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|Friday, February 25th, 2011|
Boy, am I glad March is almost here. Not that March itself is a guarantee of better weather but it's one step closer to spring, and I cannot wait. Today is snow, sleet and a high wind advisory. Yeah, I'm done with winter.
|Saturday, January 29th, 2011|
|Where have I been?
Writing, mostly, as my new book ORDINARY BEAUTY comes out on June 14, 2011 and I'm doing some serious gearing up for it -- okay, so at least partly in my head -- but there's still a lot to do. Weekends get used up fast when you're scheduling signings and stuff, and I'm really excited to be appearing up at the Hudson Children's Book Festival on May 7th, 2011, up in Hudson, NY with so many great authors. So if you're in the area that day, it looks like it's going to be a blast, and I'd love to meet you.
So anyway, how are you guys doing? What's new? Anything good going on?
|Thursday, September 24th, 2009|
Whew. The last couple of days have been the kind where things that have lain dormant for a while suddenly explode into life, all multi-threaded and requiring tons steps to make happen. It's not bad, it's just BAM BAM BAM and leaves me standing there at a temporary loss, trying to figure out which to attend to first. (Ha! You guys with kids are probably grinning and going, "Yeah, welcome to my world!" right?)
I know. Fair is fair. And I'm getting there.
The How It Ends interview with Scott West of DaybreakUSA radio has aired and been posted here
and I'm amazed at how fast the time went. Why is it that when I'm waiting in line somewhere, seven minutes seems to last forever, but when I'm enjoying a conversation, it flies?
Also, after a full summer of only seeing maybe two Monarch butterflies, yesterday on my way out there were THREE beautiful, vivid ones on my butterfly bush. Three, after not seeing hardly any all year, and mourning the loss. What a beautiful gift.
|Thursday, September 3rd, 2009|
Today is going to be one of those running crazy days, full of shopping, cooking and prep for the holiday weekend. There's a big party happening, a county fair, a much-anticipated day with my family and who knows what else will, so I'm excited.
Plus, I just finished Mary Pearson's excellent new book THE MILES BETWEEN and loved it. Congratulations, Mary! Just beautiful.
I have an indecent amount of energy this morning, so I think it's time to kick off this weekend with a little bit of labor. Have a wonderful holiday!
|Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009|
Well, I just did a radio interview with Scott West from Daybreak USA out of Dallas about my new book HOW IT ENDS, and am still too excited to think any sensible or work-related thoughts. (Plus this cat is gnawing on my arm like it's an ear of summer corn and he's driving me mad. Next time it's hamsters, all the way.)
Scott will be the one with the lovely calm, interested and soothing voice. I'm the one who sounds like she downed 40 cups of coffee beforehand just to make sure she was awake and within arm's reach of lucid. It was a blast, though, very upbeat and fun, and we talked a little about Such a Pretty Girl, too. A deep, heartfelt curtsy to Scott, production assistant Brittni and Erica for their kindness and help.
Even more excitingly, Jo Knowles' JUMPING OFF SWINGS is wonderful. It made me cry, and I love when a story can do that. Yay, Jo!
|Thursday, August 27th, 2009|
I haven't posted much lately -- yes, sometimes I am slow, slow, slow -- but all of a sudden I realized that summer is almost over and thought maybe a quick recap would be fun.
HOW IT ENDS hit the review blogs Friday, which was really cool, and if you're even remotely curious as to what reviewers had to say, you can start here
and wander through them, too. It was great, and I always enjoy hearing what stays with readers most about the book.
I did a Borders book signing earlier this month to celebrate the release and it was a blast.
Meeting online friends and readers was a real pleasure. The staff was great, and I'd go back there any day. Plus, when it was over I went book shopping, and left with an armload of tempting morsels. What could be better than that?
Well, maybe this first summer here, which has been a wonderful adventure full of new experiences and established favorites. So in no specific order, here are some scenes from summer in my umm, neck of the woods. (groan)
We hung out in the sun by the water...
and in the shade by the water...
and yes, actually made it into the water itself.
We explored the woods...
and somehow always ended up right back at the water.
We headed up to Woodstock to see the museum and a concert...
And then went back to do it again.
