Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Middle Grade Ninja

On a less rambling, more middle-of-the-day note, there is a terrific feature on Savvy on Robert Kent's Middle Grade Ninja blog today if you want to check it out.

http://middlegradeninja.blogspot.com/2010/11/book-of-week-savvy-by-ingrid-law.html

Words of the Week

Well... I had to edit this post and remove my silly poem because apparently some people couldn't see it without visible code showing... how embarrassing! ;) I'm not sure what's up with Word these days. Any time I try to copy and paste from it, I get code issues. Oh, well. I'll still leave up the words I had previously waxed on about...

SYNCOPE and APOCOPE
pronounced:

sing
-kuh-pee

and
uh-pok-uh-pee

In the simplest sort of of definition, syncope is when the middle sound or sounds are left out of a word. And apocope is when the last sound or sounds are left off from a word.

Check out this link: http://grammar.about.com/od/ab/g/apocopeterm.htm for more about apocopes.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Italian Savvy

I got this in the mail last week...

I've been having so much fun looking through the new Italian language edition of Savvy - Lo straordinario talento della famiglia Beaumont - from IL BATTELLO A VAPORE. It has a lot to explore!

My scanner's on the fritz, but I managed to get a photograph of the cover (very tricky because it's so shiny it reflects the camera flash) as well as show you a glimpse of one of the seven or eight or so graphic pages they included. Fun!! I wish I could put them all up, but I imagine that I'm not actually supposed to do that. Still, I just had to show a peek since the illustrations are so awesome.

The scene in the image below is the one where Fish loses his temper (and unleashes his savvy) in the bus for the first time and makes the magazines fly all around.


My sister is fluent in Italian, so a copy went to her promptly. If the title translates into: The extraordinary talents of the Beaumont family, I wonder what they will re-title Scumble when they get to it?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chatting with Watt Key

It's so wonderful to be able to offer another author chat this fall! When I was in Mississippi last spring for the Oxford Conference for the Book, I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days getting to know award-winning southern fiction author Watt Key, who was the other young people's author invited to the conference (I was there to talk to the 5th graders, while Watt spoke to the 9th graders).

Watt is the author of Alabama Moon, which won the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award for older readers in 2007, and its companion novel, Dirt Road Home, which just came out in August.

Q: When you were a child, what did you like to ‘pretend’ most? How much of a role did your imagination play in your life?

A: I don’t remember pretending much, but I certainly liked building tree forts and hunting and trapping in the swamp. I liked to read and make my own books. I’m a decent artist and used to enjoy writing and illustrating stories and actually creating the books with cardboard covers and masking tape bindings.

Q: Do you have a favorite word, words, or quote?

A: Anything Mark Twain says cracks me up. My favorite quote is from a sign I saw in a person’s yard while driving through rural Mississippi. This yard was full of scrap iron art – folk art. It looked a lot like a dump until you realized that everything was welded and pieced together with some sort of purpose. The sign said “look what I did while you were watching television.” I like that guy's attitude.

Q: When you were growing up, was there a specific book (or books) that changed you somehow—a book that you feel is responsible for a little (or big) piece of who you are today?

A: I don’t know of any books that made me change, but there are a few that made me appreciate good storytelling and have always been at the level I reach for. Where the Red Fern Grows, Education of Little Tree, The Red Pony, Shane, and more I’m just not thinking of.

Q: If you could pick any book to live inside for a day, what book would it be and why?

A: Most of the books I admire have some pretty tough conflict that I’d rather avoid. Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth sounds pretty cool.

Q: What do you do when you have a tough writing day? How do you get through it?

A: It seems like for every good day I have writing, I have an equally bad day. So, on a bad day, I just make myself get some words down, no matter how hard it is. I try to put in at least two hours. I am fairly confident that the next day will be better. Most of the time what I wrote isn’t near as bad as I thought it was.

Q: How do you like to celebrate when you finish writing a book, get a good review, etc?

A: Stop writing for a few days.

Q: What’s up? Tell us about where you are in your writing process right now. What’s out? What’s coming?

A: I’m still taking a breather after getting Dirt Road Home out a couple of months ago. Plus, there have been travels and book signings related to the release and that has taken up much of my time. However, I did turn in another book a couple of weeks ago and hopefully it will sell. I worked on it for most of this year. I don’t like to talk much about what I’m working on because it seems to jinx me. I’d rather it be a surprise.

My web site is www.wattkey.com. I’m also on Facebook if anyone wants to shoot me a note.

***

Thanks, Watt, for taking the time to share your thoughts for the blog! I'll never forget having lunch in William Faulkner's backyard at Rowan Oak with you in Oxford.

To read previous interviews with fellow writers, click on the Author Chats label at the end of this post.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Word of the Week

For this week's word of the week, I'm going to redirect you to NPR for a look at the very American (and older than you may think) word:

OK

and an excerpt from new book by Allan Metcalf titled OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word

Click HERE for more!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chatting with Wendy Mass

Last summer I did a whole series of fun Author Chats and got to ask some of my favorite authors questions. I'm happy to be able to share another! Wendy Mass is the popular, award winning author of ten novels for young people, including Every Soul a Star, Eleven Birthdays, and her most recent offering The Candymakers.

Q: When you were a child, what did you like to ‘pretend’ most? How much of a role did your imagination play in your life?


