Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Attention Children's Authors!

This past summer, I took my ten year old niece to a book signing for this book: 

I cannot tell you how moving that evening was and of all days, I didn't have tissues in my bag! 

Elissa Montanti, the author of this book, simply asked a question one day: can I help? She wanted to help  children around the globe who needed it the most: the children of war, children who have stepped on landmines while they played soccer with their friends, victims of devastating earthquakes and tsunamis. Children who have greatly suffered because of the decisions the adults around them have made. These children are missing limbs, have lost their eyesight, have been burned and worse. These children come from countries where they cannot get the type of medical care available in America. Care that would ensure them a better life.

 Elissa started with just one child and she didn't let red tape stop her, or fear of the unknown for that matter. 60 minutes, CNN and The Huffington Post are just a few who have interviewed her. Tyler Perry-- yes, THAT Tyler Perry, saw the 60 minutes interview and helped Elissa renovate a house where these children could stay while they receive care, which Shriners hospital provides at no cost. This house is called the "Dare to Dream House." Today my niece,  her mom and I visited Elissa. My niece has so many ideas of her very own to help the children who come to Elissa, her heart has always been full of love for others and I am so proud of her.

So, here's where I'm going with all of this. After I read Elissa's amazing and inspiring book, I asked myself what I had to offer these sweet kids, and the answer came: books. I mean, I'm an author, right? I'm around other children's authors, so why not set up a comfy reading corner filled with books signed by their awesome authors? It would be a great addition to an already beautiful house. 

If you're an author of children's books (from picture books to young adult) and you're with a traditional publisher, I kindly come to you and ask if you'd like to donate a signed copy of your book for the kids who come to stay at the Dare to Dream House. As authors, we know the magic a book can bring. Will you help me bring some of that magic to the kids who need it the most?

Please feel free to share this with your author friends! 

You can read about Elissa and the Dare to Dream House here:

Email me at: for mailing information.

Gratefully Yours,


Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Day at the White Plains Public Library

I spent yesterday at the White Plains Multicultural Book Festival. Let me tell you, the White Plains Public Library knows how to throw a fest! Plus, it is a gorgeous library. This is what you see as you walk into the children's area:

How beautiful is that? There were also tiny points of light on the ceiling made to look like stars.

Inside, there were comfy reading spaces that made me want to settle in and read. It really is an awesome place. There was a whole lot more to see but it was crowded and I didn't want to seem creepy snapping pictures of strangers and stuff.

I was honored to be a part of this festival. I think it is so important for children of all colors to see themselves inside a book. At one point in particular, I witnessed something pretty great. It was a moment that should have been captured in a photo really, but yeah, there's that creepy factor again. What I saw was an African American family consisting of three small boys standing at a table looking through books featuring Barack Obama. At that moment, I was hit with a warm fuzzy feeling. Those three boys are now able to "see" themselves as the President of the United States! We have come so far and no matter where you stand politically, I hope you have a warm fuzzy feeling too.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Westchester Multicultural Children's Book Festival

Tomorrow, 10/13 at 3:10, I'll be reading from my book in Trove Galaxy Hall at White Plains Public Library for the 1st Annual Westchester Multicultural Children's Book Festival. If you're around, come say hi!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Four Magic Words

I haven't been doing school/library presentations for very long but in the very beginning, I'd stress out a little  a lot when I thought about standing in front of an audience. That is until my husband looked me in the bulging eyes one day and said something that helped ENORMOUSLY. It was simple but it was magic. He said: just tell your story.

*Mind officially blown*

So, if you're sitting there reading this and you've got a visit coming up that's causing your heart to palpitate, relax and simply tell your truth. Tell your story.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dearest Judy Blume,

I found you while trying to prove my fifth grade teacher wrong after she said I was a weak reader. How dare she write such a terrible LIE on the back of my report card! I had to prove her wrong so I immediately set out to my local library. There was one thing I hadn't counted on and that was falling in love ... with DEENIE, ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, MARGARET and BLUBBER. When those love affairs ended, I simply craved reading. I craved Sunday's spent in my room with a book, the reading cave I created underneath my quilt using my dollhouse lamp for light when I should have been asleep. I needed to read the way I needed to breathe and still do. It was such a gift and I thank you for it. I can only hope that my books help someone somewhere in the same way yours has helped me.

I send you much love and many prayers for a speedy recovery. 


