Tuesday, October 28, 2014


That's right. This year I'll be taking part in NaNoWriMo to work on my first full draft of my project for Quirk! It works out well because my project is pitched at 50k words and the manuscript is due by the end of the year.

I've always been attracted to the idea of NaNoWriMo. Mostly, I love the camaraderie and support between all the different people all over the world all striving towards one goal. I love the celebratory air and the nonstop cheerleading and motivation. I love how even though not everyone "wins", there's no shaming involved. So many people bounce back, year after year, determined to try and again and succeed.

I'm one of those people. I signed up to do it for the past couple years but never actually ended up writing anything. I guess you could say I got cold feet. It's one thing to write when you're simply writing for yourself and there's no pressure, and another when you put your progress out there for the world to see. Taking part in NaNoWriMo means holding yourself accountable. And, while I've always been pretty good about meeting deadlines in my professional writing, my personal projects tend to get extremely drawn out over time. (It took me almost 5 years to write and revise my YA paranormal novel, Winter Wilder, and even that's not fully revised to my satisfaction yet.)

The fact that this Quirk book is a professional project gives me more motivation to finish it on time, and it helps knowing that the 50k goal at the end of November isn't just an aspiration... it's a requirement. In other words, I have to win.

But that doesn't mean I won't be sweating over my daily word count and it doesn't mean I won't need the support and encouragement from the rest of the wrimos out there. I'm looking forward to taking part in group writing sessions in Los Angeles and getting to know other people jumping into this crazy month of writing.

If you're taking part, be my writing buddy, and we can fight our way to the finish line together!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Quirk Publishing Deal!

I'm super excited to announce that I have signed on to write two middle grade books for one of my favorite publishers, Quirk Books, with the talented and award-winning designer Will Staehle illustrating. This pretty much sums up how I feel about it:

I'm afraid I can't say much more about the project at this point, but I wanted to share the good news! As soon as I'm able to share more, I'll be doing so on this blog, so keep checking back.

In the meantime, this will be me:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Giveaway: Diary of a Girl Next Door: Betty!

To celebrate the re-launch of this blog, I'm giving away 3 signed copies of Diary of a Girl Next Door: Betty!

The contest runs for one week - it's easy to enter, and you can bump up your chances of winning by doing additional things like tweeting about it or sharing a funny story about school in the comments below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, keep an eye on this blog because I'm going to making an exciting announcement in the next couple days!

Good luck!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Interview with The Mary Sue

Just a quick post to let you know another interview has been posted about Diary of a Girl Next Door: Betty, this time by Carolyn Cox of The Mary Sue! Check it out!

There's also a preview of the first chapter, "720 Days"!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Interviews with Comicosity and Comic Creator News

There's a couple recent interviews that have been posted online about my work on Diary of a Girl Next Door: Betty.

First, I was interviewed by Richard Caldwell of Comic Creator News.

And today an interview with Matt Santori-Griffith of Comicosity went up which also has a sample chapter you can read called "Peer Mediation".

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Tutorial Book Sneak Peek

One of the projects I'm currently wrapping up right now is a professional manga character design tutorial book that will be published by Focal Press next year.

This book will go beyond the typical "follow-along" format of most tutorial books and will focus more on storytelling and building characters from the ground up. It's been an enormous project but I'm excited to see how it all turns out.

Here's a little snippet of the cover image which I just finished recently!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Visiting Kolb Middle School

Last month I had the honor of spending the day at Kolb Middle School in Rialto, talking to the kids about my work and holding a workshop where the kids could make their own diary-style comics.

I invited to speak there by one of my favorite people, Angela Mattison-Bradley, who was actually my math teacher in high-school back in Colorado! She's now a director of the Rialto Unified School District and I was happy I got to spend a bit of time with her and her family before my school appearance!

I've always respected teachers, but spending a day in their shoes really opened my eyes to how much work it is to be one. I was basically on a teacher's schedule all day, teaching one class after another with a brief 30 minute lunch mid-day. Luckily, the day flew by and the kids all were really great and receptive.

After sharing some of my work with the students, talking to them about what I do, and reading a sample from Diary of a Girl Next Door: Betty, I had the kids work on their own one-page diary-style comic. It could be about whatever they wanted - and it could either be more like a traditional comic, or prose mixed with spot illustrations, like in Diary. The assignment was intimidating for some students, but they all jumped in and gave it their best shot, which I thought was really cool. And, of course, there were some kids who seemed to have a natural talent for making comics!

For the kids that were a little less confident about their art skills, I did a few draw-alongs on the white-board of whatever the kids requested. Superheroes were pretty popular, as was Sonic the Hedgehog!

All in all, it was a really fun day, and I was just blown away by how welcoming all the students and teachers were. They really made me feel like a celebrity! I definitely hope to do more school events like this in the future... it's such a cool experience to see kids get inspired when I let them know that a career in comics IS possible! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Hi and welcome to my blog where I'll be posting about various projects and events I'm taking part in. I'm working on some exciting stuff over the next couple years and will be using this blog to post some sneak peeks, hold some giveaways, as well as ramble about random things that I like to ramble about! Stick around and feel free to follow me on Twitter for more frequent updates!