Debut Author Challenge (+Giveaway)

Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl has my book featured as the Feb 1st Debut Author Dish and as part of the Debut Author Challenge.  Check it out for great debut books and giveaways!  For my dish, one copy of VILLAIN KEEPER will be given away (open until Feb 9th).

My advance copies of my hardcovers have arrived!

What a surreal feeling! It’s strange to hold something I wrote in bound paper and ink form. But it’s also wonderful!

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Thoughts on some of the great books I’ve read lately.

More to come soon.

Skyscraping – Cordelia Jensen

Half Bad – Sally Green

Zodiac – Romina Russell

Salvage – Alexandra Duncan

Author visit (Feb. 7th) at Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, Asheville, NC

On February 7th, 2015, I’m having my first event ever at Spellbound Children’s Bookshop in Asheville, NC. There will be reading, crafts, and possibly battles with foam swords. It should be wonderful. Come and visit and possibly whack a friend with a foam sword.

New Year, Good Cheer, No Fear

It’s January 7th – a cold day in 2015 – and it’s a good time to think about yearly goals. My website looks much better than it did at the beginning of last year. It didn’t exist then. However, it looks better than it did three months ago, too, so that’s a bit more impressive. It’s still got a ways to go! Over the next few months, I’d like to make some posts about all the great books I’ve been reading. I’ll probably do that. And I’d like to have more of a theme to website than random stuff. Hmm. Here are ten related and non-related goals for 2015:

1. Post something once a week. (Disclaimer: As of this time, I make no quality promises. This is a quantity only resolution.)

2. Read a book at least every two weeks and post/write about it. Make sure to include many diverse books and authors.

3. Write book three. (This one needs to be checked off by summer.)

4. Finish untitled WIP one and two. And give them titles!

5. Keep up with the Couch to 5K. As of this post, I can run for 25 minutes straight as long as I go slow and jog on a level surface.

6. Stop searching on the internet for news about my debut book.  Sometimes I find good things, and sometimes I don’t, but it’s a positive feedback loop. Once I start I can’t stop, and no good comes from that.

7. Take a picture of the book and post it all over when I get the hard copies in the mail!

8. Figure out how not to write ‘arthur’ when I want to write ‘author’ and vice versa.  There can be no more incidents of “A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING AUTHOR’S COURT” nor any more “I am a MG arthur.”

9. Learn how to make and use GIFs.

10. Eat healthier, work out more, and get into better shape.  Maybe even cut back on the diet sodas.

Ten goals should do it for now. And this counts as a start for goal number one, so yay!!!



That toward which I write.

I know that title doesn’t make much sense. I was trying for something pun-ny up there. It still kind of amuses me and if I can’t amuse myself…  Anyway, I live in North Carolina, I grew up in NC, and I generally reach towards my laptop or walk towards the car. But I could also reach toward (no ‘s’) my laptop or walk toward my car.  The second way sounds odd to my ears so I go towards things. I was shocked to learn in copy editing that both are correct, and the one used at Harper is ‘toward’.  So henceforth my characters will go toward.

Deadline Dreams

Whenever I start editing or have a deadline approaching, I start having dreams.  Not dreams of success or staring up at copies of my finished books. (I have those dreams, too, but then I’m typically awake and staring off into the distance.)  No, these are nighttime, wake you up, tense dreams.

The latest had terminators in it.  Not the Schwarzenegger versions, but newer, even meaner ones. They hunted me and I hid in the second floor of a bookstore. But I couldn’t get away because some of the terminators had broken into the first floor and others had surrounded the building.  It’s a new version of an older dream I used to have where Freddy Krueger of ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ fame used to chase me around my living room.

I’ve had other dreams where I’m in a high rise in Atlantic City – on the fortieth floor – and the ocean waves are so huge the water is hitting against the windows and the panes start to crack. Sometimes, though, I’m in Oak Island, NC, in a rental house.  I see the waves in the distance. They get closer and closer, and bigger and bigger, until they break over the house.

Then there’s the ‘War of the Worlds” type dream. In it, I’m me, but not me. I’m in a closed off bunker hiding away from the invading alien force that’s overtaken the planet.  Only after years of being stuck inside, supplies have run out and I (and my bunker mates) have to venture out. Then we start fighting aliens only there are about ten of us and a billion of them. I’ve also had a similar dream where an invading human army has overtaken the world.

There’s a hopelessness to these dreams, but I never stop running. I suppose writing and revising are similar. The tasks can seem so overwhelming at first but bit by bit I get them done.

Sometimes, I’ve fallen back asleep too soon and the dreams continue in a long, meandering way. In the Oak Island one, the houses were destroyed, the island was flooded, and I wandered through the water looking for survivors. In the alien one, the bunker people and I found and joined the resistance.

Actually, the terminator and Freddy Krueger ones weren’t that scary.  In them, I just felt frustrated. I wanted them to stop chasing me. Just like those deadlines.

Winter 2014–2015 Kids’ Indie Next List!

Winter Indie Next List

“For Ages 9 – 12

The Last Dragon Charmer 1: Villain Keeper, by Laurie McKay
(HarperCollins, 9780062308436, $16.99, available January)
“What starts as a typical adventure story of a young prince being sent on a quest to slay a dragon with a faithful steed at his side suddenly turns upside down when the prince, his horse, and a young sorceress are plummeted to another realm — contemporary Asheville, North Carolina! This is the fresh and delightful setup for much adventure, humor, and education to come. It turns out that there is some magic — not all of it good — in this new realm of Asheville, and Prince Caden, Brynne, and Sir Horace (the horse) quickly get involved in solving the mystery of a missing local girl even as they try to find a way back to their own realm.” —Leslie Hawkins, Spellbound Children’s Books, Asheville, NC” – See more at:

November 29th – Indies First – Spellbound Bookshop, Asheville, NC.

The Indies First campaign is expanding.  Read more about it here.

On November 29th I’m going to help sell books at one of my favorite places, Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, in Asheville, NC.  Not only does Leslie run a great shop, she also runs a terrific online book club, monthly newsletter, and website. If you can’t visit in person, definitely check out the online site!

Goodreads Giveaway!!

HarperChildren’s is giving away five free copies of VILLAIN KEEPER.  Enter between now and Dec 29th!