Thursday, September 29, 2005

A few quick notes...

We're going to be busy, busy, busy for the next few days. My in-laws are coming for the weekend, which means I have to grocery shop and clean in my few childless hours tomorrow. Not gonna get it all done. It also means no writing time Friday-Sunday.

I wrote a bunch on my non-fiction idea today. I decided to start out with an article and then work toward a picture book later. The house is trashed and my husband returns home tonight. Before he gets home, we need to go to soccer practice and finish up home work.

I really tried to order from a Book Sense seller this week. My Amazon order was delayed and wasn't supposed to ship until 10/17. I cancelled the Amazon order and clicked through Book Sense. I even entered my credit card. But, I just couldn't go through with it. Why? The Book Sense order was $102, with a pick up at the store. The same books, including shipping at Amazon--$75! WOAH! I guess it's hard to compete! I placed the Amazon order again...and the books will be here tomorrow. No idea what caused the original delay.

I took S to our Children's Museum yesterday. I had at least 10 ideas for promoting my book while we played in the grocery store, hospital and garden areas. Nothing like putting the cart before the horse. I'd better get it written and sold because I'm getting carried away with the silly stuff!

We're going to be a pirate family for Halloween. I just ordered my costume and new costumes for A and S. Baby K will be wearing the pirate costume S wore for A's pirate birthday party.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What High School Clique Do You Belong To?

Close, but not quite! In high school, I would have been more likely to fall into the Prep category. But, I can live with HOT! Um...some of those others? No clue.

You scored as Hot. Haha! u are so hotttttttttt!











Emo Kid










What Highschool Clique Do You Belong To?
created with

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Quickie Article

I'm writing a quick article for my SCBWI regional newsletter on the value of blogging.

Some of the benefits I've found include:
  1. networking with other writers (most of whom are also outside my market area),
  2. support from others who understand the business,
  3. interacting with experienced book creators,
  4. quick access to industry news,
  5. immersion on writing--staying connected so I want to write daily,
  6. almost-daily writing instruction from world-wide experts.
  7. And, of's fun!

Why do you blog?

If you'd like to share a few sentences about why you blog--that expand on my topics above, or describe other reasons--and you'll allow me to publish that information in our newsletter (and eventually on my blog!) send me an email with your ideas:


Sunday, September 25, 2005


Guess who is going to Austin this week? MR. One Over-Caffeinated Mom. He was in Orlando all last week at a conference at Universal Studios. Now, he gets to go to Texas where so many of my favorite authors and illustrators live! What a life.

In fairness, he has been working hard. He even brought us back some nice souvenirs. He's accumulated so many points on his credit cards, we already have enough points for a week's stay at a nice resort in Hawaii. And, we're very close to having earned the airfare too. So, I gripe. But, in the long-run, I'm gonna get a NICE vacation!

On a mission

I need some help with a Halloween party idea.

I am one of the room parents for A's second grade class. I've been trying to think of some fun ideas for her party, something a little unusual.

I was thinking of a STRANGE MAGIC party where we'd let the kids do little science experiments that all had a "magic" feel.

I thought of this idea after I found that science Yahoo Group the other day. He has things like making worms out of wrappers from straws, the obedient coin (making a coin move on the table), scaring pepper, creeping carpets, making a strong paper rope out of paper towels and lots, lots more. I wanted to pick out some that were easy and also had a creepy/Halloween name. (I was thinking we could set up supplies for each experiment at each table grouping--so they would work alone or in groups of 3-4, depending on the experiment.)

Our parties usually have a game, a craft and a snack. The science would be our "game." For the craft--I thought about making some sort of witch hat or Harry Potter glasses (maybe decorating the glasses?).

We have parents bring food, plates and drinks, and I can't tell them exactly what to bring, so I can't get too creative on the food. EXCEPT before I knew I was drafted as a room parent :-), I signed up for food for this party. SO I could make one themed food myself.

I thought we could use the STRANGE MAGIC song (a new version is on the Ella Enchanted CD) as our theme song for the party. OR, if I could find a faster song, we could do some sort of fun dance.

I know some of you are "science guys," so .... any suggestions about how to make this really fun? Do you think your kids/the kids you know would think it's fun?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Do you remember that open letter to Oprah?

Do you remember that open letter to Oprah signed by more than 100 writers last year?

