Monday, November 30, 2009

Nebulas and Andre Norton Award

Now through February 15, members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) can nominate books for the 2009 Nebulas, including The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book. Fellow fantasy author Janni Lee Simner has a great post about this on her blog:

I would love to encourage any SFWA members who might see this to nominate books for the Norton Award! I am behind in my 2009 reading, still catching up on books published in the last few years, but so far can definitely recommend Janni's Bones of Faerie, Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me, and Julie Berry's The Amaranth Enchantment, all of which are eligible this year. I am in the middle of Kristin Cashore's Graceling and loving it, and I think that one might also be eligible because of the transition rules in effect this year which allow some books to be included if they were published after July 1, 2008. I'm not 100% sure if that applies to the Norton books as well as the "regular" Nebulas, though. BUT: books for younger readers can be nominated for the Nebula award as well as for the YA-specific Norton.

The Dragon of Trelian is also eligible this year, just so you know. :)

Other books I'm hoping to read before nominations close:
The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Fire by Kristin Cashore (sequel to Graceling)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Sacred Scars by Kathleen Duey

I know there are lots more I'm not thinking of at this moment. Your suggestions and recommendations are welcome and encouraged!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bloggety Blog

There probably ARE people who blog less often than I do out there, right? I mean, even excepting all those people who do not actually have blogs. Once again, I am here to promise to do better. And now I will tell you all about how busy I have been and will continue to be and thereby lay the foundation for future infrequent blog posting.

I don't even remember where I left off. I will go check. *Consults previous post* Oh, right. Baltimore Book Festival! It was great. Had a lovely time reading Library Lion and an excerpt from The Dragon of Trelian, and signed some books and chatted with lovely authors and illustrators and bookstore people. And I bought a shirt from these nice folks. Then I spent a couple of days with my nice friends Bridey and Joe and little Evie, and went to Evie's third birthday party at a FARM with a PETTING ZOO and there were CHICKENS and BABY GOATS and OTHER FUN ANIMALS. I gave Evie books for her birthday, of course.

Last weekend I went back to Baltimore for the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association conference, which was awesome. I went two years ago when Library Lion received the 2007 NAIBA Children's Picture Book Award and once again I had a great time. Booksellers are really nice, fun people. And they love books. And there were other nice publishing types and authors and illustrators there as well, and I got to talk to people about the novel and hear about other authors' books and generally just had a wonderful time. Plus I scored so many free books that I had to send a box home from the hotel. Yay!

In other news, I am continuing to work on the sequel to The Dragon of Trelian, the first draft of which will be finished by the end of the year. And I'm still working on my critical thesis for my MFA, which will also be finished by the end of the year, but hopefully sooner—say, by my next packet deadline, which is November 10. ALSO working on a new YA novel for school, which started out great and fun and exciting but has been less great lately...still trying to figure out what the deal is with this story.

What else...on October 17 I will be at the Mandell School Book Fair, and on October 24 I will be reading Library Lion to help celebrate the opening of Brooklyn's new Greenlight Bookstore, and on October 31 I will be reading from The Dragon of Trelian while dressed as a princess at the New York Public Library Shop at the NYPL main branch. And on November 7, I will be at the FABULOUS Rochester Children's Book Festival in Rochester, NY, which is my favorite event to go to every year. This time I'll be doing a joint presentation with Rebecca Stead in addition to signing books and talking with kids and parents and teachers and other authors and anyone else who comes out that day! If you are in the area you should definitely come. This is the 13th year of the festival, and it just keeps getting better and better.

And then on December 12, I'll be reading and signing books at the Elmira Barnes & Noble in Elmira, NY.

And because I apparently did not already have enough on my plate, I am in the ensemble of the Village Light Opera Group's fall production of Starship Pinafore. You should all come see it, because it will be AWESOME and a lot of fun. If you know me personally, you can email me directly for tickets. Otherwise, you can get them online here. Performance dates are:

Friday, November 13 at 8pm
Saturday, November 14 at 8pm
Friday, November 20 at 8pm
Saturday, November 21 at 2pm
Sunday, November 22 at 2pm

And, as always, I have been playing lots of Facebook Scrabble and reading lots of books. (If you are curious about what I'm reading, you can always check out my reading list on Goodreads.)

