Wednesday, June 8, 2016

SPRING UPDATE! B-Fest, Kirkus Reviews, and $1.99 Deal on SUMMER!

Heads up! Spring is flying too fast. And there is way too much to do!

Here's some bookish stuff that's going on . . .

For starters, early reviews for THE MEMORY OF THINGS are coming in and they are pretty wonderfully good.

Booklist calls it, 

"...a touching look at the power of selflessness, memory, and hope in the face of tragedy." 

And Kirkus Reviews says:

"A love letter to the New Yorkers who rallied together. . .Detailed and well-researched, it's sure to make young readers curious about those unforgettable days after the twin towers fell."

Then there's YABooksCentral that says it, "Leaves a small mark on your heart," and calls it one of the Buzzworthy Books of the Summer. 

There happens to be a Goodreads giveaway going on for the galley copy right now, if you want to throw your reading cap in the ring!

As for summer. . . I mean, SUMMER, as in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, I will be at both the East Northport, NY and Lake Grove, NY Barnes and Nobles this weekend (June 10 - 12) as part of B-Fest, the first-ever national teen book festival and I can't wait!

Join me, Selene Castrovilla (MELT & SIGNS OF LIFE), Lisa Amowitz (UNTIL BETH) and Laura Burns (SANCTUARY BAY) at the East Northport location (June 10 at 7:30 pm) for a 90-Second Read Event followed by signings...

and join me Saturday at the East Northport location for some writing workshop fun AND a sneak read from THE MEMORY OF THINGS! I'll be giving away a signed manuscript, too!
Also, if you haven't read THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO yet, it's a Kindle deal right now at $1.99

Oops, sorry. Yeah, I shouted that. Forgive me. I've never been a $1.99 Kindle deal before.

On June 22nd, I'll be at Books of Wonder, NYC, with an amazing panel of authors talking diverse books and what that even means, and celebrating the launch of pal Selene Castrovilla's SIGNS OF LIFE! You should join us!

Last but not least, I'll be heading to #nErDcampMI in July with pal Nora Raleigh Baskin to share a super exciting presentation on our sister 9/11 books, NINE, TEN: A September 11 Story and THE MEMORY OF THINGS. We've been working hard to share the hows and whys of our books and our stories, and I'm so lucky to be sharing a huge part of this journey with Nora. She's a huge talent and one of the bright gems of friendship in my life.

Other than that, the usual family stuff (on super speed and super-need!), plus the open water season is now open for full business, and before you know it, it's going to be August, and I'm going to be calling for Spring again.

Blissfully in the salt with Fairy Pod Mother
of the West Neck Pod, Carol Moore.
 xox (keep reading!)


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dearest John Green. . .

Dearest John Green,
with your books and your vlogs,
(ooh, so groovy, now movies),
you're one of the gods. . .

You travel, and tweet,
hit talk shows galore
(I read. . . you do bleed. . . )
but, for Pete's sake, there's more?

A podcast now too???
Man, I don't want to hate
(Crash Course riffs, they do drift. . .
your next book. . .

                          is it late?)

I write and I scheme
and I make big plans too
(go above. . . take on gov. . .)
But, I'll never be

With your vlogs and your vids
and your movies and books
(lovers scheme. . . haters meme)
Geez, you've even got looks

So it is, Mr. Green,
To thine own self be true
(it's gestalt. . . the stars' fault)
Hey, I dig what you do. . .

But, alas, while I sat
to create this dumb poem

(it's a guess, i confess)

But you probably built Rome.




Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Summer is coming; It's time to let go.

For me, summer is such an incredible time of letting go, and of bliss.

It wasn't always that way for me. If you asked kid/teen me my least favorite season, it was probably summer, or at least summer played a close second to winter in that regard.

I'm not sure why, but the summer held angst for me, rather than allure.

It wasn't until I became a real swimmer in my early 40's -- and an open water swimmer -- that summer turned into something else entirely. A time of power, a time of regeneration and healing, a time of bravery, and, yes, a time of relaxation and bliss.

Now, each dark, weary winter, I remind myself I just need make it to summer and the restoration will begin.

Don't get me wrong. I love spring too, with its endless buds and promise. And for me, that is when the open water season now readily begins. I was out with my Pod this past weekend, and it was glorious -- cold (about 45- 48) but "doable" and therefore, EVERYTHING.

me, last weekend, with my Podmates, before. . .

and after our amazing 45-minute open water swim...

As a Podmate watched me stand at the water's edge and breathe deeply in, he said to me, you really need to write a book about the water.

Oh, Tony, I have! I said. I promise you I have.

And while it's surely a theme I return to again and again, my book about water is THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO -- a book about the fury and power of water to take away, as well as its power to heal and help us forgive.

