Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Oh how I love Halloween. Only on October 31st can you see a vampire changing Snow White's tire on the way to work and random co-workers showing off their inner whatever.

This morning before I came to the office, I went to an early morning yoga class. My instructor Daveed said he always thought that people choose to dress up as something that's hidden inside them--or something they wish was hidden inside them. Witches want to be magical, pirates want to be adventurous. Today I'm walking around as gothy suburban teen: I'm dark and no one understands me. My clothing is black, my boots are clunky, my eyeliner is smudge-y. I'm well aware that the angsty teenager inside me is not too far from the surface.

NPR played a story this morning interviewing Linda Davis, the biographer Charles Addams, creator of the Addams family. Davis said Addams was a man with many fears which came out in the cartoons he drew. By letting his fears out in his work, he was able to make light of them and overcome them.

I can't help thinking that Daveed's theory and Addams' practice apply to writers, too. We write about what scares us and what's buried inside us. And many times our characters are us (or those we know) lurking inside of the costumes we've created for them--and full of wonderful tricks and treats.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

2007 CWIM Update: Some New Addresses...

Get out your red pens--here are a few publishers who've sent me new addresses since the 2007 CWIM was published:

  • Eerdmans Books for Young Readers: New address is 2140 Oak Industrial Dr. NE, Grand Rapids MI 49505. (2007 CWIM page 135.)
  • Onstage Publishing: New address is 190 Lime Quarry Road, Suite 106J, Madison AL 35758. Phone: (256)461-0661. (2007 CWIM page 164.)
  • Windward Publishing: New address is 8075 215th St. West, Lakeville MN 55044. Phone: (952)469-6699. New website: www.finneyco.com. (2007 CWIM page 195.)
  • Coteau Books Ltd.: Address correction: 2517 Victoria Ave--not 2571. (2007 CWIM page 200.)

I'll keep giving updates periodically if you all promise it won't keep you from buying the 2008 CWIM. (I promise a terrific lineup of articles and interviews--the 2008 CWIM will have more than ever before and I'm really excited about them all.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My Fun With Spam...

My company just implemented this new spam filtering system for all of our email accounts. Now every morning we each have an email from the system listing all the spam that it's caught for us during the previous 24 hours. And the spam subject lines are cracking me up. Yes, there are the usual array of creative misspellings for Viagara. But there is also much much weirdness. I've been jotting down my favorites and now I will share. I think most of these would make fabulous band names:

  • drunkenness mezzanine
  • cheekbone & oval
  • coin poignancy
  • overwhelmingly unconscious
  • trestle eloquently
  • predator surrealistic
  • cheerful gob
  • zoology and accrue
  • Capricorn posterity
  • pejorative sanitary napkin (my favorite)

Proofreading Tips...

The MediaBistro Toolbox offers some helpful advice on proofreading.

Monday, October 23, 2006


  • Guide to Literary Agents Success Stories: Have you signed with an agent recently? Did Guide to Literary Agents help you in your search? If it did, GLA Editor Chuck Sambuchino wants to hear about it. Please send GLA success stories to literaryagent@fwpubs.com with "Success" in the subject line. Chuck's cool and he'd love to hear from you.
  • HarperTeen FanLit: Here's a cool thing for the young writers in your life. In what their website calls "a storytelling event by teens for teens...HarperTeen editors and authors invite you to join thousands of fans online to collectively create an original short story—one chapter at a time." The chapters submitted will be reviewed by a panel (moderated by Executive Editor Farrin Jacob) made up of editors and authors including Meg Cabot and Rachel Vail. Favorite chapters submitted will be given an "Author's Pick" award. Click here to check it out.
  • Myspace: Oh, it is so addictive. Sort of like when I started this blog--I can't quit checking my page. I've now got 35 friends--cool ones like the above-metioned Meg Cabot. Who has 2872 friends. Wow. She's way more popular than I am. I better get moving on writing a bestselling novel or two that can be adapted into high-grossing films.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Please Won't You Be My Friend?...

I've finally gotten around to creating a Myspace page (it's still a work-in-progress) and I need some friends! If you're on Myspace, please visit my page and ask me to be your friend. I would be ever so grateful. (Why does this sound so desperate?)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

2007 CWIM Update: Seedling Publications...

In a recent post, I mentioned that I've just begun working on the 2008 edition of CWIM. As I hear from publishers, magazines, agents, etc., I'll be giving occasional updates in this space. Here's the first: The 2007 CWIM gives information for Seedling Publications. According to a Seedling staff member, Seedling is now part of Continental Press, and the information offered in the 2007 CWIM is no longer correct. Seedling now uses only authors and artists who have worked for them previously so they are not open to submissions.

Please feel free to turn to page 178 of CWIM and make a note. I don't mind at all if you write in your book.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Friday the 13th with Sarah Mlynowski...

