WINTERGIRLS contest excitement & bookseller love

WINTERGIRLS comes out in 10 days!!!!

::pauses to breathe into paper bag::

To celebrate, we’ve decided to have a contest. A simple contest. A fast contest.

The prize is a laptop skin with the WINTERGIRLS cover image on it. Don’t know what a laptop skin is? We’re ordering them from Skinit – their website explains everything. If you win, you’ll tell us what kind of laptop or phone you want the skin for. We’ll take care of the ordering and have the skin shipped to you.

Contest Rules: All you have to do is send an email to laurie AT writerlady DOT com. Put “WINTERGIRLS Contest” in the subject line. Only one entry per person, please!

Contest starts at noon (EST) today, 3/9/09, and runs until noon (EST) one week from today. At the close of the contest, we’ll put all of the entries in a bowl and pull out four winners. Winners will be notified using the email account they entered with, so please use a valid account.

Feel free to pass on news of this contest and post it to your own blog.

Last week Joe Hill declared that March is Love-Your-Small-Bookstore Month and I seconded the motion. To show my love to my local independent bookstore I went there Saturday night and bought a book for BH.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

A couple of people wrote to me over the weekend bemoaning the fact that they don’t have a local indie bookstore. Never fear, good friends!! You can locate the closest store to you using Indiebound’s store locator.

Still can’t find one that is close-by? You probably didn’t know this, but most locals will ship your book to you, just as easily as A****n will. When you support small businesses this way, your dollar helps the community much more.

So… today’s marching orders:

1. Enter WINTERGIRLS contest.
2. Buy a book (or 5 or 20) from an independent bookstore.

Any questions?

WINTERGIRLS comes out in 10 days!!!!

::reaches for paper bag again::

Revolution & Joe Hill

Joe Hill is the spectacularly-talented author of Heart-shaped Box. This is not the kind of book I normally read or recommend, because it’s considered “horror” and I am a weenie. But Toddly liked it so much, I had to give it a whirl. To my shock (not my horror) I loved it. Trying new things can be a little scary, but that’s the only way to grow.

Anyway, Joe and me have more in common than you might think. We are both rabid supporters of independent bookstores. We proudly shout our indie support from the tops of the barricades.

Joe has declared March to be “Love-Your-Small-Bookstore Month”. I second that motion.

Will you please join us?

Visit the closest indie bookstore to you this weekend. (Don’t know where it is? Indiebound will find it for you.) BUY A BOOK THERE. Buy a cookbook, or a book that gives spring cleaning tips. Buy a book for a child. Don’t know a child? Buy a book that explains how to make one. Buy something off the IndieNext list, ask the booksellers what their new favorite is. (Booksellers are wicked smart, you know.) Buy a book to help you understand the economic crisis, or cats, or the history of cod. (Yes, I’ve read that one, too. Fascinating.)

Indiebound makes many convincing arguments why we should be buying local. “Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43. Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors… Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint….More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.”

Here at the Forest, we’ve had our eyes opened to the importance of shopping local. Because of that, we’re in the process of changing all the bookselling links on my website. Here’s a sneak preview, from the WINTERGIRLS section of the site, still under construction. What do you think?

A Saturday morning in March is the perfect time to join the revolution. Give a shout-out to your favorite independent bookstore in the Comments section!

13 days til WINTERGIRLS comes out…

It’s monday so I have to be organized, right?

First – I am blushing and squirming profusely as I do this, but Betsy Bird posted an incredibly detailed and generous review of CHAINS. Thank you, Betsy!

The weekend sort of didn’t exist for me because I spent most of it rushing hither and yon. Saturday morning I flew to Detroit and then took a cab to Dearborn for the Great Lakes Bookseller’s Association annual tradeshow. I hung out with Sarah Miller and ran into Jaime Adoff, who has produced both a new book and (with considerable help from his wife) a new baby this year.

Early galleys of David Macinnis Gill’s Soul Enchilada were there! (Click on the link to see the real cover, which is v. cool.) I toured the floor, signed a couple hundred copies of CHAINS, soaked my hand in ice-cold water, then spent a looooong time on the treadmill so my legs would be as tired as my signing hand.

The big event was Sunday – the booksellers gathered for one of the nicest conference breakfasts I’ve ever eaten, thanks to the generosity of Bookazine. While the booksellers enjoyed their sausage, eggs, and way too many pastries, I grabbed the microphone and talked about the reasons I wrote CHAINS, then Suzanne Collins talked about the writing of HUNGER GAMES, and Jerry Pinkney showed us his process and motivation for his new book, THE MOON OVER STAR.

