Saturday, December 30, 2006

JoanMarie Christmas -- Jay

This was an awesome Christmas. For the first time in months, I was able to relax and not think about approaching deadlines (sure, there is that second-book deadline, but that’s months away)...and I got to show off my very first book cover, too!

My wife and I went down to Los Angeles to gather with my side of the family for meals and gift giving (okay, and receiving). But before that, we went to see the largest nativity play in the world. It was amazing! Real camels. Real horses. Six angels (they weren’t real, but they soared above the audience). Beautiful singing. And the most brilliant, spectacular ending. Very moving.

On Christmas Eve we went to Disneyland, which turned out to be the best time to go because the lines were extremely short. 15 minutes for Space Mountain?!?!? My favorite moment came when we spotted an actor playing Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. My wife is a Johnny Depp freak, so I wanted to get a picture of her with the look-a-like. At first, she didn’t want to waste valuable ride-time standing in line (the guy was taking a long time with each person). But he was doing an amazing impersonation and we couldn’t stop watching him. Of course, when it was our turn…and even though it wasn’t really Johnny…my wife started blushing. After chatting with him and posing for the camera, JoanMarie said, “That was so fun!” At that, I rolled my eyes. It’s not like it was a Scarlett Johansson look-a-like or anything.

With time for one or two more rides, we hopped on Astro Blasters, a new ride we’d never heard of. Basically, it’s a Buzz Lightyear shooting gallery. The car moves through different rooms and you shoot as many targets as possible, competing with the person sitting next to you. When the ride was over, my wife and I were close to tied (I was up just a tad) so we went on one more time. Did I mention JoanMarie is extremely competitive and I don’t have a competitive bone in my body? As you can tell from the photo taken during the ride, she definitely got the hang of things the second time around.

So what was my favorite gift? A baseball cap from my parents with the logo of my new publisher.

- Jay

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Holiday Greetings with a Twist -- Robin

I’ve decided to take Eve’s lead and enlist the help of one of my own relatives to write my blog post this week. Thankfully, he accepted the challenge. I now give to you my holiday letter…written by my 4-year old son. (Okay, maybe he didn’t “actually” write the blog post, but he does have a good sense of humor and can probably spell better than me. Plus he’s cute, so there.)

Greetings Everyone!

It’s me, Luke! I hope this letter finds you happy, healthy, knee deep in chocolate and surrounded by puppies and hot dogs.

We had a really fun Christmas this year. I got a red dinosaur, a green dinosaur, a dinosaur puzzle, a robot T-rex, and some socks. What’d you get? Mommy got a nice new coat (even though it’s weird that she won’t stop wearing it, even on top of her pajamas) and some new slippers (even though I announced what they were right before she opened the box). She also got a beautiful mermaid ornament and when she opened it she and Daddy kept giggling and saying stuff about it looking anatomically correct and I’m not sure what that means—I’m only four years old for heavens sake—but I think it means she can exchange it if she has a receipt. Right?

Daddy got a hat and some socks and he kept talking about resentments and utter disappointment. Again, I think he’s okay with a gift receipt.

For our family gift, we all went to Mexico! I spent all my waking hours in the pool and Mommy kept complaining about not having any time to write. I think it had to do with all those pink drinks and her excessive napping, if you ask me. (But don’t tell her I said that! She’s been getting a little defensive about her writing lately, so you have to handle her carefully. What usually works is a big, toothy grin then some kissies and huggies and generally saying any word with a ‘ie’ on the end. She thinks that’s adorable. So it’s all good.)

Anyways, it was a big year in our house. Daddy bought an old classic Mercedes and now he sticks fried wontons in the engine to make it run. Smells good, even though I think he should switch to French fries. Maybe put some ketchup in the exhaust.

This year Mommy got something called “an agent” but I think they have medicine for that. And if it tastes like cherries…well, all the better.

