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Because my very favorite recording artist in middle school was Weird Al (yes, I was that hip in middle school), I give you a video on his take on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” It’s all about the crimes perpetrated by, oh, texting and the Internet and general numbskullery, on the English language. Of course, I’ve never encountered any linguistic butchery from any of my esteemed agenting or editorial clients, but this one is certainly good for a laugh. ;)

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I’m adding a thing to the already long list of stuff I do, and I’ll tell you all about it on Wednesday, January 2nd. In the meantime, here’s a sweet review of WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT from superstar MG author Danette Haworth, whose book VIOLET RAINES ALMOST GOT STRUCK BY LIGHTNING is excerpted (though she swears her praise isn’t biased!).

In other news, I don’t know if you’ve unfriended me on Facebook yet, but you should. Why? Because my feed is about to turn into one big infomercial about Gertrude, our 10-week-old pug puppy. Loyal blog readers know of my love for animals, and probably remember my two furry loves Smokey and Sushi, who passed in 2009 and 2011. It is so wonderful to have a pet again. I’ve never had a dog before, either, so this pup is a dream come true. I feel so blessed and grateful. (And I should really buy stock in pet deodorizer spray…)

Now for the vital stats: She’s a rare silver gray color and–maybe I’m biased but–I don’t personally think that she could get any freaking cuter. Her favorite activity is chewing on everything. Her favorite food is treats. Her favorite way to sleep is upside down. Her favorite place to go to the bathroom is everywhere but her puppy pad. (Hence, her nickname is “Dirty Gertie.”) Her murder weapon is lots and lots of kisses until her victims succumb. It’s disgusting how smitten we are with her. Here’s a glamor shot:

silver gray silver black pug puppy

Happy Holidays to you and yours, and an energizing New Year that sees you many steps closer to your dreams!

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Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow to everyone! I have a whole lot to be grateful for this year–my book, my blog readers, and the amazing love of my boyfriend, friends, and family. I also have a big ol’ break coming up that I’m excited about. On Wednesday, I leave for California and on Friday morning I leave for Cambodia and Laos and my friend Colleen and I will be tooling around there until early December. I’ll be back on the blog December 5th. For the first time in a while, I am traveling without my laptop. Any emails you have for me will not get answered until at least the 10th, so please be patient. Happy holidays to everyone!

In the meantime, read a book-related interview with me on First Five Frenzy (some tips on nailing those very difficult first pages) and bid to win a signed copy of WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT over at the Kidlit Cares auction, dedicated to helping rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. (The auction is live until November 28th!)

If you’re looking to order my book from the Writer’s Digest Shop, you can take an extra 10% off from Wednesday the 21st to Sunday the 25th by entering the following promo code at checkout:

WDFriday12

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After a great weekend at the Kansas SCBWI conference with Jay Asher, Arthur Levine, and many more talented faculty and writers, I’m back in NYC for Hurricane Sandy. Some people with flights out yesterday were stranded, so I made sure to take one at 6:30 a.m. just to get back home. Now, despite being very close to the evacuation zone here in Brooklyn, both me and my boyfriend are hunkering down for a cozy day.

Just an update on WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT, it seems like it is shipping from Amazon now, in addition to being available from the Writer’s Digest Shop. If you see the book “out in the wild” at a brick and mortar bookstore, I would love it if you could take a picture and send it to me via email or on Facebook. If you have read the book and loved it, please tell your writing friends, and (if you are feeling really ambitious) leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads to help spread the word.

I’m thinking of getting some labels printed for “bookplates” to sign and mail around to people who want a signed copy of the book but aren’t nearby. Would any of you take advantage of that?

Back to our regular programming on Wednesday…

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I don’t know if many of you noticed, but the blog was down all of Friday. I could’ve easily lost everything (or at least had to redo everything by hand from cached versions of the site online) because…I don’t back up my website. This blog is over three years of hard work and, without a doubt, the cornerstone of my career. So why don’t I back it up? Human nature, I’m guessing.

NOW I KNOW BETTER. And all of you should, too. Because once you lose that WIP of yours, it’s gone. So do me a favor and back up your work right now. Don’t just think about doing it. Actually do it. I now have my blog set to automatically back up once a month to a separate location online. That way, if I lose anything, it won’t be as catastrophic as wiping out every post and comment from the last three years.

