Let’s Celebrate Awesome Stuff, Like My Book Cover and Release Date!

Once upon a time I wrote a book about big dreams, the occasional suckiness of middle-school life, and learning how to be yourself by stepping into the great unknown. By some stroke of super-radness, HarperCollins decided they wanted to publish it. Being the wise publishing gods that they are, they figured it should have a cover, so they sent the book to Sylvie Le Floch, who has designed book covers for HC/Greenwillow for more than twenty years. Then: Voila! My book had a cover!

Blackbird_Fly_BookSylvie did an awesome job showing dreams/middle-school/great unknowns with this fantastic book cover, don’t you think? Three cheers for Sylvie! (By the way, isn’t ‘Sylvie’ a great name? If your name is Sylvie, congratulations).

Not only does the book have a cover, it also has a release date: March 24, 2015. You can even add it on GoodReads.

To celebrate this overwhelmingly fantastic news, I’m launching a seven-ARC giveaway. I’ll pick one winner per prize. Here are the ARCS:


Blackbird Fly HC C

The contest is open to US and international fans alike. So, whatcha waiting for?

Enter the giveaway.

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I’d Like to Introduce You to Apple Yengko

indexMy writer friend Maria DeVivo tagged me in the Meet My Character Blog Tour. (Thanks, Maria!)

The Meet My Character Blog Tour gives writers a chance to highlight the main character of a recent work. For my post, I’d like to introduce you to the main character of my debut novel Blackbird Fly, which is scheduled for release in April 2015. (Thanks, HarperCollins/Greenwillow!)

Settle in as I make introductions using the tour’s prearranged questions.

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Her name is Analyn Yengko, but people call her “Apple.” Apple is Filipino, and Filipinos are known for bestowing unusual, funny, and/or awkward nicknames on unsuspecting youth. My mother called me Peanut, because I was shaped like one when I was born. Analyn was nicknamed Apple, because her father said that was the shape of her head when she was a baby.

Although she feels very real to me, Apple is fictional.

2) When and where is the story set?

Present-day, in the fictional smallish Southern town of Chapel Spring, Louisiana.

3) What should we know about her?

Apple is twelve years old and she loves the Beatles. Her favorite Beatle is George Harrison. (Second favorite: John.) She was born in the Philippines, but has lived in the States most of her life. Her father died when she was little, so she lives alone with her mother in a yellow house. Her mom’s name is Glo.

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Moon-Eating Dragons, Pineapple Girls, and Other Filipino Tales I Don’t Know

Fil-AmI was born and raised in America. (Born in Kansas and raised in Louisiana, to be exact.) There weren’t many Filipinos in my school. I’ve never shared a classroom with one in my life, except maybe in college, where classes were too big to notice. But when I was a little girl, I noticed. Believe me. You always notice when you’re the Other.

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New Short Story at the Milo Review. You Remember Margaret, Right?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of my short stories is now available at the Milo Review. It’s about a woman you know named Margaret.

If we were to say a bit about Margaret, we would say this: (a) She prefers the smell of paper over cotton candy. (b) She would rather a peppermint than a candy apple. (c) She is unnerved by strange men.

Another thing we know: There are strange men at carnivals.

Read the entire story here. Order the print edition (Summer 2014) here. Send me hate mail and/or accolades here.


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Why I Unfollowed You

Twitter-Unfollow-ToolsOh, fellow Twitterer whom I’ve never met IRL. Please know that it’s not you. It’s me.

Actually, that’s a lie. It’s you.

After several seconds of contemplation, I’ve decided to sever our online “relationship.” I’m sure you haven’t noticed, since you have 5.7K followers that you also haven’t met IRL. But just in case you have, here’s why.

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The Most Important Writing Technique No One Talks About

If you’ve been writing seriously for any amount of time, you probably know all the standard rules of technique: show don’t tell, write what you know, blah blah blah. But if you really want to survive as a writermentally and emotionallythere’s one element of your craft that you need to get in the best possible shape.

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