Friday, April 30, 2010

Peek Inside My Notebook . . .

From the LDStorymakers Conference, April, 2010.

First workshop: Bree Despain, author of THE DARK DIVINE, Egmont, 2009

Paranormal Fiction: Delving into the Unknown.
Bree's workshop was standing room only and I was squished into a corner to the side so I couldn't see her Power Point very well, but here are some notes.
Definition of Paranormal: “Paranormal blends the real and the fantastic into an alternate version of our own world.”

FUNNY SIGN IN BOOKSTORE: “Vampire Books – or the section formerly known as Young Adult”

The best Paranormal works on two levels: The Real and the Magical worlds work in parallel, reaching a climax as the story progresses between the two worlds.

What makes Twilight so engrossing and so popular? It's all about the YEARNING.

A Paranormal story adds danger and a complication to an otherwise ordinary teen romance

THE MAGICAL ELEMENTS PARALLEL what's happening in the character's regular lives. It's a METAPHOR for real life.

Think about these three things:

a.       What are you trying to say? What is your theme? (In The Dark Divine, Bree's inspiration was the story of the Prodigal Son)
b.      Your MC and the “love interest” have some sort of inner demon
c.       There needs to be some kind of element that keeps them apart so there is the Yearning.

Bree asked Allison Weiss at HC to give her thoughts about Paranormal books, which are still selling like hotcakes and editors are still buying even as the genre is evolving from vampires and werewolves to angels and demons and zombies and faeries and mermaids.

Allison Weiss at Harper/Collins says:
1.      Make sure your romance has the chops - is hot!
2.      Make your novel incredibly well-written
3.      No Formulas
4.      Take the Story somewhere New and Exciting!
5.      Say and do something Different.

Bree was a real sweetie and here are some pictures from her book signing. I'm in the middle between Bree on the right and Aprilynne Pike on the left.

And we all got a bottle of purple nail polish at the book signing! (My fave color!) Thanks, Bree!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm back and sassy!

I love planning trips, I love going on them, I love writer's conferences, I love meeting new writers and old friend writers and I love getting inspired and psyched and laughing and talking and eating good food and buying great books and getting them autographed.

I do not like car break-downs, flat tires, getting colds, and trying to catch up after being gone.

I always feel behind for about a week or two afterwords, especially when a hundred things get thrown at you within 24 hours of walking in the front door.

But laundry is almost done - yay! Har, har. Why does our life revolve around laundry, for Pete's sake? In Europe, especially Eastern Europe, the average person owns 2-3 outfits and that's about it. Saves on closet space, laundry, soap, ironing, choosing what to wear every morning. They do own shoes. Lots of shoes. And no sneakers like us Americans.

But I digress.

For the next week I will regale you with pictures and tidbits from the
LDStorymakers conference at the Provo, Utah, Marriott hotel.

LDStorymakers is one of the BEST conferences I've ever been to. Seriously. 400+ people, tons of great writers, tons of great workshop, great agents, editors, filmmakers, screenwriters, books for sale, boot camp critiquing, First Chapters contest, personal meetings with agents/editors, inspiring panels, crazy and emotional videos, food, good company, silly pictures, great fun.

You gotta sign up early because it fills up about a month before the event. Seriously.

And I've been to some serious conferences over the last 10 years. Big ones. SCBWI Nationals are pretty darn good, too. Probably the best. LDStorymakers comes in second.

Here are a few pics to whet your appetite for the rest of the week.

Some of the halls and crowds . . .

The Author's Incognito Table. Significant. Stay Tuned.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Checking out for a few days - tra, la, la!

I'm headed out this morning for an 11 hour road trip to Provo, Utah, for the LDStorymakers conference!!!

I can't wait! I'll be meeting lots of blogger buddies!

People like
Elana Johnson and Bethany and Suzette from Shooting Stars and lots of editors and agents and VERY COOL PEOPLE!

Here are a few more:
Aprilynne Pike and Bree Despain and Janette Rallison and Agents Laura Rennert and Nephele Tempest and Krista Marino from Random House.

