"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Monday, December 21, 2009

Official Break for the Holidays!

See you guys after the New Year! Have a great time!
Do whatever it is that makes you happy!

And I'll leave you with this awesome picture of some of my brick collection.

If you have spare antique bricks around, please mail them :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Five on a Friday

Happy Friday! I'm thinking I'll be sparse in the blog world over the next two weeks. It seems the cookies and the parties and the Rock Band may get in the way.

(Did you hear that Santa? We want Rock Band.)
(okay, I think Santa heard.)

Here are my five for the week:

1) I love running into writer pals in unusual places! I saw author/illustrator Mark Mitchell at my daughter's school pageant. It was one of those weird "you don't belong here" moments. Aren't those fun?

Me and Mark Mitchell. (Yes, it was cold in Austin. This was taken before we'd been sitting outside for an hour.)

2) If you have a minutes, please head over and read our TEXAS SWEETHEARTS Friday Round-up (including five kidlit goals you can set for over the holidays). And thank you so much for all the support!

3) I loved this post by Shelli R. Johannes on working with an agent. It is priceless. So if you have an agent or one day hope to have an agent, head over and read it!

4) I'm reading (and loving) I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES by the amazing and cool Barrie Summy. Barrie is hilarious in person and just as funny on the page. I think it's such a neat thing to read books by your friends and "see" your friends in the books.
(and btw, this is a fun book to buy for that later elementary/middle school gal on your list.)

5) My favorite holiday movie: JINGLE ALL THE WAY. If you haven't seen it, you have to. I you have seen it, watch it again!

And have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Latest Featured Sweetheart!

Hey! When you get a sec, head over to the TEXAS SWEETHEARTS blog and check out our latest featured sweetheart! And while you're at it, why not recommend someone you know to be a featured sweetheart?

Thanks!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Moods of Books

So how is everyone doing on their reading challenges for the year? I set out to read 50 books and to date have read 83. Not all bad, is it? I figure I should be able to squeeze a few more in before the end of the year.

Have you noticed how some books stick with you way more than others (for a variety of reasons). I read one recently that, while very well written and overall a good read, totally disturbed me (and I knew it would). So I had to follow it up with a happy read.

My happy read suggestion for the day: MIKE STELLAR: NERVES OF STEEL by K. A. Holt

I've got my son reading it now. It's cute and witty and smart and just fills such a nice niche in the MG market. Kids in space. How cool is that. Kari (K. A.) has an awesome voice and an amazing grasp of clever simile use.
So in case you didn't get the message, it would make a great gift for that MG reader on your list (as would THE EMERALD TABLET and THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD of course).

I have two more serious books on my very near term reading list, and I know I'll be needing some happy books to read after those. Any suggestions?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Five on a Friday

I hope everyone's having a great Friday! I can't help but chuckle each time I watch the YouTube video I made on Tuesday. It's the smug look of satisfaction I give at the end that gets me each time. In case you missed it, you can watch it here.
But now the biggest question is what video can I make next. Any ideas (keep it clean)? Cause, you know, making videos is fun!

Okay, my five for the week!

1. I loved my first classroom Skype visit this week! Huge thank you to Beth Revis and her Creative Writing Club for having me!

2. A second huge thank you to Lauren in Arlington, TX for the awesome review of THE EMERALD TABLET! You can read the review here.
My favorite line:
"The Emerald Tablet by P. J. Hoover is definitely one of the best books I've read"
I tend to think Lauren has extremely good taste in books.

3. I've mentioned I'm revising book three (THE NECROPOLIS) and am totally addicted to cutting words. Word count has gone from 83K to 71K and I'm still at it. Sure, I'll add some back in...maybe.
I wonder if I can get the entire novel down to one perfect sentence.

4. If you haven't nominated someone to be a Featured Sweetheart for The Texas Sweethearts' Blog, email us today. Surely there is someone you know deserving. Someone who has really reached out and helped the kidlit world. I thought so!

