Thursday, December 03, 2009

Publicity for the Beat Within Fundraiser

I'm thrilled at all the great press we're getting for the literary Beat Within fundraiser. Donate some cash to this fantastic and important art and writing program for incarcerated kids and you get an autographed book as a thank-you gift.

Read the article in The Santa Cruz Sentinel.
And in Metro Santa Cruz.

All the details for donating? Click here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Donating to the Beat Within

Thanks so much to Amy Reed for posting on her blog about the fundraiser for The Beat Within. (And for her very generous donation of a book). One of the fun benefits of organizing this fundraiser is being introduced to the work of so many writers. I enjoyed checking out the interviews on her blog.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Non-Fiction in November

Blogger Nina Amir has declared: It's "Write Non-Fiction in November"month, her once-a-year challenge to complete a work of non-fiction in 30 days. She's posting a month's worth of pertinent info to help you along your way to publishing success. I'm her guest blogger today, in my guise as editor of Bay Area Parent.

Click here to read my post.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Donate a Book; Buy a Book

Almost every Friday night for the past 10 years or so, I've been a volunteer with a writing program called The Beat Within. Each week, I join staff and other volunteers at the juvenile hall in my home town to hold writing workshops with kids, ages 14-18. The hand-written pieces from the workshops are then published into a weekly magazine, The Beat Within, which circulates through juvenile halls and prisons around the country. Each entry is published along with an adult response. It's an amazing program.

And now, I'm helping to raise funds to keep it going. We're asking authors to donate autographed copies of their books to give away as a thank-you gifts to donors. The drive is just getting started and already so many wonderful writers have stepped up, including from Newbery-award winner Paul Fleischman and Karen Joy Fowler, author of the bestseller The Jane Austen Book Club.

To read all the details about the fundraiser, click here.

We need your help if you are an author, or if you love books and kids!

For more info, contact me here or at

And please, please feel free to pass along this message and post it on Facebook, your blog, etc.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Dear Diary -- With Jillian Cantor

I met Jillian Cantor when we were both on the same panel at the Tucson Book Festival. The joke was that, in order to be a YA author, you need thick dark hair, to be named Jill and to have grown up in Philadelphia.

Jillian is the author of the wonderful YA novels, THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS (Harperteen) and THE LIFE OF GLASS (Winter 2010/Harperteen). Her first novel for adults, THE TRANSFORMATION OF THINGS, will be released in Fall 2010 by Avon/HarperCollins.

I'm so glad that she didn't toss her high school journal.

Here's Jillian:

In my upcoming release, THE LIFE OF GLASS, my main character Melissa keeps a journal during her freshman year in high school. It is a continuation of one her father kept before he died, a journal filled with strange facts and unusual love stories, a journal Melissa adds to by writing in the love stories she knows and discovers throughout the year, just so they won’t be lost.

Like Melissa, I, too, kept a journal during my freshman year in high school. Near the beginning I wrote, I’m a Freshman! Can you believe it? This is going to be a year for believing in myself, setting my goals, and reaching for my dreams. However, what follows reads like a soap opera – the boys I liked (which changed almost weekly, I should add), the fights I had with my friends. I’m not sure why, but I even gave my journal a name -- “Capricious” or “Capri” for short. Seems fitting now, looking at how capricious and whimsical I actually was back then, but how I came up with that name, I can’t tell you. I began all the entries by writing “Dear Capri,” (because I guess Dear Diary must’ve felt too boring to me!). Oh, and in the back I have a list of names I like for my future children – at the top of the list is Capricious, which I note will be the name of my first born. (I can assure you, that is not actually his name, though!)

Here are some excerpts from some of the entries. All the names are totally changed because. . . well, because I’m actually Facebook friends with most of these guys now, and even all these years later I would be mortified if any of them read this and realized I was talking about them!

Thursday, November 12, 1992

Guess what? Last Friday A. asked me out, but when I said yes he said JUST KIDDING. How rude and immature! Well now I have spies trying to figure out who he likes. A lot of people know that I like him now, but I don’t even care. In fact now I’m even questioning how much I like him. I keep flirting with B. Just a reminder that “there are other fish.”

Wednesday, November 25, 1992

Sorry I haven’t written in awhile. . .as for A. I wish he would ask me out, so I could say NO! Yuck!! . . .B is so funny, he makes me laugh all the time. He’s just a really awesome person.

Sunday, February 17, 1993

Well, long time no see. B. is SO long gone. I thought that I liked C., but then on Friday we had a dance, and suddenly I found D. very attractive. . . Options for the Dinner Dance are still open. Who knows? Anything could happen between now and June 11.

