Archive for the ‘People I Love’ Category
August 7th, 2012 Posted 6:10 am
One of the very best things about being a writer, at least in Central Texas, is the company. There are SO MANY amazing writers here! And if you are lucky enough to live here (and come out of your writing cave occasionally), you get to meet them, talk to them, and learn what amazing people they are in addition to the whole “genius writer” thing.
Last year, I had the chance to go to a retreat with a bunch of friends at a place we like to call the Lodge of Dead Things. It was wonderful, of course. But one of the best parts was getting to know author Joy Preble.
Seriously, she is funny, smart as a whip, kind, generous, and her writing! Gah! If I hadn’t loved her so much, I would have had the tiny teeth of jealousy tearing at my innards for weeks after that retreat. She’s a rockstar.
And she has a book coming out – the third in a series! Which I own, and NO I am NOT giving it away on the blog, it is MINE ALL MINE. But… when I was talking to Joy, we realized that we both have the character of Vasilisa the Brave in our books, both of which are coming out in the next two weeks — so I thought we should celebrate.
Don’t worry if you don’t know the story of Vasilisa. It’s okay, and you’re not alone. Heck, I know at least one reviewer/kid with an advance copy of Sinister Sweetness who had never hear d of Hansel and Gretel, and they still got the story. BUT, dear friends, if you get this book and THEN read Joy’s or my books?
YOU WILL BE CHANGED FOREVER.
Okay, well, maybe if you read it, then Joy’s book. My book mostly just makes people hungry, then nervous.
Anyway… HERE is what I AM giving away to celebrate: One brand-new copy of Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, by Marianna Mayer.
I will also throw in a bookmark of Joy’s , one of mine, and maybe even a few other little goodies because I love Joy that much and want to celebrate her awesomeness.
So, in the comments section, tell me what your very favorite fairy tale is for one entry. And if you tweet about this, tell me that, too, and I’ll enter your name another time!*
So, hooray for Joy! And hooray for you, dear readers — August is filling up with fun fairy tale-ish b0oks!
*This contest is good for North America only, please! Contest will end on 8/14.
August 2nd, 2012 Posted 6:08 pm
Oh, friends. There are parts of this whole debut author thing that scare me to death. Mostly it’s the technology-related stuff. (You may have picked up on the fact that I’m really the tiniest bit afraid of Twitter, even though I use it. And these nights I wake up in a cold sweat, having nightmares about Skype visits gone horribly wrong.)
So, making a book trailer would be one of These Evil Things, right?
Not if you are married to the world’s awesomest husband. WHICH I AM. And he happens to be an amazing photographer, AND a computer whiz. (My momma always told me to “marry tech support.” Thanks, Mom. Good call.)
This book trailer thing is going to be so much fun. I think.
In any case, we’ve been Very Busy taking pictures of kids with the most insane amounts of inappropriately sweet junk food… and then giving the food to the kids who model for us, of course. (One kid ate his entire PIE right after his photo shoot. A whole pie. There is a picture book I adore with a dog who did this. Buy it now.)
In any case, the trailer will be unveiled at my book launch party at Bookpeople in Austin, Texas on Saturday, August 25. (To which you are all invited. Go, buy your plane tickets!) I think it will be awesome. Here is one of the models. (My kid!)
Once you’ve enjoyed ogling my cute kid, trot on over to the ModPodgeBookshelf blog to read a new guest post I wrote on re-naming my main character in Sinister Sweetness… and enter for a chance to win an ACTUAL first-edition, SIGNED copy of my book!
And if you want to read some amazing reviews for Sinister Sweetness, check out the Mother-Daughter Reading Team, or Pure Imagination! Thanks, y’all – you’re very lovely, and I would totally bake you a pie. A whole one. Just for you.
More later in the week on the Amazing Joy Preble… for whom I would bake an entire kitchen full of pies. She has an awesome book coming out… and I’m going to do something very special for the occasion!
