I’m in Oregon now, free wifi at my hotel – wa-hoo!

I need to catch you up on my Michigan adventure. First the Detroit airport. Which I love

Image and video hosting by TinyPic because they have one of those cool colorful tunnels that connects the consourses

Image and video hosting by TinyPic and it changes color

Image and video hosting by TinyPic a lot!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Connecting through Detroit always means a trip to Sora, in terminal A, near gate 36

Image and video hosting by TinyPic for sushi and miso soup.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The Michigan SCBWI conference was wonderful; extremely friendly (God, I love Midwesterners) and upbeat. Big thanks to (aka She Who Helped With the Myspace Mess In August) for making the drive from Canada, and the conference organizers, and all of the attenders who made me feel right at home.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic And there was a real-live reader there! Meet my new friend, Eliza Webb, whose mom was at the conference and who totally made my day by coming over to talk to me.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Along with giving speeches and critiquing manuscripts and meeting kindred spirits, I snuck in a run on a beautiful autumn day. But truly, the highlight of the visit for me was this: Jello salad with Mystery Bits in it. This is a staple at United Methodist dinners, which were a staple of my childhood. If you read CATALYST and wondered about the Jello salad, this is what I was talking about. It’s green, it wiggles, and it might be an ingredient in embalming fluid. But damn, it tastes good.

So now I am in Oregon and I have been awake for a million hours. I am at the coolest hotel I have ever stayed at, and I had a great dinner with librarians, and a Famous Author wandered by, and I even worked for a couple hours on my revisions, but all those details will have to wait until after I get some sleep!


I could use a little music help

So I am sitting in the Detroit airport right now, catching up on my email and looking forward to sushi for lunch. I’ll take pictures, I promise. The flight here was on time and uneventful; loverly. Fingers crossed for the next leg of the trip.

Theo has been working away at his forge, crafting a new look for my website. It is still very much a work-in-progress, but here is a sneak peek at the Novels page.

And here’s the new look for the homepage.

What do you think? (Not all of the buttons work yet, so don’t worry about that. Just tell us what you like and what you don’t like.)

I also asked Theo to put together pages for playlists for all my books. This is where I’d love your ideas: What songs would you put on the playlist for: SPEAK, CATALYST, PROM, TWISTED, & FEVER 1793 (I am looking at you, for that one!)?

edited to add I forgot to mention our early morning adventure in the Forest. We woke up at 4am as scheduled. Minor complication: no power. I got dressed and put on my make-up by candlelight, while Beloved Husband valiantly made coffee by boiling water and handpouring it through the coffee-filled filter. He let the dog out to do her business just as we were preparing to leave. One nanosecond later, he bellowed for her to come back in. I had caught a whiff of skunk and assumed the worse.

Yes, it was a critter, but it was a raccoon raiding the dog’s food bowl in her pen. Nothing was left of the skunk but the stink. Crisis averted. Packed the car, grabbed the coffee and hit the road at 4:30am. As we headed for town, BH said, “You blew out all the candles, right?” Me: “….. ah, I think so?”

We drove back. Yep, I had blown out all candles. House and dog were safe. The raccoon was full. And the skunk was probably watching all of this from the cover of a hollowed-out log, laughing his fool stripe off.


I was SUPPOSED to come home last night from IRA in Toronto.

But a monsoon hit the airport just before I was supposed to leave. They canceled all the flights.

So I made a lot of phone calls, got drenched waiting for the shuttle bus, walked into the hotel looking like something that just crawled out of the sewer, slept (sort of), woke up at 3:30am to catch the 4am shuttle to get the first morning flight out to a far-away city where I could finally get on an airplane that would take me home.

I am beyond cranky right now. But I will sleep tonight and after many, many errands tomorrow, I’ll try and post a tale and photos of what were the totally excellent adventures of the last week… totally excellent, that is, up until the monsoon hit.


From Warsaw, With Love

I made it to Poland! And I am having a blast – this is an AMAZING city and country.

Mostly, I have only good news to tell you. But there is one piece of bad news: the Internet connection at my hotel costs $1/minute. Yep. So I’m going to keep this short: the highlights of the last two days.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic After a long and crowded flight and getting lost in the maze they call Heathrow airport, I was very happy to see this sign.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic A brilliant British idea.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic This is Old Town, the part of the Warsaw that dates backs hundreds of years. The Nazis flattened it, but the Poles rebuilt it to look like it did before WWII. New Polish word: lody I ate hazlenut lody (ice cream) in Old Town then wandered around soaking in the city.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Polish is an imposing language.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic These are trash cans. I think.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic After breakfast this morning, I went to the ruins of a castle at Czersk. Not a bad way to start the day.

More later in the week. Tomorrow I get to start working with the kids at the American School!

Monday – books, life & teachers edition

Thanks to all the Michiganers who made my quick trip to the Mitten State fun and interesting. The conference was HUGE – more than 5000 attenders who had hundreds of workshops to choose from, and I was honored that so many folks came out to hear me mutter and rant.

I spent most of Saturday on planes or in airports. Here is the free Wifi score:

Syracuse airport – three stars – free wifi, plenty of seating
Chicago O’Hare – no stars – wifi connectivity cost $10/day. Boo-hiss. Get with the program, Chicago.
Grand Rapids airport – three stars – free wifi, very nice lady running coffee shop near gate B1

However, O’Hare gets a star for having my favorite airport bathroom.

Saturday night I enjoyed a fabulous tapas dinner with some teacher and librarian friends. After dinner I was interviewed by YA-lit guru and teen-reader advocate Ed Spicer for his teen book group. Ed had a large handful of reader reviews for TWISTED. They liked the book. They really liked it. Yep, I glowed.

The good news about my hotel room was that I was upgraded to a suite because the hotel was overbooked. The bad news was that it was a suite where smoking had been allowed. (Ack. Puke. Ick.) BH wisely suggested I brew a pot of coffee to help with the stench. Great idea, but the management had removed the coffeemakers from all of the rooms in an effort to get guests to spend more money in the coffee shop.

Sunday was a blur of meeting teachers, signing books, talking about books, signing more, and then schlepping back to the airport. I got a chance to hang with Betsy Partridge, which was nice, and to see Marissa Moss again and to meet Wendy Mass. And I ate a lot of bananas, and a sandwich that contained mysterious meat which I probably should have not consumed, given that I could not identify it, but it was on sunflower seed bread which was so good I inhaled it. And I didn’t get sick. So sunflower seeds balance out strange meat products.

The day started with a very nice breakfast (it had real food and everything!) where I met Kristen, Jill, and all the other ladies.

I told everyone at the conference that I will be back in Michigan on book tour: Monday, March 26th, at the Southfield Public Library in Southfield (evening) and Tuesday, March 27th at Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor (also in the evening). I hope everyone in the entire state turns out and they have to call the fire marshal. That would be a good signing.

Be sure to read this wonderful article about teens buying and reading books. (Thanks Shelflife and Bookshelves of Doom for the link.)