Permanent Record

Available now: my new YA novel, Permanent Record (Skyscape, 2013). In post-9/11 America, a bullied Muslim teenager retaliates against his tormentors—with dangerous results. Praise for Permanent Record Selected as the 2014-15 teen title for the Suburban Mosaic Book of the Year  Selected by...

Leslie Stella

Good Grieftop comments

After the death of a loved one, you fall into one of two camps: those who grieve well or those who don’t grieve well. Guess which camp I’m in. Will this be a poetic post? Meaningful? Dark? I am 35 words in. I don’t know. My sister died a month ago. Right now, as I’m typing this, I’ve stood here for ten  straight minutes, unable to type the next word. But there: I just did it. Also, I stand at my …

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Kentucky Derby 2015top comments

Time for my annual Kentucky Derby pick. Friends will recall their massive payouts during my four-year winning streak from 2001-2004. It began when my buddy Ralph the barber gave me a tip in 2001. I alone sauntered up to the betting window in Waukegan at the world’s sketchiest OTB (and that’s saying something) to collect on 20-1 Monarchos. Things went quiet in my prognosticating abilities for a while (oh please, like it hasn’t happened to you) but resurfaced in 2013 with Orb. Ralph the barber, I think …

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We hate our brainstop comments

For a disease like Alzheimer’s, which has a trajectory that goes in exactly one direction, the challenges in dealing with it are varied and unique and always, always changing. The first few times your parent repeats herself in conversation, you might think, “Oh, a senior moment!” That might be patronizing, or it might be denial. After all, most people repeat one story or another now and again, and older people often do forget when they’ve already told you something. But when …

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This Year’s Lifetop comments

Facts, figures, lists. How I love them! No matter how I add them up, they equal 2014. Around Christmas, my FitBit stats were as follows: Sat through a 2.5-hour Hobbit movie Sat at my desk Curled into a depressive, fetal ball in bed Stood in front of the fridge eating a chicken leg Walked downstairs every day at 4:30 a.m. to move the Elf Stumbled around Target, looking for husband’s present Sat in my car, crying Clicked links Played Wii …

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Library Life

This fall I did a presentation at Mount Prospect Public Library for the Suburban Mosaic Book Award, for which my novel Permanent Record was chosen as their 2014 Teen Book of the Year. I sweated my way through the event, and the cable show “Library Life” was kind enough to document it. My segment starts around 17:34. Whew. Even thinking about public speaking right now, from the safety of my dark, lonely desk, gives me the fears. Luckily, the library …

 

So Happy It’s Tuesday

I’ve moved on. Like many losers, I’ve decided to open a franchise restaurant. But this is my own creation—MY OWN, MY PRECIOUS—the first in a long line of franchises operated by the disenfranchised. Please contact me by the Dumpster behind the restaurant after 11 p.m. if you’d like information on opening one in your neighborhood. We will meet under cover of night. We will eat the dinner rolls I am about to throw out. I know it’s turning cold. December. Chicago. …

 

We Had Words

Sorry, whoever is following this thing I do. This thing I do less and less. Blog, write, live appropriately. It’s been a while since I shared a lengthy treatise on pumpkin spice, on red velvet, on D&D, on failure and publishing and the times I became a guttural, howling mess in the solace of my laundry room. A list of things that currently make me anxious: Nougat (the substance and the word, double win) Too many emails No email Sleep The first 50+ …

 

Horror Story

I know that summer is over. I won’t say I’ve made peace with it, because that would require some sort of adult maturity on my part. I never want it to end. The sweating, the humidity, the skin-frying sunlight, the cancerous death rays from our enemy, the sun. I like the clothes, the beautiful summer dresses that I ruin with Lord-Board footwear, I like the Lord-Boards themselves, I adore the exposure of my hideous scarred knees. August dies, and with it goes …

 

Suburban Mosaic event

I survived last night’s event for the Suburban Mosaic Program at Mt. Prospect Public Library. I say “survived” because some of you are acquainted with my three crippling fears: 1.) Public speaking 2.) Traveling 3.) the dentist Luckily my dental checkup was last week, so I got that psychological trauma out of the way. Even though I babbled incoherently for the recorded interview I did with a local cable access program, “Library Life,” the rest of the program went well. I noticed …

 

Teen angst!

I love the headline for this event I’m doing on Monday, Sept 15: “Teen Angst Author to Talk Issues at Mt. Prospect Library.” I’m no longer a teen, but I still have plenty of angst. Perhaps more now than ever. It makes me sound so serious, all the angst and issues and talking. I promise, it will be a good time! I’m only angsty in private. I’ll read from Permanent Record and answer questions about the book, writing, publishing, and my day-to-day freak-outs, …