Go here to see the rundown and the great schedule!

I also get to see my
BYU son! And my old roommates from college for a brunch! And my brother and his cute kids!

See you on Monday!

Be good while I'm gone and sweep up the peanut shells . . .

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Libraries in My Life

My blog post title sounds like a take-off on a romance - which might not be too far off the mark because I've sure had a love affair with libraries my entire life.

When I was growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, my parents didn't purchase too many books from bookstores - we used the library. Every few months I got to order Scholastic book club books and TREASURED THEM. In fact, I still HAVE all those books! Yep, I do.

I got the newest Nancy Drew for birthdays but everything else came from the libraries.

When I was in my *Golden Age of Reading* - between 7-12 years old - my mother had two more children so she did not relish bundling up the babies/toddlers and the other 4 of us kids in the car to drive me downtown to check out more books. I pretty much read a book a day back then. I usually used the school library and when I was in Middle School I rode my bike a few times to the city library on my own. It hasn't been until the last ten years of my life that I've bought many books myself, and on a whim sometimes! It feels very indulgent and rich.

Enjoy some pics of "The Libraries in My Life!"

Westwood Elementary where my reading passion all began . . .

Concord Public Library . . . sort of . . . um, couldn't find a real good picture.

A library where I spent a lot of time studying during my college years: Brigham Young University's Harold B. Lee Library - isn't it gorgeous? It's a beautiful campus.

The city library I use the most now, remolded from when I first moved to Albuquerque and it was pretty pathetic and small.

The village library close to home where I go to write when I'm on deadline and my family is driving me nuts!

And now for some DREAM LIBRARIES . . .

I covet . . .

Cozy libraries! Don't you want to just fall into the chair and read all day!

I've always loved circular stairs . . . my orthodontist's office had one when I had braces as a kid and I loved going up and down those stairs to the examining rooms above. He had remolded an old fire house. Pretty cool, huh?

My first book on the library shelves. Yes, I took a picture!
Of course. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Betsy's Top 100 Children's books

I think lists are really interesting and I'm always curious how my own reading stacks up. 

Give me an adult book list and I've barely read half - or less! But this list shows how much I love children's literature because I did pretty good! How did you do? What are your favs from the list? I've marked my favorites on the side with a *. The ones I've read are bolded.

100. The Egypt Game - Snyder (1967)
99. The Indian in the Cupboard - Banks (1980)
98. Children of Green Knowe - Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - DiCamillo (2006)
96. The Witches - Dahl (1983
) *
95. Pippi Longstocking - Lindgren (1950
94. Swallows and Amazons - Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn - Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted - Levine (1997)

 91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School - Sachar (1978)

90. Sarah, Plain and Tall - MacLachlan (1985)
89. Ramona and Her Father - Cleary (1977)
88. The High King - Alexander (1968)
87. The View from Saturday - Konigsburg (1996)
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Rowling (1999)
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek - Wilder (1937)

 84. The Little White Horse - Goudge (1946) ***
83. The Thief - Turner (1997)
82. The Book of Three - Alexander (1964)

81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Lin (2009)

80. The Graveyard Book - Gaiman (2008)
79. All-of-a-Kind-Family - Taylor (1951)
78. Johnny Tremain - Forbes (1943)
77. The City of Ember - DuPrau (2003)
76. Out of the Dust - Hesse (1997)
75. Love That Dog - Creech (2001)
74. The Borrowers - Norton (1953)
73. My Side of the Mountain - George (1959)

72. My Father's Dragon - Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning - Snicket (1999)

70. Betsy-Tacy - Lovelae (1940)
69. The Mysterious Benedict Society - Stewart ( 2007)
68. Walk Two Moons - Creech (1994)

 67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher - Coville (1991)
66. Henry Huggins - Cleary (1950)
65. Ballet Shoes - Stratfeild (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago - Peck (1998)
63. Gone-Away Lake - Enright (1957)
62. The Secret of the Old Clock - Keene (1959) *
61. Stargirl - Spinelli (2000)

60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - Avi (1990)

