Thursday, December 29, 2011


By plane, train, and automobile, Carolyn Mackler and I will travel from the East Coast to the West Coast in January to meet our readers and talk about The Future of Us. We'll visit 9 great bookstores across the country, and if we're anywhere near you, we'd love it if you came by to get a book signed, or just to say hi!

January 17 - Barnes & Noble; Princeton, NJ; 7pm
January 18 - WORD; Brooklyn, NY; 7pm
January 19 - Politics and Prose; Washington D.C. (held offsite at Bethesda Public Library); 5pm
January 20 - Little Shop of Stories; Decatur, GA; 7pm
January 21 - Books & Books; Coral Gables, FL; 5:30pm
January 22 - Blue Willow Bookshop; Houston, TX; 2pm
January 23 - Book People; Austin, TX; 7pm
January 24 - Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop; La Verne, CA; 7pm
January 25 - Once Upon a Time; Montrose, CA; 7pm

Bring a friend. Bring all your friends. And we'll see ya soon!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fisher-Face Toys

Slightly lopsided toothless grins are cute. Add a dimple, and it's adorable!

Am I talking about a certain one-year-old boy in my life? No. (But yes, his smiles are very adorable!) I'm talking about a few of that one-year-old's toys. Fisher-Price must've poured a lot of time and money into identifying the most inviting and playful smile, because that smile is plastered on all of their plastic faces.

This discovery was made by my wife while helping Isaiah open his second Fisher-Price Christmas gift.

Since these toys are for newborns and toddlers, I'm assuming that red dot on the cheek is a dimple and not a pimple. (For any of you reading this who have dimples, do you ever get pimples inside your dimples? If so, does it pinch when you smile? Just curious.)

Whether it's a caterpillar, a dog, the sun, or a music note, they all have the same smile.

It's cute. It's charming. And it's also a little creepy.

So now, whenever I see a person with a slightly lopsided toothless grin, I'm going to say, "Ah... Look at that Fisher-Face!"

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Repeat the Sounding Joy

I recently asked my friends and followers (that sounds so cultish) on Facebook and Twitter to tell me their favorite versions of Christmas carols. Although I didn't reveal my own selections, the two songs they chose most often also happen to be my two favorites: Little Drummer Boy and O Holy Night.

Good job, friends and followers!

The most commonly selected version of Little Drummer Boy was sung by Bing Crosby and David Bowie in the 1977 TV special, Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas.

My personal favorite Little Drummer Boy was recorded by Bob Seger in 1987. Here's a live performance from just last month.

Six different versions of O Holy Night were mentioned. Since I couldn't choose a favorite among those, I went with another great version, sung by Josh Groban.

Finally, who doesn't love Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! (Notice, there's no question mark at the end of that sentence. If you don't love Rudolph, I don't want to know about it.) My favorite rendition is a cover of The Temptations' version, which was animated for Will Vinton's 1987 special, A Claymation Christmas Celebration. Sing it, California Raisins!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Very Bookish Christmas

My favorite section of the house to decorate for Christmas is the bookcase in our dining room. One shelf, each December, holds nothing but Christmas books. It's not a large shelf (a half-box of these books remains in the garage), so it doesn't take long to decorate, but it is essential.

(Also included: a chunk from the first Christmas tree of our marriage,
and a photo from Isaiah's first Christmas

This year, we added two books to the shelf. Voices of Christmas by Nikki Grimes and Eric Velasquez, which beautifully and powerfully tells the Nativity story from the perspectives of those who were there. And A Christmas Goodnight by Nola Buck and Sarah Jane Wright, which I got activities for online and printed out for Isaiah.

Sometimes it's a good thing that I try new toddler-activities on mornings when JoanMarie sleeps in. It's not that I thought Isaiah would color inside the lines, but I thought the crayons would spend more time on the paper than in his mouth.

Maybe next year!

When we decorated the tree, I wrapped the lights around the trunk, as opposed to setting them out on the branches. Isaiah's a teething-aholic (obviously), and I didn't want to tempt him. The few ornaments on this year's tree were also chosen with his curious fingers and teeth in mind.

