What we’re up against


Hey beautiful followers,

This article has some incredibly powerful, disheartening, and eye-opening realities about the landscape of YA literature right now. If you’ve got a minute, take time to read the whole thing.

It’s saddening to look at the horizons of your dream career and realize there are centuries-old, systematically enforced dragons.

But I wouldn’t be in this field if I didn’t love the roses more than the thorns.



Fiction in Real Life: My Week As Tiana From The Princess and The Frog, Day 3

FIRLTianaDay3 Previously: Day 1, Day 2

Day 3: In which our clueless heroine is defeated by a graveyard, feasts on beignets, and meets three different Mama Odies


I fly from the bottom bunk, snatching up my phone…and groan. Since I awoke early to say goodbye to Alex, I overslept into the morning–there won’t be much time to catch a streetcar. I can’t afford to be late: Today is Cemetery Day. I call a cab and hurry into my clothes, a second edition of Tiana’s yellow waitress uniform:



New Orleans enjoys the well-deserved reputation of “the most haunted city in America.” Though Tiana’s brush with Dr. Facilier and a spooky New Orleans cemetery happens at night, I figured that wasn’t the smartest idea for a derpy So Cal native traveling alone… Continue reading

Fiction in Real Life: My Week As Tiana From The Princess and The Frog, Day 2

FIRLTianaDay2Previously: Day 1

Day 2: In which our clueless heroine meets a Swamp Prince, charms some alligators, and dances in the dark

Stars, shining bright above you

Soft breezes seem to whisper, I love you…”

Ella Fitzgerald croons from my phone alarm, and weak New Orleans sunshine bleeds through the bedroom curtains. It won’t be weak for long. My grogginess fades quickly as Alex and I scramble from the bunk bed. He’s going to meet a team of bikers for a tour of the Creole quarter…and me?

I have a swamp boat to catch. Continue reading

Fiction in Real Life: My Week As Tiana From The Princess and The Frog, Day 1




“It’s like some kid’s picture,” I mumble sleepily. “Scribbled with a fat brown crayon.” Rivers cut across the marsh land in broad, whimsical curves. I press my nose against the airplane window as the flight descends rapidly into New Orleans. We soar over marbled patches of blue and green, a replica of earth’s surface viewed from the moon. I feel suddenly ignorant—I didn’t expect the swampland to be so huge.

The land was clearly whole once, gradually overtaken by the water. How many years ago? Would New Orleans have been whole in the time of Tiana, from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog?

I should know that, I think wryly.

After all: I’m supposed to be her.

Continue reading

Fiction in Real Life: How to Vacation Like Your Favorite Book or Movie Character

You’ve just finished an incredible story. The page goes blank; the screen fades to credits. A paralyzing surge of awe rushes through your mind. What now? Post a gushing Facebook or Twitter review? Stalk the actors and authors? Buy three special edition copies and read them again, and again?

If you’re anything like me, your passion for a story is equal joy and frustration. There are so few ways, it seems, to celebrate how much a phenomenal story means to you. So what to do when mementos and fan fiction aren’t enough?

I tried to answer that question this very week, when I got on a plane to New Orleans to try a week living as Tiana from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, a film that makes my heart sing.

beignet side by side

Continue reading