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Showing posts from December, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things (In No Particular Order)

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Over-the-knee socks.
This comment from Cordelia after she saw the stuffed chicken Mom was roasting for Christmas: "Yeah, I hope that when I die, someone sticks an onion up my ass."
Three-year-old cousins-once-removed who want to sit in your lap.Soft, silky cats who let you rub their ginger-brown tummies.This sign, spotted at a coffee shop in New Jersey: "Fat snowmen last longer."My luggage tags, which say "I'm going around in circles" and "I'm a mess on the inside."The fact that my fellow writers and email buddies Donna Freitas and Marie Rutkoski are Publisher's Weekly's "Fall Flying Starts" along with me. Naps on airplanes.Time with family AND quiet time alone after time with family.Something I have been too shy to say before: Graceling is a Fantasy/SF bestseller in Australia. :o)

Nothing Gold Can Stay

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Sigh...
SIGH.....
So, my car just returned from the shop. "It's a '97 Ford Escort with 175,000 miles on it," my mechanic kept saying. "It needs a new transmission. Your clutch is slipping. You need new rear brakes. You have a leak in the [insert car part I can't remember]. Is this a northern car? Because it's all rusted out underneath. And did I mention that it's a '97 Ford Escort with 175,000 miles on it?"
Yes. Yes, you did. So? SO?? WHAT'S YOUR POINT??!?! WHERE'S THE LOVE? I LOVE MY CAR!!!!!
Here's the prognosis: Either I accept that my car is dying and allow it to die a natural death; or, I spend $3500 over the next year or so to rehabilitate the car. I am, of course, choosing the first option, because I am not insane. But I do so with a heavy heart.
As Robert Frost once (sort of) wrote:
Nature's first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to lea…

Teachers Make a Difference

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I've received some questions recently about Simmons College's Center for the Study of Children's Literature in Boston, which is where I got my M.A. degree.
In a case of excellent timing, just last week on her blog, Cynsations, Cynthia Leitich Smith interviewed one of my favorite teachers ever, Cathie Mercier. Cathie is one of the professors who made my experience at Simmons so extraordinary. And the interview is all about the different children's literature programs Simmons offers -- which means that now I don't have to write about it myself! I can just send you all to Cathie's interview! BWA-HA-HA! Laziness for the win!
Seriously, though, if you have any specific questions for me about the Simmons experience, please feel free to leave me a question today in the comments, and I will respond. A number of my readers are Simmons graduates, actually, so they should feel free to chime in as well!
Finally, here's a three-minute video in honor of teachers. Yes…

Get Your Race Face On

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I have a deal with Kinneret Zmora in Israel to publish Graceling in Hebrew. yAt!
Also, my sister, secret code name: Cordelia, is reading Part One of Draft One of Bitterblue and asserts that it is a book, not a pile of crap. Whew.
Speaking of Cordelia, here is a tidbit about her: Cordelia has physical strength, endurance, and the ability to run long distances rather fast. Currently, Cordelia is training for a 15K in March. The training involves a number of things, including Cordelia dragging unathletic little me to early-morning races. Many race events, in case you don't know, have long and short options. For example, a 10K (6.2 mi) and a 5K (3.1 mi) will take place simultaneously, and when you register to compete in the event, you choose one race or the other. Anyway, so, lately Cordelia and I have been getting up at the butt crack of dawn and going to these events. She runs the longer portion and I walk the shorter portion. Our most recent race was on this past Saturday m…

And for Thursday, Three (Random) Super Things

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Thing number one: The ALA is introducing a new award this year, the William C. Morris Award, which honors a book for young adults written by a first-time author. Graceling is a finalist! Go here to see all the lovely books. Thank you, Morris committee! I'm so happy and grateful.
Thing number two: My friend Rebecca guest-posted at The Rotund the other day. It's a super post about the intersection between fatness, HAES, and disability, and you can read it here. For those unfamiliar with the term HAES, it means Health at Every Size, and is a movement -- a peace movement, as Linda Bacon says -- that has to do with honoring your body, listening to its wants and needs, dropping the focus on dieting and weight loss, and accepting that everyone has a unique healthy size. If HAES interests you, btw, in addition to visiting Linda Bacon's site you might want to check out her book, which I hear is wonderful. And for even more about HAES, check out Body Positive's HAES site.…

For Monday, a Quote

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"When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable."

- Madeleine L'Engle
In other news, since everyone was so kind a couple of weeks ago when I was tearing my hair out over the writing of Bitterblue, I should let you know that I've worked my way into an easier stretch. If I'm going to share the bad parts with you, might as well share the good parts, too, right? Also, my sister, secret code name: Cordelia, has Part I in hand and will be giving me feedback sometime soon. Traditionally, it is Cordelia's job to read what I'm writing and make a pronouncement about whether it is (1) a pile of crap, or (2) a book. The wonderful thing about Cordelia as my first reader is that she is extremely honest and critical, but she's also respectful, gentle, and supportive. Every writer needs a Cordelia!
Do you have a favorite quote to share…

FAQs, the Universe, and Beyond

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The gorgeous image on the right is a composite Hubble/IRTF image of storms on Jupiter. I got it here and you can read more about it here. Lest you be impressed with the ease with which I fling around high-tech telescope-y terms (like telescope-y), be assured that I have no idea what I'm talking about. But I like the pretty pictures.
A piece of news: Graceling is one of School Library Journal's Best Books of 2008. yAt!
And now, a few more FAQs.
Spoiler Status: The following FAQs are spoiler-free.
1. When you start a book, what is it like? Is the book just sitting in your head, mostly formed? Where does it come from? What a great question. For me, when I start a book, I've got parts of it formed in my head -- pivotal, dramatic tension between characters that hasn't necessarily formed itself into clear scenes with dialog and action yet, but that will form itself as I continue to mull it over. I guess what I have at the beginning is the feeling of my characters, and the…

Bringing in December with a Few More FAQs

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Spoiler status: The following Frequently Asked Questions are generally spoiler-free. I do give away something about the way Gracelings look in question 3, so if you're positively psycho about spoilers, skip #3.

1. Can I chat/IM with you online?*smile* That is a very sweet question. Truth is, I don't chat online with anyone, not even my best friends. I seem to have an allergy to the entire concept. I don't do Facebook or MySpace or any of those things, either. I like to keep my life simple.
2. You keep talking about how hard it is to write Book 3 / Bitterblue. Can you tell us why it's so hard? *smile again* I guess I didn't realize what I was getting into. Which is just part of the human condition, right? You make a seemingly innocent decision; you don't realize what you're getting into; but now you're into it, and there's no turning back. You've just got to figure out the best way through. Didn't somebody once say, "The best way …