#TeamJuwan 4th Annual Toy and Book Drive

Juwan’s Mom and I are in some of the same online Hodgkin’s Lymphoma support groups. We don’t know each other personally. But I’ve been following Juwan’s treatment and read his mom’s posts and seen videos of him in the Abington High School marching band (where he’s the lieutnant). I celebrate Juwan’s victories and I share the pain when there are setbacks. I smile with her and think of Juwan and his entire family often. As I was going through my own autologous stem cell transplant, I remembered reading his story. And he inspired me to stay as positive as I could. When it got rough, like when I had sepsis or when I couldn’t really eat or when I was feeling scared, what helped me was: my husband staying overnight, my parents visiting, the nurses and doctors who went above and beyond, my family and friends who sent notes and messages and checked in and thinking about the stories I had read. Juwan’s story was one of them.

For his 18th birthday and high school graduation, Juwan is organizing his 4th Annual Toy and Book Drive.

Because since he’s been diagnosed at the age of 13, he’s been organizing an Annual Toy And Book Drive for other children in the oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to celebrate his own birthday.

“I decided to collect toys to give to the hospital, so that other children will have something to do, to stay positive,” said Juwan. (Source: 6abc)

Here’s how you can help with his drive, but please, please keep on reading to see how you can also help by registering and spreading the word about Be The Match, as Juwan’s autologous stem cell transplant failed and he’s in a need of a donor for an allo transplant.

  • Amazon Wish List for the pediatric oncology department at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Please write in the gift message that it is for Team Juwan: https://bit.ly/TeamJuwanWishList
  • Virtual yearbook to send your well wishes and congratulatory messages to Juwan on his graduation: https://bit.ly/TeamJuwanVirtualYearbook
  • You can also donate or mail a gift card to the Kisses for Kyle Foundation (local foundation that supports the families of pediatric cancer patients) (https://kissesforkyle.org/). Thanks for including a note mentioning your gift is from Team Juwan.

Juwan has also spearheaded a campaign to register more people to Be The Match. If you text “SAVEJUWAN” to 61474 you can get a link to be on the bone marrow donor registry and help potentially save his life or someone else’s.

And his goal at the beginning was to register 1000 people, but he helped register 10000 people! (I tried to add a video here but it’s not embedding for some reason…you can see it here).

He still doesn’t have a match.

“Even if he doesn’t find a match, he’s been adamant about getting more people on the registry list,” said Andrea Adams, Juwan’s mother. (Source: The Philadelphia Tribune).

The following is from an article published in The Philadelphia Tribune who talked to Lauren Mueller, a Be The Match spokesperson:

“If you’re a white patient in need there is a 72% chance to find a person on the registry list,” says Lauren Mueller, a Be The Match spokesperson. “The likelihood of someone who is African American or Black is as low as 23 percent.”

A person’s ethnic background can make all the difference. There is an urgent need to increase the ethnic background of the donor registry, especially in the African-American community. If more Black people register and donate, more Black lives will have a greater chance of survival.

“There is a huge gap we need to fill to give all patients life-saving procedure,” Mueller said. “We need to diversify the registry. That will help all patients find a perfect match.

“If someone joins and turns out [to be a match to Juwan] that can be a cure for him,” she added. “The transplant will be a cure. That’s pretty amazing.

“We are likely to match with someone who shares a similar ethnic background,” Mueller said. “Someone who is African American is more likely to match an African American donor with a similar genetic makeup.”

Adams has a 15% chance to find a donor because of his ethnicity, Andrea Adams said.

Source: BeTheMatch.org

Be The Match has announced concrete steps which might help raise the number of Black patients in need of a donor transplant to find a match (Source: Words Are Not Enough on BeTheMatch.org). Here are a few steps they are taking:

  • Increasing awareness and education in the Black and African American community about the resources and potential cures available to treat Sickle Cell and other blood diseases.
  • Adding a paid community engagement fellowship in the Twin Cities focused on building relationships and increasing trust with ethnically diverse communities.
  • Increasing the number of interns from historically black colleges and universities by 50%.
  • Committing $250,000 by the end of 2021 to partner with community and civic organizations serving diverse communities such as the National Urban League Young Professionals. (…)

Juwan’s 18th birthday is in July. So let’s continue sharing his story and his campaign to register more people to Be The Match. And let’s help him with his 4th Annual Toy and Book Drive. Let’s find ways to make him smile, like he always tries to find ways to make other people smile.

