Not a Rebel Among Us

In Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies, she explains that people fall into four categories which are defined by how they respond to expectations. Here is the quick and dirty on the four types.

Upholder – meets both inner and out expectations

Obliger – meets outer expectations but not inner expectations

Questioner – resists outer expectations while meeting inner expectations

Rebel – resists both outer and inner expectations.


Throughout her book, Gretchen mentions writers and how the tendencies play out in their lives.

Upholder writers can write well without deadlines. They don’t need an external system of accountablility for thier writing. An upholder is someone who can quit their day job and write a book because they have that internal accountablilty.

Obliger writers do well with deadlines – like say, a weekly critique group, where you should have pages to read each week. An obliger who quits a day job to write a novel, even a novel that is under contract, will have trouble unless there are set deadlines all along the way.

Questioner writers don’t need the external accountability, but they want to know why they are doing what they are doing. It’s unlikely that a questioner writer is going to write what you suggest.

Rebel writers….they might write if they feel like it that day…but they might not…ever…feel like writing.

Of course, I asked The Tuesdays to take the Four Tendencies quiz, and you can to!

Can you guess how we fared?

Here’s a hint – three upholders, two questioners, and one obliger.

Upholders – Faran, Melody, Cathy

Questioners – Jonathan and Stacie

Obliger – Joanne


It’s your turn! Take the quiz and tell us how you did!

Librarians and Author Visits

The Tuesdays welcome Diana Perri-Haneski, media specialist at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.

What do Librarians/Media Specialists want from authors and author visits? 

By Diana PerriHaneski 


Every day I connect Young Adults with Books they will want to read. Yes, kids of all ages are still reading books, the ones where you turn the paper pages and the ones that you swipe pages on a phone, iPad, or computer. Students want hardback, paperback, Kindle, Nook, or Overdrive e-books purchased and borrowed from the library. I’m always on the lookout for YA books and authors that will motivate our students to read and write. As the Media Specialists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I love the challenge of putting a book in the hands of a student that will intrigue them to open it up and read. Sometimes visitors see a novel placed on an eye catching promotional display, they pick up the book and start leafing through it while they are waiting, and later check it out. Often their friends recommend a book, or they see one at the book store and come to the library in search of it. Every day I am inspired to help students that can’t find a book they want to read or think they don’t like to read. I prepare and read many books so I can share that title or author that might get their attention. I will often excite curiosity in a library visitor after chatting with them a bit to find out their hobbies, and interests.  This time builds relationships and leads me to show them books that will appeal to them.

A question like: What was the last book you read that you loved? Helps me find the right book as does getting a published author to visit the students at school.  When an author comes to visit students in person or via Skype, it creates an interest in the author’s books. 

What do Media Specialists/Library Teachers want from writers? 

I purchase books that help students learn and complete assignments based on the curriculum, and I buy books for them to read for pleasure. My goal is to createa collection of books and materials that reflect the needs and interests of our school community. The YA books students look for, are books where they see themselves, see others, and take them places they have never been or would never want to be. Florida award winning author Adrian Fogelin agrees and says, “Authors who can write books that show the reader experiences they haven’t had by bringing experiences into stories, and take them to places they’ve never been, they also validate who they are when they connect with a story , and make sure that they see themselves in books. 

When authors visit schools they get a chance to be around the kids they write about. Guest authors have asked to eat in the cafeteria in order to have conversations with the students and hear how they talk, and get new, updated vocabulary. Fogelin adds, authors want to make sure are on target with their writing. They often write from their own childhood and that isn’t always the same. It’s also important to connect with teachers since they are allies. She adds,School visits help energize the authors, teachers and the students. 

What are the books that kids look for? 

Young Adult literature professor at USF, Dr. Joan Kaywell, believes “books can save lives.” She says “authors like Laurie Hale’s Anderson, Ellen Hopkins, Jay Asher, and Sharon Flake have published books that cover serious hard to talk about topics like bulimia, bullying and suicide.” 