Friday, July 27, 2012

Stinky Self-Doubt

As an author, I get to meet with students and share my journey of how I went from being a struggling young reader to published author. One of the things I talk about is self-doubt. Young or old, self-doubt deceives you into thinking it will protect you from the hurt of rejection. What it’s really doing is holding you back, tying you down, keeping you from moving in the direction you want to go. It keeps you from dreaming because it’s safer to lie low where no risk is involved. It’s the voice in the back of your head that tells you not to bother trying out for that team, that part in the school play or that job. After all, there’s somebody else who can do those things better than you can and you’ll only end up embarrassing yourself. It’s the voice that sometimes asks: “Just who do you think you are anyway?”

Well, I’ll tell you. You’re the person who is going to kick self-doubt to the curb. You’re going to start with just one step in the direction you need to go in order to achieve what it is you want. Once that first step is taken, your journey has started. Will you be nervous? Yes, but you have to keep pushing forward. As the actor, Will Smith, once said: “The mastery of self-doubt is the key to success.” And as I say: Don’t allow self-doubt to take your eyes off the prize because if you do, the prize will never be yours.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First Will Read 4 Food Author Visit

Yesterday was my very first Will Read 4 Food author visit. I spent the morning with 6th and 7th graders at the Brooklyn School for Global Studies in Carroll Gardens (Brooklyn, NY). The kids were awesome. They had such great questions for me! A BIG thank you to Judy, the librarian, for bringing me in and to the wonderful teachers who told me things about my book and how their students reacted to it that made my heart swell. Really.

Also, can't forget Dawn. Thank you, Honey Bun for thinking of me!

The collected food went to Food First located in my hometown of Red Hook (also Brooklyn). I truly hope this is gonna be a thing.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Me & the Sunshine State

TROUBLE and I had an exciting time visiting libraries and bookstores while on vacation in Florida last week. Let me tell you, I was treated so very kindly by staff and students! A big thank you to Natalie at the Orlando Public Library and to Pam at the Windemere Public Library. I hold libraries responsible for my love of reading and most importantly, my wanting to become an author. Big hugs to you guys! Oh, and guess what? One of the middle schooler's liked my New York Accent! Or, should I say my New Yawk accent?

The bookstores had TROUBLE on the shelves underneath the Sunshine State Young Readers Award list heading which had me sw-oo-ning! Thank you to all the bookstores and especially to Geoffrey at the Barnes & Noble on Colonial Drive for making me feel so welcomed.

So, even though it rained the WHOLE time (except for a day and a half) while I was there, I smiled the entire time because Florida has shown me the love! As a thank you, dear Florida, I'd like to offer schools and libraries free Skype visits. Comment here or email me if you're interested!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oh, the Places I'll Be!

If you're in Orlando Florida on Tuesday, June 5th and you're looking for something to do, I'll be talking about my journey from being a not so good reader to a published author at the Orlando Public Library at 10:30 a.m. and the Windermere Branch at 4 p.m.  I'll also do a short reading from my book THE TROUBLE WITH HALF A MOON and will answer any questions you may have.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sunshine State Young Reader's Award video

I just came across this really cute Sunshine State Young Reader's Award video. If you're a fan of Lego's,  you should check it out. Plus, ya know, I'm on the list.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sunshine State Young Reader's Award

So thankful and happy that THE TROUBLE WITH HALF A MOON has made the Sunshine State Young Reader's Award List (grades 6-8)! *jumps for joy* I love me some Florida! 


Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Finally got around to making a short video on what sparked the idea for THE TROUBLE WITH HALF A MOON. Warning: I say ummm a lot.

Paging Dr. Vigilante

Okay, so. About two months ago I broke a houseplant. And by that I mean, it was a stick. Yeah, just a stick. We bought it at a "flower" show last year or so but it never bloomed. Apparently, it enjoys being a stick. Anyway, I felt bad about my clumsy breakage of said stick so I grabbed the nearest life saving tool, aka, scotch tape and well, taped the oozing pieces back together. You might as well start calling me Dr. Vigilante now because not only has the plant/stick grafted but it has sprouted anew and is now a thriving stick once again. *takes exaggerated bow*

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Giveaway Goodness

Final grand total for the Goodreads giveaway: 895! Congratulations to all the winners! *applause, applause*

Thank you for entering and for wanting to read THE TROUBLE WITH HALF A MOON. Books will be sent out tomorrow. Hope you all enjoy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Goodreads Giveawayyyyy!

