Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I didn't know what to call this because I am just thinking about snow. We had fourteen inches of it followed by two below zero nights and frigid days. The streets are a mess and we've been hibernating as much as possible. I was terrified my goats would freeze - but extra grain, buckets of warm water, and thick fuzzy coats have saved the day.

Snow seems to be a marker in my life. The snow in the Arctic when I first visited, challenging myself to do something so far out of my comfort zone. I went, and loved it, so many surprises. One of them? I learned to listen. Carefully. To appreciate silence and big jackets and wind pants. So I have the gear for this weather - I've not even dressed up to full capacity. Minus seven is not minus forty, or minus fifty-five. But it's plenty cold.

It was cold enough I didn't want to mess with going out and shoveling a path to the goat pen (but I did - don't shovel you get ice.) I hoped our elusive neighbor who sometimes plows our driveway with his heavy equipment would show up. I wondered how long we should mess with snow and an acre and large animals. After all, it was ice two years ago that caused Fred to pull me over and tear my bicep (I don't recommend it.)

And then I bundled up in heavy socks, hiking boots, wind pants, Bolivian knitted hat (great look that), down coat and mitts and out I went. There were bunny tracks everywhere, and bird prints too. Our lab had dragged his tummy through the snow in long arching leaps. Yellow warblers bounced in and out of trees and the geothermal well across the valley spewed a tower of steam hundreds of feet into the air. So, good goats. You make me go outside every day, even when it's hard. Good winter, to remind me how easy summer can be. And thanks to elusive neighbor, Bob, who came by while we were out and cleared out the driveway.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Cards for our Veterans

It's late and I'll make a better post tomorrow but I wanted to share this link for sending Holiday Cards to our veterans, wounded soldiers, deployed military and their families. It's one thing to remember them and it's quite another to let them know you do. Please take a minute and send a card, or a big manilla envelope full of cards to the Red Cross's Holiday Mail for Heroes. The link with instructions is on my website (button at top of this page) or go to This is the best way I can think of to kick off the holidays. Merry, Merry .

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

OK, I've Been Gone and Now I'm Going to Brag a Little

So much for blogging two or three times a week. I've been on the road instead. Gone to Oklahoma (wonderful Encyclomedia Conference), Texas twice, and all over the Puget Sound area. Oh, and there was the quick trip to Oregon too. All since the last blog. So, although I could have figured out how to blog on the road, I left that for next time.

Some nice things have happened for Bull Rider since my last blog. It was selected for the 2010 Texas Lone Star and Tayshas reading lists. Yep, they picked it for both the middle school and high school reading lists. It's nominated for the ALA's Best Books for Young Adults, 2010 and also for a Cybil Award (see their cool widget on this page) in the Middle Grade Category - thanks to Greg Leitich Smith. The book's been getting some buzz from the rodeo community too. Cross your fingers for my next project . . .

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Turning Red and Blue

No not as in commie-socialist - we can talk about that later, but as in, Where in the world did August go? I got a laptop, my first, as I was dragged kicking and screaming (ok, I was so jazzed to decide to finally spend the money for my very own machine - no more borrowing my husband's, sometimes)into the 21st century. But no blogs - even from my August travels to Los Angeles and Whidbey Island.

So why? I joined Twitter. It seems I have so much social networking time and Tweeting is vast and fascinating - although without a smart phone (sound familiar?) it's a little wierd to sit down at midnight and sort through instant messages that were sent out hours ago. It's kind of like eating cold stew. But I love my Twitter page. That counts for something. And nothing hooks me on browsing random web-articles like tweeted links. Tweet Twit. And there's Facebook. And my own book, and the new project, and gosh, real life in there somewhere.

Which brings me to the BLUE part. As in a brand new jeans jacket. My old one disentigrated after about five years of continual wear and one round of patches. I left it in the waste basket on Whidbey Island. Ignoble end, that. And yesterday I bought a new one at a Labor Day sale. It's so cute. You'll have to see it. Soon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ode to Backyard Bunny

This comes under the random thoughts heading. Nothing to learn or ponder here. I wanted to get a picture of my summer friend. Here it is. Notice, he is nibbling weeds. Good bunny.

Backyard Bunny
You're too cute for your fur.
Thanks for eating grass and weeds - no flowers.
If you show up on the patio at dawn,
I'll keep the dog from chasing you.

I love your skinny legs
soft little paws and your perky bunny ears.
But mostly I love your cottontail
and that you visit every day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Skeleton Horses and Rushmore Kid

Oh, don't you love titles that don't make any sense? It's been a cool week - but HOT. I have some random things to share. First, I went to the Battle of the Barns in Martinez, CA to meet the riders and sell copies of Bull Rider. I expected a horse show and got more of a performance.

