It’s a gloomy, gray day in Pennsylvania — the perfect weather for the launch of Eleanor, Alice, and the Roosevelt Ghosts!
Buried family secrets. Vengeful ghosts. Two very different cousins.
Last week, I revealed the cover for Eleanor, Alice, & the Roosevelt Ghosts. This week I have a sales announcement to share!
Jadie in Five Dimensions is a mind-twisty, space-bendy adventure into geometry and physics. Inspired by Edwin A. Abbott’s Flatland, which fascinated me in middle school, and with homage to the great science fiction writer William Sleator (especially The Boy Who Reversed Himself), this story has undergone many revisions over the span of 5 years before transforming into a version worthy of publication. I have changed point of view and verb tense, rearranged events, refined the science and math elements, and dropped the number of POV characters from 6 to 3. (6 POVs? What was I thinking?) I can’t wait to work with my fabulous editor and the staff at Holiday House as Jadie’s story bounds into the finishing laps of its journey toward bookhood. read more…
I am very excited to finally share the gorgeous, wrap-around cover commissioned by Holiday House for my upcoming new release, ELEANOR, ALICE, & THE ROOSEVELT GHOSTS (9/1/20). I’ve been blessed with some beautiful covers in the past, but this one might just be my favorite!
But first, a summary …
It’s 1898 in New York City and ghosts exist among humans.
When an unusual spirit takes up residence at their aunt’s house, thirteen-year-old Eleanor Roosevelt and her cousin Alice are suspicious. The girls don’t get along, but they know something is not right. This ghost is more than a pesky nuisance. The authorities claim he’s safe to be around, even as his mischievous behavior grows stranger and more menacing. Could their aunt and her unborn child be in danger? read more…
A little over ten years ago, MG/PB author Nancy Viau and a friend were discussing book signings and the awkwardness of sitting at a table alone while shoppers dash by, avoiding eye contact at all costs. They wished there was a way for authors to combine signing events so that no one would have to sit alone. Nancy conceived of a way to do just that, and the KidLit Author Club was born on January 1, 2010. KAC is made up of authors from NY, NJ, PA, MD, DE, and VA who banded together to promote, market, sign, and sell their books at bookstores, schools, libraries, conferences, and festivals.
I wasn’t part of the club back then but joined in 2013, shortly after the release of my second book, The Caged Graves. By then, the KidLit Author Club not only organized multi-author signing events, but they had started attending conferences, making presentations as a team, and basically providing a support network for fellow members. They spread the word about new opportunities, recommended other authors for events they were unable to attend themselves, and generally provided advice on how to promote books without going crazy. read more…
Since the death of my dog Sorcia in January, I’ve been volunteering at CompAnimals, a no-kill, all-volunteer pet rescue shelter in Landenberg, PA. Although they take in all animals in need, they specialize in hard-to-place cases — animals missing fur, missing limbs or eyes, needing surgery, etc.
Take SAM, for instance. Picked up by animal control on the streets of Baltimore, Sam was discovered to have multiple broken ribs and vertebrae in various stages of healing, indicating long-term abuse. My family temporarily fostered Sam, giving him some much needed pampering before CompAnimals sponsored his FHO surgery to remove the crumbling ball of his hip joint which was causing him pain with every movement.
At long last, I have news to report that doesn’t involve dogs, vacations, or my quirky daughters.
In a slightly different version of this pitch, I can summarize the story this way:
In an alternate U.S. history where ghosts are strictly categorized as Friendly, Unaware, or Vengeful, 13-year-old introvert Eleanor Roosevelt and her flamboyant cousin Alice match wits with a ghost in their aunt’s house, which, although diagnosed as Friendly, demonstrates secret Vengeful behavior that might put their aunt and her baby at risk.
With cameo appearances by Nellie Bly, Nikola Tesla, and Theodore Roosevelt.
