Monday, April 21, 2008

Braless in Wonderland

Now that's an eyecatcher of a title! But it's not from me. It's from Debbie Reed Fischer, author extraordinaire and fellow member of the class of 2k8. Her book, Braless in Wonderland, debuts today. Read more about it on the 2k8 blog. There, you can meet up with all the recent debut novelists in 2k8, like M.P. Barker, whose book, Bringing Home the Boy, just launched last week.

If you're in the market for great reads for the summer, stop by the 2k8 website. It's an amazing group of authors and books, some already picked for the ALA short picks, others getting super write ups on childrens_lit.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Everything is Bigger in Texas

I spoke on Tuesday at the Texas Library Association Conference in Dallas, Texas. Mind you, I'm a native. I was born in Houston. Still, every time I get back to the Lone Star State, I'm impressed with how big everything really is, even their library conferences. Everything really is bigger in Texas. Even the panels.

I was on an amazing panel with Linda Joy Singleton, Beverly Patt and Gabriele Goldstone. Each of us talked about multiculturalism in our books. And we must have done something right because we were asked to come back next year to TLA when it is in Houston, my home town. Very cool.

I have to say, conferences really are the best for authors. They are a great chance to get out of the worlds we create and into the one teeming around us. And I got to meet people. Real people. Not the ones I've created. I'd never met any of the authors on my panel face to face, except one, so going to the conference and meeting up with them was like meeting up with real live pen pals. It was a great. We brainstormed, we talked, we exchanged book ideas.

If you're reading this and wondering how to get your hands on their amazing books, as well as a very cool listing of our favorite multicultural books, search no more. We came up with a Multicultural Book Picks list. Just click here to download: There is a pdf file there with all the books listed.

And if you missed us this year, please come on down to Houston next year. We'll be joined by the amazing Cynthea Liu, a debut children's novelist with two books coming out next year. So yes, even our panel will be done, well, Texas style. Bigger and better!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The MD 80 Affair

I've never had a strong opinion about flying, one way or the other. As a kid, I loved to fly. I loved the novelty of it. As an adult, I'm grateful I don't have to drive to all of the school visits I do each year from coast to coast. But when I walk into the airport, I always send up a prayer to the gods of flight that I make it where I'm going more or less on time and in one piece.

Yesterday, American Airlines had the ear of the aeronautical gods. I was supposed to be on a flight to El Paso to speak at the New Mexico Library Association Conference in Las Cruces today. And I was speaking on my upcoming middle grade novel. I was totally psyched.

And then I watched the news. Hundreds of flights grounded. What about mine?

You guessed it, grounded too. A very patient customer sales person put me on a flight to Albuquerque, where I could get a one way rental car and drive the three hours to Las Cruces. Okay, I thought, I can do this.

Until I got to Dallas. Those pesky little flight gods hadn't held the magical wand over my head while I was flying. My connecting flight to Albuquerque had been canceled while I was en route.

Again, a reshuffle, a new flight. Hours in the airport. I have to say, I'm not the most patient traveler when it comes to waiting for a flight, but this time, it was almost like I was sitting back and watching all of this happen to me. Because of course that flight was delayed, delayed, and delayed, until finally it was so late, I wouldn't be able to pick up the rental car because the agency would be closed by the time I arrived.

Apparently, the gods decided to throw me a bone. AA cobbled together a late night flight to Tulsa for its many stranded passengers in Dallas. I got on at about midnight and was home by one-thirty.

There was a will, but just no way to Las Cruces.

So what have I learned, me the character in this latest drama? Always bring a really good book. Never lose your cool. And above all, make sure your cell phone is charged so you can get caught up on all of those calls you put off. All my friends now know what happened in Dallas. It's been dubbed the "MD 80 Affair." And then get out a pen and start using all that material...after you've slept of course!