First-Year Orientation!

A bit ago, Eric Smith and I sold our second interconnected anthology to Candlewick. Were we excited? YOU BET.

Re-titled FIRST-YEAR ORIENTATION, our anthology features various stories about wild adventures from that first day on campus. From moving into their dorm and not being embarrassed by their parents, to attending their first party. From avoiding people they don’t want to see from high school, to maybe finding a ghost or two.

(Or, for my character, having to work that entire day at a book store, while everyone else makes friends.)

Since the announcement came out, we actually compiled the anthology and edited it. It’s done! Which is…incredible! We had an amazing time working with an extremely talented bunch of writers. And now we have a rad cover, too.

First-Year Orientation

Working on anthologies is a lot of work, but also a tremendous honor. These authors trusted their stories with us. And Eric trusted a book with me. Honestly, once was cool. But twice? Amazing.

Being part of an anthology is kind of like college, in a strange way. It’s a new experience; you’re meeting all new people. You’re hoping people like you; you’re hoping to fit in. Editing an anthology is like being a mother that helped get their child ready for that first day, and is proudly sending them off.

Will it go well? Goodness, I hope so. But ready or not, it happens.

And ready or not, here’s our second anthology, out April 4, 2023. I hope you like it. Goodness, I’m proud of it.



I’m so excited to announce that BATTLE OF THE BANDS is being published by Candlewick!! Co-edited by amazing author/agent Eric Smith and I, the anthology will feature 16 stories written by 16 different authors (including us), telling the story of a one-night battle of the bands. Each chapter will be its own story about a support person, audience member, or band itself. Then, all stories will interconnect so the book will feel like one full night from all points of view.

And let’s discuss these authors: Jenny Torres-Sanchez, Sarvenaz Tash, Jenn Marie-Thorne, Ashley Woodfolk, Katie Cotugno, Jeff Zentner, Brittany Cavallaro, Shaun David Hutchinson, Ashley Poston, Preeti Chhibber, Sarah Smetana, Jay Coles, Jasmine Warga, and singer/songwriter Justin Courtney Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack. I’m in awe of the talent here.


image1A little backstory: I was in a band that competed in my high school’s Battle of the Bands. We were…not great, but we were the first all-girl band, so that was a thing. We decided to do it literally on a whim, each picking an instrument with the confidence only drama club teens could have. We got help from friends (who were also in bands, and were actually, you know, good –shout out to Joy & Dan from the original Pepperpots!) and managed to be okay enough to make it into the competition. We played. We survived. We were proud of ourselves. We never played again. But we did it, and it was a blast. Long live Candid Apple, circa 2001.

Fast forward to last year when a bleary eyed Eric & I were at an airport at 5 a.m., waiting to get back to our families after an author event in Mississippi. I told him this anthology idea I had, but was afraid I wouldn’t be able to pull off. He encouraged me to do it and, a few days later, offered to co-edit in support. I cheered in the aisles at work in the library (shhhh). (A million trillion thank yous to Eric for believing in me, and Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary for believing in us and selling the book.)

Fast forward to a few days later when we started asking authors to jump in and…they did! Excitedly! It was then that I thought what we were doing might be…something.

So here it is, our Battle of the Bands, coming out in 2021. We’re so excited to share this story with you, and to give it to all the kids who were in bands, who weren’t in bands, who wanted to be in bands, and who just loved the feeling of anything happening in one night.


Gig poster by Eric. Expect more of these because how can we resist?