When Daddy’s not running out the door to “pick up some more oil” and Mommy’s not running out the door to “finish her next chapter” we usually spend good quality family time together at home. We like to sit back, relax, and discuss the spiritual/political hidden messages embedded in the dialogue of our favorite Sponge Bob episodes. But doesn’t everyone?

Happy holidays! I hope your next year is full of dinosaurs and anatomically correct mermaids and gift receipts.

(who is only four years old, for heavens sake, and in no way endorses this letter)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Season's Greetings From Evie

For a holiday treat (and because I'm still in a lazy, post-Christmas, food-induced coma) I've enlisted the help of my wonderful and very favorite sister, who is also a die-hard fan of our blog. So I'm turning tonight's blog posting duties over to my best (and only) sister, AMY! (WARNING: My family tends to be a little sarcastic...don't be shocked if she takes this time to publicly make fun of me and my seemingly easy (slacker) lifestyle.)

O.k., I'm a little nervous, but here goes - Since Eve's always way too busy to send holiday cards/letters, here's my idea of what her 2006 letter should say:

Hi ________(insert your name here) !

2006 was a very exciting year! Here are some highlights:

We rang in the New Year by banging pots and pans, then yelling at the neighborhood kids for setting off fireworks past our bed-time. The next morning, instead of enjoying football and jotting down our resolutions, we had to sweep the street to get rid of the detritus the hooligans left behind Anyway, it was an auspicious beginning to 2006.

In February, after several years of dedicated work, our two dogs won awards in their obedience classes! Marley was voted "Most Likely to Bust Into a Neighbor's House and Steal Food Without Getting Caught", while Brandy captured a new award they titled, "I Failed To Learn Anything In Obedience Class, But I'm So Freaking Cute That No One Cares." We were so proud and sure that this was a sign of things to come, we got her an agent, and we're hoping that Purina commercial comes through real soon.

Speaking of agents, I got one, too! She is the best thing to happen to my writing career since Jay, Robin and I started this blog. Seriously, I love her and she is so supportive of my work, I know great things are coming in 2007.

Aside from amassing awards and agents, I spent 2006 much the same way as 2005, 2004, and 2003... I sleep until the crack 'o noon, get up and caffeinate (at least eight shots of espresso), check my e-mails and wipe the kitchen counter, all while still in my jammies. Sometimes I go out of the house to run errands or meet Jay and/or Robin for lunch, but never before 3:00 p.m. I've kept up on all the best reality shows (Bo Bice got robbed, I tell you!), and have not missed a People magazine in months.

I also traveled a ton this year. Pre-liquid-bomb-scare, I never worried about what I packed. I could fly anywhere in the country with my favorite lip gloss and perfume on hand. Now, however, apparently Comptoir Sud Pacifique- Vanilla-Apricot perfume and Dior Super Shine lip gloss are serious threats to airline security. Traveling is so stressful, I tell you! (Especially without shiny lips!)

To cap off the year, we flew to Florida to visit my very favorite (only) sister and her (loud and obnoxious) family for Christmas. She was the most gracious hostess (even though she ran out of coffee) and made our stay as wonderful as if we were staying at five-star hotel (in some no-longer-existent Soviet country). It was a busy and exhilarating (exhausting) week. (My family wouldn't let me sleep in and forced me to exercise.) I can't wait for all the fun family trips we have planned for 2007! (Serenity, NOW!!)

Love, Eve

(Okay, so Amy has a point. And though I'd like to say she was making fun of me, I can't deny that it's almost all true (except for the last paragraph of course), and that's pretty much how my holiday letter would go. Here's to me getting a life in 2007! Woo-Hoo!!)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Away in a Mailbox

(This is a repost of the conclusion of a 13-part series that jumpstarted our blog one year ago.)

(inspired by The Twelve Days of Christmas)

In my twelfth form rejection, the letter said to me:
Dear Author/Illustrator,
regarding (CAPS & BOLDFACE TITLE),
thanks for your submission,
we're so glad you thought of our house,
we're proud of ev'ry book we publish,
see Writer's Market for our guidelines,
due to the number of submissions,
we can't give personal suggestions,
though we strive for quick responses,
after careful consideration,
good luck in the future,
but this story doesn't fit our current needs.

