Archive for the ‘Family News’ Category
July 24th, 2014 Posted 6:30 pm
Hello, friends! I’m here with the FINAL Exciting Events blog post for the week – not last because I’m done with Exciting Things, but because my editor sent my Exciting Pass Pages and I have to triple-check them for Exciting/Heart-Attack Inducing Typos and Last Minute Changes. Eek!
But before I go off into the editing cave once again, here is an Exciting Event for any of you living near Boulder, Colorado! Please come out on Wednesday, August 6 at 6:30 p.m. for a reading/signing/goodie bag grabbing/prize winning event that will feature nests, family members and writer friends at the amazing Boulder Bookstore.
The staff at Boulder Bookstore have been incredibly supportive of my books, and I plan to return the favor by buying a squintillion books there. Come join me! I promise, if you do, you will be as happy as these pigs:
July 18th, 2014 Posted 4:33 pm
Obviously, I have a ton going on these days. And a lot of it is out of town fun! One of my favorite things to do is to work with kids in small-group writing workshops, and I am super excited to have the chance to do that in Austin in July, and…
If you have a kid (or act like one, or even just want to come to a cool, short writing workshop), please show up at 2 pm at Beehive Books in Santa Fe on Sunday, August 3rd. I will be there with all sorts of goodies and a fun fairy tale-centric writing workshop. Also, I will read from Nightingale’s Nest, sign books, and answer all your questions.
I promise, it will be wonderful as this miniature Scottish waterfall.
July 16th, 2014 Posted 2:36 pm
I’m back from my super exciting vacation, and I’ll be checking in EVERY SINGLE DAY this week to tell you about some cool upcoming events where you meet a REAL LIVE AUTHOR (me) and learn valuable skills! Eat valuable cookies! And take home valuable bookmarks!
And I will also show you my amazing vacation photos. Like this one:
After you finish drowning in the cuteness that is puffin, check out the Westbank Library’s upcoming summer writing workshop! If you live in the Austin area and have a kid who wants to write, bring ‘em to the library on July 29th at 4:30 p.m. for this:
No fairy tale is safe from an author in search of material! In this hour-long workshop, students will pick apart favorite fairy tales and discover how to twist a classic story into a new work of art. Students will leave with an outline and opening (or more) of their own story, and a head full of ideas for how to “steal from Goldilocks” and get away with it.
I promise it will be FUN and FUNNY and the stories will be as majestic as a puffin.
Well, not quite. But very, very majestic.
June 16th, 2014 Posted 2:03 pm
I’ve missed posting here for a while, so please forgive all the catching up I’ll have to do today! At first, I was absent for good/great reasons…
A trip to Paris with my niece!
End of School stuff for my kids!
Amazing book launch parties for my friends!
And even an Indies First! Read-Aloud Storytime day in Houston!
I had plans to do an amazing, thought-provoking recap post (or series of posts!) about all of that stuff. Then a giant windstorm whipped through my neighborhood (like a tornado, with wind speeds up to 120+ according to a neighbor with a wind gauge) and did very bad things to my house (trees falling on our AC units, leaks forming in the house, goat shed picked up and removed from the yard!!!) and injured one of our sweet goats. (She is okay! Just a bunch of stitches and now a lot of TLC.)
So I’m writing this in a house with no AC (not a big deal unless you live where I do, where temps in the summer reach “Hades” by noon), waiting for workpeople to come and make the house liveable again.
Consequently, I may not be able to check in here as much over the summer.
But there are big things on the way! In August, I will have a brand new author website! It’s going to be soooo pretty.
And I’m at all sorts of events this summer, including out of state bookstore visits! Here’s a quick list of places that are confirmed. Come see me there! And bring me a popsicle? It’s hot.
Writer’s League of Texas Thursday panel on pitches, June 19, 7 p.m. at Bookpeople
Westbank Library in Beecave, Writing workshop for young writers, July 29, 4:30 pm
And guess what? I’m doing a mini BOOK TOUR in New Mexico and Colorado!
August 3, Beehive Books in Santa Fe, N.M., time TBA
August 6, Boulder Bookstore in Boulder, CO, 6:30 p.m.
