Friday, October 31, 2008

BOO! -- Robin

Happy Halloween, everyone!

I’m hoping it will be a happy Halloween for me this year. I’ve been awfully sick this week with the cold/flu/plague thing I seem to get every Fall, which means I was unable to participate in the family Halloween preparations. My husband and son went to the pumpkin patch, decorated the house, and carved the pumpkins without me. Waaaaahhh! I love doing that stuff! But I’m hoping I’ll be better by tonight so I can take my son trick-or-treating…the best part of Halloween.

Every year we buy a pumpkin for each of us: a Mommy pumpkin, a Daddy pumpkin, and a Big Kid pumpkin (he no longer lets me say words like “baby”). And we each get to choose the type of face to carve on our own pumpkins. But like I said, I was sick and missed the pumpkin carving—I was too busy lying in bed, sneezing and coughing and yelling at the pundits on CNN.

My hubby and son decided they would carve my pumpkin for me, and they asked what I’d like. But I was moany and groany and said, “I don’t care. Whatever you want to carve.” So my son said he would make sure it was something that would make me feel better.

I went back to sneezing and yelling at the pundits, and a little while later, the boys called me into the living room. The room was completely dark and all I could see was my glowing pumpkin.

And my boy was right. I felt a lot better!

- Robin

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What Do You Want To Do With Your Life? -- Eve

I wanna rock!

Okay, I stole that line from an 80's hair band (Twisted Sister, maybe?? Man, I'm old...).

In chatting with my writer friend Christy Raedeke today, I got to seriously thinking about what I really want to do with my life. My writing life, that is. Christy recently landed a fantastic 2-book deal with a fantastic editor at a fantastic publishing house. When I hear news like this my immediate response is always pure excitement for my deserving friend, and then fantasies about what that day will feel like for me when I finally get "the call".

Usually those fantasies begin and end with me getting the contract, throwing a launch party on P. Diddy's yacht, and sipping champagne with Brad Pitt and George Clooney. I've never really thought too far beyond that. But, today, I started really thinking about who I want to be as a writer. Some types I'm considering:

The J.D. Salinger: reclusive, mysterious, one-classic-wonder
The Ellen Hopkins: passionate edgy genre master
The Gordon Korman: flawless genre-jumper
The Dave Eggers: independent, shuns money and media, writes only what he loves
The Jodi Piccult: prolific, "issue-oriented"
The John Grisham: perpetual bestseller, unable to write a flop
The Nicholas Sparks: love, love, love, sap, sap, sap, but in a good way
The Cormack McCarthy: Downer-Debbie, and a bit disturbed, but a genius!
The Greg Trine: funny, funny, lighthearted, and always funny
The John Green: award winner
The Stephanie Meyer: dazzling storyteller, "gets" teens
The Earnest Hemingway: massively influential writing style, wrote "autobiographically"
The Harper Lee: one brilliant piece of work was enough!
The Bruce Coville: creative, hilarious, humble, master entertainer, loves his job
The Jerry Spinelli: champion of the underdog kid
The Walter Dean Myers: tireless researcher, tackles tough subjects regardless of commercial appeal
The JK Rowling: no explanation necessary

It's hard to pin down which type of writing career would make me the happiest. Bottom line is that I want to write good, meaningful, entertaining, fascinating, brilliant, bestselling books that don't cave to trends, yet will speak to youth of today and youth 100 years from now. I'm thinking some kind of
SalHopKorEggPicGrishSparkMcTrineGreeMeyHemLeeCovSpinWDMRow combo might work for me.

I'm curious, though. Do any of our other writer friends out there have an ideal writer type you shoot for? And does anyone aspire to be The Valerie Bertinelli or the Pamela Anderson? Just wondering.

- Eve

Monday, October 27, 2008

Found in Translation -- Jay

Last week, I got an e-mail from someone working on one of the foreign translations of Thirteen Reasons Why. He needed a few things clarified to help with his translation because his job isn’t simply to swap one word for another, but to interpret each word for another language. His job is to make my story make sense. And some of his questions fascinated me!

Here are some examples:

What does "Boy Scout" mean in this context: "my tongue twisted into knots even a Boy Scout would walk away from"? (p.17)
I gave him a fairly detailed answer to that question. How he’s going to whittle my answer into a few simple words to convey context, I have no idea (which is why I never did well in my foreign language classes).

