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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jade Waters...

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Happy, happy holidays, everyone! Hope you're feeling excited about the new year, and dreaming of new creative adventures...

In celebration of finishing The Ruby Notebook, and getting over what is hopefully the last in a string of colds, Ian and I took our first romantic vacation since Lil Dude came into our lives two Decembers ago.

Not only was it a heavenly (and *much-needed*) trip, but it also rekindled my passion for writing The Jade Notebook, which is set in a Mexican beach town (although a different town from the one we visited -- we were near Tulum on the Yucatan, and Jade is set in Mazunte in Oaxaca).

There's nothing better than opening your eyes in the morning and seeing this.

Stepping outside into this . . .

There was no electricity in our palapa, so we used candles at night. One night we lay on the beach and watched a stunning meteor shower... dozens of shooting stars leaving trails across the sky. And each time a star zipped across the sky, I gasped in delight.

Inside view of our palapa's roof. We want to make one of these in our back yard...

We ate meals outside on the sand in the jungly foliage... resulting in a ring of bug bites around our ankles-- which still itch-- but it was definitely worth it to be surrounded by transluscent green as we ate papaya and sopa de lima and sweet flan . . .

The first time I snorkeled, years ago, I felt I'd discovered a different world. I wanted to spend hours, days, weeks, months underwater with flashing silvery fish and wavy sea creatures. I still love it, and if I were brave enough, I'd attempt scuba diving... maybe one day.

We also swam in cenotes-- freshwater underground rivers in caves, which, if you've read my books, you can guess is right up my alley. I love the magical shades of deep blue in the shadows... And I love how, when you least expect it, you swim around a corner and you're met with glimmery columns of sunlight that take your breath away.

Pelicans and sea gulls and the sound of the ocean rushing and the wind through palm fronds...

A tiny tiled pool overlooked the ocean, just in front of our palapa.

After our outings to the cenotes or open sea, these funny elephant creatures greeted us on our bed inside the mosquito net.

One evening we made a sculpture with debris from a spot down the beach... his hair is made of seaweed, and he's wearing a jaunty plastic purple bowl hat.

This little guy enjoyed the sea view, too.

I'm so, so grateful to you for reading my books and this blog, and encouraging me in all kinds of wonderful ways! Here's to an extraordinary new year!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Winner of THE INDIGO NOTEBOOK contest!

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My dad and me at my reading at Pooh's Corner, in Grand Rapids, Michigan-- what a fun night!

Happy solstice, everyone!

Huge congrats to Charlotte of Victoria, B.C., Canada, age 12! She's the winner of
The Indigo Notebook Fall Contest, and she'll get a signed copy sent as soon as I get to the post office! I loved the true story she submitted-- a wonderful snippet of a bus journey she took in Nicaragua with her family. Here it is:

Getting There is Half the Fun

“Riva, Riva, Riva, Rivas” the conductor yells, leaning slightly precariously, out of the door of the bus as it pulls put of the sprawling market. That is when my parents, my brother and I clamber into another world: the bus. The bus is packed and we attract quite a lot of attention as we are the only gringos on it. An elderly woman and a young schoolgirl squish over to give me a seat. “Muchas gracias,” I say quietly and hesitantly. They then try to start a conversation with me but “hola” and “gracias” is about the extent of my Spanish.
The bus used to be a school bus in Virginia but when it was deemed too old to use there, they shipped it off to Nicaragua. You can still see the sign at the front listing the school bus rules like “keep all body parts inside the bus at all times”. That rule is slightly ironic as whenever anyone has any garbage they chuck it out the window. We stop at the side of the road wherever anyone is and often a vendor will come on as well shouting “agua, gaseosas, jugos” or “pollo frito” or “ensaladas”.
The bus is also the main way of transporting goods and we get loaded up with bags of potatoes and other vegetables headed for market. The conductor is coming around to collect everyone’s fare. When my parents ask the conductor how much the fare is, they attract some curious looks saying “how can you not know how much it costs”. We speed past trees, houses, fields full of various crops and huts made from whatever types of materials are around. We arrive in the market in Rivas, more chaotic than the one that we left from in Granada and we board another bus and another world.