Went down to DC and saw Paul McCartney in concert...
and was dazzled enough afterwards...
to agree to one unofficial guitar lesson...
which proved once and for all that while I love music, I cannot, cannot make it.
My sweet, beloved Rommi passed away...
and I met some of the local wildlife...
Hung out with my handsome nephew JD...
wandered the historical French Azilum tucked away in a stunning spot near the river...
and celebrated the release of How It Ends...
The nice part is the summer isn't really quite
over yet, and who knows what will come next? I can't wait to see!
|Thursday, August 13th, 2009|
Today I discovered -- the hard way, of course -- that a giant, shrieking frog lives in my pond.
Not the cheerful little peepers who sing love songs every night or the scores of spotty teen-age frogs who flow from the bank in a wave when I amble by, but a big, honking hysteric who, despite the fact that I was basically harmless, stepping lightly, wandering lonely as a cloud, gazing at the water and lost in thought, apparently saw me coming and without warning, bounded straight up out of the grass and into the air, let out a hair-raising scream that nearly dropped me and dove headlong into the pond, causing the lone turtle that I am dying to get a closer look at immediately submerge and every impressionable frog sunning itself on that bank to panic and cannonball away.
I mean, really.
|Wednesday, August 5th, 2009|
HOW IT ENDS was released yesterday and because I was in the mood to celebrate, I did something with this book that I never did with Such a Pretty Girl or Leftovers, probably because of their January release dates.
I took it out for its birthday.
Weird? Well yeah, but who cares? (And besides, isn't that kind of my specialty? ;) It was a gorgeous, sunny, breezy day, perfect for going adventuring in the wild, spirits were high and even though the book had to ride in the saddlebag, it never once whined Are we there yet? (unlike me when I get cranky.)
So, here's how How It Ends spent its birthday:
It posed on a Harley.
Frolicked on the bank of a rushing creek.
Came VERY close to taking a dip.
Recuperated on the cool, green moss in the shade.
Intrigued someone. (Walking up on this moment was priceless.)
Hitchhiked. (without success.)
Had a late lunch at a funky little bistro.
Indulged in a hot cinnamon pretzel for dessert. Yum.
Came home to coffee and flowers.
And more flowers.
How It Ends had a very good day, and Teens Writing for Teens
has an interview and a How It Ends book giveaway contest going on as we speak, so...why not?
|Thursday, July 23rd, 2009|
|Hey, it's summertime...isn't it?
Yes, it is and I hope yours has been wonderful so far. Been to the shore, off on vacation, tending a garden or hanging out by the pool? Is it gloriously hot and sunny where you are? Go ahead, make me jealous. I can take it.
My summer's certainly been an adventure. (This is where my Facebook friends should stop reading as they've pretty much heard it all before.) I've been out exploring the mountains and woods despite the breezy, mid to high 70 degree temps, and the (nearly) constant rain.
Went up to Woodstock twice for concerts -- lovely place now full of rules, which kills me -- and this is the monument near the new No Loud Music While Picnicking sign:
I have no real vegetable garden this year because I don't have a rototiller and never got around to finding somebody to till up the yard for me, so I planted lettuce, radishes, carrots, peppers, tomatoes and cukes in the flower gardens with the roses and daisies and such, hoping this would camouflage them from the rabbits and deer. Ha. They stroll right in across the patio, survey my wares then make themselves a salad and follow it up with damask roses for dessert.
There have been other animal adventures, too. (You can't possibly be surprised at that.) I helped rescue two stranded baby racoons off a boulder in the middle of a rushing stream,
survived my first meeting with a very large, five-foot long rattlesnake (who I never even saw until it very courteously let out a warning buzz/rattle when I was only about 18" away, causing me to leap backwards similar to the way cats do when confronted with danger, only not quite as gracefully), saw my first big, fat, wild and free black bear on the side of a lonely, wooded mountain road (I was on the back of a motorcycle at the time) and when the bear looked up and the driver slowed down right in front of it and said, "Look! See the bear?" I sort of tapped (pounded) him on the back and babbled, "Yesyesyes I see the bear now go, go, GO!"
I mean, really.
I also had my first bat in the house and happily, got to it just as the cats did, so I was able to trap it in a container and escort it back outside with pretty much no harm done except for its terrified squeaking. (I didn't get a picture of this but I'm assuming you don't really mind.)