5. I finished (on audio) THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher. I really enjoyed this one and would recommend it as the perfect book for both parents and kids (middle school and up) to read and discuss. It may be the best discussion book I've yet read.

Have a great weekend! De-clutter one place around the house. Or make some cookies. Or de-clutter and then make some cookies. And have fun!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Procrastination and Determination

Yikes! Two very different things. You might wonder why I'd post about both on the same day.
Yeah, I was wondering the same thing.

See, I wanted to relay a story about my 5 year-old daughter who is the most determined creature on Earth.

Her stapler broke and she said,
"But that's okay. I can push the staples through the paper and press down the ends."

And when I checked she had done ten perfect staples. She was determined and was not going to let a broken stapler get in her way.

So what excuses are you using to keep from moving forward?

And now on to procrastination. If you have under a minute, check out my latest video.

I embrace being a nerd.



Have a great week!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Five Reasons to bid in the Bridget Zinn Auction Today!


When you get a second, please head over to the TEXAS SWEETHEARTS blog to read about five reasons you should bid in the Bridget Zinn auction today!

Thanks!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Saturday Salon

One of my favorite weekend activities (besides Mario Kart)?
Hanging out with some writing pals, talking about everything from blogs to twitter and from agents to editors.

Me and fellow Texas Sweetheart Jessica Lee Anderson

The most awesome Liz Garton Scanlon (author of ALL THE WORLD, the picture book that's going to be distributed in Cheerios boxes in 2010, in case you forgot) hosted some authors from the Austin writing community at her home this past Saturday. Twenty-one authors, two cats, and one dog joined in for three hours of coffee, enough breakfast food to feed twenty Cub Scout packs, and excellent conversation.

Mark Mitchell, Lindsey Lane, Tim Crow, Liz Garton Scanlon, Don Tate, and Varian Johnson

The best message about blogging, care of Lindsey Lane, author of SNUGGLE MOUNTAIN: Blog readers like to know something about your personal life, but they don't want to smell your underwear.

Don Tate, K. A. Holt, and fellow Texas Sweetheart Jessica Lee Anderson

The best message about social marketing from Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of ETERNAL:
Don't say anything on the Internet that you wouldn't say at the podium at a library conference (or at the table with a group of librarians at lunch afterward).

Carmen Oliver and Jenny Ziegler

We also did an awesome book swap where I managed to snag copies of BULL RIDER by Suzanne Morgan Williams and UNWIND by Neal Shusterman.

Okay, how do you finish off such a perfect time? You stop by your local Barnes and Noble where Chris Barton happens to be signing copies of his new picture book, THE DAY-GLO BROTHERS.

Chris Barton

Happy Monday! And if you're interested, buzz over to The Spectacle where we're talking about THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Five on a Friday

They're calling for snow here in Austin.
I know. It's unbelievable. The kids are expecting a day out of school, but I'm guessing if it comes, it will be right when school gets out. Predictions say we'll get upwards of an inch.
:)

Okay, here's my five for the week:

1) A fun pic from the Reflections judging from the other night. Here I am with authors Donna Bowman Bratton, Carmen Oliver, Me, Debbie Gonzales (our new Austin SCBWI RA come January), and fellow Texas Sweetheart Jessica Lee Anderson.


2) Cub scouts are descending on my house (once again) on Sunday, but this time they're cooking dinner. Yikes! I'm going with spaghetti since it's pretty hard to mess us. And of course, brownies for dessert.

3) I read THE POLAR EXPRESS to my kids last night and couldn't get through it without crying. I think it's age. Please tell me I'm not the only one.

4) Recent reads include:
I gave up on another book that shall remained unnamed (first time in a while). I gave it four nights and got halfway through but couldn't bring myself to go on.

5) Revising The Forgotten Worlds Book 3: THE NECROPOLIS. Thankfully, it's nowhere in as bad of shape as I thought (even after a year of not looking at it).

Have a great weekend! And stay warm!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Win lots of books, Revisions, and Sweethearts

I hope everyone is having a great week! I was honored to be a judge for the teen literature category for the school district's Reflections Program this evening (think of it as a science fair for liberal arts). I'll get some pics loaded before Friday. There were tons of fantastic entries, and you could really see how much some of the kids loved writing.

