Go away, please. I’m writing.

No, wait! Come back!

Because TWISTED was nominated for a 2008-2009 Georgia Peach Book Award!!!! So were a lot of other great books, including a few written by friends. So I am baking a cyber-peach pie to share with Cecil, Jordan, Sherman and Gail. Somebody else better bring ice cream, ’cause we don’t have any.

Don’t forget to visit 28 Days Later, where today’s featured author is Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, who wrote The Shadow Speaker, which just made the finalists list for the Andre Norton Award (YA category) given by The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Be sure to stop by her site.

OK, now you can go. On your way through the kitchen, please turn on the burner under the tea kettle, OK?

See you tomorrow.

An award list to dance to & how running helps my writing

Thank you, thank you American Library Association committee members!!!!

I am very proud that TWISTED made both the 2008 Best Books for Young Adults and the 2008 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers lists!!!!

This feels awesome. Excuse me while I take a moment to bask.

Ahhh. So, so sweet.

OK, back to work. I have spent the day rewriting Chapter 19, because the same thing happened to that chapter as happened to 17 on Sunday. But it’s all good.

nudged me about answering a question she posted to my Facebook a while back. She wrote: Do you think that running/excersize helps your creativity/creative process?

(Truth in blogging disclosure: I just finished a carb-heavy lunch and am staring at my clothes that are laid out for this afternoon’s long run. It promises to be a chilly one.)

Does my running help my writing? Yes. Absolutely. No doubt. Ja. Si. Absolutement.

If I ever write a book about writing (do you think I should do that, BTW??), it will contain long passages about how moving your body fires up your imagination. For now, here are my top five reasons why my running helps my writing:

1. Running makes me happy, thus, it is a very good reward and incentive to do my work.

2. When I write, I am a) sitting still and b) dangerously close to my kitchen. If I didn’t exercise regularly (and trust me, there have been times in my life when I didn’t) I eat more than my body needs. This slows down my brain and expands my rear end.

3. Running is a meditative exercise – it helps me process my stress in a healthy way.

4. My travel schedule is often grueling. Running (and weight lifting, which I don’t talk about much, but I do, too) keeps me physically stronger and better able to fight off the germs that try to attack unsuspecting travelers.

5. Running has helped me develop mental discipline, which allows me to stay immersed in my stories longer. I have several writing/running mantras that I repeat in my head when I am tempted to stop writing or hit the Stop button on the treadmill.

6. Yes, this is a bonus reason. The human body was designed to move. If we want our minds and spirits to produce their best, we have to help our bodies be the best they can be, too. It’s all connected.

(Thank you for the nudge, )

Now, I have three more pages and a long stretch of road ahead of me.

Proud to be nominated!

The Cybil nominations are complete!

I am very proud and happy that TWISTED is one of the 123 books nominated in the robust and rowdy YA Fiction category.

“What are the Cybils?” you ask.

The Cybils were created to be “a literary competition that combined the freewheeling democracy of the Internet with the thoughtfulness of a book club. Cybils lets the public nominate books here on our Cybils blog, but then bloggers team up to pick the finalists and winners. The winning books must combine quality and “kid appeal.”” (quote taken from the Cybil FAQ). They have an easy-to-read statement of purpose, too.

Nominees are chose for these categories: Picture Books; Non-fiction Picture Books; Middle Grade fiction; Poetry; Young Adult fiction; Non-fiction (YA/MG); and Graphic Novels

The Cybil organizers have been gathering the nominations since October. Now a panel of judges will read the nominated books and come up with the finalists, to be announced January 1st. Then there is another round of reading and voting, with the winners announced on February 14th.

Teachers – this might be a fun outside reading activity. Some schools and libraries have Mock Printz and Mock Newbery clubs. The Cybils have many more categories and their discussion is more open to the public. Have your students come up with what they consider to be a fair number of titles to read, then discuss the books they care about. In February, you can compare their tastes to what the judges picked. The ALA announcements will be made by then, too.

Some people are uncomfortable with awards and discussions of “the best book.” The truth is, there is not one best book. There are many amazing books written each year. The value of awards like these is that they stimulate discussions about books. When books are being talked about, people seek them out to read. That increases the likelihood that each reader will find the book that is best for her or best for him.

When readers are connecting with books that speak to their hearts, we all win.



Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
(Little, Brown & Company)

Kathleen Duey, Skin Hunger: A Resurrection of Magic, Book One
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers)

M. Sindy Felin, Touching Snow (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)

Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic Press)

Sara Zarr, Story of a Girl (Little, Brown & Company)

Young People’s Literature Judges: Elizabeth Partridge (chair),
Pete Hautman, James Howe, Patricia McCormick, and Scott Westerfeld.

The NBA is an incredible honor and a whale of a good time. High fives and hoots of excitement for all five!