Aren't her descriptions fabulous? Don't you feel like you're right there with her on the bus?! Thanks, Charlotte, for writing this and sharing it with us!

Congrats, also, to Kinsey of Wisconsin, who won the Ultimate YA Group contest! Her signed copy of The Indigo Notebook is also in the mail...

Tidbits of news:
Minnie of Athena's YA blog chose The Indigo Notebook as one of her favorites this year for her Twelve Days of Christmas recommendations. Thanks, Minnie!

Lorie Ann Grover chose
Red Glass as one of her top three What a Girl Wants: Book Recommends. Thanks, Lorie Ann!

I just found out that
Red Glass is on the 2009-2010 Eliot Rosewater reading list. This is a shortlist for the Indiana High School Book Award. Thank you, librarians and teens of Indiana!

A few new reviews:
From BCCB (Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books)-- "[Zeeta's] own questioning of what she really wants also facilitates readerly connections; holding the exciting plot, evocative setting, and unusual experiences up to the rhythms of a more ordinary life enables readers to share Zeeta's ultimate epiphany that she is, in fact, living the life others only dream of.... readers looking for inspiration and impetus to get out and see the world will find this a satisfying outing."

From the
Fort Collins Coloradoan, in an article entitled "Resau's detailed Imagery perfect for Young Adults, Older Readers" -- Nancy Hansford writes: "Somehow [Resau] manages to write young adult novels that enthrall adult readers as well."

Now that I've turned in my Ruby Notebook manuscript, I've been able to indulge in reading piles of books. Here are some good ones I've read recently:
  • Catching Fire (amazing sequel to The Hunger Games)
  • The Miles Between (Mary Pearson also wrote The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which I loved, too.)
  • The Magician's Elephant (Kate Dicamillo has such a great story-telling voice)
  • Marcelo in the Real World (fascinating and satisfying)
  • Impossible by Nancy Werlin (loved how Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme were woven into the story.)
  • Vibes (really funny and written by a writing buddy of mine-- Amy Kathleen Ryan)
  • I've also been listening to the audiobook of The Indigo Notebook. It's an interesting experience to hear someone else reading your work-- especially a professional actress. I love the way she does the little girls' voices... your heart just melts!)
One more tidbit of news: I'm happy to report that my wonderful agent, Erin Murphy, has just created a website for the Erin Murphy Literary Agency! You can read about all the amazing authors she works with here.

Thanks for reading! Happy holidays! (And check back soon to see my Mexico trip pics-- I'll be posting them in a few days!)


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

where would I be...

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. . . without my beloved writing group?

Sarah Ryan, Molly Reid, Kimberly Srock Fields donning paper crowns that flew out of our exploding golden rocket tubes--
apparently an English tradition (see remnants in lower right corner)

One thing I've discovered in life-- and it's something that I sometimes forget and need to re-discover-- is this: Gratitude and celebration are keys to happiness. Tonight I reveled in both with the brilliant, beautiful women of Old Town Writers Group.

Carrie Visintainer and Leslie Patterson

Look at this scrumptious spread! Leslie outdid herself (and this is just a little fraction of all the food.) We feasted and updated each other about our writing life and did critiques, as we do every two weeks. This special end-of-the-year meeting involved toasting each other's successes... and there were many. The thing we celebrated most of all was the joy and camaraderie of being together in our group.

Leslie is a master mixer of delicious and unusual drinks. I don't even remember what was
in this one, but it was festive and had fresh cranberries and lemon in it. Yum.

Being in a writers' group is a really intimate bonding experience. By sharing your writing-- your innermost thoughts and feelings-- you reveal vulnerable parts of yourself that even your close family and friends might not know about.

Look at these lovely gifts Leslie gave us... a wee journal made of handmade paper, Divine dark chocolate, and my new favorite French liquor (made from elderflowers! I *love* food and drink made from flowers. There's something magical about it.) And best of all, it comes in a teeny tiny bottle which will make a perfect vase for a single wildflower this spring.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Carrie, Sarah, Leslie, Kimberly, and Molly!

If you'd like more details about exactly what we do in our group, click here and scroll down to the question "What exactly do you do in your writers' group?"

