December 24, 2008

Holiday Surprise . . .

Christmas came early for one member of our family this year . . .

She just couldn't wait . . .

Our brother and sister-in-law sent a box of gifts, which we put under the tree.

Since Lady had gotten into the chocolate-covered pretzels my sister sent the other day, I gave this box a good sniff. "No food," I said to our oldest son, feeling safe to leave the box under the tree while we went out.

Uh-oh. Someone forgot that a dog's sense of smell is about 100 times more powerful than ours.

Lady recognized her favorite scent -- dried chicken strips -- and tore through the box (and her stocking!) with great vigor at exactly the right spot. She was rewarded with oodles of chicken strips and just a bit of plastic bag.

Guess who had a belly ache last night? (But is tail-wagging fine now.)

Here's hoping YOUR holidays are full of happy surprises!


December 18, 2008

And the Winners Are . . .


Everyone's generous spirit during the holidays inspired me!

Twenty-four comments came in before the deadline, so I will be donating one autographed copy of my novel to the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition.

While all fifty states weren't represented in the comments, 22 states and two countries were: CA, PA, FL, MD, IL, WI, TX, MO, KY, CT, OR, MI, VA, AL, GA, NY, OH, MS, ID, TN, NH, MA, Canada and Ireland!

Everyone's name was written on a slip of paper and thrown into a hat.

Our dog, Lady, inspected the slips of paper to make sure everything was on the up and up. It was.

Then our cat, Jasmine, walked by and with indifference.

Finally, our celebrity judge -- MY DAD -- who is visiting from New Jersey, limbered up his fingers and pulled out the winners.

Dad was obviously having way too much fun being a celebrity judge.

The two winners are DDurance (Deirdre) and Kim Kasch. Deirdre and Kim, please e-mail me at dgep (at) hotmail (dot) com and let me know to whom you'd like the autograph as well as your mailing address.

Congratulations to our winners. Thank you to our celebrity judge. And happiest and healthiest of holidays to YOU, dear blog reader!

Wishing you much joy and peace this holiday season,

December 12, 2008

Books Make Great Gifts . . .

Before you do your holiday shopping this weekend, check out this video . . .

And thanks for all the inspiring comments on my book giveaway post. Can't wait to find out who wins the autographed novels! If you haven't already entered, there's still plenty of time.

In the meantime, Elmo, Judy Blume, Dan Brown and a few other famous folks have something to tell you . . .

December 10, 2008

Autographed Books for the Holidays Contest

An autographed copy can be yours for the holidays!

“Laugh-out-loud adventures combined with just the right amount of drama make this a great read.”Minnesota Parent

“Fabulous middle-grade novel about an awkward spelling-bee champ whose governor mother is running for the Democratic nomination. Timely, funny and written in a great voice.”Staff Pick at Children’s Book World

“This entertaining novel offers believable middle school situations, a rip-roaring finale and a funny, memorable heroine.”Buffalo News


How to enter:

1. Tell one friend/family member/teacher/tween about this contest.

2. In the comment section, write the state in which this person lives.

3. Also in the comment section, write one nice thing you're doing during the holidays.

4. That's it!

5. One entry/comment per person, please.

6. Hurry! The contest ends December 17th at midnight. (Winners will be chosen at random and announced December 18th.)

There's more . . .

I will also donate one autographed novel to the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition for every 25 comments. Additionally, I'll donate one extra autographed novel to the Coalition if all fifty states are represented in the comment section.

Can't wait to read your comments! (I've written the first comment as an example.)

Good luck and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


December 8, 2008

The Cons and Pros of Working from Home . . .

Cons of working from home . . .

1. People assume that since you're home, you're available to volunteer, babysit, chat, etc.
2. You are entirely too close to the washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator and TV.
3. Talking to your cat, dog, goldfish or self is decidedly less stimulating that talking to actual human beings.
4. Children don't realize that when you're facing the computer screen and typing madly, you're actually working. "He breathed on me!" "Well he breathed on me first!"
5. Telemarketing calls. Survey calls. Library reminder calls.
6. If you steal office supplies, well . . .

