Fear not! More Ratsos On the Way!


Friends, I have a new book coming out in September! The second book (of four!) in the Infamous Ratsos series, The Infamous Ratsos Are Not Afraid, will pub on September 12. As Louie and Ralphie might say, Game ON!

Just as the first book was all about what it means to be “tough” (and how much easier it is to be kind), the second book is about different types of fear, and what it means to be brave. So far, Kirkus Reviews says, “Readers will be following right alongside these two likable rats as Ralphie confronts his past misdeeds and Louie screws his courage to the sticking post” and calls it “Charming.”

If you’re looking for ways to support the book (and me as an author!)…

  1. Please spread the word about this book and series, especially to any parent, teacher, and librarian friends you might know!
  2. If you want to buy the book, don’t wait until September 12! Preorder the book (either through your local indie or via Barnes & Noble or Amazon), as substantial preorders really help the book’s standing.
  3. If you can’t swing buying the book, please consider telling your local library (and/or school library!) to add it to their shelf.
  4. Once you DO read the book (and hopefully like it!), please consider posting a review on Amazon; once a book receives 50 reviews, Amazon really starts showcasing it.

FYI, I’ll be doing a series of local author appearances at bookstores this fall, AND I’m so thrilled I’ll be attending the Book Fair By the Sea in Camden, Maine this month, the Rhode Island Book Festival in Providence in October, and nErDCampLI in Huntington, NY in November. Check out my Events and Appearances page for all the details!

Also, I’m booking school visits and Skype visits for the fall. I LOVE visiting with kids and talking about my books and writing in general (and running writing workshops, too!), so please drop me a line and let me know if you’d like to set something up.

More fun news to come — stay tuned!!


A Mid-Week Peek


Hello, friends, and Happy Wednesday! The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind for me, with the long-awaited (at least, to me!) publication of The Jolly Regina, the first in my middle-grade trilogy, The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters. Many thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement.

Also, I’ve been working on the second Bland Sisters story AND the second book in THE INFAMOUS RATSOS series, I have a few new projects out on submission (fingers crossed!) and I’m now drafting the third and final (?) Bland Sisters adventure.

And then there was this amazing news:


In short: Life is very, very good right now, but also a bit exhausting (in the best possible way).

A few more fun things to point out:

Enjoy the rest of your week…

The Weekly Peek

Hello, friends. I know it’s been a while, but it’s taken me some time to recover from the trauma of the election results (though, tbh, I doubt I will ever fully recover) and figure out what to say about these trying times. It comes down to this: I am here. I am angry (and sad, and scared, but mostly angry). And I am ready, as ever, to MAKE IT HAPPEN — and by that, I mean being educated and vigilant, and using my words, to speak truth and voice protest to those in power, and to continue writing stories that promote kindness and equality. If you know me at all, you know I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, even one as seemingly-insurmountable as the one we now face. I hope you’re ready to make it happen, too, in your own way.

If you’re up for a little distraction, here are a few bits of news from moi:

The Jolly Regina (the first in The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters) has been named to the Winter 2016-2017 Kids’ Indie Next List! Friends, this is a HUGE honor, because 1. Everyone knows that independent bookstores kick ass, 2. Have you SEEN the other books and authors on the list? What brilliant, amazing company!, and 3. It thrills me that the Bland Sisters already have fans — and incredibly smart, discerning fans, at that!

I have three manuscripts out on submission right now — two picture books and a new chapter book series. Fingers crossed for some good news.

For the foreseeable future, I will be working on the third (and final?) book in the Bland Sisters trilogy. I’m sure I’ll have LOTS to share about this process in the coming months.

Recently, I got a little something in the mail that I can’t wait to share with you. To be revealed on Wednesday!

That’s it from me. How’s YOUR week shaping up?


The Weekly Peek

Hello, friends, and Happy Monday. How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was pretty low-key; I finished my course of antibiotics for my pneumonia, but my husband got sick on Thursday just as I was starting to feel better. It’s always something.

This is a short work week for me, as my son’s preschool is closed on Thursday and Friday for parent-teacher conferences and my husband has taken those days off. But in the meantime, I’m hoping to finish revising my new chapter book and hand it off to my agent. Fingers crossed that I can make it happen!

Other stuff going on this week…

  • I’m just about finished bingeing on LUKE CAGE, and sweet Christmas, you guys, it’s so great. If, like me, you loved Jessica Jones and Daredevil, you are in for an ass-kickin’ treat.
  • Since I was sick over the past month and a half, I’ve fallen WAY WAY behind schedule on all my projects. More on this on Wednesday, as I regroup and figure out how to catch up.
  • I just want to take a moment and appreciate how nice it feels to NOT feel like crap. Since August 24th, I’ve been coughing, phlegmmy, and extraordinarily fatigued, and this morning, I finally feel…normal? Healthy? Like I actually have energy to do things? I’ve spent so many weeks muddling through everything in my life; now I can’t wait to get back to operating at 100%. Look out, world!