59. Inkheart - Funke (2003)
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Aiken (1962)
57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 - Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars - Lowry (1989)
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins - Paterson (1978)

54. The BFG - Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows - Grahame (1908)

52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)
51. The Saturdays - Enright (1941)

50. Island of the Blue Dolphins - O'Dell (1960)
49. Frindle - Clements (1996)
48. The Penderwicks - Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy - Curtis (1999)

46. Where the Red Fern Grows - Rawls (1961)
45. The Golden Compass - Pullman (1995)
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - Blume (1972)
43. Ramona the Pest - Cleary (1968)
42. Little House on the Prairie - Wilder (1935)
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Speare (1958)

40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Baum (1900)
39. When You Reach Me - Stead (2009)
38. HP and the Order of the Phoenix - Rowling (2003)

37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Taylor (1976)
36. Are You there, God? It's Me, Margaret - Blume (1970)
35. HP and the Goblet of Fire - Rowling (2000)

34. The Watson's Go to Birmingham - Curtis (1995)
33. James and the Giant Peach - Dahl (1961)

32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - O'Brian (1971)
31. Half Magic - Eager (1954)

30. Winnie-the-Pooh - Milne (1926)
29. The Dark Is Rising - Cooper (1973)
28. A Little Princess - Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II - Carroll (1865/72)

26. Hatchet - Paulsen (1989)
25. Little Women - Alcott (1868/9)
24. HP and the Deathly Hallows - Rowling (2007)
23. Little House in the Big Woods - Wilder (1932) *
22. The Tale of Despereaux - DiCamillo (2003)
21. The Lightening Thief - Riordan (2005)

20. Tuck Everlasting - Babbitt (1975)
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Dahl (1964)

18. Matilda - Dahl (1988)
17. Maniac Magee - Spinelli (1990)

16. Harriet the Spy - Fitzhugh (1964) ***
15. Because of Winn-Dixie - DiCamillo (2000)
14. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Rowling (1999)
13. Bridge to Terabithia - Paterson (1977) *
12. The Hobbit - Tolkien (1938)

 11. The Westing Game - Raskin (1978) ***

10. The Phantom Tollbooth - Juster (1961)
9. Anne of Green Gables - Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden - Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993) *
6. Holes - Sachar (1998) *
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - Koningsburg (1967) *
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter #1 - Rowling (1997)
2. A Wrinkle in Time - L'Engle (1962) *
1. Charlotte's Web - White (1952) *

81 out of 100. A low B. Three of the books I haven't read are Harry Potter titles and I've read pieces and watched the movies and they are sequels so I don't count missing them as high.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Awesome Contest and Teen Book Drop - with cool pics!

THIS IS EPIC! GO HERE TO ENTER! So many fabulous prize packages! I'm impressed. Lisa and Laura rock and you must follow their very fun and funny blog.

Please donate a book to your favorite Native American tribe's library or schools!

A couple of years ago I visited Acoma Pueblo and did a school visit. They had a new library which was practically bare of books. I left a 30-copy class set of hardcover copies of my book, THE LAST SNAKE RUNNER for them.

Time travel. A war. A love story.

The village of Acoma, 2,000 years old, sits in a stunning location on top of a 400 foot cliff in a picturesque desert valley. See the houses on top? The tribal people still live there! It's an amazing place one hour west of Albuquerque.
I was there last weekend visiting my friends and watching the dances for the Governor's Feast Day and eating good food. The rock formations are spectacular.

Here is K'atizima or Enchanted Mesa just across the valley. The view from on top of Sky City is fantastic!

Monday, April 12, 2010


Watch the dramatic events unfold . . .

So I printed and cut up all the names plus extras for tweeting, FB-ing and blogging. [info]sputnam had 5 entries - thank you Sharon!

Put them in my nifty jack-o-lantern

Quick - rescue it from Sera before she eats it!

[info]jeniwrites  IS THE WINNER!!!!!!!

Please email me your address!!!!!!!!!   kglittle(at) msn (dot)com


There WILL be MORE and BIGGER *Giveaways* as we get closer to publication date so don't go away!