“It makes me happy when I can make someone else happy and make their day better, I don’t know what it is. I just enjoy putting smiles on people’s faces,” Adams says. (Source: 6abc)


#BeTheMatch …You can save a life.

The Chemical Engineer just joined #BeTheMatch ‘s registry. Joining the Be The Match Registry® means volunteering to be listed as a potential blood stem cell donor, ready to save the life of any patient in need of a transplant. He’s about to put his swabbing kit back into the mail. That picture of him in the collage on the right is him smiling while swabbing his chick.We were inspired by Juwan (https://www.ourraceagainsttime.org/story-juwan/).

Juwan is a teenager who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma a year before me. His mom is a member of two online groups I’m also a member of and she shared his experience, his strength and the way he helped other kids throughout his own treatment. Juwan had an autologous stem cell transplant that unfortunately failed and he’s looking for a donor to do another transplant. Juwan is also helping getting more people to Be The Match. Can you “Be The Match?”

Thanks to his efforts 10 000 people registered to the registry. Anyone between the ages of 18 and 44 can help by texting savejuwan to 61474 or registering online at http://join.bethematch.org/Juwan

Have you registered?


I don’t understand…

I don’t understand.

I was on Facebook yesterday and I saw people talking about George Floyd’s death and while acknowledging the officers needed to be arrested, dismissing the idea of systemic racism.

And I’m baffled.

I’m baffled because saying one needs to look at the issue of systemic racism, including in the police force, doesn’t (a) say everyone is knowingly racist, (b) includes the idea of internalized bias, (c) doesn’t take away from the courage of police officers who put their lives at risk or the sacrifice their families makes.

It doesn’t.

Currently reading.

And some of you might be rolling your eyes reading this (if you still are). Others might be saying, “What does she know? She’s a liberal bleeding heart. Such a snowflake.” And you might be getting angry. Frustrated. Just the picture of the book I’m reading may have annoyed you.

“Blue Lives Matter”, you might reply. Or post a meme or two. And I could reply that you’re not blue. But that would probably stop you from reading. A knee-jerk reaction saying I don’t understand. So instead, I will reply with “Where do you see me saying police lives do not matter? Where did I imply that? Did I not recognize at the beginning of my post the sacrifices and courage it takes to be a police officer?” Because it’s true. It takes courage and sacrifice.

And I also agree there needs to be more training. There needs to be more support and more staffing. And there needs to be a discussion on why those other police officers stood by without intervening.

One does not negate the other.

He died.

“All Lives Matter”, you might answer. So why do you have a problem with “Black Lives Matter”? How is it that a 30-year old White man will be called a boy? And a twelve-year old Black boy will be said to look older than his age? It’s pernicious. It’s there. In the words. In the attitude.

Reports have shown that there is racial bias in the healthcare system.

The same goes in the justice system. “Reports” You may cough dismissingly.

Here’s what the report on Baltimore policing mentioned for example: “Black pedestrians were 37 percent more likely to be searched by Baltimore police citywide and 23 percent more likely to be searched during vehicle stops. But officers found contraband twice as often when searching white residents during vehicle stops and 50 percent more often during pedestrian stops, the report notes.” (Source: The Baltimore Sun).

In both healthcare and the justice system and in our everyday life, this type of behavior is fueled by internalized bias. Internalized racism. Some of you might stop reading here. Because what? Of course not. *I* am not racist. This is so outrageous and wrong and offensive. But I’m not talking about a conscious choice of being racist.

Of course most of us would stand up against explicit bias. I want to believe most of the people reading this wouldn’t go to Charlottesville with tikki torches, screaming “Jews will not replace us.” And most of the people reading this would be outraged about people calling Michelle Obama a “Monkey Face” or an “Ape in heels”, or about the shooting in a Black church in Charlerston. Because this is outward racism. Because this is tragic.

