Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Spring’s creeping, slow as a breeze up an arm. Which means that it’s time to pull out the tuning hammer and curl my back over the family Cable.

Our piano’s a real heirloom—the only item my grandfather ever purchased “on time.” Funny, that old expression for charging an item…especially since the piano is what bought me time. Teaching music lessons in the afternoons allowed me to pay those pesky bills while devoting eight hours every day to my writing.

I love the music of old pianos. Their soundboards don’t just vibrate with notes, but with history. The hopes of three generations float out from the inside of mine, every time so much as a single scale is played on the (okay, faux) ivories…

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Gratitude abounds—I've received so many kind words regarding my spankin' new website!

I've also received several questions about what I look like...which surprises me, actually. Especially in this age of cover-art-sans-faces. I'm thinking of the completely headless images of young girls splashed across the covers of Mary E. Pearson's A Room on Lorelei Street, Laurie Faria Stolarz's Deadly Little Secret, Rachel Cohn's Gingerbread (hardback edition, of course), and pretty much anything by Sarah Dessen: Just Listen, The Truth About Forever, Along for the Ride...

Other recent covers depict partial or obscured faces (Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak or Lisa Yee's Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time), and some avoid using any kind of portrait at all: Sara Zarr's Sweethearts, David Levithan's The Realm of Possibility, Lisa McMann's Fade, Linda Joy Singleton's Witch Ball, and pretty much anything by Ellen Hopkins: Glass, Tricks, etc.

The tactic bleeds into adult literature as well: In the romance genre, for example (picture the cover of Susan Wiggs' Just Breathe, featuring a photo of a woman taken from the back). And mystery (the faceless girls racing around a tree on the cover of Laura Lippman's What the Dead Know).

Whew—and these are all examples I just pulled from my bookshelf!

Okay, okay, so there are plenty of covers out there that break this rule...but for my book buying money, I like the headless art. The same way I like to read a book before I see the movie. The writer in me likes the chance to fashion the heroes and villains in my own imagination...and, yes, I love to imagine the writer, too...suede elbow patches and pipe, or ripped jeans and piercings. I like to picture a person who fits the persona of the to believe that maybe the voice screaming through the chapters has roots somewhere in the real world (feels less like losing a friend when I turn the final page).

But it poses an interesting question: Does a photo of an author destroy the fantasy? Or does a picture hovering over a bio on a website suddenly make him / her real?

And for those who asked about my own mug, I've got two words: Gwyneth. Paltrow. (Enter wacky emoticon of your choice here.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Aura Ambrose (the main character of my novel) has just inched the paint-splattered toes of her Chuck Taylors into cyberspace.
(Check out
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