My new anthology is out today! Hooray!!! But, first, a . . .


Summer Days and Summer Nights DOES NOT contain: terrorist attacks, mass shootings, hate laws, internet trolls, or election coverage.

If you are interested in reading about any of those items, please click over to your favorite news feed. But if the twenty-four hour news cycle is stressing you out, may I offer . . . an alternative.

A break.

A reading vacation.

My latest anthology DOES contain: a cliff jump into the ocean, a spirited theme park revue, an extravagant hedge maze, a mysterious sea monster, a motorcycle ride with a sexy stranger, a box of Chicago’s finest pastries, a plush Cthulhu dressed like Strawberry Shortcake, a ridiculous powder-blue uniform, a map of perfect moments, a camping trip with new friends, an intense pop-a-shot competition, and a love potion.

I am so proud of these stories, and I am so proud of these authors. We worked hard to bring you something intelligent and light and fun and overflowing with kindness and friendship and romance and love.

And hope. This book contains a lot of hope.

Read this if the world seems frightening, and your well of hope is running low. Read this and discover yourself smiling again. Read this and have a simply fantastic summer.


In one week—on May 17th—Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories will release.


If you've already pre-ordered or are considering it (please consider it!), check out this giveaway from our publisher. You can get a free *signed* bookplate, plus the adorable beach ball pictured above. The anthology features twelve new stories from twelve bestselling authors:

Leigh Bardugo!

Francesca Lia Block!

Libba Bray!

Cassandra Clare!

Brandy Colbert!

Tim Federle!

Lev Grossman!

Nina LaCour!

Veronica Roth!

Jon Skovron!

Jennifer E. Smith!

And me, of course! My story is called "In Ninety Minutes, Turn North," and it's a continuation of the story I wrote for My True Love Gave to Me. If you've ever wondered what happened to Marigold and her handsome Christmas-tree-lot boy North, now you'll know! The story takes place six months later, and it happens on a FUNICULAR, which is a weird type of mountainside train that I've just always liked.

The Grand Budapest Hotel had a great funicular. And it was actually a miniature model, which is even better. Miniature is always better.

The Grand Budapest Hotel had a great funicular. And it was actually a miniature model, which is even better. Miniature is always better.

That's one of the awesome things about being an author. You can say, "I want to write a love story set on a FUNICULAR," and you totally can.

I'm proud and excited about my story, but I'm REALLY proud and excited about everyone else's. Honestly, it's still hard for me to believe that I got to work with these authors—these incredibly talented authors who worked their asses off. Their stories exist across multiple genres—contemporary, fantasy, science fiction. There's even a Shakespearian farce! And they come together beautifully, thematically through hope and romantic love. And with gorgeous illustrations from Jim Tierney, to boot.

It's pretty fantastic, if I say so myself.

Of course . . . I'm biased.

So before I leave, I'll drop off these *FOUR* starred reviews from *FANCY OFFICIAL REVIEWERS* right here:

“There’s not a false note in the whole thing. These big-name authors deliver a collection that scorches as surely as any day in the sun.” Booklist, starred review

"This is a star-studded lineup that doesn't disappoint . . . An intelligent beach read with heart, soul, and sizzle." Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Offering a sampling of many different genres, bright and distinct narrative voices, and a generous portion of tender moments, this book has something for everyone who has loved or longs for it."Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This title is a sizzling must-have that will be too hot to keep on shelves.” School Library Journal, starred review

My face right now --> :-)



This is an almost all-Netflix edition of Five Things I Love!

What can I say? I love Netflix. (#6.)

(5) The second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: The first season was mostly good for me, but I thought it had a few awkward misses. But the new second season—I'm halfway through—has been GREAT, so far. I'm loving the Robert Durst jokes, Titus's construction worker beau, and Now That Sounds Like Music! And it still makes me giddy to see a redhead in a starring role.

(4) Inside Man: When I saw this was streaming on Netflix, I knew I'd be watching it again. This was my fourth viewing since it was released in 2006. The list of actors here is straight-up bananas—Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, and Willem Dafoe. And for being a relatively straightforward movie about bank robbery, director Spike Lee laces it with an intriguing yet subtle amount of racial tension. I'll be happy to watch this movie again in another two years.

(3) The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story: Cameo by Hulu! A lot of people have already told you to watch this. You should listen to them. I was in middle school during the OJ Simpson trial, so I knew all the names, and I knew about the murders and the Bronco chase, but I completely missed what made the trial a sensation—its inherent racism and misogyny. For a miniseries starring Cuba Gooding Jr., David Schwimmer, and John Travolta (not quite the cast of Inside Man), it's kind of shocking that it's so riveting. But it is. It's solid. The script is excellent, and Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark is (expectedly) a standout. My husband and I inhaled all ten episodes on a single Saturday.

(2) Murdoch Mysteries: It's basically a PBS mystery series that's never aired on PBS. I've heard that this show is huuuuuugly popular in other countries, but most Americans have never even heard of it. If you love PBS/BBC type historical shows, if you love Bones, if you love watching things be cleverly invented decades before they were actually invented (Lie detectors! Clue! Twitter!)—you should watch this Canadian show. It's fun, smart, and charming. And it has nine glorious seasons. Crabtree 4eva!

