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Elizabeth Scott

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I adore YA written by UK authors. I just got my copy of Judy Waite's latest, Game Girls (I couldn't wait till it comes out in the US--I had to have a copy now), and my copy of Sarra Manning's newest novel should be on its way to me soon. Hurrah!!!

Lots of links to share....

Tess Gerritsen on print runs

Paperback Writer asks about self-promotion

BookEnds on bad agents--not the scam artists, but the ones who simply aren't very good. An excellent post that serves as a reminder of the importance of learning all your can about the agents you want to query *before* you query them.

A live journal entry about writing groups--be sure to read through all the comments, as there's lots of interesting stuff there.

And editor writes about line-editing --loads of good advice!

The importance of persistence when it come to writing (or, imo, pretty much anything)

Therese Fowler on how sometimes you have to get your hands dirty and kill your darlings

Editorial Anonymous decodes editor speak

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Vanessa asked me to post eight random facts about myself, and if there's one thing I can do, it's random! So here goes:

1. I'm left-handed.

2. I've eaten *real* Brunswick stew, the kind that's cooked outdoors in a big pot and has squirrel in it.

3. I hate driving in Washington DC, but I love driving in New York City.

4. I didn't have cable tv until 2000. (It wasn't--and still isn't--available where I grew up, and I refused to get it ("Why should I pay to watch tv?" was my battle cry) until I caught a marathon of Homicide on Court TV in late 1999. The prospect of seeing my beloved Homicide on a regular basis made me fold like a piece of laundry. Naturally, Court TV only ran Homicide for a few months, but by then, I was hooked on having more than five channels to watch)

5. I can't drink soda with caffeine in it anymore, but when I could, I used to love buying a bottle of Pepsi (and it must be Pepsi--it's a Southern thing), and tossing in salted peanuts. It sounds gross, but it makes the Pepsi salty and sweet, and, as some of you know, I love that.

6. I hate spiders because when I was about eight, I woke up one night to find one ON MY FACE.

7. Once, back when I was selling pantyhose, a flasher came into the store. I was reading a book, and didn't even notice him until he cleared his throat a bunch of times. When I looked up, I was so annoyed that he'd bothered me (you can see what a model employee I was), I said, "Can't you see I'm busy?" and went back to my book. Never saw the guy (or his junk) again.

8. My husband and I had our first real date on Valentine's Day. We went to the movies and saw Silence of the Lambs. If I hadn't known he was the guy for me before then, that clinched it.

ALA and me, or a true story of fun and naps (!)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Well, ALA weekend just roared by, and I had a blast! Unfortunately, I also had a cold. I could tell one was coming all week, but I figured that perhaps sheer mind power would keep it at bay.

Well, my mind power cracked on Friday morning, when I was attending a pre-conference on Sins of Young Adult Literature. (With a name like that, how could I *not* attend?!) I was sitting there, listening to Gail Giles give an excellent talk, when I started feeling bad. Really bad.

Stop it, I told myself. I'm not sick. I can't be sick! It's ALA!!

About five minutes after Gail Giles finished speaking, I found myself blorching down the streets of DC. Ah, it was a sight to see.

My apologies to all of those who had to witness it.

So I dragged myself home, where I took a nap. Now, here's the thing. I don't nap. Ever. The last time I took a nap, other than in kindergarten, was when I had the flu back in 2003 and spent the holidays lying around having my eyes hurt when I blinked.

However, after napping on Friday....okay, you caught me. It wasn't technically a nap. I pretty much slept through all of Friday and into Saturday morning, only waking up to whine to my husband "But! This is ALA! I can't be sick!"

I actually felt pretty good when I finally roused myself on Saturday morning, and my first signing was great! Everyone was incredibly nice, and I felt completely energized and ready to take on the day.

Sadly, I wasn't. I think I made it down one of the many rows of publishers when I realized I was ready to take on....another nap. So, my head hit the pillow once again.

Luckily, I woke up in time to attend a reception on Saturday night, and then meet some other writers for drinks afterwards. I felt fantastic on the way home, and my signing on Sunday morning was a blast--Nicole and everyone else working in the booth made me feel so welcome, and everyone who came by was so nice I seriously felt like a rock star by the time I was done.

Naturally, I celebrated this moment in the time-honored tradition of rock stars everywhere by finding a hotel room and trashing it. (Okay, I actually went home and took yet another nap. But I sure did kick the covers around a lot!)

Finally, on Sunday night I was lucky enough to attend the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet, which was just lovely. I was especially moved by Susan Patron's speech, which was both funny and touching, and it was thrilling to be in a room (and it was a big room!) with so many people who love books.

So, despite the fact that my mind power needs some work, and I took more naps than a toddler, it was a really great weekend, and I wouldn't have changed a thing.