On page 57, Ms. Antilly says "Or... not." Does this mean "Maybe it was not a good idea to introduce you two to become buddies"?
One thing I am excessively conscious about is slang. Pop culture and slang will age a novel like nothing else. Unless a novel is meant to be timefull (which is my made-up opposite for timeless), most pop culture and slang can be deleted without being missed. “Or…not” was said with a little sarcasm in my book, making it a tad slangy...and making the translator earn his pay.

On page 59...
Then, on page 194...
Ah, yes. Something was found in translation, as well. Because a translator can’t take any word for granted, they need to pay special attention to everything. And sometimes they can catch little inconsistencies no one else has caught. (Yes, I already contacted my editor and said, “How did we miss this???”)

On page 283, it says "Class of '93". Just out of curiosity, is there some special meaning in the year 1993?
It's extremely cool to know that the person working on the translation also enjoyed the book. Can you imagine if the translator hated the book? Yikes! So it meant a lot to me that there were details he wanted to know just out of curiosity. And in case any of you are suddenly curious, 1993 is when I graduated from high school.

- Jay

P.S. Speaking of graduating from high school, the list of people taking the challenge of sharing their senior photos is still growing. Did you show us yours?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Finding My Spot -- Robin

I have a “spot,” and I’ve spoken about this spot before. It's where I go to clear my head and think and get inspiration. It’s a trail that runs along a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I run for about twenty minutes, then take a smaller, more narrow side trail that leads out to a cliff that’s about twenty feet above a rocky, jagged part of the coastline. And that’s where I sit, and I ask questions, and sometimes I get answers. Sometimes I cry, and sometimes I don’t. But no matter what happens, I always feel better afterwards…like I’ve spent time talking with a close friend and I have a better handle on life. Does anyone else have a spot like this?

Today when I was at my spot, I cried. But it was a good kind of cry, because I was watching a flock of seagulls fly by me in a neat, single-file line, and as I watched them fly off, a small sailboat came into view, all at the exact moment the sun was setting over the ocean. It was a moment that took my breath away, and I realized…I freakin’ love where I live!!!

I love that I live in a place where we can take my six-year-old son kayaking and shark fishing and hiking and surfing and bird watching, all within a few minutes of our house. I love that my little boy knows when the tide is in and when it’s out, and that he loves walking through eucalyptus groves. And I love that I have a special spot where I can get away and feel connected with my surroundings. And that my environment can inspire me and lift me up, just like a friend.

I think when I was younger I paid more attention to people, not surroundings. I was more concerned with the people I liked and the people I didn’t like and the people I was jealous of and the people who annoyed me. But now that I’m a teensy bit older, and hopefully a teensy bit wiser, I’ve simplified things. I surround myself with the people I love and the ones who love me…no more, no less. And then I just enjoy my surroundings. So now, (and don’t worry, I realize how cheesy this sounds) I’ve learned how to love our Earth just as much as the people who inhabit it.

So what does this all mean? I don’t know. I kinda feel like Stan at the end of a South Park episode: “I’ve really learned something today!” That I need to teach my child that the environment is important. That it’s true he needs to be friends with lots of kids (and lots of different types of kids), but he also needs to be friends with his surroundings. And that nature can fill a need, just like people can.

So, here we are, forcing our son to be friends with his surroundings. And I have a feeling he doesn’t mind it one bit…

- Robin

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Virtual High School -- Eve

Lately, I've taken to finding and chatting with old friends via Facebook. Yes, I admit it. Eve, who never liked technology, who was the last person on earth to buy a cell phone, who shunned TV remote controls (why not just get up and turn the knob for crying out loud??) and computers (I have a perfectly good manual typewriter right here!) back in the day.

I started off slowly. Casually. Socially. Looking up Carrie from junior high or Stephie from UCLA...people I'd lost track of over the years and wondered what ever happened to them. I'd say "Hello." They'd write back and update me on their whereabouts. We'd exchange phone numbers and email addresses and promise to keep in touch.

Very quickly, FB-ing took on a life of its own. Suddenly, I was finding more old friends through mutual friends, and receiving friend requests from people I'd known in 5th grade and hadn't even thought about in, um, a lot of y ears. Then, suddenly, we began exchanging silly wall posts, leaving vulgar comments under photos, passing martinis around, baking virtual cupcakes, playing Duck-Duck-Goose, and creating sea creature aquariums for each other.