Well, apparently, it made an impression. This year Oprah will "open the door to all books as potential Oprah's Book Club selections," she said Thursday. "I feel this will give the book club a whole new range of opportunities to explore the world through words."

Last spring, more than 100 writers, including Pulitzer Prize winners Jane Smiley and Jhumpa Lahiri, wrote an open letter to Winfrey that urged her to "consider focusing, once again, on contemporary writers" and suggested that her abandonment of newer works was hurting sales.

Slushpile Update

I noticed that Notes From the Slushpile has been updated. She has added a great marketing article.

Brain Change

Something good has happened to my writerly mind. I haven't done much NEW writing this week. I've been doing lots of revising. Suddenly, I'm able to look at some of my treasured, old "masterpieces" with fresh eyes. I see that they aren't so special after all.

Even my beloved Rudy story...the one I was so bent out of shape about a few weeks ago when I discovered Punk Farm...has room for lots of improvement. I think I can save Rudy though--he'll make a nice magazine piece once I've clipped his feathers.

I spent some time reworking another favorite last night. My critique partners were right--it was wordy! What they were too kind to say was that it was also choppy. I cut 500 words and it flows much better now!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ya Gotta Love Seth

Ya gotta love Seth Godin. He has such a way of making his point.

What would happen to your organization if you had a solid ten minutes with her majesty? How much benefit would you receive if you were able to tell your story to millions of people on television? Of course, you can’t pay to be on Oprah, but if you could, no doubt you would.
This simple thought exercise exposes the paradox that we’re finding online.

Should authors get paid to put their work into Google Print, the online service that lets you search for information inside a book?

Be sure to read the entire blog post for another way of looking at the Google Print issue.

He ends with this: So, the real question to ask isn’t, “how much will I get paid to talk with these people?” The real question is, “how much will I PAY to talk with these people?”

Pull Yourself Up By Your Bra Straps

I watched the Tony Danza show today while working out. This lady had me totally cracking up. I'm sure everyone in the gym who was not tuned to this show wondered what the heck was so funny.

Jeanne Bice (no relation to Bo) is the author of "Pull Yourself Up By Your Bra Straps." She said she was a rich wife--meaning she didn't work, had time to volunteer and was clueless about family finances. One day, her husband kissed her goodbye and "dropped dead" at her feet. (HER words, and they made Tony SO nervous!)

She was a HOOT! I have no idea what the book is really about, but here's part of the book description: Erma Bombeck meets Dr. Phil in this funny, uplifting book of life lessons by the most popular woman in America you may never have heard of .

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Great PR Deal

Here's a great PR deal for you.

Back in my other life, I used PR Leads to become an "expert source" for online, magazine and newspaper articles to help promote my newsletter and consulting businesses.

Here's a little bit from their site:

When you use PR LEADS, we'll put you in touch with reporters who need to quote experts like you. That's right. We get approximately 100 requests a day from reporters who are writing stories for major publications who desperately need to find experts to quote in their stories. We'll give you their names and email addresses and their story angles so you can contact them! If you have the information they need, they'll feature you and your books in their publications. We're talking big name publications and media outlets like The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Newsweek, as well as Redbook and Glamour.

Now, here's the offer. As a past customer, I received an email saying I could get five free days if I replied before midnight tonight. As we are all well aware, I have nothing to promote at the moment. SO, I emailed Dan Janal and asked if I could tell my writer friends about this offer.

Dan provides all his clients with training on how to respond to the leads, how to formulate responses that will pique the reporter's interest, etc. SO, he didn't think it was a good idea to let you all try the product without training. HOWEVER, he agreed to send out five days worth of OLD leads so you could test the product to see if there's enough potential for you. (The regular price is just $99/month; I do not think there's any minimum commitment.)

When I was a client, I found it was pretty easy to find a newsworthy spin on many of the topics that arose frequently. As you will see if you visit the PR Leads site, they receive requests for experts on zillions of topics.

If you are interested in the Five Days of OLD leads to see what it's like, email Dan before midnight tonight and tell him Kim sent you!

Google Print

I've seen lots of articles about Google Print (PW, Publisher's Lunch, my local paper) in the past week. I just don't get what all the fuss is about. Personally, I agree with Google's position on this one. Here's a snippet:

Let's be clear: Google doesn’t show even a single page to users who find copyrighted books through this program (unless the copyright holder gives us permission to show more). At most we show only a brief snippet of text where their search term appears, along with basic bibliographic information and several links to online booksellers and libraries.

