Signed Copies of My Books Now Available in the DCI Online Bookstore!

If you have followed me for any length of time, you are probably aware of how proud I am to be affiliated with an amazing organization called Deaf Camps, Inc., a volunteer-run non-profit organization dedicated to providing fun, safe, communication-rich camps that promote the physical, spiritual, and social development of Deaf/hard of hearing children and children learning American Sign Language.  You may recall that my launch party for Sword and Verse was a gala fundraiser that raised scholarship money for Deaf Camps, Inc. I have been volunteering with this organization since 2001, and have been on the board since 2003. I have volunteered at camp every year and served in various capacities on the board. Currently I am DCI’s treasurer and director of the Interpreter Internship Program.

So I am pleased to announce that from now on, autographed copies of all my books – along with some terrific bundle deals! – will be available in Deaf Camps, Inc.’s Online Bookstore, with all proceeds going directly to Deaf Camps, Inc.’s scholarship program. To have a book personalized, simply note name(s) in the comments section on the order form.

And remember, signed books make excellent holiday gifts!  Order now!

DCI Bookstore

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UK Releases and Upcoming Events

Sword and Verse released in paperback in the UK this week, with Dagger and Coin to follow in hardcover on December 27!

Upcoming Events

Friday, December 7 from 6-8 PM: Book signing at Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt (Timonium, MD)

Come on in to purchase signed copies of NITA’S FIRST SIGNS, LITTLE HANDS AND BIG HANDS: CHILDREN AND ADULTS SIGNING TOGETHER, SWORD AND VERSE, and DAGGER AND COIN! Perfect for holiday gift giving! Make a sign language craft and learn to write your name in the language of the gods. Purchase a book and receive 20% off your Sweet Frog yogurt purchase!


Wednesday, December 12 from 5-8 PM: SCBWI MD/DE/WV Barnes and Noble Bookfair Kickoff  Multi-Author Event (Ellicott City, MD)

Shop at Barnes & Noble, either in-store or online, between December 12 and December 19, and present them with our bookfair voucher or Bookfair ID number (12467247), and SCBWI MD/DE/WV will receive a portion of the sales.

Join us for our Book Fair Kickoff event at Barnes & Noble Ellicott City on December 12 from 5-8 p.m. Purchase signed books and play games like book bingo, pin the book on the shelf, crazy guessing games, and more with these Read Local authors:


Veronica Bartles, author (Twelve Steps, The Princess and the Frogs)


Rebecca Evans, author/illustrator (Masterpiece Robot and the Ferocious Valerie Knick Knack)


Laura Gehl, author (Delivery Bear, I Got a Chicken for My Birthday, My Pillow Keeps Moving, Peep and Egg: I’m Not Using the Potty)

        Dagger and Coin by Kathy MacMillan

Kathy MacMillan, author (Nita’s First Signs, Sword and Verse, Dagger and Coin)


Deborah Schaumberg, author (The Tombs)


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It’s a great big SALE! Order Nita’s First Signs at 40% off the cover price! Makes a great gift for the young children, expecting parents, and educators on your list! Go to and enter the code ReadingFamily to order!

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A DAGGER AND COIN Short Story: The Council of Four

Time for another Dagger and Coin extra! Today I am pleased to share a short story that bridges Sword and Verse and Dagger and Coin. This story shows the very first meeting of the new Ruling Council, and takes place between the final two chapters of Sword and Verse…but it’s from Soraya’s point of view.  This story was originally featured in the Fall 2018 YA Scavenger Hunt, and I pleased to share it now with all my readers.


The Council of Four: A Story from the World of Sword and Verse and Dagger and Coin
by Kathy MacMillan

IT HAD BEEN a day since I agreed to be on the new Ruling Council, and my mother had not said a word about it. She must not have figured out the best way to use it to her advantage yet. Or perhaps she had, and was staying silent to provoke me into asking what she thought.

I watched her as I sat on the bed Aunt Silya and I shared in the priest’s residence at the Temple of Aqil. Mother lay in the second bed, one arm over her eyes, her other hand on her copious stomach. I’d already given her one of the little honey-herb packets that were supposed to help her dizziness, but I couldn’t help worrying.

Alshara was curled up on her side next to Mother, facing the wall. Mother took up so much space that Alshara practically clung to the edge of the bed. If she’d been in her usual state, my sister would have been complaining nonstop, but she’d hardly said more than two words in the past five days, since she had witnessed our father being cut down by the Arnath Resistance, since I’d had to tell her, haltingly, of finding the body of our sister Aliana, her twin, lifeless in the courtyard of the palace.

I never thought that I would actually miss Alshara’s whining.