On a different note, I have lots more to write about... winners of recent Indigo contests, some lovely Indigo reviews, pics and recap of my Mexico trip, recent good books I've read, good news about Red Glass, some random stuff about The Ruby Notebook... but that will have to wait. I've finished my decaf tea with honey and milk, and I'm ready for bed.

Hope you're having a magical winter... and forgive me if I still haven't responded to your email. I'm slowly making my way through the emails that accumulated as I was wrapped up in the sea and sand and salty breezes last week...

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

crawling out of the hole...

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Christine (of Boulder Bookstore) and me and Victoria Hanley (author of Violet Wings) at our reading last week. A big thanks to those of you who came out to see us!

Hey everyone!

I just turned the revision of The Ruby Notebook into my editor! Whew! I spent the last two weeks trying to get it finished by the deadline (and I managed, with my mom's help, to get it in only a few hours late!) So... if you wrote me an email in the past two weeks and haven't heard back yet, that's why. (Sorry.) I'm trying to catch up with everything now.

I just found out that Delacorte will be giving a new cover look to the Notebooks series. So far I've seen the new covers for the first two books (Indigo and Ruby). Still waiting on Jade. I really like the new covers-- they're photographic and feature girls on the front, but from a back view, which is nice-- that way you can imagine their faces how you like. I don't think I'm supposed to show you the covers yet, but as soon as I can, I will!

Let's see... so now, after I recover from late nights working on the revision (and a nasty little cold), I'm going to refocus on The Queen of Water-- the memoir I wrote with my Ecuadorian friend Maria Virginia Farinango, which comes out in Spring 2011. We still have to revise it, which I'm actually looking forward to-- it's been over a year since I've delved into it!

Also on my plate is starting The Jade Notebook, which is set in a beach town in Oaxaca, Mexico. My husband and I will be taking a much needed Mexico beach vacation in a few weeks (my parents will be staying with Lil Dude here in Ft Collins. Thanks, Mom and Dad!) I'm hoping the trip will put me in the mood for jumping into Jade...

A few nice bits of news:

School Library Journal gave The Indigo Notebook this lovely review!

"Gr 6-9–This is a family and friendship story turned adventure tale with a touch of romance and an even slighter hint of fantasy. Zeeta, 15, wishes most of all that her mother would settle down so that they could have a regular life, rather than moving her from country to country, quoting the Sufi poet Rumi at every opportunity, and getting involved with eccentric, irresponsible men. As they arrive at their latest destination, a small town in the mountains of Ecuador , Zeeta meets Wendell, an American boy in search of his birth parents. When she agrees to help him in his quest, she becomes involved in a mysterious and ultimately dangerous adventure. As the suspense heats up and becomes more intense, Zeeta’s mother is engaged in her own adventure: a relationship with a man who wants her to settle down and become responsible. The change in Layla forces Zeeta to question what she values about her mother, and whether she really wants that suburban lifestyle after all.

Well plotted, with a cast of likable and interesting secondary characters and a powerfully atmospheric setting that includes a cave of crystals and a waterfall supposed to have magical powers, this novel succeeds at creating a believable and touchingly gentle romance between Zeeta and Wendell. The fantastic element, Wendell’s inherited gift of seeing into the future, is deftly handled. An entertaining and suspenseful read."

Yay! I'm glad she mentioned the plotting. Writing this Notebook series has required me to focus more on plotting than in my other books. In the Notebooks, there are mysteries (actually Ruby has TWO mysteries)... which means I have to think carefully about what info is revealed when, and all kinds of other details of mystery writing.

On a different note, Red Glass was selected as one of the Top Five Most Impressive Multi-cultural Young Adult Novels of 2009 by Marjolein Balm on the American Book Center blog. What an honor! Marjolein also posted a great review of What the Moon Saw on her young adult book blog. She calls the book "magical and inspiring." Thank you, Marjolein!

Another blog review from Read Arizona says The Indigo Notebook "would make a fabulous read over the holidays." :-)

If you know anyone in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, please tell them to come to my book signing on Monday, December 7 at 6:30 at Pooh's Corner. (I'll be visiting family there for a few days. Lil Dude and I will ride the Polar Express-- needless to say, he's over the moon!)