Accidental Scientist

Since most of my manuscripts have some science theme, I've concluded that I must have been a scientist in another life. I should add that I have never demonstrated an aptitude for science...other than when David (my sweetie then) and I would have contests to see who could check out the most science books ...and actually read them... in fourth grade.

I was thrilled to find Robert Krampf's Experiment of the Week mentioned on Blogging Baby. I promptly went to Krampf's site to sign up for his YahooGroup. The experiments look great. My kids will love me for this!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Strange Procrastinating...

While procrastinating tonight, I've written one acrostic about blogging and a draft of an article I might just submit to SCBWI. (I'm inspired by all these great articles in the new SCBWI newsletter that I still have not received via snail mail...but sneaked a peek at online).

I have lots of research on my non-fiction article idea. I think it just needs to simmer more. Okay, it doesn't help that Baby K screamed at the top of her lungs for over an hour today, during and after S's swimming lessons, which stressed me out, gave me a headache and forced me to fill up on sugar and junk food.

S fell off the bar stool in the kitchen tonight, hitting her neck on the counter. She hit just to the left of her wind-pipe, across her jugular vein. I can't call it a gash because the skin didn't break, but blood rose to the surface and she has a counter mark about 1 1/2 inches long across her neck. I was a little freaked out. S was screaming, which made K scream. Then, A saw the blood (or potential for blood) and started screaming. And, all I could think about was the possibility of internal bleeding. (Easy for my over-active imagination since I nearly died from internal bleeding four years ago.) So, I called my nurse sister-in-law long distance to get an expert medical opinion. I'm happy to say we avoided an ER visit tonight. Poor S will be in a little pain tomorrow, I'm afraid.

Monday, September 19, 2005

What's With This Room?

Another really great book: What's With This Room? by Tom Lichtenheld.

I just posted a review at YABooksCentral. What's With This Room? is such a clever book. The Library of Congress classification says it's a book about 1) cleanliness 2) parent and child 3) humorous stories 4) stories in rhyme.

While that may be true, what makes this story great is the rich language, beautiful word pictures and humorous science illustrations.

What kid can resist a story about a messy room that also includes a moldy mess, an archaeological dig, a study of centrifugal force...and a gunky volcano with baking soda and vinegar sitting next to it?

My kids were all over this book. It's full of the kind of messes they excel at making. "Mommmmmm? Can we do another science experiment?"

"NO! I'm tired of cleaning baking soda off the floor!"

"But, we promise...we won't make a big mess. Can we use food coloring this time?"

Sunday, September 18, 2005

This proves it. I'm completely nuts

This proves it. I am officially completely crazy. I just sent off an e-query to my dream agent .... oh ...about ten minutes ago. And, I've already checked my email for a response! I know. I know. It doesn't really work that way. I am just way too optimistic and never think anyone is going to reject my work.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Free Press Releases

I have not followed any of these links since I have nothing to promote at the moment. However, Spiritual Marketing has posted a list of free press release distribution services. I hope it is helpful for some of my writing friends.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

One more thing about BookSense

Just one week ago, I was complaining that none of our independent book stores had a good BookSense interface. I mean, what's the point of BookSense if it can't help the independents compete against Amazon and Barnes & Nobel?

So, tonight, I went back to take a peek at what's going on at Reading Reptile. It IS the best bookstore in the U.S., ya know. And, guess what...customers can now order online through Reading Reptile!

Here's what I really need from Reading Reptile TODAY. T-shirts and bumper stickers are available.

And, if that's not enough...they hold the DNA LitFest in the spring. Kate DiCamillo is coming to town!

And a Kangaroo too!

Yesterday, S and I were playing "dance studio." I was a student. She was the owner's daughter. She had to run the studio (and sat at the computer pretending to type as she enrolled me.) because her dad and mom got divorced. Her mom was getting remarried that day and was at the wedding. Parents are so easily replaced when kids play. Mom dies? Get a new one. Dad dies? Get a new one. Both parents die? Go live with your cousins.

What does this have to do with a kangaroo? When I asked why her parents were getting divorced, she said that her dad owned a pet store and kept bringing a kangaroo home. Her mom didn't like the kangaroo in the house, so they got divorced. The day my husband leaves me for a kangaroo, please send help!

