Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I love make new year's resolutions, and although I haven't formally written all of mine down yet, two of my professional resolutions are 1) to handle my submissions pile better and 2) to edit both a Newbery and Caldecott contender.

What are some of your professional resolutions/goals?

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

POETRY FRIDAY: Burning the Old Year

I had promised myself that I would send out some of my poetry manuscripts in 2007. I never got around to it. I received a lot of sad news about friends and family in the past year. One of my closest friends and two of my first cousins were diagnosed with cancer. A good friend, a dear uncle, and the daughter of one of my best friends passed away. Worry and sadness can wear a hole in one’s ability to concentrate on reading and creative writing…and tending, in a regular organized fashion, to things that must get done. At least, that is what I found.

I can’t say I that I accomplished what I had hoped to accomplish in the last twelve months. I guess the only writing I have to show for the year 2007 is my solo blog, Wild Rose Reader. Sometimes I wrote for my blog when I should have been doing other things. Oh, well! Now that a new year will soon be upon us, I guess it’s time for me to think about sweeping out the old one and beginning afresh with a plan for 2008—the Year of the Rat!

Naomi Shihab Nye is one of my favorite poets. (Her book Red Suitcase is one of my favorite books of adult poetry.) For the last Poetry Friday of 2007, I have selected a poem by Nye that speaks to my feelings about my lack of productivity. I hope the coming year will bring better tidings for so many of the people I care about. I hope, too, that at this time next December, I will be able to look back at the year that has passed and savior a feeling of accomplishment.

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

I have an original poem entitled Winter Ballet at Wild Rose Reader today.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Check It Out this week.

Happy New Year to you all!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Blogiversary fellow bloggers and blog readers!

I woke up this morning to an NPR story about blogs, which reminded me that it was my day to post. According to a Wall Street Journal article"Happy Blogiversary" that was reported back in July, one of, if not the first blog was Robot Wisdom.

On Dec. 23, 1997, on his site, Robot Wisdom, Mr. Barger wrote: "I decided to start my own webpage logging the best stuff I find as I surf, on a daily basis," and the Oxford English Dictionary regards this as the primordial root of the word "weblog."

Other early blogs were CamWorld and Scripting News. It's incredible that these blogs are celebrating their 10-year anniversaries this year--I wonder who among us will still be blogging 5 or 10 years from now. Will I?

The page also has a little chart about who blogs and why people blog. I'd say the reasons why I blog are pretty much in line with the reasons why most people blog.

So, in the spirit of the long life of blogs, I'd love to hear a little more about what you'd like to see happen with the Blue Rose Girls blog in the next year. Any type of posts you'd like to see more of? Should we bring the question of the week back? Does anyone out there even have any questions for us?

Northern Lights

I've never seen the real Northern Lights, but I've always wanted to -- the Golden Compass descriptions of those "shimmering curtains" and "sheets of light and energy" made me want to even more. I haven't been posting lately because I am DETERMINED to finish the rewrites on my novel before the year ends, and blogging takes energy away from that. When it's done I'll be better about posting; and in the meantime: light and energy -- and a Merry Christmas -- to all!

Friday, December 21, 2007

POETRY FRIDAY: The Death of Santa Claus

Do you remember when and how you found out that there was no such person as Santa Claus? I learned when I was in the first grade. I think I had just turned six. I don’t recall who told me…or if I just figured it out myself. I guess I’ve always been a bit of a skeptic. Maybe my older sister was the bearer of the bad news. I can't remember how I felt when I realized there was no Santa Claus—but I can imagine that I must have been shocked and saddened.

Here is my contribution to Poetry Friday this week. WARNING: Do not let the little Santa believers in your house read this poem!

The Death of Santa Claus
by Charles Webb

He's had the chest pains for weeks,
but doctors don't make house
calls to the North Pole,

he's let his Blue Cross lapse,
blood tests make him faint,
hospital gowns always flap

open, waiting rooms upset

his stomach, and it's only
indigestion anyway, he thinks,

until, feeding the reindeer,
he feels as if a monster fist
has grabbed his heart and won't

stop squeezing. He can't
breathe, and the beautiful white
world he loves goes black,

Click here if you to want to finish reading this poem.

