Saturday, 27 February 2010

Class of 2k9 answers your burning questions

If you're reading this, you probably know I was, ahem, Co-President of The Class of 2k9, a group of debut children's authors. (ok, it's not really that impressive - it's one of those jobs nobody wants.) Anyway, on our class blog last year, we answered our readers' burning questions about what it was like to be a debut author, yada, yada. Well, we're doing it again. And if any of you are curious as to what life AFTER debut novel is like, hop over to
and ask away. We will each give our our own, many times very different, answers.
Questions are free and the sky's the limit;)

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Licorice Lovers!

As some of you may know, my family is in the licorice biz. Red vines, sour punch straws, snaps, ropes, yeah, that's us!
And we love it when fans do something creative like this...
(look quickly, before WB gets its boxers in a knot and takes it down again)

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Writing Lessons from the Tennis Court

For the past year, I've been learning to play tennis. And I have learned a lot. Technical, or should I say, technique-al knowledge. Eye on the ball. Drive through your shot. Look for the hole. 
Two days ago, after being away from it for two weeks, I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Or, actually, that's about all I could hit - a barn about a mile away. All my shots were high and long. I started to panic. Eye on the ball! Lock your wrist! Swing through your shot! 
My lesson members and teacher were feigning patience.
I became tentative, stopping half-way through my shot, sending the ball even further skyward. Finally my teacher yelled, 'hit it! hard! I don't care if it goes over my head. Just HIT IT!"
So I did. I whacked ball after ball with abandon. And whaddya know, a few of them went in. Burned in, even.
The writing lesson?
Don't get so caught up in all the so-called rules that it ends up ruining your muse.
Learn the rules, yes. But then write with abandon.

Monday, 22 February 2010

email scammers

So, today I received a bunch of emails from friends saying, 'what was up with that email you sent me?'
What email?
Turns out, some company got ahold of my address book and sent out ads to everyone, including agents, editors, and other people I would definitely not want to think I was sending them an ad!!
How do these jerks do this?
And better yet, how do we stop them?

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Thank you Richard Peck!

I attended the incredible Anderson's Breakfast today where the guest speaker line up was: Pam Allyn, Jordan Sonnenblick, Francoise Mouly, Patricia McKissack, Henry Cole and ended with none other than Richard Peck.
Each speaker was funnier or sweeter or more insightful than the next. But having just come out with a book that features a photo of my deceased mother on the cover (no, no, don't be silly, she wasn't deceased at the time of the photo!) I particularly treasured one thing Mr. Peck said.
"No one a writer has ever known, dies."

He was telling me that my mother, with her girlish laugh, her self-effacing humor, and her quirky ways, can live on through my stories.
How wonderful is that?

Thank you, Mr. Peck.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Need a little good news?

Sometimes all we need is a smile to renew our faith.
Here's a beauty.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

It's more than all right

I recently returned from Kindling Words in Vermont, a retreat for published (and some VERY published) authors, illustrators and editors. Seeing all these writers and illustrators learning from and supporting each other brought the Traveling Wilburys to mind. So much talent in one room, doing what they love, together.
As Tom Petty sings, I was just glad to be there, and glad to be alive.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010


This is my mother's scrapbook.

 It's mostly filled with pictures but there are notes and quotes sprinkled throughout. I used this as a model for my upcoming book, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: A WWII SCRAPBOOK. The best part is that my editor asked me for photographs to use in the book. Guess who I chose? Mom, of course;) (on right)

Cover Image

Friday, 5 February 2010

Miniature worlds

Don't ask me why, but for some reason, I love things in miniature. I was a tomboy so I never played with a dollhouse but I'm fascinated by them now! I also love model trains. The Chicago Botanical Garden has (had? not sure, haven't been there for a while) an outdoor model train garden like this one. I took my kids there many times and we'd easily spend a whole morning wandering through it, marveling at what we saw. In my recent novel, HAVEN, the main character has a model train set in his basement. Luh-kee! Writing is one way to get those things we always wanted but not have to dust them;)