We made up new kisses tonight. Do you know that thumb war rhyme? (1-2-3-4, I declare a thumb war.) Well, we kiss cheeks, alternating cheeks for each number. Then on the "kissing war" part, we do lots of fast kisses and gobble up cheeks, necks and tummies. Everyone went to bed laughing. Then, we had to do all the old kisses--butterfly kisses, eskimo kisses...we used to do elephant kisses where we made trunks with our arms and our hands kissed in the air.

Be sure to check out my review of Oliver's Must-Do List by Susan Taylor Brown at YABooksCentral. Oliver's Must-Do List was the top-secret book I posted about a few days ago. It's a fun book with lots of at-home and classroom potential. Susan has a traveling Oliver who can come visit your school. He brings along his backpack, his dog and a journal. How cute! Get the scoop on traveling Oliver and all his adventures at Oliver's blog. Yes, he has a blog!

In case you missed it, Susan also has a great post about independent book stores. After reading this post, I wrote to one of the indies in town and asked them to bring traveling Oliver to town. I reeealllly want him to come here. Isn't he cute?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

And, now...the rest of the story

Discussion yesterday while we were looking for the missing keys:
(Beary is S's bear)

ME: Where are those keys?
S: Beary said he hid them.
ME: S, you mean that you don't know where my keys are, so you're making up a pretend story about where they might be?
S: NO. Beary knows where they are.
ME: Then, tell Beary to go get them....and if you lost my keys, you'd better bring them back...right now! Where are those keys?

Conclusions: S has been exercising her creative skills. K still shows no signs of knowing how to use scissors. And, since I am the one who lost the keys, I'm feeling pretty bad for assuming S, K and Beary hid them from me :-)

S and I have out all my old batons right now. She's asking for another mini lesson....gotta go. It's not often my kids care about this old hobby of mine!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Complete Space Case

I picked up S from preschool and we ran to the mailbox. You just never know when a great book might arrive! We came into the house, threw the junk mail away, quickly picked up the house and made some microwave popcorn.

When it was time to pick A and our neighbor up from school, I couldn't find my keys. I ran around the living room. I looked in the microwave, even though I knew that if the keys were there, I would have heard the microwave fry. I emptied the trash into another bag. I emptied my purse onto the kitchen table.

Finally, I called the other girl's mom and asked her to pick up the kids. S and I spent another 10 minutes looking for the keys. I went outside and looked in my car. Nope, couldn't have gotten the mail if the keys were in the car. The only place they could be was.... yes... hanging from the mailbox door. Luckily, they hung there for 30 minutes and no one stole them!

Great research day for n/f article...possible n/f picture book potential. Enthusiasm level: high. I learned a lot of interesting facts about this ordinary topic today. Strangely, it's going to be another science-related piece. I should have never listened to Mr. J who suggested that I shouldn't take advanced science courses. I think I have a knack for this stuff :-)

Can't Sleep

UGH! I woke up at 4:30 and couldn't go back to sleep. My mind was racing with very important thoughts. The good news: I have a non-fiction article idea that would work in lots and lots of magazines. I've never seen it anywhere...and it's something kids will go crazy over. least my messy clan would.

Today's to do list:

drive car pool
play a round of new math game with S
phone call with e-student I'm working with for former employer
swimming lessons

During preschool (obviously will not all get done today!)

K MUST nap :-)
Revise story from critique group
Work on agent letter
Reserve library books for mystery research & writing project
Reserve hotel rooms and set photographer appointment for family visit (They are all coming here! YEA!) in October
More book reviews

Hmmm....somewhere I need to get to the grocery store. We have nothing for dinner. BUT, I'm not going during my writing time. [evil laugh]

Monday, September 12, 2005


I have a secret. I received a magnificent book in the mail today. I can't wait to tell you all about it. I've read it twice so far. It's a picture book, and it's one of those books that keeps popping back into my mind. Probably Guilty Mom disease. I'll try to post a few thoughts tomorrow when my brain cells have been restored. Did I mention it has an incredible teaching guide and a really fun interactive promotion?


Just back from my critique group meeting. Once again, they told me that my story was a magazine story, not a PB. Gosh, I read enough picture books, you'd think I could figure it out!

Forgot to mention last week when I did that long post about my zoo-like home.... S (4.5) cut K's (14 months) hair on Friday. S will not admit to it, even after hubby tried to break her down for hours this weekend. She has her story (well, stories, actually!), and she's sticking to it.

