Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Since today is the last day of work before CHRISTMAS, I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for coming here (even when I have very little to say...*cough* lately *cough*). You're fabulous.

I hope you each have a wonderful holiday!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fall for Anything!!

Today...I'm pretty darn excited. FALL FOR ANYTHING by Courtney Summers is out in the world!

Y'all *may* know that I'm a huge fan of Courtney Summers' books. CRACKED UP TO BE stole my breath with its awesomeness (Go Parker!). SOME GIRLS ARE punched me in the gut with its truth, its glimpse into both sides of bullying.

FALL FOR ANYTHING, in the immortal words of Bill Cameron, punched me in the soul.

FFA is the story of Eddie Reeves, an enigmatic, sarcastic, complex mess of a girl--eminently relatable--dealing with the suicide of her father. Eddie wants more than anything to know why, and she thinks somehow if she can figure that out, the rest of life will make sense. Of course it's not that simple, and it hurts to be immersed in Eddie's head. But oh, readers--it is so very worth it. Once again Courtney jabs right to the truth of the world of this girl, this time the truth of grief, and loss, and mourning, and the terrible fact that life keeps going on.

Courtney's writing is spare and beautiful. Her characters are so real they live in my head for months after--even secondary characters. Milo, Eddie's best friend, is fabulous. And Culler...well, I'll let you find that one out for yourself.

The best way to summarize my feelings for this book is this: READ IT. PLEASE. And then we can talk. :)

I already gave away my early copy of FFA to a lucky Twitter winner (thanks to everyone for playing the #fallforanything contest!), but I'm heading out today to buy my for-real copy. Are you?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

How to Liven up Shakespeare

The title is a joke, because I'm a complete Shakespeare NERD and I think Shakespeare plays are pretty lively as they are. But last night, Child's school managed to make it even more interesting.

Her school did Twelfth Night for their Christmas play last year, and this year they tackled Midsummer Night's Dream (abridged versions, both--this is for 1st through 6th graders to act). I was thrilled when Child was given the part of Hermia. She's never tried a major part before, but that one's perfect for her. She's "petite" like her mother, so all the "little" lines totally fit.

Because I am so dwarfish and so low?
How low am I, thou painted maypole? speak;
How low am I? I am not yet so low
But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes. 

The audience laughed loudly with the last line. She practically growled when she said it! AWESOMENESS.

Also, she was paired with her best friend who's a boy (sort-of "boyfriend" though that doesn't mean much at this age) as her lover, and Helena was played by her female best friend. The 4 of them in all those scenes have a great time together, and you can tell.

Anyway, the performance went fabulously, the audience packed full of appreciative parents and grandparents, until, in the middle of the second of the players broke the lantern, right in the middle of the stage.

Broken glass, scattered all over the stage. The whole parent-audience groaned as the play continued, the kids dancing over and smashing the broken glass. I don't think any of us were looking above the level of the floor at that point--we were all just watching where the glass was, spreading as they crunched over it.

But these kids had shoes, and they were okay. Some of us knew from dress rehearsal that the next scene was fairies. Barefoot fairies.

The quick-thinking narrator ran out and got a broom and swept the stage while delivering her lines, but she's 10 or 11 and didn't really have the knack of how to sweep glass. She dramatically swept the bulk of it off into the wings (with flourishes), but we could still see the remnants, lots of them, winking at us in the lights.

They'll stop the play, I kept thinking. They have to stop it and clean the stage. 

But the kids kept going, saying their lines perfectly. And then Puck--the oldest girl in the school, a sixth grader--came on, and stepped squarely, firmly, right in the glass, with her bare feet.

The whole audience gasped. One parent ran backstage, one ran back up the aisle to the teacher in the sound booth. Puck kept delivering her lines as we all wondered if she was cut, murmuring to each other. And then all the little kids, dressed as fairies, appeared at the back of the stage, their feet bare, and prepared for their dance--and we knew it had to stop.

The teacher ran down the aisle and jumped up on the stage, herding the little ones away from the danger area. They kept dancing, but away from the glass. Puck conveniently had to sweep the stage for her part then, and got the rest of it. Then she gave her speech, they did bows, and it was all over.

I'm pretty sure Puck did cut her feet a little. When my husband asked her in the reception line if her feet were okay, she winced. (The wife of the head teacher is a doctor, so I'm sure she also got fixed up quick if she did.)

But as it all came through okay at the end, we were able to appreciate the extra drama of the evening. My husband turned to me as we were waiting for Child and said "What do you think we should try tomorrow to top that? Boiling oil? Real swords?"

Probably not. But it did make the whole ending pretty darn exciting.

Friday, December 03, 2010


Hi all!!

It's Tiara Day again! This one was called in celebration of two things officially: the birth on November 16 of my beloved friend Tiffany Schmidt's twin boys (helloooo Asher and Bradford: welcome to Sparkle-Town!) and the new agent of the lovely Julie Butcher-Feydnich (@jimsissy on Twitter), who ASKED for a TD. :)

(It's also unofficially for a couple of OTHER lovelies who had good news last month, but I can't reveal those. You KNOW WHO YOU ARE.)

Now, you're probably wondering about that kind of funky tiara pic I've got going this time. It does look odd, yes. But there's a good story behind it. (I told this story before after the trip, but I'm REPEATING IT, okay?)

When I made my first trip to New York City in January last year, for the SCBWI conference, I got to meet up with the Fabulous Sharkly Agent Janet (of course). It wasn't the first time I'd met her in person, but the first time in her beloved city. I knew she had a couple of plans of where to take me. But when I saw her, she was practically giggling.

"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."

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

A tiara! On the wall of the subway station!

See me grinning my head off? Nah, she doesn't know me AT ALL.

Then she took me to a chocolate restaurant for lunch, Max Brenner's.

So in light of the fact that today's Tiara Day is half about an agent matchup, and that it's almost January again, it's the perfect Tiara Day avatar. Don't you think?

Hope you join in the celebration!