Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Child!!

Today, she is eight.

It's hard to believe that tiny baby with the big cheeks, that opinionated toddler, that wild and energetic 4-year-old, became the beautiful person she is now. So creative, kind, smart, and FUNNY.

Did I tell you she's writing, directing, and starring in a series of plays with her friends at school? Title of the first one is FARTMAN IN THE WEIRD WORLD.


I love that  she loves to wear dresses and sparkly things (even though I didn't). I love that she LOVES to read. I love that she is stubborn and strong-willed enough to make it in the world. I love that she is way smarter than I am, but the teachers commented on how kind she is to others and how fun she makes the classroom. I love that she tries new things and likes adventure.

I love my baby who is so not a baby anymore--and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Happy Birthday, Child!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


And the winner of THE BREACH is...

TrishaleighKC!! Congrats Trisha!

Friday, February 19, 2010


Photo at left from Flickr Commons. Isn't it adorable?

So this week I won a book (GEEKTASTIC), which gave me such a boost that I decided to return the favor. I'm going to give away a book!

Better, I'm going to give away an AMAZING book that freaked my mind right out with its fabulousness. I've got a lot going on right now, so I don't have much time to read. This book had me dragging it right along to meetings, reading in the 5 minutes before, reading under my desk "just to the next chapter", reading it while I was making dinner. Because pasta takes 20 minutes to boil, right? SCORE!

It's that compelling. It has totally unexpected twists, super-cool technology, a really intriguing character...

Yeah. You need this book. And I'm going to give it to you!

Contest is open for 24 hours, give or take--closing at noon MST tomorrow. Regular point system:

+1 for a comment below (don't forget email address!)
+1 for a tweet or retweet, or post on Facebook
+2 for a blog post about either THE BREACH or the contest

Ready? Enter! Post! Win!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Olympics Girl

I went into labor at 4 am on February 22, 2002. Right on the due date--2/22/2002. Auspicious, huh? Despite the fact that I was a first-timer, I was fairly calm. The pains weren't awful yet, so I knew it'd take a while. I tried to rest, got up, took a shower, and got everything ready. We headed to the hospital at 8 am.

The lovely doctors and nurses turned us right around and sent us home again. "Not even close" to delivery. It'd be at least 8 hours, probably. I was to relax and rest and pay attention to changes, and I would KNOW when it was time to go in.

It was 15 hours before we went back. For that whole day I labored, rocked in my mother-in-law's handmade rocking chair, thought about how different life would be tomorrow, and watched the Winter Olympics on TV.

She didn't come until noon the next day, the 23rd.

The next time the Olympics were on, she was 4. We watched, but life with a 4-year-old is crazy, especially around birthday time. I was planning a party, buying presents. Still I thought of that day with the Olympics, and my now-big girl.

She's turning 8 next week, and she's a smart, funny, active girl, interested in dance and acting and school. I love spending time with her. The other night we all curled up on the sofa together, watched figure skating and rooted for our favorites. She was big-eyed with awe watching the skaters, the snowboarders, the skiiers. I told her the story of our first day together with the Olympics, and we counted how old she would be for the next ones.

12. 16. 20. 24.

It goes so fast it's hard to stop and take stock, to realize how beautifully and remarkably things--children--change. But we're lucky. We have a marker that makes us stop, notice the time.

She's my Olympics girl, my very own winter miracle. This time of year I'm even more grateful for her.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New York Roundup: Part 4, final portion!

So I've talked about the lunches and drinks and conference parts of the trip, which were amazing. But it was also my FIRST trip to New York--so I itched for the touristy. Victoria and Tiffany were old hands at the city, so they scoffed at our ultimate tourist plans, but Emily and I were determined. On Sunday we first took care of priority #1--socializing with Wonderful Writer Nova Ren Suma, and eating cupcakes.

You can see video of that sugary event at Tiffany's blog, far better than I could describe.

Then Em and I set off for our next Big Plan, the carriage ride through Central Park.

It was all that I wanted it to be--we giggled the ENTIRE TIME. I took 5 million pictures of Central Park from the carriage, but they're probably the same as every other person's pictures of Central Park in winter. These are my two favorites:

Miss Emily!! (giggling)

Our fabulous Irish driver, Tye, and Dancer. Tye kept up an endless stream of Irish-flavored chatter even though he clearly must have known by then we were insane. (the giggling)

After the ride we hoofed it ourselves up the street to see Radio City--just because I saw the sign. Along the way (while stopping to warm up our frozen fingers), we saw this place:

How cool is THAT? I took a picture just so I could show Courtney Summers. (LOOK, Courtney!)

And then we accidentally came across THIS:

And headed back to Times Square, because Em hadn't been there yet. Yay more Toys R Us in Times Square! And M&M's sign, to keep up the candy theme.


And then, my friends, it was time to get our cold selves back to the hotel, order Chinese takeout, and crash. And then time to go HOME!
I've been home for a week, and I love being back in Montana, back with my wonderful family. But I admit I do miss my New York peeps, and my Team Sparkle girls.

Next year we'll have to try somewhere else!! Any suggestions?

Monday, February 08, 2010

New York Roundup: Part 3

How many parts IS this? you ask.
Patience, Grasshopper, I answer. As many as it takes.

Yes, I did take some cold medicine. Why do you ask?

So, Friday of NY trip. I was so thrilled to be invited to lunch with V, Agents Extraordinaire Joanna Stampfel-Volpe and Suzie Townsend, and one of Suzie's cool clients. We had mexican food at Dos Caminos, which was YUM. Even better was the conversation, which was almost all books and writing and YA. The waitress asked us at one point to please stop talking about TWILIGHT or she would be forced to buy it. O_o Such kindred spirits!

