Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Books I have pre-ordered...

Here are two books that my daughter and I have been waiting for and have pre-ordered to be sure we get them as soon as they come out. The first is The Magic Thief: Lost, by Sarah Prineas. Sarah's first Magic Thief book came out last year (and just came out in paperback last week) and was reviewed or featured so often alongside Savvy, that our books became friends before we did. Now, I'm happy to know Sarah and will celebrate the arrival of her second book on May 12th!

And, the second book we have pre-ordered is The Last Olympian, by Rick Riordan. I've only had the pleasure of reading the first book so far, and my daughter is deeply disappointed in me for not being caught up before The Last Olympian arrives. But as I have to read in small thefts of time these days so that I might have another book out someday (next year, actually) for others to pre-order, the rest of the series is on my list of What to Read As Soon As My Book is Done.

Birthday Week

Well, it's birthday week at our house. All in the same week it's my daughter's birthday, my birthday, and my book's first birthday, too!

The picture here was taken at my 10th birthday party. I had braces (for all the good they did me) and I had a stuffed Snoopy. My sister made the card and I still have it. We had a chocolate 3-layer cake from Pepperidge Farm--nearly the same as they make it now. And it was just me and my sister and my mom because my dad was out of town. I was big into rollerskating back then (it was 1980) and Star Wars and Ice Castles were my favorite movies.

I couldn't find a photo from my 13th birthday, or I would have put that up.

I still live within about fifteen miles of where this picture was taken...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Even more fun today on Market My Words

In addition to the blog tour this week (see previous post), you can also find an interview on Market My Words - writer and marketing consultant Shelli Johannes-Wells' great blog devoted to marketing advice for writers and illustrators.

Blog Tour This Week!

Well, I may not be traveling out of state again for the book until July, but I am doing a blog tour this week! So I'll be zipping around the Internet for the next few days. If you want to check out any part of the tour, here are links to blogs that may be featuring Savvy....

All About Children’s Books
Becky’s Book Reviews
Booking Mama
Cafe of Dreams
Dolce Bellezza
Fireside Musings
A Christian Worldview of Fiction
Looking Glass Reviews
Maw Books Blog
Never Jam Today
Olive Tree
Our Big Earth
The 160 Acrewoods
Through a Child’s Eyes

Reader Monday - What's Your Savvy?

For more reader savvies, click on the What's your savvy? label here on the blog. And check back weekly for Reader Savvy Mondays, where I post what real kids have to say about what their savvy know-how might be. Or to write to me what you imagine your savvy might be, click HERE to be directed to the Contact page of my website.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend in LA: the LA Times Festival of Books and the Nebula Awards

I had a fun (but busy) weekend in LA! I attended the LA Times Festival of Books at UCLA for the first time this year. What an amazing book festival! I had a great time meeting everyone who came by the Etc. Stage and to my signing at the Whale of a Tale booth, where I got to share the signing table with Betty Birney as she signed books from her series about Humphrey the hamster. (Such adorable covers!) Betty was a great signing partner!

I also attended the reception and awards ceremony for the Nebulas, as Savvy had been nominated for an Andre Norton Award. Below is a picture from the reception the night before the awards of me with follow nominee, Mary Pearson, who wrote the YA book The Adoration of Jenna Fox. The award went to Ysabeau Wilce for Flora's Dare: How a Girl of Spirit Gambles All to Expand Her Vocabulary, Confront a Bouncing Boy Terror, and Try to Save Califa from a Shaky Doom (Despite Being Confined to Her Room).

Congratulations, Ysabeau!

I got to meet a number of really amazing people whose work I have admired for years (i.e. Robert Silverberg), not to mention getting to spend the weekend getting to know more amazing people from the film side of Walden Media, catching up with some great folks from Penguin, chatting with author Ellen Klages, whom I was fortunate enough to meet at a conference last year and got to get to know a bit better over the weekend (and hear more about her process while writing The Green Glass Sea!).

Mary Pearson and me with our Andre Norton Nominee Certificates

Oh! And I saw a really cool snail.... heh! Even during big events and busy weekends, it's good to stop and notice the little, simple things. This little guy was a good reminder to me to slow down and take a breath.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Word of the Week Thursday

Hmmm..... I just ran across this word, but I'm not sure if I think that the definition that accompanied it is entirely fitting.


"Verbicide" (VUR-buh-syd) is a noun. And the definition given on the fabulous A.Word.A.Day site is as follows:

"1. The willful distortion or depreciation of the original meaning of a word.

2. A person who willfully distorts the meaning of a word."

We are so used to having the "i + -cide" combination mean the "killer" of whatever word is added to the front of it. And I am someone who certainly enjoys distorting words on occasion, but I would not like to think of myself as a word-killer. After all, language is a constantly changing thing. If someone were to somehow erase a word from all sources and all consciousness, or make it so that no one could utter, or write, or read, or sing, or dance a word ever again, that, in my opinion, would be verbicide.

