Sunday, April 16, 2017

Stuff and Things

Today we moved me into my new office (yay!) and it feels so good. The coming week has a trip and my house move, so it'll be a few days before I'm in the office regularly, but I can tell I'm going to love it. I'll post pictures once it's in order. Send good thoughts to my enormous corn plant, which definitely experienced some trauma during the move today... I think the plant might hate Kevin now, actually, though he was only doing what had to be done (and what I couldn't do, because I can't lift the damn thing!). It didn't fit in the van and had to be propped weirdly sideways and wrapped up in garbage bags and hauled back and forth; it crashed to the ground more than once; we also repotted it today. But you're home now, plant! Live!

So, that's my new cover above. Here's the link again for anyone who'd like to read an excerpt. Pub date is September 19 :o).

And in the meantime, some really, really lovely news about the Graceling Realm books: they're going to be translated into Farsi, and published in Iran, by Houpaa, a publisher of children's and young adult books based in Tehran. I am thrilled.

Be well, everyone. Happy spring (in the northern hemisphere) and fall (in the southern). :o)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Jane, Unlimited Cover and Excerpt

I am happy and proud to direct you over to Entertainment Weekly, where my new cover is on display, along with an excerpt from the new book :o). Jane, Unlimited comes out September 19. Thank you so much to everyone at Penguin, especially Kathy, Claire, Elyse, and the entire design team, for this lovely cover reveal. My character Jane is an umbrella-maker... see if you can sense the umbrella-ness of the cover :o). Enjoy!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Upcoming Cover Reveal and Excerpt

I have permission to share that my cover reveal for Jane, Unlimited will take place on Friday at I'll link to it once it's up. An excerpt will also be available, so you can get a taste of this book that's very different from anything else I've published so far :o).

And that's all the news for the moment. More soon!

Friday, March 24, 2017

March Check-in

I have been the worst at blogging. With an impending move, tax organization, and many upcoming trips to plan, not to mention the usual fog created by the current administration, I'm struggling to hoard writing time whenever I can. Blogging gets pushed aside.

But here are a couple quick visuals of what we've been up to. Because it hasn't been all work and no play :o)

In case you can't see it, there is a small sled under me. I'm not sliding down the hill on my butt :)

Thanks for the pics, Dan Greening! :o)

When I have time, I'll write in again, including a report on our recent new things.

Monday, February 20, 2017

An event, and an office!

Two important things. First, I am the absolute worst for taking so long to announce this, but I'm doing a panel this coming Thursday, February 23, with my dear friend and the author of the Wings of Fire dragon books, Tui Sutherland!

It's called A Midwinter Night's Fantasy Panel. The Horn Book Magazine's Martha Parravano will be moderating. It's from 5:30–7:00PM at Simmons College, 300 The Fenway, Boston, MA, Management Building M501/502.

This panel is hosted by Children's Books Boston and space is limited, so if you'd like to go, register here.

And sorry for the late notice. The truth is that ever since about, oh, I don't know, the second week of November, I've been dropping a lot of straws.


The other important thing is that I just wanted to let all of you know that I found the perfect office :). It's close to my home, it's in a lovely, historical office building, it has all the space I need, and its existence is making all this moving stuff feel much less daunting. In fact, after I post this, I may go pack a box.

Many, many thanks to everyone who read my post, passed it on, and/or got in touch with us. You are generous and kind and I thoroughly appreciate it.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Please help me find an office so that I can keep writing books!

Hi everyone – I'm reaching out with an unusual request.

We're looking to rent some office space for me outside our home. I'm pretty flexible in terms of what would work. A room I could have unlimited access to and also furnish myself would be amazing, but I'm open to all sorts of creative arrangements. Which is why I've decided to reach out. Maybe there are possibilities out there that exist in your brain, but that I would never think of.

These are my only absolute requirements:

I need a room or space to myself where I will have uninterrupted solitude and access to a bathroom, generally during business hours.

I need it to be within a one- or two-mile radius of the Whitney Hill Park/Cushing Square area of Watertown/Belmont, OR, be within easy walking distance of the 73 bus line which runs from Belmont Street to Mount Auburn Street to Harvard Square. (Click the links for more geographical info.)

That's pretty much it. Other perks would be great, but this is all I really need. Please note that open-office shared spaces like Workbar won't work for me. The need to be social pulls me out of my creative focus.