And I suppose that is enough for this update. I should get back to work!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Baltimore Book Festival!

I hope anyone in the area will come to the Baltimore Book Festival this weekend! I'll be presenting at 4pm on Saturday at the Children's Bookstore Stage, and there are lots of great authors and events all weekend long.

You can find out more here.

I'll be reading and signing Library Lion and The Dragon of Trelian. Looking forward to seeing you there! :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Princeton Children's Book Festival!

Just a quick reminder that everyone should come to the Princeton Children's Book Festival tomorrow!

You can see full details here.

More than 40 children's book authors and illustrators will be there, reading and signing books and looking forward to meeting you!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I'm very excited to announce that Candlewick will be publishing another picture book written by ME! It's called BIG MEAN MIKE, and that is all I will tell you at this time. :) Pub date still to be determined.

Candlewick will also be publishing my picture book ARGUS in Spring 2011 and the sequel to THE DRAGON OF some point after I have finished writing it.

In other news, I have finally updated my website a bit. You can see it here: I like the new colors; the old version was starting to seem a little boring. I'm still planning to have a real redesign at some point by some talented web designer-type person who is not me, but for now I'm having fun playing around with it myself.

In other other news, I had a wonderful time traveling around upstate NY with S. I hiked mountains and caught my first trout and swam in lakes and floated down rivers in tubes and saw a lot of lovely lovely nature.

Here is a picture of me enjoying nature:

And here is a picture of me enjoying nature on my boyfriend's motorcycle (I don't drive it myself, I just ride on the back. So usually he is sitting there in front of me, but in this case he is not because he is taking the picture.) Yes, those are fishing poles lashed to the back. That is the cool way to travel to fishing spots in the Adirondacks, FYI.

And here is a picture of nature for you to enjoy, without me in it:

Now I am back in Brooklyn, trying not to miss the lovely cool lakes and mountains. I am spending a little too much time looking at the pictures...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dragon of Trelian review at Fuse #8

Yay! Lovely review by Betsy Bird at her Fuse #8 blog!

I've been traveling almost nonstop since July 11, which is my latest excuse for the lack of blog posts. Currently I am in the Adirondacks, trying to balance nature-appreciation-time with critical-thesis-writing-time. The first draft of my critical thesis is due Sunday morning at 6 a.m.

I should get back to it. Just wanted to stop in and say hello and post the above link. I will try to do a proper update when I get home!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hello and pelicans and interview and things

Yikes - more than a month since my last post. Busy, busy, as usual.

But you know, I've been thinking that maybe it's not such a bad thing that I don't post more often. Whenever I fall behind on reading other people's blogs, I am always a little distressed to see 12 or 34 or 119 new posts waiting to be read on each blog I follow. Sometimes it's nice to see that only one or two posts have gone up while I've been too busy to read regularly. So maybe it's nice for anyone out there reading this blog to know that if you don't check in every day, you're not going to miss tons and tons of posts. I am the intermittent blog reader's blogger!

Anyway. Now that I'm here, quick update.

Just got back last night from a lovely vacation in sunny, sunny Florida with my nice boyfriend. We visited his friend Erin there, and had a great time. Here is a picture of me, in Florida:

There are lots of pelicans in Florida. They are cool, but also kind of creepy up close. They often look as though they are sizing you up for possible ingestion.

While I was in Florida, I stopped in at Haslam's Book Store, which is huge and wonderful and if you are in the area, you should go there. I happen to know there is a signed first edition of Library Lion waiting for you! Or at least there was, as of several days ago, when I signed it. They sell both new and used books. I bought a choose-your-own-adventure-type Dungeons & Dragons book from 1983 called Dragon of Doom. I am very excited to read it. I used to love those choose-your-own adventure stories. And with a dragon theme...well, it seems just up my alley. :)

I am now getting ready to head out again on Saturday for my next residency at The Vermont College of Fine Arts. I'll be kicking off my third semester in the program, and am very excited to see my VCFA friends and find out who my next advisor will be!

