December 30, 2009

A New Tax Deduction!!!

Our wonderful niece and nephew, Kim and Nick, had a baby girl, Samantha, this morning.

(Nick and Kim)

Nick is definitely prepared. He has his baby care tool belt . . .

(Nick is an amazing carpenter; he built an entire room in our home by himself in less than a week.)

The entire family is so happy and proud, but none moreso that my brother-in-law, Michael. Since Michael is an accountant, he responded to the happy news by saying, "Congratulations, you have a new tax deduction!"

(Proud grandpa, Michael, with his daughter, Kim.)

Welcome, baby Samantha! We are so proud of your parents.

And so very glad to meet you!!!

December 26, 2009


'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the Gephart house . . .

We were watching holiday-appropriate movies, like Inglourious Basterds and The Hangover. Mhmm.

We woke at a reasonable time on Christmas morning because for some reason, teenagers don't run shrieking into your room at 5 a.m.

It was a Christmas miracle that we were all up by 8 a.m., opening presents beside our Charlie Brown tree. The stand broke a couple nights ago, and we found our tree splayed across the living room. I came up with the idea of plopping the thing in a big planter and wedging it in there with towels. It's being held up by the wall at the moment, so we try not to sneeze too hard near it.

Our boys received some clothes, which they are actually old enough to appreciate. Our youngest son got an MP3 Player and a digital camera. He's a whiz with taking creative photos. Our oldest got what he'd hoped for -- DJ Hero.

Lady, our pooch, will not let her new lobster chew toy out of her sight.

And Jaz, our 17-year-old cat couldn't possibly care less about her new toy mouse, but the dog went after it once. (Poor mouse.)

I got hubby a CD, guitar books and a promise of a trip to Austin, TX to check out the music and literary scene this summer. (Thanks to those Austinites who helped me with planning!)

Hubby got me a PURPLE IPod Nano. It's so cool. Did I mention it's purple? And he gave me a bunch of books that only a writer could love . . . and I do.

1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up
by Julia Eccleshare.

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book by Anita Silvey.

House of Cards (Love, Faith and Other Social Expressions)
by David Ellis Dickerson, because as some of you might know, I used to work as an editor at a greeting card company and have since sold greeting cards to many companies.

We also opened cool gifts from faraway family. Wonderful, thoughtful gifts that made us all smile.

Then I took a stroll with a friend at a nearby park and had an amazing holiday gift -- I saw two manatees! They are the coolest, biggest, most gentle creatures. And we haven't seen any manatees for years. If you want to help save the manatees, this is a great organization to support.

Then, after all the planning and preparing, it was over . . .

Hoping your holidays were filled with joy and peace . . . and, um, manatees.

December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays and Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to our annual children's book drive. The Amazing Todd, an 8th grader and his lovely mother contributed 100 books this year. (To read about the time Todd contributed over 300 books, click here.) With Todd and his mom's donation and the very generous donations of friends, writing buddies and the fine folks where hubby works, we collected 191 books for children this year. These books will be added to those for the Wood Memorial Book Drive, which should number in the thousands. These books will be distributed through a variety of programs from the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition. Hooray!

Wishing you a happy, healthy and peaceful holiday season.

All best,

December 20, 2009

What's New and Exciting for the New Year?


Is it really almost 2010? What happened to 2009? And for that matter, what happened to 1986? I was way too busy trying to get my hair to be sufficiently poofy to pay attention to anything else.

Here at Wild About Words, January will ring in a BRAND NEW FEATURE -- The Top 6 1/2 List. Book publishing professionals, triathletes, clowns and others will share their top 6 1/2 ways to excel at whatever it is they excel at. It's going to be fun. It's going to be informative. It's going to start soon!

We'll also have our third annual Big Book Blog-O-Rama -- a list of the books I read/listened to in 2009. In 2007, I read 45 books and in 2008, a whopping 78 books. This year, my list of books falls somewhere in between. I'll share the whole list with you in January.

Care to guess how many books I finished in 2009? How many have you read? Any standouts to share?

December 11, 2009

Happy Hannukah . . .

and many menorah!

May your year be filled with abundant blessings.

And if one of those blessings might be a book contract, check out the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. (Get those manuscripts ready!)

I received a blessing the other day when Tina Nichols Coury let me know she named my first novel a top pick. Thanks, Tina!

With all good wishes,

December 4, 2009


My agent sent me a copy of I CAN'T KEEP MY OWN SECRETS, six-word memoirs by teens. (Thanks, Tina!) Fascinating! Each entry feels like the germ of a novel idea.

"That river trip forever changed me." -- Cora C.

"Read the thesaurus on the toilet." -- Dan R.

"Token Asian, fat friend. Lovin' it." -- Jenny S.

"Found out I had cancer. Damn." -- Cornelius L.

"Allergic to reality; compelled by fiction." -- Ally O.

"Nerdy, obsessive, awkward. So much fun." -- Samantha P.

"Defined by numbers: Age, weight, SATs." -- Jocelyn P.

"Live in Arkansas; parents aren't related." -- Shane G.

Here's my six-word memoir: Will write for food. And Newbery.


December 1, 2009

Calling All Humor Writers

It happens only once every two years. No, not elections. They're not funny!

The Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop takes place April 15 - 17, 2010 at the University of Dayton. Registration opens today, December 1st, at noon E.S.T. (Two years ago, the workshop sold out in three days, and there was a waiting list of 200 people.) If you'd like to attend the workshop, register RIGHT NOW!

There will be distinguished faculty and, um, me, teaching various workshops. My workshop will include tips and tricks for writing humor for children of all ages. Here's the workshop schedule.

Hope to see you there,