But then there’s internal bias. The one we don’t notice. The one I know I have. Am I so different from you? I recognize I can have internal bias. But you…you reading this getting mad and frustrated or simply laughing because “This is bullshit”.

Because why? You never made any disparaging comments? You never used the n-word. I never did either. But the bias is still there.

And I’m aware of it. And I’m consciously fighting it.

It’s also really ingrained in the smallest things. Like as pointed out in this Twitter thread: 

One example she mentions in case you didn’t click on the link is going to ballet class and being asked to wear “flesh tone” tights:

I was six and in ballet when I first heard this term. I had to buy flesh tone tights as part of the supplies to take a dance class. Flesh tone tights are not the color of my flesh. This assumption of white as the default is white supremacy.

Small things. But those small things add up. Especially when they start in childhood. Because what this doesn’t mention is on the other side you had a white child who didn’t ask himself or herself about buying the tights. His or her mother didn’t blink at the mention of flesh tone tights.

Everyone is the same. Equal rights. Equal opportunities.

But is it? Really?

The outrage at the word racism, because “Of course, I’m not.” Because we are not knowingly engaging in racism. Not going out with signs. Not burning crosses on front lawns.

And yet not recognizing the insidious way it is in society. Not recognizing privilege. Not recognizing the centuries of suffering.

“But it was such a long time ago. They should just get over it.”

Was it that long ago?

Was your grandfather or great grand-father going to the same schools as the grandfather of Black Americans of the same age? Your. Grandfather. This wasn’t that long ago. And the ramifications of centuries of oppression doesn’t disappear in the blink of an eye.

Oh and how about?

“But I struggle too. And I’m from the same neighborhood. I got out.”

No one has said your success isn’t valid. Your success is valid. It doesn’t stop your success, it simply means the color of your skin didn’t further hinder you. It didn’t add an additional hurdle.

“I don’t see color.” In the “White Fragility, Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism” book I’m currently reading, there’s a line that stayed with me. “If you don’t see color, how can you see racism?” There are a lot of examples in that book. And it is definitely thought-provoking.

“Why should I feel bad about being White?”
No one is asking you to feel bad about being White. I think it’s missing the point if your argument is you don’t want to feel guilty for something you didn’t choose. No one is asking for you to beat yourself up because you’re white. Recognizing a sort of privilege that comes with being white simply means (to me at least) that you now can actively find ways to fight the unconscious racial bias that is part of society. Be the kind of person who’s part of the solution. Actively part of the solution. Instead of washing your hands from the problem, “because you’re not racist.” Again, you don’t have to go around with tikki torches to benefit from a system that was put in place before you were born.

“Hinder me? In this country, we can be who we want to be.”
Sure. But can you recognize it is harder for POCs? There are countless studies that prove it is harder. I know it’s not easy to accept. Again, it doesn’t diminish your own personal success.

“You’re just being a snowflake.”
But who’s refusing to take a closer look at oneself?

“My Black friend said it wasn’t a racist problem.”
Did you have the discussion? Did you look at the bigger picture? Or have you decided since one of your Black friends is saying there’s no problem, then *sigh of relief* you’ve been in the right all along.

“The media is responsible. They’re throwing flames to the fire.” Like the Black reporter who got arrested on live TV this morning? Or because they are reporting the words of the President?
Or because they are sensationalizing the news? Yes, sometimes there can be theatrics in news. But it doesn’t take away from what happened and has been happening.

“But they’re looting, destroying their own community. How is that helping?”
Someone on Twitter pointed out at Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest which also wasn’t accepted because some had decided it was disrespectful. And you might get triggered and get hung up on how, yes, it is disrespectful in your eyes. And if I start talking about the protests at the capitols with people carrying their guns and verbally threatening lawmakers, you’ll again tell me how this is a free country and they’re not breaking and looting anything.
I’m not condoning looting. I’m not condoning the destruction of property.
Just like I don’t condone looting or the destruction of property when the University of Maryland wins against Duke.
And yet, the outrage seems less.

Jason Reynolds (the New York Times best-selling author of All American Boys, the Track series, Long Way Down, For Everyone, and Miles Morales-Spiderman.) tweeted the following:

(added the following in blue on May 30th) There’s also more and more talks about how some people burning and rioting are (1) not from the area of protestors and (2) could be from organized groups such as white supremacy groups.