Friday, March 19, 1993 (12:04 AM)

I really like D. I want to go to the Dinner Dance with him, but I’m scared to ask him. What if he says no? What if he says yes?

Then there is a whole saga involving the Dinner Dance, in which one guy (E.), who I only liked as a friend, asked me and I said yes. But then this other guy (F.) who I dated on and off in junior high confessed his love for me and asked me, so I backed out on my yes with E. and ended up going with F. instead. I still cringe just thinking about it now. The rest of the journal pretty much chronicles my relationship with F., which really wasn’t much more than a friendship. We never even kissed – a point I obsess over for pages and pages.

And then the journal ends on September 3, 1993, which was the first day of my sophomore year and also the day I met my first serious boyfriend (who is now my husband). And after that, I never kept a journal again. Although, part of me almost wishes I’d kept writing, because that’s something I’d love to read now, what I was thinking and feeling when I first started dating my husband, what I would’ve written about him. And then the other part of me is REALLY glad I didn’t!

Kids Who Write

Every time I talk to a group of students, I inevitably get asked the same question by an earnest and passionate tween or teen: "I'm a writer. Where can I get published?"

Here's a resource list for budding authors, in addition to recommending that you create your own blog or website.(That's what I do!)

For writers 13 and under, there's the wonderful Stone Soup, which is published in my town (Santa Cruz, CA), and distributed all over the country. It's been described as "The New Yorker for kids", and I agree. For details on how to publish and subscribe, go to At this website, you'll find more resources. Click on "links" and click on "Young writers in print." Voila.

A wonderful salesperson at Anderson's Books in Naperville, Ill. suggested and its teen counterpart at

A friend pointed me to

Another: Kids who are immigrants or whose families are immigrants might enjoy entering Mitali Perkins' Fire Escape contests.

Now it's your turn. Have your found anything else either print or online?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Proust Questionnaire

Each week, Julie Halpern features an author on her Blog of Wonder: Proust Questionnaire. Today's guest? Me. Lots of fun to answer the questions. Check it out here.

Couldn't resist posting the picture of Proust's coffin.

Friday, September 25, 2009

School Visits in Naperville

I had a blast visiting today with students at Crone and Gregory Middle Schools in Naperville, Ill. I loved all the thoughtful questions, including: "So, do you think one day in the future in an advanced civilization, doctors will no longer do transplants, but will use stem cells to regenerate nerves and create viable organs?" Um, er, maybe?

I so love the passion and energy that school librarians put into welcoming visiting authors. Check out these two fabulous book displays that greeted me as I walked in the door. Thanks Karen and Nancy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Anderson's YA Literature Conference

Just got to Chicago for 3 days of book promotion, school visits and speaking at Anderson's YA conference in Naperville on Saturday. Looking forward to being on panels and hearing Judy Blundell, Gennifer Choldenko, among others. Come if you're in the Chicago area.
Here's the link with the details.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dear Diary --With Janette Rallison

About a month ago, I was helping my mom clean out my childhood home and came upon my middle-school diaries. Wow, what a drama queen I was.
Hmmm. Drama Queen 7th Grader=Children's Book Writer.

I invited other writers to share their earliest and most personal writing. The invitation stands! Let me know if you want to participate.

First up: Janette Rallison,
author of many wonderful books, including Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List (IRA Young Adults' Choices List 2007
); It's a Mall World After All (IRA Young Adults' Choices List 2008) and How to Take the Ex out of Ex Boyfriend (IRA Young Adults' Choices List 2009)

Here's Janette!

I've written in journals since I was thirteen. You'd think that at some point I would have gone back and reread through these tomes, but beyond a few times that I’ve flipped through some of the later ones to reminisce about an event, nope, I haven't cracked any of them open.

I realize now, that I should have, if only for the entertainment value. Wow, I was silly at thirteen. For example, my sister got married that year so this event got a lot of page time in my journal. I understand my writing about my worries--they were mostly because my parents thought she was too young to get married. (She was the oldest so I hadn't realized at that point that my parents thought 32 was the respectable age to marry.)—but I described every detail of the day including the wedding luncheon and the reception. I wrote about the red punch, (it was so good I breathed it in) how many forks were used, (three, and they were silver) how many pictures were taken of the bride and groom (at least 250) and I even drew diagrams of where we stood in the reception line, what the cake looked like, and the poles that marked off the dancing area.

