Poignant and uplifting, Cemetery Songs is a compelling YA novel about a girl, a ghost, and the graveyard that sends them both on a journey of self-acceptance. Published by Lakestone Press, Cemetery Songs is available at Amazon and other book retailers.
When Polly Stone’s birthmother dies, she feels lost and adrift. How do you mourn someone you never knew? Even the dead, whose final thoughts Polly can hear, offer no advice.
Instead Polly fails her classes, alienates her friends, gets fired from her summer job, and accidentally sets fire to the high school. At a loss, Polly’s parents ground her and insist she volunteer at the local archives.
The dusty boxes are boring, but Polly is intrigued by her assignment: mapping an abandoned Black settlement on the edge of town. At the very least, it gives her time to examine her confused feelings for Billy Meyer, a former classmate who is also blackmailing her.
Amid weedy tombstones, Polly and Billy encounter the charming ghost of Harrison Card, who died in 1924. Sensing there’s more to the story than Harrison can recall, the unlikely trio investigates the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death.
The discoveries are unnerving, especially since the ugly racist history reflects some of Polly’s own experiences as a biracial teenager. Past and present collide when Polly’s attempts to help Harrison go tragically wrong. As Polly grapples with the consequences of her actions, she must decide if she is brave enough to heed the wisdom of the dead.
The Girls Survive series engages readers in pivotal historical events through the eyes of intrepid heroines who overcome enormous odds in the face of great challenges. There are two dozen (and counting!) titles in the series. Here are the ones I’ve written:
In Lucy Fights the Flames: A Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Survival Story, the factory day is coming to a close when suddenly flames rip through the building, trapping everyone inside. Can Lucy save herself and her best friend?
In Daisy and the Deadly Flu: A 1918 Influenza Survival Story, a dangerous flu marches closer and closer to Daisy’s small Minnesota town. As tragedy strikes, can Daisy save those she loves?
In Leah Braves the Flood: A Great Molasses Flood Survival Story, Leah is arguing with her best friend when the ground rumbles. An enormous tank of molasses explodes, sending a deadly wave roaring down the street – straight at Leah.
In Constance and the Dangerous Crossing: A Mayflower Survival Story, Constance is excited to make her way across the ocean and into a new life. But as sickness and storms threaten everyone on board, will they make it to safety?
Movements & Resistance
Did you know that the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire led to massive and significant reforms to how we work? I also wrote a graphic nonfiction book about the fire and its lasting impact as part of the Movements and Resistance series from Capstone.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of union women and men organizing for workers’ rights, we have laws that keep us safe at work, including fire alarms, fire drills, and safe fire escapes. These laws also make sure children aren’t forced to work at a young age.
These laws even impact us at school! The next time there’s a fire drill, you can thank the women of the Labor Movement for helping to keep you safe.
The Dark Waters series follows the adventures of fourteen-year-old India Finch, half-mermaid, half-human, as she navigates friendships, family, and risky adventures on land and in the sea. The novels can be read in any order.
In Fire and Ice, India is drawn into a long-standing animosity between two mer tribes. Things go from bad to worse when she realizes someone is deliberately trying to stir up mer hatred for humans. Can India and her friends keep the tribes from war?
Neptune’s Trident sees India and her friends taking a mer road trip – er – sea trip! India and her friends leave for tropical waters in search of a mythical object that has the power to bring the mer tribes together – or break them apart forever.
In The Sighting, India makes a huge mistake and inadvertently reveals the existence of the mer. India learns that the worst thing for the mer is not the tribal infighting but discovery by humans. Can she right the wrong she committed before it’s too late?
In Into the Storm, India and her friends are excited to attend a mer party. But a mysterious sea witch, a hurricane and a giant squid threaten all India and her friends hold dear.
I’ve also published several flash fiction pieces in various places. Here’s the list, along with links to the stories (where available) themselves.
Colorblind, published in Potluck: Creative Works by Minnesota’s Library Workers, an open access publication highlighting the (super cool) Minnesota Libraries Publishing Project
Blue Christmas, a freebie I published on my blog as a holiday treat for readers in December 2016. A “treat” especially if you like dark, creepy holiday tales.
Kerosene, published by Black Heart Magazine, June 2015. Read about its inspiration here.
The Imp and the Fairy, published in Speculative Valentine Drabbles 2015, February 2015.
Troubled Joy (reprinted on my blog) first published by Ealain, February 2015. Read the origins story.
Game Changer (reprinted on my blog), published by East Coast Literary Review, Winter 2015. The back story is here.
Christmas Wreath (reprinted on my blog), published by MicroHorror, November 2014. Read the back story here.
Thanksgiving, published by The Were-Traveler, October 2014. More about the story at this blog post.
Home for the Holidays, published by Foliate Oak, May 2014. This blog post discussed the origins of the story.
I also won a first place prize in the “1,000 Prompts, 1,000 Dollars” Writing Contest sponsored by Build Creative Writing Ideas for my story snippet, “The Reluctant Vampire,” which appeared on my blog in December, 2013.