Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fright Festival!

Happy Halloween week! For those of you anticipating Hurricane Sandy (like myself,) hopefully your power is restored in time for Authors Fright Festival! I figured I'd better post this before I'm devoid of the internet and crying hopelessly while my children force me to entertain them without the help of Sprout or Disney Junior...

For you book lovers, WinterHaven Books is hosting an online event this upcoming Wednesday! There will be giveaways, book reviews, and some spooktacular authors including some of my favs: A.G. Howard, Bethany Crandell, Kelly Hashway, A. Lynden Rolland (whoever that is...)

A special thanks to some of my goatly mentors for introducing me to WinterHaven Books and thank you to Crystal, Tina, Arlene, and Amber for creating such an amazing site!

Check it out at!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Splintered by A.G. Howard

It takes a certain amount of guts to tinker with a familiar tale. Alice in Wonderland has been a part of my life since I was old enough to tell my mother to ditch the Dr. Seuss before bedtime. Rabbit holes, Mad Hatters and Cheshire Cats fill me with a pleasant nostalgia comparable to my favorite memories as a child… running through the trails of my best friend’s farm or riding bikes at sunset. Wonderland is beloved to me, and so I will admit that although I was anxious to get my greedy hands on an advanced copy of this much anticipated novel, I was a bit unnerved to read a story that continues the tale several generations later. But somehow A. G. Howard was able to use Wonderland as her canvas to paint an incredible story, one that has caused me to lean in closer to flower arrangements and study moths more carefully.

Splintered is as whimsical and magical as the story on which it is based, but Howard chips away at the playful pastel exterior to reveal a much darker, a much more sinister Wonderland. And she does so beautifully, somehow adding depth to a story with already so many layers including a delicious love triangle involving one of my favorite Wonderland characters. Some people are artists, and much like a dancer’s choreography is nothing without technique, a story is nothing without the gift of wording. To that degree, Splintered is completely spellbinding, and so I thought I’d tease you with some of my favorite quotes:

 “Alice has left ripples in our world that only you can smooth.”
“Our gazes touch in a way we can’t…”
“I look up into her face, eyes sky-bright blue and lips the lavender of November dusk.”
“But it’s too late. I’ve squeezed the tear, and the liquid drizzles down my wrist, warm with the  scent of brine and longing.”
“Sometimes a flame must level a forest to ash before new growth can begin.”


… I know… amazing.

Splintered will be released by Amulet in January of 2013. More gushing to come then…


Check out A.G. Howard at at or visit her on Twitter @aghowardwrites!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I doubt I’m the only one who finds inspiration in the oddest of places. A withered flower with the imprint of a shoe in the dirt surrounding it. An old man sitting alone, hunched over a bowl of soup in a diner. A muddy, toy truck abandoned in the middle of a graveyard. Inspiration is about as predictable as Maryland weather, but the moment it strikes is usually well worth the wait.

Inspiration provides a reason to watch award-worthy films and to read thought-provoking novels. Isn’t it the reason we love music? To be moved. To revel in a memory. To be motivated to dance, to exercise, or to take a photo. There are few feelings greater than the spark ignited by a muse. Sparks are easiest to see in the darkest of places; maybe that’s why I’m inspired by darker things.

I had a conversation with a media specialist yesterday, and she posed a question I’ve considered often during the past few months. Where did I find my inspiration for Of Breakable Things? It should be a simple question, but it’s difficult to pinpoint one single source. She assumed a novel about dead children would have been inspired by my own personal loss. I am thankful to say it was not. I blame it on my wild imagination.

However, there is a tree outside of my son’s room, and when the room was a nursery instead of a shrine to super heroes, a rocking chair was positioned next to the window. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: the kid hates sleeping, so as a baby I had to rock him incessantly to save my sanity. Sitting in that chair, staring out the window, there were two branches which had somehow intertwined. They twisted like a braid and seemed to have no choice but to continue to grow together. Or die together.

And so the questions stewed in my head: if two lives were so closely intertwined, how would that affect their choices? What if the lives belonged to two children? What if they loved one another? What if one was dying? What would happen to them? Where would they end up? Would they find each other?

Alex Ash and Chase Lasalle were born.

It’s funny. I have no idea what happened to those branches because when spring arrived that year, they were hidden by large, teardrop-shaped leaves. Oddly enough, the following winter when the tree became bare once again, I searched and searched without success. I could not find the “star-crossed” branches (or so I’d named them.)

Maybe they gave up. Maybe they were chopped down by our persnickety community association. Maybe I was simply that sleep deprived, and they never existed at all.

The purpose here is that the most seemingly insignificant of things can provide the most wonderful sources of inspiration. Four hundred pages worth of inspiration.

Where do you find yours?