Random Things or Summertime Sadness!

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

A year and a half ago, a few days before Christmas, my father died. It was awful. It is awful. I struggle with that loss. Maybe this isn’t the greatest way to start this post? Oh, well! Onward. In my book One of the Guys, Toni Valentine’s father has died and she too struggles with it. It sucks.

Death tends to force reflection and lesson-learning, so here are a few observations about grief and death and horrible stuff like that:

  1. Happy moments feel sad. Yep. This is a thing. As my kids grow, I often think, “Man, my dad’s missing this.” There I am, in the middle of a July 4th celebration, sun bright, sprinkler on, laughter all around me, feeling sad. Gross, right? It’s okay though. The sadness mixes with the happy stuff; it doesn’t overwrite it. Eventually I think we all get to a point where sadness tries to slither into everything because we’ve lost something, tinting moments with her blue shade, and we learn to accept her presence and even say, “Fine. Come on in, Sadness. It’s a beautiful day today. Have a seat. Be quiet. I want to hear the laughter.”
  2. No one knows what to say…that’s okay. Yeah, we don’t know what to say. It’s weird, right? Shouldn’t we have that figured out by now? Death isn’t, like, new. What do you say to someone when they’ve experienced huge and awful loss? The reason we don’t know what to say or do is because there’s nothing we can say or do that will make it better. We’ve got to sit in the pain. Personally, I felt like acknowledgement was enough. Like, don’t pretend it didn’t happen, don’t avoid it, don’t pretend everything’s fine. Don’t act like someone should get it over it, no matter how much time has passed. I mean, it would be cool if there was a magic spell to make it feel better. One word, one flick of the wand, something. There isn’t. Acknowledgement is the best thing — for me. It could be different for someone else, but I like a simple, “I see your pain. I’m sorry.”
  3. My dad will miss my next book. I’ve been working on a new book for some time now and when I’m finished (I think I can, I think I can) he’s going to miss it. This sucks. I hate it.
  4. Life goes on, but nothing remains the same, including you. Death changes the living, you know. Sigh.

There you go, folks! A super duper happy-go-lucky post for the summer! I think it’s important to remember that even during these bright summer days, don’t feel ashamed if you have Sadness inviting herself over, for whatever reason, as long as she doesn’t overwrite all the good stuff…because the good stuff, it’s still there, bobbing to the surface, always.

If you want to read more, please check out .

Welcome to NYC, BookExpo Style

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019


I’m Beaufort’s newest intern here to report back that, yes, BookExpo is exactly as cool as our previous post promises!

I’ve never been part of the publishing world before, but I had heard tell of a magical event where all the industry people came together to network and best of all—talk about books! I was very excited when Beaufort asked if I’d like to go to this paradise, so of course I said yes.

And BookExpo and BookCon did not disappoint! I hit the ground running on this internship, starting my first day by helping set up the booth. For the next three days I helped out there, meeting authors and helping with signings, and of course, exploring this mecca of the book world.

The Javits Center was full of larger-than-life posters of books and authors. It was like they were movie stars—some of whom I got to meet in real life! Just sharing a room with people whose books I’ve admired since I was little is enough to make my nerdy heart swoon, let alone all of the other fantastic things going on.

It was really interesting to see all the different people who came to BookExpo—not just publishers, but librarians, booksellers, and educators as well. I saw a few people from around where I live and said hello. It was nice to see a little bit of home in the big city.

But of course, for a young hopeful such as myself, it was great to see the variety of publishers there. From the big four to small presses, academics to picture books, a wide range of organizations came to BookExpo. Everyone was excited to show off the projects they’d been working on and even standing in line, attendees would talk about the exciting things they’d done or were planning to do during the convention.

BookExpo was a really great way to kick off my internship because not only did I get to be dazzled by all of the cool things happening in the industry, I also got to know the Beaufort & Spencer Hill teams better than I would have just starting behind the desk.

Signing off for now,

P.S. These are some of the cool tote bags I got while I was there!

This is a shared blog post for Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press.

Random Things or Why Authors Love Librarians!

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

L.B. Simmons goes to TLA YART

I was so excited when Spencer Hill told me I was asked to attend the Texas Library Association’s Young Adult Roundtable in April for the second year in a row!

Prior to the event, all the authors are assigned a table number. We lined up as a group and made our way to the room, and when the doors opened, hoots and hollers and applause from the librarians echoed all around us.

And that’s when the real fun started.

Imagine sitting at a round table filled with 6 or 7 librarians, each of them waiting to hear about your work.  It would seem to be a nerve-wracking experience, but it’s quite the opposite.

As with my previous experience, the energy from the librarians at this event was incredibly positive and contagious, which allowed me to discuss my upcoming release, We, the Wildflowers with ease. I prefaced my discussion by stating that though it deals with some pretty heavy topics, We, the Wildflowers is a relatable journey of four friends, meant to inspire teens and give them a sense of hope in a world so often filled with ignorance and hate. I went on to describe the story in detail, doing my best to leave out spoilers. I was spurred on by the nods of agreement and satisfied smiles received with each new layer of the story revealed.

Once I was through, it was the other author’s turn to discuss her book, which was really interesting as it was a young adult fantasy, which I love to read. When she was finished, it was the librarians’ turn to ask us questions, which they did until the announcement was made that our time was up and instructing us to move to the next table. Then the process would start over all over again.

It was such a surreal experience seeing the anticipation in their eyes and the eager grins on their faces as we walked to our assigned tables. Typically, the authors are assigned in pairs, so as I took my seat and introduced myself, another author did the same opposite me. 

I was completely overwhelmed by the response received for the We, the Wildflowers storyline. And to be honest, I was touched by the fact that their interest in this book stemmed from the fact that it would positively impact teens. They seemed very vested in the opportunity to get books on their shelves that wouldn’t only motivate reading, but possibly change lives while doing it.

Bottom line, they CARE about their readers and they show it by stocking their shelves with impactful reading material. I was utterly floored by their personal connection to teens as we discussed current issues that affect them and ways that We, the Wildflowers confronted them unapologetically. 

The event is one of my favorites for that reason. I think the importance of librarians is often overlooked, especially when it comes to teen readers. They are responsible for supplying today’s youth with thought provoking, impactful books that will help mold them into the adults they will soon become. That’s a lot of responsibility when it comes down to it, and librarians do so without complaint, and all too often, without recognition.