It hit me last night, as I was engaged in several of the above at the same time, that Facebook is high school all over again! You can "friend" and "de-friend" people in an instant, show off your flair for fashion, gossip on a giant virtual "bathroom wall" for all the world to see, brag about how popular you are by showcasing your number of friends, get "drunk" off virtual beers, play poker, discuss books and politics, and even join clubs like the "Obama Club" or the "No on Proposition 8 Club" or the "Save The Wolverines Club"!

(I don't think there's any kind of "hooking up" with a cute guy/girl feature, but I'm sure it's coming soon! That should be interesting...instead of "Click HERE to send Dave a pink octopus for his sea garden" it will say, "Click HERE to..." Never mind!)

For people like me, who loved high school and love to reminisce with long lost friends, Facebook is fantastic! Another added bonus is that I'm finding this to be a fabulous tool for YA book research and helping me regress back into the teen mentality. The other night, I went back and forth with an old girlfriend for a few hours (I'm recovering from knee surgery here and can't really move off the couch yet. That's my excuse for slacking and I'm sticking to it!). We rehashed so many forgotten stories of parties, heartbreak and was amazing, the feelings and memories that flooded back.


We even made lists for each other of the boys we kissed in high school and those we wanted to kiss, then laughed hysterically (virtually) when our lists shared a common guy. It was like the most entertaining thing I've done in a long time! This FB-ing has really enriched my writing in so many ways. Reliving my teen years with these friends and even the mention of a familiar name often gives me authentic plot ideas I never would have come up with on my own. Unfortunately, this FB thing is on its way to becoming an addiction for me. Fortunately, I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up with a really great novel!

- Eve

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Senioritis All Over Again -- Jay

Because of author websites and MySpace, I’m sure authors receive a lot more feedback from readers than in the past. And I love that! Checking my MySpace messages is one of the highlights of my day.

But I looooove receiving actual hardcopy letters from my readers. Usually, those are mailed to my publisher, and then Penguin sends them on to me in one big envelope. This week, my bundle contained a letter from a high school senior in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Along with the letter (she loved the book…woo-hoo!), she also sent a wallet-sized senior portrait. With MySpace, you can usually see the writer of the message staring back at you in the upper left-hand corner. But with hardcopy letters, that’s not usually the case. So this particular letter reminded me of how fun it was to trade senior photos in the final year of high school.

So now, I’m gonna throw down a challenge to all you writers of teen literature out there. Go dig out your remaining senior photos. If you were just so popular in high school that you don’t have any leftovers, go scan the photo in your yearbook. And then post it on your blog! Come back to this post and leave a comment, directing us to your blog, so we can all laugh at…I mean, admire…how much you haven’t changed. (If you write for younger children, or are an illustrator, or blog in any way about books for children or teens, you should play along, too!)

To start it off, here are my two senior photos:

Ha! Ha! Ha! Laugh all you want. Like yours are any better...

- Jay

BONUS FACT: In the photo with my guitar, I'm actually playing the opening chord to a huge song from my high school days: More Than Words by Extreme. Don't lie, you still love that song!


Another Mermaid has decided to take the challenge.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Changin' It Up -- Robin

I’ve made a few changes this week. Here they are, in no particular order…

  1. I quit my job. I start a new job in a couple of weeks, and while it’s not entirely different from my current job, my hope is that it will be different enough to make me the happiest person on the planet. Or, at least, moderately light-hearted. In my new job, I will be supervising in-home behavioral programs for children with autism. Which means I will be attending lots of training and learning how to use Applied Behavioral Analysis. (Gulp!)
  2. I bought a new pair of shoes. Normally, I wouldn’t consider that as something new since I do it so often. But my new shoes are like my food…vegan! They are an adorable pair of Mary Janes by Earth shoes and, according to the outside of the box, they’re vegan shoes. I don’t quite know what vegan shoes are, but I assume it means they aren’t made from ground beef and string cheese? How cool!!!
  3. I bought a bouquet of flowers. Usually I drop hints to my husband that it’s time for him to buy me flowers, but this week I decided to put gender stereotypes aside and give a beautiful bouquet of tulips to my husband and thank him for all his love and support. And I have to say…brilliant idea. He loved it! Now I’m thinking about giving him diamonds and perfume. Who knows, maybe even a new pair of vegan shoes!
- Robin

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Great Charlotte -- Jay

Last week, I spent three days speaking and signing books at the 18th Annual Novello Festival of Reading in Charlotte, North Carolina. Was it amazing? Was it amazing? Yes. It was amazing!