I have no idea why I felt the need to record all these details. Did I think someday we were going to reenact the event? Was I writing it down to make sure my reception was just as fancy? Did I think archeologists would one day unearth my journal and need it to understand wedding rituals of the 20th century? I have no idea. It was the only bit of information I didn't write down.

I did find some of my other observations on marriage interesting. I wrote:

I wouldn't mind being married. Sometimes I just want to get away from it all, from my parents, from all the things I do around here that I wish I didn’t have to do.
(Obviously I had getting married confused with taking a vacation to Disneyland. Hello, when you get married you have to do all that stuff that you wish you didn’t have to do plus some. I guess I thought elves came to pay the bills and stock the fridge.)

I wish I could get away from school and all its popularity groups and the struggle for boys and all the homework. (Okay, granted, I had a point about that. I don’t miss junior high.)

My sister looked so happy, so peaceful. (Of course she did—she no longer had to spend all of her time planning reception details.)

Then I went on to talk about my cousin, Jill’s wedding reception—luckily without the details about every food on the table or what color the napkins were.

Jill looked absolutely radiant! It was then I really decided that I was really going to look forward to my wedding. I even started a wedding fund which I now have a little over 10 dollars in. (I have no idea what happened to that fund. I probably spent it on chocolate in later years when I grew more cynical about men.)

I wonder what it would be like to be with a man, have his children, and live together for the rest of our lives. It’s a big step getting married. I hope I find the right guy. (I did, and it’s wonderful—even if I didn’t get ribbons on the poles to mark off the dancing area for the reception. Come to think of it, I didn’t get a band or a dancing area. I think I should show my journal to my parents. They owe me some ribbons and a band.)

By the way, at Jill’s reception I caught the wedding bouquet and then afterwards one of the waiters who worked there asked me to marry him. He was just kidding. I said, “Yes!” That was fun! (No wonder my parents worried their children getting married too young.)

Janette Rallison


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Interview with Betsy Franco

My interview with Betsy Franco, the wonderful children's book author, was just published in Stanford Magazine. Betsy has 6! new books scheduled to be published this year, including her first YA novel. The artwork is by one of her sons -- and yep, another son is heartthrob James Franco. Here's the link to the article.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dear Diary-- Invitation to all Writers

This week, I've been helping my mom clean out my childhood home. (She's moving to an apartment). What a haul of memories, including my 6th grade autograph book and several journals from my tween/teen years.

Age 12: June 9: "Dear Diary, Today I'm changing my life. I'm NOT going to be shy, but popular with everyone. Tomorrow, Project Popularity goes into effect. I'll clue you in on how it goes!"

Oh writing hasn't changed in 40-plus years, like I'm starring in my own YA novel.

Dear Diary Invitation
I'm opening this up to a guest blog, featuring a different writer each week who is daring enough to share an entry from his or her childhood journals. I know you have them stashed away somewhere!

If you want to participate, please send the excerpt in a Facebook email, or in a direct email to Also, write a few lines about the entry -- year, your age at the time, anything else you want to say. And of course, mention any new or upcoming projects. Pictures are great, too.

Please share this invitation with any other authors you think would be interested.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Meet me on Facebook

I notice that I'm not blogging here as regularly as I hoped, especially since I'm working on a new novel. There are only so many words I can write in a day! But I am posting on Facebook. Ask to be my friend! (I'm not doing so well updating the fan page either)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Book of the Year!

I'm thrilled that Hicklebee's, a fabulous independent bookstore in San Jose, CA., has chosen Cold Hands, Warm Heart as its Book of the Year. The staff was unanimous--which makes me really proud.

If you don't know Hicklebee's, you should! It is more than one local store, it's a national leader in promoting children's literature.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sick Kids Love to Read, too.

I've gotten requests from hospital schools and libraries, so I'm starting a campaign. I'm donating copies of "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. If the spirit moves you, please purchase and donate a copy to your own local hospital.
I'm happy to send an autographed book plate that you can paste into the book. Contact me here or at for more details about donating to Lucile Packard or your local hospital/transplant center.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

She's funny! Dani's got that sarcastic humor that I really dig.

Really great review by blogger Abby the Librarian
She captures how I aimed to combine a serious topic with humor.
Thanks Abby!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hug a Children's Author

If you are in the SF Bay Area tomorrow, head over to a participating bookstore for Kids Otter Read Day Around the Bay. So many great authors, so many great independent bookstores.
I'll be at Linden Tree in Los Altos from 1-3 pm. Hugs by request.
Here's the link for who is reading where.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Vampires and Organ Donation-- The Yuck Factor

Thanks to author blogger Georgia McBride for such a great review. Read it here.

