A Chinese “Toad” hops onto my shelf

April 16th, 2014

Remember those delightful students in Taiwan, who wanted to translate my book ONCE UPON A TOAD into Chinese as part of a class they were taking?  (click here to read about it)

Well, the story has a very happy P.S.

A friend of my husband’s was traveling to Taiwan on business recently, so I got in touch with the girls and asked if I might be able to have a copy of the translation for my bookshelf. They very kindly scurried around and had one sent to the hotel where my husband’s friend was staying, and he brought it back to the U.S. with him. He lives in L.A., so it took a little while longer to get here to Portland, but it was worth the wait!

Toad 1

Isn’t it fabulous?

I love seeing the title and my name in Chinese.  What a beautiful language!  Wish I could read it.

Chinese Toad

My favorite part is at the back of the book, where the students included several pictures of the translation work in progress…

Toad in progress

… along with that great shot of them showing off the finished product. You’ve already seen this one in a previous post but I can’t resist posting it again.  Just too cute!

1020279240802

Congratulations, girls — you did a wonderful job, and I’m thrilled to have my very own copy!

Toad 2

 

 

 

A little MDBC inspiration

April 9th, 2014

“Where do you get your ideas?” is a question frequently asked of writers. Our #1 question, in fact. My answer, as you know if you’ve read the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page of this website (click here to visit it): absolutely everywhere!

Sometimes it’s fun to trace where one specific idea came from, however, and that’s what I want to do today.

Those of you familiar with my Mother-Daughter Book Club series will recall that in PIES & PREJUDICE, Jess Delaney and her mother take a cake decorating class together. Much to her surprise, Jess discovers that she actually enjoys the class (she goes along initially just to humor her mother), and that she has a knack for decorating cakes, including making frosting flowers.  This comes in handy when Jess and her friends start a baking business, and then in a later book, when Jess and her mother make a wedding cake for someone special (I’m not saying whom, just in case you haven’t read the entire series yet!).

So, where did I get this idea?

Would you believe my own life?

Heather and her culinary masterpiece

Heather Vogel with her culinary masterpiece

This is me at age 12, standing proudly in front of my crowning achievement as a cake decorator. My mother and I had taken a class together earlier that year (and yes, we had fun, just like Jess and her mom did!), so when my beautiful Aunt Judy got married to my handsome Uncle Howard, guess who was asked to do the honors?

Yep. Me.

My mother helped, too, of course. But as far as I was concerned, this was my baby!

HVF wedding cake closeup
And isn’t it a beautiful baby?  Three layers of my grandmother’s delicious pound cake topped with white buttercream frosting and adorned with frosting roses in two shades of pink, clustered on the top and trailing down the sides. A crowning achievement, if I say so myself!

My interest in cake decorating evaporated shortly after this photo was taken, but nothing ever goes to waste for a writer. Part of our writing process is mining memories for material. And this was one particularly sweet memory I was happy to find a spot for in one of my books.

 

I know we’re all tired of winter, but …

April 3rd, 2014

… look what just arrived!

 

ABSOLUTELY TRULY arcs!

ABSOLUTELY TRULY ARCs

 

(By the way, “arc” stands for “advance reviewer copy,” which is an uncorrected proof of the book.)

Totally GORGEOUS, right?  Charles Santoso did the cover illustration, which still makes me swoon every time I see it, and Krista Vossen at Simon & Schuster did the fabulous cover design.  I get to work with the BEST people — geniuses, both of them!

Coming to a bookstore near you on November 4th!  I’ll be posting a sneak peek later this spring (and yes, there’ll be a giveaway, too), but for now, I can’t resist sharing the prologue:

 

“A week before the January thaw finally arrived in February, I found myself hanging like a bat from a rafter inside a church steeple, face-to-face with a bell made by Paul Revere.

If you’d have told me a month ago that I’d find myself in this position, I would have said you were crazy.

But then, a month ago my life was completely different. A month ago, my career as a middle school private eye hadn’t begun.

And by the way, it didn’t begin inside a steeple. Absolutely truly not. It began the day my report card made it home before I did.”

 

 

 

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