BEA round-up

Three days breathing Javitz Center air have left me feeling a little delirious. But before I self-medicate by planting flowers and working out at the gym, let me share a few BEA pics with you.

(pic from Mitali Perkins Twitter feed)
Mitali Perkins, Jennifer Donnelly and I did a good job representing YA books at the Indie Choice Book Awards luncheon.

(pic from Mitali Perkins Twitter feed)
After I won the award for Most Engaging Author (THANK YOU, INDIE BOOKSELLERS!), my daughter Stef worked hard at keeping me humble.

Stef and I were lucky enough to go running with Christopher McDougall, author of BORN TO RUN.

I was very happy to catch up with Sarah Dessen who has been busy criss-crossing the country to support her new book, WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE.

AND I enjoyed a spectacular sushi lunch with my editor, Joy.

I was going to include lots of photos and breathless commentary about the fast-paced bidding and high-pitched drama at the ABFFE art auction. But I was so busy talking and bidding (mostly talking – EVERYONE I know in publishing was there, including Sarah Odedina from Bloomsbury, the British publisher of CHAINS and FORGE), that I didn’t take even one single pic. GAH! You can read a little bit about the auction in Josie Leavitt’s blog. Thank you to everyone who came out and made the night such a success.

(This blog entry has taken nearly three hours to compose, because WordPress is being a jerk, and because my tired brain really wants to be outside.)


Instead of writing a blog today…

I’ll be busy at the New York SLMS conference, hanging with awesome librarians, and (rumor has it) picking up the Knickbocker Award, which I am stoked about.

Details and pics later, I promise.

Be sure to squeeze in some poetry today and make time to hug a librarian!!!!


I revised all weekend. What about you? If you are working on NaNoWriMo or just putting pedal to the medal to finish a draft, you might want to read the Tips on Writer’s Block I wrote for the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program.

Because of the intense revision schedule I’m on, I need to issue a blanket apology to all my friends for not answering email or phone calls right now. I’d grovel too, except I’m too busy writing.

It’s almost Thanksgiving and that means… The National Council of Teachers of English/ALAN Conference is just around the corner. This year it’s in my old stomping ground, Philly.

::thinks of cheesesteaks::

Here is my schedule:


7–9:00 pm Doylestown Bookshop

Doylestown Bookshop

16 S. Main St, Doylestown, PA 18901

(215) 230-7610

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2009 All Events open to Conference attendees ONLY

7–9:15 am Keynote Speaker at ALAN Breakfast (Ticketed Event)

Philadelphia Marriot
1201 Market St, Grand Ballroom, Salon A (5th floor)


Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

1–2:00 pm BOOK SIGNING AT SIMON & SCHUSTER, Booth #419

4:15–5:30 pm Panel: "Authors’ Blogs: Connections, Collaboration, and Creativity"
Other authors on panel: Maureen Johnson, Justine Larbalestier, Barbara O’Connor & Lisa Yee
Convention Center, Street Level, Room 103A


9 am–12:00 pm Chester County Book & Music Company Author Breakfast with LHA & Sarah Dessen!

Chester County Books

975 Paoli Pike

West Chester, PA 19380

(610) 696-1661

1–3:00 pm “A Novel Idea” Teen Event for Philadelphia Free Library at Children’s Book World

More authors than you can count at this one: Jay Asher, T.A. Barron, Sarah Dessen, Steve Kluger, Justine L
arbalestier, David Levithan, Lauren Myracle, Scott Westerfeld & Jacqueline Woodson. And me!

Children’s Book World
17 Haverford Station Road
Haverford, PA 19041
(610) 642-6274

My husband did a little more tweeking on the exterior of the cottage and he wanted me to post this picture to prove you can’t see the Tyvek anymore:

NESCBWI Recap and Wings

Wow! Those New Englanders know how to do it!

BH and I spent a high-energy weekend at the New England chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrator’s” conference. It was HUUUUUUUGGGGGEE!. I think someone said there were 550 people there. Amazing. And incredibly well-organized. They even had vegan lunches for people who didn’t want beef or turkey or tuna. I was impressed.

I gave the keynote Saturday morning. It was a poignant moment for me. When I started writing for kids, all I had was a handful of dreams and a lot of ambition. Along the way I made every mistake possible, and a few that no one had heard of before. And somehow, I’ve moved from the newly-hatched dreamer in the audience to the person standing (well, pacing) behind the podium. Very, very strange and wonderful.

During the speech, I held up my rejection file, and read a few of those dastardly polite letters that hurt so much. I will never forget what it feels like to get those in the mail. I remember the tears and doubts and the fears. What am I talking about – I still have them!

That is the cool thing about writers’ conferences. It doesn’t matter where you are on your creative journey – published or pre-published – we all sit on the same raft in an ocean of doubt. Thank you to everyone for such a warm welcome and much-needed boost of camaraderie.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Mitali gave a wonderful workshop about using the Internet to promote books. She should know: she has a wonderful site and a delightful blog. I took many, many notes! She is one of the forces behind Readergirlz which is featuring my book PROM in June. You’ll be hearing more about that later.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Enjoyed dinner with Sarah Aronson (left) and Tanya Lee Stone (right), who has a great picture book biography about Elizabeth Cady Stanton out soon. Also saw Kate Messner there, and Kelly Fineman, and Harold Underdown (I’ll be talking about his new book in a couple of weeks), and Debra Garfinckle, who graciously signed one of her books for me.

Jo Knowles – were you there? Did we talk? I could be blanking here (I’m still pretty tired). Help me out. What did you think of the conference?

I also hung out with my buddies Nancy Werlin and Toni Buzzeo, but my camera messed up their photos. Go to their websites to see their shining faces.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Like I said, the conference was packed!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic They had to turn away people at the door to keep the fire marshals happy.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Here are a couple of the hard working souls who put the conference together: Jan Kozlowski, Sally Riley, Janet Arden, and J.L. Bell, who writes one of my favorite blogs: Boston 1775. The other organizers kept moving so fast, they appear in photographs as a blur. BH and I thank you all for a wonderful weekend!

The theme of the conference was “Stretch Your Wings”. I am flapping mine with great vigor as I head back to the Cave of Revision.

How was your weekend?

Foggy Lincoln morn

I am writing this in the Springfield, IL airport, which is wrapped in fog so thick the planes can’t land or take off.

Yesterday was a crazy busy wonderful day at one of the best state reading/English teacher conferences I have ever been privileged to attend. Thank you to everyone in IL who greeted me to kindly and made a long day a lot of fun. I gave the lunch speech, a workshop on revision, and a workshop in which I divulged the “stories behind the stories”of my novels. And met a lot of very enthusiastic teachers at three book signing sessions. AND, last night, I read a chapter of CHAINS for the first time in public, which went over very well.

I ran into a couple of old and new friends, but didn’t have much time to chat.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Lisa Yee and her traveling Peep.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Richard Peck and I chatted while waiting for our suitcases and in line for coffee.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I just gawked at Brian Selznik

Image and video hosting by TinyPic This teacher was so, so, so sweet because she looked through DAMES and made all the right cooing noises and exclamations. And I am a heel for forgetting her name, but I will always remember how happy she made me.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I met Liz last year when I was in St. Louis on book tour; we got to hang out a bit and talk about historical fiction.

OK, fog is lifting, plane is boarding. Thank you, Fine Teachers of the Land of Lincoln! I salute you!