Category Archives: Reaching Out

Blazing a Trail


Given the fact that the Tall Tale Factory is devoted to not only great stories, but immersive digital experiences to go along with them, it goes without saying we would likely not be on this path if not for Steve Jobs. Words to live by:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.                – Steve Jobs

Parents, How do you feel about our digital future?


Would it be enough for you to read about a tree, listen online to wind whistle through the leaves and flip through screen after screen of photos? Or to really know what a tree truly is do you have to touch it, smell it and feel the shade on your face?

It’s no secret that the publishing industry is in the middle of a watershed moment as everyone navigates the shifting sands of print and digital content. I have to admit that while I find the irresistible allure screens present to young people troubling in some ways (get outside and play – it’s a beautiful day!) there is no turning back. Scholastic had admitted this as well by teaming up with Ruckus Media Group.

As a journalism grad turned graphic designer turned digital designer, this dynamic is one of the reasons I was attracted back to creative writing. The marriage of print books with digital technology offers near-limitless possibilities. Because the Tall Tale Factory is most interested in creating print-digital combinations, while at PNWA I made a point of asking agents about their viewpoints on this alliance so I can direct future query efforts accordingly.  It was obvious the profession is split in its feelings.

Like all parents, I am torn on this issue and continually encourage my children to find other activities that are not screen related. However, digital content can give them a richer experience. I look forward to exploring this new horizon with you.

Trying Something New


“Just try it,” parents always say. “How do you know you don’t like it unless you at least try it?” Parents are big on new things aren’t they? Especially new foods – but everyone is most comfortable with what they know and like already. I am guilty of this myself, encouraging my children to try something new when I tend to eat the same lunches, take the same route home, etc. But last week I did something different. I went to my very first writing conference, the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference, in Seattle. I decided to “just try it.”

More often than not, the “tryer” responds with something non-committal, such as “it’s okay”. But every now and then, something amazing happens and a whole new world opens up. A world you had never known existed. I am happy to say that this is what happened to me. Not only did I learn many, many things, I also met some very amazing people. To top it all off, I was fortunate enough to walk away with First Prize, in the category of Children’s Chapter Books, for my manuscript partial The Red Carpet Detective Agency – Case #1 The Victorian with a Secret.

It is my goal to not only write great stories, but to create interactive digital experiences to accompany them. Things are changing in the publishing industry. Agents and publishers are being encouraged to “just try it”, and create more digital products.  Let’s jump in together, the water’s fine! 🙂

Speaking of digital products – the Barnes & Noble Back to School promotion is on:

Buy any NOOK and get over $100 in FREE classics and study guides. To take advantage of this offer, simply register your new NOOK by 10/31/2011, and look for an e-mail that lets you choose your free books! (On a side note, two personal favorites, Willa Cather’s My Antonia and Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, are on the free book list.)

Off on an Adventure!


Many young readers may find themselves soon facing the walk into a new school where no friends await, as does my heroine Silla Penobscott. She’s moved from Manhattan to the country, and even though her summer was busy and fun – including both a new puppy AND a mystery to solve – now she is again unsure of the future. I hope my readers take to heart the fact that this is a lifelong experience. As you know from my previous post I’m catching a plane Wednesday to attend the PNWA Conference in Seattle, where my first children’s chapter mystery The Victorian with a Secret, is a Literary Contest finalist. I am flying across the country and I do not know one person there.

Like all new students heading off to school this is a path I have to walk by myself. Such new adventures can be scary. I know there will be other writers, so we do have something in common. Silla knows there will be other eight-year-old girls waiting at the school, some might even have puppies and pesky baby brothers. But how many will there be that will reach out to a Jewish-Mexican city girl? After all, when you’ve already got friends how many more do you need? I am hoping to not only find some friends in the writing business, but also persuade an agent to help bring this mystery series to life in a bookstore near you.

Silla, or should I say Agent P3, is a very practical and clever girl. Together we will explore this question, and a new mystery(!) in our next book.  With the post I hope you know that we are all in this together. If you get back to school this fall and there is a new face in your classroom, I hope that you will take the chance to reach out and make that person feel welcome. This new adventure of mine is a good reminder of how scary these jumps off the dock can be, even for adults. I am hoping for lots of friendly faces, lots to learn and chances to laugh. Until next time, I wish you the same in your adventures – whatever they may be.