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Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Lightning Queen Book Party Recap!

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Hello everyone!

I had so much fun celebrating the release of The Lightning Queen with friends here in Fort Collins!


Lil Dude was the Master of Ceremonies, and did a great job introducing me, doing magic tricks, interviewing me, drawing names for prizes, playing his White Stripes song on his guitar, and generally ad-libbing jokes throughout.... He loves being onstage and has been looking forward to this for a long time.

Beautiful dancers were there doing beautiful dances!

(photo from Gloria)

My good friends Gloria Garcia Diaz and Julie Lee performed some gorgeous traditional Mexican dances with their troupe, Quetzalcoatl....

They were fantastic...

Gloria's rainbow dress was a thing of wonder!

And there were all ages in the troupe, which was really cool...

We're so grateful to everyone who showed up to celebrate-- what an amazing bunch of people!

There was a free-for-all dance on stage, too, and all who participated got to choose a bell as a prize.  (The bells had been in a box in our garage for thirteen years, and I figured it was time to let them go ring freely with new owners...)


And there was book-signing... (Thanks to Old Firehouse Books for doing such a great job with the book-selling!)


 photo from Gloria

Alma (right) was one of the girls who interviewed me *in Spanish* about The Queen of Water for the local Bookends TV show.  She came with her awesome friend Ivan, who's also a fan of The Queen of Water, and her sweet cousin Karen.

My heart still feels full from all the neighbors and friends-- old and new-- who came to celebrate with us!

 Dear writer friends Todd Mitchell and Teresa Funke

Longtime super-creative friend, Julie Lee 

 Fun-spirited artist neighbor Diane Findley and her wonderful husband Tommy 

Close friend, Spanish writing partner, talented writer and translator, and dancer 
Gloria Garcia Diaz with her adorable daughter

 My vivacious and big-hearted 6th-grade neighbor, who's the most avid reader I know!

 More awesome neighbors-- Beth and Dan!  (We are SO lucky to live where we do.)

 And Julie with her lovely family

Afterward, there was the clean-up, which Ian did, oh-so-graciously.  ;-) (And my generous writer group friends, Laura Pritchett and Kayre Cattrell were life-savers helping me set up, but somehow they escaped being photographed!)

Thank you to all of you who were there in body and spirit!

Lots of love,

 photo from Gloria

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Book Release Events for THE LIGHTNING QUEEN!

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 Hey guys,

I've finalized my schedule of events for this fall for THE LIGHTNING QUEEN.  I'd love to see you guys there!



Oct 28, 2015, Wed

THE LIGHTNING QUEEN Release Party! Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, Old Town, Fort Collins, CO. 5-7 pm. Food, music, Mexican dance, crafts, prizes, reading, signing! Books available to buy there. Come one, come all!


Nov 3, 2015, Tues

Osher Institute of CSU, Presentation on THE LIGHTNING QUEEN. 10:00 a.m. to noon. Drake Hall (CSU campus), 2545 Research Blvd., Fort Collins, CO 80526. Registration required here.


Nov 15, 2015, Sunday

Boulder Bookstore, Boulder, CO. 4:00 p.m. Reading and signing THE LIGHTNING QUEEN. A joint event with the amazing Melanie Crowder, author of A NEARER MOON. All welcome!


Nov 17, 2015, Tuesday

East Morgan County Library, Brush, CO. 6:00 p.m. Presentation on THE LIGHTNING QUEEN. Chatting and signing to follow. Everyone welcome!


Nov 21, 2015, Saturday

Denver BookBar, Denver, CO. 12:00-12:30 Signing and chatting about THE LIGHTNING QUEEN. Everyone welcome! (Also, from 10:30-12:00, I’ll be leading a discussion with the Mother-Daughter book club. If you’d like to participate in the book club discussion, call the store asap to register.)


Dec. 12, 2015, Saturday

Barnes and Noble, 2999 Pearl St., Boulder, CO. 2 pm. Signing and chatting about THE LIGHTNING QUEEN. All welcome!




Nov 6, 2015, Friday

Politics and Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, 10:30 a.m. Presentation, reading, and signing for THE LIGHTNING QUEEN. All welcome!


Nov 8, 2015, Sunday

Browseabouts Bookstore, Rehoboth, Delaware. 11:00 a.m. Informal signing and chatting about THE LIGHTNING QUEEN. All welcome!


Nov 9, 2015, Monday

The Children’s Bookstore, Baltimore, MD. 4:00 p.m.  Reading, chatting, and signing THE LIGHTNING QUEEN. Everyone welcome!




Nov 22, 2015, Sunday

NCTE Conference, Minneapolis. Scholastic Authors’ Breakfast and Readers’ Theatre. Registration required.