One of my favorite early reader reviews contained this sentence, "It's as if the water itself is a character in the story." I wept when I read that review as it is exactly what I set out to do.

I know that the book has been characterized as "YA" and of that I am proud. But I also want my readers to know that I try to write books that will be loved by any age, 12 - 102. Yes, my published works are stories set at a particular time of youth, but, I hope, they are inhabited by characters and themes that will appeal to the most sophisticated and savvy reader among us. Think To Kill a Mockingbird or Huck Finn, or A Separate Peace or the many, many wonderful novels for all ages populated by teenaged kids.

The truth is, most YA writers today will tell you that. We write for everyone.

We write for you.

At any rate, as SUMMER turns 2 (!!) next month, and I hope you'll add it to your reading list if you haven't read it yet. If you've read and loved it, I hope you'll share your review on line, and word of mouth with a friend.

And, last but not least, for those who don't know, I wrote an essay HERE for my publisher about why I wrote THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, and I hope it might move you, if you haven't read it yet.

Here's to spring, and the bliss soon to come.

xox gae

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Oh. My. Goodness!!

With all the excitement of the cover reveal at NERDY BOOK CLUB, I totally forgot to share it here!


THIS, peeps, is my extraordinary cover designed by the awesome David Curtis:


I am so in love with it, I have to keep pinching myself.

The color. The power of the girl with her wings. The perfect punch in the gut of the twin towers in the letter I, that takes most viewers a second to notice.

If you want to read all about it, including about the designer's inspiration and the unintended, but amazingly awesome and perfect, appearance of Kyle on the cover, too, go to the NERDY BOOK CLUB post here, and read all about it!

THE MEMORY OF THINGS comes out September 6th! ARCs available early April. Hope you all love this book as much as I do.


xox gae

Monday, February 29, 2016

Dinner & Drafting Tween & Teen Novel Writing Workshop on LI

LOCAL to Long Island? 

Have a tween or teen who has been looking for hands-on writers workshop? 

One is coming this spring!

So, after months of persistent requests from an awesome local teacher whose students had participated in my one-day Authorpalooza with Tween & Teen Writers Workshop last spring at the Huntington Public Library, I am biting the bullet and hosting my first ever,  six-week novel writing workshop for students ages 11+.

You can find some of the details HERE and email me at for more information, including pricing and details of our free introductory open house which is in the works.

The class size will be limited to provide truly hands-on revision time with me on a one-on-one basis.

If you get closed out of this one and your tween or teen is interested, I may add an additional session. As, well, if you are only a teen at heart, but over the age of 18 and interested, please email me at and I will consider adding adult sessions.

Looking forward to lots of good writing.

xox gae

Friday, November 20, 2015

School visits, new book in the works and other catching up...

Publishers Weekly announcement for my next book,

Hey, peeps!

Been a while since i played catch up.

Been a busy early fall with writing and revisions, school visits, open water swimming, dog walks and beautiful leaves, and, finally, the announcement of THE MEMORY OF THINGS, coming September 2016.

*points up to shiny PW announcement*

To say I am excited about this book is an understatement, and as early blurbs from respected writers come in, and enthusiasm from my awesome editor, Vicki Lame, and awesome publisher, St. Martin's Press, mounts, well, the excitement only builds.

As always, I find myself trying not to wish away the seasons in between, just so I can get to the release...

For sure, I know by this point that all of it is so fast and fleeting, I need to milk and enjoy every moment, and let the new book arrive in its own good time.

Having said that, OMG, I CANNOT WAIT!!! (and, at least wouldn't mind the cold dark, post-holiday winter moving swiftly along...)

In addition to work on the new book and a new manuscript (of course...), I've had some amazing school visits and author events this fall. Three highlights:

  • Paid some Skype visits with Ms. Shaum's various 8th grade classrooms who are Nanowrimo'ing for the month of November. OH MY GOSH, GUYS!! DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE TO BE NANOWRIMO'ING?!?! That you have a teacher who finds the time -- makes the time -- to let you spread your creative wings?!?!? If only my boys had had English teachers who did that... but, um, I digress...

Yes, he has a signed copy of THE SUMMER
OF LETTING GO in his hand... 
  • #nErDcampLI: Had an incredible day participating in the first ever Long Island nErDcamp (a/k/a: nErDcampLI). OMG, LI educators: DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE THAT YOU HAVE A nErDCAMPLI now?!?!?!?! 

Here's a post about that from the uber-awesome Joellen McCarthy, one of its extraordinary facilitators and person you want to know: Spreading the PD Love. You can also follow the hashtag on twitter for updates.

As for photos, I could share some of me, but honestly, the one immediately above is one of my favorites from the day. The whole scene was so exuberant and contagious, the hard working custodial staff came by to the booksale after a ridiculously long day, to chat with the authors and buy books!

