Me as Robinson Crusoe

What with all the family drama this summer, I am a little behind on my writing schedule. (Though I did get in a minimum of 15 minutes a day, every day, even when Mom was in the hospital!)

Right now I need about 16-18 hours a day with no interruptions or distractions. I have to hold all of the story threads in my hands at the same time to figure out how they need to be woven together.

I have dragged myself, my laptop, and several tons of research to a desert island where I am writing what shall forever be known as the “Desert Island Down-and-Dirty Draft”. The goal is to complete this draft and polish it to the point where I won’t be embarrassed to show it to my editor before I leave on book tour in October.

As these things go, it’s a fairly comfortable desert island. I have a supply of Diet Red Bull and fruit and I have music. Truthfully, it’s not on an island. It’s at a secret location just down the road from my mom’s rehab place so I can get there in a hurry if necessary.

Yesterday was the first full day here. I worked from 6am to midnight, with breaks to eat and an hour-long walk in the middle of the day. I could not type fast enough. The way the scenes unfolded in front of me was pure magic, as if the Muse had been impatiently waiting for me to come back and pay Her my respects.

It is much easier to hear the voices when the rest of the world stops shouting.

Book Trailer Contest Revision

Thank you to everyone who commented and emailed me about the book trailer contest deadline yesterday. You confirmed my hunch.

I have two announcements.

1. To everyone who has submitted a book trailer as of today. Please email your mailing address to Officemouse AT writerlady DOT com as soon as possible. Your trailer is still entered in the contest, but since I am changing the rules in the middle of it, I figure I owe you something. I want to send you one of my books. In your email, let me know if you want SPEAK, CATALYST, PROM, TWISTED, or FEVER 1793. If you are in the mood to be patient, you can request my new historical novel, CHAINS, which comes out on October 21, or my next YA, WINTERGIRLS, which will be published in May, 2009.

2. To the rest of the world: the new deadline for the book trailer contest is midnight (Eastern Standard Time in the US), October 31st, 2008.


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 midnight (Eastern Standard Time in the US), October 31st, 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. Please include the name of your school librarian or English teacher and her (or his) email address. If you are home-schooled, include the name of your public librarian.

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 October 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 win, your school or public library, or your English teacher, will receive 5 signed copies of my books.

9. There will be two grand 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 at some point in November and will be notified by email.

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

need help with a muddle

So…. that giant book trailer contest I am having? It turns out that summer is a bad time to do these things.

I have had many more requests from teachers and librarians to extend the deadline into the fall than I have had entries.

Do you think I should extend the deadline? Is the middle of October long enough, or should it go longer?

Mark your calendars and run with us!

Yep, we’re still running. Most of the injuries accumulated this spring have healed and we’re shuffling through mile after mile again.

I am the Galloping Turtle. Hear me roar.

We’re planning on running the Philadelphia Half-Marathon next month. Will any of you be there?

If you live in Central New York, come join us the week before for a more reasonable race. My hometown of Mexico NY is holding its annual 5K Cider Run and Walk on Saturday, September 13. All of the proceeds benefit the Mexico public library, a small library which serves a lot of people quite admirably. Don’t worry if you are not quite fleet of foot; lots of folks walk this race instead of running.

The run winds gently through town, beginning and ending at the high school. I imagine that the local pick-your-own apple orchards will be open, so you can make the trip well worth your while.

It’s a short stroll in a lovely village, you can pick apples, and it’s for a great cause. Do it! You know you want to! And you can even register for the race online. How easy is that?

Check out Lubar’s blog today.

Big book trailer contest announcement tomorrow. Teachers and librarians, be sure to tune in!

Gaimanesque tomatoes

If you are a regular reader of Neil Gaiman’s blog, you will occasionally see a picture of him holding up a devilishly-horned tomato in the right-hand margin of the page. (He has rotating photos, which is very cool.)

I thought the photo also cropped up in his photo gallery, but apparently I’m wrong about that.

Somehow, the muses that connect us all have cross-pollinated my tomato patch with a hint of the Gaimanesque.

Here’s the proof.

If I start writing about graveyards, you’ll know why.