This Is Your Brain on No Sleep

Dear readers,

I was at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference this weekend, which was loads of fun. But the thing about conferences is that they take up a ton of time, so I didn’t have a chance to write anything fun for you. Or, you know, write anything at all.

(NOTE: if you happen to be my editor, please ignore that last statement. It’s a big lie. THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE MOMENT DURING WHICH I AM NOT WORKING INCREDIBLY HARD FOR YOU.) [Read more…]

Don’t Stop Revisin’

It’s been a while since I wrote a song for you guys. I thought it was time.

This one goes out to all my friends who are huddled in their revisions caves right now. Poke your heads out for a minute and let me soothe and inspire you. Then you can go back to rocking back and forth, banging your heads against the wall, and chewing your nails down to the quick. With any luck, I’ll be joining you in a matter of weeks. Keep a spot warm for me. [Read more…]

The Redhead Sisterhood


 RedheadsisterhoodWhen I was in Chicago over the holidays, my mom, my sister, and I went to an exhibit at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. For context, here is a picture of us. Can you tell we’re related?

The exhibit was fairly crowded, and we slowly made our way through the sea of people without speaking to anyone… until we saw this one family. A mom, a dad, two little kids. They were total strangers, just like everyone else in the room. But my sister and I smiled at the kids, and the mom made a friendly, jokey comment to my mom. When we continued on our separate ways, we were a little happier than we’d been before.

The difference? It was another family of redheads. [Read more…]

In which I give myself some important advice

At last year’s SCBWI conference in New York, I got to hear a talk by one of my literary goddesses, the lovely Sara Zarr. She started out by telling us that she wasn’t quite sure what to talk about, so she had decided to give us the talk SHE needed to hear right then. It turned out to be exactly the talk I needed to hear, too. (And from the number of weepy writers giving her a standing ovation at the end, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.)

There’s a lot of advice I need to hear right now. And since nobody is magically reading my mind and giving it to me, I’m going to give it to myself–and to you. I’m not nearly as cool as Sara Zarr, but some of you may be having the same issues I am, and I hope this helps. [Read more…]

How to Tell If You’re an Author: A Self-Diagnostic Guide

DSMIVSo, your friends tell me you’ve been exhibiting some strange behavioral patterns lately. Why don’t you step into my office so we can discuss it?

It’s okay. Don’t be shy. I know it’s hard to talk about. Go ahead, sit down on the couch. Are you warm enough? Here’s a glass of water. I want you to take a nice deep breath for me. Innnn through your nose, ouuuut through your mouth. Now one more. Good. That’s very good.

Now, I have something to tell you. I don’t want you to freak out, but there’s a chance–

Well, there’s a chance you might be an author. [Read more…]