Sunday, October 7, 2018

Come Write with Me!

My Dad Died: How am I supposed to feel now?

My dad died three weeks, one day, eight hours and fifteen minutes ago. I’m trying to make
sense of something inevitable but no easier to accept. I was working on my fourth novel, a book I had to write so badly, that the one I’d been working on for over two years, had to be set aside. I didn’t know why I had to write about George Glass, a boy who was only partly a real boy (like Jan Brady’s imaginary boyfriend), but over the last two years, and just this week, I have made some breakthroughs.

FYI: Clarity and figuring things out doesn’t make them easier, only clearer. 

Initially, I thought I had to write my George Glass book because I was anticipating my son’s departure from my life, and so I had to kill myself in my book so that he could survive without me. This made sense. I had to write this out. I had to write this fiction in order to explore and process (this is how writers—or this writer—operates) his eventual independence and my acceptance and in order for my world to make sense, but now, since my dad died three weeks ago today (9-14-18, 3:45 pm), I understand that it was right around the time that the George Glass story demanded my attention and I abandoned the other book, that my dad was diagnosed with cancer. It was around this time that both losses become evident on a subconscious level. I would lose my son, and I would lose my parents, and I didn’t want to lose anyone, not to adulthood or death—the ultimate loss. 

I didn’t understand any of this, what my monkey-writers’ mind was doing to me, until just this week. In between remembering my dad’s last moments, the gurgle in his lungs, a bad joke I made while reading from his favorite book, a book that he’d read to me, The Collected Works of Robert W. Service, a book my mother had given him and autographed in 1967, I heard silence, and I knew that he was gone. I had moved a rocking chair into his bedroom. He was in pain. I had decided to administer liquid morphine. I actually translated his moans: “Micki, please help me. Please, Moose.” And I did. I gave him more morphine. I kissed his cheek. His dog, Polly, was by his side. This image of my father, emaciated, a shell of a human being, marches like an angry soldier through my mind. Why? Stupid question. Because I want him back. I want the man before the cancer. I want his strength. He used to say, “You mess with the bull, you get the horns.” 
When I was a teenager, if someone wanted to take me on a date, my dad had a “sit-down” with him. The one-sided conversation went like this: “God damn it, son. I know what you are. You’re nothing but a hard-dicked son of a bitch. How do I know? Because I was just like you. You better keep your dick in your pants around my daughter.”
Word spread fast.
“Don’t take her out unless you can bypass going to her house.”
I don’t write nonfiction, creative or otherwise, but here I go, because I miss my dad. 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Come write with me! What are you waiting for? You got this.

What: Put what's running rampant in your mind down on the page. You have stories to tell. Come be brave with us!
When: Mondays, 1-3 pm (Beginning 9/10/18)
Where: Dare County Arts Council, Manteo, NC

Cost: $220 for six weeks, beginning 9/10 (no class 9/24) $200 for DCAC Members

How: LINK:

Thursday, August 9, 2018

How Did You Find Your Literary Agent? What's your story, Morning Glory?

This fall, I'm going to teach a seminar on finding the literary agent who's best for you. I would love to hear how you found your literary agent, if you're still with the same agent. Was your manuscript rescued from a slush pile? Did you know someone who knew someone? Did you win a contest? Did you meet your agent at a writers conference?

Today, I stumbled across this interview with Sheri Reynolds from 1997, where she discusses the "business" of publishing. 

"I learned it's not really about the quality of your work. I thought I was special as a writer, but this experience [being regarded as a mid-list author] made me feel devalued. I was happier before when I could pretend it was about art, but I know now that publishing is just another business. I was gullible before. Now I'm less gullible and more jaded. It's not a way I want to be."- SFGate, 1997, "Education of a Novelist/Anointed by Oprah, Sheri Reynolds got a crash course in the book business"

I know that we can all relate on some level. (I can relate on many levels.)

Is there anything you want aspiring writers to know about finding the right agent? I'm going to teach a seminar in the fall on finding the right agent, and I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Excerpt from novel-in-progress; The title keeps changing... daily.

There were memories of a family, of a fair-haired father who used a black pocket comb each morning to part his hair, a straight line, down the side. Amy saw his long face in the bathroom mirror, a sickle moon of rust in the center of the glass, a can of shaving cream and a black razor on the sink. When he turned the spigot and rinsed the razor’s head, the pipes shook. He was tall and wore a white T-Shirt and baby-blue boxer shorts. He must’ve seen her reflection in the bathroom mirror, but maybe not, because he never acknowledged her. Maybe she was never there.
Amy lived in a two-story Victorian that cast a long shadow across a busy road when the sun was setting. There was a spire, like Amy lived in a castle, but the tiles were missing, and it leaked. Rain tunneled down through the plaster and settled in the ceiling above her bed. There was a dog chained in the backyard, a red plastic bowl filled with water from the green hose, a snake, and the roar of diesel trucks driving past. Amy crawled to the dog and sat by the chain, that sometimes cut into her thigh, when the dog lunged or jumped at the sound of the father’s voice.
There was a mother with hair like spun gold. Amy remembered her prostrate, low to the ground, her hands in prayer, but wished her gigantic, a huge bird soaring above the man in his boxer shorts, the dog, the spire, the trucks, everything. The mother had too many names. She was Disobedient, Unladylike, Obstinate, Sinful, Conspiring, Vain and Boastful. Then she was Morose. Once upon a time, Amy overheard the ladies from church talking, that her name had also been Margaret.  
Five is not a very long time to be alive, to sit with Disobedient on a brown sofa, Amy’s head in her lap, Sinful combing through her yellow curls with her fingers, saying, “Where do you want to go? If we could go anywhere, where would you want to go?”
Amy said, “Sesame Street.” She sang, “Come and meet where the air is sweet. Come and play where everything’s A-Okay. Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?”
Obstinate said, “We’ll go someplace wonderful.”