And if you’re now saying, “But I acknowledge this was wrong. What happened was wrong. But…This is not an appropriate type of reaction.”

Have you stopped to think about the pain and anger that’s triggering this reaction?

Some violence might also be instigated by outside groups.

Not condoning the looting and destruction shouldn’t prevent from understanding the why. Or trying to understand the why.

And an author I admire (Nic Stone, love her books) shared this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. Did you know this quote? I didn’t:

“…I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.” (“The Other America” speech at Stanford University)

“Well, they’re being racist too. So much anti-whiteness going on these days.” I’ve only seen a couple of acquaintances posting memes like these on my Facebook wall. And we could have an entire discussion on why this discussion point is to put it mildly extremely problematic. Maybe you can start by reading this:

“You don’t understand. You’re French anyways.”

True. I am. And racism is a problem in France too. I’m not denying that. The history of colonialism isn’t something that, in my view, has been entirely dealt with. There’s definitely internalized racism in France too. When you apply to a job with a certain name, your chance of getting that job are lower. I’m fully aware of this.

However, being French doesn’t prevent me from reading and informing myself and recognizing what is happening around me.

Being French doesn’t prevent me from feeling like I’m part of the United States too, loving this country and understanding it is not perfect. I’ve been living in the United States for about eleven years. This is a home to me too.

I want to believe we want to do better. To be better. I want to believe that the majority of us want to strive to be better. To help.

So if you’ve read this entire post, I might not have convinced you. You might still be coming up in your mind with counter-arguments for every point I’ve just made. Maybe ask yourself why that is.

Because what did I write that may have offended you?
What did I write that was not based on facts?
What do you have to lose by trying to actively do something against racism? Since we all tend to agree that racism is bad. If we dig deeper and find those bias, if we realize that it is institutionalized, then maybe we can do better. Maybe we can be better.

And in case you want to know more about what we can do, or how to inform ourselves more, here are several links with resources.

• “Anti-racism resources” : https://docs.google.com/…/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO…/preview…
• “FOR OUR WHITE FRIENDS DESIRING TO BE ALLIES”: https://sojo.net/artic…/our-white-friends-desiring-be-allies
* Unconcious Bias and its Influence on Decision Making https://gradschool.princeton.edu/…/diversi…/unconcious-bias…

And let me know if you’ve read or are reading “White Fragility – why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism.”

bilingual books

Stai imparando l’inglese? Are you learning Italian?

This book can help you with that: one page in English, one page in Italian …
Questo libro può aiutarti: una pagina è in inglese e una in italiano.

Lei è la sorella più piccola del suo migliore amico. Lui è il miglior rubacuori in circolazione. Non dovrebbero stare insieme. Però quest’estate la tentazione sarà grande.

She’s his best friend’s little sister. He’s the biggest player of them all. They shouldn’t be together. But this summer’s just too tempting.

Sarà un’estate senza precedenti.
It’s going to be a summer like no other.

L’obiettivo che la sedicenne Emilia Moretti si è prefissata per l’estate è semplice: dimenticarsi che il migliore amico di suo fratello – Nick Grawsky – sia mai esistito. Dovrebbe essere facile: lui passerà l’estate negli Hamptons, andando ad aggiungere ragazze in bikini succinti alla sua lista di cuori spezzati. E garantito che non le tratterà come delle sorelle. Quest’estate Emilia non starà sveglia di notte pensando a lui. Avrà bisogno di perfezionarsi in modo impeccabile nella danza classica, se spera di combinare qualcosa di buono il prossimo anno. E poi è finalmente pronta a cercare i suoi genitori naturali. Ma quando Nick decide di restare in città, tutta la risolutezza di Emilia svanisce nell’istante di una piroetta. Forse è la svolta di cui avevano bisogno per stare insieme. Fintanto che lei non si mette a sperare nel ‘vissero per sempre felici e contenti’ …