The riders were divided into teams by their riding clubs or barns. They all dressed up - pirates, midieval peasants, Indians. They decorated the horses too and then, let the games begin. It's been so hot here, Terri Farley (my partner in signing) and I prepared with umbrellas and sunscreen. Turns out the Bay breeze was going and we longed for sweatshirts. I'm posting my favorite picture - Skeleton Horse. Thanks, Barb, for the invite.

OK, and here are a couple of links for you - Tina Nichols Coury posted an interview with me today on her blog, Tales from the Rushmore Kid and the Sacramento Book Review also posted a review and podcast (30 minutes but come on, I'm kind of entertaining...) at This one is also linked on my webiste.

On the home front, my husband and I had contacted a well service to check out our well pump that was cycling on for no apparent reason. We had a series of tests to perform to isolate the leak and decide - plumber, irrigation guy, well eeeek. Then yesterday I went to the goat pen and the darn goats had turned the spigot on. I turned if off. That ten seconds was worth at least two hundred dollars. Moral of the story - always suspect the goats.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Know It's July but I'm Thinking Fall

I guess my miserable ratio of days to blog posts in July has me thinking ahead. July has been a lovely month filled with keeping the plants alive and the animals cool (so far so good) and hanging out at home and writing. (Also going well.) This weekend, I'm looking forward to Vacquero Girl's Battle of the Barns in Martinez, California. August looks busier and then there's the fall. I'll be in Oklahoma City in September at Encyclomedia - a library convention - and am looking for school visits if any of you know folks there, then Jimez Springs New Mexico in October for the New Mexico SCBWI Retreat (preceeded by our Nevada SCBWI Mentor Retreat which is also in October), then I'll be in the greater Seattle/Puget Sound area in November for a number of events. Check out for updated information as we make our plans. We, would be me, and Terri Farley, author of the Phantom Stallion and Island Stallion series. We'll be presenting together in Seattle and again at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada in January.

OK, this is getting a little overwhelming so changing the subject - I'm currently reading Crash Into Me by Albert Borris, a Class of 2k9 Member and co-president who's gotten a lot of buzz lately. Albert suffered a massive stroke in December and although he's recovered physically, his language is slower in returning. The 2k9 crew has been helping to get the word out about his book and his story got picked up by School Library Journal, the New Yorker, Media Bistro - a bunch of cool places. So look for the book and check out Albert's work. I'll post about the book when I'm done. That's all for now folks. Off to do what I'm supposed to be doing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More July

So it's already July 7th and I'm loving this month. I am home, trimming plants, walking the dog, and writing. The weather has been perfect except for the wind and I'm even managing to keep the plants alive that I put in last week. Whose idea was that? OK, it was mine. I thought if I didn't put them in now I wouldn't get a chance until September because of the heat and petunias don't do well around here after about mid-September. Anyway, they are surviving. Hopefully you have just a litte interest in horticulture. Or maybe you like fauna better. Have I mentioned our front and backyard bunnies? I see one or the other every morning. And the wild horses are settled in on the hill across the valley. Have seen them several times this week. So things are going along - happy. I may even catch up on plans for fall events, sending out books, letting the folks at S and S know my plans. Then I'll be able to see the dining room table - at least for a day. Happy summer guys. It's the one we have!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

New Widget from Class of 2k9

OK, it's a sunny morning and I'm trying to get settled for a DAY of writing and of course I turned on the TV (oh don't laugh) to have some noise while I eat breakfast and there's a piece on summer reading. UNDER the featured book, but seriously spine out and legible is a brand new book by Ann Haywood Leal who is a Class of 2k9 member - Also Known As Harper. That sent me to e-mail her and the group about the serendipidous, if not exactly long, TV appearance and while e-mailing there was a note about our Class of 2k9 blog having a contest. So - I went there (notice no writing yet) and saw that the winner can win a DOZEN Class of 2k9 books including Bull Rider. OK, that's no surprise. I sent it in a while ago for a contest. But this contest is so big and cool. To enter you just leave a comment - maybe how much you love Bull Rider :) and you are entered. To enter twice you can also add the Class of 2k9 Widget. Which I just did. (still not writing - at least on my book). It's happily flashing on my blog and you can use it to speed right over to The Class of 2k9 blog and enter. I'd love for one of you to win!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wrapped up the Rodeo

OK - tired and happy. Bought a pink sweatshirt for me and a silver glittery t-shirt for our daughter. Sold a bunch of books. Talked to a bunch of cowboys, moms, and a few bull riders. Feet hurting - everything else is good. Til next time. . .

