Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Hope your day is merry and bright!

Best Wishes,


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Enough Spears Already!

I think we should declare a moratorium on all Spears-related "news" reporting in 2008. No matter what you think of Brittney and Jamie-Lynn's behavior, wouldn't it be nice to not have to hear about them every time you turn on the news or get on the Internet?

Yes, it is morbidly fascinating, Brittney's loooong, tragic, and very public train wreck of a life. And there's a certain amount of ew! factor in Jamie Lynn's announcement (specifically, the fact that her boyfriend and daddy of the baby could actually be charged with statutory rape in many states, that the Zoey 101 star already sold the first photo shoot of her poor, innocent kid for a million bucks and the laughable, but very sad idea of Mama Spears writing a parenting book...) but really? Do we have to plaster it all over the media?

Well not here. After this post, I hereby declare this blog a Spears-free zone!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Golden Compass Movie... Thumbs Down

It was a Herculean task, bringing The Golden Compass to the big screen. The book from which the film was adapted was a complex and magical fantasy, and as such, capturing that magic is difficult at best. I knew that going in. And yet I had dared to hope...

Visually, The Golden Compass didn't disappoint. The CGI graphics were stunning. The set design, placement, costuming, makeup, etc. more than lived up to expectations. Beyond that, however, I'm sad to say that the rest of the movie fell short.

I'm a fan of the series, anti-religious soapbox notwithstanding, and maybe that was the toughest hurdle to jump. If I hadn't read the book, there's a good chance that I would have been merely confused by the disjointed and expository storytelling of the movie. As it was, though, I was repeatedly disappointed when a concept or scene was glossed over, changed, or forgotten altogether.

Case in point, I couldn't wait to see how they presented one of my favorite characters in the book, the panserbjorn Iorek Byrnison. Iorek was a true hero, an exiled king who held fast to his warrior's code no matter what it cost him. In fact (shameless plug warning,) I was so taken with Iorek that I chose to write about him in the Borders anthology, The World of the Golden Compass. Sadly, the character development of the Iorek in the film pales in comparison to the Iorek in the book.

The book character chose to exile himself for killing another bear out of anger - an act which goes against the panserbjorn code. The Iorek in the movie was cast out because he LOST a battle with another bear. That difference cast him in an entirely different light.

The book Iorek refused to leave his work when Lyra informs him where his armor is hidden because he gave his word to work until sundown. The movie Iorek runs off to the depot straight away - no mention of promises or honor.

Even the climactic armored bear fight scene is robbed of its significance since it is misplaced and never reveals that Iofur Raknison (name changed to Ragnar Sturlusson in the movie to prevent confusion because, you know, movie goers are stoopid and can't tell the difference between the names Iorek and Iofur) had orchestrated the first fight wherein Iorek killed the other bear, and this to steal the throne. When Iorek defeats Iofur in the book, he is righting a wrong, when Iorek defeats Ragnar in the movie, he gets to be king 'cause he's tougher. Big whoop.

And one has to wonder why, in this new version of events, the new king Iorek doesn't take his subjects with him to Bolvangar to fight the tartars and free the children.

In short, the movie had too many lapses of logic and was much too rushed to do the book justice. Even with some fabulous casting (Nicole Kidman was perfect as Mrs. Coulter and Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra practically carried every scene) and fabulous daemon effects (Mrs. Colter's golden monkey was suitably terrifying while Lyra's Pan made you wish you could have a daemon of your own) The Golden Compass movie turned out to be all style and no substance.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yay, Helio!

I didn't mean to get sucked into Dancing with the Stars. Really. How cheesy can you get? Still, I found myself skimming through the beginning of the season (TIVO is a wonderful thing) and, of all the weird things, I started to care about those celeb dancers.

The dancing part was fun to watch, but the personalities are what grabbed me. And I have to tell you, Helio Castroneves stole the show right from the beginning. Charming, sincere, funny - he was just fun to watch. He may not have been the best technical dancer in the competition, but he projected such joy and energy that he was by far my favorite. And Julianne Hough? She's amazing.