Pros of working from home . . .

1. Dress-Like-A-Clown Day:

December 1, 2008

Does Punctuation Really Matter?

Should you ever doubt the importance of punctuation in clarifying the meaning of words, I present you two paragraphs from Avi's delightful book, A Beginning, A Muddle, and an End: The Right Way to Write Writing.

Each paragraph has the exact same words, but different punctuation. Notice how the punctuation affects the meaning.

1) "Avon! Don't forget all I said. You must not! Speak the truth about what happened! Things will be better, I think. To lie about the truth, it never helps!"

2) "Avon, don't! Forget all I said. You must not speak the truth about what happened. Things will be! Better, I think, to lie. About the truth . . . It never helps!"

Thank you, Avi, for showing us that when it comes to matters of punctuation, punctuation matters!

Happy punctuating,

November 27, 2008

I am thankFul For . . .

Family . . .

(Ellen, not pictured. Send photos!)

Friends . . .

Furry friends . . .

Florida fun . . .

Food . . .

Facebook . . .

That's right -- Facebook!

Thinking it would be a giant time suck, I avoided it for a long time, but friends kept asking, so I finally signed up. Guess what? It is a giant time suck -- but a fun one. I found a friend from elementary school -- "Hi, Gordon." My best bud's sister sent me a funny Thanksgiving greeting. And hubby threw a snowball at me. A snowball! Now that's a real luxury in South Florida.

So, sign up (I'll wait . . .), explore the site, friend me and maybe, just maybe, I'll throw a snowball at you!

Happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

With love and gratitude,

November 20, 2008

Happy Holiday Gift-Giving Guide

This holiday season, unless you’re a person who does this, you’ll probably spend your gift-giving dollars with care.

While planning your holiday shopping list, here are a few thoughts . . .

1) If you live in Palm Beach County, consider adopting a family for the holidays. You’d provide a gift card for a holiday dinner, toys/books/clothing for the children and practical items for the parent(s). Angela Feaman (Family Charity Foundation) coordinates this effort. To adopt a family, contact Angela at

2) All booked up? Consider donating books to an area school, your local literacy coalition, a children's hospital, etc. If you live in Palm Beach County, consider donating a new book for children ages 6 months to 10 years to the Wood Memorial Book Drive. We've participated in this effort for over a decade. It’s gratifying to deliver hundreds of books to the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition for children in time for the holidays. If you have a book you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

3) Monetary banks aren’t the only ones in trouble these days. Food banks across the country are suffering. We’ve been delivering bags of food to the hungry in our area for over two years and find the bags lighter than ever these days. Last weekend, one man politely asked if we could find one box of cereal for him for the week. I was able to do this only by taking it out of someone else’s bag. PLEASE contact your local food bank and donate canned soup, vegetables, fruit, beans, tuna, jars of peanut butter, boxes of pasta, cereal, etc. on a regular basis. You can find a food bank in your area here.

4) Are there animal lovers on your list? You can adopt a manatee for them here. (Manatees are the only 1,200 pound creatures I know of who are vegetarians, except for hubby. Just kidding, Honey.) How about becoming a foster parent to an orangutan here? Or help out a family in need by sponsoring an animal for their livelihood here?

5) If you want to buy actual gifts for people, may I suggest some from people I know?

a) For a lovely, handmade towel to wrap your favorite child in after bath time, try My Favorite Towel by my friend, Pamela.

b) For high quality furniture and accessories, check out Style and Form. My sister and her husband are offering huge price reductions on EVERYTHING just in time for the holidays.

c) For delectable handmade soaps that smell divine and are great for your skin, visit Naked Lady Soap.

d) Do you know how handmade dolls are created? Neither did I until I read an article by my friend, Sandy. Suffice to say, the process if very labor (and love) intensive. And Sandy created these masterpieces while successfully battling stage IV ovarian cancer. To purchase one of Sandy's elegant, collectible dolls, visit her here.