(Okay, I would have cut out some of the naps.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'm just the tiniest bit nervous about the whole ALA conference thing this weekend, so I've been baking in order to keep myself busy. And so I can eat lots of cookies. This recipe, which is new to me (it ran in the Post last week--I've changed it a little), is already one of my all-time faves.

However, you won't like it if you don't like things that are both sweet and salty. (Seriously. My husband doesn't like the combo of sweet/salty, and he can't stand these cookies. So be warned.)

If you do like the combo of sweet/salty, though, I think you'll like:

Salted Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter or non-dairy equivalent*
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup regular sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups cake flour**
2 cups oats (don't use the quick-cooking kind. Look for anything labeled "old-fashioned")
kosher salt***

Get out a largeish microwave-safe bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave. Add in the brown and regular sugar. Stir together. (You can just use a big spoon--I don't know about you, but I loathe cleaning mixers/food processors.)

Then add in the eggs and stir again until the eggs are incorporated. Next, add in the baking powder, vanilla, flour, and oats. Stir until everything is just mixed, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for an hour.

I know it sucks to wait for an hour, but trust me, don't skip this step. The results aren't pretty.

Once the hour is up, preheat the oven to 375 and grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper. Get the dough out of the fridge and, using a regular teaspoon, get 15 blobs of it onto the cookie sheet. (The blobs of dough will be pretty generously sized--the recipe I got this from says golf ball sized, but I'd say it's more like a mutant golf ball sized)

Anyway, once you've got the dough on the cookie sheet, press each blob out a little with your fingers. Then get out the kosher salt, and sprinkle a whole bunch on top of the cookies. (Pretend it's sugar if it'll make it easier for you, and remind yourself there's no salt in the actual dough)

Bake. I've found the cookies take anywhere from 12-15 minutes to cook, but my oven runs hot, so your time may vary. Just keep your eye on them, and when they start to get a nice golden brown around the edges, they're done!

The cookies will be crisp around the edges, soft inside, and taste like--well, they taste like a sweet oatmeal cookie with salt on top. Which, now that I've typed this, sounds odd, but really, it's good!

*despite what every foodie I've ever met has told me in person, on tv, or in a cookbook, I have never noticed any taste and/or cooking difference between using unsalted butter/margarine and salted butter/margarine in a recipe. I use unsalted margarine because one of the few non-dairy margarines out there is made without salt, but I don't see why you can't make these cookies with whatever type of butter you happen to have on hand.

**you can use regular flour here, but I think cake flour makes for a more tender cookie.

*** I suppose you can use regular salt, but I like the nice large crystals of kosher salt so much better. You could also use sea salt, but kosher salt is way cheaper and I'd rather make more cookies (and buy books) than have fancy salt.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The American Library Association's annual conference is being held in DC this weekend, and naturally the weather has made it so merely stepping outside is like getting hit in the face with a wet, hot blanket. It's 8:25 AM as I type this, and it's already 80 degrees. Super.

Anyway, I mention this because I was reading one of the conference wikis yesterday, and it advised bringing a sweater.

A sweater? Come on! If there is one thing you *don't* need in DC in June, it's a sweater. (And yes, I know the sweater advice is intended for those who get cold in air-conditioning but unless the DC convention center's system is much, much better than the one in NYC, a sweater isn't going to be necessary.)

Besides, if you leave the sweater home, there will be room in your suitcase for a copy of Bloom (I'm subtle like a brick, aren't I?) because I'll be signing copies of it on Saturday from 11:30-12:00 in booth 2111 and on Sunday from 11-12 in booth 3208. I'll be easy to spot because with my luck, it'll actually be cold in the convention center and I'll be the one shivering and muttering "If only I had a sweater!"

Links:

Someone leaked information about how much it costs to have a book displayed in Waterstone's, one of the UK's biggest bookstore chains, during the holiday season.

Business Week has a great chart summarizing who's doing what online

Not Your Mother's Bookclub interviews Elizabeth Eulberg, the Director of Publicity at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, and she discusses what publicists do, as well as what authors can do to help promote their books.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The book signing was wonderful--it was great to see everyone again and I just want to thank Ms. Story for arranging it all, and being so fabulous.

Also! Erin, Laura, Brianna, Courtney, and Madison have all won books in the mini-contest I ran to celebrate my second printing--but Madison, the email address I have for you keeps bouncing back, so can you please get in touch with me again?

Today I have to do all the stuff I didn't do while I was working on copy edits--like laundry. Sigh. Too bad it can't wash itself. That would be fantastic. Of course, sentient laundry could be a scary thing. (Neglected t-shirt: "Why don't you wear me anymore? What's wrong with me? Me: Nothing, I swear! I love you! In fact, why don't I wear you right now? Neglected t-shirt: That's better. Now, let's talk about the time you spilled ketchup on me. Was it *really* an accident?)

And finally, guess what? People DO judge books by their covers.

