Stillhouse Lake on sale for 99¢

I can’t wait for Trapper Road to come out in less than two weeks! If you’re new to the series, you’re in luck because the first book, Stillhouse Lake, is on sale right now for only 99¢!! Happy Reading!

–> Buy Stillhouse Lake on Amazon

Stillhouse Lake on sale

–> Pre-Order Trapper Road on Amazon
–> Add Trapper Road to your Goodreads shelf

July 22nd, 2022|

Trapper Road out Aug 2nd!

I’m thrilled to announce my next book: Trapper Road: Stillhouse Lake Book 6

Trapper Road: Stillhouse Lake Book 6

I’m so honored to be continuing the Stillhouse Lake series for my dear friend, Rachel Caine. I loved working on this book and can’t wait for y’all to read it! It’s coming out August 2, 2022 and you can click here to pre-order it now on Amazon!

Want to know more? You can hop on over to the book page on Goodreads and add it to your shelf, or read the blurb below!


Sometimes danger comes from the most unexpected places.

Gwen Proctor has always been willing to do anything it takes to protect her kids. But there are some things even she can’t protect them from. When a violent incident at Connor’s school brings the press to Gwen’s doorstep, she agrees to take a case out of town hoping to keep her family out of the crushing media spotlight.

The case is that of a missing girl, last seen getting into a truck with a stranger before disappearing. Gwen has a reputation for finding those who are lost, but this time something is wrong. Her instincts are off, and every clue she uncovers only raises more doubts, not just about the missing girl and the circumstances of her disappearance, but also about the fragile safety Gwen’s created for her family.

The closer she comes to uncovering the truth, the more she unwittingly puts those she loves at risk. Someone from Gwen’s past doesn’t appreciate the new life she’s built for herself and is willing to do anything it takes to tear it apart. Except this time it isn’t Gwen in the crosshairs, but her partner Sam. Without her instincts to rely on, how can Gwen protect those she loves against an enemy she never sees coming?

Releasing Aug 2, 2022!

–>Pre-Order on Amazon!
–>Add it to your Goodreads shelf!

July 21st, 2022|


So what have I been working on lately? Unfortunately I still can’t share! Argh! I’ve been so excited about this book and I’ve hated not being able to talk about it more as I’ve been drafting. Soon, though, I promise!

One detail that I can share is that it’s scheduled to come out this summer — right now it’s tentatively a June 2019 release, but that’s still a little up in the air as the publisher finalizes its schedule. Once I have a firm date and a cover and all that fun stuff, believe me I’ll be posting it everywhere!

In the meantime, if you’ve been over on my Instagram, you’ve gotten a few (very very few) hints about my current project. In case you missed them, here they are (I warned you there weren’t that many!):

NOTE: I did, in fact, write an ending.
NOTE: Unfortunately, the light cannibalism idea did not make it into the final draft. Next time!!
NOTE: First draft of the manuscript way back when, all printed out and ready to be attacked. And attack it I did!
October 28th, 2019|

Fun Facts about Episode 5 of DEAD AIR

In honor of reaching the halfway mark of DEAD AIR, I posted a few fun facts about Episode #5 on Twitter. One of my favorite points of any book is the mid-point — it’s where everything changes and there’s no going back. The protagonist has no choice but to continue plowing forward against ever increasing odds and that’s certainly the case here! Poor Mackenzie!

So read on for some behind the scenes of the latest episode! Then head over to Serial Box to start reading or listening now! And don’t forget that you can also listen to Mackenzie’s podcast — look for it on your favorite podcasting platform (you can also find links here.)

And for a limited time you can get 15% off the entire season by using the discount code DEADAIRRYAN. Just click here and it will take you to the redeem page with the discount code already filled in!

Fun Fact #1:
I actually looked up old society papers in Kentucky to see what kinds of listings were included. So fascinating!

Fun Fact #2:
I loved writing Grandma Georgia so much! She reminded me of all the Southern women I’ve had in my life: strong, opinionated, smart, and to the point.