It’s my utmost honor to share my books with these wonderful individuals. So, thank you, Texas Library Association, for giving me the opportunity to meet so many amazing librarians. The Young Adult Roundtable is such a wonderful event and I am honored to have been a part of it again this year.

Thank you for spending time with me on this blog post!

Visit my website or go to my author page at Spencer Hill Press

Bookish Dream Come True!

Friday, May 17th, 2019

Hello Readers!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I wanted to share some exciting news. As most of you may know, BookExpo and BookCon are coming up soon, and I’ll be attending both for the very first time! Now this is exciting for several reasons, but for those of you who aren’t familiar with either, I’ll elaborate.

BookExpo is the publishing industry’s leading trade event. Publishers, booksellers, librarians, and tastemakers all gather to find out what’s new and happening with authors, the latest titles, distribution channels, and new technologies and trends. It’s a great space to network and make connections within the industry, keep up to date with the comings and goings of the publishing world, and if you have a business, it’s a great event to attend because you can learn how to give it an edge.

Equally exciting will be Unbound, the adjacent show and new exhibit floor dedicated to unique non-book items to help businesses grow: “aka” the goodies show. Let’s face it, though we love books, we also like the toys and trinkets that bookshops sell to accompany and enrich our book reading experience. I’ll have to bring a tote bag!Running concurrently to BooxExpo will be the New York Rights Fair, which is the international adult and children’s content and licensing marketplace. This is where rights professionals, publishers, acquisitions editors, agents, scouts, film producers, and other attendees do business, discuss rights sales and the distribution of content across all formats.

As an intern at a publishing house, I am extremely excited to see up close what happens at these trade shows because A) they’re not really open to the general public, unless you’re in the books business and B) they form the biggest and most important U.S. publishing event of the year.[

Between author panels and talks, and sessions meant to educate on the publishing business, book swag, and networking, this three-day-event is sure to be thrilling for book fanatics like me!

If you’re never been and can go, it’s an event you won’t want to miss. Be sure to stop by our booth and say hi!

BookExpo will take place May 29-31, 2019 at the Javits Center in NYC.

Wednesday, May 29: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Thursday, May 30: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday, May 31: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Just as BookExpo closes on Friday, BookCon opens on Saturday. Now BookCon is an entirely different atmosphere. But what is it? In their own words, “BookCon is the event where storytelling and pop culture collide.” One of my friends described it as “Comic Con for book nerds,” and I couldn’t agree more.

So, while BookExpo runs more on the business side of books, BookCon is tailored for all the readers and book fans out there. Open to the public, and targeting all ages, eager bibliophiles like me will have the opportunity to meet & greet authors, attend workshops and panels, and get all our favorite books autographed.

I’ve been living in NYC for almost three years, but this will be my first time attending (finally!).  For two years I have stared in awe (and felt very jealous…) of my friends’ hauls after attending. Though I will sadly be leaving this wonderful city in August, and I probably don’t need to add any more books to my packing list, I am anticipating eagerly all the fantastic reads I will leave the event with.

So, if you’re planning to attend, BookExpo (which I am hoping you are), you seriously CANNOT pass up on BookCon!

Sadly, weekend tickets are sold out, but you can still purchase tickets onsite & online. Adult tix go between $30-$45 depending on the day, and Kid tix (aged 6-12) are priced at $10 for either day.

BookCon will take place June 1-2, 2019 at the Javits Center in NYC.

Saturday, June 1: 10:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Sunday, June 2: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

I cannot wait for this fun-packed week to arrive! For more information on either event, please click on the links below.


Til’ next time, readers!

-Sir Arthur Conan Beauyle

This is a shared blog post for Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press.

A Story of Discovery

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

Hello readers! This post is bittersweet, as it’s the last one I’ll write for Beaufort and as Phoebe Beauffay. One of the most important things I’ve been able to do during my time in NYC and at Beaufort is make discoveries: about myself, the publishing industry, a new city. I was hoping this experience would be a good way for me to reach out of my comfort zone and that I’d learn a lot from it. I’m glad to say it was a success. Before my farewell, I wanted to share a bit about what my time here has taught me. I firmly believe we should always be looking for opportunities to discover and grow. We’re all stories in progress with never-ending opportunities to learn, and I’m especially grateful for my chapter set here in NYC.

On one of my last days, I was able to sit down with Megan and Karen and talk about things I wanted to learn more about and ask plenty of questions. It was a highlight of my internship because I had the opportunity to sit down with my supervisors and ask real questions about what it’s like to work in their industry. We discussed how they got into publishing, acquiring books, working with authors, foreign deals, and contracts. One of my biggest takeaways was that small publishing companies really can do it all (or at least have a big role in it all)! My brief internship alone has given me the opportunity to wear many hats, and I’ve loved it. What’s a good story without variety?

Some of our topics were publishing specific, and others could apply to any industry. We talked about important interview tips: send a thank you note post-interview, ask questions, be sure to ask what the interviewer likes about his or her job, and find out what the company is like. I hadn’t really thought to ask about company culture in an interview, and now it’s something I’ll never forget. After all, characters and setting are critical to any story.

I learned that publishing is a field I might really want to pursue further as a career. This internship was the first step in finding out if this field is the one for me. I may not have made an absolute decision on my future career, but I came away with a lot of knowledge and the desire to learn even more. The more chapters we read, the more we know about the story, and life experiences work the same way: the more we have, the more we discover. It’s always sad to close a chapter, but there are always more to be read. And when those chapters close, there are entirely new books. I’m so grateful for the pages filled by Beaufort and Spencer Hill.

One last happy reading and best wishes to you all,

Phoebe Beauffay

This is a shared blog post for Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press.

NYC: A Story-Lover’s Dream

Friday, March 8th, 2019

As an English major, I truly love stories in all of their forms. This includes books (obviously), movies and television, plays and musicals, and even museums and concerts. All works of art tell a story in one way or another, and NYC is full of art. In other words, NYC is a story-lover’s dream. I hope in sharing my recent artistic outings, it might inspire readers to get out and experience some stories of your own (in any and all forms)!

Seeing a story unfold in front of you in the form of a Broadway musical is magical. I’ve only seen two shows during my time here, but they’ve made me want to see them all. Anastasia was my first ever show. Anastasia has been one of my favorite movies for as long as I can remember, and seeing it so alive and real was spectacular. After the show, I was able to meet most of the amazing cast, including singer Cody Simpson who played Dmitry (a middle school dream come true)! My second show was Mean Girls, and that was another great experience that filled me with memories of watching the movie in middle school with my friends at sleepovers.