799--- uh, make that 804 people have signed up for my Goodreads giveaway! I'm so thrilled by this! Thank you, good readers of GR! 6 more hours to go ...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cool Review Surprise

Just got a nice surprise! The awesome people at the 4:00 Book Hook Newsletter reviewed The Trouble with Half a Moon in the April/May edition (pg.4). Very cool and a nice end to the day! Thank you, Book Hook peeps!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Red Hook Initiative

Tomorrow, I'll be a guest panelist at the Red Hook Initiative for their Annual Women's Career Day from 6 - 8pm. This year's event is titled: "I want to Be Like You!" They're expecting between 20 and 30 young women to be in attendance and I might just hug every one of them!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Will Read 4 Food

Way back when THE TROUBLE WITH HALF A MOON was nothing but a tiny thought in the back of my head, I knew that I somehow wanted to use it to help combat childhood hunger. For those of you who haven't yet read my book, childhood hunger plays a big part in it.

I wasn't sure how I'd do any of this but now I do and  I'm excited to introduce you to a new kind of author visit: Will Read 4 Food.

Please hop on over to the "visits" page for the details.

And please, help me spread the word.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Goodreads Giveaway

WhooHoo! I'm giving away five signed books over on Goodreads! Feeling lucky? Yeah? Then go check it out:

Please feel free to spread the word!

What Diversity Means to Me

I'm so honored and grateful to Ellen Oh for starting an awesome new blog series called: "What Diversity Means to Me." Ellen has graciously asked me to be first up. So, stop by and find out exactly what Diversity Means to ME!

There's also a chance you could win a copy of my book, THE TROUBLE WITH HALF A MOON.

See you there!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kony 2012

I've just spent about 30 minutes watching a life changing video. It is of utmost importance that you watch it as well. You see, there is a devil living inside Uganda STEALING children and forcing them to do unthinkable things. UNTHINKABLE.

Plain and simple: He Needs to Be Stopped.

So, grab a cup of coffee and have a seat. We've got a roach to catch in 2012. Please watch this video and help shine a light on Kony. Those children are our children and the time is now.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ellen Oh Speaks the Truth

My friend, the awesome Ellen Oh, wrote a fantastic piece on her blog about diversity and YA book covers. I've never said any of what I'm about to say aloud before but like a snow globe full of emotions, Ellen's post just shook it all up for me.

If you've been to a bookstore recently, you'll know what I mean when I say that sometimes, I find it hard to look at the YA shelves. I know, that sounds terrible but I want you to know it has nothing to do with the authors who've worked so hard on their books. For those of you who don't know, an author has no real say in what their cover will look like.

Back to why I find it hard. For the most part, all the book covers look alike-- all white models. I mean, that's okay but where is the love for others? Does everyone have long flowing hair or white skin?

What's sad is that when I was a kid, I just never expected to see anyone who looked like me or my family inside a book. There were no dark skinned grandma's and grandpas with thick Spanish accents or aunts and uncles who danced salsa waiting patiently on the page for me.  I automatically assumed the characters I was privy to were well, white. And you know what? I was right.

It's unfair, really. No matter what people think, this does something tricky to kids. It might not be obvious to the eye but it's there. Usually, lurking deep down inside. Am I good enough?

All this to say that Ellen's piece is a must read. Here's a little of what she says:

"We need to teach our youth the beauty of diversity. Beauty does not come in only one color. It does not come in only one size and one shape. And maybe when our teens grow up exposed to diversity, then they will grow into adults who embrace it."

Thank you, Ellen.

Please check out Ellen's post here:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The High School Me

I did a really fun interview with fellow Blue Boarder, J.Ro. Hop on over to meet the HS me:

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Skyping I'll Be!

I'm now available to do Skype visits! If you're a teacher or librarian and would like to arrange for such a visit, just give a shout. Did I mention the FREE (not fee)? Yup, free for my first ten visits!

Hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Book Baby Turns One!

On January 6th, my book turns one! *THROWS CONFETTI* They grow so fast! I'd like to celebrate this milestone but I'm not sure how. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them. And, if I choose yours, I'll send you (or your school or library) a signed copy along with bookmarks.

Let the brainstorming begin!