Fun Fact #3:
Of course I had to nod at Serial by including a jail call to Mackenzie. Thankfully I know a federal defender & used him as a source on the wording!

Fun Fact #4:
Mackenzie’s cousin is named Delilah & from day 1 I had Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah” in my head. I found fun ways to incorporate it into the text 🙂

Fun Fact #5:
Grandma Georgia is very specific about her mint juleps. Of course, for accuracy’s sake I had to taste a few different ones.

Fun Fact #6:
I was glad to get in a shout out for the Innocence Project. This org does a lot of amazing work re: wrongful convictions and they’re worth checking out & supporting!

Fun Fact #7:
I may have gone a lot deeper researching secret societies than I intended. I stumbled upon videos, initiation rites, articles, exposes, memoirs.

Fun Fact #8:
This is a rare instance where what Mackenzie records in the serial differs from what ends up on air. For the podcast we dropped in a very special shoutout to Gwenda Bond’s podcast Cult Faves!

I hope you enjoyed some of the behind the scenes into Episode #5 of DEAD AIR! One of the fun things as an author is getting to dive into research and plant easter eggs and I’m glad I finally got so share some of the secrets behind this episode! Of course, those secrets are nothing compared to the ones Mackenzie is uncovering. Check out DEAD AIR to learn more!

September 6th, 2018|

Favorite Podcasts Part 2 – true crime

In honor of the release of my latest project, Dead Air, I’ve been sharing some of my favorite podcasts. Last week I rounded up some of my favorite non-true-crime podcasts (link here) and this week I’m focusing on my first podcast love, and the inspiration for Dead Air: true crime.

Like so many others, the podcast Serial was a game changer for me. Before that came out, I’d heard about podcasts, but I didn’t really understand them and I didn’t really listen to them. Then I heard the first episode of Serial on This American Life. Instantly, I was hooked. So much so that on a road trip the next week, I made my husband listen to it. He became hooked as well.

We developed a routine: we’d listen to episodes together and then spend hours talking about the case and where the story might turn. My husband had just started a new job as a federal public defender which added an even deeper level to our discussions about the criminal justice system. When Serial ended, we turned to Undisclosed — a podcast that takes an even deeper dive into the Adnan Syed case (If you’re a fan of Serial, I highly recommend it — a lot of new information was uncovered, but you can also read about some of that here) Undisclosed

Once Undisclosed came to an end, I wanted more. Specifically, more stories like that. There’s something about the true crime podcast that I find particularly appealing. I think part of it is the narrative nature of so many of them — they have story arcs, reveals and turns and twists. They listen like reading a good thriller. And they often deal with a subject that really matters to me: criminal justice.

I’m a fervent believer that stories can change the world. Perhaps I’m an optimist, but I believe that once people see injustice, once they know about it, they’ll care about it and they’ll want to do something to stop it. The way to get people to care is through story — to make it personal. That’s what I think some of the best podcasts do.

In that vein, here’s my list of “if you liked Serial and narrative true crime stories you’ll like this” podcasts:

In the Dark - season 2
In the Dark – Season 2 — Curtis Flowers has been tried six times for the murder of 4 people in Mississippi in 1996. SIX TIMES. Some of those were convictions overturned because of prosecutorial misconduct, some were hung juries — unsurprising since there’s only circumstantial evidence in the case. Reporter and host Madeleine Baran goes through the case piece by piece, uncovering new details and exposing some pretty appalling behavior by investigators, police, and the prosecution.

Here’s the best way I can try to convince you to listen to this one: I gave up my law license in 2010 and have worked pretty hard at writing over the years to keep from having to go back to practicing law. This podcast had be so incensed, so angry about the injustice, that I wanted to become a lawyer again just so I could do something about it.

Bottom line: if you liked Serial, you’ll love this.