While I was away, Amy Kraft of Media Macaroni posted her recent interview with me. You can see it here, and there are some additional questions and answers on the Hooked on Phonics blog. There's a photo of me in the Media Macaroni interview that shows my dragon tattoo. (Nope, it's not Jakl - a lot of people ask me that!)

Amy and I actually sat down and talked in PERSON. It's the first interview I've done in a long time that wasn't conducted over email. It's harder to make your answers sound smart when you have to just, you know, SAY them, on the spot. But Amy asked such great questions and it was very fun to chat with her. Also, there was iced coffee.

OK - I am supposed to be doing a million things to get ready for school. But I wanted to check in because it had been so long, and also to let people know about the interview!

I hope you're all having a great summer so far. I probably won't post again until late July. So don't worry if you are going on vacation and will be away from your blog reader for a while. I won't get too far ahead of you, I promise. :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Real life continues to interfere with my efforts to post things here with any kind of regularity. What are my excuses this time? Here you go:

1. My poor cat has been in and out of the hospital over the past two weeks, first because she ate an enormous piece of string for some reason (like, the biggest piece of string EVER) and had to have surgery to get it out of her intestines, and then because she became super-sensitive to her insulin during her recovery and went into insulin shock and nearly died. Oh and also her incision is infected. BUT the good news is that she gets to come home this evening, and I will hang out here with her as I deal with my second-most stressful blog-interfering item, which is:

2. My final packet deadline of the semester. The cat drama really set me back, and so now I am racing to get everything finished. My revisions are done, but I'm still working on my new pages and my essay. I'm a little sad that the semester is almost over; it has been so awesome working with Cynthia and I will miss having her thoughtful eye on my work and receiving her encouraging comments. I feel really good about the progress I've made this semester, though, and I'm actually almost sort of looking forward to working on my critical thesis starting in July. (I'm sure I'll feel differently once I'm actually in the thick of it, though. CT definitely = kind of scary.)

3. I also got called for jury duty, but luckily only spent the one day (Thursday) and was then dismissed. If the timing had been better I think I would have liked to serve on a jury. The selection process was really interesting, and I'm sure the trial would have been even more so. Oh, well. I'll get another chance in 8+ years.

4. Oh and BEA was here in the mix, too.

5. Plus there's all the rest of the regular life stuff, like cleaning my apartment and finding things to eat for dinner and trying to get outside for walks once in a while and occasionally getting to see my friends. But that stuff is always there, of course.

OK. I suppose I should try to get back to work, assuming I can manage to block out the ridiculously loud music pumping in through my closed windows. I like my neighborhood, but nice days on the weekend = very loud outdoor BBQs and I suppose I really am going to have to get myself a pair of noise-canceling headphones if I'm going to get anything done this summer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Blog Tour, Day 2

The Dragon of Trelian Blog Tour continues!

(edited since this morning to include interviews/reviews posted during the day)

New interviews:
Becky's Book Reviews
Reading Is my Superpower
Through the Looking Glass

New reviews:
Abby (the) Librarian
All About Children's Books
Cafe of Dreams
A Christian Worldview of Fiction
Dolce Bellezza (SPOILER ALERT - this review includes some plot surprises you may not want to see if you haven't read the book yet.)
Small World Reads
Through a Child's Eye

Monday, June 1, 2009

Blog Tour!

Today through June 3, I'm participating in a blog tour through You can read interviews with me and reviews about The Dragon of Trelian!

KidzBookBuzz has a full list of participating bloggers, and I will also post links here as they go up.

