I am so thrilled to finally share with you the project that I have been working on with my bestie/editor for life/all-around awesome person Manuela Bernardi, She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World.  This nonfiction picture book highlights 14 women who stood up for what they believed in, and incorporates actual recordings of their voices that readers can hear at the touch of a button. Researching and writing this book has been truly inspiring, as we had a chance to highlight inspiring figures such as Maya Angelou, Jane Goodall, Dolores Huerta, Abby Wambach, and Malala Yousafzai.

For me, personally, this book has been a wonderful experience. How often do you get to write an awesome book highlighting amazing women, with your best writing friend? Manuela and I first met almost twenty years ago, when we co-wrote Harry Potter fanfiction at (It’s still there!) Since then, we’ve critiqued each others’ work and supported each other through countless edits – all while living in different countries.

She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World will be published Spring 2019 by Familius Press. See the book trailer here:

Posted in She Spoke | Tagged | 1 Comment



Today’s the day! Dagger and Coin, the companion novel to Sword and Verse, is available NOW in hardcover and e-book. I like to think of this book as the rage feminism fantasy epic that we all need right now, featuring Soraya Gamo, the sharp, ambitious would-be queen who must learn to work with her former enemies to rebuild a broken society.



Order now at: | IndieBound | |

Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl from Everywhere says “Rich in politics, intrigue, and betrayal, Dagger and Coin  is a complex feminist fantasy featuring a tough and prickly ex-princess that I couldn’t help but adore.”

Kirkus says: “Soraya’s compelling narration makes the minutiae of management as thrilling as the betrayals, murders, and desperate gambits propelling the plot…A fine balance of political intrigue, relationship drama, and thoughtful characterization.”

School Library Journal says“MacMillan has created a complex, nuanced world. Strong female characters taking the lead in a fast-paced plot will appeal to fans of fantasy, mythology, and works by Kristin Cashore…Those who haven’t read the first title in the series will not be disappointed or confused. A good choice for fantasy shelves.”

Join me for Dagger and Coin events!

Wednesday, October 10 at 1:30 PM: “The Heroine’s Journey” at Fall for the Book (Fairfax, VA)

I’ll be discussing feminism and fantasy with Deborah Schaumberg, author of The Tombs, at Fall for the Book.


Saturday, October 13 and Sunday October 14, 11 am-5 PM, Maryland Renaissance Festival (Crownsville, MD)

I’m thrilled to be launching Dagger and Coin at Page After Page Bookstore at the Maryland Renaissance Festival!  Join me to get your signed copy, learn how to write your name in the language of the gods, and collect some groovy swag!



Sunday, October 21, 5-7 PM: Choices and Consequences – Writing Workshop at The Ivy Bookshop (Baltimore, MD)

Geared to Grades 7-9. $30 registration fee includes a signed copy of Dagger and Coin and an Ivy Journal. Grades 7-9. RSVP to 410-377-2966 or by October 14.  Learn how to analyze your story through the lens of choices and consequences to create coherent plots, compelling characters, and satisfying endings. Click here for more information.


Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27: West Virginia Book Festival


  • Friday 11:30AM-3 PM: Signing at the SCBWI MD/DE/WV Booth
  • Friday 3:30-5:30 PM: Storybuilding (free writing workshop). Learn how to focus on the specifics you need at each stage of the writing process to build your characters’ world without ever losing sight of the story at its heart.
  • Saturday 11 AM: Nita’s First Signs storytime
  • Saturday 12:30-2:30 PM and 4-5 PM: Signing at the SCBWI MD/DE/WV Booth
  • Saturday 3 PM: Nita’s First Signs storytime


Saturday, November 10, 11AM-1PM: Read Local Kick-Off Party at Winchester Book Gallery (Winchester, VA)

Come help us kick off the Maryland/Virginia/Delaware/Washington D.C. Read Local Challenge! Join us for an all-ages storytime at 11 am, featuring American Sign Language stories and songs, followed by games and crafts featuring the 42 books in the Read Local Challenge and a book signing for both Nita’s First Signs and Dagger and Coin. You can win great prizes just by participating! Find out more about the Read Local Challenge here.


Check out the complete calendar of upcoming appearances for more information!


Click and listen!

Jedlie's Reading with Your Kids


I’m on the Reading with Your Kids podcast today talking about writing in multiple genres, ambitious female characters, and addressing the political through fantasy in Dagger and Coin. Click here to listen for free!


Enter to win!

Posted in Contests and Giveaways, Dagger and Coin, Upcoming events, Young Adult Fantasy | Leave a comment

So many updates!

This month has been a whirlwind, and the next one looks like it will be the same!  I’ve got lots of news to share!