July 15th, 2012 Posted 12:53 pm
Well, Aloha, friends! I just got back from a two-week vacation-of-a-lifetime in Hawaii, and I’m feeling very, very happy.
Not just because of this:
But also, because of this:
SQUEEEEE! (I totally deserve to squee. I mean, “fresh, mesmerizing, new AND classic? Pardon me while I swoon.)
I’m so happy! And I’m ALSO happy because while I was away, TWO amazing writer friends posted interview/essays of mine on their blogs, with ARC giveaways of the aforementioned “fresh, mesmerizing, etc.” book.
So, hurry! Before the contests end, trot over to Laurisa White Reyes’ A Thousand Wrongs blog and enter her contest (also check out her amazing blog. She’s doing it right, y’all!). Then nip over to Claire LeGrand’s site for ANOTHER Sinister Sweetness ARC giveaway, and the story of my lifelong love affair with Pippi Longstocking.
Can I just say how cool it was to see this post go live when I was doing this with my kids?
What a great month! And to think that in one more month (plus a few days), Sinister Sweetness will be out in the world! *nervous trembling*
Okay, now I may need another mai tai.
Write well, friends, and don’t forget to try something new this week. Possibly not breadfruit, though. Blech.
June 2nd, 2012 Posted 3:18 pm
So, I may have mentioned that when I signed my book deal with Razorbill, my youngest son asked for a pony.
I explained that I wasn’t actually J.K. Rowling, and that ponies are expensive, take a lot of care,* blah blah blah. When pressed (oh, yes, the kid kept at it), I said when I made a million dollars at this writing thing, we could get a pony. (I figured he’d be about forty if it ever happened, and past the pony-wanting years. I’m sneaky like that.)
But there’s no harm in dreaming – I mean, that’s what gets us through this whole writing life some
days years. The thought of someday, seeing your name next to your heroes, seeing your book at the book fair, buying that pony and pony butler’s services with your ginormous royalty checks. *sigh*
I had a tiny part of that dream come true today, friends. I was sitting at breakfast, reading the Austin American-Statesman paper. I turned to the Books section (as one does), and there was a great article about YA fantasy, and why it is so freaking awesome, and why everyone should buy their kids fantasy books every day of their lives, isn’t the REALITY of middle school enough to merit the escape into fantasy, people… sorry, got on my soapbox. Cynthia Leitich Smith spoke extremely well about the topic, and I was waving my pom poms. Yay, Cynthia! Yay, YA fantasy books!
Rick Riordan? Check.
Cynthia Leitich Smith? Check.
Marissa Meyer, James Dashner, Veronica Roth? Checkity check check.
Nikki Loftin? Wait… who?
Oh. My. Heavens.
My book was there. Right next to (as my son pointed out) the photos from the Hunger Games and Harry Potter movies.
It took some explaining that, no, we still weren’t getting the pony yet.But ice cream? Oh. yes. Time to celebrate!
Isn’t this the coolest thing? I’m so happy today.
* When I explained to him that he’d have to clean a barn, he amended his wish for just a pony. He also wants a “pony butler” to clean up the poo. I’m going to have to write some seriously bestselling books, people.
April 27th, 2012 Posted 4:40 pm
Oh, friends, I am a VERY busy little bee down here in Texas. I have a super tight deadline for a new project, and I may be away from the blog more than usual for the next two months. (For an idea of how tight the deadline is, my word quota to hit for TODAY alone was 4,000. Not quite there yet…) Still, I have my Wonder Woman Underoos, an enormous stash of chocolate, and a family grown accustomed to cereal for dinner. I will prevail!
Still, I had to share the two lovely pieces of news I had this week, and one from last week as well.
Last week’s news: I had a poem accepted by the Texas Poetry Calendar, an anthology of poets from Texas, or who write about Texas. The calendar comes out in 2013 – but you can always pre-order a copy! Or pick one up at Bookpeople when the time comes.
