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Friday, July 29, 2011

Announcing... The Jade Notebook cover!!!

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Here it is...

Note the sea turtles!  I learned a lot about sea turtles while researching this book... they're amazing!  I'll probably do a post on that some time later...

This is the third and final book in the Notebooks series (Indigo and Ruby were the first two).  Here's a little summary:

Down-to-earth Zeeta and her flighty mom, Layla, have spent years traveling the globe and soaking up everything each new culture has to offer. Now they've settled in the beachside town of Mazunte, Mexico, where Zeeta's true love, Wendell, has an internship photographing rare sea turtles. At first glance, Zeeta feels sure that Mazunte is paradise—she envisions dips in jade waters, sunsets over sea cliffs, moonlit walks in the surf. And she is determined to make Mazunte her home . . . for good. But as she and Wendell dig deeper to unearth her elusive father's past, Zeeta finds that paradise has its dark side. 

I just sent the revised manuscript into my editor-- the next step is copy-editing, then page-proofing, then the review copy...  and then, on *Valentine's Day* 2012, it will be out in the world!  I'm starting to think about the release party... For Indigo, there was Ecuadorian dance, for Ruby, an accordionist.... any ideas for Jade? (And no, I can't fly everyone to a tropical paradise to swim with sea turtles... darn!)

If you want to see pics of the setting of Jade, check out the blog post I did about my research trip there...

Thanks for reading!


Monday, July 25, 2011


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Hello everyone,

I want to post something to say hi and let you know what I've been up to.  Usually I post things when I'm in high spirits, but I'm feeling sad at the moment.  A friend and her family are going through a heart-breaking time right now, and I'm in a state of shock and sorrow over it.  Tragedy reminds me how important it is to tell people you love that you love them, and why, and how special they are, while they're still with you.

I've been spending time on the road in the mountains quite a bit this summer... to Aspen for the Colorado Book Awards, then Grand Junction for author visits, then in Steamboat Springs with Lil Dude and Ian this past weekend.

Being in the mountains makes me feel grateful to live in Colorado-- so much hugeness and expansiveness helps put life in perspective.  The sea and the mountains remind me of how tiny and giant our lives are, that we need to love in the moment, that every moment matters, that what we have is here and now.

Grand Junction, I discovered, is a beautiful town with lots of fountains and sculptures and really wonderful librarians, writers, and readers of all ages, who I was happy to spend time with (doing writing workshops and presentations at libraries).  One of these amazing librarians was Diana Tixier Herald, who runs the Genrefluent blog and is the author of many books about young adult literature. I spent an afternoon at her earthship outside of Grand Junction...  as Lil Dude would say, "Wowsers!"  So cool to get a tour of the house.

 And the view out her front window is stunning...

 The canyon is dizzyingly deep-- talk about putting life into perspective!  Having this view, I imagine, would help keep your mind expansive and uncluttered...

Here we are, in her yard... can you imagine walking outside to this every morning!?

Here are some pics from Aspen about a month ago... I love aspen trees, how they quiver and dance with light.  Aspen groves are my favorite places to camp...

 Sage is another thing I love about Colorado mountains... the smell of it always pierces me right to the core (in a good, waking-up way).

Lil Dude, who is now four, has discovered the thrill of photography... he took this pic of me and Ian after the Colorado Book Awards...

Here's Checkers, the balloon man who we encountered last summer in Aspen and were very excited to see again.  (Last year Lil Dude requested the Little Mermaid.  This year it was Spiderman.)

Some highlights of Aspen through the lens of Lil Dude... he was curious about why the fire hydrants here were black instead of yellow...

The hotel pool was a hit... he can swim now-- so cute.

Thanks for reading... I'll post some of our Steamboat pics soon... we stayed in a caboose in Strawberry Park-- it was a GIANT hit with Lil Dude (and me and Ian, too-- you know how I love little abodes-- trailers, caravans, and the like...)

And to those of you who were affected by the tragedy I mentioned, I wish you moments of light and lightness luminous memories... 


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Story in Cricket Mag!

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Hey everyone!

I've been eagerly waiting for July 2011 for a while (years actually!) because... drumroll... my story "San Martin in the Mist" will be appearing in Cricket Magazine this month! It was accepted years ago-- I think in 2006, just after What the Moon Saw was published.  And now, *tah dah*-- five years later, here it is in its illustrated glory. 

 art by Heidi Younger

So, so fun to see artists' interpretations of my stories. This one is beautifully illustrated by Heidi Younger...  I love how she represents the swirling mist... I'm sure that was a challenging element of the story-- the mist that wraps around everything in the village.

art by Heidi Younger

The story was inspired by a true story recounted by my friend Epifania Garcia Diaz, a friend of mine from Oaxaca, Mexico, who is a Mazatec Wise One-- a healer or shaman.

 art by Heidi Younger

Dona Epifania told me that a dam was planned to be build decades ago in her mountain village-- a dam that would've flooded the entire valley, forcing many villages to relocate.  But at the beginning of the construction, the dam materials began to go missing.  This happened night after night, and held up construction.  Locals said that it was a local spirit/deity, San Martin, who was stealing and hiding the materials in his underground palace-cave.  They said he was offended that people dared to disrespect his land by damming the river and flooding his valley. Eventually, the construction workers gave up, and the dam was not built!  Victory! 

Me and Dona Epifania in her village

I remember Cricket Magazine from when I was a kid-- it's been around for a while.  There's something so satisfying about seeing one of my stories in this element from my childhood.  Look, here's the little signature cricket giving his (her?) definition:

 (er, turn your head to the right... camera/photo/computer glitch)

I also have a fondness for Cricket because they were the first mag with a big distribution to publish my work... and actually pay me for it! It gave me a huge boost of confidence when I was still struggling with revising and submitting What the Moon Saw (and getting rejections.)

                                art by Emma Shaw Smith

  My first Cricket story, "Drops of Wax," was published in the August 2004 issue.  Here are pics of that one-- the artwork by Emma Shaw Smith is so lush and detailed-- I especially love the textures and colors of the clothing.

art by Emma Shaw Smith

I really love this illustration-- it's based on a southern Mexican folklore/mythology.  If you've read What the Moon Saw, you'll see a reference to it-- the cave of candles and the woman who is in charge of life and death.  I also wove this folklore into this short story.

art by Emma Shaw Smith

This story was actually inspired by a true story told to me by another curandera-- healer, named Dona Maria Chiquita (she's the one on my right.)  It involves a friendship with gitanas (gypsies/roma) and resurrection and fortune-telling...

Thank you, wise story-telling women in my life (with whom I split my payment), wonderful illustrators, and Cricket and their devoted fans, old and young!!