At Wild Rose Reader, I have an original poem that I wrote for Tricia's Poetry Stretch this week.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at AmoXicalli.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I have some things to say today, and as it is my day to post, I should say them. However... I just had a two-hour eye exam and my eyes are dilated and I can't see a thing! And as unfun as this is, I have another dr. appointment in a few hours. So I'll have to post later on today or tonight.

What I will talk about: other projects that I want to do that have nothing to do with kids' books; the book I'm working on now; and I don't know... everything’s blurry right now. Talk amongst yourselves. If any of you have any questions for me, ask them! If any of you have any topics you'd like to talk about, post away.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas miracle

Today, I did my holiday duty and went Christmas shopping for my niece and nephew, age 4 and infant. For a brief moment, I thought of getting clothes or shoes (because kid's clothes are the cutest) but then gave myself a mental slap. I'm a children's book author, I've got to support the biz. If I don't buy children's books for children, how can I expect others? Yes, I'm all about setting an example.

I have to admit it's been a while since I've gone shopping in a real store. I tend to do internet shopping; but since I was getting all high and mighty, I realized I should support an independent bookstore as well. So I went into my favorite children's bookstore and...was completely overwhelmed.

There are just so many books out there, crowding and overcrowding the shelves. I went in determined to buy a gem from a no-name upcoming author, but the sheer chaos was disheartening. Suddenly, from the consumer angle, I realized how intimidating it can be to buy a book. The pressure of choosing something age appropriate, reading-level appropriate, taste appropriate for the child, taste appropriate for the parents...suddenly, those cute baby shoes were looking like a good gift choice.

But just as I began to take a step back, I was given an epiphany as a present. I make a living making these books. How is that possible? It was humbling, and the prior feeling of self-righteous pride became one of intense gratitude. Some lovely, kind, patient people must have taken the time to find my books in this mess of a publishing universe,and that's rather a miracle. And one that deserves to be paid forward as a holiday tradition.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Paddington gets deported

Thought I'd post this as well, in case anyone has not read about the new upcoming Paddington book. At first I thought it was a spoof, but have read about it in at least 3 places now (Meghan's nonfiction rule), so it must be true. Either way, its brilliant! Children should learn about the injustices of immigration and naturalization! Kidding. Sort of.

Check it out here.

Deadline coming

With two weeks left to finish up Red Shoe, I've been a little short of time for buying presents (thank you internet), going to parties, and baking cookies, not to mention writing long blog posts... so today I am just posting one of my paintings for the book. Sorry friends! More in the new year, promise.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A little bit more about the Sony Reader

I didn't really know what to write about today--it's been a whirlwind since getting back from CA after Thanksgiving and the Big Sur conference, and now I'm heading back out to CA for Christmas on Thursday.

As always in the weeks leading up to the holiday break, there have been a lot of social obligations, holiday parties, etc. I hope you won't think that I'm getting paid by Sony to talk about the Sony Reader again (I'm not, but if someone wants to pay me, I'll take it), but I've found myself "showing off" the Reader to a lot of people at these events and parties (but was so sad that I forgot it at work when I went to the Kidlit Drink night last Monday! Sorry, Kate). In fact, I've just purchased a new iPod Nano, which is truly a thing of beauty, but have been showing off my Sony Reader so much more. What's been exciting for me as an avid reader working in publishing is that it's not just publishing folk who are interested in seeing the Reader: people I don't necessarily consider to be book lovers are really fascinated by the gadget. Who knows, maybe electronic book readers will create some new readers!

Another interesting thing I've discovered while continuing to use the Reader is the mechanics of how I read paper books. I am somewhat of a speed reader, so when reading a physical paper book, I tend to start turning the top corner of page before I've finished reading the bottom of the current page, because when I'm dealing with actual paper pages, my eyes are able to finish scanning the last few lines before I fully turn the page, my eyes jumping from the bottom of the page to the top of the next page. Of course, I never actually fully realized I did this until I started using the Sony Reader, because obviously, you can't do that with the Reader. I don't know how many times I've had to push the back page button after pushing the next page button prematurely and realizing that I hadn't read the last lines of the previous page.

And that is all I'll say on the Sony Reader. Until next time.


I'll end with a bit of news: promotions at my company were announced on Friday, and this year it was wonderful to see a long list of promotions across departments, all very well deserved. Well, with the possible exception of one: I've been promoted to Senior Editor. I don't quite feel worthy, but it's definitely exciting for me, although nothing much will change in my day-to-day job responsibilities. But it's lovely to know that I can work in a job and industry that I love, and continue to grow.