The stories behind works of art found in a museum are fascinating to me: the lives of artists, the history of an entire civilization, the meaning of a work of art. I made my first visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently and loved every second. From the paintings to the sculptures to the artifacts, I was filled with curiosity and awe. It’s not every day you get to see a Van Gogh painting in person! Additionally, a concert is one of the most fun and lively ways to hear a story. Though I want to get to many more, the only concert I have been to so far was for singer Ryan Beatty that I attended for one of my classes; what an incredible show it was!

In terms of some of the more obvious story forms, I still try to make plenty of time for books and film. Despite the reader’s block I mentioned in my previous post, I was able to get my hands on a copy of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman from my reading list and having been loving it and (slowly but surely!) fighting my reader’s block. I’ve also recently been treating myself during my free time with Gilmore Girls binges and uplifting Netflix originals such as Dumplin’. I’ve found during my time in NYC that you can find a good story almost anywhere you look for one. Try and enjoy some art today if you can!

Until next time,

Phoebe Beauffay

This is a shared blog post for Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press.


Thursday, February 7th, 2019

Hi everyone, and thanks to Spencer Hill Press for inviting me to write a post for their Random Things blog! My name is Jennifer Murgia, and I write Young Adult thrillers. My Spencer Hill Press titles are FOREST OF WHISPERS and its sequel, CASTLE OF SIGHS—17th century Bavarian witch thrillers! The duology begins with the tale of Rune, a girl raised in the Black Forest of Germany, who, upon her sixteenth birthday, hears the whispers of her long-dead mother who seeks vengeance on those who burned her at the stake. It’s chock-full of mystery, bloodshed, the plague, imprisonment, and, of course, witchcraft!

Random things you might not know about me:
1. In 2012, I co-founded a teen book festival. YA FEST PA is held annually in Easton, PA at the Palmer Branch of the Easton Area Public Library. Coordinating this spectacular event takes a good 8 months out of the year, and what started off as a small, homegrown book festival has become the only YA book festival in the Lehigh Valley, one of the largest on the east coast, and draws Young Adult authors from around the world! If you’re looking to visit Pennsylvania this coming August, then set aside a few hours to drop in on YA FEST 2019! Our line-up of amazing attendees can be found here:
2. Creative people are notoriously scattered, right? I am. My closets are shameful. But when it comes to keeping track of my life there’s no better place than on paper. I admit, I’m a fanatical planner and list keeper. I must leave dozens of To Do lists around my house and (no lie) keep 2 planners and a calendar up-to-date each day. From family appointments, grocery lists, things to remember, and upcoming book releases (and a festival to plan!) I have to keep track of things! My favorite is the Bullet Keeper.
3. I collect antique jewelry. Most have been passed down in my family, but I love finding new pieces and wondering what secrets they keep!
4. I have one itty bitty tiny tattoo—of an ampersand on my right inner arm. I’ve always wanted a tattoo but firmly believe that if you’re going to be inked, it should mean something. When I first began my publishing journey, I naturally looked forward to what the future held in store for me. I wanted to finish my book. Get it published. See it on a shelf. I wanted a wonderful agent to represent me. I think it’s human nature to always “want more” and to strive for your dreams. That’s when I knew the ampersand (“AND” symbol) fit me in more ways than one. It’s a reminder that there IS more waiting for me. That it’s ok to never be satisfied and to stretch my creative capabilities in search of happiness. There is always a next chapter waiting to be written. I wanted the tattoo in a spot where I would see it every day and it is, facing me, not outward for anyone else. It’s a reminder of who I am and who I want to be.

Thank you, Spencer Hill Press for featuring me on your blog! Visit my website at for more info on my books!

New City, New Books

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Hello everyone! I’m Beaufort’s newest intern, writing under the pen name Phoebe Beauffay (Friends fans?) A little about me is that I’m an English major who loves stories in all forms and of all genres. I attend university in Nashville, TN, but I’m here for the semester. Not only am I new to Beaufort, but I am entirely new to NYC. Prior to my move here, I had never been. I’m more thrilled to be here than I can say!

I think most people who consider themselves to be avid readers would agree that sometimes we get reader’s block. My own reader’s block has been going on for far too long. I’m ready to pull out my reading list, my bookmarks, sign up for a library card, and get to work. Moving here has given me a spark to read that I haven’t felt in a while. How could it not? I’m surrounded by countless books and fellow book lovers here at Beaufort. I pass a public library to and from Beaufort each time I’m here. Readers are everywhere: on the subway, in coffee shops, in any of NYC’s abundant book stores. I’m planning an entire day to visit The Strand alone (pictured).

My reading list is ever-growing with no end in sight. It also refuses to be limited to one genre; it has a little bit of everything, which is exactly what I am looking for here in NYC. Here are a few of the books I intend to read on the subway and in coffee shops to cure my reader’s block:

Great Food Jobs 2 by Irena Chalmers

A Beaufort title I’m quite excited about! I love food and books. I love learning about the food industry and different careers. It’s full of insight on a world that I’m ready to learn all about.

North of the Tension Line by J.F. Riordan

Another Beaufort title, one that immediately reminded me of home. This story is set in Ephraim, Wisconsin. While I live in NYC and attend college in Nashville, Wisconsin is where I grew up. It’s rare for me to be able to read about home (New Yorkers are a lucky bunch in that department). I love that the story explores small town life.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I have so much admiration for the former first lady, and I cannot wait to hear her story in her own words. Autobiographies are newer to my list than other genres, but I believe this could be the read to get me going on them.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This one has been on my list for the last few months, and I’ve heard only good things about it. Stories about slightly awkward protagonists and friendship full of warmth and heart have a special place in mine.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

This is another one that has been on my list for a while (I blame the reader’s block). Psychological thrillers and mysteries are some of my favorites, and I’m a big fan of Gillian Flynn ever since Gone Girl. Looking forward to finally checking this one off the list.

Happy reading!

Phoebe Beauffay

This is a shared blog post for Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Greetings Everyone,

It’s Sir Arthur Conan Beauyle.

We’re quickly approaching the end of the year and I find myself looking back regretfully at my reading goals for 2018. I barely made a dent in my ever-growing, never-decreasing, extremely tempting to-be-read pile and I won’t even give you the number because it’s too embarrassing. However, I did accomplish a great deal this year that will help convince myself it’s enough to forgive such a bookish faux pas.