Anyway...

I have a funny post (as in I am able to laugh at myself) on my revisions for THE EMERALD TABLET over on The Spectacle, so if you have a few minutes, head over and check it out.

And over on The Texas Sweethearts blog, we have our first official Featured Sweetheart, and it is none other than the awesome and fabulous Cynthia Leitich Smith. If you don't know Cynthia, you should :) She's so giving of her knowledge and time, I am honored to consider her a friend. Anyway, head over and read more about what makes Cynthia a sweetheart.


And finally, in case you want to win a bundle of books, there is an enormous giveaway going on over at The Enchanted Inkpot. Like we're giving away 25 fantasy books and a giftcard. See the pretty picture? So yeah, who wouldn't want to win. Head over and leave a comment on the giveaway post for your chance to win!

Have a great rest of the week!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We did plenty of relaxing and cleaning and decorating, and not a whole lot of blogging. Sometimes it's nice to get away from the Internet!

So maybe you've been curious about the icon in my upper right hand corner...

I wanted to let you guys know about a great groups of authors I'm part of, The Texas Sweethearts. The group is made up of three kids' authors from Austin: PJ Hoover (me), Jessica Lee Anderson, and Jo Whittemore. Our aim is to reach out to lovers of reading of all ages.


To read more about us, please head over and check out:
The Texas Sweethearts website
The Texas Sweethearts blog
(btw, please follow us on our blog! No, there are no prizes or contests, but you'd have our gratitude forever.)

Here's a video (designed by yours truly, no less), trying to give an idea of what The Texas Sweethearts are all about.



You can also become a fan of The Texas Sweethearts on Facebook (please!).







A couple times a month, we're going to be featuring sweethearts from the kidlit world—people who have made a true difference for others. We're taking nominations for these featured sweethearts, so if you know of someone, maybe a favorite librarian or blogger who truly makes a difference, please email us and let us know. We'll round them up each Friday and feature an interview every other week.
So don't be shy! Nominate someone today!

And a final note: We have available a critique by all three TEXAS SWEETHEARTS authors up for auction in the newest Bridget Zinn auction. Three sets of eyes. Three separate opinions. Bid until Dec. 11, 2009.
(auction id: bridget, pw: rules)

Thank you huge amounts for all your support! I hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Five on a Friday

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a great week! The knee is recovering well. I'm not quite back to Kung Fu yet, but I can make it up the steps pretty easily. Baby steps.

1) On a reading front, I'm finishing up SAPPHIQUE by Catherine Fisher. It's the second in a series, a British import. The first book in the series, INCARCERON, will be out in January 2010. It's got me hooked, though I find the YA marketing of the series an interesting choice. Though it has an older teen as the main character, it has a definitely adult fantasy feel to it.
Has anyone else read it?

2) YA Fantasy author Gretchen McNeil interviewed me over on The Enchanted Inkpot. So if you're curious which Star Trek episode helped inspire THE EMERALD TABLET, head over and check it out.

3) We're giving away two books over at The Spectacle. So for your chance to win MIKE STELLAR: NERVES OF STEEL by K. A. Holt and THE COMPOUND by S. A. Bodeen, head over and leave a quick comment.

4) So is a sleepover party for boys called a slumber party? Or is this reserved for girls only?

5) I'm so excited I'm going to be on a kidlit author panel at the VA Festival of the Book! Look for me March 20th, 2010 in Charlottesville, VA!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! We're looking at Kung Fu (for the kids), Legos, and Cub Scouts.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Minimum number of brush strokes

Okay, maybe this is just an excuse to post my kid's artwork, but my 5yo daughter drew an amazing picture this past week. Here she is playing with her older brother's Legos. And, as you can see by the look on his face, he isn't the least bit happy*.


