Quick update & my ALA schedule

Storm clouds are rolling across the county, so our power should go out in a minute. Here’s my update:

1. My revision is proceeding well, despite last week’s chickenbutt moment. I won’t get the manuscript turned in by ALA, which I had hoped, but it should be there by the end of the month.

2. Father’s Day was great because I spent it with my Beloved Husband, my dad, my father-in-law, and I talked to my former husband (aka father of two of my kids). Got all the Dad-bases covered! The middle of June is the perfect time for Father’s Day. Kudos to whomever thought that one up.

3. I am running and working out again. Stress level is plummeting!

4. I leave for ALA on Friday. Here is my schedule. (Will any of you be there?)

Friday, June 22
8-10 pm Booklist Forum: “The 2000 Printz: A Reunion” at the Renaissance Washington Hotel. I am SO looking forward to this!!!!!!

10pm YALSA’s 50th Anniversary Reception, also at the Renaissance Washington Hotel. I will be the one asleep in the onion dip. I am an annoying perky morning person. I vote that the next time YALSA has a party, we make it a 5am pancake and French toast gig.

Saturday, June 23
10-11am Signing at the Penguin booth, #2710-2711

Spend an hour or two trying to get out of the convention center. (I remember the Washington Convention Center from BEA last year. It is a mammoth, ginormous building that self-replicates, adding on halls and floors every time you near an exit.)

1:30-3:30pm FOLUSA program “Teens Read!” This is where I get to meet Sherman Alexie!

4-4:40 Signing at the Simon & Schuster booth. #2111

6pm Penguin Young Readers Cocktail Party, Fairmont Hotel (I will probably not fall asleep in the onion dip. This is a good time for me, late evening.)

After the party, I’m going to have dinner with some awesome librarians. And coffee.

Sunday, June 24
8-10am YALSA Author Breakfast at the Renaissance Washington. Yes! A breakfast event!

11:30-1pm Penguin Teen Luncheon with John Green and the BBYA teen readers. Not sure if John and I will have time to hang out before or after this event. Must write to him.

Fly home and put suitcase in the basement for 12 weeks.

Rest of the Summer
1. Finish revision.
2. Eat strawberries.
3. Start a new book.

Make them wear pants!

I was not going to comment on this. Really. I was shoveling away, happy as a lark, thinking about my own books and minding my own business. But people keep blogging about IT. And emailing me about IT.

You do know what I’m talking about, don’t you?


Quick background. One the first page of the most recent Newbery winner, The Higher Power of Lucky, a rather unfortunate dog is bit by a rattlesnake in a rather unfortunate place. That’s right. Fido (actually, the dog is named Roy) gets nailed in the ballsack. But the reader does not see the incident. Instead, the book’s main character, Lucky, overhears a conversation about it.

You can read an excerpt on amazon.

Lucky then ponders this strange word, scrotum, thinking it “sounded medical and secret.” (I must agree with her about that. It took me decades to figure out precisely what that word meant.)

And then the book continues.

First, a disclaimer: I have not read the book. Therefore my comments have nothing to do with the quality of it, or any of Patron’s other choices. But I do have a couple of opinions about the controversy this has stirred up. This has been argued about in the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, various listservs and probably every writer’s group in America. The book has been banned countless places. AS IF has devoted a lot of space to it. As usual, David Lubar has a wonderful comment. Teacher Monica Edinger has some good thoughts, too.

Susan Patron, herself a librarian, has written a response to her critics. So I might as well add my two cents. I can solve the problem instantly.

I call on the President to require all male dogs to wear pants or face immediate castration. Because that’s how we solve problems, right? Cover it up, chop it off, or make it go away.


OK, option #2. Thank Susan Patron for giving us the chance to talk about this. Because clearly, people have vastly different opinions about it. I think it is very, very silly to get worked up about the proper medical name of a dog’s anatomy. I also think, based on the excerpt I read, Patron used the word in context perfectly. When I was a kid, I didn’t know what it was called. I was mystified by a lot of things as a kid. That’s why I read books, to learn.

It bums me out to see the name-calling that this controversy is degenerating into. In one corner we have the radical liberals foaming with their sexuality agendas, in the other corner we have Puritanical Victorian ostriches who want to deprive children of information. Everyone is allowed an opinion, but when you start calling people names, we all lose.