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Reno Rodeo Minutes

So I've spent three days in the indoor arena at the Reno Rodeo selling books with Sundance Books our independent bookstore in Reno. The Sundance folks have been great and are featuring several local authors at their table. I have a great view of the arena from our perch by the restrooms - and have seen a whole lot of drill teams and roping.

Highlights? Getting a signed Reno Rodeo poster from my friend Stephanie Long who painted this year's beautiful artwork which I posted here. Having a young cowboy run up to the table saying, "There it is, Dad." His father explained that they'd just bought Bull Rider for him and then the boy said, "It's really good. I read fifteen chapters last night!" Now that makes my day. There was the older gentleman who tipped his hat to me today, reminding me of my grandfather, and another one who examined Bull Rider and then declared. "Who is this person, Williams. I've never heard of him." So I held out my hand and said, "Pleased to meet you, sir, that would be me." We had a good laugh. There are the parents and sisters of service men and women in Iraq who have said they are glad someone is talking about the war - and the giggly little girls who pick out their books based on the prettiest horses on the cover. It's a pretty good gig.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bloggin' and Rodeo with the Class of 2k9

June 18th is my day to blog for the Class of 2k9 so head on over there to hear about our group, our books, and the Reno Rodeo -
Check out our website too - Or if you are in the area, stop in at the Reno Rodeo and look up the Sundance Bookstore/Writing the West table in West Hall (the indoor arena.) We're right next to the ladie's room so we're hard to miss! Rosanne Parry (Heart of a Shepherd), Terri Farley (Phantom and Island Stallion series) and Chris Platt (various horse themed books) will be there with me (Bull Rider) signing their books.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Two More Books from The Class of 2k9

My family all met in Oregon this last weekend and I did finish a book - The Road to Tater Hill by Edie Hemmingway. This is a middle grade novel about a sixth grader named Annie who spends summer with her grandparents in the mountains of North Carolina. Except this summer (1963) her father is serving in the airforce in Germany and her mother has just given birth to her baby sister, Mary Kate, who died before Annie could see her, or her mother could even hold her. This is no surprise - you'll find out on the first page. But what is surprising is the tender story, you'd have to say poignant, of a girl who is grieving alone for a sister she will never know. If Annie's substitute "rock baby" doesn't touch your heart, then you are a cold, cold person. I loved Miss Eliza, the mountain descriptions, the jam making and the weaving lessons. Read this book and you'll be thankful for your family and thinking about taking a trip to the real Tater Hill. I had an advance copy so you can preorder Edie's book (I'd suggest it). It will be available in early September.

It's been a few months since I read Fran Cannon Slaton's historical middle grade novel, Where the Whistle Blows. This one debuts this week in book stores and has had great reviews and buzz. Fran's novel is set in the mountains of West Virginia in the 1940s. Jimmy Cannon chronicles each Halloween, which happens to be his father's birtday, from the time he is twelve until he is eighteen. In these six years the steam locomotives that have been the life blood of his town are being phased out, his father is aging, and Jimmy gives us a snapshot of his world from Halloween pranks to championship football games to stunning accidents. When the Whistle Blows celebrates life, death, change, and friendship in a very special way. Fran is offering a drawing for an Advance Reader's Copy of When the Whistle Blows right now at our Class of 2k9 blog. Visit and leave a comment to enter.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Eagle Blue

From 2001 through the present I've spent some time in native communities - researching books, working with school kids, interviewing elders and people who are advocates of native language and culture. This certainly hasn't been a full time occupation, but it's been enough time to change my outlook on a few things, and to inform some of my writing. I've become a better listener. I also blow off some stuff after taking time to think about it. Hmmm.

This week I read the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I'd heard it was good and it won the National Book Award, after all. But award winners aren't always my first choice in reading. But this was a good decision. I really loved the book. It rang true and although sometimes the character seemed as stylized as the cartoons in the book, I loved the experience of reading it, and of stepping into someone else's world through this funny/sad/crazy novel.

Rewind to a couple of years ago when I got an Amazon message telling me I should order Eagle Blue. It is a non-fiction documentation of the Ft. Yukon Alaska High School basketball team's try to win the State Championship. I knew how committed some of the Indian kids I've met are to basketball, so I ordered it. I have to say, I didn't finish the book and I can't find it now. I think I gave it to someone - but not before I'd read a few chapters while I was traveling and not before my husband, who doesn't read much, read it. If you like sports and if you want another portrait of life in a native community, pick this one up too. It's by Michael D'Orsy, 2006. I wish I could find it to finish. Never expect to finish a book while you are traveling - at least if you are me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cyber crazy