May marked a major milestone in my life: I received my M.F.A. in Creative Writing degree. I say major because my self-doubt is constantly out to get me; when I left home for my undergrad program, and when I fulfilled my lifelong dream of becoming a pastry chef. My self-doubt even got in the way in the middle of moving to New York (literally en-route to the Big Apple on the plane). Yet I continue to surprise myself whenever I achieve something I once thought impossible. But no matter how present that self-doubt is, my persistence has ALWAYS won.

This year marked my second major milestone in the great city of New York. Living here has opened my mind, eyes, and heart to so many different opportunities. It’s impossible not to love it. I started writing my novel again, and this time it has direction. Though my original goal for this year was to complete the first draft by December 31st, I am confident that this work-in-progress will be finished in 2019.

2018 had several internship opportunities for me, and I found myself back at Beaufort Books, working alongside this incredible team! When you find a group of people who are passionate about their work and are eager to teach you everything they know, it’s a breeze getting up in the morning. The Beaufort bibliophiles have inspired me to really tackle my reading goals for next year.

As I’ve done diligently in the past, I’ve begun drafting my hopes and dreams, my desires and wishes for 2019. I try to be realistic when it comes to these resolutions, because most of the time, come March, I have forgotten all about them. Because of my dismal reading habits in 2018, one of my top three wishes is to complete my 2019 reading list (hopefully I will exceed it!). The list isn’t complete, but it does involve a book for each week. Our lovely managing editor Megan has encouraged me with her reading record for 2018, so like her, I will read at least 52 books in the coming 12 months.

“It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” (thank you, Andy Williams!) and I find it impossible to be sad, or mad, or angry whenever I see those twinkling holiday lights. Who knows what’s in store for 2019, but I know that it’ll be great. And even if there are bad days, I can always turn to my books to escape.

Wishing everyone Happy Holidays and a Prosperous New Year!

Sir Arthur Conan Beauyle

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This is a shared blog post for Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press.


Friday, November 30th, 2018

Hello everyone! My name is Angela J. Townsend. I was born in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Missoula, Montana. As a child, I grew up listening to stories told by my grandparents, ancient tales and legends of faraway places. My childhood allowed me to be imaginative, to learn the power of words, and to learn that words are living things and how we choose to use them could have a tremendous impact in our world and on others as well.

Sadly, not everything in my past has been an ideal fairy tale. An unexpected tragedy presented an opportunity that changed the course of my life. I started writing when my youngest son was diagnosed with a Retinoblastoma. A cruel form of eye cancer that causes blindness. Writing served as an escape. I wrote to find peace and to find hope for my son, and to create our own adventures far removed from the cold atmosphere of the hospital.

While employed as a paralegal in a busy law firm, my writing career took off. I was able to give away hundreds of signed copies of my novels to the Ronald McDonald houses of America and other organizations for sick children around the globe.

Today, I am a full time filmmaker and a traditionally published, award-winning author. I am fortunate enough to be a member of the Authors Guild and to be represented by the former Vice President of Paramount Pictures, M. Kenneth Suddleson.  Exactly a year ago a movie based on my novel, The Forlorned was released worldwide.

Random things about me:

  • As a young child I spent my young years in a remote fishing village in the wilds of Alaska. That experience shaped my novel, Amarok. The ocean and Alaska will always be a part of me.
  • Friday the 13th has always been my lucky day! I’ve always won money on that day: raffles, contests, and other events.
  • I was born just shy of Halloween—maybe that’s why I love writing spooky themed books so much!
  • After becoming severely allergic to makeup, I developed my own all natural cosmetic line which includes a natural hair dye and soap.
  • Cars terrify me and I’m even more afraid of flying.
  • My favorite food is popcorn which is great because it goes along well with my motion pictures!
  • In 2018 I won a notable trademark lawsuit over my book and movie title, The Forlorned. The case ended up in the US Supreme Court, and winning freed me from years of harassment and “Trademark Trolls.”  I hope that my case will make it easier for other authors who undergo similar legal battles.
  • Last summer I formed Authors Unite Against Bullies. The organization strives to help artists who are being bullied or are victims of frivolous lawsuits.

Thank you for spending time with me!

To read more, visit my website




Thursday, October 18th, 2018

I happily live in the Pacific Northwest. I love the surrounding beauty and climate. I also love the interaction with wonderful authors, illustrators and craftspeople who live here, too.

At some point, about a dozen years ago, I realized what I should have known from the start. I love to write as much as I love to create art.

I began making up stories for my younger brothers and sisters before I could read. I’d pull a book off the shelf, any book, and make up a story. My siblings, not being idiots, suspected the ruse right away—they would keep interrupting with “What if?” and “Why not?” and “Make the talking mouse a dog.”—suggestions.

I am the eldest of ten, which is a wonderful, hectic, love-hate, messy, smelly but beautiful way to grow up. When I became a mother, however, I wisely limited myself to three. I now have four pretty wonderful grandchildren who regularly advise on alternative endings and different characters. Where have I heard that before?

I have three Middle Grade novels published and two YA novels in progress. My MG book, Almost Magic, for Spencer Hill is one of my favorites.

Over my career I’ve written and illustrated five children’s books for Simon & Schuster, a couple of children’s Bible books for David C. Cook, and a handful of other children’s books. I have also worked as an illustrator and page designer for educational publishers including Incentive Publications and World Book, Inc., illustrating over 200 titles for them.

I write and illustrate for fun. Selling books to publishers is also fun. Deadlines are less fun, but all procrastinators (like me) need an inflexible end date even for this blog post!

Thanks for spending time with me. Hope you enjoy my work!


Friday, September 14th, 2018

Hi lovelies. I’m Brenda St John Brown, coming to you from my tiny village in North West England. I’m the author of Swimming to Tokyo, and the Castle Calder series, and I thought it would be fitting to focus my random things around one of my absolute favorite things—travel!

I’m one of those people who would rather save for a trip than spend on a sweater, and I’ve been lucky enough to have a few travel-heavy jobs (thank you, frequent flier miles!) and a husband whose job moved us to the UK where cheap flights are cheap (Our first trip abroad when we moved here was to Verona, Italy and our flights were £58 round trip. For all three of us!) and Europe is right on the doorstep. But, I’m rambling. Let’s get random and talk wanderlust!

