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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!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

this pesky flu

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Hi all,

Thanks to everyone who sent me congratulations yesterday for the release of The Indigo Notebook! Ian and Toddler and I stayed home yesterday and watched Dora and Diego episodes all day long. As Toddler's flu symptoms faded, mine started coming on full force. Ugh! (Last night was the worst. In my feverish state last night I couldn't get Diego's "Where are all the Elephants?" song out of my head. Torturous.) It doesn't seem like a terrible case of the flu, and I'm pretty sure I'll be better for my book release party on Friday. Send good thoughts my way, please!

For a while now, I've loved reading the Cover Stories that Melissa Walker posts on her blog and the readergirlz blog. Guest authors write about the process of having their book covers created with their publisher. It's fascinating to see the transformations that a cover goes through, and to see the logic behind the changes. I did a guest Cover Stories post today-- check it out! You can see the two previous versions of The Indigo Notebook and leave your comments there. I'd love to hear what you think!

Don't forget that if you go to my readergirlz guest blog post from yesterday, you can leave a comment for a chance to win a personalized, signed hardcover of Indigo!

Finally, if you've already read Indigo... and liked it... and if you have a few minutes to kill or something to procrastinate, please consider leaving a review on amazon (you don't need to have bought the book from amazon to post your review.) Much appreciated! ;)

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Welcome to the world, Indigo!!

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Hello, beloved readers!

Well, it's official-- today The Indigo Notebook is here! In theory, you can find it in any bookstore and library in North America (in reality, you might need to order it from your favorite bookseller or librarian... sometimes they need a little gentle nudging.)

Or, if you feel inspired, you can go ahead and order your copy through indiebound or amazon.

Today I have a guest post on the readergirlz blog, and if you leave a comment, you'll have a chance of winning a free, signed and personalized hardcover of Indigo!

And remember, you can also enter my creative writing contest and have a chance to win the book, too! (Just click on the link, then scroll down to Fall Contest.)

I stumbled across this video of Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) giving a talk about creativity. I whole-heartedly agree with her... and I'm planning on expanding on her ideas a little in a blog post about shamans and writers ... which I have yet to write! If you're a writer who thinks a lot about the mysteries of creativity (as I do), I recommend spending 20 minutes watching this. It's fascinating and funny.

Okay, must tend to sick Toddler now... Thanks for celebrating with me today!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Anthropology and Fiction interview today!

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Maria and her son feeding chickens

Hey everyone,

Hope you had a fun weekend... I had my first sled ride of the season this weekend...wheeeeee! Toddler looked like a little puff-fish all decked out in his snowsuit.

Tomorrow is the big day-- the release of The Indigo Notebook!!! I got the contract two years ago, and I remember thinking that 2009 seemed sooo far in the future... and now it's actually here.

at a waterfall near Otavalo with Maria

In celebration, this week I'll have blog appearances daily-- the first is at Charlotte's Library. This is a special interview for a few reasons. Charlotte is the blogger who helped shortlist Red Glass for the Cybils Blogger Award two years ago (and I just found out she nominated The Indigo Notebook for this award, too! Yay!) Being a Cybils finalist was huge for Red Glass-- it really spread the word about the book, and also made me more aware of the wonderful book blogging community. I've discovered most of my favorite books over the past two years through these book blogs. (There are still a few more days left to nominate favorite books for the Cybils.)

I've never met Charlotte in person, but I know through reading her blog and our email contact that she's an archaeologist as well as an avid reader. Her interview questions focus on the intersection of anthropology and fiction, a topic which fascinates us both. I hope you enjoy the interview... Charlotte asks a bunch of great questions I haven't gotten before.

Okay, here's the last installment of Maria Virginia's Ecuadorian recipes posts. This is a yummy side dish that Maria often makes for potlucks when she's visiting here in Colorado.

Cortido Salad (Serves four)

2 medium tomatoes
1 small/medium yellow or white onion

1 cucumber 1 green pepper
1 carrot
1/8th bunch of fresh cilantro (7 pieces)
1 medium lime
About ½ tablespoon salt (to taste)
black pepper to taste
a tablespoon of olive oil

The key in this salad is to slice and dice the vegetables very finely so the flavors can mix together. First, soften the flavor of the onions: Cut the onions into thin slices and then cut the slices in half to form half-circles. Put the onion in a separate bowl and add a teaspoon of salt and a cup of water. Mix with your hands, crushing and breaking apart the pieces of onion. Drain out the water and add another cup of water to rinse. Drain again.

