Cool Reads, Hot Nights Giveaway

What do you do when your newest release is a snow-filled winter book but it’s 80+ degrees outside with humidity so high your hair has taken on a new dimension? You host a giveaway of YA winter sports books! I’ve teamed up with Katie Van Ark and Jennifer Comeaux for a giveaway that’s sure to cool you off on even the hottest summer nights.

How to Finish the First Draft: Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of my series How to Finish the First Draft. You know how to get the words out (no matter how bad they are) and that you need to make writing those sucky words a priority, but there’s still that little voice niggling in the back of your mind, trying to distract you from getting your work done.

How to Finish the First Draft: Part 2

One of the biggest obstacles to finishing a first draft isn’t writer’s block, a lack of ideas, or a general feeling that you suck as a writer (although that last one can really do a number on your self-esteem). The biggest obstacle is not making writing a priority.

I’ll repeat that. You must make writing a priority.

Despite what some people may lead you to believe, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. How you choose to spend those 24 hours is what separates those who plan to write a novel someday and those who write novels. If you truly want to write, it has to come before other things fighting for your time.

How to Finish the First Draft: Part 1

Melanie Hooyenga first started writing as a teenager and finds she still relates best to that age group. She has lived in Washington DC, Chicago, and Mexico, but has finally settled down in her home state of Michigan. When not at her day job as a Communications Director at a nonprofit, you can find Melanie attempting to wrangle her Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with her husband Jeremy.

Lessons from My Sister, on the 1st Anniversary of Her Death

When my dad was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in March of 2014, we knew right away that he didn’t have long to live. But when my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer that July, just two months after he died, there was never a doubt in my mind that she’d beat it.

On Writing Strong Female Protagonists

Strong female protagonists are nothing new in literature. From Nancy Drew to Katniss Everdeen, teen girls have always had strong role models—if they knew where to look. But something has shifted in the last decade.

My Fears Were Not Realized

When I agreed to speak to 200 eighth graders, I thought, “How hard can it be? Adults talk to kids all the time.” But THIS adult has very little interaction with anyone under the age of 25 so needless to say, the fear set in very quickly.

Guest Author New Release: Uncorking a Lie

Happy release day to my FF BFF! I realize wine mysteries aren’t exactly YA, but how can I not tell you about Nadine’s newest book? I was fortunate enough to read an early edition of this and it’s even better than the first! I never knew counterfeit wine was even a thing, but Nadine not …

Kitchen Renovation, 2017

When we bought our house in November 2014, the first thing on our “this has gotta go” list was the upstairs bathroom. That was renovated within seven months, and after that our focus turned to the kitchen. We timed projects around tax returns, and we knew we’d have to do it in stages. The floors went in last summer, we painted in the fall, then this past March and April we added French doors, replaced the counters and backsplash, refinished the existing cabinets, and completely rewired the entire kitchen.

It sounds so easy when I say it like that…

A Lifetime of Inspiration

A lot of my fellow writers can name an author who inspired them to become writers, or who inspire them to continue writing as adults. Neil Gaiman, Sue Grafton, Judy Blume… the names of these icons roll off their tongues without hesitation. But for me, it’s a little more complicated.