I'm happy to begin occupying this space as early as April, but don't absolutely need it until July.

If you have any leads, would you please contact us at at If you have an idea and are worried it might be stupid, or not what I'm looking for, or in some way objectionable, please contact me anyway! I bet it isn't, and  I'm open to considering everything, and ideas always lead to more ideas. And please feel free to pass this on.

Thank you so, so much for reading, and thank you in advance to anyone who might be able to help. I'll keep you all posted. I'm very excited; I've felt for a while that an office outside my home would be good for my writing and my life. :o)

Be well everyone.


Happy Pan-Universal Be Who You Are Day Eve!

That's a mouthful.

February 14 is Pan-Universal Be Who You Are Day! (For those of you who are new to the blog, eight years ago I decided to reclaim Valentine's Day and turn it into something else.)

I don't have a lot of time this afternoon, but in the spirit of this alternative holiday (ack, the word "alternative" no longer means what it used to mean),  here are fifteen funny cards for people who see Valentine's Day differently from how we're told to see it.

And here is an article, with lots of pictures, about an artist named Ambivalently Yours who considers ambivalence to be a form of feminist resistance. After I read this article, I wandered over to Ambivalently Yours's website and spent some time scrolling through her various drawings. It made me feel... seen, as a sensitive, emotional, complicated, and strong-as-nails person. Maybe it'll make you feel that way too.

I hope you have a lovely day, being whoever you are. :o)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Three Links About How to Contribute to the Resistance

I have three links to share.

1. Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda. Written by former progressive congressional staffers, this is intended as a practical guide to influencing the legislature. It's well-written and easy to absorb, it contains insights that only people in the business would be able to provide, and it has some practical ideas for things we peons can do. It's also inspiring.

2. How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind: Self-Care Lessons for the Resistance, by Mirah Curzer. This article has some great tips for staying engaged in activism without burning out. (Please note that it does assume some things about its audience – for example, that we would all benefit from therapy and can afford it; that we all live someplace where it's safe and pleasant to go for mind-clearing walks; that we have the privilege of part-time activism.)

3. Who Represents You in the US Congress? Finds the names of your representative and senators. (Should you happen to want more in-depth info... here are two more links: The U.S. House of Representatives' official search page. And the U.S. Senate's official search page.)


That's that.

In case you'd like more information about the Indivisibility guide before clicking over, I'll close by excerpting their intro:

"The authors of this guide are former congressional staffers who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party. We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress. We saw them organize locally and convince their own MoCs to reject President Obama’s agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel, and tinged with racism— and they won.

"We believe that protecting our values, our neighbors, and ourselves will require mounting a similar resistance to the Trump agenda — but a resistance built on the values of inclusion, tolerance, and fairness. Trump is not popular. He does not have a mandate. He does not have large congressional majorities. If a small minority in the Tea Party could stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump.

"To this end, the following chapters offer a step-by-step guide for individuals, groups, and organizations looking to replicate the Tea Party’s success in getting Congress to listen to a small, vocal, dedicated group of constituents. The guide is intended to be equally useful for stiffening Democratic spines and weakening pro-Trump Republican resolve.

"We believe that the next four years depend on Americans across the country standing indivisible against the Trump agenda. We believe that buying into false promises or accepting partial concessions will only further empower Trump to victimize us and our neighbors. We hope that this guide will provide those who share that belief with useful tools to make Congress listen."

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Pictures and Reflections

Here's how it looks outside the windows today…

I left the endless rain of Northern California and came home to the snow of Eastern Massachusetts :o). Weather is so good for writing. I wrote two and a half pages this morning while curled up in blankets and watching the snow fall. (I consider two pages to be a good day's work – though some days I only managed a few lines, and some days I manage 12 or 15 pages.)

As I prepare for the release of Jane, Unlimited next September, I continue to plod through my new novel, which is the eighth I've ever written. (Two unpublishable; Graceling; Fire; Bitterblue; Jane, Unlimited; a mystery/boarding school book currently in revisions; and this new one.) How does it feel to be writing my eighth novel? Pretty much exactly how it felt to write novels one through seven: pointless, hopeless, stupid, exhausting, a waste of time, torturously slow, and with an endpoint so far in the future that I'm sure I will basically feel like this for the rest of my life. And also an inkling that maybe I'm being a touch overdramatic; occasional bursts of motivation and actual enjoyment; and a certainty that there is, in fact, a book in there somewhere, and I will find it. Not today or tomorrow or next month, but maybe next fall, or winter, or maybe in Spring of 2018… I will find it. Provided that today, I try to write my two pages.

