My New Team: Meet Mr. Cat

Thank you very much for all the comments yesterday. I fasted, I slept, I looked to the stars for guidance and I have decided to support….

Davidson College: “Where Hoops and Books Coexist”. Even though they are located in you-know-where.

And if, by some strange chance, they get beat, I’ll support whoever beats them, and whoever beats them, etc.

(Really I just want to make muffins for my Hoyas. Maybe some chicken soup, too.)

One question: the Davidson mascot is a guy named Mr. Cat. (I did not make that up.) So am I supposed to yell “Go, you Mr. Cats!”? Are they Hep Cats? Ferocious Felines? They sure as heck beat the tar out of the Georgetown bulldog. Here is my first official taunt as a Davidson Cat: Hey, Barry! Your Jayhawks? Going down, man! Kitties rule over birdies every time!

(OK, that was a little lame, but I’m new at this.)

Wait – we have to get past Wisconsin before we sink our fangs into Kansas. Do kitties rule over badgers?

Tab closing time: check out author Anne Bustard’s Anneographies blog which highlights picture book biographies by the birthday of the central character. My hero, Sarah Josepha Hale is there on October 24th – so is the book I wrote about her! (I’m pretty sure I got the link from Cynthia Leitich Smith, another great Austinite.)

Want to know why people go into the high-paying, glamorous world of bookselling? Check out the ABA’s March Carnival of Bookselling.

I am officially back in the Cave of Revision (have been all week), so pardon me if the posts for the next couple of weeks get a little weird.

Portland teen Author Lecture

My run along the Willamette River yesterday was gorgeous. I didn’t look at the clock when I left so I don’t know how fast I ran. This allows me to fantasize that I was churning out 8-minute miles; a total fabrication, of course, but one I am sticking to.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic On my lunch break I walked a couple of blocks to the one of the greatest bookstores in the world: Powell’s. I was a good girl. I did not drool on any of the books. I did pet a couple of the shelves, but it was a restrained display of affection, nothing vulgar. If this store held sleepovers, it would become a serious place of pilgrimage for book lovers from all over. Be sure to check out their online author interviews.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Meet Adam who was manning the kids & teens section when I visited. Adam helped me find all of the copies of my books they had in stock so I could sign them. He was wicked sweet. He’s holding his favorite book of mine, CATALYST. He said he really liked all of the science and math references. He also liked all the math in John Green’s ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES. Has anyone put together a list of YA fiction with strong math and science elements?

Image and video hosting by TinyPicI spent the afternoon revising and talking to my editor Kevin about potential directions for the cover design of my historical. Super-librarian and author Sara Ryan, author of EMPRESS OF THE WORLD and THE RULES FOR HEARTS, picked me up at the hotel. We got silly in the lobby before we left.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic My presentation was held in the Old Church in Portland. (These picture show only part of the audience.) I was stoked about the number of teens in the audience. A couple of teachers brought groups of students and lots more kids came with a parent or two. I was very excited and honored to see a group of teachers from a Washington state high school that successfuly fought a challenge to remove SPEAK from their curriculum. They are my heroes.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicPeople had to buy tickets to hear me speak which had me convinced no one would come, but I was delightfully wrong. More than 250 people came out on a blustery night. Thank you very, very much for a great time.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic After the speech I signed books, programs, journals, scraps of paper and I wrote a half dozen notes to English teachers begging them to give extra credit to the students who came to hear me speak. Best item signed was this shoe, which belonged to a lovely future author named Fatema.

Today is a visit to Parkrose High School. Today is more revision. Today might be another run on the river if I am a very, very good girl.

Third catch-update BEA- Day 2

So yeah, by the end of the dinner where I met (brace yourself, more sqweeing ahead) KATHERINE PATERSON, I was whooped. There were a couple of other parties to go to, but I had to speak early Friday morning, so I was a good girl and went to bed.

Woke up at an obscenely early hour on Friday and dressed with fear and trepidation. This was the day I had been dreading since December. I put on my magic bracelets and grabbed my speech.