Cafe of Dreams

All About Children's Books
Becky's Book Reviews
Novel Teen Book Reviews
Reading Is my Superpower
Small World Reads
Through the Looking Glass

Quick mentions: (Full review to post tomorrow)
Through a Child's Eye (Includes Library Lion review)

Thanks so much to all the bloggers who took the time to review the book and send interview questions! I had a lot of fun talking about the story and hope this event will help introduce the book to new readers.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BEA, Cat Yodeling, and WHEN YOU REACH ME

I'll be signing The Dragon of Trelian at BEA this Saturday, May 30, at the Candlewick Booth from 3 to 4 p.m. If you're going to be at BEA, I hope you will come by!

Also BEA-related: I will be attending the BEA edition of Betsy Bird's Kidlit Drinks Night on Friday evening. Looking forward to seeing some old friends and meeting some new ones, too!

Been catching up on some blog reading today (because I have a ridiculous amount of stuff to get done, and so of course blog reading seemed very important suddenly) and very much enjoyed the cat yodeling video posted by Jo Knowles, which she heard about from Eric Luper.

Speaking of blog reading AND of Betsy Bird... my friend Rebecca Stead has a wonderful book coming out July 14 called WHEN YOU REACH ME. If you have not been fortunate enough to get your hands on an advance copy, you should run out and buy her book as soon as it comes out. Betsy did a lovely interview with Rebecca recently, which you can read here.

And speaking of interviews... I'm currently answering lots of interview questions for my blog tour June 1–3. I'll post links to those interviews when they go up next week.

OK - back to work with me. Also today I need to return some library books and go visit my poor kitty at the hospital, who had to be operated on because she ate a very long piece of string. :(

Monday, May 18, 2009

Interview at!

Elizabeth O. Dulemba posted an interview with me on her blog today! You can see it here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dragon of Trelian Update

I had a wonderful time at the First Annual Hudson Children's Book Festival yesterday. It was lovely to see so many author and illustrator friends and to make some nice new ones. Thanks to everyone who came out for the event and bought books and chatted with authors and illustrators and listened to stories and attended panels and participated in activities!

When you run into author friends you haven't seen since the last conference or festival, two questions often come up:

(1) How's the new book doing?
(2) What are you working on now?

It's been just over a month since The Dragon of Trelian came out, and I'm really happy about its reception so far. I still need to add a lot of this information to the book page on my website, but here's a roundup of some of the responses to the book...

First, I am so excited to say that The Dragon of Trelian has been selected for The Summer 2009 Children's Indie Next List!

It has also received nice reviews from some of the print journals. Here are excerpts:

“Appealing characterization” and “charmingly honest portrayals of family life, the dizzying heartbreak of first romance, the insecurities of loneliness and the rewards of scholarship....[T]he narrative moves at a brisk clip to a satisfying conclusion, with a broad hint of sequels. A promising start.” —Kirkus

“Calen and Meg’s easygoing, entirely believable friendship is the core of this adventurous first novel. Meg is gutsy and impulsive, while Calen is thoughtful and steadfast; and they make an appealing duo....[A] solid addition to the fantasy genre.” —Booklist

“[T]his strong debut novel should find a welcoming audience among Gail Carson Levine and Shannon Hale fans.” —Horn Book

Readers have been saying absolutely lovely things about it on Goodreads and LibraryThing. I can't tell you how good that makes me feel, to know that people are reading and liking my novel!

Several bloggers have also posted reviews, including:

Janet Fox at Through the Wardrobe
Marcus at The Rad Librarian
Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog
Sheila Ruth at Wands and Worlds

Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to write a review and put it up to share with other readers. I'm not usually comfortable responding directly to reviewers; the etiquette rules are fuzzy on this, I think. As far as I know, it is rarely if ever considered appropriate for authors to respond to print reviews, but some authors do seem to feel okay about responding to online reviews. I still feel odd about that, though, so I wanted to say a general and public thank-you here, to all of you. The first few months after publication can be a very weird and scary time for an author—the book is out there, in the world, on its own...people are reading it(!), or maybe they're not(!!).... Hearing back from readers is so important, and of course it's especially wonderful to hear positive things! :) So thank you again, and I hope to hear back from more of you, either via email or blog comments or through the reviews you post in public forums.

