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Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy New Year, from my trailer to yours...

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 photo from stolkholms stadsmission

Or, at least, to your metaphorical trailer... whatever your creative space happens to be!

Speaking of creativity,  look what my writer friend Laura Pritchett gave me (and our other writing group members) for Christmas...


It's a writer's snow globe! I LOVE snowglobes... and this is the first homemade one I've gotten.  Laura's the author of some wonderful fiction (Hell's Bottom, Colorado and Sky Bridge) and she's edited a bunch of great environmentally-themed anthologies, one of which is Going Green-- it's all about cool ways of gleaning new uses for junk.

Her card was made by a friend of ours, Libby, who makes art from old teabags!  You can read an excerpt from her essay about her teabag art in Going Green here.  As a tea fiend, I really appreciate her work.... so pretty!  I love the color of tea.


And here's Laura's sweet message inside... a sentiment I wish for you who are writers, too.



I'm so grateful for Laura and the other amazing writers (and readers!) in my life.  Around this time of year, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude.  This month marks the *three year anniversary* of my Lil Dude's arrival from Guatemala. He was eight months old when he came, just scooting around and belting out "Da!" and clapping, his mouth wide open in delight.  Now that he's here, I love how our home feels so full, spilling over with his exuberant energy (not to mention, lots of toy firetrucks, trains, stuffed animals...) 

And I'm grateful for my mom who has, once again, dropped everything to help me finish the next of the Notebooks series-- in this case, THE JADE NOTEBOOK-- so I can meet my January deadline to hand the manuscript in to my editor. Thank you, Mom!

 

And I'm grateful for the little everyday joys that come with living where I do, at the foot of the Rockies... There are rainbows galore here.  We saw this full rainbow arc at the end of our street one morning last week.  It took our breath away.  Lil Dude and I stood in the middle of our street for a while, in a state of wonder.  "That's so cool, Mommy!" he kept saying.  Of course, he wanted to follow the rainbow, find where it touched down... 

Much love and many happy winter wishes to you and yours!

xoxo,
Laura

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fort Collins Author Friends!

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Hello dear readers!

Books make such fantastic presents.  Some of my all-time favorite presents during my childhood and teen years were books. The love I developed for these books (The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, books by Mary Stewart, Roald Dahl, Scott O'Dell, and many, many more...) was an essential part of my journey as a writer. Thank you to all my wonderful relatives who supported me early on in my writing journey by giving me books!

I'm lucky enough to live in a community with loads of talented (not to mention extremely *nice*) authors who write for young people.  We decided to support each other this holiday season by encouraging people to buy each other's books as gifts. So.... I encourage you to shop local authors if you're in Fort Collins, and if you're somewhere else, shop local authors in your community!  (Remember that you can always buy books to donate to your local school library or a Toys for Tots drive.)

Okay, here goes:

By acclaimed novelist, Todd Mitchell


A teenage boy takes advantage of being the new student at school and reinvents himself.  Things get out of control in a sharp, funny, poignant, and compulsively readable novel that gives a coming-of-age theme a surprising twist. Selected by the Texas Library Association for the 2011 Teen Reading List.

You've heard me rave about this book before on my blog!  I LOVE it! One of my all-time favorite teen books.

By WWII author, Teresa Funke


The Home-Front Heroes Series are books inspired by the stories of real people during WWII. Ideal for history buffs and teachers, too!

My favorite way of learning about history is through stories... and Teresa does a fantastic job of this with her novels!

By praised teen author, Amy Kathleen Ryan


Zen is the "good" sister with a black belt in karate and a newfound penchant for kicking heads. Xander is a wild scientific genius with a self-destructive streak. They have three things in common: they're brown-eyed blondes, they've noticed the boy next door has turned into a hottie, and they miss their deceased mom. Xander spirals into a vortex of late-night parties, scary men, and drugs. She's about to ruin her chance at college. Should Zen keep trying to protect Xander, or finally let her go? 

Amy Ryan creates such distinctive voices and characters and storylines-- she's a captivating storyteller!  (And I've had the privilege of reading a sneak preview of her speculative fiction series that will come out in a year or so-- spectacular!) 

By national best-selling author, Natasha Wing



For dinosaur lovers: a tongue-in-cheek guide to caring for a pet dinosaur with wild illustrations and fun lift-the-flaps. 