And how’s YOUR week shaping up?


The Weekly Peek

Hello, friends, and Happy Monday. How are you? I hope autumn has been a lovely, pumpkin-spice-flavored dream for you so far.

As to how I’m doing…well. My pneumonia-like symptoms went away a couple of weeks ago, so I declined to seek medical attention at the very point when I probably should have. Because last week, it came back big time — if it were a movie, it would be called COUGH 2: NEVER STOP COUGHING (ALSO, HOPE YOU LIKE PHLEGM). In addition, I started experiencing seasonal migraines, which left me wanting to pull out my own eyeballs to relieve the pressure, and only went away yesterday. And not to be tmi, but my hormones have been a nightmare, and my cramps are OFF THE CHAIN. I’m having a chest xray tomorrow to confirm a pneumonia diagnosis; looking forward to being prescribed some aggressive antibiotics so I can shut down this phlegm party once and for all.

In spite of all of this, I do have a few updates for you. As follows:

Somehow, I managed to hand in my final revision of the next Bland Sisters story. More about this experience on Wednesday…as long as I can get some antibiotics before then.

Last week, we received a review of The Jolly Regina in Kirkus, and (relatively speaking) it is pretty darn enthusiastic! The final line says it all: “‘Shanghai’ and ‘charming’ don’t usually go together, but here they do.”

Good news: I finally got a spot at renowned children’s books retreat Kindling Words East! Bad news: unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend. We just took our (remaining) cat to the vet this weekend, and I ended up having to spring for quite a few tests and was told that some expensive kitty dental procedures are on the horizon, all of which pretty much sapped my discretionary fund. Oh, well…there’s always next year. And I have quite a few friends on the KWE waitlist, so I will be happy knowing that my misfortune has led to someone else getting good news.

So, *coughcough* how’s YOUR *coughcoughcough* week looking *cough*?



The Weekly Peek

Hello, friends, and Happy Monday. I’d love to give you a full update on everything that’s happened over the past week, but I am actually SICK SICK SICK. While my family and I were in Maine, we all came down with terrible chest colds, and it seems as if mine has morphed into another bout of pneumonia. I’m hoping to receive some delicious antibiotics  so I can be on the mend and back in the blogging saddle soon.

Be well, and enjoy the last few days of summer!

The Weekly Peek

Hello, friends, and Happy Monday! How was everyone’s weekend? I returned from my agent’s annual creative retreat (only barely, due to some travel glitches) and spent yesterday running errands, unpacking, and settling back in to home life.

The retreat was amazing, as ever. I reunited with old friends, made quite a few new ones, talked shop, drank a LOT of bubbly (of course), and started a new project. Yep, you heard me right. I just turned in my Bland Sisters 2 revision two weeks ago, and I’m already on to something else. And so it goes. It’s something I’ve never tried before, so it’s in that exciting and fun and hopeful phase. Fingers crossed that it lasts, and that I can make some headway before vacation.

Yes, I am going on vacation! We are going to Camden, Maine, my son’s namesake. If you’ll be in the area, and you’re free on Sunday, I’ll be doing a reading and signing of THE INFAMOUS RATSOS at 1pm at Sherman’s with Ratsos illustrator Matt Myers and brilliant author-illustrator (and Camden native) Chris Van Dusen!

A few things happening here this week…

I just found out that THE INFAMOUS RATSOS was named Rhode Island’s submission for The National Book Festival in Washington, DC! Huzzah!

Recently, I finished DARING GREATLY by Brené Brown, and boy oh boy did it resonate. This is the third BB book I’ve read and loved, so this Wednesday, I think I might write a bit about my response to her work. (Next on the docket: I am finishing a book I started and loved a while ago, but set aside for unknown reasons: The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food by Judith Jones (aka the editor who discovered Julia Child, among many other culinary luminaries).

Now that the Bland Sisters 2 revision (and the all-consuming mania a revision brings to my life) is off my plate, I’m trying to get back to a more balanced routine: getting up each morning to work out, taking regular showers (which I’m sure everyone around me will appreciate), eating more healthily (instead of whatever takes the least amount of time to prepare/can reach my mouth easily and still allow me to type), and going to bed at a decent hour. We’ll see how long it lasts…

How’s your week shaping up?



The Weekly Peek

Hello, friends, and Happy Monday! How was everyone’s weekend? I started mine with an INFAMOUS RATSOS-inspired pedicure.


What? Am I the only one who reads this way?

After the spa treatment, I spent most of Friday and Saturday prepping for THE INFAMOUS RATSOS launch party. Lots and lots of cooking and baking inspired by the book — including Tiny Crawley’s Tiny Chocolate Chippers, Mr. O’Hare’s Mini Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cupcakes, Fluffy Rabbitski’s Carrots in a Blanket, and Mrs. Porcupini’s Prickly Pickle Dip! (Want to host your own INFAMOUS RATSOS party? Hosting guide and recipes to come on Wednesday.)