Nick è stanco di fingere di essere il classico tipo contento che ama divertirsi. Suo padre vuole che abbandoni i sogni di una carriera da ballerino professionista per diventare… avvocato. Dovrà quindi concentrarsi appieno sulla danza per dare prova al caro paparino della sua possibilità di diventare qualcuno. E per gentile concessione di Emilia, potrebbe capitargli di subire la peggiore frustrazione romantica della storia. Lei è irraggiungibile. Off-limits. Il codice di fratellanza con Roberto proibisce pensieri audaci nei suoi confronti. E poi lui non è tipo da fidanzamenti: ha tempo solo per le scappatelle, per ragazze che non si aspettano chissà che, per ragazze a cui non è costretto a dare il bacio della buonanotte. Sa che dovrebbe resisterle, ma non è sicuro di volerlo fare…

Almeno per quest’estate.
Sarà un’estate senza precedenti.
Sixteen-year-old Emilia Moretti’s goal for the summer is simple: forget her brother’s best friend—Nick Grawsky—ever existed. It should be easy: He’s spending his summer in the Hamptons, adding girls in tiny bikinis to his list of broken hearts. Guarantee he won’t be telling them they’re like his little sisters. This summer, Emilia won’t stay awake at night thinking about him. She’ll need flawless ballet movements to have a shot at next year’s showcase, and she’s finally ready to search for her birth parents. But when Nick decides to stay in the city, Emilia’s resolve disappears in a pirouette. Maybe it’s the spin they needed to be together. As long as she doesn’t get stuck believing in happily ever after…

Nick is tired of pretending to be the happy, let’s-have-fun guy. His father wants him to change his career from professional dancer to…lawyer. He needs to put all of his focus on dancing to prove to Daddy Dearest he’s good enough to make it big. And he may have a case of the bluest balls in history courtesy of Emilia. She’s off-limits: The bro code with Roberto even forbids the dirty thoughts he has about her. Besides, he’s not boyfriend material. He only has time for flings, for girls who don’t expect much, for girls he doesn’t want to kiss goodnight. He knows he should resist her, but he’s not sure he wants to…

At least for this summer.
It’s going to be a summer like no other.


So happy to announce: Escono Oggi- UN’ESTATE SENZA PRECEDENTI…

Today is the release day of the Italian version of A Summer Like No Other. I am so so excited about it. I even got one of the coveted little best-selling flags for it on Amazon Italy. 🙂

Thank you so much to my translator: Annalisa Lovat and my proofreader Cinzia Novi 🙂 and stay tuned for more information on bilingual editions of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER in Italian coming soon. And for the Italian version of ALWAYS SECOND BEST.

***Lasciati tentare…***
Lei è la sorella più piccola del suo migliore amico. Lui è il miglior rubacuori in circolazione. Non dovrebbero stare insieme. Però quest’estate la tentazione sarà grande.
Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/2TH0tK9
Amazon (paperback/cartaceo): https://amzn.to/2TGYlSF
iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1513072384
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/it/it/ebook/un-estate-senza-precedenti
GooglePlay: https://bit.ly/GooglePlayASLNOSee Translation

❤ ❤ ❤


#TeaserTuesday First Lines…

What’s the first line of the book you’re currently reading?

Here are the first lines of my novels (including my Work-In-Progress).

  •  “Bucket List Item also known as “What was I thinking?” or “You’re going to rock this” List (depending on the days): Blind date – tomorrow.” (UNTITLED – Current WiP)
  • “Here’s what we all know: Sometime this week or the next or the one after that, we will find another dead girl.” (FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT). Technically the first line of that novel is: Fear. (but I took the first line of the second chapter :P).
  • “Evil doesn’t sleep, doesn’t rest, doesn’t forget.” (SEE ME, SEE ME NOT)
  • “The daisies on my mother’s tomb remind me of happier times.” (TRUST ME, TRUST ME NOT)
  • “Blood. The blood is everywhere.” (ONE DREAM ONLY)
  • “Chopin’s music is the soundtrack of my life.” (ONE TWO THREE).
  • “The pop music blasts from the speakers so loudly that it resonates within me.” (A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER)
  • “I SHOULD HAVE STAYED at the School of Performing Arts this weekend.” (ALWAYS SECOND BEST).
  • “Kneeing a guy in the balls might not be the best idea.” (LOVE IN B MINOR)