My three-year old loves this book! It's SO much fun to read together!

****
The above is just a sampling of the great books coming out of Fort Collins... Other fantastic local authors to check out include: 

  • Victoria Hanley (Violet Wings-- wonderful middle grade fantasy), 
  • Lauren Myracle (Violet in Bloom-- fabulous middle grade realistic fiction), 
  • Karla Oceanak (Artsy-Fartsy books-- middle-grade graphic novel series along the lines of Diary of a Wimpy Kid (but better!), 
  • Nathan Kumar Scott (multi-cultural picture books)
... I'm sure I'm missing some authors (sorry!), but I have to stop here so I can bring Lil Dude to preschool now... ;)

Happy Book-Giving!

xo,
Laura

* In Fort Collins,  you can find most of these books at: Old Firehouse Books, Bookends, Clothes Pony and Dandelion Toys, Reader's Cove, and Barnes & Noble on So. College. Nature's Own also carries How to Raise a Dinosaur.  Or, if you're not in the area, you can go to indiebound.org to order the books from an indie store near you.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Literary Weavings

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Hello dear readers!

Hope your Thanksgiving was full of good company and good food-- ours was!  I just got back from an action-packed trip to Madison, WI, and then Orlando for two fun conferences... more about those later....  Now, I want to share this very cool literary weaving activity that superstar reading specialist Sandra Kowalczyk used with her middle schoolers while reading Red Glass.

Me with the weaving on display:



Here's Sandy's description:

Inspired by woven textiles and carpets from Oaxaca, Mexico, where the novel Red Glass takes place, students collaboratively created a literary weaving.  Each student designed a strip of repeated symbols, colors, and quotes from  Red Glass to capture significant images and themes from the book.  Then students wove the strips together.

Close up:


Pics of Oaxacan women weaving (photos taken by Sandy on a trip she took to Oaxaca) along with a photo of the students actually weaving their strips together:


Sandy and me in front of another amazingly creative display she made with her class (this one features all my books!):


Here's another shot so you can see the parts covered up in the last pic.  Some of the absolutely delightful touches include The Indigo Notebook and The Ruby Notebook in spiral bound notebook form, plane tickets with Zeeta's flight info, first from Thailand to Ecuador, then from Ecuador to France!), a little pretend Rumi book (with a Rumi quote inside!), maps galore, Zeeta's passport, an Andean alpaca sweater, photos from Ecucador... Needless to say, I was completely blown away!

*Remember, you can click on the images to enlarge them!*

I love, love, love, when teachers and librarians do such creative things with my books.  It's such a joy for me!  Sandy's enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone at the school (Patrick Marsh Middle School in Wisconsin)... Her wonderful colleagues and students were bursting with great energy.  During the two (!) delicious Mexican-themed lunches they served me, I heard kids' and teachers' great comments and questions on Red Glass, The Indigo Notebook,  and Star in the Forest. Thank you guys!  I loved hearing about your connections to my books!

xoxo
Laura

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Horoscope...

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Hello dearest readers!
 
I wanted to share with you my uncannily accurate horoscope from the Lincoln Journal Star that my parents picked up as they were driving here (Colorado) from Michigan last week:

Cancer (June 22-July 22)-- You almost see the finish line for a writing project.  The editing process presents difficulties.  Enlist the help of an older, more objective person.

Hehehe!  Needless to say, the writing project is THE JADE NOTEBOOK, which I must finish by Jan 1.  And um, yes... "presents difficulties" is a nice way of saying "is utterly grueling at the moment."  And the older person?  My mom, of course.  In my NaNoWriMo-esque plan, I'm trying to get this latest revision to her by the end of November.

Speaking of which, thanks to everyone who came to my novel-writing tips event at Barnes and Noble yesterday-- you guys were great!  I have to say, you probably inspired me more than I inspired you.  (And as you probably saw on the handout, I meant to hold a fun little contest to come up with a snazzier title for the workshop, but I got caught up in the excitement of talking to you all, and it completely slipped my mind... sorry!)

A nice bit o' news: THE RUBY NOTEBOOK just got a Flamingnet Top Choices Award!  This is a really cool teen blogger award... all the reviews are done by teens, who designate their favorites as Top Choices.