(Incidentally, I'd be very interested to hear other opinions on the responding-to-reviews issue. Are the rules changing? Were they never rules in the first place?)

I'm also participating in a blog tour June 1–3 with; stay tuned for more links and information about that!

As for that other question, the what-are-you-working-on-now one...the answer is a sequel to The Dragon of Trelian as well as another, completely unrelated YA novel. And more picture books. Always more picture books! :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hudson Children's Book Festival

I am a bad, bad blogger lately, and have not posted a thing since last month. Even now, I am only popping up here for a second to say that if you're in the Hudson, NY area, you should come to the Hudson Children's Book Festival tomorrow! The event takes place from 10am to 4pm at the Hudson Middle School, and more than 50 authors will be in attendance!

You can find details here:


Friday, April 24, 2009

Multi-Author Event at Books of Wonder this Sunday

I'll be reading and signing The Dragon of Trelian this Sunday, April 26, at Books of Wonder. Tamora Pierce, Dena K. Salmon, and Peter Kujawinski will also be there, and we'll all be reading and talking, signing books, and answering questions. You can see the full event details here. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dragon Day!

Hurrah! The Dragon of Trelian releases today!!!

You can order a copy from here.

You can read an interview with me at Janet Fox's blog here.

And if you're in the NYC area, please come to my launch party tonight at Books of Wonder! Full details here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Dragon of Trelian Launch Party!

The Dragon of Trelian comes out ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!!!!

I am very excited about this.

I'm having a book launch party that evening, and everyone is invited. Yes, you! You're invited! Here are the details:

The Dragon of Trelian Book Launch Party
April 14, 2009, 5 to 7pm
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 989-3270

I'll be doing a short reading/Q&A around 6pm, and there will be refreshments before and after. And during, I guess, too! :) And general chatting and mingling and looking at books the whole time.

So please come on out, get a signed book, support a fabulous independent children's bookstore, and help me celebrate the release of my first novel! I hope to see you there.

Friday, April 3, 2009

National Poetry Month, and other things

In case you were unaware: April is National Poetry Month! Gregory K. over at GottaBook is celebrating children's poetry with the first annual 30 poets/30 days event. Take a look today to see poems by my awesome writer friend Charles Ghigna (a.k.a. Father Goose)!

Also being celebrated today: author Kate Messner has declared it to be Say Something Nice Day. I think this is a lovely idea, and will happily participate. Here are just a few people I'm appreciating right now:
  • The administrators and parent volunteers at the Manhattan New School who kicked off a series of author visits yesterday so that every class in the school will get a chance to meet an author, ask questions, get signed books, etc. I had a great time visiting the first graders, who were excellent story-listeners and asked really good questions during our talk!
  • My agent and editor, who are both awesome beyond measure in every possible way and who do a wonderful good-cop/bad-cop routine and apply just the right amount of pressure regarding certain manuscripts and proposals THAT THEY WILL HAVE VERY VERY SOON I PROMISE!!!! (Thank you for not going ahead with the bad-cop/bad-cop approach...yet.)
  • The nice woman who works at my local laundromat who always has a smile for the customers and who makes the often-annoying task of doing laundry very much more pleasant. Little things like being friendly really make a big difference. I wish more people would remember that.
  • My friend Steph, whose birthday it is today, and who has been a wonderful and supportive and all-around fabulous friend since we first met freshman year of high school. Happy birthday, Steph!
  • A certain other person, whom I appreciate more than he probably knows, for lots and lots of reasons.

OK - Back to work with me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

C is for...Cookie?

