Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Monday, November 24, 2014

NCTE- wow...

I'm just back from my very first National Council of Teachers of English conference.

Speechless at all the amazing book love floating through that convention center.

I shared a panel with the fabulous, famous, funny


Here's a link to all of our PowerPoint presentations:

(See the little arrows on the bottom left? Just click through to see all the slides. They may not make a lot of sense without the fabulous presenters standing in front of you, but you'll get a sense of what we shared.)

Here we are! Scary Book Nerds!

I also got to talk about my Book-To-Be, THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY, at Scholastic's amazing brunch. Sharing the stage with Jennifer Nielsen and Christopher Paul Curtis, while we acted our pants off.

More to come as I wade through the weekend. 

Truly, it was an honor to meet so many remarkable, hard-working, smart teachers with such brilliant ideas. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Kate Atkinson

I'm a fan.
As you can see from my EARLIER POSTS HERE and HERE.

But I didn't love the recent Life After Life.

A friend who reads a lot described it as an Adult Choose-Your-Own-Adventure tale. 
Remember those? Read to a certain page, answer a question, choose to go to one page or another.

That was kind of how we both felt about LIFE AFTER LIFE.

Now guess what. Her next book is to be a "companion" to that one.

"In A God in Ruins, Kate will focus on Teddy, would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father, as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.

Kate's publisher said, 'A God in Ruins is a masterful companion to Life After Life, and will prove once again that Kate Atkinson is one of the finest novelists of our age.'" 

The image on the right is the U.S. cover.

Read all about it HERE,  pre-order, tell your bookstores it's coming.

I will read it and hope it's more <Brodie> than Choosing and Jumping Around
Or maybe I'll wait till she returns to the mysteries I loved.

Even loved the Masterpiece Mystery adaptation of her Jackson Brodie series.
(Though not as much as the books. Naturally.)

If you've missed this author, how about this for a strong recommendation?

Here's what another favorite crime writer, Harlan Coban, has to say:
Kate Atkinson is an absolute must-read. I love everything she writes.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

And the WINNER is...

So I thought it would be fun to let Rocky the Rockstar choose a winner for my book's ARC (Advanced Reader Copy).

He seemed less than interested at first.

With a little encouragement, he finally put his paw on a winner!

I think BRENDA of ProseandKahn was the first entry. Or one of the earliest. 
So congrats to you and thanks for reading.

I'm saving the names, however. I <think> I may be getting more than one "extra" ARC. If so, I'll send a few more out. Stay tuned!

I do love sharing.
Thanks so much for your interest in THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thank you, Scholastic!

I totally love my editor, my publisher, and all the amazing people who are bringing this book into the world.

Check out Scholastic's new online preview HERE

Editor Andrea Pinkney introducing THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY, mid-way through, melted my heart. She and my book are in the Middle Grade section, along with a lot of other brand new books I can't wait to read.

(Confession: Had to fast-forward through the part about THE HONEST TRUTH. A debut novel I'm just beginning and can't put down.)

Here's the link right to the Middle Grade New Books section:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

More ARCs!

The lovely people at Scholastic just told me they are sending me a few more ARCs. (Advance Reader Copies/ Uncorrected Proofs/ Galleys- many names but basically it's my second book! Yay!)

I would love to share.

If you'd like one, leave me a comment on the blog.
Or on Facebook. 
Or Retweet this link.

I'll pick somebody by Sunday. 
Or maybe a couple of somebodies.

(I bet Rocky the Rockstar bassett will help me choose.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Don't Miss This Blog

Are you following Dorian Cirrone's blog?

If not, you should be. 
Amazing writing craft tips.

Great recent post, especially the paragraph about NAMES. (see link below)

I love finding the perfect name for a troublesome character. It's crucial that we nail our characters' names, don't you think? 

A few currently under consideration for my latest effort.

 (One of these days, I WILL find a use for Taxi Jones.)

Check out what Dorian says about the names and what they say about their characters in Liar & Spy.  
I was always intrigued by "Georges." I mean, who uses that for a kid's name in a book? A terrifically talented writer, that's who. 

Here's the link:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

More on Characters

As a rule, I'm not a fan of those character study things. But I am a fan of having at least a vague idea of what you're going to be writing before you start writing. 

Note, I said VAGUE
My characters seem to develop as I write.
Other writers may know it all before they put pen to paper. I say, whatever works.


My Highlights buddy Rosi Hollinbeck has a really good blog. She finds super stuff to share. And she just shared THIS, via Kathy Temean, a kind of fun way to look at/for a new character.

There are 90 questions. 
I figure if I dream up ten of them, I'm good...

  1. Any negative forces around your character?
  2. Does your character have anyone to confide in?
  3. Is your character afraid of anyone? Or anything?
  4. What is his/ her biggest fear?
  5. Would you say your character is selfish?
  6. What annoys him?
  7. Is she a bully?
  8. What makes him laugh?
  9. How old is your character?
  10. What does your character look like?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Nerdy Books: Top Ten

Do you follow the folks at the Nerdy Book Club?
They welcome bloggers, teachers, writers, librarians.
Their posts are about everything and anything bookish.

I'm especially drawn to their Top Ten lists.

Top Ten Reasons to Marry a Nerdy Book Club Member.
Top Ten Book Characters Who Would Be Awesome Friends
Top Ten Ways to Research.

See what I mean?

Here's one I just read:

This is my favorite:

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” – Mortimer J. Adler. I’d rather discuss one book with a student for twenty minutes than listen to a student rattle off a list of all the books they’ve read.

I'll be sharing the room with a whole bunch of Nerdy Book People at the National Council of Teachers of English conference in a couple of weeks. Can't wait.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I'm having a Johnny Cash kind of a day...

Yesterday's Tampa Bay SCBWI event was great fun. But I've been thinking about Johnny Cash since I left that library where Shannon Hitchcock and I presented our workshop.

On the way home? Three Cash songs on the radio.

At the meeting? I shared this terrific inspiration, via Walk the Line:
Just go on over there and read it.
It's that good.

I can't wait to buy GREG NERI'S brand new picture book
He and Madeleine Kuderick are presenting at Inkwood Books on November 18.
But I've read the galleys. I loved it. 

(Shh. Don't tell. But for sure, a few people will be getting copies from me.
Check out my niece's dogs, dressed for a fancy dog walk. 
Guess what their names are? June and Cash.)

My personal connection to Johnny Cash was hearing him play in Starkville, MS, the night he was arrested, as it turned out.  

Check it out.