What I wish I could have told myself when I was hopeless about my writing prospects is that I should have defined artistic success in ways that weren’t shaped by forces beyond my control.” – Roxane Gay

I highly recommend reading the entire article, linked above, from which I got this quote. As I’ve been watching friends and colleagues post their year-end reflections for 2017, a year which is almost universally agreed to be a tough one, I started multiple posts that I abandoned because it seemed to much like subtweeting. How does one talk about the importance of new relationships and opportunities, without also talking about the relinquishing of old paradigms and relationships that would have made the new ones impossible? In this year where women everywhere discovered that you know what, staying quiet and playing by the rules doesn’t actually protect them from getting screwed over by the system?

Or I could just keep it simple. Give you some numbers, as I have in past years.

January: New York (Digital Book World)
March: Virginia (MarsCon)
May: Virginia (Seven Sentences)
June: Texas (Marianne!)
July: Florida (RWA)
August: South Carolina (Eclipse), Virginia (Farmhouse), and Georgia (DragonCon)
October: Florida (NINC)
December: California (Princess Awesome)

Rewrites: LOTS
Trilogies Completed: 1 (pre-order Omega City: Infinity Base now!)
Novels: 2
Parts of Other Novels: 3
New Ideas: Dozens (Thanks, Storystorm!)
Short Stories: 27
Words, Total: >202,000

State List Placement: 1 (Yay, Omega City hit the Sunshine State Reading List!)
Conferences/Seminars Attended: 6 (see above)
Conferences Planned: 1 (NINC)
Books Released: 2
Amazon Rapids Released: 20
Books Pitched: 3
Stories Pitched: nearly 3 dozen
Articles Sold: 2
School Visits: 2
Signings: 2

There are stories in those numbers. Stories about exploring what works for me and what doesn’t. About trying to analyze why certain things are working, and learning to play to those strengths. About taking big chances, many of which have not yet had the opportunity to pay off. About finding a lot of joy in fields that I never would have suspected would bring me such creative fulfillment. About figuring out who is actually on my team and trusting their advice.

I’m not gonna spend the rest of my life working my ass off and getting nowhere just because I followed rules that I had nothing to do with setting up. – Working Girl

There have been a lot of long conversations about work with friends this year. Many in which I was crying. Many more in which I was making plans. I am so grateful to them, to Mari Mancusi, Kyla Linde, Carrie Ryan, Julie Leto, Lavinia Kent, Lynne Silver, Pintip Dunn, Leah Cypess, Brigid Kemmerer, Sarah Brand, Julie Ortolon, Erica Ridley, Simone Elkeles, Adam Silvera, Heidi Tretheway, Justine Larbalestier, Stephanie Pajonas, Melanie Cellier, Elizabeth Ann West, Janine Spendlove, Kerri Buckley, Kevin Tumlinson, Jon Skovron, Eva St. Clair, and of course, Dan. I have the best friends.

And it goes back to that Roxane Gay quote, about how I should be measuring my accomplishments. Look at that list of fabulous people who I am honored to call friends and colleagues. I’m sure I’m even forgetting a few people who have been super helpful to me this year, and I didn’t even mention the people I love I didn’t get a chance to hang out with this year. Nor the fact that I can honestly say I brainstormed with my daughter this year, and even sold stories she helped me develop.

Which brings me to… Amazon Rapids. The Diana who made her writing plans last January was not aware of this app or this opportunity, but it has had an enormous impact on my writing and my creative life this year. Additionally, my daughter is obsessed with them.

I do believe that the smartest choice I ever made for my writing career was joining NINC (hence three years of devotion to heavy-duty volunteering for them on the board and conference committee), because they have encouraged me to break free of a lot of publishing orthodoxy, and to question whether something is right just because it’s the way it has been done. Every year at the conference, I meet people making livings from styles of writing that I never would have heard of otherwise, and this year was no different.

2017 was very difficult, professionally. It was also very revelatory and transformative, when viewed through the lens of forces within my control. I took a lot of big, big risks. I’m so excited about my plans for next year.

Posted in writing industry, writing life Comments Off on 2017 Writing Year in Review

I know, I know. It’s been a year since I blogged. What can I say? I’ve discovered the joys of Facebook. Come find me there! It’s all books and feminism and my awesome kids.