I'll be announcing the winners of the Ultimate YA contest and my own contest soon-- the deadline for entries just passed. I'll try to post the winning entry soon (and send out the signed copies of Indigo soon!)

Hope you all had a scrumptious Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Colorado bookstore event pics

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Hey, everyone,

Hope you had a good weekend! Ours was snowy, with winter storm warnings in effect most of the weekend... and of course, this is the weekend I had three bookstore visits scheduled. ;) The audiences were small but enthusiastic and fun.

Here I am at the Tattered Cover in Denver with Lisa (picture above). (I'm holding a pretty silver TC bookmark that they gave me!) I'm bummed that I forgot to take more pics. Some of the readers/writers who came were Denise Vega-- the great YA author of Fact of Life #31 and her latest, Access Denied-- and some girls who were fans of Red Glass (especially of Angel!). It was fun to meet Irena in person-- we've corresponded a bit over email. And it was great to see Bessana again, whose mother--daughter book club I visited earlier this year.

Here (below) I am at Anthology Bookstore in Loveland with another Laura and Bridget. They had their monthly night on the town that night, and the town looked lovely with the holiday lights twinkling.

And here we are again with Greth on the right in a purple butterfly shirt. Notice how everyone but me is wearing some shade of indigo?

If you're wondering what weird contraption I'm wearing, it's a sweater-cape-- one piece-- I love it but it's not exactly practical since it becomes unwound easily and drags... nevertheless, it's cozy and good for wintry nights.

There's a new interview with me posted on the Ultimate YA group website. Also, remember that they're holding a contest to win a free, signed copy of The Indigo Notebook.

And remember, I'm holding a contest as well -- see the random- fun-and-travel section of my website for details. The deadlines for these contests are quickly approaching!

A little heads up-- I won't be online much for the next two weeks, since I'll be holing up and finishing The Ruby Notebook revision... so, my apologies in advance for any delays answering emails and lack of blog posts. Thanks! Wish me luck!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

BLT review and guest post

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Hey everyone!

Hope you're having a good day. My morning has been groggy-- Toddler woke up at 5:50. Ugh. I don't like waking up in pitch darkness.

Morgan of the blog BLT (Books and Literature for Teens-- a teen-run blog) featured a great review of The Indigo Notebook yesterday, and will be posting a guest blog post of mine today. It's sort of a mini travelogue (with pics!) of my Ecuador trips. Enjoy!

I had fun at a writing workshop for kids and teens last night at the Berthoud Library... always inspiring to be around creative spirits. There were more guys than girls in this group, and they made me wonder if I should include more explosions and swords in my books. ;)

Hmm. I realize I'm too groggy to write more... I haven't even had my tea yet this morning.

I'll do that now. Have a lovely day!


Monday, November 9, 2009

Real quick, before my TV interview...

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Hi everyone,

Okay, I have eight minutes before I have to get ready for a TV interview this afternoon. It's with our local TV station-- a show called Bookends that features interviews with local authors. I'll see if I can post it on Youtube, and if so, I'll give you a link (well, if I don't do anything super-embarrassing during the interview, that is...)

I finished the revision of The Ruby Notebook today, which felt good. I still have a LOT of polishing to do before it's in shape for my editor to see it.

Real quick, a few news items: Ultimate YA is doing a fun giveaway -- a signed, personalized copy of Indigo. All you have to do is comment about your dream destination and you'll be in the pool for the contest. Go here, then click on the giveaway link. Also, if you want to read some *fun facts* about me that Ultimate YA is featuring, go here.

Finally, mark your calendars for the evening of Nov 3o. There'll be a readergirlz homecoming-- you can chat with a bunch of authors (me included!) Here's the info the readergirlz divas sent me about it:

Participating authors: Coe Booth, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, Cecil Castelucci, Justina Chen, Rachel Cohn, Holly Cupala, Liz Gallagher, Nikki Grimes, Lorie Ann Grover, Ellen Hopkins, Sarah Miller, Mary Pearson, Mitali Perkins, Dana Reinhardt, Laura Resau, Melissa Walker, Ellen Emerson White, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Sara Zarr. (Wow!)