Wow

Monday, June 11, 2007

I just got a package from S&S, and inside was a copy of Bloom from its second printing.

That's right. Second printing!! WHEE!!!

And you know who's to thank for this? You!

I am so grateful to all of you who've picked up the book, talked about it, and been so amazingly kind and supportive.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything.

(And since it's me, you know I have to celebrate--the first five people who email me at elizabeth at elizabethwrites dot com with the subject line 'Second Printing' will get a free book--featured authors are: Rachel Caine, Holly Black, Jade Parker, Nancy Holder, and Jenny O'Connell)
This week is going to be a busy one for me--I'm working on copy edits for Perfect You, and I have my first ever book signing tomorrow. (Remember that school visit I had a few months back? Well, the lovely Ms. Story and her students have invited me back! I can't wait!)

Before I leave you with some links, I want to say congrats to Valerie, Laine, Jennifer, and Colleen--you all won free books for entering the Bloom contest!

Links:

Diana Peterfreund offers the start of a writing industry primer

Editorial Anonymous on waiting

Agent Lori Perkins on Sara Nelson's (Publishers Weekly's editor) talk about what being as successful writer really means -- I think Nelson raises some great points. (And it's nice to know that the oft-quoted "200,000 books published a year!" is a tad misleading)

The Plot Monkeys are doing an in-depth look on the who, where, what, why and how of agents (Part two is here, with the rest to follow)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

It's come to my attention that I forgot to announce the little contest that I ran over at myspace during Memorial Day weekend here. I'm sorry!

So, to make it up to you, I'm going to do something similar here. If you buy a copy of Bloom from your favorite bookstore, take a photo of the receipt, and then email the pic to elizabethscottcontest@gmail.com by midnight on Sunday, June 10th, you not only will be entered into the Bloom contest (where the prizes include an iPod and loads of bookstore giftcertficates), you could win a FREE book!

That's right! Four people will be entered into the contest AND win a free book. I'll be giving away: 21 Proms, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, Prom Nights from Hell, and Prom Dates from Hell (sense a theme here?)

I'll pick four people at random to win, and announce the winners here on Monday.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Yesterday ended up taking an unexpected turn, and I spent a good part of it at the vet's office with the dog. She had a grand mal seizure, and although she had petit mal seizures when she was younger, they'd lessened over the years, and I'd forgotten how scary they could be. And this was, by far, the worse seizure she's ever had. I haven't felt so helpless or frightened in a long time, and although the vet was very reassuring, and she seems to be doing okay today, I keep checking her on her every thirty seconds. (Status: napping, and the sound of her snoring is music to my ears)

When we finally did get home from the vet's, I just wanted to curl up with the dog, and so I did. She slept, and as she lay curled against my side, I read Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely. It's a fabulous, beautiful book, with astounding imagery and unforgettable characters. I don't want to say more, because I fear spoilers, but it's a rich, rewarding read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I have a lot of work to catch up on today, but before I go, I have links to share:

Agent Lori Perkins on when and why writers should go to BEA

Justine Larbalestier on what is most definitely one of the worst things about writing: waiting.

Two very interesting articles on how publishers make money

So an editor is interested in your book. That's it, you've got a deal. Right? Wrong. Harold Underdown explains the aquisition process

The Washington Post has created an astoundingly detailed report on teens and shopping. Features multiple articles, pictures, video, profiles of the teen shoppers, and more. You do have to register in order to see everything (or anything), but it's well worth it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

This past weekend I went to BookExpo America, or BEA. It was, as always, a book lover's dream. I know I'm supposed to go for networking or whatever, but people, come on! An ENTIRE conference center filled with free books? Bring on the swag, baby!

Anyway, a brief recap. My husband and I arrived in New York on Thursday afternoon. We'd left in plenty of time to get to the hotel, check in, and then I was going to head up to a reading at the Borders in Columbus Circle. (I'm not sure I get the point of Columbus Circle, as Manhattan needs a mall why? Though it does have an impressively ginormous Whole Foods)

Of course, in getting to NYC, we didn't account for the NJ Turnpike, with its DC-like traffic jams that occur for inexplicable reasons. Naturally, we got stuck in one, and made up reasons why we were stuck as we waited.

Our favorites were:

1. Leprechauns loose on highway!
2. Bumper bump fist fight! (I have actually seen this happen. Once I was driving into work when one guy cut off another guy. When we all stopped at a traffic light, the guy who got cut off got out of his car, the other guy got out of his, and they proceeded to pummel each other until the light turned green and everyone honked for them to get going. Which they did! Ah, the magic of DC traffic!)

And, our favorite:

3. Someone was giving away a billion dollars to the next beat-up green car that passes! (Guess what kind of car we drove to New York)

Anyway, there were no leprechauns or fights, and sadly, we are not a billion dollars richer.