But I’m back on the blog today to share my first attempt at fashion in over a year. I’ve finally lost most of the baby weight, which means I get to discover all kinds of clothes I haven’t had a chance to wear in over a year. Also, I recently scored an awesome She-Ra themed tank top from TeeFury (my favorite spot for nerdy t-shirts), and when it came, I was disappointed to discover that TeeFury’s idea of a “unisex tank top” was more suited to a male basketball player. To wit, here’s their medium on me:


I am 5’7″, 145 pounds. I usually wear a medium or large girl’s t-shirt, or a size 8 on top. Here’s a shot showing the enormous arm holes and saggy sides:


And here it laid out alongside a tank top whose fit I like:

IMG_20160721_095834285 IMG_20160721_095827260

Obviously, this would never do. The wide shoulders and neckline would probably have been acceptable, were it not for the sheer size and all that extra saggy baggy fabric under my arms. Also, the design of She-Ra is too low here. It doesn’t even start until well below my bust.

So I did a little online research into t-shirt hacks, and mixed and matched the methods I thought would achieve the result I wanted — a more feminine fit. The results are cute as a button and almost ENTIRELY no-sew! I thought I’d break my blog hiatus to post them here.

First, I marked off the neckline I wanted with chalk, using the tank top I liked as a guide. I matched the distance between the neckline and top the of the design with the difference of the black tank. Then, I split the seams at the shoulders, and cut each strap in three, then braided the result.


This both solved my neckline problems and design placement, and also “shortened” the length between the arms and the shoulders (braiding makes it shorter), but how to deal with the enormous width and space around the armpits? Online, I found instructions for making a “crossback” tank out of a giant man’s t shirt, and I thought it might achieve a similar draping effect it I tried it here.

On the back side, I split it down to the neckline, cut off the top foldover seam, split each side in three, and braided them again. IMG_20160721_102339706

Here’s where I ran into my problem (I’m not a measure twice, cut once kind of gal.) The resulting crossback BRAID was a little shorter, and thus tighter, than I wanted my straps to be. So I took a little of the extra fabric I had from cutting down the neckline and folded it over and wove it into the braids, tacking it down with a few stitches to secure, to add a wee bit of extra fabric and length at the top of the shoulders.


I actually love the way this turned out and would recommend it, even if you didn’t need the extra length, because it covers the places where the straps join, and makes for a nice, smooth, clean finish, not to mention a flatter strap at the top of the shoulder, which is probably more comfortable anyway.

And here’s the final result!

IMG_20160721_113510673 IMG_20160721_113524719

No more saggy armpits! Lovely feminine neckline! Gorgeous drapey back!

Here is is laid out against the model tank. You will note it still looks bigger laid flat because of the “drapey” effect in the back, but it fits fine on:


And there you have it! So the next time you find the perfect t shirt that doesn’t come in ladies’ sizes or cuts, you can salvage it with about twenty minutes of work, a pair of scissors and a few stitches. Go forth and geek out!


Posted in Uncategorized Comments Off on Hack Your Too-Big Man’s Shirt into a Cute Tank


This Wednesday at 6:30 PM, I’ll be reading and signing with my buddy, YA author Mari Mancusi, at Austin’s fabulous independent bookstore, THE BOOK SPOT. This is the first time in my entire life I’ve done an Austin event, and possibly the furthest west I’ve signed in my whole career, so don’t miss out!

Oh, and I may be bringing my OMEGA CITY tattoos!



Posted in Uncategorized Comments Off on Come see me Wednesday at The Book Spot, Austin TX!

Today marks the release of my tenth novel, OMEGA CITY. I can’t believe it’s ten!


I’m so proud of this book. After a long time writing about far off places and distant times, Omega City is set in the here and now, in Maryland, where I live. It features kids just like the ones I know, exploring places even they didn’t dare to imagine existed. It’s about history and the future, friendship and family, and more than a little about the heavenly body (or is that planet?) known as Pluto. It’s about a smart, strong girl named Gillian and her brother Eric, and their friends. And it’s dedicated to these two awesome men in my life:


Posted in Uncategorized Comments Off on OMEGA CITY, Out Today!

I’m so so thrilled to reveal the cover for OMEGA CITY, which will be out from Balzer+Bray in April of 2015.


Isn’t this amazing! I love love love love it.