I should have been relishing the peace; Aunt Silya and her constant chatter had removed to the gardens with much muttering that my mother had made the room smell like a barnyard. She wasn’t wrong—Mother tended to sweat profusely when the headaches and dizziness took her, and we hardly had the perfumes, oils, and powders we had once had to cover up foul odors.

I was debating with myself. I didn’t quite know what it meant, the fact that I had agreed yesterday, in front of everyone, to be on the new Ruling Council, and I was annoyed that no one had bothered to enlighten me. I was sick of sitting around waiting for something to happen, but it felt indecently self-revealing to seek out those answers. I couldn’t have Mati and Raisa and Jonis thinking I was eager to join in their plans.

I ran my finger over my father’s signet ring, worn on my right thumb because it was so large it slipped off every other finger. The pad of my index finger was becoming callused from the number of times I had repeated this gesture over the past few days. This is ridiculous, I decided. I was head of the Gamo family now. If Mati and Jonis didn’t want me on this council, then that was all the more reason for me to force them to give me answers.

I pushed myself up off the bed and smoothed the skirt of the yellow dress I’d been wearing for days now. Aunt Silya had disappeared not long after we’d arrived at the Temple of Aqil and returned with a pile of clothes, of which this dress had been the least offensively plain. The fact that she had known her way around the priest’s residence made me wonder exactly what kind of relationship she’d had with Penta Rale, her brother-in-law, and whether any inappropriateness had started before or after her husband had died. I was certain that she had been the one to convince my father, her younger brother, to join in Rale’s coup.

Regardless, I’d been glad enough to shed my torn and muddy wedding dress. I would have liked to toss it into the fire, but I knew how much the silk in the rosettes would be worth when unraveled. Most of my family’s wealth remained in the west at Pira, of course, but our finances would not escape the ravages in the city unscathed, and there was no sense being wasteful.

When I stepped into the hallway, Valdis looked up from his seat outside the door. I started to tell him where I was going, as if I owed him an explanation, but I ran my finger over my father’s signet ring on my thumb and stopped myself. I was his mistress, not his charge.

“Stay and guard them,” I ordered, though he’d done nothing to indicate that he planned to do anything else.

I marched down the hallway, glancing into open rooms and straining to hear conversations behind closed doors. I had no idea where to find Mati or the others, but I was reluctant to ask anyone I passed. I kept my head up and turned a corner as if I knew where I was going, and caught a glimpse of Mati entering a room at the end. I went directly to it and knocked on the closed door.

“Coming,” said Mati’s muffled voice.

He opened the door a moment later, tying the laces of a rough brown tunic that didn’t suit him at all. His hair was damp and the ends dripped onto his shoulders. He looked nothing like a king, which was fortunate, since he wasn’t one any longer.

I couldn’t help a bit of satisfaction at the fear that flashed over his face at the sight of me. My father had inspired fear in his enemies, but the only people who’d ever been afraid of me had been servants dreading the edge of my sharp tongue.

After all Mati had done to me, he should fear me.

Read the rest of the story here.

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It’s been three weeks since Dagger and Coin made its appearance in the world, so I guess it’s time to start sharing some extras!  Today I’m sharing some of the images I have held in mind while writing the story.

First, here are Soraya and Raisa, and a very apt quote for Soraya:

And here’s a poem that always, always makes me think of Soraya. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

To see more of the images, quotes, and songs that inspired Dagger and Coin, check out my Pinterest page:


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Read More and Read Local!

I had a great time last weekend at the West Virginia Book Festival in Charleston, WV!  Thanks to everyone who came out to my workshop on Storybuilding and my Nita’s First Signs storytimes! Here’s a great photo of all my helpers with their masks on learning how to sign “Wake up, sun!” (This photo is also a minor miracle because it’s one of the few photos taken of me mid-sign that doesn’t feature a weird facial expression! Kudos to Chris Dorst of the Charleston Gazette-Mail for pulling that off!

I was thrilled to be able to spend time telling festival attendees about the READ LOCAL CHALLENGE, and now I get to tell you too!

The MD/DE/WV Region of the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators invites all readers  to take the Read Local Challenge! Read as many books from participating local authors/illustrators as you can by May 31, 2019 and enter for a chance to win signed books and free Skype visits with one of our Read Local authors or illustrators! Our participating authors and illustrators this year live in Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, and the challenge features traditionally published books at 3 levels: Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult.  Individuals, schools, libraries, homeschool groups, scout troops … groups of any size can enter! All materials are available for download at

This program was designed to be as easy as possible for teachers and library staff – so SCBWI is handling all the prize distribution, coordination, etc. All we ask schools and libraries to do is help spread the word and make program materials available! All the participating authors and illustrators are also offering discounts on their school and library visits if you mention the Read Local program.

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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:

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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!

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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