In the Dark - season 1
In the Dark – Season 1 — Same podcast, same host, same great reporting, different case. This one is about the unsolved kidnapping of an 11 boy in Minnesota in 1989. What makes this story stand out is that the podcast was in the can, about to air, when someone confessed to the kidnapping and the case was solved. So the host is able to tell both sides of the story — both the before and after, and this adds a new layer to the questions she raises about the justice system.
Accused – Season 1 — Season 1: In 1978 Elizabeth Andes was found murdered in her apartment in Oxford, Ohio. Her boyfriend found the body and later confessed to the crime after 15 hours of interrogation. A criminal jury found him not guilty and a civil jury found him not liable for the crime (despite the lower burden of proof). This was another very well investigated and well-told story and I really appreciate that it includes the issue of false confession because so many people don’t really understand how that can happen. But it does — more often than people realize. (There’s now a season 2, but I haven’t listened to it yet. It’s on my list, though, because they did such a great job with season 1!)
Dirty John
Dirty John — I came across this via the NPR One App. The first episode started playing while I was cooking dinner and the narrative was interesting so I kept listening. I knew nothing about the story — I didn’t know if we were dealing with a murder, a fraud, some other kind of crime — and I actually appreciated the story so much more because of that. So I’m not going to tell you anything about it.
Missing Richard Simmons
Missing Richard Simmons — Okay, this is a tricky one. I don’t even know that I’d classify it as a true crime podcast, but it had a similar mystery/narrative vibe to it so I’m including it. There’s a lot of controversy about this one and frankly, the only reason I’m mentioning it is because I learned so much about Richard Simmons that I had no idea about. There are some really amazing and touching stories about him and I think it’s worth listening to the podcast just for those.

There are also several podcasts that I’ve heard great things about and are on my to-be-listened-to list, but I haven’t quite gotten to them yet:

Up and Vanished
Atlanta Monster
My Favorite Murder

And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this one…

Dead Air
Dead Air podcast — Mackenzie Walker wasn’t planning on using her college radio show to solve a decades-old murder, but when she receives an anonymous tip that the wrong man may have taken the fall, she can’t resist digging deeper. Before long, Mackenzie is in too deep, and determined to find out the truth, even if it destroys her. A riveting Serial Box original podcast from New York Times bestselling authors Gwenda Bond, Carrie Ryan, and Rachel Caine.

iTunes Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Overcast | Spotify

August 14th, 2018|

Favorite Podcasts Part 1

In my latest project, Dead Air, Mackenzie Walker investigates a decades old crime and shares what she finds on her college radio show / podcast. As we were writing the book, my co-authors Gwenda Bond, Rachel Caine, and I started talking about how cool it would be to actually produce Mackenzie’s podcast. We approached the publisher, Serial Box, about it and they jumped on board. So now you can read the book and listen to the podcast which is just super cool! I love that Serial Box was willing to try something new like this — to break the wall about what a story can be.

Plus, I love podcasts, so it was super cool to be involved in writing one.

In honor of Dead Air’s release, I wanted to share some of my own favorite podcasts. Obviously, Dead Air has its roots in true crime podcasts and I’ll be sharing my favorites of those next week. But this week I wanted to start with everything else.

Planet Money
Planet Money — if you’d told me years ago that I’d love a podcast focused on economics, I’d have laughed. I’ve never been much of an economics person, but I’m so glad I didn’t let that get in the way of trying Planet Money! I first got turned on to it via This American Life and their episode Giant Pool of Money. It explained the financial crisis and it blew my mind. Suddenly, I understood it!! The hosts are funny, they’re smart, and they really know how to tell a story. Here are some of my favorite episodes to get you going:

Giant Pool of Money (explains the financial crisis)
Mechanical Turks (there are people inside your machine! sort of…)