Julie Larios, VCFA faculty member and poet and goddess of the inspiring challenge, recently posted about a blog-challenge going around in which you are assigned a letter of the alphabet and then must post a list of 10 things you love that begin with that letter. She volunteered to assign letters to anyone else who wanted to play, and I was given the letter C. Now that my second packet for school has been sent off and I actually have a few minutes to post something, please allow me to present my C-list:

1. Cats. My cat (Cleo, another C!) in particular and also cats in general. My family always had cats growing up, and while I like dogs too, I am definitely a "cat person." They are cuddly and cute and sure, they can drive you crazy, but don't the ones we love always make us a little nuts? Even when Cleo is contrary to the point where she makes me want to cry, all it takes is a few minutes of her curled up with me on the couch, and all is forgiven.

2. Coffee. A delicious over-sweetened cup while I'm sitting at the computer in the morning: complete contentment.

3. Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Surely this needs no explanation.

4. Creatures, especially of the mythological kind. Dragons, centaurs, unicorns, manticores, hippogriffs, what-have-you.

5. Children. The ones I write for; the ones that belong to nice friends, old and new; and the ones I am lucky enough to be honorary "Aunt Mikki" to (Hi Maddie, Sophie, Emily, Alex, and Evie!).

6. Computer games. Even though I'm on temporary hiatus (trying not to cave and get a new, supercharged video card until after I'm done with my MFA), I have very fond memories of hours and hours and hours spent at my computer playing role-playing fantasy adventure games like Fallout and Neverwinter Nights. I hear I am totally missing out by not playing Fallout 3 right now. I believe it. It is very hard to resist. When I play the D&D-style games, I am usually some sort of combo character, so I can fight and use magic—I can never choose just one specialty, which means I never fully realize any particular set of skills...but choosing just one is hard, when there are so many cool options available.

7. Cereal. I used to have a real problem with cereal—like, I would eat three bowls at a time—but I've got it more under control these days. Still love it, though. I try to eat relatively healthy cereals for breakfast, but I almost always have some Frosted Flakes on hand for emergencies. When absolutely required, I will go to the corner store and get some Lucky Charms. And I have a deep nostalgic love for Smurfberry Crunch.

8. Chinese food. My go-to take-out option and one of my top two comfort foods of choice (the other is Italian food, which is probably my top favorite, but that doesn't begin with C). I especially like chicken chow fun (usually with snow peas but no other vegetables) and fried rice and egg rolls. You know, the classics.

9. Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt, from my good pals Ben & Jerry. Okay, I guess this is really my top comfort food option. I have to make myself stop buying it. I crave it pretty much all the time, though, and get a little thrill every time I see that green-rimmed little container in the freezer section at the store. My favorite way to eat it is with chocolate syrup and chopped walnuts. (Actually, my VERY favorite way to eat it is with oreo cookies smushed up in it, but that way lies madness, and I never go there except when suffering serious illness or broken heart.)

10. And finally...yes, cookies. Oreos are my favorite packaged variety. My favorite bakery variety are the chocolate chip walnut cookies they used to have at the Ithaca Bakery, until one day they told me they were no longer making them. I hope they have since come to their senses. I will check the next time I'm up in Ithaca, which will hopefully be this spring. If I bake cookies, which does not happen very often, my favorite kind to make is cranberry oatmeal. Although you can never go wrong with good old-fashioned Nestle Tollhouse, either.

11. Can't believe I almost forgot one of my favorite C animals - chickens! Plump, cluck-a-licious bundles of white fluffy goodness. Okay, yes, I know not all chickens are the fat white blobs that I love so much, but some of them are, like my favorite children's book chicken, Minerva Louise. Also when I lived in Lansing, NY, there was a house I used to pass sometimes that had bunches of those perfect fat white chickens running around on the lawn. They made me very happy. :)

If anyone out there would like to play, let me know and I'll assign you a letter!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Support your local independent bookstore!

As I learned via Laurie Halse Anderson, author Joe Hill has declared March to be Love-Your-Small-Bookstore-Month. This seems like a great idea to me, and so I took a nice walk over to my own small local indie this afternoon and bought myself a couple of books. (What books, you ask? Here, I will tell you: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan and First Test by Tamora Pierce.)

