Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Introducing Amy in a Blizzard

We're having a blizzard right now in my hometown of Chicago. Today, I learned all about blizzards from Chicago's weatherman Tom Skilling (who I tend to call "Skellig" because I'm a children's book writer with a poor memory for names). A blizzard is a storm with winds over 35 miles per hour and with snow limiting visibility to a 1/4 mile or less for over 3 hours. Right now, it's Monday night and fists of wind are pounding the walls of our townhouse and there's a sound like hawks screeching in the chimney flue. And yes, snow is everywhere.

You know where this is going, right? Because a blizzard seems to be the perfect metaphor for what is happening in publishing right now. I mean, limited visibility? Blowing winds? Car tires slipping and in need of stability control? A sudden increase in police sirens? Waiting for the city to plow us out? It all makes me want to stay in, bake muffins, and read an epic of a novel.

On the other hand, I like snow. I even like storms. I grew up in northern Wisconsin and I tell you, I need snow to feel like the world is right. So tonight, as the storm started up, I had to get out in it. I put on my mukluks, my parka, and my lumberjack hat and got out there to take some photos. (Don't you dare say I look like the Groundhog that's supposed to show up on February 2nd. I admit some resemblance...) And so, I'm also kind of excited by the changes in publishing too. I want to get out, build some snow forts, start some snowball fights, see how close I can get to the half-frozen waves on Lake Michigan.

(By the way, Blogger is having a fit as I type this. It keeps trying to slip little red lines under all of my spelling mishaps, like I'm some sort of wet dog that's shaking water all over Blogger's hardwood floor. I am horrible speller.)

I feel it is my duty to tell you that I only write. I wish, wish, wish I could illustrate. There are lots of those talented illustrator, visual artists writing for this blog, but I am not one of them. I am someone who visits paintings in museums, yearns for visual expression, and instead ends up knitting big woolly socks that keep her husband's feet warm.

Right now, I've got a picture book and an older middle grade novel in print. Neither of these are available as either apps or ebooks. Yes, it makes me sad. The thing makes me happy right now is my contract with Knopf for another older middle grade novel to be published in 2012 (don't quote me).

[Side note: publication date 2012? In technology years two years is a long, long time. I mean, we could be reading books on visors by 2012. That said, if anybody will know how to put a book in a visor, I'm sure Knopf will...]

You should also know what writing/ebook technology I use on a regular basis, so here's my list:
  • Kindle (a gift and a gift I ended up loving -- more on this later)
  • MacBook laptop. Yes, I'm a mac all the way.
  • Moleskin notebooks
  • fountain pen with cartridges (I actually know how to clean a fountain pen, and where to buy replacement nibs)
  • bound books with pages, covers, dust jackets. All get dog-eared. I can't be bothered with bookmarks.
What don't I own?
  • Cell phone. Yes, I am the only person in the universe without a cell phone. I get by with a prepaid Tracfone for the car. (What this means is that I don't understand smartphones and apps as well as I think I should, particularly for someone who writes on a blog about ebooks.)
  • ipad. I'm thinking of getting one to explore the world of apps and ibooks, etc. And because they look fun. (Yeah, I admit it.)
How often will I post? Right now, I've signed up for once every two weeks on Wednesday (which seemed sort of nicely balanced in the middle of the week). We'll see how that goes.

Well, I think that it about covers it. If you'd like to know more about me (possibly much more than you'd ever care to know) you can go here:

By the way, I use all my own photos, except for the snow angel in the grass. That was taken by MJ Alexander, who takes gorgeous photos, and who has generously let me use this photograph as my writer photo. (If you're an author looking for a new photograph, I highly recommend MJ.)

Happy writing everyone!



  1. Thanks, Amy, it's so nice to find out more about you. I gave my husband a hat with mini flashlights in the brim, can e-readers be far behind?

    The rest of us blogging for E is for Book will post intros as we go along. Stay warm!(Guess I shouldn't mention that I'm in Florida...?)

  2. Love this post, and the picture, Amy (I've got snow drifts that make it impossible to get out my back door).

    And I especially love the blizzard metaphor. It's why we're all on this blog, trying to, er, plow (ski, snowshoe, skate) our way through together.

  3. Hey guys! Update! Just walked to Lake Shore Drive and it IS a parking lot. 100s of cars. Not kidding. Two deserted buses, lots of cars with windshield wipers up. Two guys sitting in one of the cars -- became friends because of the storm. I want to be a snow journalist. Is there such a thing?

  4. Amy, I grew up in the midwest in the cold and snow and now happily reside in California. Funny how you get used to not freezing body parts off in the winter. My niece in Chicago sent pics of their yard. Yikes.
    On the e-book apps front. Did you hear what Apple did today? They want a piece of any book that is transfered on to their device. So if you buy a kindle book on Amazon and you want to look at it on your I-pad, Apple wants 30%.

  5. If I understand the conflict, Apple wants a part of the sales that originate on the iPad. I have a Mac, and Apple isn't getting a cut of everything I buy online... it seems doubtful this theory of theirs is going to stick.

  6. I did hear about the Apple thing today. I'm sort of waiting for this to fallout . . . It's a reminder of how much everything is still changing.

    By the way, anybody wants more Chicago Blizzard photos, I took a big hike out to Lake Shore Drive to see the abandoned vehicles and put up a set of photos here:

  7. Love, love, love the analogy Amy. Perfect! :) e