I’m really excited for this book, which features several strong female characters from history, as well as a woman who might not have made the history books, but who nevertheless had a strong influence on the people who did: the oldest sister of Teddy Roosevelt, Anna “Bye” Roosevelt Cowles. read more…
The beginning of 2019 was a hard time for us. Thank you to everyone who extended their condolences on our loss of Sorcia, our beloved GSD of nine years. We still miss her every day. I look for her when I go to bed late at night, thinking I need to let her out to pee, and I still expect her to appear when we pull into the driveway and press the garage door button—wriggling out from underneath the door as soon as she can fit.
But she’s not there.
At some point in late January, with both daughters back at college and my husband away on a business trip, I missed my dog enough to fill out a volunteer application for the local animal shelter. Best decision ever. read more…
Good-Bye to 2018. An okay year for me. Not a great one. Not the worst. But sadly, it’s ending on a very down note.
After exhibiting weird symptoms over the past few months — such as facial swelling that looked like a reaction to a bee sting or spider bite, but wasn’t — my sweet dog, Sorcia, has been diagnosed with an advanced case of lymphoma. The mysterious swelling, as it turns out, was an auto-immune response related to the cancer. Although blood tests in September showed no signs of an elevated white blood cell count, x-rays taken two days ago indicate a large tumorous mass in her chest and other small masses spread throughout her organs.
Sorcia is 11 years old. The disease is greatly advanced. We have elected not to put her through traumatic surgeries and chemo therapy in the hopes of dragging this out for months. Instead, she’s under sedation, and we’re saying a gentle good-bye.
Until this past week, Sorcia suffered no pain. There was that weird facial swelling, but it bothered us more than it did her. read more…
Earlier this week, I was in Miami for a partly-expected but still surprising Christmas gift. Last fall, when I heard The Killers would be touring in January, I asked my husband to get us tickets. He did, but in a typical Bob-fashion, instead of buying them for our local Philadelphia show, he bought them for the Miami show and planned a mini-vacation around it.
The concert was AMAZING, but that’s not what I’m writing about today. The day after the show, with Change Your Mind and All the Things That I’ve Done still ringing in my mind, we visited Coral Castle in Homestead, Florida.
You may be familiar with Coral Castle, sometimes known as “America’s Stonehenge,” especially if you watch TV shows about unsolved mysteries. This bizarre rock garden, filled with carved stones weighing thousands of pounds each, was built in the 1930s by a single man using only handmade tools. Edward Leedskalnin, a Latvian immigrant who weighed less than 100 pounds and was only 5 feet tall, excavated these stones and assembled the structures by himself, working only at night and in secret. To this day, no one knows how he did it. read more…
This past weekend, I attended the Baltimore Book Festival, a 3-day event located along Baltimore’s scenic Inner Harbor. I happened to share a tent with author/illustrator team, Stephen McGill and Ronald Campbell.
Stephen and Ron have a book that debuted in April, The Electrifying Adventures of Mr. Powers. I was immediately impressed by the way they pitched their book to readers. They sold out in the last hour of the last day of the festival, which is pretty much the definition of bringing exactly the right amount of stock.
Apparently, “not returning to a regular blogging schedule” means “not blogging until people start asking if I’m okay.” Since two people have asked this week why I haven’t updated my blog, I thought I’d make an entry and let you all know I’m not dead. I’ve been devoting more time to writing, which is a good thing, I think.
My husband and I just returned from a week’s vacation in Europe. My youngest daughter, Gina, is still there, enjoying a few more days without us. Don’t worry! She’s not alone, as you will see.
We started out in Munich, Germany.
One of the most amazing sights in Munich for us were these surfers. They are surfing across the width of a man-made channel under the bridge where the Englischer Garten meets the streets of Old Town Munich. read more…
- Driven 1800 miles and flown 1550 miles for book events
- Given 11 large group presentations
- Conducted 3 writing workshops
- Delivered 1 keynote address
- Virtually visited 3 classrooms via Skype
That was all pretty exciting, and more driving than I’ve ever done in my life. Thank heavens for Waze, my new favorite app! I’ve been all over the state of Pennsylvania – southeast, northeast, central, and southwest. The only area of PA I haven’t visited is the northwest. Anybody out in Erie want to invite me your way? read more…