OK so it's eight o'clock and instead of eating I'm trying to figure out how to unfollow my own blog which I asked to follow totally by mistake. I did "unfollow it" after reading two or three help pages and tabbing back and forth. Am I that -computer illiterate? Don't answer that. And then I had to figure out how to find the blog I wanted to follow - that took another half hour of trial and error. So then I hated that little head that they give you as a "follower" if you don't have a photo on file - and it wouldn't TAKE the photo of me - is that a hint? And I uploaded me and the Bronz Fonz and decided that was too weird. Tried some wild horses and my goats - wouldn't talk those - thought the photo of Fred (dead and beloved Golden) was too sad, and that Ralph (very alive and happy black lab) didn't show his best side. So FINALLY I decided on Reno Balloon Races - one of my favorite activities ever. So that's the blog. I'm more knowledgable than I was but my husband is probably as hungry as I am and that will take some undoing. Off to buy dinner. The chicken is still frozen. And to read - The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. I may be the only person who hasn't read it. But not for long. Peace out.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another Good Book

I don't seem to read as fast as a lot of bloggers but then I don't seem to blog as often either so maybe it evens out. About two months ago I read Shine Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger. I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Neesha in New York in January and then I had to wait until the book came out to read it. I wasn't disappointed I love this book. It truly made me feel like I was living inside someone else's skin for the day or two it took to read it . Here's my synopsis: Samar is an Indian American (as in South Asian Indian) living with her mother in New Jersey - just like any other American teen aged girl. Except she doesn't know her mother's family or much about her heritage at all - until on 9/11, after the twin towers fall, her Uncle Sanjeep who she barely remembers shows up at their door. He wants the two of them to reconnect with their family. As the world changes around her and prejudice against turbaned people like Uncle Sanjeep bubbles up, the flap copy says, "Sam will need all her smarts and savvy to try to bridge the two worlds and make them both her own." I say, pick up Shine Coconut Moon. It's a special book.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hey guys - instead of blogging here I'm giving you a link to a great website and blogspot - Go directly to my guest blog by clicking this link. Happy Reading and be sure to comment both at Boys Read and here. Would love to hear from you.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nevada Novelist Community

About four years ago Ellen Hopkins, Teri Sloat and I stayed up very late at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrator's conference in Los Angeles brainstorming about a mentor program that would help aspiring writers and illustrators who were "almost there" and but had reached a plateau in their work. As the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program (which we are in the third round of running right now) took shape, I began to imagine a time when many of the great writers we were working with would be published. There was a long list of probable people. Wouldn't it be cool to surprize people with a group of novelists whose connection was Reno, Nevada? I imagined a "school" not in the teaching sense but in the identifiable sense - a school of writers for Middle Grade and Young Adult readers who were mostly serious, mostly contemporary, mostly reality based - but not necessarily all of those at once.

Today I had coffee with Ellen, our friend and fellow author Heidi Ayarbe, and her daughter. Several years ago we were all in critique groups together and none of us had published fiction. Ellen was first with Crank published in 2005. So check it out now - Ellen is a New York Times best selling author several times over for her verse novels Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, and Identical. Tricks in it's great red cover comes out in August. Heidi's debuted in 2008 with her novel, Freeze Frame and she has another one on the way. Freeze Frame recently won the IRA (International Reading Association) Young Adult Book Award for fiction, 2009 - given for an author's first or second book for young readers. And as for me, Bull Rider was released this February and is a Junior Library Guild Selection.

Also in the Nevada Novelists Community - Terri Farley, author of the Phantom Stallion, Wild Horse Island series and Seven Tears into the Sea - with a gazillian books in print, Fran Cannon Slayton who is from Virginia but completed our first Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program (Ellen was her mentor) so we proudly claim her. Her first novel comes out in June from Philomel - When the Whistle Blows. One reviewer called this historical novel set in a 1940s West Virginia railroad town "an understated masterpiece." And we'll claim Lindsay Eland from Colorado - another novelist who completed the mentor program. Look for her novel, Scones and Sensibility in 2010. There are more names we fully expect to add soon - but I won't say them here. I'm not planning to jinx anyone but there are some really talented people around. So, how about a big Nevada YeeeHaaa for these authors. I think the dream is happening.

Monday, May 25, 2009

More Midwest and an Idea

This is Sheboygan Falls in Wisconsin. When everything is mainly flat, you take what you can get!

What I haven't shared about the Midwest trip is all the cool students I met - mostly seventh and eighth graders. I loved the three schools in Des Plaines, Illinois. The students were good, active listeners, they had great questions, and we connected in a way that makes me want to visit more schools. The kids in Bright's Grove and Errol Village Ontario were polite, smart, and stretched themselves to learn something way out of their experience - rodeo - and to talk about some things within it - brothers, sisters, the war. Yes, there are Canadian troops in the Middle East too. The group in Okemos got into the stories we made together and individually. I know. And I hope they will share some of those stories and ideas. Each one is unique.