After reading books by these important young adult authors, I am more alert to possible struggles, more understanding and better equipped with language to deal with the situation. When I read, Fogelins, “Crossing Jordan,” I was better prepared with vocabulary for speaking with young people about and dealing with prejudice.

I always saw the value in making sure my students can find themselves in a book now I realize a reader needs to see others as well. 

It’s a pleasure to performs as matchmaker between books and Reader’s.





Free Friday!

It’s that time of year again, time to start back at my day job.


For me, it’s a love/hate kind of thing.

I love the kids I work with, but I hate giving up my writing, thinking, walking, just existing time.

It’s kind of like being immersed in a daydream, and having someone snap you back to reality.

The reality is that I’ve got to work. But the dream is that one day I will be able to just write.

Just write.

That sounds good, doesn’t it? But the thing is, we don’t ever get to just write, do we?

There’s the researching and the brainstorming. There’s the outlining and creating. There’s seeing the problems you have in a manuscript, and figuring out how to make it work anyway. And that’s just the writing part.

What about the rest? There’s marketing. There’s making connections with readers. There are appearances to plan and workshops to write.

But the key for me is time management. Because how do I make it all work? It’s a challenge, for sure. But then as an author it’s all part of what we get to do. It’s a privilege to write for kids. It’s a pleasure to meet with them. It’s the reason we do this writing thing to begin with. To have an opportunity to reach as many people as we possibly can and to have an impact on their lives.

So while I’m setting my clock for 5:30 AM and trying to work in bits and pieces of an artist’s life around my day job demands, I still dream of a day when I’ll get to create full time. Or at least Netflix binge, walk, market, plan and then write full time. Life. Is. Full. Especially when you’re an author, and I don’t want to miss a thing.

Triplet Sisters Raised to Believe they Must Kill Each Other

Sounds like the ultimate dysfunctional family, doesn’t it?

Three Dark Crowns is a luscious novel of poison, intrigue, and triplets who must fight for the crown.

Separated in the first few years of their lives, their mother knows what their gifts are. One will be a poisoner able to withstand any poison so much so that every meal and every drink will be tainted and not harm her.

The second will be an elemental who controls the elements – even fire – to do as she tells it.

The third will be a naturalist who can force plants to grow and wild animals to obey.

Raised separately, Katharine, the poisoner, Mirabella, the elemental, and Arsinoe, the naturalist, have been told that they must kill their sisters in order to be queen. Once they are sixteen, they have one year to accomplish the task. The last woman standing wins the crown and control of the island of Fennbern.

Kendare Blake does a masterful job of weaving this story that is the perfect mix of world building, tragic love, and it creates such indecision in the reader (AKA – me!)

I don’t know which sister to root for!

And I have to wait until September for the sequel. Argh!

Three Dark Crowns is on the newest Florida Teens Read list. You can also watch the trailer here:

Which sister will you choose?

Adding My Voice

As a victim of sexual assault, I should have known this already, but I only recently discovered that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), a national campaign that raises public awareness about sexual violence and also educates individuals and communities in how to prevent it. So in honor of SAAM, and to help forward the cause, I’m giving away five autographed copies of my critically acclaimed, award-winning book, A Work of Art, via this Goodreads giveaway. I’m also making a nice donation to SAAM and buying this t-shirt via their website. I’ll wear it proudly.

Admitting I’m a survivor of sexual assault didn’t come easily for me. I, like many other victims, have been reluctant to talk about something that society tends to see as a taboo topic, or an uncomfortable topic, or a topic you don’t bring up because you’re ashamed and you don’t want others to see you as weak. I told myself for years that I didn’t have it that bad. That others I know had it much worse. So why talk about it? Why make an issue out of it? Slowly, my views on that are changing. And certainly a part of me—something deep in my consciousness—wanted to talk about it…which is why (and I see this now) I wrote A Work of Art.