(1) Green Room: Cameo by a movie theater near you! From the writer/director of Blue Ruin (AWESOME REVENGE MOVIE), Patrick Stewart plays a white supremacist who, for various unfolding reasons, is holding a punk band captive in his remote venue's green room. The intelligent, suspenseful, honest, and grisly thriller-horror screenplay is so perfect—perfect for me—that I watched this film twice. I saw it on Sunday night, and then I was back at the theater again on Monday morning. You have to like realistic hardcore movies to like this one, but if that's your thing . . . THIS is your thing. It's only been a week, and it's already one of my all-time favorite horror films.


My husband proves, once again, that he is the best. This is why I never want to leave my house.

My husband proves, once again, that he is the best. This is why I never want to leave my house.

My mind has been a bit scattered for the last week. I alluded on Twitter to a general, vague illness, but . . . menstrual cramps, you guys. The worst of my life. The kind that leave you bedridden, the kind that only Jane Austen can soothe.*

*Persuasion. The Rupert Penry-Jones version.

But I'm out of bed today, and I'm working again. Yay! Little victories.

I don't talk about my work much online anymore. I'm not sure why, other than a general desire to keep more of my life private. It's not that I'm doing anything extraordinary or secretive. It's that I'm doing lots of very ordinary things that happen to feel rather sacred now.

I love my home. I've missed my home. The only job I've ever truly wanted is one that allows me to work from my home. There's a reason why I've ended one novel (Anna) and two short stories (the anthologies) on the idea of home.

I am obsessed with home.

Over the last few years, I've traveled in carousel-like circles to events and conferences and festivals and retreats—grateful to be invited, scared to miss out. Miserable in attendance. I love meeting my readers, and I love seeing my friends. But I have never desired a life away from home, and, suddenly, that's what I had.

I had hotels. I had airports. I had strangers.

I missed my husband and my cat and my bed.

More time was spent recovering than writing. I don't travel well. Much like my cat, I'm anxious and prone to stress-puking. I can't even begin tell you how many airport and bookstore bathrooms that I have thrown up in. (Answer: Most of them.) As an introvert, it takes a lot of effort for me to play an extrovert for a few hours. It goes against everything that I know to be true about myself.

Last year, I had coffee with an online author-friend who was passing through my hometown. (Hometown! I love that word, too.) When I remarked how odd it was that we'd never met in person before, he laughed and said that it wasn't. He explained that he rarely does events. When I pressed him further, I discovered that he maybe does one or two per year. Basically, he's really, really good at saying "no."

His career is healthy. He seemed happy.

My mind exploded.

Since that moment, I've begun to reclaim my life. I'm better at saying "no" to the things that bring me anguish, and I'm rediscovering how to make this a sustainable career. I'm learning—try, fail, try, improve—how to write regularly while keeping my work from becoming everything.

This Saturday, April 9th, will be my first event of the year. I'll be interviewing my longtime friend Jeff Zentner about his fantastic debut novel The Serpent King at Malaprop's in my hometown (!) of Asheville, North Carolina at 7:00 pm.

Jeff and his wife and son have eaten Thanksgiving dinner in my house. We have a fondue-themed Oscar party every year. We exchange texts about good Yankee Candles (Harvest) and bad Yankee Candles (anything blue or black), and we get psyched about corn mazes.

This is why this event matters to me. This is why Jeff got a "yes."

We'll be discussing his work—a friend only debuts once!—but if you purchase or bring any of my books, I'll be happy to sign them. I hope you can make it.


Hello friends,

Since 2005, I've blogged at naturalartificial.blogspot.com. With a nostalgic sort of sadness, I'm leaving that platform to continue my blog here on Squarespace. It felt very, well, 2005 to be relying on so many different companies and products—Blogger, GoDaddy, Fetch, BBEdit, Photobucket, as well as my friend and web designer Manning Krull—for one single website. Also, GoDaddy is pretty gross.

So here I am. Everything in one place.


It's hard to let go of the past. Even when that past is filled with frustrating technology. Especially when it means having to learn new frustrating technology.

But it's time to move forward, so this is me . . . moving forward.




*wobbly smile*

I sincerely hope that you like the new website. It's all the same stuff, although I've updated my FAQ (including writing advice and my writing process) and added more extras like this official playlist for Isla and the Happily Ever After. I've also joined Instagram.

Also . . . my public email account was down for the last few months as I rebuilt this website, so if you sent me something important, please send it to me again. I'm sorry for the inconvenience. Thank you for understanding.

Please take a peek around. Subscribe to this blog via email (the link is in the right sidebar of this blog) or RSS, if that's a thing you do.

And I'll see you again very soon.

UPDATE: A friendly acquaintence emailed me to give me the latest about GoDaddy. Apparently, a lot has changed at the company since the above-linked article was posted on Lifehacker! I still had a few direct problems with GoDaddy, so I have no regrets leaving them, but I'm happy and relieved to know that the company is no longer gross. ;-)