At first, she said, "K cut her own hair. I sat there and watched her do it." When I asked why she didn't tell me that K had scissors, she said, "Because you were too busy." When I asked what K did with the hair, she said, "She brushed it into the carpet." When I asked when it happened, she said, "When I was making a telescope with scissors and wrapping paper."

Friday night, when Hubby grilled her, she said that Barbie came out of the Barbie Beauty Boutique computer game with her scissors and cut K's hair.

I either have a baby genius or a pathological liar on my hands! S still won't back down today. K hasn't shown any skill with scissors since then. What was I doing when all this cutting was taking place? I think I was taking out the trash.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Of all the 9/11 posts I've read today, I think Meg Cabot's touched me most. To hear the story from someone who lived right there brought chills and tears.

Here's what I wrote in my journal on the two year anniversary of 9/11. A very different reality from that experienced by those living near the World Trade Center.

It started out as a normal fall day for us. All the big kids were in school and the girls and I got up and went outside. We were drawing our ABCs on the driveway with sidewalk chalk, when the high school boy who lived across the street came home, followed by about a dozen friends in cars.

"Great," I thought, "Just what we need, a bunch of truant kids." Soon, the mom was home too. I stared at her trying to figure out what was going on.

Then, she yelled, “What are you doing out here?”

“Uh, drawing with chalk,” I replied.

“Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center…on purpose. Our air space is not secure. Any one of these planes could be another attacker. I got my kids out of school. If there’s going to be a lock down, I want them here with me. Get inside…and watch the news.”

“Wow. Ok. I had no idea. All I do is watch kids’ programming in the mornings.”

We went inside and watched as the scene was replayed and replayed. Finally, I determined that there’s no new news, and I called my neighbor. We decided it was safe to take the kids outside, so we let the kids jump on the trampoline. It was so quiet outside. None of the usual airplane traffic to the municipal airport. Barely any car traffic. A dog bark here and there.

I remember A, then 3 ½, watching TV and seeing the smoking buildings and being really scared. A few weeks earlier, she had met my friend K, who lives in New York City. K had been to our house for ice cream and A picked up on the fact that she lives in NYC. She immediately started asking me if the planes hit K’s house. Later, I realized that because of the replays, she thought that more crashes were taking place. That was the end of watching the news in front of the kids.

Looking back now, I wish I would have written about 9/11 that day instead of two years later. I wonder what I would have said then.

The girls and I did our hurricane shopping today. A is taking supplies to school for a collection that our high school is organizing. The girls put great thought into picking out things they felt little girls might want. I bought generics for the adults, trying stretch my money. But, when we thought about the kids, we bought Hello Kitty Band-Aids and Hello Kitty toothpaste, a pink hairbrush and comb...and other brand name personal items for the kids (like nice-smelling L'oreal Kids shampoo). We just thought the kids could use a smile.

For my SCBWI donation, we bought two stuffed Angelina Ballerina dolls, some card games, Sakes Alive! A Cattle Drive and an Angelina Ballerina book.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Too Serious? This one's for you!

This post is for everyone who thinks my blog has been too serious lately. Let me tell you about this zoo we call a home.

How many times can a toddler (and mom!) spill popcorn before the smarties in my house take it away? Apparently, this number is somewhere around four. Yesterday, A came home from school just famished. She begged for some popcorn, so we promptly made a mini bag in the microwave. S wanted some too. No one was into sharing that day, so we made S the last bag of popcorn. Baby K is allergic to milk, so we had to airpop another bowl just for her. I walked into the kitchen just as K dumped S's popcorn all over the floor (never mind that they were sitting in my NEW chairs and this is my NEW carpet). We cleaned it up. I went back into the kitchen to pour the popcorn into the popper, I missed. While I cleaned popcorn off the floor, Baby K spilled A's popcorn. Once K got her own popcorn, of course she dumped it onto the ground.

This is when we gave up and left so A could perform a good deed (we'll forget that she's been a complete mouthy child all week and focus on this angelic behavior for a moment). A came home from school insisting that we needed to go back to the school with trash bags. The trash and candy wrappers in the school yard bothered her. She just knew that the principal would have to clean it up...and he wouldn't like it very much. So, we went back to the school to pick up trash. I felt a little like a criminal wearing an orange jumper on the side of the highway, but I was proud of her. Her teacher was leaving the building as we finished up and heaped on the praise and told her that the principal would be very proud of her when he heard about how much she cared about her school.

