Themed Thursday: Our #OwnVoices Picks

The OwnVoices hashtag began last September when author Corinne Duyvis created it “to recommend kidlit about diverse characters written by authors from that same diverse group.” Since then, the label has evolved and now refers to any book written about diverse or marginalized characters by an author from that same diverse or marginalized group. And because all of us at Tuesday Writers are avid readers, we wanted to recommend some of our favorite #OwnVoices books. As always, we’d love to hear your picks as well.

Melody Maysonet

Melody: I love books that open my eyes, books that tell stories that are outside my experience, especially ones where the characters live and breathe on the page and live on long after I close the book. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo is one of those books. Written by a transgender woman about a transgender experience, If I Was Your Girl tells the story of Amanda Hardy as she tries to find herself and bounces between her pre-transition life and her post-transition life (where her body caught up to her reality). I really felt for this girl. And I highly recommend this book for anyone who’s looking—not only for a good story—but also for a story that resonates long after you finish it.

Cathy Castelli

Cathy: Randi Pink’s novel Into White is a story borne out of her own life, growing up black in an all-white neighborhood. In the novel, main character LaToya prays to Jesus to be “anything but black.” One morning her prayer is granted. Her family can’t see the transformation, but she goes to school and tells the principal she’s an exchange student. Her long blonde hair and white skin seem to be the ingredients of popularity that’s evaded her. What Toya has to figure out is whether or not it’s worth it. You can see Randi’s Ted Talk here: Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone | Randi Pink | TEDxBirmingham. And you can find Randi’s website at The Basics.

Stacie Ramey

Stacie: There are thankfully a sea of #ownvoices books to choose from. The #ownvoices book I’d like to boost is Sarah Nicolas’s Keeping her Secret. Sarah is this awesome library event planner and all around bomb person. Plus her book is unputdownable. Note the tag line: “All is fair in summer camp prank wars…” You want to read that, don’t you? Go ahead. Order it. I’ll wait.

Faran Fagen

Faran: I’m a huge fan of Matt De La Pena’s books, and a big reason is his penchant for marginalized characters. Sticky in Ball Don’t Lie struggles in a foster home, and ace pitcher Danny Lopez is haunted by a broken home and his racial identity in Mexican Whiteboy. In I Will Save You, De La Pena takes on mental illness in a way that will blow you away. His portrayal of these characters is both eye-opening and riveting, and through their journey we are faced with the hard road they face to reach a sense of peace and balance among turmoil. You can follow De La Pena on Twitter: @mattdelapena

Joanne Butcher

Joanne: My favorite #OwnVoices author is Simone Kelly who wrote Like a Fly on the Wall. In the book, Moraccan-born Jacques Berradi has a unique gift as an intuitive counselor. Kylie Collins goes to see him for insight, and a blackout strikes Miami, forcing them to work together. Can Jacques’s intuition reveal the scandalous history of Kylie’s mother and father? Will Kylie’s newfound detective skills uncover evidence about the death of Jacques’s father? And will the chemistry that charges their friendship bubble over into something much, much hotter…?  By the way, Simone is a vivacious personal coach and can be reached at: @ownyourpower.

Two new YA sports releases from giants in the field

A wide receiver who faces off with a bully quarterback. A tough foster kid athlete determined to find a lost nephew.
“Gutless” and “Loser’s Bracket” are the newest books from Carl Deuker and Chris Crutcher, two juggernauts in the world of YA sports who I’ve idolized for as long as I’ve been reading YA (Crutcher’s Ironman was what got me hooked long ago).

Crutcher’s “Loser’s Bracket”, due out this spring, is oozing with his usual emotion and page-turning tension.
And Crutcher, a long-time family therapist, paints an authentic picture of a family in turmoil. When a family argument breaks out at Annie’s swim meet and her nephew goes missing, Annie might be the only one who can get him back. With help from her friends, her foster brother, and her social service worker, Annie puts the pieces of the puzzle together, determined to find her nephew and finally get him into a safe home.
Even more incentive to check this one out, Crutcher’s website says “Loser’s Bracket” hits the sweet spot for fans of Andrew Smith, Marieke Nijkamp, and Matt de la Peña (another huge favorite of mine and Melody of the Tuesdays).
For more information, go to Yes, he’s the author AND loudmouth. But that’s why his fans love him.

