Sunday, March 21, 2010

In Which I Celebrate Teen Fire in Manhattan

New York! I love you. Even if I never found Cash Cab - and trust me I looked! - everything else was fabulous. Bagels at H&H and Zabars. Central Park. Top of the Rock. A green Empire State Building. Taxis and subway rides and drinks at the famous Algonquin Hotel. The Sourcebooks Fire Launch Party extravaganza at Books of Wonder. The After Party. Seeing rats the size of horses in the alley while Publicist Paul and I looked for cab. (Okay, yes, we stopped to look. Really - kinda cool.) Times Square. The Imagine circle in Strawberry Fields in Central Park. A street hot dog. Ron the concierge at The Lucerne. My hamburger from Shake Shack. (that's it - minus a bite or two - in the pic above) And lots more. Plus meeting Sourcebooks authors, editors and publisher Dominique Raccah herself. Plus a killer blueberry torte dessert at dinner on Wednesday nite served by a tres exuberant French waiter.

Top of the Rock, baby.

Me and Lyron Bennett, who was the original editor who acquired Dreaming Anastasia so long ago
The fab Helen Ellis, Sbooks author of The Turning (May 2010) and Sweet Home Alabama girl
Domestic or Stray? That's the question (it's about a girl who's turning into a cat)
Me and Dianne Salerni, Sbooks author of We Hear the Dead, out in May 2010

Lisa Brown (Picture the Dead, May 2010, w/ Adele Griffin) and Sbooks editor Rebecca Frazer

And finally. Me and the best person ever. The amazingly wonderful Publicist Paul - aka Paul Samuelson. Without the Horrid Henry head.

This is Cassie Ammerman. She's a publicist for TOR. And also my former English student. Can you say incredibly small world? You should have seen our faces when we made the connection.

The Imagine circle in Central Park

Wed. nite Sbooks dinner. Helen Ellis, Sean Murray, Cameron Stracher, Ty Drago and Rebecca Frazer and others who are a little hard to see because of my mediocre camera skills. plus it was a huge table. and an even huger candelabra. Seriously. Look at that sucker.

Mr. Tiger Beat himself - my wonder editor and all around fabulous new dad and human being, Daniel Ehrenhaft Our publisher, Dominique Raccah, in between Lisa Brown and Lila Castle (Star Shack)

Right after looking at pics of our kids (after which I dropped mine of the floor where it was rescued later) - That's me in the middle between Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown - whose absolutely amazing - and illustrated - book Picture the Dead comes out in May.
Til next time...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

If it's Sunday it must be time for pictures

So here's the thing about taking pictures. It works better if you upload them from your Canon elph and actually share them with people. So today I present a little photo essay update of the past month or so. (with apologies to anyone to whom I blithely said, "Hey, I blog. Can I take your picture?")
Me and the delightful Kathy Whitehead (Art from the Heart) at Houston SCBWI in Feb.
More Houston SCBWI - me w/Varsha Bajaj (How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight) & my buddy Janet Fox (Faithful - coming in May from Puffin)
The dapper and fab Varian Johnson and his wonder agent Sara Crowe (also at SCBWI Houston)

My critique pal Suzanne Bazemore has her first book out - Soccer - from Capstone w/Sports Illustrated. Very cool, Suz.

And do you know that a couple of weeks ago it snowed -for the 3rd time in one winter - in Houston? (if you live in NYC or Chicago, don't laugh; we were excited)

Yesterday I discovered that Cindy at my local Borders had made Dreaming Anastasia a Staff Pick
And there it is in a full shelf shot

Til next time...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

HAUNTED cover teaser

Quick post this morning. Am finishing up an amazing couple of posts with my cover artist, the very talented Cathleen Elliott. She is going to lift the curtain about how she works and creates, even show us some raw images and how and why they ended up looking like they do on the actual covers. You're going to get to see all the covers that didn't end up being the Dreaming Anastasia cover. And.... you're going to get to see the REAL Ethan. Yes! I had no idea, but Ethan is a real guy. And yes, he is quite the hottie. Whoa momma! And at the end of our series, I will reveal the HAUNTED cover. It is, in a word, amazing.

