I’m in Oregon now, free wifi at my hotel – wa-hoo!

I need to catch you up on my Michigan adventure. First the Detroit airport. Which I love

Image and video hosting by TinyPic because they have one of those cool colorful tunnels that connects the consourses

Image and video hosting by TinyPic and it changes color

Image and video hosting by TinyPic a lot!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Connecting through Detroit always means a trip to Sora, in terminal A, near gate 36

Image and video hosting by TinyPic for sushi and miso soup.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The Michigan SCBWI conference was wonderful; extremely friendly (God, I love Midwesterners) and upbeat. Big thanks to (aka She Who Helped With the Myspace Mess In August) for making the drive from Canada, and the conference organizers, and all of the attenders who made me feel right at home.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic And there was a real-live reader there! Meet my new friend, Eliza Webb, whose mom was at the conference and who totally made my day by coming over to talk to me.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Along with giving speeches and critiquing manuscripts and meeting kindred spirits, I snuck in a run on a beautiful autumn day. But truly, the highlight of the visit for me was this: Jello salad with Mystery Bits in it. This is a staple at United Methodist dinners, which were a staple of my childhood. If you read CATALYST and wondered about the Jello salad, this is what I was talking about. It’s green, it wiggles, and it might be an ingredient in embalming fluid. But damn, it tastes good.

So now I am in Oregon and I have been awake for a million hours. I am at the coolest hotel I have ever stayed at, and I had a great dinner with librarians, and a Famous Author wandered by, and I even worked for a couple hours on my revisions, but all those details will have to wait until after I get some sleep!


Checking off to-do list items

Copyedited manuscript of Independent Dames sent off. check.
Critiques printed out out and packed. check.
Opening conference speech written & printed. check.
Revision speech written & printed. check.
Revision hand-outs assembled. check.
Revision hand-outs copied – not yet! Must drop off on the way to the hairdressers!
Portland speeches written. check.
Portland speeches printed – not yet! Need to look over one more time.
First half of revision of historical submitted. le grand sigh. Nope.
All tomatoes roasted. check!!!

So – things are a little busy ’round here today. I leave veeeeeeery early tomorrow for an SCBWI conference in Michigan. From there I fly to sunny Portland Oregon for Teen Read Week festivities.

Last night BH came up with a great addition to our Life Is Too Short List: “Life is too short to eat burnt popcorn.” Which I was about to do because I am obsessively frugal sometimes. He threw it out and popped me another bag.

Rest of today’s to-do list:
Empty email box.
Go to bank.
Pay bills.
Hang out with my parents and help them with a couple of things.
Get hair cut.
Pack suitcase and backpack.
…sneak in a little revision time…
Chill with husband and dog.

I leave you with some photos from the last couple of weeks.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic SCBWI Fall Philly Phriends.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Speaking of fall, this is outside the living room window.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic My Beloved Husband interacting with Chris Crutcher.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicMe, acting much more civilized with His Chrisness.

Monday morning listmaking

It’s Monday morning, but my head is already focused on Friday, when I fly to Michigan for their SCBWI Fall Conference. I’ll spend Sunday on airplanes and in airports hopscotching across to Portland, Oregon.

You can catch me a week from today kicking off Teen Read Week by delivering the 2007 Teen Author Lecture, courtesy of the Multnomah County Library System in Portland. Tuesday I will be speaking at Parkrose High School (event closed to the public, sorry), and Wednesday will be spent knitting and/or scribbling on airplanes as I head back to the East Coast.

Along with the finishing touches on those speeches, I need to get a big hunk of the revised historical off to my editor, finish going through the copyedited manuscript of next year’s non-fiction historical picture book (I can’t WAIT to show you the art!!!) and answer a bunch of email relating to NCTE that piled up when our computers were sick. Oh, and work on my new YA.

I am already tired.

If you are interested in writing and publishing books for kids and teens, go to WGTD and poke around until you find the archive interview from this morning with Putnam editor Tim Travaglini. Be patient when you listen. The first gentleman interviewed, John Stewig, talks for a bit about the upcoming workshop at the Carthage Center for Children’s Literature in Kenosha, WI. John’s voice reminded me so much of Mr. Rogers (I miss him!) that I found myself reaching for graham crackers and milk.