Dagger and Coin releases next Tuesday!

Kirkus calls it a “riveting fantasy sequel” and “[a] fine balance of political intrigue, relationship drama, and thoughtful characterization.” School Library Journal says“Strong female characters taking the lead in a fast-paced plot will appeal to fans of fantasy, mythology, and works by Kristin Cashore.”

Find out more about the book here.

Preorder Dagger and Coin and submit your receipt by October 8 to get a FREE exclusive short story!

Preorder Dagger and Coin and get a FREE exclusive short story! “A fine balance of political intrigue, relationship drama, and thoughtful characterization.” – Kirkus Review Coming October 9, 2018 from HarperTeen


Join me for Dagger and Coin events!

I’m thrilled to be launching Dagger and Coin at Page After Page Bookstore at the Maryland Renaissance Festival on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14!  Join me to get your signed copy, learn how to write your name in the language of the gods, and collect some groovy swag!




I’ll also be appearing with Deborah Schaumberg, author of The Tombs, at Fall for the Book on Wednesday, October 10 at 1:30 PM for “The Heroine’s Journey.”

Check out the complete calendar of upcoming appearances to see where I’ll be this month.


Free Skype Visits on Friday, October 12!

In honor of Teen Read Week, I’m offering FREE Skype visits for schools and libraries on Friday, October 12! Contact me here to schedule yours.


Giveaway time!

Enter to win a signed copy of Dagger and Coin on Twitter!




Nita’s First Signs news!

The big news is that the first print run of Nita’s First Signs is sold out! While individual copies are still available through some online retailers, copies of the book are expected to be hard to get until the end of October. Familius Press is therefore offering anyone who attends one of my events the opportunity to order the book at 40% off! Look for the sign-up sheet at my events throughout October!

The Nita’s First Signs Teacher/Librarian Guide is here! Check it out today for great ideas on how to incorporate more signing into your lessons and storytimes!






Basic ASL for Library Staff eCourse open for registration


The newest session of my popular 6-week eCourse, Basic ASL for Library Staff, begins November 5. Find out more and register here!

Posted in Contests and Giveaways, Dagger and Coin, Little Hands Signing series, News, Nita's First Signs, Resources for Teachers and Librarians, Upcoming events, Young Adult Fantasy | Leave a comment

Join the YA Scavenger Hunt and Win!

The YA Scavenger Hunt begins today! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! In this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online from October 2 at noon Pacific time to October 7 at noon Pacific time.


Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SEVEN contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GOLD TEAM–but there is also a red team, a blue team, an orange team, a green team, a pink team, and purple team. Participate in as many hunts as you like, for more chances to win different sets of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.


Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GOLD TEAM, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).

Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 7 at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


And now for my stop on the YA Scavenger Hunt!

Today, I am hosting Colleen Oakes on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Colleen Oakes is the bestselling author of books for both teens and adults, including The Queen of Hearts Series, The Wendy Darling Saga and the upcoming YA novel The Black Coats. Find out more information by checking out Colleen’s website or find out more about The Black Coats here! 


Moxie meets Female of the Species in this powerful, thrilling, and deeply resonant novel about a secret society of girls who plot revenge on the men who hurt them. The enigmatic Black Coats have been exacting vengeance on men who have hurt girls and women for years. The killer of Thea’s cousin went free, and Thea has just received an invitation to join the Black Coats’ balancings—acts of revenge meant to teach a lesson. Justice for Natalie has never felt so close. But as the balancings escalate in brutality, Thea’s clear-cut mission begins to unravel and she must decide just how far she is willing to go for justice. Because when the line between justice and revenge is paper thin, it’s hard not toget cut.

Exclusive Content

Check out Colleen’s Playlist for The Black Coats!

And her awesome Black Coats Inspiration Board:

And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Colleen Oakes, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is and will always be 87. Add up all the golden numbers of the authors on the Gold Team and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!


To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Jacob Devlin!







Posted in Contests and Giveaways, Dagger and Coin, Extras, Sword and Verse, Young Adult Fantasy | Tagged | Leave a comment

Pre-order DAGGER AND COIN and get an exclusive short story!

Dagger and Coin will be out in the world on October 9, 2018 and I can’t wait!  I’m offering a FREE, exclusive short story for anyone who preorders the book! This stand-alone story, “Lesson”, takes place on the Nath Tarin, the northern islands, and features Loris, a character you will meet in Dagger and Coin.  To get your copy of “Lesson”, simply send a copy of the receipt for your preorder of Dagger and Coin to before October 9. Open internationally; free short story will be delivered electronically as a .pdf file.

