Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I got brave

For the first time ever I entered an online agent critique with the first page of one of my WIPs called The Death of Pharaoh Tutankhamun - for lack of anything more brilliant. But hey, maybe it is brilliant. At least everyone will know right off the bat what the story is about.

Nathan Bransford, an agent with Curtis Brown based in San Francisco (and I'm a sucker for him because he lives in my hometown) represents some great stuff, at least I discovered him through an author, Brad Geagly who writes adult novels about ancient Egypt. I read Geagley's two novels and found out who his agent was by reading the acknowledgments page - a must do if you are an aspiring author.

So Nathan is running a first pages contest with the prize being a query critique, a manuscript critique or a ten minute phone conversation with him. Winner's choice. He is very generous and received well over 600 entries! That is a WHOPPING number!

You can read all the entries on his blog where we had to post them for all the world to see. See them here.

Go here for one of his readers - and another aspiring writer - who has volunteered to do brief critiques for those entrants who want a bit of feedback. He calls himself Chro.

I'm #370 on Nathan's original post if you want to read it. Just look for my name and picture, that's probably easiest. We had 48 hours to post and the time is already up. The semi-fnalists will be chosen and then blog readers will vote on the winner. There was some great stuff posted. I am impressed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Enchanted Runner is Back In Print!

Enchanted Runner was my second published novel, but my first book about the Snake Clan and the magical power of their runners at Acoma, the city built two thousand years ago on top of a 400 foot cliff in the gorgeous New Mexico desert. Runners and rattlesnakes and wild horses fill the pages of this gripping novel and due to a publisher buy-out and a total editorial upheaval at Avon the year it was originally published, the book went sadly out of print. But it is now back in a beautiful paperback with the original cover art and the Southwest Book Award Gold Sticker! (I have a sticker, how cool is that?)This book in its short life-time was also on the Land of Enchantment List, the Battle of the Books list, and The Pennsylvania Reader's Choice list.
You can get copies through me by posting on my blog or my web site and at, too.

This book is in demand by teachers and librarians all the time so I'm thrilled it's alive again. Class sets are available from me at half price, too, so all the teachers/librarians out there please spread the word.

Enjoy an exciting read that boys will especially love, but watch out for Trina, that feisty cousin of Kendall's with her stories about the runner's feet getting cut off and blood stained rocks on the old rock trails . . .

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

So I had a ton of stuff to do yesterday and . . .

I didn't get to blog about the big ALA Children's Literature Awards yesterday, but in between the errands and appts and having company for dinner (made my famous chicken enchiladas and peach/blackberry cobbler) . . .

I DID get a quick chance to find the awards and realize that I have only read ONE on the list - The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.

I'm not familiar with ANY of the other Newbery and Caldecott and Prinz books. Unfortunately. (Because I did not get to cheer or wring my hands in anticipation for any of them).

Fortunately - I now have a whole new list of books to read!

Go straight to the full award list page here:

BUT here's a quick list of the top three awards - and I do know that there are readers of my blog who probably aren't aware yet (cough, cough). Not that I'm going to mention any NAMES.

Hey, enjoy some great books!

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature.
“Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village,” written by Laura Amy Schlitz, is the 2008 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Candlewick.

Three Newbery Honor Books were named:
“Elijah of Buxton,” by Christopher Paul Curtis, published by Scholastic;
“The Wednesday Wars,” by Gary D. Schmidt, published by Clarion and
“Feathers,” by Jacqueline Woodson, published by Putnam.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children.
“The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” illustrated by Brian Selznick, is the 2008 Caldecott Medal winner. The book is published by Scholastic.

Four Caldecott Honor Books were named:
“Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad,” illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Ellen Levine, and published by Scholastic;
“First the Egg,” illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, and published by Roaring Brook/Neal Porter;
“The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain,” illustrated and written by Peter Sís, and published by Farrar/Frances Foster; and “Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity,” illustrated and written by Mo Willems, and published by Hyperion.