Up until the last night, I had liked Marie Osmond as well. Her personality and style in each performance made me smile. But the doll dance was so variety-show that it really didn't belong in the finals. And it felt like she was grasping her last opportunity to promote herself on finals night, which was very off-putting. "I'm one of the world's top doll designers." "I have thousands of doll fans." "Come on! I'm a doll designer!" Loved Tom Bergeron's response, "Yeah, I think we got that."

Mel B. and Maks were honestly the best technical couple of the top three, but again, it was the personalities that grabbed me. Mel was at times... scary. I did like her, though. And Maks. Definitely Maks.

But Helio! Ah, the smiles, the struggle to overcome his fear of sequins and to master the style. The little boy joy he showed at the end of every performance when he knew they had nailed it. Could he have been any more charming?

Congratulations, Helio and Julianne, and thanks for an entertaining and endearing season.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Enchanted is Enchanting

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, everyone! I hope you were able to spend the day surrounded by the ones you love, thinking about all the things we have to be thankful for. On my long, long list is our annual Thanksgiving Movie Night. Our family tradition (besides eating waaaay too much and sitting around watching football) is to go out to the movies. This year's unanimous selection was ENCHANTED.

I laughed all the way through. It's about time Disney got on the parody bandwagon. Amy Adams was a perfect Disneyesque princess, right down to her gestures and facial expressions, Rachel Covey was the adorable kid star and Susan Sarandon made a wickedly wonderful evil queen, complete with really great makeup. Patrick Dempsey, of course, was McDreamy. The only disappointment was to look forward to seeing Idena Menzel in a musical production... and we don't get to hear her sing. Otherwise, ENCHANTED was magical and irreverent and a whole lot of fun. Just what a Thanksgiving movie should be.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Daemon!

This is the coolest thing ever. Did you know that you can go to the Golden Compass website, answer a few questions, and see what your daemon would be? Mine's named Pereus, and is still changing before settling into his permanent shape.

If you want to check out your personal daemon, go to http://www.goldencompassmovie.com/ and clock on the daemon link.

Have fun!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Death by Bikini

It's coming... yes, DBB is done, done, done and in copyediting as we speak! Yay! I am very excited about the book and the follow up books that are in the works. Everyone at Puffin has been amazing to work with. The cover design is fabulous. The editorial team is fantastic. I feel like the luckiest author alive.

Watch this space in the coming months for some deadly fun contests and promotions!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Ode to Mint MMs

I'm an avowed chocoholic.

Not just any chocolate, though. Not me. I've done my time, honed my taste. I prefer European chocolate to American, dark but not bitter, and hazelnuts or almonds rather than peanuts. I like chocolate with an essence of orange or mint. I like it to melt in my mouth.

I'm not so much of a chocolate snob, however, that I don't appreciate a good M&M now and again. In fact, my family likes to sprinkle M&Ms in our popcorn for movie night, preferably when the popcorn is still warm so that the chocolate inside the M&M candy shell turns soft and gushy.

Once a year, M&M Mars offers the Mint M&Ms. Those are my absolute favorite. Since they're only available at Christmas time, I've been known to stock up on them and ration them out throughout the year. If I was lucky, I'd hit Target or a grocery store the day after Christmas and buy out their stock at half price. When we lived in Japan and I couldn't find them in the stores, a dear friend used to send a package to me, paying probably triple what it was worth - monitarily, at least. I treasured each bag I received and eked them out, a few minty mouthfuls at a time. This only partially illustrates my obsession with Mint M&Ms.

It was with great anticipation, then, that I waited for Halloween to come and go this year, and for the stores to start hauling out the Christmas goods. Sure enough, WalMart lead the pack, and festive green and red packages of M&Ms graced the shelves by November 1st. Excitedly, I scanned the labels until I found what I was looking for.

Mint! The packaging was different... last year they were shiny and foil-like, this year they look like any other Holiday M&Ms package, save for the label "peppermint" in the corner. That did give me some pause. Peppermint, huh? That's a little different from previous years' simple 'mint' label, but I figured it was probably the same thing. I grabbed two packages.

In the parking lot (yes, I actually made it to my car before dipping into the shopping bags), I tore open a little corner of the package and appreciatively breathed in the chocolate-mint aroma. I poured a few out into my hand. And stopped.