The chat (6:00 Pacific Time/9:00 Eastern Time) will be held at the readergirlz blog . At the top of the hour a chat window will go live. All you have to do is start typing comments in the box. No codes, no passwords needed—it’s easy! The chat goes VERY VERY fast. Consider it one big party, an informal bash, with lots of people all talking at once.

And here's the fancy logo...

Hope you join us! (And wish me luck on this TV interview... I'm going to try not to let my hands fly around too much, or jiggle my foot too much, or let that pesky lock of hair fall over my eyes too much... AND try not to say anything stupid-- quite a task ahead.)


Friday, November 6, 2009

Johnny Cash and new reviews

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Hey everyone,

So, this week was a really good one for my Ruby Notebook revising. It's funny how sometimes listening to certain music over and over and over again as you write can put you in a creative groove. This week I have Johnny Cash to thank.

I listened to the album (I think it's a "Best of" album) all week long. At times I felt embarrassed (even though I had no witnesses) and I tried to switch to something more fitting... like French music, since the book is set in France... but my creative unconscious would have none of that. It wanted Johnny Cash, even though Johnny Cash tunes would be the absolute last thing you'd think of for a soundtrack to this book.

Hmmm... I did just make a connection as I wrote this... several of the main characters have the initials J.C.-- and those initials are actually a part of the plot. Verrrrry interesting...

Anyway, on to other things... some reviews that made me smile. Marjolein of Marjolein's YA Book Blog wrote a lovely review of Red Glass, which she calls "a book you want to read over again many times!" Thanks, Marjolein!

I also came across a Flamingnet review of The Indigo Notebook that I loved-- and best of all, it was written by a teen! Those reviews are especially meaningful to me. ( features teen reviews.) Here's an excerpt:

"Full of stunning details, whimsical characters, and tropical air, The Indigo Notebook was exciting to read and has become a favorite that I will enjoy reading again... Zeeta’s quest for Handsome Magazine Dad and Wendell’s shocking discovery about his parents is enough give you the night owl bug and keep you reading nonstop. I really enjoyed reading something that was set somewhere besides high school and be able to travel through a book.

The Indigo Notebook is a great book for teens not only because of its lovable characters or its excitingly exotic backdrop, but for the sense of life it gives to its message of being content and pursing your dreams. Overall, I loved the colorful and refreshing story of understanding your heart that The Indigo Notebook had to offer. I hope you get a chance to read it soon!"

Thank you, Flamingnet reviewer!

I'm in my favorite cafe now, and the sunset out the window is spectacular-- pink and orange clouds... and the traffic lights have that surreal glow that they get near dusk. Toddler enjoys discussing dusk. "Mommy! Mommy! Almost dusk! Pretty clouds! Pink! Look, Mommy! Moon!" He also enjoys observing dawn, which he calls "yawn." "Mommy! Mommy! Almost yawn!" (We are always up well before dawn, especially after the time change last week.)

Okay, thanks for reading!!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Booklist Review of Indigo

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Hello everyone,

I'm at my favorite cafe eating Mexican chocolate cake-- it has a touch of cinnamon and cayenne in it-- very tasty. I worked hard at home all day long on my revisions for Ruby, then lay down for a catnap on the sofa, smack in the middle of the sunshine coming through the window. I felt like a cat-- or how I imagine cats must feel, just soaking up sunshine and not really thinking about anything, just enjoying the warmth and the way the sunlight looks reddish-orange behind my eyelids.

