my season for quiet

At my cousin Darcy’s funeral on Sunday, I read from Ecclesiastes 3. Here’s the King James version of the passage:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Wise words.

This is my time to keep silent; to mourn, to give thanks, to reflect on the bewildering experiences of the last couple of months, and to prepare for the year ahead. I’m taking a vacation from blog writing until January 1st. I will be responding to email and snail mail. But slowly.

I need a season of quiet and healing.

Don’t worry, I’ll soon be speaking out again (at the top of my lungs occasionally), I promise. There will be some very cool website updates to talk about. I have to write FORGE and get to work on a new non-fiction picture book and begin the quest for a new YA idea. Baking season is upon us. Homemade jam must be consumed. By January I’ll have the details of my March book tour and I’ll have to get ready for a trip to Lima, Peru. Before we know it, it will be time for ALA again!

I’m off to hibernate in the Forest, friends. See you in 2009!

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Many of you contributed to the fund raising my husband and I did this year for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We ran a half-marathon with that group and raised the money in honor of my cousin, Darcy Skinner. He was fighting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Darcy died yesterday.

If you have any extra prayers, please offer them up for the comfort of my Aunt Norma, Darcy’s beloved companion, Theresa, and his teenage daughter, Lauren.

Thank you.

Worth repeating

I have finally gotten sick (no complaints – I was healthy the entire booktour) and am not capable of original thought.

Thank goodness for Authors Guild President and seriously smart and funny guy, Roy Blount Jr.

Roy just sent this email:
“I’ve been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren’t known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don’t lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn’t in the cards.

We don’t want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let’s mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that’s just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they’re easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children’s books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they’ll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: “Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see…we’re the Authors Guild.”

Enjoy the holidays.

Roy Blount Jr.
Authors Guild”

(The boldfacing was not in his original letter – I added it for those of you who are so busy you didn’t have time to read the whole thing.)

All I can add to this is …. ditto what he said.

What’s my name?

Whew! It’s done! The book tour is finished! I get to wake up in my own bed for weeks and weeks. Drink from my special mug. Kiss my husband whenever I want. Sneeze at the dog. Marvel at the snow outside. I DON”T HAVE TO WASH MY SOCKS IN THE SINK ANYMORE!!!!

(It’s amazing the little things you miss on the road.)

Many thanks to everyone who braved the snowstorm and the fire down the road to come out to the Moravian Bookshop on Saturday. Despite the obstructions, so many folks came out (thank you and ) that I signed for a solid hour and a half. It was a wonderful way to end the tour.

And now, a word to the wise…

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You know all of those people on your holiday shopping list that you haven’t found a present for yet?

BUY THEM BOOKS! And make out a wishlist and ask them to buy you books! If you are reading my blog, it’s because you love books. What better thing can you do but to spread that love around? There is no such thing as a reluctant reader, remember, there is just a person who has not been given the right book yet.

And while you’re at it, join IndieBound. Seriously. It will make you feel better, I promise.

And now for the latest CHAINS news. The Washington Post likes it, as did the San Francisco Chronicle, and the independent booksellers of America. (Thanks guys!) And this awesome blogger gives one of the most comprehensive reviews of the book yet.

My next novel is a dark YA called WINTERGIRLS that comes out in March. Yes…. three months from now. I have never had two novels come out so quickly – usually it’s 24 months between books.

What’s my secret?

My kids have grown up. We are down to one child, our 16-year-old son, and he splits his time between here and his mom’s house. The other three have flown the nest. It is amazing how much writing you can get done when you don’t have to drive to soccer practice.

Here’s the cover of the new book.

Advanced Readers’ Copies were given out at NCTE/ALAN and some early blog reviews are trickling in. Julie Prince wrote me an open letter with her thoughts, Ruth Price, a reviewer in the UK, gives a great description of the story, and Jen W.’s review made me blush and jump up and down.

We do have the first “official” review, and yes, it came decorated with a beautiful, shiny star, but it wouldn’t be right for me to give details before it is officially published next week.

Blog postings from me are going to be sporadic here through the end of the year. My mom is home, but she’s not feeling so good and I want to hang out with her as much as I can. Plus, I have to finish up all the stuff that has been postponed because of the book tour. And, oh yeah, Christmas is coming. and there was something else I had to do…

Something big…

Something people are bugging me about ….

I know I wrote down a reminder somewhere ….

That’s it! I have to write another book! Must remember to do that, ASAP!

What overwhelming tasks are on your to-do list?