Visiting Hogsmeade

When I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Monday, it was so full that the area had to be blocked off for a time to prevent overcrowding.  Imagine, going all the way to Orlando, only to be barred from the place you’d gone to see.

Hogsmeade Village, January 3, 2011

Fortunately for us, our family arrived early enough to walk right in, and more than taking any of the rides, I liked just standing in Hogsmeade Village, looking up at the peaked roofs of the shops with… Continue reading

Tackling the Romance

Oops. Cliche.

Someone asked me recently how far my characters would go.  It made me laugh.  Gaia’s sixteen, and there are two more books in the trilogy, so theoretically, where she could go romantically and physically is pretty wide open.  I was thinking of ninth graders when I first wrote Birthmarked, so I was surprised when it was published for age group 12+ because I knew that meant that avid ten-year-old readers would find their way to my book, and they have.  Then again,… Continue reading

The Art of Neglecting

I’m here as a member of the club for anonymous people who neglect day-to-day things in favor of long-term projects like novels. As long as basic hygiene is covered, the rest is optional.

Take dishes, for example. Getting the kitchen completely clean once at the end of the day is good enough, quite frankly. For the third child, I learned it was actually an advantage to leave those dropped Cheerios under the high chair for a snack later. I do wrap up the garbage to make it harder for the… Continue reading

Behind the Scenes: Copyedits

I received my copyedits for Prized two weeks ago, along with marginalia from my editor.

A.Copyedits and Marginalia

We work with the Track Changes feature of Word at this point, and when I first received the manuscript, I shrank down the pages to get a general idea of how many comments I’d be dealing with (see Photo A).  The purple comments from Jill Freshney, the managing editor, have to do with formatting, so I largely ignore those. The green ones are from Suzette Costello, the copyeditor who, incidentally, also… Continue reading

Killing Them Off

My friend Jenn Hubbard recently posted about the reader-writer contract, and how a promise is delivered to a reader within the opening sentences of a novel.  It reminded me of another contract I’ve been pondering, the kids’ books one that promises not to kill off major characters.

The End of the Road

Wait.  No.  What makes me think such a promise even exists to break?   I read White’s Charlotte’s Web when I was too young to question what was happening, and while I was… Continue reading

Beauty Surrounds Me

My lunch apple today was just gorgeous, glowing and powerful, so much that I had to just stare at it before I could cut into it.  I am surrounded by beauty.

Rome Apple


I have this theory about sensory detail and reading. Since normal intake of our world reaches our brains through our five senses, if a writer can describe things clearly enough that a reader sees, smells, hears, tastes and feels them, then the words on the page have co-opted the brain.  It’s a polite form of mind… Continue reading