Monday, May 7, 2018

#BookGiveAway on Twitter @micheleyosto Running May 14th-May 21st: official rules

Enter for a chance to win one of three signed copies of my new novel, Lost in the Beehive, recommended this month in O Magazine!

Official Rules
1. Tweet to @micheleyosto between May 14th and May 21st, posting a picture of a favorite novel and hashtagging #booklove and #LostintheBeehive

2. You can enter once a day.

3. Winners will be contacted by private message on May 22nd and announced on Twitter the same day.

4. This contest is open to continental US residents, 18 and older.

5. Winners will be chosen at random.

(It would be awesome if you posted a picture of yourself and the book after you receive it and #booklove and #LostInTheBeehive

Thanks for playing!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Lost in the Beehive, coming in April, book trailer

I spent nine years loving Gloria Ricci and Sheffield Schoeffler. Here is just a glimpse into what the novel is about: being who you were born to be.

Monday, January 22, 2018


I'm very excited to be reading from my forthcoming novel, LOST IN THE BEEHIVE, at VCU on Feb. 1st. Please come out! I'll be reading with three talented writers, all exceptional alumni of VCU's creative writing program. Details follow: 
MFA Alumni Spotlight Event
Roselyn Elliott
Nathan Long
Emilia Phillips
Michele Young-Stone 
February 1, 2018 – 7PM
VCU Cabell Library
Roselyn Elliott is the author of four poetry chapbooks: Ghost of the EyeAnimals Usher Us to GraceAt the Center, and The Separation of Kin). Her essays and poems have appeared in New Letters, DiodeStreetlight Magazine, The Florida Review, and many other publications. She is the poetry editor at Streetlight Magazine. Rose has taught at VCU, PVCC, Reynolds Community College, WriterHouse, and The Visual Art Center of Richmond.
Nathan Long lives in Philadelphia and teaches creative writing and literature at Stockton University. His fiction and essays appear in over a hundred publications, including Tin House, Glimmer Train, Story Quarterly, and Crab Orchard Review; his collection of flash fiction, The Origin of Doubt, will be released in March 2018 by Press 53. He is currently seeking publication for his new collection, Everything Merges with the Night.
Emilia Phillips is the author of three poetry collections from the University of Akron Press: SignaleticsGroundspeed, and the forthcoming Empty Clip. Her poems and lyric essays appear widely in literary publications including AgniBoston ReviewPloughsharesPoetry, and elsewhere. She’s an assistant professor in the MFA Writing Program and the Department of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Michele Young-Stone is the author of the novels Lost in the Beehive (forthcoming in April, 2018), Above
Us Only Sky, and The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, which The Boston Globe called “an exceptionally rich and sure-handed debut.” She lives in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with her husband and son.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

LOST IN THE BEEHIVE is available for preorder, comes out April 10th!

I am so pleased that my third novel, Lost in the Beehive is now available for preorder!

From the author of Above Us Only Sky and The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, a touching new novel set in the 1960s about the power of friendship, love, and accepting your past in order to find a future.

For nearly her entire life, Gloria Ricci has been followed by bees.

They’re there when her mother loses twin children; when she first meets a neighborhood girl named Isabel, who brings out feelings in her that she knows she shouldn’t have; and when her parents, desperate to “help” her, bring her to the Belmont Institute, whose glossy brochures promise healing and peace. She tells no one, but their hum follows her as she struggles to survive against the Institute’s cold and damaging methods, as she meets an outspoken and unapologetic fellow patient named Sheffield Schoeffler, and as they run away, toward the freewheeling and accepting glow of 1960s Greenwich Village, where they create their own kind of family among the artists and wanderers who frequent the jazz bars and side streets.

As Gloria tries to outrun her past, experiencing profound love—and loss—and encountering a host of unlikely characters, including her Uncle Eddie, a hard-drinking former boyfriend of her mother’s, to Madame Zelda, a Coney Island fortune teller, and Jacob, the man she eventually marries but whose dark side threatens to bring disaster, the bees remain. It’s only when she needs them most that Gloria discovers why they’re there.

