Cue the partridge in that pear tree

My least favorite part of Christmas – shopping – is done!

::dances in comfort with joy::

I loathe shopping, hate it, hate it, hate it. This is probably because I was raised by a woman (hi Mom) who loves it. My mother was born to shop. She has a special shopping gait – when she gets to a store she likes, she walks so slowly that she actually slows down Time itself. As a child, this used to make me fling myself on the floor, howling in frustration, pretending to be dying of a rare virus, begging strangers to take me home – anything to get out of the store. Mom and I don’t shop much together anymore. When we do, I am convinced that she slows down even more, touching Every. Single. Thing. in the whole blooming building, just to irritate me.

These days, when forced to shop with other family members, I am known to bring a book. It should be noted, for the record, that all of my kids love to shop. I encourage them to take Grandma whenever possible.

So now that the shards of glass under the fingernails portion of the holiday is over, I can relax. Wrapping, I like. Decorating, cooking, humming out of tune to ancient carols, feeding birds, counting stars, sitting in front of the fireplace, and ho-ho-ho? I adore all that.

If you are still shopping, consider buying original art. Or improving the world.

Happy birthday, Mark Twain!

Scribble, scribble

Thanksgiving was the best ever in my whole life. Details to come when I get a photo to share with youse guys.

Today I’m off to the library to write, then off to the gym where, while sweating, I will figure out the next chapter.

While I am otherwise engaged, I figured the time had come to unveil the cover of my new book, TWISTED. It goes on sale mid-March, 2007, roughly 107 days from now.

drum roll, please…

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What do you think?

WIP update and burglars and challenge news

Thank you to everyone for the amazing song selections for Melinda and SPEAK. Next week I’ll ask about CATALYST, so start thinking! (Note to self: finish note to Theo about website update.)

I have been hammering away on the WIP despite the best attempts of the universe to interfere. My mom wound up with a medical incident early in the week (she’s fine, thanks for asking, all the problems are working out) so I spent a day and a night with her. My father-in-law has also been struggling. (Elderly parents are the replacement stress inducers after your kids go to college.) And then around three this morning, our burglar alarm went off. Have you ever heard one of those suckers? It’s the loudest sound in the entire world. I think it blew over some of the trees in the forest. Woke us up in a hurry. Scared off the bad guys, too, if in fact, it was bad guys and not critters. Lucky for them. I am not nice when woken rudely.

Despite all the craziness, it’s been a decent writing week. Somehow 4000 new words popped up yesterday. I have the first full draft complete, and am now on draft 2. I’m not sure how long the darn thing will be, but the first 60 pages are in really good shape. Stay tuned.

Oh, yay. My high school is in the news again.

Congrats to the National Book Awards winners and finalists!

A standing ovation for the good people at Ridgefield High School in Ridgefield Washington for successfully working through the challenge to SPEAK. The book has been taught there for five years, but an objection was raised a few months ago, which led to it being pulled from the curriculum. The staff and administration worked with community members to go through their evaluation process and earlier this week, the book was reinstated. (I will try and collect more specific information and post it when available.) These challenges are so hard on the teachers involved…. many, many hardy congratulations to them for caring about their students enough to fight for a good book, and for the administrators who backed them up. I hope it was a good experience for the entire community. Go Spudders!!! (Yeah, that really is their mascot. Yes, I love it.)

Speaking of good teachers, I am facing south and waving to everyone in Nashville, TN for the annual NCTE conference. Waving with a very brave face, trying not to pout, wiping away the tear trickling down my cheek, lower lip quivering. I am so bummed I am not at the conference this year. Gah! I am watching a couple of blogs for tidbits about the workshops and parties. Sigh. Deep sigh. Deep, pathetic, damp sigh. Guess I better write another book. Maybe, if I’m a really, really good girl, I’ll get to go next year.