Monday, August 28, 2006


1) Write.
2) Don't Decide to Sell Your House.

Since disobeying Rule #2, Rule #1 became moot.

Trying to find a calm place in my head to weave stories while spackling holes and wondering about paint colors has created a whirling dervish of anxiety that makes the task of creating fiction an impossible task.

Staring at stacks of odds and ends (mostly odds) makes my inner child collapse in the corner and render me motionless at accomplishing any tasks that don't have to do with consuming food.

Why share this? Because, even in my state of inertia I am reading other blogs and noticing that people are actually finding time to write and link, while I stare out the window waiting for some Mary Poppins-like magic to get rid of all my clutter (and update my Blog).

So there. I've written something and now feel like I've made a dent somehow in my pile of things needing to be done. Inner child is happy - he can now eat more sugar!

Oh. And getting first round of Disney Channel notes later today - so am hoping the house will be clean and un-cluttered by then.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Too hurried. Too worried. Too lost in my own head.

so instead of writing I do a doodle.

maybe tomorrow....



Sunday, August 20, 2006


Hey, did you know that if you checkmark a box somewhere on the blogger set-up screen you then have to go "moderate comments" so that they actually show up?

Well I KNOW you all know that....But I just found out why all of my childhood insecurities about popularity and getting picked last came to a head in the blogosphere here...I figured my recent posts (some of which actually included writer stuff) were dull rejects on the path of urls. response to all who responded and now are posted....Thanks for your comments. I even intend to go back and respond to your responses.

Learning curve: 6
Feeling Dumb: 9

Friday, August 18, 2006


I've been tapped in the tag team event to jump into the ring and add my voice to this crawling kidlit quest. I hope I don't expose any holes in my character with my choices - but then again a flawed character is a real character!

One book that changed my life: "Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut - after discovering this book in the Worcester Public Library when I was 13 I officially graduated into adult-themed books and devoured everything Vonnegut had. I remember feeling like I was "smart" and reading something no one else I knew had heard of (yet).

Book you have read more than once: "In God We Trust - All Others Pay Cash" by Gene Shephard. I loved the first person narrative of his memory-stories and laughed as he painted all the pictures that would later become the fave movie "A Christmas Story".

Book you want on a desert island: "Gilligan, Maynard and Me" by Bob Denver - perhaps there'd be some sage advice how to turn two coconut shells into an iPod...

Book that made you laugh: any of the "Adrian Mole" books by Sue Townsend (also in the category of read more than once!) - but must confess I chortle out loud at any Pinkwater book, especially "Borgle".

Book that made you cry: "This Boy's Life: A Memoir" by Tobias Wolff - an amazingly well-told story of the struggle to survive in a world of neglect and abuse. The book did me in. The film version - left me in the movie theater seat for ten minutes after the lights came up.

Book you wished had been written: "Emotional Health For Dummies"

Book you wished had never been written: "SPAMMING for Dummies"

Book you're currently reading: "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak - so slowly paced with the care and skill of someone completely in control of the story. The details get spooned out sparcely and with wonderful language and cadence!

Book you've been meaning to read: "Harry Sue" by Sue Stauffacher - ever since I saw it on the shelf I was drawn to it but just haven't picked it up...yet.

As for tagging someone new...I went to check with the people I planned to tag - and they'd already all done it...How's this: add your TAG suggestions to my COMMENTS and I'll give you the SHOUT to jump into the ring....

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Hi all (and especially to you demented Mermaids of Disco fashion) -

It is with apologies that I post without fulfilling my duties with the now infamous "TAG". Twas a busy day being in the world of TV where I had to go "pitch" stuff to people (always a mix of fun and trepidation depending on the beverages served)

I just got home. Tired and full of airplane air. So just you wait til tomorrow and I shall fulfill thine quest!

Oh. And thanks for the TAG!

hasta manana

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Today's adventure begins with the discovery that makes any author's heart go pitter-patter: a really GREAT review. POND SCUM is almost a year old so in my GOOGLE wanderings I don't expect to find many new reviews out there. But leave it to the only READIOLOGIST I know to discover my book and make me want to send cookies. Buckets of them!

I've been a fan of Esme Raji Codell since I had the pleasure of reading SING A SONG OF TUNA FISH as an ARC. The quirky hysterical voice and ability to retell such picture perfect - sometimes heartbreaking stories from her childhood made me think of Pinkwater, Annie Lamott and my own fifth grade year (a dreadful time of husky pants and really bad hair). Then when I wandered upon her PLANET ESME website with its vast resource lists for teachers and parents and its dedication to making books accessible to kids - I knew this was someone I wanted to know!

So how do you make believe you know someone who you really don't know? Read her blog!

The PlanetEsme Book-A-Day-Plan: The Best New Children's Books is a comprehensive guide to books of different reading levels and themes. The truth is - I'm sure her site is already bookmarked by everyone who stumbles upon me - but in case it isn't - allow her magical advice inspire you!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Finally. Done. Disney script handed in, which means I can float in the pool and tell myself what a puctual, creative and god-like writer I am.

Okay. 1) I have no pool unless you count the basin of mosquito-infested water sitting in the wooden barrel my wife "rolled" home last summer, 2) I don't really think I'm "god-like", I'm much more "false-idol" worthy, and 3) being done never means much more than a quick five-fingered pat on the ol' back before jumping back into the moving traffic of writing other stuff.