Research has shown that readers of literary fiction tend to be more empathetic people, but it’s easy to overlook the fact that books can play a key role in creating awareness of sexual assault violence. A Work of Art delves into the shame and insecurity that many sexual assault victims suffer from. It also deals with love—how victims of sexual assault sometimes have a skewed perception of what love is, and how sometimes we can love those who victimize us.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Work of Art by Melody Maysonet

A Work of Art

by Melody Maysonet

Giveaway ends April 23, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Even if you don’t enter my Goodreads giveaway to win a copy of my book, I hope you’ll click here to check out all the good things that SAAM is doing and maybe add your voice to the cause. 

Have I got a book for you!

Or three if you prefer!

Confession: even though I’ve been a media specialist, I suck at returning books. It’s not that I want to keep them, it’s just that sometimes (okay, all the time) the due date passes. So I started downloading audio books from the public library. SCORE! They disappear from your device after the due date!

You can use the OverDrive app to connect to your local library. Broward County Library has a fantastic collection of audio books.

So these are some of the gems I’ve listened to in the past two months.

Ramie Nightengale by Kate DiCamillo. It’s the story of three girls who all have their reasons for wanting to in the Little Miss Central Florida Tire contest. One of the striking aspects of this story is how each character is distinct in this third person historical fiction story. Raymie is convinced that winning the contest will get her picture in the paper which will make her father see it, and come home after running away with a dental hygienist. DiCamillo captures the essence of what it means to be a child trying to figure out what is going on with the adults in their lives.




Ghost by Jason Reynolds. Ghost is the self-proclaimed nickname of the main character because he thinks he is just that fast. Not that he practices or anything. He doesn’t need to. One day after school Ghost comes across a track team practice. He sees this one kid who Ghost can tell thinks he’s all that and Ghost knows he can beat him. So Ghost goes onto the track and stands there ready to race. www.tuesdaywriters.comThe coach tries to get rid of Ghost, but he won’t budge. Coach lets him race just to get rid of him. Of course, Ghost wins. That’s what he wanted, so he leaves, but now the coach wants him on the team. Ghost isn’t too concerned. He knows his mother would never let him join the team, so he agrees to let Coach meet his mom.  Mom says yes as long as Ghost doesn’t get into trouble at school and does his homework. Uh oh.



99 days by Katie Cotugno

Molly Barlow returns home for the 99 days between high school graduation and college. You know how parents can be so embarrassing when you’re in high school? Well Molly’s mother, best-selling author, gets out of her writing slump by penning a best selling story and then tells People Magazine that it’s based on her daughter’s love life…the time Molly was temporarily broken up with her boyfriend and slept with her ex-boyfriend’s brother. Everything in Molly’s life falls apart, and she goes away to boarding school but has no where to go until college starts. One of the things I liked about this story was the way Cotugno didn’t have to tell us every detail of those 99 days, and it worked!



What book have you read or listened to recently? Post in the comments below!


Free Write Friday

2016 has been a year. Yes it has.

Sides have been taken. Predictions made. Proven wrong. Then revisited. Twitter has taken on a whole new life and a whole new role in the political landscape. And no matter which side of the argument you were on, it’s a time of trepidation and unchartered territory for all of us.

But then again, we have books and movies and fandoms to save us, thankfully.  Full immersion in the worlds created by authors and screen writers is at an all time high.

Thank you Harry Potter. Thank you Star Wars. Thank you Marvel Universe. Thank you Barnes & Nobles and indie book stores. Thank you bloggers and podcasters and fan fic writers. You keep us living what we love.

And you know what? I sincerely believe that 2017 is going to be even bigger for those of us who work in the imagination trade. Yay us.

But until then here are a few of my favorite memories of 2016:


I didn’t actually see The Force Awakens until January 2016 so even though it came out in 2015, I’m counting it as one of my favorite memories this year. Reliving the magic of Star Wars meant remembering my parents (who are in everything, still) who always gave my siblings and me a love of magic in all forms. I couldn’t be more grateful.







