Monday, 26 April 2010

TEEN BOOK DROP - in action

So I went to an Irish dance feis with my daughter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this weekend.
I figured with this many people, it would be a great place to do a book drop!

And do you know, they actually had a few tables in the lobby designated for reading?
Though they had a sign that said the books and magazines were not supposed to leave the table.
So I had to add a post-it to mine that read, TAKE THIS BOOK!
It had the TBD (Teen Book Drop) label inside.

By the end of the feis, it was gone:)
I wonder - is someone reading it right now?
Hope so!

Saturday, 10 April 2010


Ok guys, the last line in this true story made me cry.
Read it and then come back to me!

Did you get a lump in your throat?
What makes this story so beautiful is that the guy did not stand around, waiting to be thanked.
And once they tracked him down, he still wanted to stay out of the limelight.
These are the true heros.
Those who do what is right, for right's sake. And that is enough for them.

I too once stood on a bridge - actually, the top of a small dam - and watched as someone younger
than I was (15?) struggle in the water. I'm ashamed to say I was afraid. Frozen. I was with my best friend and the struggling girl was her younger sister. I was visiting at their lake house and we were at this dam to ride over it in our jeans shorts - something they had done many times before. Her little sister wanted to go first so she jumped in. But something went wrong and the water was too strong and she was grasping for the side of the dam to help pull herself out of the water and I remember just standing there, looking over the bridge, paralyzed. Then my friend jumped in. Then another girl we were with jumped in too. Finally, I jumped in, but by that time my friend had already saved her.
That incident haunts me to this day.
And then I read a story like this and think,
If this happened to me now, would I react the same way, paralyzed and afraid?
Or would I be the first to jump in?

In my mind, it's this selfless love for others is what makes people, real or imagined, truly heroic.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Cook Until Done

My mom has passed away but one of the treasures I've held on to is her recipe box. You can tell how popular a dish was by how frayed and stained the card is. Some have notes to herself, reminders to bake on the middle rack or double the recipe to have enough for leftovers. And others contain Mom's trademarked phrase: "Cook until done."
Because Mom was a creative cook. She'd add ingredients she had in the fridge and wanted to use up. She'd substitute milk for sour cream. Or vice versa. She'd toss in some vegetables just to make it interesting. No two dinners were ever the same. But they were always delicious.
While writing this new novel, I have thought often of Mom's phrase, Cook until done.
Because, for the first time ever, I have an editor interested in taking a gander at this work-in-progress when it's finished. So of course, I want it done NOW.
But it can't be ready
until it's done.
And it can't be done
until all the ingredients blend together
and gel
into something quite wonderful.
Like Mom's concoctions, it can't be rushed.
Cook until done.
Write until done. And done well.
 (But not well done;)

Thursday, 1 April 2010

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER earns Starred Review!

It's official - I have gleaned through extensive research and scientific methodology that:
Today is the official Launch day for my new middle grade book, 
BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: AWWII Scrapbook, published by the wonderful folks at Marshall Cavendish.

Here is what the reviewers are saying:

“This heartwarming tale of steadfast friendship makes a wonderful access point for learning more about World War II and Japanese internment.”
--School Library Journal, Starred Review

“Because this novel is written in the form of letters, artwork, and clippings for a scrapbook, readers will be in for a real treat with what feels like a firsthand perspective. Issues such as what does an American look like, racism, poverty, and more are encountered by these two best friends feeling their way through a complicated time.”

“Their account of wartime terror is made more poignant by their resolution to make their lives beautiful and meaningful. The faux-diary format is sure to appeal.”
Setting the intense personal story of friends and enemies against the big World War II events is a great way to tell the history.”

Check it out, people!