and raw, and less pat than that. And a reminder that all monsters, if faced, can hold an invaluable gift.

Can you tell I loved this book? Love love loved. I’m awed. Inspired. What a kick into a new writing year!

I have a feeling it's going to be a monstrously good one.
A very HAPPY 2014 to one and all!

(*At time of posting, said local indie is heralding the imminent arrival of Bad Kitty to the store. Regrettably, this is not me.)