See, I had been invited by the kind people at the Children’s Booksellers and Publishers Committee to be one of the speakers at the opening Children’s Breakfast. This was a huge honor and a big challenge. Would you want to speak to 850 tired, hungry, undercaffinated booksellers at the crack of dawn? Well, yes, if you’re an author, of course you would. But what if they put you in the line-up with Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, and Marc Brown?


It helped that I was able to meet “the boys” before the event started. They were all very, very kind, and they signed all of the books that I had lugged with me. We trooped backstage and made our way to the breakfast (shades of that scene from Spinal Tap where the band gets lost behind the stage in Cleveland). The next few hours passed in a blur. I remember being on stage. I remember making the decision to skip page 3 of my speech (sure hope that worked out.)

But the best part was being able to share with booksellers the feedback that I get from my readers (some of it filters in here on the LJ). I told them that you guys love great books. I told them that books make a positive difference in your lives…. that is the interesting books; the ones you like and you actually read. Yes, I said that teaching the classics in high school is turning kids off to books. I imagine I will be yelled at for that, but so what? It’s the truth.

Here is a much better summary of the whole morning.

And then it was over. I had a meeting with my agent, and not nearly enough time to walk the convention floor before I had to catch a cab to the airport and then the plane home. And who did I wind up sitting next to on the plane? That’s right, the Ambassador to El Salvador. Turns out he knew my mother-in-law in Pulaski. Small world, eh?

Today I am writing with the music cranked loud. I also have to get to the email I just unearthed in my Junk mailbox. Spammers are evil.

The rest of the photos

Second catch-update BEA – Day 1

(Pardon the crumbs, but I am inhaling a sandwich as I type this.)

From the glorious (and rather flat) state of Indiana, I flew into Washington, DC. Got in so early that my hotel room wasn’t ready, which was fine with me because I needed a belt and (gasp!) stockings. Our hotel was at 23rd and M, which meant that Georgetown was a short walk away, so off I went.

(Nostalgia interlude: I graduated from Georgetown University, so the area was very familiar…but not. They have turned M Street into an upscale mall complete with Pottery Barn and overpriced EVERYTHING. Ack. I could only find one old stomping ground (i.e. bar): Mr. Smith’s. Oh, Georgetown, what hath they done to thee? End of interlude.)

I finally stumbled into Urban Outfitters and then had to start muttering “belt, belt, belt, you can only buy a belt” under my breath because I wanted to buy much, much more. Bracelets, in particular, were calling my name. In fact, several of them had leapt onto my wrist when I looked up and saw Sarah Dessen, aka writergrl. That was a blast. We caught up with each other (hadn’t seen each other since TLA in Austin the year before), and coordinated our dinner outfits.

OK – “coordinated our dinner outfits” is a phrase I never, ever thought I would type, unless someone was holding a gun to my head. This is the Power of Sarah – she makes females like me (i.e. rowdy tom-boy types) coordinate. And, heaven help me, I liked it. Amazing. (Here is Sarah’s BEA entry).

I did buy a belt. I also bought a pair of kick-butt studded leather bracelets which sdn said reminded her of Wonder Woman. This thrilled me because I had a life-size poster of Wonder Woman on my closet door when I was a kid. Which completely explains why I adore Xena so.

Then I had to buy stockings, because I had to go to an auction and a dinner and I had to wear (sigh) a dress.

The silent auction was a fundraiser for the Association of Booksellers for Children, one the coolest groups on the planet. It was wicked, wicked crowded and LOUD, but I ran into all kinds of friends and made some new ones. (See photos.) ABC sponsored the dinners, too, where I was fortunate to be seated between two of my favorite booksellers in the country, Jewel Stoddard and Elizabeth Bluemle (who is also an author!). Jerry Pinckney and Eoin Colfer both spoke, but the highlight of the night for me was being present for the awards given to Anne Irish and Katherine Paterson (she won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award).

But it got better.

Elizabeth was gracious enough to introduce me to Katherine Paterson. Katerine Paterson touched my hand. She smiled at me. She was the definition of graciousness. She had never heard of me, of course, but it didn’t matter. IT WAS KATHERINE PATERSON. SQWEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

Honest, I did not make that noise in front of her. But I was making it in my head. I GOT TO TOUCH HER HAND!!!

::composes self:: Enough fangrlling.

Let’s see the photos