I was on the First Books panel for FL SCBWI January conference with fellow Tuesday Writer, Melody Maysonet.


Along with Steven Dos Santos, I presented a YA masterclass for the Big Read at Broward County Public Library.


The Tuesday Writers launched our group blog. First post was written by our lead-off batter, Jonathan Rosen. Yay us.


At the midyear SCBWI conference I met my editor, Annette Pollert-Morgan and had dinner with her and my agent, Nicole Resciniti where I pitched ideas for future projects using Jonathan Mayberry’s formula for pitching: start with the heart of the piece and show us why we should care. It worked! I laid the ground work at that meeting for the two book deal Nic and Annette and I penned. One book to be released November 2017. The other November 2018.


I experienced ALA 2016 and for the first time I found my own personal version of Nirvana. My Disney World. My Eden. And it all started, as most really good things do, with Harry Potter where Tuesday Cathy and I tried to win a prize. I’d like to say we left empty handed, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth as you see Cathy’s bookhaul:


Over the summer I was part of a multi-kidlit author panel for young writers in conjunction with Nova University. Honestly, it might have been the most fun thing I’ve done all year.


In July I did my first ever school visit as an author at Glades Central High School.


In August we adopted our third dog from Big Dog Ranch Rescue. A puppy we named Delilah who has brought us equal parts of deliciousness and destruction.


In October I turned my third manuscript in to my editor. Then I got to emcee an amazing literary event at EmKo on race and immigration sponsored by The Cream Literary Alliance.

In November my second book, The Homecoming was released. Much partying ensued. Also some silliness. As is my nature. You may have seen the pictures.

In December The Sister Pact was named one of Pennsylvania School Librarians Top 40 books of 2015. I was beyond humbled.


2016 has been a year. Yes it has. But it’s good to remember the highlights along with the lows. (My NY JETS are def a low but my Gators made it to the SEC Championship game. Go Gators)


This weekend will signal, for many people, a time of peace and kindness to all, for others a celebration in the ability to persevere, for others a renewal of core values and beliefs. For all of us, hopefully, it will be a time to be with family and friends. A time to remember that goodness and light exist even in dark times.


Thank you, Tuesday readers, for giving me this chance to wax sentimental about the previous year while facing the challenges and enjoying the rewards of the year ahead.


Peace to all of you whether this holiday season finds you in the beautiful snow lined woods or on the sunny beach.
















Writing About the Taboo

Melody Maysonet

Melody Maysonet

People have asked me how hard it was to write about child sexual abuse in A Work of Art. It’s a touchy subject—raw and often shameful to the abused and not something most people like to think about. But when I sat down to write about this painful subject, I found it freeing. Just as Tera, the main character in my book, finds therapy in her painting, I found therapy in my writing. So I think it was harder to imagine writing about child sexual abuse than it was to actually write it.

Because many victims never report abuse, it’s difficult to quantify how often child sexual abuse occurs, but here are some statistics:

* Most professionals in the field use rates that vary from 8% to 20%. The median age for reported sexual abuse is nine years old. (Children’s Assessment Center)

* Adult retrospective studies show that one in four women and one in six men were sexually abused before the age of 18. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006)

* Another source says that as many as one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused at some point in their childhood. (Briere, J., Eliot, D.M. Prevalence and Psychological Sequence of Self-Reported Childhood)

A-Work-of-Art-cover (2) - CopySo it’s clear that child sexual abuse happens quite a bit—yet hardly anyone talks about it. That’s why I felt it was important to write A Work of Art. Many victims of child sexual abuse want to forget it ever happened. Others want to deny that it is happening—even when it’s happening under their very noses. I wanted to create awareness. And I wanted to let victims know they’re not alone in their pain. If A Work of Art does either of those things, then I accomplished what I set out to do.