Happy reading! Stay safe ❤


Let’s Do Something Good Now – The Happy Messages edition

Two years ago, I organized an auction called “Let’s Do Something Now” to benefit associations helping young adults with cancer. And I thought, while I can’t organize an auction right now, I’d like to do something good 🙂

I have treatment on Monday (maintenance immunotherapy treatment after autologous stem cell transplant in October). And for the first time ever, due to the restrictions at the hospital and cancer center, the Chemical Engineer won’t be able to come with me. Since diagnosis in October 2017, he’s been with me at all my treatments. And I know that makes me lucky. One, that he is such an amazing and supportive husband (yes Alex, you’re the best ;-)), and two, that his bosses and colleagues enabled him to be there. And I know everyone at the cancer center and I know the procedures and how everything works. It’s so much harder for the patients who are just getting diagnosed or who don’t know what is happening with their treatments due to the current situation.

And it reminds me again how nurses, doctors, techs and all hospital workers have been supportive and amazing throughout. And it also reminds that stem cell transplant patients probably can’t have visitors right now and this must be so hard. I know my parents and Alex’s visits helped me tremendously.

So, I was wondering if you’d like to send messages (short messages, encouraging letters, videos) or drawings (by taking a picture of the drawings) to the people working there and/or to the patients in the stem cell unit.


  • Let me know if I can also upload them to my website 🙂


Motivation Monday

Looking for online bookish/writing content & activities for kids & teens? Authors are helping…

Hello, I know times are very uncertain right now. And with schools closing and social distancing and activities canceled, kids’ and teens’ and their families’ routine have been upended. And yes, personnally, my anxiety is pretty much riding on a roller coaster of emotions, but I saw this going around and it made me laugh:

And this Facebook update from my friend, Sara, still has me smiling:

So, during this time, Kidlit, MG and YA authors (and now I’m wondering what the definition of Kidlit is…what ages does that term encompass? and shouldn’t I know that already? Anyways…) are helping parents and children, pre-teens and teens by sharing more online content. It not only can give new ideas for discussions or activities, I think it also brings another layer of connection to the outside world.

Oh and did you know that Audible announced a new site with free streaming of titles for kids and families? https://stories.audible.com/start-listen

Below you’ll find the links to articles from the New York Times and BookRiot with authors who are sharing interviews, ways to draw, reading out loud and so on…

But as this list always grows and more and more authors & illustrators & publishing houses are offering content, I’m first adding a few authors who I haven’t seen mentioned in those articles. And if you have content, don’t hesitate to add them in the comments.

  • YA and MG New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang offers free online writing class for teens on Instagram M/W/F and then post the videos on her website.

Kelly Yang is the New York Times bestselling author of FRONT DESK, winner of the 2019 Asian Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature, PARACHUTES (YA debut novel, May 2020, Harpercollins) and THREE KEYS (Front Desk Sequel, Sept 2020, Scholastic). FRONT DESK is Kelly’s award-winning middle grade debut novel about a 10 year old Chinese American immigrant girl who manages the front desk of a motel while her parents clean the rooms. FRONT DESK was awarded the 2019 Asian Pacific American Award for Literature, the Parents’ Choice Gold Medal, is the 2019 Global Read Aloud, and has earned numerous other honors including being named an Amazon Best Book of the Year, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a NPR Best Book of the Year, and a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year.

  • Kidlit Author Rachele Alpine created a Virtual Book Club for elementary to middle school readers on Facebook: The Flashlight Society

Welcome to the coolest virtual book club around! While this group is geared toward elementary to middle school readers, any one who loves to read is welcome to hang with us. And we promise not to tell if you hide under your covers and read past your bedtime! https://www.facebook.com/groups/theflashlightsociety

Rachele Alpine is a lover of sushi, coffee, and busting a move on the dance floor. One of her first jobs was at a library, but it didn’t last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she’s a little more careful about when and where she indulges her reading habit. By day she’s a high school English teacher, and by night she writes with the companionship of the world’s cutest dog, Radley, a big cup of coffee, and a full bag of gummy peaches. Rachele lives with her husband and son in Cleveland, Ohio, but dreams of moving back to Boston, the city she fell in love with while attending graduate school there.