Here's a piece of the review:

"The Ruby Notebook is a lovely tale of a girl who is lost in her own world, as most of us are. The reader follows Zeeta on her path to finding herself, perhaps learning more about themselves as well. The concept of the book lies in the mysteries of the fountain of eternal youth, which I find interesting. It was very easy for me to get immersed in the book and not want to stop reading. There were many plots and subplots that were all very well tied up by the end of the novel, but they kept you guessing the entire way through. I would recommend it to anyone who loves both mystery and romance genres." -- a 17-year-old Flamingnet Reviewer

Thanks-- I'm honored-- it's always extra-meaningful to get a good review from a teen reviewer! 

Speaking of reviews, the Denver Post featured THE RUBY NOTEBOOK in the Sunday book section.  Here's a quote from reviewer Claire Martin: "As always, Resau's narrative is lush, evoking Provence with grace and precision."  (Merci,  Claire!)  She also reviewed my friend Lauren Myracle's latest book, Violet in Bloom.... it sounds really good-- I'm eager to read it. 

On a side note, Lauren and I will be at the NCTE conference (ALAN workshops) in *Orlando* next week, along with a bunch of breath-takingly amazing authors. So thrilling to be in their midst... Just before that conference, I'll be at the International Children's Literature Festival in Madison, also in the midst of fabulous authors. 

And now, if you'll excuse me, I must do some laundry so I have something to wear on these upcoming adventures.  (When I walked out the door with Lil Dude to go to preschool this morning, he said, "Mommy, you can't leave the house in your pajamas."  I ushered him out, assuring him that it's our secret... if I wear a big coat, no one has to know I slept in these clothes...)

Okay, thanks for reading! 

xo
Laura

Monday, November 1, 2010

Internet-less Interlude

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Hello everyone!

Our DSL was down from Fri through this morning (Monday), which was interesting... on one hand, it was liberating, and made me really productive-- revising more of The Jade Notebook, playing more with Lil Dude, cleaning my fridge, scrubbing the floors, organizing our basement... Periodically, I thought, hmmm, if we had Internet access at the moment, I wouldn't be doing any of this stuff-- I'd be twiddling my time away online instead.  And mentally, I felt calmer, more focused-- just a relaxed state of mind.

On the other hand, our Internet-less state was pretty darn inconvenient-- I was clueless about event schedules, like the Day of the Dead festivities and movies and things like that.  But overall, it was a good thing. Ian and I decided to do more Internet fasts... maybe even every weekend (which is, I admit, a little scary to me!) 

On a different note, here's a pic of me and my welcoming crew for the Telluride visit I did a couple weeks ago.  These super-sweet girls made me feel very, very welcome!  Thank you!


I'm guessing some of you are doing NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month), which began today.  I'm doing my own version of it, as a matter of fact.  I'm on a strict schedule of revising The Jade Notebook-- a chapter a day-- so I can get it critiqued by my writers group and Mom in December, and have it in reasonably decent shape (*hope hope hope*) by early January, when it's due to my editor.  So far, so good-- got my chapter done! 

For you Fort Collinites, I'm doing a signing/workshop in celebration of NaNoWriMo -- Ten Novel-Writing Tips.  (I need to learn to come up with snazzier workshop titles, don't I?)  Anyway, it's Sunday, Nov 14 at 2 pm at the Barnes and Noble on College Ave.  It's the NaNoWriMo midway point, and hopefully it'll give you a nice little burst of energy to keep you going...

Hope your Halloween was spookily amusing.  Ours was... Lil Dude was a cuddly, fuzzy dragon and I was a dead Victorian lady (my old standby).  And today is Day of the Dead--  I didn't make an altar this year, but I saw some gorgeous ones at the library's Dia de los Muertos festivities.  Lil Dude and I stuffed ourselves with sugary pan de muertos and tamales, listened to calavera (skeleton) tales, heard our friend Gloria Garcia sing and read poetry, and walked in a fun parade, complete with a guitarist and giant puppets.... all in perfectly glorious sunny fall weather.

Have a happy week,
Laura

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Telluride Visit!

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Just got back from a beautiful-beyond-words trip to Telluride!

Rode a little plane over the Rockies to get there... breath-taking views... snow-topped mountains and hillsides covered with bright yellow aspens.