Dice the tomatoes into very small cubes. Peel the cucumber and remove the seeds. Slice the cucumber once length-wise and then slice horizontally to form thin half-circles. Slice the green pepper into thin, long strips. Peel the carrot into long, thin shavings. Chop the cilantro very finely.

Mix all the vegetables and onion and cilantro together and add the lime juice, olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Serve immediately.

*As with all Maria's recipes, quantities are approximate-- you can adjust them according to your taste.*

Ta-dah... now you can make your own Ecuadorian feast! Buen provecho!

until tomorrow...


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Melon juice on a snowy day...

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Potatoes galore... the Andes were the birthplace of potatoes...

Hey everyone,

It's snowing here-- can you believe it?! Toddler and I went out to investigate early this morning, when it was only snowing a little. He was really excited, but wanted more snow... so he demanded, "Mommy, I want BIG snow!" And when I explained that I don't have control over the weather, he didn't buy it, and kept insisting in that screechy toddler voice, "I want BIG snow! BIG snow!" Luckily, it did start snowing harder, which qualified as BIG snow, and once again, I became all-powerful and just in his eyes...

Party at Maria's house in Oatavalo. Maria's husband, Tino, is the one singing and holding the pan flute.

So, it's less than a week now til the release of The Indigo Notebook, and I thought I'd post another one of Maria Virginia's recipes in celebration. This one's a beverage, and you can make it with any large melon-type fruit-- cantelope, watermelon, papaya... It's especially nice for those times when you have half a leftover melon and the fridge and want to use it fast before it goes bad.

the pig and sheep and cow market in Otavalo

Jugo de Melon (makes four small glasses)

In Ecuador, this refreshing beverage is often served at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.


½ peeled cantaloupe,
5 tablespoons of sugar (or to taste),
3 cups water,
4 ice cubes.

Cut the cantaloupe in small cubes and blend in a blender with ice, water, and sugar.

How much easier can it get?! And it's really yummy... it gets a nice foam on top.

Another great review of The Indigo Notebook came in-- this one from the Southern Colorado Literature Examiner. Here's an excerpt:

"The journey to [Zeeta's] revelations, as recorded in her notebook, will amuse and entertain readers of all ages. The characters are charming, unique individuals that will remain in the memories of readers for many days to come. This tale is a young adult adventure, with a humor, mystery and mystique thrown in to make a truly enjoyable read." -- Kaye Lynne Booth

Yay! Thanks for a lovely review!

on the way to see a shaman in a village outside of Otavalo

Have a wonderful day! For you Fort Collins folks, I'm doing a Red Glass presentation at the new Council Tree library tonight at 6:30... should be fun!

Weather update: It's still snowing... MEGA-BIG snow now...


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ecuadorian Shrimp Ceviche... mmm..

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Otavalo food market


I'm in my trailer with the heat blasting, trying to warm up. It's cold today! Before I dive into my revisions for The Ruby Notebook, I thought I'd post another yummy Ecuadorian recipe from Maria Viriginia. This one's shrimp ceviche (which Wendell and Zeeta make together in The Indigo Notebook.) My Ecuadorian friends always serve this with tostado or popcorn.

Shrimp Ceviche (Serves four)

2 lbs of medium shrimp (de-veined and de-shelled)

5 medium tomatoes
1/3 bunch fresh cilantro (about 15 pieces)

4 large limes
3 medium white or yellow onions
About 1 tablespoon of salt (start off with less, then season to taste)
1 ½ cups water
a tablespoon of olive oil

Boil the shrimp in 1 ½ cups boiling water for 5 minutes. Take out the shrimp and put in a large bowl. Save the water (you’ll use it later) and set aside to cool.

Boil another pot of water, and boil the tomatoes for 2 minutes. Then take out the tomatoes and peel off the skins. Put the peeled tomatoes in a blender with the water that the shrimp was boiled in, and add a teaspoon of salt. Blend until you have liquid tomato juice.

Cut each shrimp in half. Add the blended tomato juice to the bowl of shrimp. Chop the cilantro very finely and add to the mixture.

Next, soften the flavor of the onions: Cut the onions into thin slices and then cut the slices in half to form half-circles. Put the onions in a separate bowl and add a teaspoon of salt and a cup of water. Mix with your hands, crushing and breaking apart the pieces of onion. Drain out the water and add another cup of water to rinse. Drain again.