Hope you can make it to one of these events!!!


Monday, August 31, 2015

Camping in My Sweet Lil Fifties Rig! (Part 1)

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Hello, everyone!

We took my sweet lil rig on her maiden voyage (for us at least)...  Ian and Lil Dude and Wilma and I went to the gorgeous Beaver Meadows in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado for the weekend-- about an hour from home.  We loved it!  Here are some glimpses of our trip:


And on a different note, here's a piece of nice news I recently received-- The Lightning Queen got a beautiful, starred review from School Library Journal this month.  (This is its 2nd starred review!):

★ Gr 3–6—If books were written in black and white, The Lightning Queen would be written in color. Esma, a young Romani girl, meets Teo, a young Mixteco living on the Hill of Dust in the mountains of Mexico, when her traveling caravan makes a stop in Teo's small village. The Romani bring with them the magic of cinema films, and after the loss of Teo's father and sister, Esma gives him a reason to feel alive again. When Esma's grandmother, the Mistress of Destiny, reveals Teo's true fortune—that he and Esma will be lifelong friends and will save each other—Esma and Teo work hard to make sure their fortune comes true. Esma gives Teo the courage to save others and ultimately helps him to save himself. In return, Teo lifts Esma up just when she believes that her own dream is an impossibility. Esma and Teo go their separate ways; she becomes a shining star admired by the world, while he becomes a healer like his grandfather—and it is not until they are both in old age that they meet again. With the help of Teo's grandson Mateo and Esma's granddaughter Ruby, Teo and Esma rekindle their lifelong friendship. Like surviving a lightning strike, this book is rare and incredible.  
VERDICT The diverse characters, heartbreaking events, and historical and present-day backdrops are excellently executed. Highly recommended.—Selenia Paz, Helen Hall Library, League City, TX

So grateful for this heartfelt and poetic review!  The book comes out on Oct. 27, and I'll be posting my tour schedule soon.... I'll be doing events in Colorado, D.C, Maryland, and Minneapolis. :-)

Thanks for swinging by, my friends!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Early Kid Reviews of THE LIGHTNING QUEEN!

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with awesome teacher Mrs. McMahon of El Granada Elementary School

Hey guys,

One of my favorite places in the world to visit is Half Moon Bay, California, partly because of the glorious beach....

... but mostly because of the wonderful people there-- teachers, librarians, and kids!

I'm so honored that Mrs. McMahon and her students at El Granada have read most of my books together.  They were excited about my next one, THE LIGHTNING QUEEN, so I sent them a review copy.  I felt thrilled that they managed to squeeze it in as a read-aloud before their school year ended!  The kids were kind enough to jot down their impressions of the book afterward... and here are their blurbs:

Naomi Naito: 
I love that the hope in Esma's soul is contagious! The spunk and life in Esma is inspirational.  It is amazing how one girl singing can bring back the dead.

Natalie Sencion (whose family is from Oaxaca, and she loves going for visits with them!):
The Lightning Queen reminded me of being in Oaxaca: the metate, and hot chocolate, and my favorite, mangoes.

Noely Lopez:
The Lightning Queen is a great book for kids. It's hilarious, sad and it makes you have so many more feelings. It makes you wonder and think. It's amazing.

     With cool HMB librarian, Karen

Sinead McVey:
It's electrifying... makes me feel like I'm in the story. Really makes me feel for the Gypsies and Mixteco people.

Abby Kennedy: 
I love how Esma is so fierce, and it's really inspiring.

Jazmin Sofia Zilla:
A story of amazing friendship.

Mason McCallister:
The Lightning Queen is a fun book that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

     succulents on the beach cliffs

Leia Kenton: 
I liked that you made Teo a doctor and how you made him help animals.

Mikaela Sendino:
The Lightning Queen is very intriguing for all ages and you won't regret reading it.

       with amazing HMB librarian, Armando, outside El Granada Elementary

Viridiana Herrera-Salgado:
Laura, I'm glad you became an author because if you didn't, we wouldn't be able to read your wonderful books.

Jake Hessen:
I was on the edge of my seat for the whole time.

Victoria Preciado:
Great symbolism with the animals and people. Also, great spirit animals.


Diego Acosta:
Flash [the three-legged skunk] was really like Esma- they both are bright and have problems with legs. And, they cheer me up!

Ethan Gustin:
In The Lightning Queen, my favorite part was when Esma dropped the mango on her stepmother's head.

Thank you so much for these magnificent early reviews, kids of Half Moon Bay!  I'm grateful!  I love you guys!  Abrazos to you all!

(And if these reviews have piqued your curiosity about the book, you can read more about it here, and get links to a Book Club Party Guide, a Readers' Guide, and more.)