  1. Swimming to Tokyo was inspired by a real-life adventure! I taught English in Tokyo for almost two years. I have a million stories about my time there, but one of the funniest is about the one time I tried to buy a bra. The saleswoman brought her measuring tape out to the middle of the department store and started shouting my measurements across the floor. Needless to say, that was the first and last time I did THAT.
  2. I hated fish pre-Tokyo—like, absolutely would not choke it down if even it were the only thing available and I was starving. Needless to say, I learned to eat it because there’s really no avoiding sushi in Japan. Now I like most fish, but I’m still wary of sushi.
  3. There’s Domino’s Pizza in Japan and mayonnaise is a standard topping! When you call Domino’s like I did—in very halting Japanese—and don’t know a) that mayo is a standard topping or b) how to request to leave it off, it’s shockingly bad when you find out.
  4. I went to Melbourne, Australia for 3 weeks for work and one weekend my coworker and I rented a car to go see the Twelve Apostles (which are gorgeous). While driving, we hit a kangaroo! Awful, right? We called the police because we weren’t sure what to do and the police officer came and broke its neck so it wouldn’t suffer. Apparently hitting a kangaroo is kind of the equivalent of hitting a deer. I wouldn’t recommend either if you can possibly help it.
  5. Eleven years ago, my husband was asked to move to the UK for a year to 18 months…and here we are. We lived in London for several years and then moved to The North and live in the quintessential English countryside with a pub down the street.
  6. Living in London, the Eurostar is incredibly convenient and the company runs sales where you can go round-trip to Paris for about £40 ($60?) as long as your dates are flexible. Before The Boy was in “proper” school, we took of advantage of this every year and it was pretty fab. I still really really want to write a book set in Paris.
  7. The whole Europe-on-the-doorstep thing means when American friends are coming to Europe, we can sometimes plan to meet them. Italy’s been a firm favorite and Tuscany is as gorgeous as I thought it would be. Also, the wine! My husband—who’s a pretty particular eater due to food allergies—also highly recommends the wild boar. I’ll take his word for it.
  8. Speaking of food, if you’re ever in Hong Kong, the pigeon is really good. Ask for the dish that the chef recommends, but don’t ask what it is until after. I’m 100% positive I enjoyed my pigeon because I didn’t know it was pigeon.
  9. All that traveling and I’m still a nervous flier, which means I’m absolutely NOT falling asleep mid-flight. I might doze for an hour or two, but mostly no. Which is a bit of a bummer when I get home and realize I’ve been awake for over thirty hours, BUT it also means plenty of time for reading. Besides my passport(s), my other must-pack item is my Kindle. Fully stocked, of course.

And that’s me in a nutshell. Thanks for hanging out with me on the Spencer Hill blog today and I’d love to see you over on my website at



It’s All About The Process

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

Hello again readers!

The summer is winding down and so, in turn, is my internship with Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press. My last day will be bittersweet, as I leave behind the excitement of the summer for the hustle bustle of the school year. Nevertheless, I have come to really appreciate change while living in a city as lively as New York and working in a field as dynamic as publishing.

I had the opportunity this summer to read quite a few manuscripts, both fiction and non-fiction, at all different stages of writing. While evaluating manuscripts is only one of many steps in the editorial process, I found that it gave me insight into the publishing world as an industry that is constantly evolving, much like the way in which a manuscript grows into a book. Although most people only see the finished product with every detail in place down to the last period, I have learned that the beauty of publishing is truly all about the process – the process of artistic development, but more notably the process of seeing an idea become something tangible for the author and the readers.

From the acquisition of a manuscript to the publication date, agents, editors, sales teams, and endorsers think (and rethink) critically about an idea with not only the author’s vision in mind, but also the ever-changing market of readers. It doesn’t matter whether the writing is good or bad from the start, because a book will never be perfect in the eyes of every single person who encounters it and will inevitably shift in some way or another (even if it is just a matter of adding a serial comma). When a book moves from one stage to the next – whether it be a contract signed or a proofread cover design – it is one step closer to taking creative shape.

When the publication date finally rolls around, the words and illustrations on the page will remain the same, but the book itself will continue to evolve as the writing style, edits, endorsements, and press releases, impact each reader in a different way. The audience never sees the nitty gritty workings of the publishing process, but they do get to undergo their own process of engaging with the ideas, words, and production of a book, in a way that is significant to them.

A book is never just as it appears with all the different gears working behind it to make it a whole, and you have to embrace the process to understand what the book truly holds.

Happy reading,

Aphra Beauhn


This is a shared blog post for Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press.

In The Name of Summer Reading

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Whenever I tell others that I’m an English major, I always get questions about either my favorite book or what genre I like to read most. I have a hard time answering these questions because, during the school year, my reading consists primarily of class assignments, everything from James Joyce to literary theory. I spend my time amidst great books, both classics and contemporaries, but rarely get to indulge in my personal reading list.

When the summer finally rolls around, I face the difficult challenge of picking out a pile of new books at Oblong, my hometown local bookstore, to keep me occupied over the following months. My collection is always an eclectic one, consisting of quite a few contemporary novels, one or two memoirs, and usually several random picks from the staff recommendations table (the best place, in my opinion, to discover new books).  Since I have a hard time pinpointing my reading taste, I figured I would share with you all the books that have been getting me through my daily subway commute this summer and let the list speak for itself.

Below are some of the highlights:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

After diving into Parks and Recreation this summer, I was excited to read Poehler’s memoir, full of pointed essays, knee-slapping anecdotes, and admirable honesty. I actually laughed out loud as I sat on the one train (probably looking like a crazy person to everyone else) while reading this book to and from the Beaufort Books/Spencer Hill Press office. I came to greatly appreciate Poehler’s witty, yet insightful musings on growing up, careers, and adulthood, but also her ability to capture the humor in the mundane things of everyday life.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

After reading Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day in high school, I was intrigued by the mix of mystery, love, and dystopic life in Never Let Me Go. In the same vein as Black Mirror, this book strikes eerily close to home, as Ishiguro packs the plot with an underlying commentary on the inhumane sense of detachment that accompanies technological advancements. Though quite creepy, the novel offers a unique, provocative perspective on the direction in which human life is headed.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

I am not someone who reads scientific or psychological books in particular, but Outliers has been on my reading list since my high school calculus teacher read excerpts of the book to students every day at the beginning of class as our senior year came to an end. Gladwell’s thought-provoking style of writing lays out examples, misconceptions, and statistics about the nature of success as a product of culture and opportunity, rather than intellect. Outliers is an extremely important, pertinent read at a time where college and career opportunities are more competitive than ever before.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake is the one book on my list that I have yet to read, but I wanted to include it because I adore Atwood for her astute, spunky voice. As I was wandering the bookshelves at Oblong, a young woman spotted me checking out Atwood’s books and insisted that I begin the MaddAddam series (of which Oryx and Crake is the first, followed by The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam). She told me that these books would stand apart from other forward-looking titles that have been oh so trendy lately, due to Atwood’s exceptional use of language and historical undertones. I am very excited to see what this book holds, as it will most likely wrap up my summer reading.

