Til next time..
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Til next time..
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
- Taking a break from the writing, writing, writing that I STILL can't tell you about. (Gee, Joy, could you hint any more annoyingly and repetitively? Probably not.) Never did post a pic from my Borders signing on 12/12, so there it is above. Had a lovely time visiting and signing and occasionally - as seems to be my norm - directing folks to bathrooms, neighboring toy stores, whatever. I don't even get thrown by these requests anymore. In fact, I rather enjoy them.
- And for another take on our Lost Pines excursion, plus a little talk about miracles, feel free to check out my latest HuffPo blog here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joy-preble/not-lost-at-all-texas-pin_b_400461.html Feel free to post a comment or two...
- Still liking my Kindle, although my pal Barrie Summy has another take on the whole subject, which you can read here: http://barriesummy.blogspot.com/2009/12/nook-or-kindle.html Barrie is awesome and funny and a talented writer and I shared some delightful wine and conversation with her this summer at SCBWI LA.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Til next time...
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Lou Malnati's pizza - just like Anne and Tess eat in an early chapter of DA
- Getting to listen to John Grogan talk about his dog Marley and book talking Dreaming Anastasia with anyone who stopped by my table.
- Flying to Chicago on a half empty plane and having row 19 all to myself. And what did I do with all this bounty? Spread out so I could grade Antigone tests. Oh the life a famous author!
- Visiting with the 7th and 8th graders at St. Mary's School in Riverside. What a great group you are! Plus Jessica and her team, including her husband who graciously brought back Diet Coke and warm oatmeal raisin cookies from McDonald's during the dinner lull.
- Getting to meet picture book illustrator Larry Day, who was great company during the above mentioned dinner lull at St. Mary's.
- Getting to visit my alma mater Northwestern and donating a copy of Dreaming Anastasia to the YA collection at the library.
- Driving along Sheridan road from Wilmette to Evanston and later along Lake Shore Drive to Hyde Park. Chicago cooperated with 60 degree weather. In November.
- Staying with my cousin Sara who is an amazing baker and has a freezer full of cookies and brownies and other crazy good stuff and seeing a bunch of other family, too.
- Getting to hang with college friends - for lunches, coffee, after one of my signings. Something about being with the people that knew you when that's sweet and humbling and just oh so right! Hard to be a diva when you're with people who have held your hair back so you could vomit...
- Reconnecting with the Chicago Preble's! You guys rock!
- Dinner with author @PattyJMurphy!
- Lunch with 2k9er's Fran Slayton and Susan Fine, and the ever fabulous best publicist ever @psamuelson01 - otherwise known as Publicist Paul. And did I mentiont that it was 60 degrees out that day? In November? In Chicago?
- The great Look What's HOT display of Dreaming Anastasia's at Border's in Wilmette for my signing - at which I read some, signed some, answered a bunch of questions, and even learned more about the story of the Dreaming Anastasia cover from Sourcebooks' own Kay Mitchell, who drove with Paul Samuelson and the intrepid Teddy Roosevelt all the way from Naperville in Friday night traffic to be with me.
- Hanging with teachers and the fab Angela at 57th Street Books in Hyde Park.
In short - Thank You! to readers, friends, family and to the Sourcebooks team that made the Dreaming Anastasia Chicago tour a reality!
Til next time...
Sunday, November 8, 2009
SHSU grad student Katie Poland poses with me.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
If I haven't mentioned it, I'm an official Huffington Post blogger now, on their new books vertical. I am thrilled! Posted my latest- on paying your dues as a debut author - on Friday. You can read it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joy-preble/paying-the-debut-dues-or_b_339436.html Hopefully you will be amused. :)
Beyond that, if you're in Houston area, come join me up in Huntsville at SHSU's YA Lit Conference on 11/7. Janet Fox (Faithful, Puffin 2010) and I will be talking about on line writing communities, among other things, and also signing Dreaming Anastasia. Come say hi.
I'll also be a "local author" at John Cooper School Signature Series Event on 11/11 at the Waterway Marriott in The Woodlands. John Grogan (Marley and Me) is speaking! Plus it's a fund raiser for literacy causes. All worth the price of admission.
Chicago folks: SBooks is bringing me to town right after that. My bigger public signing is at Borders in Wilmette 11/13 7 PM. Hoping to rock the house on that one. Help me show them what this Chicago native now Texas girl can do! And if you're an educator, I'll be talking to teachers and then signing at the fabulous 57th Street Books (thank you Angela!) on 11/14 around 2 PM.
Beyond that, all sorts of other things going on, but this is not the post for them. Soon, though.
Til next time...