Add the onions and lime juice and olive oil to the shrimp mixture and mix all ingredients together.

Serve immediately with a side of rice and/or popcorn.

(Note that Maria doesn't usually measure ingredients, just eyeballs them, so you can adjust the quantities to your taste.)

grains in the Otavalo market

Today Becky's Book Reviews posted an interview with me about The Indigo Notebook... please check it out!

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Quinoa Soup Recipe

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Hey, everyone!

Google alerted me of an absolutely lovely new review of The Indigo Notebook today! It's from Six Boxes of Books blog, and here's an excerpt:

This first book in the series takes place in Ecuador, and the first sign that I wasn't in Babysitters Club territory was the richness of setting. It's obvious that Resau knows her Ecuador, but it comes out of her naturally, without delving into travelogue territory. The last two days I felt like I WAS in Ecuador, and so the only possible thing I could have for dinner last night was Ecuadorean quinoa vegetable soup from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes--you may think you've never been that interested in going to Ecuador, but after reading this book, I predict you'll be looking up plane fares. -- Wendy, Six Boxes of Books

Isn't that cool? I actually have that same Moosewood book and have made that same recipe! Here's the recipe that my friend Maria Virginia (co-author of The Queen of Water, coming spring 2011) uses. We led a Whole Foods cooking class together a couple years ago, and this is one of the scrumptious dishes we made. (Hmm... maybe I'll post the side dishes over the next few days so you can cook yourself a complete Ecuadorian meal after you read the book!)

Be aware that quantities are approximate-- Maria just eyeballs the ingredients, so she had a tough time quantifying them when we wrote down the recipe ... ;-)

Quinoa Soup (sopa de pobres in Spanish and sopa de pubri gendipa api in Quichua) (Serves four)

¼ pound dry quinoa

3 medium red potatoes (cut into one-inch cubes)

10 green onions (white parts only, finely chopped)

About 1 tablespoon salt (to taste)

½ tsp. cumin
3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)

1 medium carrot (cut into ¼ inch cubes)

1 tsp. olive oil
¼ bunch of fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
¼ tsp black pepper

1 cup milk

1 pound of mozerella (or similar) cheese

About 3 liters of water or broth

½ teaspoon achiote (optional for natural red color)

In a large soup pot, boil the quinoa with the salt and water for 45 minutes. When the quinoa is soft and creamy, add potatoes and carrots and garlic. Let simmer until potatoes and carrots are soft. In another pan, heat the oil and sauté the green onions with the cilantro for about one minute. Add the milk, achiote, cumin, and let boil for three minutes, stirring constantly. Add this milk mixture to the quinoa mixture. Bring to a boil and let boil for three minutes. You can either put the cheese cubes into the soup and let melt, or, you can add the cheese cubes to individual bowls of soup.
Buen provecho!

the beautiful Maria Virginia

Back to the Six Boxes of Books review, again! I just want to include the last paragraph of the review--

I think your bright middle-schoolers and maybe high-schoolers will love this series. I was desperate to travel when I was that age, and it seems like something even more teens aspire to now. Zeeta is both a real girl (multiracial, by the way) and a wish-fulfillment fantasy, something YA can never have enough of.

I'm so happy for that comment-- it's what I was going for with this book, and I'm really pleased the blend of reality and "fantasy" worked for this reviewer. (And to answer Wendy's question about how many books will be in the series, I'm planning on three, which I suppose will make it a trilogy...)

Outside view of a bread oven attached to a house in a Quichua community

Thanks for reading! Be sure to read my next blog tour interview at Becky's Book Reviews on October 6!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Blog tour update...

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Hello all!

Just a quick note to say that Zu Vincent of Through the Tollbooth YA writers blog just finished up her three-day series of interviews with me. She asked me some really thought-provoking questions that I haven't gotten before, so be sure to check them out. Go to her group blog, click on The Blog, then click on Archives and click on the 2009 calendar dates Sept 29, 30, and Oct 1. There's probably some easy way to link directly to the interviews, and one of these days I might figure it out! In the meantime, follow my labyrinthine instructions! ;)

Next stop is Becky's Blog on October 6! For the entire blog tour itinerary, look here.

I'm tempted to write more, but I really, really have unplug the wireless internet and hole up in my trailer for a few hours and revise more of The Ruby Notebook...