Moving from the suburbs of New Jersey to the streets of New York to the swamps of North Carolina and back again, Lost in the Beehiveis a poignant novel about the moments that teach us, the places that shape us, and the people who change us.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Freshmen Common Read: Above Us Only Sky at Virginia Wesleyan College

I am honored that my second novel Above Us Only Sky was chosen as the Freshmen Common Read for this fall 2017 at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. I can't wait to speak with
the incoming class of freshmen and faculty about my book, which explores many disciplines: literary, art, historical, political and magical.  

Monday, May 1, 2017

George Glass Loves Lily Snow

I wrote, THE END... 

This novel, George Glass Loves Lily Snow, came to me in the same way dreams and visions come to the protagonist George, without warning, spectacularly vivid. I had the idea for this book five years ago, started it, then set it aside, eventually losing the pages in one of my many computer-glitch catastrophes. Enter the beautiful novelist Lydia Netzer. She visited a bookclub at my house for her novel, How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky, and bam, synchronicity, right time, right place... as she was talking, the story in its entirety came like a gift from the muse.

I wrote it beginning in January, and just finished it last night. I am grateful to my muse.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Book Riot's List of the Best Books of 2015 so far

There are many excellent books that came out this year so far, but Above Us Only Sky made the most lasting impression on my reading heart. --Alison Peters, Book Riot

Saturday, June 27, 2015

This Is Amazing!

A lovely woman who read ABOVE US ONLY SKY is now touring Lithuania and having the adventure of a lifetime.  Check out these photos from The Hill of Crosses.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

BookSlut is the Best!!!

Just being me, I love the book blog ‪#‎Bookslut‬, and have for some time. I also love this review. If you haven't read ‪#‎AboveUsOnlySky‬, read this review, and you'll definitely want to read the novel!
"Young-Stone beautifully balances historical facts of Lithuania and human tragedy of the Holocaust with elements of quirk and magical realism. This might seem unlikely and difficult -- a Holocaust book that includes women with wings and boys with psychic visions and a photographer who doesn't grow old -- but it all works because the magical elements don't seem so impossible under this author's masterful hand. If we live in a world where 11 million people were exterminated, chambers created for the act of mass murder, graves dug by the very men who were to inhabit them, babies dropped out of train cars by their mothers so that they would not have to face the death camps -- can we not also accept that we live in a world where there are women who are born with wings? Does one really sound more impossible than the other? If we can believe the worst, maybe, at least for the course of a novel, we can also believe that some people are birds, just waiting to fly home."

I'm a dork, but I have never read a review that so captures what my novel is about.  Magical realism isn't magical.  It's perception.  How do you choose to see the world?  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Spring Head Shots and TV, Whoop Whoop!

Life is great.  Spring has sprung.  The white egret is perched in the sound.  The geese have returned.  The ospreys are nesting.  My pet bearded dragon is feisty again, running around, trying to have sex with his reflection. and the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation are working hard to stop our governor and senators from leasing our North Carolina coast to oil companies.  Although the pay check will be nice for politicians in Raleigh, it won't be so nice for those of us who call this strip of land our home.  Nor will it be nice for the thousands of tourists who flock here each summer, filling our coffers with an ecologically sound industry, tourism: real estate, restaurants, hotels, charter fishing, etc.  

What else?  My son is once again swimming in the canal!  There is a natural spring.

On Friday, I'll be on TV in my hometown, Richmond, Virginia.  You can livestream it here:  I'm really looking forward to seeing Torri Strickland again.  Thanks for your support.  If you haven't done it yet, I hope you'll buy the book today.  #AboveUsOnlySky "Breathless prose," and "inventive storytelling".  XO

Friday, April 17, 2015


I discuss the art of balancing research while staying true to one's characters on this April 1st edition of Writers on Writing with Nicole Nelson, broadcasting live every Wednesday from the University of California, Irvine, KUCI, 88.9 FM.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

Buy the Book Today, March 3, 2015

For signed copies,
call Chop Suey Books, 804-422-8066, in Richmond, VA.  Or Downtown Books in Manteo, NC! 252-473-1056

"Breathless prose... Imaginative and vivid storytelling."
-Publishers Weekly

 All my life, I wanted to be "bona fide," like Holly Hunter's character in "Oh Brother, Where art thou?" like a serious force/artist with lots of people supporting me.  This was my dream since second grade.

Dreams sometimes come true.

Friday, January 2, 2015

March 3, 2015

Happy New Year!  Here is a wonderful synopsis and review of Above Us Only Sky:

"This is a beautiful book about a girl born with wings (but has them removed) and tells the story of her family, including an aunt who also had wings. This is a novel about family, identity, and loss. It also tells a story about Lithuania that really resonated with me and made the story all the more captivating! 

I was so taken with this story and the characters. I truly didn't want to stop reading - it was one of those books I wish was 300 MORE pages because I hated to say goodbye to it. Such a well written novel with a current and historical story to tell. I almost don't want to say anything more beyond - in March 2015, get your hands on this book and fall in love! I highly recommend it to all!"

From Amy's Book Obsession *Adventures in Reading