In this case I am ecstatic to get back to BOOK #2 and see what the characters have been doing while I left them in the lurch. Hopefully they are past their abandonement issues, have wonderful secets to tell me and none of them have been abducted by brain-altering aliens from the planet Schmootz (tho on second thought - could be interesting).

Of course, there's this part of me that is anxious aboutwhat I'll find when I peek back under the lid. What if my characters have packed their bags and split? What if the story no longer even reads well? What if I CAN'T WRITE A SINGLE WORD!!!! (Hey, I'm a writer - insecurities are part of the job.)

Rambling over. I feel better. Time to go before I find more ways to not start again!

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Truth is - with Disney deadlines fast approaching (tomorrow) I simply must avoid taking time to post, which means this isn't really a post. Simply a post-ette.

Shout outs to BURIED IN THE SLUSH PILE for included yours truly in her "Writers I would Like to Work With" wish list. Wow! The honor would be all mine! (mini shout-out to Gregory K. for actually alerting me to the fact - even though it was last week, which in my own defense was the week leading up to my wife's b-day, so I was wicked busy arranging for a Salsa teacher to arrive at her party as a surprise.)

That's it. I hear Mickey Mouse's voice in my head yelling at me to finish "or at least teach Mini how to Salsa."

ps: the cartoon has nothing to do with writing - I just liked it.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Monday. Again.
Book #2 is on hold as I put my nose to the grind-stone of deadlines on my Disney Channel movie. I have to turn in the rewrite by Friday and the wonderful feeling is - I see that happening (more important than "seeing" it happen, I know I will cross the finish line in time.)

Comparing the process of film and book writing is always a "grass is greener" scenario. When I'm book writing - I often long for the structure the films straightjacket me into; 3 major acts. 104(ish) pages. No scene longer than 3 or 4 pages. The writing can sometimes feel more mechanical, no less creative of course - just more like a watchmaker tinkering on a timepiece.

Of course, when writing the structured Swiss timepiece of a movie it is the book writing I dream of. Writing books (for me anyway) is the opposite: straightjacket off I am free to wander and discover things that when writing scripts I would easily overlook. I turned to books because I was tired of the constraints both TV and film put upon me. The page counts. The act breaks. The commercials!

But I am human. Which means I crave sweets and have the capacity to learn. Having both disciplines to bounce between gives me the chance to appreciate each form for the process it guides me with. Both structure and freedom are needed to get me through the twisted jungle of my brain. I find that ideas spring forth when I am terribly lost without the map - and sometimes are there when I need them because that's exactly what my map says I need right then.

That's what I'm thinking anyway. Time to get back to the snug and warm it actually feels wonderful!

ps: Thanks to Cynthia Leitich Smith for a nice mention over at Cynsations where there is a great roundup of kid-lit info!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


click the pic to see it full!

Yup. The wall of exhaust fumes masking as breathable air has hit Montreal too and I'm worthless in all things brain. Doodled this in response to my inability to do much else. Going back to the one air conditioned room now - my son's, where he will attempt again, to teach me how to play Star Wars Battlefront. (the things we parents do!)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

GREAT IDEAS...just add water

It comes as no surprise that the wonders that be Hollywood feed on the edges of pop culture always in search of the next big thing, or even "the next thing that isn't really big, but might be popular enough so we can make everyone think it's big!"

In the spirit of "I can't wait for this one" - I have just learned that there is a plan afoot to make a movie of THE AMAZING LIVE SEA MONKEYS. For anyone unfamiliar, those are the little brine shrimp that come alive in water and then die peretty fast. As a kid it was always a disappointment to see that they didn't have crowns or even smiles like the drawing on the package. Ah, the life lesson of my first let-down.

Surprising fact number two, though I really haven't thought of this in my days of living in L.A. and traveling the circles of kid's TV, I was once a writer on the TV show, THE AMAZING LIVE SEA MONKEYS, produced by none other than the shiny-headed Deal-No Dealer himself, Howie Mandel (not pictured - he played the kooky "Professor" on the live action show).

That's it for today's confessional. Time to get back to work!


My learning curve of the kid-lit universe continues to swoop upward thanks to GOOGLE. Yes, as already admitted, I am an obsessive author who takes the daily (hourly?) trip through various search engines in search of treasure. Am I looking for good places in Montreal to buy chocolate cake? Researching the secretive BOOK #2?

Alas, the truth is shamefully simple: I am seraching to see if there be new news of a certain Pond Scummy book. How else can I keep my finger on the ooze of my loins? I suppose I could make random phone calls to bookstores in the country and disguise my voice (as if my voice could be recognized) and ask "Do you have a book called...." I mean, not that I've actually done that! (much) But GOOGLING my book has offered me new doors and contacts and the sort of virtual relationships that actually is making this solitary job much less lonely (Greg.K, Fuse8, et al).

All that to checking on my whereabouts I discovered POND SCUM was the BOOK OF THE MONTH for a kid-lit organization EVERYONE MUST KNOW ABOUT!!!

EMBRACING THE CHILD is a wonderland of resources ranging from recommended books by age-group and theme to author interviews and educational resources. Links guide you to lesson plans and activities. All great stuff to add to your files!

BUT here's the thing that should make you go there right now - Embracing The Child is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing reading resources to under-served populations.

Maybe everyone already knows about ETC. Again, my world-view is opening slowly. But if you don't already know the great work they are doing - check them out. Or better yet, DONATE!