Rather than the classic M&M size and shape of previous years, these Mint M&Ms resembled Swedish Mints, or the huge Peanut Butter M&Ms, roundish and large. Well. Half the fun of the Mint M&M experience was popping a few in your mouth and savoring the crunch and the feel of the candy as well as the flavor. But, not being one who is typically resistant to change, I gave these new M&Ms a shot.

They taste the same. I still like them quite a lot. But... I don't love the things like I used to. All because of the size and shape? I must be crazy.

But at least that's a few less calories I'll have to worry about working off this season.

Classic Mint M&Ms, rest in peace.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Fight Continues

Dark clouds hung over the Whistler ski area this weekend as rain pummeled British Columbia. Ski hills sat wet and vacant, awaiting champions to fly from their slopes come winter. These same hills will host the Olympic athletes in 2010... but only the male athletes. Or will they?

In Canada and throughout the women's ski jumping community, the fight continues to persuade the IOC to change their decree that women can't compete in the Olympics in the ski jumping event. Despite the fact that ski jumping has been am Olympic sport - for men - since 1924, the IOC maintains that the sport (for women) is too new to be included in the Olympic lineup. This, while snowboard cross was added for the Torino Olympics in 2006 and ski cross - a freestyle event that was conceived in the 1990's - was given the nod for the 2010 Vancouver games. Ski jumping and Nordic Combined, which includes ski jumping as well as cross country, remain the only Olympic events in which men are allowed to compete, but women are not. And the women aren't happy.

Appealing to the Human Rights Commission, Canadian skiers are challenging the committee's apparent gender bias. They are in the fight of their lives - many of these women athletes will reach their peak performance by the 2010 Olympics, so the committee's condescending pat on the head as they suggest that perhaps a women's ski jump event may be considered for 2014 effectively takes them out of the running.

It should be noted that not all IOC members are against women's ski jumping. In the words of Anita DeFrantz, an American member of the committee, “We’ve worked very hard to establish gender equity over these last 15 years, with great success,” she said. “It seems to me we should finish the work.”


Thursday, October 04, 2007


It's here!!!! After much ado, I am happy to announce the release of my second book in the S.A.S.S. series, The Finnish Line. Here's the official Blurb:

When Nordic ski jumper Maureen “Mo” Clark set foot in Finland, she breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, escape from her famous skier father’s shadow and a chance to jump in the renowned Lahti Ski Games. But Mo quickly realizes that balancing practice and classes is more challenging than she expected. So when a gorgeous bad boy teammate offers coaching assistance—for a little publicity in return—how can she refuse? Surely she can work in a few extra practices somewhere between studying for calculus and sightseeing in Finland? Amid snowmobiling and dog-sledding, ice hotels and Northern lights, Mo begins to discover what strength and perseverance—the Finnish sisu—is all about. Now it’s up to her to take that final jump and cross the finish line in style.

Aerial Ski Gold Medalist Nikki Stone calls it "convincing, intimate, stimulating!"

I hope you'll enjoy reading Mo's story as much as I did writing it!



Tuesday, September 11, 2007

There are no words

I opened this page some time ago, intending to write a tribute to the victims of 9/11. Many of us know people who lost loved ones or were lost themselves. What words could adequately capture the grief, the anger, the deepest sorrow imaginable? I don't know of any, so I'll be silent now, and remember.

*image: uis.edu

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Puppy Love

Introducing Kali, our new little Jack Russell bundle of love...

Here she is at only nine weeks old. We kept trying names for her, but nothing really seemed to 'fit' her. Finally, after two and a half weeks of watching her personality emerge, we have settled on the perfect name: Kali. (Kali is the Hindu Goddess of Destruction. For those of you with Jack Russells (and especially if you've gone through the puppy stage with them) you know why!) :)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Buckeye Country

Another reason I love being back in Ohio...

