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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!


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!


* 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 to order the books from an indie store near you.