As for Deuker, he’s written about football before. His book, “Gym Candy”, won several awards. But that book was about teen steroid use, while “Gutless”, released in 2017, centers on bullying, finding friends, and courage.
Wide receiver Brock Ripley should be a natural for the varsity team, but he shies away from physical contact. When he gets cut from varsity, he also loses his friendship with star quarterback Hunter Gates, who begins lashing out at not only Brock, but also Brock’s friend, the quiet and smart Richie Fang. But when the bullying goes too far, will Brock be able to face his fears, stop being a bystander, and prove to himself that he is brave enough?
Another early book of Deuker’s also spotlights bullying – Painting the Black. It’s about the bond between a pitcher and catcher, and happens to be my favorite Deuker book of all time.
For more information, go to You’ll see Deuker’s many other YA books about all sorts of sports.

Hope these books score big. What sports books are your favorites?

How to Repeat

Hi Tuesdays!

I think this is actually my first post of the year. Missed all of you! I hope 2018 has gotten off to a great start for everyone. 2017 was a great year for me, personally, since I was able to finally get a book published. While that was a huge relief, now comes another scary part. A book two.

There’s definitely a lot of pressure. Should it be something new? Should it be a sequel? Will it be as good as the first one? Will anyone want it? A million thoughts go through your mind about it.

If it is a sequel, you have to stay true to the characters, while still making the story fresh. It’s a fine line. Even the title is tricky. I happen to have just finished a sequel, but whereas the name Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies came pretty easily for the first, the title for the sequel hasn’t. And of course, that’s caused a lot of anxiety.

All of this really bothered me quite a bit, and I wondered how other writers dealt with it. I knew I couldn’t be the only one thinking and worried about these things, so I started scanning the message boards of other writing groups that I’m in and saw that many people who had their book debuts in 2017, are also now having the same problems. I very quickly realized that I was far from alone. I wasn’t jumping for joy that others were going through it but have to say that I was relieved.

I saw many of the 2017 group already have books scheduled to come out, while some were still in the pondering stage. Wondering what to write about, or having trouble forging ahead. It’s no easy task to have one book come out, but then there is definitely pressure to replicate or better it.

I’m curious to how everyone is dealing with it, while also looking forward to all the second books from everyone in this group.

I’d love to hear from other authors about their experiences coming out with their second books, and how similar and different they find the experiences. Drop me a line, and we’d love to get your thoughts.

Themed Thursday: What We Always Wanted to Be

Stacie Ramey

Stacie: I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. It bothered me that I felt I had no particular skill in anything. I was good at most things (except sports!) but not exceptional in anything other than reading. If someone had asked me what I loved to do, then reading would have been top of my list. When I speak with teens now, I don’t ask what do you want to do when you grow up. I ask what do you love to do now.

Jonathan Rosen

Jonathan: I went through so many different career choices as a kid. For years, it was to be a paleontologist. I was fascinated by dinosaurs. After that it turned to acting or writing. I wanted to do something that would entertain people. At least I got to accomplish one of my dreams.

Faran Fagen

Faran: I wanted to be either a sports writer or first baseman in the major leagues. I loved baseball, and first base was my favorite position because I loved catching the ball and also being the one to record most of the outs. I especially liked when the infielder made a bad throw, and I was able to catch it with a scoop or pick to sort of save the day. As for the sports writing, I loved sports and writing, so why not?

Melody Maysonet

Melody: When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a teacher and a writer. I’m happy to say that I became both of those things. A teacher first. (I was certified to teach English, grades 6-12, but ended up teaching at a community college.) And finally, after years of struggle (and a career change where I became a magazine editor for Wizards of the Coast and then a nonfiction book editor), I published my first book in 2015. I still have a hard time calling myself a writer, though. Maybe after I publish my next book…

Cathy Castelli

Cathy: I wanted to be a nun. It used to be my wish when I was blowing out my birthday candles. I think I’m still fascinated with nuns. I was Catholic. I went to Catholic school. It was in the water.

Joanne Butcher


When I was a child I decided I wanted to be a nurse like my mother. I stuck with it and made nursing my profession. I’m glad I did. Although I am retired now, nursing offered many varied career pathways within the profession, so I never got bored.


Two New Tuesday Books

It’s somebody’s birthday everyday, but on Tuesdays, it Book Birthdays! For anyone who has ever tried to write a book, we know what labor is! I have yet to have my own Book Birthday, but I love celebrating everyone else!

Iowa resident, Eliot Sappingfield’s book, A Problematic Paradox is born today!  Cue the confetti cannons. Strike the drum. Eliot attended the University of Iowa. (For many years, that was where I thought I wanted to go to school!  Out of state tuition was not an option, you understand, I’m sure.)