So I cried for just a minute, and then
(surging with ambition)
tucked a self-addressed-stamped-envelope
into my next submission.

from your
Disco Mermaids

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Aaaaaaaah -- Jay

This feels nice. Veeeeeery niiiiiiiiiiiice!

After staying up way too late every night for the past several weeks working on my revisions, my edits are finally done. How do I know they're done? Cuz my lovely editor told me so.

Our phone call had been scheduled for the past few days and I couldn't wait to hear what she thought of my revisions. Still, part of me was a little worried. What if she said, "No. No, no, no! This is all wrong. Christmas? Bah! You're spending the weekend revising...again." But that's not how it happened.

We spent about 90 minutes going over every change that I made to the manuscript based on her recommendations. She was happy with about 85% of the changes, we further tweaked about 10% of the changes, and about 5% of her suggestions that I didn't take originally, I ended up making after being convinced as to why she was right (which she's very good at doing).

And then, while we were on the phone, she e-mailed me the cover art. What can I say? I love it! I spent the rest of the day with chills because...well...I really really love it! I could tell my editor was afraid to show it to me because she hedged a bit before sending it. The artist didn't do what either of us originally thought would make a great cover. But I guess that's why he works the magic on the cover while we work the magic between the covers (there's a bumper sticker for ya!).

I'll post the cover art in a week or so and I'll tell you then why I love it so much. But until then, here's the cool new way my title will be written on the cover:



Thursday, December 21, 2006

Disco Mermaid Down Time -- Robin

So what do the Disco Mermaids do when they’re not blogging or meeting for coffee or talking on the phone or swimming in hot tubs? Why, we email each other, of course! (As if we really need to spend any more time together!)

Our emails tend to fall into one of six categories. So I thought I’d share with you a taste of our tasteless emails we send back and forth to each other, all in the name of “work.” (The emails that follow are only ones written by me, as I was unable to get permission from my fellow Disco Mermaids to post theirs. Oh, that’s not true. I can’t post their emails because they cuss like frickin’ sailors!)

The first type of email we write is the typical MECHANICS FAILURE kind in which I can’t get Blogger to work…

Since we've changed to the new beta thing, do we need to go in and block our cookies!!?? I saw we had a bunch of hits from SLO with an sbcglobal address. Is that me? I can't figure out how to block myself! (Don't be nasty.)

Then we have your basic CALL ME email…

I have no idea if you're online tonight, but I just had some thoughts. If you've got nothing better to do, give me a call tonight, before 10, then I'm asleep.
If not, don't ever call me again.
It's over.

We also have the type of email in which we give INSTRUCTIONS FOR EDITING MY STUFF

So here's what I have written so far (minus the chapter I'm in the middle of right now). The first three chapters should be pretty polished so be very critical of those. For the rest, just see if you like it and the voice and make sure it's not totally cheesy and sucky. You know the drill.
Take your time with this. You have two hours...and...go!

Every once in a while we throw in an I’M A BAD MOTHER email (and by “we” I mean “me,” but you knew that)…

I'm such a bad mother. I've been so wrapped up in Jay's life this week that when I went to pick Luke up from school today he said, "It's okay, mommy, I don't want to go to my soccer practice." (In a thick British accent!) CRAP! What's wrong with me!? Soccer mom...forgetting soccer practice!? Am I evil? So I bought him a cookie. Much better.

And of course there’s always the HA, HA! I’M BETTER THAN YOU email (which I just sent to Jay and Eve last night and I’m still so proud of myself!)…

Two more pages...done.
Did anyone else write TWO whole pages today? Huh? Didja? Didja?
Uh-huh, uh-huh (running man dance with a little churning the butter going on).
Oh yeah!

And finally, there’s the ONCE IN A LIFETIME email. The one that you send to your best friend the day after he sold his first book and all of his dreams have come true…

Dear Jay,

I feel like we're completely different people today. Like our old selves died yesterday and now we're reborn as “an author and the two girls who want to be him” (minus the genitalia issue)

Here's what else I think...