OK, and the idea - wondering if Bull Rider readers, through the website and this blog could "adopt" a deployed soldier or marine. You know, send cards, care package etc. There are lots of organizations that do it. I've been thinking of linking to some on the website, but maybe we should take someone on directly too... hmmm. So that's all for today. It's Memorial Day and the weeds are still there. Vacquero Girl, I'm so putting newspapers in my difficult spots. I'll let you know what happens.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I have to share some photos from Wisconsin. Sorry, I don't have any from all the Chicago gang although it was fun, fun, fun. Got the camera out for the last weekend of the trip. I personally love the one of me with the "Bronze Fonz" on the Milwaukee River in front of a Chinese restaurant. This is especially good since I've actually met Henry Winkler and he kissed my cheek. That's one of the perks of belonging to SCBWI.

This is a great dog running along the beach at Lake Michigan. It was cold. I would have been running too - but I was too cold.

Is this one Wisconsin, or what? Gotta love the Midwest - and I do.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Odds and Ends of No Particular Value

I keep reading that my blog should provide a service or information that will bring people back. Well, I hate to tell you, but I'm up to my eyeballs with stuff to do and service that isn't on this blog. So you get what's on my mind and it may not be awe inspiring - at least for now. I did watch American Idol and have never been so disappointed in one of their shows. My husband even voted - for Adam - and we know the outcome. Are people nuts? Was he too femme for the masses? What a voice that man has. And great eyes too - with or without eye liner.

And I weeded until my arms were itchy and I had to take an anti-histamine. This reminded me of why I don't get near grass in the spring. It's one big rash and sneezing fest for me. But the weeds didn't stop growing while we were away and I'll get them knocked out in a few days. I just have to remember to take the pills before I start.

Last, some good news. I'm writing again - yea!! - and our friend Saresh got his papers to stay in the States for several more years. We'll all be better off with him among us. Here's to immigration policy that occasionally works.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Midwest Moments

This will be short - it's late. I wanted to think about all the great times I had in the Midwest with Illinois SCBWI, Chicago members of Class of 2k9 and Authors Now, librarians and students from Des Plaines, Illinois, Homer and Lemont libraries, students at Bright's Grove and Errol Village Schools in southern Ontario and at Chippewa Middle School in Okemos, Michigan. Oh, and the book sellers - particularly the crew at the Book Stall who made me so welcome and also at Anderson's in Naperville who took time to show me around their great store. My friend Jude made sure I took just a little time out to play and we saw some great live improv theater in Lincoln Park and I ate frozen custard and cheese curds with my daughter Mara in Milwaukee. Luke and I did two jigsaw puzzles and he even played Scrabble with me - which none of our kids like to do. OK, off to see the finals of American Idol. More tomorrow, maybe with more details, photos? who knows. It's beautiful here in Reno, so I might end up weeding until I drop.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Home Again with LOTS to Say

OK, when I don't blog for two weeks I end up with lots on my mind and not enough time to share it. Starting with an e-mail I got from Chris in New Mexico today about a collection that the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators made for a library that burned down during the horrible Australian wildfires this spring - my friend Ellen Fockler at Washoe County School Libraries asked if SCBWI was doing anything and how the community could help. She posted the collection to our Reno libraries and the kids raised $800. People can be so cool - espcially kids and especially book people. Chris just let everyone in our organization know about the Reno donation. I'm proud to live here.

Next, I met so many really nice and exciting people on my trip to Chicago, Southern Ontario, and Lansing, Michigan. The book signings were great, the weather was mostly fabulous, the schools and kids were energizing. I'm happy to have met you all and look forward to more time in the Chicago area in the future. If you missed getting Bull Rider there should be copies at the Book Stall in Winnetka, Anderson's in both Naperville and Downer's Grove, and at the Barnes and Nobel in Overland Park. If you are in London, Ontario, the Chapters at Richmond Centre has copies. You can ask for it at any bookstore and order online.

Last, I have photos and stories from the midwest trip. I'll be posting some of them. If you met me in this last two weeks and have photos, e-mail them to me and I'll post some of them here. This is a great ride that we are taking together. Yeehaa!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Quickie Note

OK, so much for blogging every day. It's been busy. I wormed the goats and have been getting over a cold. Had a fun book signing at Barnes and Nobel in Reno yesterday. Yea for all the kids and parents who came out. One girl remembered me from talking to her class at Wooster High in early February. That was really cool. Hope all is well with you guys. I'm still looking for time to write. Maybe on the airplane. . .

