Star in the Forest ARCS!

It's SO much fun to be clickety clacking away in my trailer and hear the UPS truck pull up in front of my house… and to see the driver emerge with a padded manila envelope. Today, when that happened, I slipped on my flip flops over my socks (my feet were cold this morning) and (feeling a little embarrassed at my footwear) ran outside to greet him. I tore open the package (leaving little bits of cardboard padding dust everywhere—I never learn) and I was greeted with two beautiful little ARCS (advanced review copies) of STAR IN THE FOREST! (I say little because they're actually slightly smaller than my other books, in length, width, and height.) And two shiny book jackets to boot! So exciting. This UPS surprise made it impossible to follow my rule of no break-taking until I revised to pg 100 on my next manuscript (The Ruby Notebook).

Um... just turn your head counter-clockwise for this picture. Note the packaging fuzz spilled out everywhere.
The little monster is from Oaxaca, and I just stuck him in the picture on a whim.

This is my first book with B/W illustrations in it—they're kind of old fashioned looking, as is the cover illustration itself… well, maybe classic is more the word I'm looking for. The illustrations remind me of books I loved as a kid, and I feel ridiculously pleased to feel part of this tradition now. I think the dog illustrations really help show his personality.

Here's a summary of Star in the Forest, which is for middle/upper elementary ages and up:

Zitlally feels so alone. Papa isn't there anymore to whisper to her in star language. Mama is always on the phone, worried. And her sisters are just as scared as she is. Everyone is thinking about that day.
The day Papa was pulled over for speeding.
The day the police found out that Papa was an immigrant without papers.
The day her family discovered that Papa would be deported.
Zitlally seeks comfort in the forest of rusty car parts behind her trailer. There, she finds a dirty, skinny dog with a star-shaped mark on his neck. Soon, she realizes that Star is no ordinary dog. He's like the magical animals in the stories Papa told her. His fate is connected to a human's fate.
To Papa's fate.
If Zitlally can keep Star safe, Papa will stay safe, too.
When Star disappears one day, it's up to Zitlally and her new friend, Crystal, to find him… and save him. Only then can Zitlally be sure that Papa, too, will make his way back home—and they'll be a family once again.

So, on a different note, in case you're wondering what I'm up to in my trailer these days… no, I'm not dozing on the comfy futon all day long (as Ian accuses me of doing). I'm revising The Ruby Notebook (formerly known as The Cerise Notebook, Fall 2010 release). I'm not going to reveal the cover yet, but I'll show you this picture of a ruby red vintage circus performer's outfit that I have hanging in my trailer for inspiration.

My master plan is to have the outfit altered into a dress or top or some article of clothing to wear for the book release party (good motivation to actually finish the book)! I found this dazzling garment for cheap at a shop in Boulder, and I fell in love with it (although it definitely needs altering—it must have been designed in the days of corsets when women's torsos had unearthly proportions.)

Oh, and another early review of The Indigo Notebook came in—this one by Sarah Miller (who is both a fabulous book reviewer and YA author)! "... multi-textured characters... a dash of the mystical... unique plot..." You should check out all Sarah's reviews, as a matter of fact-- they're fun to read.

Off to do more revising in my trailer, which I recently adorned with flowers and butterflies and a flamingo I found hanging from the ceiling of our garage!

Thanks for reading!