We went home, ate dinner and did homework. Then, we read more Gooney Bird Greene on the trampoline by lantern light.

This morning, I made homemade waffles for Baby K who has really been missing her frozen waffles ever since we discovered she's allergic to milk and soy. I think I almost have my recipe perfected. The last time, I didn't like the amount of oil the recipe called for, so I substituted a small carton of cinnamon apple sauce. Yes, I'm a highly-scientific :-) cook. I might try pumpkin or bananas this weekend. Sounds yummy to me. My friend shakes her head and can't figure out how I make up recipes. I laugh and think...I can't follow a recipe. I have to tinker.

After we got A off to school, we took showers. Just as K and I got out of the shower, the phone rang. I let K run around naked while I took the call. She pooped on the floor. I picked it up and flushed it. Then I saw it...poop all over her hands. I quickly got off the phone and washed her up. I walked back into the bedroom and sniffed. I immediately began searching for more poop. Uh oh... Picture Writing was full of **it! Literally full of **it! Don't get me wrong. The book is fantastic, a must read. Nope...Baby K smeared poop all over it. I dressed baby K and then returned to wipe down the pages and spray with Lysol.

So, now that we were dressed, we wanted to go for a bike ride. We went to the garage and pulled out the bike and trailer. The bike had slightly flat tires, so we got out the pump. Bad idea. The pump sucked out all the air. We colored with chalk on the driveway and decided to go to Target to buy a new pump. Just $195 later, we had a new pump...and some other stuff.

Baby K fell asleep on the way home. I couldn't wake her. I fed S and tried to pump up the bike tires. This new pump wasn't any better than the last. We'll need to go to a bike store this weekend.

Baby K woke up. We took S to preschool. Baby K cried at my feet while I tried to work at the computer, so I gave up and folded laundry and read her some books. So much for writing time while S is at school!

We picked up S. A came home. The girls were starving. I fed them dinner at 4:30. Had a big fight with A about homework and spelling words. Got everyone dressed for soccer. Hubby met us. We traded cars. I took off for a room parents' meeting at school.

Put kids to bed. Did a few book reviews. Now, it's time to go to bed and start all over in the morning. TGIF!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


MJ Rose shares her thoughts on Podcasting.

Why not use the podcasts as real marketing tools making them available at for free at iTunes,, Amazon, BN, at sites like, at, at any and all large sites where readers congregate?

When – and forgive the analogy if it doesn’t work for you – a movie is released there is very little marketing focused on the viewers who saw the last Miramax title.

We need the same thing for podcasts that we need for everything else book related – a new navigation system. A new way to get the word out to readers through vehicles already being visited by tens of thousands, by hundreds of thousands, by millions.

Read her entire post.

I think she is right on!

Currently watching Speak. I recorded it last night with my DVR.
Bedtime Fun--Tonight, we took our pillows and blankets outside and read a chapter of Gooney Bird Greene on the trampoline by lantern light. Hubby tried to take a picture of us, but one camera had a dead battery and the other camera had a full card. We'll have try for the photo op again tomorrow. It was cute!

Great lessons for writers who blog

Last week marketing guru, Seth Godin, posted a free ebook on his site. Knock Knock is about creating effective websites. Today, he has posted another ebook, Who's There?

If you are a writer who is blogging. If you are a writer who is not blogging. I urge you to go to the site and download a copy of Who's There? While it's written for corporate marketing types, I think this ebook has some great lessons for writers.

Why do you blog? Who is your audience? Do you want to build readership? Is it a marketing tool?

Don't think you need a website? Don't think you need a blog? Think again.

I love my kids. I really do. But...

I love my kids. I really do. But, ((big sigh)) I am SO glad school has finally started. This is A's fourth week of school. S just started this afternoon. She was so excited to start school. We had a big first day of school celebration at McDonald's for lunch. We took pictures, and I already emailed them to the grandparents. I'm glad she likes school. I'm glad because...

I totally need some quiet time!
It was a great summer, but I'm exhausted. My body needs time to catch up with my mind. So, right now, I'm paying bills, reading email, blogging and listening to Hit List digital music. Next, I'm ordering Shutterfly pictures that I've neglected to order all year long! Quite a chore because I take lots of pictures. Today, is my getting caught up day. On our next school day, I'll write!