6) If you’re like me, you'll be giving books this holiday season. May I suggest these gems from friends:

a) If you have a turtle lover on your list, check out Turtle Girl here, a beautiful story, by Carole Crowe.

b) When the sky's the limit, give this rhyming non-fiction book to your young star gazer: Going Around the Sun: Some Planetary Fun by Marianne Berkes and Janeen Mason can be purchased here.

c) If you're looking for a young adult novel that's sure to please, grab a copy of Skin Deep by E.M. Crane here for the finicky teen on your list.

d) Did you miss the hilarious new release from comediane, Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant, Not Guilty by Reason of Menopause? Grab a copy here; you can use it to cool yourself in the event of a hot flash.

e) Kieran Doherty's Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival and the Salvation of Jamestown recently came out in paperback. To order this exciting read, click here.

f) For a fun middle grade read, pick up Mary Hershey's 10 Lucky Things That Have Happened to Me Since I Nearly Got Hit by Lightning here. Mary's other books are a hoot, too.

g) Mary and I seem to be in competition for world's longest title. Which reminds me, there's a certain middle grade book about a klutzy spelling bee champ whose mother is, um, running for president. You can pick up a copy (or twelve or three hundred or a class set) here.

Have I left out any great books? What about any beautiful hand-crafted products? Is there a charitable organization you'd love more people to know about?

Please share your suggestions in the comment section and have a happy, healthy holiday season!

Warmest regards,


November 11, 2008

Virtual Writers' Conferences

If you're like me, you enjoy the jolt of inspiration and energy from attending writers' conferences. Unfortunately, we can't always afford the time and money to attend the conferences we'd love to.

So . . . when you need a boost of inspiration and information, explore these virtual writers' conferences until you're able to make it to the real thing.

1) Each July, the Highlights Foundation holds writers workshops at Chautauqua. At this site, you'll be able to explore offerings by topic, author or title from 2002 through 2006. I enjoyed reading some of the inspiration behind Maniac Magee from Jerry Spinelli.

2) If you can't make it to the Maui Writers Conference, here is a great selection of clips from past conferences. Dave Barry is a hoot. And I love what Frank McCourt says about teachers who teach in middle school.

3) Finally, one of the best conferences I've attended was SCBWI's annual conference in L.A. in August. Here are a collection of images from their 2008 conference:

November 6, 2008

What a Year!

2008 has been an unprecedented year so far, filled with ups and downs.

1. On a personal note, my father-in-law, Jake, passed away early in the year. His absence still haunts me. In other difficult news, a close friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing treatment. Another dear friend, Cary, lost her six-year struggle with ovarian cancer. It's been hard on her husband, Rey, and 16-year-old daughter.

2. This sad backdrop contrasts sharply with what's happened professionally. My first novel came out this past February, only two weeks after my father-in-law's passing. I was grateful to celebrate with friends and family. And my second humorous novel sold to the talented and lovely Stephanie Lane Elliott at Delacorte Press. I also had the joy of attending the ALA this past January and sitting in the audience as the Newbery Medal and others were announced.

3. On a local level, the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series! Even though we live in South Florida, we're a Philly Phamily at heart and couldn't have been happier about this much-anticipated win. Well, we'd have been happier if Grandpop Jake were still around to share in the celebration.

4. On a more global level, the Olympics were absolutely inspiring. Who couldn't be moved by seeing people from all over the world giving their absolute best?

5. And on a personal, professional, local and global level, I'm excited that after this historic campaign and election, we have a new president and can move forward.

As this year draws to a close, I'm delighted to wake each day with loving family and friends and a shared sense of purpose, community and hope.

November 3, 2008

Elect to Vote . . .


1. Worth 7 points in Scrabble
2. Anagram = VETO
3. An exercise that's really good for you
4. Almost the same letters as in "voice"
5. Free sticker when you're done

October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

And for something really scary, check out this interview with Natasha at Maw Books. Thanks, Natasha!

