What a wild October it’s been so far! My house has been on the market for nearly a year, and it finally sold – with less than 2 weeks to pack everything up and move out! I am so grateful to the friends and family members who have rallied behind me to help pack everything up, move it out, and offered soft places to land while we wait to get into our new place.
Suffice it to say, last weekend looked a lot like this:
I just finished up the fourth and last book in the Chronicles of Cavallon series (publishing in German as Clans von Cavallon under the pen name Kim Forester). Working on this series has been a wonderful experience, and I will miss my centaur, unicorn, pegasus, and kelpie friends. The first two books are out now.
Critique Services Now Available
“You use too many exclamation points, human.”
I’ve also decided to hang up my shingle to offer query letter, synopsis, and manuscript critiques. Check out my critiques page for more information and rates.
The Great ASL Mystery
- Cascades Library (Potomac Falls, VA): Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at 4 PM
- Rust Library (Leesburg, VA): Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 4 PM
- Purcellville Library (Purcellville, VA): Saturday, November 9 at 3 PM
- Gum Spring Library (Stone Ridge, VA): Wednesday, November 13 at 4 PM
- Ashburn Library (Ashburn, VA): Tuesday, November 26 at 4 PM
Where did American Sign Language come from? Flex your fingers and join in the hunt for clues as sign language detective Kathy MacMillan leads silly stories, songs, and more. Kathy is the author of Nita’s First Signs and Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together. More info at https://library.loudoun.gov
The SIGN-a-Long Sing-a-long
- George Mason Regional Library (Annandale, VA): Saturday, November 2 at 10:30 AM
Teach your fingers how to sing as we explore American Sign Language through music and stories! Bring the whole family for the hands-on fun as signing (and singing) storyteller Kathy MacMillan, author of Nita’s First Signs and Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together teaches you to sign some of your favorite songs.
Our Year in Love and Parties by Karen Hattrup
Summary: Tucker knows that some relationships take work. With his best friend, Bobby, and his mom, everything is simple, steady. His dad, on the other hand, seems to only show up when he wants to bring Tucker down. Then there’s Erika Green, who comes back into his life, stirring up old feelings. A small part of him knows he shouldn’t get too attached during senior year. But a bigger part doesn’t want her to disappear again. Erika from before the video loved to shock people. Now, she just wants to hole up in her quiet college life and leave the past where it belongs—in a dumpster fire. But then she reconnects with Tucker Campanelli. Erika can’t explain what it is about him. There’s just this undeniable connection between them, and she really doesn’t want to lose that feeling. Not yet.
To be honest, I am not a party person. Whenever I see one of those rom-coms where people are dancing on tables or playing beer pong, I cringe – because the idea of being around a big group of people, most of them drunk, is not now and never has been my idea of fun. But Karen Hattrup’s new novel, Our Year in Love and Parties, goes far beyond the “party night” tropes of teen books and movies to explore the evolving relationship of its two main characters – the sensitive Tucker and the jaded Erika. It’s a clever device, to set the story up in parties on four nights throughout the year (end of summer, Christmas, spring, and the end of the school year), but by drawing on the ebb and flow of teenage lives, Hattrup’s sensitive portrayal goes much deeper than the calendar. Though Erika and Tucker’s relationship is the throughline of the story, we see it in context of the myriad other relationships swirling around the two of them – complicated family dynamics, friendships made and lost and repaired, romances and hookups and everything in between. (And Hattrup excels at creating lovable, memorable side characters who make me wish they each had a starring role in their own novels.) Like Hattrup’s debut, the excellent, lyrical Frannie and Tru, Our Year in Love and Parties captures the sense of fleeting magic in adolescence, when everything is changing but the possibilities are endless.
OUR YEAR IN LOVE AND PARTIES is out now.
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I’ll be signing at the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, MD this Sunday! Hope to see you there!
Sunday, October 6, 11 AM-5 PM: Maryland Renaissance Festival: Visiting Author at Page After Page Bookstore
Come learn to write your name in the language of the gods and get your signed copy of Sword and Verse and Dagger and Coin! October 9 is also Deaf Awareness Day at the festival, so I will also be signing Nita’s First Signs. Find me at the author tent across from Page After Page Bookstore (inside the festival village). More about the Maryland Renaissance Festival.
Dagger and Coin releases in paperback on October 15! To celebrate, my cat Mary helped me out with this introspective photoshoot:
And I’m also celebrating with a giveaway over on Twitter!
Erin at My Storytime Corner has compiled amazing list of recent children’s books about mighty girls and amazing women, and we are honored that She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices is among them! It’s in great company with awesome books like Mary Wears What She Wants by Keith Negley (about Mary Walker, one of the first women to wear pants), Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone and Marjorie Priceman, and One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of Gambia by Miranda Paul and Elizabeth Zunon. Check out the entire list here!
