Louise dumped peaches into a bowl, added brown sugar, and rolled the dough into a ragged circle, all from memory. She remembered this pie. When it was done, she drove to a motel overlooking tall marsh grass, mudflats, and a bleak river basin.

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The Girl From the Moon” YARN (Young Adult Review Network)

Morgan comes over so late even the stars are nodding off. As I watch for him through the window, it feels like the blinking blue IHOP sign across the street is hypnotizing me. It’s surprising how many people go out for pancakes after midnight.

I sit at the kitchen table and doodle a girl in a backless gown on a scrap of paper.

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Embezzler” Menda City Review

Dad wasn’t where he was supposed to meet us.

Mom said, “Let’s get hot chocolate instead.” I nodded even though it had a lot of calories and I liked the sharpness of my bones. Once Dad took me to a house he was building. Only the framing was in place and he said, “That’s how a house begins.” I liked the smell of the new wood, how solid the structure was and the fact that from there on everything would fall into place. I feel the same way about my bones. They are where I begin.

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Endless Cup” Menda City Review

Just before saying goodbye, Jacob went over to the window and said, “Miranda, come look.”

When I stood beside him, I saw something, not out the window, but inside of me, inside of him. It can never be described, but I’ll try because when something like that happens, you have to try.  I saw flowers but they were also words. They told a story that flowed from the beginning of time to the end. And I was there, carried on a river of petals. I experienced the history of mankind, and at the same time of myself, and I knew that I was infinite, that we all were. The words were a song made of love. To hear it, to feel it, was to know in a way I’ve never known before. When the song ended I looked at Jacob. He told me it was time for him to go. 

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Good Luck Charm” The Smoking Poet

“I’m a can-do sort of guy. If you can get it done, things between us will be just fine,” Ray said, leaning a little closer than expected. Annie nodded like one of those plastic bobblehead dogs that people put in the rear windows of cars and wondered what she was getting into.

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How the Pied Piper of Tucson Led Me to My Story

Some writers keep returning to the story they have to tell until they get it right.

When I started my YA novel Half in Love with Death (Simon & Schuster/ Merit Press), I’d already abandoned two novels about a young girl who falls in love with a man who may be a murderer. This story drew me irresistibly, but every time I tried to write it I got stuck in the middle.

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Sharing an Inspiration with Joyce Carol Oates

When I set out to write a novel inspired by the case of Charles Schmid, the “Pied Piper of Tucson,” I knew from the start that I was not the only writer to find a story in this case.

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Looking Into a Killer’s Eyes to Bring a Character to Life (Writer Unboxed)

In the 1960s a man named Charles Schmid murdered three teenage girls and buried them in the Arizona desert. Later, his eerie story became the inspiration for, Tony, one of the main characters in my novel, Half in Love with Death.

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Review of A Bend in the Stars by Rachel Barenbaum

A Bend in the Stars is a thrilling read that sends a chilling message as to how history could repeat itself if we don’t heed the lessons of the past.

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Review of Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Sager fans and new readers alike will enjoy this heart-pounding thriller that cleverly weaves economic anxiety with something a whole lot darker.

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Review of Debris Line by Matthew Fitzsimmons

Fans of the series and new readers alike will enjoy this standout thriller that combines nonstop action and suspense with memorable characters who make you want to linger even as you race to the finish.

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Debuts

I used to be a good girl, a little too good actually. In school I never talked to ‘my neighbors.’ It took years for me to work up the courage to tear that little label off my mattress.

But deep in the darkest reaches of my soul I’ve always craved a little badness. Still, I never thought my debut novel, Half in Love with Death, would drag me into the wages of sin. Here in no particular order are the seven deadly sins of debuts.

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Ten Tips for Losing a Hundred Pages

Writers think about word counts the way dieters think about calories. By the time I finished my YA novel, Half in Love with Death, I’d reduced it from 97,000 to 90,000 words, and I thought it was pretty slim and trim.

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My First Time  (The Quivering Pen)

There wasn’t a specific moment when I realized I wanted to be a poet, novelist, or whatever. I would spend years working out those details. But there was a moment when I fell in love with writing.

It happened in third grade.

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Find more of my blog posts about writing at Dead Darlings.