Tusked Dolphins and Copywriting

Okay, these two things aren’t actually related. Or maybe they are in some metaphorical way that I could figure out if I thought about it for a while, but mostly I wanted to share these two links.

Seventy five ancient whale fossils were found in a Chilean desert, which all seem to have died at the same time. Other creatures, including a dolphin with tusks and a sea-sloth were also found. Fascinating! As a kid I wanted to be a whale trainer at a park like Sea World or a marine biologist, and I still love this stuff. Whales are awesome.

PhotobucketAnd, here is some helpful advice from Jane Friedman: learn to copywrite. It’s not just about grammar—though it’s good if you know the difference between your and you’re—but persuasive, attention-grabbing writing is important for authors, and she’s right, no one seems to teach it. I was “lucky” enough to have copywriting jobs, where I learned to manage word count, use SEO (search engine optimization), and how to sell. Not fun necessarily, but helpful for the career I actually wanted: being a writer. My query letters were pretty good, my description of the book was used for part of the catalog copy, and hopefully I’m not boring you all with my social media updates. Meaning, essentially, knowing how to copywrite is very helpful, even if I learned it by writing three hundred articles about eye health and travel guides for places I’d never been. It’s worth practicing, and the end of the article offers resources.

Bonus! Here’s an extra resource for writing tips: an article I wrote last year on why good writing matters, inspired by a coworker who asked how to spell sawl. She said, “You know, like I sawl it yesterday at the store.” Yes, seriously. But since it’s not a real word, I’m not sure I spelled it correctly.



I’ve been wanting to post about the recent events at UC Davis, the books I’ve been enjoying, and the beautiful ways the clouds in my neighborhood have been showing that it’s fall, but Thanskgiving cleaning and prepping has been—and is, today even more—a more immediate concern. We’re hosting this year, which is sort of a hassle, but also means we get to choose the fixins. As someone who isn’t a big fan of regular Turkey-day staples, we decided to mix it up a bit, and now I’m looking forward to our tasty line-up:

Turkey sliders: white meat patties with sage and thyme and braised and pulled dark meat with cranberry mustard, arugula, and sauteed mushrooms and onions as toppings, and gravy for dipping. Green beans not in a casserole. Roasted kabocha squash. Pumpkin milkshakes. (The slider and milkshake ideas (and photo) are from this year’s November Sunset magazine, though we’re not following the recipes directly.)

Pumpkin Bourbon Shakes Recipe My photos to follow, after I’ve recovered from my inevitable food coma.

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Whatever they are, I wish you safe travels, fun times, and good eats.

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

Just saw the new Hunger Games movie trailer. I am SO EXCITED! Like so many other people, I loved these books. LOVED them. I bought Mockingjay in an airport last December and then stayed up until 4am finishing it, crying through the whole second half.

They’re the kind of books that will make great movies—story driven, action-packed, full of injustice that will piss you off and make you want to stand up and scream followed by love and selfless sacrifice that will make you cry. You’ll want to save Katniss, be part of the revolution, make the impossible choice between Peeta and Gale. If you haven’t read the books, go get them now. You won’t regret it unless you have other plans, because once you start reading, it will be hard to stop.

But if you’ve already devoured the books, you’ll have to wait until March for the movie just like me. I’ll be there on opening day.

Sarah Jio Interviews Our Shared Editor

Sarah Jio, author of THE VIOLETS OF MARCH and blogger extraordinaire, has started a new “Behind the Scenes” series on her blog in which she’ll interview some of the people in addition to the author who help make a book come to life. Her series kicked off with this interview of her editor, Denise Roy, who also happens to be my editor. And Denise really is fantastic—patient, talented, understanding, and just a joy to work with. Read the interview to find out more about what an editor actually does, and look for the shout out for Hand Me Down at the end.

Funny note: Denise and I haven’t met in person, since we live on opposite coasts, so the picture attached to the interview was the first time I actually saw her! It’s so nice to now have a face to go with the voice I’ve been talking to for the last nine months, with the added bonus of a new author friend in Sarah!

HMD is on Amazon!

I was so excited when Hand Me Down received an ISBN. Then when it was up on Amazon, it was a thrill to see my name there, even with the “no image available” picture and no information. Then a few weeks ago, the description appeared and then the blurbs, and now (finally) the cover image has magically shown up and it looks legit. I officially have a book for sale!! It still feels unreal, but it also makes me happy. Check it out and tell your friends!