This week: My day started with a Facebook message from a writer/teacher I met in Houston a year ago. She teaches 6th grade Pre-AP English, and had assigned a book report. One of her students asked if she could report on a book that isn’t out yet – her mom had snagged an ARC of it at a conference, and the girl had read it and loved it.
Of course, the book was mine, and my teacher friend and I both squealed with delight. I will TOTALLY be sending the autographed bookmarks to that class! I can’t even tell you what a rush it was to think some kid who I am NOT genetically related to read my book, and loved it enough to do a report on it. So. Freaking. Cool.
Then, at the end of the day, my friend and fellow writer/blogger Samantha Clark posted her incredibly thoughtful review of Sinister Sweetness. I’m overwhelmed. Samantha is so smart, and reads so closely – with an eye to the construction of the novel, as well as the overall result. Thank you, Sam.
Now, it’s back to the page for me. And then off to New York next week, where I will do writerly things with my agent and editor, birthday celebration things with my mom and sisters, and shopping things… well, not so much of that. But still — New York!!!
PS – If you want something fun and fresh to read by a local author who is diving bravely into the non-fiction self-publishing waters, check out my funny, lovely friend Pamela Hutchins. I think How To Screw Up Your Kids sounds like fun… wait. Did that come out right? Good luck, Pamela!
February 20th, 2012 Posted 7:48 pm
When I was a brand-new writer, I went to writing conferences hoping to gain knowledge (both craft and industry-related), rub elbows with editors and agents, and — possibly last on the list — meet other writers.
These days? It is ALL about the other writers. Just think of it- spending DAYS with other people who care passionately about the same things you do, who can talk about them, who speak the language of writing and publishing, who write sweet picture books but swear worse than any sailor… you get the idea.
And that’s what I got to do last weekend!I know, lucky me. Wait until you hear the rest.
But we also had all SORTS of awesome SCBWI folks, from all over, in town! Like fellow Apocalypsie Lynne Kelly, the author of the Middle Grade soon-to-be-a-classic Chained. This book is so gorgeous, a love story about a deeply compassionate little boy and his… elephant. Touching, hopeful, and painfully real. It’s going to be one of those books that lasts.
Also from Houston, the amazing Vonna Carter, writer and blogger extraordinaire.
And, of course, we had the Extremely Famous and Talented People, including keynote speaker Lisa Yee, who was hilarious and heart-breaking and amazing in every way a keynote speaker can be.
Some of us were lucky enough to go to a full-day intensive on Sunday with Lisa Yee, where we learned to write Better Bad Guys. This much fun, and a tax-deduction? I love this job.
And then there was the raffle. I won!! For the, like, the first time ever, I actually won things! Like, gift certificates to Bookpeople, and books, and wine! It was my lucky day.
Lucky me, for sure. I hope you strike it rich this year, too — and I hope your riches are the kind that last… and the kind that listen to you blab on about writing stuff without complaint!
Of course, to find those “riches” you might have to register for a conference or two.
February 6th, 2012 Posted 4:17 am
It’s been a long week, friends, and I’ve been cooking. But not the “writing like crazy” kind of cooking. The “dirty dishes and grocery shopping” kind.
A few days ago, one of my friends had her daughter — two months early, but doing well for a preemie. My next-door neighbor died in an accident the same day.
A long week.
I may have mentioned before that I worked in churches long enough to qualify as a Professional Church Lady. One of the quirks of Church Ladies is that, when faced with great celebration or great tragedy, our response is universally the same: Casseroles.
To the Church Lady, there is something almost holy about the combination of pasta, meat, cheese, and vegetables, a deep ritual in the preparation of meatloaves and lasagnas. The mixing of salt and pepper, chopped onions and garlic brings a calm, taking over the hands with sacred routine, like speaking the Lord’s Prayer, or the Twenty-Third Psalm.
