Friday, April 30, 2010

Katie Vlogs.... horribly.

I bow down to all y'all who vlog...

This is my first ridiculous attempt at a vlog of... well, nothing.

Obviously one must plan extensively for this. Why didn't anyone tell me? I promise to force SF into the next one. I filmed it on my Mac imovie program and it apparently sucks. HELP!!!!! Give me all the tips you can in the comments and I promise to make a doozy next time :)

I don't even know how to remove my horrific choking on camera! yikes!

note to self: don't sit in front of boring white wall. Add some atmosphere, baby!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fighting Shape.

Looking back at my six years writing, I can honestly say I am relieved I haven't sold a book before. I wasn't ready.

Don't get me wrong - I thought I was ready all that time. I prayed for it daily! But now I can see I was in training. I was learning.

I was slow roasting.

Here's the thing: Only God knows what my future will bring, and only He holds my life in His hands. I *hope* His master plan involves a book contract but I am thankful it didn't happen last year. Or last semester. Or last month.

I was still in my word gym.

Today I was thinking about how, for the first time in several years, I feel different, grounded, stable and really good. And oddly enough, much of that feeling has been derived from failure. The single most pivotal events in my writing life have come directly from criticism. They were the hurdles I had to jump over, so that now, my legs are strong.

My lungs can carry me further.

Today I cherish those people who were honest with me and told me I needed to flesh out my characters. To make it harder for my MC to get what she wants. To resolve every. last. item.
These people enabled me to grow at the proper speed so that now, I know what I'm doing. I'm more patient, thoughtful, and can handle the pressure better. I make wiser decisions. I balance my time better.

Today I'm in fighting shape, baby!

Now I wake up and look at my WIP and think, "Bring it on, book. I'm ready!"

Are you?

Maybe that hurdle you just jumped was there for a reason.

Maybe the one you're approaching is a good thing. A great thing.

Maybe, you're getting stronger...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Children's Book Best Sellers

I'm here at my mobile office in Naples, Florida . . . lucky me! I'm tagging along with my husband who has a conference, and I'm chilling out with my giant stack of books while he has meetings all day.

Yeah. It's pretty much bliss. We haven't gotten away sans children in a very long time. It's raining right now, but who cares? I'm in a quiet hotel room in a comfy bed.

As I was catching up on some blogs this morning, I spent some time looking through PW's list of children's books best sellers of 2009. Take a look at it here. A lot of it is not surprising ("Hello" Bella, Fancy Nancy, and Harry), but there were some books that were noticeably absent from the list. Where were the Mo Willems books? Where was Olivia? Have those books already run their course? And, I was fascinated by the backlist numbers, especially those for Dr. Seuss's books.

So what gives a children's book longevity? And, is it easier for a children's book to have longevity than a work written for the adult market? Lots of these big selling backlist books were my favorites as a child, and I assume that people in my generation are buying those same books for their children--keeping the book alive in perpetuity.

What say you? Any surprises on the list?


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday Stuff

First of all, Weronika's going to Backspace!!!!

Whoa! If you read below you will see that Weronika needed a helping hand. Well, she got it. And fast! Thanks to all who donated. And Weronika - We expect a full recap of the conference! And pics with our beloved Jeanette :)

Have fun!

In other news, I just watched AVATAR. Oh. My. Gosh. Why did no one tell me how fab it was? I mean I know it was up for best pic but none of my bloggers told me to run to see it. As much as I hate those durn 3D glasses, I am sad I didn't see it in the theater :( I seriously adored it.

Also, I am wanting to build another house. I have been uber inspired by my new fave show, 9 BY DESIGN and am hot to rebuild, redecorate, redo! Check it out on Bravo this Tuesday - you won't regret it.

Let's send Weronika to BACKSPACE!

Many of you know fellow blogger Weronika Janczuk.

What you may not know is this: She just won a scholarship to attend the uber cool Backspace convention in NYC! Cool, right? But here's the deal: her parents are dealing with some tough times and can't afford to send her there.

The good news is - WE CAN. You and me.

So, do yourself a favor and go read one of our favorites blogs, Ms. J Writes. She has organized a graduation gift for Weronika to send her to the conference. And what Ms. J wants, Ms. J gets :) Trust us.

She is setting up PayPal to handle the transaction.

For some reason, Jeanette's post made us reflect on this amazing community of writers we are blessed to be a part of. We are humbled beyond words. We love you people! Long live children's book writers!

Now, go send one of our own to Backspace :) And while you're there, follow Jeanette's blog. She is one of the funniest, kindest people I know. One who is gonna make it big one day. And when I say, "big," I mean GINORMOUS!


Katie and SF

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Feeling the Blues...

Before I start, I have to say that I am sitting in my coffee shop where I was just caught laughing out loud. Why? Because I typed "Feeling the Blues" into Google images and was greeted with this photo of Bella and Edward. WTH? Are they feeling the blues? Is their image supposed to get one OUT of the blues? It was too funny not to post. So, I give you a "Feeling the Blues" post with the blessing of the Cullens. HA!

Anyhoo...The blues to which I am referring are the dreaded Blog Blues, more commonly called, Blog Block. And I have it, baby. I can't think of a durn thing to blog about these days.

