Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fake Book Trailer

What do you think about book trailers? They seem to be the next big thing in promotion, and I'm considering doing one for Jemma Hartman, Camper Extraordinaire. So I talked to my 12-year-old son, Sammy about it. He thought it would be fun to do, and today he made up a fake book trailer to sort of practice. It's awesome. Check it out here:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Reader's Shock

I know I swore in a prior post not to read any more books until I finished the first draft of my work-in-progress, but I have never been good at diets, and that kind of silly rule was bound to be broken. So, just like when I used to cheat on my diets in high school, I have been reading on the sly. 

Tonight I read Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell. And I gotta say, it's a masterpiece. Seriously. Everyone should read this beautiful book. As for me, I am now in Reader's Shock -- wrapped up in the emotions of the book and feeling that I might as well give up being an author anyway because I can't possibly write something as lovely and meaningful and perfect as Ms. Dowell did. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cover Art!!!

I have a cover!! And not just any cover, but a beautiful cover that I love, love, love! My hat is off to the amazing artist, Greg Swearingen, and to all the folks at FSG who helped create such an inviting package. (There is even a map of Camp Star Lake at the beginning of the book!)

Authors have just about no say in their cover art, so when you end up with the cover of your dreams, it is really exciting!!! 

Some people have asked me who that girl is, but it's not a photograph of a real girl. I guess the best way to answer that question is to say, "It's Jemma."

I am now officially a Greg Swearingen fan. He captured Jemma's heart and soul in this illustration, and the setting is exactly right, too. 


Now I only have to wait until spring 2009 to see this beautiful baby in book stores!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Braeside School Visit

I had a terrific afternoon at Braeside School in Highland Park. I was the keynote speaker at their wonderful annual Writer's Conference. This program is outstanding! Librarian Anne Shimojima runs the whole thing. All the fourth and fifth graders wrote and revised stories in their classes. Anne read every story and divided the kids up into groups of eight. Then she sent those manuscripts to professional writers who volunteered to read and critique the stories ahead of time. There was a Newsweek reporter, Chicago Tribune sportswriter, fiction writers, non-fiction writers, etc. 

Today, we all had lunch together, I did a little presentation, and then we broke off into our critique groups. Lucky me... I got the best of the best manuscripts. I honestly was blown away by how talented the kids were. It was such a privilege to read their stories. I am 100% sure we will be seeing some of these kids in print someday. And besides all that, these were the nicest bunch of kids I think I've ever met. I had each child comment on the first page of everyone else's story. I didn't have to give them any kind of guidance. They simply heaped on the praise (commenting astutely on all the things I felt deserved complimenting!), and when they had something constructive to say, they worded their comments as gentle questions. I think the kids gained so much from the experience! And so did I!

Meanwhile... I'm guilty of no progress at all on my first draft of Novel #3. Today I was busy with karate and the school visit. Yesterday was just crazy. But tomorrow I have critique group. Hopefully that will help me get back on track.