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Presenting AZ Blogger Shellie with her signed Dreaming Anastasia
- Visited with son and girlfriend and the adorable Bernie the dog - the best mutt in the world.
- Signed Dreaming Anastasia at Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe - an amazingly wonderous indie that you must support if you are ever in town. They had graciously pushed me into their schedule for an hour and I was even able to present blogger Shellie of Layers of Thought http://www.layersofthought.net/ with the signed copy of Dreaming Anastasia she'd won through Book Butterfly's contest! Some other interested folks dropped by; I signed stock, and I do believe a good time was had by all.
- Visited the AZ State Fair and debated on eating the deep-fried bacon, but instead consumed part of a corn dog and all of something called Dole Whip which is pineapple soft serve yumminess! Other than the food, we watched sheep shearing, llama obstacle course, and other assorted ag stuff. Played a few midway games. I lost. Kellie won an orange stuffed lobster by tossing ping pong balls in a bowl.
- Did the official family pumpkin carving event. Everyone lied and pretended that my pumpkin didn't suck. You can judge for yourself above.
- Ate and shopped and generally enjoyed the wonderful AZ fall weather.
And now I'm home. Back to school. Back to grading. Back to writing. Onward it goes. Sam Houston State Conference coming up 11/7. Chicago mini tour coming after that. What a crazy wonderful fall! I am totally thankful for it all.
Til next time...
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Visiting with blogger and Twitter pal Sabrina
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Look who's on the program at the Louisiana Festival of Books
Monday, October 12, 2009
Last fall about this time, I was severely traumatized by one of the latter variety. Old Rocky races out and smacks himself against my front right tire, richochets to the right, cartwheels up someone's driveway and into their open garage, where he landed, stunned but not dead. I slammed on the brakes - obviously too late - and sat there watching as he eventually got to his little feet, then stumbled about dazed. (Can squirrels stumble? I suppose maybe there's a better word. But you get the picture) Eventually he made it out of the garage and sat on the driveway looking at me. And I'm thinking, "Buddy. What the hell do you expect me to do? You are unfortunately a wild animal even if you're cute and even if your potential demise is now going to be a lot sooner now, and it's clearly because you smashed yourself into my Altima. Trust me when I say you're on you're own here. I'm going to drive away now. I am not going to nurse you to health. It's a rough world here in the suburbs. Welcome to it."
So why tell you this now? Because 1) It just almost happened again with yet another squirrel just now as I was rushing home from the cleaner's to meet the dryer repair guy who eventually told me that said dryer was not dead but only wounded from a blown inner fuse because I'd pushed it too close to the wall and the vent wasn't venting which was why it was getting so hot every time I dried sheets or towels and eventually blew a fuse rather than setting itself on fire which would have been the much less pleasant alternative.... and 2)It is, it occurred to me as I was stick-vaccing up the crap behind the dryer and hoping the repair guy was not judging me on my slovenly housekeeping habits, the perfect metaphor for being a debut author. (stick with me here; this is going to be profound if I can explain)
Debut author life is full of false starts and hesitations. Mostly you have no idea in hell what you're doing. You race across streets - metaphorically speaking - hoping you won't crash head first into someone's mid size sedan. Sometimes you do anyway. Sometimes you make it to the other side. Some of the stuff you write is brilliant. Some of it, not so much. Some of your choices are fantastic. Some are phenomenally stupid. Some of your reviews are stellar. Others are the equivalent of crashing into an Altima. You keep going. Get up and stumble back down the driveway. Go gnaw on an acorn and tell your squirrel buddies about the crazy woman who just didn't stop to render aid. If you're lucky, the next time you remember - wait at the curb. Or run faster. Get good at dodging navy Altimas. Clean behind your damn dryer if you don't want to spend an hour at your mother in law's making small talk while your underwear dries. (Okay, that's a lie. I sent my husband)
In short - it's like the lesson my mother taught me when I was growing up in Chicago. "If you're somewhere unfamiliar," she said, "Make sure to walk with a purpose. Look like you know where you're going even if you don't. It's safer that way. Trust me."
I'm walking like I know where I'm going this fall. Mid way through month two of the great Dreaming Anastasia adventure. Still loving every minute of it. I've bashed my head a couple of times and sat on metaphorical driveways a tad stunned on occasion. But then I get up and get back to business. So far, it's working out for me. And possibly even the squirrels.
Til next time...
Sunday, October 11, 2009
How Well Do You the Real Anastasia Romanov?
In Dreaming Anastasia, Anastasia Romanov might not be quite as dead as the history books say. But how well do you know the real Anastasia? So let’s see how well you know this famous Russian princess!!
