Saturday, February 16, 2013


If you've every gone whale watching, you know the thrill of seeing a whale leap from the ocean. Everyone on the boat points and shouts. "Oooh! Aaaah!" You frantically try to capture the photo before it's too late. Most of the time you are just that. I went whale watching while doing research for my book THESE SEAS COUNT! It was a wonderful time on the ocean, but I didn't get an photo of a whale that day.

This stunning three minute video puts you in the water with a humpback whale who swims and spins with the lovely grace and style of a prima ballerina.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Splashing about new books...BLAZE (or love in the time of supervillians)

What's better than getting a new novel you've been excited to read? It's finding your name in the acknowledgements! I'm honored to be mentioned as a writing friend by Laurie Boyle Crompton in her debut novel BLAZE (or love in the time of supervillians) published by Sourcebooks Fire. Laurie's author journey is an inspiration to all aspiring writers—she survived the years of waiting, rejections, and tears to finally sell not one, not two, but three new books in a matter of months. BLAZE has made quite a splash since it launched this month, with good reason. It's a compelling and fun page turner and will make you want to learn more about Laurie Boyle Crompton and her upcoming novels, too.

When she was 17, Laurie Boyle Crompton painted her first car hot pink using 40 cans of spray paint. It dried really drippy but looked great when she was flying down the back roads of Butler, PA where she grew up. She now lives near NYC in Queens, but maintains a secret identity in New Paltz, NY where she and her family can often be found tromping through the forest. 
Here's the splash on Laurie and her new book BLAZE (or love in the time of supervillians)...
When comic-obsessed Blaze stands up to her evil ex he posts a racy picture of her online and a battle of epic proportions ensues. Before she knows it, Zap! Thwack! Pow! Blaze becomes the target of intense bullying. She must learn to channel her inner-superhero if she hopes to gain the ultimate victory; rescuing herself.  

Laurie, can you share a favorite beach memory?

When I was a kid growing up in Pennsylvania, we’d visit family on Long Island every summer and always made it a point to go to Jones Beach. Living so far away from the ocean made it that much more exotic and special. I loved body surfing on the waves as well as adding to my collection of beach glass. Of course my memories of sweltering in the car as we sat for hours in ‘Beach Traffic’ on the Meadowbrook Parkway are just as strong!
 If you were an ocean creature, what would you be and why?  
An octopus. I like to think all those tentacles would make me really good at multi-tasking.
 Are seas or oceans part of your new book in any way?
Only the deep ocean of misery my main character, Blaze, finds herself swimming in. 
 Would Blaze be adventurous enough to do a deep sea dive?
 I think that by the end of the book she absolutely would. In fact, I like to think of her having all sorts of fun adventures after novel ends.

Taking care of our seas is important to me and the students in my new book, THESE SEAS COUNT! What causes are important to you besides writing for children and or young adults?

I am very invested in helping young women build their self esteem. There are so many ways that our culture sends the message to girls that we need to look a certain way in order to be lovable. Advertisements with impossibly skinny models who have been airbrushed beyond recognition. Actors getting plastic surgery in order to adhere to some artificial ‘ideal.’ We need to share the news that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes! Here is a great link to a story about choosing to be a Whale vs. a Mermaid. Actually, I'd like to change my ocean creature answer to Whale please!  

If you could create a spectacular sand sculpture on a beach, what would you build?
Since we’re wishing here I’ll say a life-sized sand castle decorated with shells and seaweed. It might not be lasting, but doesn’t that sound like a lovely place to spend an afternoon reading? The temporary nature of such a structure would only add to the precious time spent inside. 
 Share your favorite ocean character from books, film or T.V. 
Since my main character, Blaze, is obsessed with comics, I’m going to cheat and say Sub-Mariner from the Marvel comics! A good friend of mine just recently pointed out that Sub-Mariner could kick Aquaman’s butt. I heartily agree, but then you weren’t really looking for this to turn into a nerdy comic book character discussion, were you?