I'm just saying.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Looking for Something to do in Los Angeles This Weekend?

Come visit me!

I'll be in town for the Nebula Awards (Savvy's been nominated for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy) and I'll also be attending the LA Times Festival of Books on the UCLA Campus on Saturday, April 25th.

Here are the details...

April 25th
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA
Los Angeles, California

I'll be appearing on the Etc. Stage at 10:00 AM, along with Chip Flaherty of Walden Media. We will be interviewed by Los Angeles mystery author Denise Hamilton.

Also at the LA Times Festival of Books...

I will be signing books at the Penguin/Whale of a Tale Booth from 11:30am - 12:30pm. Come on by and say hello!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Reader Monday - What's Your Savvy?

For more reader savvies, click on the What's your savvy? label here on the blog. And check back weekly for Reader Savvy Mondays, where I post what real kids have to say about what their savvy know-how might be. Or to write to me what you imagine your savvy might be, click HERE to be directed to the Contact page of my website.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Word of the Week Thursday

This week's word is:


An eggcorn is kind of a confusing thing to describe without giving some examples. An eggcorn is a word or phrase substituted for another word or phrase that not only sounds similar to what you're replacing, but also carries similar meaning... all in an idiosyncratic way. Sometimes it is intentional and fun or humorous. Other times it can be a simple mistake--a word heard incorrectly and then repeated incorrectly.

Example (from Wikipedia): "old-timers' disease" for "Alzheimer's disease"

Want to learn more about eggcorns (and the word's relationship to "acorns")? Here's a fun link.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Savvy in Finland

From Finnish publisher Karisto! This publisher chose to use Brandon Dorman's beautiful cover art for their edition. Here's the cover and the first page. Such fun!

Come find me on Book Talk with J & J!

I'm over on Book Talk with J & J this week:

Click on over to read an interview, join in a blog conversation, and maybe win a signed copy of Savvy!

See you there!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Windsor Middle School

Many thanks to the 6th graders and teachers at Windsor Middle School for having me come to talk today.

I'm glad I was able to find the school so early in the morning. And in the fog, too!

It was wonderful to have the opportunity to visit the school and answer all the great questions. I loved the poster!

Happy reading!

Reader Monday - What's Your Savvy?

For more reader savvies, click on the What's your savvy? label here on the blog. And check back weekly for Reader Savvy Mondays, where I post what real kids have to say about what their savvy know-how might be. Or to write to me what you imagine your savvy might be, click HERE to be directed to the Contact page of my website.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Savvy This Week

My savvy this week is The Ability to Successfully Create Happy, Satisfying, Gluten-Free Comfort Food for Someone I Love... at least once.

I haven't cooked much in the last few (or ten) years. My family is filled with amazing cooks. My mother, father, and sister have always had the patience and the skill to bake and cook great food, but I've never counted it as one of my big talents. Or even one of my little talents.

When I was a teenager, I practiced making double-layer cakes. They frustrated me each and every time because they always turned out lopsided. (It only occurs to me now that our oven might not have been level....) But I made it my goal to bake a perfect two-layer cake.

What did I do when I finally achieved my perfect cake?

I dropped it on the floor.

There are many similar stories in my history. Needless to say, cooking and frustration are often linked in my memory.

Several important people in my life have food restrictions or are vegetarian or vegan. So, when feeding loved ones and wanting to provide something comforting or satisfying, my already challenged culinary skills are even more hard-pressed. But this week I managed to invent a very happy gluten-free mac and cheese that people liked so well we nearly ate the whole pan (and should have because the leftovers weren't as good).

Now, not all my people were here, so I didn't have to make it vegan, or even vegetarian. In fact, this particular pan had turkey hotdog bites in it. But I thought I'd share my recipe in case anyone else might have gluten-sensitive people in their life and want to make some yummy mac and cheese! This might be something other people make all the time or easily, but it was a big moment here in my kitchen.

Here's my recipe:

Cook one package Tinkyada brand rice pasta elbow noodles in well-salted water for just a couple of minutes less than the package instructs. (This is the best rice pasta I've ever had. I like it more than regular pasta.)

Drain the pasta and rinse immediately with cold water. After the excess water is gone, toss the pasta with just enough oil to keep it from sticking (a couple of teaspoons seemed to do the trick) as well as a bit of black pepper and onion powder.

I then mixed in 6 ounces of goat cheese crumbles and one cup of pre-shredded mixed Italian cheeses (and 3 chopped-up turkey dogs).

I put it all into a lightly-oiled 9X13 pan, sprinkled more grated cheese on top as well as some purchased gluten-free bread crumbs. I then sliced 2 Tablespoons of cold butter into thin pats and dotted the top of the noodles and cheese and crumbs.