More dates and venues to come! Stay safe, and write on.
January 3rd, 2014 Posted 5:01 pm
And I am SO not ready.
The paperback for Sinister Sweetness releases in about two weeks.
Nightingale’s Nest releases at the end of February.
My first round of edits for Book #3 (Wish Girl, but the title is one of the “edits.” I’m taking suggestions) is due February 15.
The School Visit and Conference season begins in January…and never stops.
And… this month alone I have a Cotillion Ball for one of my kids, and a Major Goat Show for the other one. Two family birthdays, company staying from overseas, and a Pinewood Derby.
*sob* I resolve to… go back to bed for a month?
It almost makes me not quite so panicky and awkward-feeling. Almost.
Thank goodness for that lovely Billy Collins book I got for Christmas! Poetry makes it all better, somehow. This year, I resolve to read more poetry.
I think that’s a resolution I may actually manage.
Happy New Year, friends! I wish you a thousand happy beginnings.
December 2nd, 2013 Posted 12:00 pm
I’m sorry, dear blog readers. I have neglected you for an entire month! I had a lot going on this month, including company from overseas and cookie recipes to perfect for the Exquisite Long-Awaited Season of Baking that’s just ahead.
Baking is a priority, people. A high priority.
So I’m going to jam a whole lot of pictures into this post, and get back to my baking. Oh, and writing, I probably should do some more of that soon. *plans to write with icing on cookies*
Here’s what I’ve been up to:
1. The Library Jubilee Annual Conference in Waco, Texas, which was amazing and fun! (Sorry for the blurry picture, we were having too much fun to focus our cameras.) I gave a keynote speech and got to share my happy librarian memories – as well as stories from a ton of author friends. It was awesome.
2. Then Sam Bond, one of my favorite writer friends in the world, and a founding member of the Soup Salon, had her debut book launch party in November! The book, Operation Golden Llama, is the first in what will be a series of around-the-world middle grade adventures, featuring five cousins and a cast of intriguing animals and criminals.
3. I was invited to do a special author visit at a high school in Round Rock, Texas. The librarian, Angela, and her lovely assistant Anna, posed for this picture right before the visit.
I taught two writing workshops that day on making memorable characters to some very talented students. It was fun and exciting and slightly scary – I usually teach younger kids. It went well, though – and I have proof! This picture was taken afterwards… and the librarians are still smiling. Thanks to Cedar Ridge, Angela and Anna for hosting me! Y’all are lovely.
4. What else happened in November? OH, my kid also won a third place ribbon with one of his gorgeous goats. Just in case you’re interested in such things. OF COURSE YOU ARE. YOU CARE DEEPLY. (Ignore the fingers in the photo.)
5. Last week, we all took a Thanksgiving break to the beach. Then… when I got back from vacation, THIS was waiting for me!
Oh, I love it! The paperback cover for Sinister Sweetness, out on January 16! It’s got shiny places, and matte finish places, and it’s a design my goat show kid came up with. I love it to pieces. What do you think?
Now, back to baking. And, um, writing, yes. That too.
Happy December, friends!
November 4th, 2013 Posted 7:03 pm
October was a fun month. It started off with a great local event, a winetasting fundraiser for the Dripping Springs Community Library. I emcee’d (a first time for everything!) for special guest, Texas-based singer-songwriter, editor, and author Kasey Lansdale.
Next up was the Texas Book Festival. Lynne Kelly, author of the prize-winning MG novel, CHAINED, came to visit me and my goats.
I never knew how cute goats could be. Baby goats especially.
At the Book Festival, I got to hang out at the Writer’s League of Texas tent, watching friends of mine – like Laura Cottam Sajbel, sign their books.
Then, I got to stand around looking important and drinking champagne with Kelly Bennett, author of tons of books, including Vampire Baby and One Day I Went Rambling, winner of the Writer’s League of Texas picture book category book award.
A huge thanks to the Writer’s League for choosing my book as the MG/YA category winner! I already spent the money, of course. But the memories will last a lifetime…
After I was done being Fancy People, I got to hang out with some truly Famous Fancy Ridiculously Talented Authors.
How was YOUR October, friends?
