crazy goldfinch, writing process questions & ALA schedule

We have a male goldfinch who thinks our house is a romantic rival. Seriously. For three days, he has been flying up to the building and attacking it with his beak. He is most persistent. I’ve heard him muttering: She’s mine, I say, MINE. get away, you fool. Don’t you see your quest for her love is in vain? Back, back to the foul place from whence you came!

At first I thought he wasn’t seeing the glass, so I pulled the shades, and tinkered with the angle of the windows (they open outwards). Didn’t help. He’s attacking the siding, too. I’m worried that the little guy is going to break his beak, or get a concussion and forget which nest is his, then his true love will pine away in sorrow, and their children will be sent to a cruel orphanage in the north on England and will have to eat gruel.

Writing Process and More!

Mitali Perkins has posted the Q&A I did on the readergirlz forum last week. In it, I talk about the hardest thing about YA writing, inspiration for various novels, and the challenges of writing outside my gender and ethnic background. Thank you, Mitali, divas, and girlz! I had fun with youze!


I leave for the annual American Library Association conference on Thursday. If you see me wandering around, please come up and say hello because I am always intimidated by these events and am most grateful for friendly faces.

Along with much wandering, this is my official ALA schedule:

Saturday, June 28
10-11am Signing at the Simon & Schuster booth, #2499

3-4pm Signing at the Penguin booth, #2616

5:30pm-? Come hang out with Tanya Lee Stone and me in the lobby of the Grand Californian Hotel. No tickets! No lines! We’ll be chit-chatting about our new non-fiction historical picture books: Elizabeth Leads the Way, about the life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Independent Dames, about women and girls during the American Revolution. Both of us also write YA, so I imagine the conversation could go anywhere. This very informal, just a chance to sit around and talk with librarians without any hoopla.

I’ll be at the S&S party on Saturday night. Must remember not to wear heels to that one. That was a big mistake last year.

Sunday, June 29
noon – I’m going to the Art Luncheon! (very stoked about this) Matt Faulkner, who illustrated INDEPENDENT DAMES and THANK YOU, SARAH will be there, along with Robin Preiss Glasser, Kadir Nelson, and David Small.

4-6pm VOYA Reception for the Perfect Tens 2007 at the Hilton

6-11pm Newbery/Caldecott Banquet. (Might wear heels to this one. Might even wear a dress.)

Sadly, my plane leaves on Monday, so I’ll miss the Printz Awards on Monday, which are always a lot of fun.

Will I see any of you in Anaheim?

Restating Book Trailer Contest Rules

There have been a couple of questions about my Hot Summer Twisted/Speak Book Trailer Contest, so I thought I would restate the rules and clarify a few points.

Here goes:

1. Create a book trailer for SPEAK or TWISTED. You may not use clips or images from the SPEAK movie (it is copyrighted, that’s why). Your trailer must qualify for a PG rating. Try to keep it under two minutes long: four minutes is the absolute maximum length allowed.

2. Post the trailer on YouTube. Include the phrase “TWISTED trailer contest” or “SPEAK trailer contest” in the title. Submissions must be posted by 12:00pm, EST, August 31, 2008.

3. Once the trailer is posted, notify us by emailing the Office Mouse: officemouse AT writerlady DOT com . When you notify us, please provide a link to your trailer and a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. If you are in a Summer Reading group, include the name of your librarian and her (or his) email address.

4. Watch and wait. Winner will be chosen by Laurie Halse Anderson (aka me).

5. NOTE! Contest is only open to people who will be 21 years old or younger on August 31, 2008.

6. Contest is open to anyone on the Planet Earth. Teens working aboard the space station are welcome too. Entries from other planets and galaxies will be considered, as long as they can be watched on Earth-created technologies.

7. If your trailer is chosen as the winning entry and you are not 18 yet, your parents will have to sign a release form granting me all rights to use your trailer. If you are over 18, you get to sign for yourself. You will be credited as the producer of the trailer, but the only payment you will receive is the prize described below. If you win, be sure to include this on your college or film school application.

8. If you are in a library summer reading group, your library will receive 5 signed copies of my books. The librarian in charge of the group gets to decide which books to receive.

9. There will be two prizes awarded; one for the best SPEAK trailer, one for the best TWISTED trailer.

10. The creator of the winning trailer will be awarded an 8GB iPod Touch. Winner agrees to be responsible for setting up and paying for Internet connection and any warranty protection plan for the device.

11. If the winners do not live in a region where the iPod Touch is supported, a substitute prize of equal value will be awarded.

12. Winners will be announced on this blog, Sunday, September 7th, and will be notified by email.

I think that’s everything. Please feel free to post this announcement to library and academic listservs. If you have any more questions about the contest, please post them in the Comments section.

A slight delay…

Yesterday was a loooooooong day that stretched into the night, and I still didn’t get everything done that I had hoped. So my post about The Very Nearly Perfect Thing will be a little delayed. I think I’ll make a video to explain it and hope to put it up late today or tomorrow.

First, sad news: Tasha Tudor has died. I have long admired her work and really appreciate how she chose to live her extraordinary life. The linked article refers to her need to make money from her art to support her children after a divorce. She said “the wolf at the door is very good for people” because she felt she would not have developed her talents without the need to pay bills. That is a very healthy perspective.

Thank you very much to everyone who turned out for last night’s Readergirlz chat! Mitali Perkins will be posting excerpts on her blog very soon. I’ll link to it as soon as it’s up.

We had a little rain yesterday and were given a beautiful gift at the end.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Breathtaking.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Especially because the rainbow ended (or began?) in our garden. (Photo credit: BH aka Scot Larrabee)

Good Solstice, everyone.

Want to Hang Out With Me Tonight?

Tomorrow I will write about The Very Nearly Perfect Thing That Is Happening Today.

But fear not! I have a number of Totally Excellent things to write about today, including information on hanging out with me at 9 PM (EST) tonight.

Totally Excellent Thing #1: The School Library Journal has a wonderful online teen newsletter that you can subscribe to. The current issue has (ETA) a link to my Hot Summer Twisted/Speak Summer Book Trailer Contest, blog entry with the updated contest rules, as well as other cool things.

Totally Excellent Thing #2: Speaking of SLJ, you’ll want to read their article featuring Sherman Alexie again, in light of the fact that The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for fiction yesterday.

The Biggest and Baddest Totally Most Excellent Thing!
The reading divas and readergirlz at Readergirlz have been talking about my book PROM all month. TONIGHT I will be live-chatting on the Readergirlz Forum from 9-10pm (EST). Here is your chance to ask me everything you’ve been dying to ask, but have felt awkward bringing up here on the blog. Though the focus will be PROM, we’ll be discussing all of my books, and possibly sundry things such as marathon training, neurotic dogs, and how to grow astounding broccoli.

When my classmates at Fayetteville-Manlius High School were dancing at our senior prom in 1979, I was working on pig farm in Denmark, doing the kinds of things you don’t normally do in a prom dress. But I did make it to my Junior Prom in 1978…

Image and video hosting by TinyPic … and I had a blast.

Tell me your best and worst prom memories, please.

See you tonight! Bring your dancing shoes and money for a pancake house breakfast at 4am!