Friday, April 09, 2010


The giveaway of THE HEALING SPELL is now officially closed. It will take me a couple of days to add up all the entries and extra entries of those who blogged, Facebooked and tweeted! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! Only 80 days until July 1 publication! Yahoo!

I'm off to our annual SCBWI HANDSPRINGS CONFERENCE this afternoon! It's tons of fun and we have some great editors and agents coming! I'm bringing 5 pages of a new WIP for the workshop with Agent Jamie Weiss Chilton! (Scroll down to the bottom of the link to see her very cute picture.) No, I am NOT looking to change agents, but Jamie was an assistant editor at Knopf when my last book THE LAST SNAKE RUNNER was published and I'm eager to meet her.

And here is the April issue of SPELLBINDERS for your enjoyment. Read the issue down below or go here to the official SPELLBINDER Blogger site and "Become a Follower". Or Join Our Mailing List and get it every month in your email Inbox.

Happy weekend and good luck to all the entrants!!! Fingers crossed!

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April, 2010
Crum Bio Feature Article
Shutta Crum 
Come on in! The Water's Fine.

Recently I was asked to reflect upon writing between forms; that is, writing different kinds of books in a variety of formats (picture book, chapter book, novel, non-fiction book, poetry, etc.). For me, that would be the difference between writing picture books, chapter books, and novels.
I've written and published all three. What I've found is that basically there are two very different processes involved, and my emotional response to the task at hand is different for each. (For the present, I've lumped chapter books in with novels. There are differences between writing the chapter book and the novel, but the emotional response to that process for these two formats is very similar.)

When I write a picture book it feels more like solving a puzzle. How can I get counting, a skunk's physical reactions, adverbs, and a surprise into very few words? (BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE, Knopf, 2005) If the text is in verse, there are the added constraints of rhyme, meter, and other patterns. Finally, I cut to the point where I feel something triumphant in my chest if I can find just one more "the" to delete. I use more of the problem-solving side of my brain with a goal of getting it all into the sleekest lines I can. Thereby, lots of the story remains for the illustrator to depict. It feels quick and fun, and like a satisfying splashy romp through a sprinkler on a hot day.
When I write a novel (or chapter book), I feel like I am jumping into a warm lake. I am overcome with the need to kick my feet, keep my head above the water, and keep swimming. It is almost overwhelming. In addition to many of the requirements of a picture book I need to explore character and setting (often as another character) to its fullest -- rather than honing in on only one or two aspects of a character as I might in a picture book. I need to take the plot all the way to a logical, satisfying, but also surprising end -- rather than highlighting one moment in time, as is often done in a picture book. And I need to plunge myself into the emotional through-line of the story -- that is, feel my main character's pain or joy. Once, I was at the computer pounding away on the keys with the tears streaming down my face when my husband looked in and said, "You're crying." "Yes," I said. "Is that good?" he asked. "Yes!" I said, and continued creating as he tiptoed away.

To do all this I must go back and reread all I've written thus far of the novel, or at least since the last time I worked on it (usually from the day before). I need to do a lot of thinking rather than so much rearranging, and looking at pattern as I do with picture books. I need uninterrupted time to visualize my characters into being -- first, he moves his hand to cover his eyes . . . then he raises his eyes and sees . . . what? What, then, does he say? What effect does it have on the character who hears what he says? How will his words move the story forward? During this time I am often doing some sort of repetitious activity at home -- mowing the lawn, doing dishes, etc. I find that simply letting the body move in an automatic way will free the mind to wander. Walking is good for this, also.

Writing novels is an altogether slower, longer, deeper immersion. I am using more of the intuitive side of my brain as I figure out how to settle in for a marathon swim across a dark lake whose other side I can't quite see from here. And when I get there, though it may not be anything like I expected, there is the exhausted satisfaction of having done it.

If you've a mind to write, jump in! The water's wonderful. We can chase each other across the lawn and dive into the lake, or leap over the misty rainbow-making sprinkler on a hot day.

