Candles lit in the gloom & cottage pics

It’s a dreary day in the Forest, but we have candles lit and good music playing to chase the gloom away.

(Linguistic tangent: The OED does not think “gloom” is in anyway connected to or descended from the Old English word “glóm”, which describes the growing darkness at twilight. What kind of tea are they drinking? Of course, they’re connected!)

Congrats to fellow Central New York author Tamora Pierce, whose new book BLOODHOUND will debut at the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List on May 3rd!!! Hie yourself over to Tammie’s LJ to congratulate her!

(Yes, WINTERGIRLS is still on the list, too! Along with some other awesome novels, and, er, the Twilight director’s notebook and Miley Cyrus’ book.)

My Beloved Husband and several elves have been hard at work on the cottage whilst I’ve been galivanting all over creation. Here’s the progress so far.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I don’t have any pics of just the foundation. Here is the next step – building the frame of the cottage on top of the foundation.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Walls up. Roof trusses on.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Roof and porch on! Outside shell of cottage complete!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic And the magic window is in place. No glass, yet. I think the glass guy comes next week.

There is still lots and lots of work ahead – minor things like insulation and flooring and interior walls, and installing the woodstove. But the progress has been very exciting to watch!!! (I think that BH has been such a good egg about my travels this spring because it gives him more opportunities to work on his masterpiece.)

I’m taking my camera to LA and I’ll be twittering from the Festival of Books, but the blog post about it won’t be going up until Monday. (Follow me on Twitter.)

Don’t forget, Angelinos. I’d love to see you this Saturday, April 25, at the LOS ANGELES TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS!

12:30 – 1:30pm Young Adult Fiction Panel: “Problem Child” Location: Moore 100
Moderator: Jonathan Hunt
Panelists: Laurie Halse Anderson
Suzanne Phillips
Nate Powell
Jacqueline Woodson

2:30 – 3:30 pm Booksigning
Location: Penguin/Whale of a Tale Booth, #816

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.

Magic Window Update & much scurrying about

WINTERGIRLS comes out in 5 days….

So, what does an author do in the days before book tour?

This author has been very busy with interviews. I had a great one yesterday with a reporter from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and have a bunch more lined up for next week. Today I hope to finish the Keynote presentation I’ll be taking on the road with me, and start packing. Am also busy emailing back and forth with the Web God as he puts the finishing touches on the WINTERGIRLS website.

While I’ve been crossing off things on my to-do list, work continues on the Cottage.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Our tree guy chopped down the dead 200-year-old maple and cleared out the smaller trees from the spot where we want to build.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe dark spots are rot. We could also see shadows where spiles had been inserted to tap the sap.

BH and a buddy of his have been busy on the magic window. They had to sand out every frame, patch and strengthen weak spots in the wood and start preparing thingies (have no idea what they are called) that will hold the glass. They found a mixture of wire nails and cut nails. The presence of cut nails confirms their suspicions that the window was buit in the late 1800s.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic By Friday, the window was strong enough to be stood up. That’s his buddy on the left, BH and me in the center, and Queen Louise to the right. The glass guy came to take a look at it and will soon give us the estimate for the cost of the glass. Fingers crossed about that. The plan is for the magic window to take up most of the south wall of the cottage.

I’ll end with a couple of links for those of you who can only catch up with this blog on weekends.

Can you come and see me on book tour?

Have you entered the WINTERGIRLS contest yet?

Did you see the WINTERGIRLS book trailer?

How about the short video where I explain why I wrote the book?

WINTERGIRLS comes out in 5 days….

Book celebration & roof research


Honestly, I think my UPS man loves me best. Not many of his other deliveries jump up and down and scream when he shows up.

Here they are! Drum roll…….

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

So much work all wrapped up in a drop-dead gorgeous cover.

If you’re interesting in hearing me talk about my work for teens in general and WINTERGIRLS in particular, head over to this audio interview of me. The interview was conducted by Jennifer Buehler of If you’re an educator, you will love the resources on their website.