It's interesting to me how several recent reviews mention that the reviewer was reluctant to read a book on organ donation, but how the story (because of the humor and romance) sucked them in.
I wonder why people seem so less squeamish about subjects like vampires and even date rape and anorexia, which are pretty standard YA fare. What is it about organ donation that ratchets ups the yuck factor?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hands of a Stranger

In Cold Hands, Warm Heart, Dani, a girl waiting for a heart transplant, watches an old horror film, Hands of a Stranger. I remember being freaked out when I watched it as a kid. Now, it's a strange combination of scary and corny. But it raises great questions about science, medical ethics, passion and self-indentity. Check out the trailer.

Friday, April 24, 2009

PW Captures Hicklebees

PW did a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of last week's 30th annivesary celebration of Hicklebee's, the great children's bookstore in San Jose, Ca. Read all about it here.

Photo is of me and other authors, including Paul Fleischman, signing books and meeting readers.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

See me in my hometown -- Santa Cruz

I'd love to see you at one of my upcoming hometown readings in the Santa Cruz area.

Sunday, May 3, 5:30 pm at Capitola Book Cafe, 1475 41st. Ave., Capitola. I'll be introducing people whose lives have been touched by the transplant experience. Come out and support our great independent bookstore, where you can sip coffee, tea or wine while listening. Cake will be served!

Sunday, May 17, 7 pm, Bookshop Santa Cruz,1520 Pacific Ave. Santa Cruz. Are you a writer or illustrator of kid books? Have you wanted to be? Or are you maybe just a grownup who loves kid and young adult books? I'll be joining two other nationally-recognized local authors/illustrators in the children’s and young adult arena: Newberry Award Winner Paul Fleischman and renowned illustrator Jim Lamarche. We'll talk about our own creative process, how we connect with youth, offer personal tips on writing and drawing, as well as our journey into entering the world of publishing. Local author and literature professor, Micah Perks, will facilitate the discussion. Bring your curiosity, your questions, and your appetite as there will be snacks and goodies!
I hope to see you at one of these events!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Organ donation -- the ultimate recycling

The topic of organ donation is usually presented in a staid, solemn manner. That's understandable. But I think it's a turn-off to a certain demographic, namely teens and people in their 20s. A new in-your-face campaign promotes the idea that it's cool to sign your donor card and "recycle yourself." Check out this site. It takes a little long to load, but then you get a hunk telling you to click on his "handsome tattoo" to reveal his inners. Graphic and fabulous! Plus, free downloadable iron-ons for your t-shirt.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Reading is Bliss review

I am so impressed by the quality of the reviews by young bloggers. Thanks to Jill for her great review of Cold Hands on her blog Reading is Bliss. Date: April 15. She's invited me to post a guest blog on April 27. I'm honored!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Big 3-0 for Hicklebee's. See you there!

When my kids were little, Hicklebee's was our weekly destination. How lucky that one of the great children's bookstores was my neighborhood hang-out, within walking-with-a-stroller distance.

Now, the beloved San Jose shop is hitting the big 3-0 and holding a daylong celebration this Saturday. (April 18). 1378 Lincoln St. in the city's Willow Glen section.

Authors and illustrators — including Paul Fleischman,Scott Mickelson and Wendelin Van Draanen — will be stopping by for book signings throughout the afternoon. I'll be there starting at 2. And the awesome Banana Slug String Band will be makin' music at 4 p.m.
You can check out the rest of the day's schedule here.
Come by and say hi.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Beyond Herman's Hermits

The Richie's Pick review of Cold Hands reminds me that it's time to put together a soundtrack for the book. Heart-related songs. Send me your ideas! Sorry, Richie already has dibs on Baby, Baby, Can't You Hear My Heartbeat.

Richie's Picks

Great review of Cold Hands posted at Richie's Picks.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Dingy Promotion Brain

I got a lot of comment about my intelligent dissent – er, rant – about the SLJ book battle, both here and here. I’m right in the middle of promoting a new book, so I’m especially grateful for Kaethe’s comment: “I feel so sorry for writers who just want to tell a good story, and then discover that they have a whole 'nother job to do promoting the book. It's a bear.”

It made me think. The whole online thing has been both blessing and burden. Believe me, I’ve had my share of experiences with traditional media where the interviewer clearly didn’t read the book and a radio spot is aired at 6 am Sunday, right after the ad for the local hardware store. So I'm awed by the online reviewers out there, passionate readers all, some of them still in high school. For the most part, I happily embrace all this opportunity for linking online.

