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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Unveiling of The Queen of Water...

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Hello everyone!

I've been in Michigan and Chicago this past week, having a fun time doing school and library visits, the IRA conference, and my agent's annual retreat... it's been a whirlwind! I'm dying to post pics of all these amazing events, but the little slot in my computer where the memory card goes is broken... it got drenched with tea (with lots of milk and honey) one disastrous morning a few months ago (hmm... now how did that happen?) Anyway, I'll be doing a bunch of posts about this trip when I get home next week, but in the meantime, I thought I'd give you this treat...

Isn't it beautiful!? This is more-or-less what the cover of The Queen of Water will look like when it comes out next spring (2011). A coupla little details will be changed, like the word order of the title). This is a photo of Maria Virginia that my friend Ken Burgess took of her! I'm so excited that she's on the cover. I love the rich, warm colors, and the shimmery gold of the beads and lace and her lips... and her expression is so tender and introspective.

Let's hope this is the final cover... there's always a chance it could change, depending on the whims of the giant bookstore chains.

Here's a description of the book:

Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indígenas, it's not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta--stupid Indian--by the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. On the day Virginia is taken from her Andean village to be an unpaid servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the next decade will hold for her.

Virginia, who has always dreamt of leaving her village, soon embraces the privileges of mestizo life. But as much as she wants to be part of her new family, she instead receives a tangled mixture of love and disdain. Beaten and taunted by her boss, she has to fight to hold onto her spirit and humor. Told that the sole purpose of indigenous girls is to serve, she teaches herself to read and write… and performs science experiments in secret.

But when her most cherished ally betrays her, can she gather the courage and wits to escape? And once free, will Virginia—now a teenager caught between cultures—find a place where she belongs?

In this poignant novel based on a true story, acclaimed author Laura Resau has collaborated with María Virginia Farinango to recount an indigenous girl's unforgettable journey to self-discovery that will speak to anyone who has ever struggled to find his or her place in the world. Virginia’s story will make you laugh and cry, and ultimately, fill you with hope.

I can't wait until the book is out in the world for you to read! Okay, I'm off to take a walk in this windy, sunny city right now... and then I'll be having dinner with my agent (Erin Murphy) and a bunch of her wonderful authors. Thanks for reading!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Colorado Book Award Finalists!

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Hello everyone,

Hope this finds you well! I just got news from the Colorado Book Award committee... and am thrilled that THE INDIGO NOTEBOOK is one of three finalists for the Young Adult category! Yipee!

I was happy to see so many of my writer-friends on the finalist list. The other YA finalists are Amy Efaw (After) and Julie Anne Peters (Rage: A Love Story). Amy and Julie are such talented, warm people-- I'm so excited for them.

All three finalists in the Juvenile category are writing buddies of mine, too! Congrats to Teresa Funke for V is for Victory: Homefront Heroes and Karla Oceanak for her debut novel Artsy-Fartsy: an Aldo Zelnick Comic novel (these are both Ft Collins writers, too) and Claudia Mills for How Oliver Olsen Changed the World.

My good friend Denise Vega is a finalist in the Children's category with Grandmother, have the Angels Come? Congrats, Denise!!

And finally, my good friend Laura Pritchett is a finalist in the Non-Fiction category for the fabulous anthology she edited called Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers.

The awards ceremony will be in Aspen in June-- it'll be fun... I've never been to Aspen before (even though it's just a few hours from my home). And I'll be in great company... can't wait to hang out with my other finalist friends! Congrats to everyone!

Now I have to sneak out to my trailer and finish going over the copyedits for The Queen of Water. Usually, I try not to work on weekends, but I have to drop this off at the Fed-Ex place before one today... and the clock's ticking...


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nebraska, Teen Lit Conference, Bookies...

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Irena, Emma, Ruta, me, and Krista at my signing at Bookies in Denver

Hey everyone,

I've had an eventful week! I was in Blair, Nebraska for middle and high school visits-- had a great time there. Such nice people... Here I am with Anne and Dianne, librarians extraordinaire from the high school.

Check out this lovely display in the library...

I love feeling welcomed to a school with creative displays-- what a treat...

Here's a close up of the jewels-- cool, huh?

Pretty flowers...

And there's nothing better than being greeted with a six-foot-tall painting of your book cover! Here I am with middle school librarian Kris, who set up this whole wonderful visit...

