June 29, 2015, 4.17 pm
1. I just finished reading Kate Milford's book Greenglass House, which was WONDERFUL - warm and charming and mysterious and fun. You can read my Goodreads review here.
2. Normally, when I'm riding the bus to town, I don't take much notice of all the named houses I pass. But the other day, I happened to look out the window just in time to see a house called "Green Dragon Cottage" - and my whole body was seized by one urge: WANT!!!!! (It was a nice-looking house, too, which was a nice plus...but really, that wasn't the point. I'd live in almost any house that had that name!)
3. It may be getting a bit dangerous for me and Patrick to keep on watching the TV show "Grand Designs" together. We now have elaborate plans for the eventual mansion we will (naturally) one day build for ourselves, having vigorously debated a million different specific details (but of course being in total agreement on the needs for [a] a full library, complete with comfortable couches, and [b] a dragon mosaic on the ground floor). In fact, we have everything sorted out...except for how, exactly, we would ever afford this. Hrm. Well, maybe watching a few more episodes will help pin that final little detail down! ;)
4. I really liked the band Civil Wars, and now Joy Williams (one half of that band) has just released a new album of her own, Venus, which you can listen to in full on the NPR website this week. I'm listening to it now, as I type, and I'm really, really liking it so far! It's a cool mix of pop, American folk, and more, with a really big, warm sound.
5. My edits for Masks and Shadows are due in two days. So I'm going to end this blog entry now, to get back to them!
June 22, 2015, 2.16 pm
It's been a quiet few days over here - I've mostly been working on edits, taking the kids to play with friends over the weekend, and watching episodes of Grand Designs with Patrick (oh how I fantasize over that house in Brittany! if only someone ELSE would build it for us)...
...but today I have some really, really nice professional news to share!
I have been just ridiculously lucky with the agents I've gotten to work with in my career, and I could not be happier to announce now that I've just (today!) signed on with Molly Ker Hawn at The Bent Agency. She'll be representing all of my books from now on, starting with my new MG novel, The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart. I am so happy and excited about this! I'll be diving back into another round of revisions on TDwaCH as soon as I've finished my edits on Masks and Shadows - and, obviously, I will be stocking up on a LOT of chocolate to munch as I do it! ;)
I am so happy to get the chance to work with Molly, and this is really, really big news for me. :)
In other book-related news, I'm reading Kelly Jones's Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, which is totally adorable. (I looove the heroine's voice and the quirky humor. Chickens with superpowers! So much fun.)
And the Clarion West write-a-thon just began yesterday. Woot! You can check out my goals here. (If you can also chip in anything at all in support, that would be fabulous - all of the money raised by the write-a-thon goes toward Clarion West's scholarship fund, giving new writers without financial resources the chance to attend the workshop. I could never have attended Clarion West without the generous scholarship I was granted, back in 2001, and it truly was the best thing I ever did for my writing - so, in other words, raising money for other writers to get that opportunity means a lot to me!)
Most of all, though, right now, I'm just really happy to be starting this new chapter of my career, and I'm excited to see where it goes. :)
PS: And it's been a great day for literary dragons of all types in our household - because look what just arrived in the mail for Patrick! :)
June 20, 2015, 12.02 pm
This month I've decided to FINALLY get sensible about all the ridiculously overflowing piles of books in our house. I've done purges before, but back then, I was only strict about getting rid of books that I didn't really like all that much. This time, I'm getting rid of ALL the books I'm not absolutely certain I will read again...or ever. So, sadly, a bunch of books that I really love are going to be given away because I don't believe that I'll ever re-read them, even though they're wonderful (but now, at least, someone else can get the chance), and so are a a bunch of the books that have been sitting waiting on my shelves for years, looking excellent but so-far-unread (because I've never been in just the right mood to try them).
We have....a LOT of books. So far, just going through the downstairs bookcases, I've filled up four huge shopping bags full of books for charity (thrift) shops. And this week, I finally started going through the books upstairs, making a new pile to carry down for the giveaway bags. One of the never-read books had fallen off the pile before the rest of the books were carried downstairs, so I happened to have it in my hands when I was left alone for a few minutes with nothing else to read. I picked it up, thinking I'd just glance at it once more before giving it away...
