Give & Receive Goodies!!!

I’m emerging briefly from the Cave of Revision (where I had a very nice epiphany yesterday, thank you, and now I’m pretty sure I know how to fix the part that wasn’t working in this story) to check the calendar.

Note: there is a chance to win free books ahead, including a collectible first edition. Keep reading!

Gasp. We only have 61 days until the half-marathon in Lake Placid.

::reaches for running shoes::
::slaps self and points to massive manuscript and mountain of notes::

Truth be told I ran yesterday, so today is a cross-training day (w00t). So far this year, I’ve done pretty good sticking to my goal of running 20 miles a week. As of yesterday, when I staggered up the driveway, I have run 303 miles since January 1st. The snow is finally gone up here on the tundra, so I’ve abandoned the treadmill in favor of hilly country roads well-stocked with rotting roadkill.

New readers of the blog might be wondering why on earth I’m doing all this running. My husband and I have vowed to raise $5,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training fund. The money goes for research into the causes of and treatments for blood cancers, which kills an American every ten minutes. My cousin is fighting this disease right now so it is a cause that means a great deal to our family.

Note: You’re almost to the part where you get to win the free stuff! Keep reading!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Because I know a million, bazillion people, I was able to meet my fundraising goal last month. My studly, adorable, patient, quick-witted husband (yeah, that’s him in the photo) is not far behind, but he could use a little help. He is 60% of the way to his goal. All he needs is another $1,000. But he needs it soon. (Photo by Sonya Sones, BTW.)

Here’s where the bribery begins… I mean, here’s the free stuff!!!!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
If you donate $50 toward Scot’s goal, I will send you a free audiobook of TWISTED (seen here hanging out with the revisions of my WIP).

If you donate $100, I’ll send the audiobook and a special surprise.

If you donate $500, I will send you a very rare, first edition, first printing copy of SPEAK. No one had high hopes for the book when it was published, so the first print run was limited. Here is your chance to snag a collectible.

Or you can donate what you can afford and receive our everlasting gratitude and a really good feeling in your heart. Come on. You’re about to get a check from the government. Here’s a way to put it to good use.

Please help us. It’s for a good cause.

Join Our Team (please, please, please)

OMG, I am so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is better than oatmeal.
This is better than an armful of library books.
This is better than finishing a draft.

My Beloved Husband and I are going to make a difference.

We’ve joined the Team in Training, a kick-butt group that raises money for cancer research for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. BH and I will be running the Lake Placid Half Marathon (yep, 13.1 glorious miles) on June 15, 2008. We are trying to raise $5000 in support of this run.

Why should you give a hoot about this? Because we need your help.

Please go to the Laurie Halse Anderson Team Website and make a donation there.

If you want to support the guy-side of this effort, go to BH’s site and give money there..

Between the two of us, we’re trying to raise $5,000. If you help, we can achieve the goal.

After you donate (and I thank you loudly), please ask someone else to help. TEACHERS – this is a great classroom project – a way to show how adults incorporate physical fitness in their lives as well as a chance for your students to give back. LIBRARIANS – ditto. What about your book club? Your critique group? Your kidlit buddies who get together for drinks on Friday nights? If everybody tosses a couple of dollars into the pot, we can change lives and change the world.

What? You still have questions? Let them fly.

Hey, Writerlady! I thought you were really busy with writing. How are you going to make time for this, too?
We already run four times a week. Last month I did two 10-milers, so covering the distances won’t be a problem (though it won’t be pretty, either). It won’t take any extra time and I promise the new books will be done on schedule.

But, wait. You’ve had melanoma. Your mom, aunt, and cousin had breast cancer. Why aren’t you raising money for those cancers?
Because another cousin of mine, Darcy Skinner, is fighting non-Hodgkins lymphoma today and I want to help him.

Are you going to send me annoying emails about this?
If I have corresponded with you by email, then yes. So why not give a little right now and save yourself the trouble? If you are a new friend, or someone I only know through KW or SCBWI, you won’t be getting an email. It would be unethical to use the private contact information from those groups for this. So I hope you read my blog and will take it from there.

OK, OK, my wallet is open and I’m making a donation. What else can I do to help?
Spread the word. Feel free to post about this on your blog, to email friends, to bring it up at faculty meetings and at the coffee pot.

Any other questions?

Thank you so much!!!

Reality steps in

It really was a loverly day yesterday, even after it turned a little sad in the evening. Thank you so much to all of youse guys for the birthday wishes. It was fun reading through them. BH gave me the best birthday present ever: he made us a bed (we’ve been doing the grad student sleep-on-mattress-and-boxspring-on-the-floor since we were married) – and he made it for free, using old doors and wood he had laying around. He even made matching night tables. It is gorgeous. If I wasn’t already married to him, I’d be dragging him to the justice of the peace right now.

