Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Photograph is Worth, Well, You Know

Have you seen the blog Dear Photograph? Contributors return to the scenes of old family photographs and take new pictures there.  In some cases they jot down what's changed in their lives or what they've learned in the interim. I love the concept, but I'm not crazy about the execution; the way the photos are framed (original images held by hand in front of updated location), it's almost impossible to tell whether it's the same place.

The site got me thinking about my WIP. For some reason I decided to set the story in a neighboring California town I've never been to. This was not terribly smart of me, but hey, at least I'm not alone in this manuever.

Stephenie Meyer famously set her Twilight series in Forks, Washington, before having set foot there. Rumor has it she Googled "rainiest town" or something and got Forks. In fact, Forks was apparently the original title for Twilight. (I'm picturing a fork in an apple for that first cover. Anyone else?) Now the Chamber of Commerce there has built an entire tourist industry around the books.

After I get my act together, I plan to hop on the freeway, visit my WIP's location and take a bunch of photographs for later use, so I can get a feel for the place as I write. I may call the town something different, but I'd like it to be drawn from reality.

Have you ever used photographs to help you with descriptions, setting and mood?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's Too Late: You've Already Given Your Baby Alzheimer's

I agree with the title of debut author Emma Price's upcoming book, "Never Google Baby."  In fact, I advise against looking up anything to do with pregnancy or you'll be paralyzed with fear.

Even the most innocent question ("Is it okay to eat yogurt?") can lead you down a rabbit's hole of horror stories, either in the sidebar or as follow-up questions to an original post. (And I never claimed to be emotionally healthy to begin with.) Unfortunately, this glut of information isn't restricted to the Internet; baby books are terrifying, too.

Here are but a few precious pearls of wisdom I've collected on my journey so far:

1. Did you ingest caffeine, cigarette smoke, sushi, unpasteurized cheese or alcohol within a few short years of thinking about conceiving? It's too late: you've already given your baby Alzheimer's.

2. Being tired is perfectly normal. But if you're "too" tired, you might have gestational diabetes.

3. Having swollen feet is perfectly normal. But if they're "too" swollen, you might have edema.

4. Bleeding gums and bloody noses are perfectly normal. But if they're "too" bloody, you might have gingivitis, which triggers pre-term labor.

5. Backaches are perfectly normal. But if you're "too" achy, YOU'RE ABOUT TO GIVE BIRTH!

6. Feeling stressed out?*  (Stress? Why on earth would I be stressed?) Book yourself a spa day. But never use nail polish, nail polish remover, makeup, sunscreen, moisturizer or deodorant. Those chemicals may harm your baby.

*By the way, stress is bad for the baby.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Do You Feel Lucky, Punk? Well, Do Ya?

I've joined a new group for children's and YA authors with debut books launching in 2013. We're called the Lucky 13s and today -- the 13th, of course -- is our inaugural post. Come say hi and meet the other Thirteeners! Don't step on any sidewalk cracks.

Speaking of luck, we were very lucky to have our logo created by the talented Wendy Martin, an accomplished children's book illustrator.

I'll continue to blog here once a week, as well as once a month or more at the Lucky 13s blog. We'll be providing the inside scoop on what to expect during the year leading up to publication.

You can also follow us on Twitter for news about our books and the literary world at large.

Lastly, here is a photo of "Lucky" from General Hospital. You're welcome.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

WeHo Book Fair

I attended the West Hollywood Book Fair on Sunday to see some friends and to check out the Teen Stage, where current and upcoming Young Adult releases were showcased.

My favorite event was the live trailer for Carol Tanzman's Dancergirl, available this November, which featured a crazy-impressive dance routine choreographed by a high school actress. (When I was in high school I mostly watched TV.) I also enjoyed the YA Graphic Novel panel.

At the local independent bookstore booths, I was psyched to see my publisher, Amulet, well-represented. In fact, the shelves were dominated by Abrams and Amulet fare. I wanted to snatch up every single title.

Drool for yourself:

Can't wait to see what the cover for my book will look like next year...