We were all very happy when the speaking part was over.

I also got to meet Kathe Koja, seen here between Sarah Miller and me.

Two weeks from today I leave on the CHAINS book tour! Yikes! I need to write many, many pages before then. I also need to find the appropriate tour sneakers. Anyone know where I can find a pair of sizzling, baby-blue high-tops, women’s size 10 or men’s 8? Oh, and I need a couple of shirts that won’t wrinkle. But mostly I have to write oodles of pages.

running forward

Many, many thanks to everyone for the kind notes and condolences for my sister and her family. They are muddling through the best they can, and the love of others sure makes a big difference.

It was actually very nice to have work as a distraction. So I am drawing the curtain across the lingering grief, and running forward.

Well, shuffling forward.

I flew to Boston late last week to be one of the dinner speakers at the New England Children’s Bookseller Advisory Council (as part of the New England Independent Bookseller’s Association conference). I had a lot of fun giving the speech, but the best part for me was listening to my co-presenters, Jeanne Birdsall and Norton Juster. I was thrilled to meet PW ShelfTalker blogger and Wellesley Booksmith buyer Alison Morris, and reconnected with Elizabeth Bluemle of The Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, VT. (Thank you for the wonderful introduction, Elizabeth!)

That is Jeanne, me with the goofy grin, and Rebecca from Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA (where I’ll be speaking on November 7th). I am wearing an IndieBound shirt. You would look good in one, too.

After a busy Boston day, I flew to my adopted hometown, Philadelphia. Can I just say again for the record how much I love this city? Got off the plane, walked through the terminal, hopped a SEPTA train and was in Center City in a flash. BH drove down from the tundra and met me there.

We visited the National Constitution Center (which you must visit).

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I hung out with my homeboy, George.

While BH mingled with the Signers of the Constitution, looking ponderous and grave.

Afterwards I partook of a Philly sacramental meal.

And, thus refreshed, we pushed on to the African American Museum in Philadelphia. You should REALLY see this one, too! I wasn’t allowed to take any photos, but we were fascinated by the exhibit on Alpha Kappa Alpha, and blown away by several levels of art and history about the Afro-Mexican experience.

After a good night’s sleep, we woke bright and early for the Philadelphia Distance Run, 13.1 miles (aka a half-marathon). The weather was gorgeous and everyone was friendly and enthusiastic. We ran with more than 16,000 other crazy people. Most of them were faster than us, but they were very sweet about it.

The course took us into Center City, past Independence National Hall (yes, I blew kisses and muttered the opening words of the Declaration as we passed by), then out the west side of the Schuylkill River, over a bridge, and down Kelly Drive on the east side of the river to the Art Museum. Most inspiring to me were the bands along the route, particularly those who played the Eagles’ fight song. There were plenty of water stops (plus Cytomax, which is my new favorite fluid because it did not upset my tummy) and one gel station. And port-a-potties! Yes!

As BH and I overtrained for the Lake Placid half-marathon in June, it makes perfect sense that we undertrained for this one. We were saved from humiliation by an incredibly flat and forgiving course. We made the finish line in a respectable time and, most importantly, really enjoyed the run. Our feet may have shuffled, but our spirits soared.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Here is BH and me at the end of the race with our bling (finisher’s medals) around our necks.

After a long hot shower and a nap, we hobbled to an Italian restaurant known for serving large portions.

BH consumed most of a vat of ziti.

I ordered a piece of lasagna as big as my head and almost ate the whole thing.

Now that we overtrained for one race and undertrained for another, we are looking for a third half-marathon for which our training will be just right. Can anyone recommend a race in February 2009?

I’m in Philly for a few days of research, then headed back to the north country to tuck all of this research into the proper chapters of my new book. Wish me luck in the archives!

Beautiful and Unexpected Things

It is Friday, so I will list Five Beautiful and Unexpected Things. As an added bonus, two come with pictures.

1. Meredith the Office Mouse spent part of yesterday weeding through a mountain of books so that BH can build some bookshelves. By the end of the day, she made an amazing discovery. She found the floor!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I had forgotten it was there.

2. Heidi Sheffield’s English classes at Oswego High School sent me flowers.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I did a drop-in surprise visit on them a couple of weeks ago. Thank you, everyone! (Notice the stacks and stacks of books in the background.)

3. The final, final, final CHAINS galleys should be arriving any minute now.

4. My research plans for the summer are suddenly falling into place, after much anxiety.

5. If you want to read about the BEA conference from a booksellers POV, Bookavore is blogging from LA a couple times a day.