BEA and Kids Author Carnival

Last week, I was in New York for two really amazing events: BEA (Book Expo America) and the Kids Author Carnival.

BEA is a giant publishing trade show. This year, it was even better than ever before (at least for me) because the Disney*Hyperion booth was giving out advance copies of Hook’s Revenge!

This, right here, was the best part of the entire show:

I also had a great time connecting with friends, my wonderful agent, my amazing editor, and other Disney team members. But I took photos of almost none of it. (I really need to get better at that.)

On Saturday, I saw the culmination of the last few months of hard work. My dear friend Claire Legrand invited the lovely Lauren Magaziner (please do yourself a favor and read their amazing books) and me to help her plan the Kids Author Carnival. This event was modeled on the popular Teen Author Carnival, but focusing on middle-grade books.

The stunningly beautiful Jefferson Market Library (it looks like Hogwarts!) hosted the event. After the library closed to the public, the doors opened for the carnival.

Claire, Lauren, and I had high hopes, but even we couldn’t have predicted what a wild success it would be. We had 37 fabulous middle grade authors playing charades and Pictionary, leading writing exercises, and sitting on Q&A sessions in front of a crowd of about 200 readers, mostly kids.

I got to sit on and moderate a panel with Bruce Coville, Danette Vigilante, Josh Burk, Kate Milford, and Dan Poblocki. Secrets were shared, such as the number of notebooks in Kate’s bag that evening (nine) and how one of Bruce’s books actually saved a pair of children from a carjacker.

Authors, parents, kids, librarians, teachers, and the booksellers at the event have all expressed to us what a special experience it was. The night was truly magical. I can’t wait for next year!


On My Mind: April 9, 2014

Book things. Only book things.

“Words! Words! Words!” —Eliza Doolittle (and me)
I am working on a new book, with a need to get a readable draft finished rather quickly.

Due to the aforementioned book, the Pomodoro Method has become my friend. Basically, this method dictates you work on a task for 25 minutes (or one pomodoro) then take a five minute break. After four pomodoros you take a longer break, 15-20 minutes. It has really helped to keep me from straying over to twitter when I can’t think of a word I want to use.

Any timer would work, but I use an app on my mac. I like because it puts a little countdown clock in the corner of whatever window I have open. See:

Screenshot 2014-04-09 11.00.45

I’m finding it much easier to stay on task when I can see that I have a break coming up. I live for those breaks.

On days where I need extra help focusing, I also use the Freedom app. It locks me out of the internet for whatever predetermined time I have set. And there is no way to turn it off. You just have to wait it out. It’s a dream (and a nightmare)!

What tricks do you use to keep from getting distracted?

There is no three, only Zuul.

Last month I got to take part in my first ever public reading of Hook’s Revenge as part of a local 2014 Kidlit Debuts panel. I had a great time with Robin Herrera, author of Hope is a Ferris WheelChris Struyk-Bonn, author of Whisper; and Mary Elizabeth Summer, author of Trust me, I’m Lying at A Children’s Place Bookstore in Portland.

Want to see some pictures? OKAY.






I’m not a giant. It’s the angle, I promise.

Hook’s Revenge has been available for pre-order in hardcover for some time. Some of you have asked when the e-version would be available for pre-order. The answer is now:
Hardcover buying options are linked to on my books page. Both paper and electronic versions release September 16.

Gosh, I love you.

I’m working on planning a couple of International Talk Like a Pirate Day Weekend/Book Launch parties, one in Portland and one in Salem. Locals, mark your calendars for September 19th and 20th and watch this space.

Please note: There will be costumes.

What’s on your mind?




Homemade by Heidi: Valentines to Print and Use

It has become a bit of a tradition around here for me to create and share valentines for you to use. In 2012, they were the vastly popular Doctor Who themed valentines. Last year, I made conversation hearts.

I’ve continued the conversation hearts this year (because they are easy I care), with—not just one— but two themes.

First up, for those who have been in a relationship for a long time and want a special way to express exactly how you feel:

marital valentines

Marital Valentines Free PDF Download

I’ll be giving the Let Me Put My Cold Feet On You one to Walt. I can’t help it. I’m a romantic.

Up next, for the fellow writers among my readers, I’ve designed some cards for you to give your loved ones. I know they will appreciate them.

writer valentines

Writer Valentines Free PDF Download

I hope your loved ones enjoy receiving them as much as I enjoyed making them, however unlikely that may be. Happy Valentine’s Day!


Announcing: Giraffes Ruin Everything!

I got this out-of-the-blue note in the mail yesterday.


How could I forget? This is a color copy of a photograph showing the actual giraffe that bit the head off my doll. This was taken post-bite. Look how disgusted my mom looks. I had no idea this photo existed, but I am so glad it does.

Speaking of giraffes, I feel a little funny about posting more news so soon–like I am being greedy or something, but…

Giraffes Annoucement

Once again, so many thanks to my agent, Brooks Sherman. I had not planned to write a picture book, but he encouraged me to try it. I did, and when the story was ready, he found a wonderful publisher for it. [Writers: Listen to your agents. They are usually pretty smart–I know mine is.]

I am thrilled to be working with Mary Kate at Bloomsbury Kids. I was able to meet both her and Rotem, my editor for Hook’s Revenge, when I was in New York a few months ago. They are amazing. I know I am going to learn a lot from each one.

I’m very lucky.

I’m very grateful.

I’m very…confused.

You know how I feel about giraffes, right? So. I wrote one that ruins absolutely everything, but at the end of the day, he’s pretty likable.* I don’t quite know what happened. I suppose it’s true what they say: Writing is therapy.