Friday, December 14, 2007

POETRY FRIDAY: December Notes

As far back as I can remember my mother has always fed the birds who visited her yard. She had a special soft spot in her heart for little sparrows. I remember the time we found a baby sparrow on the sidewalk one spring when I was about five or six years old. The little bird seemed too weak to fly. My mother brought it home, fed it by way of a liquid vitamin dropper, and kept it in a small cage until it appeared strong enough to fly. Then she put a ladder up against the back of our garage, climbed up to the roof with the bird, and set the cage down on the roof with the door wide open. She felt the sparrow would be safe from neighborhood cats up there until it felt the urge to fly away.

Now eighty-nine years old, my mother still spends money from her meager retirement pension to buy birdseed. After a winter storm, one can see the snow in her yard littered with tiny seeds for the wild birds.

The following poem is for my mother who taught me kindness toward animals and generosity of spirit.

by Nancy McCleery

The backyard is one white sheet
Where we read in the bird tracks

The songs we hear. Delicate
Sparrow, heavier cardinal,

Filigree threads of chickadee.
And wing patterns where one flew

Low, then up and away, gone
To the woods but calling out

Clearly its bright epigrams.

You can read the rest of the poem at American Life in Poetry: Column 39.

I have a review of Aileen Fisher's poetry book Do Rabbits Have Christmas? at Wild Rose Reader.

Tricia has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Before the party festivities, Anna gave all the blue rose girls blue rose rings. I particularly like how even though they are all blue roses, they are each different.

It is an interesting coterie that we have formed. When we first began the blue rose girl blog, it was mainly for professional and promotional reasons--but the bonds that formed behind the posts have become stronger than I ever imagined. These were the women that stood by me when I was running on empty, when the suffering was almost too much to bear and waited to catch me when the inevitable finally forced me to fall. These were the women that drove six hours to a foreign city for a funeral; they were the ones who madly rearranged, repainted and removed the horrors from my apartment so that I could return to a true home. These were the women who refused to let me be alone and scheduled their days to be with me; the ones who helped me pick up the pieces of my life, watched me heal, encouraged me to go forward and pushed me to look at my future with hope. They are the ones who are sincerely happy for me when I now feel joy and celebrate with delight anytime life brings me good fortune. These are the women who have taught me what true friendship really is.

I probably shouldn't need a ring to remember that. But, it's a good excuse.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A full weekend

As most of you probably know that Robert's Snow auctions ended on Friday. As sad as I was to see the project come to a close, it was fun as always to watch the bids rise and see who won which flakes! To celebrate a great project and a great cause, the Blue Rose Girls had a little get together at Grace's place. It was the most fun party I've been to in a long time, mainly because the room was full of interesting people who love books, I wish I'd gotten to talk to everyone!

Yes that is a three tiered cupcake tray in the middle of the table, Grace makes the best cupcakes ever.

From left to right below: Rebecca, Alvina, Grace, Libby, Elaine, and me:

When the festivities were over it was time to get back to work, Saturday I had a table at the RISD holiday sale. I do this sale every year, its a good way to sell some books... but mainly it gives me the opportunity to do something crafty, which always gets me in the holiday spirit. This year I framed little prints of the illustrations for the book I'm working on now (Red Shoe):

Here is me, sitting cheerfully behind my table before the mad rush of craft enthusiasts hit the scene:

Another perk of doing the show is all the other artists you get to meet, and sometimes trade with. This year I made two trades with artists Gregory Poulin and Dorothy Imagire. This is Gregory's work below, he does these amazing still lives of food and other household objects. I traded him for a beautifully rendered painting of garlic, which now hangs proudly in our kitchen.

Here is Dorothy's work. She makes these tiny photographs dipped in wax (called encaustic), I traded her for an image of a honeybear and a pastry cutter that I couldn't love more. You can see more of her encaustic work here.

I had the pleasure of sharing my booth with Karen Bessette, who makes really lovely collage/paintings such as this one that remind me of Romare Bearden:

Well that about wraps it up... I returned to Boston Sunday to spend the day painting... a deadline waits for no one!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Big Sur

I meant to write about this last Monday, but I had a few travel issues (Cancelled flight, 3+ hour layover, lost luggage...). So, a week late, here's my wrap-up of the Big Sur Children's Writer's Workshop. One of the highlights was the locale, so there are lots of photos below.

