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.