Gillian Seagret doesn’t listen to people who say her father’s a crackpot. His conspiracy theories about the lost technology of Cold War-era rocket scientist Dr. Aloysius Underberg may have cost him his job and forced the family to move to a cottage in the sticks, but Gillian knows he’s right, and plans to prove it.

When she discovers a missing page from Dr. Underberg’s diary in her father’s mess of an office, she thinks she’s found a big piece of the puzzle–a space-themed riddle promising to lead to Dr. Underberg’s greatest invention. Enlisting the help of her skeptical younger brother, Eric, her best friend, Savannah, and Howard, their NASA-obsessed schoolmate, Gillian sets off into the ruins of a vast doomsday bunker, deep within the earth.

But they aren’t alone inside its dark and flooded halls. Now Gillian and her friends must race to explore OMEGA CITY and find the answers they need. For while Gillian wants to save her dad’s reputation by bringing Dr. Underberg’s secrets to light, there are others who will stop at nothing to make sure they stay buried…forever. 

Pre-order now:
GoodReads | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks

But wait, there’s more! Head over to kidliterati.com for some behind-the-scenes secrets and the chance to win an ARC. And make sure to check out Middle Grade Minded for an exclusive excerpt! All the fun!

Posted in fabulosity, middle grade, omega city 6 Comments

Guess who got locked out of her website? Oops. Had to fix it though, especially as I gear up to add my Omega City section (cover reveal next week!)

Also, this weekend I will be at Capclave in Maryland, along with YA SFF luminaries like Holly Black, Paolo Bacigalupi, Jon Skovron, Genevieve Valentine, and more. Here is my schedule:

Friday 3:30 pm: “Holy Shuftik!” he cried. (Ends at: 4:25 pm)
Panelists: Paolo BacigalupiTom Doyle (M), Diana PeterfreundLawrence M. SchoenLawrence Watt-Evans
How does an author create a distinctive language for characters in the future or in a different world and keep it understandable to the reader? What’s the right balance between creating language and making sure the reader can figure it out without a dictionary appendix to the story?
Friday 7:00 pm: Dressed for Success (Ends at: 7:55 pm)
Panelists: L. Jagi LamplighterDiana Peterfreund (M), Alan SmaleGenevieve ValentineLawrence Watt-Evans
How detailed should your clothing descriptions be in your story? How well thought out does fashion need to be in your secondary world? Does the clothing have anything to do with the character? Does it describe them or allow them to certain things. Do the readers care or notice?
Friday 9:00 pm: Meet the YA authors (Ends at: 9:55 pm)
Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhailPaolo BacigalupiHolly BlackAnnette KlauseL. Jagi LamplighterJames MaxeyDiana PeterfreundJon SkovronJanine SpendloveMichael A. Ventrella
Last year’s meet and greet YA authors in a casual setting was such an awesome party that we decided to do it again this year!Sponsored by MidAmericon II, the 2016 Worldcon.
Friday 10:00 pm: Meet the YA Authors (Continued) (Ends at: 11:55 pm)
Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhailPaolo BacigalupiL. Jagi LamplighterJames MaxeyDiana PeterfreundJanine SpendloveMichael A. Ventrella
The meet and greet continues, although some people will have to come and go for other programming.Sponsored by MidAmericon II, the 2016 Worldcon.
Saturday 3:00 pm: Interview with Guest of Honor Holly Black (Ends at: 3:55 pm)
Panelists: Holly BlackDiana Peterfreund (M)
Saturday 4:00 pm: E.T. Phone Earth. First Contact and Alien Communication (Ends at: 4:55 pm)
Panelists: Charles E. Gannon (M), Carolyn Ives GilmanDiana PeterfreundChristopher Weuve
What happens when humans meet aliens? How might we communicate with them? What barriers stand in the way? How have different SF stories, TV shows, and movies addressed this situation?
Sunday 1:00 pm: Why So Many YA Dystopias? (Ends at: 1:55 pm)
Panelists: Paolo BacigalupiRobert GreenbergerDiana PeterfreundJon Skovron (M)
From The Giver to the Hunger Games why are so many YA novels presenting a bleak future to our young people? And why do young adults like these books so much?
Sunday 2:00 pm: Young, Adult or Both? (Ends at: 2:55 pm)
Panelists: Paolo BacigalupiHolly Black (M), Annette KlauseWill McIntoshDiana PeterfreundJon Skovron
How does a YA differ from a children’s book or an adult book? How is the pacing, characterization, and language different or the same? Are there things you can do in one and not the other? Are these distinctions needed? And what about series like Harry Potter in which the children grow up?
Posted in fabulosity Comments Off on Oh, hi. And Capclave this Weekend!


