Thursday, January 29, 2015

Where I'll be this winter/spring, and some good news about Linc and George Washington

So far, 2015 has been all about writing for me. It's been nice to hibernate a little, especially with all the snowfall we're having here in Colorado.

But I do like to get out every once in a while. And I hope to see you at one of these events, if you find yourself in Colorado!

Here's where I'll be:


I’ll be at the SCBWI table, sharing all the great things SCBWI has to offer!
 
I’m hosting a free workshop for local writers on how to plot a novel using plot points.
 
Presenting a workshop on reaching reluctant MG and YA readers 

Faculty member, presenting workshops on writing MG, plotting, and author platform building.
 
Double Vision trilogy books will be available at the bookstore at all events. Hope to see you there!

And to add a bit of good news: Double Vision: Code Name 711 will be out in paperback on February 10th!

Just in time for Presidents Day (since the book features George Washington), very cool...

To celebrate, there's a giveaway of signed copies over at Goodreads (see nifty gadget to the right). Or be wild and crazy with seven bucks, and buy yourself a copy at your favorite bookstore, or straight from the awesome people at Harper Children's. I love paperbacks, don't you?
 
 
 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Congrats to the 2015 Edgar nominees for Best Juvenile and Best YA!

It's Edgar time! I'll admit that I'm not familiar with any of the Best Juvenile noms, but there were several in the YA category I recognized.

BIG congrats to everyone!

Here's the list:

BEST JUVENILE

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Greenglass House by Kate Milford (Clarion Books – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
Nick and Tesla’s Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove by “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith  (Quirk Books)
Saving Kabul Corner by N.H. Senzai (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)
Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)


BEST YOUNG ADULT

The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano (Penguin Young Readers Group – Kathy Dawson Books)
Fake ID by Lamar Giles (HarperCollins Children’s Books - Amistad)
The Art of Secrets by James Klise (Algonquin Young Readers)
The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

You can find the full list of Edgar nominees here.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thursday teen book review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

From the publisher:

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor
... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.


My thoughts:

I actually read a YA romance! I didn't think I would read the whole thing, but Eleanor & Park surprised me. The romance feels real and not girly--I could see a boy reading this book, too. It helped that there was a good amount of mystery surrounding Eleanor's lousy home life. It made me hurt for her. The story did run a bit long for my taste toward the middle, making me skim to get to the meat of the story.

What teens might find a bit tough is that the book is set in the 1980s but not advertised as such; I've seen this pop in YA and MG a few times now, and I think it's a little bit of a sneaky cheat, probably to avoid dealing with today's technology.

Ample language and mature situations in this book, so probably not for your middle schooler. But also a nice read for us kids from the eighties.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Making plans for 2015 (or: What's the best that can happen?)


Happy 2015, all! Of course the new year is well underway, I know. I'm just a bit of a slow starter, especially after the holidays. Blame it on the food and the cold weather.

This year, I don't have much in the way of resolutions. Instead, I have plans: stuff that I want to accomplish, and I've created a to-do list to go with. None of this vague business.

I plan to write more--I'm tinkering with both YA and MG concepts. I have an idea for a short story I plan to write. I plan to walk my new puppy (when it's not snowing). And I plan to get together with my Colorado writer friends a bit more. Oh, and I plan to blog on Thursdays.

At a recent author school visit at nearby Discovery Canyon Campus middle school, I saw this on a pin board. I like the positive sentiment, so I thought I'd share it here.

I hope you have a great 2015!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays, and a little nostalgia

I wanted to share this clip for a bit of nostalgia. I always loved The Snowman movie as a kid.

Hope you have a great holiday season, wherever you are... Be safe, healthy, and hang out with the people you love.

See you in 2015!





Thursday, December 18, 2014

Teen Thursday book review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

From the publisher:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.


My thoughts:

Confession time: I almost gave up on this book in the early pages. The story of a bunch of rich kids on an island just wasn't appealing to me, to be honest.

But I kept reading, and then got sucked in when Cadence ends up in a mysterious accident (finally something happened!), and I wanted to know what actually happened.

A good read if you have the patience. I was a bit disappointed at the very end, but the twist was nicely done (though I kinda caught on early).

Recommended for your clever teen girl.




Thursday, December 4, 2014

December musings and what kids want to read

I spent a glorious Thanksgiving break reading, thanks to Jenn's Bookshelves' brilliant idea to curl up with a book. I made my way through the better part of the pile of books I had waiting for me; some I read all the way, some I put aside to give away. Alas, the cupcake cozy just wasn't for me.

I've also been spending this past month or so thinking about what I want to write next. I've been reading middle-grade and YA, brainstorming ideas, and most of all...

I've been listening to kids. The ones who walk up to my signing table, and also the ones who don't. I watch to see what books they pick up, what books they take home. I've been listening to third, fourth--all the way to high school aged kids when they tell me what books they like, and why.

The younger kids like funny, fast, and some fantasy. Teens want to be swept away to a different place--they love those big, epic tales. Dystopian is still a favorite. Retellings of fairytales, too.

Scholastic did a quick study on what kids like; you can read all about it here. And one of my favorite MG reviewers Ms. Yingling has been talking (with exclamation marks, because this stuff is important) about how depressing recent books are that she reviews for her library. The study tells us kids want funny books, a whopping seventy percent.

So why the disconnect?

I don't know. If I can have a soapbox moment here... I think we should focus more on what kids want to read than on what we think they should read. In any case, I hope we'll see more funny books, don't you? We could all use a laugh.