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

California Readin'

I promised a switch from Bull Rider info and since it's snowing outside, I've decided to give you a sneak preview of two books I've read recently that are set in sunny and floral Southern California. Both are gentle middle grade books with lovely writing. Both confront their girl characters with difficult family situations

Jane in Bloom by Debby Lytton reads like the bright flower on it's cover. Jane is the second child, the one who lives in her perfect older sister's shadow. But Jane knows what that perfection is costing the sister she loves. When tragedy changes her family forever, Jane finds some unexpected allies and begins to create a space where she can bloom. I love the color imagery in this book and the clear prose creates white space for the splashes of yellow, purple, and orange to shine. Jane's relationship with her sister is haunting and the book will leave you thinking about family interconnections and personal resilience.

.The Year the Swallows Came Early by Katherine Fitzmaurice is set on the Central California coast. Between the fog, the ocean, the sun, and flowers, you can almost smell the setting as you read. In the first chapter Groovy Robinson's father is taken away to jail - in the kindest way by a policeman they both know. Groovy is confused and then angry as she discovers the reason her father was arrested. I was routing for Groovy from beginning to end, first as she has to rethink her dreams and then as she comes to accept her parents as they are, not as she'd believed them to be. The book makes me long to stare at the ocean and put my thoughts in order.

Information: From the website Mirrormirror:
Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents.
40 – 60% of high school girls diet.
50% of girls between the ages of 13 and 15 believe they are overweight.
80% of 13 year old girls have dieted.
40% of 9 year old girls dieted.

Since both books are full of roses - try browsing for one at

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Quick Note

It's been a quiet day - Easter Sunday - and our trees are still thinking about budding. Daffodils are blooming. I found four fish in our pond that made it through the winter. (That's good, only one more to spot and they are all there.) It's a good day to think about simple things that make each day so special. I heard this on TV this morning - "This is the day the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." I hope to remember that every morning.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

OK, I wish I'd been blogging for the last few days. So much has happened. I've been in the Pacific Northwest signing books, visiting schools, and visiting friends and relatives. I traveled with my husband and with Terri Farley - author of the Phantom Stallion Series and the Wild Island Series. Since we are both Reno authors who write about the West, we were presenting and signing together. Rosanne Parry, author of Heart of a Shepherd set up a terrific signing for the three of us at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington. That's us signing books at "Ranch Sunday!" It was so fun.

So I wish every author could have been there when we dropped in at Barnes and Noble in Clackamas Town Center to see the magic that happens between readers and authors. Terri had offered to sign books for the store and we had just found them on a top shelf when a girl came up and was trying to reach them. "Do you like those books?" I asked her.
"Oh, she reads them all," her mom said.
Then Terri said, "I wrote those books."
I thought that girl was going to pass out from excitement. She bought three books, Terri signed them, and she went home a very happy camper.

A week later Terri and I were signing at Barnes and Noble in Vancouver, Washington and a boy came in to buy Bull Rider. He was on chapter four (of a book he'd checked out from the library) and was anxious to get his own copy and finish. "He doesn't like to read much," his mom said. "But he can't wait to read this." Music to my ears. More tomorrow.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Life is good

It's been a busy week. Our grandson was here - lots of shrieking and giggling and animated cartoons around the house. Our daughter was here for a few days too. So good to catch up. I visited two schools on three days and there was an SCBWI event. Today is my husband's and my anniversary. Some highlights - kids lining up to buy Bull Rider. Aspiring writer who attended her first ever workshop and wrote "I'm framing my M.O. for $35 - it's my first investment in me." A writer friend in Canada whose husband is a TBI survivor saying about me "Suzy has done her research on TBI." Watching our daughter lug two suitcases, a carseat, and our grandson into the airport without a complaint or a misstep - all in a normal day for her. Seeing the snow fall. Nothing else earth shaking. This week I will be writing more, doing less of everything else. Life is good.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Buzz Team at Sundance

I had my first bookstore signing and if you are reading my blog and came by, thanks. It was so fun for me and I know a lot of you met up with friends there too. And thanks to Christine and Dan and the Sundance crew for making it such a lovely day for me. They still have some signed copies, so if you missed it you can pick one up there.

In that obsessive authorly way, I was surfing the Border's website and they are carrying Bull Rider in a lot of their stores in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Southern California. I didn't find it in Northern California or Washington, Oregon, Montana. Those are big rodeo states, so if you know anyone there, suggest they ask for the book at their local Borders. Maybe we'll get them to expand it beyond the Southwest and Plains states. You are my "buzz team."