Another review of The Indigo Notebook came in-- another nice one, this time from ALA Booklist:

"After 15 countries in 15 years, roaming the world with her free-spirited mother, Zeeta regrets that it’s “too late now for a normal home, normal family, normal childhood.” At their new home in Ecuador , she agrees to help Wendell, an American boy who has come in search of his birth parents. Just when a near-death experience sends her mother reeling toward “normal,” Zeeta veers off in the opposite direction: she looks to her unconventional upbringing for wisdom and support as she and Wendell uncover old secrets and find themselves in mortal danger. Observant, aware, and occasionally wry, Zeeta’s first-person narration will attract readers and hold them. Not all will find the magical elements woven into the story satisfying, but some will find them enchanting. The romance starts almost imperceptibly and builds gradually, believably throughout the novel. Resau, the author of What the Moon Saw (2006) and Red Glass (2007), offers another absorbing novel with a Latin American setting." -- Carolyn Phelan

Hopefully you, dear reader, will be one of the people who finds the magic *enchanting.* In fact, I'll give you an imaginary piece of Mexican chocolate cake if you do. I've learned about the beauty of pretending through Toddler. Fairly often, like every ten minutes, he has wishes I can't grant. "Mommy! Mommy! I want look train!" "Mommy! Mommy! I want go airplane whoosh sky!" And my response is, "Let's close our eyes and PRETEND we see a train." "Let's close our eyes and PRETEND we're on an airplane." He squinches up his eyes and pretends, and this makes him happy. His "pretending" face cracks me up-- his face all wrinkled up in concentration.

Speaking of Toddler, time for me to pick him up from daycare!

A quick reminder-- there are all kinds of interesting things happening at Random Buzzers this week in celebration of The Indigo Notebook. (Just scroll down to get to the Indigo section.) You can design Ecuador postcards and other stuff, and get points for it, and then trade in your points... and they're often doing book giveaways there... seems like they do a new book every week or so.

And remember, if you're into contests and creative writing, you should enter my own contest-- see the fun and travel section of my website for details. The prize is a signed, personalized copy of Indigo, and the deadline is in December.

Monday, November 2, 2009

random buzzers feature this week!

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Hello again!

I forgot to let you know in my last post that I'll also be popping into Random Buzzers this week, talking about my book and answering questions in their forum. Come on by and say hello...

Must do some emailing now. You know, I've been having my husband disconnect our wireless Internet every morning so I have no distractions as I write Ruby. It works really, really well. I can focus so much better-- it's a huge relief!!! I've been swinging by my favorite coffee shop -- Cafe Ardour-- every afternoon for an hour to do my Internet time... that's where I am now, drinking rice green tea and eating a Clementine cookie (cinnamon and oatmeal and chocolate chip... mmm...)

Have a lovely evening,

Featured Author on Ultimate YA for November!

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Hey everyone!

Check out the Ultimate YA Facebook Group throughout November-- they're featuring The Indigo Notebook! They'll be posting interview questions, fun facts, and other stuff.

Revising The Ruby Notebook has been going swimmingly lately. I've had to write in my house instead of my trailer the past few days, though.

(And this pic was taken after a few days of thaw!)

Have a great day!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

pink bathroom and Little Willow Blog interview....

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Hi everyone!

So I did a post this morning and it plum disappeared!! I'm indignant!

To recap-- I painted my bathroom flamingo pink in an effort to overcome writers block for The Ruby Notebook revisions. (It worked.)

Second, there's an interview with me on Little Willow's blog. It's about The Indigo Notebook... and all of my books, actually... and other things of interest... check it out!

Third, I recently found out I'm officially part of the readergirlz Circle of Stars, with a logo to prove it!
Life is good. I'm off to play in the blizzard with my lil dude!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

next blog tour stop...

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Hello everyone!

Hope you're having a lovely week! I'm excited because I'll be hanging out with YA authors Todd Mitchell and Amy Ryan tomorrow at Amy's house to critique the first chapters of their new work. Good stuff!

Tomorrow (Wednesday), the fabulous YA Authors' Cafe will be featuring an interview with me on The Indigo Notebook. Their blog is very cool-- it's run by three great young adult authors -- you should check it out!

more later,

Monday, October 19, 2009

Release party pics!

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Hey guys,

Real quick before I delve into Ruby revisions... here are some pics from The Indigo Notebook release party on Friday. We had a fun time-- huge thanks for everyone who came, and thanks to my mom for the beautiful flowers she sent that morning!

Maria's dancing was captivating.

Here I am with my good friend (and fellow writer) Gloria.

Here I am with some of my great Colorado writer buddies -- Brandon Meyers (in the midst of writing a few books), Ronald Cree (Desert Blood), and Kirk Farber (Postcards from a Dead Girl).