Last Friday morning, I drove my rental car down from San Francisco to Big Sur. Highway One was breathtaking, and I couldn't resist getting out of the car a few times to take pictures:

We had a lovely faculty orientation/lunch at the Henry Miller Library. It was great seeing some familiar faces, putting faces to name, and meeting new friends. The weather felt fairly warm to me then, but the temperature would quickly drop--we would be cold all weekend; good thing we had fireplaces in our cabins for heat:
Here is the view of the conference center from my cabin:
I really liked the structure of the conference. Each faculty member would facilitate three separate critique groups of 4-5 attendees. The first group would meet once on Friday, and then again on Sunday, where ideally the author would have revised according to feedback.

Each attendee would also have a one-on-one consultation with a faculty member, meaning each faculty member would have 4 or 5 consultations. One of the biggest draws of the Big Sur conference is the high faculty to attendee ratio--it's truly unlike any other conference I've been to.

One of my one-on-ones was with fellow blogger, Disco Mermaid Eve. The other Mermaids made a surprise visit for dinner Saturday night:

(me, Jay, Eve, and Rovin. I look so little next to them!)

Speaking of blogs, several attendees told me that they read and enjoyed either this blog or bloomabilities, which was nice to hear. If there are any Big Sur attendees reading this, Hello!

Saturday afternoon, most of the faculty escaped for a little R&R while the attendees had some writing time to revise. And yes, perhaps there was just a little talk about the manuscripts we had seen--but don't worry, mostly good things:Saturday evening, the editors spoke on a panel giving some background about our publishing houses, talking about the type of books we edit and what we're looking for for. It was an interesting variety of perspectives, from small publisher to large: Tricycle Press, Chronicle Books, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, and Dutton/Penguin were represented.

The questions asked were quite good, I thought: what a "platform" is for an author, and how important it is (general consensus: it's not crucial, but it sure doesn't hurt!); where to send "sad" books (smaller publishers may be more open to publishing more "niche" books than larger publishers); what type of books we might be seeing too much of (fantasy with Lemony Snicket-type narration, pirate books); and so on.

And after a good-bye lunch on Sunday, we were on our way home, bid farewell by a gorgeous double rainbow:

Overall, it was a wonderful experience, and I think both attendees and faculty enjoyed themselves immensely; I highly recommend it.

P.S. I still love my Sony Reader, and couldn't resist showing it around at the conference and sharing the love.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Come on folks, it's time to bid. Sadly I have to leave for CT soon for a book signing so I won't be around to see the end of the auctions... which is probably just as well since my snowflake is one of the lowest out there. Sob. Don't feel bad for the little snowflake. It has a big enough ego to tough it out. I, however, do not... so it's just as well that I don't witness its demise! I do thank the individual who did bid on it. Thank you.

On a fun note, Lidia from the cooking show on TV bought two copies of City Hawk for her grandchildren last night. I thought that was cool. She wrote two names out on sticky-notes and walked off for a bit so I was left alone to figure out whether the first name, which started with “Man…” was for a family or an individual. So I started to write “To the M..” but stopped, afraid it was for a person, not a family. Turns out it WAS for a family. For whatever reason I forgot that I screwed up the first copy (but really didn’t screw it up) and wrote it all out again. So I hid the "screw up" in the pile of books that weren't sold. Now there’s a book that’s going to be returned that was for Lidia that says “FOR THE MAN.” Lovely. The receiving dept. is going to wonder about that one!


Thursday, December 06, 2007

the value of snow

The Robert's Snow auctions end tomorrow, Friday at 5pm. Even though I have not been as involved in the project this year, it is still quite meaningful to me. In 2005, I wrote this post as the Robert's Snow auctions were beginning. As the 2007 auctions end, I thought I'd repost this as the sentiments are the same.

11/06/05: The auctions have started and I'm curious about the bidding. At the gallery, I heard an offhand comment after Ki-Ki mentioned how unique the snowflakes were. "I guess that's why they're worth so much," someone said.

