Archive for the ‘People I Love’ Category
April 7th, 2013 Posted 9:31 pm
I just spent a week in Wonderland! Well, Japan, actually – but I happened to arrive at the height of cherry blossom (sakura) season, and I’m pretty sure Wonderland has nothing on trees that snow pink blossoms, leaving a carpet of petals on the ground.
I went to Tokyo to visit my friend Emily, and also to do some school visits on the local Yokota Air Force Base.
Honestly? So many wonderful things happened on this trip, I don’t know where to start! I’m not sure the cherry blossoms were the highlight – the visits to Yokota West Elementary, Joan K. Mendel Elementary, and Yokota Middle School were by far the most amazing experiences I’ve had in a long time.
Those kids! Those remarkable, talented, engaged, excited kids! I get all warm and squishy just thinking about them. And do not even get me started on the teachers and librarians…
I will never be able to thank the Middle School librarian, Cheryl Johnson, and her cohort, Annette Holladay, enough for bringing me over and organizing the whole thing. But I’m going to try!
Today’s blog post is some of the pictures of my days in Japan prior to the school visits. The next three will be dedicated to the three schools I visited while I was there. I hope you enjoy the weird and the wonderful – and author friends? If anyone ever asks you to do school visits in Japan? SAY YES!!! The readers over there are far more amazing than the blossoms.
Sayonara, Friends! I miss Japan already. But I still have the jet lag – and the photos – to remember them by! Also, a lot of yummy Japanese candy. Moshi, anyone?
More in two days…
February 15th, 2013 Posted 9:39 am
In my writing life, I sort of expected to get the chance to speak with kids about my books. Because, you know, they’re FOR kids and all.
But life has a way of surprising and delighting, and this week I had the chance to speak (and listen) to a group of students who were all smarter than me. Or at least better educated. But possibly both.
Also, quite possibly, they knew my book better than I do. This class, taught by Professor Nancy Roser at UT Austin, chose my book to be a part of their “Grimm transformations” studies. They read my book in advance, and had questions and comments. Okay, I was prepared for this. But they had read it like they were planning to write their theses! And they’d thought so deeply about my story that I was humbled. What a gift!
Thank you Professor Roser, and thanks to your Language and Literacy Studies class as well. You made my week!
I ran from this event to a signing at the Barnes and Noble in Northwest Austin – busy! But super fun. Then I danced at the Texas State Capitol for the One Billion Rising event on Valentine’s Day. Political Action + Dance= Awesomeness.
Next week? THREE school visits. Eek! Hope you’re staying busy, too, friends!
January 21st, 2013 Posted 3:57 pm
I’ve been having so much fun the past few weeks! Too much fun to update my blog, honestly. But here I am, with pictures to make you jealous… or inspire you. Or to stare at when you’re supposed to be working. (Am I getting closer?)
So, this month I’ve been doing Official Writer Things. First off, the Lodge of Death Writing Retreat, where I spent time with some amazing writers (who are also some of my favorite people in the world).
We ate, we drank, we wrote, we read… we stared at dead things.
Also present (as moral support) was the super fabulous Cynthia Leitich Smith, who hates it when people post photos of her on their blogs.
And to wrap up, I presented at a local elementary school for two fifth grade classes, who were amazingly polite, attentive, and prepared.
I have a bunch of other events coming up in the next two weeks, including a school visit in League City, the Montgomery County Book Festival, and… oh, I don’t know, my line edits for Nightingale’s Nest to finish?
BUSY ME! I hope you’re having as much fun as I am, busy or not. Write well!
November 2nd, 2012 Posted 6:09 am
One of the coolest things about the writing life is the writer friends who come along with it. I met one of these amazing people, Lindsey Scheibe, at a SCBWI monthly meeting and critique session a few years back. She read from a manuscript she was working on, and I knew right then I wanted her for a critique partner – and a friend!
We’ve shared tears, laughter, soup and manuscripts – and now it is my great pleasure to share the cover of her upcoming debut novel, Riptide, with you!
Isn’t it gorgeous? It should be one of your Must Reads for next summer!
Here’s the super-short pitch:
A seventeen-year-old is training for a big surf competition — her ticket out of an abusive household — and trying desperately to keep from falling in love with her best friend.
September 25th, 2012 Posted 8:07 pm
One of the things I’ve heard other writers fret about is the dreaded poorly-attended signing. From what I’ve picked up, this usually happens in a town pretty far from the author’s home, at a bookstore that either didn’t advertise the event, scheduled it against some major community festival/football game/shindig, or is a cursed venue for some reason (maybe they offended a zombie priestess or the local coven).