Though different in many respects, all of these books caught my attention in some way or another. I hope my thoughts will inspire you all to check out at least one of these books before the summer ends!

-Aphra Beauhn


This is a shared blog post for Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press.


Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

I’m excited to be on the blog today, talking a little about myself. My name is Sarah Guillory, and I wrote Reclaimed, a book about small towns and secrets.


Random Things about Me:

  1. I’m a runner. I run six days a week, and I’ve run nine marathons (I do a marathon every other year, as it’s a pretty big time commitment and I need lower-mileage years for both my brain and my body to just love running, without any goals to chase down). And I love running. Like writing, some people say they enjoy having written or having run rather than the actually process, but when I’m running, I enjoy the movement, slipping undetected through that pre-dawn stillness, racing my past self, letting my mind and body wander. Jenna, my main character in Reclaimed, also loves running, but she wasn’t always a runner, and she isn’t a runner because I am. It took me a while to discover that Jenna loves running (at least two false starts and one early draft), and she loves it because it’s her way to escape, the forward momentum that she hopes will take her out of her small town and away from her alcoholic mother. I run less as an escape and more as an act of living in the present, of loving where I live (I’m from a small town and live in a small town and just in general really love small towns), and, as I age, even as an act of defiance.
  2. I’m a dog lover. Ridiculously so. I currently have two dogs, a bloodhound who is a year and a half and a six-month-old lab mix my husband rescued from the woods when he was a sick and starving weeks-old puppy. I wasn’t always a dog lover. I’ve enjoyed dogs in the past, but it wasn’t until my first bloodhound that I fell in love, and now I’m kind of stupid about it. But they make me happy (most days, though the lab mix is loving getting up at 2:30 AM right now) and keep me sane and humble and are quite nice writing companions. It’s weird that Reclaimed didn’t have a dog in it, but my last two manuscripts do. And the dog will always live.
  3. I’m a teacher. And I love it. There are very few professions where you can talk books all day, and I’m lucky enough to find one. I’m even luckier that I get paid to try and make readers out of other people. And that’s sort of my mission. I hope that each year every single one of my students encounters a book that turns them onto reading. If it’s not one I’ve assigned, I hope it’s one I’ve recommended or mentioned or have on my shelf in the back of my room. I believe that reading makes us better people, provides a better-quality life, shows us who we are as well as places we’ve never seen and people we will never be. It challenges us and reveals us, entertains us and sustains us, and I became a teacher because I wanted to pass my passion for books onto others. I’m not always successful, but I am always unabashedly enthusiastic. And if the words I write can do for other readers what stories have done in my life, then all the better.


Thanks for reading! You can always find me online at or on Twitter and Instagram @sguillory262.

The Final Chapter

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

The Final Chapter

As I entered my final weekend in the city, I found myself both pleased and slightly disappointed with my accomplishments over the summer. While I had checked nearly every box off the list I had made prior to arriving in June, I had barely scratched the surface of all the places I added while being here. I have fully taken advantage of one perk Beaufort and Spencer Hill granted me this summer, having Fridays off, but even with three-day weekends every week, New York City is an infinite attraction. Everywhere you turn, a sweet scent from a local bakery hits your nose, a cart brimming with classics outside a quaint bookshop catches your eye, a song covered by a group of musicians on the street plays melodically in your ears.

Potentially the most ironic part of this dilemma is that most of the places on my list are within a two-block radius of my apartment. Walking by all these places numerous times every day, I knew I wanted to stop in them, but I kept thinking, “I’ll do it later; I have time.” I was so used to planning out my weekends so strategically to fit in the maximum amount of stops in a particular area of the city, that I never spent any time near where I was living, apart from grocery shopping and walking to work and back. While this may not be an issue for others depending on where they live, I live near Union Square Park, which not only has tons of shops (and bakeries), but it also houses the largest Barnes and Noble AND The Strand, which basically means I am living in booknerd heaven.

My final Saturday in the city, I didn’t have anywhere pressing to go, so I thought, “why not go to The Strand?” I had been there before as a tourist, but never had enough time to appreciate every floor, or did not want to carry a bag of books around the city. I ended up spending over two hours browsing the stacks and left with twelve books (which will be a blast packing, I’m sure). I grabbed a hot chocolate from Max Brenner across the street (10/10 would recommend if you like drinking molten chocolate) and meandered my way around the neighborhood. On Sunday, I walked south of my building, into Chinatown, stopping at a bunch of hole-in-the-wall stores that I would have ignored had I been walking with any set destination in mind. These were some of my favorite days in the city, and as I enjoyed my wanderings, it dawned on me that if I were to live here in the future, this would be closer to what my typical weekend would look like, unlike all my previous ones, jamming as many tourist attractions as I could into three sixteen-hour days. Up until my last weekend, I had only known the city as a visitor, not as resident.

Now that I have grown so accustomed to New York, I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this time next week I will be back to driving around the vast green mountains of Vermont and packing for senior year (in hopefully cooler weather), but I know I will be back soon (and by “soon” I mean I already have plans to return in the fall). These past two months have been one adventure after the next, and I want to say a massive thank you to Megan and Karen for having had such a huge role in them.

In parting, I’ll end with the final lines of one of my favorite Roald Dahl works, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me.

All you do is look
At a page in this book
Because that’s where we’ll always be,
No book ever ends
When it’s full of your friends
The Giraffe and the Pelly and me.


Until next time,

Beauld Dahl




This is a shared blog post for Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press.

A Reader’s Guide to New York City

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

Now that it is my final week here at Beaufort and Spencer Hill, I have been reflecting on all the trips I embarked on this summer. I thought it would be fun to do a wrap up of my favorite times, along with a few ideas for anyone venturing into New York City longer than a weekend. So, without further ado, here are my top ten experiences, perfect for an avid reader in New York City.