Excuse me, I'm off to eat all the mini Snickers hubby just bought . . . before all those little trick-or-treaters get to them.

Have a fun and SAFE holiday!

October 30, 2008

It's a Beautiful Day!

Actually, it’s been a beautiful week. In South Florida, we’ve broken records with temperatures in the 40s. And this Philly girl is lovin’ it!

Tuesday, I had fun dressing as a clown and reading Halloween stories to my friend Pam's pre-school class. One boy spent the entire time poking the toe of my giant sneaker. The rest of the kids heard Ed Emberly’s Go Away, Big Green Monster!. Twice. And the children clapped out the rhythm to my dear friend Sylvia Andrew’s rhyming picture book, Rattlebone Rock.

Later that day, I had the joy of attending the opening exhibit of my good friend, Janeen Mason, at Lighthouse Center for the Arts in Tequesta. Janeen’s a vibrant person, full of color just like her artwork. If you don't live near Tequesta, you can see Janeen's work here. During the celebration, my other friend, Sandra Baran, had young musicians from her studio, Jupiter Academy of Music, playing piano and violin. They were amazing. And I had the extra surprise of hearing one of my creative writing workshop students, Julia, playing violin. "Hi, Julia!"

As fine a day as Tuesday was, Wednesday was even more inspiring!

After getting the kids to school and walking the pooch, I hopped on my bike and pedaled to our local baseball stadium to attend my first large political rally. Thousands showed up to hear Joe Biden speak.

And speak he did.

I listened to him talk about moving forward, lifting up the middle class and working together to make the next four years the best we can. Yes we can! I felt lifted up, part of something larger and better than myself. I felt inspired to be my best self for a common good.

After the rally, while U2’s Beautiful Day played in the background, I had the pleasure of shaking hands with the man I hope will become the next vice-president of the United States.

Later in the day, our beloved Phillies were playing in what we'd hoped would be the last game of the World Series.

And it was!!!

We wish we were celebrating in the streets of Philadelphia with our friends and family, but today we’re settling for wearing our Phillies shirts and really big smiles.

Today's "Beautiful Day" moment? Natasha at Mawbooks posted a generous review of my election-themed, middle grade novel. Thanks, Natasha! And thank you for your good work raising money and awareness during your Darfur campaign.

Have a beautiful day!

October 24, 2008

Four Fun Things on a Friday

1. Lest you forget, Wild about Words is still wild about this word game. Try it. I dare you to quit before your wrist feels like it’s going to snap off.

2. Thanks to "Have I Got a Book for You" for this nice review of my novel. Erie Times-News is giving away a copy of my novel along with a lapel pin. If you live in the Erie area, you can enter to win here, but if you live elsewhere, you can always buy a copy here and here.

3. I’m nervous/excited about the upcoming election. Are you?

I’m nervous/excited about the Phillies in the World Series. Go, Phillies!

I’m nervous/excited about reading Halloween stories to a gaggle of pre-schoolers next week in my friend Pam’s class. I hope I don’t frighten them when I wear my costume.

4. My Halloween costume this year will consist of the following parts . . .

What are YOU (or your children or dog or cat or iguana) dressing up as this Halloween?

October 16, 2008

School Visit

This morning, I had a wonderful school visit here . . .

First, I spoke to 300 K-2 students in the cafeteria. But really, it felt like only 299 students.

These three things were involved in my presentation:

1. Penguins
2. Gigantic Sunglasses
3. A Silly Hat

If you want to know how these things tie into my presentation, well, you're just going to have to invite me to YOUR school.

After that, I presented to approximately 300 3-5 students. But really, it felt like only 9,846,732 students.

A student from the photography club took my photo for their yearbook.

Then, I headed to the media center . . .

At times, it felt like I was in a jungle . . .

The only thing missing were these . . .

