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 http://www.everyrose.com/everyrose/roses/browse.lasso

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.