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It's Here! It's Here!

Soul EnchiladaBug Smoot has finally been released into the wild!

Congratulations to thunderchikin  on the release of his first fantastic book, SOUL ENCHILADA!!!

You're in for a wild ride when you open this book, and it doesn't stop until the very end. Unique doesn't begin to describe the premise, and I challenge anyone to come away from it without first falling in love with its main character.

Here's my own review:

Bug is too smart for her own good, in both senses of the word. Her smack-talking comebacks tend to get her in trouble with people like her boss and her landlord, but Bug always comes out on top because she outwits anyone who gets in her way.
Except this one guy, Beals, who is totally freaking her out. Maybe it has to do with his forked tongue...or the fact that he pops out of nowhere. Or that he claims to be a repossession agent from Hell, here to take Bug's prize (and pretty much only) possession...her Papa C's car. HER car.
Ain't no way that's happening...not as long as Bug's around.
Beals is the most deliciously dry and sarcastic nemesis I've read, and the repelling chemistry between these two characters is enough to make the pages vibrate.
The action and constant element of surprise in this book keep readers zipping through those quivering pages to see how things play out. The LOL humor here is the kind that most authors only wish they could stir, engaging readers from page one.
Bug's boy, Pesto, brings just enough romance to keep things stirred up, but it isn't enough to gag unsuspecting readers, as in some books which shall remain nameless. And the rest of the characters? You REALLY need to meet them for yourself. Unbelievable!
THIS is an author worth watching!


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Good to see friends!

Son and I visited the Tucson Festival of Books today.
I forgot how tiring it can be to walk around in the third trimester. I need a nap.

But, it was definitely worth the trip, as I got to see lots of friends:

Juanita Havill
Michelle Parker-Rock
Jennifer J. Stewart

and a bunch of other friends from SCBWI AZ, The Gila Gang, and online .

I also got to listen to some authors I'd never met in person speak, like:
Neal Shusterman
Janette Rallison
Robin Brande
A.S. King
Lisa McMann

Those last three were on a panel together, and they bantered back and forth like a veteran comedy troupe!

There were readings and signings and panels...oh my!
Kids activities, music, food, and so many things to do, we didn't know what to look at next. What fun! There's just nothing better than hanging out with other book-lovers!!

And there's still one day left! If you're in the area, you MUST stop by!


Speaking of janni , have you guys read Bones of Faerie yet?        Bones of Faerie
I have!

**I had all of this post done once before and due to a technical glitch, I lost most of it and had to start over with all the names and links, so if I forgot someone, please forgive my tired brain. I really need a nap now! **



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You WANT to win this contest!

Susan Taylor Brown (aka: susanwrites ) is holding a suhweet contest on her blog. The prize is a copy of SAY THE WORD by Jeannine Garsee (aka: onegrapeshy ), one of my favorite contemporary YA authors. I fell in love with her work when I read BEFORE, AFTER, AND SOMEBODY IN BETWEEN.  Okay, and her hilarious LiveJournal blog doesn't hurt either. I just adore this woman's writing!

SAY THE WORD is due to hit shelves on March 17th. I've read the book, I've reviewed the book, and I'm telling you...you want it for your own collection!

As further proof of my adoration, I can tell you that I'm not even blogging about this to win a free book. I already have it, after all. I'm telling you because it's JUST THAT GOOD! So get on over and enter the contest. Susan's made it easy enough, so what's stoppin' ya? 

Say the Word
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2008-09 Cybils Awards were Announced Yesterday

If you haven't been over to the Cybils Blog to check those out yet, you really should go and take a look. What a great group of winners!

This year, I got an up close and personal look at what goes into pulling these awards together, and color me impressed! So many people dedicated to great children and young adult literature coming together in the Kidlitosphere to coordinate the honors!

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be a final-round judge in the middle grade fiction category with a great group of insightful  people who really care about getting great books into the hands of kids.

Here are the panelists and judges in the middle grade fiction category:

Panelists (Round I judges)

Sarah Mulhern The Reading Zone
Alysa Stewart Everead
Mary R. Voors ACPL Mock Newbery
Sherry Early Semicolon
Kim Baccellia
Melissa Fox Book Nut
Matthew Wigdahl The Book Club Shelf

Judges (Round II)

Kelly Herold Big A little a
Eric Berlin
J.L. Bell Oz and Ends
Kerry Millar Shelf Elf
Julie M. Prince Off to Turn Another Page

In the end, this book came out on top: http://123oleary.blogspot.com/2008_02_01_archive.html  The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd.

Congratulations to all the winners, and a special thanks to everyone who works behind the scenes to make these awards happen!

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The State of Publishing

Check out this video by John Green. More importantly, if you get a chance to read through
the comments by his fellow nerdfighters, they're definitely worth reading!
These are very intelligent observations (not surprisingly, most are by teenagers) about
the book industry and about the state of pleasure reading in today's society.

I'm not sure if non-nerdfighters can view the comments, but I think anyone who hasn't yet
joined the nerdfighter ning really should.

If you're reading my blog, you're probably interested in books, and that means you'll have a lot
in common with these folks! Trust me!

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Good Books I've Read Lately

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary ThingsI was glad to see ALVIN HO short-listed in the CYBILS middle grade fiction category, because I'd read it a few weeks prior and really enjoyed it. I haven't read the others yet, so I'm definitely looking forward to getting my hands on those!

Will be posting my review of this one pretty soon. What a fantastic and fascinating read! Harper Lee (Up Close)

Dairy QueenMy writing partner has been bugging me for ages to read this one. After really enjoying Catherine Gilbert Murdock's PRINCESS BEN, and then enjoying a lovely conversation over dinner with the author, I decided I really should read DAIRY QUEEN. Holy moly has this one got voice! What I learned: if my writing partner says, "you've got to read this one," I WILL!

I'm going to have to chat with author Sarah Mylnowski, because this book is so funny. I need to find out how she put such a unique spin things. 
                                                                             Spells & Sleeping Bags (Magic In Manhattan)

So...what have you been reading?

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Merry Christmas to All!

I feel so blessed this year, with all my friends and my wonderful (growing) family.

My book reviewing has been so fun and has had the added bonus of teaching me a lot.
My guest-editing gig at Teacher-Librarian Magazine doing author interviews for their monthly column continues to give me the opportunity to meet and talk to so many inspiring authors.
Most of all, my writing has grown as I work on my craft and learn what works and what doesn't. I'm glad I'm doing what I've always wanted to do. Writing full-length fiction is much harder than I ever dreamed, and focusing on it has been a challenge, but thanks to my fantastic critique partners (and in particular, my local writing partner who gives me all the nudges and shoves I need to stay focused), I have trudged along and not given up.

This year has also been a hard one. It's our first Christmas without my father, and even writing those words brings me to the brink of tears. But, I feel him near me and hold all of our memories close to my heart.

It is with much love and admiration that I send out Christmas wishes to all of you who have become a part of my life, virtually or otherwise!

Merry Christmas to You!!
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