My life for the next few months will be full of disruptions. Mostly trips, though I'm also moving again. This time will be different – I'm only moving a couple blocks away, and I can do it flexibly, over the course of a few months. Still, trips and moves make me reflective. They lift me out of my routine… which is the best position from which to examine one's routine :o). What do I see ahead? More writing. More trips. More reflection. More fun and sociableness. And more activism. What would I like in my life that my life doesn't currently contain? Less anxiety – though, with the current political climate, some of that is out of my control. More structure to my days. I think that one is mostly in my control.

For now, I'm choosing small writing goals for the time in between trips. I'm home again until Presidents' Day weekend. Before I go away again, I would like to finish the chapter I'm writing, plan the next section, and wade ever so slightly into that next section.

Here are photos from the rest of my California drive. I woke up Monday morning to the news that the road I'd been intending to take was blocked by a landslide. So after a little more driving up the coast, then down again to Medocino, I went inland, through forests so thick with trees so tall, and the rain so heavy, that I felt like I was driving through the forest where all the fairytales take place.

That is some red wood.

There's a mysterious statue atop the Masonic Hall in Mendocino.

Interesting houses.

Behind me was the Pacific Ocean.

Closer look at that statue. She broke the pillar with her ball-on-a-stick? While a reaper angel kept her from falling off?

Alas, my photography skills. I meant to focus on the lamb, not the fence.

These sheep were calmly grazing as if they had no perception of how massive that tree is.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Driving from Santa Rosa to Bodega Bay to Fort Bragg, California

It was a cloudy, and increasingly rainy and windy day

along this slice of Northern California today,

yet the colors were vivid and startling.

I made a lot of stops along Route 1;

it took almost the whole day.

The day got foggier and more blustery!

But still, the colors.

Tomorrow I continue north. Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Pictures from This Weekend's CAIR Protests in Boston, New York, Pittsburgh

I'm trying to assemble some links with resources for things we can do to fight this cowardly, cruel bully. I hope to post that soon.

BTW, I like this street art by a Japanese graffiti artist.

So, Boston had a rally today organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). We were there, along with Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Ed Markey, Mayor Marty Walsh, and about 20,000 other people. Not a bad turnout for a gathering that was announced yesterday, in reaction to something that happened the day before. Pics by me, unless otherwise stated.

"I need my dad here with me!"

"I love my Muslim boyfriend"

Trump – we are the wall and you will pay"

"White people are f - ing immigrants"

"Proud son of Libyan immigrants"

"We make America great" (with the word"refugee" and arrows pointing down)
"Immigrant, third-generation"

"Every! One! Is! Welcome!"

"Facts over fear"

"Dear world. This is not who we are!"

"Et, tu Tom? Real patriots fight hate (will u?)"
(This and the next three pics were taken by Helena!)

"Green card holder who can still travel b/c Trump is racist"

"To enter, check 1: US citizen; Christian; Trump Hotel in country; future 4th wife"

"But her emails"

A view of Copley Square from where Kevin and I were standing.

In the meantime, Marie sent me this picture from Washington Square in New York…

And Dorothy went to a rally in Pittsburgh.
"Bring me your white, already secure, from countries that benefit Trump financially?"

"Immigrants + refugees, yinz are all welcome in the city of bridges."
("Yinz" is a Pittsburghism.)

"Walls are for jagoffs" (another Pittsburghism)

"Pittsburgh loves all our neighbors" (Pittsburgh was the home of Mr. Rogers)

"Won't you be my neighbor?"

So, that was this weekend. Next weekend, I'll be in northern California, having dinner with wonderful librarians and teen readers at the California School Library Association's 2017 Conference in Sonoma Wine Country. I think I might talk about the importance of truth. And if there's a protest while I'm there, I'll go to it.

Signing off with one more view of Copley Square in Boston today, taken by Kevin. Click it to embiggen. Next time there's an anti-hate, anti-fascist, anti-ignorance, anti-[so many things] rally near you, if you possibly can, do go to it, and make your voice heard!