Tim talks about the requirements of being an editor (“take a vow of poverty… be a masochist”) as well as many of the practical business aspects of publishing. After the interview with John and Tim, the station replays an interview from 2005 with Jonathan Stroud, author of The Bartimaeus Trilogy.

If you need a boost of inspiration after listening to that dose of reality, read about Christopher Paul Curtis talking about his new book.

“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.

ALA was the bestest conference EVAH!

Dang, that was good. ALA was absofreakinglutley astounding. How to best describe this???

Imagine the thing you care about most in the world (besides the people that you love). In my case, this is books. Specifically, books for kids and teenagers. OK, now, take thousands of people who work in the field that you love. These people have devoted their lives to your passion and care about it every bit as much as you do. Maybe even more. And get this – they are nice people; not jerks or chuckleheads. They are smart and funny and it lifts up your heart to be in their presence.

That’s what this year’s ALA conference was like for me. My only regret is that it did not last for an entire month.

I took some pictures.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The first big event was a reunion of the Printz Class of 2000. From the left: Ellen Wittlinger, Walter Dean Myers, me, and David Almond.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Ellen and me hamming it up. She has a new book coming out next month, Parrotfish, that sounds amazing. David looks a little nonplussed here. He is a very sweet man with an adorable accent. I overheard librarians begging him to read the phone book.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic A standing-room-only crowd came out to hear us talk about the impact the Printz has had on our work and on YA literature. It was an incredible evening for me, especially listening to Walter’s comments.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic At the party afterwards, I ran into old friend Toni Buzzeo and new friend, Gail Giles, who needs to move to Central New York so we can hang out because she is a very funny lady.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The boys were back in town: Terry Trueman, Sweet Author Whose Name Has Completely Flown My Mind And I Feel Like A Jerk About It, and Chris Crutcher. (edited to add, thanks to input from David Lubar) The guy in the middle is Roland Smith.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Me fangeeking about Sherman Alexie, who was at the party, too.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Here I have somewhat recovered by composure. Somewhat.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The next night, I lost my composure again, because Eileen Kreit (from Penguin) and I got to have our picture taken with JUDY BLUME!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Sherman and I spoke on a panel with Cecily von Ziegesar (she writes the Gossip Girl series) and Alyson Noel (Kiss & Blog ) The room was small and crowded but my voice was powered by a venti coffee with a double-shot of espresso so it all worked out.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The next morning started with the YALSA breakfast. Think speeddating – 25 or so authors, 400 librarians. Many, many thanks to all the nice folks I met. I just wish we would have had more time!!! After the breakfast, they lined up the authors so the librarians could get photos of us all. This is what the wall of paparazzi librarians looked like to us. Ellen W and I called them the Bookarazzi.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Me and my little brother, aka M. T. Anderson. I was born first, and the first letter of my first name comes before his in the alphabet, so make sure my books are in front of his on the shelf. But also make sure that his books are faced out, because they rock the universe. Yes, Mom and Dad are proud.

And I have just realized I am an idiot. Because John Green and I hung out several times at the conference. We chilled in the hotel lobby, we shared cabs, we even spoke to a bunch of teens at lunch ::waves to all the teens who ate pizza with us and asked great questions:: And we talked a lot about YA literature and life, and I really, really like him. And he signed nice things in my books. But did I remember to take photos of any of this??? No, because I am an idiot. Sometimes. Maybe he has one. John? Anyone?

Catch more ALA stories and photos courtesy of Edwards Award winner Lois Lowry, Linda Sue Park (great Newbery dinner shots), David Lubar, Paul Acampora was there, thanks to Yum-Yum, and Miss Cecil Castellucci (who has pictures of Holly and Theo – more friends I forgot to photograph!. You can also listen to all kinds of cool people on YALSA podcasts (scroll down to find them.

Know of any other ALA blogs/photos out there? Tell me in Comments!