Oprah and California Pics!

Hey, guys!

Just got back from a delightful week-long vacation to northern California. On my arrival home, I heard the happy news that The Queen of Water is an Oprah book pick for ages 12-14!  The book's in great company-- some of my all-time faves are also on the list, like Feed by MT Anderson. Very big honor!  The list was compiled by the ALA Children's Book Council and the Association for Library Service to Children (but I like to think that Oprah herself might feel inspired to read it, too.... :-)

Lil Dude

So, my vacation.  It was fun! We've had a hot and fiery and smoky summer here in Fort Collins, so a trip to the coast was just what my family needed.  The weather was deliciously foggy and cool-- I got to wear sweaters and scarves and jeans!  Bliss. I still managed to get sunburnt, though... on my bottom lip of all places! (Bright side: some people pay big bucks for this beestung look.)


Ian and Lil Dude and I met up with our dear old friend (from middle and high school) and her family, and explored beaches just south of San Francisco.  We spotted seals, sea otters, anemones, dolphins (or porpoises?), and all kinds of sea birds.  Oh, and this funny creature that kept popping up and disappearing, and reminded me of that game whack-a-mole (but no whacking occurred).

I love looking at and touching small things that make patterns, like these blue pebbles on a beach at Punto Lobos...

 And these succulents on the hills by the beach at Bean Hollow...


And these pretty, tiny treasures I gathered...

Ian enjoyed swinging giant ropes of kelp around, lasso-style...

Lil Dude spent hours playing catch with the waves.... he'd run back and forth with an exuberant smile, shouting "Oh, dear! Oh, dear!  Oh, dear!"  He can't pronounce his r's, which made it extra-amusing to witness.


Relaxing on the rock crags...

We swung by the Santa Cruz boardwalk so Lil Dude could go on some rides... brought back memories of my own childhood summer vacations in Ocean City, Maryland.  Rides, mini-golf, funnel cake, softserv vanilla cake cones with rainbow sprinkles, fresh-squeezed lemonade.

The drive along Route 1 is so breathtaking... we went a couple hours south of San Francisco-- down to Carmel-by-the-Sea, stopping lots along the way (including sweet Half Moon Bay, where I've done author visits). I'd love to drive farther south sometime, to Big Sur and beyond.

Lil Dude is such an enthusiastic traveler-- really bold and adventurous-- although his favorite parts of any trip are usually the hotel breakfast and pool. Here he is giving me a kiss on top of a  stone "castle" we found on the beach, where he declared me a queen and him a knight. He's precious... and believe it or not, he'll be starting kindergarten next week. Gulp.


I didn't bring my laptop on the trip, which was really nice... I just read and scribbled a bit in my notebook and thought and dreamt of my book-in-progress-- just what I needed.  Now I'm feeling like I have a better perspective on it, and more confidence that my brain can handle the intricacies of this story (I was starting to have doubts before...) I think the waves and wind and salt and sand did my brain some good.

Thanks for reading!  Oh, and if you're in the Maryland area, please come chat with me at the "Baltimore Bred" panel discussion (5:30, Saturday, Children's Stage) at the Baltimore Book Festival at the end of September!!!


Release Party Recap (plus an upcoming event and good news)!


Hey guys!

I'm happy to report that 1)  we're mostly settled into our house now, 2)  I happily dove back into writing my next book, and 3) my allergies are worlds better. 

Thank you so much to everyone who came to the book release party (for THE JADE NOTEBOOK) -- aka The Lauras Party, since I joined forces with my friend Laura Pritchett who was celebrating her GREAT BEAR STORIES release.  We had a blast!

Here's Laura Pritchett, signing away...

Below is Teagan selling books at the party,  from Old Firehouse Books, the awesome local indie bookstore that always keeps my books well-stocked, which I'm very grateful for.  (In fact, if you don't live near me, but you want to buy autographed books of mine, you can email them at oldfirehousebooks@gmail.com and see if a signed copy of the book you want is available to buy online.  It probably is, since I just went in and signed a giant pile of books!)

 I always intend to take a bunch of great pics at these events, but then I get sidetracked with blabbing away to friends and I completely forget about my camera... until the end, when most people have gone home and there are just a few wonderfully devoted stragglers left... like swordfighters. (I brought dress-ups and toys for Lil Dude and friends, which were enjoyed by some grown-ups as well...)

We had a really nice turnout-- a friendly, happy crowd.  Here is Amanda Rose Adams, whose memoir called Heart Warriors just came out! (It sounds really wonderful and moving and I'm excited to read it.)