There's nothing like a football game in the 'shoe and NOTHING like watching the OSU marching band at halftime. Especially on the alumni day. A friend, Mark Baird, marched with the alumni band and he got to dot the I in the Script Ohio! For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about... During the halftime performances, the band spells out OHIO in script, and then one band member high-steps over to be the dot on the I. It's a great honor to be able to dot the I. And Mark got the honor Saturday. Congratulations, Mark!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back to School, Back to Reality

So... schools back in.

Friday night we went to Coffman High School's first football game. Wow. I mean, wow. We went to ASIJ's football games while we were in Japan, but it's been years since I've been to a real live American high school football game! It was fantastic, including the fact that Coffman won.

In Japan, we didn't have the stadium lights, no marching band, no big bleachers. In Ohio, football is a big deal. There were news crews, bright lights, halftime shows, you name it. Oh, and some pretty spectacular football. They've got guys on the team who have already been tapped by Big Ten colleges before they've even played their senior year. Impressive.

And you should have seen the band. We live in the shadow of OSU, where the marching band has a long history and tradition for being the best. (I remember going to my first OSU football game - I actually choked up when I saw the script Ohio in person!)

It's been a long, busy summer, but there's a new kind of energy in the air. School has started. It just feels right.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Confessions of a Bad Blogger

I don't know how they do it.

You know, the blogging authors who chat online every day and churn out books like (insert cliche here.) They write, they blog, they update their myspace/facebook/bebo every day, and I assume they have lives outside the writing realm as well. I am in awe of them all.

Me, I am an inconsistent blogger. I know and I apologize. Thanks to those of you who have asked where the updates are. Here's what's going on with my life right now...

We are settled in our new house for the most part. I know where the mall is and we've got the pizza place on speed dial - what more could we need? Oh, yeah. Furniture. Soon. I hope.

I'm finishing up the final edits on Death By Bikini. I got a peek at the preliminary cover art and even though I can't share it online yet, I have to tell you - it's perfect! Just wait 'till you see it. You'll have to have it on your bookshelf, it's that cool.

And that's about it. Lots to keep me busy, not much exciting enough to write about. But I promise, I'll update more often, especially as we start getting closer to the Finnish Line release (October.) Believe me, I have a lot to say about the future of women's ski jumping. Once I get started, you may not be able to get me to stop.

Oh, and now that I am kind of caught up, I'm leaving you again. My Dear Husband and I are going on a cruise to Alaska for our anniversary (awwwww....) I promise to post pictures!

Meanwhile, thanks for your notes!

Ciao for now,


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Class of 2007!

The school year is drawing to a close. Saturday is graduation. It's exciting, but kind of sad at the same time.

We've lived near ASIJ, where my kids attend school, the past several years. I've subbed and volunteered on campus. Spent hours at sporting events, plays, concerts and special events. In that time, I've gotten to know a many of this year's graduating class, and become familiar with many more. I get teary thinking of how I won't be seeing them any longer. (Of course, since we're moving, we won't get to see any of the other kids, either, but it seems to be especially poignant with the graduating Seniors because they, too, are off to bigger and better things.)

The students at ASIJ hail from all over the world. After graduation, the Class of 2007 will literally scatter across the globe. Most of them will attend university. Some of them will travel. All of them will be taking a piece of my heart with them.

Congratulations, Class of 2007! Gambatte!

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Culture of Beauty

On May 28th, Japan's Riyo Mori was crowned Miss Universe in Mexico City. No, I didn't watch the pageant, but the fact that Miss Japan won has been a topic of some discussion here in the Land of the Rising Sun the past few days - the perfect lead-in to my assignment for this week - to write about beauty.

Actually the elusive question of beauty has been something I've been mulling over for some time, since reading Scott Westerfield's UGLIES. (I highly recommend his books in this series: UGLIES, PRETTIES and SPECIALS.) In Westerfield's futuristic world, children are raised to think of themselves as ugly until which time as they can undergo an extensive operation that will make them beautiful. The books give rise to the question: exactly what is beauty?

In Prettytown, beauty is defined as having clear skin, symmetrical features, silky hair and perfect, nubile bodies. This ideal is drilled into the heads of pre-operation children ('uglies') so much so that they willingly submit to giving up their individuality in order to become pretty.