1. The flowers you gave me were, seriously, the most beautiful flowers I've ever gotten. No joke. They are perfect.

2. I've had so much fun telling this story to everyone I come across. I had lunch with a couple of reporters from The Tribune today and they don't even know you, but they love you!

3. Your next book is going to be just as great. I know it, and we won't let you do any less. That's our job.

and finally...

4. This could not have happened to a better person. You deserve EVERYTHING that comes to you. You know that, right?

I'm sorry if this is sappy. I'd like to say that it's over and now I'll go back to making fun of you. But I'm not. I'm going to keep being sappy and cry happy tears and then hug on you so hard that your guts pop out.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Don't Judge A Book By Its Title --Eve

Of course, if we all followed this rule, marketing departments of publishing houses wouldn't be making the big bucks, or even have jobs for that matter. Good titles are extremely important to me. In fact, I often refuse to read a book if it's got a bad or boring title. I'm shallow, I know. But I'm probably a good representation of how most of our consumer society behaves. That title's only got a split second to catch my ADD brain's attention and stick.

That said, the irony is that I'm terrible at coming up with titles for my books. And now I'm under the gun to come up with a title for my second still-in-progress book. My wonderful agent (hee-hee…saying “My agent” still sounds so funny and all professional and grown-up like) and I had lunch the other day and I nervously pitched the synopsis of my new YA book. She loved the idea, and said it is timely, commercial and compelling…love, love, LOVE her!

“So when can you have it done?” she asked. “Um…done?” I asked. “Yes, done,” she said. “Let's see, it took four YEARS to write my first book. Um, let's say…four MONTHS for this one,” I said (half joking). “Perfect,” she said. “Um…what??” I said. “What's the title?” she asked. “The what??” I said.

Girlfriend is so on the ball that I could see her wheels spinning immediately. She was already coming up with a list of potential editors in her head. Because I've got the outline in my head and am so in love with writing this book, I really believe I can crank out a respectable draft in four months. Problem is, I need a compelling title. So, I'm turning to the readers in Blogland for help!

I will send a very special prize to anyone out there brave enough to throw some potential titles my way. Please! I need help!! Post ideas in the “comments” section or e-mail me privately at: THANKS!

Here's my elevator pitch: Seventeen-year-old Cali has one year to live. She plans to spend her last 365 days fearlessly completing a list of adventurous tasks that she was previously too cautious to consider, while also keeping her friends happily in the dark about her predicament. Cali's meticulous plan is thrown for a loop when she meets and falls uncontrollably in love with a brilliant and free-spirited surfer who challenges her core beliefs about living and dying.

It's kind of “Road Trip” meets “Love Story” in that it combines fun and adventure with a heartbreakingly doomed love affair. There are also a lot of scenes/references to the ocean, fear of the unknown, and the tension of a ticking clock.

Thanks for the help, readers! Don't steal my idea!


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Final Edit -- Jay

Right now, my editor’s sunning herself down in Mexico. Meanwhile, I’ve been getting home from the library (my day job) around 5:30, then staring at my computer till 12:30 every night. And I’ll be doing that every night till my editor gets back because this is it! I’m working through the final line edit before they print up Advance Reader Copies. Oh, and I’m sick. I got sick right before the edit arrived and, due to the lack of sleep, haven’t had the chance to get well.

And I’m loving it!

Here’s the e-mail I sent Eve and Robin the night (or morning) I finished that first stretch of revising:

It's amazing to think that the changes I'm doing now are the final details that'll end up in a book that's going to be sold in bookstores around the country. Seriously, it's a mindtrip. And all the changes are pretty small, but they are making a difference. A lot of them (and I'm glad she did this) are the little turns of phrases that I thought were so cute but actually probably took the reader out of the story. So I'm just yankin' them out. I'd say about 20% of her suggestions I'm not taking. But 80% is pretty amazing for a book that's been gone over so many times. It's almost 1 o'clock now and I've gotta get up soon, but I am having so much fun.