Here I am with Todd Mitchell, my good friend who has an amazing YA novel coming out in June-- The Secret to Lying. I LOVE this book and can't wait for it to be out in the wide world!

Here I am with Maria, who is going back to Ecuador today, which I'm sad about.

Here's Carrie, my good friend and writers group member who did a great last-minute job of introducing me!

Today's stop on my blog tour is The Writing Bug with Kerrie Flanagan. She's the incredibly energetic organizer of Northern Colorado Writers (which you should check out if you happen to be a Northern Colorado writer!) Hope you enjoy the guest blog post I wrote-- it's about shamanism and story-telling.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Release Party Preparations...

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Hey guys,

It's Release Party day!! Must get last-minute stuff for the party tonight... like potatoes and corncobs and incense for the ritual dance Maria will be doing. Exciting!

If you're in the Ft Collins area, please come! See the events section of my website for details.

Athena's Book Review is featuring a guest post by me today-- here it is!

Have a lovely weekend,

Thursday, October 15, 2009

First STAR IN THE FOREST review!

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Hey everyone!

Slowly but surely, I'm recovering from this flu. No fever now, but a lingering cough which kept waking me up last night. I might have to resort to the oregano-garlic-honey-chamomile tea that my Oaxacan friends recommend... of course then, I'd smell like a walking head of garlic at my book release tomorrow. Hmm.

Today I'm going to go out and buy a bunch of food and some supplies for little party favors I want to make. I'm so excited!!

Today and tomorrow, The Indigo Notebook is featured on Athena's Book Review, a great young adult blog by Minnie-- a very cool educator and writer and avid reader living in south Texas. She asked excellent questions for today's interview, plus a bunch of fun fact questions at the end (in which you can learn about how disgusting the inside of my car is and other random things...)

I'm excited that the first review of Star in the Forest has come in... and I'm so grateful that it's a good one. This is my first foray into middle grade fiction (ages 8-11) AND my first book that's set in my home state of Colorado (although there are some flashbacks to a Nahuatl village in Puebla, Mexico). This is a very special book to me-- it was inspired by some wonderful kids I know on both sides of the border.

As I wrote it, I was wrapped up in this intense feeling, utterly absorbed in the story the entire time... I don't know how to explain it-- I felt this sense of urgency. It's rare for me to feel that way throughout the entire writing process of a book-- with my other books, there have always been days when the writing was a bit torturous. But with Star, I felt completely swept away in the flow (and was sweating profusely much of the time... which to me is a good sign... it means I'm absolutely THERE inside the story.)

Here's an excerpt of the review, from the highly-respected librarian Richie Partington of Richie's Picks:

"One of the coolest things readers will take away from STAR IN THE FOREST has to do with giving someone the benefit of the doubt. I don't want to give the story away, but I'll say that the author sets it up so perfectly that when we meet a particular character far into the book, he is definitely and immediately the object of our anger. How could he do what he's done? But then we hear his side of things and find that we are totally wrong about him. Don't you totally hate it when someone treats you that way? And isn't that how prejudice and intolerance spreads -- we make judgements before really getting to know someone -- or a group of someones, like Mexican immigrants who are in our country without proper paperwork?

I love Laura Resau's RED GLASS, which was on my Best of 2007 list. (I was delighted to see that it has since made Oprah's list for 12-and-up kids, and has been winning all sorts of state awards.) But I think Resau has done something even bigger here. I find it a much rarer discovery to come across such an important-yet-sweet book that will be embraced by third, fourth, fifth and even sixth graders, one that deals so incredibly well -- on a level appropriate for younger readers -- with issues of friendship and poverty and borders and of not making assumptions about people you don't really know." -- Richie Partington

You can read the entire review here. Thank you, Richie!

It's interesting-- several of the things Richie likes best about the story are things that were developed after my editor Stephanie, and her assistant, Krista, gave me their suggestions. They were relatively minor suggestions, but they really added depth and tied together the storylines to bring out the themes. Thanks, Stephanie and Krista! (And if I'm thanking them, I can't leave out my mom and my writing group, who helped me take my editors' suggestions and run with them...)

Thanks for reading!