Tuesday, January 20, 2009

TAG...I'm it! "5 Things..."

Thanks to Robin, I am officially "tagged" with a meme...a little self-centered thingy we writers post about ourselves, and then "tag" other writers with so they can also provide little known factoids about themselves.

Besides the word "factoid" which always makes me happy when I hear, read or speak it, there are too many things on the planet that make me happy; I cannot possibly narrow it down to 5. So, I've decided to change this Meme a bit and add my own twist:

5 Bloggers That Make Me Happy:

1.  Robin Mellom:  Funny, loyal, beautiful in every way, I've cherished her friendship for 6 whole years and can always count on her for all my "BFF" needs.
2.  Suzanne Young:  Positive, upbeat, driven and committed, Suz defines the word "perseverance" and can make me laugh until I cry.  I cannot wait to read her forthcoming books! (And hang out with her again in person some day soon!)
3.  Christy Raedeke:  Super-smart, comedian-funny, and dedicated to family, friends and her writing, I love spending time with this always fascinating girl.  And her writing is so insanely good, I want to be her in my next writing life!
4.  Graeme Stone:  One of the funniest people I've ever met, GS is dedicated beyond belief to honing his craft, and he writes gay-mystery-thrillers for boys!  Does it get any cooler than that?
5.  Lee Wind:  Possibly one of the sweetest humans on the planet, I've known Lee for several years.  And even though I only see him a few times a year at conferences, we always pick up where we left off.  Somehow, he remembers everything about my writing and is uniquely encouraging, even when I want to give up.  Bonus is that he is a tireless gay-rights activist and writes amazing "YA Fantasies with gay teen characters" You must check out his incredibly insightful blog.  I insist! 

Oh, and I've decided not to tag anyone with this Meme because people always get mad when I tag them and they are put on the spot.  And, anybody who knows me well knows that my goal in life is to NOT have people mad at me.  (How's that for a little-known factoid?  Factoid...HA! I'm cracking myself up over here!)

Thanks for reading!


Friday, January 16, 2009


And a very huge THANK YOU to Suzanne Young for creating my new kick-ass blog banner above! You are the sweetest thing ever!

A New Day

WOW!  A whole blog, all to myself. Where to start? It's been exactly 6.5 years since I quit teaching first grade to write kid's books "full-time."  And what a ride this road to publication has been!  I immediately jumped in with both feet, attended every single class, conference, workshop, and critique session on the planet, studied the craft of writing intensely, and expected to have a published novel within a year or two.  HA!  My naivete led me to believe in these equations:

I was wrong.

The most important thing I've learned on this journey is to ENJOY THE PROCESS.  Art is not a product-based profession.  Who knew??  For me success is measured in happiness levels.  Not in money or sales or number of readers.  If I do not enjoy this process, I will not be successful. I've learned to enjoy the moment and have a rough plan for the future, but not obsess over it. Because everything can change in the blink of an eye.

After completing my first Young Adult novel, Ring of Fire (which took 4.5 years!), I landed a wonderful agent, rode the submission and revision roller coaster, have been writing and revising my second novel, Fall, and have completely fallen in love with everything children's and YA lit.  I am lucky to have found the perfect career for me!  Though I still remain pre-published, I am happy.  And I don't regret a single moment I've had during the ride.

I've made hundreds of lifelong friends, read hundreds of books, seen hundreds of speakers, and logged hundreds (okay, thousands) of miles on my car in the name of research and education. I've traveled through Mexico, all over the state of California, to NYC and Europe and Florida and Hawaii, gathering bits and pieces of seemingly random information that will somehow be woven into multilayered tapestries of stories.

I believe that things are not always what they seem.  Under the surface, a story, like a person, is full of paradoxes and surprises and hidden layers and deep emotions.  A story, also like a person, is never one single thing to everybody.  Each of us will take something completely different away from the same exact story.  My primary goal in writing is to entertain.  But I also hope that my writing encourages people to think and wonder and hope in ways they never thought possible. 

I'm all about hope.  And perseverance.  And getting the absolute most out of a life.  And opening minds.  And helping the less fortunate.  And finding the good in people.  And cafe mochas, and gummy bears, and cupcakes.  And Brad Pitt movies, and Dave Eggers books, and Warren Miller flicks.  But I suppose those are all separate blog posts!

So, there you have it.  New blog.  New Year.  New President (woo-hoo!).  New hope for the future.  New energy and enthusiasm for writing.  Life is good.

Thanks for reading!