More Perfect
More Perfect — from the folks at Radiolab, this is a podcast about the Supreme Court. I know for a lot of you that may sound boring, but again, these are amazing storytellers and they have a way of explaining and talking about SCOTUS in such an entertaining way!
Inside Jaws
Inside Jaws — I fell into a bit of a Jaws hole this year. Currently, you can listen to the audiobook for free on Audible and for weeks this is what I listened to falling asleep at night (it took weeks because I tend to stay awake for only 5-10 minutes so I have to jump back and re-listen the next night). The book is so different from the movie — the elements are all there, but it’s a much deeper dive into the characters which I found really interesting. So when I came across this podcast, I couldn’t resist giving it a try. It’s a little different from what I’m used to — it’s from the points of view of the people involved which took a little getting used to. I’m used to podcasts that are more explaining, whereas this was far more storytelling. I liked it!
Making Oprah
Making Oprah — my mom actually recommended this one – lol. It’s a limited series podcast about how Oprah got her start. I only listened to it because my mom really wanted me to and let’s just say there’s a reason moms are so often right! I loved it. In fact, I even teared up several times because of the sheer joy of the story.
How Did This Get Made?
How Did This Get Made? — I’ve been listening to this for years. Each episode the hosts take a look at a different movie. Not the ones at the top of the charts, but the ones that often leave you scratching your head. Sometimes they’re movies that shouldn’t work but do. And sometimes they’re movies that just utterly fail. This isn’t one of those educational podcasts that actually looks at how the movie got made. It’s a discussion between the hosts, often in a live show, that’s irreverent, freewheeling, and funny. If you’re looking to learn about movies… probably not the podcast for you. But if you’re looking to be entertained? This one is great..
Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss Show — Tim Ferriss interviews folks — that’s about it. I first listened to this one when he interviewed middle grade author Soman Chainani and I really learned a lot. It’s a fantastic episode. Ferriss is really good at taking a deep dive and asking interesting questions. I haven’t listened to a ton of these yet, but so far I’m a fan. Here’s a link to Soman’s interview.

Because of Tim Ferriss’s interview with Soman Chainani, I was reminded how much I love listening to other authors discuss their lives and craft. So I went looking for other podcasts and found several that I enjoy:

First Draft with Sarah Enni
88 Cups of Tea

And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this one…

Dead Air
Dead Air podcast — Mackenzie Walker wasn’t planning on using her college radio show to solve a decades-old murder, but when she receives an anonymous tip that the wrong man may have taken the fall, she can’t resist digging deeper. Before long, Mackenzie is in too deep, and determined to find out the truth, even if it destroys her. A riveting Serial Box original podcast from New York Times bestselling authors Gwenda Bond, Carrie Ryan, and Rachel Caine.

iTunes Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Overcast | Spotify

August 9th, 2018|

New projects in the air!

I’ve been woefully absent from my site lately! This is the problem with social media sites like Instagram and Twitter, it’s so easy to share news there and forget to update it here! I’ll try to do better moving forward 🙂 I’ve also been busy working on new projects! A good reason to be absent, if you ask me 🙂

Revisions ahead!

So, new project #1 is one that I still can’t talk about. I know, I know I’m a tease. But I have this sort of unwritten rule that I don’t talk too much about my WIPs until they’re well into production and it’s so hard because all I want to do is squee and share what I’m working on! I have so many photos of hints that I’m itching to post online — hopefully in a few more months I can share more. But at least I wanted y’all to know that I do have another YA in the works and it’s full steam ahead!

(this photo is me about to dive into edits — office supplies are critical to the process)

New Project #2 I can definitely talk a lot more about! I partnered with Serial Box, Gwenda Bond, and Rachel Caine to produce Dead Air, a serialized novel debuting on August 1. I’m soooo excited about this project!! If you guys haven’t heard of Serial Box it’s basically HBO for reading — every book (season) is broken into bite-size pieces (episodes). The episodes are released weekly and each one is short enough that you should be able to read or listen to it in about 45 minutes (the length of a TV show without commercials). The best part is that every episode is released in both text and audio and they’re synced, which means you can start reading an episode over lunch and listen to the rest on the way home!