I promise to get off of Bull Rider soon enough and back to some other GREAT books I've read lately, but I had to take this detour into self-promotion and self fulfillment. I've been waiting a long time for this month and I'm happy to share a little of it here. Catch the latest interview on Debby Lytton's blog deborahlytton - and look up my FIRST review from California Cowgirl Happy Day!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Book Signing and Junior Library Guild

Wanted to invite any of you in the Reno area to my first, official book signing, Saturday, March 14, Sundance Bookstore near Fifth Street and Keystone in Reno, NV. Would love to have a great turnout. And, I got a pretty, shiny gold (tone) pin from the Junior Library Guild today because they selected Bull Rider for their Spring collection. They keep sending me notes that say they are a bell weather in choosing books that go on to more awards and accolades. From their lips to God's ears. For now, I have the pin :). Come by on Saturday if you can.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Amazing Sunny Day

Sunny Day keeping the clouds away - it is sunny and the two year old is enjoying the wonders of watching the bubbles in the washer. Yesterday a stick and pond water occupied him for half an hour. The world is indeed wonderful from two feet off the ground and we are blessed to share that.

Yesterday, Cory Farley interviewed me on his radio show here in Reno, and it was tons of fun. He really liked Bull Rider and that, of course, felt very, very, good. Thanks Cory and I hope you like the ending as well as the first half of the book.

And we had a three way skype conversation on three continents and three time zones. I am constantly amazed. Guess it runs in the family.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Time and Two Year Olds

OK, I'm really enjoying having our two year old grandson here, but that leaves little time for blogging. Just checking in - I'm still here and have been sprayed with apple juice, rescued our very patient Ralph from the over enthusiastic boy, watched the snow fall and the birds fly by the window, and learned to spell WATER several different times on PBS. It's a good day, but not much writing happening.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Another Book for Kids in Military Families

I have hoped for a while that Bull Rider would touch kids in military families and give them a jumping off place for discussing their own concerns or the opportunity for seeing a family that is going through changes because of the Middle East wars. There are a lot of military families out there who live every day hoping their loved one will come home safe.

Heart of A Shepherd, by Rosanne Parry, Random House, January 2009, does the same. Her book's setting is literally forty or fifty miles from Bull Rider's fictional Salt Lick, NV and her main character, Brother, is a ranch kid too. His dad has been deployed to Iraq with the reserves along with most of the men in their small town. His older brothers are away at school - his small town doesn't have a high school - and that leaves Brother, his aging grandparents, and a ranch hand, Ernesto, to care for the ranch. Brother takes his role seriously. Heart of a Shepherd is a genuine, gentle book that looks at ranch life, growing up, accepting responsibility. It also reflects the kinds of changes the wars have made on communities. I am proud to know Rosanne Parry and to be signing with her and Terri Farley at the Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington on April 5th. 10AM. Our books are similar in so many ways, and yet they are totally different stories. I think Heart of a Shepherd will appeal to a little younger read than Bull Rider will. Read them both and you decide. You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Reading Out Loud

Hi again. I got an e-mail from a high school teacher friend in Wyoming that said a student picked up the copy of Bull Rider that was on her desk and asked to read it. She was pretty excited about that and so am I. AND I know of two of you at least, who are reading Bull Rider to your classes. That got me to thinking I should have one of those online contests - but only for teachers who are reading Bull Rider out loud, or have passed the book on to their students in some way. But there needs to be a great prize. What do you think about half off of a school visit, or an online chat with your students? Let me know. If you are reading this, comment on your favorite prize. If you are a teacher or librarian who is reading Bull Rider out loud or recommending it to students let me know. I'll start the list for the drawing NOW. This will be fun.

On a personal note, our dog Ralph was released from doctor's care following his eye surgery in January. Poor guy had gotten an ulcerated cornea and it wouldn't heal. Dr. Lavash (sp?) in Reno worked miracles and Ralph is back to his old self, sparkling eyes and all.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Launch Week for Bull Rider

It seems when you publish a novel you get a launch day and that stretches into a launch week and then a launch month. Best case scenario is a fabulous debut year. Bull Rider's launch started before the official "day" as Amazon shipped copies a few days ahead and I started to get cool e-mails that said people were reading the book. My agent called me on the very day to wish me a happy one, and my husband took me to lunch. I went to Sundance Bookstore, our local Indie, to pick up some copies for a reading at a local school and there was Bull Rider displayed on a prominent rack. I missed it the first time because I was searching the shelves. That was a rush. The book hit several blogs and I did a school visit and then attended the Asilomar SCBWI conference. My editor was speaking and she requested the bookseller stock Bull Rider. They sold out! And I provided some extra copies and THOSE sold out. Yeeha!