Freestyle Friday – Romance Writer Bonnie Vanak

NYT Bestselling Author Bonnie Vanak

Bonnie Vanak and I have been friends since the big hair days of the eighties. Her first book, The Falcon and the Dove, came out in 2002.
With a long history of publication, it’s exciting to have her as our guest today.
Welcome Bonnie! I know you belong to organizations like Romance Writers and Mystery Writers. What do you love about organizations like theses?
Romance Writers of America helped me to get published. I won a contest sponsored by an RWA chapter, and the final judge was an editor for Dorchester, who liked the entry so much he requested to see the entire book. He read it and bought it. There’s a great support system in organizations like RWA and MWA, and the workshops are terrific, both in craft and marketing. You can’t beat the wealth of knowledge and experience they have to offer.
You’ve had a lot of books published since your first in 2002. The Falcon and the Dove. (I have my autographed copy!) How has your writing changed over the years?
My writing has gotten more mature, and much darker. I’ve written some lighter and funnier erotic romances with a publisher that is now defunct, but I found my stride in writing dark. It’s also much more emotional. I like creating characters who resonate with readers, characters that make readers feel good when the book is over. I always write happy endings, no matter how dark the book is, and I believe the darker the story, the more the happy ending is deserved. After I put my characters through hell, they need it!
We’re a critique group, so we’d love to know your experience with them. What can you tell us?
I’m not presently in a critique group due to lack of time, but I’ve had critique partners. The most important aspect is to be fair, but not so critical it leaves your partner demoralized. A good critique group will find holes in your plot, weaknesses in your characters, and other problem areas that might cause your manuscript to be rejected by a publishing house, but they’ll also leave you feeling good about your writing. My personal rule is to always end every critique on a positive note to encourage the writer. Right now I have two to three beta readers who love my books. They read over the drafts, and tell me what throws them out of the story and what resonated with them.
Of all your books, which is your favorite?
That’s a tough one! Right now I’m really enjoying writing the suspense books for Harlequin. Romantic suspense is a new genre for me, and I have a terrific editor. romance writersShielded by the Cowboy Seal (Feb. 2017) is my second romantic suspense book with Harlequin. I struggled to write that book because of the complex plot, but what I learned is invaluable. Every book is a journey, and with each book, I try to learn something and improve my writing.
I happen to know that you recently switched from working full-time to part-time in order to give yourself more time to write. What has that transition been like?
It’s been a tremendous blessing for me. I work for a large international NGO (non-governmental organization) and I’ve traveled to very poor countries like Haiti for 21 years. The travel had started to wear on my physical and emotional health. I now work three days a week and I  don’t travel. I’m still able to help the poor with my writing, but I’m much happier and less stressed. The rest of the week when I’m not working I am writing books. Having contracted deadlines has helped me to be disciplined with my free time. 
Thanks, Bonnie! Romance is such a huge part of publishing, it’s been our pleasure to have you as our guest!
What’s your favorite romance? Tell us in the comments!

Melody’s Friday Favorites

It’s my turn for Friday Favorites, so that means I get to talk about my favorite things. How about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens? Just kidding. But recently I was reminded of The Sound of Music, along with another Julie Andrews musical, Mary Poppins (which happens to be my favorite musical of all time), while reading The Fireman, by Joe Hill.


The Fireman is a supernatural thriller, and it has such a bizarre premise (the world is coming to an end when people start spontaneously combusting) that at first I was turned off. How was the author going to make that work? Then I read how the main character, a nurse named Harper, likens herself to Julie Andrews’ Mary Poppins and that “A Spoonful of Sugar” is Harper’s favorite song. LOVE!  Also mentioned in The Fireman are characters from my all-time favorite book, Watership Down, and a fantastic song by Dire Straits called “Romeo and Juliet.” This author has good taste.

I’m only about a third of the way through The Fireman (it’s a whopper of a book at 769 pages), but wow, is it intense. I don’t rank many things as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, but I have a feeling The Fireman is going to be among them.

P.S. Joe Hill is an award-winning, New York Times–bestselling author, and I feel a little stupid that I’m just now discovering him. Can’t wait to read his other books.