Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Minx--DC's New Graphic Novel Imprint...

If you haven't read about it in PW or Publisher's Lunch, here's a link to The New York Times article on Minx, the new DC Comics imprint for graphic novels aimed at teenage girls. They recruited YA novelist Cecil Castellucci to write their kickoff title. (Check out her cool website.)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Dad…

Late at night on November 14th, just two weeks after his 75th birthday, my Dad made himself a drink (gin and caffeine free Mountain Dew on the rocks in a plastic tumbler with yellow smiley faces on it), sat down on the couch, turned on SportsCenter, and died in the blink of an eye. Dad said he always wanted to go that way. But for me, my family, and everyone who knew him, it was shocking. (“Good for him, bad for us,” my mom keeps saying.)

When I got the news, my thoughts and emotions raced, and the writer inside my head instantly began composing a eulogy. It was at the same time the easiest and toughest writing assignment I’ve ever had. It was easy in that it’s not difficult to find good things to say about my Dad. I’m pretty sure he never met anyone who didn’t like him--400 people came to his funeral. It was difficult in that I wasn’t sure if I could sum up the essence of my Dad in words. But writing about him truly helped me get through a few tough and surreal days. Writing helped me to process and heal.

In the 38 years I knew my Dad I never once saw him read a book. He read the newspaper and few websites every day, but it’s safe to say that he didn’t read a single novel after he finished school. That’s one of the many ways the two of us were different. But he was a wonderful guy, a great father and an enthusiastic grandpa (he read lots of books to Murray), and I’ll think about him every day.

So that’s why I haven’t posted in while. Monday I’m back to work after funeral leave and the holiday, and my life will get back to (almost) normal.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Demystifying Agents...

Here are a couple things written by agents I've come across recently. First a post from agent Jane Dystel's blog explaining just what it is an agent does. And here's a rather exhausting essay from my former co-worker Rachel Vater. Rachel gives some insight into why you haven't heard back from that up-and-coming agent you subbed to months ago.

Monday, November 13, 2006


  • Blogger Slacker: I've been a bad blogger lately. Busy busy busy. But I'll be back this week blogging full force so don't forget to visit daily.
  • Newsletters: An easy way to keep up with what your favorite publishers are doing is to have them keep you informed in the comfort of your own inbox. I subscribe to several publisher's e-newsletters such as those sent by the Penguin group and Simon & Schuster. You can sign up for free on publishers' websites.
  • NYT Book Review: This week, The New York Times Book Review has a special children's book section just in time for the holidays. You'll find tons of reviews as well as a slideshow of the Best Illustrated Books for 2006.
  • Spam Poetry: You may have seen the list of spam subject lines I posted recently. Well, I've started an explosion of spamthusiasm among my fellow Writer's Digest Books editors and we've begun composing spam poetry--we call them "Spamasterpieces." Check out our website to read some. We'll be posting them regularly. (I composed a particularly good one this morning. I'm developing and odd sort of loving relationship with my spam. I guess better the unwanted email than the luncheon meat product--for which there is a fan club. Huh.)
  • Scrabble: Oh oh did I kick my husband's butt at Scrabble last night. Okay--he did beat me the second game but only by like five points and I kept picking nothing but one-point letters. But the first game was a complete blowout (I even used all seven tiles in one turn) and I won game three (the one that decided the Pope-Katkin household Scrabble Champion) by a bunch. If you ever play Scrabble with my husband, bring a dictionary--he makes up words and pretends he knows exactly what they mean. (A side note: He proposed to me during a Scrabble game, spelling out "will you marry me" with tiles, slowly, turn-after-turn. It was cute. The bad part--I was winning by 90 points and we never got to finish the game.)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Picture Book for Election Day...

Did you know that there was a woman who declared herself a presidential candidate and staged a campaign? In 1872? If not, check out A Woman for President: The Story of Victoria Woodhull. Woodhull had quite the life--even the Amazon write up is intriguing.

Oh yeah--GET OUT AND VOTE TODAY! (They give you a free sticker. I'm wearing mine now. It compliments any outfit.)

Monday, November 06, 2006

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

You know I'm in love with Myspace these days. Here's a Myspace Teen Lit group. Group leader Sarah Mlynowski instructs: "Writers, please post book info, event info and new covers. Readers--ask all those questions you've been wondering...about books you've read, books you're thinking about reading, or about writing in general."

The group includes more than 1100 members including an impressive list of YA authors (and yours truly). Be sure to read the Bulletins from group members. Also check out the Forum--the most recent thread: What are you reading? Check out some authors' pages, learn about new books coming out, network with other writers, and find some new friends.