Road Trip #2

No sooner had we unpacked from Lake Placid than OfficeMouse and I packed again. Yesterday we traveled to Amherst, MA, home of Theo Black, aka my WebGod, and his talented and fun wife Holly Black. (Yeah, her.) Holly is running a Spiderwick contest on her blog that involves free DVDs and lolcats, so be sure to check it out.

We are here so that the OfficeMouse can learn at the feet of the master (Yeah, Theo) the arcane magic involved with updated my website with things like book tour dates. I have never had an assistant before and I am astounded at what a difference she has made in my life in just a couple of weeks. I’ve been pretty good at staying on top of my writing responsibilities (though not as good as I’d like), but in order to do so, I let everything else go to hell.

Office assistants clear up the hell part.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Yesterday she had me working on fan mail in the car while she drove.

We’re leaving soon on another adventure, then the journey home, but there are two more photos from the race I want to show you.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Underneath the brims of those caps are John Connolly (the great English teacher I told you about yesterday) and me.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic BH and I stretching our tender calves at a gas station on the way home from the race. We’re not hurting as much as I thought we would, but we’re definitely moving slower.

The Ladies are in the House!

Having your new book – the book you’ve worked on for years, dreamed about, fussed about, cried over, danced with, bored your relatives to tears with (“aren’t you done with that thing yet?”) – having that book arrive is the closest thing possible to the moment when you give birth to a child.

Without the mess and a room full of strangers wearing latex gloves and face masks.

Without further ado, meet INDEPENDENT DAMES: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic ::wipes tears from eyes::

Image and video hosting by TinyPic DAMES is a 40-page non-fiction historical picture book that highlights the revolutionary activity of 80 women and girls you’ve probably never heard of.

When you spend more than a decade on a project, you want to show it off.

Ask me questions, please

This medicine the doc gave me is amazing. I am already feeling much better.

Sad, though, about the death of Arthur C. Clarke, whose books, along with Heinlein’s, helped me survive high school. Clarke lived to be 90 years old. I can’t begrudge him getting tired after a while.

I am putting the finishing touches on some stuff for the long overdue website overhaul. I need your help.

One page is just my Favorites: food, season, city, etc. What do you want to know?

Also, I am finally doing the FAQ. What Frequently Asked Questions do you want answered? What Infrequently Asked Questions?

Teachers – I think you should give extra points to any of your students who pose good questions here!

Welcome Mr. Ambassador!!!!

The rocking awesomest Jon Scieszka (Stinky Cheese Man, Time Warp Trio, etc.) has been named as America’s first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No, the President did not make this appointment. The very smart people at the Library of Congress did.

Right now copy editors across the country are ripping through their files triple-checking the spelling of Jon’s last name. “Four consonants at the end? In a row? Are you sure?” They are all wishing for a vowel movement that is not going to happen. For the record, it is pronounced “Sheh-ska”. And “J-on”.

(Washington Post coverage, and the New York Times has a very nice picture and article. Publisher’s Weekly weighs in. I’ll add more coverage as people wake up and write about it.)

Along with being a terrific storyteller, writer, and all-around nice person, Jon is the brains and force behind the Guys Read program. I think this is a fantastic choice and I can’t wait to see what he does.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Jon and I share two publishers. Here we are with Viking editor, the ever-fab Sharyn November at IRA last year.

Up for a gulp of air

Writing going well.

First draft done. (That’s the one where I just write all the voices in my head.)

Second draft started. (This is the one in which I have to make sense of Draft One. Much harder.)

I will keep working on this until the Hordes of College Students descend upon us this weekend. Then I’ll shift back to the few scenes that need a final polish in my historical novel, because it’s easier to work on a book that is mostly finished when your house has so many people in it. In a week or so, things will calm down and I will return to Draft Two of the YA.

Happy Birthday, Tamora Pierce, Goddess Writer Who Lives In Syracuse!!!! Stop by her LJ here, tammypierce or go there the old-fashioned way and wish her a hearty “Huzzah!”

Number One Son has a swim meet this afternoon, so I have to dive back into the story now. THANK YOU SNOW GODS for canceling everyfreaking thing in Central New York this afternoon!!! New goal – work on creepy chapter 7 and creepier chapter 8!

And still, thank you, Thea Gilmore, for getting me through this one.

Question – since I am on a Thea Gilmore kick, can you recommend some other singers in the same vein?