  • Penguin Kids is starting a virtual storytime #ReadTogetherBeTogether

Debbie Ridpath Ohi is the author and illustrator of Where Are My Books? and Sam & Eva (both with Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers). Her writing and/or illustrations have appeared in nearly 25 books for young people, including titles by Judy Blume, Michael Ian Black and Linda Sue Park. Her books have been a Junior Library Guild Selection, New York Times Notable Children’s Book, Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award winner, National Post Best Books For Kids, Indie Kids’ Next choice, shortlisted for the CCBC Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, among others, and have also been featured on The Late Show With Stephen ColbertLate Night With Seth Meyers and NBC’s Today Show. Debbie posts about reading, writing and illustrating children’s books at Inkygirl.com. You can find out more about Debbie and her work at DebbieOhi.com as well as on Twitter at @inkyelbows, Instagram at @inkygirl and Youtube at @debbieohi.

  • Middle grade fiction author Lindsay Currie teaches how to write “spooky”.

An author of middle grade fiction, Lindsay is represented by Kathleen Rushall, of Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Her publications include: The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street, (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin 2017), Scritch Scratch (Sourcebooks, September 1 2020), Untitled MG (Sourcebooks 2021)

  • YA author Brigid Kemmerer is organizing Instagram live with authors

Brigid Kemmerer (New York Times bestselling author of dark and alluring Young Adult novels like A Curse So Dark and LonelyMore Than We Can Tell, and Letters to the Lost (Bloomsbury), as well as paranormal YA stories like The Elemental Series and Thicker Than Water (Kensington). ) is organizing Instagram live with authors: https://www.instagram.com/brigidkemmerer/

Here’s one next week for example:

  • MG and YA author Nic Stone is doing #FirstChapterFriday, where she reads the first chapter of one of her books aloud.

Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work. You can find her goofing off and/or fangirling over her adorable little family on most social media platforms.

  • New York Times article: Home with your kids? Writers want to help.


If you’re an kidlit author and would like to share your online content, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.




Adventures in narration Part Two: What do I need? (material, home studio & software)

So you’ve decided you wanted to start as an audiobook narrator.

But what do you need? Microphone? Stand? Software? And why do you need all this material?

Well, you want the sound to be as clear as possible before you start editing and mastering your tracks. ACX frowns upon and rejects over-edited tracks.

You can see ACX’s requirements of the files here: ACX Audio Submission Requirements.


This is the material I’ve been using:

(please note that those links are Amazon affiliate links – I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com)

  1. Blue Yeti Silver Edition
BLUE Yeti Silver Edition, Mic Only (988-000103)
Purchase on Amazon

I’ve searched and read lots of reviews for microphone, and hesitated a lot. But I ended up buying this BLUE Yeti Silver Edition for less than $150 (if you decide on this one, please note that sometimes they have different prices for different colors).

Krystal Walcher also has a list of material on her website, which I found very useful when I was looking and looking and looking…and I thought about going with her microphone.

Others said you absolutely should not use a USB mic to record audiobooks, that it wouldn’t be good quality enough. However, I read a lot of other reviews and posts promoting USB mics for audiobook narration.

What you definitely shouldn’t use is your computer build-in mic or a bluetooth microphone. Trust me, the first time I tried recording (before actually researching) I used my computer build-in mic. Talk about wasted hours 🙂

The price for this Yeti mic is one of the factor that tilt the balance in its favor. At the time of its purchase, I was also receiving 15% back on such purchases with my Amazon credit card…so I went for it and have not regretted it. One of the downsides is it’s a bit difficut to adjust the pop filter on it and it didn’t fit right in a sound box I had also purchased, but except that it has worked perfectly for me. I also bought a pop filter and a foam windscreen to ensure even better sound quality.

2. Professional Foam Windscreen

It helps filter out hard “p” and “t” sounds and helps keep unwanted noise out.

Professional Foam Windscreen for Blue Yeti (less than $15 on Amazon).

3. Pop filter

Microphone Pop Filter For Blue Yeti and Any Other Microphone Dual Layered Wind Pop Screen With Flexible 360° Gooseneck Clip Stabilizing Arm By Earamble (Less than $10 on Amazon).

