Monday, April 6, 2015

adjective, adjective!

1. This weekend, The Alex Crow was reviewed in USA Today. It's a very nice review, with lots of adjectives like weird, strange, odd, diverse; and humorous and touching.

2. Those are good adjectives. I've been at odds with adjectives for about a month now, but I'm giving them another chance. Also commas. Well, maybe not so much the commas.

3. See #5 if you want to know my take on verbs.

4. I am going to Denver this weekend, for the Colorado Teen Literature Conference. I am looking forward to it, and I am also fairly certain I will not succumb to altitude sickness, since I live at relatively high elevation. I have noticed that using "high elevation directions" when baking cakes requires way too much math.

5. I am heading to Santa Barbara next week, to do something that I never really thought I'd be asked to do--bake a cake at sea-level. Not really. What I am really doing is conducting a writing workshop for SCBWI. I feel conflicted about this in many ways, because I always tell my students this: Nobody can teach you how to write; you have to learn how to write. Learn is a verb--it requires you to take action. The teaching part can never happen without the active investment on the part of the learners, and writing, maybe more than anything else I can think of, is something that gets "learned" in ways that are entirely unique to each of us. So, I am going to show a 90-minute PowerPoint presentation. About cakes.

6. Tomorrow morning I am going to be doing an interview over Skype with a journalist who'll be talking to me from Pakistan.

7. The next day, I'll be visiting a group of students at Herndon High School, in Virginia.

8. I hope they all know how to use Skype. Nobody ever taught me, and I definitely have not learned.

Friday, April 3, 2015

in which i break the internet, as promised

Are you a writer?

Do you write?

Do you write "YA"?

Are your characters "teens"?

Do they "Pinterest" with each other in your "YA novel" about "teens"?

Do you ever use the expression "WIP"?

Do you have a blog?

Do you worry about relevant hashtags?

Have you ever "begged to differ"?

Are you afraid of your neighbors?

Do you think they have conversations about why you never come outside of your home?

Do you think they stop the garbage collector and ask him if he's ever seen you?

Are you concerned they might look through your garbage and criticize the quality of your diet?

Do you think one of your neighbors might collect a sample of your DNA from your garbage, just in case?

You know, just in case they "need it"?

They hate you, don't they?

Have you changed your WiFi password today?

Did you check to be sure you didn't leave the back door unlocked?

Did you just check it again, even though you knew you already checked it three times this morning?

Did you leave the stove on?

Did you?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Rabbit, Writer

It has actually been more than a year since I've blogged.

Don't worry, absolutely nothing has happened to me since 2013.

Usually, when my golf buddy Amy and I write to each other, we write in lists. I am going to write a list for you today:

1. I recently signed a two-book deal with my editor and publisher, Julie Strauss-Gabel at Dutton (and also with Egmont UK), so I am currently writing another book. I made a word cloud from the book, and the photo above is what was generated. Have fun trying to figure out what all that means.

2. Last night, I ate Chinese food. It was good.

3. I am getting a new puppy. When I post pictures of it, I'm certain it will break the internet.

4. Julia Bishop, Emily Lohman, Aunt Dahlia, Luz Benavidez, Annie Altman, and so on.

5. I made it to #5, Amy.

6. I am writing a graphic novel. Don't try to stop me.

7. When I was on tour this month, a fifteen-year-old boy who waited at the very end of my book-signing line told me something that made my life. He said this: he wanted me to know how much he loved Grasshopper Jungle. He told me that reading Grasshopper Jungle gave him the courage to come out to his friends and family. I grabbed that kid's hand and told him how awesome he was. I wish I could fold that kid up and carry him around in my pocket forever, and take him out to remind myself from time to time why I write books.

8. See #3. Prepare to be broken. Seriously. It's a puppy.

8.5. I'm super proud of my daughter. She got accepted to her number-one university of preference, and she also got a ton of scholarship money. She also had Chinese food last night.

9. I promise not to be gone from this blog until 2017, but, as Max says, "You never know."

10. Reminder to self to look at #7 from time to time, since folding up a kid and carrying him around in your pocket is probably cruel.