7 Ways to Help the Author in your Life

This list comes to you from someone who has ridden the roller coaster of publishing more times than I would like to discuss or think about… mainly because I get very nauseous on roller coasters. This list is meant to be entertaining, yet there is a very serious message that I absolutely mean at this stage of both my life (I’m 43…you know, all that mid-life-I’m-not-bullshitting-anymore stuff) and this stage of my writing (so-called) career:


Agentless Again, and Happy

Success. Whenever writers hear this word, we all have a similar vision pop into our heads. The most popular one is our book printed and bound inside a bright, shiny cover.  A close second is signing a publishing contract or getting an agent call. There are others we all conjure, like the first book signing, or typing the elusive “THE END” on the last page of a manuscript. At the beginning of last year, I considered myself successful. Well, I was on my way to success. I had two completed manuscripts, one… Read More

The D-Bomb

I’ve been around the block a time or twenty. That’s not copping to a specific age, but simply an assertion of life experience beyond the age of my YA readers. Way beyond. Think different galaxies. I am a post-middle aged Caucasian woman with centrist eyes that scan all sides of everything. In this era of diversity—the dreaded D-Bomb—life is tough for writers like me. It’s considered beyond poor form to write outside one’s ethnic, religious, preferential, societal, or experiential boundaries. So poor, in fact, that agents and editors alike scan my white-bread… Read More

Am I Too Privileged To Write Diverse Books?

Hi! I’m Joy. I’m a white, cisgender, straight, college-educated, Christian, physiologically and neurologically typical woman of suburban, middle-class background. I write young adult and children’s fiction. And I’m part of a problem. The young reading audience in the United States is more diverse than ever. As of 2014, almost half of children in the US were not white, but in 2015 only 10 percent of children’s book authors and 14 percent of children’s book characters were non-white. I write young adult and children’s fiction. And I’m part of a problem. And it’s… Read More

Back To School! Yay, I can write again! Yikes, what was I working on?

The last days of summer are are winding down. The beach toys are being put away, the late bedtimes being re-adjusted, the new school supplies being labelled… And as a writer you’re counting down the days to when you can have your mornings back, to when you can make a cup of coffee and dig in to your work-in-progress (WIP) that has been collecting dust all summer, right? I know I am! Summers are great, but when you have a family, it’s nearly impossible to find the time to write. But sometimes, those… Read More


#DearLaura I’ve written a fantasy novel where the protagonist and supporting characters are in their teens. Some people have told me it’s adult and some have told me it’s YA. I’ve looked for a solid definition online, but haven’t really found one. What makes a book YA? FantasyWriter82 Dear FantasyWriter82, This is a hotly debated topic among people in the biz and in particular, writers, who tend to rebel against the need to box their work into a neatly branded package. I’ve read the commentary out there about what makes a book… Read More

Of Tatas and Tats/ @LaurelHouck

As a young teen, I spent countless forevers bemoaning my bra size, feeling like a total boob…or lack thereof. I resorted to drawing in cleavage with an eyebrow pencil. I ordered (in a plain brown wrapper) a pink device to squeeze while I muttered, “I must, I must, I must increase my bust.” I soon discovered boys didn’t really care. There were other parts that interested them even more. But I digress. As spring has morphed into summer, that restless stirring for something different has resurfaced. I researched—as only a writer can—tattoos… Read More


#DearLaura, I’m a traditionally published children’s author and I’ve just landed my first adult book deal with a small publisher. I use my real name for my children’s books. Should I take on a pseudonym to distinguish my adult fiction from what I’ve previously published? Pubbed in Poughkeepsie Dear Pubbed, Congratulations on your book deal! There are several reasons why writers and other artists take on a pseudonym. Some like the anonymity they offer, others like the idea of taking on a new persona, and some people want to simplify or jazz… Read More

Ya Never Know

In my previous post, I listed all of the unpublished novels sitting in my closet or on my hard drive. Most of them haven’t budged since then. But ya know, ya never know. Writing is a weird business. Sometimes, a story you think is going great crashes and burns. Sometimes, a manuscript you’re sure is going to be the one can’t find its audience. And other times, projects you thought were going nowhere go . . . somewhere. Case in point: In 2013, I took my first stab at NaNoWriMo. I didn’t… Read More

Is There Such A Thing As Over Editing? / @StephanieKeyes / @allthewayya

There have been lots of times over the years when I’ve gotten frustrated, when rejection nailed me to the wall. Everybody who writes goes through this to some degree. Over the past few years, I’ve focused on exploring and managing this, turning rejections into my own mini-teachable moments and allowing myself to enjoy successes. It’s worked. I’ve been a happier writer because of it. But…I never expected to find myself at a standstill last week over an entirely different blocker. Editing. Specifically, when did I stop? How was I supposed to truly… Read More