Such amazing and enthusiastic teens and teen librarians (Alyssa in the middle and Sarah in yellow on right) at the Telluride Library! Oh, how I wish I lived there so I could swing by to say hi every day!  What a cozy, wonderful community.


Wined and dined at a magnifique French restaurant with librarians and teachers and community leaders...


Everyone did such a fantastic job generating excitement about my visit! Here's a bulletin board at the school...


Some of the talented high school girls who attended the Friday afternoon writing workshop...


Here's a cool little fantasy/sci fi nook in the high school library... wish I had a little refuge like this when I was in high school... I would have curled up there and never left!


I stayed at a cute B and B, right downtown next to a river trail, where I walked every day (while dreaming of living here)...


Couldn't get enough of those quivering aspens...


For my Saturday writing workshop at the library, some of these teens took a two hour van ride to get there! I was honored.  They were all brilliant writers, I discovered...


The fabulous librarian and blog reviewer Di (of Genrefluent), who I'd corresponded with online and was absolutely *thrilled* to meet in person!  What a treat. (And she drove two hours each way, too...)  


These gorgeous girls stopped by the library on Saturday before going to their Homecoming dance.  I was so touched!


Here I am with a couple cool readers at the multicultural celebration on Saturday night... I did a presentation on "Transcending Borders."  I was so happy to have such an exuberant audience-- about half of the people there were native Spanish speakers (my talk was simultaneously translated into Spanish via headsets)... Everyone had lots to contribute... One family there was from Oaxaca!  They spoke Chinanteco, one of the eighteen indigenous languages spoken in Oaxaca.  Needless to say,  I was over the moon to chat with them (in Spanish... I don't speak Chinantecto- -maybe one day!)  It was such an honor to be part of this community celebration-- many connections were made that evening-- what great energy...


Two of the geniuses behind the celebration--  Sarah the super-hero librarian on the left and Emo the community non-profit community organizer goddess on the right.  I was so impressed with how they got nearly everyone in town excited about my books... Several times as I was walking down the street, some kids called out, "Hi Laura Resau!"  And they even knew how to pronounce my last name. ;)


Before my plane left on Sunday, I took a ride up the mountain in a free gondola. Stunning views...


 Here's the town of Telluride through the gondola window...


And here it is when I was almost to the top... (yes, I was a wee bit nervous, dangling alone in the air at 10,000 feet...)


Thank you, Telluride, for an incredibly memorable and special visit!  I'll be back!!

xo
Laura 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Maria Virginia, Mannequin Belly Buttons, and Ruby Reviews...

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Hello all!

Just got back from an outing to our very lame local mall (featured on deadmalls.com) with Lil Dude this rainy afternoon.  He's fascinated by mannequins, and was on a mission to look under each one's shirt to confirm that they each had a belly button.  (All of them did, although many were headless.)  He's into belly buttons.  The other day, out of the blue, he said in a very serious voice, "Mommy, all mammals have belly buttons.  If it has a belly button, it's a mammal."

So, other fun stuff... I had a gathering at my house a few days ago in honor of Maria Virginia Farinango, my co-author for The Queen of Water (March 2011).  She's in town now, but will return to Ecuador soon... we wanted to have a little shin dig to show off the gorgeous review copy of Queen and thank everyone who gave us revision help or general moral support!

Here's Maria V with Maria Luisa (Swiss woman who plays Andean music!) and Julie (writer, bilingual educator, and good friend).  Maria is posed with dirty dishes... it's kind of a running joke that she's not allowed to do any cleaning up at my house, but then she always sneaks in the kitchen and does it while I'm blabbing away and drinking wine... (I always wait till the next day (or day after that or after that) to do dishes.)


Maria and the very sweet Flora, who's from Bolivia-- another gorgeous Andean country...


Sarah, from my writing group, with new baby and cute new haircut! She helped with Queen revisions over the past five or so years!


To the left of Sarah is Michelle-- a fourth grade teacher at bilingual school in our neighborhood-- she helped with Queen revisions during our Spanish-speaking focus group.


To the left of Michelle is Margaret-- a friend of Maria's who does amazing international community development volunteer work (with Afghan women and rug-making)


Michelle with one of the adorable three year old boys in attendance (my lil dude was the other one!)  At one point during the party, noticing that his mom, Carrie's lap was occupied (with his baby sister), he made a general request to adults nearby.: "Can I sit in someone's lap please?"  Awww....