To celebrate, I bought myself a t-shirt of this image. I think it perfectly sums up the happy beginnings of my writing career.

Imgurian pirate giraffe riding a shark

Want your own? Get it here. (I am not affiliated with this company in any way. I just like to share the awesome.)

So, that’s it. All Most of my secrets have been revealed. All the big ones anyway. My hair can deflate and things can get back to normal. Or, you know, normal for me. Whatever that means.

hair secrets

At least until next week, when I announce the sale of my new YA. (Kidding!) (Probably.)


*Don’t think for a second that I have let my guard down. Just because I happened to write one that I rather like doesn’t mean I have forgotten the truth: Giraffes are dangerous creatures. Hide your wife. Hide your kids.

Update: If you are interested, Giraffes Ruin Everything is now up on Goodreads.

Pitch Wars: Meet the Agents

Oh yes, it’s another one.

My dear, non-writing readers, to make up for all these contest posts, here is a rad picture of me:

mom was my stylist

Heidi, circa 1987

I realize some of you have seen it before, but it’s worth a second look, no? Give it a minute. Take it all in.
You’re welcome.

Pitch Warriors, here is the post you have been waiting for:

Pitch Wars … the agents!

Are you ready for this? We have 16 incredible agents vying for our Pitch Wars team manuscripts. We’re so excited to see what pitches they fall in love with, and what teams will win the coveted Pitch Wars Most Requested Manuscript title. 

And, in no particular order, here are the agents…

Louise Fury

L. Perkins Agency

Twitter: @louisefury 

Louise is seeking teen Sci-Fi and Young Adult horror.  She‘s also on the hunt for deep, dark contemporary YA and select Middle Grade fiction with a literary feel–it must be realistic and thought provoking and the characters must be authentic and original. Louise loves horror and romance, especially Regency and Victorian.

Jessica Sinsheimer

Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency

Twitter: @jsinsheim 


Jessica is seeking Literary, Women’s, Middle Grade, and Young Adult Fiction.


Twitter: @Natalie_Lakosil 

Natalie is looking for commercial fiction, with an emphasis in children’s literature (from picture book-teen), romance (contemporary, paranormal and historical), and upmarket women’s fiction. Specific likes include historical, multi-cultural, paranormal, sci-fi/fantasy, gritty, thrilling and darker contemporary novels, and middle grade with heart. 


Twitter: @BookaliciousPam


Pam represents young adult and middle grade children’s book authors, and adult romance authors. 


Twitter: @bluedragonfly81 

Jordy is on the look out for Romance (contemporary, historical/Regency, and paranormal). YA contemporary/historical or dystopian, sci-fi/fantasy with romance elements. Shes also open to YA GLBT within those genres. She’d love to see unique, well-developed plots featuring time travel, competitions, or travel.


Andrea Somberg 

Twitter: @andreasomberg 

Andreas looking forthe following categories: Fiction; literary, commercial, womens fiction, romance, thrillers, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, middle grade.


 Jennifer Mishler

Twitter: @literarycounsel 

Jennifer is seeking Young Adult Fantasy, Young Adult Contemporary, Young Adult Literary, and Young Adult Historical. 



Suzie Townsend

New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.

Twitter: @sztownsend81 

Suzie represents adult and children’s fiction. In adult, she’s specifically looking for romance (historical and paranormal), and fantasy (urban fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, epic fantasy). In Childrens’ she loves YA (all subgenres) and is dying to find great Middle Grade projects (especially something akin to the recent movie SUPER 8).

Victoria Marini

Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents, Inc. 

 Victoria is looking for literary fiction, commercial fiction, pop-culture non-fiction, and young adult. She is very interested in acquiring engaging Literary fiction and mysteries / suspense, commercial women’s fiction (romantic suspense, sci-fi, fantasy), and Young Adult (contemporary, sci-fi/fantasy, thriller and horror ).


 Kerry is looking for Young Adult and Middle-Grade fiction, both commercial and literary. She tends to shy away from werewolves, zombies, faeries, and the like, but she’ll read anything with a fresh voice and compelling characters. She is particularly keen on contemporary YA, quirky MG, books with a strong cinematic element.  


 Drea is currently seeking: fiction, memoir, crime, non-fiction and YA. Her roster consists of British, American, and Canadian clients. International talent is welcome. 





Katie Shea

 Katie specializes in fiction and memoir, especially women’s fiction and commercial-scale literary fiction, and realistic YA.  She is most interested in coming-of-age stories and stories of unique relationships.


 Elise Capron

 Elise is interested in serious character-driven literary fiction, well-written narrative nonfiction, and short story collections. (Note: She is not interested in Fantasy, young-adult/middle-grade, picture books, romance, and sci-fi.) She aims to work with writers who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience.


 Jodell is interested in YA, MG (especially funny) , fiction and nonfiction, book proposals, and picture books. She will also coach writers wanting to self publish.  She simply loves a well-paced story that moves her between joy and tears.


 Brittany and Michelle are teaming up to look for Adult, YA, and MG manuscripts. 

  Michelle Johnson

Twitter: @MJsRetweet 

 Michelle’s published one novel, The Footloose Killer, and edited several others for publishing houses and private clients. She also is a Script/Story consultant on an independent film in Halifax, NS, Canada, and enjoys working closely with writers to help them develop their voice and craft.


Brittany Howard

Twitter: @brittanydhoward

 When reading, Brittany  loves to be introduced to new and interesting people and places. She looks for strong voice, good storytelling, and fascinating relationships between characters—romantic or otherwise. More than anything, she loves when a book surprises her.


There’s just one more day to get your applications in for Pitch Wars. Make sure to check out this post here to get all the details.


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