[Excerpted & summarized by permission from an interview conducted by author Toni Buzzeo. The full interview is at the LIBRARY SPARKS website under "Web Resources," at  Or click here for a direct link: Meet the Author: Shutta Crum . Interviewer, Toni Buzzeo's site. Shutta's web site is here]
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L. RubyWho's Right/Whose Right?Lois Ruby
As we cascade (or is it plod?) toward the end of the school year, many of us feel an urge to tie up loose ends.  So, in this month's article we'll try to untangle what Joan Didion, calls "bits of the mind's string too short to use."
Last time we looked at students' rights.  What about teachers' rights?  For a comprehensive article, including a state-by-state summary of grounds for dismissal, go to this web site. Here's a bit of the string that's pulled the article.  Teachers have constitutional and case law rights to freedom of association; freedom of expression, with limitations; academic freedom, again with limitations; and protection against unreasonable searches and seizure of personal property.  Freedom from discrimination based on race, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, and national origin are vouchsafed in federally funded public schools, but not in private schools.  Of special interest is the touchy area of academic freedom.  The subject content, of course, must be relevant to, and consistent with, the teacher's charge to teach to age, grade, and experience level of students, within a range established by the district.  A teacher cannot spout his/her personal agenda and bias, but where's the line between "appropriate" and "slanted?"  Unclear.  At times, one doesn't know until he or she unwittingly sticks a toe beyond that line.  The website above offers information about tenure denial, due process, and recourse when rights may have been violated.   For a good analysis of teachers' rights, take a look at this site.
Librarians have rights, too.  School lbrarians, teacher/librarians, media specialists, or whatever a district calls those heroic souls who are the hub of the school are entitled to all of the above.  Public librarians operate under a different and somewhat freer regime.  The American Library Association has a Library Bill of Rights.  It doesn't directly address the librarian's rights, for those would be delineated in each institution's policy on hiring and dismissal.  What it does address is that "books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves."  This policy provides latitude for, and protection of, the  librarian who disseminates potentially controversial materials.

Did you catch the NPR program where Marilyn Johnson was interviewed? She discussed This Book is Overdue; How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All.   With humor and depth, Johnson writes about "a profession in the midst of an occasionally mind-blowing transition."  She explores myriad ways that librarians steer us down the confusing, sometimes treacherous information superhighway.  Especially read about the Connecticut Four -- librarians who stood up to the FBI and the Patriot Act to defend the library user's right to privacy and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.  If you missed the program, you can find a juicy summary here.

Those are the bits of string on my mind, rolled into a tight ball.  And incidentally, if you're wondering where the world's largest ball of twine is, it's in Cawker City, Kansas.  It's visible day and night.  Enjoy.
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Be sure to join us next month for LUNCH WITH THE SPELLBINDERS. We will be discussing our exciting research adventures and talking about our fabulous new summer titles.
The Secret Language of Stories
Carolee Framed
Carolee Dean 
This month I will be focusing on the end of the story-stage twelve, the Reward. If you missed any of my previous articles for stages one through eleven of the Hero's Journey, GO HERE.

The Climax, which I discussed in last month's issue, is the point of highest tension in the external story. This is the final test to see if the transformation that occurred earlier in the story is real or only temporary. Even if the main character has had friends accompany him on a long and treacherous journey, at the Climax he often must act alone.

The stage that follows is the Reward. Everyone gets their just deserts. If the main character has continued to act foolishly until the bitter end, the story may end tragically. The picture book, The Spider and the Fly, is an excellent example of this and the eerie black and white illustrations make the book work well for all ages.

A hero who successfully makes the transformation, will often return to the group with a prize that can be shared such as an elixir, a talisman, a balm, or an important victory-something that restores peace and happiness to the land. Chris Vogler, in his book The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, calls this stage the Return with the Elixir. In stories with a circular structure, the hero may end up returning all the way back to the Old World.