This weekend at Joseph-Beth, I caught Sarah Mlynowski's book tour promoting Frogs & French Kisses, the second title in her humorous trilogy about a teenager whose mother and little sister are witches. It's such fun seeing teen girls interact with authors. (One in the audience was working on her own novel.) Sarah passed around an outline and an edited manuscript and talked a lot about writing. She also read a delightful passage from her new novel. (And I have added two more books on the stack on my nightstand.)

Sarah, along with former Red Dress Ink/current HarperCollins editor Farrin Jacobs, wrote See Jane Write: A Girl's Guide to Writing Chick Lit. This wonderful book has substance but it's also fun and good looking--just what every girl wants. I really wish Writer's Digest Books would have published it.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


  • 2008 CWIM: I'm officially starting work on the 2008 edition of CWIM today. Not the articles and interviews part (also known as the fun part)--those are pretty much all assigned and underway. Today I begin contacting publishers, magazines, agents, etc., to verify and update their information. I know what you're thinking: Awfully early for the 2008 edition. Well, today I send the first bunch of emails. There will be many, many more. There will also be faxing, phone calls, and even good old snail mail. It's a process. It's the part of the year when I feel like 80% of my job is following up. I consider myself a pretty good follow-up-er.
  • Publishers Marketplace: Do any of you subscribe to Publishers Marketplace? We've got a subscription here at the office and it's exciting to click around in it. They have a database of who represents whom as well as a list of recent deals including the names of editors and agents. (You can get a smaller version of their recent deals list by subscribing to Publishers Lunch.) Today I was excited to read about recent book deals by two authors who have been included in past CWIM First Books features, Marlene Perez (who is represented by the agent who won the MediaBistro Hottie's in Publishing vote) and Debra Garfinkle--both for books in series that sounds so much fun. (Psychic powers! Magical rubber chickens!)
  • Me Reading Update: My Five-Pronged Plan to Read Way More Than I Do has been going OK but not great. Ohhh--I'll be honest. It's hit a rough spot called The New TV Season. Why oh why am I still watching One Tree Hill? Why Does Veronica Mars have to be so good? Why Am I so happy Lorelai Gilmore is finally getting together with Rory's dad? (Why are all these shows on The CW?) I think I need a sixth prong: Afternoon reading time at the office.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Writing for Teens...

This article--OMG! My BFF is Crushing on My Hottie!--was in the MB ToolBox on MediaBistro yesterday. Read it for some funny and useful advice for those of you channeling your inner teen.

Accidental Writing Class...

My husband has been out of town the last few days so I've been on my own in the entertaining Murray department. After the third time through the How Bob Became a Builder DVD on Saturday morning, I knew as was doing a poor job. (My husband is much more entertaining than I am.) I also knew we must leave the house. So I gave Murray two choices: Playground or Bookstore. Guess what he picked? (I was so proud.)

When we arrived at Joseph-Beth kids section, there was a chair (with a guy in it) where the train table usually was. We had walked into an event of some sort. I found out later the guy was author Geoffrey Girard, and he was giving "a seminar on 'Creative Writing' and 'In Search of the Real Pirates' " (so says his website). We located the train table, and a I sat on the floor and listened to Girard talk to the dozen or so high-school kids there to see him. He was making them work--they were jotting lists, writing in notebooks, swapping work. He told them "write what you know, but know more." He suggested they watch and read the news for ideas, pay attention at school, and talk to people. When we left he was holding up some figurines and talking about creating characters. The cool thing was most of the kids seemed really interested. They were taking notes and asking and answering questions. Ah--young, budding writers. All that potential. Do you think they know how hard it is to get published?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I Like This--You Should Visit (An Ongoing Series)...

Welcome to the first installment of I Like This--You Should Visit, an ongoing series I just thought of. Periodically in this space I'll tell you about an author's or an illustrator's website or blog that I think is worth a click.

Today it's the website of YA author Maureen Johnson. Her site is great looking and really easy to navigate. There's just the right amount of text on her pages (some people go on and on and on). And I think the way her books are showcased is just fabulous. Visit!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Jarrett J. Krosoczka Appears in the Nati...

This morning, picture book author-illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka stopped in a Cincinnati Barnes & Noble location (the one half a mile from my office) to read his books to a class of happy second graders all hopped-up on hot chocolate from the B&N Starbucks. Jarrett is on tour promoting his latest title My Buddy, Slug which he began working on a few years before all those second graders were born. Besides reading, he also did drawings of characters from his books--Monkey Boy, Baghead, Annie, a few members of Punk Farm, and, of course Slug.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Yeah, It Was Weird...

Attending my 20th class reunion gave me quite the urge to delve into a pile of good YA novels. It was sort of like high school if everyone had kids and crows feet. The cliques were still cliquey. The cute cheerleader chicks who didn't talk to me in high school still didn't talk to me. The nice girls were still nice. The people I liked--I still liked them. Seeing a group of old friends is like picking up a favorite book you forgot you had on your shelf. There's an air of newness, but it feels comfortable as you become reacquainted with the characters.