Yep, I’m still here!!

No, I have not dropped off the face of the planet. I’ve just been a bit busy.


You can see me ALL DAY at the Teen Book Festival in Rochester, NY this Saturday.

OR you can read my Book Brahmin interview at Shelf Awareness, in which I answer questions about books.

OR (blushing about this one) you can read this very nice, short piece written about me from the director of the Kalamazoo Public Library.

And if you give me a couple of minutes, I’ll show you what Mother’s Day looked like in the Forest yesterday.

AND you can enjoy this picture of what Mother’s Day looked like in the Forest yesterday.

Truth in advertising: this is a picture from my camp, where we spent the day. It’s about 40 minutes away (and 1000 feet higher) than my house. We did get snow at home, too, for about an hour, but the rain washed it all away.

WFMAD Day 28 – bitchin

Bitch is the best name for a magazine ever.  Hands down.  Next time you see it on the newsstand, buy a copy. Next time you are puzzled about what to give someone who would love a "smart, snarky, hilarious, and feminist response to popular culture" you should buy them a subscription.

The Bitch blog has one of the best interviews with me. Thank you, Ellen Papazian, for asking awesome questions.

What do you think about it? Let them know in the comments section of their blog and/or here. They are also looking for suggestions about other YA novelists to interview? Whom do you think?


Today’s advice: "I am not a writer except when I write."  Juan Carlos Onetti 


Today’s prompt: Movement = story.

Today you are going to take a walk. Or a run. Or you are going to draw circles on a sidewalk and hop between them. If all else fails, you are going to close your eyes and rock back and forth.

The movement of your body will help move your story. I swear.

You have a mantra to repeat while you are moving your body through space and your mind through time. Here it is.

_________________ (insert name of character)  wants  __________________ (insert character’s desire), but  then ________   (something)  happens and ___________ (make up something)

You might want to write this mantra on your hand. On a piece of paper at the least.

Ideally? You are going to say this out loud. Over and over again.

Once you have filled in the blanks, repeat it, dreaming up another scene.
You might feel dumb, but who cares? You are creating art. Your are summoning ideas out of the ether. You are entitled to look and feel a little silly, if that’s what it takes.

Warning: be prepared to be flooded with ideas. If this happens, you have permission to stop moving and write them down. But start moving again the instant your mind starts to wander.

Scribble….Scribble…. Scribble…

Finding order in chaos

Spent all day yesterday sorting through receipts. Things are fairly under control. Now I have to total things up and prepare the package to send to my accountant.

This is something that few of us think about when we dream of becoming a writer. If the stars do line up and you are making a living from your books, you need to transform yourself into equal parts creative person and businessperson. I’m self-employed, just like many hairdressers, carpenters, graphic artists, and musicians. It’s not a bad thing, not at all. I like being in charge of myself. I get to boss me all over the place some days.

I do wish that I could boss these receipts into marching into the proper piles on their own.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic My desk, looking MUCH better than yesterday.

There are bunch of new things happening here in the Forest. I’ll be blogging about them tomorrow, I promise.

Meanwhile, check out this article about getting adults to read YA literature.

You can also read a fun interview with me done for the teens of Palatine, IL.

My friends in Miami

It is a loverly thing when friendly readers take care of my blogging responsibilities.

Instead of creating my own post today, I direct you to a fun interview with me over at YAthenaeum, a YA book community based out of one of my favorite bookstores, Books and Books in Coral Gables. They asked super questions! (Do you understand the movie reference at the end?)

Thank you, good readers of the YAthenaem!!!

Tune in tomorrow for the announcement of the winners of the TWISTED and SPEAK book trailer contests and an explanation of all the email and server problems we’ve been having here in the Forest for months.

PS – I am back in wicked serious writing mode and loving it.

Delights & Scribbles

I am very happy to report that the new issue of the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy is online. There is a terrific interview with Professor Joan Kaywell, her teenage son Stephen, and me, too, that gives some background into TWISTED and into my writing process. (Joan is the brilliance behind LETTERS OF HOPE, which should be in every middle and high school English classroom.) I would love to see more teenagers brought into the reviewing of adolescent books. What do you think?

I wrote all weekend, ignoring the whimpering of my rather fertile garden and shunning all thoughts of watching football. I’ve had a couple of serendipitous moments in this new book which were absolutely magical. I know I whine a lot about the workload, but I have to admit: I really, really love writing.

BH and I have been talking about how social networking has ramped up between the release of TWISTED 18 months ago and the upcoming release of CHAINS. I love how easy it has become to communicate with readers. In the last two weeks, I’ve had more than two dozen notes – via my various blog places and website – from readers who had a strong and positive response to one of my novels. Last week, a teacher who saw my posting on Facebook about the tentative tour dates contacted me and we were able to add an appearance in her area for teachers and grad students. This morning, I had a lovely note from a father of a reader in Mumbai, India, also on Facebook. More and more people are reading this journal (which is echoed on MySpace), and are giving me wonderful feedback on my work. There was a terrific comment from a teacher using SPEAK yesterday (scroll down to the bottom of the comment list).

I think I’ve managed the art of not letting the online stuff take over. I have stopped feeling guilty about not answering each and every blog comment (though I do read them all). My strongly worded email policy has cut waaaaaay back on the number of homework help requests I’ve been getting. My forested corner of the blogosphere has become like the corner diner for me, filled with buddies and the smell of coffee.

How are you balancing your blogging and social networking with your writing?