Saturday, July 24, 2010


I have always marveled at the people who can point easily to the perfect days in their lives and say without pause, "That was the best day." I mean, I'm a writer. Ask me to point to a miserable day and I can deal out a dozen or so in a heartbeat.

But the game has changed because I now have that day, that PERFECT DAY, etched forever in my brain-box. It all began with a weekend trip to New York to visit with my editor, Liesa Abrams, at Aladdin. Apparently there were people in her office who had read MILO: STICKY NOTES & BRAIN FREEZE and wanted a chance to meet me. Cool, I thought. I'll just drive down from Montreal and take Milo with me on the one condition that I control the radio.

The weekend fun was kicked off by walking from our hotel through Times Square on our way to meet Liesa and her husband for a matinee of AVENUE Q. Times Square always smells like a hot summer day so it felt normal to be bombarded by the sights, sounds and smells of a 92 degree, humid summer Sunday.

After Milo and I sweated through clean shirts and baked under the July haze - we got to the theater and sat through the hysterical musical. Everyone says the puppets are "so racy" - but even Milo thought the show was kind of tame. I guess that's what watching so much SOUTH PARK will do to a kid's brain!

Had a lovely dinner with Liesa and James and as super-fantatstic as that Sunday was, it was just the precursor to the Monday that was to come. First I had to check-out of my hotel and though I had a minor freak-out that I'd lost my passport (found after a frantic search through the suitcase that then fell apart) the morning began slightly less humid and with a vente iced latte, so all was good.

Milo and I arrived outside the Simon & Schuster offices and he was immediately awed by the building.

We went inside and rode the elevator to the 4th floor. Stepping off the elevator the first thing I saw was this wall of MILO books. We both felt a surge of caffeine-adrenaline and posed for a picture taken with exquisite care by the multi-talented Liesa Abrams.

Not only is Liesa an incredibly talented editor and a great photographer - but she is the coolest person in the world because she loves all things BATMAN. This is a shot of a shelf in her office.

Now you have to realize that Liesa had tried to prepare me for what was to come by hoping that I'd be ready to "share the love" around the office. But I had no idea that Milo (the book) had so many fans already! I walked into the conference room and was met by dozens of people who had read and LOVED the book and it was probably the most overwhelmed I'd been in a long while. I had a chance to speak to the group and explain how personal Milo's story is to me.

Then I had Milo pose with everyone.

This was the first moment that my book felt like it was really out in the world and I made sure to bask in the feeling that it was a story that was touching people. Writing a book about parental loss and grief was an emotional journey for me and seeing that the emotion carries to other people touched me very much. Because the final book isn't ready yet I signed printed copies of several of the book's cartoons for people, which again just hit home how real the experience of publishing Milo felt.

The morning was made even more special because my wonderful agent, Jill Grinberg was there too. Thanks Jill!

Liesa, Me, Milo and Jill

Life is supposed to be full of great days but sometimes I've had a hard time finding them. I am so thankful to everyone at Simon & Schuster who was part of this incredibly special day for me. Of course I feel lucky just to have a new book being published - but to be able to feel the support and emotion of what my book is starting to mean to the people reading it is giving a new meaning to the BEST DAY EVER.

For me and Milo anyway.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

MILO Summer

It's getting pretty real. Milo's publication date is actually something concrete to me and not some distant date that has no meaning. Still - September is just far enough away and no one wants to start thinking about that season that comes after summer. ( date is Sept. 14) But I've got the date circled on my calendar!!

Also want to give a shout out to Fuse8 over at School Library Journal, who not only gave Milo his first review - but it's a pretty GREAT one at that! (Thanks, Betsy!)

So summer is sizzling and Milo's just doing what he should be doing...hanging out!

Saturday, July 03, 2010


seen from the road in Rumford, Maine

I recently went on my family's annual trip to Maine, where not only was I greeted with spectacular scenery...

kayaking at sunset

But I also had a package waiting for me that looked like this:

Seeing a Simon & Schuster logo on it could only mean one thing: I was finally getting to hold a copy of my MILO ARC!!! I knew the ARCS existed - I just hadn't actually held one yet and let me tell you in case you haven't had the pleasure of seeing an advanced reader copy (ARC) of the book that you spent the past year and half slaving over - actually getting your paws on a facsimile of what your real book is going to be like is better than a year's worth of s'mores (which we indulged in aplenty while in Maine!).

MILO: STICKY NOTES & BRAIN FREEZE (the full title) tells a very personal story for me and being able to share the book with my family was especially meaningful because the book tells the story of my mom's death when we were all kids. I was so proud to be able to have my sister read the book while we were in Maine (yes, she loved it - though tissues were used).

Here's a shot of my sister Debbie and me posing with the newly arrived book.

The week was beautiful and I was able to NOT write at all, which was hard for me because I always feel like this escape into the beauty of the Maine Coast should be a "writing retreat" for me. In truth, it is a writing retreat because I am letting my brain toss and turn all the ideas of my new book while I kayak, bike ride, and relax with a good book.

Me, Zeus and a good book

One of my weirdest images from the week is this bizarre sight found while on a great 5 mile seaside bike ride I took with my son. (folk art or crazy cousin of an Ent???)

Most delicious memory of the week: Pizza night!!!!

As happens every year - the week speeds by in a blur and we all frantically pack our cars on Saturday morning and go our separate ways - but the memories are so strong and tangible that I'm already counting the days until I get to return!