The actual problem in this case was a corrupted database file, or so I hear. Even though I have a website and used to work in the Silicon Valley, when you say “database,” I say “durrrr?” Without further ado, I owe my undying gratitude to Eric and Angela Fox, who answered my desperate SOS on Facebook. Angela was kind enough to notice my cry for help and Eric was amazing enough to root through my database and fix the problem. Several others also responded to my distress signal, and I want to thank them here: Kristen, Tyler, Heather, Irene, and Brendan. On a stressful and disheartening day, this outpouring of nerd support (I say this in the most positive way imaginable) really helped me feel humbled and grateful for the community of children’s book enthusiasts that I call home.

What are you doing still reading this post? GO BACK UP YOUR WORK!

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I hope everyone had a restful, creative, and productive summer. I can’t wait for what this fall will bring.

If you are hoping to jump start some picture book writing in the second half of 2012, register for my Writer’s Digest Picture Book Craft Intensive webinar this Thursday, September 6th, at 1 p.m. Eastern. As usual, you don’t need to be available that specific date and time, but you do need to register for the live webinar if you want the benefits of being a student–all your questions answered, the content of the lecture, and a critique of your PB manuscript (up to 1,000 words)  from me. A recording of the webinar will be emailed to you the week after, and critiques will be returned within 90 days. Only live webinar students get these perks, so register here.

I also have a MG and YA Craft Intensive webinar coming up Thursday, October 25th, at 1 p.m. Eastern. That’s for all of your teen novelists out there, and it comes with the benefits of the lecture, the Q&A, and a writing sample critique as well. This should dovetail nicely with the publication of my book, WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT, which puts this November. Woohoo! Register for that webinar here. Those are my last webinars for 2012, and I look forward to teaching them. If you haven’t taken one yet, this is a great opportunity. Since I’m doing both a PB one and a MG/YA, you can learn the ropes no matter what kidlit audience you’re targeting.

What else, what else, what else? Do you have any questions burning a hole in your minds? Ask away in the comments and I’ll use them to inspire posts in the next few months. Thank you so much, as always, for reading the blog!

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A few housekeeping mentions and a huge congratulations to m client Karsten Knight on the blog. Let’s lead with the congratulations. Karsten Knight’s second book in the WILDEFIRE trilogy, EMBERS AND ECHOES hits shelves tomorrow! Here is the gorgeous cover:

Go out and get your copy today, er, tomorrow. If you haven’t read the series yet, you’re in luck! The paperback of WILDEFIRE, the first book, is also out.

This is a multicultural romp that features a group of powerful teen gods and goddesses. If you’ve been looking for a good definition of voice, you should definitely be reading Karsten’s work. Good thing you can start tomorrow.

Other than that, I am teaching my very popular Picture Book Craft Intensive webinar on Thursday, September 6th at 1 p.m. Eastern. As with all of my other webinars, you don’t have to be available on the time and date. You will get a recording of the lecture after the fact. The webinar comes with a critique for every student, and this is a great opportunity if you’ve been craving some professional eyes on your picture book manuscript. Register here.

I’ve got a few conferences coming up. The weekend of September 15th I’m in San Antonio for the SCBWI conference, and the weekend of the 28th, I’m visiting with the Idaho Writer’s League. If I’m meeting you at either of those, I’m looking forward to it! If not and you’re nearby, please register.

ETA: Just realized the link to the webinar was broken. I’ve found it for you. Sorry about that! (Even as I posted, I had this nagging feeling that I was missing…something…)

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Vacation!

Traveling without wifi this week. See y’all on the 13th.

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Happy 4th!

I’m going to go watch some fireworks tonight, have a birthday on Friday, and I’ll be back with you on Monday, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It’s a gorgeous day in Brooklyn and I hope you are celebrating your 4th of July with sunshine, family, friends, and good books! A special thank you to anybody with loved ones in the service today.

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Sorry wonderful readers–I’ve been traveling for a conference for five days and the weekend was really busy. Then I had a travel apocalypse getting out of Colorado. So I am giving myself a break this week. See you Monday!

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