How do you get Serial Box? The first episode will be released on August 1, 2018 and a new episode will come out every week after that (there are 10 episodes total). The only way to get those is through the Serial Box app or through their website (links here). Once all the episodes have been released they’ll be gathered into an omnibus and published as a full book which you can order from your favorite bookstore. So depending on your preferred method of reading/listening, you have your pic!

So what’s Dead Air about? Here’s the flap copy:

Dead Air cover

Welcome to Dead Air, where M is for midnight, Mackenzie…and murder.

Mackenzie Walker wasn’t planning on using her college radio show to solve a decades old murder, but when she receives an anonymous tip that the wrong man may have taken the fall, she can’t resist digging deeper.

It doesn’t take long for Mackenzie to discover gaps in the official story. Several potential witnesses conveniently disappeared soon after the murder. The victim, a glamorous heiress and founder of a Kentucky horse-racing dynasty, left behind plenty of enemies. And the cops don’t seem particularly interested in discussing any of it.

But when the threats begin, Mackenzie knows she’s onto something. Someone out there would prefer to keep old secrets buried and they seem willing to bury Mackenzie with them. Thankfully, she’s getting help from a very unexpected source: the victim’s son, Ryan. The closer she gets to him, however, the more important it is for Mackenzie to uncover the truth before he gets buried alongside her.

Read or listen to weekly ebook and audio episodes of the serial novel Dead Air and then check out Mackenzie’s podcast for a uniquely immersive experience. Does the truth lie in the serial, the podcast…or somewhere in-between?

As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of true-crime podcasts. Seriously, Serial hooked me completely once that first season ended I was hooked. I’ve listened to a ton of them, so when Gwenda approached me with the idea for Dead Air, I was immediately sold. In order to plot everything out, Rachel, Gwenda, and I flew up to the Serial Box offices in NYC and spent several days holed up together hammering out the plot (which was amazing – I love being able to bounce ideas off others and have them take those ideas and spin them in new directions). After that it was home to write and pull everything together. I was surprised at just how easily it all came together, but then again Rachel and Gwenda are total pros.

And one of the best parts of this project is that we actually wrote and produced the podcast from the book! I’ve already listened to parts of it and it is amazing!

Right now Serial Box is running a promotion that you can get 25% off if you pre-order the season of Dead Air by the end of July. Just go to and use the promo code DEADAIRAPO18. Can’t wait for y’all to read and hear Mackenzie’s story!

June 18th, 2018|

Read Up Greenville!

Read Up Greenville

I’m so excited that this weekend –August 6th– is the Read Up Book Festival in Greenville, SC! I’m incredibly honored to be included in this event, especially since Greenville is my hometown! I’ve been amazed at how much work, energy, and passion the organizers have put behind Read Up — they’ve grown it from an idea into a reality and it really looks like it’s going to be amazing. Just check out the author line-up!! Keynote speakers Jay Asher, Holly Goldberg Sloan, Jason Reynolds, and Brendan Kiely!! Author appearances by Stephanie Perkins, Cassie Beasley, Maggie Stiefvater, Renee Ahdieh, Brendan Reichs, Beth Revis — I mean the list goes on and on and they are all superstars!

If you’re in the Greenville area or the Southeast in general, I hope you’ll come out! I’d love to see this festival really take off — there’s so much passion for middle grade and young adult books and I love that festivals like this bring readers and authors together. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like as a kid to have my favorite authors converge on my hometown!

The festival runs all day Saturday at the Peace Center in Downtown Greenville and you can find the full schedule on the website here. I’ll be on two panels:

11:30-12:30, Ramsaur Studio: YA panel with Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Ryan Graudin, and Tiffany Schmidt (with a book signing to follow).

4:30-5:30, Huguenot Loft: YA & MG panel on the process of writing with Brendan Reichs, Maggie Stiefvater, and Maya Van Wagenen (with a book signing to follow).

Can’t wait to see y’all there!

PS — check out this article about me and the festival in the Greenville Journal! I talk about my path to becoming a writer, why I swore off horror movies as a kid, and how I became fascinated with zombies. Here’s the link!