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Summary: What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales? When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse. Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. True love isn’t always diplomatic.
It’s rare that I bother to review adult fiction books, but this one was so delightful that I had to! Everything about this book just sucked me in and kept me reading late into the night, rooting for Alex and Henry and their unlikely romance. I loved those two adorably geeky cinnamon rolls (I mean, come on, they write each other emails quoting great love letters by historical figures!). I loved all of the secondary characters, especially June and Nora, and the way all the messy, intertwined relationships fueled the plot. And, let’s be real, the alternate reality aspect wherein the appearance of unethical behavior in the White House might actually make a candidate lose votes was refreshing. I read this book while on vacation, in great gulps, and it was everything my exhausted, embittered soul needed. It’s more than a compelling story; this book, right now, is downright therapeutic.
RED, WHITE, AND ROYAL BLUE is out now.
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I did a lot of reading over the summer, but I am a little behind on my reviewing! Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing my reviews of my favorite recent reads. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. First up: a feminist YA read that pairs nicely with my most recent book, She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World:
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Summary: Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules. Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.
I loved this book! Vivian was a such a fully-fleshed out character, with all the hopes and fears and internalized insecurities of a girl growing up in small-town America. I loved the way Viv was inspired by the zines of her mom’s Riot Grrrl past, but what I loved best about this book was how it showed that all it takes is one voice, one spark to bring out the light in others. Viv may be the one writing and distributing the Moxie zine, but the movement she starts soon develops a life of its own, and it doesn’t belong to her, or to any of the individual girls who start speaking up – it belongs to all of them, together, and what they have created is bigger than any one person or single action. Inspiring, empowering, and downright fun, Moxie is a must-read.
MOXIE is out now.
View all my reviews
It’s back to school time, and I’ve got some great resources related to my books for teachers!
She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World
This unique nonfiction picture book highlights 14 women who raised their voices and changed the world! Learn about these heroes and hear their inspiring words in their own voices at the touch of a button. Each entry features discussion questions ideal for the classroom.
Speak Up! Listen Up!: Using She Spoke in the Classroom: guest post at Pencil Tips: Writing Workshop Strategies from Children’s Authors and Illustrators
She Spoke Pinterest board – More links, clips, and recordings of the amazing women profiled in the book and more heroines you should know.
21 Printable Coloring Sheets That Celebrate Girl Power by Emily McCombs
Nita’s First Signs
Nita’s First Signs teaches ten essential signs for every parent and child to know, including eat, more, hungry, milk, all done, ball, play, love, please, and thank you. A simple story about Nita and her parents teaches each sign in context, and repetition throughout each story makes them easy to practice. Even better, each page slides open to reveal accurate instructions on how to make each sign, plus tabs on the side of each page make it simple to locate every sign for later reference.
Nita’s First Signs Teacher/Librarian Guide
Little Hands Signing Storytime & Craft Ideas
Teaching Sign Language to Kids with Nita’s First Signs at Babies to Bookworms
Also by Kathy MacMillan: Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together
Resources for Signing with Babies and Young Children
Resources for Signing in Storytime or the Classroom
Picture Books about ASL and Deaf Culture
Online coaching sessions for affordable, personalized professional development.
Come away to a land of kings and dragons, queens and castles, and learn signs through stories and songs of magic. Bring the whole family (and your fairy godmother too) for American Sign Language fun! Free programs for all ages. Click here for more information about each location.
Monday, July 1:
- 10:30am: George Mason Regional Library
- 2:30pm: Herndon Fortnightly Library
- 7:00pm: Sherwood Regional Library
Tuesday, July 9
- 10:30am: Chantilly Regional Library
- 2:30pm: Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library
Wednesday, July 10
- 10:30am: Pohick Regional Library
- 2:30pm: Patrick Henry Library
Tuesday, July 16
- 10:30am: Oakton Library
- 2:30pm: Lorton Library
Thursday, July 18
- 2:30pm: Burke Centre Library
- 7:00pm: Centreville Regional Library
Tuesday, July 23
- 10:30am: Dolley Madison Library
- 2:30pm: City of Fairfax Regional Library
Location: Eldersburg Library, 6400 West Hemlock Drive Eldersburg, MD 21784
Sing, sign, play, and learn basic American Sign Language in this fun, hands-on storytime for the whole family. Children 3 and under must be accompanied by an adult caregiver. All are welcome! Free program; no registration required.
- Saturday, July 6 at 10:00am: Transportation Signs
- Saturday, August 3 at 10:00am: Animal Signs
Book signings at Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt
- Wednesday, July 24 from 6-8 PM: Catonsville location, 825 N Rolling Rd, Catonsville, D 21228
Come on in to purchase signed copies of She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World, Nita’s First Signs, Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together, Sword and Verse, and Dagger and Coin! 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! All book sale proceeds support Deaf Camps, Inc.’s scholarship fund.