I can't wait for you two to experience this...which you will!
Right now, the only person I love more than my editor is my wife. I apologized to her yesterday for not doing my part around the house. “You’ve been doing all the cooking and cleaning and everything,” I said, “while I’ve been upstairs having fun editing my book.”

She smiled and said, “See, you’re doing your part.”

And that’s reason #27 why this book is dedicated to her.

- Jay

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What a Long Strange Trip—Robin

My husband has put his patchouli, Birkenstock, tie-dye days behind him and finally made good on his idea to become a true blue hippie. (Not that you’d know it…he cut all his hair off years ago and actually spends his free time Googling Britney Spears. Well, who doesn’t?).

This past year hubby purchased a 1983 Mercedes diesel sedan and converted the fuel tank to run on used vegetable oil that he siphons out of a barrel from the back alley of our local sushi restaurant. Kid…you…not.

When he first presented the idea to me, I thought, “Sure, honey. You start your cute little hobby. I’ll just be over here in the corner typing out silly little stories. What’s the harm, right!?”

What I didn’t realize was that within a few months, we would have a stockpile of over 400 gallons of used soybean oil and a garage that resembled what I assume a meth lab looks like.

Hubbie got way, WAY into his “little hobby.” He joined list serves and purchased equipment from specialty aquarium stores (because how else is he going to heat the oil to transfer it through the filters and blah, blah, blah?). He got to know all the local people who run on veggie (one of our local high school principals!) and I think I noticed him giving secret handshakes to members of his underground veggie network. Weirdness everywhere.

I decided that the moment he came to me and said he planned on attending the national veggie car conference and was planning on dressing up in drag in order to win the costume contest…that would be it. Hobby over.

But I found myself reading the emails from other local veggie people, and thinking about what an utterly cool thing he is doing. Not just for the environment or for our wallet (it’s free gas!) but for our little boy. At night, I peek my head out of the door and look into the meth lab/veggie production area, and see the silhouettes of my son and his father in front of an old lamp teetering on the edge of a barrel and I listen to them talk about the oil…where it comes from and what it’s used for. And my boy turns to me and says, “Mommy, look! I’m pumping oil for Daddy’s car! A Mercedes…a classic!” (Again…kid…you…not. My husband has trained him to say “Mercedes…a classic” every time he mentions the car).

Not only am I excited that my son will learn so much about fuel (I like to tell my husband, “We’re putting the FUN back in fuel!”) but it’s also fodder for good storytelling. What I thought was a bizarre hobby (that sometimes involves me saying, “Eeeeww, honey! What IS that?” after he hugs me), is now an interesting slice of life that will definitely make it into my next book.

I’m already thinking of a title. How about…VEGGIE TALES. (A classic!)


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

You Think I'm Funny? -- Eve

How'm I funny? Funny, how? What am I, here to amuse you? What am I…like some kind of clown?? I've got Joe Pesci on the brain lately, ever since a recent girls' night out where we happened upon a funky little dance club where they played a muted Goodfellas on the big screens over and over all night. (If you didn't recognize the Joe Pesci shtick I insist you go rent Goodfellas immediately!)

Two years ago at the SCBWI L.A. conference I had a “Joe Pesci-Off” with a couple of very funny dudes who we met at the after-hours party. Maybe it was the all those pink drinks Robin and Jay kept forcing on me, but I brought my A-game that night and I was on fuego, baby! Of course I won the contest and I remember thinking that I'm definitely the right person to be writing funny children's books…since I'm so dang funny and all.

Problem is, it's really freaking hard to write funny, and keep it up for an entire book. I've only read a handful that can really make me laugh out loud. Captain Underpants, Absolutely Positively Not..., The Day My Butt Went Psycho, and Millicent Min, Girl Genius are some that come to mind. But there's not a ton of funny stuff out there for kids and there should be!