So it's been a great week - thanks to all of you who bought, read, and talked up Bull Rider. There are some nice reviews on GoodReads and Amazon too. If you love Bull Rider, you might want to add yours. If you are looking for more good debut novels check out and also More tomorrow!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I got a note from a friend last night. She'd gotten her copy of Bull Rider from Amazon - although the official release date is tomorrow - and she wrote to say "Your book is fabulous and I couldn't put it down." Well THANK YOU for telling me. It makes my day. She also said she bought a copy for a friend who works at the VA hospital in Palo Alto - a friend who said that few people knew about the cost of the Iraq War in terms of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America says that 100,000 military personnel are returning home with some form of TBI. It's time to talk about it and to think about the needs these veterans and their families have. More later.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Today was a good day. I slept late after going to the Nevada Reading Week Conference for two days. I was a presenter and signed a LOT of pre-release copies of Bull Rider. One High School librarian ordered six, count 'em six, copies for her school. YeeHaa!! I'm getting over the need to feel profound here on the blog - that may account for more entries. I do want to say that each day I am overwhelmed by the support from my friends as the release of Bull Rider approaches. I got a lovely e-mail today from a friend who'd received her copy and read it. "Couldn't put it down," she said. Lovely words. And she ordered a second copy for a friend who works at the VA hospital in Palo Alto - what a terrific tribute. Thank you. Another friend called to help me arrange school visits for the week Rosanne Parry (2k9 member www.classof2k9 ) and author of Heart of a Shepherd) and Terri Farley (Phantom Stallion Series) and I do a signing at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington - April 5. A third friend posted photos of her kids reading their pre-ordered copy. My daughter, along with a number of friends said they would be asking for it at their local bookstores. THANK YOU. I couldn't do this without you. I'm hoping those of you who find this blog through my website will post comments as you read the book. I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day Three and Still Here

OK - the dog should get walked so often. The sun is out and I need to go outside too. For now, I'm going to be self-indulgent and say - after a long wait, although not so long in publishing time - I'm getting e-mails from friends who are now holding copies of Bull Rider in their hands. I was thinking last night that a lot of fabulous people from critique group to editors to designers to publicity and marketing people to SCBWI buddies spent a lot of time on this book. In the end, it will take a few hours for each person to read. That's like Christmas dinner! And, like that celebration at the end of a season, I hope they relax and savor it and then remember it for a long time. If you love Bull Rider, tell a friend, or loan your book, or ask your local bookstore to carry it. People can't read it if they don't know that it exists. Off to walk the dog. Ralph!!! PS Tomorrow I'm working ALL day. Next post - Sunday (how about a book review??)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stacks of Bull Rider Books

OK, I didn't get to it in the morning - but I'm here again. I'm getting very excited about Bull Rider coming out next week. I am speaking at the Nevada Reading Week Conference this weekend with my friend Terri Farley and am busy printing handouts for my breakout sessions. I can't wait to see my first stack of Bull Rider books on their sales tables. I also bought a bunch of cutesy book plates with golden retriever puppies on them so that I can sign bookplates for any friends who come to Asilomar and haven't yet received books that they pre-ordered. If that's you and you have your book, bring it along and I'll sign it. If you haven't bought one yet, I hear there will be some there for sale. Editor Emma must have asked for them. Dinner is ready. Here's to blogging every day and to husbands who will make hamburgers while I blog and answer e-mail and buy airline tickets and print handouts for the weekend. Love to you all.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hi there, well this time it's been TWO months and my friend, Terri Farley, tells me I have to blog everyday - like eating breakfast, I suppose. So my new routine should be to walk my dog, blog, and then eat. That would probably do it. I'd have to change my blog name to Walking the Dog and I think I'd like that too. It's been entirely too serious around here and wintry and cold - although precious little rain and we'll all be regretting that come summer.

In two months I HAVE had time to read some books and I'll talk about one right now: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, Tor, 2008. My daughter gave it to me for Christmas and I read half of it while I was home alone and it got too scary for little me and I put it aside until my husband came home, then finished it. This is a chilling book about technology and how it can be used to track our every move - but even more creepy - it's about what our government might be like if it decided to use the "rules" that have been made for the "war on terror" on our own citizens. Or what it might be like to be disappeared by the US, no matter what your citizenship. Little Brother is set in San Francisco which made it all the more real to me since I grew up there. I'm not much of a techno geek but I was able to follow a lot of the technology bits. It was kind of like watching the TV show, Numbers, with an occasional aside - let me tell you how this works. I got lost with the encryption techniques, but by that time I didn't care. I would recommend the book for it's topic. For it's ability to make you think. A good read for anyone over thirteen with a brain.