I put this up in my office to remind me that it doesn't take a lot of words to convey emotions in my writing. It just takes the right words. That's what counts.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

* Love the open mouth, the closed eyes, and the hand to the forehead. I think it's brilliant.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pretty Books

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend!
I'm happy to report knee surgery went very well. I'm walking somewhat, though I have a bandage on my knee the size of a cantaloupe and I can't shower until Wednesday. Yikes! Yes, I'll be at home alone much of the time between now and then. My family has to love me no matter what I smell like.

So in my recovery time this weekend, I finished up THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner and read two more awesome books: BLUE PLATE SPECIAL by Michelle D. Kwasney and LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES by Laini Taylor. I so recommend all three books for various reasons, but especially the last two. They were beautiful, and I savored both.

Of course, while sitting with my knee up, I studied the books in full. Do you ever take the cover off a book and look at what's underneath? Look at all the beauty that went into the actual design and layout of the book? I love looking at how the hard cover is made. Is there gold foil lettering on the spine? Is the inside paper special? Patterned? Is the font unique? Are there symbols used throughout with special meaning to the story? Is there art?

The THEODOSIA books by R. L. LaFevers are some of my favorite naked books. Each and every detail was taken into account in the book design, down to the maps covering the front and back, the Egyptian symbols on each chapter, the old lettering of the title on the spine, and the fun cover art. As a kid, I would have wanted to read these books simply because I picked them up and looked at them.

BLUE PLATE SPECIAL stood out in that the paper cover was almost exactly mimicked on the hard cover. I say almost exactly because the plate is cracked on the outside paper cover but not cracked on the hard cover itself. Such a sweet detail that might not be noticed on first glance but makes the book and design that much more special.

Okay, and then there is LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES. I feel like I bought a piece of fine art when I bought this book. It is exquisite. The illustrations are so meaningful and beautiful yet simple in their colors. And once you read the stories, you'll go back and look at the drawings over and over again and get more out of them each and every time. The font color choices are unique in that page numbers and chapter titles are in red while the regular text is in a more standard dark grey. Normal blank pages have beautiful scroll work design, and of course the stories are magical.

These are the kind of books that make me treasure owning copies myself. What book designs do you love? And why?

And have a great week!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Five on a Friday

Hey! I hope everyone is ready for a great weekend!

This weekend I'm looking forward to:

1) Recovering from knee surgery. Yes, I have surgery on Friday the 13th. (torn meniscus...send me happy thoughts please!)

2) Finishing up THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner.
Reading BLUE PLATE SPECIAL by Michelle D. Kwasney.

BTW, over on THE SPECTACLE, we're going to do a book discussion on THE MAZE RUNNER next month in case you want to read it and join in.

3) Presenting at the Hill Country Book Festival on Saturday at 1:00 and signing afterward. If you live in the central Texas area, please come by!

With said knee surgery, I won't be driving, but luckily I've secured transportation with the Jenny Ziegler chauffeur service. If you haven't read Jenny's HOW NOT TO BE POPULAR, you must! And Jenny will be presenting right after me in case I'm not encouragement enough.

4) Hoping to fit in a little Mario Kart.

5) Finishing up season 3 of Star Trek: The Next Generation with the family. Picard is about to be turned into a Borg. And then the show really picks up.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Feeling the Fear

Normally in my presentations to kids, I try to touch on the subject of fear.
Fear to try new things.
Fear to do things that make us nervous.
Fear of failure.

Fear is one of those things so many of us struggle with. But there is the thought that if we're scared to do something, that's all the more reason we should.

Last week during my presentation at the Red Dirt Book Festival, I touched on fear and put up one of my favorite fear slides, one of General Grievous holding four light sabers.

Have you seen REVENGE OF THE SITH?

I use the quote:
"Feel the fear, and do it anyway."

Afterward, one man in the audience came up to me afterward and gave me his card with his own quote on the back, care of John Wayne:
"Courage is when you know what to expect and saddle up anyway."

I love the quote!

