Thank you all for the great comments and links to my post about the WSJ article. I hope that we can all find a way to reach out to people who are unfamiliar with the wide and wonderful world of Young Adult fiction and help them learn about the variety and significance of the field.

And now on to the business of the day! The winners of the Writers for Joplin raffle!

Thanks to a late contribution (given by someone who specifically requested not to be included in the raffle), you all contributed more than $4000 to the Red Cross to help the people in the SE United States who have been devastated by this spring’s storms. A total of 67 people donated, some donating in order to get a friend or family member’s name in the raffle (which was totally cool!).

For every ten dollars you donated, your name went into the raffle once. If you donated $50, that means I printed your name out five times. I used this highly regarded Official Raffle Drawing Container™​ to mix the names and pull the lucky winners.

::cues drum roll::

Winner of SOUL ENCHILADA, by David Macinnis Gill: Tracy Abell!

Winner of BLACK HOLE SUN, by David Macinnis Gill: Katy Duffield!

The winner of the GRAND PRIZE, the brave soul who gets to send their manuscript to me and reap the harvest of my critique is…


I’d like to ask all of the winners to please send an email to laurie AT madwomanintheforest DOT com. Thanks again to everyone for helping!!

Writers helping Joplin, MO

UPDATE!!! Thanks to you, we raised $4,000 in four days for the Red Cross efforts in MO!! I really appreciate everyone pitching in. Will be announcing the raffle winners in a few days.

You all know of the devastation that hit Joplin, MO. Folks are still looking for loved ones. Those who survived the storm have to figure out how to start their lives over. From scratch.

Most people have the inclination to be generous at times like this. But then they get busy, because the demands of day-to-day life are relentless. Maureen Johnson and friends decided to help guide people to donate by offering critiques and books earlier in the week. I was tied up at BEA all week, but I’m home now and it is my turn.

All you have to do to participate is to contribute at least $10 to the Red Cross. That will earn you one chance to win the FABULOUS GRAND PRIZE OF A MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE. If you contribute $50, you have five chances! If you contribute $1,000, your name goes in the hat one hundred times!!! (I figured that anyone wealthy enough to win a traditional auction has enough cash to pay a freelance editor for critique help. This is my way of leveling the playing field.)

If you win my contest, I will critique YOUR manuscript (yes, I am looking at you). I will read the entire thing or the first 400 pages (whichever comes first) and I will send you a letter with my thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses of the story. Interested? Keep reading. (I’ve included alternate instructions for people who do not live in the United States.)

AND..In addition to the manuscript critique, I will give away at least five of my books to Almost-Winners, whose names will also be drawn at random. (If you are an author or an illustrator and you want to donate a book to the pile of loot, let me know!)
UPDATE! David Macinnis Gill is donating books, too!

UPDATE!! Book Doctor Jason Black (@p2p_editor) has stepped up to sweeten the deal. He is offering, to anybody who donates any amount to my raffle, $50 off a full manuscript critique. In a nutshell, if you buy a ticket (or several!) to my raffle but you don’t win, you can still get something for it: a discount on the same thing you were hoping to win from me! If you’re interested, all you have to do is chip in to my raffle and contact Jason via twitter to let him know!


1. Donate at least $10 to the American Red Cross, via the Ozark chapter website. At the bottom of the page, click the red DONATE button.

2. On the next page, click the button that says “Disaster Relief for Countless Crises (e.g. Tornadoes, Spring Floods, Wildfires, etc.)”

3. On the next page, click MAKE A TRIBUTE GIFT.

4. Page after that, click E-Card.

5. Page after that, fill out your personal and credit card info. At the bottom of the page, where it says “Tribute Gift Information,” click “Yes, I would like to send an eCard.”

SUPER-IMPORTANT!!! 6. Select an E-card. (I don’t care which one. It’s not really “in honor” or “in memory” of me, but this is your way of proving you made the donation.) Send the e-card to laurie AT madwomanintheforest DOT com. E-card Subject can be “Writers for Joplin.” MAKE SURE YOU INDICATE HOW MUCH YOU HAVE DONATED!!

7. Complete the donation process, THEN send me a tweet or message on my Facebook page or comment to this blog letting me know how much you donated. (I hope this will encourage lots of people to join in.)

8. UPDATE!! Contest will run until midnight, Pacific Standard Time, TUESDAY, May 31, 2011.

9. Winner’s name will be drawn at random. For every ten dollars donated, winner will have one chance in the drawing. Winners will be notified by email. I make no promises or guarantees that my critique will get you published. Also, I can’t promise to show it to my editor or agent. But I will give you honest, constructive comments about your story.

IF YOU DON’T LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES, YOU CAN STILL PLAY! You can donate through the International Red Cross/Red Crescent, choose which of their projects you want to support, and send an email to laurie AT madwomanintheforest DOT com with the details of your donation.

I got the ball rolling by donating $500. (I promise not to put my own name in the hat for a critique!) Now it’s your turn!!

(PhotoCredit: AP/Mike Gullett)

Contest winners & Bob the Builder

We have winners!!!!

Last night Queen Louise ordered her squires to participate in the Official Drawing of the Names. They dutifully complied.

drum roll……..

The winners of custom WINTERGIRLS laptop (or phone) skins are:
Jennifer Forgotten!
Mindi Scott!
Tressa Korson!
Kara Huck!

You’ll be receiving an email from Queen Louise with the details about what happens next so we can get the skin to you. Thanks to everyone for participating!!

Bob the Builder showed up to the cottage project yesterday.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic He brought a very large machine.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic He plucked out the tree stumps from the site, then added a couple tons of dirt and tamped it down. (Notice the last, lingering snowbank.) Next up: a mason comes next week to form up the forms (I think that’s the right way to describe it) so the concrete slab can be poured.

I’ve been receiving early sightings of copies of WINTERGIRLS on sale already. Since I’m not J.K. Rowling, booksellers are not compelled to hold the book to the release date. If you see it, buy it!

If you see it, you could also take a picture of you standing in the store with the book. Send it to laurie AT writerlady DOT com.

March Madness News!!! Since my Georgetown Hoyas are not in the NCAA tournament this year, ::weeps::, I am supporting Syracuse University. For the third year running, Sarah Dessen and I have our bet going; if her team (North Carolina) goes farther than mine, I will send a signed copy of my new book to her public library. If my team goes farther, Sarah sends her book up here.

Haven’t had time to do my brackets yet. I think I’ll do that on the plane Thursday.

Three Days

Three days until WINTERGIRLS arrives…

The first fan video!

And the WINTERGIRLS website is up and running. I am waiting for a Family Support information sheet, being written by a woman whose daughter struggled with anorexia, and one of the professionals who worked with their family.

What else does the site need?

What should I remember to pack for the book tour?

Remember to enter the contest before noon (EST) today!

Three days until WINTERGIRLS arrives…

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::