So great to see old writer buddies.  Laura Katers (yes, another Laura writer friend-- there are many) came to town, and I hadn't seen her for ages...

Here are me and Ian (hubby), who'd just come back from a business trip in Portland and was completely beat, but stuck it out (except for when he decided to go home to sleep, and walked the six blocks home, only to realize he'd forgotten the key, and then walked six blocks back to the party, poor guy)...

Another event is coming up! If you're in the Boulder area, read on.

My friends Amy Kathleen Ryan and Todd Mitchell and I are having an event on Sat, May 5 at 2 pm at the Boulder Bookstore in Boulder, CO. Here's the official blurb:

Join acclaimed authors Amy Kathleen Ryan (GLOW), Todd Mitchell (THE SECRET TO LYING), and Laura Resau (THE JADE NOTEBOOK) for a fun, informal discussion of their young adult books, writing processes, and journeys to publication. Free and open to everyone! Tell your friends!

Oh, and some good news that recently came in:  THE QUEEN OF WATER is now a Colorado Book Award finalist... hooray! The winner will be announced in Aspen this June.  QUEEN was also selected as a Bank Street Best Book of *Outstanding Merit*... double hooray! It's so exciting to have this good QUEEN news rolling in...
Okay, thanks for reading!


Thanks, Nebraska! And thanks, my dear writing group!

Hi, everyone!

I'm going to squeeze in a post here before I go to my NIA class in 20 minutes. (NIA is a dance fusion thing with dance moves from different cultures, along with elements of yoga, tai chi, martial arts, you name it... it's the only organized form of exercise I'll do, since it involves cool music and feels more like dancing than exercise.)

So, first I want to thank the kids/teens of Nebraska, who nominated RED GLASS to the Golden Sower Award! It's one of ten nominated books, and they'll be gathering votes later this year and early next year. Last year's winner was Twilight... wouldn't it be cool if RED GLASS won the same award as Twilight?!

Last night my writing group-- Old Town Writers Group-- did a reading at Old Firehouse Books for Independents' Day, to encourage people to support their local indie bookstores. We had a blast! I cannot tell you how incredibly brilliant and fun the women in my group are, but I will attempt to here:

This is Sarah Ryan (on the right), who, in her spare time, flies (as in, she's a pilot!) little planes in places like the wilds of Alaska and Africa... she wrote a fabulous camping guide to Colorado, and now she has a hilarious, touching, insightful, juicy memoir represented by a great agent. She read an excerpt from it last night (about a revelation she had upon discovering a stash of Glamour mags from the eighties when she was about thirteen). She had the audience in stitches.

Kimberly Fields is on the left, and she read a very funny piece set in a coffee shop about trying to feel better about herself after a breakup... she should be a standup comedian, I've decided. AND she's great at writing about serious stuff, too-- like her experience with surviving leukemia last year. I'd link to a beautiful This I Believe essay she wrote, but the website is having issues. (Go to thisibelieve.org, and then do an author search).

Above is Carrie Visintainer, who's always hopping off to some cool locale, whether it be a pirate ship off the coast of Turkey or the used car lot scene in Thermopolis, Wyoming or a monastary filled with black-hooded monks in middle-of-nowhere, New Mexico. She's done a bunch of travel writing (she read a side-splitting piece about her experience in German sauna last night). Ever the adventurer, she's now embarking on writing a beautiful novel.

Above is Leslie Patterson, and she's published her delightfully bizzare historical fiction pieces and witty, deep personal essays in many literary journals. Now she's working on a dark and twisted novel loosely based on some really weird historical stuff involving body-snatching in 19th century London.

Molly Reid came on the scene after I took these pics (in a pizzeria after our reading last night), so I'll offer an illustration from an ancient bestiary in lieu of her photo. She's blond and pretty and always wears interesting jewelry, oftentimes featuring birds. She wore hummingbird earrings last night to fit with her sensual, haunting story involving hummingbirds. She's working on a bestiary of sorts-- a collection of short (often very short) stories in which animals reflect human emotions and relationships. So intriguing.

This is moi, who should be working right now on her/my latest revision of The Ruby Notebook. I'm on a tight deadline. Real quick, I'll tell you that last night I read a fun travel piece called "Naked in Oaxaca", which was published a few years ago in a Lonely Planet anthology.

If you came to our reading last night, THANK YOU! Having a super-enthusiastic audience made the event so much fun for us!

Okay, no more dilly-dallying for me! Off to my trailer to revise!