Recently, I read a book in which it was suggested that we writers use so much brain power creating stories that there is very little power left for anything other than zoning out in front of Mad Men - which I intend to do later.

Although slightly depressing, I have used this fact to my advantage. My husband often complains that I am forgetful, but lately I remind him that it is normal and simply due to my "dedication to my craft." You like? Go on - try it out. You use it like this:

"I'm sorry I forgot to take your shirts to the cleaners, honey. I've used my precious remembering-powers trying to plot my book."

Yeah. He doesn't go for it either. But then again, he's not a writer. He can't relate to mental exhaustion from doing nothing but thinking up things.

Do you ever feel this way? And is it a bad thing? Is being a hard worker to the point of losing your mind bad?

Do those marketing peeps who tell us we have to blog our little hearts out realize that if they want us to write intelligent, compelling books that our blogs may suffer?

I think perhaps this is an area in which I need to dedicate some time. There are some of you who are pros at this. You confidently rock both worlds - blogging and writing. Feel free to leave tips in the comments. As for me, I am going to shift gears now and work on my book - the one that takes all my brain power. But, since I friggin' adore it, I'm having trouble regretting the blues...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mad about Mad Men

People have been telling me about the AMC series Mad Men forever, saying that I absolutely HAD to see it. I've been meaning to . . . Then, my neighbor showed up at my front door this weekend with his box set of the entire first season.

"You must watch it so we can discuss."

John and I watched the first two episodes last night, and all I can say is OMG. The sets, the camera-work, the characters, the clothes (Oh my goodness--the clothes) . . . I'm in love. The show is absolutely smoldering.

For those of you who have been living under the same rock as I have, Mad Men tells the story of a group of Madison Avenue ad executives in the early sixties. Everything is authentic to the decade--the attitudes, the cars, the low ceilings. Take a look at these pix from the show:

And, I just read that Christine Hendricks (aka office manager, Joan) was just selected by Esquire Magazine as the sexiest woman alive.

I'll say . . .

And for a hilarious look at why some of us like this show so much, check out the Stuff White People Like blog.

Mad Men theme party? I'm in.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

But is it still a book???

The Alice In Wonderland App for the Ipad. Check it:

The coolest thing ever, yes?

But, tell me this . . . when does it stop being a book and start being just another video game??? I love it, but do we call it a book?

In the words Linda Richman (said in my best Cawfee Tawlk accent)
"Discuss amongst yourselves . . . "


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What the Pho??

Pho: A Vietnamese beef and noodle soup.[2] The soup includes noodles made from rice and is often served with basil, lime, bean sprouts and peppers that are added to the soup by the consumer.

So, the other day I was having my nails done when the cute Vietnamese couple that owns the salon asked me which asian restaurants I like.

"I like the Pho at Cafe X," I replied.

Their noses wrinkled in disgust. "That's not real, you realize."


They went on to say, "We make the real thing every other week. Do you wanna come over and see how to do it?"

"like, to your house?" I asked.

They nodded and then gave me directions to the Vietnamese grocery store in Memphis where I am supposed to get the bone marrow (gross!) and beef tendons (double gross!) that I need to make it.

Although horrified by the ingredients (since I am an aspiring vegetarian), I did think this might be a fun summer project - to learn to make "real Pho."

So, that's my plan.

Anyone else have any fun, weird, summer goals?


P.S. I'll take pics when I learn how :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Set your DVRs, GLEE is back!

In the words of blogger extraordinaire, Elana Johnson,

"Glee is on tonight. That is all."

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cool Stuff!

Thank you Lila for consistently giving us stuff to blog about. HA! While SF and I are chillin' with Lindsey Leavitt in a coffee shop in Oxford, Lila is outing MS. BOOKSNIPER, who is taking questions on their blog! Check it out!

We'll be checking in inbetween cups of coffee :)
And thank you Lindsey! We have had a blast. Here she is at a school visit yesterday which she rocked hard!

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Katie and SF

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lindsey Leavitt

If you haven't heard of Lindsey Leavitt and her brand new book Princess for Hire, well, all I have to say is WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN????

Here is her American cover

And the British one.

They're both great, but I really dig the retro British look.

Here's the description of Lindsey's book which I totally lifted from her website. Oh wait. Take a moment and look around on her super cool website. I'll give you a moment . . .

Didn't you love the "Old Hollywood / Starlet of the Month" section? Me too. Okay, back to the description of Princess for Hire:

Coming from Disney-Hyperion in March 2010 Egmont UK in February 2010

When a flawlessly dressed woman steps out of an

iridescent bubble and wants to know, like, now if you’d like to become a substitute princess, do you

a) run

b) faint

c) say Yes!

For Desi Bascomb, who’s been longing for a bit of glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite C–that is, once she can stop pinching herself. As her new agent Meredith explains, Desi has a rare magical ability: when she applies the ancient Egyptian formula “Royal Rouge,” she can transform temporarily into the exact lookalike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?

Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras. Like, what do you do when a bullying older sister puts you on a heinous crash diet? Or when the tribal villagers gather to watch you perform a ceremonial dance you don’t know? Or when a princess’s conflicted sweetheart shows up to break things off–and you know she would want you to change his mind?