I always wanted to be known as a “lighthearted humor writer,” but the deeper I get into my second book the more I realize that I don't write funny. Not even a little bit. My first novel started out funny, but quickly took on a somber tone once I got to know my characters better. This second book is sooo not funny it's really making me wonder. Did I lose my sense of humor somewhere or is it just terribly challenging to write a funny book?

I think I'm funny. Robin thinks I'm funny. Jay thinks I'm funny. Although, my friend K.T. who's known me since college recently laughed at me…not because he thinks I'm funny, but because he thinks it's funny that I think I'm so funny. Maybe I'm not as funny as I think I am. I guess acknowledgment of the problem is the first step. Who knew I was destined to write serious books? Crazy! But I can still do a mean Joe Pesci imitation…so I got that going for me! HA!


Monday, December 11, 2006

Silly Putty Me -- Jay

A few weeks ago, I sat down for my first post-contract interview. A reporter for a local newspaper heard about my book sale and (since I live in a small town) this was considered newsworthy. In fact, the article made its way onto the front page! The only other front page story ran with the headline "Santa Claus tells all: Kris Kringle dishes about snacks, favorite gift requests and naughty or nice." That's right, me and Santa, baby!

Like I said...small town.

The interview was a lot of fun, partly because the reporter herself was a writer (not that writing for a newspaper doesn't count as...oh, you know what I mean). So I didn't have to tell her that, "No, I didn't do my own illustrations" or "No, I'm not able to quit my day job" or "No, I have no plans to write real books for adults." And I’m glad my first interview was with a small newspaper because, during my answers, I often found myself thinking, “Is there any way to say that and sound even stupider? No, probably not.” But, thanks to some fancy editing on the part of the reporter, I think it turned out fairly well. I'd love to hear what you think:

The Adobe Press

(And yes, once again, I’m wearing my Disco Mermaids t-shirt.)

- Jay

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Super Agent Sends Emails (S.A.S.E.) -- Robin

Recently my awesome agent spent a week hitting the streets of New York shopping manuscripts around. I pictured her in a fabulous velvet cape, swooping into town with life-changing manuscripts in one hand and emergency miniature chocolates in the other. Of course she’d have a darling mask embossed with two A’s in rhinestones.

Awesome hero!

Luckily, a couple of my stories sparked the interest of some publishers who are now reading it. Awesome agent strikes again. Yahoo! And all I have to do is...wait.

But now I find myself becoming an email junkie. I used to be a mailbox junkie.
(mailbox- n. a receptacle that sits at the end of the driveway where a nice man or woman pays a visit every day and drops in packages, cable bills and literature on why exactly your septic tank is causing all those cute migratory birds to die.)

Since Awesome Agent swooped into my life, my whole world has changed! No more SASE’s. No more need to waste my time checking that silly little receptacle!

Now all my updates regarding my manuscript come from my email. And so I find that I just leave my email up all day and hit the refresh button over and over and over...then call up Eve and Jay every five minutes and say, “I got nothin'. How 'bout you?”

So while I spend every free moment pushing that little circular arrow button, my husband keeps mumbling something about the cable getting cut off and that all the cute migratory birds are dying. Like I have time to deal with these little details!

I’m living life in the INBOX, baby!

- Robin

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Kids Are Alright --Eve

I've been volunteering at the local high school lately, fulfilling my teaching “fix” since I've been away from the classroom for a few years. It's also the perfect research lab. A massive Petri dish of little teen organisms for me to observe, question, and prod. Not only are the kids really entertaining, but they've helped me a ton with character development.

The question I posed to them today was this:

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU KNEW YOU HAD A YEAR TO LIVE? Specifically, a year to live relatively healthy before a degenerative disease quickly takes over your body and mind. (It is the central problem in my new YA book…don't steal my idea!)