My local indie, btw, is The Community Bookstore in Park Slope. (I live on the other side of the park, but it's an easy and pleasant walk.) If you live nearby, or if you live elsewhere and just happen to be visiting Park Slope, you should go there. They have friendly dogs and things. And books too, of course. And every time I've been in, they've had Library Lion in stock. What else could you ask for? :)

If you don't know where your local independent bookstore is, will help you find it.

Bookstore visit bonus: I'm pretty sure I passed Steve Buscemi on the street as I was starting my walk home. That was cool.

Friday, March 6, 2009

good day for the to-do list

I actually crossed off all three items on my to-do list today. What were they, you ask? Here, I will tell you:

1. Call the gym to reschedule my Tuesday morning training session for the afternoon.
2. Work on novel for school.
3. Work on freelance editing projects.

All three of these things were accomplished. And in addition to some more backgroundy, world-building, figurey-out-y stuff, I wrote ACTUAL NEW WORDS in the novel. A whole new scene. Three and a half pages. 1142 words. I feel very good about this, considering how panicky I've been feeling about not moving forward.

I also even managed to get out for a couple of hours tonight and saw Shayfer James play at Bar 4 in Park Slope. Very fun—I've been trying to catch one of his shows forever, and was very glad to finally make it happen. I'm a big fan.

In other news, yesterday I finally finished a website redesign for I think it looks a little more streamlined and professional than the old version, and hopefully it will be easier to update as well. Someday there will be a real redesign, by a real web designer, but I'm happy with this for now. Part of me was a little sad to say good-bye to my old site, which I did completely in HTML (and I liked getting to be all proud of myself for doing all that coding and stuff). But it was a pain to update, especially to add new book information, and so I hadn't been updating it, and not being updated is not really a good thing for a website.

Here's hoping for another good productive day tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

writer's hours

I've been reading bits and pieces of various craft books lately for inspiration and advice, including Lawrence Block's Telling Lies for Fun and Profit. Today I was reading his chapter on writer's hours, and all the things that "count" as work and not-work to his writing mind. Bascially, nothing REALLY counts as work except writing—not editing, not revising, not reading, not correspondence with editors, not (he didn't say but I am certain he'd agree) blogging. And it's true, I am sorry to say. Even though it's all necessary and important, it still doesn't feel like Work with a capital W unless pages are being produced and word counts are growing. Fitting that I should read that chapter today, when I spent way too much time playing around with making the Dragon of Trelian countdown widget you can now see at the top right of my blog's main page. I won't even mention all the additional time I wasted trying to get the damn thing to work in Facebook. (It never did; I finally gave up.)

As much as I share Block's feeling about only writing counting as, you know, writing, I am trying to relax that mentality just enough to let me feel good about all the background and figuring-out work I've been doing on my novel-in-progress. Because all that stuff really is essential right now, and I can't move ahead with writing until I get some things figured out. But I hate that there's no way to measure it, really. I can't add it to my pages/word count log, can't brag to anyone about what a great writing day I had, can't point to anything concrete as the fruit of my labor. I know it's important. It is. I just have to try and remember that while retaining just enough of that uncomfortable this-doesn't-count feeling to help speed me along to where I'll be ready for the actual word and page accumulation to begin again.

By the way:

Finally updated "where I'll be" with upcoming festivals, etc.

Also, check out my friend and classmate Janet Fox's interview on Cynsations!

And today is the release of fellow VCFA'er Julie Berry's debut novel, The Amaranth Enchantment!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

as usual

Behind on blogging, writing, and everything else. Today I had a four-item list of things I wanted to do. Most were biggish things—making a plan of attack for the rest of packet 2, finishing getting my tax stuff assembled for my rescheduled tax appointment, dealing with some of my email backlog—but still, only four. So far, at 7:26pm, I have only crossed out the one small item on the list, which involved making a quick phone call. Sigh.

