Wednesday, July 05, 2017

IWSG: Valuable Lessons

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means hundreds of us will be posting about our insecurities. If you haven't yet, join in. You'll be glad you did!

Each month we have a question. This month's question is:

What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

When I think back to the moment I had the brilliant idea of writing a novel, I realize I've learned so much. But some of the best lessons I've learned have been through the very thing that might have led me to give up.

After a while, you get used to rejection, as strange as that sounds. Sure, it's hard. It's always hard. But it's also a good thing. The more you're being rejected, the more you're putting yourself out there.

Even after you've landed an agent and sold your first, second, third, and fourth books, rejection will be here to stay. Maybe Stephen King doesn't get rejected (not sure about that), but almost every other author does. It's not a rejection of us--it never was. It's a rejection of the particular book we're sending at that exact moment.

As a full-time freelance writer, rejection is part of my day job, too. I put myself out there for opportunities all the time, only to get radio silence in response. Eventually, you start to think of it as playing the odds. If you put yourself out there 50 times and one pays off, it's worth it, right?

Even with all the rejections, we wouldn't be doing anything else. What other career gives you the possibility on any given day that amazing things could happen? Life-changing things? It kind of makes the rollercoaster worth it.

What are you insecure about this month?

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

An Avalanche of Book Birthdays!

Today's a holiday, but it's also a big, big day for children's authors. First off, there's very first box set is out. Yes, you can now buy books 1-4 of my Piper Morgan chapter book series!!!

But the fun keeps going. There are TWO authors sharing a book birthday with me today. One is Beth McMullen, author of Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls. You're going to want to add this one to your to-read list right this very moment. Go on. We'll wait. And after you've read all about her book, keep scrolling to read about Rachele Alpine's new young adult novel!


A girl discovers her boarding school is actually an elite spy-training program, and she must learn the skills of the trade in order to find her mother in this action-packed middle grade debut.

After a botched escape plan from her boarding school, Abigail is stunned to discover the school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring called The Center, along with being training grounds for future spies. Even more shocking? Abigail’s mother is a top agent for The Center and she has gone MIA, with valuable information that many people would like to have—at any cost. Along with a former nemesis and charming boy from her grade, Abigail goes through a crash course in Spy Training 101, often with hilarious—and sometimes painful—results. But Abigail realizes she might be a better spy-in-training than she thought—and the answers to her mother’s whereabouts are a lot closer than she thinks…

Buy Links:


Beth McMullen is the author of the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls series and several adult mysteries. Her books have heroes and bad guys, action and messy situations. An avid reader, she once missed her subway stop and rode the train all the way to Brooklyn because the book she was reading was that good. She lives in Northern California with her family, two cats and a parakeet named Zeus, who is sick of the cats eyeballing him like he’s dinner. Visit her at

Author Links:

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The next book releasing today is by one of my Best. Night. Ever co-authors, Rachele Alpine. If you know me, you know the topic of her latest young adult novel couldn't be more suited to my personal interests. It's about a missing girl. And check out this cover!


A haunting novel about a girl who must face the consequences after her actions indirectly lead to her sister’s disappearance.

Rhylee didn’t mean to kiss her sister’s boyfriend. At least, not the first time. But it doesn’t matter, because her sister, Abby, caught them together, ran into the dark woods behind their house…and never came home.

As evidence mounts that something terrible has happened to Abby, no one wants to face the truth. Rhylee can’t bring herself to admit what she’s done: that she is the reason her sister ran away. Now Tommy, Abby’s boyfriend, is the prime suspect in her disappearance, and Rhylee’s world has been turned upside down. Slowly, Rhylee’s family is breaking—their lives center on the hope that Abby will return. Rhylee knows they need to face the truth and begin healing—but how can they, when moving on feels like a betrayal? And how do you face the guilt of wishing a person gone…when they actually disappear?

Buy Links:


Rachele Alpine is a lover of sushi, coffee, and Michael Jackson. One of her first jobs was at a library, but it didn’t last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she’s a little more careful about when and where she indulges her reading habit. By day she’s a high school English teacher, and by night she writes with the companionship of the world’s cutest dog, Radley, a big cup of coffee, and a full bag of gummy peaches. Rachele lives with her husband and son in Cleveland, Ohio, but dreams of moving back to Boston, the city she fell in love with while attending graduate school there.

Author Links:

Monday, July 03, 2017

Mystery Monday: Mikelle Biggs

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...

It sounded like an ice cream truck, off in the distance. The 11-year-old girl and her sister Kimber perked up. They asked their mom if they could have money for ice cream. What mom can deny that?

Image source: ABC News

They waited outside their house, but it was January and Kimber was cold. She finally gave up and went inside. Her mom told her to go get her sister. Kimber walked outside and didn't see her. Her bicycle and ice cream money were found where she'd been standing. The wheels of her bike were still spinning.

Mikelle (left) and Kimber Biggs

That was January 2, 1999. There were no witnesses, no leads. Mikelle just disappeared. In a recreation of the night's events, the police discovered that Mikelle was likely alone for less than two minutes. The perpetrator acted quickly.

Mikelle's bike wasn't exactly where she'd been standing. It was instead part of the way back toward her house. Police dogs tracked her scent to only a few feet from her bicycle, implying she was placed in a vehicle and taken from the scene.

Although police couldn't confirm whether an ice cream truck was present that night, they did question and clear all ice cream vendors in the area at the time.

There have been several false leads, but no suspect has been arrested. Mikelle's father believes a convicted sex offender was responsible, but he denies any involvement.

On the fifth anniversary of Mikelle's disappearance, her family held a funeral for her with an empty casket. They believe she's no longer alive and that whoever took her killed her soon after abducting her. Below is an age-progressed photo of her to age 14.

This is a photo of how she might have looked at age 25.

What do you think happened to Mikelle Biggs?