Though the technology in Westerfield's world is more advanced and the emphasis on beauty taken to an extreme level, I couldn't help but draw parallels as I was reading to the very real pressures our societies place on being beautiful and the artificial lengths we will go to to achieve that beauty.

We may think we have come a long way from the old Chinese hobbling of women to achieve a dainty, small foot, or the Victorian corsets that displayed an abnormally-small waistline, but we still pander to our societies' definition of what Beauty is. In the Western world, we paint our faces and lacquer our nails, poke holes in various parts of our bodies to display jewelry, prick dye into our skin to adorn ourselves with art, inject toxins into our muscles to eliminate wrinkles and even submit to the knife to change our appearance.

What does this have to do with Ms. Mori?

Interestingly, when she was awarded the crown in the largest beauty pageant in the world, reactions here in Japan were diverse. Naturally, many are proud to see Asian beauty on display. Others question whether Ms. Mori, who attended school in B.C., Canada, is simply an Asian version of a Western ideal.

The latter I find very interesting because exactly what the ideal for beauty is in Japan these days is very confusing. Gaijin (foreign) models are often used in commercials and advertisements. Dolls and posters feature children with round, light-colored eyes. Many younger women bleach their hair. My daughter, who has blonde hair and blue eyes, was the darling of her Japanese elementary school. "Big eyes" are considered beautiful - eyes very unlike the traditional Japanese almond-shaped eyes. To what Asian ideal was Ms. Mori to aspire?

What differences in what is considered beautiful have you noticed in various societies/parts of the world?

What do you consider beautiful?

Does it even have to do with looks?

*(AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Nearing the End

Another sleepless night...

Ever tried to sleep, but there's so much going on inside your head that you can't shut it off? That's been my weekend.

I'm wrapping up the anthology piece and having way too much fun reading all the warrior references. I keep getting sidetracked or caught up in figuring out how I can fit a certain bit of information in the piece. As soon as I finish that, it's back to the Death by Bikini revisions, also fun, but completely consuming.

Had a sad realization this morning while helping the second grade class with a research project at school. Mr. Laleman (librarian extraordinaire) mentioned that it would be the class's last research day this year.

Another last.

There's been a lot of those lately - the last trip to Oriental Bazaar, the last vocal jazz/choir concert, the last tutoring session. Before long, we will have run out of lasts and we'll be on the plane, bound for the States.


Meanwhile, the thoughts keep churning as I try to forget the mounting list of lasts and chip away at writing deadlines, end-of-year activities and moving tasks one by one.

Maybe in July I'll sleep.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Home, Sweet Home

The move is steadily approaching. In preparation, the DH and I flew to Ohio last week on a house-hunting trip. Believe me when I tell you, five jet-lagged days is not a lot to find and secure a new home. Especially when the photos you see on the online Realtor sites don't always look the same as viewing ahouse in person...

But we were successful! We found a great house in a quiet neighborhood, close to the schools and work. After the tight quarters in Japan, it seems huge. And it's surrounded by Trees! Trees! Trees! (Did I mention that I love trees?)

Aaah. Welcome to Ohio.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Empty Rooms

The movers took the final load yesterday, leaving each room looking like an Edward Hopper painting. Stark, sad, empty.

Rental furniture arrived later in the afternoon - we'll be here for another month - but it just isn't the same.

I console myself with the knowledge that somewhere in Ohio, a house is waiting for us, its empty rooms waiting to be filled.

If only we could bring Japan with us.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Idol Surprise?

Thanks to the magic of Slingbox, we were able to watch the American Idol final three results show last night. Sadly, we watched Melinda Doolittle take her final bow - which she predictably handled with class and with grace.

Do I think Melinda was consistently the best vocalist this season? Absolutely. Was I surprised to see her eliminated? Truly? No.

All over the internet we're seeing articles referring to her ouster as "shocking." However (IMO) the result show - much like the entire season - lacked the kind of suspense that would render anything "shocking." Not only was this season just not that exciting, but by now we should all know that it isn't necessarily about who's best, it's about who gets the most votes. And Melinda's camp just wasn't as large as Jordin's and Blake's.