Preorder Dagger and Coin and get a FREE exclusive short story! “A fine balance of political intrigue, relationship drama, and thoughtful characterization.” – Kirkus Review Coming October 9, 2018 from HarperTeen


Posted in Contests and Giveaways, Dagger and Coin, Extras | Tagged | Leave a comment

Giveaway! Win Signed Copies of DAGGER AND COIN and HIDDEN SCROLLS

Continue reading

Posted in Contests and Giveaways, Dagger and Coin | Leave a comment

Read This!: SABOTAGE STAGE LEFT by Casey Lyall

Sabotage Stage Left (Howard Wallace, P.I. Book 3)Sabotage Stage Left (Howard Wallace, P.I. #3) by Casey Lyall

Summary: Spring (musical) fever has hit the Grantleyville Middle School Drama Club! Since Ivy Mason is busy with the production, she decides to take a break from sleuthing, while Howard Wallace keeps things running smoothly with their detective agency. Then, just a few weeks before showtime, suspicious things start happening backstage: missing costumes, damaged props, and too many other mishaps to be coincidental. Ivy calls in Howard and their crew to take on the case. Howard tries to lay low and quietly sniff out the perp, but he’s soon brought into the spotlight when he’s framed as the saboteur! Can the team of intrepid P.I.s clear Howard’s name and catch the culprit before the curtain falls on the big show?

Howard Wallace, P.I. has learned a thing or two in his adventures: how to run investigations on the down low, how to put the pressure on the bad guys when it counts, and when to trust his partner. Howard’s loyalty to his friends, but especially Ivy, is his most endearing trait, even when it gets him into the most exasperating situations. After all, for Howard, if things didn’t go wrong they wouldn’t go any way at all. In this adventure, Howard faces the challenges of leadership as Wallace and Mason Investigations works with a host of new associates to solve a graffiti mystery and figure out who is sabotaging the school play. Howard’s inimitable old-man-in-a-tween-body voice provides the hook and the laughs, but it’s the heartfelt relationships that will keep readers coming back for more. Watching these middle school gumshoes in action is a sheer delight.


View all my reviews

Posted in Read This, Reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Happy Paperback Day, SWORD AND VERSE!

Sword and Verse comes out in paperback today!  To celebrate, I’m doing a giveaway on Twitter:

Watch for more exciting giveaways later this month as we get closer to the hardcover release of Dagger and Coin on October 9!  The book got its second trade review recently, and it’s another great one! Booklist says: “MacMillan builds tension slowly, and soon readers will be locked into the wrangling for power and influence that goes into forging a new foundation.” Read the full review here.

I also just the great news that Sword and Verse paperback and the Dagger and Coin hardcover will be released in the UK by HarperCollins 360!


Posted in Contests and Giveaways, Dagger and Coin, Sword and Verse | Leave a comment

One month left to participate in the #ReadLocalSummerChallenge

I’ve had a blast being a part of the Read Local Challenge, which features traditionally published authors and illustrators living in Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Now we’ve got a great way to extend the fun: the Read Local Summer Challenge!

Read any of our 2017-18 or 2018-19 Read Local Challenge books this summer and enter to win a prize pack of signed books and special Read Local swag! – Each book that you read & share gives you another opportunity to win. If you read all 90 books and share each one on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, that gives you 270 entries!!

1. Read any of the books from our 2017-18 MD/DE/VA/DC Read Local Challenge or get a head start on reading our upcoming 2018-19 Read Local Challenge books.

2. Tell us what you are reading! Each time you finish a book, share it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #ReadLocalSummerChallenge (and be sure to tag us: @SCBWI_MD_DE_WV on Twitter, or @Read.Local.MD.DE.VA.DC on Facebook and Instagram). It’s super easy to enter: after reading, simply click on the book cover at the Read Local Summer Challenge site to access a pre-written tweet!

3. Each separate tweet or post gives you another entry, so share your reading journey widely, across all of your social media accounts! All entries must be received by 11:59pm on September 21, 2018. Anyone with a US or APO shipping address is eligible to enter.

4. A winner will be chosen in a random drawing from entries received across all platforms on or around September 25, 2018.

Learn more at 

Posted in Authors You Should Know, Contests and Giveaways | Leave a comment

Reading with Your Kids Podcast featuring NITA’S FIRST SIGNS

I was delighted to be interviewed by Jedlie for his podcast, Reading with Your Kids. We discussed the benefits of signing with all children, the power of bilingualism, and how Nita’s First Signs came to be.

Click here to listen to a recording of the podcast.

Click here to read a transcript.

Jedlie's Reading with Your Kids     Nita's First Signs final cover

Posted in American Sign Language, Interviews, Little Hands Signing series, Nita's First Signs | Leave a comment