In writing news, my new book HOW IT ENDS comes out on August 4 in the U.S. and then in the UK around the 6th, I think. Covers, you ask? Here they are:
Right now it's pouring again, which will make the lone turtle and all the frogs in the pond happy, but makes me wonder if I have to go shut some windows. Plus I think there's a stray cat hiding under my car because every so often I hear what I think is a forlorn mew, so I think it's time to go make up a plate of food and try to find a dry place to put it.
So, what's new with you guys?
|Tuesday, May 12th, 2009|
|Out of the Woodwork
Last year when I gathered my herd, found this splendid new place in the Endless Mountain region and subbed my change of address with the post office I was running too crazy to pause much, relax and actually enjoy what was around me.
Now it's spring and you know what that means...
Ponds, creeks, streams, lakes and rivers. Glorious water everywhere.
Pastures full of fluffy, frolicking animals just daring me to try and pet them. (Yes, I know the odds of this are slim but still. I like goats, and I see no reason why they shouldn't like me.)
Two of my neighbor's three lovely horses. They're BIG and I very much respect animals that can stomp me without a second thought. Must invest in carrots.
My first live porcupine! Granted, he was waddling away but I'm sure I can lure him back just by virtue of hosting so many trees with tender, new shoots. (I read a very fun book when I was younger called How Do You Spank a Porcupine? and the porcupine in question's name was Piney and from that day on, I very much wanted to sit quietly and watch one amble around me without alarm. This is a 2009 goal.)
An abandoned oriole's nest, thanks to my lovely neighbor Connie who was kind enough to bring it to me as I've never held or even seen one in person. It's really sturdy and very cool.
The possum up the road. He's a jaunty little fella and stopped to listen to whatever nonsense I was feeding him. Love possums.
Salamander? Newt? This guy (plus the first snake of spring I ran into recently) is why it's important to always watch where I'm walking around here. Just beautiful.
These, plus great drifts of naturalized white violets and purple violets are why I'm not cutting the grass till the bloom is over. (I see a wildflower meadow in my future, for sure.)
Yesterday, meeting my first ever Corgi, Maggie. What a sweet-faced little bundle of enthusiasm! Now I know why they invented the word 'wriggle.' Smart, polite and adorable. Five stars for Maggie.
My new book HOW IT ENDS coming out August 4, 2009.
So spring is bright, busy and beautiful here. Whew. I was hoping it would be.
|Sunday, March 29th, 2009|
|Sunday morning, rain is falling...
It's gray and rainy but the robins are back and everywhere, other birds are singing like crazy, daffodils, tulip and hyacinth bulbs are all shooting spears up out of the ground, there's a lovely, warm bed of embers in the woodstove chasing the slight chill from the air, and I'm indulging in just a little bit of laziness here with my coffee and G the intrepid, who has become a studio/sunroom companion cat.
G being inside 24/7 may change as the weather gets even nicer, and the lure of spring breezes gets to be too tantalizing, but since he's a stranger in a strange land up here and there are several kinds of wild animals that would consider him a tasty morsel, methinks he won't ever be wandering about unattended, if he gets to wander at all. (I wonder how he'd do on a leash. I wonder how nutty I'd look trying to walk a cat. Probably pretty nutty. Sigh.)
He's no spring chicken anymore and seemed to be pretty happy through the winter lounging in front of the windows in his comforter-nests, glaring at birds and chipmunks from afar. I wonder if he remembers all those winter days last year that we trudged through the snow and ice and slush every day, and he would stop, meow pitifully, hold up a cold and sopping paw, and beg to be carried the rest of the way?
He's probably blocked it out. Or maybe he hasn't, and that's why every so often (like right now) he'll gaze at me, eyes lit with bright, murderous glee, grab my arm and chomp me a good one. I inevitably yelp and freak, which is apparently a satisfactory pay-off as he then gives me a smug, triumphant look, and ambles off to gloat.
He's a wise guy, but we understand each other.
|Saturday, March 21st, 2009|
Okay, so this time it's REALLY been a while. I've missed a lot going on with you, I know, but please forgive me as this has been one intense and crazy year. Lots of changes and new adventures, road trips, exploring, saying good-bye and hello, and one helluvan interesting journey.