The good news is that Melinda should have a stellar career, with or without the Idol nod. She's just that good (And look at Chris Daughtry. His elimination last year really was a shocker, but he's far surpassed either Katherine or, um, whatsisname in the year since.)

So who do you want to win next week? Blake, with his beat boxing and awesome performance style or Jordin, with her pipes and likability?

Neither one would be a surprise.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Movin' On

The movers come tomorrow to take our boat shipment. This means that we sort out the bare essentials that we really need with us for the next month and a half, and they are going to take everything else. We'll have rental furniture delivered when our things are cleared out. Simple, yes?

Not even.

We are learning how complicated a move from Japan can be. For one thing, the roads in the neighborhood are so narrow that a regular sized moving truck is an impossibility. Instead, our movers will load up a small truck, drive it down to the dock, load it on the crate and then come back for another load. This will stretch the move across THREE DAYS.

Meanwhile, we are not allowed to throw the stuff we no longer want away. We have to buy stickers from the city for those items that they will recycle. For other things, we need to flag down the little man who drives through the neighborhood every so often, collecting cast offs. Glass and ceramics can be disposed of in once location, wood and clothing in another etc., etc.. It's a real adventure.

During this process, I have been amazed to discover the amount of STUFF that we have accumulated over the past four years. And you know what? I don't want to take it all with me! Someone once said that our possessions take up room in our psyche as well as in our homes. The more we have, the more we have to keep track of, and we are burdened. Boy, are we burdened.

I wonder if we have any of those recycle stickers left over...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Long Goodbye

Yes, it's been a very long time since I posted on my blog - and not for lack of anything to say, either. Life has been, as life tends to be, very busy.

Sadly, our time in Japan is drawing to a close. My husband's company has decided that his talents are needed in the States and so we will be moving in June to Dublin, Ohio.

Some of you who have read NOW AND ZEN may recognize Dublin as Atsushi's home while his Dad worked for Honda. Little did I know that I would be following in Atsushi's footsteps! My family and I did live in Ohio years ago, so we are looking forward to being back in the Buckeye state. If only we didn't have to leave Japan to do so!

The exciting news is that I will be in the States this fall when S.A.S.S. - THE FINNISH LINE comes out. Watch this space for celebratory plans and contests!

Now, a word about THE FINNISH LINE... The main character in the book is Maureen (Mo) Clark, a Nordic Ski Jumper from Park City, Utah. During her stay in Finland, she confronts prejudice both in and out of her sport. While Mo's adventures are fiction, real world women ski jumpers are facing blatant discrimination right now as they continued to be barred from competing in the Olympics. Please stay tuned for updates on these phenomenal athletes' progress as they fight for the right to be included in what should be an open and politic-free event, and to see how you can show your support for Women's Ski Jumping!

Meanwhile, life is calling, and it's telling me to pack!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Wings to fly?

The Women's Ski Jumping team is in Sapporo this week! Go USA!

Did you know that the US team features some of the top Nordic Ski Jumpers IN THE WORLD?! I have seen them compete. These women are truly amazing.

And yet...

The IOC still holds to their misguided notion that Women's Ski Jumping is not "ready" for the Olympics. Are they insane??? The idea that the sport is too 'young' and that the committee has to 'watch' it is ridiculous. Nordic Ski Jumping has been an Olympic sport for nearly a century. For men, that is. Not for women.

Discriminate much?

The Olympic Committee is not just watching to see how the sport progresses, they are watching to see what kind of ratings women can draw. Ratings = money = the bottom line. No ratings, no event. Shame on them.

Women deserve an opportunity to compete in the Olympics, just like the men. It's time for the IOC to step into the new millenium and give women equal opportunities in ALL sports.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Finnish Line Cover

I'll be updating my webpage soon to show this new cover alongside NOW AND ZEN. Meanwhile, here it is: a sneak preview! Be watching for updates as we count down to the release date (September)!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Serious Wimpage

So I made it.

I have to tell you, the Tokyo to New York flight is looooooong. It's weird - the first couple of times you make an international flight, it doesn't seem that bad (didn't for me, anyway) because it's kind of exciting and different and you're willing to put up with the no-legroom seats and icky airline food. But by the fourth or fifth flight? Not so much. It's kind of a 'here we go again' scenario. No thrill to alleviate the drag.