  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Manhattan):

While I tried to avoid including any huge tourist attractions in this list, The Met is arguably the most famous museum in the city, and it’s the largest. It is extremely overwhelming for first-timers but is a must-see. For some reason, I refused to visit this museum on any of my prior visits to the city, but I knew I had to go this summer. I spent four hours wandering the halls and still missed half of it. If you are into art in any sense, there is a gallery for you in The Met, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. Plus, the iconic steps are a great place to enjoy your book and coffee.

Always check online before you go anywhere in case they have times where admission is free or reduced! General admission at The Met is pay-what-you-wish if you are a resident of New York or have a student ID from a college in New York, Connecticut, or New Jersey.


  1. Coney Island (Brooklyn):

Since I was here in the summer, I figured I couldn’t miss Coney Island. I thought because I wasn’t going to ride on any of the rides I wouldn’t get as much out of the experience, but pick a gorgeous day, head down to the boardwalk to enjoy the sound of the ocean and the feel of sand between your toes, and you’ve got one flawless day in front of you. Spread out a blanket and devour a hotdog from Nathan’s as you immerse yourself between the pages of your next favorite read.

Free, although good luck staying away from the shops and eateries.


  1. Museum of the Moving Image (Queens):

I visited this museum twice – once for a film screening, and then again to see the actual museum. Definitely check out its website to see what movies are playing while you are in the city; depending on the type of screening, some of the actors or crew members might be there for a Q&A afterwards! The museum has a cute café and some comfy seating throughout that makes for a cozy reading space.

Free on Fridays from 4 – 8 p.m. Screenings are an additional cost.


  1. Lexington Ave/59th Street (Manhattan):

Anyone with a sweet tooth, this one is for you. When you get off the subway on 59th Street, you are less than a 10 minute walk to three major sweetshops: Sprinkles Cupcakes (there is an actual building but also a cupcake ATM outside if you want to avoid human interaction), Dylan’s Candy Bar (with a major list of funky desserts and one of the best milkshakes you’ll ever drink), and Serendipity 3 (frozen hot chocolate, anyone?). Whether you stay in the shop or head to Central Park (less than a 10-minute walk), you’ll be able to fully savor both your book and your treats.

Depending on what you want to spend your money on, Sprinkles is the cheapest option, Dylan’s is more middle-of-the-road, and Serendipity is the biggest splurge, but it’s worth it. If you do decide to go to Serendipity, be prepared for a wait.


  1. Brooklyn Botanical Garden (Brooklyn):

This peaceful area is filled with blooming flowers in the spring and summer. It has many secluded areas with seating, along with a charming field fit for a picnic date with your next novel. While it may be a bit busier when it has free admission, I had no problems finding plenty of places to get away from the crowds.

Free on Fridays from 8 a.m. – noon


  1. The Strand (Manhattan):

How could I make a list for book lovers without including The Strand? This bookstore is a must-see for anyone who has picked up a book in their lives. Three floors of floor-to-ceiling shelves and stacks of every genre of book imaginable. The first floor also has some spot-on merch, including t-shirts, magnets, socks, and pins with fantastic slogans.

Obviously entry is free, but we all know you aren’t leaving there empty-handed.


  1. The High Line (Manhattan):

This walking path from the Meatpacking District to 34th Street has only been around for a few years, but it is already rising in ranks for a major Manhattan attraction. If you go on a gorgeous weekend day, you’ll find yourself in the midst of a high volume of sight-seers. Instead, go on a nice weekday, spread out in a lounge chair, and soak in the sun with the view of the bay on one side and the Manhattan skyline on the other as you work your way through your TBR pile.

Free, unless you stop at any of the numerous food vendors or restaurants on and along the path.


  1. New York Public Library Tour (Manhattan):

The New York Public Library gives daily tours, showing a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at the building, its history, and its possessions. The tour is perfect for literary nerds because while it is just an hour long, it is packed with fun facts that will potentially blow your mind like they did mine.

Free tours are available in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday – Saturday to the first 25 people who show up. I got there around 1:15 p.m. on a Friday and was one of the first to get tickets. The wait was the perfect excuse to meander around the impressive gift shop.


  1. Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Queens):

I am not a Central Park girl. Sure, walking around and through the expanse of greenery is always enjoyable, but it is too crowded and distracting for me to relax. Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens is my favorite park that I have visited, and I have been to a lot this summer. Since it is not in Manhattan, it is not too busy, and it is large enough that you can find a place to hang out very quickly. The park also houses the Queens Zoo and the Unisphere, which is incredible to see up close. The only downfall is how far it is if you are living in Manhattan, but you can always read on the subway!



  1. Governors Island (Manhattan):

The day I went to Governor’s Island was arguably the best day of my summer. Governor’s Island is a tiny island around the Statue of Liberty – Wall Street – Brooklyn Bridge area. Spend the morning kayaking and ride a bike around the island’s small, 2.5-mile perimeter. Hike up Outlook Hill for an unforgettable view and wander around what was once Fort Jay, then finally curl up on a hammock in Hammock Grove with your favorite book. If you are in NYC anytime between May and October, put Governor’s Island on your To Do list!

The ferry is free on the weekends if you go before noon, and kayaking is free on Saturdays from 11-4. Bikes range in price, but everything else listed above is free!



As I wrote this post, I felt like a walking advertisement for some of these places, but I cannot recommend them enough. I wish I had a few more weekends to go back to revisit a few of my top sites because one day simply wasn’t enough time with each of them. I hope this list gives you some inspiration as you explore the Big Apple!


Happy exploring!

Beauld Dahl



This is a shared blog post for Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press.

The Digital Era of Publishing

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Hello readers!

As a new intern at Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press, I will be writing under the pen name of Aphra Beauhn, the feisty, forward-thinking female playwright and novelist. After taking a 17thCentury British Literature class this past spring, I came to greatly admire Behn’s spunky interpretation of literature as not only a source of entertainment but also a powerful tool for social reflection and change.

I am currently a rising senior at Union College, a small liberal arts school in Upstate New York, working towards a double major in English and Classics. When my junior year recently came to a close, I received a flood of questions about my career plans for post-graduation. As an avid reader with a passion for language, publishing has always been the natural answer for me. While I have gained in my personal life a love for how stories build, evolve, and eventually come to touch their audience in different ways, my educational background has taught me how valuable it is to think and rethink critically about writing, craft a plausible argument, and effectively communicate ideas to a vast array of readers.

More often than not, I’ve been told that I’m going into an “impractical” field or better yet, that print publishing is dying in the age of iPhones, iPads, Kindles, and an infinite number of writing outlets on the internet that are available to just about anyone who wishes to publish. The term publishing for many of my peers now refers to posting a picture on Instagram or capturing a cool Snapchat story. I wholeheartedly agree that the digital era is upon us and gaining momentum with each day.