 Sometimes this "group" is merely the main character and the reader. If the main character successfully makes his transformation, but dies during the climax, then the Reward may be his departing to be with the souls of loved ones. There may also be a funeral or a brief gathering celebrating the hero's accomplishments and his final sacrifice. It is rare for this to happen in children's literature. The movies Braveheart and Gladiator are examples of adult stories where the hero dies at the end but his death brings victory and resolution to longstanding conflicts.

The prize (love, money, medicine, success) may be what has been sought all through the story or it may be something different altogether. Sometimes the prize has been lost and the real reward is knowledge, self-awareness or simply a good story. There is often a celebration. A marriage ceremony at the end of a love story is an example of the hero sharing his love with family and friends. A parade is a way of sharing a victory. If the hero dies, even foolishly, it is those who are left behind who learn the important lesson.

This stage in the story may also be referred to as the denouement, which means to untie the knot in Old French. This is a time to tie up loose ends and answer any remaining questions. Some stories have a quick or surprise ending without a denouement. Some writers give lengthy explanations tying up every loose end. Shakespeare often does this in his comedies. Other authors intentionally leave things unanswered. The Lord of the Flies is an example of this.

For a fun activity exploring the Reward, see the April Random Writing Activity on the blog on my website at
K. LittleKimberley's Book BuzzKimberley Griffiths Little
During our first year of SPELLBINDERS, I've buzzed about picture books, Middle-Grade novels, Young Adult books, Newbery/Caldecott/Printz potential winners, and now, at last, we're going to end the year with NON-FICTION! Some of you may be wondering why it took so long because there are more non-fiction books published every year than fiction. If you're not quite sure about that statement, go check out your local bookstore or library shelves!
I've spent 20+ years raising three boys and every week when we hit the local library, my sons were all over the non-fiction shelves like icing on cake. Mesmerizing non-fiction abounds. We read more of it, bought more of it, and paid more fines on it than anything else. You can find a book on every topic imaginable, and some topics that you may not have thought about! Enjoy these great titles.
Searching for Lincoln's KillerChasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson (Harpercollins) - John Wilkes Booth had planned to kidnap Lincoln and hold him hostage, but when that plan did not materialize, he hatched his assassination plot. Co-conspirators in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia helped him escape and evade capture for 12 days before being surrounded in a barn and killed. Told in a nearly hour-by-hour search, your students will be thrilled and engrossed by this tale of the many people who encountered the killer as he tried to escape.
by Fred Bortz from Lerner's "Cool Science" series describes how scientists study the possibility of life on other worlds. Are we alone in the universe? Is Earth the only suitable planet for life? These questions motivate astrobiologists, scientists who search for life in the universe. Astrobiologists compare life on Earth to signs of life on other planets. They test meteorites for alien bacteria. They collect soil and atmospheric samples from other planets. They study space mission photographs. And they listen for signals from alien civilizations on enormous radio dishes. Learn all about astrobiologists' amazing research in this fast-paced peek into the future of science. Watch for Dr. Bortz's Our Next Planet: Why, When, and How People Will Settle Other Worlds, by Boyds Mills Press coming soon!
Bubble Homes & Fish FartsBubble Homes and Fish Farts by Fiona Bayrock (Charlesbridge, Junior Library Guild Selection) - This book shows the surprisingly varied ways in which bubbles are incorporated in an animal's life. A humpback whale swims in circles to create a bubble net, herding fish toward the center, where they can be scooped into its enormous mouth. Juniper spittlebug nymphs encase themselves in a mound of gooey foam that protects them until they are ready to molt. A glossary and four pages of amazing facts are appended. Illustrated with watercolors, this book introduces 16 bubble makers, from insects to humans.
If Stones Could SpeakIf Stones Could Speak by Marc Aronson (National Geographic Children's Books) - What are the secrets of the ancient stone circle? Were the carefully placed stones a burial site, an ancient calendar, a place of Druid worship...or even a site of sacrifice? Marc Aronson joined world-renowned archaeologist Mike Parker-Pearson during the last seven years on his quest to answer the many questions about Stonehenge's secrets. The team unearthed the largest Neolithic village ever found in England. This book includes tales of dead bodies,  cremations, feasting, and  ancient rituals, as well as insights into the science of uncovering the ancient past. Stunning photography and maps and illustrations are included.
Down, Down, Down
Down Down Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins, previous Caldecott Honor-winner (Houghton Mifflin) - The narration in this book makes you feel like you have been taken on a deep sea exploration. There is a little bar along each page to show you how deep under the sea you've traveled as you make your way through the book - and the deeper you go, the more exotic undersea life becomes. Wonderfully rendered with sophisticated, torn-paper collage. End notes on each featured creature.
AlmostAstronatsAlmost Astronauts,
winner of the 2010 Sibert Award for best non-fiction, by Tanya Lee Stone (Candlewick) -
"Space gals. Astronettes. Astrodolls . . . Who do these women think they are?" Nearly 20 years before the U.S. officially admitted women into the astronaut program, 13 women, known as the Mercury 13, fought for the right to soar into space. This dramatic, large-size photo-essay covers their stories, along with the exciting politics of the women's liberation struggle in the 1950s and '60s and the breakthrough science and technology surrounding space exploration, including details of the would-be astronauts' tests and training. Full-page photos, detailed chapter notes and a bibliography. Synopsis excerpted from Booklist.
Author of The Last Snake Runner (Knopf)
AND the upcoming
The Healing Spell - Scholastic, July 2010
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Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Cajun Book Lady is my new BF!