The answers were funny, insightful, scary and surprising. The Creative Writing teacher allowed me to work with two different periods of his class (Thanks, Mr. Huttle!!) so I got about 40 different answers and some lively discussion. Initially, almost every student said he/she would be adventurous, take major risks (including breaking the law), and do things he/she had never dreamed of before. Most also agreed that they would quit school and spend lots of time with friends. However, the
majority also said that they would not tell friends or boyfriends/ girlfriends about this predicament for fear of becoming a “charity case”.

The first answers ranged from “robbing a bank” to “stealing a Ferrari” to “seeking revenge on everyone who has done me wrong” and “eating human flesh”. (I swear I did not make that up!) As reality set in, and the deviant behavior impulses simmered down, they started realizing that they didn't want to waste time in jail or hating or hurting other people. Answers mellowed to things like “taking lots of mushrooms or other hallucinogenic drugs”, “road tripping with buddies”, “changing everything about myself…how I dress, how I act” and “reaching out to people I wouldn't normally talk to”.

As the discussions wound down, different ideas started popping up. One student mentioned that his goal is to be remembered…to make a mark. Several others said they would love to volunteer with homeless or sick kids. Eventually, almost everyone agreed that quitting school would also mean losing important social networks. Toward the end, answers
started getting more thoughtful and profound. Only then, after more than an hour of reflection and discussion, did students really contemplate and convey what's REALLY important to them.

As students left the room, I got several short summaries of what they concluded life is really about…spending time with family (which had previously not come up once), praying/finding religion, touching the lives of others, doing random good deeds.

Ahh…I feel much better now. My Ferrari's safe. My flesh is safe.
All is right with the youth of today!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Happy Blogiversary!!!

to the tune of
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

It was one whole year ago today
Robin, Jay, and Eve said “I know, hey!”
We’ll start a blog about children’s lit.
From three authors, we’d never seen it
So then we introduced to you
The blog you’ve read for one whole year

We’re DiscoMermaids-DOT-blogspot-DOT-com
We hope you have enjoyed our blog
We’re DiscoMermaids-DOT-blogspot-DOT-com
Are there no cool words that rhyme with blog?

(Now you know why we don't write rhyming books.)

One year ago, when we started this blog, we had four main goals:
1. To have fun and keep ourselves inspired.
2. To help us stay in touch with friends and to make new friends in the children's lit. world.
3. To try to be a little "different" and see how many interesting things we can get into before selling a book.
4. To entertain.

Today, here's how we feel we did with each of the above goals:
1. We've had way more fun than we ever imagined. We've each written more than ever. And truly, we've grown closer as friends because of this shared project.
2. At conferences, we've had the chance to meet our readers in person and formed true friendships because of it.
3. Holy cow! Beyond belief. Nine months after starting the blog, we were speaking at the SCBWI national conference as guests of Lisa Yee because of our blog. We were featured on Tomie dePaola's website because of our blog. And Jay got a mighty big head because of our blog.
4. Hopefully you found us a little entertaining.

Also within the past year, all three of us signed with agents and we sold our first book.

So stick with us. Next year should be even better.

- Your Disco Mermaids (Robin, Jay, and Eve)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Happy Gift Xchange

Today, our extended writing group is getting together for our Annual Holiday Lunch & Gift Xchange. Members of S.L.O.W. for Children (San Luis Obispo Writers for Children...catchy, eh?), both past and present, will meet downtown for some serious grub and merriment.

Each person brings a wrapped children's book, new or lightly used. One at a time, we pick one out of the pile, open it, and the next person can either steal that book or open their own. It can all get pretty nasty and evil, but it's always fun.

This year's get-together is extra noteworthy for the Disco Mermaids. It's an anniversary, of sorts. In Eve's car last year, after the grub and merriment, the three of us put our heads together and came up with the idea for this three-person blog.

And a couple days later...we went live!

But more on that in a couple days.

So, what children's book are you hoping to receive (or steal) this holiday season?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Roll Call -- Jay

Wouldja take a look at what the kids over at Class of 2k7 have got going on. It's a commercial for this fine and outstanding group of debut middle grade and YA authors...and I'm one of 'em!


Eric Luper did a brilliant job, dontcha think?

- Jay