This birthday was better than most; I finally have a sense of who I am, I am surrounded by people I love, and I have the chance to do good work. Except for when I become a stupidhead and whine about the trivial stuff, life is amazing.

Life is also balanced by death. When we got in with the sushi last night, we had a phone call from the nursing home which sent us right back to the car. My 86-year-old father-in-law was in the ER. He made it through the night, and given that he is as tough as nails, he might well come through this crisis, too, but it’s looking like he’s going to be in the hospital for a while. This might sound weird, but it was really nice to have the chance to hold his hand and talk quietly to him for the hours until they admitted him. So even though you don’t want to be in an emergency room on your birthday, it was all good.

Sara Ryan sent along a link to an article about one of the reasons why teenagers have such a hard time getting through the day. It reminded her of Kate in CATALYST.

And Sharyn November gave me the heads-up on a fabulous shirts-off combo of social protest and performance art. When we were doing some school shopping with Number One Son in September, we both remarked on how A&F was beating males up with unattainable body images to make them feel bad and buy more. It’s nice to see somebody fight back.

Back at it

Chris Crutcher was wonderful last night, so inspiring when talking about his commitment to writing realistic stories of courage for teens, funny, and passionate about our freedom of expression. I took pictures, but the Internet and computer problems continue here at the Forest, so I can’t post them yet.

Chris also read from DEADLINE, which sounds like a book I should go buy in hardback today. Watch Crutcher reading from his new book, courtesy of .

Am happy to report I got a clean bill of health from the doc. Some of you know this, but for those who don’t here’s the story. In the summer of 2002, I was diagnosed with two spots of malignant melanoma, the often fatal form of skin cancer. Thankfully, it was caught early. The docs cut away the offending spots and left me with a couple of long scars that cry out to be decorated with tattoos.

I have since had a dozen other lesions removed – none of them were cancerous. I avoid the sun like a vampire. That’s why I am so pale. I am proudly, purposely pale. I was never a sun worshiper, other than summer afternoons by Green Lakes as a teenager. I did have a couple of horrific sunburns as a kid. After 18, I pretty much stopped laying out for a tan. But I developed cancer.

Yes, my ancestors came from Ireland and England, but anybody can get melanoma. African-Americans die from melanoma. It killed Bob Marley. Just because your family came from Italy or China, or Nigeria does not mean you are safe. Now that summer is over, this is the perfect time to check your body for spots. Skin cancer is highly curable if caught early, so go look in the mirror.

Two questions: why is Jan Brett having her Syracuse signing in a Wegman’s? We have wonderful bookstores here, what are they – chopped liver?

And what do you think of depressing reading lists?

Back to writing…..

“You can have my book when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers”

The subject line comes from an awesome PR campaign by the public libraries of Wyoming. It is the perfect kick-off for this week because……

HAPPY BANNED BOOKS WEEK!!! Celebrate that most treasured of our freedoms – the freedom to think and read what you want – by reading a banned book. Choose one of mine. Or one of Chris Crutcher’s or one that made the Top Ten List last year.

Do you think we have come so far in America we don’t have to worry about banned books? Then read this gay-bashing, librarian loathing, freedom crushing article.

Speaking of Crutcher….. we have an Amazing Author Alert: Chris Crutcher is coming to Syracuse. THIS WEEK! Come out on Wednesday night to hear Crutcher talk about “Turning Real Life into Fiction” at the Onondaga County Public Library. BH and I will be there. If you see us, please say hello. Chris is one of the most important YA writers of our generation and a great speaker – this is a terrific opportunity. He will also be signing books and reading from his newest book, Deadline, at the Dewitt Barnes & Noble on Tuesday night at 7:30pm (thanks for the heads-up, ShelfLife.)

Many thanks to all the conference-goers who came out to the SCBWI Fall Philly on Saturday. Special thanks to for driving me to and fro (w/ great tunes playing) and former regional RA Laurie Krause Kiernan for passing on five boxes of unloved canning jars that I will now attempt to fill with applesauce. I really appreciated all of the kind things and the stories that people told me over the course of the day. Allow me to reiterate what I said in my speech – turn off the Internet and go work on your book now. Then go for a walk or a run!

Had a great time with two of our daughters, their beloveds, and various friends at the PA Renaissance Festival on Sunday. We got to hear the Tartan Terrors again. I think I might have to become a groupie. Photos of all the festivities as soon as we get our Internet and server problems solved. At the rate it’s going, it may be a month or so.

I have SO MUCH WRITING to do it isn’t even funny, but it doesn’t matter because it is October and October is the best month.