On Thursday and Friday, I spoke at four high schools: Ardrey Kell, Performance Learning Center, North Mecklenburg, and West Charlotte. It's unbelievable how every presentation can be a totally unique experience. And yet, you should believe it cuz it's true!

As usual, I use a PowerPoint to show my journey as an author and how Thirteen Reasons Why came to be. And, as usual, this slide here seems to get the biggest reaction. My favorite part, every time, is when I get to read a few pages with one of the students. Their interpretations of Hannah are always different (and not just because of the various accents they give her around the country) but they're always great!

This was the first time I arrived at a school, greeted by my name on the marquee. Did that give me the chills? Uh...kinda!

At another school, for the first time, they had posterboards and whiteboards all over the place announcing my visit. One whiteboard was overflowing with favorite quotes from the book. One posterboard was full of positive messages derived from the book. Here's Ashley and me in front of one of the whiteboards. (She designed the audiotape!)

The library across from my hotel had a gallery of original children's book art. There was a Tomie dePaola. A Garth Williams. And check out this close-up of a David Wisniewski paper cut-out piece.

Down the street was another library...just for children and teens. The ImaginOn is amazing! Aside from plenty of things to read (except for Thirteen Reasons was checked out!), there are a million cool things for children to play with. The teens even have a studio where they can film animated cartoons, live-action scenes (with a blue-screen for special f/x), or record their own music. And all you need is a library card.

Plus, they have some huge art structures.

Oh, and there were other authors in town, too! That's what Novello does. They bring in all types of authors to speak with all types of readers. And, quite often, I need to pinch myself over the people I find myself hanging out with. Here I am, dining with A.M. Jenkins, Margaret Peterson Haddix, and Ellen Hopkins. (Pinch-pinch!)

On the final day of the program, all of the authors and illustrators for children and teens did a group Q&A at ImaginOn, followed by an autograph party outside. Here I am being clawed by the author of The Cheetah Girls, Deborah Gregory. Growl power!

I swear, Cynthia Kadohata, author of Kira-Kira, started it! But at least I can say I fulfilled my long-held dream of putting bunny ears on a Newbery-winning author.

Before going home, I paid a visit to a traveling Pompeii exhibit. The rooms were full of items excavated out of the ash, bringing back to life an amazing city. But the final room was heartbreaking. The walls and floor were black. Overhead spotlights illuminated the famous plaster casts of the final moments of people and animals trapped in their homes and on the streets. A slave still had shackles around his legs. A man held a handkerchief up to his mouth. A man and a woman spend their last moments together.

It's funny how authors are attracted to things like Pompeii. Ms. Haddix and Ms. Jenkins were walking the exhibit and ran into Ms. Kadohata. And then they ran into me. As Ms. Haddix pointed out, only one of us opted to purchase the audiotour device. And if you had to guess, based on our books, which author would be most fascinated by the idea of an might pick me.

And you'd be right.

- Jay

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I'm Done (And So Can You!) -- Robin

I have finally handed my middle grade novel, The Happiness Project, over to my agent. (Pant, pant. Whew!) It feels like I just handed in the hugest term paper ever and now I’m cringing to see how many red marks the teacher will put on my paper. Hopefully, she’ll put a big A+ with a cute smiley face. Maybe even draw some stars and hearts. That’d be nice.

Whenever I finish writing a book, I find that I have to take a break. I wish I was one of those people (you know who you are, CynJay!) who can just scoot right back up to the computer and start working on another book. But for me, I need to decompress. Relax. Meditate. Kick back. Smell the roses. Eat popcorn. Watch more TV. Cry over the economy. Kick the dog...that sort of thing.

(And, of course, I don’t actually kick my dog. Just stuffed animal versions of my dog.)

What about you writers and illustrators out there? Do you get started on a new project as soon as you turn one in? Or do you take some time off before you dig in again? I love hearing about other processes…so leave me a comment.

I’ll just be sitting here, kicking back, eating popcorn, petting my dog, and reading your comments. What else is there to do!?


Thursday, October 09, 2008

The "Ick" Factor -- Eve

I’ve got a stack of YA books on the shelf next to my writing couch (Yes, I said “couch”…I like to be veeerrry comfortable when writing, and need to spread out. A chair just won’t do!) that I read when giving my wrists a break from typing on an ergonomically-challenged laptop for hours at a time. The “stack” consists of YA novels that have been given or recommended to me, and they’re all very different from what I write, in terms of style, subject matter, and themes. I find that reading during my writing breaks keeps me motivated…not sure if it’s the carrot of the whole entire published book, or if it’s just giving my mind a break from whatever I’m obsessing over in my own story. A lot of people tell me they cannot read anything else while crafting a book. But for me, it’s essential.

