Joy’s Writing

As a developing writer, I’m grateful to have found several opportunities to share my work with bunches of readers! Here are some of my favorite recent projects:

“The Shot Shared Round the World” (short fiction)

Selected for publication in the Beach Life anthology, forthcoming from Cat & Mouse Press in November 2017

Seventeen-year-old Leigh‘s photo (taken at a concert she wasn’t allowed to attend) accidentally goes “viral” on the internet right before her family’s annual vacation at Rehoboth Beach. While she tries to figure out how to keep her secret, Leigh finds support from an unexpected source.

The New SAT Handbook (nonfiction, co-authored with Andrew Cole)

Available on as of February 2016

A fellow tutor and I co-wrote this user-friendly guide to the dreaded standardized test. It’s a slimmed-down prep guide that incorporates multipurpose strategies, detailed review modules for grammar and mathematics, and the occasional bit of humor to keep things moving. As a veteran tutor and owner of Givens Academic and Preparatory Tutoring, I also use this text with my own students to help them efficiently learn strategies and review concepts that will be useful long after test day.

Ugly Stick (young adult fiction)

Available on as of April 2013

Fifteen-year-old April Somerfield is a shy, self-loathing misfit who would blend in with the wallpaper, if only the wallpaper were a little less attractive. In a family line of gorgeous, successful women, April’s a fluke. At Prescott High School, she’s a walking punch line. A school project sends April on the hunt for her mother’s mysteriously missing yearbooks, and upon finding them she uncovers a big secret. It turns out that being “hit with an ugly stick” is a surprisingly literal occurrence in April’s family tree—a curse has been passed down from mother to daughter for centuries. But when April sees a chance to finally ditch the family curse, she must decide if becoming beautiful on the outside is worth giving up the person she is meant to be.