Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My birthday present from Jennifer

No, not Dion.

Not Dionne.


Why is Dion on my bucket list? He's last in the line of the early icons of rock'n'roll that included Bill Haley, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Everly Brothers. He was on the 1959 Winter Dance Party tour; he's the only headliner that survived.

I was blessed to see Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the Everly Brothers in the '80s, when Chuck could still do the duck walk, Jerry Lee could still hammer out piano notes at full volume, and the Everlys were still pitch perfect.

I've never seen Dion. He's 76 years old. Will he be great? Will he be decent? I'll let you know.

I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Big Hair and Books Giveaway

The Big Hair and Books blog ( is giving away an autographed copy of "Beep! Beep!"--entry runs for the next 13 days.

I think we only have the robot site header for the rest of today, so I'm capturing it here.  

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The weekend's never long enough

Saturday morning storytime at Bank Street Bookstore. 

My experience is that readings have zero impact on book sales in the grand scheme of things, unless you're reading to a packed house at Yankee Stadium. Televised. 

But I do it because:

1. Psychologically it makes me feel like I'm doing something useful to promote the book.

2. It gives me something to post on Facebook and Twitter.

3. I find it helpful to read out loud to little kids and see what they react to. (Hint: mostly silly noises and repetition.) 

4. It's just fun to be with little kids. I think that's the main answer.

The other exciting thing this weekend was our new window boxes, which are now installed on every window on the first floor.

I'm on the board of our co-op, and my big idea this year was to add window boxes to our building so that we don't look so grungy compared to the new multi-million-dollar condos across the street:

Our window boxes are now installed, the flowers (fall mums) will arrive Tuesday, and soon we will be spreading some combination of joy and envy throughout our block.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Power of Love

Today is the day that Marty and Doc (and Jennifer) traveled to in the future.

In celebration, we're going back in time to revisit some of our own BTTF memories...

Bonus footage:

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Texas Book Festival: Day 2

It was a good day.

Little kids and sunshine and famous authors.

A book store with more than two copies of a Todd Tarpley book on the table.

The "Read-Me-a-Story Tent" was right in the middle of the festival. We had a good crowd for the reading.

And a good line for the signing.

At the end of the day there was a cocktail party, followed by groups of folks heading to various bars. I haven't been much of a bar person since Reagan was in office, so I didn't stay out 'til dawn. But it was a good time, and I got my fill of Diet Cokes.

I still can't figure out how I morphed from Chelsea Handler at age 25 into Mister Rogers at 52. But I am who I am.

Final thoughts...

I'm glad I went. It was an honor to be invited by Little, Brown. I'm thankful to them.

It was great to be around people who write and draw for a living, and around librarians and teachers and kids who like books.

It to say this?


I was Molly Ringwald at the senior kegger.

You know, I like to fancy myself a successful children's author, and I'm happy for the success I've had in the limited time I've been doing it. But I feel like an actor with a few deodorant commercials on my resume who just spent the weekend with Robert DeNiro and Meryl Streep.

Exciting. Gratifying. Definitely humbling.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Texas Book Festival: Day 1

This morning I met John Rocco for the first time--my collaborator on "Beep! Beep!" Several people today were surprised to learn that we'd never met while working on the book. The reality is that the words were all mine and the pictures were all his, and the way they were melded together was all the editor's.

We got a warm welcome from Zavala Elementary School in Austin. Note the kids' robot artwork.

Our books were stacked in the library and ready to hand out to every kid in attendance.

We did two half-hour sessions, which seemed like ten minutes. I read the book, then John showed his illustration process. His part was educational. My role was basically to warm up the crowd and get them shouting "Beep! Beep!"

Afterwards we attended a "Reading Rock Stars" author luncheon at a penthouse overlooking the city, and when I looked out the window I saw some kayaks on the lake and thought, "Man, that's what I want to be doing right now."

Turns out we had the afternoon free, and John had to work. know...

Not as fun as a group outing. But better than being at work.

Tonight there was a cocktail party to kick off the Festival. I met several nice folks, including fellow children's authors Nikki Loftin ("Wish Girl") and Chris Barton ("Shark vs. Train"). 

(Note to self: cut back on the Snickers...starting to look an awful lot like John McCain.)