A: I think imagination played a large part in my childhood, and into the early teen years. Besides the usual “playing school” (I was always the teacher!), I used to pretend to be a spy a lot, thanks to an obsession with Harriet the Spy. I’d sneak around the house, listening on phone extensions or sticking a glass against a bedroom door (doesn’t work!). This only ended when at 12, my mom had the supermarket manager announce over the loudspeaker for “Harriet Mass” to come to the information desk to meet your mother. I was so embarrassed to have everyone looking at me that I retired my spy life right then and there. Touche, mother, touché.


Q: Do you have a favorite word, words, or quote?


A: “Life is short, but wide.” And also, “Do unto others” and “Be a part of the solution, not the problem.”


Q: When you were growing up, was there a specific book (or books) that changed you somehow—a book that you feel is responsible for a little (or big) piece of who you are today?


A: I think I’m a culmination of the books I read over and over as a child. Judy Blume’s books, the Narnia books, Edward Eager’s books, and a novel called Allegra Maud Goldman by Edith Konecky. They either prepared me to live in the real world, or taught me how to imagine a magical one. I think about this a lot when I’m writing, because the books we read growing up really can have a powerful effect on us. It’s a big responsibility to write for this age, and an honor.


Q: If you could pick any book to live inside for a day, what book would it be and why?


A: I was going to say The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but since I get sea sick, it’s probably best I stay on this side of the story. I wouldn’t mind living inside my last book, The Candymakers. It takes place in a candy factory, with it’s own jungle, library, and cafeteria where chocolate pizza is always on the menu.


Q: What do you do when you have a tough writing day? How do you get through it?


A: Cry and eat candy.


Q: How do you like to celebrate when you finish writing a book, get a good review, etc?


A: I always treat myself to a movie when I finish a book. A real movie, like in a theater, with popcorn and junior mints (mixed together of course). I go alone, in the middle of the afternoon, which feels so decadent! Then I give myself a break of a few days and it’s onto the next book. Book reviews drive me crazy, so I try not to get too excited over the good ones, or too depressed over the snarky ones.


Q: What’s up? Tell us about where you are in your writing process right now. What’s out? What’s coming? What are you currently working on?


A: The Candymakers just came out, and it will be followed next year by the next book in the “Willow Falls series” that began with 11 Birthdays and Finally. After that, I’m trying my hand at a kind of wacky sci-fi middle grade that I’m excited about. Then a few more books and a REALLY LONG NAP.


Thanks so much, Wendy, for taking time out of what I know is a very busy schedule! I'm glad to know someone else who enjoys afternoon movies with popcorn and Junior Mints (my favorite combination too).

You can find out more about Wendy and her books at her website: www.wendymass.com

To read past author chats, click on the 'Author chats' label at the bottom of this post.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Word of the Week

My word today also comes with a brief bit of history. The word, a noun, is:

SOCKDOLAGER

(sok-DOL-uh-juhr)

Aside from the fact that 'sockdolager' means: a heavy, decisive, or finishing blow; or a pointed remark in an argument, it was also the cue word on which John Wilkes Booth fired at President Lincoln in Ford's Theater on April 14, 1865. Booth knew that the word, and the line from the play "Our American Cousin" in which that word appears, received the loudest rise of laughter from the crowd. He chose that moment in hopes that the sound from the audience would drown out the sound of the gunshot.

The full line is: "Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, you sockdologising old man-trap."

Sources: http://wordsmith.org/words/sockdolager.html, www.dictionary.com (sockdolager)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Last Appearances until...?

Spring maybe? After November, I am finding a secluded place to write for a while as I work on something new. Maybe someplace like this...

Or this...



The only problem would be: How far would I have to drive to get to a movie theater? The holiday movie season is coming up.

Well, maybe these examples are not exactly how secluded I'm going to make myself after November, but it will be hard to find me out and about and doing things like signing books for a while. Most likely until next spring. So, if you want to find me before I disappear to someplace (in my imagination) like this...


Or like this... (Under a rock? Really?)



...please find a list of my final 2010 appearances below. If you can't make it to one of these events but want a signed copy of Savvy or Scumble, I am certain that the staff at any of the bookstores listed here would be happy to let you order a signed copy to be mailed to you.


LONGMONT PUBLIC LIBRARY
Author visit
November 4th, 2010 - 7:00 - 8:00 pm
409 4th Avenue, Longmont, Colorado 80501
Boulder, Colorado 80302
http://www.ci.longmont.co.us/Library/
Phone: (303) 651-8470


BOOKSTORE APPEARANCE:
Explore Booksellers
Scumble reading and signing
November 6th, 2010 - 4:00pm
Aspen, Colorado
221 East Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-5336 or (800) 562-READ (7323)
www.explorebooksellers.com


BOOKSTORE APPEARANCE: HearthFire Books
November 18th, 2010 - 5:00 pm
Evergreen, Colorado
1254 Bergen Pkwy #D118
Everygreen, CO 80439
(303) 670-4549
www.hearthfirebooks.com


BOOKSTORE APPEARANCE:
Wind City Books
November 27th, 2010 - 1 - 3 pm
Casper, Wyoming
152 S Center Street
Casper, WY 82601
(307) 315-6003
http://www.indiebound.org/stores/wind-city-books


BOOKSTORE APPEARANCE:
The Tattered Cover (on Colfax Ave)
Scumble reading and signing
November 30th, 2010 - 7:00 pm
Denver, Colorado
2526 East Colfax Avenue (at Elizabeth St.)
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 322-7727
www.tatteredcover.com