But their worth really does go beyond the pretty pictures. In all the press, I emphasize the famous names, the exclusivity, the collectability of these snowflakes. Because that's good marketing. No one wants to hear the depressing stuff. But, the sad stuff is what gives these snowflakes a value beyond their starting price.

Bid for everything cancer touches. Bid for the nurses and the doctors who know their words are cold comfort. Bid for the spouses that suddenly realize that "in sickness" and "death do us part" is for real. Bid for the kids who have no hair and are pulled to treatment in a wagon. Bid for the parents who age 10 years in 10 minutes. Bid for the friendships that fade away because people just don't understand or know what to do. Bid for Chad, the boy who lost his father to cancer and flew in from Virginia just to see the snowflakes. Bid for David, an artist that dedicated his snowflake to his brother who died of cancer. Bid for Steve, the volunteer who hand cut all 200 snowflakes with his scroll saw in his garage. Bid for Jon, the computer programmer, who stayed up past 2 AM night after night working on the website. Bid for Robert who sat alone in the infusion center while all the other patients were surrounded by friends and family. Bid for yourself and all the days you'll remember and wish you didn't.

Bid for all of these reasons. Or bid for some them. Or bid for none of them at all. Just bid and know that no matter what you pay, that snowflake is worth so much more.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Only 2 days left

So far the Blue Rose Girls have been very excitedly watching the bidding (and bidding ourselves) on the Robert's Snow auctions... as we hope everyone else is too! Now that we only have 2 days before the very last auction ends and the 2007 auction comes to a close, I just wanted to highlight some of the many beautiful snowflakes that at the moment are quite the steal! Unfortunately I can't talk about all of them here (though I will post about some more tomorrow), but these are a few of my favorites that, like I said, are selling for much less than they are worth...

(click here to go to the auction)

Barbara Lehman has a really gorgeous snowflake in this auction- its hard to tell in the photo, but the tiny shutters in the painting stand out from the window in 3D, so lovely. Right now here snowflake is less than $300! As she is a Caldecott award winning author/illustrator, my guess is her illustrations sell for thousands of dollars...

Each of the following snowflakes is currently less than $200:

Another gem is Connie McLennan's 'flake... when I saw this one in person at the galleries I was surprised at how striking it was... in person it has a three dimensional quality, its so photo realistic you feel like the butterfly is going to flap its wings and fly away.

Another snowflake that inspired everyone who saw it at the gallery shows is the one created by Consie Powell. Again, hard to tell from the photo, but the back side of this snowflake is actually a hand carved wood block that the artist used to print the image on the front of the snowflake. So not only do you get the block the artist printed with, but a beautiful hand colored edition of one... so creative!

Giles Laroche has created an amazingly intricate snowflake- if you know his work you know that he hand cuts and assembles paper sculpture to illustrate his books and he's done the same with his snowflake. Both the angel and the bird he has sculpted are hand cut and assembled- each tiny feather on the bird's wings has been glued in place with meticulous craftsmanship.

Laura Graves
is another artist who really went above and beyond- the painting she has hung from her snowflake (which is quite large by the way), is absolutely beautiful. It is soft and sweet and so intricate in its detail... it reminds me of the fairy tales by Mercer Meyer I used to love as a kid.

I wish I could buy all these snowflakes myself, but since I already own three I have to use some self control!! There are so many gorgeous ones to choose from, the artists have made it really hard this year to resist!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


I recently put up a "how I made my snowflake" page on my web site here for a behind the scenes sneak peek! Yay Robert's Snow! Its been so fun watching the auctions go... who else has won snowflakes so far?

Cutest thing ever

An old friend of mine who is a Montessori school teacher recently showed me this video of one of her little students reading one of my books, SO sweet. Apparently she has read the The Three Little Kittens with them so much that she has memorized it and is quietly reciting it to herself (at times not so quietly). I love how she keeps turning the pages while she looks around the room to see what everyone else is doing!

BTW I have permission from her mother to post it for those concerned.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Robert's Snow 2007: The Final Auction

Bidding will begin on the final auction of Robert’s Snow 2007 on Monday, December 3rd. One hundred percent of the auction proceeds will go to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for sarcoma research. All but $25 of each winning bid is tax deductible.

Robert’s Snow 2007 Auction 3

- Bidding begins at 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time on Monday, December 3rd.

