Tuesday, April 28, 2009

God Bless Copyeditors

Got a new goldenrod envelope today - my copyedits for Dirty Little Secrets. It's full of mysterious squiggles and lines and foreign-looking words written in red pencil. As I'm apparently not so good with the commas and such, there is a lot of red on the page when you blur your eyes. Luckily I found a handbook for proofreading marks on the web and I'm carrying them around like my new bible.

They're due in just a few days so I'm going to hunker down with my contrasting green pencil and add my own mysterious squiggles.

On this date: In 1990, A Chorus Line closed.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cool Stuff in the Mail!!!

Yesterday, a large goldenrod envelope was delivered and it contained...

posters! That's right, my publisher had posters made of the book cover for the ALA conference in Chicago as well as a few other venues as the book launches. It has the cover on the front and a map of time zones on the back. I've already put one up in the library at T's elementary school.

And today...J hands me another, smaller goldenrod envelope that contained...

my book! My real-life, actually exists, out in the world (well, a couple of copies anyway) very first picture book. It so surreal to actually hold it and thumb through it. I'm so excited! (Can you tell by the overuse of exclamation points?!?) It won't be out in quantity until July 20th, but come over and I'll show it to you.

On this date: In 1564 William Shakespeare was born. Maybe.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


So we're at that point with Dirty Little Secrets where my editor and I are kicking around a "wish list" of writers we would love to "blurb" the book. A blurb is that little sentence or two that appears on the jacket of a book telling you how great the book is and why you should pick it up. When I was asked for my wish list of authors to blurb the book, I aimed high and I could almost hear MK laughing and rolling her eyes when she opened the email.

There are questions out there about whether a blurb can push someone to pick up a book. Can a few nice things said by an author one admires push you to buy a book you might have otherwise left on the shelf? Dunno, but how wicked cool would it be to see the name of an author you really admire on the book jacket telling the world that your book doesn't stink ? One can only cross fingers and hope...

On this date: In 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Not Tweeting

I'll be the first to admit I'm not an early adopter. I just got a laptop two years ago (which I love) and it took me ages to get online (ditto - my whole work life is online). My aversion to cell phones is legendary and I can't text anything at all. Ever. I actually have a fourteen year old girl on retainer to translate anything I need to write as a text message in a book. I'm pretty okay on Facebook, and I've started using the Flip video to send videos of little league games when DH is out of town so I'm not completely useless.

I don't tweet or follow anyone on Twitter and I'm not planning to anytime soon. I'm standing firm in my stance to dodge the popularity of this particular technology. The claim to fame for Twitter is that Ashton Kutcher now has a million followers. I don't care enough about Ashton Kutcher (or anyone else outside of my immediate family) to know what they are doing every second of every day. Or even every day. Or every week. Maybe if they came up with a yearly synopsis, I'd sign up.

I may look back on this whole thing in two years when the entire world is tweeting and kick myself for waiting so long. On the other hand, I may sigh with relief six months from now when the whole Twitter thing has gone away. Friendster anyone?

In the end, while Facebook, Myspace (for the younger set) and even (ahem) blogging are a great way to stay in touch, they are really a way to avoid the hard work of actually sitting down, opening the laptop file and writing my daily allotment of words on my work in progress.

Which is what I really should be doing right now.

On this date: In 1895, the first movie was projected in the United States.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

People I Know

The other day I got a great package in the mail - two books by people I actually "know". As a disclaimer, both of these authors are members of my critique group, but even if they weren't, we'd love these books.

Wink, the Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed is totally adorable. It is about Wink, an aspiring ninja who just doesn't get the whole stealth aspect of the ninja lifestyle. Not only is the story great, but the illustrations are amazing. J.C. (Julie for those of us in the know) Phillipps is an artist/illustrator who uses some sort of cut-paper collage for her illustrations (to me it's like magic, and I don't really know how it's done). Many times, when she is submitting a story for us to critique, she'll attach some illustrations that she just ran up at the spur of the moment so we can get an idea of how it will look . These little things are amazing and I couldn't come close to them in a million years. Julie is the type of person who will whip up some incredible Fimo earrings or a fun stuffed animal made out of a fuzzy sweater she happened to have lying around just because she has an hour to kill. If I didn't like her and admire her so much, this much talent would be hard to take.

The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies is an imaginative romp in the forest looking for elusive fairies. It is a combination of illustrations and photography and is a great jumping off point for fun exploration on your own. You can easily go to your own forest/nature space and imagine where fairies might be hiding in your own backyard based on the ideas in the book. Although it might look like more of a "girl" book, my son and I have read it several times and he loves the idea. Author Ammi-Joan Paquette is a woman of many talents, and can write the heck out of a young adult novel as well as writing fun, imaginative picture books.

Both of these books will make a great gift for the young person in your life. They are hot off the presses and will be getting a lot of buzz in the next few months.

On this date: In 1906, the Great San Francisco earthquake.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Dreamed a Dream

In case you haven't seen it yet, check out this YouTube video (it won't let me embed it, so you'll have to click on the link - you won't regret it). If you love Paul Potts (and who doesn't), this will give you chills.

On this date: In 1963, Sydney Poitier was the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Actor.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Black and White and Green All Over

There is a new font called ecofont that you can download and use that takes 20% less ink than regular fonts when printed. It's actually full of holes that apparently aren't visible at 12 pt type or smaller.

What will they think of next?

On this date: In 1970, Apollo 13 is launched to the moon.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Love Story?

Most books have theme music that go with them whether you like it or not. For my YA Dirty Little Secrets, Agent E sent me the whole album from Priscilla Ahn which was great background music for the mood of the book. The MC had her own theme song, which was Pink's So What.

I'm almost embarrassed to reveal the theme song that my MC for the new book has picked. View it if you dare.

On this date: In 1974, Hank Aaron set a new home run record.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hoarding in the Media

This morning, the Today Show had Cynthia Lester on, a filmmaker who did a documentary on her mother's hoarding disorder called My Mother's Garden. This is the link to the Today Show clip. When I was writing Dirty Little Secrets, I watched the trailer for the film over and over and used her mother's reactions and rationalizations when I was working on the mom character in the book.

It is fascinating and heartbreaking and I'm so excited that the entire film is being aired on April 5th at 10pm Eastern on MSNBC. I've already set my TIVO and I can't wait. Cynthia did an amazing job with what I've seen of the film and it's astonishing what she's done. One of the hallmarks of hoarding is that it touches so many people, but nobody talks about it. People like Cynthia are slowly breaking down these secrets. Check it out!

On this date: In 1970, AMC introduces the Gremlin (we had a Pacer). That's not an April Fool's joke!