But that's not what I'm wimping about. It's COLD in New York!!! Yes, I was coddled a bit this year by Tokyo's very warm winter, but DANG! I stepped out of the airport and wanted to go right back inside. And that's after the 14-hour flight. Yeah, serious wimpage.

Of course, tomorrow I'm going shopping, so I will bravely face the cold. You know they have this huge Filene's Basement right by Union Station with a DSW right in the same building?! I am so there.

Which just goes to show you, if the incentive is great enough, any wimpage can be overcome.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Shaken... and Stirred

Earthquakes are kinda cool. I don't mean the really big ones that damage things and cause tsunamis and hurt people and stuff, but the little tremors that we feel so much here in Tokyo. They're more like little shudders than quakes, really, and it's interesting to me to feel the differences in each one.

Japan has about 1500 earthquakes a year. I am not kidding. 1500. Not many of them are severe. Some we don't feel at all. For instance, I didn't even know about the recent Hokkaido quake until friends and family from the States wrote to ask if we were OK. Quakes are so commonplace around here that they aren't really a news item. This one hit the wires because a tsunami warning was issued. Nothing happened, though.

Anyway, nature struck again this morning... about 3:30 a.m., I was shaken out of bed by an earthquake. I don't mean literally shaken so I fell out of bed or anything, but it woke me up and once I'm up, I'm up. This one lasted a long time - usually the tremors we feel last only a few seconds. This went on for at least half a minute. I could hear the house creak and doors sway gently on their hinges and could feel a little shaking, like someone was at the foot of the bed, jiggling it. That was about it. Everyone else in the house slept through it.

But for some reason, these occurrences leave me energized. It's like the earth is giving up some of its energy and I am a conduit to receive it. Plus, in my weird mind, it's exciting. I note the unique features of each quake - how long did it last, was it a jolt or a gentle shake, did it move side-to-side or undulate up and down?

I hope to never experience a full-out shake-em down earthquake, but for now... earthquakes are cool.

Monday, January 15, 2007

For Those Who Dream

We honor a great man today. A man who looked for a better world than the one he was faced with. On this day, as we reflect on the dreams that Dr. King dared to articulate, let's take a long, hard look at where we are as a nation and where we need to be.

My challenge for you today is to learn all you can about Dr. King. Listen to his "I have a dream" speech. Take his words and think of what you, as an individual, can do to make this world a better place.

Dare to dream. Then work to make that dream come true.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Big Bunnies

I'm not kidding. These hasenpfeffer are huge! Link to the story in a German newspaper lifted from agent Jenny Rappaport's blog.

Anyone else think it's kind of amusing that these rabbits, which are as big as dogs, are being bred for Korean appetites?


More News

Yes, there is a reason for the long silence. Leaving one agent for another is never an easy thing. Especially when the first agent is responsible for opening the door and letting you into the game. But, as these things go, the time had come to step it up, so, as hard as it was, I had to say sayonara.

However, it is with great pleasure that I announce my new agent: Elaine Spencer with The Knight Agency.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Yay! I just got the green light to share the news with you all.

Announcing Wendy Toliver's YA sale to Simon Pulse!!! Her new book is titled "The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren" (working title), about a band geek who turns into a Siren on her sixteenth birthday. It will be published in Simon Pulse's romantic comedy line, fall of 07. Watch for it!


Monday, January 01, 2007


Happy New Year, everyone!
According to the Asian Zodiac, 2007 is the Year of the Boar. In Japan, anyway. In China, some translations list it as the Year of the Pig. Kind of the same thing, but kind of... not.

For one thing, pigs are cuter than boars. Cartoon pigs, anyway. And maybe potbellied pigs. Or little baby pigs...

On the other hand, what boars lack in aesthetics, they make up for in brute strength - and wouldn't you rather have your year dedicated to a strong, bold, take-it-to-the-mat kind of animal than your basic ham and bacon variety? I'm just saying...

Whatever your preference, have a great 2007! May it be your best year yet!