OH. MY. GOSH.  THE CAJUN BOOK LADY just gave me the most AMAZING review!!! Read some WOW here!

I am so touched and honored and excited and just plain THRILLED TO PIECES!

She's a great book blogger, too, and a real sweetheart, so go friend/follow her!

Kristine's review especially means a lot to me because I wanted to get Louisiana *right* and I've spent a decade visiting and researching and loving that state. I'm an adopted Louisiana girl now by some wonderful friends in various small towns there. I'm truly honored and the people I've met have opened their homes and hearts to me in so many different ways. I treasure all of my experiences there and the wonderful memories I will always have -- as well as the continuing experiences and memories because I'm going back. Of course! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. xoxo

Don't forget!!! *****Last day to enter the giveaway of an ARC of THE HEALING SPELL!!! Go here to post your *entry*! Extra entries for spreading the love . . .

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

We have a Title!

It's been a week since I turned in my new manuscript to my editor and I have no fingernails left. Truly, she is brutal for making me wait! Kidding! It *is* hard though. My critique group loved it, my son loved, it, but the people who count the most: Gorgeous Editor and Super Agent have yet to read it . . . I will suffer in silence.

Meanwhile, my editor and publicist and the Marketing Brains at Scholastic LOVE the finished book trailer! I'm so excited to show it off - but you will all have to wait until about June before I can share. But there will be fabulous giveaway packs when the book trailer is released TO THE WORLD! Meanwhile, eat a donut - it helps the suffering.

Meanwhile!!! I did hear from Gorgeous Editor about the TITLE for my July, 2011 book. She really wanted to get something into the computer to hold my book's spot in the Summer line-up for next year.

For the past year the proposal and WIP has been called THE TRAITEUR'S DAUGHTER. It's a companion book to
THE HEALING SPELL. But only one character is the same.

We decided months ago that the word "traiteur" would be off-putting to young readers. And maybe some old ones, too.

I have had the worst time coming up with something I like. I turned it in with the title DAUGHTERS OF THE CIRCLE, but that sounds like women's fiction. I sent the following list with the manuscript. My favorite was the top one, but got nixed. Too "magicky" for Scholastic Book Fairs, I'm afraid.

Gorgeous Editor liked A CIRCLE OF SECRETS - but without the "A". She also liked GHOSTS OF THE CIRCLE. And yes, there are ghosts!!! And a graveyard. And beauty spells. but we decided that the word "ghosts" sounds too young for a tweener book.

So the final title - at least for the moment! - is CIRCLE OF SECRETS!

Whaddayathink? And whaddaythink about my list of *potentials*?