 And here's his mom, Carrie, who is in my writing group, and like Sarah, has seen many drafts of The Queen of Water.  (I think she's the one, who at one point during the process of choosing a title for this book, suggested "Maria and the Potatoes", since Maria talked a lot about potatoes in one draft of the book. Hehehe...)  To the right of Carrie is Holly, holding Sarah's baby (I know, babies galore!) Holly is an educator, fluent in Spanish, and was part of our Spanish focus group.


There's MaryLou in the middle... another amazing woman who does lots of international volunteer work. She's involved with the Xucaneb Fund to enable secondary education in a Guatemalan village, a non-profit where I donated 5% of my royalties last year.


Ian (hubbie, with new haircut) and Paul, another bilingual educator who helped us in the Spanish focus group for Queen. Great guy!


As usual, I'll refrain from posting a pic of Lil Dude, but trust me, with every passing day, his curly hair grows wilder and he grows cuter!

On a different note, here's a little blurb from School Library Journal's nice review of The Ruby Notebook (in their October issue):

"With a hint of mystery, a bit of romance, a touch of travel, and some coming-of-age, this book covers a lot of ground without ever feeling scattered or haphazard. Resau’s robust descriptions give readers a good picture of France and its people... Anyone who enjoys detailed settings and thoughtful narratives will be rewarded with this story." -- SLJ

The Fort Collins Coloradoan also had a lovely review of Ruby today:

"Curl up with this and you'll be sorry when it ends. Resau's easy, heartwarming literary style inserts the reader into the focal setting of the village plaza, making the characters Zeeta hangs out with such as the pigeon man and the elderly binocular lady genuine parts of the scene.  Zeeta juggles a mysterious admirer with her boyfriend and becomes involved in a search for legendary spring waters that offer a coming of age and give Zeeta life lessons on love in all its forms. Highly recommended." – Nancy Hansford 

 
Thanks for reading!

xo
Laura

Monday, October 4, 2010

THE RUBY NOTEBOOK Party Recap!

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Thanks so much to everyone who came to my release party on Saturday!  I had heaps of fun celebrating with you!  All your enthusiasm made me excited to finish writing The Jade Notebook so you can find out what happens next...

 Accordion music filled the room thanks to the incredible Thomas Chen...


Here's Jean-Claude, owner of La Creperie (my favorite local restaurant) who was responsible for making the divine pastries.  Next to him is Jean-Christophe, who helped me with French slang and expressions  in the book. (And coincidentally, Thomas, Jean-Claude, and Jean-Christophe are all names of characters in The Ruby Notebook! C'est bizarre, n'est-ce pas?)


I love that people of all ages came out to celebrate... the three-year-old crowd is endlessly entertaining... they really got into dancing.  Against Ian's (hubbie's) advice, I held an accordion dance contest, which turned out to be tres amusant (thanks for being good sports, everyone!)


I read a few little sections of the book, and everyone graciously laughed when they were supposed to (I learned from my Lil Dude that you can't go wrong with potty humor... in this case, pigeon potty humor).  The teens there seemed excited about sharing their new French vocab word (me*de or mer*e, hehehe) with their French teacher at school.  They promptly book-marked that page...


I was so happy to see so many teen girl fans of The Indigo Notebook, who were eager to read Ruby.... They all looked supercute-- some dressed in tres chic French outfits.


There was signing with a ruby red pen...


This lovely fan drove with her mom and sister all the way from south Denver for the party!  I was honored!


You'll notice from the empty doilies that nearly all the pastries were all eaten by the time I started signing... but miraculously there was one heavenly pastry left for me... (merci, merci)


It's funny, but before the party I'd been worried I ordered too many pastries, and wondering what I'd do with all the leftovers... another party maybe?  Ridiculous... (here's the line for pastries, out the door...)


Nothing cuter than little hands oh-so-carefully carrying a little masterpiece...


So many writer friends showed up to celebrate... here I'm talking with fabulous picture book author Natasha Wing (who has a reading at Old Firehouse Books on Oct 16). 


Thank you Old Firehouse Books and everyone else for making this such a special night for me!


xoxo,
Laura