So what have you done recently that pushed your fear limit?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Loving it, Hating it, Round up, and Red Dirt

I got an email from a friend recently talking about how she did not love her current manuscript. And funny enough, this is exactly how I felt on the first draft of my current WIP. But a great thing has been happening during revisions. I like it. I really, really like it.
Did it write itself? No.
The not-loving-state of the first draft made me feel like each word I wrote had to be clawed out of some dark place. But I forced myself to sit there and get them out, thinking it stunk the whole time.
The good news besides the fact that I now like said manuscript is I don't think it stinks. Sure, it needs tons of work, but isn't that the whole point of revisions?

So that said, I hope all is going great with you first draft NaNo people out there!

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In other news, I am now available to Skype! I'll Skype into your classroom for a Q&A session, so if you're interested, let me know!

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A couple interviews with me:

From the November 2009 issue of The Houston Banner.

From The Not So Closet Geeks

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A fantastic review of THE EMERALD TABLET from Jeannie at The Not So Closet Geeks! My favorite line from the review:
"The book, The Emerald Tablet, is one of the best books I have ever read."
Thanks, Jeannie!

*****

On availability, my publisher told me Amazon just placed a huge order for both THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD and THE EMERALD TABLET, so if you've noticed they've been out of stock, books should be on the way!

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And finally, The Red Dirt Book Festival was an utter blast! I met so many great people including my panel members Mel Odom and K. D. Wentworth (I already knew Stacy Nyikos). Those Oklahomans really know how to throw a festival!

Mel and Stacy

I sat next to screenwriter Andy Horton while signing books who I found has a love of THE ODYSSEY just like me. He told me about the poem ITHACA by C.P Cavafy that every Greek has memorized. I may have to add it to my collection of memorized poems including KUBLA KHAN by Samuel Coleridge.

Stacy, Me, Cindy Stevens, Mel

Me and Stacy

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I managed to get out of the house and attend the Austin SCBWI meeting on Saturday where I heard the awesome Liz Garton Scanlon talk about Writing from the Gut, which she said she did for her brand new picture book, ALL THE WORLD. Did you know ALL THE WORLD is going to be distributed in Cheerios boxes in 2010.
You know you've made it when...
Anyway, her book was also chosen by both NY Times and PW as one of the best books of 2009. And the best part about is, it couldn't be happening to a nicer person!

Liz presenting

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And finally, if you're in Austin or the surrounding area, I'll be presenting at the Hill Country Book Festival this Saturday at the Georgetown Library from 1:00-1:45 and signing books thereafter. Come see me, please!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Red Dirt - See you there!

I'm off to the Red Dirt Book Festival in Shawnee, OK! If you happen to be in the area, I'll be on a panel on Friday from 11:15 - 12:15 in Room 2 of the Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center. I'll also be signing afterward from from 2 - 3:15 in the Exhibit Hall. Please come see me!
I'll post pics when I get back, but I leave you with this.


Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Playing with Electricity

Okay, so you know the whole "don't play with electricity thing" and all that? Well, it takes some courage to put your hand on the giant electrical conductor and make your hair do this. You know, it's actually kind of hard to get yourself to do something you've been encouraged your entire life not to do.


Huge thank you to Russell at Austin Energy for coming to our house and letting ten 8-year-olds play with electricity.

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Forgot to mention this interview with me by Casey at Literary Rambles. Casey's blog is amazing. If you don't already follow it, you should. She does cool things like research tips, agent spotlights, and interviews with...people like me :)
Thanks, Casey!

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We went to a high school football game Friday night. Love this picture I took of a kid at the game. Reading is not dead! (I think it's ERAGON he's reading.)


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For a handful of books I'm looking forward to, head over to The Spectacle and check them out. What are you looking forward to? I'd love to know!

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My Jack-o-lantern.


Any my gravestones. Love that my daughter wrote "kill" on the ones she drew.



Why is it we can be so busy but still find time to come home and whip together the headstones in a few hours because we promised our kids we would?

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Happy Monday! Hope everyone has a great week.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Five on a Friday

I hope everyone had a super lucky, inspiring week!

1) Without further ado, the winner of the lucky horseshoe (via random number generation) is...