Here's the artistic, book-lovin' man, Lynn-- a former English teacher-- who created this masterpiece!

Just after I got back from Nebraska, I had the Colorado Teen Lit Conference on Saturday in Denver. I got to hang out with the lovely Ellen Hopkins (of Impulse, Crank, etc fame...) and Matt de la Pena (Mexican White Boy, Ball Don't Lie, We Were Here-- he gave a fantastic, hilarious keynote, and he's a Delacorte author like me.) Here I am with Matt and Ellen...

I was on a panel with my good friend Todd Mitchell and some other fantastic authors who I was happy to finally meet! Here I am with Todd, who is very witty-- always cracks me up-- and he often waxes philosophical about writing-- I love hearing him quote the native American shaman Black Elk as he discusses how writers must enact our visions upon the earth (or something along those lines...) So true!

Todd Mitchell's next book coming in June-- it is SOOOOOO good! I've read an early draft, and I can't wait to read the final version...

Becca Fitzpatrick was another fabulous panelist-- I was so thrilled to meet her-- turns out we both live in Ft Collins and have boys the same age. It was especially exciting to hear that she, like me, watched Romancing the Stone a hundred times as a kid, and that it inspired her, too, to become a writer. And actually, once I thought about it, I realized I have had crazy bus adventures in Latin America, kinda like Kathleen Turner did... minus, of course, the alligators and emeralds and Michael Douglas... but it's funny to see some parallels. I didn't actually make this connection until I heard Becca talking about it on the panel!

Amy Efaw was another super-friendly and smart panelist-- she wrote After, which I'm really looking forward to reading-- I've heard it's an amazingly well-executed book. It's about a teen who throws her baby in a Dumpster... yet Amy manages to make you feel for the main character, despite the horrific act.

Tucker Shaw was the fifth panelist-- also a fascinating and nice person. I can't wait to read his newest book-- check out the pretty cover. I love the golden light. And there's a great story behind his inspiration for this book, involving another book (of poetry) slipping from the shelf into his hand as he was dusting... sweet serendipity!

Okay, that's all for now! Must get ready for the week ahead, which includes two school visits in Boulder... we're in the thick of school visit season now. Lots of fun, but very busy. I love going to Boulder-- I always stock up on exotic teas from the Boulder Teahouse and buy something cool at the second-hand shop downtown...


Sunday, April 4, 2010


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Me and lucky Jesus (who won one of my audiobooks in a drawing!) and super-cute Montcerat

Hi everyone!

We just had fun with Lil Dude on his third-ever Easter morning. He's been talking about the Easter Bunny for weeks, and now that the big day has arrived, he's ecstatic about all his chocolate and his wind-up alien and turquoise parasol (he's been asking for a parasol lately) and egg hunts...

So, on Friday night, we celebrated the release of Star in the Forest! Had a great time-- the room was full of amazing people-- kids, teens, librarians, teachers, friends, writers, book clubbies...

Here I am with Gloria (dancer and singer!) and her sweet, smart niece Karla

Gloria does the coolest things with her hair...

Gloria looked gorgeous dancing-- we were all mesmerized...

She sang "Hay Unos Ojos"-- a traditional Mexican song-- and was captivating. Marty (also a poet, and an overall "cool guy," as described my three-year-old) did great accompanying her on guitar. Gloria's singing reminds me lots of Lila Downs (who is one of our favorite singers)...

Me with my wonderful writer friend Teresa Funke, along with the lovely Ava, Kami, Lydia, and Gracie...

Take your pick: a blurry me...

or, if you prefer, a me with closed eyes...

Autographing a book for Martha (in black-- fabulous bilingual school librarian who helped with Star) and Lana (in blue-- also bilingual-- high school educator and book club leader)... and the book-savvy Old Firehouse women busy selling books next to me... it's bliss to be in the company of so many book lovers!

Karla and Jesus watching Gloria dance... did I mention Jesus is a writer, too?!

My Lil Dude had been practicing singing happy birthday to Star in the Forest (and I must say he sounded exquisite)... alas, once in front of the mike, he clammed up. BUT, he did play the piano onstage a bit and he performed the esteemed duty of drawing winners' names from a bag with a great deal of flair...

Hope you have a wonderful week full of sunshine! Thanks for reading!

much love,