"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?


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!


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.


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!