But I do wonder. What is it doing to my brain? I know that there are some writers who just never seem to run out of words and ideas. They effortlessly ping-pong from Facebook to blog to novel to Twitter to novel to email, all the while producing meaningful prose, witty blog posts, fabulous characters, funny tidbits about their life. Their publicists love them. They are pros at getting their name out there. There's pressure to follow their lead, or get lost in the crowd of new mid-list books.

But what about the rest of us mortals? I’m starting to feel dingy and unfocused. I worry about using the raw material of my life for a blog post and Facebook update, instead of letting it sit and simmer and perhaps, in that magical way, wind up as character, scene, theme, metaphor.

I wonder why right now I’m writing this, instead of tackling that plot problem in my next novel. Am I the only one who needs to focus uninterrupted in order to write?

Plus, my index finger is getting arthritic from my newest tic – endlessly clicking the Send/Receive button.

Calling All Hearts

My first heart-shaped gift to celebrate Cold Hands, Warm Heart! My friend Carol and fellow knitter used this pattern to whip up this amazing creation.
Send me photos of other cool, crafty hearts. Let's make it a contest. Send to
I'll pick my favorite and send you a copy of one of my books.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Publication Day

Today I'm celebrating the official publication of my new novel, Cold Hands, Warm Heart. So many people have been wonderful and generous with help. I've received great editing, marketing advice, graphic design tips, cheerleading and hand-holding. I appreciate all of it!

Now, I'm sure that many of you are sitting there thinking, "Gee Jill, what more can I do? Surely there's something." Feel free to quickly move on if that thought never crossed your mind! But everyone tells me that authors have to do more self-promotion, so here goes:

Here are some ideas on what would be helpful at this point.

1. If the economy hasn't completely done you in, buy the book soon.
Buy 1 for yourself. Buy multiple copies and save them as gifts for birthdays and holidays. If you don't have a tween or teen in your life, donate a copy to your public library, nearby school or local hospital library. Strong, early sales are very important in the publishing world; it's how they measure success.

If you live near me, I would be delighted to sign your copy. Or, send me an email and I'll quickly mail you a personalized signed bookplate that you can paste right into the book. You can buy books through any online seller. I also encourage you to buy via your local (and probably struggling) independent bookstore. If they don't have the book in stock, it's easy to place a special order.

2. Spread the word.
Tell any teachers, librarians (public and school), health professionals, social workers, tweens and teens you know about the book. If you are a teacher, consider using it as a read-aloud or order it for the school library. Use it as a text for classroom discussion.

Go on Amazon, Goodreads and other book sites and give it a rating or write a short review. If you are on Facebook or other social networking sites, mention the book in your status update or What I'm Reading Now notes. Become my friend on Facebook and send me congratulations!

If you know anyone who has had an organ transplant or anyone who has been a donor family, make sure they know about the book. Recommend it or buy them a gift.

If you know anyone in the media, tell them that April is National Donate Life month and you know about a great book that looks at a family's decision to donate the organs of their loved one. The author would make a strong and timely interview subject. Pass along their contact info to me and I'll get them a press kit.

3. See me in person.
Come to one of my scheduled events. First event -- This Friday, April 3, 7 pm at Books Inc. in Palo Alto, CA. Check out my blog and Facebook page for updates on where I'll be reading.) Invite friends to come with you. I'm always nervous about speaking in public and your encouraging smile is so helpful. Say hi.

If you are a middle-school, high school or college teacher or librarian, invite me to speak to your students. Recommend me as a speaker to your local bookstore events coordinator, book group, wrirting group or community organization. My book is being marketed as young adult, but grown-ups also find it to be provocative. I can talk to your group about the book itself, about organ donation and can also offer practical advice about writing and publishing.

4. Hugs and well-wishes. These are always appreciated most of all. Send them my way.

Monday, March 30, 2009

SLJ's Battle of the Kids' Books -- Give me a Break!

School Library Journal recently announced its first annual Battle of the (Kids’) Books contest, which will "pit" 16 of last year’s best books for young people against each other.

It's all supposed to be fun and Oscar-ish, a real buzz builder, I suppose. But come on! Really? I've been storming around the house all morning, cranky as hell, muttering to the cat and saying things like:

Do we really need one more meaningless contest that winds up deciding nothing? Which is better Octavian Nothing or Disreputable History? Red or Blue? Pizza or Spaghetti? Hasn't the Newbery already made this completely arbitrary decision once this year?