August 1st, 2016|

New Kitty!

JP with new kitty

Introducing…. well… he doesn’t have a name yet. We’d actually love suggestions, and since comments are turned off on this blog, head over to twitter or facebook to help us name him!

Here’s the backstory:

As many of you know, my cat Sam was diagnosed with cancer last year and we had to put him to sleep. I wrote all about it here. But the long and short of it is that Sam was an amazing cat — a constant companion by my side who brought joy and love into my life for fifteen years. After he was gone, one of the things that surprised me the most was how quiet the house was. I’d gotten used to the clack of his claws against the hardwood floors as he trotted in to keep me company, or his soft snores as he slept.

I knew that it would be a while before adopting another kitty, but this fall I realized I was ready. I’d always been interested in an orange tom — JP had a fantastic orange male kitty named Spazz in college and my sister has had two wonderful orange male cats (Mowgli and Jax). But surprisingly, finding an orange male isn’t easy! I spent more time on various kitty adoption sites than I should admit, but never came across the right cat (there were several I fell for, but they ended up getting adopted before I had a chance to meet them). After having such a wonderful kitty in Sam, I knew I didn’t want to settle.

Then this past weekend I went home to Greenville to visit family. It just so happens that the Greenville Animal Control isn’t that far away from my dad’s house, and so I went to take a look. And there he was — an orange dude with a scraped up nose (there’s something about the cats with scrapes or cuts that tugs at my heart). We took him into another room and that was it — I knew he was the one. He was curious, but kept coming back to stroll across JP’s lap or nudge me for pets. When he flopped onto his back, that clinched the deal.

Sam on JP's lap with computer

We had to leave him at the shelter to get neutered so we didn’t bring him home until yesterday. He’s yet to meet the rest of the pack, but we’re pretty sure he’ll hold his own. As I type this he’s curled up against me, a paw resting on top of my hand. He’s taken to being an author’s cat quite quickly — as soon as I opened the computer he strolled right across the keyboard and flopped down, adding a few jumbled words to my latest WIP. It’s even hard for me to take pictures because he nudges my hand for pets every time.

Sam's head in water glass
Sam on JP's lap with computer
Sam on JP's lap with computer

We don’t know much about his background, just that he was found running around Greer, SC “at large” (yes, our cat was a criminal). The shelter held him for 5 days to see if anyone claimed him and no one did. They estimate him at two years old, but we feel like he may be closer to one. Greenville Animal Control is a kill shelter, so we were glad to adopt from them knowing we were saving a life. They have a wonderful Facebook page set up for folks to help sponsor pets who need it (with folks pledging amounts like $5-$10). Check it out if you’re interested in donating or adopting — the link is here. And a huge thanks to all of the organizations out there working with shelters to adopt out pets and encourage spay/neuter to keep the unwanted pet population down. Most county shelters or humane societies offer free or very low cost spay/neuter so keep that in mind if you ever need it!

I still miss Sam, his ornery meow, and his head bonks. I think if he were around to meet the new kitty, he’d say something along the lines of “get off my lawn!” I know it’s still early days, but I feel incredibly lucky to have stumbled across another cat who has lots of love to give and personality to spare. Now if we could only figure out his name! We feel like it’s right on the tip of our tongue…

More pics because who doesn’t like cat pics on the internet?! And if you want even more pics, follow me on Twitter — we all know I’ll be posting a ton there in the near future!

JP and 'Nick'

Seriously, this is how he sleeps

JP and 'Nick'

mid yawn

February 24th, 2016|

YALLFest 2015 Schedule

I’m so excited to be headed back to YALLFest again this year! YALLFest is one of my very favorite events of the year — so many amazing fans and authors and fun. Charleston buzzes with book energy the whole weekend! If you’re there, I hope you’ll come to my signing and panels! To learn more, click here or check out my schedule below!

To learn about my other upcoming events, click here!

November 12th, 2015|