Appreciating your goodness and harvesting rocks

Wow. You guys are incredible. I can’t begin to express how much your comments and emails about the New York Times discussion board kerfuffle meant to me. Thank you, thank you!!! I am blessed to have such kind readers and friends!

Because of the stress from the past six months of travel, and losing my Simon & Schuster editor (he was laid off last week – I am still too upset to blog about it rationally), and everything else, I’ve been mostly gardening this week. Despite the soothing effect of attacking the boulders in my garden with an iron bar, pick axe, and rototiller, I am still having nightmares about zombies. Go figure.

But the rocks are slowly yielding, seeds are being planted, and I have no doubt that the zombies will soon crawl back to where they belong.

Cottage Update!!!

While I’ve been wielding my pick axe, BH and his tribe of elves have been hard at work at the cottage.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic This is the interior of the north end. The windows are up high because there will be bookshelves underneath them.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic They have put the Magic Window in place in the south wall, and filled in the gaps around it. The glass guy is supposed to be here this weekend. He’ll install the clear, insulated, UV-filtering glass – can’t afford stained glass yet – someday!!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The insulation crew did their job this week, Coler Natural Insulation of Ionia, NY. Their spray-foam insulation is based, in part, on soybean oil and is a healthier choice for both me and the environment.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Insulation guy at work! The cottage is much, much quieter with the insulation in place. Next step, along with the glass being put in place, is for BH to put up the ceiling and interior walls.

Last but not least notes!

Gail Carson Levine has started blogging. Drop by and welcome her to the blogosphere!

TWISTED won the Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award, given by the Indiana Library Foundation (and named after one of Kurt Vonnegut’s characters – how cool is that!?) Thank you, Indiana!!

TWISTED was also nominated for the Kentucky Bluegrass Award. Check out the whole list!

Off to hit zombies with a shovel…

Friday Five catching up

1. I picked up my laptop with the new hard drive yesterday. Since the failure of the hard drive was so spectacular and they couldn’t pull any data from it, I set it up to absorb all in the info on the desk computer while I was sleeping. Now I have to configure it to be a lean, mean, travelin’ machine.

I’m also going to try and perform the MobileMe syncing between the two computers and the iPhone. I haven’t tried this since the updates to the MobileMe system. (I couldn’t get it to work last summer, even after OfficeMouse, who is a tech geek, spent hours on the phone with Apple). Is anyone out there successfully using MobileMe to sync their Apple technology? Any tips?

2. Thank you for all of the suggestions about the roof for the cottage. A friend emailed me about a roof/roofing materials on a nearby farm we could reuse. (We’ve been knocking on doors of all the farms near our house in search of old lumber and anything else useful.) Cedar shakes are more expensive than asphalt shingles, but cost less than slate and have a lower installation cost. That might be the right compromise. Someone mention a thatched roof; that would be the ultimate fantasy! But there are only a dozen or so people in the US who can do the work. The closest guesstimate to the cost for a thatched roof? $24,000!!! That is not a possibility.

3. Thank you, Oklahoma! TWISTED has been named to the 2010 High School Sequoyah Book Award Masterlist by the Oklahoma Library Association. Lots of my friends’ books are on the list, too, which is always fun. Thank you, Mitali Perkins, for the heads-up.

4.Thank you, Warsaw, Poland! The school I visited there a few years ago had it teachers’ book club read CHAINS. Yesterday we had a Skype visit to talk about it.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Happy teachers, half a world away.

5. I figured out how to run the contest. It will be as simple as possible and fast. Watch for details on Monday.

13 days til WINTERGIRLS comes out…

Shiny Days and over the pond news

Whew! I’m still in a post-announcements daze. Uncle Simon and Aunt Schuster have made images of CHAINS sporting its pretty NBA and O’Dell hardware available. I cannot resist.


Yesterday brought two last bits of very-much appreciated news. CHAINS was named a 2009 Notable Book by ALSC and it made the YALSA Best Books for Young Adults list. Yes! Thank you!

I spent much of yesterday corresponding with my British publisher, answering interview questions and putting in my two cents about the proposed paperback cover. (Can’t wait to see what they do – their ideas are really interesting!) Ian, in charge of publicity, sent a new quote from over the pond.
“Chains is one of the most moving and striking books I have read in a long time; finally some thoughtful, stirring historical fiction for young adults … Anyone reading this brilliant book will be left beguiled and bewildered by her bravery as she suffers under slavery.” Waterstones Books Quarterly

I’ve never had any books that attracted much attention in the UK, so this is very exciting.

Today brings a jumble of tasks. I am still trying to clean up a particularly thorny chapter, I have to go to a recording studio and tape some stuff that will be included in the audio version of WINTERGIRLS, I have to do some things for my mom, WebGod Theo has been patiently waiting for some content from me and – best of all – I need to pack because tomorrow is the Kindling Words retreat and I can’t wait!!!!

The Details of Today’s Adventures! With More Dancing!

I have finally calmed down and warmed up enough to blog. Sort of.

Where to start?

I know.

Congratulations to all of the winners and honor book winners announced today at ALA MidWinter!!! (I am looking for one page to link to that lists all of the winners. Can anyone help with that?)