Place the dish, uncovered, in the oven at 450 degrees for a while... sorry, that's not very specific. I think I left it at that temperature for about 30 minutes or so, then, since my guests had not arrived yet and it was getting nicely browned, I lowered the oven to 300 degrees and covered it loosely with aluminum foil for another 15 minutes or so. It was perfectly hot and just the right balance of crispy and soft.

Okay, that may be the only recipe I ever share, and since I made it up as I went, I'm not sure how it will actually re-create. I was just happy to have a culinary success!

Word of the Week Thursday

This week's word is:


"Guddle" rhymes with cuddle. As a verb, it usually refers to the action of catching or groping for fish underwater with one's hands. As a noun, it's a mix-up or state of confusion.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More State Award Master Lists

I just learned yesterday that Savvy has been selected for four more 2009-2010 state award master lists!

The Maine Student Book Award Master List

The Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Master List - Maryland

The Rhode Island Children’s Book Award Master List

The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Master List - Vermont

The Maine Student Book Award, jointly sponsored by the Maine Library Association, Maine Association of School Libraries, and Maine Reading Association, is a Maine children's choice award program. Students in grades 4-8 are eligible to vote. For more information, please visit:

The Black-Eyed Susan Book Awards, sponsored by the Maryland Association of School Librarians, is Maryland's children's choice award program. Students vote on their favorites in one of four categories: Picture Books, Grades 4-6, Grades 6-9, and High School. For more information, please visit:

The Rhode Island Children's Book Award, Rhode Island’s children’s choice award program, is a joint project of the Rhode Island State Council of the International Reading Association (RISC/ IRA), the Rhode Island Library Association (RILA), and the Rhode Island Educational Media Association (RIEMA), under the coordination of the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS). Students in grades 3-6 are eligible to vote for their favorite, provided they have read at least three of the titles on the Master List. For more information, please visit:

The Dorothy Canfield Children's Book Award, co-sponsored by the Vermont State PTA and the Vermont Department of Libraries, is Vermont’s children’s choice award program. Each spring, a committee of eight carefully selects 30 books to comprise the Master List. After reading at least 5 books from the list, students in grades 4-8 then vote for their favorite titles the following spring. For more information, please visit:

Big thanks to everyone who chose to select Savvy for these lists!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hygiene Elementary School Visit

I had a great time visiting the 5th graders at Hygiene Elementary School, in Hygiene, Colorado, on Monday! I loved hearing the great ideas the kids had for what their own talents might be and answering all the terrific questions.

I had a warm welcome right from the start, with posters right near the front entrance that were created by the book club group that discussed Savvy.

And there was a lot more artwork in the halls! Click HERE for more pictures from Hygiene Elementary in Colorado.

Thanks for the great visit!

Reader Monday - What's Your Savvy?

For more reader savvies, click on the What's your savvy? label here on the blog. And check back weekly for Reader Savvy Mondays, where I post what real kids have to say about what their savvy know-how might be. Or to write to me what you imagine your savvy might be, click HERE to be directed to the Contact page of my website.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Booksigning at Arts Event in Boulder, Colorado

Uplift your world! You are cordially invited to an evening of arts at Flatirons Imports.

Tuesday, April 7, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

I'll be there, signing books and maybe even doing a short reading, and I'm proud to be sharing the evening with two other talented people. Come join me in experiencing . . .

New Paintings, Photographs, and Drawings
Rick Visser

Rick is recipient of the NeoData Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Addison Mini-grant, and has won numerous regional and national awards for his work. The works in this exhibition have never been shown before. Rick will also give a brief artist’s talk.

And . . .

Six-String Acoustic Guitar
Jim Charlier

Jim will play extraordinary fingerstyle six-string guitar, including lyrical works from his first CD, ‘It’s a Wonderful World’ and Hawaiian slack key pieces from his recent CD ‘Beneath a Mango Moon.’

This event is free. It will be held in the Acura Showroom. Refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP to help us plan for this special event.

RSVP: Call 303-442-2544

Tuesday, April 7, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Flatirons Imports
5995 Arapahoe Ave.
Boulder, CO 80303

Word of the Week Thursday

This week's word is:


busker \BUS-kur\, noun: A person who entertains (as by playing music) in public places.

We have lots of buskers in Boulder, Colorado, on the Pearl Street Mall. Especially in the summertime. It's a fun place to visit. But my favorite time is in the spring, when all of the tulips are blooming--which should be happening soon!

In fact, another fun event is coming up with the tulips. It's Boulder's Tulip Fairy & Elf Parade, on Sunday, April 26th at 2:00. People can dress up the little ones as Fairies and Elves and walk down the Pearl Street Mall. I'm sure there will be plenty of buskers there as well, to entertain all those elves and fairies!