Saturday, December 27, 2008

December 2008 Wrap-Up

Fellow VCFA'ers Rachel and David and Gwenda inspired me to also try the first-line-of-the-first-post-of-each-month-of-the-past-year thing. Which produced the following, which mostly just makes me realize that some of my first sentences are very long and that I should probably strive for punchier first lines in 2009. And maybe try to be a better blogger overall, so I can spend less time explaining/apologizing for not posting. No first sentence for August, and December's is the first line of this post. Which is either cool and full-circle-y or kind of lame...can't decide. Anyway:

Here's hoping the new year brings good things to everyone, all around. I was settling down to begin work on writing (well, reading and prewriting for) my first critical essay in 12+ years (part of an MFA application, due March 1) and I had a sudden urge to check that I'd locked the front door and there was a large spider climbing the wall in the front hallway. I seem to be continuing my trend of not blogging very regularly. I was honored to be interviewed by First Book as part of their celebration of National Library Week! All right. Found out last night that an appointment today was being canceled, so I find myself with the gift of a suddenly free morning. So clearly this posting-at-least-once-a-week thing is not exactly happening. Okay, so I kind of skipped August. I'll be reading and signing Library Lion at the NYPL Library Shop at 2pm this Saturday, October 18 - please come by if you're in the area, and bring your kids! Got back today from Rochester, NY, where I attended the 12th annual Rochester Children's Book Festival on Saturday. Fellow VCFA'ers Rachel and David and Gwenda inspired me to also try the first-line-of-the-first-post-of-each-month-of-the-past-year thing.


So what's been going on in the last month or so? First there was the Savannah Children's Book Festival, which was great fun and only got rained out at the very end, which wasn't so bad considering what the weather reports had been suggesting. I had a wonderful time with old and new writer friends, including Katie Davis, Elizabeth O. Delumba, and Charles and Debra Ghigna. I also got to meet the amazing Mo Willems, which was very cool. And I bought way too many pralines at the candy shop across from the restaurant where a bunch of us had dinner after the festival.

While I was in Savannah I also spent a few days visiting my mom and Bob in Richmond Hill. We had a great time even though I had to work a lot while I was there and didn't get a chance to play Boggle even once. I did, however, manage to get a delicious Chic-fil-a sandwich on the way to the airport. Thanks, mom! :)

I had a lovely Thanksgiving with dear friends (Ginny, Len, Bridey, Joe, Ryan, and Evie) in Maryland. I made the cranberry sauce for the first time, and was very excited about this as evidenced by the many, many photos I took of the cranberry sauce in progress. A sampling:

There were, of course, all the other delicious Thanskgiving items, like stuffing, which is the very best part of all, and turkey and sweet potatoes and everything else. Here is what my plate looked like just before I began the traditional eating of way too much:

Earlier in the day there was also the new tradition (for me, anyway) of the lasagna lunch, and Joe actually made a special mini cheeseless version just for me:

Okay, okay, enough pictures of food. Everything was so good, and best of all was getting to spend quality time with people I love.

After Thanksgiving, unfortunately, I came down with a terrible cold which became a terrible sinus infection and kind of knocked me out of the world for a couple of weeks. Took FOREVER to get really better, and I ended up needing to ask for an extension on my final packet for school. But eventually I finished Packet 5 and then plowed through the surprisingly time-consuming end-of-semester paperwork and now I am officially done with my first semester! Can't wait for the next residency in January, when I will get to see all my school friends and find out who my next advisor will be.

I also finished final changes on The Dragon of Trelian, and then the final final changes, and then the last couple of really final last-minute changes. And now it's done! Or at least, I am not allowed to make any more changes. :) The ARCs have been produced and look great (although they were printed with the pre-final changes, so the last rounds of fixes are not reflected therein). I am also now allowed to share the cover art, which looks like this:

Yay! The cover artist is the fabulous Antonio Caparo.

The official release date for the novel is April 14, 2009. Why not go ahead and preorder your copy today? :D

In between all of the above I have been doing the usual watching of Netflix, playing too much online Scrabble, and having fun with some of my favorite Brooklyn people. One particular favorite Brooklyn person whisked me off to Vermont for a much-needed wonderful weekend getaway and later to Connecticut where I had a lovely Christmas with his family and met some very nice new people and learned how to make gravy and play Rummikub, among other things.

I've still got a bunch of things to take care of for school before the January residency, most significantly trying to revise as much of my novel-in-progress as I can before handing it off to my next advisor. We also received our workshop books, and I'm looking forward to reading everyone's pieces and getting ready to discuss them at the rez.

I guess that's everything for now. Probably won't post again before the year is out, so here's wishing everyone a wonderful final few days of 2008 and a happy, healthy start to 2009!