ALA Photos, Round Three and A Hero

We’ll start tonight’s picture show with the gorgeous smiles of Kevin Lewis and Holly Black.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Yes, he’s Holly’s editor, too.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic If you’re a teacher or librarian, you want to know the good people of TeachingBooks ” is a time-saving portal to thousands of online resources you can use to explore children’s and young adult books and their authors.” It has loads of terrific material about authors and their books. I particularly adore the Author Name Pronunciation Guide.

But the absolute highlight of the conference was an unexpected, serendipitous meeting with an author whose books are among my very favorites. As I walked on the conference floor, the loud speaker announced that this Incredible Author was about to give a reading from her new book. I sprinted, sending librarians and publicists scattering like bowling pins. (I do apologize for an injury or loss of dignity I may have caused.)

The new book?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Quakeland (for grown-ups, this time).

That’s right folks, I met Francesca Lia Block!

Write 15 Minutes a Day Challenge (WFMAD) – Day Three

Welcome to everyone who wandered over here from Sarah Dessen’s blog! (Sarah has not stopped writing even though she had a baby last year, btw.) And before I go any further, Happy Birthday, Kate Messner!

I spent a big part of yesterday running errands, which is right up there with dentistry on my list of things that I hate to do. I had to take my laptop into the Apple store to see if the seizure it suffered in California was from too much sunshine or a symptom of a larger problem. The computer is going to get a physical, then a spa treatment. If I’m lucky, they’ll replace the keys I’ve worn out, too.

The other big part of yesterday was wrestling the jungle that used to be my garden. The weeds went nuts when I was away. I got two of the three vegetable beds under control, popped a blister, got dirt in it, and then poured hydrogen peroxide on it and made up new curse words. The broccoli is pretty much done for the season, but we still have lettuce. I planted cabbage yesterday and new eggplant plants (that sounds silly) because the ones I planted last month never exactly grew. The tomato plants are ridiculously huge.

When did I write? First thing in the morning. I also took a notebook on my errands and when I stopped for lunch at the grocery store deli, I wrote for half an hour. I also snuck in a few paragraphs while I was waiting for the shade to hit the garden.


Several people have written to me asking if blogging or email “counts” for this challenge. I suppose all writing counts, technically. But I’d like you to ask yourself why you’re writing.

Self: “Why am I writing?”

If the answer is because you’d like to write a novel and have it published, then perhaps you’ll reconsider having email count for your 15 minutes. If you want to write a novel, then write a novel! Write a page of it. write a paragraph. Write a physical description of a character or a snippet of dialog.

The holiday weekend approacheth. You are going to be tempted away from your writing by parades, softball games, grilled hot dogs, potato salad, fireworks and parties. You can enjoy all of them. Just wake up fifteen minutes early and write.

Today’s advice: Don’t judge, criticize, or edit what you’re writing this month. (There will be time for that later.) Right now, we’re concentrating on getting the words down on the page. You can do that.

Today’s prompt: Describe someone you know, but don’t give us the typical physical characteristics like hair and eye color. Try to show some of that person’s personality by showing them in action.


ALA Photos, Round Two & Historical Trivia

Before I start with the photos, I want to make sure that you know that on today, JULY 2ND!, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was actually signed.

John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, the next day, saying “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

So why do we wait until the 4th to celebrate? There was a little editing done, and the final, final version was completed on the 4th. Writers everywhere will understand.

Onto the second round of photos from ALA. We’ll start with this glam shot:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Me and my Simon & Schuster editor, Kevin Lewis. I do all my historical books with him.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Teri Lesesne professornana taking a picture of me taking a picture of her, while Ruth Cox Clark has a good laugh about it. Teri posted her version of the shot.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I ran into Sandra Payne, YA Librarian Goddess of New York City, outside the convention center.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Came across Jay Asher, who did not write the book he’s holding. He wrote 13 Reason Why… but!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic He is actually IN the mermaid book, making a rather fetching mermaid. This explains why Jay’s blog is called Disco Mermaids.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Tanya Lee Stone and I got VERY LOST trying to find the blogger party.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic While we were lost (for what seemed like hours) we came across this sign by the elevator. Our favorite line: “Fire alarm sounds like: Whoop Whoop.”

We eventually made it to the party which was loads of fun. My pictures didn’t turn out so good, but Betsy Bird has a lot of it on her YouTube video. If you look carefully, you’ll see my new favorite shoes, too.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I was honored to meet Nikki Grimes at the S&S booth. Be sure to look for her new book, Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope when it comes out next month.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I attended an illustrator’s luncheon and listened to incredible artists discuss their work. Along with this fellow, my illustrator, Matt Faulkner, I heard Kadir Nelson, David Small, Robin Preiss Glasser, Stephen T. Johnson, G. Brian Karas, and Brian Floca. Amazing.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic At the Simon & Schuster party, I had a great time scheming with M.T. Anderson as we planned an expose that will detail the warped details of our childhoods that led us to write books about epidemics and Colonial-era slavery. Half of the world thinks that were siblings. We might as well be. Here is M.T. talking to Holly Black, with Mr. YALSA, Ed Spicer, in the background.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic We all sang “Happy Birthday” to Walter the Giant Storyteller.

The Newbery/Caldecott speeches were unbelievably good. Astoundingly good. So good, the two winners should get another medal.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicAt the banquet, I sat at the table with Neal Shusterman (you want to read Unwind) and his two sons.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Before all the speech-excellence, I met Cynthia Kadohata.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic And Ashley Bryan, who made me gush and say silly things because I admire him so much.

On that fangirly note, I’ll wrap it up. I’ll post a few more photos tomorrow, including the author-highlight of the conference for me. I hope to make a short video over the weekend.

I’ve done my 15 minutes (well, two hours) of writing. Have you?

Write 15 Minutes a Day Challenge (WFMAD) – Day Two

What a terrific start! Aside from all the comments on LJ, I got a lot of feedback on MySpace and Facebook, plus a couple of emails. Thank you to everyone who wrote and congratulations on jumping in!

Today’s goal: Write for 15 minutes.

Today’s wreath of forgiveness: I know a number of you are kicking yourselves because you didn’t write yesterday. You forgot or you “forgot” (meaning you didn’t really forget but were afraid to start so you made up excuses all day long and you woke up loathing yourself.)

Do not call your therapist. Do not abandon the writing dream. Simply forgive yourself.

This is hard and it can be scary. You don’t have to write a novel today. You don’t even have to write anything coherent. No one will judge the quality of your work right now, or condemn you for starting today instead of yesterday. Just write. 15 minutes. You can do this.

Today’s motivation: It will make you happy.

Today’s prompt: Write about the most embarrassing incident from your childhood.