However, I don’t believe that there is any less of a demand for well-written books. Technology has provided new distractions and entertainment for sure, but it hasn’t taken away the power of literature to create a new vision and understanding of the world. Rather than “dying,” the industry is simply moving into uncharted territory. After two internships in publishing, what I have come to love most about this industry is that it is constantly changing and growing regardless of whether technology is in play or not. To me, the digital age provides an opportunity to develop creative approaches to writing that will reach more audiences and unveil new voices.

During the first few weeks of my internship at Beaufort Books/Spencer Hill Press, I was assigned a variety of tasks, everything from promoting books on social media platforms to updating metadata for past and upcoming titles. What has become evident to me so far is that the digital era provides a new means to market literature in increasingly dynamic and innovative ways. As the summer progresses, I am so excited to work at a company that is still dedicated to publishing high-quality books which are both compelling and impactful, fit for the fast-paced, ever-evolving industry.

Publishing may no longer represent the once romantic vision of a library full of beautifully bound books, but it still serves as a guide to the people, places, and things of everyday life.

Until next time,
Aphra Beauhn

This is a shared blog post for Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press.

Two Sides to Every Story

Thursday, June 28th, 2018

Hello — another intern here! A bit about me: I am headed into my final year at a liberal arts college in New Hampshire, where I am studying both English and Elementary Education. Ever since I was young, I always wanted to be either a teacher or a book editor/publisher due to my love of reading. Therefore, for my pseudonym, I thought it would be fitting to choose an author who connects to both of my passions, so I’ve decided to go under the pen name Beauld Dahl, after a fascinating person who happens to be one of my favorite childhood authors.

Coming from a small town in Vermont (and by small I mean you could fit 6 of my town’s entire population into the Empire State Building and still have a little room left over before hitting the maximum occupancy), Manhattan is about the biggest 180 degrees that I could make from my normal lifestyle. Even living here for just a week so far, I’ve come to realize that I have split myself into two identities, the small-town teacher, and the city-dwelling publisher. Part of me misses rolling green mountains, drives through the countryside with the windows down, and the overall laid-back feel of Vermont (and no, it’s not part of Canada). A different part of me loves the patchwork of skyscrapers, the hustle of the city, and the fact that I can walk to any store I can think of instead of driving at least an hour away. Though I’ll admit, sometimes I get a little unnerved by the lack of trees on my walk to and from my internship, but that’s nothing a trip to Central Park can’t fix.

Vermont is known (“known” being a loose term here) for three things: Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Cabot cheese, and maple syrup. While we consume our fair share of dairy products, my family’s affection is for the latter.

Every late winter and early spring, we go into the woods, hang buckets and tubing among the maple trees, collect their sap, then boil and filter it until the sticky, sweet substance we put on our pancakes and waffles is produced. This picture was taken during the second largest snowstorm ever recorded in Vermont, when I trudged through over two feet of snow and could barely see further than the length of my arm through the rapidly falling flakes. Apart from the sounds of my footsteps, I was blanketed by complete silence.

Within the past week, it has been upwards of 90° in Manhattan, with nothing but a faint breeze between the high-rises. I have two options: walk everywhere in the blazing sun, or take the subway, where wind refuses to enter, and the heat is somehow even more stifling than above ground. I typically choose the streets, ignoring the stench of cigarettes and the shrills of sirens, where I bear witness to some of the world’s most iconic sites that millions dream of visiting and a skyline like none other.

In both circumstances, I wonder how something so unpleasant can also be so thrilling and beautiful at the same time. I also wonder how one can love both experiences just as equally.

Since I have already student-taught in multiple classrooms and loved (nearly) every second, I thought that interning at a publishing company would help me decide what path I would pursue after graduating. However, that decision has become exponentially more difficult now that I see how much I would enjoy living in the Big Apple permanently.

Stay tuned to see where my internship at Beaufort Books/Spencer Hill Press takes me over the next few months!

Until next time,

Beauld Dahl



This is a shared blog post for Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press.


Random Things or a Damsel & a Friend?

Friday, June 15th, 2018

Hello friends!

I’m so excited to be on the blog today talking about some things about me that you probably don’t know. Who am I? Well, I’m Kelsey Macke. I wrote the book Damsel Distressed—a story about sadness and self-harm and theatre and best friends and confidence and wanting to be okay.

I thought I would tell you THREE random things about me that might surprise you—in fact, I’m going to tell you three ways I’m a *little* like the main character in my book!

  1. Imogen is a theatre kid—I was too! I was involved in lots of productions as a kid, and continued all the way through high school. In fact, the musical in the story is one that we did when I was in 10th grade! It was so fun to think about all of the amazing traditions we had in the theatre and how we always stood up for each other and alongside each other. I have a soft spot for curtain calls. There are lots of things that make me cry, but a curtain call is a sure thing. There’s just something so special about when the artists come out at the end and stand, humbly, in the middle of a stage and hope for approval. It’s such an honest place to be. I love it.
  2. Imogen struggles with her body image. I do too! In fact, there are so many things that Imogen does and says about her body that definitely happened in my own head. It’s only recently that I’ve really started to understand how deep the wounds of negative self-image can go! Sometimes it seems like grown people have it all figured out, but I can assure you. We don’t. I have been a hot mess since I was in diapers, and I don’t see that stopping any time soon. It is so difficult to love who you are—not who you might be if you only… made that change. I wish I could go back and hug the little piece of me that shows up in those parts of the book and say, “it’s okay to love yourself right this minute.” You don’t have to wait for that Eventual You that always seems more deserving.
  3. Imogen had one true-blue-through-and-through best friend. A lot of the kids I knew had groups of friends. They always seemed to travel in packs. There were pockets of 3 to 6 kids who were always attached at the hips, at each other’s parties, and in every photo together. It wasn’t like that for me. I had several people that I loved spending time with, but in my heart, there were only one or two people who I really counted as my best friends. I think it must be a different sort of experience. Having one person who seems to know every single thing about you. It made me feel very loved and understood. I wouldn’t trade that for the world. What about you? Were you a “group of friends” or a “one BFF” kind of person?

So that’s it—a little about me that is a little bit like the main character in my book!

Thanks for stopping by the Spencer Hill blog today and hanging out with me! As always, you can find me all over the internet @KelsNotChels and on!