1. What was Anastasia’s actual royal title?
2. On her mother’s side, to what other royal families was Anastasia related?
3. What were the names of Anastasia’s sisters and her brother?
4. Anastasia’s father, Nicholas, held the title, ‘tsar.’ What is the etymology of that title?
5. When was Anastasia born?
6. The Romanov family was often gifted with amazingly beautiful decorative eggs at Easter. Which famous jewelry making family created these eggs?
7. From what very serious blood disorder did Anastasia’s brother suffer?
8. Anastasia’s mother trusted a particular holy man who some believed was evil. What was his name?
9. What was the name of the revolutionaries that overthrew the Romanov family?
10. Anastasia had a pet spaniel. What was his name?
Scroll down for the answers!!
1. Grand Duchess (Anastasia Nicholaievna)
2. British - Great-granddaughter on her mother's side of Queen Victoria, and German - also her mother's side - Her mother, Alexandra was Princess of Hesse)
3. Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Alexei
4. Comes from the same word as Caesar and Kaiser (originally back to Latin)
5. June 5th or June 18th, (depending on which calendar you use), 1901.
8. Rasputin (Father Grigory Efimovitch)
til next time...
Monday, October 5, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
See all those books? They were all gone by 4 PM
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
And now on to the post:
Somewhere in between the relentless pace lately - not that I'm complaining, just observing - I've had to shut things down on occasion and just read. Does anyone else do this? (I know you do. Just fess up!) When the going gets too rough, I retreat with a book for a bit and I'm always better for it.
Not quite done yet with Megan Frazer's debut YA The Secrets of Truth and Beauty, but it is lovely. Dara Cohen discovers that she had a sister, Rachel, that her parents have kept a secret from her. Mom and Dad have deemed Rachel dangerous. Unstable. Whatever happened with Rachel was a rebellious teenager - before Dara was born - it was enough to sever the ties irrevocably. When an incident over a school autobiography project triggers Dara's own conflict with her weight, her life, and her distant and demanding parents, she searches out Rachel. What follows is a journey for everyone involved.
I am loving this book. Frazer's prose is sharp; her narrative skills impressive. She's got a keen eye for characterization, such as the moment when Dara first sees Rachel and notes the few strands of grey in her hair, thus letting the reader know that the years have taken their toll. Or the moment when Rachel realizes exactly how much she'd been cut out of her family. Heart-breaking stuff, but also, I'm sensing, ultimtately uplifting and life-affirming.
I won the ARC of this one at an SCBWI meeting in June, but hadn't gotten to it yet. Now I'm just frustrated that I don't have time to just read and read.
Of course, Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver continues to stick in my mind, too. That scene in the candy store. Oh my! Werewolf loving. Passion, passion, passion. And just a darn good storytelling ride.
And my beloved 2k9er's are slamming into the fall YA scene right now. Megan Crewe's Give Up the Ghost is amazing. Cass sees dead people. Including her own sister. The living "breathers" as she calls them - well, they're not quite as fun. But Cass learns to embrace life in Megan's tale, even as she both uses and helps the ghosts around her. I loved Cass because she seemed totally real to me - prickly and unlovable some of the time. It made me love her all the more. This is a great paranormal read and I adored how Megan set up the perameters of what ghosts could and couldn't do.
Lauren Bjorkman - who has had an amazing life during which she actually spent some of her childhood years living a sailboat! - is about to release "My Invented Life," which is also on my to read list and as far as I can tell, witty and funny and thoughtful all at once. Here's the synopsis:
Roz and Eva are sisters, friends, and rivals. Roz fantasizes about snagging the lead in the school play and landing sexy skate god Bryan as her boyfriend. Sadly, a few obstacles stand between her and her dream. For one, Eva is the more talented actress. And Bryan happens to be Eva’s boyfriend. But is Eva having a secret love affair with a girl? Inquiring minds need to know.
Roz prides herself on random acts of insanity. In one such act, she invents a girlfriend of her own to encourage Eva to open up. The plan backfires, and Roz finds herself neck deep in her invented life. When Roz meets a mercurial boy with a big problem, she begins to understand the complex feelings beneath the labels. And she gets a second chance to earn Eva’s trust.
MY INVENTED LIFE is set in small California high school during the rehearsals for a Shakespeare comedy.
And finally, October brings Lauren Strasnick's Nothing Like You - the story of Holly Hirsch, grieving for the death of her mother, who can't let go of a one night stand with Paul and whose life spirals out of control from there. I've read the ARC of this one twice - it was just that moving.
So here's to a little reading therapy! When the going gets tough, the reader in me just curls up and lets someone else tell the stories for awhile.
Til next time..
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Kara and Karissa and Me - My original readers
Talking and reading and generally looking shiny
Me and former students. Aren't we adorable? And what's that pretty book?