Archive for November, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy the turkey today–and, since we all know tomorrow is Black Friday, don’t forget that books make very nice and cost efficient gifts for the young and old alike.

Here in the ATL, we’re preparing some sweet potato souffle for the Thanksgiving get together and feast. I’m all psyched up for my annual food, football and afternoon nap.

Hope you have a safe and happy Turkey Day!

(And here’s a cool piece I found on Black Friday from the UNC Press blog:


The Next Harry Potter


So in a post about Twilight (yes, I realize that the book—or movie—doesn’t need any more publicity, thank you), you might expect me to go on about the cultural phenomenon, the screaming teen girl bandwagon, the lack of literary merit, the excess of media attention.

I won’t. This book is one of the reasons I became an editor. Maybe I’m still an angst-filled teenage girl at heart, but I am fully entrenched in the world of Edward and Bella. Whenever I can escape into a world where characters feel like real people, where I care what is going to happen to them, no matter that they’re fictional, where real emotions meld with and ground fantastical storylines, I am happy. It’s one of the biggest luxuries in life, to be able to get so absorbed that you can leave the real world for a bit.

So I won’t knock it.

And I will admit that I found myself online last night, reading the twelve leaked chapters of Midnight Sun that Stephenie Meyer posted on her website.

I’m a little late to the party, but I’m a fangirl now, too.

Holiday Shopping

I hate to lead of a post with a statement about our sad economy, so I won’t. Sure it’s a tough time, but I won’t allow that to suck the joy out of life. The holidays are coming and we owe it to ourselves (and our ailing economy) to celebrate not mope.

Booksellers are out in full-force telling their customers that books are the perfect gift for any budget. (Many of us have known that for years.) And no matter what the naysayer may argue, there are books for everyone—even people who don’t really like books.

IndieBound, supporter of independent bookstores, has a holiday campaign featuring eye-catching and clever image and tagline combinations on their website. I find them quite delightful.

This is my favorite:

Followed closely by this little raindrop-shaped Santa (what is that on his face?):

Here are some more tidbits:
Shop Indie: nuture your community this season.
Books: return dividends for life.
Why a book?: Because a new tie never changed anyone’s life.
Affordable. Portable. Memorable. Books are a gift beyond measure.
Give love. Give time. Give joy. Give books.
A Book: The perfect gift for someone who has everything. The perfect gift for someone who has nothing.

My plan was the end my post here, but I got an email this morning about F+W’s warehouse sale! We’re renting out the old Linens ‘n’ Things building on Fields Ertel Road from November 28 (Black Friday) until January 4. With a wide variety of topics and quality titles, you just might be able to find something perfect for everyone on your list—and for cheap…but they don’t need to know that.


On Becoming Fox Mulder

So last year I wrote a book called Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America. I was working on the sales and marketing team and the company was nice enough to let me do it on the side and it was published by HOW Books.

And now, here I am on the Writer’s Digest and HOW Books editorial team and the first book I get to work on? It’s a book about aliens. It’s called The Alien Invasion Survival Handbook and it’s filled with all kinds of tactics for combating those little gray bastards when they show up and try to haul you back to the mother ship to drill your teeth, or whatever it is they do. 


The book is due out in April, and if you like all things campy sci-fi you’re gonna love it. I’ll go so far as to say that I’ve been looking forward to coming to work every day so that I can work on it. So, yeah… I love my job, even though it seems to be propelling me further and further into a state of nerd-dom that I may never ever recover from. It’s only a matter of time before they move my cube into the basement (except that we don’t have one).

Sign of the (changing) Times

I’m not ready to break out the carols yet, but it’s definitely starting to look a lot like that time of year. Sunday we woke up to snow flurries, which continued most of yesterday. Today is sunny, but there’s just the tiniest little bit of white stuff on the ground along the edges of the road. Pumpkin spice is getting replaced by peppermint and gingerbread, and the election signs have disappeared, replaced by a new sense of optimism and excitement for the next four years.

Because I’ve never been one to follow the normal order of things, I’ve found that despite the cold weather, I’ve been eager to go outside and walk a few laps around the building with some of my coworkers. The other day someone compared us to Charlie’s Angels, and I think about that now every time I bundle up to head out. I told them I wasn’t going today, but I think I might change my mind. Every time I’ve gone out for a fifteen minute walk, I’ve come back more focused and ready to work. It seems that getting away from the computer for a few minutes only makes me more dedicated to it when I get back in, probably because the computer doesn’t make my fingers and nose feel frozen.

It’s only been a week, but the results of these walks, two a day for fifteen minutes each, are already starting to show in a looser waistline on my jeans. With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, I’m going to need to combat those extra calories somehow, and maybe I can drag the family out after dinner, if they can fend off the drowsy effects of the turkey (not something I need to worry about myself, since I don’t eat meat). Actually, we’re doing our Thanksgiving celebration here at work this week, so we’ll definitely be needing to walk after that.

Besides, Farrah Fawcett (or Lucy Liu, if we’re going for the newer version) wouldn’t let a little cold air keep her from fighting evil, and she’d probably even do it in some really great shoes. So after I consult Alice’s Material Girl blog for some fantastic winter fashion, I think I’ll head out for a couple laps with the other angels. Granted, the worst crime we’ll probably encounter around here might be comma abuse, but watch out, creepy punctuation criminals! Here we come!

This year I’ll even try to be grateful for the cold weather and remember to stop whining about how cold my toes get. There’s a lot to love about the cold, and this year I intend to embrace it: snowflakes, sweaters and hoodies, winter fashion, knee socks, cozy blankets, and, of course, a good book or ten. Maybe winter will become my favorite season after all.

Today’s Market Books Prisoner Mail

prisonerI’ve worked in the Writer’s Digest Market Books department for about 17 years, and I think it’s fair to say that during those 17 years we’ve averaged at least one letter from a prisoner per week. These letters have arrived addressed to every market book we do with the exception of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market (thank goodness), about two thirds to Songwriter’s Market. (I guess the dudes in the Big House have a lot of time on their hands and a lot of blues to sing.)

Today I got three prisoner letters including the take-the-cake-with-the-file-in-it prisoner letter, a hand-written 12-page love-and-admiration note to one of our former editors. I seriously couldn’t put it down. It’s sweetly creepy and very upbeat. The grammar, punctuation and spelling are in the high end of prisoner letters overall. This inmate really poured his heart out; he’s very introspective and deep (although I’m sure his slanty backward handwriting probably means he’s deranged). He’s currently writing seven novels–I wonder if he knows about NaNoWriMo? (I guess it’s always NaNoWriMo when you’re in the slammer.)

Since most of you probably don’t get mail from imprisoned writers, I’ll leave you with a bit of wisdom from inmate #194994:

Being a fiction writer requires a reckless abandon, especially when you realize that you are entering a field that revolves around talented people. But one thing that pushes me beyond my discouragement is that fact that being a writer isn’t based on competition. If you’ve got a story to tell, tell it, and as long as it’s interesting, I’m sure people will be eager to listen, and technically that’s what being a writer is all about–us authors wanting people to listen and hopefully even be able to enjoy our stories.

An Illustrated Life

z1947_illuslifeDanny Gregory, author of An Illustrated Life, created this promotional video for the book. He does a great job introducing the book in the video, so I’ll leave it to him. I’ve enjoyed the small bits of time I’ve gotten to spend on this book; it’s an honest, insightful celebration of art and life. As a non-artist, this book inspired me to want to learn to draw and to enjoy my juvenile attempts at art.


November 2008
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