Now, on to November! Home of one of my favorite holidays… mmmm, gravy.
September 25th, 2013 Posted 8:49 am
There is a lot I do not know about taking care of goats. A LOT. As the new, confused owner of two Boer goats, I can say with confidence that I did not know goats needed quite so much care! There’s the food, water, shelter, minerals, trailer to haul them, brushes, medicines, clippers, shearing equipment, halters and leads… I’m only mentioning a few of the things here, the list is too long. And I haven’t even begun to talk about the training.
Yes, training. You see, these goats aren’t just ordinary goats: they’re show goats (for my ten year old son, who wants to be an animal scientist when he grows up). And while ordinary goats might be able to get by on some hay, a weedy lot, and a tin can or two, show goats take very special care, handling, and constant attention. My son isn’t just raising these goats to be goats: he’s raising them to be the Best Goats Ever. He doesn’t want them to be good goats – he wants them to be GREAT. “Don’t think you’ll win the shows this year,” he hears when he tells people about his goal. “It’s ridiculously hard to win as a new goat owner. Impossible.” He gets this. But does is change how he handles his goats?
Well, maybe. I think it might make him work harder.
And that, dear friends, is how raising goats is exactly like writing novels for publication. You can choose to write just for yourself – think of those regular goats with the tin cans, happily munching away, not a care in the world. But when you choose to step into the show ring, to send your words out into the world to be judged, to be measured against all the other debut and already-published authors, to be held up against classics and best sellers… you have chosen a much harder path. People will tell you to give up. They will tell you “it shouldn’t be this hard.” They will claim it is impossible.
It’s not. But it is incredibly hard. You might have to get up to feed your writing, like my son does his goats, at 5:45 every morning. You might have to spend hours every day training yourself to be a better writer, knowing it could all be for nothing if the judge happens not to like your goat’s haircut… I mean, your style of writing. There will be a stupendous amount you do not know about writing and publication, and you will have to learn it on your own, or hunt for experts to help you, pay for some of that help, buy the materials, trim and clip and shear and revise your work until it measures up to the best.
Your goat/novel might never win. But don’t let that change how you treat your writing.
Well, maybe let it make you work harder.
I’m still learning about writing, Every novel is a new challenge, every page a fresh headache some days. Sometimes, when I get really frustrated writing, I head out to the goats. I let them breathe their sweet alfalfa breath on my cheek, feel their soft fur as they encourage me to scratch their backs, watch them jump and run and leap with cute baby goat abandon.
And then I get up, go back inside, and tackle the page again. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. And at the end of the day, I’ll have scenes I can revise tomorrow… and some seriously cute goats who will listen to me read them, even if no one else does.
I had two lovely bits of news since my last post! First, the lovely Marisa Schouten did an interview with me for a cooking/family blog called FRESH. It went up last week – and she wrote a recipe for Sinister Sweetness to go with it! Lorelei’s Pear and Marzipan Puff Pastry Galette. (A galette, people. That’s fancy.) I’m cooking it for some writer friends next week – it looks divine.
Also, I am going to be signing copies of my *cough, cough* award-winning book, THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY, at the Texas Book Festival, with the Writer’s League of Texas! The signing will be on Saturday, October 26, probably from noon until 2 pm. I’ll give more details later. Hope to see you there!
August 21st, 2013 Posted 2:04 pm
What a year! One year ago today, my first book came out. It was an amazing day. I went with my 92 year-old Grandma to the closest bookstore, where she bought a copy. (I told her I’d give her one, but she refused! It was important, she said, to spend her own money on it. I have the best Grandma ever.)
My husband brought me flowers, and we went out to lunch at the restaurant where I first got the idea for the book. My mom joined us for dinner. It was a delight. Like the birthday of my life’s dreams. Perfect.
I’d like to say that every day of the past year has been just as lovely, but it’s not true. There have been hard days, days where I doubted myself, my writing ability, my hairstyle, my everything! Well, okay. Maybe not my dance moves. But most everything else.
But I never lost sight of the fact that I was living the dream. My dream, the one I’d first had when I was about nine, that I’d almost given up on for most of my life, and that I found again right around the same time the gray hair started coming in. And even on the hard days, I never lost sight of just how lucky/blessed I am.