  • And, last, but definitely not least, I finally paid an in-person visit to a school I have Skyped with many times: THE DAVID BREARLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL in Kennilworth, NJ. It was truly one of the highlights of my author life so far.  

Just walking through the school's halls and courtyards will begin to show you what creativity goes on in that school, led by the enthusiasm and dedication of English teacher Nicole Warchol and art teacher Janice Marsili (who was just honored as a Teacher of the Year with good reason!). I couldn't stop taking pictures and leaning close to read each incredibly original and evocative 8-word memoir, quote, and musing:

Ridiculously inspiring... and that is only a handful of the artful spots that beautify the school, all teacher and student created!!!

Of course, that feast for the eyes and senses was just the beginning.

I spent the day with Ms. Warchol's 7th graders talking writing and doing five minute writing exercises inspired by my writer pal Jo Knowles' White Page List Poem she shared last summer during Teachers Write!

Throughout the day, a few of my 8th grade favorites from last year when we Skyped (sorry, here I play favorites...), stopped in to say hi. These kids were so connected after our visits that we've all become good friends staying in touch through twitter and Instagram, and I don't think any of us could hug the other enough. After school, they interviewed me for the school paper and then we headed to the library for a THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO book club, for which more than 50 students, administrators, librarians, teachers and parents showed up and stayed for our more than 2-hour discussion!

At the end, we ate cake (you can see the awesome cake in the photo montage above!) and then I read aloud from the first ten pages of THE MEMORY OF THINGS for the first time ever. To say the reaction was enthusiastic... well, that, too, would be an understatement.

with my sweet, smart pals: Rae, Sarah, Justin & Joe
So that's catch up! Still hoping to eke out a few more open water swims before the holidays and bone-cold winter set in.

Love to you all,


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Friday Feedback: Already So Long, My Usual Parting "Gift" and Some Other Cool Stuff...

This is me. Here in my swim cap and bathing suit poised on the edge of the pool.

(Why YES this is an excellent way to ruin your iPhone if you're not careful. Thanks for asking...)

At any rate.)

I'm here, hanging on to summer because:


I mean, BIG OL' WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Only bigger than that.

As usual, I don't want summer to end.

I don't want Teachers Write to be over.

I don't want you or my own kids to go back to school.

I'm on the end-of-summer precipice for realz over here.

It isn't pretty, and it gets worse every year.


Alas, here we are at the end of these things, and, this, the final FINAL unofficial Friday Feedback of the 2015 Summer. I can't tell you all how much it means to me that so many of you stop here week in-week out, chime in, and dig down to do the real nitty gritty brave of sharing your writing. I'm proud of you, even if I really have no right to be.

And my guest authors were pretty darn impressed by you too!

As such, I want to offer a few parting gifts (and other cool stuff):

First: for those of you who participated here on Friday Feedback regularly this summer and plan to continue on with your writing toward a goal of publication, I make you this standing offer: When you are ready, you may ask me for help with your agent query letters. Trust me, they're a stress-inducing beast, and I'm fairly decent at them, so when you're ready, find me here:

BUT before you send me any query, please do read THIS POST on some dos and don'ts of query letters FIRST (fyi, you can skip all the dog stuff and scroll down!), and THIS awesome POST by agent John Cusick too!

Second: Remember the talented Amy Fellner Dominy who did the fabulous exercise on character mapping? Author of OyMG (just chosen as a PJ our Way Reading Program selection!) and her new pulse-pounding young adult novel, A MATTER OF HEART?

Well, Amy has a few author copies left of "HEART" and has offered to give away some classroom copies here! So IF your classroom is ages 12+ and you're interested, please say so in the comments with what grades you work with. We'll draw a few random names and hook you up!

And, third: frantic about heading out into the wild west of novel writing on your own?!?!? Have no fear, a new awesome resource for you is here!

Remember the lovely Martha Brockenbrough who was here in July with her extraordinary post on The Art of Persistence?! Author of the beautifully woven THE GAME OF LIFE AND DEATH?

She asked me to tell you about her new novel coaching program, Nothing to Novel, that she's started with a few other talented author friends. Martha invites you to explore the website and sign on for some services when you are ready! Is there anyone better to seek advice from? I can answer that for you: There is not!!!

And that's that, my lovely, shiny campers, like it or not, TW Summer 2015 is in the books.

But since we're here and it's Friday, why not a little Friday Feedback as a send off?

You know the rules. Feel free to share an excerpt in the comments one last unofficial summer of 2015 time.

No excerpt from me today. This is all about you.

For those of you still wringing out more summer like I am, ENJOY!

For those returned or returning to classrooms imminently, I wish you a joyful school year. And if any of you use my books in the classroom or library, etc. please reach out to me about making a Skype visit to your school!