This last week—such a refreshing writing retreat with these wonderful women! We’ve been slogging through the trenches together for many years now. It’s great to have like-minded people who comfort each other through the difficult times and cheer each other on during the victorious ones.


writers retreat 3

Story in Highlights


It’s been a long drought, so it’s nice to finally see my work in print again. Highlights magazine bought this story from me years ago, and it’s now been published in the March 2019 issue. You can find it on page 16, maybe in your doctor’s office!



Book Blitz and Giveaway/ The Fever King


The Fever King
Victoria Lee
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: March 1st 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

About The Author:
Victoria LeeVictoria Lee grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent twelve ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering that spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s been a state finalist competitive pianist, a hitchhiker, a pizza connoisseur, an EMT, an expat in China and Sweden, and a science doctoral student. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whiskey.

Lee writes early in the morning and then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her border collie puppy and make her experiments work. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her partner.

For exclusive updates, excerpts, and giveaways, sign up for Victoria’s newsletter at 

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Interview with author Shari Green


Shari Green is an award-winning MG author who lives on Vancouver Island in Canada. She was also my Pitch Wars mentor for 2017 and I am in awe of her generosity and insight. Her third novel, Missing Mike, is being released in the U.S. on September 14, 2018. Canada already had the pleasure this past spring. Below is an interview so you can get to know her better before you buy her book(s).

Could you please give a brief overview of your writing journey?

After dabbling in nonfiction for several years, I heard about NaNoWriMo* late in 2005 and dove into fast-drafting my first fiction manuscript. I was hooked! I wrote a couple more novels (all YA), attended conferences (SiWC) to learn more about writing, started a critique group, met amazing writer-friends, and rode the publishing roller coaster. In 2014 my first MG manuscript was selected for PitchWars. I worked with a terrific mentor, and the book eventually sold to Pajama Press and was published in 2016. Since then, I’ve published two more MG novels with Pajama Press.

(*NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, when writers try to complete a 50000-word first draft in 30 days. Crazy-making, fun, and possible!)

Do you remember what prompted you to write Missing Mike?

I’d been wanting to write a dog story for a while, and last summer, I was daydreaming possible storylines, but meanwhile, British Columbia (my home province) was having its worst-ever wildfire season. Fires were bad in Alberta, too, and in California. Every day the news had stories and images of the fires, and of course I was impacted and influenced by that. My story became the story of 11-year-old Cara, whose family is evacuated due to wildfires, and her dog Mike, who gets left behind.


Do you consider yourself a dog person? Or do you like cats the same amount?

Absolutely a dog person. I like cats, too, but I’ve never had one in my family – it’s always been dogs.

Tell me about the dog that informs the character of the dog in your book.

Mike’s sweet, loyal nature is a reflection of my dear Mac – a Brittany Spaniel who owned a big piece of my heart for all of his 13 years. But the similarities end there, really. Mike is fictional. He’s a rescue dog, a mutt that was injured in a fight with coyotes. He had a loving family once, and after some time building trust, he and Cara fell madly in love. (That love part? That wasn’t hard to imagine. 😊)

Is Missing Mike the original title of the book? Or did you have a different working title?

My working title was One Hundred Words for Home, which stuck until final edits.

Have you ever experienced an uncontrolled fire? 

No. The BC wildfires weren’t particularly close to where I live, although my family has a tiny cabin in the central BC wilderness, and as we kept tabs on the fires last summer, we knew we might lose it (we didn’t). Since I fortunately didn’t have first-hand experience to help make Cara’s story realistic, I relied on the stories of others who went through evacuations and loss.

Pajama Press is a Canadian publisher, so it’s only fair that Canada gets to have Missing Mike sooner than the U.S. Is there another reason for the later U.S. release? Are any of the words changed?

No changes! 😊 As for the release date, my understanding is that the U.S. publishing machine just takes longer because it’s so big. So while Canada was ready to roll out the book for Spring, the U.S. team required a longer lead-up for promotion, catalogs, reviews, etc., so it was planned as a Fall title there. (This may be a not-quite-accurate explanation, lol.)

Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next?

It’s still in the early stages, so I don’t like to say too much, but I can tell you it’s a contemporary middle grade novel that includes friendship and hockey and mental health issues and… Never mind, that’s all I’m saying, haha.

What are some of your favorite books from your growing-up years?

I loved Anne of Green Gables (still do!). I read all the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew and Little House books. I loved A Wrinkle in Time and Narnia and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and I loved The Diary of Anne Frank, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Outsiders. So many good books!

How do you have time to be an author who’s put out three books in three years and also be a nurse, a mother, a wife, a friend, a mentor? (Because I think that’s amazing…!)

I kind of can’t believe the three-books-in-three-years part. It’s been a whirlwind! I think there are a number of factors that help make it possible for me to keep writing at this pace. First, I’ve got a supportive partner. (And further to that, I’ve got a wonderful network of writer-friends. Find your tribe, people! It makes all the difference.) Second, I’m fortunate to only work my “day job” half-time. (I love being a nurse, but it’s a demanding profession, for sure – working half-time still helps pay the bills, while allowing me the energy and time to write.) Third, as a mom of four now-grown kids, I learned over the years to make use of snippets of time between kids’ activities, nap time, etc., and to work in less-than-ideal surroundings (noise, clutter, and interruptions). And finally, deadlines! Whether self-imposed or contract-imposed, deadlines help me get the work done.