Some of the most important and lovely things have happened for me in the past year. I had a book signing in Round Rock, my hometown, where my kindergarten teacher Aunt Trudy showed up – right as I was about to start talking about her, and how important she’d been in forming me as a writer! I still remember her leaning over my shoulder when I was four years old, giving me harder and harder books, pushing me, helping me see just how far I could go. She still has the same hairstyle, like white cotton candy.
I also signed a book that day to Herrington Elementary, named for one of my favorite teachers of all time, the late Linda Herrington. She made school fun, let me run off to the library by myself… and at her house, cooked me tomato soup one cold day, with oyster crackers floating on top. Campbell’s tomato soup will forever trigger one of my own Proustian “madeleine” moments, and I will always hear Ms. Herrington’s delighted laughter when I taste it.
I had an amazing book launch party at Bookpeople, where friends and family flew and drove from all over the country to celebrate with me. I was overcome, and thinking about that day still makes me feel oh-so-loved.
But the most memorable day – moment – has to be this one: in Japan, at Yokota Middle School, when a young dyslexic girl came up to me to tell me how much she’d loved my book, that it was the first novel she’d ever read, and that she just had to talk to me about it.
My book. The only book she’d ever read from start to finish.
Ah, yes. THAT was the moment. For that moment alone, I would have gone through all the hard and much harder days that followed the initial “yes” from my editor. For that look on her face, that smile and the sweet conversation we had after, I would go through all the not-so-lovely parts again.
I wrote a book that mattered to at least one child. What more is there to want in this writing life?
Happy birthday to my life’s dream. I hope yours comes true for you, friends. I will bake you a cake when it does!
July 29th, 2013 Posted 3:38 pm
What is it about Santa Fe? I go there, I get story ideas. I go there with bad story ideas, I get better ones. It’s almost miraculous. I don’t even have to hike out into the desert or meditate or anything. Although that is fun, too.
Hi, friends! I’ve been gone on the world’s most awesome road trip with my family. We drove in my super-sexy minivan from Austin to Palo Duro Canyon, Santa Fe, Taos, Pagosa Springs, and Silverton… where we rode the train and got mooned by 6 people.
Seriously, Silverton/Durango people. Who moons? (Hmm. Good question. Note to self: Possible picture book title. Who Moons?).
Anyway… then we went to Mesa Verde National Park, the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest National Park, White Sands, and ended in Fort Davis, Texas.
We did these things on the trip:
Rode a coal-powered steam train down a mountain
Free climbed ENORMOUS boulders (well, okay, not enormous)
Soaked in about 20 natural hot springs
Climbed into a ton of Ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings
Saw Californian condos, elk, wild turkeys, peregrine falcons, golden eagles, hummingbirds by the dozen, mule deer, tarantulas, and so many other things…
Also, did I mention the moonings? My kids will NEVER forget that part.
So. Much. Fun.
But the weirdest part was the revelation in a restaurant in Santa Fe, when I was sitting with my husband, moaning about how my current novel just wasn’t clicking. Over corn chipotle soup and fajitas, it suddenly became perfectly clear to me what was missing. (Yeah, I know. I’m supposed to leave my work on home when on vacation. It just doesn’t work that way for writers. I mean, I guess I could leave my brain at home in a jar or something. Note to self: Write a character who has a brain collection.)
Now, if this had been the first time I’d had a revelation in Santa Fe about a book, I’d think it was a coincidence. But it keeps happening to me, my whole life! I go to New Mexico, I think about writing, I get inspired.
If anyone can explain this, I’ll buy you a sopapilla. Of course, you’ll have to meet me in Santa Fe in August to eat it – I’m going back. This time, I’m going solo, to the amazing AROHO Women’s Writing retreat at Ghost Ranch.
I think, after a week of writing in the desert right outside Santa Fe, I’m going to have a good draft to start tinkering with.
Or who knows? Maybe I’ll get some more story ideas. It is sort of the place for that, for me anyhow.
So, where’s your place, Writer Friends? New York? Sedona? Your back yard? The shower?
I’ll see you in two weeks!