(from their description):  Banish the dreaded hissing and lisping sounds that come when pronouncing the letter “”S”” and blocks those ugly “”plosives”” that follows “”B”” and “”P””.Swivel mount for easy installation.

4. Headphones (mine are Tascam TH-02 Closed Back Studio Headphones, Black)

Headphones help you during recording to notice if your mic is picking up any unwanted noises and they are definitely a must when you master and edit your tracks.

Personally I chose the Tascam TH-02 headphones because the reviews were pretty good and they weren’t very expensive (less than $30).

Home studio

I set up my home studio in the closet of a guest bedroom, using blankets to put against the wall, and soundproofing foam squares against the door. I added pillows above. And I also put blankets by the windows in the room. This didn’t cost much at all.

This is how my home studio looks like 🙂

Again, I got my inspiration from Krystal (I mention her a lot but I actually never interacted with her :-), I just found her site super helpful when I first started out narrating audiobooks).

I used those panels on the doors as I couldn’t seem to put blankets on that side :-): Foamily 12 Pack- Burgundy/Charcoal Acoustic Panels Studio Foam Wedges 1″ X 12″ X 12″

I used the command tape to attach it, you know the one that you can remove without any traces. I need to readjust them now because they are starting to fall off. So, this mounting tape did last about a year.


I personally use Audacity. It’s a free software. And I find it very easy to use.

Audacity® software is copyright © 1999-2019 Audacity Team. Web site: https://audacityteam.org/. It is free software distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. The name Audacity® is a registered trademark of Dominic Mazzoni

You can download Audacity on their webpage here.

I have read a lot in forums on how to use Audacity for narrating books and complying with ACX and other platforms’ requirements.

And would you be surprised if I told you Krystal Wascher is thinking about doing a tutorial on how to meet the ACX audio submission requirements using Audacity n January 2020 ? 🙂 If you scroll down at the end of this link, you should be able see more information.

Personally, on top of the forums, I used this book:

The Stressed-Out Writer’s Guide to Recording Your Own Audiobook (Stressed-Out Writer’s Guides).

The ebook is only $3.99 (and is in Kindle Unlimited).

I found Kirk’s chapter on how to set up your settings for Audacity recording and editing/mastering very very very helpful.

In my next post in my “Adventures in Narration” series, I’ll go a bit deeper into what it has been for me to be a narrator. I’ll share some bloopers, how I organize my days, and answer a few questions I’ve received.

Do you have any questions for me? Don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments or send me an email at: authorelodienowodazkij@gmail.com


FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT auf Deutsch :-)

Mein Buch Fear Me, Fear Me Not wird auf Deutsch übersetzt…und ist jetzt schon vorbestellbar: Fürchte mich, Fürchte mich nicht.


“Die Wendungen in diesem Buch haben mich total überrascht und ich bin begeistert!” Ein spannender Roman für Fans von Sixx-Filmen und Criminal Minds…

Die siebzehnjährige Cheerleaderin Erin Hortz sollte sich eigentlich auf den größten Wettbewerb ihres Lebens vorbereiten, der ihr Ticket aus ihrer kleinen texanischen Stadt sein könnte. Aber da ihr Vater in Verdacht steht, ein Serienmörder zu sein, fällt es ihr schwer, fokussiert zu bleiben. Erst recht, wenn es um den ehemaligen Football-Star Dimitri Kuvlev geht: der Bruder ihrer besten Freundin Nadia, ihr Dauerschwarm, derjenige, der einen Platz in ihrem Herzen hat.

Einst interessierten sich Universitäten aus dem ganzen Land für den 19-jährigen Football-Superstar Dimitri, doch nach einem Unfall weiß er nicht, was er mit seinem Leben anfangen soll. Die einzige Person, die ihn zu verstehen scheint, ist die, mit der er eigentlich nur befreundet sein wollte, zumindest bis er alles in Ordnung gebracht hat: Erin.

Als Nadia nach einer Party nicht nach Hause kommt, wissen Dimitri und Erin, dass sie sie finden müssen, bevor es zu spät ist – auch wenn das bedeutet, ihr eigenes Leben zu riskieren und alles, was Erin lieb ist.


Andere Bücher schon auf Deutsch verfügbar…