So, I’m staring at the “stack” today and realized that I’ve read little bits and pieces of each book, but never read just one consistently for too long, or even finished most of them! (It’s a LARGE stack, I tell you.) So, I thought long and hard about what my problem is and it hit me that the books all have something in common.

The “Ick” factor. Yes, I said “Ick.” As in, yuck. Sick. Gross. Disgusting. Repulsive. I don’t know what it is about the novels people are giving me lately, but they all deal with really sick topics. Like, hard to read topics. Now, I am not a prude. I can watch gross-out horror flicks, CSI, Fear Factor, bloody surgery shows with the best of ‘em. But, I’m talking about disturbing stuff. Stuff I wish I hadn’t read. Nauseating visuals I can’t get out of my head. Plots that are so far out there on the vile scale, I have to wonder who would actually read--and get pleasure--from them.

I have nothing against difficult and edgy topics. Give me suicide, death, destruction, drugs, guns, even a little homicide doesn’t bother me so much…I’ll take those any day. I’m talking more along the lines of violent abduction, child-rape, perverted sexual assault, twisted brainwashing…that kind of thing.

My question is this: Who is the audience? If we are writing for teens, should we be providing stories that are so perverted, so far out there, so disturbing, that they become afraid to leave their houses or ever make eye contact with a stranger? It’s one thing to write a story about, say, suicide, which in my opinion is something every single teen on the planet is somehow touched by. But some of these stories are about such random and rare issues, I just wonder exactly who is relating to them. Now, I realize we do not have to relate or see ourselves in every story we enjoy. But I’m telling you, I’ve got a stack of YA books that seem to lack any ente rtainment value at all. In fact, the only hook I can imagine is one of shock value. Although, I have to worry about the person who enjoys this kind of shock.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. Or maybe not. My dear friend, Barbara, gave me an ARC, that is getting good reviews, recently and said, “I just want to see what you think.” When I asked what she thought of it, she said, “Oh! It made me barf!”

Guess what. I read it. And then I barfed.

- Eve

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

PJs Forever! -- Jay

If I could, I would wake up everyday and stay in my pajamas till I swap (in a move reminiscint of Mr. Rogers) one pair of pajamas for another just in time to crawl back into bed. My days would consist of waking up, brewing some coffee, sitting down to write, and not getting up (other than for refills and bathroom breaks) till I can't write anymore.

And now...I'll have the chance to do that.

In an extremely bittersweet move, I recently gave notice that I will be leaving my full-time job at the public library to become a full-time writer. I absolutely love my job at the library. Everyday, I feel like I'm contributing something worthwhile to the community. And my co-workers have all become friends. But it's every author's dream (at least, every author I've spoken with) to have the chance to devote as much time as possible to their stories.

And now...I'll have the chance to do that!

This definitely was not an easy decision. My agent, the fine folks at Penguin, my family, and the Mermaids have all been pushing me in this direction for quite a while. But I'm a worrier, so just the idea of leaving the stability of a full-time job (with benefits!) was agonizing. So my agent and the fabulous folks at Penguin basically pushed me out of the nest (can Penguins fly?) and now I'm happy to announce that I'm putting all of my eggs into one basket. [If you check out the third photo in this post, that's what we were toasting. Sometimes it takes a while to finalize these things.]

On top of writing, I'll be able to do a lot more promoting, which is almost as fun as writing. (Actually, it's more fun than writing...but don't tell the fantastic folks at Penguin I said that!) For example, last weekend I signed books at the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association tradeshow.

Take a looksie...

Do any of you recognize this woman? She's a V.I.P. in the history of my book signings. Click here to find out who she is. And yes, I realize I have a problem thinking I need to hold my book every time my photo is taken. Call it author-insecurity.

Okay, now this is ridiculous! I must really have author-insecurity issues. On the left is Allison Verost, my publicist at Penguin. According to Allison, publicists should never be photographed. They should remain behind-the-scenes. So, everyone...this is Allison! And on the right you will find Penguins Sales Rep. Extraordinaires, Steve Kent and Colleen Conway.