How many times do we need to hear about the same handful of books? Oh no, not yet another analysis of the joys of Graveyard Book?!

Is this really a meaningful use of space? We authors complain (rightfully so) about the shrinkage of review space in SLJ and PW, etc. There are no newspaper book sections left. Publishers have slashed their publicity budgets unless you've written -- fill in the names of the books mentioned above. So, what's the solution to informing the public about a new book? Hey, let's use the small amount of space available to write about Chains again!!

And how about all the awesome talent lined up to be judges. Jon Scieszka, Meg Rosoff, Tamara Pierce, Lois Lowry. I'd love to hear about their special finds, books that they loved that maybe didn't get the author's handsome face on the cover of every magazine around. But no, they will be weighing in on the same books that everyone else has already talked to death.

Okay, maybe my problem is that I'm an envious, cranky mid-list YA author who talks to her cat and has to fight for every bit of attention for her books. But I wish those who love books and writing and authors used their power to take this contest in a different direction. What about Battle of the Books that You Should Read but Didn't Even Hear About?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Jill's Personal Appearances

I would love to see you at one of these upcoming events. Come say hi!

April 3, 7 pm -- Books Inc. Palo Alto, CA. Book launch, reading and signing. Fundraiser for Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

April 5, 4 pm -- Asana Tea Shop, Santa Cruz, CA. Spoken word benefit for WomenCare.

April 18, 2 pm -- Hicklebees Bookstore, San Jose, CA. Part of 30 year-anniversary celebration of this landmark children's bookstore.

May 3, 5:30 pm -- Capitola Book Cafe, Capitola, CA. Reading and signing. Learn about organ donation.

May 7, 7 pm -- Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco. Group reading and signing with members of WOMBA (Word of Mouth Bay Area)

May 31, 7 pm -- Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA. Panel discussion about writing for kids and teens. With Paul Fleischman and Jim Lamarche.

June 20 or 21, 9 am-noon -- Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA. Workshop on writing for teens.

Check back frequently for updates.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Patchwork of Books review

I was excited to see this review of Cold Hands by one of my favorite librarian bloggers. She calls it "beautifully written... one I will recommend to all my teens." You can read the full review at this link:

She isn't thrilled with the cover. Not at all. Nope, I think she hates it, and even the best of us judge by cover. This reviewer isn't alone. I've never had such dramatic and differing opinions on a cover before. Some people dislike it -- What! Pink letters and red on red! What were they thinking? But others are intrigued by how different it looks from other YA books. One college student and YA fanatic specially mentioned how the heart on the cover looks both medical and like a juicy ripe strawberry.

I'd love to hear what you think.

Booklist Review

Booklist calls my new book "well-written...three strands are compelling and give a full view of sibling loss, hospital friendship (and budding romance), and how donated organs can -- and can't -- address recipients' spectrum of needs...Showing teens confronting unexpected emotions in both themselves and others, this novel is sure to please fans of realisitc but gentle teen romance or medical stories."

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

First Review of Cold Hands, Warm Heart

My first review has come in! Kirkus gives it a star, which it reserves for books of unusual merit, as determined by the editors.
I'm thrilled!

When Dani looks in the mirror she sees a "blue-lipped, cold-handed, gray-skinned fifteen-year-old." Born with the fatal heart condition dextrocardia, Dani has survived, with difficulty, but now her health is failing fast. Mere miles away from Dani's hospital bed, Amanda, a 14-year-old gymnast, flips and leaps through the air until a freak accident bonds these two strangers forever. Told mostly in Dani's witty voice, the novel reveals her intimate thoughts as readers accompany her through her transplant, as she falls in love with a fellow patient and as she wrestles with the magnitude of receiving another girl's heart. Woven throughout the text are chapters about Amanda, the most powerful of which focus on Tyler, her older brother, and give her life beyond the label of donor. Detailed, accurate descriptions of medical procedures are leavened with humor and sincerity, providing a powerful, multifaceted exploration of ethics, love and the celebration of life. (Fiction. 10 & up)

Monday, March 02, 2009


My new novel, Cold Hands, Warm Heart, is set in the milieu of organ donation. I heard the most amazing stories doing the research and spent a lot of time crying and laughing.

I'd love to hear -- and post -- your story. Are you waiting for a transplant? Are you a recipient? A donor family? Do you have an anecdote about someone you know? Please share!

And, of course, there's a prize for the best stories -- a copy of one of my books mailed to your home.