A casserole takes work, but it’s a very forgiving dish. If you mix too hard, angry at the chance that took away a friend, or cry with joy at the thought of a new life, a new baby — the casserole will come out pretty much the same. And if you really goof up, you can always grate cheese on the top, even add some crumbled Ritz crackers if you want to get fancy. Nobody will notice the tumbled layers underneath.
So many times in life, I don’t know what to say to mark the great events that occur, to comfort, or cheer. But thanks to all those years in church, I know exactly what to do: brown the meat, cook the pasta, stir the sauce, mix it together, grate the cheese, and pray for one hour at 350 degrees.
Posted in People I Love
January 23rd, 2012 Posted 6:09 pm
Oh my goodness. I just had the Most Fun Weekend Ever at the ALA Midwinter conference. I met the Entire Writing World there, and took home a bunch of ARCs I’d been longing for. (Okay, I’m not planning on keeping most of these — they’re for my local librarian, who couldn’t go this year. But I’m reading them first, naturally, just to make sure they’re, um, suitable, or something.)
I don’t even want to talk about all the things I did. I’ll just post pictures instead.
My kids think I am a Magical Book Fairy now, as I snagged the Very Best books from the actual HANDS of their most favorite authors. I’ll have to admit, it was a very Cinderella-ish weekend for me, between the books and the author-idols, and meeting all the sweet Penguin fairy-godmother-type marketing and sales folks.
Now, off to read!
January 9th, 2012 Posted 2:40 pm
I am hip deep in halligators, Writer Friends. I’m writing and revising my way to sending a new manuscript off, and I only have a few minutes to post here, but I had to share this wish for you:
I wish for you, an ideal listener. Not reader, although ideal readers are out there, and when you find one, it makes you want to write faster and better, thinking of your words flying across the page in front of their wide, hungry eyes.
I have an ideal listener, and I think it’s possibly the best part of my writing life.
My ideal listener sits on the bed behind me as I read the chapters of my WIP aloud, wating patiently as I correct typos on the fly, listening intently to every word. He laughs and hoots and kicks at the covers when I read the funny bits. When the tension mounts, he stands up, crosses the room, and stands right behind my chair, his quick breath on my shoulder, tense fingers gripping the back of my chair.
He sneaks out of bed sometimes at night long after I’m done reading, tiptoes downstairs, opens my documents file, and steals an illicit next chapter because he can’t wait.
He tells me, at bedtime, that the book I’m writing is the best he’s ever heard, better than anything.
“Rick Riordan good?” I ask.
“Better than… The Ranger’s Apprentice?” I ask.
“You’re crazy. How about… Harry Potter?” We laugh. It is *almost* sacrilege.
Different, he says. Just as good.
Then: Can I hear just one more chapter tonight? Please?
I know it’s not all true, Friends, but it doesn’t matter. You need at least one cheerleader on the sidelines at the early stages of the game. And if your cheerleader will sit quietly as you read aloud (the MOST important part of revision, in my estimation), it makes even that part of the process deeply rewarding.
Now I have to go write about wishes, and ideas, and seeds. Just a few more pages…
Write well, Friends!
December 30th, 2011 Posted 10:05 pm
2012 is almost upon us! Have you bought your weekly writer’s calendar? If not, feel free to pick up this one:
Not just because I’m a calendar girl, although of course that would be a good reason. (I’m pretty sure I’m August, but I haven’t gotten mine in the mail yet. I’m thinking August will be a month to remember.) It’s a great calendar, chock full of inspirational stuff and handy references… check it out!
I should add, if you’re family, you’re required to get one because it has my kids’ pictures in it. Seriously.
If you’re a writer, go ahead and submit a short essay for next year’s calendar. Who knows, you might be Ms. /Mr. August 2013. (But you’ll never be as amazingly cute as those kids from August 2012, don’t even try.)
Happy New Year, Friends. I’ll see you next week with word on my broken resolutions!