I love the title, and I love the cover! Jonathan will probably love this one as it is billed as Guardians of the Galaxy meets A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! Sounds fantastic! It’s a book filled with chemistry, extra terrestials, and quantum physics where main character, Nikola Kross puts not only her school in danger but the entire galaxy. For more information about Eliot, go to

The second Book Birthday is for Claire Kann’s Let’s Talk About Love. Bring out the quadruple layer Boston cream cake with a sparkler on top! It’s worth your time to go to Claire’s website just to see the awesome water color crown!

Her book centers on college student Alice who has just broken up with her girlfriend. She didn’t want to. Margot is her roommate. She loves Margot, but Margot is asexual. She only agrees to have sex to please Alice, but it’s not what she wants. Then Alice meets a guy who gives her all the fluttery romance she’s been hoping for. Should she go for it even with Margot still sharing her dorm room?

Purple is the color of today’s releases:

Happy Book Birthday Eliot and Claire!

Tuesday Writer Blog Under Construction

We’re under construction here at the Tuesday Writer blog. Next week we will be starting a new format.

  • Tuesdays we will talk about new books being released on the market.
  • Themed Thursday will continue in the same manner with each of us contributing our thoughts on a weekly theme.
  • Fridays will be for anything book related. It will include book reviews, conference information, as well as interesting things about books and writing like: My novel, Rager, is a finalist in the thriller category for the Florida Edgar Alan Poe (Freddie) award. Rager is about a college freshman who parties like he’s possessed and the girl next door exorcist. The winner will be announced at the Sleuthfest writing conference in Boca Raton, March 1-4.

We are excited for this new format and look forward to bring you lots of fabulous information about books and writing. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday!

Themed Thursday: Our Favorite Thing About Writers’ Conferences

Joanne Butcher

Joanne: It’s always wonderful to be at a writing conference with so many like-minded people. I love catching up with old friends and making new ones. My favorite thing about a writing conference is the little gems about craft that I learn. I always find I can’t wait to get back to my work in progress and try them out.

Jonathan Rosen

Jonathan: My favorite thing about writing conferences is getting to spend time with friends and other writers. It’s always fun to get to be with people who have the same interests as you and who know what you’re going through.

Cathy Castelli

Cathy: There are magic moments at writing conferences: when you get that one little tidbit of info that clicks in relation to your novel, when you are back together with your tribe, when the agent wants to see the full, and when two Joan Jetts meet on the dance floor and win the costume contest.

Faran Fagen

Faran: My favorite thing about writers’ conferences is meeting authors and hearing their stories about why they became a writer. Inevitably, the answer is to create more readers among children and make kids feel like they’re part of something special as they turn each page. That’s what I want too–to help kids feel they belong in this world. Meeting other writers with that same mission is beyond empowering.

Melody Maysonet

Melody: My favorite thing about writers’ conferences is the workshops themselves. I love hanging out with other writers–there’s a definite spirt of togetherness at every conference I attend–but the learning part is what stays with me. Almost every workshop I attend, I have an aha! moment, and it’s those yummy little morsels that help me improve my craft.

Tuesday Tips: Dealing with Negativity

It’s getting harder to think of writing tips that I haven’t already shared, so I’m going to talk about something I always struggle with in my writing. My internal editor.

Having been a professional editor, it’s hard to turn off the part of my brain that tells me this word isn’t right or this sentence doesn’t flow or this scene is falling flat.

It makes me a very slow writer.

And it’s frustrating to still be working on my second book when others in my critique group are flying through their third or fourth…

At least it seems like they’re flying. I don’t see their internal struggles. All I see is them coming to group with a thick sheaf of pages to read, and what they read is always so good.

So here I am reminding myself not to compare, reminding myself that we all have different paths and different methods and blah blah blah.

I like to think that my internal editor—while making me a slow writer—also makes me a good writer. And I guess it does, but it’s hard to be happy about that when I’ve been slogging through the same scene for three days. Today I’ll read that scene aloud to my critique group. Hopefully it will be worth all the effort I poured into it.

I have to admit, it usually is.



I Went to that Conference!

Going to the conference really gets the creativity flowing! Saturday night at the SCBWI Florida Regional Conference is a dinner and costume contest. Here are most of the Tuesdays dressed as Dogs Playing Poker. You were supposed to dress as your favorite work of art.

Who doesn’t love a classic painting?

Of course, there were others like us who were selected as finalists.  See if you can guess who won?

The Marilyns



Bob Ross and his paining

The Girl with the Pearl Earring

When’s the last time you dressed in costume?