I am especially happy for my old SCBWI friends who earned well-deserved awards: Hope Anita Smith won a Coretta Scott King Honor for Keeping the Night Watch and Jen Bryant, author of the Caldecott Honor book, A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams. YAY!!!

Fellow-NBA nominees Kathi Appelt won a Newbery Honor for The Underneath and E. Lockhart won a Printz Honor for The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. My sometimes-brother M.T. Anderson also won a Printz Honor for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves. If there was an award for the longest title, I think he’d win that, too. And Jackie Woodson earned another Newbery Honor, this time for After Tupac and D Foster!

Last but not least, I am totally stoked that Neil Gaiman won the Newbery for The Graveyard Book! I have long been a fan of his writing (actually, I am one of those crazy, drooling gaimainites) and it is wonderful to see his work honored by librarians as well as fans.

And, um, yeah. I won an award too.

::cheeks blush, eyes puddle up::

The good and gracious members of the Edwards Committee have bestowed the breathtakingly stupendous Margaret A. Edwards Award, which “honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting achievement,” on me.

::wipes eyes, takes deep breath, composes self::

The beginning of the official announcement reads thusly: “Laurie Halse Anderson is the winner of the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award for Catalyst, Fever 1793, and Speak. These gripping and exceptionally well-written novels, through various settings, time periods, and circumstances, poignantly reflect the growing and changing realities facing teens. Iconic and classic in her storytelling and character development, Anderson has created for teens a body of work that continues to be widely read and cherished by a diverse audience.”

There’s more, but it stretches the bounds of Blatant Self Promotion to post it all. Read it on the YALSA site.

And make sure you check out the previous Edwards winners.

Suffice it to say, I am honored and humbled to have my work put in the class with writers whom I admire so much. And I am particularly proud that the committee singled out both Catalyst and Fever 1793, and that they get to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Speak, instead of in its shadow.

I actually found out about the Edwards earlier this weekend and, once again, had to walk around with two hands clapped over my mouth. (This made eating difficult and drinking coffee rather perilous.) I was extremely certain that Chains would not make anymore awards lists (it’s had its share, don’t you think?) and I know the anguish of sitting around watching the phone not ring, so early this morning, I packed up my bag and headed for the gym. Had a wonderful, if slow, 6-mile run onthe treadmill, then I treated myself to the ultimate reward: a two-hour massage. That’s right. TWO hours.


I came home, all relaxed and squishy, and VERY hungry. Stoked the woodstove, let the dog out, brought the dog in, locked the door, heated up a bowl of beef soup made from scratch, and reached for the book I am reading. I was one page into the book, three spoonfuls into the soup, when someone knocked on the front door. The Creature With Fangs went crazy. It was just the nice flower deliveryman, bringing me a gorgeous bouquet from Uncle Penguin. I stepped out into the vestibule to get the flowers and closed the door behind me, so the dog wouldn’t eat the nice deliveryman. As his truck drove away, I reached for the door handle.

It did not open. It had locked behind me.

I tried all of our doors. All locked. This is a very secure house, did you know that? It felt like 7 degrees outside, but it was sunny so the vestibule wasn’t quite that cold. BH had been down in Syracuse, but I knew he would be home soon, so it wasn’t worth hiking down to the farm to use their phone.

What does one do in that situation, locked out of one’s house on a winter’s day, hungry, tired, with no book to read or phone to call?

If you’ve just been awarded the Margaret A. Edwards Award, you listen to the music in your head and dance to keep warm. So I did. A little more than an hour later, BH came home, and all was well.

I am told that the cool color to wear to the Edwards shindig is orange. Must! Find! Orange! Shoes!

Five Great Announcements

Don’t know about where you live, but this morning is one of the most beautiful we’ve had in a while. When the Creature With Fangs and I stepped outside, she looked around and said “Dang! Why can’t it be like this all the time?”

So, basking in natural goodness, I make Five Friday Announcements:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic 1. TWISTED has been chosen as a YALSA Teens’ Top Ten nominee. The list of nominees is stellar; be sure to go through it. Teens who read titles on the list get to vote for their favorites during Teen Read Week, October 12-18, 2008.

2. In related news, the paperback version of TWISTED goes on sale in 20 days! I’ll be celebrating it at the river’s end bookstore in Oswego, NY on May 15th, 6pm. TWISTED has also apparently been released in England. I found the cover on the Amazon.UK website. You’d think they’d let the author know about these things, wouldn’t you?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic 3. Speaking of new releases, we’re about five weeks away from the release of INDEPENDENT DAMES: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution. It’s illustrated by Matt Faulkner, who did the great art for THANK YOU, SARAH, and I am so excited about it I keep skipping, which amuses the dog.

4. Harold Underdown (author of the very important and useful COMPLETE IDIOT”S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING CHILDREN’S BOOKS) has posted an extremely good page about getting an agent or artist’s representative. If you are thinking that it’s time, go to this part of his website before you do anything else.

5. Susane Colasanti windowlight has great photos from Viking’s 75th birthday party. ETA – Publisher’s Weekly noted the party, too! Note to Uncle Viking: I have my calendar out: what’s the date for the 100th?

This weekend I’m researching and running and working in the garden. What are you going to do?