August 31

Birthdays: William Saroyan (1908), Kenneth Oppel (1967), DuBose Heyward (1885), G. Willow Wilson (1982), William Shawn (1907), Stephen Coonts (1944), Blake Nelson (1965)

Tip: When you get to the point where you’re doing book signings, some places you’ll be sitting there twiddling your thumbs and at others, you’ll have a line. Even if all you get asked at the dead one is directions to the bathroom, be nice. Smile. Engage the person as you point to the restroom sign. Perception is everything and if you come across as a curmudgeon, you’ll get a bad reputation.

Thought for the day: “For me the hard part of writing isn’t coming up with ideas — it’s shaping and developing an idea into a good story. I find writing very hard work, and I write and rewrite my stories many times before I’m happy with them. I think inspiration is a small part of the writing process; perseverance is equally, if not more, important!” – Kenneth Oppel

Jumpstart: What kind of garden would a vampire plant? What about an evil magician?

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