Title: Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow
Description: Join this motley band of talented(and costumed)authors for an entertaining hour of readings,musical numbers, and more! Door prizes for the first 40 attendees! Giveaways  Galore! FUN FOR ALL AGES!
Time: Fri 08:30 pm Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis, Leanna Renee Hieber, Gray Rinehart, E. C. Myers, Delilah S. Dawson, Mari Mancusi, Diana Peterfreund) 


Title: Athena’s Daughters Authors Meet & Greet
Description: Meet the talented ladies behind the wildely popular Athena’s Daughters Anthology, featuring heroines of all ages & stories for the entire family
Time: Sat 10:00 am Location: A708 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Janine K. Spendlove, Gail Z. Martin, Jean Marie Ward, Diana Peterfreund, Ronald Thomas Garner)


Title: Writing for the Young Adult Market
Description: Perhaps the most exciting frontier of fiction is YA. This panel will discuss how to break into that market and strategies for garnering loyal readers.
Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: Embassy D-F – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Mari Mancusi, Cinda Williams Chima, E. C. Myers, Diana Peterfreund, Nancy Knight)


Title: Buffy Summers and Harry Potter: The Chosen Ones
Description: Heroes journeys, multiple apocalypses, a trio of best friends… what else do they have in common? Dual Panel with YA Lit.
Time: Sat 01:00 pm Location: Chastain DE – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Diana Peterfreund, A. J. Hartley, E. C. Myers, Meagan Spooner)


Title: Hungry for the Hunger Games?
Description: Let’s discuss the world of the Hunger Games—all three books, the movie adaptations & more.
Time: Sun 01:00 pm Location: Crystal Ballroom – Hilton (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: E. C. Myers, Diana Peterfreund, M. B. Weston)


Title: Packing Just As Powerful a Punch: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Description: Young Adult Urban Fantasy can have just as much visceral and emotional impact as that written for adults, and this group of authors explains why.
Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: Chastain BC – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Delilah S. Dawson, A. J. Hartley, Mari Mancusi, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Alethea Kontis, Diana Peterfreund)


Title: Autograph Sessions
Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: International Hall South – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)(Tentative Panelists: Jim Butcher, A. J. Hartley, Mari Mancusi, Diana Peterfreund)

Posted in Uncategorized Comments Off on DragonCon 2014 Schedule

::taps mic:: is anyone there? I know I’ve been a horrifically bad blogger this year. I’ve really taken to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr for my social media, because the sharing and commenting features are so much more natural and organic than WordPress.

I was tagged to join the blog hop by my friend, fellow writer, very frequent traveling companion (seriously, we went on four things together last year and have already done two this year (and are scheduled for at least two more) Mari Mancusi, who writes awesome books about dragons. Here’s the cover of SHATTERED, the one coming this September:

Okay. Here are the questions:

What am I working on?

The other reason I haven’t been blogging much. What am I NOT working on? Self-publishing, which I’ve been doing since November, is quite the enterprise, and takes a lot of time. I’ve been working on my self-published books (promoting the first, guiding the second through the production process, writing the third, and scheduling and planning for forthcoming titles)…

I’ve also been working on the OMEGA CITY series. I’m alllllmost through with revisions for the first novel, OMEGA CITY, and I’ve been working with my publisher, Harper Collins, on the concept art for the cover. Middle Grade novels tend to have drawings on the covers (think Harry Potter), and I’m absolutely thrilled with the artist they’ve chosen and the direction they are going in. It’ll be out in 2015. I’ve also started work on the second in the series, currently codenamed GC.

Other things I wrote this year:

“The Deeper the Thorn”, a contemporary retelling of Sleeping Beauty told from the point of view of Maleficent. Yes, really. It’s dark and it’s gritty and it’s about bullying and slut-shaming and herbalism. It’s coming out this summer in Brazil from Editora Record. This is the beautiful cover:

livro dos viloesI heart you, Brazil.

For those of you not living in Brazil (or not speaking Portuguese) who want to know how to get your hands on a copy of this badass story… um… I’m working on that.