Til next time...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Six Months In - Lessons from the Debut Trenches

Been six months now (plus 8 days) since Dreaming Anastasia hit the book shelves. Six months!? Not sure how that happened. Or as Publicist Paul said when I told him this factoid - "Only six months? It sure seems like longer." Since I am an unfailing optimist, I took that as a reflection of his undying love and affection for working hip to hip with me in the muck and mire known as publishing your first novel, rather than a polite way of saying that I was an annoying twit who still hasn't found the Tweetdeck. (Seriously, Paul - I just. don't. know. where. it. is. And I've been roaming the twitterverse since July. Is it like, invitation only? Just the cool kids?)

Actually, Paul's right. Truth is, I can barely remember the beginning. Okay, working two full time jobs and attempting a semblance at a life is probably a contributing factor. But September does seem like a long, long time ago. Odd, that. But between the blog tours and the real tours and the signings and the conferences and the general angst and then the endless event known as contract negotiation for book 2, and all the stuff in between, I guess time really does sort of fly.

Still, six months! It gives me pause. And since it does, I figure it might be thoughful of me to tell you what I've learned. Because, baby, I've learned a lot. I'm still learning. Hope to be for a long time to come. So without further rambling, my lessons from the debut trenches:
  • Say thank you. It is shocking to me how many people don't.
  • Book bloggers rock.
  • If you are lucky enough to get an editor who shares your geeky love for things like Monty Python and who gets your Ricardo Montelban references, cling to him like a burr. He may try to shake you loose occasionally, but just distract him with a baby gift or possibly some Spinal Tap memorabilia.
  • Publicists can be bribed with cupcakes.
  • Spoil your agent. She is working overtime for a pittance of your pittance. (okay, some of you get more. I am not one of you yet. I have high hopes. Possibly that's all I have) She has taken your panicky phone calls and edge of doom texts and never failed to respond with a 'hang in there.' She has gnawed on your editor's skinny ankles on your behalf more times than you can count. She deserves princess status.
  • Be humble. But don't be a doormat.
  • Children's book authors are an amazingly kind and generous tribe. Be thankful that you get to be one of them.
  • Yes, every single editor lives in a two block radius in Brooklyn. They push baby carriages together, speak in tightly edited but lucious prose and occasionally break into song. Like High School Musical. Only more literary. (if this is not actually true, don't tell me. I prefer my version of reality)
  • Realize that this is not only the hardest you've ever worked, but that it probably doesn't get much easier. In fact, once the bar has been raised, your only option is to keep raising it. Be thrilled about that. Imagine how high you'll be able to leap eventually. (Or not. Possibly you'll just end up with shin splints and a torn ego. But at least you'll be able to say you were a contender. - Okay, we just watched Marlon Brando today in that really old b/w version of Caesar - the one where Brando is decent but everyone else is beyond wooden and Brutus and Cassius keep exuding a weird sort of vibe. So maybe I'm channeling Brando in "On the Waterfront" with that contender reference)
  • Make sure to enjoy it. Because dreams come true don't really happen that often. So it's okay if you've now saved every poster and flyer with your name on it and you've just bought a plastic bin at Target for them. It's only icky if you show all of this stuff to everyone who walks into your house, including the plumber and the ac guys.

Til next time...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday Stuff

In no particular order:
  • It's warm outside. At last!
  • I'm getting very excited about NYC and Books of Wonder on 3/18.
  • I think you are all going to LOVE Haunted!! Here's hoping Editor Dan thinks so, too.
  • In school news - Julius Caesar still didn't listen to his wife or the omens. Still died in Act 3. Plus Brutus. Still a dunderhead.
  • Spending time writing copious notes labeled "What does this character really really want?" helps. A lot.
  • And did I say it's warm outside? And it's one week til spring break?
  • Plus my new drop waist denim dress from Gap? Loving it.
  • Okay, much work to do.
  • Thanks, btw, to Laura and Lisa Roecker for a great Dreaming Anastasia giveaway this week. They are my Sourcebooks housemates (book debuting in 2011) and I get to meet them in NYC!! :)
  • And a shout out to Jennifer Rofe - the bestest agent ever. She is one hard worker, that Jen. And that is why I spoil her shamelessly.

Til next time...