Writing process

Jellyfish Far and Wide

I’m pinching myself. SPINELESS is out in the world, and it’s been getting some incredible coverage. I’m going to give a rundown here, because each one of these shout-outs about jellyfish and our oceans’ health means so much to me. And what’s more, the variety of places where SPINELESS is showing up […]

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There’s the cover! And wow, could it be any more beautiful? The stunning colors and elegant layout came from my publisher Riverhead books and the jellyfish drawings are by Ernst Haeckel, an Austrian naturalist/jellyfish expert/philosopher/physician/artist who lived in the late 1800s. If you haven’t ever seen Haeckel’s book of drawings called Kunstformen

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Invertebrate Intermission

It’s been a while since I posted here, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy with the jellies. Starting around Christmas, I went through an intense fact-checking/end-noting process with Spineless. I found that I could get through about a five pages a day–and the book is around 300 pages long. It was butt-in-the-chair, back-aching

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Little Jellies and Big News

Last year, I wrote about the world’s biggest animals – and jellies topped the charts. Now, we know jellyfish dominate the opposite end of the animal spectrum too. A jellyfish was just declared the smallest animal in the world. These minute beings were so problematic when they were first discovered living embedded in the tissues of fish,

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Jellyfish in Japan


I walked through the grocery store with a secret. I put the individual cups of mac-and-cheese that I found so repulsive, but that my kids clamored for, in my cart. Still, inside I was smiling. I swung my cart past the boxes and boxes of Technicolor cereal, pulled a cartoon-emblazoned brand off the shelf, and nonetheless gloated. I loaded snack-sized metalized polypropelyne bags of air-riddled, cheese-flavored corn puffs on my pile–and my heart soared anyway. Because I knew something no one else around me knew.

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