Tag Archives: reading

Meet “Magical”!

I am very pleased to announce the release of Magical: An Anthology of Fantasy, Fairy Tales, and Other Magical Fiction, a collection of 31 stories from writers around the globe–including yours truly!

That’s right–my short story, “Invisible,” is included in this anthology, which is now available for purchase in paperback and on the Kindle.

I’ll just wait here for a minute while you go buy the book…


Awesome–thanks for your purchase!

MagicalAs you know–since you just procured your very own copy!–stories in this collection retell classics like “Little Red Riding Hood” and invent new tales of goblins, dragons, witches, or singing frogs. There’s something here for everyone!

These tales for adults will take you back to a more innocent time–times when certain people fooled other, more gullible people into trading cows for a few beans; allowed dudes to use their hair in bizarre rock-climbing experiments; turned ordinary crops into gold; and otherwise maimed, killed, and ate other people. Ah, fairy tales!

And here’s the best part: I, and several other contributors, will be reading selections from our stories at on Friday, December 5, at 7 pm. (That’s tomorrow night, if you’re reading this today!)

Location: The Writer’s Center
4508 Walsh St
Bethesda, MD 20815

Exciting, right? I know!!! Please RSVP here. It will ask you to “buy” tickets, but the tickets are free; we just ask you to RSVP so we know how many snacks to buy.


A full ten (10!) percent of the proceeds–now through Christmas–will go to Tim’s Team, a foundation to help raise awareness of cystic fibrosis. I mean, really! If you haven’t bought the book already (and I did give you ample time above), how could you refuse Tim? In the words of the dear, sweet editor, Kelly Jacobson: “Even if we can’t make magic real, we can do some magical good in the world with our stories.”

Well said.

Thankfully Reading 2014: My TBR


I’m so excited to get started on my Thankfully Reading Weekend! Here’s what I’ll be reading, in no particular order:

  • The Fever by Megan Abbott
  • On Immunity by Eula Biss
  • Texts From Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
  • Paper Love by Sarah Wildman


And, if I have time (haha yeah right!), I’ve also got a backup TBR list:

  • Dear Life by Alice Munro
  • Redeployment by Phil Klay
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Now, on to the reading! As long as Jack doesn’t disturb me, that is.

Check out my #ThankfullyReading progress here!


Thankfully Reading 2014: My Giveaway!

I always love participating in the Thankfully Reading Weekend that Jenn (Jenn’s Bookshelves) organizes. It’s always a lovely excuse to slip away and bury my nose in a book when the holiday gets to be a little too much.

This year, I’m extremely excited to announce that I will be sponsoring one of the giveaways! I’m offering a $20 store credit for the Friday challenge, good for anything in my Shop! Jenn will announce the rules later on, so stay tuned on her site.

ThankfullyReading_zps031c0cceIf you’re interested, please check out Jenn’s post for more information. There aren’t really any rules; you may join in for the weekend or for only a single day.

In any case, I hope you’ll follow along; the hashtag on social media is #thankfullyreading. I’m planning on posting updates as I go–although sometimes, if I’m in a really good book (or enjoying the company of friends and family!), I forget. :) But as Jenn says: No rules, no pressure!

A Novel Idea in Tanzania

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A Novel Idea in Dar es Salaam.

I’m in Tanzania with the International Reporting Project (IRP). (Learn more about our reporting trips here!)

As I discovered in Zambia, I love visiting local bookstores in new countries. This morning, in between exchanging money and buying SIM cards, I visited this lovely little book nook down the street.

The nice young lady who rather shyly showed me around the store.

The nice young lady who rather shyly showed me around the store.


Although they didn’t have many books from Tanzania (not counting nature and guidebooks), the bookstore had an impressive “African Interest” section.

This was the book the staff recommended. It's set in Tanzania, even if the author lives in Canada.

This was the book the staff recommended. It’s set in Tanzania, even if the author lives in Canada.


Another local pick.


If this book didn’t weigh easily 10 pounds, I would have gotten it. I still might.


Children's book room, complete with a Learning Tree.

Children’s book room, complete with a Learning Tree.


The store was cozy and bright.

I love the books shelved high up--reminds me of Belle's library in "Beauty and the Beast."

I love the books shelved high up–reminds me of Belle’s library in “Beauty and the Beast.”


It’s amazing how many books they were able to fit in one small store.

Planet Books, a Zambian Literature Destination

When I was preparing for this trip to Zambia, I was disappointed by the limited literary selection that I found online. Where was the Zambian Achebe or Adichie? Lusaka’s Coetzee?

I was delighted, then, to pass by Planet Books today on my way to lunch. I ducked in and quickly inquired of the salesmen: Where on earth are the books about Zambia or by Zambian authors? Without a word, they dispersed around the store, returning with book after book. In addition to their personal recommendations, they also have several shelves devoted to local literature. What a relief!

I was particularly impressed with the salesman’s knowledge of and passion for Zambian books. They pressed volume after volume into my hands. When I told one about my struggle to find internationally recognized titles, he nodded his head sympathetically. “Zambia does not have many authors,” he said, before darting off to bring me another recommended read.

It just goes to show: Bookstores always trump online shopping!

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After much deliberation, I purchased this book–my new Planet Books friend recommended it most highly.

Check out Planet Books on Facebook!

Read Like a Writer: Join the Club

I’ve contributed to the wonderful Literature and Libation, which is run by my classmate and good friend Oliver Gray. Check out the post, and don’t forget to subscribe to his blog–he’s got some very solid advice for writers!

So you want to be a writer? Join the club.

The book club, that is.

If you are serious about writing, start reading. Whether you want to write fiction or nonfiction, articles or trilogies, you need to be aware of what else is out there. Keep reading…

Spring Readathon 2012

This is one of my favorite weekends of the year–Spring Readathon! Jack is away for the weekend, and I’ve got a stack of books that I have fallen behind on reading and reviewing.

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot more writing and research than reading. I’ve got a list of books I’d promised to review already, and I feel terribly that I haven’t finished them yet. This weekend will change all that.

Today I’ll be finishing a few books I’m already in the middle of, like Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd and Losing Clementine by Ashley Ream. Both of these cover serious topics, which has made it difficult to fly through them, but they are both fascinating for completely different reasons.

Then I’m planning to get through several books on my Spring TBR List:


I’ve got to finish them in order to make room for more!

I’ll be updating my progress every few hours, so stay tuned.