Some conferency stuff, and then Team Sparkle rested until it was time for KidLit drinks. That was so fun!! I felt so New-Yorkish all dressed up with cosmo in hand. (It was an Irish pub, but I could not resist the call of the cosmo) The place was a bit too crowded to say hi to all the people I wanted to, but I did get to meet SF Agent Jennifer Laughran (literaticat) and fab authors Shana Silver, Jen Hayley, Suzanne Young, and many more!

We were completely taken over by laughing more than once, which is always healthy for the soul.

THEN we decided to take a midnight trip up to the top of the Empire State Building.

My favorite part of telling this story is that every single person, New Yorker or not, says "I didn't know it was open that late!"

It IS. It was nearly empty. And so much fun!

Saturday I had complete Picture Fail, but it was a jam-packed full day, the actual SCBWI conference. Highlights:
  • I cried--openly--at Libba Bray's keynote speech. It was so what I needed to hear right then.
  • The Writing Fantasy breakout with Arianne Lewin, a Disney/Hyperion editor. Intriguing stuff.
  • The Literary Fiction breakout with Alvina Ling, who I follow on Twitter. Extremely useful. The book I'm writing now is definitely on the literary/commercial straddle.
  • Jacqueline Woodson's inspiring speech, particularly her reading aloud her beautiful writing
  • Peter Sis's fascinating life story
  • Jim Benton's creative and stimulating talk, illustrated (Happy Bunny!)
We had to duck out early to make it to drinks with Joanna, Suzie, Laura Whitaker from Harper Collins (twitter buddy!),  Kody Keplinger, Kirsten Hubbard, Kaitlin Ward, and their agents Kathleen Ortiz and Michelle Andelman. AND Joanna's husband Joe, who was Such a Sport.

And look, they took video! Check it out! http://www.yahighway.com/2010/02/nyc-publishing-tips-movie.html

We finished up the evening with a group dinner with the most excellent crew from the Blueboards.

See? There is so very much to talk about it *requires* many posts. One more to come!

Friday, February 05, 2010

New York Roundup: Part 2

Part 2, with more pictures!

So on Thursday last I set out by myself on the streets of New York to find the FinePrint offices. Agent Janet had given me detailed walking instructions, which I diligently printed out and put in my coat pocket.

And lost before I left the room.

I LAUGHED out loud when I realized this, because it was just so ironic and yet typical of me. Fortunately I remembered most of the directions, and figured out the rest. I successfully made it. The intern said, "Oh YES!" when I said my name. *beam*

I had the pleasure of meeting Stephany Evans, Colleen Lindsay, and several very cool interns, and giving Joanna Stampfel-Volpe a quick hug before Agent Janet and I set out on a surprise adventure.

"You'd better laugh when you see this," she said, "or I'll disown you." She studied me. "Never mind, you're going to laugh."

Reader, I laughed. She maneuvered me through my first subway trip, and stood me right here.

A tiara! On the wall of the subway station!

Nah, she doesn't know me AT ALL.

In further proof, she took me to a chocolate restaurant for lunch, Max Brenner's. Chocolate!Restaurant! I ordered this:


Yes, I did. It was AMAZING. Add in coffee and talk, and a very happy conversation about my new book, and it's hard to top that.
And it was only my first full day!!

But that night the rest of the Team Sparkle contingent--my lovely Emily Hainsworth and Tiffany Schmidt--arrived, and we hoofed it to a diner. Then we came back to the room and ate from a whole desk full of snacks, mostly sugary, and watched a RAINBOW BRITE movie.

I know. Two of us (*raises hand*) had not seen it before, and two of us SANG TO EVERY SONG.

We have video, somewhere.

The next morning we were meant to go do touristy stuff, but we kind of stopped at Dylan's Candy Bar. And stayed there, for an hour or two. We browsed, bought presents, bought chocolate, and had cupcakes.

And they browsed and tweeted on their Blackberries. (caption: What Team Sparkle REALLY does)


And then V and I set off for our most glamorous lunch with Joanna and Suzie Townsend. But that will be tomorrow!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

New York Roundup: Part 1

I think it's kind of lame when people start every post apologizing for how long it's been since they posted--so I won't do that. I've been busy, and y'all get that, right?

Late Monday night, I got back from my marvelous, mind-blowing Trip to New York City for SCBWI. It's taken me this long to catch up and gather myself (and my pictures) enough to START talking about it, but I think I'm ready now. To start, at least.

I was a little nervous heading in. I felt silly being nervous, because I've lived in cities, and I've navigated cities--London, Paris, Rome--by myself before. But this was New York. THE city. What if I got immediately lost? Mugged? Marked as The Idiot from Montana?

Fortunately I shared my row on the plane with a kindred spirit--I swear we chatted for four out of five hours--so she and I hung out until our bags came. I thought I might have muddled the bus/shuttle to the hotel, but it worked out fine. A quick phone call to Agent Janet (as she made me promise to do) and her assurances that I could call her Anytime while there made me feel a buffer of protection, and welcome.

And then I got to the Team Sparkle Room, and all was right with the world. Practically coming home, that.

Our hotel, the Grand Hyatt, was sandwiched between Grand Central Station and the Chrysler Building. It was amazing. This is the view that greeted me straight off the bus.

Not iconic or anything, right? V (the amazing Victoria Schwab) and I (first ones there) went to a fabulous, rather luxurious Italian dinner at Fabio Picollo Fiore. Highly recommend, particularly if you're feeling gossipy. :)

The next day we checked out Grand Central by daylight, along with Times Square.

I ran into a certain agent in Toys 'R' Us there!! She even had her trident ready!

Okay, not really. But I DID have an amazing lunch with Agent J that day. THAT, and the arrival of the rest of Team Sparkle, will have to wait for the next post. :)