Friday, February 19, 2010

What do Jemma Hartman and Beyonce Knowles Have in Common?

Meet Moriah!

Moriah is the latest winner in the Jemma Hartman Lookalike Contest!

Don't you love how she's wearing a life vest and a Jemma barrette? All she needs is a sailboat (which I can't provide). But I will provide her with an autographed copy of my book and some Jemma swag. If you know someone who looks like Jemma, tell them to send me a photo if they want one, too!

And now, for big smiles all around, here are the prior winners of the Jemma Lookalike Contest:



 And Eva:

Just for kicks, I went on to see who Jemma's celebrity lookalike would be. Who knew Jemma had the same beautiful eyes and smile as Beyonce?? Check it out:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Secondary Characters Primary Importance

My goal in everything is to get better every day. As a mom, wife, friend, and author. That means I have to be open to feedback and criticism. Even though I know I'm far from perfect, it's never easy to hear I've been too this or not enough that when it comes to me as a person. But for some reason, it's much easier to swallow criticism when it's about me as an author. (Random image: Kirkus Reviews giving me a glowing review as a mom but mentioning that my meal planning and cooking falls a little flat.)

One of the things I've learned from working with editors and reading reviews of my books is that I tend to underdevelop my secondary characters. I have to admit this is true. My process is all about inhabiting a main character and telling her story. Secondary characters are created to support the story, to create obstacles and room for growth. But that's not the way real life is. In real life, everyone is their own main character. And in the best books, secondary characters have depth and add richness to the story.

So today, I'm sitting down with all my secondary characters from my work-in-progress (which, by the way, has a new title: Ivy in Like), and I'm making sure they have their say. I'm getting to know them as their own main characters. They deserve that respect, don't you think?

Monday, February 08, 2010

The 100 Best Chapter Books!

And so the countdown begins. Remember when I told you to vote for your top ten chapter books of all time? Well, some bloggers might simply tally up the votes and post the winners. But not Betsy Bird. She goes the distance. She gives the history of each book, talks about the author, the book jacket(s), links to reviews, and even shares tidbits from the people who voted. Today she reveals Books 100-91. I've read and loved 7 of these 10, but so far, none are my top ten favorites of all time. It will be fun to see what comes next. And fun to add books to my must read pile. These are seriously juicy posts. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Great New Blog About Publishing

Have you all seen this new blog from Macmillan? It's called Get to the Point, and it's my new favorite blog to read. Every day you can learn something interesting about publishing. My favorites so far are the What's on My Desk posts, the Overheard in the Flatiron and the Behind the Scenes. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Amazon vs. Macmillan: What Can You Do?

Even though Amazon has said they eventually will capitulate and put the buy buttons back on all the Macmillan books, they have yet to actually do that. Not sure what they are waiting for, but in the meantime, there are two things we all can do to make an impact:

1. Buy a Macmillan book! You can order online from, or you can go to your local independent. Go to the Macmillan site to see which books are affected. (Macmillan has several imprints that publish children's and young adult literature including FSG, Feiwel & Friends, and Holt)

2. Contact Amazon to voice your complaint. To do this, go to Amazon and click on Help. A yellow Contact Us button will appear on the right side of your screen. You can now send them an e-mail. Say what you want, or copy this letter from fellow writer Cheryl Bardoe:

Dear Amazon,

I am a long-time, steady customer who is dismayed over your removal of the "Buy Now" buttons from the page of every Macmillan author. I do not support your position on this matter. Publishers own the products they produce, and as a result have the right to establish their own pricing.

Making it impossible for consumers to buy Macmillan books through Amazon undermines a key part of what makes Amazon appealing to customers--the ability to buy almost any book in print from a reliable distributor. Your actions are damaging not only to your own business, but also to readers and authors--without which Amazon would not be in business at all. Amazon's corporate bullying reveals that Amazon's real goal is to have a monopoly on the marketplace. Perhaps sitting inside your corporate offices, having a monopoly seems to be a good thing. But time and again, history and the social and political fabric of our society have shown that monopolies are not in the best interests of consumers, producers, or investors and do not represent what is best for our economy.

Please immediately reinstate the buttons to give consumers the opportunity to purchase Macmillan books. Also, respect that publishers (who even without the cost of paper, must pay their authors, artists, editors and staff to produce books) have the right to set price points for THEIR OWN PRODUCT. I'll be taking my business elsewhere until you do.

Thank you.