Shelley! (storyqueen)

Congrats, Shelley! Contact me and send me your snail mail address, and I'll get your horseshoe in the mail for you!

2) I ran out of oatmeal this week. My brilliant conclusions on this are

Grits are not oatmeal.
Instant oatmeal is not oatmeal.

I must get to the grocery ASAP. Any oatmeal eaters out there? Grits eaters? Hmmm...

3) Tonight we're off to a high school football game. I'm thinking this is a brilliant opportunity to research those tricky high school kids.

4) Sunday we have Austin Energy coming to our house for a Cub Scout meeting. They are going to create lightning for the kids and everything. Once again, book research.

* Who recognizes that book research is everywhere in everything we do?

5) Finally, I am revising and LOVING it! I took about a month off from this WIP which was so well spent. The structure of the story and character development that needs to take place is so much more clear. I've said this a million times before, but I'll say it again:

There is nothing like time between revisions. Take as much time as you possibly can stand.

Okay, good luck to all you NaNo participants out there! I'll be rooting you on while I revise!

Happy week, set your clocks back, and eat lots of (chocolate) candy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Are you feeling lucky?

In my belief, we make our own luck. If I want to have a lucky week, I need to believe it's a lucky week. I need to believe good things will happen to me.

"I've found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often."
-- Brian Tracy, Author

"I am a great believer in luck, and I find that the harder I work, the more I have of it."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States of America

"Luck is a state of mind ."
--Chris Lianos

"Luck is when preparation meets opportunity."
-- Brian Tracy, Author

"If you dont have any luck, you need to make your own."
--Mick Juby

In the vein of thinking lucky, I take every opportunity I get to wish on a star, to throw a penny in a fountain, to write a note on the wish tree in the Hirshorn Scuplture Garden in DC. (btw, if you get to DC, I highly recommend this. I love the Hirshorn Sculplture Garden.)

Do you see my wish?

I also give you my favorite place to throw pennies in when I'm in DC.

Take the time to dip your feet, also.

Okay, in my effort to spread my lucky thoughts for the week, I'm giving away a horseshoe. And all you need to do for your chance to win this awesome, rusty, full-of-luck horseshoe, is leave me a comment before Friday.

This horseshoe could be yours!

So who's in? I challenge you to think lucky for the week. Believe you are lucky and then believe it some more. And have a great week!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Five on a Friday

Happy Weekend! I love Fall. I love the weekends! We've got a packed day tomorrow complete with flag football, Kung Fu, and a party. Sunday Lego League. But busy is good, right?

I hope writing is going great for everyone! And for all those getting ready to do NaNo...whoo hoo! I'm not partaking this year. Too many revisions. But revisions are good. I aim to get through my WIP a few times by the end of November.

*I want to note that my son finished THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD last night and loved it! And not just because the book is dedicated to him. This makes me happy :)

Okay, my five for the week:

1) Check out some more awesome pics from my release party over on Cynsations. If you look closely, you can see the back of my daughter's shiny blond head complete with pony tails.

2) Beth Revis let her readers interview me. Check out the answers today over on Writing it Out!

3) And speaking of Beth Revis, thank you for the awesome review for THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD! My favorite line from the review:
"This one is better than the first. If you liked THE EMERALD TABLET, you'll love THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD."

4) The BookPeople blog, BookKids, has an interview up with Jessica Lee Anderson and me. Check it out here.

5) TOTALLY RANDOM AND OFF TOPIC OF WRITING: Why does it crack me up that in my daughter's religious ed class, they picked saints to celebrate for All Saints Day, and she picked St. Clare of Assisi, the patron saint of TELEVISION?
(I think Scooby Doo is responsible.)


Okay, off to have lunch with my son and then revise. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And here it is Wednesday!

Another great week is going by. I'm getting a ton done. It's funny how once the release party was over, I could actually focus on things besides, well, the release party. Now it's back to writing as usual.

Some noteworthy things:

Check out my interview over on Tabitha Olson's blog, Writer Musings. And wait, she's giving away a copy of THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD. So for your chance to enter, head here and comment.