In this hilarious, winning debut, one girl’s dream of glamour transforms into something bigger: the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time.

Sounds really great. Yes?

Lindsey was kind enough to grant us an interview, and she will be here in Oxford at Square Books, Jr. tomorrow from

4:00 to 6:00.

If you could cast Desi in the movie, who would you cast?

My new favorite TV show is Modern Family and I LOVE Ariel Winter, who plays the smart, snarky Alex.

The best part is she’s not 19 playing a 13-year-old, so even if the movie was in production for awhile, she’d still look like a teenager.

Are the princesses that Desi stands in for based on real life princesses?

Yes and no. All the countries and monarchies are fictional conglomerates of various cultures. I always note a vague region where these countries lie, but they aren’t based on one single country or person.

Now, the situations the girls face our situations any teen girl can encounter. I really wanted to show that every girl, peasant or princess, has their own drama to get through. Princesses just have the luxury of paying someone else to help out.

If you could stand in for a real royal, who would it be?

Queen Rania of Jordan. She’s a huge advocate for education and women’s rights. She’s gorgeous and smart and kind. But if I could do just one day, I’d hop into her wedding because she had the yummiest cake I’ve ever seen.

Oh, maybe I should have said something more profound and political, huh? Nevermind. Check out this cake. She had two of them and they got to cut it with a sword.



Why is it easier for Desi to fix the princesses lives and NOT her own?

Even though she's acting as someone else, it is still acting in a way. It's not Desi's reality. I mean, I always gave my girlfriends smashing boy tips, but couldn’t even talk to my own crush. Listening to yourself, to your own advice, takes courage and Desi finds that courage through walking in other girl’s shoes. Er, heels.

Name something strange that we would find on the floor of your car.

Oh, so this is the Make Other People Feel Good Because They Are Less Messy part of the interview, huh? I kid thee not, there is a banana peel there now that I didn’t pick up from this morning. Maybe yesterday morning. Also, library books I need to take back, a cup lid, gum wrappers and a tennis ball that keeps rolling out of my car (yet I just keep throwing it back in).

Thanks Lindsey!!

Sarah Frances and Katie

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lila's EPIC contest!!!

It had to happen sooner or later... an arm wrestling match for world domination. But to cap it off with giant prize packages?! That could only be the brain child of the mighty team Lila, otherwise known as Lisa and Laura Roecker.

Ya think Prosecco will be involved? I probably spelled that wrong and have never seen the drink in real life, but we're going for the 4th Roecker T with Twizzlers and Prosecco, babies!

Bring it!

Go enter their contest and be sure to tune in for the big ARM WRESTLE! ha! Love those suckers!!

Katie and SF

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

I LOVE Jamie Oliver.


Love him.

And his new show on Friday night.

You should watch it.

And write him love letters - about how much you love his revolution.

That's all.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Aging Backwards

Last year, I celebrated a significant birthday.

Moment of silence . . .

Over the last year or so, I started noticing something very disturbing. When I had my contacts in, I could not see my hand in front of my face . . or my book . . or my computer screen. Unless I put on reading glasses. So, I was having to wear both my contacts and reading glasses. In other words, I NEEDED BIFOCALS.

Call me Grammy.

I put off making my eye appointment for months, basically because I knew if I gave in to bifocals, then the next thing would be bunions on my feet, dinner at 4:30, and obsessive watching of PBS every night. But, a couple of weeks ago, I bit the bullet and called a new eye doctor and went for an exam.

When I sat in the chair, I hung my head as if admitting defeat and confessed that I thought I needed bifocals. He put me through the drill--reciting the letters E, C, L, . . . And, he kept saying "Really? Are you sure?" and "Hmmm." When we finished he wrote something on his chart and said, "Your contact prescription is twice as strong as it should be. You don't need bifocals. You just need much weaker contacts."

Me: "You mean I'm actually getting YOUNGER????"

Doctor: "Well, if that's what you want to think."

Me: "You mean, I DON'T need bifocals? And, I'm NOT about to break my hip and end up on a walker and have to start wearing Depends?"

Doctor: "I don't know about any of that other stuff, but no, you don't need bifocals. And, your glasses prescription is even stronger than your contacts are. Don't even put these on your face. No wonder you say you have headaches a lot."

Me: "How did this happen?"

Doctor: "I'm not sure. Your eyes may have gotten temporarily worse when you were pregnant. Or, some doctors think people would rather have perfect vision a hundred feet away than to be able to see up close."

Me: "That's crazy. I mean, I'm not a truck driver or a professional sharp shooter assassin. I spend my day reading, writing, looking at a computer, drawing . . . "

So, I present myself to you today as a person wearing the correct contact prescription who is reading her computer screen with no supplemental glasses.

I'm going to get my lenses changed in my glasses later this week. If my budget allowed, I would get the glasses worn by the prematurely aufed Ping Wu on Project Runway. Sorry, I couldn't find a picture of her wearing them, but trust me. They're fierce! Take a look.

And, here's where you can buy a pair for yourself.


Our Motto

Our Motto