I think we all need to find whatever helps us actually write, whether it’s bribes, rewards, deadlines, losing the wifi password, writing dates at a coffee shop, an accountability partner, goal-setting, vision boards, or what have you. We have to do what it takes. That being said, I also believe in giving ourselves grace – instead of beating ourselves up when our writing is lagging or we fail to reach a goal, we need to forgive ourselves, pick ourselves up, and try again. Mostly, we need to keep showing up.

Such great questions, Judy! Thank you so much!

Thank you, Shari!


If you’d like to pre-order Missing Mike, Shari encourages you to order from your local indie book store. It’s also available on Amazon, and you can review it on Goodreads here. (Clicking on any highlighted words will connect you to links telling you more about each subject.)


Not a New Year’s resolution


After the intensity of Pitch Wars, I need to refocus on new writing.

I’ve started a new middle grade novel that may be cast as The Borrowers meets non-fatal Romeo and Juliet. I’m barely into the actual writing. But I made a decision today to get back on the horse of the sequel to Serendipity & Me as well. I’m going to do it by applying the magic of discipline.

When I was preparing for my senior recital at college, practicing the piano regularly was no longer just important, it was imperative. Somehow the discipline of practicing became easier the longer I did it. The discipline itself became enjoyable. So when I decided to start exercising regularly, I put the same idea into motion until exercising became enjoyable and something I didn’t (and don’t) want to miss.

I am ready to implement Project Discipline onto Serendipity & More. No matter what else I’m writing. I plan to write one poem a day, five times a week, to add to the manuscript. Surely this will move the novel into readiness. I’m sorry, readers-who-have-been-waiting, that it’s taken me this long to get this novel written. I vow to do better.

Feel free to check up on my progress. Accountability is a good thing.PICT1774


Author duties


Part of being an author these days is promoting your book. Writers are often the sorts of people who spend long hours alone and like it that way. It can feel like a shock to come out of one’s quiet writing room and meet with people. But it gets easier with time.

Sitting at a book signing table, lonely with your books while passersby try not to catch your eye, ends up being harder to do than putting on a presentation. School visits, while initially scary, usually turn out to be energizing and inspiring. All those kids! All those sweet, smart kids!

Here I am at a recent author’s fair in a library in South Bend. In the background (center top) is my friend Kathy Higgs-Coulthard, with her book of the fantastic title–Hanging with My Peeps. (Hint: There are chickens involved.) She had a great idea of having an activity for kids as they passed by. My librarian friend, Tracy, has come to say hello and lend me some literary support. All it takes to make an author smile is to smile at them while they’re waiting with their books. Try it sometime and see if I’m right.



IMG_1918Recently, I’ve been tearing down hundreds of soccer pictures  from my son’s room. I’ve left them up for years because I’m sentimental. He is the inspiration for my not-yet-published novel about a soccer-obsessed kid, and these walls are a visual reminder of how obsessed he was (and still is).


Yes, those are players on the ceiling…

But now my son is coaching university boys. And in a few weeks he’ll be a father of his own (he hopes) soccer player. So it’s time for the room to transform.

It feels like I’m ripping down his childhood.

Sometimes it feels like this when I’m revising a story. My carefully cut and pasted words get torn down so the fresh future can be realized.

Not easy to do.

But easier when there’s a baby on the way.


Serendipity teaser



I’m having a tough time writing the sequel to Serendipity & Me. Not sure if it’s because I’m doubtful of its publication chances, or what. But maybe by posting one of the first poems in the new manuscript I’ll get motivated. So here it is, (although I can’t get the correct indentations to work here):

I ask Dad,

Does Lola hate animals?


Of course not, he says.

Who really hates animals?

            But I saw a dog approach her once

            and she went the other way.


I guess they’ve never had the conversation.

The one I expect to have someday with anyone

who will be important in my life.

The one about What Is Your Favorite Animal

and How Many of Them Do You Plan on Caring for?


My answer right now would be cats

and a gazillion.

But maybe when I’m older

I’ll be more realistic about the number.



Dad takes my silence

for disapproval.

It’s just that I think she might be nervous

                        about animals.

            I don’t want to scare her off.


The thought of Lola

makes me nervous.

I wonder if he gave any thought

to that.







Although I’ve continued to work on fiction, I haven’t posted much here in the last year, other than a few poems. My life has felt different ever since last July when my mother entered the ICU and almost didn’t come out. She was there for 5 weeks; intubated for twice as long as is normally acceptable. I live over 2,000 miles away from my parents, so in the beginning, every day was shadowed and marked with a much-needed update on her condition. There wasn’t room in my brain for a lot more.

My first 10-day visit almost hollowed me out. But by the time I left, she was in an almost-normal hospital room. It felt miraculous, but still tenuous.

My second visit, her first week home, was a different kind of gut-wrench. To see my lively, capable mother so distressed felt equally distressing. (Although I’m sure it wasn’t.)

Then to see how remarkably she’d progressed by Christmastime was a full-out joy.

During this whole time and before, my brother–in-law had been battling cancer. He fought bravely and well for two years, but his last few weeks were devastating. He went Home a day before Valentine’s. His passing has left an enormous hole.

And now it is spring. The day before yesterday we celebrated Easter. I have a first grandchild on the way. I am recounting this now because life is ahead. But I will be forever altered by the last nine months.