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!!

Roadtrip to hang out with me!!

My friends Ellen Yeomans and her husband Chris Arnold lost their daughter Paige to leukemia in 1994, just before she was due to start third grade. Frankly, I don’t know how they found the strength to go on after that. But they are amazing people. They did not simply find a way to live. They found a way to keep Paige’s spirit alive and help other families who have a child struggling with cancer or a catastrophic illness.

Chris explains the whole story in a recent article. Read it with Kleenex.

Every year they coordinate Paige’s Butterfly Run; a family-oriented 5K and Fun Fitness 3K Run/Walk. Last year they raised $140,000. This year’s goal is $150,000. If they make that goal, they will have raised ONE MILLION DOLLARS for children’s cancer since 1997.

Here’s a recent news program about the run.

Isn’t that amazing??

Am I going to be there? You bet! So will Queen Louise and various and sundry people we are related to.

If you live within 150 miles of Syracuse, you should join us. Heck, it’s going to be a nice weekend – if you live within 300 miles of me, you should make the trek.  If running is not your favorite thing, then walk the 3K course; that’s only 1.8 miles. Or just show up to watch (and donate!) After the run you can enjoy the Taste of Syracuse; a downtown food festival 140 different vendors and restaurants, great wines from the State of New York, three stages of live music.

If you’re in the mood to read than to run or walk, you can still help. The Syracuse-area Barnes & Noble stores (in Dewitt and Clay) will donate a portion of any books sold this weekend as long as you print out and use the voucher that you can download on the Butterfly Run’s website.

But wait! There’s more!! I am in a writer’s group with Ellen and so is…. Bruce Coville.

To raise money for Paige’s Butterfly Run, Bruce Coville will be signing books at the Barnes & Noble in Clay on Saturday June 5th from 4-6 PM.

I will be signing books at the at the Barnes & Noble in Clay on Sunday June 6th from 1-3 PM.

I think this requires you to plan a roadtrip, don’t you? The weather is supposed to be nice (no snow!), the cause is the best one possible, and if you stay home, you’ll miss out on all the fun. Just remember to print out the voucher before you shop at Barnes & Noble this weekend.

And if you live too far away to roadtrip it, I’ll hope you’ll make a donation in honor of a little girl who had the grace and strength of a butterfly.

Thanks for your help, my friends.

Oh Happy Day!

There is a lot of music in my head. I always have a song playing in the background of my mind and I ALWAYS wake up hearing a song on Radio Laurie. That song often reflects my mood. This makes it easy to figure out what I’m feeling.

Yeah, weird. I know. But it is the only brain I have.

The selection of songs makes things stranger. I grew up on a college campus in the 60s, fell in love with "classic rock" in the 70s, survived disco (barely – polyesther still makes me break out in hives), and became a fan of hip-hop, indie rock, and country. The only music I don’t enjoy is opera and I’m sure one of these days I’ll get around to it.

Oh, and I’m a preacher’s kid who sang in a gospel chorus. So the playlist on Radio Laurie is rather…. eclectic.

I have more thoughts to add to our ongoing discussion about the suckitude of book pirates. (You really should read through the comments posted on Tuesday and Wednesday – totally fascinating. Thank you to everyone who posted!) But not today.

Today I woke up with this song in my head:

(Much love to our Canadian sisters and brothers a snowball’s throw away from the Forest!)

Today is a happy day for MANY of reasons. Play the music clip above while you read through them.

    1. CHAINS (paperback) has made the New York Times Bestseller List!!!! (The list of February 7th.)

2. AND, CHAINS (paperback) made the Top Ten list of the National Association of Independent Booksellers.

    3. AND, WINTERGIRLS was honored with spots on the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list AND the Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers list!

4. But wait! There’s more! WINTERGIRLS earned an Honorable Mention Cuffie from America’s booksellers. (LOVE this award – best sure to read the entire list.)

5. Still not dancing? There’s MORE. named me to their list of the 8 most influential YA authors of the past decade. Was flabbergasted by that one.

Whew! All this joy is balancing out my book pirate frustration rather nicely, I must say.

I am off to the Kindling Words writer’s retreat today. Not sure if I’ll be blogging there or not, but I’ll come home with lots of pictures, I promise.

I’ll leave you with another version of this song, just to keep your toes tapping all day. (It is from Sister Act 2. The lead singer is Ryan Toby.)

WFMAD Day 31 – celebration & reflection

We did it!!!

One entire month (a long one, too! August has 31 days! remind me to do WFMAD in February next year) of daily writing. For those of you who rose above your doubts and fears and met this challenge with daily success, I bow my head in respect and offer my congratulations.

This writing thing is a whole lot harder than it seems.

If you didn’t meet the challenge, please don’t waste any time beating yourself up. Life is too short for that kind of nonsense. Instead, use this as an opportunity to figure why you couldn’t find fifteen minutes a day to write. Were you able to find time each day for other habits? What about those other habits is more rewarding to you than writing?

I am not criticizing or judging. You are the person in charge of your life, not me.

This is the second year I’ve offered this challenge. I do it in response to the most common questions I receive about writing:

1. How can I become a writer?
2. I want to be a writer but I am too busy. How do I change that?

I believe that, at some level, we can all be writers, because we are all natural-born storytellers. I believe that if you have a passion for something, you have necessary seeds of talent. But if your goal is to have your work published, you have to nurture those seeds. Develop the craft. Commit to daily writing and make space in your life for it.


1. To be a writer, you must write.
2. Cut out the unnecessary things from your life.

I have a confession to make here. This has been the worst summer of my life. It came after one of the most challenging years of my life. At this point twelve months ago, I was gearing up for the publication of CHAINS. Then I went on book tour. Came home and started on the pre-publicity interviews and craziness for WINTERGIRLS. Then I went on book tour, again. Then I went to Peru. Finally, when I came home from the last roadtrip in May, my mother spun into her final illness. I spent weeks taking care of her and held her as she died. Then we took in a relative who needed a home. Then my father-in-law died.

We’re calling this our Summer of Sorrow. (Alternative title: Summer of Suck.)

Did I write every single day through all that craziness? Hell, no. I did get some scribbling in here and there. Worked on my next book between book tours. Journaled. Wrote emails. But I found it impossible to hold on to the daily discipline that is fundamental to keeping me healthy, not to mention it’s my job.

Orchestrating this challenge has helped me find my pathagain. I’m still kind of a mess, still mourning the deaths of our parents, still pretty damn tired. But I am writing again. Every day. Some days for ten hours or more.

That is one of many beautiful things about our Muse. She is patient and understanding. If life takes you away from the craft, She’ll be there when you get back. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall down; what matters is how many times you get up again.

So thank you for helping me pick myself up and dust myself off.

How has your writing been this month?


Today’s advice: "Don’t be a writer. Be writing." William Faulkner


Today’s prompt: Write about what worked for you this month and what didn’t work. Is your life too complicated to write every day? Why? If it is, how often can you stake out writing time? What needs to change in order for you to feel you have permission to write?

Scribble….Scribble…. Scribble…