Chicago trip!

Hey guys,

It's a delightfully snowy day here, and a day off from school for Lil Dude.  Since he's currently occupied playing spy with his lil buddy, I thought I'd steal a minute and do a post.  Here are some pics from my recent trip to Chicago for Litworks, a teen book festival organized by some cool librarians-- one from the public library and one from the high school.

Loads of talent and fun...

Back row: Jennette Gonzales (librarian), awesome authors Brent Crawford and Matt de la Pena
Front row: me, and more awesome authors-- Mark Crilley, Alex Flinn, Jennifer Bradbury, and Penny Blubaugh (author *and* librarian)

My wonderful teen helper, Franny, who has written novels herself!


My other teen helper, Jessica, super sweet and organized...

(Audrey was my other fabulous teen helper, but alas, we didn't get a photo together.)

Note of interest: I discovered that most of the other authors featured had had either their books turned into a major motion picture (Alex-- Beastly, and Matt-- Ball Don't Lie), *or* had been in a major motion picture (Matt) *or* on a major TV network show (Brent-- Law and Order, Sex and the City, Jennifer-- Jeopardy winner).  Pretty cool, no?  (Meanwhile, the closest I am to TV-movie-land is trying to get a hold of MacGyver, aka Richard Dean Anderson, to give him a copy of The Queen of Water. Still! Sigh.)

I wish I'd scheduled in an extra day to see Chicago, a city I've only been to once before and really liked. The trip flew by way too fast...

I have a bunch of travel coming up, some for school visits, some pleasure, some a mix.... and one of the destinations is across the Atlantic.

Oh, so excited! You'll be seeing the photos and hearing more about that sometime soon. There shall be cliffs and castles and white-tipped waves and trolleys... see if you can guess!

In case you're curious about what's in the works, book-wise, I'm chugging away on my novel, maybe a month or so away from completing this revision.  Then, it'll go to my writers' group and mom, then another revision, then to my agent.  It's pretty intricate as far as plot and character, and it's branching out into some new (fantastical!) territory for me.  I'm actually really enjoying the process, even though it feels like a two steps forward, one step back kind of journey at times. But I can see it all coming together, and man oh man, does that feel delicious.  (As in, *chocolate* delicious... CHOCOLATE, you might remember, is the working title of this manuscript.)

Speaking of novel-writing journeys, I'm doing a workshop on the topic at Pikes Peak Writers Conference this weekend, down in Colorado Springs.  I'm also doing my Creating Dazzling Worlds workshop... plus I get to see old friends, and see Libba Bray do a keynote-- I've heard she's fantastically funny.  Perhaps I'll see you there?

Okay, now I'm thinking about chocolate... I'll go make some hot cocoa for the boys and me now.

Happy day to you!