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults.
“The White Darkness,” by Geraldine McCaughrean, is the 2008 Printz Award winner. The book is published by HarperTempest, an imprint of HarperCollins.

Four Printz Honor Books were named:
“Dreamquake: Book Two of the Dreamhunter Duet,” by Elizabeth Knox, published by Frances Foster Books, an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux;
“One Whole and Perfect Day,” by Judith Clarke, published by Front Street.
“Repossessed,” by A. M. Jenkins, published by HarperTeen.
“Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath,” by Stephanie Hemphill, published by Alfred A. Knopf

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Newbery Predictions anyone?

Many of you are probably in body and person AT the ALA midwinter conference - but I won't let my jealousy give me vapors. (I have my smelling salts handy).

What is the best book YOU read this year? Who/What are you rooting for??? I love to talk about this every year, but seems like it's been pretty quiet and no one is talking much.

I have heard lots of chatter about Sherman Alexie's THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN which I haven't gotten to yet. I didn't even make his talk/booksigning in Albuquerque a couple of months ago. Right in my own backyard. I had another commitment that evening, but I've heard he's hilarious and the book superb, but I've gotten the impression it's a book more for YA's so maybe he's really in the Prinz category.

Here are the books I finished the year 2007 off with (read between Thanksgiving and New Year's.):


THE AURORA COUNTY ALL-STARS by Deborah Wiles - This is definitely a Newbery contender. Loved it!

A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT by Linda Urban - Another definite Newbery in the running. I adored it and, amazingly, I think I liked it even better than Wiles book even though I've been one of her fans since Ruby Lavender. Maybe it's because I grew up with an organ playing mother and I play myself, but I DID get to play the piano too and ended up a piano major in college.






All by Pauline Gedge - a trilogy of ancient Egypt, my research passion of the last three years or so

NEFERTITI: A NOVEL by Michelle Moran - another, um, Egypt book in case you couldn't tell, but Gedge's books are much better. Nefertiti was just annoying in this book and the characters were pretty one-dimensional.



Monday, January 07, 2008

Happy, Um, Everything!

Hi guys and girls . . . Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Christmas, Happy New Year!
I can't believe it's been 6 weeks since I posted. No, make that 7. I am SOOOO bad. But I have to say that I have missed y'all.

I've had three bouts of illness, out of town school visits, an Author Fest, a trip to California to visit my darling sister and her family for a week (it's been 8 years since my whole family saw her whole family at the same time - needless to say we had a fabulous Christmas together and a blast except my mom fell in the kitchen and sprained several body parts and had a horrendous toothache the whole time and went back to Phoenix for a root canal), then I came home 10 days ago to stomach flu and eye surgery and the news that my 19 year old son wants to marry his girlfriend.

I'm numb.
And my eye hurts. Like there's stuff in it - eyelashes and sand. It really bugs.
And I haven't written or revised anything in two months even though I have three projects waiting for my attention.

Good things: it was sunny in the Bay Area during the Christmas week. So unusual. No rain or fog. It was great.
I also realized how much I've missed the ocean and walking on the Golden Gate and eating at Fenton's. And I realized how much I've missed all my relatives. We got together on Christmas Eve at my aunt's house for dinner and a Christmas program - my sister and I even sang the Christmas duet, "Star Bright", that we used to sing as teenagers and my youngest brother accompanied us on his guitar and we also got to see his adorable twin boys Kohner and Kyler. Soooo cute!!!! And huggable. Even though I may have picked up the stomach thing from them. Still, they're absolutely worth it. My aunts and uncles told funny stories about my dad (who was killed in an airplane crash when I was 14 just a few days before Christmas) and it was so great. I told them how much I appreciated hearing those stories, and it made me weepy, but what's Christmas and family for?

Now I'm trying to breeze through everyone's blogs, but I think it will take 40 hours to read everything from the last 2 months. Sorry, but I don't think that's gonna happen! But I think y'all will forgive me, right?

Hope your New Year has started well!

TTFN - and More Later!



Winner of The Southwest Book Award!

Time travel, war, love, rattlesnakes, magic . . .

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