“Huntress Sinister”, a killer unicorniverse short story. This makes, I think, the sixth KU short story I’ve published, after “The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn,” “Errant,” “Hammer of Artemis,” “Last of the Unicorn Hunters,” and the now out-of-print “On a Field, Sable.” Good news: For those who have read “On a Field, Sable” you will recognize some of this short story, because “Huntress Sinister” is about 40% “On a Field, Sable.” It’s about Melissende and the events of Ascendant as seen through her eyes. Even better news: it’s available now, in the collection Athena’s Daughters. (You can also get the e-book from major retailers like Amazon, etc.)

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Let’s be honest, I don’t know anyone else who has ever written a series about killer unicorns. 😉 I also like to think I have the best fans out there, because they totally put up with me, whether I’m writing about secret societies, killer unicorns, post-apocalyptic romances, underground bunkers, or soapy dramas. You’re all so versatile and broad-minded, I love it!

Why do I write what I do?

To piggyback on the above, I write what I write because I’m drawn to lots of different kinds of stories. I was never the kind of reader to say “I’m only going to read regency vampire romances,” and so it’s not too surprising to me that I’m not the kind of writer who limits herself like that, either. I had a conversation with my Harper editor recently that although I’ve written in several different age ranges and genres, my books are almost always about “awesome girls doing awesome things”. A book is such an awesomely huge undertaking that I don’t know if I’d be able to make it through without a driving passion to get that story out into the world, so I deeply love all my books and am so glad to have readers who agree.

How does your writing process work?

Long periods of mental marination followed by panicked bursts of great output. I’m not a “write every day” kind of gal. I like to think about things for a long time and get them all worked out and right in my head and then put that all down on paper (or pixel).

And…. speaking of Janine K. Spendlove (a fellow contributor to Athena’s Daughters), I’m tagging her on this post. Janine is a force of nature, y’all. I met her at Capclave last fall and we’ve become really good friends since then. She is the author of the WAR OF THE SEASONS trilogy and one of the owners of Silence in the Library Publishing. And that’s just in her “spare” time. She’s also a Marine pilot and a mom. And she runs marathons dressed as Thor.

Yes, really.


Posted in Brazil, other writers, writing life 3 Comments

Wow, have I been neglecting you, poor little blog. (What can I say? I’ve discovered how easy it is to post to Facebook. Darn you, Facebook.) I’m going to be better. I have a whole bunch of releases recently out or about to come out and I need to update my website with them!

What have I been up to? Well, I traveled to NYC for the Teen Author Festival, finally finished the Revisions From Hell, wrote a novella, did proofs for all these releases I’ve been talking about (new short story, reprint short story, non fiction writing book), traveled across the country a few times, took my kid to Florida for Spring Break… I’ll do a big catch up post (with pictures) this week.

But today, I’m doing one more catch up. Yesterday was Earth Day, and thus, the release of my friend Rori Shay’s debut novel ELECTED.


Elected is set in a scary future world where ecological disasters have made the ruling power eschew all technology.

(Sound familiar? You know I love a good techs vs. anti-techs story.)

Aloy, the main character, is the daughter of the ruling family, but she has to pretend to be a boy, because only boys can be rulers.

(And you all know how I love a good gender-bend.)

Rori is a local buddy of mine here in DC, and she’s been through quite the adventure bringing this book to market. After shopping and selling her book to a publisher a year ago, after spending a whole year preparing for her release, going through edits, getting a cover designed, planning all her promotion and marketing… her first publisher shut down, a few weeks before her release!

I can’t imagine. I’d still be hiding under my bed. But Rori wasn’t deterred. She believed in this book and she was determined to get it out by Earth Day, since the book is all about saving the environment. Within forty-eight hours, she’d signed with Silence in the Library, the small independent publisher who is doing the Athena’s Daughters anthology, and they are currently very, very close to funding the kickstarter that will allow her not only an ebook release (like her original publisher) but also a paperback and hardcover version.

Don’t you love a happy ending?

I’ll tell you. Publishing is not for the faint of heart. And neither, apparently, is pretending to be a boy in order to rule a future world on the brink of destruction. So check out Elected today!


Posted in other writers 1 Comment


Posted in Uncategorized Comments Off on What’s this? Oh, just me, my good buddy Kristen Bell, and the rest of the gang…