The larger issue that needs to be aired out is that of “banning.” Some librarians are making the choice not to put Lucky in their collection. (Some of the quotes I read indicated it was because of the scrotum reference (should that be scrotal?), others because they didn’t think it was a great book.) Librarians face this choice every single day: lots of books to buy, very little money to buy them with.

So they makes choices. Is that banning? What do you think?

I still think we should make dogs wear pants.


Attention Teachers & Librarians – there is a special note to you at the bottom of today’s entry. Be sure to scroll down!

BH survived Day One with The Knee. He was an excellent patient. Didn’t complain one bit when I brought out the rope and tied him to the couch. Not really. The Knee let him sleep some last night and it’s looking like it will be a fast recovery.

I have one more doc appointment this morning. I so begrudge all the time I waste on body maintenance; docs, dentists, etc., etc. But I am an ungrateful wench for even thinking that because at least I have health insurance. I should probably go flog myself. Oh, wait – I get to drive through another lake effect storm on the way to and from the doc. That will take care of my hubris and pissy attitude.

But you didn’t tune in this morning to hear me whine. You tuned in to see the photos of TWISTED.

What is the book about? I can never summarize my books, because it takes me about 250 pages to tell it. But a guy in the target audience who read an advance copy nailed it when he said: “TWISTED is about a painfully average guy going through hell.”

::cues drum roll::

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The front cover of my new baby!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Inside flap, which I adore.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Back cover with blurbs from Chris Crutcher and Chris Lynch, which make me blush.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Twisted photo of TWISTED

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Uncle Penguin made reading guides! (I love my publisher!)

So…. what do you think? (FYI, the book goes on sale in the middle of March.)

TEACHERS! LIBRARIANS! Uncle Penguin sent me lots of reading guides – do you want a couple? If so, give me your snail mail address in the comments section, or email it to admin AT writerlady DOT com, and I’ll mail them off. Next week. AFTER this blasted draft is done.

A heads-up for YA Librarians

Although I can’t go (I’ll be at a writer’s conference – I will def be there next year), YOU should all go to the New York Comic Con. And then you should write to me and tell me the best parts.

Many exciting things seem to be coming out of YALSA right now:
1. the Great Graphic Novel List
2. the upcoming Teen Tech Week
3. plans for a Wiki.

What else am I missing? Please let me know. It is so much fun to watch this field grow and thrive. I bow down to youse guys.

I pulled a marathon writing weekend; 12 and 15 hour days chewing through the manuscript. Except for dry eyes, it was wicked fun. I am loving this…. being so deep in the story, fingers flying over the keys, the characters so close I can reach out and touch them – I love writing so much!!!!!!

(and then there are the days when I hate it, but we won’t go into that right now)

Today, however, few words will be written because of Family Obligations, which I will tell you about tomorrow.

More proof that librarians are angels on earth

The American Library Association’s annual conference is going on in New Orleans right now. (No, I’m not there. But I wish that I were.)

This is the first major convention to be held in New Orleans since hurricane Katrina devastated the city. I am not exactly what you call an insider, but from what I’ve heard the last few months, the leadership of ALA has been firm and committed about holding the convention there as a way to help the people of the region get back on there feet.

But that’s not all.

Librarians are volunteering their time and energy while in New Orleans to help with the reconstruction. More info.

Librarians have demanding, underpaid jobs. They provide access to information, education, and opportunities for enlightenment for all Americans. And they catch a lot of flack for it from people who do not understand the principles of the Constitution. But you know what? Most of them see that as an opportunity to educate people and encourage more discussion. Librarians make this country a great place.

Is anyone blogging from the conference besides professornana andhornbookfeed, and this guy ?

EDITED TO ADD – thanks for the feedback – here is what you told me:
Sara Ryan thisisnotanlj
Nielsen Hayden
Sarah Dessen writergrl
The YALSA blog!

In other librarian news, would somebody who has a myspace account, please send a note to this wonderful librarian and tell her I say thanks for doing a great job with her book club? Thanks.

Let’s say it all together: librarians rock!