I tried to get him to sit for a photo with his favorite book (How the Grinch Stole Christmas), but the moment I sat him down, he picked up the book and brought it over to me...for its fifth reading of the day.

Thankfully, reading to him is often my favorite part of each day.

Every Who
Down in Who-ville
Liked Christmas a lot...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


A couple days ago, Isaiah celebrated his first birthday.

We put a bounce house in our backyard, and it often looked like every kid in the neighborhood was jumping around in there (I'm pretty sure a few were party crashers). And yes, after everyone left, I crawled in to get a few bounces of my own!

Taking after his mommy, this was the gift Isaiah played with the rest of the night.

The idea of a Smash Cake must be something new. Back when I turned one (Oh no! I'm starting to sound old!), we were given a small slice of the main birthday cake. Now, a lot of bakeries make seperate mini-cakes for the baby to smash into. And everyone looks forward to that! So I was a little suprised that Isaiah was being so cautious with his cake. It's like he knew people were watching him eat, documenting his every move.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Today (but in 2010)

Here is the beginning and ending of an exciting email that Carolyn Mackler sent to our agents at 9:24am(PST) exactly one year ago today. The title of the manuscript mentioned was later changed to The Future of Us (available now!).

Jodi and Laura -

We are thrilled to hand you the manuscript for our next YA novel, IT'S ABOUT TIME.

[Blah, blah, blah. Business stuff, business stuff, business stuff. Blah, blah, blah.]

Happy reading!

- Carolyn & Jay

PS Speaking of babies going out into the world, as we were doing our final tweaks this morning, Jay's wife went into labor!!

If you've seen me give my Powerpoint presentation at a school or library, you know that I waste a lot of time creating mock covers for my books. Here are two that I created for It's About Time.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Santa's On His Way

Today was a day of firsts for Isaiah.

Of course, when you're still not a year old, I suppose most days can be described that way.

We took him to see his first reindeer at the Hopper Bros. Christmas tree lot in Arroyo Grande. They weren't Santa's reindeer (cuz those guys are probably in hardcore last-minute training right now), but it's my understanding that Yukon and Windsong are second-cousins to Blitzen...or maybe Dasher. One of those! Either way, since this is 2011, they even have their own Facebook page.

Then we took Isaiah to his first book signing. Oddly enough, his first book signing was his dad's book signing! He was a bit confused when people started handing me books to scribble in because he's not allowed to do that at home.

Most people were getting books signed for themselves, but a lot were getting them signed as Christmas gifts for friends, girlfriends, or sons and daughters. It's so cool to know my books will be someone's gift!

Here's my view of the front of the signing line...

And my gift to the first 13 people in line was a donut from SLO Donut Co., which is where I stayed up late editing The Future of Us. And yes, within that box was the near-legendary bacon donut.

Thank you to everyone who came out to my first hometown book signing for my latest book. And thank you to the SLO Barnes & Noble booksellers for putting on this event. I'm sure I'll see you in a couple days!

If you weren't able to make it, or you're driving through San Luis Obispo in the near future, I signed plenty of copies of Thirteen Reasons Why and The Future of Us before I left. So grab one for yourself! Or better yet, grab both! Or even better yet, don't just think about your own enjoyment, also grab a few as gifts for others!

If you missed my hour-long November 30th interview with Dave Congalton (local radio dude and fellow-author), you can listen to the podcast here.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Good Morning, December

I woke up feeling very excited this morning. I love December! I love Christmas! And I love JoanMarie & Isaiah (JoanMarie's birthday is December 25th, and Isaiah's is the 11th)!

Growing up, the first thing I did every December morning was mark the day with my Advent calendar. Usually, there was a small toy or piece of chocolate waiting for me. Maybe next year we'll go that route with Isaiah, but right now we're limiting his access to sugar-rushes and choking hazards.

But the traditions begin immediately!