I know I’ll have one or more of these in my future. But recently, I’ve been a part of two small signings – intentionally small – that were sheer joy as an author to attend! Both of these were house parties, hosted by a person I knew well, and to which she invited her close circle of friends. People brought their own books for me to sign, and the hostesses provided a few more (which at least one of the gals bought from our local indie, Bookpeople! Yay!). There was wine, food, reading, signing, and wonderful questions in an intimate setting.
I know time is an real issue for authors (you see how spotty my blogging is getting? That’s for a reason, folks! So… busy…), and large events can seem like the best use of that precious time. But those are the places my friends warned me about – big, impersonal at times, and not at all sure to draw a crowd.
I think making time for small signings may be a very good idea! Want one-on-one time with your readers, and their parents/teachers? Try one! You’re guaranteed the most comfortable chair in the house, and you might even get a sidewalk chalk drawing to welcome you in!
So, new authors out there? Every once in a while? Go small. (No matter what I said last week.)
August 30th, 2012 Posted 4:28 pm
Well, I’m as busy as a bee these days – and I haven’t forgotten I promised you pictures of the Big Launch. But you may have to wait. SO MUCH TO DO.
I’m doing a talk on queries, pitches, and synopses at the local SCBWI monthly meeting on September 8, 10 a.m.
Then, the following Saturday, I’m doing this!
Cool, huh? I get to read to kids, and support an amazing literacy initiative!
In addition to these things, I’m writing guest blogs and trying to remember to pick my kids up from the bus stop. Hey, I remembered one of them today, so that’s good, right?
Never mind. So, anyway, in the Land of Free Things… places to win my book this week include:
The Mother and Daughter Reading Team blog! (Um, there are NO entries yet here. So, I would think GO HERE FIRST!)
So, what are you waiting for? Go win free books!
(And I’d like to wish a wonderful launch week to Apocalypsie Claire Legrand, author of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, one of my favorite MG reads of the year! Read it now, unless you’re phobic of bugs, in which case DO NOT. Happy Book Birthday, Claire!)
August 21st, 2012 Posted 2:17 pm
I am a soppy, sentimental, squishy person. I always have been, even if sometimes I hide it. I’ve been humming the words to this tune all week, and thinking about all the people I love, all the ones I feel so grateful to for this day.
An acknowledgments page just doesn’t cover it.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Thank you to all the people at Razorbill and New Leaf – especially Laura, Emily, and Suzie. Thank you to my amazing family and Writer Friends. My Writer Friends! Cynthia, Samantha, Joy, Nan, Shelli, Lindsey, Lizzie – too many to count. You are my tribe, and I’m so glad I found you.
Thank you to the book bloggers who have taken time to write and post reviews – and to Jen, for setting up my tour!
Thanks to Dave, who gaily canceled the fun cable channels, magazine subscriptions, and spent down the savings so I could have the time to write. And thank you to my kids, who have learned to cook their own dinners… and how to read manuscripts like professional editors.
Now I have a party on Saturday to get ready for – and you are invited! Bring an (un)healthy appetite – there’s going to be a whole lot of sweetness at Bookpeople on Saturday.
August 12th, 2012 Posted 7:55 pm
I’m going to get real here, friends: It’s not all that fun right now.
I mean, sure, it’s fun, everyone’s excited about the book coming out, I’m baking a million cupcakes for the launch party at Bookpeople on the 25th… and I’m happily excited, I swear! But, the past few days, that excitement has been seasoned with a healthy dose of nerves.
It’s sort of like when you finally get on the big roller coaster you’ve been dying to be on for so long, after waiting in line for hours, and you’re going up that enormous first hill, with the clackity-whirr of gears grinding underneath you… and the “happy excited” flips ever-so-slightly into the “oh-crud” kind?
No, I have no idea why. Except that it’s not every day that your Life’s Dream comes true, is it? And mine is about to hit. And if I learned one thing from having a super-colicky Screamer Devil Baby almost 13 years ago, it’s that Glorious Life Changing Events never turn out exactly the way you’d think.
So, think about me this final week. And, if you still want to win a book by/from a Nervous Nellie debut author, you can enter here:
1. Vonna Carter’s blog has a guest post by moi, with a link to my new Splendid Academy website! Win an ARC, and instant fame/notoriety as a meal-planner for the school.
2. Mod Podge Books has a few days to run on a contest for a SIGNED coy of the FINAL BOOK! Seriously, you want this one.
3. I’m giving away a copy of Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave in honor of Joy Preble’s launch of Anastasia Forever. Extended until Wednesday!
Now, I’ll just go eat a few more squares of chocolate until these nerves pass. They will pass, right?
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!