My Writing Today

You know how some writing is just looking out a window? I did a lot of that kind of writing today.

Boldy Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

Kirkus Reviews likes The Summer of Moonlight Secrets

This just in--Kirkus Reviews likes The Summer of Moonlight Secrets! Or to put it in their words:

A quick pace . . . a magical frisson . . . The mix of fantasy and light mystery makes for an entertaining read. Kirkus Reviews


IRA 2010 Chicago

I'm back from IRA 2010 Chicago!

Oh, my gosh--what a beautiful city. I tried not to act like a country mouse, but I was truly awestruck by the skyline and the beauty at street level. I HAD A GREAT TIME!

I have pictures to post and stories to tell, but first I have to take a nap work on my revision and do some housework.

Danette out!

The Summer of Moonlight Secrets listed by Scholastic Instructor as a Summer Read

The assistant editor of Scholastic Instructor has selected The Summer of Moonlight Secrets as one of her "Teachers' Picks: 18 Road Trip Reads". I'm beyond thrilled to see my title in the same list as Ann M. Martin's prequel to the Baby-Sitter's Club. Thank you, Assistant Editor Hannah Trierweiler Hudson, for your nice review--you made my day!

Alligators, Cranes, and Little Boys

My morning rounds take me past many ponds; they say that every body of water in Florida has an alligator.

They do not lie.

I scan every pond, every canal, just hoping for a sighting. Today I scored! An alligator was crossing a pond at breakneck speed! He tipped up in front, like a speed boat zipping across a lake. I couldn't see what he was after, but I've never seen an alligator move so quickly. Usually, they float or glide--nary making a ripple--sly reptiles that they are. I took this photo on the other side of town; it's not the same alligator, but it could be his brother-in-law.

Also sighted today, the sandhill cranes couple and their colts (that's what sandhill crane babies are called). The cranes are such wonderful parents. Once, I watched as the mom and dad drove their beaks into the ground and repeatedly offered their findings to their colts. They walk together through the neighborhood, an odd foursome, these lanky birds and their kids.

Speaking of kids, I passed a lady pushing a stroller. Her toddler bounced behind her, exuding the kind of cuteness that makes you say, "Aww!" out loud even though you're by yourself. Then he fell down like a Weeble-Wobble. I actually said, "Oopsie!" It was then I realized I'd actually stopped the van in the middle of the road to watch this little boy. Good thing there were no officers behind me.

On the way home, I searched that pond--the velocigator was gone. I guess breakfast was served.

The Tavernier Stones: A Novel

Fellow blogger Stephen Parrish's debut novel is out! The Tavernier Stones: A Novel is on bookstore shelves and promises to be a great adventure. Usually, I talk about middle-grade books, but Steve's got one of those voices you just can't ignore. He's cynical, funny, a bit disrespectful, and totally supportive of other writers. Stephen has a blog and he's recently caved to the siren song that is Twitter. And he's got this book out!

Congratulations, Stephen!

Adam Lambert WOW!

I'm voting for Adam. I don't care that he's not on this season.

Adam Lambert, Donna Gephart, Blueberry Goodness and Other Important Chit Chat

ADAM LAMBERT appears on American Idol tonight and tomorrow night! Yeah!You know where I'll be!

Whew, got that out of the way.

My friend Donna Gephart has great news: Her novel How to Survive Middle School (middle-grade fiction) is now in bookstores. HSMS received a starred review from Kirkus and a very nice review from Booklist. Way to go, Donna!

Last night, I dreamt of The Hotel of Blueberry Goodness. (I told you this was important chit chat!) My family and I had snuck onto the grounds, explored the hotel, and found a beautiful suite unlocked. We spent the night. I still remember what it looked like, and here's the odd thing: the setting of the dream was the same as when I dreamt of the hotel here. I wish I could really go there.

Here's what else is going on: The Summer of Moonlight Secrets comes out end of May. I'm speaking at Sawgrass Bay Elementary tomorrow, and I have two Barnes & Noble appearances coming up in May. And I'm sponsoring a writing contest for some local schools. The grand prize winner receives a signed hardcover of SOMS before it's even released! Other winners receive the new Violet Raines paperback, which features a sneak peek of SOMS. Also, I'm in revision rounds for Me and Jack, eating rice cakes, and chugging energy drinks.

Hope all is well with you! Have a great day!

FREE! NEW! BOOK GIVEAWAY! The Summer of Moonlight Secrets

Goodreads is hosting a giveaway for THE SUMMER OF MOONLIGHT SECRETS! Two review copies are up for grabs. If you'd like to read the book before anyone else (and maybe review it!), enter the contest here.

Good luck!

Adam Lambert Alert!

American Idol has finally recognized there is only one way to bring back last year's glory days--Adam Lambert will appear as mentor Tuesday and perform Wednesday. And he promised to be a nice boy!


In other AI news, Casey James, Crystal Bowersox, and Lee Dewyze, are my call for the top three.

I did have a moment of inspiration from last night's show. If I see people fading during my presentation at IRA, I'm sending in the bagpipe man.

I'll Be in Chicago for IRA

My publisher is flying me out to Chicago for the IRA 55th Annual Convention, April 25-28th. I can't wait! My presentation is called, "How I Use Real Places, True Feelings, and Almost Breaking the Law to Write Fiction for Young People." I get to show all my slides and talk about stuff I like--I ask you, does it get any better than that?

One thing has me worried though--I just saw on Yahoo that Chicago has 10,000 cameras recording citizens on its streets. I have never hailed a cab before, and I'll be doing just that after landing at O'Hare. I hope those guys who watch the videos don't fall out of their chairs laughing.

The Easter Games, In Which I Play To Win

There is nothing I like better on holidays than having the family over and playing a cutthroat game of words. This Easter it was Catch Phrase, and my sister and I teamed up against EVERYONE ELSE to smear their faces into the ground with our prowess. When it comes to this game, I am no one's mother, no one's wife, no one's daughter--my loyalty is to my teammate and only victory satisfies my bloodlust.

I told my sister we should be on separate teams, for I know the force between us. No, she said, we must be one. And we were one. UNSTOPPABLE, UNBEATABLE, UNDEFEATED TO THIS DAY! No one can touch us. I gave her Not a radio supper, but a and she answered TV dinner. She understands erudite clues such as It's a literary word, something pastoral--a grassy-- "Knoll!" she shouted.

Rack 'em up and cry, losers. This game is ours to win. Stumble over your words like ginger while we rack up points because you run out of time. You entered this challenge knowing our reputation. Did you think it hyperbole?

My sister and I look forward to next week. It's her birthday. There will be cake and there will be ice cream and presents and singing. And when that's over, there will be THE GAME.

What Boys Say

When little boys sit in my van eating French fries from Burger King, they think I'm not listening.

I am.

Boy 1: My dad rents movies and copies them. He knows it's illegal, but he doesn't care.
Boy 2: What are the three forms of matter?
Boy 1: Water, gas, and POOP!
Boy 2: Do you kiss your brother?
Boy 1: No, I think it's against the law.
Boy 1: Do you still have lice?