RATSOS-themed treats, clockwise from the top: Mr. O’Hare’s Mini Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cupcakes, Tiny Crawley’s Tiny Chocolate Chippers, Fluffy Rabbitski’s Carrots in a Blanket, Louie and Ralphie’s Easy Cheeses, Mrs. Porcupini’s Prickly Pickle Dip, and Big Lou’s Big Ole Fruit Platter.

The party was awesome. Beforehand, my husband and I met up with my friends from the Kidlit Drinks Night Providence crowd, and we ate and toasted to the book (and I finally had a chance to sit down after all that prep work, whew!). Then it was time for the party. I had a great time reading a few chapters of THE INFAMOUS RATSOS via Facebook Live, signing a ton of books, and ending the evening with a sneak peek reading of The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters: The Jolly Regina!


Moi, signing some books.


Me and the local kidlit gang.

Many thanks to Barrington Books Retold for hosting, my husband for his support (and for taking our son out all day on Saturday so I could bake and cook in peace), and the local kidlit community for being INFAMOUSLY amazing.

A couple of other happenings this week…

  • Are you in the Boston area? I’ll be reading and signing at Newtonville Books in Newton, MA on Tuesday, 8/9 at 11am with INFAMOUS RATSOS illustrator Matt Myers!
  • From Wednesday–Saturday, I’ll be attending a creative retreat in Burlington, VT, hosted by my fantastic agent, Barry Goldblatt. Can’t wait to see my fellow BGL clients!
  • On Friday, 8/13 at 10am, I’ll be reading and signing THE INFAMOUS RATSOS at The Flying Pig Bookstore in Sherburne, VT.

Whew! How’s your week looking?

The Weekly Peek

Hello, friends, and Happy Monday. How was your weekend? We had a swell time at the beach on Saturday with our friends, and then I enjoyed a lovely brunch on Sunday with the ladies of The Little Crooked Cottage, Anika Denise and Jamie Michalak. We Cottagers are planning something very special for the fall — details to come!

Here’s what I’m up to this week…

Still plugging away at my revision of the second Bland Sisters story. Hopefully I will finish by Friday, but I’m going to ask for a one-week extension, just in case.

I need to hire a new landscaper, since the one I hired at the beginning of the season has seemingly gone AWOL, and our yard now looks like a crazy jungle. (Yes, I have a landscaper. I know it sounds extravagant, but it’s because 1. my husband and I HATE yard work, 2. it’s logistically impossible to get anything done outside with a toddler running around, and 3. I have a bad shoulder/arm that makes any physical task take twice as long.) FYI, this is the second landscaper we’ve hired in two years who has abandoned us mid-summer. Grrr.

I’m participating in a storytime event at Burnside Park in Providence this Thursday from 10:30-11:30, along with my fellow kidlit friends Anika Denise, Gaia Cornwall, and Christina Rodriguez. If you’re in the neighborhood, hope you and your kiddos might swing by!

And how’s YOUR week shaping up?


The Weekly Peek

Hello, friends, and Happy Monday. How was your weekend? I had a great one. On Saturday, we attended the WGBH FunFest in Boston, where our little one ate his weight in ice cream and cotton candy, listened to music, met (and zealously embraced) Curious George, and got his face painted. After lunch, we went to one of my favorite local indies, Newtonville Books, where I bought myself a couple of juicy reads for my upcoming travels. Later that day, we went to my friend (and fellow Cottager) Anika Denise‘s launch party for her new picture book, MONSTER TRUCKS, where we sipped prosecco and consumed all manner of car- and monster-themed goodies, and watched the author perform her book for a Facebook live feed. Afterwards, my husband and I went to a nearby restaurant called Bywater and experienced one of the best meals we’ve had in a long time (oysters! bluefish paté! duck tacos! burnt sugar ice cream!).

And then, yesterday, we went to IKEA. Why did no one ever tell me about Småland, the playspace in the store where you can drop off your kids for 45 MINUTES of monitored play, while you get your grownup shopping done? You guys, it was like a little Swedish miracle. (While we were there, I bought these insanely good cookies. They are impossibly light and crisp and sweet and salty, and I MAY have eaten a few too many of them last night.) For dinner, we christened our new grill and had a cookout. I made some rosé spritzers (wine +seltzer + homemade strawberry simple syrup), which were divine. And then I binged on a new British crime series on Netflix called Marcella (kinda messy, kinda meh).

So, what’s up for me this week? I’m still slogging through my revision of the second Bland Sisters story. I wish I had a more interesting agenda for you, but I only have one item to address, and believe me, that’s plenty. Once it’s off my plate, I hope (for all our sakes!) my life will be more exciting.

How’s your week shaping up? Hopefully it’s a bit more fun-filled than mine.

P.S. If you’re in the area next Thursday, I’ll be reading in Burnside Park in Providence from  10:30 to 11:30 with fellow local kidlit friends Anika Denise, Gaia Cornwall, and Christina Rodriguez. Hope to see you (and your little ones, if you have ’em) there!