September 27, 2008

J. K. Rowling, R. L. Stine and Me?

Q: In which newspaper would you find mega-best-selling authors J. K. Rowling, R. L. Stine and, um, me in the same article?

A: The San Francisco Chronicle.

In other news . . .

Support the First Amendment, Read a Banned Book

Banned Books Week is September 27th through October 4th. Click here to read a letter from Chip Gibson, President & Publisher of Random House Children’s Books. Learn more here.

And still other book news . . .

Thanks to the people from the Osceola library system who did a great job putting together the Fall into Reading Book Festival.

Here I am at the display table with my goodies. (Notice the voter registration forms in the middle of the table? Everyone I asked was already registered to vote. Are you? If not, hurry it up; you only have until October 6th!)

I had a blast meeting Chris Crutcher and hearing him speak and read from some of his books.

Lisa Campbell Ernst was wonderful, and I enjoyed our conversation, but unfortunately had to leave before her presentation.

Big thanks to Hubby for waking at 5 a.m. and driving 2 ½ hours with me even though he had a cold.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m off to exercise my right to read a banned book. Hmm. I’ve got one of Chris Crutcher’s right here.

Happy reading/registering,


September 25, 2008

Blogs for Writers; Books for Women

If you like blogs or books or book festivals, today's post is for you!

1) At Michael A. Stelzner's Writing White Papers blog, you'll find his list of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers.

I was delighted to see Bob Younce's Blog, The Writing Journey, on the list.

Readers of this blog will recall Bob's guest post here.

Congratulations, Bob!

2) For some bookish fun, head over to Jezebel for their list of 75 Books Every Woman Should Read (in response to Esquire's 75 Books Every Man Should Read). The list contains only 20 books, but readers fill in the rest of the list with their suggestions.

3) Finally, for a fun festival, if you're in the Orlando area this Saturday, join us at the Osceola Library's Fall into Reading Book Festival. I'll be there in my red, white and blue skimmer hat with hubby, hawking, um, I mean autographing copies of As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President! Several authors will be speaking during the day, including Chris Crutcher.

Hope to see you there!

September 22, 2008

Time and Money

TIME . . .

Who knew more about how precious time is than Randy Pausch? When he gave his wonderful lecture about time management, he said he thought it would be his last lecture. I watched his lecture this weekend and found it well worth the hour and twenty minutes.

Here are a few gems:

1) Have only one thing on your desk at a time. Have no more than 20 items in your e-mail's “in box.”

2) If you have something due with no deadline, give yourself a deadline and pretend it’s real.

3) “Kill the TV.” The average American watches 28 hours of TV a week.

MONEY . . .

Any writer will tell you that s/he does it for love, not money. But how much money do we writers actually earn?

The National Endowment for the Arts did a study. (This is a pdf file.)

Here are some of the findings:

Median income (2005 dollars) . . . $38,800

Median income for men . . . $47,300

Median income for women . . . $33,300

September 17, 2008

Ways to be Wonderful on Wednesday (Or Thursday) . . .

I’m a big believer in paying rent for living on our planet by volunteering time, energy and moolah.

Here, for your volunteering convenience, are two easy ways you can make a big impact on your planet right now, from the comfort of your comfiest chair:

1. If you’ve been horrified by what’s going on in Darfur as I have, but aren’t sure what to do, here’s one way to learn more about the atrocities and make a difference. Natasha, of Maw Books Blog, has figured out a very bookish way to solicit donations for various groups that aid in the Darfur region.

As Margaret Mead so eloquently said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

2. While you’re in the mood to make a positive impact on the planet, learn how you can help protect our children from on-line predators. You wouldn’t believe what horrors are being circulated on the Internet. What can you do today that might make a big difference? Glad you asked. Help pass the Protect Our Children Act by clicking here. (Our senators go on vacation at the end of the month, so don't delay.)

And for those scribblers who’ve ever had a day like I had yesterday – where the words won’t flow and the only thing I create are mistakes -- click over to Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ great blog post, “Finding and Keeping the Love.” Scroll down and you’ll find 14 fab ideas for maintaining joy with your writing.

Sometimes, all it takes to get those words flowing again is one thoughtful gesture. Yesterday, these landed on my doorstep . . .

Thanks, Tina (a.k.a. Agent Extraordinaire). As if you weren’t already one of my favorite people on the planet! The flowers have worked their magic. Today, I wrote twelve pages before lunchtime.

So loyal blog reader, whether you’re giving or receiving, may happy surprises land on YOUR doorstep.

All best,

September 9, 2008

All Booked Up . . .

I’ve read fifty books so far this year and still find the number of books I’d like to read growing.

I’ve taken to listening to books on CD in the car. Right now, I’m falling in love with Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli all over again.

How do you handle your ever-growing pile of to-be-read books?

September 5, 2008

Happy Surprise Review

A big thanks to Jeanne Gibson for her lovely review of my novel.

She wrote things like, "This book is guaranteed to make you, your pre-teens, and even your older teenagers laugh."

And: "Not only is it a good read just for the entertainment, but it also offers a glimpse into our country's political system, and a really nice look at a wonderful mother-daughter relationship. Grab a copy for yourself, and I think you’ll be back for several more to give to the young girls, and maybe even a few boys you know."

You can read the entire review here.

Thanks, Jeanne, for the happy surprise today. Such nice words and you're not even related to me.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend that is filled with happy surprises,

September 4, 2008

Quit! (Or Don’t.)

I decided years ago that if anyone asked me how I connected with a terrific agent who sold my novel to a major publishing house in three weeks, I’d tell them simply, “I didn’t quit.”

Gazillion rejections. Didn’t quit.

Painful close calls. Didn’t quit.

Massive revisions. Didn’t quit.

No ideas. Bad ideas. Long days. Lonely days. Didn’t quit.

I figured out a long time ago that I’d have to do some kind of work in this world and it might as well be work about which I’m passionate. Despite the challenges, I feel incredibly blessed to be part of the warm, wonderful community of those who create literature for children.

In Miami at the FL SCBWI conference last January, I spoke about not quitting. When I finished, Sid Fleischman touched my arm and said he really liked my speech.

That moment alone made me grateful I'd never given up.

In the 2009 Children’s Writers and Illustrator’s Market, I have an article titled: “Six Reasons to Quit Writing (& One Reason You Shouldn’t).”

And last week, Writer’s Weekly published a short piece I wrote about -- you guessed it – not quitting.

So, no matter what you’re passionate about, the secret to success, I suppose, is not quitting. That and having a large trust fund. (Yeah, right!)

Hey, even Frankenstein learned not to quit as you’ll see in this clever video created by the uber-talented Adam Rex: