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. . .