Problem solved! I can hold someone else's book while they hold my book. Before my autographing session, I had coffee with fellow Razorbillian, Richelle Mead. Richelle does a much better job on her blog of showing you what an actual tradeshow looks like.

Now, it's time to buy some comfy new pajamas!

- Jay

Mermaid Meet-Up: Today (Tuesday, October 7th), I'll be speaking at the fourth annual San Luis Obispo Suicide Prevention Forum. It'll be at Laguna Middle School from 6-9pm. If you're in the area, stop by...and take home some valuable information. You can download a flyer here.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Happy Birth/Debate Day -- Robin

The Disco Mermaids got together the other night to celebrate two things: the vice-presidential debate and Jay’s birthday. And by the way, Jay wouldn’t admit his age in his last post, but in two years he will have lived on this planet for as long as Joe Biden has been a U.S. senator. That’s right…Jay is 76 years old.

The three of us had a good time discussing politics and eating veggie burgers from our favorite local restaurant, Sylvester’s. (What is in their sauce!? Heaven juice!?) Well, not all of us had veggie burgers. Jay had hamburger. But who could blame him? At his age, the poor guy needs all the extra iron he can get!

We thought it might be fun to play a drinking game while we watched the debate and take a drink every time Sarah Palin said “maverick,” “gosh darn,” "nuke-you-ler," or “ramp it up!” or any time Joe Biden offered specific facts. But we knew no one would be able to drive home if we did that, so we sipped our Coke Zeros with sophistication (pinkies out!) and made crude remarks to the TV screen. We’re just that classy.

And, of course, we ate cake. Lots of it. Ridiculous amounts of it. So many amounts, it was like we were celebrating the cake itself…and it deserved it. But really, it was all for you, Jay. Happy Birthday, man!

Now that we’re done celebrating, the Disco Mermaids need to get back to the business of writing books. But at least now we have a new writing mantra…

Ramp it up!!!

- Robin

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Check It!!! -- Eve

I’m a simple person. It doesn’t take much to excite me. Little things that make me incredibly happy are: Fetching the new People magazine from the mailbox, mounds of whipped cream on my morning cafĂ© mocha, unexpected emails from old friends, an accidental extra jelly doughnut in my box of “dozen assorted” from Stan’s in Westwood.

Seriously, no joke, these are the things I revel in. One new comment on my Facebook page can get my heart pumping, my endorphins flowing, and instantly make me ecstatic to be alive. Told you. I’m simple.

With my excitement threshold still being that of a six-year-old (remember when finding a ladybug on your sleeve was like the best thing ever?) you can imagine how I felt when I ran into Borders Bookstore a few days ago to check out the Writing/Publishing section (which I often do, just to see if there’s anything on the planet about this business I haven’t read yet) and saw this!!

The New Writer’s Handbook, Vol. 2 is an all-new collection of articles to refresh and upgrade any writer's skills, with tons of advice on craft and career development. It delivers an eclectic mix of expert how-tos, stimulating pieces on creativity and professional issues, and broad encouragement for aspiring and experienced writers alike.

Why the heart attack inducing freak out session? Because I flipped to page 33 and saw this!


Originally written as a post on this blog, the lovely editor, Philip Martin, had read it and contacted me about turning it into an article for the anthology.

There’s nothing like the thrill of seeing one’s name in print. In a real book. In a real bookstore. When I spied the book, I was alone in the aisle (sweats-clad and greasy-haired, by the way…not my best look) except for the scruffy, bespectacled young book-stacker a couple shelves down. I could not contain my enthusiasm. I flipped to page 33, jumped up and down, squealed a bit, then decided I needed to share the moment with someone. It went something like this:

ME: (pokes scruffy young book stacker in the arm) Hey…Hey!
HIM: Yes.
ME: Look! (points to page 33) That’s me!
HIM: Uh-huh.
ME: Me! In the book. My name. Me!
HIM: Mm-hmm.
ME: I wrote this.
HIM: (finally looks up from his book stacking) Oh.
ME: I’m a writer…
HIM: (finally stops book stacking) Yeah? Like JK Rowling??
ME: (walks away hugging book to chest) Yes. Just like JK Rowling.

Amazon blurb:

The 60-plus articles are chosen from best pieces of advice published in books, magazines, and online. Contributors include Tess Gerritsen, Lois Lowry, Ira Glass, and other bestselling and award-winning authors, plus leading journalists, writing teachers, editors, agents, and literary bloggers…(LIKE EVIE P!)

- Eve