- Bidding ends at 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Friday, December 7th.

- Starting bid price: $150

- Bid increment: $25

Wish me luck! I’ll be bidding on a number of snowflakes in the third auction.

Read about all the illustrators who contributed to this auction at the sites linked below. (The order presented is the same as on the auction page.)

Consie Powell at Becky’s Book Reviews
Anna Alter at The Longstockings
Julia Denos at Interactive Reader
Giles Laroche at Book, Book, Book
Matt Phelan at A Year of Reading
Brooke Dyer at Bookshelves of Doom
Barbara Lehman at The Excelsior File
Scott Magoon at Just One More Book!!
Alissa Imre Geis at Wild Rose Reader
Judy Schachner at Kate's Book Blog
Laura Huliska Beith at Just One More Book!!
Genevieve Cote at a wrung sponge
Ruth Sanderson at Book Moot
Susan Kathleen Hartung at Wild Rose Reader
Susan Mitchell at Check It Out
Wendell Minor at Wild Rose Reader
Melanie Watt at Whimsy Books
Elisa Kleven at Rozzieland
Jimmy Pickering at Shaken & Stirred
Jeremy Tankard at the excelsior file
Annie Patterson at Check It OutAshley Bryan
Elizabeth Sayles at AmoXcalli and Cuentecitos
Grace Lin at In the Pages
Jeff Ebbeler at Sam Riddleburger's blog
Margaret Chodos-Irvine at readergirlz
Nancy Wallace at In the Pages . . .
Robin Brickman at Greetings from Nowhere
Joy Allen at Check It Out
Christopher Demarest at Writing and Ruminating
Mary Newell Depalma at Wild Rose Reader
Meghan McCarthy at A Fuse #8 Production
Carin Berger at Chasing Ray
Salley Mavor at ChatRabbit
Amy Young at Kate's Book Blog
Jeff Mack at AmoXcalli
Selina Alko at Brooklyn Arden
Sean Qualls at Brooklyn Arden
Randy Cecil at ChatRabbit
Jeff Newman at A Year of Reading
Mo Willems at MotherReader
Karen Lee at sruble's world
Shawna Tenney at Kate's Book Blog
Julie Paschkis at the excelsior file
Victoria Jamieson at AmoXcalli and Cuentecitos
Juli Kangas at Sam Riddleburger
Connie McLennan at The Shady Glade
Kelly Murphy at ChatRabbit

Remember that Auction 3 is your last opportunity to win one of the wooden snowflakes created especially for Robert's Snow 2007. Each snowflake is a unique work of art. Please help to support this special fundraiser by bidding on your favorite snowflake(s)!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Whose image is it anyway?

My editor (NOT Alvina, an editor I've been working with on a non-fiction project) and I discussed the author photo for a book about South America. I said I thought it would be fun to have a picture of me in Cuzco, Peru, instead of just the usual boring head shot. She agreed.

So I sent her the picture, warning her that *I* looked kind of dorky but that thought the background (the light and that beautiful Inca stonework) was worth it. She agreed: well, she didn't say "You're right, you do look like a dork," she said it was "a nice picture" and that she liked the idea of the picture going along with the book, too. [NOTE: The images are sharper and the colors are deeper in Photoshop than here on blogger.]

So I asked what size they wanted, she found out, and I sent her this, as instructed, a little bigger than the final print sized so the designer could crop it:

A few days later I got an email from her saying:
"So much for thinking outside the box," and then giving the designer's comments....I better not quote them, but the gist was that they wouldn't use the picture because:
*the eyes were closed
*the sun was shining right on my face (that was the whole point, it was in the Temple of the Sun I'd written about in the book)
*all the other author photographs were head shots
blah blah blah

I'll get another picture taken, I should have a real one anyway -- but it seems bizarre to me that when the author and editor both like a picture we can't use it. If I don't mind looking like a dork why should the designer? I WILL get a professional to take a real author photograph; but I don't expect to be going to Peru anytime soon so it will have to be taken here. I have mixed feelings about how important it all is anyway: has anyone ever not bought a book because they didn't like the author's photograph, or bought one because they did? But come to think of it, probably how you look does have a lot to do with whether or not you're invited to schools, and red isn't the best hair color for me (what was I thinking?)so it will be just as well to have a better photograph. But I still think the picture should be up to the author.