Food for thought

I received this email today from the Cause Marketing Forum. I'm NOT saying a person or business should exploit the misfortune of the hurricane victims for profit. However, when a person or business can use their current position or influence for the good of others, I'm all for it. So, here are a few thoughts from the people at the Cause Marketing Forum. If these ideas do not work for you today, maybe they will work or provide food for thought in another situation.

The rapidity with which business and nonprofit organizations have reacted to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina has been impressive.

According to a brief by Business for Social Repsonsibility, cash is king in the early stage of disaster response. The rapid development of numerous channels to get money to aid organizations has been stunning. Hundreds of companies have stepped forward. Here are just a few examples illustrating the diversity of efforts:

Online Contributions: Numerous companies have enabled consumers to contribute online. For example, A high-profile contribution site was donated by Yahoo! to the American Red Cross. Online solution provider Kintera has offered to waive set-up fees for organizations seeking to collect money for hurricane relief.

In-Store Contributions: Retail chains are employing several tactics to generate consumer contributions. On Sept. 2, Johnny Carino's, a chain of 158 Italian restaurants, announced that it would donate 15% of sales generated by company-owned locations. As of Friday, Best Buy, KeyBank, Walgreen's had already implemented on-site donation program.

Employee Contributions: Many firms quickly created ways for their employees to give. Bayer, Baxter Healthcare and Tyco International were among the many companies offering to match employee contributions to the relief effort.

These rapid response donations are critical, but acute need will go on for months and reconstruction will take years. "It is though the longer-term contribution of technical expertise, infrastructure and economic investments that a company can meet the greatest human need, and most strongly affirm its commitments to corporate social responsibility," points out Aron Cramer, CEO of BSR.

The Home Depot was way ahead of the curve on this front -- it already has a long-term alliance in place with the American Red Cross. On Aug. 31, The Home Depot announced that it plans to send thousands of employees to the Gulf States region to provide reconstruction support.
On a personal note, it is an honor to know that so many of our readers are the people doing such outstanding work to ease the pain inflicted by Katrina. If the Cause Marketing Forum can assist you in any way, please get in touch.

David Hessekiel
President, Cause Marketing Forum, Inc.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Put THIS on your to do list!

This might just be one of the cutest, most buzz-worthy children's book promotions ever! Check out what Susan Taylor Brown is doing to promote her new book, Oliver's Must Do List.

Teachers can invite Oliver, his dog and his traveling backpack visit their schools. I LOVE this! I want Oliver to come to my house to visit. I hope Susan has a few spare Olivers--I think this is going to be a popular idea.

Put this on your to do list: Tell your friends. Tell your kids' teachers. Invite Oliver to come to your school.

I can't wait to read this one!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Tough Weekend

This has been one painful weekend! Baby K and I had a little mishap on Friday night. I was sure she broke my nose. It still hurts to touch, but it never bruised or swelled. She's one wild child. She also hit me in both eyes with her knees.

Trudy J Morgan-Cole has updated her blog, Hypergraffiti. Trudy was one of my first online writer friends (and also has a second grader).

Book Promotion Links: Ten Ways To Find Your Book's Best Publicist by Marsha Friedman.
Don't have a website? Get One! from

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A sure sign I'm blogging too much

A sure sign that I'm blogging too much--I've been dreaming of other people's books!

Two nights ago, I woke up thinking about Susan Taylor Brown's Oliver's Must Do List. Now, to start things off, I've never read the book! It's not even out yet! Then, I had a dream about her book, Can I Pray With My Eyes Open? Sadly, I haven't read it. I wish I could remember the dream. It had something to do with making lists and giving people pads of paper with "to do" lists printed on them.

As if that's not bad enough, the next dream I remember having that night was about a book I wrote (not in real life, just in the dream) similar to Punctuation Takes a Vacation. Comma was a little boat who chugged and chugged, linking with other boats. At the time, it sounded brilliant!

Then, last night, I woke up at 3:30 and felt so stupid. How on Earth could I really believe that people were being moved to the Astrodome? How gullible! I worked on this one for at least an hour wide awake. When morning came, I went to my computer and discovered it was true after all.

I will be so glad when we are all well and I get a good night's sleep again. Worrying about the world and about other people's books is more than my mind can handle at 3:30 a.m.

Happy Birthday!

It's triplets! Cynthia Lord blogs about three books, just born today! One is Airball: My Life in Briefs. Cynthia has the birth announcement; I have the review!