But we did make it to New York! And after running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I managed to change, make some frantic phone calls to a few people, and then race up to Borders. Where I would see Bennett Madison read! And Maureen Johnson! And others!

Of course, by the time I actually GOT to Borders, I'd missed about 2/3 of the readings, and just caught the tail end of Maureen Johnson's reading (and yet never actually saw her! I was in the back, in a corner that offered me a view of celebrity biographies and not much else.) But! I heard Maureen Johnson read, and she's just as funny in person as she is on her blog and I totally heart Girl At Sea. (And Devilish! And The Bermudez Triangle! And Keys to the Golden Firebird! I'm basically a Maureen Johnson fan girl, and if I ever meet her, I will probably turn bright red and mumble and then run away.)

Jenny Pollack read from her book, Klepto, next, and I sighed with fondness because I read Klepto while sitting in one of the ten thousand enormous open areas at that wacky hotel during the ALAN conference last year, and spent the next two days wishing I lived in New York in the 1980s. But where I grew up was cool too. We had cows! And sometimes they would get out when the fence busted and we'd have to get up in the middle of the night and heard them back into the field. I'm telling you, you haven't lived till you're in a forest, nudging a cow to get her moving a 4 AM!

Anyway, after Jenny read, Bennett Madison read--but instead of reading from his book, he read an amazing short story from an upcoming anthology. The last sentence was a killer, and I loved that he just went ahead and read something else. It was like Book Reading Improv!

My friend Amy showed up during the reading and spotted John Green, who I sadly hadn't noticed even though he does a whole video blog thing AND was a keynote speaker at the ALAN conference last year. And was about two rows in front of me. But once she pointed him out, I saw him, and so felt I was truly in New York. I was at a reading! With famous people not only reading, but attending!

After the reading was over, Amy and I checked out the rest of the store, and what do you know--they had Bloom up front, in the Original Voices section! We took (all right, she took) photos to celebrate the moment:



See! It's really there! This was actually really exciting for me, as a couple of the Borders near my house have chosen not to display it in the Original Voices section.



And here I am oh-so-innocently moving a copy up to eye level! See what a master of low-key expressions I am? (And, in the interest of full disclosure, I did move the book back. Amy and I just thought it would be funny to have a picture of me stealthily moving the book. Especially since I can't be stealthy)

Then it was Friday, and BEA. It was held in the Javits Center, which is a fancy name for "large building that is difficult to get to." Oh, and it had a glass roof in places, which captured heat nicely. And let me tell you, on Friday, when it was packed, it got so hot I actually thought I was going to pass out at one point. (I have a history of fainting when I overheat--one of my family's favorite stories about my proclivity for passing out is how, when we all went to New Orleans when I was about ten, I fainted right at the top of a staircase and missed falling down in by virtue of the fact that my mother yanked me backwards as I started to crumple. And then fell over herself, with me on top of her, and my brother and father didn't notice until someone said, "Um, sir, is that your wife and daughter lying on the ground over there?")

I spent most of Friday with a good friend of mine (my husband hit the floor, grabbed books, and went off to see friends of his), and we walked around and grabbed books and gossiped. I also saw the lovely S&S marketing people, who have been so great to me, and waited in line for a couple of authors in the autographing area, including the fantabulous Melissa Marr, whose Wicked Lovely comes out soon. And I have my very own copy! And it's signed! I am using it as a reward---if I finish my work today and tomorrow, I get to read it. And I can't wait!!

On Friday afternoon, I met up with my HarperCollins editor, and we chatted and went out for a drink. I LOVE my Harper editor--she's smart, she's funny, and I could spent hours talking to her. (Which I did!)

On Saturday, I went back to BEA, which was marginally less crowded. Thank goodness! I ran into Claudia Gray, who has a new series, Evernight, coming from HarperCollins next summer. It's going to be HUGE, and I can't wait for it to come out! I also saw my fabulous agent, which made a great day that much better. I also--naturally--picked up more books.

On Sunday, I--you guessed it--went back to BEA again. Sunday is a good day to go--obviously, Friday and Saturday are key, as that's when a lot of the really huge books are given out, but on Sunday most people don't bother to go, and so it's a lot less crowded. I ended up getting a ton of books I missed on Friday and Saturday, and picked up some others. Then I spent the rest of the day with my husband, and, um, went to a bookstore (okay, bookstores) and brought more books. But I couldn't help it! And besides, everyone knows books purchased in out-of-town bookstores don't count. I was just doing my part for tourism!

Over the weekend, I also saw the lovely coffeeandink, who twisted my arm and got me to buy a few more books. (Okay, so I suggested going to the bookstore, and asked her to help me pick out some books. What can I say? I'm weak when it comes to books. VERY weak.)

And then it was Monday, and we drove home, books shoved into every available space in the car. In other words....Bliss.