Although there were no zebras in the media center, there were ten enthusiastic young writers. We learned that nouns and verbs are the powerhouses of good writing. Then we created a zany fill-in-the-blank story using unusual nouns and powerful verbs. Finally, the students created character profiles and took off from there.

Overall, it was a fantastic visit. The staff and students at Whispering Pines rock!!! But I owe the biggest thanks to the media specialist, Mrs. Wegner, for getting in touch and dragging me, um, I mean inviting me to the school.

So, THANK YOU . . .

And thank you to the energetic, enthusiastic students at Whispering Pines Elementary!!!

Have a great weekend,

October 10, 2008

Fun on a Friday -- How to Write a Novel

Meg Cabot is not only prolific, she's hilarious. Enjoy this video where she explains how to write a novel, using several visual aids, including a cat's butt.

Meg would probably enjoy Avi's book, A Beginning, A Muddle and an End: The Right Way to Write Writing. I did. Poor Avon could have used Meg's video. He had a really difficult time just writing "Something."

Happy adventures in writing and in life,

October 7, 2008

I should go on vacation more often . . .


Just returned from a lovely fall getaway with friends and family. I hiked up and down hills, past rows of corn stalks and over a covered bridge here. I enjoyed time playing tennis, overeating and relaxing here. I slept late, laughed with family and friends, took long walks and lingered over the delicious beginning of Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains by Laurel Snyder.

Feeling rejuvenated, I returned to work today and discovered this lovely review from Booking Mama:

I can't rave enough about AS IF BEING 12 3/4...! This book dealt with so many issues that are pertinent to today's young girls -- mother/daughter relationships, single parenting, working mothers, crushes, embarrassing moments, and normal teenage insecurities. I think most girls will relate to at least a few of these topics. Not only do I appreciate how Ms. Gephart handled all of these topics in this book, but the storyline is also very interesting. By having Vanessa's mom run for president, the reader gets some insight into the presidential campaign and election process -- and it's in a very fun way, not like a boring history class!

While I did find this book hilarious and I can admit that I laughed out loud many times, I was also touched by Vanessa's story. Vanessa was a very sensitive young woman who was dealing with a lot of changes. Pre-teen and early teen-age years are difficult in the best of times, but Vanessa had a lot more to deal with than the average young girl. Not only was her mom away campaigning, but Vanessa was also coming to terms with losing her father. In addition, she was filled with the normal teenage insecurities; but on top of that, she had to handle one huge insecurity -- fearing for her mother's life. I love how the author was able to balance the book between being entertaining and addressing deeper, more serious issues.

AS IF BEING 12 3/4... is Ms. Gephart's first novel. If this book is any indication, I think she will be a "player" in juvenile fiction.

Read the rest of the review here.

Besides returning to this very nice review, I learned I sold a funny greeting card to Oatmeal Studios and received a check for a humorous Halloween article published in Pittsburgh Parent.

The moral of this story? I should definitely go on vacation more often!

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:

August 27, 2008

Traveling Pantsuits

Hillary Rodham Clinton had a few funny lines during her passionate speech at the convention last night. My favorite was, “To my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits.”

I felt inspired when Hillary talked about how hard women worked to gain the right to vote and because of those efforts, her daughter, Chelsea, was able to vote for her own mother.

This January, an article I wrote will appear in New Moon Magazine about Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president, fifty years before women were allowed to vote.

I'm fascinated and inspired by the fight for women's rights.

You can watch Hillary’s speech here:

And this is the letter I received from Hillary Rodham Clinton after I sent her my book for Chelsea.

It says: Dear Ms. Gephart: Thank you for sending a copy of your book, As If Being 12 ¾ Isn’t Bad Enough, My mother Is Running for President!. You were very thoughtful to include me in the distribution of this work. With appreciation, I am Sincerely yours, Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

I'm grateful to be able to combine two passions: politics and writing books for young people. Because of these two passions, I've met fascinating people and had many interesting experiences. So, here's to that sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits!

All best,