Monday, May 27, 2013

Still writing...

I promise you I am hard at work writing, hence another week without a real post.  My apologies!  Please don't hold it against me.  If you are in Los Angeles and you come see me this Sunday, June 2nd at the El Segundo Book Fair, I will make it up to you!  I pinky-swear it!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Meet the Author - El Segundo Library Book Fair - 6/2/13

What are you doing next weekend?  If you live in the Los Angeles area, why not come visit me at the El Segundo Library Book Fair?  (Check out the pdf on this page for full details and forgive the fussy link.)

Date: June 2, 2013
Time: 11:30 am - 4:30 pm
Where:  111 W. Mariposa Avenue at Main in El Segundo

At 12:30pm I'll be taking part in the panel Beyond the Hunger Games: New Fiction for Young Adults , with a book signing from 1:30pm to 2:30pm. 

There's also a mystery panel for adults, storytellers, prizes, not to mention D.J. McHale (PENDRAGON, SYLO), Jessica Brody (UNREMEMBERED) and Jennifer Bosworth (STRUCK)!  So come on out, support the library and start the summer off right!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I Do School Visits! And I Like Them!

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to have me come visit your school or library, you can read all about it here.  I'm the Penguin Teachers and Librarians featured on this month's "Author Access" page.  I live in LA, but I love to travel, so don't be shy.  Check it out!  For more specific information, you can also email me directly through my website.  (Secret tip:  I've got last minute dates available this May and June!)

Now, back to that deadline...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Life of a Writer - Deadlines

Apologies for the lack of a pithy posting this week.  I am far behind current project and need to "buckle down," as my mother used to say.
celebrations,communications,correspondences,females,hearts,love letters,papers,pencils,people,persons,sheets,special occasions,valentines,Valentines Day,women,writers,writings
Me, buckling down, except I've got differnt hair, no earrings and a laptop.

This is the life of the writer.  When I get notes from my brilliant editor, I try to give them time to breathe and sink in before I attack a new draft.  Sometimes the breathing and sinking in takes longer than expected.  And then you look up, well... then I looked up at the deadline I'd set for myself as "reasonable" a couple of months ago, and then pushed a few weeks to something "more reasonable."  And taht was yesterday.

So I am writing today and every day this week for as much time as I can.  If I write fast enough and well enough, I think a little heart will appear over my head warning people not to interrupt my narrative flow.  At least that's the theory.  I will let you know if it works.

In the meantime, spend some time perusing the options at Skulltastic, one of my favorite notebook stores.  I got this puppy yesterday, and customized it with college rule paper and a yellow coil.  That's right kids, you can design your own notebook with their cool art and all kinds of different guts-- storyboard paper, graphs, music, and more.  If you see me using this notebook in the wild, observe the glowing heart over my head. It means I am hard at work. 

Mathter of the Univerth Skeletor

And guess what, teachers? Ten percent goes to education. They even do fundraisers in an awesome school bus store on wheels. I heart Skulltastic. What's not to heart?

So, what you've just witnessed is me going of on a tangent and procrastinating, for which I apologize.  I'd better get to work. 

Thank you for your patience during this rewrite.


The Management

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ray Harryhausen, Genius

Ray Harryhausen died today.  He was 92 years old.  When I think of Harryhausen, I think of my father.  The house I grew up in, on a tree-lined street in Washington, DC had a big TV in the basement.  On a Sunday afternoon, between football games, you could find me, my brother and my dad stuffed together on the old sofa watching Sinbad movies or "Jason and the Argonauts".  "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger," the one where the witch who turns into a seagull and ends up stuck with one bird foot has haunted me all my years.  Sowing the dragon's teeth into a skeleton army—I was enough of a Greek mythology buff even in grade school to be delighted and frightened by the sight.  I loved Mighty Joe Young and wanted to take him home with me.  For all of our differences, those hours on the couch in the basement brought me and my dad together.  These are the things we had in common:  fishing, Harryhausen, Star Trek and Frank Herbert's novel, DUNE.  Oh, and half our DNA.  Sometimes it wasn't enough.

Years passed.  There was a divorce, new houses, college.  They stopped playing the old movies on TV quite as often.  My dad and I seemed to have less and less to say to each other, too.

When I found myself working in stop motion animation, I remembered Harryhausen, but I didn't give a second thought to those lazy Sunday afternoons.  When I began writing my first speculative fiction novel, I thought about DUNE and my dad.  He was ill by this point, dying of cancer.  For the first time in 20 some odd years, we were living in the same city again, a few blocks away.  I would bring him science fiction movies to watch from his hospice bed.  I would talk to him about my book.  Suddenly, those lazy Sunday afternoons were back, if only briefly.
File:Sinbad tiger 1977.jpg

My dad passed away in 2009.  He was 75.  Since then, I finished my novel.  I've even worked on a Star Trek film.  And I've thought about my father every day.  But today, when I heard of Ray Harryhausen's passing, I stood in my kitchen and wept.

Thank you, Mr. Harryhausen, for those Sunday afternoons, for the flights of fantasy that kept a girl and her father connected.  Your work lives on but you, sir, will be missed.

Monday, May 6, 2013


On Saturday, I taught YA Character Collage, a characer development class with the Writing Pad here in Los Angeles.  It occurs to me that the best sight in the world just might be the top of a writer's head.  Fingers flew across keyboards, pens swam across the page, heads down, tongues tucked firmly in the corners of mouths Peanuts-style.  (Okay, that last part is not true, but I like the image.)

I was proud to see how bravely everyone dove into their character exploration.  It's always astonishing what you discover about the folks whose lives you're writing.  All you have to do is ask them a few questions and they'll open up to you.  It's magic!

Also magical, if a complete non sequiter, is the sign on this apartment building in West LA.  It's not unusual for buildings to have names here-- usually 1950s and '60s style apartments that are far less grand than the moniker on their facade.  Places like the Ogden Arms...

Or the Capri...

But what about this magical place?

That's not "Capri," and I wouldn't want to live there.  But isn't it awesome.?