I did accomplish some other stuff today, including a couple of things that had been hanging over my head for a while and were good to get done. But I keep putting off the two main things I need to address—packet and taxes—and I know that I just need to stop jumping around to other things and focus already. FOCUS, ALREADY! They're both just so big and overwhelming. Well, actually, I did the worst of the tax stuff already, I think, so that won't even be so bad to just finish up. But the packet stuff is so...much. Hard to get my head around all the stuff I need to do. Which is exactly why I need a plan of attack. Especially since I was totally sidelined for the past week with what I believe was the very first time I have ever had the flu. (It was extremely unpleasant. I do not wish to repeat the experience. Ever.)

While I wasn't doing the big things I needed to do today, I joined Twitter. Not sure yet how I feel about that, but it seemed to be time. Lots of VCFA types on there, and you can follow VCFAwriters as a group if you would like to hear about all the great things VCFA students, faculty, and alumni are up to.

Oh and also—last Sunday was my birthday. Had a lovely Italian dinner with good friends the night before, which turned out to be good timing since the flu took me down out of the blue on Sunday night.

OK. Update achieved, I guess. Still time to make progress on my list. Focus, focus, focus. Srsly!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

better day

Still stressed out and too busy but doing a lot better than when I put up my last post. This will be short (see "stressed out and too busy," above) but I wanted to say that everyone who is in the NYC area should come to the Barnes & Noble in Greenwich Village tonight to get a signed copy of BONES OF FAERIE from the wonderful Janni Lee Simner! Here are the details:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009
7:30pm - 8:30pm
Barnes and Noble Greenwich Village
396 Ave of the Americas at 8th Street

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

bad day :(

Today is not turning out to be a good day in all kinds of ways. Feeling down for assorted reasons, and also just have too much to do this week, and certain things are taking WAY MORE TIME than they should, which just means all the other things I need to do are still sitting there, waiting. Impatiently. Looking at me.


Blogging while blue and frustrated and stressed out is probably not the best idea. So I won't go on and on. Just felt like sending out a small wail of angst to my internet friends.

Some good news to even things out:

So happy for VCFA faculty types Kathi Appelt and Tobin Anderson for their well-deserved honors yesterday!

Also was really glad to see some wonderful children's author friends last night at Betsy Bird's Kidlit Drinks Night at Gstaad.

And forgot to mention happy news from school in my last post, which is that my advisor this semester is none other than the fabulous Cynthia Leitich Smith, and I am very excited to be working with her.

See, good things are going on, too. Just need to try and focus more on those and less on the other things. And to just keep my head down and work, work, work. But also to get outside for a few minutes to clear my head at some point. Maybe right now.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Vermont College of Fine Arts students often mention the difficult transition back to the regular world at the end of each residency. And it's true—it's like a piece of the Hero's Journey, all of us crossing the threshold back into the Ordinary World, but carrying with us some magic treasure from the Special World we were temporarily and gloriously a part of for ten timeless days. Not that we don't love the Ordinary World, too, with its beloved family members and friends and boyfriends and cats, but there is definitely a period of adjustment as we struggle to realign with the normal rules of the universe.

I got home on Thursday, and have been trying to take this weekend to relax and recover before plunging back into work and packets and cleaning and bills and general craziness of regular life. The craziness is looming though, and it's hard to relax in its everpresent shadow. Only two and a half weeks until my first packet is due, and there is freelance work to edit and a book proposal to write and a picture book manuscript to revise and a website redesign to complete and lots of mail to go through and packages to send and birthday parties to plan and two-month old babies to visit and gym schedules to get back on track with and other things but I'm already stressing myself out with this list so I will stop listing. One of my unofficial new year's resolutions this year was to learn to relax, but I'm finding it a difficult skill to acquire.

Anyway. Missing all my VCFA friends already and wishing you great starts to the semester! And will be missing all my Kindling Words friends next weekend, but I was right in thinking I would not be ready for another bunch of days away so soon after getting back from school. Hoping I might be able to swing it next year, though!