You never know what you're capable of, I guess, until you're smack in the middle of it. I've learned a lot, took some big chances and am much happier for doing it. WHEW.
And out of this chaos came HOW IT ENDS, my next book being released on August 4, 2009. No final cover yet, but I'll post it as soon as I have it.
Oh, and Such a Pretty Girl took 1st runner-up in the 2009 Abe Lincol Illinois High School Book Awards, coming in behind the winner, Ellen Hopkin's Crank, which is a lovely place to be. Heartfelt thanks to everyone in Illinois who read and voted. It's quite an honor, and I owe you guys a deep curtsy.
Soooo...what's new with you?
|Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008|
|In the Quiet
This isn't going to sound like much and the only eyewitness was G the intrepid (and cranky) inherited cat but nevertheless something happened this afternoon that seemed like a small miracle to me, as it was something I've been waiting and hoping for since I got here two+ years ago.
G and I were out on his daily walk. I was sitting at the back of the property on a bench under the Catalpa tree by the pond and G was stretched out expired in the grass at my feet. I was staring at the dragonflies zipping over the water, thinking about everything and out of the corner of my eye I see a movement.
I go still.
G lifts his head.
A fawn, young and still spotty (a girl, I discover in a few minutes), is strolling past us toward the water. She's very close, within ten feet. Her ears are high and her fluffy white tail is relaxed, flicking away flies. She glances at us (G's eyes are bugged out like big black melons now) and continues to the water's edge. Keeps her back to us and drinks, and drinks.
I can hardly breathe, that's how beautiful she is. And I cannot believe that finally, finally, after two+ years of daily walks with G, of trying not to alarm the wildlife and of walking easy so that maybe they won't panic and run just at the sight of me, I have finally gotten my heart's wish.
This fawn accepted me as a part of the scenery just like she would have accepted a rabbit, a bird, a groundhog. I was not automatically a threat or something violent to be terrified of but just another being who meant no harm, who sat relaxed near the water enjoying the sun and the breeze with a wide-eyed, hairy, croaking feline at her feet.
She finishes drinking and turns back, dainty, delightful, sleek and gorgeous. Picks her way toward us, staying about eight feet away and pauses to survey us. (G is now beside himself, sitting up and craning his neck and croaking away at her. God only knows what he was saying.) She takes two steps closer, curious, pauses, flicks her ears and continues a slow saunter back into the underbrush behind me.
I am enchanted.
|Tuesday, August 5th, 2008|
I just got back from my agent Barry Goldblatt's annual client writing retreat. This year we met at Sandpiper's Club Med down in Port St Lucie, Florida and it was a blast. Listening, laughing and learning, sharing ideas, hanging out talking writing and enjoying the balmy, Florida breezes. Oh yes, I would definitely go back for more.
(If I sold everything I owned, I wonder how many weeks I could afford to live in this room?)
Discussing writing ideas and goals, sharing info and energy with Cecil Castellucci, Libba Bray, Jo Knowles, Carolyn Lieberg, Barry Goldblatt, Lauren Myracle, Lisa McCourt, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare and...
Sharon Darrow, Mette Ivie Harrison, Liz Braswell, Jennifer Jacobson, Jane Kurtz, Sara Ryan, Lindsay Johnson, Robin Wasserman, Cassandra Clare and Holly Black.
Break time at the wonderful, peaceful adult pool.
(Top l to r) Liz, Mette, Jo, me, Lauren, Barry and Libba) At dinner, with great food, company and more exciting discussions. The best part is that everytime I leave these retreats, I head home recharged and ready to write.
Not bad. Not bad at all. :)
|Sunday, June 8th, 2008|
|Back to High School
Thursday, June 5th, was an outstanding day and all because of the Book Club at Gateway Regional High School in Woodbury Heights, NJ, who, at the recommendation of member Alex S and the grace of teacher Elizabeth D., read Such a Pretty Girl and invited me to speak with them.
The Book Club members were smart and savvy, their insights and questions thought-provoking, exciting and a total joy to discuss. So many different opinions and perspectives...I could have hung out for days.
