Friday, January 6, 2012

Follow Friday -- Jackie Pynaert Garlick

Now, this is a writer to follow.  Jackie Pynaert Garlick has a literary style, full of fabulous metaphors and sensory almost-overload.  She writes books that are close to her heart, that make me wonder and cry -- just by listening to her speak about them.

I can't wait for the rest of the world to see them.

Let me amend that, I can't wait to see them myself.  Because I've seen snippets, but never read the full deal (though I'm waiting to beta read her most recent).

I know Jackie through a round-about route -- SCBWI, the Nevada Mentorship Program, Bret Ballou and Veronica Rossi.  We've shared a room at national conferences, shared more than one meal and several confidences.  She sat beside me while I made a fool of myself rocking out to Billie Joe Armstrong during the Broadway stage production of American Idiot.  I feel very lucky to count her as a friend.

Now, not only is Jackie a great friend and a brilliant writer, she's planner and coordinator for one of the most intriguing children's literature conferences in North America.  The Niagara SCBWI conference is small, intimate, and pulls in some of the biggest names in the industry (this year: Tracey Adams and Nancy Conescu).

And she's Canadian, eh?

Best of all, I get to see Jackie tomorrow at Veronica Rossi's book launch.

You can read Jackie's blog.
You can follow her on Twitter.
But it's best to get to know her personally.  I'll introduce you sometime.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why I Love My Local Library

As a soon-to-be-published author, I know I should be encouraging all of you to go out and buy books.  And I, myself, should be supporting my fellow writers by contributing to their royalties.  (And now that I’ll actually be earning, I can.)  But patronizing your library isn’t about not buying books.  It’s about loving books.  And so much more.  So here is my shortlist of why I love my local library.

1.  Lest this post end up being completely selfish, let me begin by saying that my library makes unfathomably generous contributions to the community.  Literacy programs.  Free Internet and computer access.  Children’s programs.  Activities.  Shelter.  Books.  Let’s not forget the books, magazines, music CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, research materials, etc., etc., etc.

2.  Libraries are great for children.  I’ve been taking mine since they were chewing on board books.  The library is where we discovered Harry the Dirty Dog, Ed Young’s Seven Blind Mice and then graduated to every single Magic Tree House ever written.  My library has story time and summer reading programs.  Several times a year they do educational shows – we’ve been to see a program on wolf rescue twice.  With real wolves.  Gorgeous.

3.   Research.  You knew I would get here eventually, right? When I wasn’t sure if I could write an entire book on Catherine Howard, I went to the library.  And through interlibrary loan, I got a fabulous, 40-year-old biography of Henry’s fifth queen that had been sitting quietly in a sister library in the sleepy little town of Colusa, California.  It still contained an old-fashioned check-out stamp card with stamps from the 70s on it.  How the book got to Colusa, I don’t know.  But I’m glad it did.  And I’m very thankful for interlibrary loan.  (The book, by Lacey Baldwin Smith, has just been revised and reprinted, and I now own a copy, but I read the one from Colusa twice.)

4.  Libraries buy books.  Hardcover and paperback.  Sometimes multiple copies.  And not just mine (I hope they buy mine!)  My local chain bookstore carries a seemingly infinite variety of paranormal YA.  But little-to-no historical.  And minimal contemporary.  I do my browsing at the library. 

5.  Librarians.  Not only can they help you find the book you want, they can help you find the book you didn’t know you wanted.  They know who just won the Printz and who wrote “that book about the vampire.”  They’re friendly.  Helpful.  Knowledgeable.  And cool.

Originally posted on the YAMuses blog, December 2010.  But I still feel exactly the same.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Confessions (and a Challenge)

I don't do resolutions -- at least I try not to.  Number one, they make me feel guilty.  And I can generally find enough stuff to feel guilty about without adding more.  Number two, any day is a good day to change behaviour and bad habits -- not just the first of the year.  Or so I keep telling myself.

So instead of my resolutions, I'm going to share with you two confessions.  And offer a challenge.  Ready?

Confession # 1.  I read NEVER EIGHTEEN by my 2k12 Classmate, Megan Bostic, a long time ago.  As soon as it appeared on Net Galley, I sent in a request.  I love contemporary YA (I know, crazy, because I write historical stuff) and this book had all the elements -- love, fear, friendship, tragedy.  There's nothing I like better than being so moved by a novel that I cry.  Not only this, but it's set in the Pacific Northwest, an area I haunted on and off for a year in my 20's, and still feel an enormous connection with.  Reading the book was like revisiting my youth.  The confession part is, that I haven't said a word about it until now.  Mostly because if I'd blogged about it back in May, it wouldn't have that much impact.  However, now the book will be out in two weeks (January 17).  And I'm hoping it will make a huge impact.

You see, it's the story of a boy, Austin Parker, who is doing what he can to change the lives of the people he loves.  He can't do much -- he doesn't have time.  But he does what he can.  He reaches out.  And sometimes, this is the most any of us can do.

Which brings us to Confession #2.  Until this past holiday season, I hadn't sent Christmas cards in nine years.  Nine years.  I have friends in many diverse places.  And, unfortunately, I've lost touch with many of them (not everyone can be found on Facebook).  But I want to be in contact with them.  So this past year, I had to try.  Thanks to Megan and Austin Parker.

It's hard to reach out into the void, not knowing if you're going to connect.  I knew I'd lost some people forever.  People move.  And move on.  I've already got one letter back -- Return to Sender.  But I also received a very sweet e-mail from an address in England telling me that the people I sent the letter to had moved.  That letter may never have been returned, and it felt good knowing that someone had the decency to let me know that I had it wrong.  So I could start another search.

Megan has kindly allowed me to participate in her Project Pass It On.  Not only is this a way to get the word out on her book, it's also a way to encourage readers to connect with others.  Check out the web page.  It's wonderful.  And think of ways you can connect.

Now I just need to find the perfect place to pass my copy on.