And it even gets better because Beth Revis at Writing it Out is featuring me this week. Post an interview question for me here, and enter here for a chance to win either THE EMERALD TABLET or THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD!

Also up, I'm hugely excited that both THE EMERALD TABLET and THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD are nominees for the Cybils Middle Grade Fantasy category! Yay! And thank you!

Did you miss my Blog Talk Radio interview? Wait! It's not too late to listen. Here, you can just click on this nifty little widget and listen to what I have to say about THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD.



And I just want to point out Book Bites for Kids is made possible by the National Writing for Children Center. They are a fantastic group, and you can read more about them here.

Thank you to debut author Donna St. Cyr, author of THE SECRETS OF THE CHEESE SYNDICATE, for mentioning THE EMERALD TABLET in her AuthorsNow Spotlight. And I notice she's giving away two copies of her fabulous book, so head over and check it out!

One more picture from the release party! Check out that massive amount of candy. The kids loved it.

Me and Jessica Lee Anderson!

Okay, that's it for me on a Wednesday! Have a great week!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Book Release Party and Other Random Bits

There's nothing that quite makes an author feel like a superstar as having her name on the marquee. Check this one out, no less right there with Kate DiCamillo.

Me with Jessica Lee Anderson

BookPeople were fabulous hosts for the joint book release party with Jessica Lee Anderson. We had a fabulous time! Thank you so much to everyone who came out to see us! A book party is a really special day, and I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful people I consider friends to celebrate with.
Like, look - Jody Feldman, author of THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES, came all the way from Missouri for the party. (okay, so she was in San Antonio for school visits - it was still a drive.)

Me with Jody Feldman

I've posted more pics over on the Forgotten Worlds Facebook Fan Page in case you want to buzz over and check them out!



But one last pic. Check out the copies of my book!


*Note - If you want a signed copy and didn't make the party, BookPeople has them in stock.

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In other news, I'm quoted in our Austin Newspaper, the Austin American Statesmen, on my thoughts on WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. Here's the link. I say:

"WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE was the book I always wanted to own. Teachers and librarians read it to me in the class and the library, but for some reason beyond me, it never made its way to my home. It was like an adventure book I always wanted to be a part of. So guess what? As soon as I had kids, I ran to the bookstore and bought it. And read it. And loved it. But I always thought it was longer."

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Monday I am going to be interviewed on Book Bites for Kids. Here's the link. It's at 2:00 Central Time on Monday, October 19, 2009. Listen in!

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Check out Beth Revis's blog this week! She's giving away a copy of THE EMERALD TABLET and THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD. In addition, she'll be gathering interview questions from blog readers to ask me. So pop over and put forth a question!

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And here's one final picture of Team "Nogicals Rule". Wonder what a Nogical is? Read THE EMERALD TABLET to find out!


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Hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cynsations et al

I hope everyone is having a great week! In addition to getting ready for the awesome book release party (which I'm really excited about; can you tell?), I'm putting together a speech for Friday for a school talk I'm giving. This one is more on the craft of writing as opposed to some other topics I've given in the past (like mythology, The Hero's Journey, character development, and telekinesis vs. telepathy).

Here's a couple fun links for the middle of the week.

I'm featured on Cynsations today with fellow book-release-party author Jessica Lee Anderson. We're talking a little about our writing path, what we find rewarding, how we're marketing, and also what sophomore novel we're most looking forward to. Are you curious about mine? Click over to find out!


Want to talk about CATHCING FIRE by Suzanne Collins? Over at The Spectacle, we have a discussion going on completely full of spoilers.
Consider yourself warned. If you have not read CATHCING FIRE and you plan to, do not visit. If you have read it, then head over and weigh in!


Also up today, I posted an interview with the amazing R. L. LaFevers over on The Enchanted Inkpot. Are you curious what Robin's favorite natural wonder is? Go see! It's a great one, and one we should all enjoy. And for your enjoyment, here's a picture of me and Robin when she came to Austin!


Have a great week!