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Friday, February 19, 2010

Cuy! Rrriquisimo!

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Hey all,

Another snowy day here (and probably where you are, too!)

Warning: if you are the proud owner of a cute pet guinea pig, read no further (and don't look too closely at the above photo.)

Maria Virginia (my co-author for The Queen of Water) sent me these great pics of her parents roasting cuy (guinea pig) for a family gathering a few weekends ago. If you've read The Indigo Notebook, and were curious what roasted guinea pigs looked like, voila:

And an even closer look...

These pics were taken in Maria Virginia's family's house in a Quichua community near Otavalo, Ecuador. Several scenes in The Queen of Water take place in this house...( and yes, guinea pigs play minor parts in this book, too... in the first scene as a matter of fact. ;) I'm so excited to share this story with you-- it seems like forever to have to wait a whole year for it to come out!

All right, that's all for now. I have to clean up my toy-strewn house and clear some floor space and couch space for my friends Gloria and Marty to come over and practice performing a song for the Star in the Forest release party (April 2)! Gloria will sing one of her favorite traditional Mexican songs and Marty will accompany her on guitar... at least, that's the plan. Fingers crossed it'll work out!

Ack! I'm being driven slightly crazy now by Toddler, who is simply refusing to take a nap today. He's finding every excuse in the book to avoid it. He's in his room making mournful noises at the moment. Oof. I'm going to get going now...

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Finishing THE QUEEN OF WATER... at long last!

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my co-author for The Queen of Water, Maria Virginia Farinango

Hello and Happy Valentine's Day to you!

It's been a while since I last wrote... I've been busy trying to finish The Queen of Water revisions for my editor. The deadline's Monday, and it looks like I'm going to make it! This morning I spent an hour on the phone with Maria Virginia (my collaborator) to go over small revision details. Whew! But finally, after six year (SIX YEARS!!!) of working on this book, the end is finally in sight. We're so excited.

Here she's dressed in clothes from another region of Ecuador, which she wore for one of the dances she did.

Here are some pics of Maria Virginia from the release party of THE INDIGO NOTEBOOK. She happened to be visiting Fort Collins at the time, and she offered to do some traditional dance performances at my party, which was perfect since Indigo is set in the Otavalo region, where she's from. (And of course, she's the whole reason I ended up going to Otavalo and getting inspired to write Indigo in the first place.)

Above we're preparing materials for a dance of gratitude-- I'm lighting incense here.

The dance involves offerings of fruit, potatoes, and corn. These are the clothes from her home in the Otavalo area. (She doesn't always wear these clothes-- in the U.S., she wears them for special occasions, and in Otavalo, she wears them whenever she feels like it, to go to parties or to the market or wherever.)

I hold my release parties in a big, wonderful coffee house called Everyday Joe's just a few blocks from my house in downtown Fort Collins. They have a big screen where I project photos of people and places who inspired the book (that's Maria Virginia and her husband, Tino, and me in a cornfield)-- it's a perfect set-up.

Maria Virginia's dancing is breath-taking. Everyone, especially the toddler crowd, was captivated. We can't wait for her story to be out in the wide world... and we can hardly believe that in one year, it finally will be!

Other news: I'm in the midst of planning some events for the Star in the Forest release this spring, so stay tuned for details. I found out that The Indigo Notebook paperback will come out in August of this year, which is sooner than I expected-- and they've designed a new cover for it (and for the whole series, actually). Voila...

What do you think? I think it's pretty-- I love the colors and the feeling the water gives me. Unfortunately, I don't have a higher resolution image yet, so I can't really tell what the girl looks like. My editor also gave me the cover for The Ruby Notebook, but I'll post that image as the release date draws closer...

So, there's your update on my writing life... and the rest of my life now is basically a desperate, seemingly endless attempt to potty-train Lil Dude. Argh! Hopefully this project won't take as long as The Queen of Water did... ;)

Thanks for reading!