...and oops. It is, by far, the most genuinely beautiful book I have read in ages - gorgeously, lyrically written, intensely emotional, and utterly compelling. It's a book that a friend actually sent me 2 *years* ago, knowing that I was a fan of the author, but for some reason, when I first picked it up (2 years ago), I wasn't in the right mood for it and I bounced off the first page or so.
This time, I sank right into it, enthralled.
In other words, this is one book that I am NOT giving away, after all. I keep marking different passages that are so beautiful, I need to share them - maybe in my eventual Goodreads review, maybe here on my blog, maybe...maybe just for myself, for lots of re-reading. Because I will definitely be re-reading this book.
And I strongly, strongly recommend David Levithan's book Two Boys Kissing. I feel silly for waiting so long to read it. I'm so glad I didn't give it away after all.
Of course, now I feel nervous about all those other books that I'm giving away....oops. I can't let myself think about that or I'll never manage to cut down! And our house is so crowded, I NEED to cut down. So I'll just have to get rid of another book to make up for this. But this one is more than worth it - really, truly beautiful and heartwrenching and hopeful and just wonderful. Read it!
June 15, 2015, 2.35 pm
Here's the one great thing about the fact that we still haven't unpacked all of our boxes from the house-move that happened 8 months ago: every time we open a new box of books, it's like a fabulous trip to a dream bookshop where I am the favored customer. Ooh, look at all those fabulous books. I only wish I could buy them all. - Wait, you mean they're ALL MINE? ;)
Patrick unpacked a box upstairs while I was on the phone this morning, and it turned out to include SO many of my old favorites (which makes total sense, because it was a collection that had been kept in a bedroom bookcase in our last house, because they were comfort reads that I wanted at close hand). Just check out the treasure-hoard I found on my bed when I came upstairs!
I've already pulled out Spindle's End to re-read NOW. And I'm piling all the others in the big wardrobe in our new bedroom, where they will be easily find-able whenever I need them! (I am already humming over how much I want to re-read them all SOON, because it's been too long.)
What about you? If you could find just one book from your past to re-read right now, which one would it be?
June 8, 2015, 3.25 pm
I spent the last week finishing up another round of revisions for my new MG novel, which I got through just in time - because my editorial letter for Masks and Shadows has arrived! This book is becoming so real. I've spent today re-immersing myself in the characters and the story, and oh...it feels kind of scary to admit just how much I love this novel. I am both very impatient for its release next year AND very nervous about its release next year! Honestly, this is such a book of my heart that releasing it out into the wild feels like a vulnerable, scary process.
But I hope you guys will love it, too!
In other news of the week...well, honestly, there were some nightmarish bits involving children's stomach bugs, which I will NOT discuss in detail here, for the sake of all my readers. ;) However! It's getting close enough to our big summer trip to America that I'm starting to count down the weeks and getting more and more excited about it. I'm so happy that we've begun this annual tradition, and I can't wait to visit with my family and my oldest friends.
Also, I found out that my hometown not only has shops that deliver cupcakes and cookies on demand even in the middle of the night, nowadays (whhhhhy did these shops not exist when I was going to university there???), but there's also a new restaurant downtown that's purely devoted to different kinds of macaroni and cheese (even vegan versions!), and they do delivery, too! Patrick may or may not be talked into trying the vegan kind, but as a non-vegan and a total mac 'n cheese addict myself, I can't wait to try it out. I told Patrick that mac-'n-cheese-delivery-on-demand exemplified everything I ever missed about America; he responded by...well, let's just say he wasn't quite as impressed by the idea as I was. (He never liked mac 'n cheese even before he turned vegan.) But still, I'm looking forward to the experience! ;)
I have also forgiven Patrick for his mac 'n cheese heresy, because my final birthday present arrived in the mail, and I LOVE it! Check it out: Hermione Granger meets Doctor Who!
My husband clearly knows me VERY well.
And in a very nice piece of news, I found out that my (very) short story Marking Time (written during our last American trip, last summer) has just re-sold to PodCastle! It'll be republished as an audio podcast sometime this year, and I can't wait. PodCastle always gets fabulous narrators, and I'm really looking forward to hearing the story read out loud!
I hope your weeks are full of good news - and macaroni 'n cheese, if you so desire it. :)