Exciting news this morning! DETOUR AHEAD was selected as a finalist in the 72nd National Jewish Book Awards for the Middle Grade category! We’re so honored and thankful to everyone who has supported our book. Congratulations to all the other winners and finalists! (You can see them all here on the Jewish Book Council’s website.)
Detour Ahead was published in spring, but the story mostly takes place in my favorite season — fall! So I waited all year to finally take this photo of our book on a bed of autumn leaves.
You know that line from the film You’ve Got Mail? — “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” — Well, replace “New York” with “D.C.” and that’s my message to you :)
If you haven’t already, get a copy of DETOUR AHEAD here!
If you’re reading this, you probably know me as a writer, not as an illustrator, but since I was a child art was my first love. I used to look forward to Sunday afternoons reading The Washington Post when my father was done with it, then I’d run off to create my own newspaper complete with satirical articles (before I knew what the word satire was), and of course a comics section, (I was especially into weird humor like The Far Side.)
So when I saw that The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) was hosting a daily art challenge for illustrators during the month of October, I decided to participate even though I don’t make a living as an illustrator. Participating in the SCBWI challenge was simultaneously trying something new, and getting back to something I love. Because I was intimidated by digital art-creating methods I wanted to go outside my comfort zone and learn to use a program called Procreate, instead of relying on the traditional art-making methods I’ve always used — and I’m so happy I did!
I didn’t love every piece of art I created during the 31 days of October, but I love some of them and learned from the others. Making art every day for a month was a good reminder of a lesson I once read in the book ART & FEAR by Bayles & Orland: “You make good work by (among other things) making lots of work that isn’t very good…”
DETOUR AHEAD’s first review has come in, and it’s a starred review from Kirkus!
I’m not the type to want a big deal on my birthday. Maybe it’s because my parents threw me a surprise party when I was about 5 years old, and when everyone jumped out to yell “Surprise!” it startled me so much that I cried.
So this year for my birthday I chose a nice quiet way to celebrate — a trip to the National Gallery of Art in D.C., and lunch at Ben’s Chili Bowl. It was a pretty great day except for how cold and windy it was. I also enjoyed that it happened to be the day after the Kite Festival so there were kites stuck in trees everywhere near the National Mall which I found hilarious.
And how could I leave D.C. without a quick stop to see my friend and co-author Pamela?
Fun Fact: On March 27, 1976, WMATA Metrorail service began operating. That means me and the Metro share a birthday, (though Metro is 3 years older than me!)
There was just one thing left I wanted to do.
I left a signed copy of DETOUR AHEAD at a bus stop somewhere on Connecticut Ave NW, which Pamela says isn’t the H4 route, but I couldn’t be choosy. I was just trying to find an easy bus stop to pull up to in an area that wasn’t too busy so no one would see me leave the book! I left a bookmark inside that explained they were the lucky new owner so they’d know it wasn’t lost. I’ve had fun ever since leaving the book there wondering who found it.
I don’t know about other authors, but I love music and its unique ability to create a mood in films, so when I’m writing I’ll often listen to music as part of that process. When I’m actually writing I usually have to stick to instrumental music to avoid distraction, but when I’m just trying to brainstorm or get myself immersed in a certain mood to write a scene, I try to imagine what music I would use if it were a film and I can spend hours exploring and trying to find that one song that feels just right. That being said, creating this playlist for Detour Ahead was so much fun for me, and I really hope you enjoy listening to it. If you read the book, I’d love to hear which song on this playlist you think fits the story best. Better yet, maybe you know a song that isn’t on the playlist which you think should be!
Our book DETOUR AHEAD took an unexpected detour – instead of April 1st, it’s available today! Can’t wait for you all to meet Gilah and Guillermo now that they’re out in the world. Get a copy here: http://tiny.cc/BuyDetourAhead
(I have had a few people request DETOUR AHEAD be made available via independent booksellers. I totally understand wanting to support indies and wish I could make that possible. Unfortunately distribution isn’t usually in the hands of the authors. I will share other options for purchase as they become available, but currently it can only be purchased via Amazon.)
New book: Detour Ahead!
Hello again, to those who know me, and if not, then nice to meet you! Until recently I had taken a long hiatus from updating any sort of blog or website. And for the past year I haven’t been on social media much either. What have I been doing? Well, writing for one thing!
It has been a five year journey for this book to come into the world. I actually met my co-author Pamela Ehrenberg online in 2016, but the stars aligned and we began to write together in January 2017. Many drafts later, in July 2020, we got an offer from PJ Publishing to not only publish our middle grade book which came to be titled DETOUR AHEAD, but to make it available through PJ Our Way, their non-profit literacy and book distribution program for families raising Jewish children. More than a year later in August 2021, the book deal was announced in Publisher’s Weekly, and I could finally share the news. Behind the scenes it was time to go back to work on revisions, this time with our editor. Finally this month, January 2022, we got to reveal the book’s beautiful cover to everyone. (I love it so much.)
I can’t wait for you to “meet” Gilah and Guillermo so now I’m just keeping busy with organizing everything for my first “book birthday” on April 1, 2022.
As part of the celebration, Pamela and I will probably be doing some fun giveaways and such, so if you want to be kept in the loop, please subscribe to this blog to be notified of updates.
Thanks for reading!