October 24, 2007


My publisher, Random House, has created a promotion to showcase new voices in fiction. I’m delighted that my book has been included in IT’S A FIRST!

And I’m excited that today I completed my middle grade novel. I’ve plodded along steadily for three months, gritting my teeth through the muddled middle, waiting to be swept away by my quirky characters and their story.

And then it happened. This week, I averaged thirty-two-feverishly written pages a day.

This is where most of the magic happened.

There are plenty of revisions ahead – miles to go -- but right now I’m celebrating the fact that I completed another novel.

And I’ll leave you with this quote by Horace Mann (1796-1859): “A house without books is like a room without windows.”

October 19, 2007

Favorite Blog Friday

Q: What is my favorite blog this Friday?

A: Mary Hershey’s, of course.

Check it out to find out why.

And have fun with her latest contest on Monday's blog. If you're morbidly funny, you could win a copy of the hilarious new novel, Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner.

October 16, 2007

A Presentation and a Poem

Just had a great classroom visit at Independence Middle School.

Thanks so much to Ms. Franklin for inviting me and to Ms. Petroccia for taping the presentation. And a big thank you to the students for being so enthusiastic and for asking such great questions.

During my presentation, I mentioned a poem I had sold to Highlights Magazine for Children about four years ago. You can see and hear that poem here.

Thanks again to the great students and faculty at Independence Middle School for making me feel so welcomed!

Happy reading,


October 15, 2007

Motivation (and a Dancing Bird) on a Monday

Edwidge Danticat, author of Brother, I’m Dying and other fine works, says this in Oprah Magazine’s “A Million Ways to Save the World” section:

“I would teach every child to read and write, give them access to stories about their potential, their power, their ability to contribute to the world. I would tell them that the future is as infinite as their dreams, and when they don’t quite reach it, they are not failing but rehearsing. And I would tell them that when their heart is broken, it heals back stronger with each tear. I would ask each child to plant a tree in her or his name and not uproot those that already exist. I would send each child to school and pray that she or he learns, among other things, to speak even when silence is the law, to cry even when tears are condemned and to laugh whenever laughter is crucial.

And speaking of laughter . . . here’s that dancing bird.

Have an inspired week,


October 10, 2007

Save the World on a Wednesday

“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” -- From the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

This wisdom came from a box of Seventh Generation facial tissues.

There’s more:

“If every household in the U.S. replaced just one box of 85 sheet virgin fiber facial tissue with 100% recycles ones, we could save:

o 283,000 trees

o 730,000 cubic feet of landfill space, equal to 1,000 garbage trucks

o 102 million gallons of water, a year’s supply for 800 families of four

o and avoid 17,000 pounds of chlorinated pollution”

And I had time to study these statistics because I’ve spent the last two days clutching a box of tissues because of my nasty cold bug.

Fortunately, it didn’t keep me from seeing Neal Shusterman at our local Barnes and Noble earlier this week with my dear friend and writer extraordinaire, Linda Salem Marlow.

After listening to him speak and read from his latest novel, I realize he’s an imaginative and passionate children’s book author.

At age 23, Mr. Shusterman sold his first book. He now has 35 books to his credit, not to mention short stories, screenplays, etc. And the book he read from, Everlost, has a fascinating premise.

So, here’s to imaginative and passionate children’s book authors and . . . to saving the planet one tissue at a time.



October 5, 2007

Celebrate Good Times

My dad spent the week with us. We celebrated his 80th birthday. What a wonderful visit!

Here’s a photo of him reading the advanced reader’s copy of my new novel.

Dad wasn’t the only one celebrating.

Books and Books, a wonderful independent bookstore, celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. Congratulations!

While at their Coral Gables location, I purchased and look forward to reading the following books:

1. The Name of This Book is . . . by Pseudonymous Bosch

2. If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period . . . by Gennifer Choldenko

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian . . . by Sherman Alexie

4. Deadline . . . by Chris Crutcher

5. The Castle Corona . . . by Sharon Creech

Sharon Creech was speaking and autographing at the bookstore this past Tuesday.

Here’s a photo of Sharon Creech with another excellent writer, my dear friend, Sylvia Andrews (in pink).

And the celebrating didn’t end there.

Our youngest son became a teenager this past weekend. To celebrate his 13th birthday, I took him and a friend to STOMP. What a performance!

Using everything from tape measures to lighters to brooms to – yes – the kitchen sink (literally, filled with water and dishes and pots and pans), they created humor and movement and music that astounded.

These strong, young, imaginative performers are a testament to the magic of the creative spirit.

Here’s hoping you feed your creative spirit, read a good book or two and celebrate someone or something special.

Happy weekend,