Cottage update: BH is working hard on the magic window. Right now he’s sanding it. Next step is to strengthen the entire structure so that it can stand up to the eventual weight of the glass. The plan is to put clear glass in all of the panes now, and replace a couple with stained glass when we can afford it.

We have run into a quandary about the roof. We did not want to use traditional roofing shingles because they are made with a petroleum byproduct. If we were to use traditional asphalt shingles, it would cost about $800 for the roof (for comparison, I’m only giving the cost of the shingles).

A slate roof was my first choice; it would last 100 years, is a natural product, and looks great. But the slate alone would cost about $3000 and have a much, much higher labor cost on top of that. Next up; shingles made from recycled rubber and plastic. The shingles alone would cost almost $4500.

Photovoltaic cells won’t work because the cottage is being built in the woods. (We are going to generate solar energy to power the building, but it will come solar panels that are a distance from the cottage.) Eco-shakes cost about the same as slate.

We’re still exploring options. If you have any tips or advice, please leave it in the comments.

Theo the Web God almost has the WINTERGIRLS pages ready to go live. Can’t wait for you to see them. In celebration, we’re going to hold a contest. The winners will receive a laptop skin printed with the cover image of WINTERGIRLS. We only have one thing to figure out.

How to structure the contest? What do you think? What is a fast and fair contest? Again, please leave your advice in the comment section.

WINTERGIRLS comes out in two weeks.

Sunshine and magic window

OK, no clouds or grumbling today. Just fun.

First, some fun announcements.

The BCCB has given WINTERGIRLS its 5th starred review!! Thank you, BCCB!

The audio version of WINTERGIRLS has won an Audiofiles Earphones Award. (I wonder if it comes with a statue of giant earphones…) I had a very nice note from the narrator, Jeannie Stith over the weekend. I got to, erm, voice my opinion about the auditions and I thought she nailed Lia’s voice. I am so excited about the job Brilliance has done with this. Audiofile magazine agreed. Their review says “Stith takes listeners deep into Lia’s dark and frightening fight for survival.”

I’m not running to raise money for the Leukemia Society this year, sadly. I am so snowed under with work, I’m hardly running at all. (My goal to run 750 miles this year had to be tossed out. But I’m not grumbling. No clouds.)

However, the indefatigable and ever-organized Julia Maguire is running a marathon to raise $5,000 to find a cure for blood cancer. Julia works at Simon & Schuster and has always been an enormous help to me. If you liked CHAINS, please donate to Julia’s run, because there is no way the book would have been published on time without her. Go Julia!

And now….. the magic window.

Backstory: It is getting harder and harder for me to find a quiet place to write. My office up in the loft in busy and crowded with “author” stuff: outreach to readers, research, correspondence, etc. In the last two years, I’ve taken several mini-sabbaticals in hotels where I basically lock myself in and crank words. I have enjoyed these respites enormously, but it’s expensive.

Back in October, my Beloved Husband suggested that he make me a writing cottage in our Forest. I resisted the notion and found lots of reasons why I shouldn’t do it, but he was right. I need my own version of Walden Pond. Thoreau built his cabin himself. I don’t need to because I am married to a carpenter.

We’re in early days yet, but the plan is for “The Cottage” to be off the grid (solar power) and heated with a woodstove. We’re also trying to use as much recycled and sustainable materials as possible. To that end, we went to a salvage yard on Saturday to see what old building elements we could reuse.

We found a magic window.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic It is around 125 years old and came from a church.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Loading it up and carting it home was a little nerve-wracking for me, but BH had it under control.

Obviously, it needs a little work. No, a lot of work. BH and a buddy of his are starting on the rehab of the wood. Once that’s done, they’ll bring in a glass guy. The window is ten feet wide and eleven feet tall and will take up nearly an entire wall of the cottage, if everything works out. I’ll be posting about the construction project as it happens. Right now we’re waiting for the snow to melt.

And now this blog entry is already too long. Writing questions tomorrow, I swear!