It was a blast and yes, now I'm homesick for New Jersey. So thanks to Alex and Elizabeth and all the members of the Book Club at Gateway Regional for the warm welcome, the exciting and challenging conversations, the laughter and the splendid ideas. It was absolutely my pleasure.
|Saturday, May 24th, 2008|
G is thrilled it's finally spring.
And so am I.
The swallows are back, there are fat, fuzzy little ground hog babies everywhere, the violets and lilacs have bloomed and gone but the roses are starting and soon the scent of the mock oranges will be mesmerizing. Plus, it's fawn season and I'm eagerly awaiting the moment when I spot the first little one stepping daintily out of the woodline after its mother. Hopefully, when it happens the camera's within reach.
Today G and I communed with a pair of mated mallards back at the pond who, after giving us the eye, decided we weren't worth getting excited about and went back to sleep as we skirted them. Even more exciting however, was what happened next.
We were walking up a dirt path lined with moss and rocks and leaves, and I'm glad I was watching my step because stretched across the path and right where my next step would be was this three foot long beauty.
I stopped and said Oh, hello, and G of course sees nothing, so he walks right past me and almost steps on it as I snatch him up and hope he doesn't bite me. (which he does when he's thwarted. A lot.)
Now I want the camera really bad so I trot him to the sunroom, grab the camera and go back out, hoping the snake hasn't left. She hasn't – hasn't even really moved – and I get these two pictures
and checked her tail – no rattle – and next thing I see as I'm lining up the third shot is G la-la-la ambling right towards her like Which was did he go, George? So I nudged him back and he got cranky and tried again so now I have to scoop him up in one hand and he's dangling there all surly because I've got him, the camera and a bottle of water, and the snake is just laying there watching us like we're a bad comedy act. So I run G out of harm's way again and when I got back for more photos, the snake was gone.
I went in and tried to ID her and I'm thinking that she was an Eastern Hognose snake, not really venomous. Is she not lovely? I'm enchanted.
Oh, and if anyone can positively ID her based on these two pics, please have at it. I'd love to know for sure.
|Thursday, March 27th, 2008|
|So it's been a while
Okay, so it's no secret that I have the tendency to get lost in a manuscript and totally lose track of time but thanks to a gentle nudge from a friend asking Where the heck have you been, anyway?
I'm checking in, saying hi, sending congrats for all the excellent news and hugs for the not-so-good news.
What's new here? Well, in an exercise in complete erraticness (word? is now, at least temporarily) here goes:
1. I'll be signing Pretty Girl and Leftovers
Saturday, April 5th, 2008 from 1 - 3 p.m.
BORDERS EXPRESS (Sears wing)
Park City Center (Mall)
142 Park City Center
Lancaster, PA 17601
www.parkcitycenter.com for directions, etc.
Hope to see you there!
2. Such a Pretty Girl
was nominated for the 2009 Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award which is really exciting. (Waving and thanking you guys, big time!)
3. Yay for spring clothes shopping. :)
4. Got a favorite love song or a favorite dark and ominous song? Please feel free to suggest them, as I'm exploring different playlists for this manuscript and need to think beyond what I would normally listen to.
5. Had some new and interesting experiences recently, all fun, some strange, including following a limping black vulture around the property while carrying a raw pork chop, trying to entice him into pausing and accepting it. (What can I say? he looked hungry.) That was a first.
6. And this morning, the beauties who made it through hunting season were here to enchant:
And best of all? Spring is dancing closer and closer, and this time of year always makes me feel like I won the lottery. Even the spring rain is gorgeous. Anything good going on with you guys?
|Wednesday, February 20th, 2008|
We're supposed to be having a snow flurry but what we're getting is the most enchanting snowfall of the season so far, with flakes as big and soft and fluffy as swan's down, I swear. Just gorgeous.
G, of course, is not as enthused as I am.
Okay, now back to work. :)
|Friday, February 8th, 2008|
If anyone is in a bookclub that's reading or has read LEFTOVERS (or knows of one who might be interested) and wants to spend some phone time asking questions, exploring answers or just trading opinions, I'm in S&S's Author @ccess drawing this month, so if you go here http://www.bookclubreader.com
and enter the drawing, we may be talking sometime in the near future. :)
|Thursday, February 7th, 2008|