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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Half Moon Bay

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Hi everyone!

Just got back from a beautiful weekend in Half Moon Bay, California! I did a library presentation for the community and met fantastic librarians, teachers, students, parents, and writers.  So much fun!  I'd been corresponding with one of the teachers and her students via email and snail mail, and it was wonderful to meet them all in person.

I'd always wanted to go to Half Moon Bay-- mostly because I love the name (it's right up there with Angelfire, NM)! ;)  I also LOVE the coast of California, which is one reason I've read the picture book All the World hundreds of time with Lil Dude-- the breath-taking landscape-- green hills and wildflowers and clay cliffs and gardens and old beach houses and perfect trees-for-climbing and veggie stands and beaches and the big, wide ocean.

I went on long walks along the ocean-- on Saturday in the rain (delicious) and on Sunday in sunshine with my old friend Andrea (from middle school).


My camera wasn't working on Friday, so I didn't get pics of the great students and families (some from Oaxaca!) who came to the presentation.  They were so enthusiastic-- the library had distributed hundreds of copies of What the Moon Saw for students! 

 I did manage to get one photo of the teacher and librarians with me at the amazing family-owned Oaxacan restaurant called Brianna's just down the block from the library.  I ate the best mole oaxaqueno I've had in the U.S.  Mmmmmm.  Muy rico.

Lucia Gonzalez took that picture-- she's a wonderful bilingual picture book writer (and warm, kind person).  She gave my Lil Dude a copy of her book The Bossy Gallito, which we're loving.  (Since he turned four last week, he's been in a major Bossy Rooster stage...)

 I *love* author visits to small towns where the awesome librarians and teachers get the whole community excited.  Thank you, Half Moon Bay!

On a different note, more lovely reviews of The Queen of Water have been coming in.  Maria Virginia and I are really glad that readers have been moved by her story.  It's dream come true...

 A review in The Examiner gave the book five out of five stars and calls it "Remarkable. Layered.  Engrossing." You can read the full review here

Marjolein, a wonderful YA book reviewer, also gave it five stars, and calls the book "gripping."  Read the full review here.

Thanks, also, to those of you who have posted reviews on amazon here and goodreads here and other review sites.  And thanks to everyone who's been spreading the word about our book through word of mouth!  We're really grateful!

Happy spring!


Monday, March 14, 2011

Queen Book Release Pics!

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Thanks to everyone who came to my party at Old Firehouse Books on Saturday night (in body and spirit!)

So much fun to see old friends and meet new ones!

Apparently, I make lots of funny faces when I read... I'm not aware of this until I see photographic evidence...

Music and little kids are essential ingredients to any festive occasion...

So many great friends of all ages came out to celebrate... teachers, writers, readers, book clubbers, librarians, dancers, musicians, poets, computer programmers ;) ...

Old Firehouse Books is an amazing place... if you're in Ft Collins and you haven't been to this store yet, you should take an afternoon to wander the shelves, talk to the super-knowledgeable staff for book recommendations, and have tea at the Cambodian teahouse "Happy Lucky's" next door.

My NIA friend Bev won a signed book in a drawing... She had to answer a question about Queen to claim her prize.  Here it is:  What was the staple of Maria Virginia's diet for the first 7 years of her life?  She had this food for nearly every meal, every day, usually in the form of soup.  In early drafts of the book, there were so many scenes focused on this food that someone in my writers' group suggested the book be called Maria Virginia and the ________s" (fill in blank with the food in question.)  Can you guess?!  *See answer at end of post.*

Thanks for swinging by!

P.S. See below for answer to mystery question...

*POTATOES!*  (which are native to South America... she harvested and ate potatoes of all colors and sizes, and always wished for the BIGGEST potato in the soup.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Interviews and articles for Queen!

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Hi dear readers!

I've been doing some interviews in anticipation of the release of THE QUEEN OF WATER (tomorrow, March 8!)

Lyn Miller-Lachmann (author of the great Gringolandia) did this interesting article and interview with me for her "Waging Peace" Column for the Times Union blog.

Here's the beginning of her article:

"For the next two weeks, my “Waging Peace” columns will focus on the plight of workers, particularly child laborers, throughout the world. This week’s column takes us to Ecuador, a country where for five centuries the indigenous people have faced systematic discrimination and exploitation at the hands of large landowners and the country’s political, economic, and social elite. Laura Resau, an anthropologist who lived and worked throughout Latin America before becoming an award-winning author of novels for young people, is most recently the co-author of The Queen of Water, a fictionalized account of her collaborator, MarĂ­a Virginia Farinango’s, life as a child domestic worker..."

Read more here.  In the interview, I discuss why we decided to fictionalize the book, how I met Maria Virginia, the cycle of domestic violence, and more...

Another interview is up today over at Children's Publishing Blog. (Just go to the link and scroll down a little).  This interview focuses on my writing/publishing journey, with advice to writers.

And another interview focuses on my creative space-- my little silver trailer.  You can read about it on Jenn Bertman's blog here.

Finally, there's a very wonderful and thoughtful blog review of Queen on the SLJ blog, A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy (don't you love the name?!)  Check it out here.

Thanks for reading!  Tomorrow THE QUEEN OF WATER will be officially released! Yay! Maria Virginia and I are so excited!   You can get it in bookstores, or on indiebound or amazon.

And if you live near me, please come to my release party this Saturday!

Saturday, March 12, 6:00 pm, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins

The Queen of Water Signing and Chatting - Come one, come all! Join me to celebrate the book release!

Hope you like our book!!!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Green Goo Supervillain!

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Hi wonderful readers,

Since I usually focus on good stuff in this blog, you may not know that I was plagued by terrible headaches this winter.  Here is what I looked like much of the time (um, around my house and trailer, that is...):

I'm wearing my cold headache pack full of delightfully fluorescent green goo (which makes Lil Dude compare me to his favorite supervillain from a Backyardigans episode.)  And, paired with my green goo mask are my grubby hot rice pack booties:

They also function as mops, collecting dust and dirt as I shuffle around the house. 

I read that heat on the feet and cold on the head is good treatment for migraines and headaches, and it actually is (for me, at least)! (And believe-you-me, I've tried nearly everything.)

Another thing that worked well was reducing my stress, which had sky-rocketed.  Here's one thing that brought my stress level down to a non-headache-inducing level:  the completed manuscript of THE JADE NOTEBOOK!  I finished it in January, got it in to my editor, she liked it, sent it back with revision comments.... and now here it is, all ready for me to dive back into. 

I'm actually really excited (and *not* stressed) about revising it! I don't even need my booties and goo mask to tackle it!

In all fairness, I should mention the other things that helped my headaches go away: this brand-spankin new ergonomic monitor that helps my neck stay stretched out;  the *necksercise* my massage therapist friend Paul showed me how to do to prevent migraines; massages; biofeedback (this really works!); awareness of breathing, visualizations... Whew!  That sounds like a lot of stuff, but actually, it's all pretty peacefully manageable.

I guess I'm telling you this to balance out all the good news about THE QUEEN OF WATER that I've been posting lately... so you know that despite a lot of extreme happiness, I still have struggles to deal with...

(but that you shouldn't worry about me, since it's nothing Green Goo Supervillain can't handle!)