Secrets, Spells, and Charms
The Secret Circle
Swamp Spells
The Magick Circle 
Ghosts of the Circle 
A Circle of Secrets
A Circle of Magick
Secrets of The Circle 
The Beauty Spell
The Killing Spell
Mystery on the Bayou
Bayou Beauties

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Voices After Midnight

I got up earlier than usual the last two mornings, kissed my hubby goodbye at the front door as he headed off to work, and realized that THE BIRDS ARE SINGING! It's Spring! And they are chatterin' up a storm. I went into my bedroom/office, opened up the windows, and am listening to their music while doing email and Live Journal. I love it!
Bethany Wiggins and Suzette Saxton interviewed me on their Shooting Stars blog last Friday!!! I'm SO excited!!!. If you aren't a follower, get thee over there. Lots of fun stuff and book talk and authors all the time. I am so honored to have been a part of their Paying It Forward series.

I also briefly mention my personal  "The Voices After Midnight Phenomenon . . ."

AND does anyone *know* off the top of your head (without going to Amazon) the author of the novel Voices After Midnight??? Written by one of my all-time favorite writers. Hint: It was published twenty years ago this year, in fact. Hint: Very. Famous. Author. Children's/YA.

If you KNOW, comment here, and you'll receive an envelope of swag postcards and bookmarks of
THE HEALING SPELL!!! Just Because.

Have a happy day!

Monday, April 05, 2010

ARC Giveaway and an April Fool's Day Joke on Me

DON'T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY FOR AN ARC OF THE HEALING SPELL!!! Go to this post from last Thursday! Easy-peasy.

On April 2nd, I got this email from my son who is away at college.

Dear Mom,
I finally convinced the hospital staff to lend me a computer. I was driving with Dave and we got in a car accident. Dave is ok, but I managed to break my femur in three places. I'll be in the hospital for a few days. If you could call BYU, and let them know, I'd appreciate it. Thanks,

I was like, What?!?

I tried to call him all morning on his cell phone and no answer. I was a bit worried because this actually happened to another one of my sons while away at college two years ago. He was in an accident and shattered his knee cap and still has screws and pins and a horrific scar across his knee. He was out for two months and lost that semester so I'm a bit disconcerted by his email, but suspicious, too . . .

Clues that this *might* be some sort of prank:

1. Why did he email when he has a cell phone? Or did his phone die?
2. Why didn't he tell me the name of the hospital?
3. I'd recently warned him about driving carefully with his friends when they go snow skiing and various places and he knew I was worried . . .  

April 1 at 11:17 p.m. He slid in under the wire, that kid!

An April Fool's Joke Gone Very Bad. 

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Blessed Easter Morning!

This is one of my favorite songs in a beautiful video.

I hope it brings a bit of the Savior's spirit into your life today.

The words are gorgeous and the woman singing it does a a beautiful, tenderly rendered job.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

My First Blog Review and an ARC Giveaway!!!

Abby, The Librarian reviewed The Healing Spell here! Gorgeous and thoughtful and just simply lovely.
Thank you so much, Abby! It's really exciting to get a review by someone I've already been *following* for a year!

In other news, my book trailer is pretty much finished and I'm sharing it with my agent and editor and publicist right now. Fingers crossed they will approve it for nationwide release in May! Maybe earlier!

Nationwide = Email, Facebook, Blogger, Live Journal, Goodreads, Amazon, and CONTESTS!!!

Speaking of CONTESTS!!! In honor of submitting my new manuscript to my editor AND my first fantastic blogger review I need to have a contest!!!

I haven't given away anything in ages!!! And I have ARCs of THE HEALING SPELL burning on my shelves!
Please enter here! Or on my Live Journal if you'd like!
Get An Extra Point EACH for Tweeting, Facebooking, Friending, Following, or mentioning/linking the contest on your own blog! Contest will be open from now until midnight (Pacific Time) on April 8th!

***Just for fun, please tell me something you love about Louisiana, or wish you could see/do there if you haven't visited before.

I'll love you forever if you can spread the word! Seriously. I was born on Valentine's Day. See? :-) xoxo, Kimberley




Winner of The Southwest Book Award!

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

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